foodie update

Food.. the thought that occupies most of my time.

This is a blog just to let you know what will be happening on Fridays..A foodie update.

I really enjoy ‘Foodie Fridays‘ but I also want to mix it up a little.

In future blogs will include the following subjects;

  • Reviewing items I can’t live without in the kitchen.
  • Foods that I love.
  • Gadgets I use all the time.
  • Places we love eating at.
  • Reviews of new places we eat at.
  • New recipes I have made (the normal Friday blog I do).

Let me know if there is anything else you want me to blog about in addition to the above subjects… They have to be food related.

XxX

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Bath time

My children love bath time; the bubbles, toys and splashing! Lots of children go through patches of hating bath time… for those parents this is a time of screaming while washing a tiny person that makes the whole room wet.

Bath time, heaven or hell?… here are a few things that help us when it is bath time for my baba’s!

Keep everything ready and in the bathroom. You never want to leave them unattended to get things that they will need.

  • Get the water ready, test the temperature.
  • Bath soap, shampoo, conditioner all ready to go.
  • Oilatium in the water, if you like it.
  • Bath seat/tub.
  • Towel (within arms reach)
  • I also get their clothes and lotions ready in their room for when they get out.

My Loves

Johnson baby bed time bath soap.

Bath seat which is amazing especially for new borns. I use mine until they grow out of it! It supports baba so he/she is safe and secure in the bath while you wash them. It also saves your back a lot of pain as you don’t have to lean in awkward positions while washing baba.

Baby towel, I love this one as it keeps me dry as well! Its also so easy to use and I wear it before I put my baby in the bath so we are ready to go.

My Likes

Bath Tub, it saves water and time.

Olmatium stops babies skin from drying out. Half a cap makes a lot of difference.

Top tips

When you are washing young babies hair let some water go on their face. This stops them screaming as they get older when it happens.

You don’t have to bath a baby everyday. Just washing them down with a towel is good enough.

What do you love at bath time?

Happy bath time!

 

Savoury Semolina

Savoury Semolina a.k.a Upma is a great cupboard food to make for brunch or lunch. Semolina is readily available at most supermarkets and is very versatile. There are a few ways to make it. ‘Upma’ is a dish from South India and this is my take on it.

You will need;

  • Semolina
  • A tin of sweetcorn
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped chillies
  • Mustard seeds
  • Urd dal
  • Curry leaves

 

Heat oil in a pan

Add a tea spoon mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida,  a tea spoon of urd dal (skinless black lentils), 5-7 curry leaves.

Add semolina- a small cup full. Cook in the pan until it turns from cream to tan in colour.

Add some chopped chillies, sweet corn, chopped tomatoes, (you can add some chopped peppers too if you want). You can make this same dish with no vegetables.

Cook the mixture for a while (until the tomatoes soften) and then add 2 and 1/2 cups of boiling water and salt to taste. Cook the Upma until all the water evaporates.

Upma

 

My Baba’s both love this one. Obviously with no chillies for them. Mr. Man loves the chilli version as do I!

Enjoy.

XxX

 

 

 

 

 

Nappy Rash

There are so many creams and lotions in the market so even a discussion as trivial as “which nappy rash cream do I use?” can be confusing, so what should you use?

Sudo cream: Is a golden oldie! It is a great barrier cream and it is gentle.

Metanium: Is amazing! If your baba has an actual rash or sores this has to be the one to reach for. I found that my children improved after a single use. This is the one to rave about! If your little one suffers from nappy rash this really is worth a purchase.

Hope that you are all enjoying half term. It’s cold and rainy here! If you are also stuck indoors why not try some ideas from my last Mummy Monday blog ‘baby it’s cold outside‘.

XxX

Halloumi Burgers

This is one of my go-to meals, when I am in a hurry or have people coming over. This is also one of Mr.Mans favourites. It’s fast and easy.

The shopping list (serves ~3)

  • 1 block of Halloumi cheese
  • 6 Burger buns
  • 2 red peppers diced
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 large tomato diced
  • 1 bunch of coriander finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced

First I make the relish/sauce;

Heat some oil in a pan, when the oil is hot, add the diced onion.

Cook the onion until it is slightly brown (this adds some smoky flavour to the sauce).

Add the garlic and peppers and continue to cook the mixture.

Once the peppers soften add the tomatoes and coriander. Pepper to taste.

(I do not add salt to this as I find the halloumi has enough salt to balance the whole burger. If you find halloumi too salty you could make this burger with chicken instead.)

Cook it all until it becomes a thick sauce consistency. If you like crunchy vegetables just cook the red pepper for a shorter amount of time.

That is the bulk of the cooking done.

Just before you are ready to eat, cook the halloumi. My favourite way is to cut the block into 0.5cm slices and just put them directly onto a hot non-stick pan. Flip the slices when the first side becomes golden. Repeat on the other side and place the slices on the bun.

