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Fun Carved Tomato – Halloween

Everyone has seen or even made their own carved pumpkin for Halloween but have you ever eaten one?!?!

So I thought I’d do my own take on the carved pumpkin making a mini, edible one from a tomato. It’s a fun way to do scrambled eggs and tomato for breakfast or a snack and I have to say delicious. Had to make one for everyone … lucky I am now an “expert” carver and it’s deceptively quick and simple.

Fun healthy for for children

To view the step-by-step photo instructions and list of ingredients please click on the link below:
http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1136

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Fruit Skeleton

Skeletons fit well into Halloween but this is a fun, cartoony one that you can whip up quickly for dessert or a snack. My boys were rapt to be able to share with one of their friends and delightedly picked off the body parts to eat (as you do!).

Healthy Halloween food

If you would like to see the step-by-step photo instructions and recipe please click on the link below:
http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1119

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Skull & Crossbones

OK so it’s October so time to pull a few seasonal dishes out of the bag!!

This is a simple, fun skull and crossbones – probably suitable for older kids as it’s a little on the “real” side.

Healthy Halloween food

For the usual fully illustrated photo instructions and ingredients list please click on the link below:
http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1105ttp

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Toast Truck

I am always looking for really simple designs so I can whip up a unique meal in minutes. This was one that grew out of lovely ripe cherry tomatoes that looked so lovely and wheel-like!

Fun, simple and very quick.

Healthy breakfast ideas

To get the simple step-by-step photo instructions and ingredients list click on the link below:
http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1088

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Grape Eiffel Tower

I love grapes for designing. You can cut them in half and model them into pretty much any shape very quickly and very simply.

This is my grape Eiffel Tower.

Healthy snack food

All the step-by-step photo instructions and the recipe can be seen by clicking the link below:
http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1076

If you enjoy my posts please vote for The Art of Nutrition using the link below:

Please click! A visit a day boosts my blog ranking at Top Mommy Blogs - The Best Mommy Blog Directory Ever!

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Princess Dress

As I was walking back from dropping the boys at school I saw beautiful flowers on the rosemary bushes that grow along our street. They sparked an idea and a few minutes later I was back with a pot to collect a few of the 100’s that were blooming.

I created a fun food princess dress that my boys were fascinated by so hopefully it would be a hit at any dinner table.

Healthy food for children

For step-by-step photo instructions and ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1063

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The Living Below the Line Challenge

Max, my eldest (8) heard about the Live Below the Line Challenge and unilaterally decided to take it on as part of his extra-curriculum community program for school. I agreed to do it with him for support. The global challenge is to raise awareness for the millions of people who live below the poverty line and struggle daily to obtain basics like food. There is an amount designated for each country that reflects this “line”. In NZ its $ 2.25, in Aus $ 2.00, in the US $ 1.50 and the UK 1 pound.

Planning for the 5 days where we would have to spend no more than $ 2.25 each for all our food and drinks was actually quite involved as I was desperately trying to balance meals nutritionally as best I could given very limited resources. We chose things like lentils as they are a protein and a carbohydrate, oats as they are filling and great for fibre but can be cooked with water and seasonal veg such as pumpkin as you get bulk amounts for little outlay. We measured and calculated and had all our weekly food in a spread sheet so we were able to chop and change as we went along if we felt we’d over or under estimated a quantity of a particular food. We also had a “float” so we could add something in to cheer us up at the end of the week if necessary (became a HUGE necessity!!).

I was prepared for the psychological difficulty of not being able to eat what I wanted (or thought I was) but the physical problems I experienced took me by ugly surprise. I was also naively unprepared for how hard it was going to be to watch Max go through a whole range of difficulties mental and physical.

Monday started with a bowl of porridge made with water for both of us and a little added milk for Max (I was saving mine for my tea!). It was OK and we both braved watching Joe eat his regular muesli and toast. That was until about 10.30 when Max would normally have some fruit for morning tea. The budget did not allow for this so he dipped into his lunchtime allowance of lentil stew that he’d brought in his thermos. I too was ravenous by 10.30am but hung on until 12.00 when I put my portion of stew into my bowl and realised just how small it was. I was shocked at how little we ended up with once it had been split up. It was a toddler portion and hardly touched the sides going down (the photo shows my bowl with the teaspoon!).

Lunch

Even worse this was to sustain me until 6.00pm when we’d repeat the stew but with some additional rice, pumpkin, peas and spinach. I spent the afternoon hungry, very, very, hungry. I also started to get a headache and feel a bit faint. Max fared better physically thank goodness but by the time he returned from school was desperate for his banana to stave off some of the hunger. Both of us went to bed hungry that night.
Tuesday we woke hungry and felt hungry all day. The portion sizes we could afford just did not contain enough calories to feed our bodies. I also felt really unwell. I was lethargic, headachy, demotivated and faint. Max fortunately was not suffering much physically except for being really hungry.

Wednesday was a very low point for me. I was miserable and felt quite depressed. I was so tired and low on energy mentally and physically. This is so unusual for me as generally I am very positive, upbeat and probably a little on the manic side. I also do tonnes of exercise and although I continued to do this through the whole week I just didn’t have the energy going in to sustain it properly.

Thursday was a very hard day for Max. He was very tired and when I picked him up from school he looked pale and had no energy. I gave him his banana but he was still so, so hungry. By dinner time he was feeling miserable and watching Roy and Joe eat a varied and plentiful dinner was torture. Fortunately we had our “float” to dip into and so we allowed ourselves half a fried egg each. It is hard to describe just how exciting that egg was. We both saved it until last and savoured every tiny drop of yolk and every little piece of white. It gave us a horribly clear insight into just how much such a small thing can mean to someone who is impoverished, hungry and unable to have even the simplest of treats. I don’t think either of us will ever forget how exciting and delicious that half an egg was at that point in time. It is also very hard to convey just how difficult this challenge is to anyone who has not done it. I could not have truly prepared myself for what an enormous undertaking it was for people like us who are used to eating well, never experiencing shortages of anything necessary for comfortable living.

By Friday my body was still totally low on energy but had adjusted to the new “diet” and was coping better. Max on the other hand was miserable in the morning as he was still just so hungry. I suggested he take an extra piece of fruit for morning tea at school and he was horrified as he thought I was suggesting breaking the budget. I explained that we could drop other things and use the last of the float money. He gladly accepted an apple at breakfast and this seemed to cheer him up a little. Unfortunately being the last day of term his class was invited to a shared lunch party and he had to sit and watch the other students all tucking into a heaving table stacked with all sorts of goodies. Max’s teacher, aware of his challenge realised how torturous this was for him and sent him to a different class for a while – a blessing he will not forget in a hurry! The day for me was a turbulent one emotionally. I knew just how much Max was struggling, knew I could fix it and spent an agonising day fighting extreme mother guilt. The emotional mother in me couldn’t stand thinking about how bad he was feeling. The practical side of me understood that it was just hunger, it would pass and that this was probably going to be a life-long lesson that would not be forgotten (didn’t help the emotional side much though!!).
Friday night was terrible for both of us. Max sat at the dinner table and cried as I placed dinner down for Roy and Joe. Their bounty just brought home to him how little he had in his bowl and how boring and repetitive our meals were comparative to what we normally ate. He was tired, he was hungry and he was miserable. I had forgotten how bad I was feeling watching him melt down. Tough, tough, tough.

So, what have we learnt from this week? I admittedly learnt far more than I was expecting (and learnt it in a way I do not care to repeat!):

1. That in NZ it is impossible to eat a sufficient and healthy diet living on $ 2.25 per day for food and that having such a restricted intake of food leaves one with low energy levels, lethargy and feeling generally very under par (with obvious implications in terms of work/study/relationships/sports etc.).

2. For me not having the range of vitamins and minerals I would normally eat meant my body was not able to function properly and all aspects of my life were affected.

3. It renews my dislike of diets in general. I was very unkind to my body during this week and it took me two days afterwards to start to come back to feeling my normal self. I will never willingly subject my body to this sort of deprivation again. For me living a healthy life is achieved by gradually changing habits to ones which are more beneficial for the body. This should be done over time with each change being accepted before introducing a new one. This way it becomes a gradual lifestyle change rather than a “diet” which is a short-term patch and usually painful and not necessarily effective.

4. I realised in doing this that much of my eating was habit/routine based but also it showed me in no uncertain terms how important food is to my life. I love food. I like thinking about food, planning meals, shopping for food (only shopping I like!!), preparing/presenting and serving food. I particularly like eating food. But on a serious note it is a really central part of our family life. I realised how much I looked forward to our family meal together in the evening. Sharing platters of food, chatting about our day and having family time. I come away from the table feeling relaxed, replete and content. During the Live Below the Line Challenge this comforting ritual was upset and I felt I lost a lovely and important part of my day.

5. I can never really understand how difficult poverty is – especially as I was hungry but at the same time well clothed, housed and heated and knew it was a temporary pain that would pass soon enough. However, it gave me more of an insight than I bargained on about just how hard living on a subsistence income really is. After 10 years living in Asia I had been at close quarters with extreme poverty but never walked in those shoes in quite the same way as I did last week.

This whole challenge renews my resolve to ensure that all children receive a balanced, healthy, daily diet where they are able to consume a wide range of foods that deliver all the vital vitamins and minerals that the body needs to thrive. Our bodies are complicated machines and depriving them of critical nutrients leaves them operating less than optimally. This does not just apply to those unable to afford healthy meals but also those who eat a high calorie but low nutrient diet as had become quite common in today’s world.

I also want to extend a huge hug to Max who at 8 did an incredible job of sustaining the subsistence diet over a whole school week. He received an enormous amount of respect from his peers who could not imagine being able to complete the challenge themselves but no one is prouder than me. Max showed an inner strength I did not realise he possessed and has come away from the week with a knowledge that will give him the tools to hopefully make empathetic decisions as he gets older.

Finally, as a mother I was in turmoil watching my “baby” suffer. I just cannot imagine being in this situation daily, powerless to help my child and yet not having the means to do this. Most of us in the Western world do have the power to feed our children balanced and nutritious diets. Let us not waste this huge advantage we have been gifted.

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Winter Brekkie Tree

So as there are only 4 seasons this would be the last in my series of breakfast trees and as there is a storm raging outside my window it is very appropriate today ….

Healthy breakfast food kids

Fun food, simple and nutritious and a great one to do with the kids.

For step-by-step photo instructions and list of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1048

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Fruit Train

I built my first fruit train for Joe’s “graduation” party from Kinder. Each child gets to have a special day once it’s their turn to go to school (in NZ children go on their birthday so entry to school is staggered). The Kinder rules were that you were able to bring potato chips (crisps) and fruit. Now I was obviously not going to bring chips so wanted to make the fruit into something a little more special for Joe. I hit upon a train with trucks filled with a variety of fruit and it worked magically!

Healthy party food children

It is such a fun way to present fruit or veg at a party and have everyone excited. The pastry is edible although I find everyone is generally more excited about diving in for their favourite fruit.

When it was International Day at the school last Friday Joe and I decided to make a fruit train and display fruits from around the world using little flags to denote country.

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:
http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1040

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Bread Fish

I put this together for a quick but fun dinner. I did something similar making the fish from pumpkin and made a video which you can check out on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk87ICV0PuM

Or you can go to the “Video” page on the website.

Healthy food for kids

This proves what I keep saying which is that most of my designs are very, very simple and quick to put together. The pumpkin fish took less than 3 minutes once everything was cooked!!

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1032

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International Day at School

Healthy party food kids

The boy’s school was celebrating “International Day” on Friday. They were to learn about customs, language, flags etc. from other countries. Joe’s class were asked to each bring in food from a different country to share with each other for lunch. Joe and I discussed this and decided there would be lots of savoury food and probably lots of “party” food so we chose fruit as our share food. Fruit comes from all over the globe so we picked a selection and made flags from one of the countries that produce lots of the particular fruit.

Joe was delighted by the idea of presenting it in a train and Joe’s teacher very kindly indulged me setting it all up in the classroom before lunch. We then got to discuss where the fruit came from and where on the map the different countries were before the class got to choose their favourite fruits to eat.

