I’m really getting into baking at the moment and I’m always keen to experiment and try new ways of making cakes for the family. This week I bring you another tasty and quick recipe which the kids (and adults) love! This recipe makes around 18 small cupcakes, I prefer them in the smaller size as its a more suitable size for the kids
2 medium eggs
125g caster sugar
125g softened butter
125g plain flour
1tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
2 small ripe bananas (mashed)
100g milk chocolate chips
1. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients (except the choc chips) with a mixer for a couple of minutes until thoroughly mixed.
2. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon and then divide the mixture into paper cupcake cases.
3. Bake at 180 degrees for approx 20 minutes, test with a skewer and if it comes out clear then the cakes are ready.
You can never have enough vegetarian recipe books! That is so true for this household, I love recipe books and my collection is huge. When I was contacted to see if I’d like to review a new vegetarian cook book, well of course I said yes
tibits restaurants were originally launched as a family business over 10 years ago in Switzerland by three brothers, Reto, Christian and Daniel Frei, together with Rolf and Marielle Hiltl, of Hiltl, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world. Now, due to popular demand, tibits has brought out its first collection of recipes, enabling existing fans and those new to the concept alike, to try out the recipes at home for the first time.
These innovative recipes showcase the taste, beauty, and nutrition of produce that’s fresh all year round: the tender young asparagus of spring, the plump juicy berries of summer; the succulent courgettes and butternut squash of autumn, the comforting roots of winter.
tibits at home: stylish vegetarian cuisine is a sumptuous cookbook, split into four seasonal sections, containing 50 recipes that will delight all loyal tibits fans, as well as those who are new to the brand. 80 per cent of tibits’ menu is vegan and many of the recipes in the book are also vegan – good news for the rapidly increasing number of vegans in the UK. In addition, many recipes cater for those on gluten-free and nut-free diets.
Tibits At Home have very kindly allowed me to share a couple of their delicious recipes with you.
tabouli middle-eastern style
If you love fresh parsley and mint, this is for you!
120 g bulgur
250 ml water
2 tsp fine sea salt
150 g baby spinach leaves
50 g fresh mint
40 g fresh coriander (cilantro)
30 g broad leaf parsley
400 g tomatoes
1.5 lemons (juice)
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fine sea salt
1-2 tbsp chilli oil
Freshly ground white pepper
1 Cook the bulgur in salted water for about 8 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Put into a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2 Pluck the mint and parsley leaves from the stems, wash and chop finely.
3 Wash the tomatoes, remove the stem ends and chop into 1 cm dice.
4 Mix the sauce ingredients and season with pepper.
5 Break up the bulgur with a fork. Add the tomatoes, spinach and herbs and mix carefully. Add the sauce and mix again.
Tabouli is a wonderfully refreshing and nutritious summer dish. We have used bulgur (parboiled and dried durum wheat) instead of the traditional couscous.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
We absolutely loved this recipe in the Brown household and it is now a regular feature on our menu. I tend to serve the tabouli with falafel, pitta bread and sour cream for a more substantial meal and I probably use a dash more chilli oil than the recipe says but we like a little heat
Another recipe which I attempted is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth (I have a bit of a baking obsession at the moment).
Chocolate and coconut macaroons
A sweet delight for grown-ups and children alike!
160 g caster sugar
5 g vanilla sugar
100 g dark chocolate
(45 per cent cocoa content, minimum)
160 g coconut flakes
1 Preheat the oven to 150º C.
2 Mix the caster sugar, with the vanilla sugar. Finely grate the chocolate.
3 Separate the eggs. Whip the egg whites until very stiff while drizzling the sugar into the mixture.
4 Carefully fold the chocolate and coconut flakes into the whipped egg white.
5 Spoon the batter into a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe small macaroons onto a baking tray, lined with baking paper. Alternatively, make small heaps of batter with two wet teaspoons. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing the macaroons from the paper.
Tip: for a more intense chocolate flavour, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (water bath). Leave to cool at room temperature, before folding into the beaten egg whites.
