Lady Marmalade

It’s a funny feeling when you accomplish something that a few years ago, I would have laughed out loud at it’s mere suggestion. Even more surreal to be blogging about it. We grew our own food & turned it into something beautiful. I feel like a total domestic goddess – that’s the bit that makes me laugh!

We have a substantial amount of blood oranges & lemons on our trees this year. So, I decided to try my hand at marmalade. I am chuffed with the results & how easy it actually was. Note: it does need overnight preparation.

Blood Orange & Lemon Marmalade

Ingredients:
3 blood oranges
1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar

Method:
Trim the top & bottoms of the blood oranges & lemons. Cut into quarters & remove the pithy cores & seeds. Finely slice each part of the citrus fruits & put in a bowl. Fill the bowl with water to make it up to 2 cups in volume. Leave to soak overnight.
In a saucepan, add the citrus water mix & sugar. Allow to boil with regular stirring. Simmer until the sauce thickens. It will thicken more after you remove it from the heat.

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Serving suggestion for this marmalade is with scones. Even better if the scones have been made with love!

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Happy eating!

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June is Artichoke Month

Another Month = Another Challenge!

This month I took on artichoke.  This one was a real curve ball for me as the only time I have ever really used them was from a jar!  A 100g serve of Artichokes from a jar contains 320mg of sodium whereas steaming them fresh (without salt) gives 60mg of sodium. Depending on your total diet though this may not be a significant issue – it’s unlikely we are going to be adding a significant number of artichokes to our diet!  However, if you consider that the National Health and Medical Research Centre suggests we limit salt to 4g/day (1600mg sodium) and the Heart Foundation says 6g/day (2300mg sodium) and the average Australian consumes 8 or 9 times this amount, I think we should be mindful of what salt we add to our diet by using processed foods vs naturally occurring salt.

Now, I’ll jump off my nutritional science podium and chat to you about the main things I learnt during my challenge.

1) Preparing an artichoke is a bit perplexing but you can find awesome infographics on pinterest to help you!

Source of Image:  http://illustratedbites.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/prickly-treat/

How to Prepare and Artichoke

2) Talking about artichokes was a wonderful language building exercise for my toddler.  We looked at pictures of them on the internet and talked about what they may feel like before we went to the shops to choose some to cook.  My daughter was quite the sight walking around the green grocers with her “choke fwowers”. I figured that they did look like flowers and some multi-syllable words are still a bit tricky.  (The artichoke is actually the flower bud harvested before the flower blooms).  The preparatory talks about artichokes, built some excitement about going to the shops.  As you may have seen in my previous post about vegetable exposures away from mealtimes,  I did creatively use going to get the artichokes as a “bribe” to get her off the Peppa Pig coin operated ride and into the green grocer.

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3) I made an Artichoke, Lemon & Tomato cob loaf with my steamed artichoke hearts that was really yummy and simple. Lemon is in season now & so very fragrant in this bread. I loved it served with some good quality butter, fresh ham & a side salad. The loaf is big enough for a light lunch for 2 adults & 2 kids.
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Artichoke, Lemon & Tomato Cob Loaf

Ingredients:
1 Artichoke Heart
1 Tomato, Roughly Chopped
Zest from 1/2 Lemon
1/4 cup Parmesan, Finely Grated
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup Self Raising Flour
1 Egg
Ground Black Pepper, To Taste

To prepare the artichokes, I trimmed it as per the above infographic.  Instead of putting them in the pot with salted water, I used a bamboo steamer and no salt – this worked well and in 20mins I had lovely steamed artichokes.  I tried one with a lemon & pepper yoghurt dipping sauce, which was OK.  I didn’t actually try to get my daughter to try the artichoke like this.  Scraping the flesh away from the leaves with your teeth is interesting but a bit of work for the limited fleshy artichoke that you get.

On my remaining artichoke, I cut away the hard leaves & was left with the heart.  I roughly chopped up the heart & yielded about 1/4 cup of chopped pieces. To the bowl I added the remaining ingredients. My toddler did some stirring & kneading of the bread with me. We put it on a dusted baking tray in the preheated (180oC) oven for about 30mins (until it sounds hollow when you tap on the bottom of the loaf).

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Do you have a favorite artichoke recipe?
Happy Eating!

Reasons to Play with Food Outside of Mealtimes

The more exposure that your child has to fruits and vegetables, the more likely they are to eat it. Fact.

The operative word here is EXPOSURES.

But how do we keep giving exposures without generating waste, mess and battles at the table? Simple – not all exposures have to be during mealtimes.

Reasons for exposure opportunities outside of mealtimes include:
1) It’s a no pressure environment
2) It’s packed with other learning opportunities eg language, motor planning, sensory & socialization
3) Having fun keeps us all sane 🙂
4) Helps kids move up the first steps to eating hierarchy (tolerate, interact with, touch, smell .. etc)
5) Improves familiarity
6) It will help them learn to EAT those fruits & vegies

Have you ever said “oh don’t give him/her that, they won’t eat it”, Yes? Well you wouldn’t be alone, I have done it too! Why do I hate saying it though?
A) It comes out of my mouth before I even think about what I’m saying and it makes me sound so mumsy 🙂
B) If my daughter heard me it would strengthen her belief that she doesn’t eat it
C) I just took away a great chance for another exposure.