I love the opportunity to share healthy food and get everyone excited about it.

I used my healthy pastry recipe (adding some cinnamon and nutmeg to give it a “sweet” smell and taste) and made the train trucks very simply. I will blog the recipe Friday as that is my normal fruit/dessert day!!

Healthy Party food children

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Toast Dice

OK so there is only one and it should be die but I couldn’t call it that so have made it plural so there is one for everyone!

This was inspited by the lovely, ripe cherry tomoatoes and the need for something super quick.

Healthy Breakfast Food

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1012

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Fruit Scooter

My boys are scooter-mad. They love riding to and from school even though it is all uphill one way.

This is my fun food version of a scooter. Probably not a cool, trick one but ….

Healthy snack food

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=1001

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Salad Glam

I have Karen to thank for the inspiration for this design. I had been lamenting my need for more “girly” stuff and she said to me that curly lettuce looks like a frilly skirt – and it so does!

This very simple, fun food way to present salad will bring out the fashionista in all of us (even the boys were impressed).

Healthy meals for children

I want to dedicate the plate to Iley and Sanna and lots of salads this coming summer.

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=991

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Avocado Mouse

Avocadoes are not in season – boo hoo – but I got a few lovely looking ones and when I scooped one out of its skin I saw a mouse. Not a real one in my kitchen (which is a good thing) but the shape, hidden in the half avocado.

Here is a lovely, fun food, simple breakfast or snack idea. Avocadoes are a great source of good oil and delicious to boot.

Healthy breakfast food

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=976

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Double Decker Raspberry Bus

We all love raspberries in our house and being so lovely and deep red they just lend themselves to the iconic Double Decker buses found in London.

Healthy Party food

I put this together as a healthy food party plate and spoons got dipped in furiously and then mixed with a bowl of home-made Greek style yoghurt each. Have to say I was tempted to eat it all myself first but refrained!

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=964

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Bread Snails

So we’re entering rainy season here and it is something that Wellington does really, really well! It also means that the paths on the way to school are busy with snails. Luckily Max has grown out of the need to move each one to safety ….

I was making bread and decided to roll up some snails. The boys love home-made bread and when I have a bit of extra time I prefer it too as it contains only whole-wheat flour, yeast and water. It is an intimidating prospect if you haven’t made before but is actually really simple. Bread snails are a great one for kids to make themselves as they’re such a simple shape.

Healthy Snacks for children

 

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=954

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Pancake House

I made some crepes (a thinner version of pancakes) and steamed some apples at the same time to make a sweet but not sugary accompaniment. It makes a great healthy, fun food breakfast or snack

Max was fascinated by the tree and it was the first thing he dived for.

Healthy breakfasts for children

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=944

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Fruit Tractor

I was looking at a cut orange and the disparity between the size of the middle bit and the end bits got me thinking about wheels.

I created this fun food, fruit tractor which was a great share plate and looks more complicated than it is!!

Healthy snacks for children

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=928

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Pineapple Boat

We live so close to one of the most amazing harbours in the world (not biased at all). The water is beautifully clean and we even get orcas swimming right next to the CBD. Even in winter people escape from their offices during lunchtime for a dip in the harbour – BRRRRRRRRRRR. So we also get to see lots of boats.

This is my simple, fun food pineapple boat inspired by our shining blue water.

Healthy snacks for children

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=838

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3 Little Salad Pigs

I decided to put together a salad/coleslaw plate to be shared over dinner. Of course it is far more fun to have it in the shape of the 3 little pigs and this turned out to be beautifully simple. The boys argued over chimney, windows and doors but it was a small price to pay for their pleasure at the plate.

I used Chinese radish/daikon for the straw house. The boys like it as it is very mild flavoured, crunchy and juicy. If it’s not readily available you could substitute for cucumber or cabbage.

Healthy meals for kids

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=913

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Brekkie Space Shuttle

I was planning on creating a rocket but then as I began it morphed into a space shuttle.

I have lovely memories of a really fun trip to Cape Canaveral I made with two friends of mine Jamey and Shawn many, many moons ago when we were lucky enough to see a shuttle housed in its giant hangar.

Healthy breakfasts for children

This is really no more complicated than many of my other breakfast designs although it may seem at first glance to be a little intimidating.
For me it was all worth it as the boys were wide-eyed with pleasure when I showed them this fun food creation.

For step-by-step photo instructions on how to make and lists of ingredients please click on:

http://theartofnutrition.com/?p=898

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Fruit Flower Garden

I wanted to put together a fruit share platter for a diverse group on a playdate. Flowers are fun, simple and quick to put together so I created my summery “garden” to share (in the middle of winter!!).

Fruit Flower Garden - Finished

Recipe

- Orange – for sun and rays (could substitute any orange/yellow fruit)

- Kiwi for grass (could substitute any green fruit)

- Pear for stalks (apple or melon would work)

- Pear slices for flowers (I used the white flesh) apple or melon would be good too

- Plum – I used the colour to cut the flower centres and the butterfly bodies/antenna

- Mandarin – I used the segments for the butterfly body

Method

1. Cut kiwi segments for grass.

Fruit Flower Garden - 1 Kiwi Grass

2. Slice the pear lengthways to create stems.

Fruit Flower Garden - 2 Pear Stems

3. Then I used a little cookie cutter to make the flower shapes.

Fruit Flower Garden - 3 Flowers

4. I used a dark skinned plum for contrasting colour and cut little squares for the centre of the flowers.

Fruit Flower Garden - 4 flower centres

5. Then to give a summery feel a circle cut from an orange.

Fruit Flower Garden - 5 Sun

6. And no sun would be complete without rays.

Fruit Flower Garden - 6 Sun's rays

7. Then we needed some butterflies to complete the picture. I used mandarin segments.

Fruit Flower Garden - 7 Butterflies

And cut strips from the plum to make bodies and antennae.

8. A great share plate which the kids loved. The leftover fruit from creating I served in small bowls and there were no complaints!!

Fruit Flower Garden - Finished 2

The Art of Nutrition
Fun, healthy, creative food for kids big and small.

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Veggie Humpty

Real egg and Humpty Dumpty was just too tempting!! I made a fun veggie version but the mini chefs panned my wall and said it was too wide and too low. I was forced to go back and re-model and I have to admit that once again they were right … sigh. Humpty did look a lot better perched up high with absolutely no fear of falling …..

Veggie Humpty - Finished 1

Recipe

- Steamed carrots – for the wall (and Humpty’s hat) (Sweet potato/pumpkin are good alternatives)

- Boiled egg

- I used broccoli, peas and corn for the bushes and plants

- I used peas and corn for his face

- Wholemeal pasta spirals for arms and legs

Method

1. Steam the carrot in large pieces so it’s easy to cut “bricks” from the pieces.

Veggie Humpty - 1 Carrot Wall

Exact rectangles are not necessary. And remember I re-built my wall taller and thinner (on the advice of the mini-chefs).

2. Cut the bottom of the boiled egg off and place on the wall.

Veggie Humpty - 2 Egg on Wall

3. Add some pasta legs (tuck them under the egg) which I achieved more successfully on the higher wall.

Veggie Humpty - 3 + legs

4. Then some pasta arms. I cut little slits (very carefully) into the egg to slot them into.

Veggie Humpty - 4 + arms

If you rest the arms on the wall they are relatively stable.

5. I cut holes for eyes nose and mouth.

Veggie Humpty - 5 Face

Then used two peas for eyes and a piece of corn for the nose.

6. I placed broccoli, peas and corn around the base of the wall.

Veggie Humpty - 6 Bushes

7. No Humpty would be complete without attire so I gave him a jaunty hat cut from carrot.

Veggie Humpty - 7 plus hat

8. Then I redid the wall so he was much higher.

Veggie Humpty - Finished 3

And looked much better.

 

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Breakfast Volcano

This is a concept I came up with a few years ago and the boys were mesmerised. They also rated the taste as fantastic. Since then life has jogged along and I haven’t got around to reproducing it for a blog. Until yesterday … it was the perfect time to make the volcano and video it. Yes a true story I did video the whole thing – very scary for me and probably you too!!

I got Roy to video the creating of the world’s first breakfast volcano including lava pour. The boys were happy to star as the end result was food and they love eating.

Breakfast Volcano - Finished White

The still photos do not do it justice so please check out the video http://youtu.be/xVi6sOs0fy0 and click on The Art of Nutrition.
It also proves that when I say fun, quick and simple I mean QUICK.

I will blog my muesli recipe for those interested when I get chance!!

Recipe

- Muesli – needs to be soaked in milk/yoghurt so it will keep its shape.

- I used pepitas, sunflower seeds, grated coconut and chopped hazelnuts for “rocks” and ash around the base

- Raspberry lava – this was just frozen raspberries defrosted and then buzzed with a stick blender. The taste is incredibly intense so I added a little water which also helps it pour. Any soft red fruit that can be pulped would work.

Method

1. Form the muesli/milk mixture into a conical mountain shape.

Breakfast Volcano - 1 Mountain

2. Make a crater at the top.

Breakfast Volcano - 2 Crater

3. Then I added seeds and nuts as rocks and coconut which Max dubbed ash around the bottom.

Breakfast Volcano - 3 w-Rocks

4. And now the fun really starts.

Breakfast Volcano - 4 1st Pour

Pour the raspberry lava into the crater.

5. Keep pouring getting lava rivulets running down the outside of the volcano.

Breakfast Volcano - 5 Pouring

6. And keep going until the lava is finished.

Breakfast Volcano - Finished Red

Breakfast Volcano - Finished White

Add milk and breakfast is served.

 

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The Art of Nutrition at the boy’s school

I was very privileged to be invited to share my healthy food passion with the students at the boy’s school. I hosted two sessions on consecutive Friday’s, the first for the younger half of the school and the second for the older kids.

A fun group of parents agreed to help out and we spent a manic 2 hours setting up, coordinating and clearing up afterwards. It was fabulous fun, rewarding and all of us learnt so much.

I spent the morning before each lunchtime session chopping a selection of fruit and veggies to use. I had everything from grapes to radishes and cut them into various shapes. We had carrots cut into circles, half circles, triangles and batons and celery in batons and curls. I even threw in a bunch of celery leaves.

TAON - Boys & Platter

We had a big room with a sink and then an annexe with a right angled bench seat. We set up the annexe with a table and chairs to become the shared eating section complete with plastic tablecloth and adult to supervise. As the children came into the large room they washed and dried their hands. Then they made their way to one of the 3 tables that were set up with tablecloth, plastic plate for each student and a platter heaving with brightly coloured fruit and veg. I also got my boys to do some designs for inspiration and printed out the photos to place on the tables.

TAON - Joe & Platter

Everyone was charged with the task of creating a design on their plate to showcase the fruit and veg they had chosen to use. We then took a photo of each student proudly displaying their plate (to be printed, picked up and taken home). The children then went to sit at the communal eating table where Kathleen encouraged everyone to chat whilst they ate.

TAON - Archer

It was a beautiful thing to behold. The children were delighted by the whole experience and they created with excitement and then ate with gusto. Many tried foods they would not normally eat (like celery leaves and red cabbage) and there were a lot who demolished one plateful and came back to make and eat another plate.

TAON - Face

The most sought after food – celery! Who would have believed how versatile celery is? It can be limbs, fence posts, noses, motorbike struts and much more besides. And the leaves … they can become trees, hair, brooms and all manner of other things. The imagination was certainly not lacking and I have to say gave me lots of ideas for future designs!

TAON - Turtle

I learnt a lot from running these sessions. We had over 150 children participate and all embraced the idea, the selection of food and all tried the fruit and veg on their plates. It also reinforced my belief that children are more than happy with healthy food options especially if there is something exciting happening or when they are presented creatively.

TAON - House

There has been some great feedback from parents. One mother of a 5 year old told me that her daughter asked whether she was able to have celery in her lunchbox as it is so delicious (that celery again!!). She did however, request that it was cut into curls as it tastes better that way.
Another parent said that since the session his daughter has been so focused on the veggies on her plate and they have become so important as they are easy to arrange!

