Busy Busy Busy

Amelia and I have been so busy I haven’t had chance to post in a long time. Between work, uni exams and the little lady turning one there’s just been no time to sit down and write.

Our little baby is turning into her own person. She’s got such a caring nature and always shares her food – even if you don’t want her chewed up raisins!
She runs around everywhere scaring the life out of my mum – her Nan- on a regular basis.
It wouldn’t be a post about Amelia if it didn’t involve food. Our princess is ruled by food! I can’t identify her favourite snack because she will eat everything and anything. She loves beans at the moment and picks out the kidney beans and butter beans in her dinners first.
We let her lose at nanny’s with an ice cream the other day. Below is the aftermath!

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The weather has been lovely the last few weeks and Amelia has thoroughly enjoyed spending time outside. She is particularly pale like me so sun cream is a must but seeing her little smiling face as she runs round is worth the tantrum she has when I’m trying to cover her in lotion.

We’ve made more cakes than I can include photos of – Amelia’s favourite pet is stealing a melted chocolate covered spoon and running away. Below is the latest one:

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We’ve gone to soft play, to the park, to the zoo and to lots of places I’ve probably forgotten to mention.

(the featured image is off our comfy area where we spent one Saturday snuggled up with snacks and watching movies – obviously Amelia was more interested in the snack part but we tried)
I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone!
There isn’t really a specific point to this post. More just to say that it’s okay to prioritise different things for a while. And for me enjoying my time with my baby girl has been more important than writing.

Easter Egg Biscuits

Easter biscuits

Easter Biscuits

(These biscuits are meant to be Easter egg shaped but Lakeland had every cookie cutter apart from an Easter egg shaped one. They even had a one shaped like two cats sitting next to each other. But no Easter egg one!)

Ingredients

125 grams sugar
125 grams butter
225 grams of plain flour
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla essence

Icing sugar
Food colouring
Water
Sprinkles

Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees (lower if you have a fan over

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add in the vanilla essence and the flour. Squish together with your hands to form a dough ball and roll out on a floured surface. (We cut ours out with a knife and it made 16 good sized biscuits).

Cook them until golden which is about fifteen minutes. Leave the biscuits to cool on a rack and make the icing sugar. Mix icing sugar with water until a thick paste is formed. For ours we added a few drops of blue food colouring. Using a spoon smooth the icing over the cooked biscuits and add the sprinkles.

These are what our finished biscuits looked like. No, they aren’t perfect but Amelia had fun helping make them and loved licking the icing off when they were finished.

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Chocolate Trial Birthday Cake

Anyone who knows me knows I bake cakes. A lot. If I had the patience and time and money I’d go to all the decorating classes and learn how to do it professionally.

Instead I just have fun making cakes at home.

Amelia’s birthday is in less than two months. Birthday cakes made in bakeries instead of in supermarkets are very expensive. I’ve had quotes ranging from £50 to £150. (Nothing against supermarket birthday cakes, just want Amelia’s first birthday to be extra special. Okay maybe a little bit against supermarket birthday cakes then.)

So I am going to make one myself. I’m torn between making a vanilla cake or chocolate cake.

My chocolate cake trial sponge was adapted from an old easily memorable recipe my Nan taught me when I was little.

Simply
3 eggs
6oz of caster sugar
6oz of self raising flour
6oz of butter

Cream the butter and sugar together and then add the flour and eggs a little at a time.
Cook in two round baking tins at 180 for 25 minutes or until a knife in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

To make the cake chocolatey and rich I used 4oz of self raising flour and 2oz of cocoa powder, instead of 6oz of flour . I also swapped out half of the normal sugar for 3oz of brown sugar.

For the top I made butter cream and mixed in melted chocolate and decorated with sprinkles and a pretty flowery chocolate centre piece.

The centre was filled with mango and passion fruit jam. Maybe sounds a bit of a weird combination but it was actually really nice (admittedly I used this because I couldn’t find the strawberry jam, the fridge seems to have eaten it)

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(getting a close up of this cake and having the sprinkles and chocolate flower on focus was a nightmare…so I’m using this photo as I like it) 

When I get another spare hour I’ll have a go at a vanilla one. Who knows. Maybe a red velvet sponge or a strawberry one too.

Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Cakes

With the weather cold and icy it’s not always easy to keep the little ones entertained in doors. Amelia is crawling and trying to walk now and the little monster doesn’t like being confined to the living room. She likes being a free titch and it’s hard work trying to keep her distracted – she’d much rather be emptying the drawers in our bedroom or tipping over the bin in the bathroom.

