baking, cooking with kids, crafts, easter, kids

 With Spring almost here, and Easter around the corner, we thought we’d rustle up some rabbit cookies – or bunny biscuits as we’ve named them! It was a great introduction for 9yo to practice his royal icing piping, and ‘flooding in’ – we learnt a LOT about icing technique!

bunny biscuits royal icing

There are LOADS of bunny cookie cutters around at the moment, we had one which was my Mum’s and for the tail you could use a flower cutter, or a small circle…

We used up some royal icing which had been in the fridge for a couple of days, and we have some TOP TIPS for you about this…see below!

Ingredients:

50g fairtrade caster sugar
100g butter
175g plain flour

Method:

Heat the oven to 150 degrees C (300 F, Gas mark 2)
Cream the caster sugar and the butter together, slowly adding the flour, mixing together to form a dough, I find we need to add a couple of drops of water, knead together to form a ball.

Roll out the dough, on a floured surface, to about 4mm thick.
Using your bunny shaped cutter, cut the dough, and place your bunnies and tails on a lightly floured baking tray, and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. (feel free to make some spare rabbit tails… to munch on whilst you’re icing the rabbit cookies!)

KidsChaos-Bunny-Biscuits-royal-icing

bunny biscuits

As they cool down, you can make your royal icing (recipe here). Or if you are using some icing which you have been keeping in the fridge, as we were, TOP TIP make sure you really really stir the royal icing to get ALL of the lumps out, otherwise it sticks in the piping bag – and clogs the nozzle so that when you are piping the outline it stutters out, and the line will be all wobbly… 9yo wanted a pale brown bunny, so we mixed in his favourite hot chocolate mix, into a portion of the white royal icing and some more Fairtrade icing sugar, so that it’s quite thick to pipe the outlines. When this outline is dry, you add a drop of water to the remaining brown mixture, so that you can spoon it into the outline, and using a cocktail stick, gently ‘flood’ the biscuit, and prick any little bubble that appear.

Pop the ‘tail’ into position whilst the ‘flood in’ icing on the rabbit cookie is still wet, and pipe on the remaining white royal icing to make a fluffy tail!

red-ted-art-google-plus-hangout-kids-chaos-rabbits

For more Spring baking ideas, check out the daffodil cookies here and if you are after some more rabbit crafts have a look at my denim pocket purse with leaping rabbits here (FREE printable) – and watch our latest google+ hangout hosted by Maggy at Redtedart featuring Anthea, Lizzie, myself and Kelly – a great selection of Bunny Crafts!

For easy to follow instructions on how to make a little gift box from a paper plate, perfect for these cookies, please click here.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.comAli also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

baking, cooking with kids, crafts, food, gardening with kids

daffodil biscuitsIt’s time for some Daffodil biscuits – well, Spring is practically here, so we thought we’d have some fun and celebrate the glimmers of spring that are popping up in the gardens and vases of England… with cookies!

The daffodil biscuit, or cookie, recipe is pretty straightforward – and taste good on their own without any decorating, however, in true spring-craft honour, we went a bit to town, and made up some royal icing too… recipes here:

Daffodil biscuit ingredients:

50g fairtrade caster sugar
100g butter
175g plain flour

Method:

Heat the oven to 150 degrees C (300 F, Gas mark 2)
Cream the sugar and butter together, slowly add the flour, mixing together to form a dough, if you need to, add a couple of drops of water, knead together to form a ball.
Roll out the dough, on a floured surface, to about 4mm thick.
Using a star shaped cutter, cut the dough, and place your stars on a lightly floured baking tray, and bake for about 20minutes, until golden brown.

As they cool down, you can make your royal icing.

instagram work in progressRoyal icing ingredients:

2 large  egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
330g icing sugar, sifted

Beat the egg whites with the lemon juice. Add the sifted icing sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. Adding more icing sugar if it’s too runny, or if the icing is too thick, add a little water. The icing needs to be used immediately or popped in an airtight container as royal icing hardens when exposed to air. I added a tiny amount of yellow food colouring, stirring with a cocktail stick to mix the colour in thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.

royal icing no piping bagNow, I DIDN’T have an icing bag, but, I came up with a cunning plan:

Take a plastic sandwich bag, and fold a couple of pieces of sellotape over one corner.
Open the bag so that that rigid, sellotaped corner triangle is pointing down, pop the plastic bag into a glass or cup, so that you drop the bag over the edges of the of the cup, and you can spoon in your royal icing.
daffodil biscuits outlineTwist the bag to tighten it, and take a sharp pair of scissors, you snip a tiny bit off the sellotaped corner to make a piping bag! Simple, yet very effective. Now you can pipe your icing onto your cooled star-shaped daffodil biscuits.