The Art of Nutrition session at the school was a great way to bring fruit and veg into the school in a fun and communal way and it seemed that most students got so caught up in the exercise they were happy to eat whatever was on their plates and do it with pleasure.

TAON - Max & orange

I am happy to bring The Art of Nutrition into schools in the Greater Wellington area and can be contacted via the website.

*For privacy reasons only a few of the photos will be posted.

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Pineapple Boat

We live so close to one of the most amazing harbours in the world (not biased at all). The water is beautifully clean and we even get orcas swimming right next to the CBD. Even in winter people escape from their offices during lunchtime for a dip in the harbour – BRRRRRRRRRRR. So we also get to see lots of boats.

Pineapple Boat - Finished

This is my simple, fun pineapple boat inspired by our shining blue water.

Recipe

- Fresh pineapple (tinned would work with more cutting).

- Grapes – I used dark and green for contrast

- Blueberries. Wrong season for us so I used fresh ones I froze in the summer.

Method

1. Cut a hull for the boat. I realised that it looked too shallow so added some extra bits.

Pineapple Boat - 1 bottom

Pineapple is very forgiving and extra bits merge almost seamlessly!

2. This gives the completed hull.

Pineapple Boat - 2 Hull

3. Add a mast

Pineapple Boat - 3 + mast

4. Then I cut the grapes in half and pushed them into a triangular shape to make a sail.

Pineapple Boat - 4 + Sail

5. Then did the same for the green grapes and made a slightly smaller sail for the other side.

Pineapple Boat - 5 + 2nd Sail

6. And no boat would be complete without a flag.

Pineapple Boat - 6 + Flag

 

7. Then some blueberries for the sea.

Pineapple Boat - 7 + Sea

8. Sail into dessert …

Pineapple Boat - Finished

Or what a fabulous share plate.

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Ricey Hot Air Balloon

Hot air balloons are such fun to make with lots of patterns and bright colours that give you so much scope for creativity. This is my rice and veggie version.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 9 Finished

I realised that having a mold would make life so much easier so I made my own. This was actually the most time consuming and frustrating part of the whole exercise. I cut the inside out of the top of an old plastic pot as it was the oval shape (ish) I was looking for. I have washed and kept it for future use!

Recipe

- Mold – (makes it easier but not essential)

- Cooked rice – I used wholemeal

- Veggies of your choice. I used peas, grated steamed carrot and corn

- Steamed cauliflower for clouds (ricotta cheese makes great clouds)

- I used a cut piece of eggplant/aubergine for the basket

- Wholemeal spaghetti for the ropes (any herb stalks or cut beans would be a good substitute)

Method

1. Put a layer of rice into the mold.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 1 Rice

2. Then a layer of peas.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 2 + peas

3. Any veggies will do but contrasting colours work best. Grated carrot layer next.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 3 + carrot

4. Then some corn.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 4 + corn

5. And a last layer of rice.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 5 + Rice

6. Then I took it carefully out of the mold. If it’s packed densely this works surprisingly well.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 6 out of mold

7. As usual I am disappointed by molds (even the ones I make myself) so squished it out to give it a more rounded shape. Again this worked remarkably well.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 7 fattened

8. Then I added the eggplant/aubergine basket and spaghetti ropes.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 8 + basket

9. And some lovely, fluffy cauliflower clouds.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 9 Finished

Float gently into dinner …..

 

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Breakfast Names

OK so who doesn’t want their name in … food!! The mini chefs were delighted to have their names carved out for breakfast and devoured them with pride.

This is such a simple, fun way to present some healthy fare for breks. I used some letter molds and filled them with wheatbricks I had soaked in milk and that was about it. It’s something that you can do with the kids or they can probably do themselves.

Brekkie Names - Max Finished

Admittedly Max and Joe are short names (my friend quipped that I had 3 males in my life all with 3 letter names so I could remember them – hmpfff!!) and probably more manageable than Angelina or Benjamin but initials, sports team’s acronyms or nicknames can work.

Brekkie Names - Joe Finished

Recipe

- I used 1 ½ wheatbricks per boy and soaked in milk until soft but not mushy

- I used raisins, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds and pepitas for decoration

Method

1. Choose your molds and fill with as much mix as you’d like.

Brekkie Names - 2 Filled

2. Then press out the wheatbrick mix.

Brekkie Names - 3 Joe

I realised whilst doing that that the gap in the “O” (and the “A”) shouldn’t be filled!

3. And the other/s if you have need.

Brekkie Names - 4 Max

4. Then I decorated.

Brekkie Names - 5 Max +

Using raisins and sliced almonds.

5. And for Joe.

Brekkie Names - 6 Joe

I used raisins and pepitas.

6. Then finished off with some sunflower seeds as well.

Brekkie Names - Joe Finished

7. Once we were ready to eat we poured the milk or you could use yoghurt.

Brekkie Names - Max milk pour

8. Beautifully simple, fun and delicious.

Brekkie Names - Max milk poured

 

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Mandarin Snail

Mandarins just lend themselves to a snail shell so it had to be done.

Here is my super simple, fun, mandarin snail.

Mandarin Snail - Finished

Recipe

- Mandarin/Clementine or other such citrus fruit

- Pear or apple for the body

- I used Kiwi for the grass but green apple or pear would be excellent too

- I used chopped raisins for the details

Method

1. Cut a kiwi fruit to make the grass.

Mandarin Snail - 1 Kiwi

2. I used the cheek of the pear and cut a curved body.

Mandarin Snail - 2 + Pear

Then another piece for the tail.

3. And placed the peeled Mandarin on top (I sliced a piece from the bottom so it sat nicely in the curve of the pear).

Mandarin Snail - 3 + Mandarin

4. Then gave the snail pear antenna and eyes and mouth.

Mandarin Snail - 4 + Face & Antenna

5. A buzzing raisin insect and we have a snail.

Mandarin Snail - Finished

 

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Underwater Fish

We all love seafood in our house and here in New Zealand it’s easy and economical to find fresh catches – yummy!!

I couldn’t help myself using the seafood as the sea bed in this fun dinner plate.

Underwater Fish - Finished

Recipe

- Mashed pumpkin (for the fish) – or sweet potato/potato/carrot/parsnip

- Rice (I used brown) for sea bed – or cous cous or other grain

- Peas and green beans – for fishes features and bubbles

- Broccoli, green beans, carrots, parsnips corn – for sea bed

- Prawns (shrimp), mussels and calamari (squid) – for sea bed

(Substitute in any veg/sea food you have on hand).

Method

1. Make the sand with the rice.

Underwater Fish - 1 Rice

2. I used a fish mold to get the fish shape.

Underwater Fish - 2 Fish Mold

3. Then I used a pea for her eye and a green bean for the mouth.

Underwater Fish - 3 Fish

And of course you need bubbles ….

4. I placed veggies and seafood to create a busy sea bed.

Underwater Fish - Finished

So simple, appealing and a lovely balanced meal.

 

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Summer Brekkie Tree

Continuing on with my seasonal breakfast trees this is my summer version.

Fun, very simple and something the children can do by themselves or with a little help.

Summer Brekkie Tree - 6 + Flowers

Recipe

- 1 Banana

- Oats (I used wholegrain)

- Pepitas (Pumpkin seeds) – for leaves

- 1 Kiwi fruit – for leaves

- Raspberries – alas mine are frozen as we’re in mid-winter!

Substitute other green fruit such as apple for leaves and strawberries/red apples for fruit if you prefer.

Method

1. Cut the banana into trunk and branch shapes.

Summer Brekkie Tree - 1 Banana

2. Add pieces of kiwi fruit as leaves.

Summer Brekkie Tree - 2 Kiwi leaves

3. And then pepitas which add crunch and extra nutrients too!

Summer Brekkie Tree - 3 + Pepitas

4. I added oats so the boys could eat as a cereal substitute (very happily).

Summer Brekkie Tree - 4 + oats

5. I sprinkled more of the oats and pepitas around the base of the tree.

Summer Brekkie Tree - 5 + ground

6. And then raspberries to give the tree a full bloom of flowers.

Summer Brekkie Tree - 6 + Flowers

Very, very simple, fun and healthy – what could be better!!

 

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Watermelon Sunrise

I had a whole watermelon and couldn’t decide what to do with it. I asked Max for suggestions and he said “sunrise”. Of course, why didn’t I think of that?

So here is Max’s fun idea for a bright red piece of watermelon and some fresh pineapple. It’s a great share plate or party centrepiece.

Watermelon Sun - 6 Clouds

Recipe

- Piece of watermelon. I made a large sun from half a small watermelon but you could do a mini version from a cut piece.

- Some fresh pineapple (or apple/pear/melon)

- Mandarins – for the eyes (or orange/pineapple etc.)

- Oranges – for clouds (substitute as necessary)

- Raisins – for eyeballs

Method

1. Cut the watermelon. I cheated and used a bowl as a mold as I am not quite mad enough to be able to cut perfect circles!

Watermelon Sun - 1 Watermelon

2. Place on a plate.

Watermelon Sun - 1 Disc cut

3. Add the rays of light. I used watermelon.

Watermelon Sun - 2 first rays

4. And pineapple.

Watermelon Sun - 3 More rays

5. Then made some eyes and mouth.

Watermelon Sun - 4 Eyes & mouth

Using mandarin segments and a cut piece of pineapple.

6. Then I gave the sun eyeballs with raisins.

Watermelon Sun - 5 Eyeballs

7. And used cut orange pieces for the clouds.

Watermelon Sun - 6 Clouds

8. I thought maybe the sun needed a nose. Or maybe not?

Watermelon Sun - Finished 2

 

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Flower Pot Veggies

I was looking at a pot of brown lentils one time and I thought soil. And then I thought flower pots. I went to the local garden centre and bought a couple of the cheap ceramic pots and started experimenting. From this my flower pot series emerged. The boys think it’s the best fun to eat out of a ceramic pot with a teaspoon. Even better when I make a selection of “flowers” and they can choose their favourites.

Flower Pots - Finished 1

These are my lentil soil and cooked veggie versions. Simple, fun and delicious. Use any veggies you have to hand and get creative!

Recipe

- I used a brown lentil dish (with tomatoes, onion, garlic etc.). Any mince/ chilli dish/ bolognaise style dish would be fantastic.

- A selection of cooked veg. I used peas, cauliflower, carrot, corn, green beans and mashed pumpkin.

- I also used baby spinach leaves and half a cherry tomato.

Substitute anything you have to hand.

Method

1. Fill the flower pots with lentil/mince mixture. The ones I bought have a drainage hole at the bottom so I plug it with baking paper.

Flower Pots - 1 Pots

2. I made a cauliflower, pea and green bean “flower”.

Flower Pots - 2 Pot 1

3. Then half a cherry tomato with cauliflower centre, corn detail and spinach leaves.

Flower Pots - 3 Pot 2

4. Pot 3 was filled with mashed pumpkin and decorated with green bean shoots.

Flower Pots - 4 Pot 3

5. And then the last pot was peas, green beans and carrots cut into shapes (badly!).

Flower Pots - 5 Pot 4

6. Then put them all together.

Flower Pots - Finished 2

7. This is so versatile and there are so many other options ….

Flower Pot Carrots

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Dolphin Pancakes

My boys LOVE pancakes (actually ours are crepes but that’s just personal taste). We don’t make them very often but when we do the boys are the happiest little men on the planet. Roy is actually the pancake master seeming able to produce a perfectly formed, perfectly cooked disc every time. Mine are a tad more eccentric ….

As we’re using free range eggs, milk and wholemeal flour with no sugary toppings they tick all my health boxes. And, being the stickler for diet I am we always have cereal first!!

This is a simple, fun way to present pancakes that no one could resist.

