Recipe Organisation

I’ve gone a bit OCD on my recipe collection. I say ‘a bit’. Some may say ‘a lot’. I’ll let you decide.

I shop once a week. It’s so much better. If it’s all planned out I save money because I only buy what I need. Plus, I can go on the weekend without the kiddies. And shopping without children is like a holiday in itself. So amazing. 😉 So, once a week, I plan. I look through my big cookbook collection and choose 6 recipes and make my shopping list. I have a tick-what-I-need shopping list (inspired by my parents-in-law) that is organised aisle-by-aisle for my local supermarket so that I don’t have to back-track and can be super-dooper efficient.

A while back I found these awesome free printables and I started a post it note system. Basically, I planned out 6 meals for each week (1 night of leftovers) and wrote the name of the dish and where I could find the recipe. This was working great – until I ran out of wall space!!

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I wanted to keep this reference system of recipes I wanted to repeat, so, I needed to go one step further. I watched this video about recipe planning and organisation. And I was blown away by this woman’s system. Wow. But, I decided I just couldn’t keep this one up… I figured I’d slack off and it would fall by the wayside. So, I compromised. I got myself a ring binder and laminated blank sheets of paper. Then hole-punched. And bought an AWESOME binder divider that sticks out past the pages (why are they not ALL like that????). So, all my pretty little post-its had a home.

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Hint: Buy the “super-sticky” post-its. It’s totally worth it.

So, my kitchen corner looks like this. The orange and green binders have my post-its (one for parents, one for kids). The blue folder is my savoury recipe collection and the red is dessert. The cookbooks on the bench are the ones I need for the week. And loose recipes (from the blue and red binders) that I need for the week go in there. It’s also a good place for loose ones to wait until I get around to filing them.

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And I printed one more planner for the kids since the little munchkin is just starting on baby-led weaning, and the big munchkin is needed more interesting food!

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Recently, I also managed to buy a second-hand chest freezer online, so I’m trying to keep track of what is inside (this is just another white laminated page that I can draw on with whiteboard markers) so nothing gets forgotten.

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And finally I have created an excel file for recipes I want to try based on this website’s ideas. As I read through a cookbook or magazine, I can file away the ideas, rather than having notes and scribbles floating around the kitchen.

And it’s all working well! But there’s always room for improvement – hit me up with any other cool ideas!!

Cheesy Vegemite Scrolls

Mmmm…. who needs to spend a fortune at the bakery when you can make these at home??? Super easy to make from this recipe here.

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I used a mix of plain and wholemeal flour. I think I’ll also cut them smaller next time – they rose a lot in the oven! I think you could also do some great other combinations, like tomato and cheese and spinach and ricotta. Please add a comment below if you have any other flavour inspiration.

They went down a treat with the little one!

 

Macaroni Cheese

 

 

Macaroni Cheese is one of those things that I remember from school lunches. They used to come from the tuckshop in a little foil dish, with a perfect mound of cheesy-pasta-y goodness. The cheese on top was the best bit, and I’d do my best to eat the flesh and save the skin until last!!

These are a great toddler meal because you can just use leftover pasta sauce. Mix the sauce with some cooked macaroni, mozzarella and parmesan and bake in the oven until golden.

It’s really fun to deconstruct with little fingers!

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We *may* have made a large serve for ourselves for dinner the next night after sampling these little pots of delish!

 

Cheesy scrolls (& risotto balls)

One of the Mums at playgroup had these hiding in her daughter’s lunchbox! They looked so yum… I just had to try them. They were super easy and I had to seriously stop myself from devouring the leftovers.

1. Take one piece of puff pastry (I prefer the yummy butter variety), thaw it a little, and smother it in leftover, homemade pasta sauce.

IMG_35442. Top with cheese.

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3. Roll the piece up and then slice into 1cm (or so) slices.

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4. Bake in the oven at about 200⋅C for about 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven.

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You could put all sorts of things in these. Spinach and ricotta would be yum!

I also found this fantastic recipe for pumpkin and bacon risotto balls. You don’t need to make the risotto in the traditional way, you just throw the rice in the oven with lots of water and it soaks up the water. I didn’t use stock, just water, and I made it with spinach and carrot. The little one loved them!

A “Very Hungry Caterpillar” birthday party

I couldn’t resist doing something special for her first birthday… special, but simple! We planned to have a park picnic, so I wanted something that we could easily transport outside, however, we were thwarted by the pollution and had a living room party instead.

We had to be a little bit flexible with some of the foods. We couldn’t find strawberries, so we used Happy Baby strawberry snacks instead. I didn’t want to be serving ice-cream on such a hot day, so we did wafer biscuits. The head of the caterpillar was a chocolate cake, and the body was banana cupcakes – baby friendly ones, but the icing wasn’t baby friendly!! So I left a few aside for the little ones. All in all, quite a success, and pretty darn easy too!

The printables were found here.

There was quite a bit of sentiment in the cooking too. The chocolate cake is my great-grandma’s recipe, and the cupcake recipe is my Mum’s favourite that she always baked for our birthdays as kids. Below is my adapted, baby- and allergy- friendly version.

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Banana cupcakes

  • 60g butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cup SR flour
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • olive oil (2 eggs worth)
  • 3-4 tbsp soy milk
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Mix together. Put into patty pans. Bake for about 12 minutes. Makes about 16.

