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What a weird summer we are having in Sydney. Its been the coolest, wettest summer in decades. The hot days have been few and far between. While I don’t love winter, I love the really hot days even less but after a long wishy-washy, rainy spring and summer, it was nice to have a couple of hot days this weekend.
I found this recipe on Toys in the dryer for ridiculously easy DIY fudge pops (ice-lollies or ice blocks depending which continent you live on). I don’t mind little R having an ice cream every now and then but I find that the store bought ones are too big and have too many ingredients that I can’t pronounce in them. This idea simply uses a store bought instant chocolate pudding which is then frozen in individual ice lolly containers. I have cute little Tupperware moulds that are just the right size for little tummies. The chocolate pudding that I bought was fairly low in sugar and I recognised all the ingredients, so although not my first choice I gave it a go. The pudding whipped up in less than 2 minutes and the whole job took less than 5.

Here are some pics of little R getting a go at cleaning out the bowl (a rare treat since I won’t let her near a bowl that has had raw eggs in it):

A couple of hours later after lunch and our playdough adventures they were ready to go.

Little R loved hers, here are some pictures of the resulting delicious messiness:

I have a very clever mommy. She is such a talented artist, dress maker, crafter, stain glasser (I’m sure there is a word for that), coppersmith, beader… the list goes on. And I don’t mean she dabbles in each, she is AMAZING at them all. I’m very thankful that I picked up her interest in crafting and sewing although she has more talent in her little toe than I have in my whole body!

For some reason I’m having some trouble blending my interest in crafts into my life as a mum to my 19 month old. It never occured to me until this weekend that I could make playdough for my little girl (duh!) until I stumbled across this amazing blog The Imagination Tree. They feature, amongst a million brilliant play ideas, a recipe for no-cook playdough. I’ve googled playdough recipes and only found versions that require standing over a pot and stirring for ages. Although slightly skeptical, I decided to give it a go. Since everything still ends up in my daughter’s mouth, I decided to just use food colouring and not add a flavour which would only encourage her to eat it. The Imagination tree has all sorts of playdough recipes using glitter, flavour (chocolate, yum!) and a salt dough recipe to bake your child’s artwork into permanent keepsakes (Christmas ornaments!).

This is the basic no-cook recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp cream of tartar
  • 1.5 cups boiling water
  • a few drops of glycering (for extra smoothness, stretch & shine)
  • food colouring

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and stir vigorously until all the lumps are gone and it begins to come together into a ball. Once it has cooled enough t handle, knead until it stops being sticky. I went with green food colouring which was the least appetising colour I have in my baking cupboard (in another effort to avoid playtime turning into tea time!).

Start to finish it took about 5 minutes plus another 10 to be cool enough for little hands to play. I couldn’t believe how fast and easy it was, plus I don’t think it would be possible to muck it up!

Ruby was a little unsure at first because it was still warm and she has a little obsession at the moment with things being hot. If she comes across a food she doesn’t like, its hot (great excuse!). But once she saw how much fun I was having using the cookie cutters she got for christmas in a baking set to cut the dough into shapes, she dove right in. We had a good 25 minutes play and the playdough was put into a ziplock bag to keep for another time. We’ve since used it 3 times and its still as good as new.

Here are some pictures of little R having her first go at my green playdough:

See, I told you all roads lead to the mouth! I think this would make a really nice gift, easy and not expensive. If I find some cute little containers at a dollar store I will make up a batch with different colours for a friend (hopefully they don’t make their own either!)

If you haven’t already, give it a go and check in on The Imagination Tree for lots of imaginative play ideas.

So, we’re moving house and since I’ve just stopped working I’m now responsible, full-time, for Ruby’s entertainment, meals, and general well-being (amongst other things) and also trying to pack up a house. It’s proving a wee bit taxing and I found myself with an empty fridge approaching lunch time.

I took a good hard look at what I had and struck on a good idea. Mini quiches, stuffed full of grated lightly steamed veggies and a little cheese.

I grated some zucchini (courgette to you Saffa’s) and carrot then steamed them. Then I finely diced some tomato and set it aside. I then whisked up 2 eggs with about a cup of milk and a small piece of grated cheese. I had some ready rolled puff pastry sheets in the freezer which I’d thawed and cut into 9 squares to line my muffin tin. When that was done I put a little of the veggies in each ‘cup’, topped with eggy mixture and baked them for 12 min until the pastry & filling puffed up. I had 5 ‘cups’ of puff pastry extra so I mashed up a banana with a little ricotta and some choc chips and filled them just to see if it would work. They came out beautifully, puffed up & set and totally delicious!

Here is the result of my baking efforts (after we’d both enjoyed some for lunch, there were more to start with!):

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So, I’m in the kitchen, as I type, making pikelets (mini-pancakes) for Ruby.

I’m the cook so I got to taste the first one, hot off the press so-to-speak and it was YUM!

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

125g (1 cup) wholemeal plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoons raw sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 tablespoon honey
170ml (2/3 cup) milk

Spray oil for greasing the pan

Method

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Mash the banana in a separate bowl, add the egg and milk & honey and whisk. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Preferably add mixture to a squeezy bottle.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spray lightly with oil. Squirt tablespoons of mixture into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface. Turn the pikelets over and cook for another 30 seconds.

These are really good for snacks on the go, Ruby loves them!