Dolphin Pancakes - Finished

Recipe

- Pancakes

- Flaked almonds for the sand (substitute any nuts/seeds/fruit)

- Raisin – for the eyes

- Stewed apple (I just cut up apple and steamed for 10 mins. With some cinnamon or nutmeg – YUM) – for sea bed detail

Method

1. Put down sea bed.

Dolphin Pancakes - 1 Almond sand

2. Cut out the dolphins from the pancake. I used a mold.

Dolphin Pancakes - 2 Dolphin Mould

3. Place on the plate.

Dolphin Pancakes - 3 Dolphin

4. And another so she’s not lonely!

Dolphin Pancakes - 4 + 2 Dolphins

5. Then some eyes so they can see.

Dolphin Pancakes - 5 + eyes

6. I used steamed apple which gives a lovely sweetness to the dish as sea bed detail.

Dolphin Pancakes - 6 + Apple Shells

7. I ripped some of the pancake edges (as mine are not perfect discs …) to use as coral.

Dolphin Pancakes - 7 + Pancake coral

8. A lovely, simple breakfast or dessert.

Dolphin Pancakes - Finished

 

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Papaya Giraffe

When I lived in Asia papaya/paw paw was very popular. I generally love any fruit but just didn’t fall for papaya straight away. Once I’d tried it with a squeeze of lime juice though I was hooked and ate it every day after lunch. I was devastated to return to Aus and find out how expensive it was and it became a rare treat.

I picked some up at the markets here in Wellington and was delighted as were the boys and so I needed to find a fun, simple and creative outlet for the fruit. Giraffes are the right colour and who doesn’t love these amazing animals?

Papaya Giraffe - 7 + insects

Papaya is a great dessert/snack food, packed with soluble fibre, more Vit C than lemons and loads of Vit A and B-Vits too. OK enough of that, but they are excellent from a nutritional standpoint!

Recipe

- Small papaya/paw paw

- Grapes – I used dark ones for the tree trunks and red ones for the detail on the giraffe

- Kiwi fruit – for the tree leaves

Method

1. I cut the papaya into lots of little chunks and then built those into a “head” shape.

Papaya Giraffe - 1 Head

2. Then added cut papaya for ears and ossicones (yep, I am assured they are neither horns nor antlers but ossicones).

Papaya Giraffe - 2 Ears & horns

3. And then I cut larger slices and built a neck.

Papaya Giraffe - 3 + Neck

4. I cut red grapes into small pieces to make up the detail for the neck.

Papaya Giraffe - 4 + Neck Detail

5. And used the grapes for the eyes and nostrils. Roy reckons the nostrils are too high on the face and I think he’s probably right so maybe move down a bit. I would love to reach into the photo and do myself but ….

Papaya Giraffe - 4 1-2 - + Eyes & Nostrils

6. I used dark grapes to form the trunks of the trees.

Papaya Giraffe - 5 + Trunks

7. And then slices of kiwi fruit for the leaves.

Papaya Giraffe - 6 + Leaves

8. I thought it needed something buzzing around so added some slices of black grape.

Papaya Giraffe - Finished

Delicious and gobbled in seconds by the mini chefs ….

 

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Salad Fish

Sometimes the boys have to bring in a “share” plate to school/Kinder/Cubs/team events. I am always wanting to come up with something fun that impulses the other members to dive in and yet is healthy. I try and make the dish from lots of bite sized pieces so everyone can have just a little at a time.

Salad Fish - Finished 1

The salad fish is one of my simple designs that can be modified dependent upon what you have available and can be jazzed up with a pot of dip!

Recipe

- 2 celery stalks

- 2 carrots

- 1 cherry tomato

- I used corn for the bubbles

- I used yoghurt for the eyeball

Method

1. Slice the celery and arrange into a “body” shape. Don’t worry, you can move around later if necessary!

Salad Fish - 1 Celery

2. Slice carrots for the head.

Salad Fish - 2 + Carrot

3. Add more carrot slices for the fins.

Salad Fish - 3 + Fins

4. And even more carrot for the flashy tail. I love carrots as they are sweet, crunchy, available all the year round, a great colour and cheap to buy!

Salad Fish - 4 + Tail

5. Add half a cherry tomato for the eye. I used a blob of yoghurt for the eyeball.

Salad Fish - 5 + Mouth & Eye

And a slice of the tomato for the mouth.

6. Decorate the sea bed with bits of celery, carrot and tomato.

Salad Fish - 6 + Sea Bottom

7. And add some bubbles.

Salad Fish - Finished 1

8. I tried some different tails too.

Salad Fish - Finished 2

 

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Brekkie Bread Tree

OK so I am a bit fixated on tree designs I admit. But they are so simple and so effective and a great one to do with the kids.

This is a fun bread and egg one that takes no time at all to whip up but looks funky and appetising.

Brekkie Bread Tree - Finished 3

Recipe

- Slice of thick cut bread (or could use toast)

- 2 eggs scrambled

- 1 tomato (for the inside of the flowers)

- I used mushrooms, tomatoes and parsley for detail

Method

1. Cut the bread into the shape of a trunk and branches. I deliberately left it “rustic” style as it adds to the character and makes it twice as simple!

Brekkie Bread Tree - 1 Bread

2. Cut the scrambled egg into flower shapes. I used a mini cookie cutter.

Brekkie Bread Tree - 2 Egg Flowers

3. Add some mushrooms for rocks on the ground.

Brekkie Bread Tree - 3 Mushroom ground

4. Slice the tomato and cut into small squares. These make the centre of the flowers.

Brekkie Bread Tree - 4 plus flower centres

5. I added some tomato slices and parsley.

Brekkie Bread Tree - Finished 2

6. And then thought it was a bit busy so took them off again!

Brekkie Bread Tree - Finished 3

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Fruit Clown

Gail asked for a fruit clown in the style of the salad one so here it is especially for Gail. I actually created him that day but there have been so many other designs vying for space on the blog that he kept getting delayed!!

This is such an easy, fun way to present fruit for a party, playgroup, kinder, playdate or other social gathering.

Fruit Clown - Finished 1

As with the veggie clown it is very simple to create and as you can see from the Kids Specials page on the website children of all ages can do their own version. In fact it’s a great group or party activity and an easy way to get everyone eating fresh food.

Recipe

- 2 Bananas

- 2 large kiwi fruit

- 1 red apple

- 1 plum

- 1 mandarin

- 1 slice melon

As usual you could substitute all of these. If you prefer use apple slices instead of banana or melon instead of kiwi or pear instead of plum. I always just create from what’s in the fridge. Although, admittedly I go to the markets once every week and come back laden with sacks of veggies and fruit for the week so my fridge is always overstocked!!

Method

1. Make a circle from bananas for the face.

Fruit Clown - 1 Banana

2. Add kiwi slices in the shape of the hat.

Fruit Clown - 2 + hat

3. Cut a mouth and nose from the outside of the apple.

Fruit Clown - 3 + Nose & mouth

4. Cut slices from a plum to make the crosses.

Fruit Clown - 4 + eyes

5. And slice the plum cheeks to make the eyes.

Fruit Clown - 5 + eye crosses

6. Use mandarin segments to give him hair.

Fruit Clown - 6 Hair + Bobble

And a circle of flesh cut from the apple to make a bobble for the hat.

7. Add some melon slices for a tie with a circle of plum for the centre of the bow.

Fruit Clown - 7 + Tie

8. A great fun way to eat a shared dessert.

Fruit Clown - Finished 1

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Sandcastle Cous-Cous Style

Cous-cous looks like sand, it just does!! I was cooking one night and decided it would be fun to see if I could build a fort from it as you do at the beach. Actually it turned out to be way easier and less effort (not to mention less gritty) than at the beach.

  Cous Cous Sandcastle - Finished 1

The boys were absolutely delighted and had such fun moving bits onto their plates.

Recipe

- Cous-cous (I used wholemeal)

- I used corn, carrot and wilted spinach for detail

- Toothpick for flagpole

Method

1. I filled a plastic bucket we got as a clever Easter present with cooked cous-cous (it is designed to hold boiled eggs). An egg cup, shot glass or other small receptacle would make a great substitution. Pack it in as you would sand.

Cous Cous Sandcastle - 1 Bucket

Tap the sides and the top just like at the beach to knock it out.

2. Then I used a mini loaf tin for the long sides but making it all from one shape or improvising with what you have available is order of the day!!

  Cous Cous Sandcastle - 2 Bucket + Tub

3. Build your fort.

Cous Cous Sandcastle - 3 Whole Sandcastle

As with the beach its way harder but way more fun to have the kids involved!

4. We used wilted spinach as seaweed.

Cous Cous Sandcastle - 4 Castle + seaweed

5. And then made shells from steamed carrots and corn.

Cous Cous Sandcastle - Finished 2

And a flagpole from a toothpick and a flag from a triangle of carrot.

Cous Cous Sandcastle - Finished 3

 

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Brekkie Handbag

There had to be something a little more feminine hiding in a wheat brick and thankfully I found it.

This simple, fun handbag is dedicated to Genie who is surrounded by brothers and is looking for more traditionally girlie designs!!

Brekkie Handbag - Finished 1

Recipe

- 1 wheat brick

- Yoghurt – I coloured it pink with some raspberries

- Raspberries (can use strawberries or other fruit) for trim and handle

- I used sunflower seeds and pepitas for detail

Method

1. Cut the wheat brick into a “handbag” shape. They cut quite well if you are careful.

Brekkie Handbag - 1 wheat brick

2. Mix yoghurt with a red fruit to colour pink. Cover wheat brick with yoghurt mixture.

Brekkie Handbag - 2 Yoghurt covered

3. Add handle and trim. I used chopped frozen raspberries (winter so no fresh boo hoo!!).

Brekkie Handbag - 3 + trim

4. Then I added a clasp (pepitas).

Brekkie Handbag - 4 + clasp

5. And some detail (sunflower seeds).

Brekkie Handbag - 5 + details

6. A quick and easy breakfast design. Get creative!!

Brekkie Handbag - Finished 1

7. Or even pinker.

Brekkie Handbag - Finished Pink

 

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Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep

OK so we are officially mid-winter here so there is not a berry to be found anywhere. However, in high summer we spent a pleasant day by the river filling pots to overflowing with juicy blackberries which we lovingly froze in our chest freezer. I had promised the boys that mid-winter we would treat ourselves. And so we have.

Blackberries always look plump and almost fluffy to me so I knew just how to present them in a fun way. Of course if you have fresh berries …..

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - Finished

Recipe

- Blackberries

- 1 Apple (pears or other fruit would work as well)

- I used almonds, pepitas and mint leaves for detail

Method

1. Make the body of the sheep from the berries.

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - 1 Body

2. I peeled an apple and cut the white flesh to make the sheep’s legs.

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - 2 Body + legs

3. Give her a head and tail!

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - 3 + head

4. Cut 3 sacks from apple flesh.

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - 4 + bags

5. Give the sheep a face (a few bits from a berry)

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - 5 + face + tail

6. And fill the sacks with “wool”.

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - 6 Full Bags

7. Then I used some slivers of almonds and some mint leaves for ground.

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - 7 Ground

8. And a few pepitas to give the sheep something to stand on.

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - 8 + Sheep ground

9. Baa baa blackberry sheep. Delicious on its own or with a dollop of yoghurt.

Baa Baa Blackberry Sheep - Finished

 

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Kid’s Clowns

Diana from Perth sent me some photos of her nephew’s clown creations. Ashton (5) and Riley (just 4) made the salad clowns for their dinner. They followed the pictures from the website on the laptop and tried not to eat the tomato noses until everything was finished!

In fact they were so proud of what they’d made they didn’t want to eat until their father got home from work and had a look.

Go to the Kids Specials page and see photos of their fab work.

If you have photos of food your children have created from the website please send through to judith@theartofnutrition.com with a description of how it all went and I can put them up in the kids gallery.

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Mince and Mash Teddies

I reckon my husband is one of the few men who return home from work to eat teddy bears for dinner. Apparently they taste delicious!!

This is a lovely, fun and easy dish to make and add a few veggies and you have a full meal for the family. The kids can decorate their own teddies and everyone is happy. As usual get creative and use whatever you have lying around. I have used a chilli bean and mince recipe with my mashed potato. Use beetroot to stain the mash if you want pink teddies.

