Feb 15, 2018

RAINBOW CUPCAKES


When I'd been in London I totally felt in love with cupcakes.
Any kind of cupcakes... Big... Small... Any tipe of cupcakes. Vanilla... Chocolate... And above all... any colour of cupcakes.
There were lots of places that sold cupcakes and I really loved to buy some to taste after dinner. I love to buy one of a kind to have as much colours as I could.
Colours were everywhere on the top and inside too. Butter creams had all the shades like a rainbow and on the top of the cream there were lots of coloured sugars. Also inside the cupcakes were coloured. My favorite was red velvet red inside and white on top! So nice and so good!
Backing home I really wanted to find a good recipe to bake all kind of cupcakes in all the shades.
Sure, I know food colouring is not the best thing to eat and I don't like to give to my children and I also had to find a good gluten free recipe to bake my perfect cupcakes.

First of all I started to look for a kind of "natural" food colouring and I found out that there are not only natural food colouring but natural organic food colouring and they could find a good food shops.

I thought I could mix colours to have more shades so I bought just the primary ones: red, blue and yellow.

Then I found a good recipe for cupcakes and butter cream and try my gluten free version of them. Lucky for me that not took my too long. I have gained extensive experience cooking gluten free and that helped me.

So here my version of these lovely cupcakes that would be a very good dessert at the end of  Valentine day's dinner.


Cupcakes
Ingredients
125g butter
125g sugar
60 ml mik
2 eggs
115g gluten free flour
baking powder
vanilla extract

Instructions
Use ingredients at room temperature and very soft butter (but not melted) for best results.

Preheat the oven at 170°C and then grease the pan your going to use. You can use 24 sections cupcakes pan or 12 sections muffin pan.
I used to 24 sections small cupcakes.

Mix butter and sugar with food processor until light and fluffy then add 1 egg at a time mixing very well.
Add flour and baking powder mixing until well, when incorporated add milk and vanilla extract and mix.

Divide the batter into the pan.

Bake 12 minutes for 24 sections cupcakes pan and 18 for 12 sections muffin pan.
Let cool the cupcakes 5 minutes inside the oven and then 15 minutes outside the oven.


Buttercream
Ingredients
150g soft butter
300g icing sugar
1 or 2 tablespoon milk
food colouring

Instructions
Powder food colouring must be added to icing sugar before starting to mix it with the butter, the colour of the icing sugar would be lighter than the effective colour at the end of the process, so don't add to much food colouring!
On the other hand, if you are going to use liquid food colouring, just add few drops at the end of the process.

Mix butter and sugar with food processor until creamy.

Put the batter into the pastry bag and start to garnish your cupcakes one by one.


Variations
Add chocolate chips to the cupcakes batter before baking.
Make different colour buttercream.
If you use liquid food colouring, add it to the buttercream and don't combine completely to have a marble effect.

Kids can help
Younger children can help putting ingredients into the mixer and dividing the batter into the pan.
Older kids can also use the scale to weight the ingredients and in order to learn units of measurement.
Ask your kids to add decorations on the top. My little one chose withe stars sugar in contrast of the red top buttercream.














Enjoy your cupcakes!!! 
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May 24, 2013

Fruit Snack





Like other little children, my little one doesn’t like fruits and vegetables very much. That’s why it’s hard to me to find a good way to give her fruit and vegetable every day.
I have to find different ways sometimes, because she gets tired easily of the same recipe.
On the other hand, this fruit snack is her favorite, she likes it very much and she eats it anytime. It’s easy and fast to prepare and I make it for my children very often.


Ingredients (1 serve):
1 Pear
1 Banana
1/2 glass of milk
1 teaspoon of sugar
Peel the pear and the banana, put them in the mixer with milk and sugar and mix until smooth.
Taste it before serving, you can add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough or milk if it’s not liquid enough.
Serve it in a glass or in a mug with a straw.
If your children, like mine, don’t like to taste new snacks, straws will make the snack more interesting and funny to drink.

Variations:
Bananas, milk and sugar are the basic ingredients for this snack, but pears can be changed and you can use other fruits instead of it: apples, peaches, apricots, strawberries, etc…
You can also try to mix more than one fruit to the basic ingredients, just try and put some creativity in your snack.
Adding some cereals, dried fruits or nuts on the top it will get more tasty and good as dessert after dinner too.

Don’t forget to ask your children to help you to choose the ingredients and preparing the snack.
Be carefully: knives and mixer must be used by adults and not children!
Follow my suggestion for cooking with children, also you will find other tasty and easy recipes to cook with your children.



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May 9, 2013

Friendly Snake






Spring could be a very rainy season and children (and parents too) could get bored of it. When children are tired and bored of the same games in rainy days it’s time to “build” a new friend together to play with.
This project is easy and keeps children very busy for some time during the work and then they will play with it for days.
This funny project is a good one to make with little children too. Little children should be helped more but they will have great time.
Just my last suggestion: if you have more than one child, make a snake for each child. I made just one snake  with my two children and when we finished it they started to fight for the snake.

What you need
  1. 4 or more rolls of toilet paper
  2. Split pins
  3. Scissors
  4. Crayons
  5. White paper 
  6. Glue
I had 6 rolls of toilet paper and I gave three to each of my children to decorate with crayons.
My little one needed lots of time to decorate just one roll because she had no idea and she didn’t know what to do, so I helped a little bit decorating the rolls and giving her ideas on decorations.
Anything is a good decoration: colored circles, hearts, stars, lines, etc.
Anything your children like to draw.