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Here are a few exposures we did this week at our house outside of mealtimes:

1) Helping out in the kitchen to make dinosaur cakes. My daughter put the spinach & sweet potato into the blender. By touching them during the task, she was being exposed to it!

2) We talked about artichokes, looked at pictures (on the internet) and then went to buy them at the green grocer. Here is the best bit – By doing that pre-work with her meant that when all else failed trying to get her off the Peppa Pig coin operated ride at the shops, I simply said “do you want to go & buy the artichokes now?” And within a second she was by my side ready to go. Ha ha ha – got to love creative parenting!

3) Tracing around corn on the paper.  It is also a great language building time by talking about the bumpy surface, the colour “lello” and writing the word C O R N inside.

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4) Broccoli painting. Obviously needing a little extra patience on your part, painting is great for sensory exposures.

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Obviously the sky is the limit with vegie craft ideas & this is just some of what we did this week in our house. Have you done a great fruit & veg exposure craft? – comment below!

For more wonderful ideas for fruit & vegetable exposure, try out our play with food classes.

This broccoli exposure was during our pre-dinner play, so I wanted to use broccoli in our dinner. I used the rest of the head of broccoli to make this yummy family meal.

Chicken, Broccoli & Almond Rice Noodles

Serves: 2 adults & 2 kids

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You will need:
4 chicken thighs, cut into strips
Oil for browning chicken (i used peanut oil)
3 shallots, sliced into thin rounds
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3/4 head of broccoli, roughly chopped
Handful of coriander, roughly torn
2tbsp tahini
2tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp maple syrup
1/2 packet of dried rice noodles
1/4 cup toasted almond slivers
Boiling water

Method:
In a wok, heat oil & brown chicken. Add garlic & shallots. After 5 minutes & chicken is cooked through, add broccoli & coriander. Add boiling water to

noodles in a separate bowl so they cook (takes a couple of minutes). Add the mixed tahini, soy & maple to the chicken. Once noodles are cooked add them to the chicken & keep stirring for another minute or so. Serve in a big bowl in the middle of the table with toasted almonds on top & some extra coriander for garnish.

Happy Eating!
Simone

Dinosaur Cakes

So, I felt bad that my princess cakes may have excluded the boys. Today I asked my daughter what kind of cake would be green & she roared back at me “saurus cake”,  (ie. Dinosaur cake in Ellie speak).

We set about a little ingredient experiment to change up our princess cake recipe to make them green instead of orange.  We exchanged the finely grated carrot with a cup of loosely packed baby spinach and omitted the cinnamon.

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Pouring the batter from the blender into the waiting mini-muffin & patty cake tins is a great job for toddlers. You can also do some counting practice at the same time & we had some fun roaring like dinosaurs as we worked. The result is a moist & dense coconut flavoured mini cake that is egg free, gluten free, low in fat and packing some great vegie nutrients.

We decorated ours with a thin spread of nutella (like dino mud) and some shredded coconut. Have your child use a toddler knife to spread the nutella for motor planning practice. They will feel a great sense of achievement with their decorating.

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We used our the busy mums store plate as a work surface for the decorating. The plate provides learning opportunities from colour recognition (toddler), number recognition (preschooler) to equation practice (primary schoolers). The plates are great quality & likely to last us that long! They are designed & sold by a local mum. Supporting local business is important to me- hence the little plug here! :p

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Dinosaur Cakes

3/4 cup rice flour
1tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 2tbsp cold water for at least 10min
1 cup of loosely packed baby spinach
1/3 cup cooked sweet potato
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1tbsp butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180oC and grease your patty cake tin (or you can use mini cup cake holders). I used spray on coconut oil.

Put all ingredients into the blender. Whizz until all ingredients are well combined.

Pour batter into cake tin & bake for about 20mins (until cooked through). Tip: the mixture does not rise so fill the tins to the brim. Gently shake to level out the batter in the tin. This mix should make approx 24 mini-cakes.

To decorate these cakes we used nutella & shredded coconut.

All toddler cooking should be supervised.

Happy Eating!

Dinosaur Cakes

So, I felt bad that my princess cakes may have excluded the boys. Today I asked my daughter what kind of cake would be green & she roared back at me “saurus cake”,  (ie. Dinosaur cake in Ellie speak).

We set about a little ingredient experiment to change up our princess cake recipe to make them green instead of orange.  We exchanged the finely grated carrot with a cup of loosely packed baby spinach and omitted the cinnamon.

image

Pouring the batter from the blender into the waiting mini-muffin & patty cake tins is a great job for toddlers. You can also do some counting practice at the same time & we had some fun roaring like dinosaurs as we worked. The result is a moist & dense coconut flavoured mini cake that is egg free, gluten free, low in fat and packing some great vegie nutrients.

