Monday, 30 July 2012

Beef Satay Stir Fry

I have to 'fess up here.  I made this just for my husband and I because I had some steak which needed eating up and it was a nursery day so Pumpkin had his tea there but I am 100% confident my son will like this and there's nothing in there he can't or won't eat.  It's a tasty meal without paying a small fortune for a stir fry sauce.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Toddler Chilli - but great for adults too

I posted a baby chilli recipe some time back and if you do have a baby, that's probably the best one for you.  Mild without being flavourless but not really a kick.

My son went off the baby chilli recipe a while back and I couldn't figure out why.  It was only when I was talking to someone online about giving their toddler food with more flavour that it occurred to me that he might like something a bit spicier nowadays so here it is with more flavour and just cooked on the hob.  This would be fine to cook in a slow cooker but it was just being used for something else at the time!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Red, White and Blue Pancakes for the Whole Family

Some eggs in the fridge, 15 mins or so on my hands, not feeling like toast or cereal...

So I made these.  They worked a treat on my normally reluctant blueberry eater.  He ate two with no problems and did pretty well eating the fruit (which I thought might all get picked out.)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Broccoli and Cheddar Mini Quiches for the Whole Family

This is a variation on the mini quiche recipe I posted back in May.  Driven mainly because I didn't have all of the ingredients in!  That said, it was interesting and successful to switch some of the ingredients, you'd be far more likely to have them all in the house without popping to the shops, the pastry is a little easier to handle and the end result was none the worse for it.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Tomato and Goats Cheese Salad

I didn't even think about this being a recipe until my husband pointed out that the kind of things I make for his lunch aren't things he would have thought of doing.

My mum always used to take time and care over my packed lunch as a child while using up leftovers at the same time (so making sure it was thrifty).  I have to admit occasionally I was jealous of my friends with their wrapped chocolate biscuits and packets of crisps but then you always want what you don't have and I did appreciate the home made bread, home made cakes and the effort.  I also liked being the kid with the 'odd' things in her lunch like garlicky salami and pate (now it doesn't seem so strange but in Northamptonshire in the eighties, this was definitely wacky stuff!)

After having years of sandwiches made with home made bread (nice hot but a touch heavy when it's cold), I am now more keen on making alternative lunches with different dishes or salads and challenging what is lunch time food.

Lunch time, after all is a time when either you, your partner or your child have been busy all morning and it's time to relax, stop, rest and take a moment.  Making yourself a nice lunch is a way of taking care of yourself and brightening up your day.

So, this little side salad was served with some cold roasted chicken and some potato salad.  Probably ideally something green should have been included but it was just what I had in the fridge.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Pancakes for the whole family

Not American pancakes but the more European option.  Great for rolling, filling and of course for pancake day.  Ok.  It's not pancake day but I was wondering what to make for breakfast, really didn't fancy cereal, no bread in the house for toast so what to make?

Well after my post about thrift the other day, I thought of making some pancakes.  Why not?  They are cheap, super quick, they contain no sugar or salt (you can add sweet things to them if you like) and are great finger foods.  The amount below will make about 4 large pancakes which might be enough for 1 adult and a baby or toddler but it depends what fillings you chose and how much you like pancakes!  As a child, my mum used to have two frying pans on the go whenever pancakes were made (but then I did grow up in a family of 5!)

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Thrifty Food Tips

Who isn't feeling the squeeze at the moment?  We certainly are.  I remember easily being able to keep our weekly food bill below £50 a week, which, even before my son was here and the associated nappies, did used to include a lot more wine than we have nowadays.  Now it's hard to keep it below £80 and takes some real thinking to keep it below £70.

If you think about it, food shopping accounts for a huge amount of household budgets.  Say most people are in this £70 a week bracket increasing from £50 a few years ago, that's over £1000 a year extra than people used to pay.  It's a lot of money.  Even managing to cut £5 from that bill is a significant amount.  If you could save over £250 a year on your electricity bill, you would.

So, here are some tips to help the money go further.  Not all of them are original, some I've picked up from other places.