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When all the rolls are decorated, cut two small triangles  on each side like in the pictures.

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In order to join the rolls together, make little holes on each side where you are going to put the split pins. Do not allow your children to do this step because it’s very dangerous!
Then join the rolls with split pins like in the pictures below.



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Repeat this step for each roll.



On a white paper, draw two funny eyes and a long red tongue with crayons and cut them out.
Remember to help little children during this step and please do not allow your little ones to cut with scissors.


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Stick the eyes and the tongue on the very first roll.


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And here your  Friendly Snake!


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Don’t forget to give it a funny name!



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Apr 5, 2013

The Great Duckling





One of my jobs, as a mom, is to help my children  to learn what is dangerous and what is not in their life.
Little children have to learn lots of things during the day at home. Just the daily life at home must be very stressful for them. They have to learn how to live in a house, how to behave, what is right or wrong, etc.
 
Often they haven’t the ability to understand those things immediately, so parents have to talk and try different ways if talking is not enough.
Lots children’s fears start from that: the child is uncomfortable, starts to cry and hasn’t the ability (or words) to describe what’s wrong. On the other hand, the parent could not understand, and if doesn’t find a good way to talk, has to imagine what it could be. But sometimes it’s so difficult to understand that parents must try different ways to help the child.
And that’s exactly what happened to my little child and me!
She has always been a joyful girl with no fears, just new things to be careful of.
I’ve always known she doesn’t like to wash her hair very much but nothing more than that. She’s usually had her bath or shower without any problems since last year.
From that time, anytime I washed her hair she started crying and shouting and she didn’t want to wash her hair. I understood she didn’t like water in her eyes.
Personally, I didn’t experienced that annoyance and my older child never told me she was annoyed by water in her eyes.  So that’s my first time I faced this problem.
I asked her what was wrong but probably she hadn’t the right words to explain. She told me the water was burning her eyes, so I thought it was too hot for her.
It wasn’t the temperature!
Could it be the shampoo???
I told her I would be more carefully with the shampoo. She told me it was just the water
So, if the water in the eyes was the problem, I told her to “look at the ceiling” when I washed the hair.
Bad idea! 
When she looked at the ceiling she saw the water coming down and she started shouting and trying to come out the bath.
I tried to wash more gently, and using a container for some warm water in order to be more carefully of the direction of the water.
Nothing!
Reading a book I saw a little boy who covered his eyes with a towel.
Ok! Lets try!
Nothing again!
Months went by and I wasn’t able to find a solution. Meanwhile, having bath was getting more and more difficult for both of us.

duck400 Then I found a towel with a lovely duckling stitched on it.
It was a gift that was stuck in the pile of towels, I used it sometimes but without a special meaning. It was just one of her towels like any other.
I had an idea!
Dumbo can fly with a feather! The duckling would be our feather!
We started our bath time as always, and as I’d thought she didn’t want to. I put her in the warm water with all her water toys. I left her some time to play with water toys.
Then I told her it was time to wash her hair but I had a surprise: The Great Duckling would send the water away from her eyes.

roll3
I folded the towel and I put it on her face and I told her to stay calm and look at the ceiling.

It worked!!!!!
I was more than surprised!!!
I washed her hair while she sat in the water, completely calm and relaxed, with her face under the towel.  She asked me about the duckling and I told her it was there, sending the water far from her eyes.
Nothing more than that!!!
Since that day we’ve used The Great Duckling any bath time and she’s never cried or shouted because of water in her eyes.

At the end of the bath, the towel is always soaked and her eyes full of water but she feels good because The Great Duckling was there to send the water away from her eyes, and now she is more calm and cooperative during the bath.
Thanks to The Great Ducking I learnt a lesson about children: I can’t do all the job by myself, I need someone who helps me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a real person or a stitched duckling on a towel. With a little bit of creativity a normal towel is now a good friend who helps us to bring joy and happiness in our home.
One day she will understand that water is not so dangerous and we all will laugh about it!

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Mar 15, 2013

Sweet Hearts





Some days ago, I had to cook some cookies but I was very  late to bake them. I had no time: I spent my afternoon playing with my children and then I realize there wasn’t enough time to bake cookies.
Well, I found out that frozen puff pastry and some jam would be good enough to bake cookies.
Sure, they would have been different from classic cookies but easy and quick to bake.
This is a very very easy recipe to bake quickly lots of delicious cookies. I made it with gluten free puff pastry, but it’s good with any puff pastry.

I suggest quantities and jam flavor, but changing quantities you’ll have less or more cookies and jam flavor has to be the one you like. You can also make different cookies with different jam flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 250g frozen gluten free puff pastry (or any puff pastry if you don’t need gluten free one)
  • Strawberry jam

Preheat the oven at 180°C.
Defrost the frozen puff pastry. Microwave oven would be perfect.
Then flatten the puff pastry with the rolling pin on a board. Don’t forget to put some gluten free flour on and under the puff pastry (on the board) and some on the rolling pin or your puff pastry will stick on the board and on the rolling pin.

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Cut out heart shaped cookies from the puff pastry with shapes that should be normally used to cut out cookies. I used a heart shape but any shape is good for this recipe, it can use any kind of shape: stars, animals, and so on…  or cut out different shapes, in order to have different cookies.

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Cover a pan with waxed paper and lay all the cookies on it.
Put a teaspoon of strawberry jam on each cookie, spread all the jam on the cookies and leave just a little edge.

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When finished bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.

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Enjoy your cookies!! 

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