  Mince Teddie - 5 Finished

Recipe

- Meat mix (or a lentil/bean vegetarian/vegan option)

- Mashed potato

- I used corn, carrot and olives for detail

Method

1. Use a cookie cutter mold to make teddies.

Mince Teddie - 1 Teddy

2. I have alternated mince and potato.

Mince Teddie - 2 2 Teddies

3. I wish now I hadn’t used a white plate as the mash disappears in the photos!!!

Mince Teddie - 3 4 Teddies

4. Then add the teddy features. I used mince on the potato and mash on the meat.

Mince Teddie - 4 Finished

Then I added carrot, corn and olives to make hands, feet, bow ties and faces.

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Spring Brekkie Tree

We all loved the Autumn/Fall brekkie tree so I decided it would be really good fun to create a series, one for every season.

Outside our house in Aus was a beautiful cherry blossom tree and as soon as the flowers came out it signalled the end of winter for me. This design is modelled on the fabulous white and pinkish/red of the tree before the green leaves grow through. It is so simple to make and a great one to get the mini-chefs involved in.

Spring Brekkie Tree - Finished

Rather than eat this as a cereal we added yoghurt and the boys had it as a smoothie.

Recipe

- Banana

- Oats (I used wholegrain)

- Raspberries (as it’s winter here they were frozen ones)

- Almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas for the ground (anything breakfasty is good!)

Method

1. Cut the banana down the centre and then slice off the rounded edge to make the trunk.

Spring Brekkie Tree - 1 Banana

I cut the end a divide into the end of the trunk and then fashioned branches from the rest of the banana.

2. Add oats as “blossoms”.

Spring Brekkie Tree - 2 + oats

3. Put pieces of raspberry around to finish the bright flowers.

Spring Brekkie Tree - 3 + Rasp

4. I added oats, nuts and seeds around the base to create the soil.

Spring Brekkie Tree - 4 + ground

5. And then finished with some coconut for the falling blossoms.

Spring Brekkie Tree - Finished

 

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Decadent Apple Cake

This is a cake dedicated to my dear friend Neil who is always trying to convince me to be more gratuitous in my recipes. Probably not quite the sugar fix he had in mind but it oozes decadence never the less.

This would be a fun addition to any party and is simple but healthy. Other fruit could be substituted in the centre and you can get really creative with the toppings.

Decadent Apple Cake - Finished 1

Recipe

- 1 Apple

- Yoghurt – I used thick, Greek (no sugar, no additives)

- Slivered almonds

- Hazelnuts – for decoration (and a raspberry on the alternative)

- Mint leaves – for decoration

Method

1. Peel and core the apple. I don’t have a special corer so I butchered it with a knife instead!

Decadent Apple Cake - 1 apple

2. Cover with yoghurt (if the yoghurt is too thin then you can thicken by freezing for a while or even mixing in some milk powder).

Decadent Apple Cake - 2 plus yoghurt

3. Add toppings. I covered the sides with slivered almonds.

Decadent Apple Cake - 3 plus nuts

4. I topped with hazelnuts.

Decadent Apple Cake - 4 plus hazels

5. Then jazzed it up with a mint leaf or two.

Decadent Apple Cake - Finished 2

6. I also experimented with other toppings … get creative!!

Decadent Apple Cake - Finished 3

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Ninja-bread Men

I’m not really one for lots of gadgets in the kitchen. I went and purchased every cookie cutter available in the local discount store when I started on my food design and haven’t really got much since. However, I LOVE looking. I happened to be in the food wholesalers catering section (Mummy Haven as the mini-chefs all it) and they had a box of “Ninja-bread men” cookie cutters. My boys begged me to get them as they were “so cool”. I will now need to get my monies worth out of them so here is the first of my fun Ninja designs:

Very simple sandwiches cut from wholegrain bread in the shape of Ninjas with veggies for detail. Such a great idea for a party and so easy to do.

Ninjabread Man - Finished

Recipe

- Wholegrain bread

- Filling – I used lettuce and cheese

- Peas and carrots – for the ground

- Veggies for detail – I used green beans, carrots, beetroot and corn

Method

1. Cut the bottom piece of the bread using the mold.

Ninjabread Man - 1 in mold

2. Cut the filling with the top piece (makes it waaayyyyyyy easier to get it all to fit together).

Ninjabread Man - 2 4 men

3. Make the ground. I used peas and carrots.

Ninjabread Man - 3 plus Carrot-peas

4. Put detail on the “men”. I made eye wraps, belts and weapons.

Ninjabread Man - 4 All men Kitted out

5. I realised the beetroot didn’t show up at all so sprinkled it with oat bran so it showed up!

Ninjabread Man - Finished

 

 

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Breakfast Boat

I was actually cutting wheat bricks to try and make a handbag (as you do!) when the ship’s shape just popped out.

I love these fun designs that just come out of nowhere and can be whipped up in a few minutes. The boys were of course very pleased at breakfast (aside from the birds which they thought should have looked “better”).

Wheat brick Boat - Finished

Recipe

- 3 wheat bricks

- Seeds/nuts for the sea (I used pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sunflower seeds)

- 4 raisins

- 2 dried dates (used to make the funnel and the birds)

- 1 dried apricot (for the cabin window)

Method

1. Cut a sloping edge on two wheat bricks for the bow and the stern on the main part of the boat.

Wheat brick Boat - 1 bricks

Cut a square piece from a wheat brick to make the cabin and place on top.

2. Put seeds, fruit or chopped nuts along the bottom for the ocean.

Wheat brick Boat - 2 boat + sea

I also put some wheat brick crumbs over the join on the main part of the boat.

3. Add four raisins for portholes and I cut a dried date to make the funnel.

Wheat brick Boat - 3 portholes

4. Add a cut piece of dried apricot for the cabin window.

Wheat brick Boat - Boat + birds

I also squeezed a date into two roughly bird shapes and I liked them (even though the mini-chefs were critical).

5. I used a little yoghurt for some steam for the funnel and added long strands of dried coconut as wispy clouds.

Wheat brick Boat - Finished

 

 

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Magic Wand

I had some watermelon left over from another design so used a cookie cutter to make a star and from there …..

Fun, quick and simple and you could swap in whatever fruit you have available.

Recipe

- Watermelon (star and sparks)

- Pineapple (handle and sparks)

- Mandarin segments (sparks)

- Coconut shreds

Method

1. Cut the watermelon with a cookie cutter.

Magic Wand - 1 Star

2. Add a handle.

Magic Wand - 2 Star + handle

3. I added some magic sparks … get creative!!

Magic Wand - 3 Wand plus

4. I cut some little bits of watermelon for the bottom of the plate.

Magic Wand - Finished

 

And some long shreds of magic coconut to finish it off.

 

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Pasta Train

Choo chew, veggies coming through ….

This was a design I did ages ago and the boys were delighted. As it’s on the front of the website I need to make good on my promise and give instructions as to how to make.

Do not be intimidated by this as it’s actually quite simple and doesn’t take very long to put together. The veggies can all be steamed in one pot and the pasta in another and then it’s very quick and easy to build. As with most of my recipes older children can probably follow the instructions pretty much independently and the younger ones can help.

Pasta Train - Finished

This is a fun way to present a very basic meal of pasta, cheese and veggies. Enjoy …

Recipe

Please substitute any of the veggies, I generally just make work what I have in the fridge.

- Wholemeal pasta. Penne works best because of the tubular shape.

- Carrots (for the engine)

- Green beans – for the window & carriage connectors

- 4 Cherry tomatoes (I used a slightly larger one for the back wheel of the engine hence why there are 4)

- Peas – for carriage load

- Mashed pumpkin – for carriage load

- Grated cheese – for steam

- Cauliflower – for clouds

- Pasta spirals – I used these for the track (the one on the front of the website uses spaghetti – again whatever is available. Cut the penne if you wish).

Method

1. Build the shape of the engine. The penne slot against each other quite well but you can always slice off the ends to make them more rectangular.

Pasta Train - 1 Engine

Add two halves of a cherry tomato (slice off very end so it doesn’t roll around) for the front and back wheels.

2. Add the shape of the carriages and their wheels.

Pasta Train - 2 Engine & carriages

3. Slice steamed carrots to fill the inside of the engine.

Pasta Train - 3 Engine carrot filler

4. Add a funnel to top of the engine and beans for the window.

Pasta Train - 4 Engine window & funnel

5. Add the peas and pumpkin fillers for the carriages. Big piles in triangular shapes look best!!

Pasta Train - 5 Filled carriages

6. Add carriage links.

Pasta Train - 6 carriage links

7. Add cheesy steam and cauliflower clouds.

Pasta Train - 7 Steam & clouds

8. Place tracks beneath the train.

Pasta Train - Finished

Chuff chuff into dinner ….

 

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Brekkie Tree (Autumn/Fall)

 

Breakfast lends itself so well to easy designs. It’s so much fun to surprise the boys in the morning with a different take on the same foods.

I was looking at all the crumbs at the bottom of the wheat-brick box and suddenly I knew how to utilise them in a fun way and yet so simple.

Brekkie Tree Autumn-Fall - Finished

Recipe

- Banana

- Wheat brick (crumbs are just fine!!)

- Seeds/nuts/raisins for embellishment. I used pepitas, sunflower seeds and raisins

Method

1. Slice the banana down the centre and then slice off the curved edge so the main trunk sits flat on the plate.

Brekkie Tree Autumn-Fall - 1 trunk

Add slices from the rest of the banana as branches.

2. Sprinkle wheat-brick crumbs around the “branches” and at the bottom of the trunk.

Brekkie Tree Autumn-Fall - 2 leaves

3. I then added a few pepitas, sunflower seeds and raisins. These add interest but also additional nutrients and texture.

Brekkie Tree Autumn-Fall - Finished

4. Then I poured the milk not knowing exactly what to expect ….

Brekkie Tree Autumn-Fall - Finished w-milk

5. And it looked cool!

Brekkie Tree Autumn-Fall - Finished full milk

 

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Tick-tock Pineapple Clock

As I had some older children coming over I wanted something still fun but a little “older” in terms of visuals. I was looking at a lovely, fresh pineapple and the segments just seem to fall into triangles and from there the clock was born.

My esteemed guests used the apple and pineapple as a basis for creating an afternoon snack for themselves and had a fantastic time.

Max also loved showing Joe how the Roman Numerals work so win win!

Recipe

- Pineapple (tinned if no fresh would do)

- Apple

Method

1. Start by cutting segments from the pineapple for the numbers 3, 6, 9 and 12.

Tick Tock Pineapple Clock - 1 Pineapple

2. Add the hands (from apple or pear). It was all simple until I tried to cut the circle for the middle!!

Tick Tock Pineapple Clock - 2 w-hands

3. Make the numbers from slices of the inside of the apple. I used Roman Numerals as it simplifies things enormously!

Tick Tock Pineapple Clock - 3 w-numbers

4. I added little apple rectangles for the other numbers. And, that is it – super simple!

Tick Tock Pineapple Clock - Finished

 

 

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Happy Birthday Catrina

My good friend Teresa from Melbourne was organising a sleep-over party for her lovely daughter Catrina who is turning 12 today! She decided to do home-made pizzas which the girls could make themselves followed by fruit creations inspired by my website. I am very honoured to feel a little long-distance inclusion in the festivities.

Catrina B'day - At the table

The girls were given a selection of fresh fruit and some classy, white plates to display their designs and then let loose. So much better than cake and twice as much fun I reckon, and by the look of the photos everyone else seems to agree!

Check out my new section “Kids Specials” to see the party pics.

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Gingerbread Veggie Man

I was wandering through the catering section of the wholesalers (Mummy heaven as my boys dub it) and saw the gingerbread cookie cutters. An idea came to me and yes, you guessed, it doesn’t contain any sugar ….. but is lovely and healthy.

Orange is an easy colour to get from fresh veggies so mashed pumpkin, sweet potato or carrot will work for this.

Although my boys are used to my designs they still loved this fun, really simple addition to the meal table. Even Roy was charmed (I think).

Gingerbread Veggie Man - Finished 1

Recipe

- Mashed pumpkin/sweet potato/carrot

- Buttons/eyes – I used peas

- Smile – I used a green bean

- Hand/feet décor – I used mashed potato

Method

1. Use a gingerbread man mold. I realised that I didn’t actually own one so used a regular “person” mold instead.

Gingerbread Veggie Man - 1 Mold

2. Then to make him more “gingerbread like” I squished him once out of the mold.

Gingerbread Veggie Man - 2 Squished

Sorry, I am the queen of improvisation – especially when I get to use my fingers!

