Archive | January 2012

The ‘Never Meant to be Cake!’

My lovely mom turns the big 6-0 this coming weekend and we are going up to Birmingham to help celebrate this fabulous birthday with her…

I will hopefully be getting her this Thomas Sabo charm for her bracelet that my dad bought her at xmas tomorrow when i go shopping with the little man…

I really hope the jewellers have them in stock! I am also going to attempt to make her a birthday cake, i am no experienced baker but i do like to give myself a challenge – i have only made one birthday cake prior to this and that was in September for Ollie’s birthday…

If you couldn’t guess, the theme was cricket! I really enjoyed making it but i was heavily pregnant and on maternity leave so had a lot of time to put it together. I need to make my mom’s cake in the next few days with a demanding 3 month old wanting my attention for the majority of the day… how times have changed!

Anyhow, tonight i thought i would make a start on the sponge. I followed a recipe that a friend from antenatal gave me, she makes the most amazing cakes so was glad when she shared some of her baking wisdom with me.

The ingredients for my sponge cake was simple;

  • 170g self raising flour
  • 170g very soft butter
  • 170g castor sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs

My friends fail safe pearls of wisdom went like this;

  1. never tap the side of the bowl when making a sponge as this releases a lot of air in the mixture
  2. make sure all doors are shut??? she believes that this can draw air from the cake (who am i to argue she makes amazing cakes!)
  3. Never open the oven door during the baking process & finally
  4. sift the flour & baking powder 3 times from quite a height.

With all this in mind i was ready to go and started sifting my flour thrice…

Sift one…

sift two…

sift three…

The next bit was easy, add all the rest of the ingredients and mix with an electric whisk for 2 mins, my determination for the ultimate cake did not fail me and i actually stop-watched myself mixing for 2 whole minutes!

After the 2 minutes were up i had a little taste, i love cake batter but this tasted a bit funky! Not sure what it was so i added a drop of vanilla essence and mixed for a further minute…

I divided the mixture between two silicone cake moulds and was just about to place it in the oven when…

whoops!

In my haste to get the cake done before Rowan’s next feed i forgot a crucial bit of the ingredients… the bloomin butter! So out i scraped the batter from the moulds…

and in went the soft butter…

off i went again to whisk the batter for 2 minutes, secretly knowing my dreams of a fluffy victoria sponge was fading fast!

The mixture was once again divided between the two moulds and then put in the oven for 20 minutes (170c pre heated).

Like my friend said i did not open the oven door until the buzzer went off so not to disturb the cake, in fact i was no where near the oven as Rowan needed feeding. When the 20 minutes were up, the house smelt lovely – thank goodness after my little mistake earlier the cake smelled good. The husband took the cakes out of the oven and placed them on top of the counter for me and returned to doing his paper work in the back room.

After Rowan had fed i went to inspect my cakes… all i can so is ‘oh dear!’…

It was so tragic it was laughable!

No way was i going to make a cake for my mom with THAT! So instead Ollie & I covered it with Jam and ate it!

It tasted lovely it was just a little on the misshapen side, i guess the adding of the butter after was too traumatic for my poor little sponge!

Never mind, i will attempt cake no 2 tomorrow evening, i still have time before the weekend, just about! My only saving grace is there is a massive ASDA right by my parents and they sell a beautiful array of birthday cakes, fingers crossed that won’t be necessary. Part 2 of the of the birthday cake attempt will be blogged about tomorrow…

Does anyone have any more hints and tips for making the ultimate sponge cake? *as you can see i need all the help i can get*

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Big Bumbo Boy!

Just when i thought Rowan couldn’t get any cuter he goes and sits in a Bumbo!

I only sat him in it for a couple of minutes as his neck is still not that strong but he looked so pleased with himself sitting all by himself like a big boy – i can not believe he is 14 weeks old already!

We have been doing a lot of socialising this week;

Monday was baby massage and Ro also got to flirt with the nurses at the hospital during his hip scan!

Tuesday we met up with my 3 friends from work, we all gave birth within 2 weeks of each other… and we all had boys!!