Makes 30-40 macaroons
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Now I had visions of creating beautifully piped little macaroons with this recipe but I had a little difficulty piping anything out of the piping bag as the mixture was too solid and so my macaroons were more splodges than anything else BUT they did taste absolutely delicious despite not being the prettiest thing I have ever created. I opted to use melted chocolate as I am a complete chocoholic. These went down a treat with the whole family and will definitely be making another appearance in my baking list.
So what did I think of the book? Well I admit when I initially flicked through the book I was a little disappointed. Some of the recipes are things I wouldn’t try (I’m not a huge fan of tofu) but once I started trying out recipes I was surprised at just how good they were. I found that a recipe that didn’t necessarily sound exciting at first glance was actually delicious and bursting with subtle flavours. I regularly use this recipe book nowadays so yes it’s passed the Brown household test
You can buy a copy of tibits at home from amazon or through tibits website
I have another baking recipe for you today (well we have been stuck at home with poorly kids all month). This recipe makes 12 small cupcakes. They are easy to make and the kids love them.
115g caster sugar
115g self raising flour
115g softened butter
115g apple sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1 small apple
2 tsp demerara sugar
1. In a large bowl mix the sugar, flour, butter and eggs with an electric whisk.
2. Stir in the apple sauce and sultanas.
3. Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases.
4. Place a piece of sliced apple and a sprinkling of demerara sugar on top of each cupcake.
5. Bake for approx 20-25 minutes in an oven at 175 degrees. Test with a skewer and when it comes out clear the cupcakes are ready. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out of the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool.
I don’t really do crafting, it’s one of things which is pretty difficult to manage with a 2 and 3 year old but with us being under chicken pox solitary confinement, we had to do something to keep us all from going insane and so I decided we would try making monsters!
It’s very easy to do and the kids loved it!
What You’ll Need:
Cut up pieces of newspaper and coloured tissue paper
Pipe cleaners, Pom poms and anything else you fancy decorating them with.
1. Blow up a balloon, water down some PVA glue and then get messy covering the balloon with newspaper and glue. Add a good few layers so that the monster head will be solid when it dries.
2. For the final layers of paper mâché use coloured tissue paper instead of newspaper to give the monster head it’s colour.
3. Once fully covered, leave the balloon hung up somewhere to dry for a couple of days until it is completely dry.
4. Once dry then decorate as you fancy. We used white card for teeth, coloured pom poms from a craft kit for the eyes and nose and coloured pipe cleaners for the eyes.
5. Once all the glue has dried, with a sharp knife, pop the balloon inside the head and insert a wooden stick (we borrowed wooden spoons from my kitchen). There you have it, monster head puppets! MissB and MasterB loved making them and have since spent hours playing with them so mission accomplished
If you decide to make these, please email me your photos as I’d love to see how creative you’ve been
I am so glad that May is almost over! Seriously, this month has probably been the hardest month we’ve had since having kids. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve burst into tears.
It started with MasterB getting chicken pox. This wasn’t too bad in itself although having almost 2 weeks off work unpaid wasn’t ideal. What made the pox worse was the double ear infection he had at the same time. I can’t begin to tell you how sick we are of ear infections in this house. They make all our lives a misery – but we carried on knowing that his grommet surgery was booked for the 21st May so there was a glimmer of hope in sight!
Just as MasterB was over the pox and back at nursery it was MissBs turn to be ill. We were convinced it was going to be the pox too but despite one tiny suspicious looking spot, no more appeared. After a week of high temperatures (and more time off work for me), the doctor decided on antibiotics for her. She improved and was back at nursery and all was well
We were now a week away from MasterB’s grommet surgery and all was looking good – well until the ear gunk appeared again. A frantic phone call to the doctor got us a prescription for antibiotics and we were hopeful it would be clear for surgery. Of course that wasn’t the case, 6 days into the antibiotics and the day before his grommet surgery, his temperature went sky high and the gunk was worse than ever. The GP told us to cancel the surgery and gave us stronger antibiotics.
The stronger antibiotics induced sick so we had to change to ear drops and the doctor basically said that we’ve tried every antibiotic going now and nothing clears the infection for more than a few days This misery has been going on for 2 years now and we are at our wits end. Having to cancel the grommet surgery was the final nail in a really shite month! We are still waiting to hear when the surgery will be rearranged for and goodness knows how we will manage to be clear of ear infections for the next date
I love baking but it’s something I rarely get chance to do anymore but this recipe is so quick and easy I have been whipping up a batch most weekends recently and the family love them
4 medium eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
100g white chocolate chips
100g milk chocolate chips
1. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl and mix for a couple of minutes with an electric mixer.
