Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos – Vegetarian Mexican

We are big fans of Mexican in our house. With my parents both being vegetarian I now make these bean and sweet potato tacos more often than beef tacos.

Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

They are spicy, sweet with the addition of the potato, and the choice of toppings is endless.

Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

My favourite toppings are fresh coriander and sliced avocado.

Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into thin battens
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 birds eye chilli
  • 1 tsps. cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of black-eyed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 200ml can of chopped tomatoes
  • Juice from ½ lime, cut the other half into wedges for serving
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 taco shells
Toppings
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Grated cheese
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sweet corn
  • Jalapeños
  • Fresh coriander
  • Sour cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Toss the sweet potato in ½ tbsp. olive oil and arrange on a baking tray. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers and chilli and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the spices and cook until fragrant, approx. 30 seconds.

Add the beans and chopped tomatoes. Reduce the heat and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until thick.

Stir in the lime juice and use the back of the spoon to roughly mash the beans.

Prepare the taco shells as per packet instructions.

Layer each shell with crisp iceberg lettuce, topped with the spiced bean mixture and then a handful of sweet potato fries.

Serve with a variety of additional toppings.

This recipe for bean and sweet potato tacos will serve 3 to 4 people.

Iced Gingerbread Cookies – Edible Christmas Decorations and Gifts

I absolutely love Christmas. It is without a doubt my favourite time of year. As someone who likes to be organised, I spend most of the year thinking of ideas for baking, cooking and crafting at Christmas. I’m combining my love for baking and crafting this year by using iced gingerbread cookies as edible gift tags. They can be used as gift tags, Christmas tree decorations or simply box them up as personalised gifts.

Iced Gingerbread Cookies

You can decorate these cookies a number of different ways. The easiest way is to use tubes of writing icing. Tesco stock a handy pack of 4 tubes that include red and green, perfect colours for festive decorating. If you are using the cookies as gift tags these tubes are perfect for writing names and adding some simple decoration.

Iced Gingerbread Cookies

Iced Gingerbread Cookies

Another way to decorate is with Royal icing and a technique called flooding. Unique colours, glitter and shimmer can be added to create a cookie with beautiful designs. This technique is impressive to use if you intend to give your cookies as gifts or hang from your Christmas tree as beautiful original ornaments.

Iced Gingerbread Cookies

Tools needed
  • Cling Film
  • 2 Large baking trays
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters (any shape will work)
  • Standing mixer (beater and whisk attachments)
  • Multiple bowls
Ingredients for Iced Gingerbread Cookies
  • 385g (3 cups) all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 115g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 150g (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar
  • 170g (1/2 cup) treacle
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice or ground cloves
  • 1 large egg
  • Writing icing
Ingredients for Royal Icing
  • 250g (2 cups) Icing sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • Water to thin icing for flooding
  • Food colouring
To make the Iced Gingerbread Cookies

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and all spice.

Using an stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Then beat in the treacle and egg.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until a dough forms. Divide the dough in two, cover with Clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Flour a clean work surface and roll one piece of dough 1/2 cm 1/8inch thick. Flour the dough if it begins to stick.

Cut out shapes with a floured cookie cutter and transfer to the lined baking trays.

Bake until slightly brown around the edges, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.

Allow to cool on the trays for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat with all the remaining dough.

You can now decorate with Royal icing or writing icing.

To Decorate with Royal Icing

Using a stand mixer, whisk the egg white on high until frothy. Continue to whisk on a low-speed while gradually adding the icing sugar. Add the lemon juice and whisk on high until glossy peaks form. This is now the perfect thick consistancy for piping borders and adding detail to the cookies.

The icing can now be divided into multipe bowls and food colouring, glitter and shimmer can to added, depending on the level of detail you want on your cookie.

Begin by adding some of the icing to a plastic piping bag, snip a very small hole at the end and pipe an outline border around the cookies. Then add a few drops of water to the icing to thin the consistancy so you can flood inside the border and cover the cookie completely. Once this has hardened slightly you can use the thicker icing to pipe detail and add colour to the cookies.

Iced Gingerbread Cookies

This recipe for iced gingerbread cookies with make approximately 35 to 45 cookies of varying shapes and sizes.

Chocolate Peppermint Meringue Yule Log

Its December so it is finally acceptable to post something Christmassy :) This Recipe for a festive chocolate peppermint meringue yule log, is light, delicious and very easy to make. Exactly what you want during the busy Christmas week.

Chocolate Peppermint Meringue Yule Log

Unfortunately my in-laws are going to be in Canada for Christmas. As they won’t be here to celebrate on the 25th, we had a small celebration with them this weekend. Way to turn things around…two Christmases….yes please. We were also celebrating my brother in-law, Robin’s, birthday. So I offered to make the Christmas Birthday Cake. With it’s very own decorative robin for Robin’s Birthday.

Chocolate Peppermint Meringue Yule Log

Meringue in my opinion is the best Christmas dessert to have. Everyone wants something sweet after Christmas dinner, but I find puddings and cakes too heavy to enjoy. A light meringue roulade or Pavlova is the perfect treat after a big feast.