**i miss my bump so much!**

I love that i have so many friends around me with babies, we all have the same worries and concerns, which is reassuring at times. This weeks topic of conversation was about whether our babies are getting enough stimulus from their toys for their age… I concluded no as a lot of the toys that Rowan has been given will benefit him more when he is older, so last night i went straight on ebay and purchased some developmental toys made by Lamaze

Lamaze Gardenbug Wrist Rattles and Foot Finders  Toy

These cute garden rattles will attach to Rowan’s wrists and feet – how stimulating! I also want to get him a contrast toy, i like the look of ‘Sir Prance-A-lot!’…

Lamaze P&G Sir Prance-a-lot Toy

Wednesday (today) we have been socialising with antenatal friends. First we popped to Joshua’s Harvest Store for a quick hot chocolate en route – i love this place you can pick up lots of healthy foods and gorgeous gifts all under one roof.

Joshua\'s harvest store

I purchased an Oozy Orange Cake to take to my friends house to have with tea, it was delightful!

I’m not sure about Rowan, but this week has tired me out so far, tomorrow i plan to have a duvet day and watch this with the little man…

It’s time to catch some zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s

Busy, busy day!

Yesterday was such a busy day, i didn’t get to post this last night – Rowan is also having his 3 months growth spurt so wants to breastfeed ALOT!

We started the day bright and early for baby massage, i realised the other day that i hardly put any photos on of myself, so here i am…

I am one of the luckiest mommy’s in the world as i get to look at this every single morning…

We got up, got fed and got ready to leave the house, it was icy cold again yesterday morning so i wrapped up Rowan with so many layers he could hardly move! Can you see my 2 breakfast cookies on Ro, i munched them on the way to the class! (just realised how wrong the cookies look on him!!!)

It was lovely and warm at baby massage, this week we worked on the babies tummies – Ro really enjoys this class…

Baby massage had the desired effect on Ro, he didn’t make it to the end of class again!

We got home after class and had to go straight off to the hospital as Rowan had a hip scan. At our post natal check the dr couldn’t manipulate his hip very well so was concerned, i only had about 5 mins so i packed a very quick lunch of Ryvita and cream cheese;

and the most colourless, unappetising salad of iceberg lettuce, cucumber, apple and cheddar (i was in a mega rush!!) Ollie came home from work to join us for the appointment so i got to sit in the back and had a car picnic!

It also meant i had a little time by myself to get organised, time to myself is not something i have much of these days!

We had to wake Rowan up for the ultrasound scan, he was as good as gold – we got to see his hip sockets on the screen, which fortunately turned out to be perfect – phew!! It was better to be safe than sorry though.

The rest of the evening was spent cluster feeding Rowan, Ollie made sausage, mash & beans, lovely comfort food, just what i needed after our busy day!

Ro & I are off to see friends today – blog you later!

Now before you do anything you need to head over to Laura’s blog Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish where she has a fantastic GIVEAWAY to celebrate her blogs 2nd birthday – it’s open internationally too!

I HATE Swimming!!!!

Today was a big day in little Rowan’s life – he’s first time swimming!! We decided to head over to Exmouth swimming pool as they have a smaller pool for infants, i decided not to go in just in case he did not like it. What was great about Exmouth was they had family changing rooms so i could help get Rowan suited & booted for the pool! I decided to ‘double bag’ him as i was nervous he was going to have an accident, so on went the disposable AND reusable swimming nappies!

Rowan was all smiles before going in the pool with daddy!

… unfortunately, Rowan HATED the pool!! I could hear him screaming through the spectators glass wall, Ollie tried putting his little feet in the water but he was inconsolable :o( I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of him in the pool as i was acting like the worried mommy i have become and raced back to the changing rooms to rescue him! I think Rowan got freaked out by the lights/smells/noises of the pool or the fact i was there one minute changing him and the next minute i had disappeared… we decided next time i will go in the pool also to reassure him that he is safe. Once i calmed the little man down, wiped his tears and listened to his sobs, i took him into the spectators area whilst Ollie swan a few lengths – after a lot of mommy cuddles Rowan fell asleep – the trauma was over! He forgave daddy quickly for taking him into the pool and had a cuddle with him too…

We ventured to the supermarket after swimming (how exciting!) as we have found a love for Lidl, we can buy a weeks worth of shopping quite easily with our £50 budget, today we spent £35 so have change for the rest of the week!

