It feels like ages since my last ‘what ori ate’ post. Don’t worry, I have been feeding him! I’d say his weaning process is pretty much complete now and he is eating all the same foods as the rest of the family. Still, I like the title of this series and Ori deserves to have it named after him as he is, by far, the best eater in our household. He has such a great appetite and a willingness to try (and eat) any food that you pass his way. It really is so rewarding and I’m very thankful to have such a loyal taste tester for all my kitchen experiments. I’m always looking for new food inspiration, so please please email me or comment below with any of your favourite recipes or blogs that you like to follow. Here are some of our recently enjoyed meals.

 

 

giant cous cous with roasted carrots, rocket, feta & sweet chilli sauce / nutty nutty goji bars / mango & sticky coconut rice / peanut butter, dark chocolate & hemp seed cookies / easy chicken miso & noodles / cauliflower crust pizza / sweetcorn & red onion fritters / super-porridge bowl with blueberries, goji berries, banana & avocado / ori tucking in to his favourite ‘green goblin’ wholewheat pasta with blitzed brocooli & stilton sauce.

Forever on my quest for healthier sweet treats for myself and the boys, I have begun to collect quite a number of recipes to try. We’ve experimented with wheat-free, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free and sugar-free baking (sometimes all in the same recipe!) and we’ve eaten our way through a whole lot of cake. Not all of my free-from experiments have gone as hoped, but it’s been lots of fun trying new things and learning what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to blending baking with special dietary requirements. The main thing my friends with children ask me for, is a good kiddie friendly birthday cake recipe, that isn’t laden with sugar. So, I found five different recipes to make, all taste tested by Omi and Orion – with brutally honest feedback (there’s no other way with kids is there?!). All these cakes are refined sugar free, meaning that they don’t contain processed white sugar, but are sweetened with fruit or natural sweeteners such as pure maple syrup. Yes, these are still a form of sugar and although these recipes are healthier, these cakes and sweet recipes are still very much a celebratory treat.

 

 

1/ Banana & Blueberry Cake

Thank you to homemade baby food recipes blog for this recipe. There are plenty of great looking recipes on this website, and a whole selection of sugar free baby birthday cake ideas too. Scroll down the page here to find the recipe for this banana and blueberry cake. I substituted the wholewheat flour for spelt flour, the butter for dairy-free sunflower spread and the apple juice concentrate for good quality pure pressed apple juice. My frosting was made from cream cheese beaten with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. I made this for my friend Amy’s little boy’s 1st birthday party, and it was given to all the children in their party bags. The cake turned out really nicely. It was a good height, lovely and moist and full of flavour, without an intense sweetness. The kids really loved this one, they ate all of theirs and asked for more. A thumbs up from Omi.

 

2/ First Birthday Apple Sauce Cake

Thank you to Megan at Detoxnista blog for this one. I adapted her first birthday apple sauce cupcake recipe – only by placing all of the mixture into a savarin cake mould. This recipe is very very easy, especially if you make up some apple sauce in advance (I made mine with 2 cooking apples, peeled and chopped and stewed with a little water for half an hour). I cheated a little here and iced the cake with two tablespoons of icing sugar mixed with a little lemon juice. However, there are lots of dairy and sugar-free cake frosting recipes to try – for example you could try this vegan cream cheese frosting, this avocado frosting or this cashew nut frosting. The cake itself was really tasty, and sliced easily. If you’ve baked with coconut flour before, you will know what I mean when I say it brings a certain density to a cake, as it’s fine texture absorbs more liquid than average grain flours. Because of that, I’d say this is more of a Sunday cake than a wow-factor first birthday cake – though it didn’t stop my kid’s from tucking in.