2. Give each toddler one of the mixers to lick the mixture off
3. Stir the chocolate chips into the mix.
4. Place 12 paper muffin cases in the muffin tins and divide the mixture between them.
5. Bake in a preheated oven (175 degrees) for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven. Test with a skewer and when it comes out clean the muffins are cooked.
6. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out and placing on a rack to cool.
And that’s it
I’m not a huge fan of icing so we eat our muffins like this but feel free to ice at will
We also swap the chocolate chips for alternatives such as chopped glacé cherries or sultanas. Choc chip and cherry go down a treat here as do cherry and sultana.
I’m also planning on trying a Bakewell muffin next by swapping the vanilla extract for almond essence and using cherries. I think I’ll inject some raspberry jam into the middle when they are baked as well – I’ll let you know what they turn out like
It was inevitable really seeing as pretty much every other child at nursery has had Chicken Pox in the last 8 weeks. I was starting to believe my theory that vegetarians don’t get chicken pox for a while, but on Tuesday MasterB came home with suspicious looking spots.
We were quite lucky with the timing really, we just managed to get to his latest ENT appointment on the Tuesday before we spotted the spots. The ENT declared his ears free of infection and finally agreed to book him in for Grommet surgery (provisional date 21st May ). This is a huge relief as it has taken us about 4 months and 5 lots of antibiotics to shift the latest ear infection and we are desperate to get his glue ear sorted and hopefully improve his speech.
But back to the spots… By bedtime on Tuesday it was pretty obvious that it was definitely chicken pox and so our solitary confinement had begun. To be honest, so far (8 days into the pox) MasterB hasn’t really suffered much with the chicken pox itself, he’s probably had around 150 spots in total and with constant dosing of Piriton Syrup and liberal applications of Eurax cream he has been quite happy. We’ve been trying every trick in the book – porridge baths, bicarb of soda in the bath etc and it all seems to be working although my cleaner is probably a little worried by all the “ingredients” lined up in the bathroom
The main issue we have had (not surprisingly) it that on Wednesday the blasted ear infection reappeared, just 12 hours after the ENT consultant told us it all looked clear and the perforation was healing! Apparently it can happen as a secondary infection with chicken pox so OF COURSE MasterB was going to get that! After a phone call to our GP we were prescribed more antibiotics (the first induced sick, the second prescription is currently being tolerated) and we are now desperately hoping that this infection won’t take another four months to clear, ideally we’d like it to be clear in three weeks time for his Grommet surgery! As an added bonus – we even have the ear infection in both ears this time round (he only usually gets it in the left ear). The poor love has really struggled with it.
So there we have it – Chicken Pox = piece of cake, Ear Infections = hell on earth
Oh and just for good measure, nursery phoned today as MissB had a temperature. It doesn’t take Einstein to realise that the spots are going to start appearing on her any day now does it! I suppose if she gets it now then at least it means they will have both had it and that we can add chicken pox to the list of parenting challenges that we’ve conquered and assigned to history
Anybody who follows me on twitter will be all to aware of the nightmare bedtime and nights we’ve had with MasterB over the last two years. 2 Years! I can’t believe he is 2 now and you know what *whispers* I think we might have finally cracked it
You wouldn’t think that this rather angelic looking toddler would be responsible for such trouble would you? But seriously… The little darling turned into a complete devil at bedtime, up until very recently I couldn’t leave his room before he fell asleep otherwise he went crazy. This is one kamikaze kid, without a thought for safety he would throw himself out of his cot or scream the house down if he even sensed you had left the room. For a child with vision and hearing problems, it still amazes me how he just “knew” when you left and would wake up instantly from his sleep and start crying. Bedtime usually took at least an hour of sitting on his bedroom floor!
Just a few months back we were still at the point where we couldn’t even put him in his cot and I would have to wait for him to fall asleep on me downstairs before carefully carrying him upstairs and placing him in his cot. The lovely Fi from Childcare Is Fun helped me immensely through this nightmare and we did finally get him to sleep in his cot but it’s probably taken another 4 months to be able to leave his room.