One thing that is brilliant for distraction the little mess making tornado is chocolate. Chocolate cake. Chocolate buttons. Hot chocolate. Chocolate ice cream. Amelia is not fussy.

So one of the activities we did together last week was making these peppa pig muddy puddle cakes.

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Amelia helped with the mixing, although her favourite part was decorating them with the chocolate icing. Most of it ended up in her mouth and on the floor but for half an hour she was happily entertained. Amelia loves being the diddy chef.

They weren’t beautifully decorated but Amelia had fun and she thought that were delicious. The mix cost me £1.25 in Tesco and there’s even a competition the little ones can enter on the side. Cheap and messy fun. Between the making and the eating Amelia was entertained for most of the morning.

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Best Brownies Recipe

Recipe for the best sticky chocolate brownies

Ingredients:
75 grams of butter
100 grams of light brown sugar
2 eggs
100 grams self raising flour
100 grams chocolate caramel spread
200 grams nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
100 grams white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180 and grease a square tin with butter and dust with flour.
Cream together the butter and sugar and add in one of the eggs and the flour. Add the other egg and vanilla extract. Mix in the two spreads and the salt. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake for 20-25 mins until firm around the outside and slightly soft in the middle. Leave to cool before cutting into squares.

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Raspberry and white chocolate tray bake

Raspberry and white chocolate tray bake

2 eggs
4 ounces of self raising flour
4 ounces of sugar
4 ounces of butter
3 and a half ounces of white chocolate chips
3 and a half ounces of fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Grease a small square baking tin by rubbing with butter and dusting with flour.

Cream the sugar and butter together. Add an egg and half the flour. Mix well and add the remaining egg and the rest of the flour. Fold in the white chocolate chips, adding the raspberries last so they don’t get to squashed.

Pour the batter into the tin and gently spread the mixture out so that the pan is evenly filled.

Cook the cake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and springy to touch.

Allow to cool and cut into pieces – I made mine into 9 good sized squares.

This recipe would also work with strawberries and milk chocolate or could be used to fill cupcake cases.

I served mine with squirty cream and extra raspberries

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(This recipe is my own and so are my pictures.)

Salt dough and cookies

December the 2nd and it’s finally the weekend. Today has gone quickly and as I write this our tree is sparkling, illuminated by the fairy lights. Our living room and kitchen are open plan and as I have had the cooker on for most of the day it’s toasty warm.

To start the day off Amelia and I made salt dough decorations. I managed to make two prints of Amelia’s hands and used the rest to cut out stars for on the tree. (Its extremely easy to make: 1 cup salt, 1 cup water and 2 cups flour. Bake for 5 minutes at 180. Credit for the recipe and idea go to the wonderful mummy deer. Head on over to her blog here.) We haven’t finished decorating them yet but I started painting the hand prints.

The second baking activity of the day involved lots of chocolate chips. We made some wonderful soft chocolatey cookies. The recipe is pretty easy:
80g caster sugar
80g brown sugar
225g plain flour
200g choc chips (I used half white chocolate and half milk chocolate)
2tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
150g butter
1 egg

Mix the sugars and butter together and then add the egg, vanilla essence, salt and flour. Add the choc chips and then spoon teaspoons onto baking trays (makes around 30)

They taste delicious warm and just as good once they’ve cooled down. We now have a tin full.

Afternoon Tea

Day 11 and so far I have managed to post everyday, granted one of those was a guest post so I might have cheated slightly.

Before having Amelia and during my pregnancy I baked a lot. Some people spend money on makeup or jewellery. I spent my money on ingredients for brownies, flapjacks, birthday cakes ect.

I made these cupcakes in little teacup cases to use as part of an afternoon tea. (I actually made 18 cupcakes but the other cases weren’t as cute.) They were easy to make and I used the same recipe as this one, only I swapped the blueberries for the rind and juice of two lemons.

Amelia tried to help me which mainly consisted of trying to take the whisk out of the bowl and chew on it. They turned out looking rather pretty!

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Being a Stereotypical Mumma and Baking

This afternoon I made the most of Amelia’s nap time and made some lemon muffins. They are really easy and tasted delicious.

Recipe
2 eggs
125ml vegetable oil
250ml semi skimmed milk
Juice and zest of one lemon
200g sugar
400g self raising flour

Preheat the oven to 200 or 180 fan oven. Gas mark 6.
Line enough muffin tins for 12 muffins.
Mix the dry ingredients together first, whisk in the milk, oil and eggs. Add in the lemon juice and zest last.
Cook them for 20-25 minutes until golden and bouncy to touch.

For the icing:
Icing sugar and juice of one lemon

Mix the lemon juice with icing sugar, adding more sugar until it is as tangy/sweet as you’d like it.

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