 

3/ No-Bake Peanut Butter Bar Jungle Cake

When me and my brother were younger, my Mum would always bake us a fantastic birthday cake each year. We had giant 3D care bares, trains, scaled-down edible zoos, desert islands, ship-wrecks, sports cars, sylvanian family houses (and so on). Birthday cakes really are a Mum’s time to shine aren’t they? But without bowls of coloured butter icing, an endless supply of chocolate smarties and two boxes of matchmakers, what are the options for a creative sugar-free birthday cake? I’d been meaning to try these peanut butter bars for ages, and when I finally gave them a go, they were so good that they seemed perfect for creating a no-bake celebration cake from. So, the bars became rocks for an edible jungle, with desiccated coconut mixed with a little green food colouring for grass, a selection of plastic jungle animals (from amazon) and some paper palm trees (from ebay). The boys absolutely loved playing with their jungle and were ecstatic when they realised they could eat the rocks and the grass. If not a headliner birthday cake – an idea definitely worth making for the party table.

 

4/ Beetroot & Chocolate Cake with Beetroot Frosting

Thank you to Erica at Coffee & Quinoa for this lovely recipe. She use turbinado, which is a raw cane sugar – though you can find lots of other raw sugar alternatives on the market now. You could try coconut palm sugar, or do what I did, which was to use 100g of medjool dates (pitted and blended with 4 tablespoons of water). This made the cake really sticky and fudgy. Just be sure to bake it a little longer than the recipe suggests, and test that the cake is completely cooked before taking it out of the oven. I think I took mine out a little too early, as it was still quite wet and had stuck to the tin, even after cooling (hence we named our slightly wonky version ‘the boob cake’ – see photos!). You can also use vacuum packed beets, which save lots of time, but do compromise flavour a little. I would have loved to have made Erica’s dairy-free avocado frosting, though I fancied a pretty pink cake, so I mixed cream cheese with one finely grated beet (all juiced squeezed out) and one tablespoon of melted coconut oil for a quick icing. We shared this cake with some visiting friends who absolutely loved it. The boys did too. Omi named it “the happy cake” and it even got divvied up to my dairy-free friends (icing removed!) as they were keen to taste it. Great flavour, dense, rich and moist. I’m looking forward to making (and eating) this cake again. A definite contender for a chocolatey birthday cake.

 

5/ Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies

This is a recipe from the lovely Ella over at Pure Ella. I use Ella’s free-from recipes all the time and they are always great and taste amazing – without the guilt. These brownies were no exception. Sweet, fudgy and rich – just perfect cut into squares, piled high and topped with candles for a special birthday treat. We all loved making and eat these brownies, and have made them again several times since our first go. Ori adores them, as you can see!

 

*if it’s a classic looking round refined sugar-free chocolate birthday cake that you are after, I can highly recommend a couple of cakes that we have baked a few times lately – that were amazing. This flourless chocolate cake is incredible and so rich, you only really need one layer. You could try topping with a sugar-free frosting (this one’s my favourite) or even doubling the recipe and icing between the layers for a more traditional looking birthday cake. If you fancied a denser flourless chocolate cake, try this one – it is so good and made with ground almonds.*

We did a little cooking post for the Ma Books, which is now online if you’d like to take a look. I’d been wanting to try out baking monkey bread for so long (especially after seeing recipes here, here and here) – but had been put off by the amount of refined sugar needed and also the amount of time (and patience) we would need to make our own bread dough from scratch. So I came up with the idea to use a smaller amount of coconut palm sugar, as well as some home-bake shop-bought refrigerated bread dough. Okay, so I certainly would have preferred to have made the bread myself (and I promise I’m going to try soon!), and I’m sure the recipe would taste a million times better with fresh dough – but, for time-skinny, health conscious parents, this recipe might just do the trick (as good as using one of the Village Bakery machines to make the process even faster). It was tasty, we nibbled for days and you can find the full recipe here.

 

 

Do take a peep at the Ma Books – it’s a beautiful online collection of stories, poems, photographs, recipes, ideas and memoirs from mother to mother, curated by one of my favourite women, Jess.