Baby-led Weaning – meatballs, fritters and apples

Life is busy. Super busy. Moving countries is a challenge. There’s so much to think about and time just flies by so fast!!

But, I have a few recipes to throw at you today.

These meatballs are delish. Don’t just feed them to baby, cook them for yourselves! The apple keeps them yummy and moist and adds a nice bit of texture. Plus, they’re a great size for little hands.

Beef, Rice and Apple Meatballs (Original recipe here: Beef, quinoa and apple meatballs):

  • 400g beef mince
  • 400g cooked brown rice (too hard to get Quinoa in Beijing)
  • 1 grated apple
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • pepper
  • 1 egg

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and then roll into small balls. Place on baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes until brown all over.

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I also started looking for a replacement for potato fritters to liven things up. I’m trying to get more variation in her diet. It’s so easy to cook the same things. These babies were a little wet and it was difficult for them to stay together. I think either drain the carrots for a while to reduce moisture, or chill them in the fridge for a while before frying. But, either way, yum!Carrot Fritters (Inspiration recipe here)

  • 4 large carrots, grated/food processed
  • 5 spring onions chopped
  • 2 tsp. cumin, pounded

  • 1 tsp. fennel, pounded
  • 6 tbsp. flour
  • 2 eggs

Roll into balls and flatten in the frypan.


IMG_2963Adella has never really like fresh apple. I think she finds it a little too hard to bite into with her little teeth. So, we’ve been making stewed apples – which she loves! Then, I was thinking back to Girl Guides, and I remembered makin
g baked apples on the campfire. Mmmm….

Baked Apples (Inspiration recipe here)

  • Apples
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (or equivalent)
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg

Core the apples. Place them in a baking dish and pour over the oth

er ingredients. Bake until soft and cooked through.

No surprises that the family all had these for dessert with a big dollop of yoghurt!

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Baby-led Weaning Journey – 11-12ish months

Woah. 12 months is almost here. Where did that time go? As we’re prepping for our big move, I’ve been a bit slack with cooking and blogging and the like. I seem to spend my few minutes of free time making lists and calculating costs. Fun.

Sadly for bubs, strawberry season is over. We stretched it out as long as we could, but those little red balls of deliciousness just aren’t as fresh and juicy any more. Ayi had a bit of a panic. “But she LOVES strawberries. What can I feed her now?” Following this baby-led weaning program, I really didn’t want to ever get stuck in a rut of feeding bubs the same thing at the same time (fearing a picky child), but it seems that ayi was stuck in one without me noticing.

(As much as it is wonderful to have an ayi, there are some hiccups… but I know…. MCP).

So I helped ayi through this difficult time (!) with some delicious seedless grapes cut in half, de-stoned cherries, mangoespeaches and stewed apples. All of which satiated the little one. “See, ayi? She can eat other things!”

When we’re feeding her (her two arvo/evening meals) she continues to have a wide variety of things. I’m trying more and more to save a serving of what we cook the night before so that she has a new meal to try. Lasagne and other pasta based dishes are definitely a fave! And hommous is also popular. We try to keep a supply of veggie slice, lentil cakes and banana bread in the freezer for a quick go-to. (If you are looking for more recipes, I try to pin them all on this pinterest board).We’ve had a little bit of meat recently. Not a whole lot. Mainly because we usually cook vegetarian at home and I’m always a bit dubious of restaurant meat (for her), but when we spend the money on a nice cut, we should share a little with her I guess!

  • I’m always on the hunt for new ideas and recipes…What do you keep stashed in your freezer for feeding baby? Drop a comment below…

She also loves Bellamy’s baby porridge, which Grandma brought over from Australia for her. And she can feed it to herself now with a spoon. The only tricky bit is the last few bits stuck in the edges of the bowl, but Mummy and Daddy can help with that.

Yesterday we also discovered pears. Super ripe and squishy and much easier to eat than fresh apple.

Our only unsuccessful dish recently was noodles. I don’t think she minded the flavour, but they were super tricky to eat. She kept getting them stuck on her fingers and arms and it was too hard to get them in her mouth. I suspect I need to improv my cooking of noodles and perfect my noodle-to-sauce ratio.

I also recently bought a snack cup that I have attached onto the pram. This is great for going out as it is great entertainment trying to get the little snacks through the lid, and also is great coordination practice.

It is so wonderful to see her turning into a real little person. She has discovered a great game. When she has finished eating, she now feeds all the leftovers to me or Daddy. Yes, some may be half-chewed, or be a mix of fish and yoghurt, but it’s such a cute game! And I feel it (hopefully) discourages the wasting of food.

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Patiently waiting whilst Mummy does some cooking. 

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I just had to snap this…. I thought it looked so cute! A mini-meal! Steak and veg.

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And almost all of it went down! She was having a bit of trouble biting through the meat strips, and also bit her tongue in doing so, so cut them up into smaller pieces and then she fed herself.

So, after 6 months of BLW, I can definitely say that we love it! It makes our lives so easy when we go out, and we spend so much less time prepping food. The only thing that we didn’t follow, according to the book, was breast-feeding on demand. We stuck to our 4 hourly feeds during the day, which has now been weaned down to two feeds (1 morning, 1 evening). I can highly recommend it to anyone!

  • Her first birthday is coming… do you have any great baby recipes for birthday parties? Drop a comment below…