3. Add buttons. I used peas but any round veggie (or veggie cut into circles would work).

Gingerbread Veggie Man - 3 buttons + mouth

Then a smile. I used a sliced green bean.

4. Add the eyes.

Gingerbread Veggie Man - 4 + eyes

Now he’s starting to look like a gingerbread man!

5. I added cuffs and feet to give him pizzazz using mashed potato.

Gingerbread Veggie Man - 5 + hand-feet trim

6. Or the posh version ….

Gingerbread Veggie Man - Finished 2

With olive eyes and carrot bow tie.

 

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Wholemeal-Roll Car

I saw these lovely, grainy wholemeal rolls and couldn’t resist. Their shape just screamed car to me and so on a lovely, sunny day I decided to put together an egg salad for the boys.

Really, really simple, fun and fresh you could even stuff in a lunchbox for a special fun treat
(with or without driver).

Wholemeal Car - Finished Side

I did two versions, one with an egg driver and one with a celery/carrot driver

Recipe

- Wholemeal roll (preferably rectangular shaped)

- Cucumber or large carrots for wheels

- Carrot for indicators/blinkers

- Corn kernels for lights (or yellow capsicum/bell pepper)

- Carrot for steering wheel

- Celery for bumper bars

- Boiled egg for driver (or carrot on celery body)

- Olive eyes for driver (or raisins)

- Chinese radish – I used for arms (or cucumber/celery)

- Hat for driver – I used radish for eggman and cucumber for carrotman

Method

1. Cut a 3 sided flap towards the back of the roll. This becomes the seat for the driver. You will need to remove a bit of the inside of the roll to make space.

Wholemeal Car - 1 Roll

2. Add indicators/blinkers (pieces of carrot) and lights (corn kernels). If you make a slight hole in the roll you can push them in. I cut the carrots in triangles and inserted the pointy bit into the roll to leave the flat piece exposed.

Wholemeal Car - 2 Steering Wheel & lights

Add a thick slice of carrot as the steering wheel (or cucumber/other round veg).

3. Add bumper bars. I used sticks of celery and stuck them on with some hummus I had in the fridge. I was rapt with them as they even had grooves ….

Wholemeal Car - 3 Bumper Bars

4. Add the egg. Cut him some arms and lay along the side of the “body”.

Wholemeal Car - 4 Egg Driver

5. Give him some eyes and a hat so his head is warm in the convertible!

Wholemeal Car - 5 Egg Driver with Access

He looks a bit of a demon driver so look out on the roads …..

6. Add some cucumber wheels. I cut a small slice off the bottom so they stayed in place easily.

Wholemeal Car - Finished Egg

The boys thought he was fabulous and begged for another for lunch.

Wholemeal Car - Finished Carrot

Mr Carrot takes the wheel ….

Wholemeal Car - Finished Back

See yah!!!

 

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Apple Helicopter

The bright red of this apple just screamed shiny paint. Combine this with the shape and there’s a helicopter just waiting to fly out!

This is fun, quick and simple and my boys were delighted.

Recipe

- 1 apple (green or red)

- 2 bananas (can just squeeze out the shapes needed using 1 banana if you cut carefully and use apple for the cab door)

- I used yoghurt for the clouds

Method

1. Cut the apple cheek to form the cab of the heli.

Apple Heli - 1 Apple

2. Cut two thin strips of banana to form the outside of the tail and another bit for the ski. I cut and took the photo and then realised the ski needed to be bigger once I put the propellers on (and looking at this photo now it should have been obvious!!).

Apple Heli - 1 b with tail & ski

3. Cut pieces from the inside of the apple to make the cross pattern in the tail.

Apple Heli - 2 tail + ski

4. Cut two more small strips of apple for the propeller struts top and rear. Slice long pieces of banana for the propellers on top and smaller ones from apple for the back.

Apple Heli - 3 Propellers

5. Slice a piece of banana or apple for the door on the cab.

Apple Heli - Finished

I also added yoghurt clouds for extra interest, calcium, probiotics and to dip into.

 

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Sheepy Egg

This idea came to me when Joe was little and he really didn’t like the “orange” of eggs but loved the white. When the whites are cooked on their own they get beautifully light and fluffy and lend themselves to sheep’s wool. Eggs are such an economic, nutrient dense food and can be used for breakfast, snacks or main meals. This is my breakfast version.

Sheepy Egg - Finished

Recipe

- Scrambled whites (I needed two to fill the mold)

- Egg yolk (cooked very carefully until a harder “skin” forms). Microwaves will explode egg yolks with delight so if cooking use very low heat for approx. 10 secs).

- Cheese – for sun’s rays

- Wholemeal bread sliced for fence

- Olive/raisin for eye

- Mushroom. I used one for the ground.

- I also used a tomato for flowers (see photo at end)

Method

1. Put cooked egg whites into a mold. If you push in they hold marvellously well.

Sheepy Egg - 1 Mold

2. Take sheep from mold.

Sheepy Egg - 2 Sheep

3. Put lightly cooked yolk and cheese rays onto top corner.

Sheepy Egg - 3 Sheep & Sun

4. Add eye to sheep.

Sheepy Egg - 4 Sheep & eye

5. Add toast fence.

Sheepy Egg - 5 Sheep & fence

6. I added a cut up mushroom for the ground.

Sheepy Egg - Finished

7. And I tried a tomato for flowers but not sure!!!

Sheepy Egg - Finished 2

 

 

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Max & Joe ‘do’ Clown Faces

 

Last night the boys saw the clown face I’d made as part of dinner and they were so inspired and wanted to do their own versions. I was tired, it was late and I said no …. but, after some high level negotiations we compromised on them doing their own but with no help from me at all. I got the veggies out (fortunately I had cooked enough potato) and set them up with a plate, a chopping board and a knife they can wield safely.

They sat in front of the Ipad and scrolled through the instructions on the blog (generously sharing some of the food with the screen) and were able to come up with their own plate each. Max had to help Joe with some of the chopping and they fought over the olives but aside from that it was smooth sailing. They were also so excited to eat their own work.

Which, does go to prove that the design may look complicated but it is actually very simple!!

Max's Clown Face

Max’s version

Joe's Clown Face

Joe’s

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Clown Face

 

I was staring at the most beautiful cherry tomatoes in my pantry for days. They were just so luscious and red, there had to be a perfect vehicle to showcase them. And there was ….

I love to have one meal a day where we have lots of raw veggies and today its clown day!
This design looks really colourful and is super simple.

Clown Face - Finished 1

Recipe

- 2 potatoes, peeled, sliced thinly around into circles and steamed (boiled) for face

- 2 Cherry tomatoes for nose and hat bobble

- 1 large celery stick sliced for hat

- Slice of red capsicum (red bell pepper) for mouth

- Carrot peeled into thin strips for hair

- 2 slices of olive for pupils

- 4 thin slices of red cabbage for eye crosses (could use any veggie you have handy)

- Decoration. I also used 4 wholemeal pasta spirals for additional hair and two baby spinach leaves and the top of a carrot for the bow tie.

Method

1. Take the potato slices and make into a round shape for the face.

Clown Face - 1 Potato

 

2. Add a tomato for the nose (slice the very top off so it doesn’t roll).

Clown Face - 2 Potato & tomato

3. Use the sliced celery to build the triangular shaped hat.

Clown Face - 3 plus hat

4. Add a slice of capsicum/bell pepper for the mouth and two crosses for eyes.

Clown Face - 4 plus hat + bobble

5. Place the other cherry tomato on top of the hat as a bobble.

Clown Face - 5 plus bobble

6. Add peelings of carrot as hair (roll around the fingers first to encourage them to curl).

Clown Face - 6 plus hair

I also added a few pasta spirals.

7. Add slices of olive as pupils.

Clown Face - 7 plus pupils

8. I used baby spinach and the top from the carrot to create a bow tie.

Clown Face - Finished 2

 

 

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Chick Pea Owl

Yesterday I was looking down at some sliced potatoes and they just looked like eyes. I started on this owl with the view to using cauliflower as the feathers. Then when I went to make some hummus to go with the Middle Eastern flavours of the meal I saw the chick peas and suddenly my owl was born.

Chick Pea Owl - Finished

This is really quite simple and easy to do and last night the boys dipped their veggies in with glee and Mr Owl vanished in a flash.

Recipe

- Chick peas – for feathers

- Hummus – for body (mashed veggies – potato/sweet potato/pumpkin/carrot would be good substitutes)

- Carrots – for beak, wings, feet (or other veggie that can be cut easily)

- Potato – for eyes (or other veggie cut into ovals)

- Pumpkin – for irises (or other bright veggie)

- Olives – for pupils (or raisins/dates/eggplant-aubergine)

- Parsnips/Spinach for branch/leaves

Method

1. Cut two slices of potato for the eyes.

Chick Pea Owl - 1 Potatoes

2. Add bright irises and dark pupils.

Chick Pea Owl - 2 Eyes

3. Form the body shape from the hummus (or mash). I used a combination of my favourite kitchen utensils (fingers), knives and a spoon.

Chick Pea Owl - 3 Body

Make his top feathers

4. Add carrot beak, wings and feet.

Chick Pea Owl - 4 Beak, feet, wings

(Cook the carrots in large chunks as it makes it easier to fashion wings and feet).

5. Cut cooked chick peas (tinned ones would be ready to use) in half and place across the chest and body as feathers.

Chick Pea Owl - 5 Body with feathers

Use a sharp knife to cut the chick peas to prevent them from breaking.

6. Add a branch and leaves. I used parsnips and baby spinach.

Chick Pea Owl - Finished 1

Then the mini-chefs said his top feathers looked like bull horns and his eyes were too cross eyed ….

Chick Pea Owl - Finished 2

And they were right …..

 

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Veggie Petit Fours

OK so I admit it I’ve gone a little Petit Fours mad but in my defence they really are so cool. What a great appetiser at a party or fun centrepiece at the meal table. They are bite (well, very large mouth sized) and can be made from anything that is in season and crafted to individual tastes if needs be. They are super simple and the kids can create their own.

Veggie Petit Fours - Finished

Recipe

- Veggies in season. Contrasting colours work best. I primarily used ones from a big roast veggie platter I was preparing:
  Roast Potato, pumpkin, parsnip, beetroot

- For decoration I used:
  Green beans, corn, roasted cauliflower & peas.

- For the “cream” I used mashed potato

- I also grated a little cheese onto the plate

Method

1. Cut the veggies to approximately the same size/shape and make into a stack with decorations on top. Round, triangular or rectangle shapes all work so well. Use the mash as an “oozy” cream layer in between the veggies.

Veggie Petit Fours - Set-up

I actually pulled these apart after making to show the internal workings so the beetroot juice has run a little into the “cream”. Occupational hazard of using beetroot! Interestingly though my husband – a long-term beetroot disliker– ate it when it was combined with other veggies like this ….. hmmmm ….

 

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Yoghurt Polar Bear

 

Yoghurt has always been a firm favourite in our house and gets used in smoothies, in dips and a variety of savoury recipes. It is also our substitution for ice cream and the thick, creamy texture makes it decadently delicious.

When the boys were small I realised how expensive it was to buy the good stuff produced without all the sugars and additives so we took a brave step and decided to make our own. It turned out to be ridiculously simple and cost effective to make and so now Roy is chief yoghurt manufacturer. Friday morning he impressed even me by making it before heading off to work (apparently he can streamline the process by using the bar mix – I reckon he just likes creating washing up …..).

I used a mold for this but then made some adjustments after previous criticism from the mini chefs.

Recipe

- Yoghurt (I used Greek style)

- Apple (or pear)

- Raisins (for details). Could be substituted for any dark fruit

- Polar Bear mold. (Any white animal could be used but I loved the whole Arctic feel)

Method

1. Place yoghurt in mold. If you are using runny yoghurt you could freeze for a little while to thicken up.

Polar Bear 2 - Mold

You may have to wipe around the mold if there is a little leakage.