After a dinner of leftovers (bean enchiladas & chocolate cake), i had the urge to do a bit of baking, i came across breakfast cookies on Chocolate Covered Katie but put my own twist on them and made Cranberry and Almond Breakfast Cookies..

Ingredients;

  • half ripe banana, mashed
  • tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond essence

These cookies are so simple, all you need to do is mash the ripe banana and peanut butter together;

Add the oats, i like these;

and add the rest of the ingredients… mix, mix, mix until well combined;

Make into 10 small cookie balls and bake on 180 for 20 minutes (I’m loving my silicone baking sheet, no need to grease and non-stick!);

Of course i had to try one whilst they were still warm, D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S! These are ideal as when i have a hectic day with Rowan i need food i can just grab with no preparation required – these little cookies should just give me the energy hit i need.

Whilst in Lidl, i noticed they had a number of fitness DVDs for just £3.99! I love a bargain so purchased Clubland – Work It Out – I’ll let you know what it is like once i have chance to have a go at it.

January Budget Challenge

The budget challenge is still going very well, i have managed to stick within all budgets and have even gone under my personal budget, so i can treat myself when i see something i really want!

Right i am off to bed, Rowan and I have a busy day tomorrow, baby massage in the morning and then we’re off to the hospital as Ro needs to have his hip scanned to check that it is in the correct place – fingers crossed it will all be ok.

Death by Chocolate Cake!!!

Yesterday we had our antenatal friends over for some dinner, they are vegetarian so Ollie & I looked forward to being a bit creative with what we cooked for them. Ollie concentrated on the main (bean enchiladas) and i made the dessert.

So off we popped to the shops… It has gone bitterly cold down in the South West, we made sure Rowan was well wrapped up…

The dessert i decided on was from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Everyday Cookbook – Easy Chocolate Cake!

The ingredients is heart attack inducing but as long as we only eat it once in a while it will be fine!

First i had to melt the chocolate and butter together (i totally cheated and did this in the microwave)…

Meanwhile, in my trusted Kenwood Chef i mixed the egg yolks, castor & soft brown sugar…

In a separate bowl i whisked up the egg whites until i could make firm peaks…

I added the chocolate to the egg/sugar mixture – this was done gradually to prevent the egg from curdling…

The egg white was folded in…

Followed by the flour & almond…

The finished product… a yummy gooey cake, topped with channel Island thick cream! (as if there wasn’t enough calories!)

The bean enchilada was a total success too, i will recreate soon as my husband made it and i haven’t a clue what he did! We had leftovers today with fries & salad – delicious!

Roasted Butternut Squash & Lentil Curry!

Tonight i made an epic easy curry but thought i would share with you a little bit of my day first!

I spent parts of my day doing this…

I think Rowan is having a growth spurt and has wanted feeding a lot today, he also hardly had any naps which wasn’t like him and has been a bit niggly – he is now sleeping well however and is tucked up in his bed beside me – phew!!

It’s tough being a mommy you know? You have to look at an adorable face like this all day!…

After a slow morning, Rowan and I met friends for lunch – we went to a local coffee shop called Thyme

This was my third visit, i previously went when i was pregnant and really enjoyed their fresh sandwiches, but today their small homity pie took my fancy…

and it didn’t disappoint! The pastry was light and fluffy, the inside of the pie was moist with large chunks of potato and just enough garlic not to offend! I enjoyed the small side salad too – i washed this down with a lovely fair trade cup of tea.

After lunch i said goodbye to my friends and then walked around town trying to get Rowan to go to sleep – he didn’t! He was quite happy taking in all his surroundings and looking cute at every mature lady that said hello to him! I had a quick look around Holland and Barrat and bought some whole green lentils for my curry and some reduced Rice Dream milk – it goes out of date on next Tuesday but i will use it all in my green smoothies before then.

I then ventured over the road to the local health store called Ganesha – i prefer it to H&B as it has more variety and brands. I treated myself to some Faith in Nature Face Polish

Exfoliating Face & Body Polish refines your skin’s surface by removing dead skin cells, whilst gently polishing and leaving the skin feeling smooth, soft and revitalised. Contains Blackcurrant exfoliant and Organic Calendula, which has restorative and soothing properties.

