New babies, tricky toddlers, and hungry adults: Yummy scrummy muesli cookies…

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my parents in the ‘country’. I say ‘country’ and not country because they aren’t really anywhere really rural, but rather they live in a small town on the beach – but it’s hours (and hours… and hours, if you ask my kids) of driving away. Because it’s so far away, we only get down there a few times a year (it is hard to deal with seven hours of ‘how many minutes til we are at Nan’s?’ ‘I’m bored/tired/my legs are sore’ or general ‘waaaaaahhhhh’. This means that when we are there, I try to catch up with lots of people – even though I moved out of home over 20 years ago (gulp!), I still have friends in my home town; my siblings also all live nearby. This last visit, I was lucky to meet a brand new baby; he was actually 2 or 3 weeks old, but had been born a few weeks early, so it was near enough to brand new in my estimation. Of course, the Bubaloo doesn’t like me even touching other babies, so I just got to admire from afar, but the new one was delicious anyway. My youngest sister, TK, got a group of our friends with little ones together for a play (toddlers and preschoolers) and chitty chat (mums and dads) over morning tea.

One of the things with brand new babies is that they don’t sleep much – or at least, they don’t sleep much when they are meant to (like in the night) but then sleep lots when you want them awake. So mummies and daddies end up pretty tired, and therefore a pick-me-up is in order. If you’re breastfeeding, like TK, the new mum and I, the challenge is finding something that’s going to do the trick and give you a little energy boost, without being terribly bad for you or the baby. While coke or coffee might help with the energy spurt for mum, the same energy boost isn’t great for baby. I’m not sure about other breastfeeding mums but I have found that, when I’m nursing, I have a ridiculous sweet tooth, even more than at other times. As sugar isn’t really that great for you, I try to find other ways to satisfy the sugar craving without having a ton of the white stuff. That’s where these cookies come in.

This recipe is a true adaptation of one in a Woman’s Weekly cookbook. Many things have been substituted – I’ve included the original ingredients in parentheses in case you prefer that – as I was trying to ensure that it was low sugar, nut free, and that they would use everyday ingredients that I could find in my mum’s pantry. Since we got home, I’ve made them about once a week; they never last very long. As soon as my partner sees them, his eyes light up and he chomps down about six of them without drawing breath. I hope you find them as good as he does!

Yum Scrum Muesli Cookies

You will need:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup gluten-free plain flour (you can use any sort of flour you have)

1/3 cup caster sugar (the original recipe uses 1 cup)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sultanas or mixed dried fruit (or dried cranberries)

2/3 cup shredded coconut (I used this in place of most of the sugar)

1/3 cup finely chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup pepitas / pumpkin seeds (or slivered almonds)

125g butter

2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or golden syrup)

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 150C. Line oven trays with baking paper.

2. Combine oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit, coconut and pepitas in a large bowl.

3. Melt butter with maple syrup over low heat. In a small cup, combine bicarb soda and boiling water, then add to the butter mix. It will go a little bubbly. Next stir this into the dry ingredients (it should still be warm).

Image

4. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls (don’t be too fussy about making them perfect), place on trays about 5 cm apart and flatten slightly with your fingers.

Image

5. Bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool on trays before you eat them – if you try to eat them while they are warm, they’ll just fall apart in your hands (trust me on this!)

Then let Mr Kookaburra watch you all gobble them up 😉Image

Advertisements

Lego, afternoon treats, and salad gems

Today the big guys (eldest and daddy) went off to some Lego spectacular, so Bubaloo and I decided to make afternoon tea. This basically consisted of him perched on my hip, grabbing at cups, spoons, tubs of flour and eggs, while I attempted to recall a recipe given to me by a woman from prenatal yoga. I’ve made these cookies plenty of times before but not lately, and so have misplaced the hard copy…

It all worked just fine and so I am sharing it with you here. The absolute beauty of this recipe is that, as I have pretested, it is possible to make with a little one on your hip (i.e. with one hand). My partner is an arm amputee and at times like this, I have a new appreciation of his everyday frustrations…

Chocolate chip and pumpkin seed (pepita) cookies

You’ll need:

125 g butter (I actually just used a 1/4 tub of margarine because that’s what was soft, but butter will apparently make the whole thing less crumbly and so is better)

1/3 cup soft brown sugar

1/4 cup castor sugar (The original recipe calls for about a cup of sugar in total, but I find it works just fine with this amount)

1 egg

1 cup rolled oats

1 1/2 cups self raising flour (I used a gluten-free blend that I got at the supermarket)

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1/3 cup hulled (green) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

pinch cinnamon

To start, preheat the oven to about 200C.

In a bowl, mix together the butter and sugars, and cream til nice and fluffy. Then stir in the egg. Gluten-free flour seems to absorb moisture more than wheat flours and so, if you’re using wheat flour, you might like to try using 2 eggs. If you try this with wheat flour, please let me know what you did and how it worked out.

Add the dry ingredients, sifting the flour and cinnamon. Stir until it’s all well mixed. It should be a bit sticky; not too dry. This is what my mix looked like at this point.

Image

Place it in walnut-sized spoonfuls on a greased tray (I just lined my tray with baking paper, so it didn’t need greasing), then put in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they are brown. The pumpkin seeds should puff up a bit and go lovely and crunchy. Cool for a few minutes, then gobble up before the big guys get home!

Image

We were lucky to have some little visitors (and their mummy) from up the road to help us eat our cookies, and so the mummies had iced chai too. This is probably not the best way to make it. In fact, I later found this really lovely blog – Big Girls Small Kitchen – that has a great recipe – which is probably good hot or cold.

http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2011/06/working-with-what-you-have-iced-chai-tea-latte.html

For our iced chai, I made it as follows.

Please note: yesterday, I put the remainders of an unfinished pot of chai into the fridge last night with the aim of making chai milkshakes with my big boy. This gave about 400 ml of cool tea, which was perhaps a little too much as the chai taste wasn’t so strong until about 1/4 of the way into the cup. I’d suggest, if you are making the chai from scratch, making a very strong pot of chai tea and then using that. But on with the recipe…

In a milkshaker (you know the sort, it’s just a big cup with a lid on it), I put the cooled chai tea, topped it up with about 50-100mL of soy milk (add to your taste), and added two teaspoons of honey that I had melted into 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Then I put the lid on, gave the jug a good shake and poured it into two cups.

A note on the salad gems

Just putting this one out there; for the past two nights, it’s been lovely here and so we’ve had BBQ dinners with steak and salad. But I had a pomegranate in the fridge and so each night, I’ve added about 1/4 of the seeds to our salad. They look so pretty, like little jewels shining from inside the leaves, and they taste sweety-tangy. Perfect. You can get them pretty cheaply at the greengrocer or supermarket (between $1.50 and $3).

Image

Do you have any great pomegranate recipes to share? I’d love to hear them!

Recipes sent through for sharing:

This one looks so yummy!!! From Tricia: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/other-meat-recipes/five-spice-duck-salad