November’s Organic Round Up

It’s time for my latest organic roundup.  I’ve decided to try to do these every couple of months after my Organic September post was so popular!  This month we’ve been trialling three new products that I’d like to share with you.

Organic Round Up

First up, and helping me with potty training on the go, is Organyc’s Organic Baby Wipes. About a week ago Joss woke up and announced she didn’t want to wear a nappy. A week on she’s doing brilliantly, we’re using cloth wipes at home but I needed something quick for out and about as she’s often using the potty when we’re literally on the go! Made from 100% organic cotton infused with organic Chamomile and organic Calendula these are a great choice of more eco-friendly wipe. They’re a really good thick quality cotton, smell refreshing but without overpowering and the addition of the essential oils is great as these are the same oils we use at home with our cloth wipes.

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Next up, for the past month I switched my usual moisturiser for these Oriflame eco-beauty smoothing day and night creams, priced at £16.95 each the two come in cheaper than my usual buy.  I really liked the packaging, with pump action nozzles they dispense hygienically and you can still control the amount you use.  The day cream contains a blend of Fairtrade Shea Butter and Fairtrade Organic Coconut Oil for a gorgeously smooth base for my daily make up routine and after a few weeks people commented that I was looking well so I assume the cream did the trick!  The night cream has a similar blend of shea and coconut oil but is slightly heavier, it smooths on nicely and after about ten minutes my skin felt plumper; this cream feels like a luxurious treat for my skin.  That it’s paraben free, fairtrade and organic makes this a really attractive eco-buy too.

The most noticable result for me is that the flaky patches I struggled to fight with my usual cream are gone, this is a brilliant result for me as they were really stubborn and could leave my makeup looking patchy on a bad day.  This is a product switch that I’m really pleased with, and sticking to!

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Organic News

In other news, Aldi, our beloved local store that we use so heavily because we don’t have a car have started stocking a range of organic fruit and veg, brilliant!  They now have a wide selection of organic products to choose from including meat and diary produce too.

Cook Together, Share Together, Laugh Together

Family Friendly Week (formerly Parents’ Week) is a national awareness week run by the Family and Childcare Trust. The aim of the week is to increase recognition of the issues faced by families up and down the country, but also to celebrate the vital contribution families make to society.

Cook Together, Share Together, Laugh Together

The theme for this year’s Family Friendly Week is Cook Together, Share Together, Laugh Together so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to reflect on our family eating habits, what we enjoy about cooking and sharing meals together, and some of the laughs along the way too.

I’m also reblogging one of our favourite family recipes, a healthy treat for toddlers in the shape of my ‘pack a punch toddler flapjacks’ – they’ve had great feedback from other parents and Joss loves getting involved in making them too!

Cook together

My top tip for cooking with toddlers would be to get them involved from a very early stage, preparing food can be a great sensory activity and can be a good starter for little chats about favourite foods, textures and healthy choices. For example when we make these flapjacks we talk about them being a treat or a snack, include plenty of fruit which I generally leave open to Joss’ choices offering her a range of dried or fresh fruits to add to the mixture, and the last time we made them we talked about the honey we add, and about buzzy bees too!

Share together

Sharing a family meal time is important to us and we like to offer Joss plenty of choice and a say in what we eat too. If I ask her what she’d like for dinner nine times out of ten she will say chicken pasta or sausage, broccoli, carrots and potato (it’s become like a song!) so those evenings I will try to accommodate her choices, or ask her to choose between a few different veggies so she feels she’s contributing too!

Laugh together

Clearly when cooking with a toddler much hilarity ensues, the last time we baked bread together we had to start again as the yeast was tipped onto the floor and when we made a crumble Joss was very interested until I said we’d be having homemade custard and she declared she wanted chicken dinner instead and wouldn’t try the crumble at all! There has to be a light-heartedness about family meals, I always said I didn’t want to have a battle over mealtimes and I think we have a fairly relaxed attitude to it all which helps this along, if it all goes wrong and I cut the toast wrong or can’t stick a banana back together after slicing it the ‘wrong way’ (aren’t toddlers fickle?!) the promise of being allowed to stir something in the kitchen or to play with the dried pasta usually gets things moving along again!

My Low Sugar ‘Pack a Punch’ Toddler Flapjack Bars

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We love to eat these snack bars and adding flour means they hold together with less crumble so they’re really portable too. These are apricot and raisin but they are lovely with dates, prunes or dried berries too! Honey keeps them chewy but can be omitted for even less sugar.  Why ‘pack a punch?’  Because they’re chock full of dried fruit and banana to keep you going on a busy day!

Ingredients

100g butter (toddlers could often use the extra fats but you can use light spread for grownups)
100g soft, stoned dried apricots chopped roughly
30g raisins
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
Large tablespoon self raising flour
2 tbsp honey (or fresh apple juice if preferred)
250g porridge oats

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
I make this in one pan, transferring into a silicone tray, if using an ordinary flapjack tray grease with additional butter.
Warm the butter in a saucepan and add the honey or juice, warm gently for a minute to loosen the honey, then turn heat off.
Add the chopped apricots and raisins, and mashed banana and mix well
Measure out the oats and mix self raising flour through them
Tip floury oat mix into the pan and mix well so the oats start to soak the moisture and look golden, the flour should all mix through.

