Chocolate and Banana and Apple

Two lots of baking this week first a Birthday cake. Just plain despite the numerous suggestions his small sister came up with the 13-year-old was reluctant to have too much fun -it’s very serious being 13 you know.

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Just a regular chocolate sponge with chocolate buttercream and chocolate sprinkles -enough chocolate for you yet? It was yummy of course.

Second was an adjustment on a banana loaf to make a banana and apple loaf. Looks good but won’t be taste tested until it goes to a bring and share lunch on Saturday.

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Killing the perfect

I’m reading a book at the moment. I like reading but I struggle with reading good novels because I like to get absorbed in the story and carried away with reading and real life is always getting in the way. But right now I’m reading a book of ideas, it’s challenging but I’m persevering. I reached a point where the book told me to put it down and go kill the perfect person I want to be -in my case the perfect mum and the perfect friend have got to go. I can’t move on until I kill off the people who don’t exist, who I will never be.

It said to not come back until I was done but it’s a long and winding road and I want to read the book. Because, like I said, it’s interesting and challenging. I do know I need to stop trying to be the perfect – that what I’m trying to be isn’t even perfect really just an image in my head built on so many things, many of which aren’t even fully true. I’m so good at recognising how great other people are but I really find it hard to appreciate myself. I don’t think I’m going to be able to switch off the perfect image I can’t measure up to just like that but I’m committed to the positive decision to step back from it and teach myself to be kind to me.

Today’s recipe is applesauce muffins to use up the leftover applesauce from last week’s flapjacks sugar-free and low-fat, how healthy.

They mix up nicely. Only problem I came across was probably because I need some proper muffin tins, the muffins stuck to the inside of the wrappers.

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They rose beautifully and cooked in the time suggested. It’s past the taste team’s bed time so they weren’t available (and are sceptical about apple flavoured thing apparently) but I liked them. They are really not very sweet at all and taste better with a little butter but overall will make a good breakfast I think.

Perfecting a recipe

So very tired this week. Having a poorly child for a week really takes it out of you. Have massive admiration for people who have to combine parenting with paid employment elsewhere. I’m so fortunate to be able to take things at the pace I need to after being team-no-sleep for a week. Having said that, being able to get out of the house and miss the drama and tears involved in convalescing may also have its benefits. Today I’ve been a let down to my daughter as I have failed to take her to the pirate swimming pool, failed to let her play in the play area (after she said she didn’t want to until 2 minutes after we passed it) , failed to allow her to eat ice cream rather than her lunch and made her wait an unacceptable amount of time before going in the hot tub (yes we have a hot tub -please don’t judge us it came with the house).

So today I was baking with the kitchen assistant in the kitchen. Fortunately, she was occupied with her own project and let me have peace for working on my apple flapjack recipe. Full story in tomorrow’s special occasion blog. But for now here’s a sneaky peak. It’s very sticky!

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Right at the other end of the scale to the last lot of flapjacks this time I thought I would try to make flapjacks with no refined sugar taste as ‘normal’ as possible.

Made two lots one after the other.

Melt:

50g butter or coconut oil

2 Tbsp Honey

Mix in:

150ml apple sauce (mine is homemade just by peeling coring and chopping Bramley apples and cooking with a little apple juice until soft then whizzing up in the blender)

Then mix in 200g Oats

Place in lined tin and bake for 20-30 minutes at gas mark 5 (I used 4 but my oven is extra hot)

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The taste team (made to do a blind taste test) couldn’t really tell the difference between the butter ones and the coconut ones, they just thought both were very strongly apple flavoured and the butter ones even more so than the coconut.

I like them which is the main point, so far they’re not keeping me off the other item available with a lot of sugar in it but I think they have potential.

 

Hmm gluten free woes.

I’m not running late I’m officially moving to Mondays as I can have time to myself to bake without assistance if I want to. Most of this week I’m going to be trying to sort out the excess stuff in my house so I’ve got a clear space to clean as I have invited people over for the first time since we moved in at the end of the week and would like them to be able to sit down not on a cardboard box!

In the spirit of trying to reduce gluten and sugar and because one of the people who maybe coming to visit is gluten free thought I would give some grain free muffins a try. The recipe I was working from was just apple flavour but as I didn’t have enough applesauce I substituted some forest fruits. This may have been a mistake, keep reading…

First I managed to throw them all over while trying to put them in the blender, including on my new white dress, it’s gone in the wash, fingers crossed it comes out! I added the apples and some apple juice too and it made quite a nice smoothy at least.

The recipe was an all in one bowl type which are popular with me because easy!

At first it looked pretty, but then the whole mixture went purple and then brown. Did not look too appetising. I forgot to put the timer on and got distracted talking about sparkly carpets on whats-app but my reliable nose reminded me to check before it was too late and they came out perfectly done.

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Sadly still not looking super appetising. The sweetness is great but the texture is not to my taste. Not sure how much is to do with the specific recipe and how much is to do with needing to get used to the texture of coconut flour. Also they seem a little greasy.

Have some ideas to try something similar with wheat flour as sugar-free is more important to me personally.

And now back to painting things…

Simple pleasures

This week’s blog is a little late, the baking challenge is still on track it’s just the writing that’s been pushed back by illness and crazy painting lady trying to get ready for carpet fitting which is happening as we speak.

This week we’ve had a lot of struggles with our natural tendency to be perfectionists and feel down on ourselves when we do things wrong. It’s an ongoing issue for both the adults in the house although we’ve both come a long way but it’s a whole new thing to teach our teenagers about how to work hard but be gentle with yourself and not put yourself under pressure or think that you will never be good enough. It’s a real reminder that what you tell your children is not as important as who you are, they will follow your example, not your teaching. There’s not a whole lot of joy in the feeling of your child struggling to see how awesome they really are but the joy has been there so much in having friends to turn to who can say in truth it’s ok, it’s normal. Also, a good time to remind ourselves that it really is difficult being a teenager and being there for them is important even when it’s hard .

This week my commitment to bake was challenged by not finding it fun, we made carrot cupcakes midweek. It wasn’t fun, the kitchen assistant didn’t like the smell and it all got a bit stressful. The cakes were ok but not really delicious and we still have some left. Made me remember the whole point of the challenge is to do something for me, something fun. My small person loves to bake too so I fell into the trap of feeling bad if I didn’t include her. But the point of the challenge is not to exclude her but to have fun and find the joy for me as there’s already plenty of joy in her life -it’s really an inspiration how much she loves the things she loves.

The second lot of baking this week was much more fun. I did lots of prep myself and asked for help with mixing which went well. I was looking for a low sugar flapjack recipe but I didn’t have dates or bananas. So I ended up mixing it up with several recipes as ideas and making my own one.

We melted: img_20170123_190910.jpg

50g coconut oil

2 tbsp nut butter

4 tbsp honey

1tbsp brown sugar

Mixed :

1 apple -peeled and grated

250g Oats

Added the wet ingredients to the dry and mixed some more.

It was a bit stiff to mix, probably not quite the right balance of wet and dry ingredients.

We baked it for 20 minutes at gas mark 4 in our extra hot oven so probably higher or longer. Looked good and was yummy enough to be gone within 24 hours. It was a little dry so I’ve got plans to adjust the ingredients and try again soon. It’s not perfect first try but that’s ok we try again and keep working and remember we are still awesome 🙂

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