Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Great Gluten-Free Experiment, Part Two (aka Worst Cookie Photos Ever)

Seriously, these photos were taken under just about the least ideal conditions possible. The cookies are in a plastic box. They are arranged according to how they would fit into said box in one layer, rather than according to how they would look nice. They were taken by me, crouching down on the ground with the box on my lap. Oh Dear.

But you know what? I'm still posting them. Because I was really happy with this set of cookies. I made them for our table to share at my cousin's daughters' dance concert (the seating was Cabaret-style, around tables, with drinks available, etc). And everyone there thought they were yummy - which is awesome, because these cookies were gluten free. I used LilaLoa's chocolate cookie recipe, and just did a straight substitution of gluten free flour for regular flour.


And you know what else? I'm really proud of those little Ballerina Bear cookies, for three reasons: firstly, they were absolutely completely my own idea. This is unusual for me - usually I get inspired by something else - an established character, a pattern I've seen somewhere, a piece of clipart, another cookie design. But this one's all mine. Secondly, because I tried a new (for me) technique on these, and it didn't turn out too badly. See the tutus? They're done with one of those ruffle icing tips, and stiff-ish icing. I think it could use some work, but for my first go, I think they're pretty cool.

(please excuse Ballerina Bear's horrid wrinkly arms. By this time it was two in the morning, and I ran out of flood-consistency brown, and I couldn't face mixing more. At the end of the day, these cookies were eaten in semi-darkness, so I figured noone would notice. Except you, of course.) :o)

And Thirdly, because the inspiration came from the cutter itself. Can you see what it is? I haven't bent the cutter at all...

Yes! It's an Easter Bunny cutter, turned upside down! Having been inspired by Sweet Sugarbelle's crazy-creative use of cutters, I've been trying to be a bit more creative with my own. The Muffin and I sometimes get some cutters out and play a game of "What Else Could We Make With This Cutter?" This game is quite fun through the eyes of a four-year-old, and it's forcing me to think creatively, too.

Hope that you're having a good week (and that your photos are turning out better than mine!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Frogs

Goodness, is it really Muffin Tin Monday again already?

This week, our theme is Frogs:

Top Row: Cut up orange "sunshine"; Sultana "flies".

Middle Row: Green pikelet F-R-O-G; Pear "tadpoles".

Bottom Row: Green yoghurt "swamp"; Bread & Vegemite frog (made with Lunch Punch), with sultana eyes.

The After Shot:

All gone.

For other fun snacks, lunches, and even the odd Muffin Tin Breakfast, check out The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Tiny Dancer!

My little girl loves to dance. She really loves to dance. She is quite often to be seen pirouetting and arabesque-ing around the lounge room (and yes, thanks to Angelina Ballerina she does use those words, and knows what they mean).

Each week we go to Kindy Dance Time, which has been fantastic for her - it's not too structured, but just structured enough for her age group (ie they do learn a few basic steps, and they get used to following instruction, but they still get to do a fair amount of running about improvisation, and just having fun). Anyway, this Saturday was no exception, and then on Sunday we also went to the Cabaret performance of the dance school my cousin's daughters go to (well done girls, you did an awesome job!)

Because it's been a very dance-y sort of weekend, we decided to have a dancing theme for our Muffin Tin snack today:

Top Row: Apple stars; Ballerina Bear cookie; Starry banana circles.

Bottom Row: Olives on music picks; Yoghurt with frozen raspberries mixed through (it was quite pink in real life, but this doesn't really show up in the photo); Ballet Shoe rice cake with ham details.

The After Shot:

My little ballerina was very pleased with this tin. She liked everything, although the highlight, as usual, was the sugar component - in this case, the cookie. But she was also extremely keen on the yoghurt, and enjoyed stabbing the little fruit stars with the picks.

To see what other mummies did this week, go to The Muffin Tin Mom's blog. Happy snacking!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Wet & Dry

It's Muffin Tin Monday! This week we did a Wet & Dry theme:

Top Row: Dry popcorn; Wet apple juice; Chocolate frog from The Muffin's stash (frogs are Wet).

Bottom Row: Wet & Dry grapes (ie grapes and sultanas); Wet yoghurt; Wet & Dry chick peas.

The "wet" chick peas were tinned ones. The "dry" ones are these:

They are very dry and crunchy. The Muffin said at first that she liked them, but after eating a couple, she said they "had too much flavour". I have no idea what this means, but I'm going to give her a break and then try her on them again another day. It would be great if she developed a taste for these as they are a nice healthy chip-alternative-type snack. I think they're yummy.

The After Shot:

I was quite impressed that she ate as many chick peas (of both types) as she did - she usually won't eat the tinned ones during dinner (I quite often use them in salads etc). I was also a bit surprised that she didn't eat all the popcorn, but maybe it was all a bit dry for her in the end! She requested (and got) more yoghurt though - about half as much again.

To see what other mummies did this week, click on over to The Muffin Tin Mom's blog!

The Great Gluten-Free Experiment (Part One...)

So here's the thing. Gluten and I are really good friends. Gluten, dairy, butter, eggs - these are my peeps. And whilst I have made numerous milk-free baked goods, a few butter-free ones, and even the odd egg-free one, I have never seriously considered attempting to bake without gluten.

Until now.

Fear not, fellow lovers of all-things-traditionally-baked - Sugary Flower has Absolutely Not gone gluten-free, or anything else free for that matter (hmmm... maybe artichoke-free. But that's completely by choice). But the bad news is, my mother has. Or nearly, anyway. She has recently been advised (yes, by actual doctors) to follow a low-FODMAP diet. What are FODMAPs, you ask? Well, it stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. If you want to know more, go here, but essentially it means she can't eat much gluten, or dairy, or a frighteningly large list of other things.

So for my first attempt at gluten-free baking, I chose to use this recipe for sugar cookies from, except I didn't use her flour mix, as I am a) lazy, and b) not gluten-free myself, and therefore not inclined to run about buying lots of different flours. So I just used Orgran gluten free flour.

Result: they were not bad. They tasted okay - not as good as my usual cookies, but my theory is, if you couldn't eat the normal ones, you wouldn't say no to these. I want to try again, using the chocolate cookie recipe from LilaLoa (which is Awesome), and just substituting the flour out. I'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Muffin Tin Monday - Baby Beluga

We have recently (thanks to Kindy Dance Time) discovered a lovely old kids' song that I had never heard of - Baby Beluga. It's very sweet, and quite catchy, and The Muffin loves it. So this week, our muffin tin is inspired by Baby Beluga:-

Baby Beluga (vegemite sandwich) in the deep blue sea (yoghurt with edible glitter),
Swims so wild, and swims so free,
Heaven above, and the sea below,
And a little white whale on the go.

Baby Beluga, oh baby beluga,
Is the water warm?
Is your mama
(also a vegemite sandwich) home with you, so happy...

Way down yonder where the (apple) dolphins play,
Where you dive and splash all day...

Baby Beluga, oh baby beluga,
Sing your little (pineapple with music note picks) song,

Sing for all your (fish nugget) friends,
We like to hear you...

When it's dark, and you're home and fed,
Curled up snug in your water bed,
(cheese) moon is shining and the (cheese) stars are out,

Goodnight little whale, goodnight!

(words are excerpts from Baby Beluga, by Raffi)

To check out what other mums did for their lucky kids this week, check out the Muffin Tin Mom!

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