Tip the mix into your flapjack tray and spread out, pressingly gently with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

Take out to cool, when cool turn out and slice into bars.  Store in an airtight container and eat within 3-4 days.

Enjoy!

So over to you, this Family Friendly Week how are you introducing sharing and laughter into your family meal times?

Natural ice lollies for babies with Nuby Fruitsicles

Nuby Garden Fresh

Nuby’s new Garden Fresh range gets a big thumbs up for promoting home cooking, designed for less waste so that home prepared food can be stored and frozen it prides itself on supporting Mummy Made Goodness.

We try to avoid processed foods where possible and I’ve always made home cooked meals for Joss so this range has big appeal taking you from preparing and storing through to serving up foods for your little one.  New products like the Fruitsicles for making fresh ice lollies at home join old favourites like the Nibbler and weaning spoons, the range is really versatile and comes in lovely bright appealing colours for kids.

We often meet with friends we met through the baby led weaning group I co-run, we get together once a month or so to share food with our little ones, we sometimes get joined by new mums who are interested in baby led weaning and share recipes and ideas for home cooking that the whole family can enjoy (it’s where the idea for these potato pancakes came from, saving leftovers to make something totally different!).

Natural ice lollies for babies

As we’ve been having a spell of good weather  I prepped a big batch of Fruitsicles for our meeting last week, as well as our famous fruity pack a punch toddler flapjacks! In keeping with the all natural theme we had bowls of blueberries and raspberries, yogurt smoothies and homemade houmous, yum!

The fruitsicles I prepared were jam-packed with fresh strawberries and two oranges that I had whizzed up in my blender, I kept it to a fairly thick pulpy consistency and then popped spoons of the mixture into the moulds.  Each Fruitsicle is filled with two teaspoons of pureed fruit and so they’re great for portion control for babies and toddlers, and the soft grip handles are perfect for little hands.

fruitsicles

We met in the park and started with the Fruitsicles before they melted, they were  a big hit, I had one too (for taste test purposes of course!) and these all natural ice lollies were really fruity and naturally sweet!  I later made up a batch using some of the leftover yogurt smoothies but they were so popular they were gone before I could get the camera out (natural yogurt, banana and raspberry if you’re wondering how they were made!)

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Giveaway time!

Nuby have kindly given me a bundle of Garden Fresh products to give away including:

  • Fruitsicles

  • Nibbler

  • Suction Bowls

  • Coverall Bib

  • Grip N Sip Cup

win a nuby weaning bundle

If you’d like to get your hands on this huge bundle of goodies simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget and leave a comment on this post

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT – WELL DONE EMMA!

T&Cs – UK entries only, there is no cash alternative, winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter and informed within 24 hours of competition close

Toddler pinwheels for picky eaters

Real Life

I’ve been re-blogging this post about how to handle not being able to breastfeed for World Breastfeeding Week 2014 which comes to an end this weekend.

Joss has been a bit off colour lately and consequently has eaten very little. My toddler pinwheels for picky eaters are great for lunches and Joss usually plays with them, then eats a bit. If she is involved in making them and sprinkling the cheese then even better, she’ll be more interested in eating them as she had a hand in making them!

toddler pinwheel fussy eaters

Ingredients

Sheet puff pastry
Grated cheddar
Ham
Tomato puree or two tablespoons of passatta

I cut my puff pastry sheet in two and freeze half, the other half makes eight pinwheels. Unroll the pastry and spread the tomato onto the base, then top with slices of ham and then with grated cheese, my trusty cheese sprinkler Joss likes this bit!

Don’t overfill as the next stage is to roooool the sheet of pastry like a swiss roll, then slice into eight chunks, lay each out on a greaseproof papered baking sheet.

Bake at 180 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes then cool and serve, or store for the next day or two for packed lunches.

Blog life

I had tea with Beth from Betty and the Bumps and Hannah from Mums Days yesterday and they got me thinking about where my blog is going.  I have a new list of questions and some things I am working on, like my blog traffic.  In the short term I have posts coming up on  handling toddler fears and a competition coming up too.

Inspiration

I have been reading some inspiring ideas on writing as posted by Beautiful Misbehaviour and giving some thought to a challenging post I’d like to draft

Mums' Days

– See more at: http://mumsdays.com/#sthash.KOYZpbwP.dpuf

Kiddycharts Blog

Fresh Lemon Balm Tea Recipe

Fresh lemon balm tea recipe

My fresh lemon balm tea recipe was a happy accident in the end, in the beginning it was a very very strange accident.

We bought a huge bunch of herb seeds in May and Joss and I planted them up. One pot ‘Melissa Officinalis’ did nothing at all. We planted everything outside and forgot about it, until a few weeks ago when Daddy declared that a patch of mint had now sprouted.

Ah, that must be the melissa I said (what do I know about plants?!) and so we enjoyed a rather odd mint sauce with our potatoes.

I was starving so didn’t mention the odd taste.