A challenge I really like from Money Saving Expert is to try downshifting.  So if you usually buy finest or branded, why not try own brand?  If you normally buy own brand, why not try the value brand?  The idea is that in some things, you'll try it and think "nope, not as good as the other..." and that might be a big difference or just a small difference you could put up with, or, you might find that you detect no difference at all.  Money saved on my last shopping trip - £1.40 on breakfast cereals, 80p on cling film, £1 on ketchup, £1.50 on mayonnaise.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Stuffed Peppers for Babies and Toddlers

Well it was bound to happen some day!  A recipe I made which I tasted and thought tasted great and my son has a straight rejection; I mean he doesn't even give it a go.  He is a bit off his food today, even rejecting pudding so I'm not going to be too hard on myself.

So in some ways perhaps I shouldn't be posting this but I am certain there is a good idea in here somewhere and, if I post it, I will think about it more, perhaps take suggestions from you good people and come up with an idea my son is a tad more accepting of.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Spinach and goats cheese bites for babies and toddlers

Ok, another variation on a recipe... but this one is really scrumptious, definitely my best "vegetable bite" recipe.  It's great because spinach can be a tough sell to most kids but most importantly, it tastes pretty darn good.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Baked prawns for babies, toddlers and adults

My son loves prawns.  This is a simple mixture of hot baked prawns which is popular with adults and kids alike.  I remember having something very similar in a tapas bar in Madrid before I became Mrs Mamacook.  The terracotta dishes were put onto a griddle and cooked over hot coals.  It's not quite replicating the gorgeous garlicky smokiness of those prawns but it's not bad.  I do love that attitude in Spain though.  This particular tapas bar only served four different things; prawns with garlic, deep fried prawns, grilled prawns and grilled langoustine (alongside wine of course).  There is something to be admired at finding what you're good at in life and sticking to it.

I buy prawns frozen and defrost them.  A lot of seafood is previously frozen even if it's sold as chilled, particularly if it's something from far afield.  Also having been kept frozen means it's been kept at a temperature bacteria can't grow at.  Another bonus when feeding kids.  It's worth stocking up when they are on offer as raw prawns can be pretty pricey.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Halloumi salad for toddlers and adults

I cannot, in all honestly proclaim this as a success.  Not the halloumi, oh no, the halloumi was wolfed down, it was the salad bit he was less keen on.

Still, how many of us can claim we'd tried something that adventurous as a toddler?  I certainly liked the whole dish and I'd be tempted to give him halloumi again, perhaps just served in a different way, maybe following my suggestion further down, maybe off the barbecue with grilled prawns and coleslaw on the side?  A nice change from the usual sausages and burgers.

If only we had the weather for a barbecue...

Friday, 6 July 2012

Only 10 minutes to cook for your toddler?

I know what it's like being a mum.  At best you have 10 minutes of time to spend on cooking for your child.  You've got back through the door from Mums and Tots or you lost track of time while playing with playdoh.  I do understand this is why so many mums want to turn to prepared foods.

So, here are my top ideas for an emergency "need to cook some food RIGHT NOW" for your toddler moments without resorting to a smiley face or a cheese string!  Think about it, this has to be quicker than most preprepared foods.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Coleslaw for the whole family

I was inspired by my son's nursery to make coleslaw.  Although he's had potato salad before, it was just something which hadn't occurred to me to make until I saw it on the menu but it's great at this time of year (and in this weather) as it's a hardy salad as comfortable alongside hot food as cold stuff and let's face it, who knows what's happening from day to day?

Monday, 2 July 2012

Courgette and Feta Bites for babies and toddlers

This is a variation on the Broccoli nuggets recipe I posted in April which has become my most read recipe.  I can understand why, it can be difficult to get kids to like vegetables and anything in a small, easily holdable form is a winner with toddlers.  (Although one person admitted they had them as a beer snack!)

This is also a great recipe for baby led weaners as although cheese and bread are salty, with only 1/12th of a slice of bread and less than 6g of cheese per 'bite' it's far better than giving a sandwich.

This is a variation I encourage you to try, especially if your courgette plants survived the onslaught of local slugs (mine, unfortunately did not) and you're currently trying to find new and interesting ways to use them in cooking.  I don't know if you're like me but I love growing courgettes but I seem to be the only person in my family who likes to eat them!