Can I Eat That {Book Review}

We love books in general, but interactive books are a double bonus. Can I Eat That by Joshua David Stein, illustrated by Julia Rothman is one such a book.

Each page of Can I Eat That  features different food stuff, with the reoccuring theme  being ‘is that something I can eat?’Can i eat that

It’s a fantastic book for kids that like putting things in their mouths or up their noses!Read more: Can I Eat That {Book Review}

Pizza Express School Visits & Home Educators

Some time during last summer, we booked a home ed visit for one of the Pizza Express School Visit sessions, and though we had to wait several months for our session, we arrived on the agreed date and had a fantastic and informative visit.

Pizza Express School Visits offer groups the opportunity to not only see how pizza is made but also to get hands on and involved. For some children this is a brand new experience, of course, and for our group there was a mix of abilities too, considering our participants ranged from about 3 – 14 years.

Obviously the details may differ from visit to visit, but for ours on the Isle of Wight, the children were decked out in chefs hats and aprons, and given loads of flour to flour their work surface – a set of tables in the restaurant. Each child was given a ball of dough. The chef – whose name I sadly can’t remember – was amazing. He had such great rapport with the children, and was engaging and informative and did a fantastic job of managing such a range of ages.Pizza Express Visit

They spoke about the different steps they went through, the chef demonstrated, and the children were able to take their own dough ball, and knead it, twist it and shape it into circles – they even got to toss it up into the air. Read more: Pizza Express School Visits & Home Educators

August Festival of Food Carnival – Call For Submissions: Meatless Meals

Welcome to the August Festival of Food Carnival, hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This monthly carnival will aim to bring together seasonal recipes, healthy food, and a diversity of flavours and techniques.

Here are the submission details for August 2013

Theme: Meatless Meals

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or a full blooded carnivore, having a repertoire of meatless meals in your armoury is good for your health and your wallet. Share your favourite recipe with us this month.

We prefer recipes with low sugar or natural sweeteners and as few processed ingredients as possible. However, we understand that healthy differs for every family, so please share your favourite.

There are two ways you can participate: 

EITHER: Link up your old post on the carnival day, or submit a new post for the carnival!

**Please note, by participating or linking up you are agreeing to visit and comment on at least two other submissions**

Deadline:  01 August 2013: Fill out the  web form below and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. GMT at festivaloffoodcarnival [at] gmail.com

Carnival date: 08 August 2013 . Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on 01 August 2013. We’ll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Please submit your details into our web form. This will help us as we compile the links list prior to the carnival.

Please do: Write well. Write on topic. If you’re using very uncommon ingredients, write something about them so your readers learn something new, or at least link to some information of them.

Please don’t: Please don’t use profanity of the sort that might be offensive to more sensitive readers or their children. Please don’t submit irrelevant posts.

Editors’ rights: We reserve the right to edit your piece or suggest edits to you. We reserve the right to courteously reject any submissions that are inappropriate for the carnival. Please also note that since there are two co-hosts on different schedules and conferring over email, our personal response to your submission might seem delayed. Don’t be alarmed. We also reserve the right to impose consequences if the responsibilities of the carnival are not fulfilled by the participants.

If you have questions: Please leave a comment or contact us at diaryofafirstchild [at] gmail.com and hybridrastamama [at] Hotmail.com

Links to tutorials: Lauren, Dionna, and Dionna’s husband, Tom, from the Natural Parents Network have written several tutorials about how to schedule posts in advance, how to determine post URLs in advance, how to edit HTML — all for both WordPress and Blogger users. For these tutorials and more, please see this handy summary post at LaurenWayne.com.

Stay in touch:

Show off: Add the code below to your post to identify it as a carnival contribution:

Stay connected! Be sure to “Like” the Festival of Food Carnival Facebook page.

 

 

 

Gardening: First Harvest

The sudden and long awaited turn in the weather this last week has finally meant I’ve been able to move all the large vegetable pots off the table in the conservatory and out into the garden.

This has had a down side as now we’re back to fighting snails again, as well as the ever hungry slugs and aphids we were already dealing with. Turns out an adult snail can demolish two courgette plants in one night. Oh joy.

On the up side, the last remaining courgette, the one I bought ready to be repotted, is growing at a beautiful rate and I can see some flowers headed this way. It’s first flower was beautiful but the courgette itself was tiny, no bigger than my baby finger. It pretty much rotted while I was waiting for it to grow.

The fated aubergine, or egg plant, has also been victim of the snails, and its leaves are looking paltry – but there are some buds showing too, so hopefully, hopefully.

