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Muesli Cookies

Monday 28 March 2016
I baked these cookies to use up some muesli that my girls had decided they didn't want to eat for breakfast.  Not wanting to waste anything, and in need of a morning tea snack, I added the muesli to cookie dough.  The cookies are delicious, filling, and very moreish but not too sweet.

Muesli Cookies

250g muesli or 150g oats and 100g dried fruits
100g wholemeal flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tblsp light soft brown sugar
75ml golden syrup
75g butter, melted
1 large free range egg

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4.  Line two oven trays with non-stick baking paper.

Put the muesli, flour, cinnamon and sugar into a bowl and stir well to combine.  Melt the butter then add the egg and golden syrup.  Stir until completely incorporated.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until well combined.

Dollop tablespoonfuls of the mixture on to the trays, leave a little room for spreading.  Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.  Leave to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

YumBox and Lunchbox Love Notes Review

Tuesday 22 March 2016
My youngest daughter was sent a Yumbox by EatWell-UK to review and she absolutely loves it! There's two designs, Classic and Panino, we tried the Panino as she thought it would suit her school packed lunches better than the classic design.

The Yumbox comes in a wide variety of colours and is very sturdy, as well as being easy for small hands to open.  It also fits into most standard insulated lunch bags.

The Yumbox has a removable tray which has an illustrated guide to help you pack healthy portions of different foods.  Handy for ensuring a balanced lunch when in a rush, and also good for avoiding a lengthy debate with children about how much of each food group they should be having.

The Classic Yumbox tray is divided into five ½ cup portions of the key food groups: Fruit, Vegetable, Grains, Protein, Dairy. Plus a small well for a dip or a treat.

The Panino Yumbox tray is divided into a large (2 cups) portion (perfect for a sandwich or salad), 2 (1/2 cup) portions and a dip well.

Even better, the Yumbox has a leak proof lid that also means that food will not cross the portion sections.  I am so glad that it means there's no need for numerous plastic bags, multiple containers, clingfilm and snack packs, everything is contained in the one leakproof box. 

The Yumbox can be packed the night before, the silicone lid keeps everything fresh, if it is stored in the fridge overnight.

We were also sent some LunchboxLove notes. The handy 12 pack of cards has positive messages and trivia on them, you pop them into your child's lunch bag to remind them you are thinking of them throughout the day.  I thought my 9yo might be a bit old for the cards but she was delighted with them, as was one of my older daughters.

Eat-Well-UK was set up by Bouncy Jam who are importers and distributors of a range of unique and stylish products including Yumbox (the leak-proof lunchbox) and the Tidy Table Tray (bringing babies to the table).  There's a fab blog on their site along with a wealth of useful lunch and dining products for both adults and children alike.  Do take a look.

Quick Vegetable Tagine with Couscous

Monday 21 March 2016
My daughters like a filling and delicious packed lunch, and I like them to eat healthily and well, but we are inevitably short of time and patience on weekday mornings.  We need a delicious lunch option that will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, or one that is easy to whip up on a busy weekday morning.

This cheap and easy vegan lunch option keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days, the flavour improves on keeping too.  We just make a large batch of couscous each night for the next morning.  It is delicious warm or cold, my daughters have taken it to school warm in flasks as well as in a lunchbox accompanied by an ice pack to keep it cool.  We've also had it for dinner with some steamed greens for a quick and light supper option.  You can vary the seasonings to suit your taste and the vegetables according to what you have available.

Quick Vegetable Tagine with Couscous

1 Tblsp oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 onions
3 carrots
3 courgettes
2 peppers, any colour will do
1 tsp each cumin and allspice
1/2 tsp chilli powder (to taste)
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

300g couscous
600ml hot vegetable stock

Roughly chop the vegetables into a small dice, around 1.5cm/0.5 inch dice.  Add the oil to a large pan over a moderate heat and cook the prepared vegetables for a few minutes until they start to soften.  Add the spices and cook for a minute until fragrant before adding the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas. 

Simmer until the vegetables are tender.  Season to taste then serve over couscous.  Put the couscous into a bowl and pour in the hot stock.  Stir to combine, cover with cling film and leave to stand for 5 - 10 minutes then fluff up with a fork to separate the grains.

'5 A Day' Cake

Sunday 6 March 2016
This is basically a banana cake with a whole lot of extras added.  I decided to use up as many items as I could in one cake, the result was delicious, thank goodness!  I used two of the carrots in our Wonky Veg Box in this cake, along with a large courgette from our veg draw in the fridge which needed using up, and 4 spotty over ripe bananas from our fruit bowl.  I decided to add some dried fruit as we had various part packets that were leftover from Christmas and I wanted to use them up too.  

This cake was a definite hit with my family and it was a welcome treat in lunchboxes for a couple of days.  I'm sure there must be at least a couple of your 'five a day' in this cake as it is packed with fruit and vegetables.  I was wondering what to call this scrumptious creation when my 9yo declared it to be "5 A Day Cake!" and who am I to argue.

'5 A Day' Cake

150g grated courgette
150g grated carrot or sweet potato
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g caster sugar
75g sultanas
75g dried cranberries
75g dried apricots, finely chopped
3 medium free range eggs
300g mashed banana, use over-ripe ones if you can
150ml oil

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6.  Grease and line a 23cm/9 inch round springform cake tin.  