(I am experimenting with FREEZING the leftover icing, so I’ll let you know how that goes)

The orange Icing is a ready-roll block from Hobbycraft, roll small sections out to about 2mm thickness, and use a smaller cookie cutter to make the frilly daffodil trumpets. I have very short fingernails, so I could shape the orange icing into a cup/trumpet shape on the end of my finger, you could use the end of a wooden spoon to do this too.

royal icing floodingI then used the royal icing as ‘glue’ to stick the trumpets to the daffodil cookie biscuit, at the same time as I stuck the coffee stirrer sticks (painted with green food colouring) to the back of the flowers.

They look so lovely in a vase or jug, (tip – I placed a glass upside down in the jug, and filled it with cheap rice, so that the sticks stay still and in position in the jug – genius my 9yo thinks!) Great for this time of year, St David’s Day, for Easter or Mother’s Day.

you tube google + hangoutIf you’d like to see more Spring crafts, watch the google+ hangout hosted by Maggy at Red Ted Art featuring lots of great ideas from me (!), Anthea with Pipe cleaner daffodils, Kelly with her ladybird cork magnet and Liz with sweet wild violet cookies.

If you like any of these images, and would like to keep them to remind yourselves to make some later, do PinIt 🙂

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

Homemade Thursday

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

baking, cooking, cooking with kids

lemon drizzle cakeWhat’s your favourite cake in your house? Ours has to be lemon drizzle cake…

we’ve have the recipe scribbled down on a piece of paper, shoved in the cake section of Delia’s cookbook, for years… Quite fortunate it’s our favourite cake really, as we sort of OVER-ORDERED the lemons on our Ocado delivery on Friday, and ended up with 12 lemons, yes, TWELVE lemons… oops!

So we wanted to share the recipe with you, and tbh, it makes it easier to find if we write it up on KidsChaos, as we just google ourselves ‘ kids chaos lemon drizzle’… 🙂

Admittedly this recipe doesn’t use all twelve lemons, however we make two lemon drizzle cakes at the same time as it disappears pretty quickly here, and we like to have it in our packed lunches in the week, in place of shop-bought snack bars (so just half the quantities if you only have a 1 litre loaf tin)

Lemon Drizzle Cake Ingredients:

350g caster sugar
350g butter, softened
4 unwaxed lemons
6 eggs
200g self-raising flour
150g ground almonds
A drop or two of milk
200g demerara sugar

Lemon Drizzle Cake Instructions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two loaf tins with greaseproof paper. Beat together the caster sugar, butter, and the finely grated zest of two lemons until light and fluffy. Add a pinch of salt and beat in the eggs, one at a time.

2. Sieve the flour and fold in, then add the ground almonds (not essential, particularly if anyone has a nut allergy!). Add a tiny amount of milk to ensure the mixture has a dropping consistency, then pour into your lined tins. Bake in the oven for about 50-55 minutes, until your knife pulls out dry when you test it. Leave it in the tin for now….

3. Mix together the lemon zest, and juice of the lemons with your demerara sugar, then prod holes all over the top of the lemon drizzle cakes and pour over the lemon drizzle, so that it runs into all of the little holes.
4. Allow the lemon drizzle cakes to cool in the loaf tins before turning out.

honeycomb with chocolate fondueFor more delicious #cookingwithkids fun try our honeycomb recipe golden syrup pictured here…

Oh, and I’m on twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos too… Instagram is my new favourite thing, Erm, and funnily enough on Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it!

baking, cooking with kids, crafts, food, google+ hangouts

Valentine's Day Pie

So we have frozen plums and frozen pastry in our freezer = The Perfect Plum Pie recipe for Valentine’s Day!

We’ve been practicing for Valentine’s Day at our house this week… and reminiscing on last year’s Valentine’s Day cake, where we used a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, and some ready-roll-out icing to decorate Daddy’s cake – we came up with the perfect idea, ready-roll-out pastry, and a heart-shaped plum pie of course!

Hearts cut from the pastryHow to:

Using the frozen plums from late summer’s picking frenzy, we warmed them from frozen in a saucepan with a tablespoon of sugar, when the plums start to thaw, strain the juice into a cup (to use later as a sauce if you like), and pour the sugary plum mixture into the plum pie dish (we have a heart-shaped cake tin, perfect for many occasions!) Meanwhile lay the pastry over the plums, and crimp the edges, cut off excess with a sharp knife, and use that excess for your little hearts. to:

Valentine's Day Plum Pie recipe heartsBrush the pastry with a beaten egg, and add the little hearts in whatever pattern you like, the egg will help them stick to the pie, don’t forget to brush the hearts with the egg glaze too, and for extra sweetness you can sprinkle some course sugar over your plum pie. Bake for about half an hour, or in our case, until the plum pie crust starts burning!

