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Easy breakfasts for kids to create.

Keeping the kids both happy and healthy when it comes to food can be a tiresome chore, but all mums enjoy offering a treat once in a while. The key to ensuring that they get their daily intake of nutrients, carbohydrates, protein and vitamins involves teaching them to prepare a number of balanced, nutrient-rich and wholesome meals, breakfast being one of the easiest to make.

breakfast

Breakfast time:
Breakfast is said to be one of the most important meals of the day and rightly so – especially if your little ones are constantly on the move. From running around in the schoolyard to swimming lessons at the local pool, our children are often a lot more active than we are. Thankfully McCain.co.uk offer a variety of breakfast-worthy, kid-friendly options perfect for those who need to build up their energy levels.

The perfect components to a hearty breakfast:
If you can, it’s important to enjoy a family breakfast at least once a week. You may find that everyone is free on the weekends. If this is case, ensure the table is set and the ingredients are in stock in advance. From bacon and eggs, to hash browns and lightly buttered toast, when it comes to making a hearty breakfast, it’s often fun to get everyone involved. The kids can become involved in the prep work from helping to mix the eggs to buttering toast. The role you give your child should be determined by their age. The likes of scrambled eggs on a muffin and dippy eggs with a side of hash browns are both easy and tasty options for the little ones to create.

Get the kids’ involved:
Finding healthy breakfast recipes is a must when you have children, especially if you want them to indulge in a nutrient-packed diet. There’s nothing quite like waking up to a delicious and nutritious breakfast, and teaching your kids how to make their very own dishes is a great place to start.

For one, when you’re not around to help them make an early morning meal, you’ll know they’re able to fend for themselves. Breakfast acts as brain fuel and for your little ones to do well at school ensuring they have a hearty breakfast is key. Pre-made items come in handy, such as hash browns, which can easily be taken out of the fridge or freezer when required and placed easily in the microwave.

Vegetarian options:
Whether your little ones are fussy eaters or quite simply don’t like the taste of meat, looking into a number of vegetarian kids recipes can prove extremely beneficial. From blueberry muffins to melon and crunchy bran pots, there are a variety of easy-to-make options to choose from. Getting children involved in the preparation of meals can benefit them by teaching them to eat healthily and also encourage their love of food.

 

GP

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Me time (with added tea & cakes)

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

#shop #cupcakes #cbias #carrotcake

The last week or so have passed in a bit of a blur, various things, but I was determined to take some time out, some me time, and do something away from the computer, away from the kids and away from the hubs. So, I decided to do some baking, alone. When I say alone, I think it’s been documented a few times on here that I like to bake cakes & cook without the kids ‘helping’ me. I know, I know. Bad mummy and all that! Blah!

As it’s almost Valentines day, and we’re off to Paris in 18 days (who’s counting!?) we’ve decided we’re not doing presents here, saving that for France, I thought I’d bake a cake the man likes, rather than one that the kids request, and, being a man, there was no chocolate involved. At. All. Weirdo. He requested a carrot cake! I have never, ever baked a carrot cake in my life, but I thought why the hell not.

Anyway. I hit Tesco nice and early, and I mean, nice and early, it was practically empty. If I could get my backside out of bed at that time every morning I might be tempted to do my weekly shop then, but I can’t.

#shop #tesco #cake

Once the kids were deposited at school and I’d hit the usual social media channels, I got to it. It’s a pretty simple recipe to follow, the only thing that threw me a little was the carrot part, there is a lot of liquid in grated carrots, so I squeezed out some but I probably could have done with getting rid of a little more.