2. Make the sun using the flesh from an apple. Cut a slice from the cheek and cut into a rough circle. Take strips from the side where the apple is longest and cut to a point for the rays.

Polar Bear 2 - Mold + sun

3. Put eyes, nose and claws onto the bear. I used very thinly sliced pieces from a raisin.

Polar Bear 2 - Bear + sun

Take him out of the mold.
I put a blob of yoghurt onto his bottom to round it out as I’ve had criticism that it’s not the “right” shape before! I also made a knife stroke down the centre of each of the two big “legs” to make into four.

4. Use small pieces of the apple to make the ice he is standing on.

Polar Bear 2 - Finished

This is a very versatile design as it could do for breakfast, snack, dessert or even as a party piece.

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Brekkie Racing Car

 

We had our first frost of the year today and so it’s cold but with glorious blue skies and sunshine. Made me think of breakfast and getting out and about so I put together something super simple that I knew would be a crowd pleaser.

Racing Car 2 - Finished

Recipe

- Breakfast brick. I used a Wheat Brick (I am experimenting with making my own oat ones and will let you know how it goes!)

- Banana (apple would be a good substitute if you prefer)

- Round fruit such a grape (I used half a cherry)

- Seeds for decoration

Method

1. Place the brick on the plate. Cut the smaller ends of the banana for the front wheels and from the fatter part for the back wheels.

Racing Car 2 - Brick & wheels

2. Cut a slice for the front of the car and two blocks for the back (the rear wing will balance on these).

Racing Car 2 - Front & back

3. Cut a slice for the rear wing (I am assured this is what it’s called !?!!?) and place on the blocks.

Racing Car 2 - Seat

Cut a semi-circle to become the seat behind the “driver”.

4. Cut the piece of fruit in half to become the driver. I also made him a little steering wheel.

Racing Car 2 - Finished 2

Decorate if you wish. I added pepitas and sunflower seeds for crunch, extra nutrients and colour!

This really is so quick and easy. Add milk and zoom into the day …..

 

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Pear Hedgehog

I can’t look at a pear without seeing some sort of an animal. Their shape just lends itself to creating! This is one I did for the boys last year and they were delighted by how cute it was. I love using seeds as they are chock full of nutrients and are a great healthy snack.

Pear Hedgehog - Front

Recipe

- Pear

- Dried fruit (I used apricots and sultanas)

- Pepitas (dried pumpkin/squash seeds). Sunflower seeds or almond flakes would also work well.

Method

1. Cut the pear in half and carefully remove the core.

Pear Hedgehog - Cut Pear

2. Make holes for the eyes, ears and nose (do not worry if they are not perfect as the fruit will squash over and cover any cutting ugliness).

Pear Hedgehog - Cut Pear + eyeholes

3. Add features to the hedgehog.

Pear Hedgehog - Cut Pear + eyes, nose, ears

4. Start adding the pepitas.

Pear Hedgehog - Caesar Do

He looks very Roman like this!
Initially you may find that the seeds seem to fall out quicker than you can put them in but persevere and work from the front backwards.

5. Cover completely.

Pear Hedgehog - Finished

 

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Meat Pie Cup-Cakes

 

This was one of my first designs and way before I discovered a healthy pastry recipe. Prior to this I used to cheat and use wholemeal bread. The advantage of this is its simplicity and the speed with which you can put together a recipe. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of supermarket bread but I arrived late at the bakery and all the wholemeal was sold out. So I decided to pop across the road and grab some regular, sliced wholemeal to use for this recipe as it’s shown on my front page.

(The bread “pastry” works really well for mini quiches.)

DSC_0049

Recipe

- Pie filling. I have used some left-over chilli.

- Mashed potato

- Wholemeal bread

- Cherry tomatoes

- Veggies/herbs for decoration

Method

1. Flatten the bread as best you can with a rolling pin (or clean bottle).

Mince Cup Cakes - flattened bread

It will stretch out and give you a larger surface area. This is also one of the few circumstances where I would trim off the crusts too.

2. Grease a bowl/patty tin (muffin tins work well for cup-cake sized pies) and cover with the bread. Cover well but try not to overlap too much. Use your fingers to squish it all down!

Mince Cup Cakes - Bread in bowl

Brush a little olive oil over the bread to stop it drying too much.

Mince Cup Cakes - Bread in bowls

3. Blind bake at 180 degrees for approx. 15 mins (will be crispy to the touch).

4. Make mashed potato.

5. Fill bread shell with filling.

Mince Cup Cakes - Mince in bowl

6. Bake pie with filling until warm (may pay to cover loosely to stop filling drying).

7. I have used a bar mix (stick blender) to whip the potato so it looks more “icing-like”.
Use a spoon to dollop mash on top and a knife to swirl it around to look like icing.

Mince Cup Cakes - Mince+ mash

8. Cut the end off a cherry tomato to make the “cherry”.

Mince Cup Cakes - 2nd Cake

9. Decorate with other veggies and herbs. I have used peas, corn, rosemary, thyme and paprika.

Mince Cup Cakes - First Cake

These got scoffed very quickly last night …….

Mince Cup Cakes - 3 Cakes

 

 

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Dinner Butterflies

I had some left-over Bolognese sauce and it was quite thick so I decided to put it to good use!

Dinner Butterflies - finished

 

Recipe

- Thick sauce or mince/chilli/meatloaf

- Veggies to decorate

 

Method

1. Place sauce mixture in a mold.

Dinner Butterflies

2. Decorate butterflies inside the mold. I have used a combination of veggies to give it colour and flair.

Dinner Butterflies - Decoration

3. Take away the mold carefully. I have added cut green beans for antennae and body.

Dinner Butterflies - out of mold

4. Serve with spaghetti/pasta/potato/bread and of course all the delicious veggies used for decoration.

 

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Egg Nest

My boys love spaghetti. I have found a wholemeal brand that is lovely and soft and doesn’t seem like chewy string so we are all happy! I enjoy making meals that tick all my boxes, lots of veggies, high fibre carbs, good protein and of course appealing presentation and great taste. This is one such meal and delights all my boys, big and small.

Recipe

- A boiled egg per person

- Wholemeal spaghetti

- Sauce (I made a simple, hearty tomato and fresh herb)

- Veggies (I served with peas, broccoli, corn and baby spinach)

Method

1. Cook pasta and add sauce

2. Wrap around in a bowl. If you can make the spaghetti roughly go around the inside of the bowl in big circles the nest will hold together easily once removed from bowl. I use my favourite kitchen utensils for this (fingers).

Egg Nest - in bowl

3. Once the bowl is full (you will have a slight hole in the middle) up-end on the serving plate.

Egg Nest - upended bowl

4. Remove the bowl. Push into the centre and make a hole for the eggs to perch in.

Egg Nest - nest

5. Place veggies around the side for foliage.

Egg Nest - nest + eggs

6. You can serve with any veggies on hand.

Egg Nest - broccoli

Egg Nest - spinach

 

 

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Quilt Cover

I had just finished making some Petit Fours from fruit and looked at the squares and they seemed to form a pattern and I couldn’t resist. A patchwork quilt for a cuddly toy jumped out at me and just begged to be made.

This is a really simple idea that anyone can create for a dessert, a shared snack or even for a special occasion.

Recipe

- Squares of contrasting coloured fruit – I used watermelon and apple.

- Pear – for the head, hands and tail (apple would work for a rounder head).

- Blueberries – for eyes, nose and mouth (cut out pieces of other fruit would be OK)

- Mint leaves – for bow tie (any accessories you fancy)

- I decorated one of my blankets with blueberries cut in half and mint leaves

Method

1. Cut squares of fruit to make quilt and pillow.

Tucked into quilt - set-up

2. Cut the side from a pear to make head shape.

Tucked into quilt - pear

Cut pieces from the side and trim to make rounder for ears.
Cut slices from the ends for feet and cut another slice for tail.

3. Cut two holes for eyes, a triangle for a nose and a mouth shape from the head piece of pear. Do not be too worried about it being imprecise as the blueberries will cover a multitude of cutting errors!

Tucked into quilt - pear face

Place two blueberries into the eye holes, the top of another in the nose triangle and slice around the bottom to form a mouth.

4. Put head onto pillow and loosely “tuck” under quilt. Arrange feet and tail and add bow-tie or other accessory.

Tucked into quilt - 1

5. Quilt can also be decorated if you wish.

Tucked into quilt - 2

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Petit Fours – 2

I made Petit Fours yesterday from Watermelon and it got me thinking. What a perfect party plate, a selection of bite-sized Petit Fours filled with colour and natural vitamins. They look so enticing and would be as at home in an adult soiree as a kid’s party!

I decided to design some more today and used apple as the base. Apples – of the apple a day keeps the doctor away fame – are such an all-round fruit. Tasty, economical, available all year and packed with soluble fibre, Vit C, B-complex vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Recipe

- Apples – larger ones yield better squares

- Other fruit for filling and garnish

- I used Greek Yoghurt for “cream dollops”

Method

1. Cut squares from the apple (and should you wish other fruits for layers).

Petit Fours - Set up

2. Build layers using contrasting fruit for fillings.

3. Top with garnish for a fancy cake effect.

Petit Fours 2_

Use any fruit that is available to create designs of your choice. Round, triangular or other shaped Petit Fours would look fabulous.

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Petit Fours

An alternative to the Watermelon Cake are the smaller Petit Fours. If you are looking for more of a “bite-sized” dessert/party food then these are for you. They also lend themselves to other types of melon such as Honeydew or Canteloupe (Rockmelon) that have seeds on the insides and therefore cannot be cut into larger triangles.

Follow the basic steps for a Watermelon Cake but use little squares or triangles rather than the larger sections.

Petit Fours

 

 

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Watermelon Cake

The ultimate substitution, swapping fresh fruit filled with vitamins and minerals for the standard party cake. Watermelon cake is delicious, light and refreshing. It is a great summer party food, especially when it’s hot and is very versatile. You can use any fruit for filling and its good fun to have people create their own individual slice. In fact, building your own cake is a fabulous activity for all age groups.

When I serve at a party I will pre-cut the melon and then have bowls of other fruit to choose from to build a personalised slice, which doubles the delight.

Recipe

- Watermelon

- Other fruit

Method

1. Cut a whole watermelon into wedges (pre-cut quarter or eigth pieces from the market/store work perfectly).

2. Cut slices to use for the cake. These must be approx. the same size so take from the same section of the melon. Slices work best if approx. 2cms thick.

Waterm Cake - Waterm Cutting

3. The skin can be cut off or left on.

Waterm Cake - 3 slices

4. Place other fruit on the slice. A light fruit like banana/pear/apple works well as “icing”. For best effect have a slight overhang so the cake looks as though it is “oozing” its filling once put together.

Waterm Cake - 3 slices + banana

5. Layer as many other fruits inside as you wish. Contrasting colours give visual appeal and of course different fruits yield different vitamins and minerals.

Waterm Cake - Banana + kiwi

6. Add another slice of watermelon and repeat.

Waterm Cake - Banana + kiwi + top

7. Finish with toppings and it’s ready to eat.

DSC_0008

8. And there are so many variations …..

Watermelon Cake - New

(If you are not partial to watermelon or would like smaller portions see “Petit Fours”.)

 

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Veggies at a Snail’s Pace

 

When I first started playing with my food, um creating designs about 3 years ago my good friend Vicki suggested using roasted veggies to make a snail. It seemed like a good idea and I have had it in my head ever since. Last night was the time. This is so simple I have not included pictorial steps, just the final photo. And it was delicious …..

Veggies at a snail's pace_

Recipe

- Roasted veg. I used potatoes, parsnip and pumpkin (sweet potato, carrots etc. would work too !)

- Peas for the “grass” – any green veg as a contrast is good

- Green beans for antenna. Use what you have available (ends of carrots/parsnips/ broccoli stalks).