Squeeze as much moisture out of the grated courgette as you can using your hands.  Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb into a bowl.  Mix in the sugar and dried fruits.  Add the eggs, mashed banana and oil to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Add the grated courgette and carrot then beat the mixture for a minute or so until the vegetables are evenly distributed through the cake batter.

Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin.  Bake for an hour then check if the cake is done by inserting a skewer into the centre, it should come out clean.  If not, turn the oven down to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4 and bake for a further 10 - 15 minutes.  Test again with the skewer.  When the cake is cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  

I am entering this delicious cake into Credit Crunch Munch, created by Helen and Camilla, hosted this month by Travels for Taste.

I'm also entering this cake into Extra Veg, the blog challenge created by myself and Helen to encourage us all to eat extra portions of vegetables.  Helen is hosting this month.

Parsnip Loaf

Friday 4 March 2016
As I mentioned in my previous post, we were fortunate to be able to buy a Wonky Veg Box from Asda.  In our box was a very large parsnip which I decided to use in a cake.  I altered a Carrot Cake recipe that I have used for years and the cake was delicious! It was sweet without being overly so and the parsnip kept the cake moist but still light in texture.

The cake was scrumptious with a cuppa and we had a slice for pudding too, with custard of course.  You could use carrot instead of parsnip, or even sweet potato if you wanted to.  It is very quick to make and you don't even need to use a mixer.

Parsnip Loaf

150g light soft brown sugar
200ml oil
3 medium free range eggs
60ml golden syrup
200g grated parsnip
250g self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon or mixed spice

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4.

Grease and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with non-stick baking paper.

Measure the sugar, oil, eggs, and golden syrup into a bowl.  Stir to mix until completely combined before adding the grated parsnip and stirring once again.  Add the flour and cinnamon then mix until just combined.  Do not beat the mixture or the cake will be heavy and tough.  

Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin and level the surface.  Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes or until cooked through, there should be no crumbs on a skewer inserted into the cake and the top of the cake should spring back when lightly pressed.  Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I am entering this cake into Simple and in Season which has a new home, it's being hosted by Katie over at Feeding Boys.  If you're blogging a delicious seasonal recipe, do pop over and link it up! 

Caramelised Onion and Cheddar Swirls - Bready, Steady, Go March Linky

Wednesday 2 March 2016
We were fortunate to be able to purchase an Asda Wonky Veg Box, they were very popular and sold out rather quickly in our local branch. It was good value and the vegetables were hardly wonky at all, there were a great many onions in the box however and I developed more than a couple of recipes to use them up.  I made a large batch of caramelised onions in my slow cooker and used them as a base for French Onion Soup, Onion Gravy which we had with Toad in the Hole and I used some in these delicious bread swirls for lunch last Sunday.

Caramelised Onions (Slow Cooker)

50g butter
2 Tblsp oil
2kg white onions
1 Tblsp light soft brown sugar (optional)

Put the butter and oil into the slow cooker and turn the heat to high so that it will melt the butter whilst you prepare the onions.  Peel the onions and cut off the top and bottom.  Slice the onions in half then slice each half lengthwise into thin slices, about 0.5cm/0.25 inches thick.  Put the prepared onions into the slow cooker, stir around so they are coated in the oil and butter mixture then put the lid on and turn the heat down to low.  Cook on low for 7 - 8 hours.  If you are in a hurry cook the onions on high for around 4 - 5 hours.  The onions will become soft and golden and delicious.  Add the sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.  If not using the caramelised onions within a few days, freeze in portions.

Caramelised Onion and Cheddar Bread Swirls

500g strong white bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant dried yeast
1 tablespoon oil
330ml luke warm water
200g carmelised onions
200g grated cheddar cheese

Put flour into a large bowl with the salt and yeast, make a well in the flour and add the oil and luke warm water. Mix until a rough dough forms then knead, either in a mixer with a dough hook fitted or by hand, until smooth and elastic.  Put into a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove until doubled in size.  

Knock back the dough then roll into a large rectangle about 30cm x 40cm.  Sprinkle with a handful of grated cheddar then evenly spread over a the caramelised onion followed by the rest of the grated cheddar.  Roll up the rectangle from the longest side to form a tight log.  Cut the log into slices about 5cm thick.  Place the slices cut side up on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.  Cover with cling film and leave to rise for half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 220C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 7.  Remove the cling film and bake the swirls for 20 - 25 minutes until golden and cooked through.  Leave to cool for 10 minutes then devour.

Bready, Steady, Go! Challenge Guidelines

Bready Steady Go! will run from 1st until the 28th of each month and then a round up will be posted by the hosting blog at the end of the month.
You can link up any yeasted bread or cake recipe.  Only yeasted breads please, either natural yeasts (sour dough) or commercial yeasts. No yeast free quick breads or soda breads.  If you really love baking bread then you can add multiple entries up to a maximum of 3 per blog each month. 
Please link back to Baking Queen 74 and Utterly Scrummy Food For Families and include the badge to help spread the word.
We’d prefer to see entries from new blog posts where possible but you can also add old posts if you add the badge and link back to our blogs as well.
You can tweet your entries to @BakingQueen74 and @UtterlyScrummy using the hashtag #breadysteadygo and we will retweet all that we see.
All entries will also pinned to our new Pinterest board as they come in.
If you make a recipe from a book/magazine/website etc please respect copyright and do not reproduce the recipe verbatim. Instead of copying out the recipe from the book, describe it in your own words and if it’s from an online source please link to the original content rather than copying full recipe.

So what are you waiting for?! Bready, Steady, Go bake some bread!

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