Monday, 30 January 2012

No Added Sugar Oaty Mini Muffins for Babies and Toddlers

Another muffin recipe?  Well yes.  I went back to basics with this and although some of the flavouring ingredients are similar to other muffins I've made, the mix is much more liquid.  I think this makes for a lighter muffin despite the oats.  Although you can't really taste the pears, they do lend a lovely and surprising sweetness.  It's important to use ripe pears though.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Mediterranean Prawn Stew for Babies and Toddlers

This was an improvised dish when 9 minutes before I knew I had to start cooking, I'd got no inspiration at all.  Very easy, especially if you always have home made tomato based pasta sauce in the freezer as I do.  Something a bit different too.  It's easy to get into a cooking rut with kids I'm finding.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Indian Carrot Salad for Mums and Dads

A cunning recipe for my thrifty50 month!  Who doesn't have carrots in the house?  They're one of the few vegetables you can buy British on all year round which makes them super cheap and this recipe is super tasty.  Result!  No reason not to feed to kids, just be guided by how good they are with spices (this isn't hot though).

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Vegetarian Lasagne for the whole family

My husband proclaims "vegetarian lasagne" a waste of letters (as he sees a normal lasagne as needing no prefix), however, as it is thrifty 50 month (i.e. trying to spend less than £50 a week on grocery shopping and all eating out), it's a fantastically thrifty recipe and one which really counts on the 5 a day.  I think I could really have convinced him with this too but unfortunately he ended up getting home at 8:30pm and wasn't hungry.  I will convince him there is more to life than meat.  Honestly...

Apologies for the photography.  I am convinced food photographers only photograph chilled or frozen lasagne, perhaps blasting the top under a grill to get the colour.  Lasagne does collapse a bit when you cut it whatever you do and I'm a cook who takes a photo if you're lucky then eats.  I'm not going to be prinking for hours!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Top 10 Rice Dishes

New year, time for another look back at some of the lovely recipes we've been eating.  Rice is fantastically cheap (great for my thrifty 50 challenge - i.e. trying to do all grocery shopping every week for £50) and great nutritionally for babies and kids, a great source of energy for all of that growing.  It sustains half the world as the staple carbohydrate.

Well I'm sure you're wondering how my thrifty £50 is going?  Today I did a small shop at Aldi to stock up on the fresh items and a few other bits and bobs, that came to £28.  We also spent £4 on some fruit at the weekend which all looks pretty good.  Offset the £2.50 I spent on a hot chocolate in a cafe to cheer myself up from the drizzle!  

Even with that, it still leaves me £15.50 left if I need to spend it.  I'm not going to go out of my way to do so though, especially as I sat down and wrote 10 dishes I could make this week from my fridge and store cupboard.  It might be a bit more difficult at the end of the month mind.

So what are my favourite rice dishes or dishes to serve with rice to feed my son or to me?

Friday, 20 January 2012

Turkey Mini Meatloaves for Babies and Toddlers

Hmm.  Am I stretching my brand extension too far?  Well it's my blog and I will post mini meatloaves recipes if I want to!  This is very different though in my defence.

Anyway, this is a cracking recipe, really popular with my son.  He ate 6 of them!  Success!

Turkey mince is also really reasonable price wise and much lower in fat than other meats, less of a problem for toddlers (and I'm adding some cheese anyway) but great if you're wanting to make other things with the rest of the pack.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Thrifty Food Ideas

I have been an idiot.  Yesterday my son was falling asleep in the car on the way back from the GP.  This is a constant battle because if he falls asleep then wakes up minutes later; that's it for the day.

So, like an idiot, I turned and bam, drove straight into and over a kerb.  Got a flat and bent my wheel meaning I needed a new tire and rim.  £230 down the drain.  What an idiot.  Unusually for me, I didn't spend (too long) beating myself up about it and figured my son and I were ok, I didn't hit a pedestrian and I didn't hit another car.  It could have been a hell of a lot worse.

I don't know what it is but recently when I've faced adversity in my life, it's made be question how bad things really are and also consider whether there's someone who is a whole step worse off than me.  Before Christmas, I was being messed around by a mortgage company which meant I was left in limbo for three weeks unable to work out if we could buy a new house.  It drove me to despair until I considered that there would be plenty of families approaching Christmas with no home at all and no prospect of one.  I donated some money to Shelter that afternoon.

So, in this vain, and by a somewhat circuitous route, I would like to pay off the overdraft for that new wheel but also I intend to donate some money to RoSPA out of any savings I make.  I don't know if this life philosophy makes any sense at all to anyone else but it makes sense to me.

Now if I look at my weekly incomings and outgoings, the biggest expenditure after our mortgage is food.  I think I'm a fairly thrifty shopper and I do make use of the leftovers but I'm not sure I always cook the thriftiest recipes.  I mean it had never occurred to me until I had a keema curry (see above) which was a bit on the runny side to add a few red lentils to it.  Not only was that a successful idea taste wise, it also meant I got two more servings from a batch.