If a Plum Pie recipe is not your thing, try our Cake in a Mug, click through to Ali’s other blog aGreenerLifeforus.com

redtedart-hangout-valentines-day For more Valentine’s Day inspiration, try my easy to make hand in heart cards, and FREE Printable jigsaw puzzle piece crafts Valentine’s greetings cards and check out our Google+ hangout hosted by Red Ted Art, featuring  Kelly from domesticgoddesque.com with her glitter heart cake toppers Lizzie with her  missielizzie-meandmyshadow.blogspot.co.uk rustic twig heart wreaths and her silver birch bark candle – amazing… Plus Anthea’s needle felt hearts and Maggy’s collection of Valentines Day craft ideas.

Oh, and I’m on twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos too… Erm, and funnily enough on Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it!

baking, crafts, google+ hangouts, kids

Ah, this one is SO easy to do, once you start, you won’t be able to stop, and you’ll have a whole room full of them stapled together as Valentine’s Day bunting!
KidsChaos-Valentines-Day-Hands-Heart-cut-outKidsChaos-Valentines-Day-Hands-Heart
Simply fold a sheet of paper in half, and draw around your child’s (or your own) hand positioning the thumb and forefinger slightly over the folded edge of the paper – (see the red paper image here) As you are drawing the area which will become the ‘heart’ slightly curve the tip of the thumb up, so that you can see the shape of half a heart appearing… cut around the fingers, and unfold to create this lovely shape of hands holding a heart, and repeat! If you have access to a sewing machine, you could join them together to create bunting, a stapler would work just as well, or simply write your message on the hands, and pop into an envelope! #SWALK (that’s sealed with a loving kiss if you aren’t familiar with that acronym!)

KidsChaos-Valentines-Day-Hands-Heart-cake

Granny has had several of these hearts over the years, dated, so we can see their little hands growing in size every year…. so sweet!

For the recipe for the Cake in a Mug seen here, click through to Ali’s other blog aGreenerLifeforus.com

redtedart-hangout-valentines-dayFor more Valentine’s Day inspiration, try my FREE Printable jigsaw puzzle piece crafts Valentine’s greetings cards and check out our Google+ hangout hosted by Red Ted Art, featuring  Kelly from domesticgoddesque.com with her glitter heart cake toppers Lizzie with her  missielizzie-meandmyshadow.blogspot.co.uk rustic twig heart wreaths and her silver birch bark candle – amazing… Plus Anthea’s needle felt hearts and Maggy’s collection of Valentines Day craft ideas.

Oh, and I’m on twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos too… Erm, and funnily enough on Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it!

baking, cooking, cooking with kids, halloween, kids

toffee apples

I used to LOVE Toffee Apples as a kid, well, I SAY that, I do seem to remember just eating the toffee, and discarding the bit with the vitamins… My boys on the other hand, food-swots that they are, love getting through the toffee to the yummy healthy apple centre! So I thought I’d share the recipe we use with you, just in time for Halloween and a few fireworks for Bonfire Night here in the UK!

you will need:

  • 6 medium sized apples
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • half tsp vinegar
  • 50ml water
  • Sprinkles (optional)

1) Pop the apples into a bowl of boiling water to remove the waxy finish, rub them dry with a tea towel, this allows the toffee to adhere to the apples. Push a wooden lolly stick into each apple.

2) Lay a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a plate beside the stove, and space the apples on this so they do not touch each other. I sprinkled some ‘hundreds and thousands’ onto the paper first, you don’t NEED to do this… looks pretty though 🙂

3) Pour the sugar into a pan along with 50ml water and set over a medium heat for five mins until the sugar dissolves, then stir in the vinegar and syrup. If you have a sugar thermometer (I don’t), pop it in the pan and boil to 140C or ‘hard crack’ stage. I find after about ten mins, you can test the toffee by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water. It should harden instantly and, when removed, be brittle and easy to break. If you can still squash the toffee, boil it for a tiny bit longer…

4) Next bit – act fast! Dunk the first apple into the pan, swill the toffee around so it’s fully coated, allow excess to drip back into the pan, and then place the apple back into its spot on the greaseproof paper, careful not to bump it into the other apples…

Obviously let them cool down well before eating, as the toffee is SUPER hot, and if you have any toffee left over, poor onto another sheet of greaseproof paper (with a lip so it doesn’t run) and the kids can have fun cracking it with a rolling pin when it’s cooled and set!