Cupcakes
150g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
150ml sunflower oil
150g self raising flour, sifted
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 tsp of salt
a drop (or two) of vanilla extract
150g carrots, grated
50g chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Icing
300g icing sugar (sifted)
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese

Heat the oven to 170C or Gas mark 3. Put 12 cupcake cases into a cupcake tray.
Beat together the eggs, sugar and sunflower oil, until combined. Slowly mix in the self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
Fold in the carrots and walnuts and spoon into cupcake cases until 2/3.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes, before transferring to a wire cooling rack. (I added an extra 5-8mins because of the moisture from the carrots)
Once cool, you can make the cream cheese icing. Beat together the room temperature butter with the cream cheese, slowly adding the sifted icing sugar.
Spread the icing over each cake, decorating with some chopped walnuts if you want to. I did some with & some without as the boy is anti nuts. I won’t tell him there are some inside the cakes!

Easy! It is a messy recipe I won’t lie! My hands are still stained orange from the carrots, and it probably wasn’t a good idea to do the grating with my left hand (twice as long!) but I had no choice. It would also probably be helpful if your electric whisk didn’t keep flying off the handle (literally) I really need to convince the man to get me a Kitchen Aid! Imagine the cakes I could make….!

#shop #whisk #cakemix

The end result is a really moist (hate that word) light cupcake. I’m wondering if I could vary the icing on top, maybe add some lemon zest/juice to it to give it a bit of a lift. Has anyone ever made carrot cake with chocolate icing? Does that even go, or is it too much of a flavour combination?

#shop #cupcake #walnuts

As sad as this may sound, going back to Flinstone time or whatever, but I actually really enjoyed baking these, I had my music blasting out, the house to myself and I’m quite proud of my little cakes! The boy even said if I can’t manage to make the Captain America cake for his birthday (panic) then these would be good! I can’t imagine a room full of 4 & 5 year olds appreciating carrot cake, but it’s the thought that counts eh?!

Oh, and have a look at this last pic. Does anyone else think my dog thinks I’m a messy cook by any chance? He was my shadow the whole time I was baking, like a Dyson with four legs. Don’t think you went un-noticed Lenny!

#shop #dog #cakes #baking

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Quick Easy Meals for a Busy Mum ~ gp

It’s not always easy to rustle up a decent meal against the clock. If you’re anything like me, the kids and housework take up plenty of time, which can mean you’re left with a tiny window of opportunity in which to get something on the table. The good news is there are some quick and easy meals that you can fall back on.

Dig around and you’ll find options for every taste too: whether you have a hankering for McCain French fries, or feel in the mood for a warming soup, you can find something to match. Don’t let all those after-school activities, neighbourhood meetings and other commitments prevent you from cooking up some hot and tasty food. You don’t have to resort to a McDonald’s burger and French fries for fast food.

Pizzas and burgers

A make-your-own pizza meal always goes down well with the kids and caters for fussy eaters too. You can make your own pizza crust before cooking, or buy a frozen one, and then leave it to each member of the family to pick out what they want: ham, pineapple, pepperoni slices, sweetcorn and so on. You can also rustle up a side salad.

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Or what about cooking up your own burgers? Again, this is a meal that doesn’t take much preparation and the kids can help out. Maybe they could choose their own relish or garnish and make it. You can mix all kinds of flavourings and herbs into your beef to get a taste you like, and the frying or barbecuing process should only take 10-20 minutes.

Soups and casseroles
Soups are quick to put together and there are endless tasty varieties to pick from: spinach, pasta and pea soup is one of the favourites at our house, and you can have it ready in about 20 minutes. Add a hunk of bread and you’re all set to go. Again, you can experiment with different tastes and flavours to see what suits your family.

Casseroles, like soups, can be cooked in one batch and don’t require you to time multiple cooking processes to perfection. What about a creamy chicken enchilada casserole? It enables you to make good use of a store-bought rotisserie-cooked chicken, and takes about an hour to put together from start to finish.

Meatballs and sandwiches

Meatballs, together with rice and noodles, are quick and easy to throw together, and you could even have them with oven-cooked French fries. You could add in some pineapple or a spicy tomato sauce for a bit of twist.

Sandwiches are an obvious choice that require little preparation, but you don’t have to settle for the boring, regular versions. You could put together some turkey-cobb sandwiches from your Sunday leftovers, whisking in mayonnaise, vinegar, pepper and salt, before adding salad and a dressing. Toasted, uncovered sandwiches are another option, using your favourite fruits and salad ingredients.