Halloumi burger 1

Halloumi burger 2

 

I serve this with roast potatoes, coleslaw or green leaf salad and some ‘mummy’s hot sauce’.

Enjoy. Have a great weekend.

XxX

Baby it’s cold outside

During the Winter months doing things with your children becomes so much harder (depending where you live), we live in a country where the Winter months come with their fair share of rain, when it is not raining it’s cold. So what can you do with your little ones in the winter?

0-6months

  • Soft play at home Rainy days are great to actually sit down with your little one and play with their toys together. Black and white books are a super way to stimulate your baba, as are any soft toys that you may have. 
  • Join some classes Sensory class is one of my favourites for when they are very young. There are lots of indoor classes and play centres around so have a look at what is going on in your local area. They are well worth a visit while it is cold/rainy.
  • Visit friends/family Visiting family and friends in Winter is ideal as you and your little one can have a change of environment and still be in the warmth. While your baby is playing you can even get some adult time. 

6-12months

  • Indoor play Our local indoor play area is fantastic. It is split into sections so there is a space just for younger children. This gets us all out of the house and my little ones have a great time. These places are typically pay as you go and most of them are fairly inexpensive. 
  • Join some classes There are so many classes and each of them targeted at different age groups. Baby sensory is still a good choice for this age group too. 
  • Visit friends/family
  • Bubble Bath Bubbles, water, bath toys… Need I say more?

12-24months

  • Indoor play 
  • Join some classes Try Didi Dance or Jo Jiggles. These are targeted at an older age group. I have not tried these. I am going to give them a go with Little Man and I will let you know what we think. (watch this space) 
  • Wrap up and go to the park Even if it is cold try and get out. Local parks are a great place to go. Play in the playground, feed the birds, maybe take some snacks incase your little one gets peckish. 
  • Visit friends/family
  • Play-dough You can make some dough at home and let them have a play. Older children can even help make the dough. This is great to help them develop there manual dexterity and imagination.  
  • Download some fun apps  There are hundreds of great apps and many that they can learn from. I really like the ‘Toca’ apps.  

2years+

  • Popcorn and a movie So under rated. Children love it and you can join in too, even if it means singing along to the songs in Frozen for the 1000th time. 
  • Indoor craft (painting/drawing) You can make it fun and free play or even make it a little more academic and make them practice some dot-to-dot, handwriting or colouring. 
  • Decorate cakes/cookies Little Lady loves doing this. You can even just pick some biscuits and decorate them. 
  • Play-dough
  • Download some apps 
  • Board games Are so under-rated. They have a real ‘fun factor’, there are so many games available and for so many age ranges. We have a floor size snakes and ladders which is great fun. As they get older the choices are endless. 

These are just some of the many things that you can do. So let’s embrace the Winter and enjoy it.

What is your favourite baby it’s cold outside activity?

XxX

Tasty roast vegetables

“Eat your veg, it’s good for you”

I enjoy roast veg just with some salt and pepper but this can get boring so I decided to spice it up.

Pick any veg that you like, vegetables that are high in water don’t work as well.

Use

  • French beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Baby corn
  • Carrots

You can use the same recipe with diced meat.

Not

  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach

Cut your chosen vegetables into bite size pieces.

Take some oil, garlic and red chilli powder and make a paste the same consistency as pesto.

Marinate the vegetables. I like to do this in the morning so they can really sit in and absorb all the flavours.

veg 1

When you are ready to eat, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Take a bowl and add some plain flour, pepper and red chilli powder. I also add vegetable stock. You want a 50:50 ratio with the stock and the flour ( a powder stock works the best). If not, mash the cube with the flour through a sieve to make sure it is mixed in nicely.

Coat all the vegetables with the powder.

Then….

Bake them. I put them in at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes. This way they stay crunchy. That is my tasty roast vegetables!! Cooking them at a lower temperature for longer makes them wilt and become soggy!

  veg 2

Stock I like. Chicken powder stock. Vegetable powder stock. These stocks can be salty so I do not use salt in the recipe. Both work just as well.

Breastfeeding cover

All new Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed as much as possible and for as long as possible. I fed both of my children until they were 7 months, it was hard work. I found bottle feeding them difficult as I would have to express and then sterilise, I found the extra steps tough to incorporate into my routine as a new Mum. When you are in private feeding is a pleasure. It is such an intimate time between you and you baba.

When you are in pubic finding a private space to nurse your baby can be difficult. A breastfeeding cover makes nursing so much easier as it makes feeding in public, private.

There are many breastfeeding covers available so what should you look for;

Something you can put on with one hand with little fuss. You may often find yourself with a crying baby and only one hand to put the cover on.

