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Part 2 of the Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner 20th Anniversary edition continues, this time with one of my favorite things to bake – Cupcakes!

Annabel Animal Cupcakes

This cupcake recipe is a bit different to the one I normally use, but it works well for decorating.

Getting ingredients ready

The cake is not too dense and Annabel’s recipe uses lemon zest, which is a nice addition. She recommends 2 tsp, but zest is hard to measure so I would use the zest of one small lemon or ½ of a large lemon.

Batter

Popular with the kids

The cakes come out flat on top, which makes it easy to spread icing sugar glaze and add candied treats to create animal faces.

fresh out of the oven

This style of cupcake decorating is not my forte and was quite a challenge. Getting the icing sugar consistency just so took a while and a lot of extra icing sugar, but I got there in the end.

Pig Cupcakes

Mini G’s favourite was the pig, so that’s what I did. I think he looks one cool cochon.

Happy child

Mini G seems to agree too!

Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner Cookbook is celebrating its 20 year anniversary. Being a mom/mum who’s into cooking and baking, I was asked to choose a few recipes and review it. My little dude, Mini G, was very excited about this request. He loves watching cookery programmes, especially Annabel’s Kitchen on CITV.

I’m no stranger to Annabel Karmel. Just over four years ago when Mini G made the move from liquids to proper food, I turned to her for guidance with her puree book.

Avocado Puree

The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner is ideal for new mums who are trying to get their head around what their child should be eating and is a great reference for those revisiting, like me. Mini G has turned into a very picky eater. I know it’s a phase, but an annoying one. I can’t really complain though. I was the WORST when I was young. I wouldn’t go near anything where I could see an onion or mushroom in the dish (sorry, Mom!). I think I survived off of meat and cheese somehow. It’s no wonder I have weight issues (but that’s for another time…)

Having a book like this to start with when the kids are young can set a precedent, encouraging them to eat a well-rounded meal. These recipes aren’t super-strict and uber-healthy. They are normal and tasty. In fact, the recipes in the Toddler section are not “dumbed down” for bland palates, but full of flavours like basil and garlic, so they can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Ingredients

So here we go… I really wanted to get Mini G involved so he knew what he was eating and to get him excited about the meal. We sat down together and looked at all of the recipes. I read out the recipe choices and asked him to choose one that he liked the sound of and the first choice was Spaghetti with Two Tomato sauce.

Kitchen helper

The recipe serves four and it was just Mini G eating this one, so I cut it in half and I used fusilli instead of spaghetti (Mini G’s choice). Let’s see how it went:

The recipe called for skinned tomatoes, so I immersed my tomato in boiling water for 10-20 seconds. Make sure you don’t let it sit for longer or your tomato could burst and become waterlogged. Then just run a knife gently around the circumference of the tomato and gently peel the very top layer away. Make sure to de-seed too. A seedy sauce won’t go down well with the kids.

skin tomato

Next, I chopped the onion quite finely. It’s quite important to cook until softened. In this recipe it says 5-6 minutes, but this is a guide. Your onions may take longer. I like to cook them as long as possible to bring out the sweetness. Keep stirring throughout so they don’t burn or brown too much. This is especially important with garlic too. If you brown/burn the garlic, it will taste bitter.

Chopped onion

Here I added the chopped fresh tomato, the chopped tin tomato, basil, sugar, et al to the softened onion and cooked on a low heat for 20 minutes. (Note: I left the garlic out of this recipe as it has the same effect on Mini G as it does a vampire)

combining

Mini G helped weigh out the fusilli for his dinner.

Pasta helper

And the finished product…

Two Tomato Sauce Pasta

The Two Tomato Sauce and Pasta was a hit. He ate it with no complaints and even said it was “Yummy!” I don’t get to cook for Mini G all that often, and lately when I do get the chance, it’s a struggle. I think the combination of the tasty recipe and that Mini G loves Annabel Karmel made it a much easier job for me. I’m looking forward to trying a few more from the book… watch this space!

Yum

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