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

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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

Italian pesto chicken

When you are busy you and you still need to put a meal on the table and a ready meal seems like a lazy meal.. ‘Jazz it up’.

I often get ready made pizza and add some fresh toppings, it really makes you feel like you made an effort and at the end of the  crazy day when you sit down to eat, you may enjoy your meal a little more.

I often ‘jazz up’ some ready made/jar food. One of the things I do is add fresh items into pesto.

Italian pesto chicken is something I make a few batches of as it is so versatile, I add it to pasta to make dinner. I also make a sandwich/toastie from it. I sometimes just put it into a wrap with salad. It is easy and quick to make.

You will need;

Chicken (I diced a breast piece)

Garlic – a clove finely chopped

Italian herbs

Chili flakes

Jar of pesto of your choice – in the image I have used fiery chilli but you can use classic green or any other that you like. It has to be pesto so that you get the right consistency from the sauce.

Vegetables of your choice (if you want). I like mushrooms and spinach or peppers.

  • Heat oil in a pan, just a little as pesto often has quite a lot of oil. When the oil is warm add the italian herbs and chilli flakes. Give it a quick mix, add in the garlic, one more quick mix add in the chicken and vegetables. You can add the vegetables later if you like them a little crunchy.
  • Half cook the chicken and add in the pesto. Then cook it through.
  • Sauce is ready.

Chicken pesto

Enjoy

XxX

I would love to see your images if you make it. Instagram @karismaticlife

Daddy time

Dads, the men that often get forgotten. This one is for you.

Mummies, having a baby means the partner in your life may just have  become number 2! How do you balance this? How do you keep the most important relationship in your life stable? How do you make sure that you look after the relationship that means everything to you, while the baby is crying, the food shop needs to be done and work is calling?

I’m not perfect by a long shot, but I hope this helps you learn from my mistakes and my point of view as well as my conversation with Mr.Man.

Once you give birth, actually, even before then, you are important. YOU are making another person, then YOU give birth to them and you have to be looked after (which I do agree with) as does the new little one. Visitors come and bring gifts for the little one and some may even bring something for the new Mummy but what about Dad? This is where it starts from, the lack of Daddy acknowledgment and his subsequent potential resentment. Whether you are a stay at home Mum or a working Mum, balancing EVERYTHING is tough. However, the relationship that needs time and effort is the one with your Man! I think this is often the one that we are first to sacrifice and forget about, yet this is the one that also needs time and attention.

In a world where we constantly fight for equality for women, is this a justified fight for Men? In so many countries Men don’t even get paternity leave. Are there classes to teach them to deal with babies? Do Dads have a natural support system the way Mums do? Does a stay at home Dad get more stigma than a stay at home Mum? I don’t actually know all the answers here but I suspect it is no more than yes. I would love to hear for you. ‘Dads are not celebrated the way Mums are’ is what I heard recently. Maybe we can’t make a change globally but we can start at home.

I know that everyone’s Mr.Man is different, and when your hormones are making you a little crazy, you are filled with self-doubt, going with very little sleep and feeling helpless – that the man who is trying to help is the one that you lash out at. Or is that just me? SO, stop take a breath. Let’s make some Daddy time! Dads get lonely too so invest the time, make sure he knows he has you still. Even amongst the craziness! I think that we need to make time to just love that person. The one who holds you as you cry, the one who comes home from work to the home war zone and doesn’t stop either. While I type this I hear your voice too… I haven’t stopped all day. The adjustment affects you both. The “welcome home honey” has changed to “agh, change his nappy, feed her, hold this one I need the loo”.

My point is, make time for your Mr.Man! Make sure he knows how loved he is.  Make time for you as a couple. Look after that relationship that is your rock.

How?

We are lucky and have sitters available to us. But if you don’t have that option, run a bath for him perhaps? Offer to give him some time-out Daddy time. Eat a meal together once in a while after the children are asleep. Just some music and a candle will make the world of difference, and help you look at the man you fell in love with the same way again. Small tip here – my big mistake with our Little Lady was to allow a bedtime around 10-11pm up until she was almost one. Mr.Man and I were going crazy. Then, a cousin advised trying to keep bedtime around 7.30pm and then having time together. Simple thing. Changed our world.

