Our friend Vanessa Boz from the wonderful and inspirational travel blog BozAround lives in London with her husband and their two children Marcelo (6) and Amalya (3). And she’s due to have her third baby in less than two weeks!! We’re super excited to share her dinner time post with you.
I love to eat good food, but I’ve never been what you’d call a good cook. I think I’ve been too spoiled by my French-Italian mother who is such an excellent one and would put the best meals on the table in no time. Only now that I have become a mother myself do I realise the importance of mastering a few quick recipes to make the family happy. By the way, last time I asked my husband if he could cook some pasta for the children, he asked me ‘how do I do that’ (does this answer your question on whether cooking is a shared responsibility in the Boz family?!!) When my son Marcelo was born 6 years ago, I started a cookbook of my personal favourite recipes, cutting from magazines whatever seems easy and appetising, ringing my mom to walk me through some of her staples (I’ve noticed that she always omits one or two little but key-to-deliciousness ingredients. She swears she does not do it deliberately but I think it’s a typical good cook trick!!). (more…)
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Josephine Murray lives in Malvern (UK) with her husband Ken and their 2-year-old daughter Kirstie. Josephine has just launched the charming kids’ webshop, rain starts play, which sells British and European clothes, toys and nursery furnishings all made as locally and ethically as possible. Here is her dinnertime story:
During the week Kirstie and I eat by ourselves because my husband gets home from work too late to eat with us. We try to eat about 6pm, any later and Ken might arrive home when we’re still there at 7pm, so he can bring new energy to what can sometimes be a bit of a battle of wills! Kirstie will not touch some foods, like rice and carrots, others she will eat one day – but not another. Our staple dinners are cauliflower cheese or fishfingers with potatoes and vegetables, sphagetti bolognaise and tomato and red lentil dhal with naan breads – which Kirstie loves even though it’s really spicy. We don’t eat puddings very often –if we do it’s icecream – but if she’s still hungry (or won’t eat her dinner) she has blueberries or a banana. (more…)
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Melanie is a British stay-at-home mum to 2-year-old son Noah. She lives in Berlin, having relocated from Copenhagen at the end of 2011, and she shares her experiences about Berlin on her blog, Expat Mummy in Berlin. She’s also the Berlin ambassador of Luvaville.com. Here is her dinnertime story!
Noah loves food and is willing to try almost anything at least once. His favourite food is anything Italian or with good strong flavours. Noah eats his dinner around 5pm during the week. I am a stay-at-home mum so dinner is a pretty relaxed affair and I usually make something from scratch or defrost something we batch made like vegetable pasta sauce or homemade chicken fingers. Sometimes if I am feeling lazy, he will have gnocchi with pesto, olives and little cocktail sausages! We are moving towards eating less meat so Noah will have a vegetarian meal every few days with something like organic chicken or teriyaki salmon on the other days. I will join him for a snack at this time and, as my husband gets in after 6pm, we have dinner together later in the evening once Noah is asleep. As Noah gets older we will all eat together a bit later for him and a bit earlier for us. (more…)
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Marika is a friend of mine who lives in London. She lives in a gorgeous home with the most beautiful and well-planned kitchen (I totally copied her kitchen when doing ours up a couple years ago!). She is also one of the best and most devoted mama chefs I know. Every night she serves her family a home-cooked, well-rounded, delicious meal. Majorly impressive! I’m excited to share her dinner story with you…
Sometimes it seems like my whole life is centred around food. Between blogging about my cooking endeavours, feeding family and friends and going out to eat, all I seem to do is cook and eat! It is no surprise therefore that I take my kids and their eating very seriously too! Although my husband and the girls love to bake I am completely in charge of the cooking in my house which makes my life much easier to organise!
I tend to do a lot of the cooking for the week on a Monday. I always spend the day with my mum so she helps me out with the food shopping, the prep and also the clean-up which is amazing and having a day put aside once a week to be with her is a real treat for both of us! We usually make a soup, roast some vegetables, I will have something marinating and I would have usually baked something too. I seem to have a bit of an open door policy at my house and there is a contestant stream of people needing to be fed and knowing that would I like to live that way I built a big kitchen and bought a huge cooker! Often I have all six burners going at once! (more…)
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Lindsey is our very cute friend from London and the brilliant mind behind the stylish Urban Mums blog, where she shares her favourite finds in the city. She lives in St John’s Wood with her kids Isobel (6), Oliver (4) and her husband Alan. And she’s currently pregnant with baby number 3 due this summer! Here is her dinnertime story.