We are really and truly ready for some Spring sunshine over here. It’s perhaps a little wait away yet, but the longer days and lighter mornings are certainly helping to shift our mood and look forward to the new season ahead. Personally I’m excited about long afternoons spent in the garden, potting plants and fresh herbs, preparing more raw foods and wearing fewer layers! For the time being, we have settled for turning the heating up – and wearing our summer clothes indoors.

Last year, I discovered Billie Blooms and made a little e-friendship with the founders of the company, Libi Molnar and Ashley Liemer. They started Billie Blooms in 2014, with the vision of creating high quality, environmentally and ethically conscious, unisex bloomers for babies and toddlers. Working in tandem between Brooklyn and Miami, Billie Blooms was born. The company has excelled in it’s first year; with features in vogue, babyccino kids, babekins magazine and martha stewart, but to name a few. My boys have a couple of pairs of bloomers each (worn with tights through the winter) – and they absolutely love the comfort and ease of wearing them. The fit of the bloomers accommodates cloth or disposable nappies perfectly, and although Omi is now three, he can still wear his 18-24 months (the top size) comfortably. In fact, the bloomers have really eased him into his potty training for boys, as he loves to wear his ‘special pants’ when he has his nappy-free time. I can’t rave about these bloomers enough and I hope you have time to look at the beautiful selection of mindfully chosen fabrics that they are made in here, the full story behind the business here and the $1 per pair of bloomers sold giveback to every mother counts.org here.

Ori (18 months) is wearing the Jourdan bloomers in 12-18 months and Omi (3) is wearing the Alex bloomers in 18-24 months.

Probably a little late for this post – but I have just done a very last minute stocking filler online shop for the boys. I think today is the last guaranteed post day for ordering online, so if you are short of a few bits, and can’t stand the real-life shops at this time of year (don’t blame you), I hope you might feel inspired by some of the ideas below. When I think about Christmas gifts and the children, I have several words that pop in to my mind. These are ‘meaningful’, ‘useful’, ‘educational’, ‘loved’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘lasting’. One of my favourite quotes is by William Morris and states; “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” This really chimes in my head every time I think about making a new purchase. Over the years we have made such an effort to condense our belongings (I often joke it is so we can leave the country again and run away at the drop of a hat), and I don’t see why we should start overflowing our living space with unnecessary objects as we get caught up in the gift giving frenzy of the festive season. This year, the boys will receive a joint present (here) and a small stocking with a few toys and books from Owen and I. We also have a tradition (that started last year!) that the boys will gift each other a Donna Wilson knitted creature for their beds. Below are some of the bits that I chose for Omi and Orion, as well as gifts I purchased for other children in the family and my friend’s kids too. I hope you agree that they are all useful, beautiful, or both. 

wooden robot / animalium / dombo cup / cushion / henri’s walk to paris / what’s inside? / stickle bricks / bug bingo / evolution colouring book / super hero costume / bamboo bowl set / floating duck / london puzzle / the wonderful egg / circus dominoes / maps / lucky boy sunday toy / once upon an alphabet / wooden camera / wooden puzzle.

Have you checked out The Ma Books yet? It is a beautiful online collection of stories, memoirs, photographs, thoughts, feelings and ideas . It is the ultimate camaraderie blog for any mother or parent, looking for a supportive and compassionate internet-space to dive in to, when you have a few precious minutes to yourself. The Ma Books is curated and hosted by Jessica Kraus, super mamma of 4 boys – who also blogs over at House in Habit as well as selling her gorgeous hand crafted teepees via her Etsy site. I really don’t know how she does it all. We just had a little cookery blog post shared on The Ma Books this week – which you can look at here. Omi made some very tasty (and easy) mini blueberry bakes. The photos – ah man, i love that little guy.

 

 

Don’t tell Omi…but we just ordered him a play tent from Jess’ House in Habit store. We’ve been saying that we’d get him one for ages now. Every time the door bell rings, he asks if it is the postman with his teepee. We’d planned to give it to him for Christmas, but I just don’t know if we can hold out that long.  I can’t wait for it to arrive. Teepee Time!