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Those are just a few ideas for you to chew over — if you’ve got some quick and easy meal tips of your own, be sure to let me know. I’d love to hear them!

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Cook & Eat

I am really trying to spend more time in the kitchen this year. I’m sick of eating ready made rubbish, and while I can’t say I’d ever have the determination to do clean eating 24/7, it does appeal to me. So, where I can, I want to make things from scratch. I always hated being in the kitchen (and I would still rather clean the car than cook a roast/xmas dinner) but now, I love it. I enjoy getting the kids tasting new things, and it actually helps me to relax because it doesn’t involve a computer or phone in any form! Unless the recipe is on my iPad, but that doesn’t count.

I did an amazing gammon over xmas, fab trifle, and the most gorgeous cheesecake ever, so they all cancelled out the basic-ness that was the Christmas dinner. God, I hate the taste and smell of turkey!

Anyway.

Clean eating. Detoxing (in serious need of it) and even fasting on the 5:2. They all love a soup. And so do I.

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We had a homemade soup at my Mother in Laws over xmas, and it was delish. I’m not even a fan of stilton but in this soup it was gorgeous. I decided to have a go myself using my Vitamix (oh, how I love you) and it came out brilliantly.

You need:

2tbsp Oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 stick of celery
1 leek
A knob of butter 
1litre of chicken or veg stock
Broccoli chopped up. 
140g Stilton 

The recipe included a potato but I wanted to try and make it as healthy as possible, so I left that out and it didn’t affect the soup at all.

You simply soften the onion in the oil for a few minutes, add the leek, celery and butter, stir until it’s softened then cover with a lid and leave to sweat for 5 mins.
Pour in the stock and any big pieces of broccoli and cook for 10-15 mins until it’s all soft. Then add the rest of the broccoli and cook for another 5 mins. Then pour it all (carefully) into the vitamix, or any other blender, and blitz until it’s smooth. Stir in the stilton at the end, just before serving. I probably didn’t use the full 140g of stilton, but it is such a strong cheese you don’t need too much, the husband (cheese freak) was more than happy with the cheese level and the kids loved it.

Success!

 

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He’s my lobster….!

If you’re a Friends fan like me, you’ll know *exactly* what I’m talking about….!

Anyway!

New Years Eve the man and I did something we’ve never (ever) done, we went out for NYE! We’ve been together 16 years and each year we’ve stayed in, either babysitting for other people or staying home cooking our own babies & seeing in Jan 1st with our family. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve not been home alone and in bed before midnight, but we’ve never got dressed up and gone out out.

This year, to start the whole “something new every month” thing, we did. My mum & dad watched the crazies for us, and we headed to Reigate to Cotê Brasserie for some amazing French food.

The man, being the man, had already checked out the menu to see what he was going to have, but, being the man, he was no closer to deciding than I was when we got there! So many options for a cheese & steak loving man……! In the end, I managed to persuade him to try something different & he did! The powers of my persuasion know no bounds!

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Starting off with bubbles is always a must, in fact, I think every single meal we go out for should start with a glass of bubbles!

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Oh yes! Lobster for main (it followed the most amazing king prawns which I forgot to take a pic of) Now, I’ve had lobster loads of times but I’ve never used the ‘nutcrackers and stick fork’ to eat it, and the man hasn’t either, so it was a messy, hilarious and bloody delicious dinner! Of course, there will be experts out there that would *love* to tell us how to eat it correctly, but pah! It was soooo tasty! I don’t think the man appreciated the work that was required to get at it, but he did like it. He’s definitely more of a steak man though & I could see him eyeing up the table next to us with their (blue) meat. (God, talk about annoying couple alert – she couldn’t eat dairy or eggs but hadn’t checked the menu beforehand and he was just a complete know it all, they were everywhere this Xmas!)

