Rudolph the Red Nosed Cupcake

We absolutely loved making these cute little reindeer, so much so that I barely did anything – my little Miss did pretty much ALL the work!

When I posted the pics, so many of you asked for the recipe…so, here it is. They are super-simple to make, and they taste absolutely delicious. You can also switch the nose or antlers for other things, depending on how fussy your eaters are.

The cupcake recipe is an old favourite from my trusty Cupcake Magic book by Kate Shirazi, which has been my go-to for cupcakes since I bought it in 2008, and it’s helped me emerge from a baking disaster-zone, to a much improved baker who is now able to teach my little Miss how to bake up a storm (she’s fabulous).

Ingredients (Makes 12)

Cupcakes
110g Self Raising Flour (sifted)
110g Caster Sugar
110g Unsalted Butter or Margarine (Marg will stop your cakes rising into a little peak)
1tsp Baking Powder
2 Large Free Range Eggs

Chocolate Butter Cream
3tbsp Cocoa Powder
Splash of hot water
225g Icing Sugar
100g Softened Unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Decorations
One pack edible Googly-eyes (or you can use icing)
Glace Cherries (or you could use red Smarties)
One pack of Matchmakers (we used Salted Caramel, yum) or you can also use Pretzels for the antlers.

Method
Pre-heat your oven to 160 and line a 12 hole baking tin with cupcake cases (you can use festive cases, or grab whatever you have in the cupboard – guess which one we chose!).

Pop all the ingredients in a mixer (or if you don’t have one, pop them in a large bowl and put in some serious elbow-grease) and mix until all the ingredients are combined, and your mix is smooth and shiny (hint: don’t over mix here as your cupcakes will be more rubbery than light and fluffy!).

Grab a teaspoon and plop spoonfuls of your lovely fluffy cake mix into the cases, being careful not to slop any over the sides of your cake cases. Bake them in your oven for about 20 mins (keep an eye on them, my oven is fierce and usually cooks them in about 15). When they are ready they’ll be golden, firm and springy.

Pop them out of the cake tin, and leave them to cool completely before you attempt to ice them!

Beat your icing sugar, butter and vanilla extract together (it’s a bit messy!) and if it’s still a bit heavy, you can pop a tsp of hot water in to help. Then, mix your cocoa powder with the hot water until you have a thick, gloopy paste (we like to mix ours in a large mug) and pour into your buttercream mixture and mix well until smooth and glossy.

Using a teaspoon, spread your buttercream onto the cupcakes and tidy the edges with the back of a table knife. Pop your googly eyes and cherry noses on (we like to start with the nose in the centre) and then break your matchsticks in half and then break the remaining halves again, so there is a long piece, and one shorter piece to make your antlers.

Enjoy! These little beauties lasted for approximately two minutes in our house. If you can manage to display them before they’re all scoffed, pop them on a festive plate and smile at those cute little reindeer faces peering back at you.

Merry Christmas, lovely people.
X

Easy Packed Lunches – Food That The Kids Can Help Out With

The theme this week is packed lunches. What do you put in your kids lunch box? We’ve always stuck to sandwiches, day in and day out for oh, about 7 years now. I’ve decided to change all of that and be a bit more experimental.

These gorgeous little pizzas/patties/pastries with toppings (not quite sure what to call them, if I’m honest) have gone done a storm at lunch time.

They are so easy to make – the kids got stuck in with their favourite toppings – and they cost pennies.

This time around I totally cheated and bought some ready made pastry (it was on offer for 90p – bargain!). We heated and thickened up a tin of chopped tomatoes, adding in some mixed herbs. Once the sauce had thickened, I took it off the heat and placed to one side to cool down.

The kids used scone cutters to cut out the bases, then we set about choosing the toppings. They went for green peppers, left over green pesto sauce (https://mumsinreallifecouk.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/basil-pesto-sauce/),sliced baby bells and Chiritzo.

Once all of the ingredients had been chopped and sliced, we set about spooning a blob of the tomato sauce on top of the pastry bases. We then sprinkled over the ingredients, made them look pretty and popped them into a preheated oven at 180•C for about 12 minutes.

As you can see, they look dreamy. Leave to cool down on a wire rack and enjoy! Bon appetite.

Here at Mums In Real Life we’re always looking for tips and hints. Please do share any favourite Packed lunch ideas with us. Thank you x

The Scuffin Way – Healthy Packed Lunch Boxes

The summer holidays have come to an end and it’s back to making packed lunches for the little ones. It can often be challenging to think of different healthy foods to pack in their lunch boxes, this is therefore a great choice and it certainly ticks the boxes in terms of taste.