Yule logs are often made with a thin layer of sponge but I like the way the crisp meringue cracks when it is rolled. It resembles tree bark without the need to add butter cream or heavy toppings to the outside of the roll. The addition of peppermint and raspberry adds a freshness to the cream. With the colour and flavour resembling a festive candy cane.

Chocolate Peppermint Meringue Yule Log

Equipment Needed
  • Stand mixer with a whisk attachment
  • Large Baking tray. 30cm x 40cm
  • Parchment paper
Ingredients
  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 40g 70% dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
  • 450ml fresh double cream
  • 2 tbsp. icing sugar and more to dust
  • A dash (1/16 tsp) peppermint extract
  • 150g (1 punnet) fresh raspberries (halved)
  • Robins, snowflakes or candy canes to decorate

Preheat the oven to 200°C

Whisk the egg whites until white and frothy and then gradually add the caster sugar while still whisking. Continue to whisk until the egg white has a nice sheen and holds stiff peaks. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and fold into the mixture until combined well.

Line a 30cm x 40cm baking tray with parchment paper and spoon the egg white mixture onto the tray. Use the back of a spoon to spread the egg whites evenly over the entire tray.

Bake in the oven for 5 minutes at 200ºC and then turn the oven down to 160ºC and bake for a further 15 minutes.

While the meringue is baking you can prepare the peppermint cream. Whisk the cream, icing sugar and peppermint extract until it holds soft peaks. Taste and adjust the peppermint flavouring to your liking.

Once the meringue has cooled, gently it slid off the tray. Place the tray upside-down over the meringue. Holding the parchment paper and the tray together, gently but quickly flip the meringue over onto the tray. Peal away the parchment paper and spread the cream evenly over the meringue. Place the raspberries in diagonal rows over the cream.

Roll the meringue along the long side as tightly as you can. Cut 1/3 of the roll from one end and place onto the side of the longer piece. (Like shown in the picture above.)

Transfer to a serving plate, making sure the seam is on the bottom of the yule log. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with fresh raspberries, crushed candy cane or festive decorations.

This chocolate peppermint meringue yule log will serve up to 12 people.

Construction Themed Birthday Party – Eli’s Bob the Builder 2nd Birthday

Then all of a sudden he was 2. Eli turned 2 last month. He is happy, independent and full of energy and the best big brother Rowan could have. We celebrated with close family and friends, and had a ‘Bob the Builder’ construction themed birthday party for my builder mad little boy.

Construction themed birthday party

To plan his party I used my handy Party Planner. I have used this planner so much to organize events, it has become so useful. I hope you find it as helpful as I have.

Picking a theme this year was easy. Eli only watches one thing on T.V. and that’s ‘Bob the Builder’. He is fascinated with diggers and dump trucks. He is often in his Bob costume ‘fixing’ things around the house with his spanner and drill.

That was his outfit sorted for the day:)

My aunt is the cake maker in our house. She made a fantastic cake modelled on ‘Scoop’. Eli loved it, I think he would have rather played with it than eat it :)

Construction themed birthday party Construction themed birthday party

Sticking to our construction themed birthday party, I decided to have a ‘Build your own Sandwich’ station. This was fun for the kids to create their own sandwich but also loved by the adult because everyone had something they liked to eat.

Some of the fillings I served were

  • Baked Ham
  • Egg mayo
  • Tuna and sweet corn
  • Coleslaw
  • Mixed leaves
  • Cheese
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber

Construction themed birthday party

Snacks and treats were served in dump trucks and one large truck was spilling out some chips and dip. The table was decorated with fun construction signage and some of Eli’s smaller toy trucks. Having 2 small boys in the house meant we had a few construction vehicles in the toy box already. I added to our collection with some inexpensive items from our local pound shop.

Construction themed birthday party Construction themed birthday party Construction themed birthday party Construction themed birthday party

You can’t have a kids party without rice crispy buns, but these versions were a little different. Rice crispy squares dripping in chocolate were made to resemble paint brushes. They are easy for the kids to eat as they are served on sticks and work great with the construction theme.

Construction themed birthday party - Paint Brush Rice Crispy Squares

Eli really loves fruit, so I skewered some watermelon, pineapple and kiwi onto lollypop sticks. I cut the fruit into bite sized circles and made them to look like traffic lights.

Construction themed birthday party - Traffic Light Fruit Skewers

The ‘Bob the Builder’ themed party supplies; Invitations, banners, plates and loot bags are from Party Puffin.

I kept the rest of the decor blue and yellow and bought some really cool construction themed items from Party Delights. How brilliant are these cone hats and drinking straws :)

The Eli is 2 Banner was also from Party Delights. These can be reinflated and used over and over. His name can be hung in his bedroom all year round and next year I will only have to add a 3. Definitely a great purchase.

Construction themed birthday party - Traffic Light Fruit Skewers - Banner

The construction signs on the doors and on the table were created using word and printed on A3 paper. The small food signs were then glued onto black folded card.

The great thing about using construction toys as decorations is that they also double up as the entertainment. The kids had great fun playing with all the diggers and dump trucks.

The loot bags were filled with small construction toys, construction themed crayons from Party Delights and a small bag of sweets.

I hope you enjoyed reading all about Eli’s construction themed birthday party and get lots of inspiration for your own party.