Exfoliating Face & Body Polish

Since all my lovely pregnancy hormones have gone my skin has gone back to being dull and spotty (and my hair fine and greasy boo hoo!) so thought this polish may be what i am looking for! I’m trying to cut down on the chemicals i put on my skin as a recent report found that 40 women who had breast cancer had parabens found inside all of their tumours!! Read about it here. I will do a review in a week on this product so i can give it time to work (hopefully).

What i also like about Ganesha is the staff are so knowledgeable and are so happy to help with any queries, i asked the lady today if she could recommend a tea for myself to aid breastfeeding – i realised i am drinking ALOT of tea and coffee in the day and am worried that the caffeine is getting transferred to Rowan – the lady straight away suggested Fennel tea but also went on their database to check for other herbs and teas. I love fennel so bought a box…

I have just consumed my first cup whilst typing up this post, it was delicious! I love the liquorice taste!

Right, now onto tonight dinner…

Roasted Butternut Squash & Lentil Coconut Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • half cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup whole green lentils
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp corriander
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin coconut milk

Instructions:

1. Drizzle the butternut squash and courgette with olive oil and sea salt and roast in the over (190c) for 40-45 minutes;

2. Prepare the sauce using the following ingredients;

In a pan heat a little oil and fry the onions on high for a few minutes so they start to soften. Next add the garlic and chilli and after 30 seconds turn the heat down low so the ingredients does not burn. Add the spices and tomato puree, also add 2 tbsp of water to help the spices infuse and not burn;

This creates a curry base and can be used for a multitude of dishes. I chose to add coconut milk to mine but you can add passata to make a tomato dish or stock for a soup etc

Next add the coconut milk & lentils and leave on a low heat until the veggies are roasted (approx 30 mins), stir regularly;

After 20 mins on the heat, add florets of broccoli so they have time to soften (you may want to add milk if the sauce is too thick). Once the butternut squash and courgette is roasted add this to the mixture also;

Stir the mixture gently as the roasted vegetables can be quite soft. In another pan, heat some oil and fry approx 3-4 mushrooms until they are browned.

Serve the curry with rice and the mushrooms sprinkled on top (& optional creme fraiche);

Delightful!

Night all!

Baby Massage

Today was mine & Rowan’s first baby massage class, now he is 3 months old and more alert i want to do a lot more activities with the little man,

but before i left the house this morning i had breakfast and one of these…

A luscious green smoothie! In the mix was;

  • 2 HUGE handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tsp Almond butter
  • 1 drop natural almond flavour
  • 8oz milk

It was divine! I could feel the goodness take over my body with every sip, i really do love green smoothies. I’m going to call this one Double Almond Green Smoothie!

After gulping my smoothie down i went up and woke sleepy head who i had put in my bed earlier in the morning for a snuggle…

I love the way he sleeps opened mouthed like me when he is in deep sleep!

We got ready and went to baby massage, the session started at 10:30am which is usually Rowan’s nap time but fortunately he was wide awake and raring to go!

The babies were laid out on a mat and towel, today’s session was working on the legs (each session over the next 5 weeks will work on a different body part) – the instructor gave us all a little bottle of organic sunflower oil which didn’t leave the skin greasy. Rowan loved it! I can’t wait to try it out on him later before bath time.

The session starts with getting mommy relaxed by simply breathing in and out a few times… a relaxed mommy means a relaxed baby. Mom then puts the oil in her hands and whilst rubbing the oil in the hands you have to ask the baby permission to massage them… i thought this was a little crazy when i heard her say it but actually when i asked Rowan if he would like a massage he beamed back at me… which i took as ‘yes’!

We then worked on the legs and moved onto the feet and finally the buttocks – Rowan chatted, smiled and laughed through most of the massage but tiredness overcame him and we ended the session like this!

 

I think that confirms that baby massage is relaxing he was out for the count!!

I really enjoyed the session and am looking forward to taking him again next week to work on the tummy. Rowan was actually so relaxed i even had time to take my car into the garage for its MOT and walk back into town with him and he didn’t wake once!

He has woke for a feed and is now back asleep! I hope he sleeps tonight!

Right I’m off to do a mad clean up of the living room/kitchen whilst he sleeps!