Hello Hello! This has felt like a long time in the making (at my end anyway) – but I am very excited to announce my first ever giveaway, here on Mammina. The blog turned two years old back in September and I really wanted to celebrate this tiny corner of the internet, that is mine, all mine (cue evil laugh). I’ve kept blogs for many many years now, mostly photography (this one is very old!) and even a ridiculously cheesy poetry blog (that has now been deleted for all of our sakes). I’ve tried to work out why I like blogging so much. I can be very shy in nature, and I definitely don’t like the limelight – but I do like to share my thoughts and ideas – and deep down, I hope that I might even inspire a few people along the way. Keeping this blog has probably kept me sane over the last two years! Since having the children, my life has taken turns that I never could of imagined. Becoming a Mother has slowed me down in lots of ways, and has made me focus on the realness of life as it presents itself each new day. I don’t find it easy at all and some days I wish I could just be free of my mummy duties. However, I don’t need to explain the outweighing beautiful gains of Motherhood – and I have to say, I have never felt so inspired and so creative as I do now. My blog has been my creative focus and I have tried to view it like a real job; using every ounce of my spare time to collect images, edit photos, write, cook, photograph, plan and connect with others. In short, it means a lot to me. I have no idea how many people read it, or what they think (though my friends and family are always very complimentary – thanks guys) but I just felt that I needed to mark this little birthday and somehow say thank you, to anyone who may read my little blog.

 

Emotional bit aside….I think you’ll agree that there are lots of lovely treats available to one lucky winner of this giveaway! I really have to say a massive thank you to the lovely sponsors who have kindly donated prizes. I want to keep this competition as simple as possible. The rules are – you can enter one of two ways (or both to increase your chances). Firstly, you can enter by simply commenting on this post (don’t forget to leave your email). Secondly, you can enter via your instagram, by adding me on IG, sharing this image, tagging three friends that you think may be interested in taking part, and hash-tagging the post with #mamminagiveaway. These details (and image) will all by on my instagram account here. I would also love you to add our sponsors too (details will be on my instagram giveaway post). The giveaway will run for two weeks, you can post as many times as you like, and the lucky winner will be picked at random on November 12th.

 

 

 

You could win all of these lovely things!

 

1/ Gregory at Beauchamping has promised an extra-special secretly made (not so secretly now) special edition silk screen gold print of his fantastic tribe artwork. We have a black tribe print at home, and it’s just my favourite.

2/ A limited edition (it’s all limited edition – it’s all so special) Ace & Jig crayon tank. The ladies at A+J are doing such an amazing job creating beautiful designs with an emphasis on textile construction – hand dyed and hand woven in India.

3 / A pair of Billie Blooms children’s bloomers. Blooming lovely they are. The boys have a couple of pairs each and I have to say, they are just super. BB is run by  run by (also blooming lovely) Libi and Ashley, and is based at their respective homes between Brooklyn and Miami Beach. I hope you can check them out, because it’s a great business, with a great cause too.

4/ Needs no introduction. The amazing Bobo Choses children’s super peanut t-shirt. Without a doubt, my favourite children’s clothing brand. They just can’t do no wrong by me.

5/ The hardest working super-mamma in town, Alice Hedley, creator of Amy & Ivor moccasins, has kindly offered a pair of her  wonderful handmade shoes to our giveaway. In a nutshell…these are the best baby and toddler shoes ever made. We love them in our house and you can read more about that here.

6/ I first came across Corrin’s work on instagram and fell in love with her monochrome designs and beautiful illustrations. The giveaway winner can request a custom made plate – with text of your choice.

7/ More glorious artwork from the super talented Ella Masters. Up for grabs is this A3 Big Pop print.