I hadn’t heard of Scuffins before, until I picked up a recipe book from a trendy young lady called Izy Hossack. They are the shape of a scone but with the texture of a muffin. They also taste pretty damn good and got a massive thumbs up from my kids, which is always a bonus.

I used Izy’s recipe as a guide, but made quite a few adaptations based on the quantity I needed and the fruit I had to hand. Let’s go!

Ingredients (makes 6);

30g Red Lentils

1 Egg

3tbsp Milk

40ml Olive Oil

1/2tsp Nutmeg

80g Plain Flour

30g Oats

1tsp Baking powder

150g Pears (Cooked) & Strawberries – cubed

30g Demerara Sugar

Method;

Kick off by preheating the oven to 180•C fan. Line a baking tray with baking paper, or use fairy cake cases.

Next up, put the lentils into a saucepan and cover with water. Boil for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and place back into the saucepan.

Stir in the egg, oil, milk, nutmeg and sugar and stir well. Add the remaining ingredients combine everything together.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out about 2tbsp worth onto either baking paper or into the cases (I tried both) until the mixture has been shared out evenly.

Bake in the oven for 17 – 20 minutes, until spring and golden. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Bon appetite!

James’ Granola Squares

Fancy a sweet treat? James has cooked up the ultimate granola squares to give you that sweet fix (with only some of the guilt).

Maple Granola Bars

Now, I hear you ask…are these granola bars healthy? Well, they are mostly oats which help regulate blood sugar by slowly releasing energy. Almonds & Cranberries are high in vitamins, so yes we will all agree they are!

They make a perfect rushing out the door breakfast or as a mid-morning snack.

Ingredients

  • 60g whole almonds 
  • 250g rolled oats
  • 80g butter
  • 125ml maple syrup
  • 60g soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g dried cranberries 
  • 50g chocolate chips
  • extra 2 tsp choc chips

Method

  1. Before you start, take a 20cm square baking pan and line it with tin foil. Then using some oil and kitchen roll, lightly grease it.
  2. Start by roughly chopping the almonds, they don’t have to be perfect just a rough chop. Combine them with the oats and pop in the preheated oven for about 8 minutes. Half way through give them a little stir so they cook evenly.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the butter, maple syrup and the sugar along with the vanilla and salt in a saucepan and gently heat until it has all melted together into a sugary, buttery, syrupy liquid which smells divine (and is definitely the unhealthier part)!
  4. Once the oats and almonds are cooked put them in a glass bowl and then add the liquid. Mix well and leave for about 10 minutes to cool.
  5. Finally add the chocolate and the cranberries again mix well.
  6. Now pour the oat mix into the foiled pan and pack down really well. Go on – really push that mix into the corners using a fish slice or something similar, and really pack it down. Add a sprinkling of chocolate chips and pack down again.
  7. Cover tightly with more foil and then pop in the fridge for at least 3 hours (but preferably overnight if you can wait that long).

Bit of troubleshooting here, but if anything makes them fall apart a bit it’s usually either not packing down enough, or not refrigerating for long enough, so try and be patient!

Once they have hardened, they will unwrap from the foil easily and can be cut into about 12 pieces (or less if you want bigger bars!)

Any crumbs left over from cutting can be saved and makes an excellent topping for vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy! James.

Healthy Brunch – Part Two!

We honestly have been living our best lives this week, loads of beautiful food and working out (hard!) with fab friends. To top it off, the sun’s been out to play.

We had brunch courtesy of our lovely friend, M – we worked out in her home gym (amazing!) and then were treated to a brunch banquet of epic proportions. Anyway, it’s got us thinking about the wonder that is brunch – so we’ll be working on some healthy recipes over the coming weeks.

In the meanwhile, here’s M’s amazing courgette muffin recipe (courtesy of BBC Good Food) – try them, you’ll love them. (Almost) guilt free and packed full of courgette, apple and orange.

Happy Hump Day, lovely people. X

Love is in the air….

This morning, we certainly all felt the love!!! As I was putting the finishing touches on to our ‘special’ breakfast, my kids couldn’t believe their luck when they saw these two plates this morning!!!! I know, I know….I honestly have never served up Chocolate Cupcakes for breakfast before, but I couldn’t resist these Aldi ones that I saw whilst out shopping yesterday!!! Adding a few Strawberries did make me feel a bit better….! Anyway, it was worth it. After the initial excitement, old habits die hard, they licked some of the icing off, ate the Strawberries and asked for Porridge!

I’m hoping to be back later today with the results of the special Valentines Days mini Pizzas. Bases at the ready…..