To keep the theme of apples going, and inspiration for a slightly healthier option, try Domesticgoddesque’s baked apples – Or try Lifeatthezoo‘s baked apple version and then, to go with your bonfire night treats…how about the Red Ted Art’s edible sparklers

Oh, by the way, I’m also on twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos too… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x LIKE IT? Pin it!

baking, cooking with kids

A great way of diverting your old jam jars or mason jars from the recycling, is to re-use them at least once… we use ours as drinking glasses, which the kids LOVE… encouraging them to make smoothies to share with the family – a great way of using up excess fruit and sneaking in your five a day!

A not-so-healthy option are cookies…Cookies you say? in a jam jar? uh? Well yes!
KidsChaosCookiesInAJar

These make excellent gifts, and are great for keeping in the cupboard, for when the baking urge takes you, and you’re short of time…

You will need (for four jam jars):

265g self raising flour
115g porridge oats
175g granulated sugar
1 and a half teaspoon baking powder
85g organic Fairtrade chocolate
(optional, I just think it makes a nice looking layer in the jar!)
150g chopped nuts (we used almonds – again for another layer, visually)
80g demerera sugar
and a handful of raisins, if your child can bear them!
(ours got taken out by 8yo…)

So, dividing each ingredient carefully across each jar, layer them up one at a time, so it creates a layered effect (like the coloured sands we used to have as kids!) make sure the jars are packed tight with ingredients.

THEN – when you’re ready to bake, today, or some time in the future, pour the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, and simply mix in melted 265g butter (that’s 66g if you are just making up one jar of cookies!) and three heaped tablespoons of golden syrup (and that’s a flat tablespoon for just one jar) together, to a consistency which you can spoon in balls onto a greased baking tray…(I have to admit, you may have to add a bit of flour if the mixture looks a bit to sloppy to ‘spoon’).

Give the ‘balls’ space on the baking tray(s) otherwise they all melt into each other in the oven… bake at 180 degrees, for 10 minutes…they should look something like this, enjoy! >>KidsChaosCookiesInAJaronaplate

So, as you know, I’m on a weekly panel of crafty So-and-So-s invited to ‘hang-out’ on Google+ by the every lovely Maggy Woodley at Red Ted Art. This week this was hosted by Maggy AND Netmums.

KidsChaosCookiesInAJarNetMumshung out on Google+ for a bit of a vlog…(click the screengrab to watch!) with some craft buddies to share these holiday fun ideas, hosted by the aforementioned ever lovely Maggy from Red Ted Art who has pulled all of these together in a *Mason Jar* post. Also present were Kath from KnittyMummyAnthea with her Kids’ art keepsakes and butterflies, Liz and her fab matches in a jar for camping! Pop back later for more links soon.

Oh, by the way, I’m also on twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos too… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it!

Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com
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For more Cooking with Kids recipes, join my community over on Google+ here.

baking, cooking with kids, gardening with kids

Lavender-Scones-KidsChaos
Lavender-Scones-Jam-KidsChaosSo much lovely lavender about, everyone seems to have some in their front garden around here… and it smells so lovely – I ‘pinched’ some from my neighbour’s garden last week (I blame CountryWives and their lavender biscuit recipe – according to them apparently Kate Middleton has been craving lavender biscuits during her pregnancy!)

So, the neighbour returned from her annual hols, to find a few sprigs missing from her lavender bush… guilt took over, and I popped over there, with a bag of flower and a baking tray and we made THESE lavender scones – so easy, and it’s all I could do to stop the kids from scoffing the lot after school… here’s the recipe >>

100g caster sugar (we used some lavender sugar Maggy made last month)
300g plain flour
25g baking powder
100g cold, diced butter
200ml soured milk (yep, we had that too, her milk had gone off in the fridge)
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) mark 6.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Add the diced butter and rub it into the flour until the mixture looks and feels like breadcrumbs.

Pour the soured milk into a small saucepan and warm it gently. Whisk in the egg and sugar and pour the milk into the flour, mixing it all together. Leave this dough to rest for five minutes, then pop it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it together to form a ball.
Roll out this dough into a rectangle with a thickness of about 1.5cm. Cut out roughly 12 scones and place them onto a baking sheet. Lightly dust the scones with some more flour, and then leave them to stand for 10 minutes before baking. During this time the baking powder will get the little scones rising.
Cook the scones in the preheated oven until golden brown; they will take about 11 minutes.

Another neighbour had kindly donated a tub of Rodda’s Cream (the clotted cream to die for), so we had a delicious ‘lunch’!