8/ Indie Nook created this children’s red balloon tank in loving memory of young Ryan Cruz Saldana, who sadly died in a road accident earlier this year, aged three. Although I have no personal connection to Ryan’s family, his death shook not only his direct community, but also our growing network of blogging / instagram-using Mothers. The red balloon collection hopes to raise awareness, offer support to Ryan’s family and remind us all to be grateful every day.

 

So, good luck everyone! Thank you for taking part!

Here we are moving into Autumn! I like Autumn. I think lots of people do. My lovely friend Amy has chosen some favourite things for her little one for the coming season, as well as some treats for a Mamma too. Amy said that she thought about what would be the best autumnal day…..A walk out to feed the ducks, playing in the crispy orange leaves then home for a hot chocolate in your pyjamas in front of the fire with your best toys. I couldn’t agree more. For more inspiration and loads of beautiful ideas, you can follow Amy on Pinterest here. Thank you again Amy. That Muku dress….argh want it so bad. 

 

 

1/ Interactive weather map by Corby Tindersticks

2/ Black enamel milk pot by Labour & Wait 

3/ Alpaca rabbit animal hat by Oeuf NYC

4/ Boys thermals by Goat Milk NYC

5/ Grey wool herringbone shawl by Engineered Garments FWK at Envoy of Belfast

6/ Leisurewear by CosNavy pleated 3/4 sleeved dress by Muku

7/ Laureus jumpsuit by Bobo Choses

8/ The big whale – by Talpathings

9/ Kids yellow wellies – by Hunter

10/ Geometric merino pram blanket by  Sarah Elwick

I came across these photos on my laptop earlier this week. They were taken a couple of months ago, in the middle of the summertime. We baked a sugar-free orange and pistachio sponge. The photos are pretty, but I’m not going to lie – the cake was really awful! I’m forever hunting for and trying out refined sugar free cake recipes, but I won’t bother sharing this one with you this time! However, the cashew cream filling was really tasty, and a great dairy free alternative. We did have a fun few hours creating havoc in the kitchen together though, and I really appreciated our time alone together. We decorated the cake out in the garden, filling it with the nut cream and some fresh fruit. To finish off, Omi placed the top on the cake and gave it a good slap with his palm. This made me laugh. A slapable cake is probably not a good sign right? Omi saw my response as a cue to slap the cake again. I laughed some more. He slapped it again, and again and we fell about giggling. Then I scooped out all the fruit and cream, and we ate it. Needless to say, the rest of the cake went in the bin.

 

 

The recipe for cashew cream can be found here (I put a dash of agave nectar in mine). If you have any tasty sugar-free baking recipes, please do send them my way!

I have to say (smug parent alert) that I am pretty pleased with how Ori’s weaning and general eating is coming along. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not the best eater – he can get distracted easily, he can throw food and he refuses to sit in his highchair a lot – but when he’s caught at the right times, he can fully troff a big meal down. Once a baby-led-weaning purist, I have since switched over to the ‘bit of both’ team, and we are offering Ori food on a spoon at every meal time, as well as finger foods that he can pick up and eat as he likes. We still give him (and Omi) exactly what we are having for breakfast, lunch and dinner and this is my favourite part of the weaning and feeding process. Family mealtimes have always been, and always will be, at the top of my priority list for us as a family. There is nothing more satisfying, for me, than watching my children polish off a home cooked meal. It’s been a busy few weeks with Owen away, and us being in Scotland – but I’ve managed to snap a few of the meals and snacks that we’ve enjoyed.

 

 

scallion pancakes stuffed with chinese vegetables + grilled chicken / homemade yorkshire pudding filled with mashed ‘neep’ (swede + carrot) + boulangere potatoes + asparagus / spelt + cinnamon hearts / strawberry purée + cashew cream / teriyaki salmon + red rice bean salad + roasted sweet potatoes / garden strawberries / mixed green bean + orzo minestrone / peanut butter drops / banana + linseed pancakes + fruit / watermelon / ori enjoying marmite pasta + a watermelon + mint mini icelolly.