The tomatoes we got from Heinz are finally doing really well. They seem to have grown every time I look. No flowers yet, and no tomatoes but again, I’m hopeful!
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I harvested all the Kale this week, and made an incredible salad that I really loved. I’ll post the recipe on Keeper of the Kitchen this week.

It seemed to like being harvested though because new leaves are popping up all over the place, which is great.

I also had the first potato harvest this week. By the time I got to planting the potatoes, they had long roots already and I didn’t have much hope for them, or much soil, so I dumped them all on one bag and let them get on with it.

I thought I’d have a rummage for some new potatoes a few days ago and proceeded to break most of the foliage. Who knew potatoes were so fragile?

I did manage to find some new potatoes though – my first ever potato harvest, so they accompanied dinner tonight. Yum.

We’ll see what happens to the potatoes from here on out though. I did find as many exploding rotten ones as ready to eat ones though, and I’m curious about that. Why has that happened? Is that to do with the slugs? Have I left them too log? I do wish I was doing this with someone who knew what they were doing.

The apps on my phone are pretty useless. They’re telling me I should be reaping like mad right now! Which, clearly, I’m not.20130707-222135.jpg

I’m glad we’re doing this in the pots though, rather than straight in the ground. It’s made meeting the needs of my seedlings so much easier. It’s like attachment gardening.

Only you eat your babies if you’ve done it right.

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End Of The Box Fun Food Pasta

Have you ever opened your store cupboard to find that each pasta container has too little pasta left to make up a meal?

That’s what happened to me tonight, so I ended up making different pastas! There was gluten free and normal, white and whole meal, long, spirally, and shells.

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I popped each pasta into its own pot, with some food colouring, which I was sure Ameli was going to love if it worked.

Once cooked, I drained it then decided the blue and red needed more colour, so added a few more drops to each (drained) pot and stirred it in.

Finally, I mixed the green, red and blue pastas together, mixed in some herbs, seasoning and olive oil, and served to a very excited toddler, who for the first time ever, asked for more food!

 

Vranameer Chicken : A Family Recipe

The moment I finished reading the topic for this months Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes, I knew exactly which recipe I would share: Vranameer Chicken.

Welcome to the April 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Recipes

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing their recipes, their stories, their pictures, and their memories.

***

Translated from Afrikaans, Vra Na Meer means Ask For More. That’s what this is all about. Eating more cause it’s so yum.

Actually, some time after my mother’s terminal diagnosis, I sat down and asked myself what I would wish I could have asked five, ten, twenty years from now. One of the first things I thought about was this recipe.

My mother has never been big on food. She’s not much of a cook, and doesn’t particularly enjoy spending time in the kitchen – although she’s a fabulous baker! But this was a meal she would cook for us.

Be warned. It’s not what I would call healthy, although it could be made healthier, but it is really quick and easy and very, very, very tasty. It would particularly appeal to anyone who likes sweet and sour Chinese food.

I’ll have to try it again sometime with made-from-scratch ingredients.