- I used a slice of olive for the eye

Method

1. Roast veggies and then arrange in a loose circular pattern to make the shell

2. Place longer veg along the bottom to make the body and head. Can always slice the veggies in half to give them shape.

3. Put eye, mouth and antenna on.

4. Pour peas across the bottom.

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Egg-celerating Eggs

This is not my usual style and I don’t generally include things that can’t be eaten but the egg box just cried out to be used and I’ve had this running around in my head for weeks. I actually got the inspiration from an insurance ad – which is conclusive proof I need to get out more!

Egg.Eggs - Full Car Side

Max asked what I was making and I said eggs. His response was “egg-citing” and now I can’t get all the egg plays on words out of my head ….

Recipe

- Egg box
- Aluminium foil (aluminum)
- Boiled eggs (to your favourite consistency)
- 4 Large mushrooms (can substitute for any other round veg)
- Bread
- Tomato (again other round veg is fine)
- Yellow capsicum/bell pepper (lights are optional and could be orange ala indicators or white, headlights)
- Spinach (just because I have to stuff extra veggies into everything)

Method

1. Egg Box. I have used a 6 slot one.

Egg.Eggs - Box

2. I have covered in silver paper for hygiene and let’s face it, who doesn’t want a shiny silver car ….

Egg.Eggs - Box & silver

3. Cut mushrooms for the wheels. If you use the middle bit (slice off the top and the bottom) you get a great tyre pattern as shown as the third bit in the photo. These can then be attached with a toothpick (make a hole in the box first).

Egg.Eggs - Hats-Tyres

4. I have used a slice of tomato on a mushroom stalk for the steering wheel.

5. I have put on two circles of yellow capsicum/bell pepper for lights.

Egg.Eggs - Car Shell

6. Make hats for the eggs to give them character. I used carrots. See picture of tyres for how to. I also did other versions using the top of the tomato as a beret style cap or a cut out from the mushroom. Style is in your hands ….

7. Draw faces on the boiled eggs. I have used marker as it will not come into contact with the edible portion of the design. I have used two eggs as I have two boys but there is no reason you can’t have a bus ….

Egg.Eggs - Eggs

8. Make toast as luggage.

9. Put the eggs and toast into the car. Egg-cellent (couldn’t resist …)

Egg.Eggs - Full Car Black

Egg.Eggs - Full Car Green

 

 

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Fairy Glen

I had some left over pie-filling and pastry so decided to make a magical-mini table setting. I then got half way through and changed plan. And then realised I had another idea to simplify too ….

Fairy Glen - Rectangle Table

Recipe

- Pastry (recipe under Substitution Sunday)

- Filling (use meat pie/lentils/quiche/beans)

- Mashed potato (optionally dyed pink with beetroot juice .. which can’t be tasted)

Method

1. Roll out pastry and put into greased tin

Fairy Glen - Pastry in tin

2. Bake at 180 degrees for approx. 15-20 mins until crisp

3. Add filling.

4. Cover with mashed potato as table spread. Get smooth with a knife.

Fairy Glen - Pastry & mash

5. Decorate with your choice of veg.
I used:
Beetroot – for plates
Green Beans – for cutlery and vase. Seeds were used on one of the “serving plates”
Corn – for glasses
Parsnip – for serving plates
Carrot – for food on plate
Mash – for decoration

Fairy Glen - Rectangle Table

6. Make chairs. I used steamed carrots cut half way up to make seat with back. I then realised that the orange clashed horribly with the pink plate. OK it clashes with the table “linen” too but I could cope with that ….. just.

Fairy Glen - Rectangle Table & Chairs

7. Then in looking at it I realised the chairs lent themselves to a round table. I had run out of pastry mixture so just used a bowl, filled it with my meat/lentil mixture and put the potato on top. Voila, a cottage pie and a simpler version of the recipe. No pastry just a filler (mince or steamed veg & cheese or tomato, mushroom & tuna) topped with mash.

Fairy Glen - Circular Table

8. This is a design I put together previously using slightly different settings for the table and chairs. Your imagination is your limit 

Forest Table

 

 

 

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Pastry

Pastry is such a good medium for the creative and a great crowd pleaser at the table. I have to admit though I avoided it for years as it’s also not top of the “healthy foods” list.

Then I decided to see if I could make a substitute that would work for the family, and satisfy the husband taste test. I looked at alternatives on the internet and then experimented at home and have come up with something that works for us. Admittedly it’s not the uber flaky, melt in the mouth type of pastry found at a top deli but it does hold a healthy pie/quiche filling capably and its crispiness has won over many a party goer.

Recipe

1 ½ cups wholemeal flour
¾ cup wholegrain oats (or rolled)
1 cup of cold water

Method

- Pour flour and oats into a bowl
- Add cold water gradually (you may not need a full cup)
- Stir until the mixture forms a dough (should not be wet)
- Bring together with the hands (it will be quite stiff)

Pastry Mix

- Roll out on a board using a rolling pin (this needs a bit of muscle)

Pastry - rolling

- Roll as thin as possible. If it gets too thin holes will appear (test a little piece first to find the stretch)
- Place into greased pan/tin/baking dish or bowl for baking. It does shrink a little so be generous.
- Cook at 180 for approx. 25-30 mins (it will get crunchier and browner the longer it is cooked).
- If you are using with a filling then pre-bake for 15-20 mins before adding the mixture.
- If you want to make a pastry lid add once the mixture has been added. Egg washing gives a lovely shiny, appealing finish.
- This quantity would easily fill a large pie tin (25cm x 25cm) and make lid/cover as well.

It’s great to work with as there is no resting in the fridge and it’s very forgiving as holes/tears can be patched effectively.
I have used in many designs which I will share as we go. Today I will post “Two in the Bed”.

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Two in the Bed

I love using my healthy pastry filled with hearty ingredients as a centrepiece for a meal. Making and cooking the pastry doesn’t take a lot of time (recipe stored in Substitution Sunday section) and is very simple. It is also very flexible with lots of creative scope.

1. Make pastry

2. Roll out thinly and fill two greased tins. I have bought two baking tins from a catering store that I find very useful but anything that is the right shape (um, bed shaped :)) would work.

Pastry in tins

3. Pre-bake for 20-25 mins at 180 degrees.

4. Fill with filling of your choice. I often use a healthy pie filling (will post recipe soon) or a quiche variation.
Meat pie filling

5. Make mashed potato bedding (mashed sweet potato or other veg that hold together is a great substitute).

Mash bedding

6. Cut a steamed carrot across the wide end to make a head (cucumber, parsnip or other cylindrical veg could be substituted).

Two in the bed - green plate

7. Add “hands” by cutting indents into a smaller piece of carrot. Just cut slices out of one end to give the finger effect.

8. Make eyes from mash/peas/corn.

Two in the bed - original

9. Fashion a nose and mouth and hair if you’d like.

Two in the bed - red & broccoli hair

10. Use your creative talents to display.

Two in the bed - green plate & spinach

11. Serve warm with steamed veggies for a great meal.

 

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Designer Oats

I LOVE oats.

Not only are they tasty, filling, economical and easy to find but they have excellent health benefits. I could wax lyrical about how good they are for you but suffice it to say they are; high in fibre & proteins, essential fats and rich in minerals. They are a great low GI, slow release energy source and great for bowel health and reducing cholesterol (I could go on ….). Needless to say my boys have been stuffed full of them daily for years.

Oats are also made for art. They are a great creative medium so a fitting place to start for my first blog showcasing healthy food presented creatively.

Fish 1 - no milk

I have used cookie cutters as molds as it’s just so simple. Most people have a few kicking in the drawer so use what you have or pick them up cheaply from most of the discount stores or any cookware outlet.

Recipe
-

- Oats (I use wholegrain – if not wholegrain then rolled are better than “Quick Cook”)

- Milk – your favourite type

- Additions – I use a lot of nuts/seeds and dried fruit as these all go in my muesli but anything you have in the cupboard is fine (preferably not sugary things though )

- Cookie cutter (mold)
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I am very bad with measurements as I cook using the slurp of this, dash of that, ooops too much of that last one method of cooking. However, I will reform for the blog (hopefully).
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Method

1. I used a cup of oats and added some oat bran (any chance for extra fibre) then added milk to cover the oats (measurements will be determined by type of oats – I used about ½ cup). I then let them sit for 2 hours or so until they were nice and soft. You want them soft but not wet. I would suggest making them the night before you are ready to design so they are nicely soaked and sticky.
If you, like me are a NOW sort of a person then you can microwave for instant soft results (approx.. 1 min on high).
Note – This quantity will fill 3 standard cookie cutters. Each one contains approx. 1/3 cup of packed oat/milk mixture which is a standard serving size for children aged 5. You can add/remove to suit age and appetite.

2. Choose a plate/bowl that can have liquid added and place a cookie cutter on and stuff full of the oat mixture. Make sure you pack all the corners (molds with lots of thin bits do not work well as they are hard to fill). I use my favourite kitchen utensil to do this – my fingers …..You may also have to wipe around the bottom with a cloth once filled as a little liquid can leak out.

Croc - in mold

3. Remove the mold and decorate the design.

Croc - no milk

4. Pour milk around in front of your audience for a great spectacle. For this reason I favour fish, turtles, crocs etc. as they are water dwelling animals so can be returned to their “environment” with the addition of milk.

Croc - milk pouring

5. For pre-prep or different effect freeze the oats once you have removed from the mold and then add hot milk at the table for serving.

Croc - milk_

6. For the croc I used pepitas (pumpkin seeds) along his back and sultanas for eyes. I then sprinkled almonds, dried apricot pieces, coconut, sunflower seeds, pepitas and sultanas around to make the “swamp”. They also give the oat breakfast texture, flavour and add additional nutrients. Any nuts, seeds or dried fruit would work.

7. This would also make an excellent supper!!

More Ideas:

Fish

Fish 2 - Milk

Snowman

Snowman_

Turtle

Turtle - Milk

Stars

Star - Milk

16 Responses to Blogs / Recipes Previous

  1. Gail says:

    Who would have thought oats could be so enticing. Can’t wait to get the kids to try it!
    Love the blog, look forward to being a regular.

  2. Vickster says:

    Wow! I cannot believe these designs are nutritious! They look great, I can’t wait for the next blog.

  3. Gail says:

    Petit fours are a great idea and look fabulous Judith. I will use them for Wil’s birthday in a couple of weeks. Any healthy savoury suggestions for these…

  4. Gail says:

    Hi Judith
    What is blind baking???? Love thd quilt with thd petit fours and spaghetti Bol butterflies are gorgeous and so easy. I have some spaghetti left over and will do them this week… G
    Ps: how’s the savoury petit fours coming along???

    • Judith says:

      Gail,
      Thanks so much for the positive feedback.
      Sorry, have obviously been watching too many cooking shows !! Blind baking is pre-cooking for a while without the filling.
      I have done some savoury Petit Fours as I am obsessed by them at the moment. They are jsut so simple, so versatile and so effective. Will post later in the week as I was experimenting again today :)

      Judith

  5. Craig Smith says:

    Judith’s work is Artistic, Fun and I love it !. how to get your kids enthusiastic about eating healthy food and having a blast while you’re doing it. Hee Haww. Craig

  6. Diana Simich says:

    Judes, loving the petit 4′s……thinking of adults as well as children!

    • Judith says:

      Thanks Diana. As you can see I love them too as they are so simple, so versatile and so visually appealing. And, I am not yet finished with the series ….
      Judith

  7. Gail says:

    I’ve missed a few creations in the last couple of weeks, but that clown us brilliant. A summer clown could be done too I guess…. Banana for face, strawberries, etc. even honey des or watermelon. Excellent stuff Judith. I look forward to seeing a fruity clown soon… Gx

    • Judith says:

      Thanks Gail. You are right, a fruit clown would be fab. But before that wait until tomorrow as I will be uploading the boys clowns. They got all inspired by mine and had to do their own. It shows just how simple it really is to reproduce !! Judith

  8. Diana Simich says:

    That looks like lots of fun, must be disappointing to go do other work!!!!!!!!!!
    Go Max and Joe- what a great job!

  9. Gail says:

    That brekky tree is awesome!!!! We r all having them tomorrow! You just get better and better… Look forward to new creations..

  10. Neil says:

    Thanks for the Decadent Apple Cake! You can make it for me next time you are over.

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