It doesn’t have to be all day, often it can’t even if you want it to be. There is so much that you have to get done, so many directions you get pulled in. So just take one minute. Then maybe just a coffee, and when you can a meal here and there.

The other way is the glaringly obvious one ;-) affection and attention. In times of stress even a little unrequested “attention” would be greatly received.

Some of you may already make time for the Men in your life and if you are one of those ladies… Keep up the good work.  If  you’re not  because you are busy with children, work, or just other commitments, I hope this has inspired you to make a little time. A stable home life and a strong relationship gives your babies the best start in life.

I often struggle to see this from Mr.Mans point of view. I feel like I am home all day and I need a break from the children. I have to remind myself to make time too. We had our first date night in 6 weeks yesterday. We finally made some Daddy time!

This is for all the Daddies. You are doing a great job. To quote my favourite fish, “just keep swimming”.

How do you make time for your partner?

Have a good week Mummies!

XxX

 

 

 

 

Rolo Ritz

‘Rolo Ritz’, yummm even typing that makes me want to eat them. Rolo Ritz are exactly what you think they are.

You will need a box of Ritz crackers and a pack of Rolo chocolates.

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees. Take a tray and place the Ritz biscuits on the tray in the centre of each one place a Rolo. Put them in the oven for 1 minute. The Rolo will still look whole but will be soft enough to take another Ritz and press it on top and to make a ‘Rolo Ritz’

rolo ritz 1

If you like salted caramel you HAVE to make these.

They don’t take long to make, and so are great to make if you are in a hurry. If you have friends coming over, if you are going to a friends, or just need to eat something sweet give them a go! Everyone loves them so why not take a batch to your next dinner party.

Enjoy!!!

XxX

Beaba babycook

Hello Mummies!

Depending on when you feel is the right time, as well as advice from your doctor/midwife, your little one will need to be introduced to solids. Typically this is around the 4-7 month time. If your baby is a normal weight the advised time to start weaning is at 6 months. At this time you would just start with baby rice as time goes on you would introduce different fruit, vegetables and meat.

Weaning is fun. It is also hard work. There are many ways to introduce food to your baba; while jars are readily avaliable, making food at home is a great way to introduce your baby to new foods. This way you know exactly what they are eating. Having said that, time is such an important factor when you have so much to do. The Beaba babycook is a quick system that steams and purees all in one. The best thing about this machine is its’ simplicity!

Beaba

  • You prepare (wash/peel/chop as you wish) all your veg and put it in the steamer.
  • Add water in the water section.
  • Steam for the recommended time (which is given in the booklet).
  • Then empty the contents into the bottom part of the machine. Blitz it into a puree.
  • Baby food is ready to serve.

I often walk around the baby jar section in the supermarket to get ideas of fruit and veg combinations to then make at home later using the Beaba. Little lady used to love blueberry and pear. Little man likes apple and pear to which I also add a tiny bit of cinnamon. The way I used to add carbohydrates into their diet was to steam the vegetable combination and then add rice or pasta to the blitz section, then add the steamed vegetables and blitz.

You can make a few batches at a time and freeze it. Then pour the puree into an ice-cube tray and once they are frozen empty the cubes into a zip-lock. When you need them you can take out as many cubes as your baby will need.

I found the Beaba so easy to use I could make fresh food everyday.

While it is on the expensive side my beaba babycook has lasted me almost 3 years, been used a lot and is still going strong.

There are other machines that do a very similar thing. If you don’t want to invest in this you can steam in a pan and blitz using kitchen appliances you already have. I like the Beaba as I felt my baby’s cooking method was specifically for her/him, avoiding any worries about cross-contamination (we use loads of spices in our home).

Hope this helps. Let me know what you use and what your baba’s favourite combination is.

XxX

Garlic butter

Garlic Butter nom nom nom!

As you all know by now I love garlic, this is one way I get my garlic fix. Garlic butter can be used in quite a few ways.