I cooked my bolognaise sauce in the slow cooker yesterday, as usual with the chicken livers (which are cheap anyway) but added extra vegetables.  I got two more adult servings out of it without a loss of flavour.

So what else am I missing?  What are your top thrifty recipes, food ideas, top tips?  Why not link them to this blog?  This is my first ever linky driven by necessity!  Help me not only make up for my stupid mistake but to do some good for someone else. So, please link up thrifty recipes, thrifty food tips or just leave a comment if you don't have a blog or don't feel in the mood. If you want to link, click on the comment which says "click here to enter" below!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Spicy Kedgeree Style Rice for Babies and Toddlers

Ok, this is quite a long way from kedgeree but that's what it was inspired by.  Kedgeree is a dish of spiced rice with smoked fish.  In itself it was an invention and inspired by Khichri which is a dish of rice and lentils so if it's ok for the British to take an Indian dish and make it their own, it should be ok for me, right?

Thinking about adapting recipes, it got me thinking how old Kedgeree is as a dish.  It must be in excess of 100 years.  That makes it as old as the hamburger.  I'm looking at wikipedia here, it might not be accurate.

Anyway, if people can adapt hamburgers to their own taste, well why not adapt this?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Sugar Free Welsh Cakes for Babies and Toddlers

I blogged a while back about a savoury welsh cake recipe, this is something far more traditional, well ok, not totally traditional, as it's with no added sugar.

They were a hit with the little man.  My husband and I liked them better with a touch of butter on top, melting over with a drizzle of honey...  Yum!  (Ok, we waited until he was in bed for that!)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Tortilla for babies and toddlers, aka Spanish Omelette

I remember my Mum eating 'Spanish Omelette' when I was little.  I never quite got it.  It seemed to contain pretty much anything and everything and always had tomatoes in it.  Even as a child, tomatoes and egg seemed like a pretty bad idea and I still can't quite compute that now.

Needless to say, despite being a fantastic cook, there was nothing Spanish about my Mum's omelettes.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Easy Chicken Tikka for Babies and Toddlers

This is easy, easy, easy.  I worry about posting this because it's almost too easy to call a recipe.  Anyway, apologies about the inauthenticity of this but it's taking a simple storecupboard ingredient and using it in a different way; even making a child friendly version of it.

I don't mean "chicken tikka masala" either.  That's a British construct and, frankly, a bit minging.  This is a dry baked dish of chicken cooked in yoghurt and spices.  Once you've given this a go, you might be interested in making your own curry pastes; frankly, I'm happy to buy pastes as you can get some fantastic ones and it makes this dish a doddle but it might be the gateway to something more authentic for you!

Read down for variations for adults, children, toddlers and babies.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Mini Meatloaves for Babies and Toddlers, mark 3

Is it wrong to post variations on a recipe?  Well I hope not and sometimes a variation could be useful for someone.  This, for example, is a gluten and wheat free mini meatloaf recipe.  Seeing as food allergies are becoming far more prevalent, it might be handy and it certainly is tasty!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Sugar Free Flapjack for babies, toddlers and adults

Well not strictly sugar free but there's no added sugar, no sweeteners and no cheating with honey or any syrup either.  This is also full of lovely high fibre ingredients so incredibly filling and will keep you sated for a while.

Friday, 6 January 2012

How to get an extra hour in the day

Again another departure for this blog.  New year, time to try out new things I say!

Now my son is nearly 20 months old, I find I have more 'me time' than I have had since he was born.  This seems crazy.  His naps have improved a little but that's not it.  I think generally I've become more organised about how I approach things and realised the hour or so when he does nap during the day is time for me, not time for me to catch up on x, y and z...

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Lentil and Bacon Soup... never buy another tin

I used to love lentil and bacon soup when I was younger.  My parents went through a phase of buying it in tins but until recently I'd never made it myself.  That's the strange thing about processed foods you like, I think it puts you off trying to make it yourself.

Anyway, I gave it a go and not only was it ridiculously easy and cheap but it was delicious.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Baked Thai Salmon Fishcakes for Toddlers and Adults

Back to normality!  It's strange when the festive period is over.  Although I only took one day off work, it doesn't feel like that when you're part time and having my husband at home for nearly two weeks was really nice to share the workload with our son.  All the more important when I had 11 people to cook for on Christmas day and 7 on New Year's Eve!

The new year brings a time of reflection though.  For me it is the ever present thoughts about my weight and fitness.  I'm not hugely overweight but I don't feel good when I look at new clothes to buy and I don't feel great when I look in the mirror nowadays.  Also it's important to me to ensure I'm keeping fit not only for my own benefit but because I now have a really big responsibility and I want to do everything I can to ensure I'm there and I'm healthy to look after my son for as long as I can.