After main, and another glass of bubbles it was time for dessert. Again, so many choices! I went with chocolate fondant, while the bloke deliberated between cheese board (see) or Grand Marnier crepes. In the end, the crepes won. See, I *will* get him to live dangerously even if it kills me!

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One more glass of bubbles (for me) and we headed back to my parents and kids. There is nothing better than seeing in the start of the new year with your favourite people, and we had such a laugh! More booze, naturally, and partying until 4am! The perfect way to see in the new year and the start of something exciting!

 

 

 

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London Town

PicMonkey Collage

Last weekend the man & I had a rare night off from kiddie duties & we hit London. Now, before I go any further, when I say hit it, I don’t mean a hardcore, all nighter, because, you know, we’re knackered most of the time! But it was one of those nights where both kids had a sleepover at a friends house & we had a voucher for a meal at Garfunkel’s. The Christmas lights had been switched on and I am a serious Christmas fiend so I knew exactly where we would be going!

After dropping the kids, we took a train into Victoria – lets just note how relaxing evening trains can be when you don’t have a 4yo shouting down the whole carriage and an 11yo ignoring you while she’s listening to music on her phone. We chatted, we caught up on twitter, we daydreamed, it was all very sophisticated & chilled – then we jumped onto the tube (hell on earth) and hit Oxford Street. Now, I’m not sure when the last time I went to Oxford St is, but I can tell you I won’t be going there again in a hurry. I don’t care *how* many shops they have, the sheer number of people pushing and shoving and rushing around is enough to make me go all hulk like on their arses. Seriously people, rudeness doesn’t get you to your destination any faster!

Anyway. We saw John Lewis windows (Bear and Hare & some amazing deer, rabbits, polar bears all made out of appliances and gadgets) Debenhams, House of Fraser & I was right back in the xmas spirit! We then made our way down Carnaby Street, up to Covent Garden (I’m saying ‘up’ and ‘down’ like I know what direction we went in, I have no idea, I just followed!) Covent Garden is amazing at the best of times, but at Xmas, it’s a whole other level. Then we hit Garfunkel’s. Now, I used to go here a lot as a kid, I don’t know why, but it’s the main restaurant I remember going to with my mum & dad! I’m not sure if it’s because of holidays and we went at the airport, or if it was in London, but I just remember it fondly. So I was quite looking forward to seeing if it had changed since then.

As we were reviewing the new menu, we decided to go with the fancy hotdogs. I had the British Bulldog, a hotdog with chilli on top, served with chips and homemade coleslaw and the man had the Hickory Red, loaded with jalapeño cheese and slow-cooked onions and a BBQ sauce. The waitress had said the British Bulldog wasn’t that spicy so the hubs changed his mind, but, after tasting mine and getting the hiccups, he wishes had had the same. I love a good hotdog, and I’ve always wanted a proper chill-dog, oh god this was amazing! It was massive, I couldn’t eat the whole thing (lucky hubs) but I would have it again and again! We were going to share a pudding, but after 2 Magners & 2 Crabbies we were both stuffed. The restaurant was fab, clean, friendly & even though it was busy (saturday night, in London at xmas time) the food was hot, quick & the staff were great. The meal, including hubs starter, a salad bowl & drinks only came to £50 which I think is quite cheap for a proper sit down restaurant, and we’ll definitely be going back with the kids soon.

Once we’d finished eating, we rolled ourselves back out into Covent Garden and started walking back to Victoria, via The London Eye, Embankment, Buckingham Palace and round. Again, I couldn’t tell you how to get back to the station, but I do know we managed to walk about 7miles, and one of us was in heeled boots!

It was such a nice night, we had a chance to chat, relax and catch up with each other without one of us being distracted by someone or something. It’s only when you get time together without kids that you realise how much you need it. We’ve said we’re going to make it a regular thing, but the speed the months are passing us by, I doubt it’ll be monthly! It’s our 12th wedding anniversary this weekend, so I think we’re going to put another date night in the calendar very soon!

{Voucher provided to review the new menu as stated, but all words and opinions are my own!}

{{there are no food photos because we were too engrossed in talking to each other!}}

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