Something with plenty of material so when you are agusting your baby or helping baba re-latch is keeps you covered.

Something with enough space for you to see how your little one is getting on under there just because while you are feeding its nice for you to be able to see your baby, without taking it off or lifting it to expose you.

A thin material so your baby doesn’t feel stuffy under it. You can also use it as a blanket. I used to put it over the car seat when Little Man was sleeping.

Something you can machine wash because ‘they’ all throw up.

poncho

I used the L’oved baby nursing shawl. It is more like a poncho, it ticks all the boxed above. I loved mine.

What do/did you use?

XxX

 

Aubergine Bake

Aubergine Bake nom nom nom

I love Aubergine in any form, Aubergine bake is one of the ways I enjoy it.

  • Take one medium Aubergine.
  • Cut the Aubergine into slices then char the slices, the best way is on a griddle pan however, if you don’t have one you can put the slices on a non-stick pan and slightly brown them on each side. You just need to make sure that the pan/griddle pan is hot. I often heat the pan for ~5 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 130 degrees.

Make the Sauce

  • Slice one small red onion.
  • Open one tin of chopped tomatoes.
  • Heat oil (about 3 table spoons) in a pan. Add some italian herbs, chilli flakes if you want and the red onion slices, some salt (it will help them cook)
  • Once the onions start to soften add the tin of chopped tomatoes and cook the mixture until it is thick.

Take a dish that can be placed in the oven. Add a layer of the sauce, then a layer of aubergine slices continue to layer the sauce and slices ending with a layer of sauce.

You can prepare it earlier in the day and put it in the oven when you are ready to eat.

Aubergine bake 2

I sometimes add a layer of breadcrumbs on the top to add a nice crunch to the dish. This is optional.

Place the tray in the oven for 25-35 minutes. Until the aubergine is soft.

There are many ways to serve this,

  1. Just with some bread.
  2. With some green salad.
  3. On its own as a starter.
  4. On a bed of rice or pasta.

This paticular evening I choose to go with Pasta. Instead of plan pasta I decided to heat some oil in a pan add some minced garlic and fresh basil, finely chopped. Salt and pepper to taste.

Aubergine bake with pasta

Enjoy

XxX

Venture photography

Venture is a photography studio that can be found in many cities; we have visited two different studios over the last three years. Recently we went to the Venture photography studio in Palmers Green, London.

logo-strapline

Having children, childhood memories become so important. Capturing them even more so. They grow-up so fast! So often you find yourself trying to capture the new milestone they have achieved that week. The cheeky smile, wobbly walk, funny face or just the sparkle in their eyes. Venture help you do just that, capture the ‘natural’ image. Some outstanding examples of which can be found on the website.

There are many studios that take family photos, so what makes Venture special? They really make it into an experience. To start with there are the phone conversations prior to the shoot to ask about you and your family. They try to get to know you so they can capture the image that you are after. You do pay a premium for it but you really feel like you are getting what you pay for.

We planned the appointment around food/nap times to ensure happy baba during shoot. From the first call you are asked to think about what it is that you want from the shoot, they do take a variety of different styles too. I love natural images. I wanted to capture our family playing, laughing and just having fun. You can also take along a change of clothes and items that you/your little one is into. Little lady used to love limes (how random) so we took some the first time we went. For little man we took balloons. You can take pretty much anything. Once again the website has some great examples, I would have a look at these if you want to get some professional photos taken, no matter who you choose to take them with.

Once you get there the fun really begins. It is an hour of having fun while a photographer captures your special moments. Obviously the photographer is the key person! Our photographer was George – he was fantastic, had a good sense of humour and was really patient with the children too. You need someone who can make the children smile and giggle so you can capture ‘the image’. He even had ‘Let it Go’ playing in the background.

After a week or so your photos are ready to view and select. The only problem, if you can all it that with an awesome photographer like George was there were SO many stunning images to choose from. The selection process is a great part of the experience – you have a private room with your photographer discussing each image while the kids are given toys and crafts to keep them occupied. You can spend anywhere from £100 up to many many £1000’s – budget is your choice but you are never pressured. Try to think about where your frame/image will be placed in your home and think about how you will feel about ‘that’ photo after having looked at it for years on end. Mr. Man likes the photos that capture the children’s personality, not necessarily just a smiley baby face, though they are nice too.

With Venture Photography you are not obliged to purchase anything if you don’t want to. Having said that, we were going to get one free image with the voucher we used to book the shoot anyway. While it is expensive, they really are pieces that you will treasure forever. If you choose to purchase any you can be confident that you will find something that you will love as they have a varied choice of hand crafted frames and picture styles to suit your home. Small note – spend above a certain amount and the digital collection are provided free via the Venture App.

Wherever you go, whoever you use, professional photos of your little baba taken by a photographer who understands you will be cherished forever.

XxX