We decorated ours with a thin spread of nutella (like dino mud) and some shredded coconut. Have your child use a toddler knife to spread the nutella for motor planning practice. They will feel a great sense of achievement with their decorating.

image

We used our the busy mums store plate as a work surface for the decorating. The plate provides learning opportunities from colour recognition (toddler), number recognition (preschooler) to equation practice (primary schoolers). The plates are great quality & likely to last us that long! They are designed & sold by a local mum. Supporting local business is important to me- hence the little plug here! :p

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Dinosaur Cakes

3/4 cup rice flour
1tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 2tbsp cold water for at least 10min
1 cup of loosely packed baby spinach
1/3 cup cooked sweet potato
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1tbsp butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180oC and grease your patty cake tin (or you can use mini cup cake holders). I used spray on coconut oil.

Put all ingredients into the blender. Whizz until all ingredients are well combined.

Pour batter into cake tin & bake for about 20mins (until cooked through). Tip: the mixture does not rise so fill the tins to the brim. Gently shake to level out the batter in the tin. This mix should make approx 24 mini-cakes.

To decorate these cakes we used nutella & shredded coconut.

All toddler cooking should be supervised.

Happy Eating!

Kids Love Chicken Meatballs

Observing the children who participate in my classes each week, I definitely see lots of patterns emerge about what kids do and don’t like to eat.  These patterns fit in so nicely with the current literature, studies and the tools I demonstrate.  I do find that MEAT is either a “Love it” or “Leave it” for most kids.  Meat is a textural minefield and many of the problems result from how it is prepared.  I obviously don’t cover meat in my classes – I only do fruits and vegetables – however, the routines we learn in class for the fruits and vegetables are directly transferable to your kitchen & table.

I do see children that have had allergies or currently have allergies.  A common allergy is egg.  Did you know that you can substitute egg with chia seeds?  (Well yes, if you have seen my post last week for princess cakes, you would already know this.  The princess cakes are egg & gluten free and are a yummy toddler approved morning tea.)

For those playing at home with the materials I have given you in class and are trying to assist your child overcome a food jag, this is a recipe that you can use if you are transitioning to whole pieces of meat from processed meat (eg. wanting your kids to have chicken breast as opposed to processed chicken nuggets).  It’s also perfect for families that have to consider an egg allergy.   Families should aim to have the one meal and this is a great recipe that will satisfy everyone.  Use the best chicken mince that you can & the texture of the balls will be between that of the chicken nugget & a chicken breast.  You can spice it up as you please (however, remember radically changing the taste profile for food jaggers is the final step in the transition.)

Chia & Chicken Balls | Why they are great for fussy kids | Play with Food

Recipe:

  1. Soak 2tsp of chia seeds in 4tsp of water for at least 10mins until gluggy.
  2. In the meantime, sautee 1 clove of finely chopped garlic & a rasher of finely chopped bacon.
  3. Then once cooked & in a separate bowl, combine the bacon mix, 1/2 cup multigrain breadcrumbs, 2tbsp tomato paste, 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce, chia mix and 350g chicken mince.
  4. Roll into balls & cook in the pan

If you are interested in learning more about our toddler, preschooler or 5-7yo class programs.  Have a look here for our current schedule!

If you have any questions about this recipe, food jagging or just love chicken meatballs – leave me a comment below!

Happy Eating!
Simone Emery

Princess Cakes

My mission was to orchestrate a fun day for my 2yo and her cousin (nearly 4yo) – a princess day. I wanted memorable activities, yummy fun food & a good chance for them to bond.

The activites included princess story books, playing outside and designing their own t-shirt. I helped the girls select pictures to print onto iron-on transfer paper and then we ironed them onto pre-purchased t-shirts.

What I was most excited about was using my daughter’s enthusiasm to help me in the kitchen. She helped grate the carrot (by holding her hand within mine.)  She put ingredients that I measured out into the blender and she poured the batter into the awaiting party cake holders.

Toddler snacks should be appropriately sized. I like to bake in smaller portion sizes for a few reasons:
1) less tendency for my daughter to over stuff her mouth.
2) you can serve with other food groups for a more balanced snack or meal.
3) less wastage if they don’t eat it all.
4) extras can be frozen for snacks on the go – wrap in cling film individually before freezing.

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Princess Cakes

3/4 cup rice flour
1tbsp chia seeds, soaked in 2tbsp cold water for at least 10min
1 medium sized carrot, finely grated
1/3 cup cooked sweet potato
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1tbsp butter
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 180oC and grease your patty cake tin (or you can use mini cup cake holders). I used spray on coconut oil.

Put all ingredients into the blender. Whizz until all ingredients are well combined.

Pour batter into cake tin & bake for about 20mins (until cooked through). Tip: the mixture does not rise so fill the tins to the brim. Gently shake to level out the batter in the tin. This mix should make approx 18 mini-cakes.

To decorate these cakes I made a tiny batch of pink butter cream icing & store-bought sprinkles. The girls used knives that come with toddler cuttlery sets to apply the icing.

All toddler cooking should be supervised.

Happy Eating!
🙂 Simone

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