Vranameer Chicken : A Family Recipe
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 3 - 4
  • Serving size: 1
  • Calories: 439
  • Fat: 5.3
  • Saturated fat: .3
  • Carbohydrates: 89.5
  • Sugar: 33.8
  • Sodium: 1146
  • Fiber: 3.2
  • Protein: 6.7
  • Cholesterol: 11.9
Recipe type: Main Meal, Chicken
Cuisine: South African
You could make this recipe healthier by making the mayonnaise and chutney from scratch before hand. The chutney you use also makes a difference to the flavour. Traditionally you use Mrs Balls Chutney (Amazon US), but any sweet fruity chutney works.
Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 chicken portions
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup chutney
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs to taste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C
  2. Brown the chicken and set aside in an oven-proof casserole dish.
  3. Sauté the onions gently for 10 to 15 minutes until they are soft and has a golden colour. Add the water and mix to make a 'soup'.
  4. Mix onion with chutney and mayonnaise, and pour sauce over chicken.
  5. Cover casserole dish and bake in oven at 180°C for an hour.
  6. Serve with fluffy rice and fresh, mixed salad.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • German Red Cabbage: A Family Tradition — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy shares her favorite dish and a part of her family’s history.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Recipes for Meal Planning — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama shares a new recipe that is in her family’s meal-planning rotation. Check out how she uses a rotisserie chicken to get through the week.
  • Grandma Wicken’s Sugar Cookies — Jana Falls at Jananas talks about how special her Grandma’s sugar cookies made her feel.
  • Recipe: Seed and Bean Burgers — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings shares one of her favourite frugal recipes that is also super-healthy and totally delicious.
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich — Lisa at The Squishable Baby PULLS dinner together for the kids.
  • The Best Banana Muffin Recipe (Gluten Free & Vegan) — Dionna of Code Name: Mama’s adventures in gluten free baking have not been 100% successful. But today she is guest posting at Fine and Fair to share a banana muffin recipe that will knock your socks off!
  • The Pierogie Mama Whips Up Strawberry Pierogies! — Bianca at The Pierogie Mama shares her family’s recipe for strawberry pierogies…a sweet, summery version of the Polish dumplings that she affectionately named her daughter after.
  • Mom’s Cookbook — Tree at Mom Grooves digs into the big book her mom created for her six daughters and shares a favorite family recipe.
  • Crispy Duck Confit — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes the liberty of starting a family recipe tradition with this super simple, totally delicious crispy duck confit.
  • Stovetop BBQ Chicken — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares a yummy BBQ chicken recipe that you can make on the stovetop in less than 25 minutes, fridge to table!
  • Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Casserole w/Bacon — Martine at Whey Beyond the Naked Truth shares a naked food twist on an old family favorite!
  • Strawberry Panna Cotta — KerryAnn at CookingTF.com shows you her favorite dessert, a quick and easy Strawberry Panna Cotta that she enjoys so much, she had it instead of a birthday cake this year.
  • Special crepes for a special day — Mikko at Hobo Mama is learning to cook his grandma’s signature holiday meal alongside his dad.
  • Three Favorite Family Recipes: To Eat, To Wash, To Play — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings is back with three family favorites: gluten-free shortbread, DIY powdered laundry detergent, and something fun for the kids: homemade “Flubber”!
  • Black Bean Soup Forever — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a soup recipe that’s been around forever.
  • Do you want to know a secret? — SRB at Little Chicken Nuggets lets go of her mac and cheese recipe, a comfort food favourite for friends and family for years.
  • Creating Our Own Family Recipes — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM shares how she’s trying to create meals that her girls will want to pass down to their own children some day.
  • Vranameer Chicken: A Family Recipe — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares a recipe that reminds her of childhood and more specifically, of her mother. It’s a South African take on sweet and sour chicken and what it lacks in healthy it makes up for in tantalising to the taste buds.
  • One Recipe, Three Uses: Dishwasher Liquid Detergent, Dish Soap, and Hand Soap — If you love saving money and time, you’ll love this green recipe from Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network.
  • Our Family’s Favorite Pies — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares recipes and tutorials for the quintessential American dessert.
  • Deliciously Easy Crock Pot ChiliLactating Girl shares her crock pot chili that is not only quick and easy, but awesome.
  • All-Purpose Crock Pot PorkCrunchy Con Mommy‘s simple “recipe” for cooking perfect pork in the crock pot is for whatever mood her family is in!
  • Family Rules: A Recipe for Harmony — Cooped-up kids + winter weather + frazzled parents can all blend together into a recipe for disaster. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares what brought back the peace in her house.
  • Favorite Healthy Family Recipes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her family’s healthy eating experiences along with links to free printable vegetarian recipes that her family has created with love.
  • Grandma’s Banana Bread — Megan at The Boho Mama has early and fond memories of her grandma’s banana bread. It’s love in a loaf!
  • Family Comfort Food — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares a recipe handed down that moms have made for their kids, for regular meals as well as to comfort.

 

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Meatball Pasta

On Thursday evening, my hubby walked down the stairs from the study and asked me “Have you had any thoughts on dinner?” As he was walking past the front door, there was a knock, so he answered it, and there stood a delivery man with a package from Philadelphia for me. It was a cool bag with all the ingredients I needed for dinner. Perfect. Hubby said, “Have you made any plans for a holiday?” looking expectantly at the door. Alas, lightning only struck once, but at least it brought dinner with it!Read more: Philadelphia Cream Cheese Meatball Pasta

Little Cooks – Banana Muffins

I absolutely love baking and cooking with Ameli. It’s something we do regularly enough, and it’s fun for both of us, most of the time. While I don’t tend to use ‘dumbed down’ recipes specifically on her behalf, it is sometimes easier if I’m just looking for an afternoon activity for us to use a child friendly recipe that has few ingredients and little effort.

We came across the Little Cooks Collection, featuring Dora the Explorer and decided we’d try out the recipes.  You subscribe and receive two magazines a month, complete with recipes, activities, and a child’s kitchen set to collect.

The first recipe was for Banana Muffins, so here they are with our take on it:

This recipe is supposed to be for four muffins. Four seemed a low number to turn the oven on for, so we immediately doubled it and somehow ended up with 11 muffins – no one was complaining!