It’s not mint. Melissa Officinalis is lemon balm, hence our lemon sauce with our potatoes, not tasty.

What is rather tasty is this tea, and it’s lovely lemon scent makes it a really relaxing and refreshing summer drink, lovely enjoyed cool with ice too. Part of the mint family it’s also good for the digestive system, and is anti-viral so if you’re under the weather could give you a nice pick me up, and lets face it, tea is always a tonic!
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I passed my MSc!

A brief one for me today because I’m celebrating tonight! I heard I passed my Masters today so I can now use the letters MSc after my name if I am so inclined!

I have however been keeping busy so I have a guest post with the lovely Gina from Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies today, she has started a great thrifty blogger interview series and I was delighted to be the guinea pig (ahem, first blogger) to take part! Her weekly Thrifty Thursday linky is a must for ideas and support from other thrifters!

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Cake Angels Ice Cream Cone Cupcake Review

Goodies

The lovely folk at Cake Angels sent us an exciting parcel this week, look at all those sprinkles, a cake lovers dream!  Ice cream cone cupcake anyone? I was intrigued!

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How to

These cupcakes were so simple to make, just add water to the mix, fill the ice cream cones, and bake for 20 minutes. When they came out we let them cool, topped them with butter icing using the icing sugar from the pack, and then the fun part, decorations!

Sprinkles everywhere and a sticky child who really loved the vibrant colours!  A stroke of luck that we had icecream themed cups from Polarn O Pyret’s party pack!

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The proof is in the tasting of course, the cakes were light and airy and the chocolate flavour came through well, Joss loves icecream cones so that they stayed crispy was a big plus for her, and they were so simple for us to make together that I’d definately pick up another pack for a fun afternoon together!

What do you think?

Good enough to eat?

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Thanks Cake Angels, we really enjoyed our treat!

Disclaimer: I received these goodies for the purposes of review, all views are my own.

Family Fever

Very Berry Pavlova

A simple very berry pavlova jam packed with frozen raspberries and blackberries, thrifty but with no compromise on taste!

pavlova1

Ingredients

3 large egg whites
175g golden caster sugar
Large tub whipped cream
100g of mixed frozen blackberries and raspberries defrosted
One teaspoon golden caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees

For your meringue, place your egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until they form stiff peaks, you need to be able to turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites tipping out! Once at this stage stop whisking the egg whites will collapse

Whisk in the 175g sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking until all the sugar is in.

Prepare a baking sheet with baking paper, spoon a third of the meringue mix on to the baking sheet and smooth out with a spoon to form a 6 inch circle

Take a large tablespoon of the remaining meringue mix and dollop next to the large circle spooning six smaller around the larger circle, this will form a ‘nest’ for the filling.

Put the baking sheet in the oven turning the heat down to 140 degrees and bake for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave the meringue in to cool and dry out.

Top with whipped cream with the berries gently swirled through, you can decorate with chocolate if desired.

pavlova

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

My Low Sugar ‘Pack a Punch’ Toddler Flapjack Bars

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We love to eat these snack bars and adding flour means they hold together with less crumble so they’re really portable too. These are apricot and raisin but they are lovely with dates, prunes or dried berries too! Honey keeps them chewy but can be omitted for even less sugar.  Why ‘pack a punch?’  Because they’re chock full of dried fruit and banana to keep you going on a busy day!

index

Ingredients

100g butter (toddlers could often use the extra fats but you can use light spread for grownups)
100g soft, stoned dried apricots chopped roughly
30g raisins
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
Large tablespoon self raising flour
2 tbsp honey (or fresh apple juice if preferred)
250g porridge oats

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
I make this in one pan, transferring into a silicone tray, if using an ordinary flapjack tray grease with additional butter.
Warm the butter in a saucepan and add the honey or juice, warm gently for a minute to loosen the honey, then turn heat off.
Add the chopped apricots and raisins, and mashed banana and mix well
Measure out the oats and mix self raising flour through them
Tip floury oat mix into the pan and mix well so the oats start to soak the moisture and look golden, the flour should all mix through.

Tip the mix into your flapjack tray and spread out, pressingly gently with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown

Take out to cool, when cool turn out and slice into bars.  Store in an airtight container and eat within 3-4 days.

Enjoy!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

The Fastest Ever Leftover Potato Pancakes

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Ingredients

4 medium sized left over (cooked) potatoes roughly mashed

A splash of milk

1 large egg

5 heaped tablespoons flour

Oil to grease pan

These were a thrown together last week hence the hazy instructions but I’ve made them since and they’re fool proof!

I usually cook extra spuds to make potato salad or top up my work lunches as I am trying to cut down on bread.

I mixed the mashed potato with a beaten egg and added the flour mixing until it looked fairly smooth.  I added milk until the mixture became loose, you want it to be the thickness and consistency of american pancake batter.

I greased the frying pan with a little oil and on a low heat poured all of the mixture out flattening with the back of a spoon until a cm in thickness.  After four minutes it was ready to be flipped over, and another four minutes later I turned it out and let it cool for 30 seconds and cut into wedges to serve with mayo.

A fast and tasty lunch!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com