I like to keep it in the fridge, it is a quick way to make toast or a baguette extra tasty! It is so easy to make and lasts for quite a while too.

For garlic butter you will need:

8 Table spoons of butter, take it out for a while so it is soft

3 cloves of garlic minced

Italian herbs 1 tea spoon

Salt to taste

I sometimes add a little pepper too.

Mix all of the ingredients together and keep in the fridge.

 

Garlic Butter

How to eat it?

Spread it on a slice of toast if you are in a hurry for some garlic bread, serve with pasta.

Cut a baguette and spread the butter on the bread, add some mozzarella and sprinkle some pepper and chilli flakes on the top. Grill until the cheese melts and gets golden. This is my favourite way of eating it!

The obvious way to eat it is with an Italian dish, We also have soup with garlic bread.

You could also use it if you are making a chicken kiev.

Enjoy

XxX

This entry was posted in Food.

New Year, New Ideas

It is a new year and we all do it. Set the goals/aims/targets for the year ahead.

This year I would like to post a blog on a Monday ‘Mummy Monday’ and a Friday ‘Foodie Friday’. I hope this will help you follow the one that appeals to you.

So this Monday, I thought I would share new year, new ideas with you.

Things to do with your little one(s);

Swimming – we want to enrol both of ours into water babies for the year ahead. Our little lady has been going for almost 2 years now. The progress has been amazing. It’s a really fun class for you and your little one. It is something Daddy can do too. Mr. Man takes little lady. We will have to work out the logistics for taking two. I will let you know how it goes.

Baby classes – there are so many to choose from and many free ones too. Try and find out what is going on near you. I love using Mumsnet.com to do this. The one I enjoyed with my children was baby sensory. What is your favourite class?

A little something for you?

Mummies, this year I want to make some time for me. I think that we spend so much time looking after our little ones, our homes and our families that we often put ourselves last. You know that moment the one where you want a coffee but first, you want to make sure the children are happy/settled, once they are happy you reach for the mug but, the clothes need folding, once they are done the general tidy is calling your name. SO THEN, it is all done and now you can sit down and have a drink…that’s right…. the children need you again. That coffee time/ you time never comes. So I want to make ten minutes for me and accept the clothes can just wait a while, without the guilt that comes with leaving them there for ten minutes. I will let you know how it goes. Does this happen to you?

Anyway Mummies, I better be off! Let me know what you are planning to do for the year ahead.

XxX

Bath support

Giving a baby a bath can be daunting especially the first few times. There are many tools available to make this job easier. I used the mothercare ergonomic bath support.  It is so easy to use.

For the first few months I used to place it in the smaller baby tub, I still use it to this day I just put in our normal tub. Even though little man can sit up I am happier when he is in this as he can’t slip.

The advantages are:

  • You don’t have to bend over and hurt your back while trying to support the baby in the bath.
  • Your little baba is supported and safe while in the bath.
  • Your hands are free to bath the baby.

I got my bath support when we had our little lady so it has lasted well too.

What do you use to help you bath your baby?

XxX

 

 

Mummy’s Hot Sauce

This sauce is the, the, er.. there are so many words. Just make it and you will see. Its AMAZING!

 

You will need

2 tomatoes chopped

1 red pepper chopped

1 scotch bonnet/habanero you can add another but be careful they are HOT

3 cloves of garlic

salt to taste

 

Heat some oil in a pan.

Add the garlic cloves to the pan, then the tomatoes and stir, add salt at this point as it helps all the water to come out of the vegetables. Add the red pepper and the scotch bonnet and cook.

Cook the mixture until it becomes thick and all the water has evaporated. It does take a while.

Blitz in to a fine smooth puree.

 

Mums Hot sauce

How to eat it?

Spread hot sauce on a slice of bread a humous on an other slice and make a sandwich.

Eat it with crisps or nachos.

On toast with cheese on top and grill.

Nachos with hot sauce and cheese and grill.

As a pizza sauce.

Add a spoonful into pasta.

If you make it let me know your favourite way to eat it in the comments section please.

XxX

This entry was posted in Food.