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 80g soft brown sugar (although we used white as that’s what we had)
  • 4tbsp rapeseed oil (that’s 60ml)
  • 2 small eggs or 1 large one
  • 130 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 200g self-raising flour

(I think next time I’ll add a pinch of salt too, to deepen the banana flavour.)

Instructions:

  1. Peel and mash the banana in a bowl
  2. Mix in the sugar and oil
  3. Add the egg
  4. Pour the milk and stir together
  5. Add the flour and stir
  6. Spoon the mixture into your Dora muffin cases (we only had four so used paper for the rest – but the silicone muffin cases are excellent and I’m going to look out for another copy of the first book so we can have another set of the silicone muffin cases which come with the 99p book.)
  7. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 190C/365F/gas mark 5

The book also recommends adding either 50g of chopped nuts, blueberries or apple pieces. I think that can only add to the flavour so we’ll try that next time. Something else that works well with banana is coconut, so we could try that too.

Flavour-wise this is a really basic recipe and I do think salt could bring out more of the banana flavour, but it’s perfectly suitable for  children and packed in an air-tight container makes a lovely breakfast for the next day too.

Simplicity-wise, however, there couldn’t be an easier recipe for a two-year old to follow with Mama’s help – older kids will need even less help.

Find out more from the Little Cooks website, where you’ll find information on subscribing, all the freebies you’ll receive and you can see what the inside of the magazine looks like too. We are loving the Little Cooks series, and highly recommend them!

 

 

Fun Mother’s Day Recipes

It’s Mother’s Day in the UK soon, and there’s little nicer than waking up to breakfast in bed. So, my advice, Mamas, is tell dads or older children to glance over here for some healthy, simple, child-friendly recipes brought to you by the HGCA. These recipes are so simple, children could make them (with supervision please!) and even not too kitchen savvy dads should manage!

Before I lose you completely in the gooey yumminess of pancakes and brownies, here are some interesting facts about something we all know, but know little about: Rapeseed Oil.

  • Rapeseed oil is produced from the oilseed rape plant and comes from the same Brassica family as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
  • Rapeseed, along with linseed, are the only oils grown and bottled in the UK making them the best oils for those trying to lower their carbon footprint and eat local.
  • Sometimes labelled as ‘vegetable oil’, rapeseed oil is lower in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like omega 3 and 6 that can help to lower cholesterol when consumed as part of an overall healthy diet.

Add a flower and a Mother’s Day Card and it’ll be a treat indeed.

CHOCOLATE & CRANBERRY BROWNIES

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Makes 12

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 50g cocoa
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 25g milk chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180oC, gas mark 4. Base line a 22cm square tin.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and creamy. Sieve the flour and cocoa together and gently whisk into the eggs, then whisk in the oil.

Pour into the prepared tin, scatter over the cranberries and chocolate chips if using. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly before turning out of the tin. Cut into 12 pieces.

Cook’s tip

Replace the cranberries with any other dried fruit such as apple or chopped dates. For an extra healthy option, replace the flour with self-raising wholemeal flour.

Estimated total cost: £2.44

Estimated cost per brownie: 20p

FRUITY BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves 4

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil + extra for frying
  • 100g fresh blueberries or raspberries

Place the flour in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs and honey then gradually whisk in the buttermilk and 1 tbsp oil to form a thick batter. Stir in the fruit.

Heat a little extra oil in a frying pan and using a tablespoon, spoon some mixture into the pan to make 4 pancakes. Cook gently for 1-2 minutes each side until golden and cooked through. Repeat to make 12 pancakes.

Cook’s tip

For an extra healthy option, use self-raising wholemeal flour. Ideal drizzled with honey or maple syrup and scattered with fresh fruit.

Total cost: £1.76

Cost per serving: 44p

And Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas!

** This post was originally posted on April 2nd 2011. This is a repost.

Kids in the Kitchen

When Ameli was 10 months old, I had a visit with a health visitor, who told me I had to put a stair gate up on the kitchen door, so that Ameli couldn’t be in the kitchen while I was cooking, because “the stove is hot”. I told her that didn’t make sense, as the alternative was for my 10 month old to be walking around the house unattended while I was making food. Yes, she said. That is the safer option.

I’m afraid I didn’t agree, but taking her ‘advice’  on board, I put the oven on at fourty-something degrees (Celsius) and when Ameli got too close to the oven, I went down on my haunches and explained to her that it was hot – she could touch it but it would burn. She touched it, it burnt and she pulled away. She’s never touched a hot oven since. Of course I didn’t have it on at 200C and I didn’t hold or press her hand on it. I wasn’t trying to hurt her, but teach her.
Read more: Kids in the Kitchen