I’m on a weekly panel of crafty So-and-So-s invited to ‘hang-out’ on Google+ by the every lovely Maggy from Red Ted Art who talked about lavender bags and how to make a-lavender wand, and lavender bath sachets and finally how to make no sew lavender bags pillows.. I do enjoy hanging out on Google+ for a bit of a vlog…(click the screengrab to watch) with some craft buddies to share these lavender thoughts,  Joined by Anthea talking lavender cookies and Kelly with some beautifully amazing lavender fans, and Lizzie was there in spirit homemade lavender lemonade….

Lavender-you-tube-ali-clifford

Oh, and I’m on twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos too… Erm, and funnily enough onGoogle+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it!

Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com
Follow on Bloglovin

baking, life

Chaos writes:

So, how my life has changed. Gone are the days of claiming a posh lunch on expenses, or even HAVING a lunch break. Working from home, and managing school runs, and budgeting on a day to day basis leaves us freelancers with little time for ourselves.

So there is nothing I like better these days that going to a cafe and having a (Fairtrade) coffee and a slice of cake. (click here to sample a slice of our own #Fairtrade Cake!) This has become a ‘treat’ to me, is that a little tragic? I just get such a pleasure from meeting a friend, having a chat, a soya latte and time out from the other ‘stuff’.

A bonus for me, is that our little local cafe owner (The Gooseberry Bush, SW19) totally has her heart in the right place too, she is constantly raising money for the local St George’s Hospital neonatal unit (@FirstTouchNNU) and all of her delicious food is locally sourced, and the coffee is of course Fairtrade too.

So as we approach Fairtrade Fortnight, I thought I’d give one of you a chance to get your hands on your own delicious Fairtrade coffee, with it’s own special story.

Mzuzu Fairtrade Ground Coffee is part of the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range. Grown by the Mzuzu cooperative high in the Misuku hills, in the northernmost region of Malawi.

Three years ago Sainsbury’s joined with Comic Relief coffee traders Finlays and Twin, the fair trade organisation which works with smallholder farming groups, to develop new African speciality grade coffees..

The project is funded by the Government’s Department for International Development under its Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund (FRICH), which sets out to improve the lives of poor communities in Africa.

Ellen Msiska, Fairtrade coffee farmer said: “I have brought water down to my house from the hills in a pipe which I paid for and laid myself. This was paid for from coffee money, and means I have good quality water for my children to drink.”

This prize draw has now closed. Many thanks for all of the entries! Really enjoyed reading them 🙂 MANY CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER ‘FRAN’ TOO!!
How to enter:

1 – Comment below to tell us your coffee story… your favourite time for coffee? with a cake? IN a cake? A Latte? or a Flat White?

2 – ‘Like’ KidsChaos on Facebook and tell us how you like your coffee.
and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.

3 – Follow Twin Fairtrade on twitter to support their work and Fairtrade Fortnight

4 – Follow @MoreKidsChaos on twitter with a little fun #HowMuchIsTooMuchCoffee? hashtag

5 – For an extra entry, Add KidsChaos into your circles in Google + and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.

Terms and Conditions

– Entrants must be over 18 and in the UK
– By entering this prize draw, the player assigns to KidsChaos.com all exclusive rights to reproduce and represent the copy related to this competition on any media (both online and offline)
– Entries close Midnight on the 10th March (the last day of Fairtrade Fortnight)
– The winners will be notified personally
– KidsChaos’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to and no cash alternative will be offered
– This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Google+

Interesting Links:

Michaela Strachan reports on food safety from Malawi

Comic Relief

Fairtrade Fortnight 2013 runs from Mon 25 February to Sun 10 March

Mzuzu Project, Malawi

baking, cooking, cooking with kids, crafts, kids

Chaos writes:

So, as these boys have got bigger, so the cakes have got simpler….

yet… THIS cake has so far been the most popular amongst 8yo’s peers…. “Wow! Your Mum Is AMAZing” apparently, so I will be attempting an alternative version of this next week for 10yo’s birthday sleepover – so, see, I do make an effort, and don’t always BUY the cool cakes that turn up in our house!

I thank the invention of Pinterest for the inspiration, such a great place to pull together visual triggers!

Any ideas of what we could do differently next time? Perhaps jelly babies instead of Smarties? what would we use to hold them all in, instead of #Fairtrade KitKats??? Answers on a postcard, (or below if you like!)

Other ideas for the top, not so colourful, but we DO like the odd Malteser in our house too, especially now they are Fairtrade!

Click here to read more about Laura Dockrill and Maltesers (the calming of the Angrosaurus that is ‘Darcy Burdock’) and for a chance to win a signed book!

Click here to read more about CAKE! And Fairtrade Coffee….