Tonight (as we have done for a WHOLE WEEK now), I placed MasterB in his cot, said goodnight and walked out of his room. Then I got into bed with MissB for 15 minutes to chat before she goes to sleep. Within minutes MasterB was asleep, no crying…just a bit of chatting to himself before falling asleep. What’s even more amazing is that he has even slept from 7pm – 6:30am most nights without us having to get up to him in the night!
I cannot begin to describe how it feels to have a week of unbroken sleep after 2 years of disturbed nights! I feel like I’m on a permanent sugar high at the moment I don’t know what has finally changed but maybe he really has finally just learnt to sleep at last. Whatever it is – I am one very very grateful mummy
Today was that day for me.
This afternoon we went out to Adventure Valley for a couple of hours, we have annual passes (a really thoughtful gift from my mother in law for Christmas) so we tend to go there every couple of weeks as it has a lovely, big soft play area and the kids love it.
Now usually on these days, both my husband and I are playing with MissB and MasterB in the soft play, helping them to climb up, holding their hands as we go down the slide and generally being the most important people in their lives who they love to play with
Today, whilst we were playing, we heard a little boy shouting MissB’s name. It turned out to be a friend from nursery and that was it. MissB was off playing with a group of children her own age. Charging around the soft play, giggling together, running around and generally having an absolute ball with barely a glance back to see where Mummy and Daddy were.
Although I still had the full attention of MasterB, I couldn’t help but get a lump in my throat. My little girl is growing up now. How long will it be until she no longer grabs my hand and pulls me into the soft play to see who can go down the slide quickest? How long until she reaches the stage where she is embarrassed to have Mummy and Daddy in the soft play with her?
I love seeing her so happy and being a child with all her friends around her but part of me doesn’t want her to need anybody else in her life but me (and Daddy of course). I’m allowed to feel jealous of those friends aren’t I? I’m allowed to want to be selfish and keep her to myself that little bit longer aren’t I? Or should I just accept that the days of being needed quite so much are dwindling?
I’m going to cherish these days where she is still my little girl and make the most of being able to race her down the slide because today I realised these days aren’t going to last forever
MissB – I love you, please always be my little girl.
Hello there You may have noticed it’s been a little quiet on here recently but life has been pretty hectic recently and as with most accountants at this time a year, I’ve had my head buried in tax returns and accounts for the last couple of months.
Many people have the image of a “mummy blogger” as somebody who stays at home and tweets and blogs all day whilst raising their kids but here is a rough breakdown of my days at the moment, bearing in mind I’m currently working for another company 40 hours per week as well as running my accountancy practice and the blog (oh and raising my family!)
5:45am My alarm goes off and I drag myself out of bed and into the shower, before getting myself ready.
6:30am I pass my husband as he heads for a shower and I go to get the kids up for nursery, we then spend 30 minutes having breakfast, getting them dressed and ready for nursery before handing them over to my husband.
7am I set off on an hours drive to work where I then work before driving home and arriving back around 5:30pm
5:30pm we have dinner followed by bath and bedtime routine. MasterB is still a nightmare to get to sleep and so it is usually 8pm before I am back downstairs with both kids asleep.
8pm Open the laptop and start working on client work and blog posts, this usually carries on until midnight before I drag myself off to bed for a few hours before it all starts again.
If I could get those few hours at night of I disturbed sleep it would be great but MasterB still usually wakes up at least once a night (hubby and I alternate night duties). Needless to say, life is exhausting right now for all of us and I’m missing spending as much time as I would like with my kids but in order to build an empire to hand down to them at some point in the future, these things must be done
I’m not complaining though, I love my life and wouldn’t change it for the world. MissB gets more witty and funny every day, MasterB is getting better health wise. His vision is stabilising and his prescription has decreased to 8.25, the patching seems to be working well on his weak eye. We have been discharged from the consultant for his asthma and we haven’t had a hospital stay all winter with it (touches wood). He is still suffering with ear infections but we are back at the ENT in March to see about grommets. Despite his glue ear and moderate hearing loss, his language is slowly coming on and he even said Dinosaur the other day
Watching my kids playing together makes me realise just how lucky I am