Oh, dinnertime. Sometimes it goes surprisingly well and other times I am at my wit’s end. I do enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, but I really dread the evenings when I’m coaxing my children to stay in their seats and finish their food!
We eat around 6 during the week, so the kids and I usually eat dinner before my husband returns from work. This means I cook during the week, and my husband cooks more on the weekend. We don’t do separate meals, so whatever we’re eating, the kids are eating, even if it means making a few modifications (i.e. taming spices, swapping an ingredient, etc). I try to make them at least try something before I give up and make them a sandwich!
When it’s sunny outside, we go to the park or zoo straight after school and play with friends until 5 or so. Then it’s a rush home to prepare a quick dinner. My go-to meal on those days is usually homemade macaroni and cheese (simplest cheese sauce ever — it’s usually done before the pasta is finished boiling), and some steamed veggies (sometimes a salad for me, too). If I’m really on top of my game during the week (and 90% of the time this is NOT the case!), I prep before the last school pick-up, so the final stages of dinner will take little time to throw together. (more…)
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Sarah Adams is an American artist living in London who focuses her work on family portrait paintings. I recently had the pleasure of seeing her amazing work last month at her exhibition on ‘Family Dinners’ in Covent Garden. I was intrigued by her interest in family dinnertime (which quite perfectly matches our recent dinnertime series) and really liked the honesty of her paintings — she captures what dinnertime is really like for most families (see painting below — don’t you completely empathise with the emotions of that mother?!). Sarah is happy to commission her work if you’re interested in having your dinnertime captured. She also paints other scenarios (I’m hoping to commission a painting of my children on the beach! More about that later!) Visit her website for more details on commissioning a painting of your own. And here is her dinnertime story:
During the normal working week, dinnertime in our house signals the beginning to the bedtime routine – first dinner, then bath, then stories, then bed. It has never been that whimsical moment where everyone sits down together to enjoy each other’s company at the end of the day, smiling and passing bread.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve attempted to document our dinnertime experiences because I was confused to why it was not the idyllic episode my mum friends were claiming to have – ‘oh my daughter eats everything.’ ‘I make it fresh every night.’ I find it discouraging when you spend a lot of time preparing food that is not going to be eaten by a child who is going through a ‘beige phase’ – pasta, cereal, hummus, bread. In the recent past, dinnertime has been a chore. (more…)
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Lara Soetekouw is Italian and lives in Fulham (London, UK) together with her three kids Giacomo (8), Livia (6) and Giulia (4), and her Dutch husband Arjen. She’s the owner of the brilliant online boutique Big Blue Cuddle, where at least 15% of the profits is directly donated to a charity — that’s shopping for a good cause! Here is her dinnertime story.
My husband and I both love food. We love shopping for it, we love cooking it and we love eating it. So naturally we try to instil the same love in our children. Consequently, our son (8) and 2 daughters (6 and almost 4), are dragged to markets and shops, are often happy to help out in the kitchen and are encouraged to at least taste everything we put in front of them.
I try to be adventurous in what I cook for them and give them a lot of variety. I dream of making them stir fry noodles, meet stews with fruit (e.g. pork with prunes), fish cakes, risotti and minestrone, and I do, but the reality is that last night’s leftovers, pasta al pesto and just-about-anything-with-hummus are big favourites! Especially during our hectic week.The kids take turns setting the table and every single meal ends with a piece of fruit and often a yogurt. The biggest challenge is to make them stay at the table until everybody has finished, particularly as we have both the quickest and the slowest eaters in the universe in the same family.
We have adopted the English schedule of feeding the kids around 5:30 (ridiculously early for Italian standards. “That’s snack time!” my friends tease me) and of having a quiet and civilised grown-up dinner for the 2 of us around 8pm when the kids are tucked in bed. My husband gets home from work only in time to read them a short story and kiss the children good night, if he’s lucky, but we take turns cooking our dinner (lucky me!).
On Sunday evenings, we all have an early dinner together and I have no doubt that soon we’ll start doing that more often. Though I must say that I really enjoy our quiet and civilised tête-à-tête, even if sometimes it means I have cooked 2 meals in one evening! On week-ends, I finally have the opportunity to experiment and involve the children in the cooking. I have now trained the 3 of them so well they can make simple fresh homemade pasta, such as tagliatelle or dinosaurs (using cookie cutters), almost without my help! I try to cook big portions so that there will be leftovers to serve during the week. During the Easter holidays, for example, we made falafels. I rejoiced at the idea of the children eating more pulses, and they had fun shaping them and rolling them in sesame seeds. I also made a leg of lamb, some couscous (full of raisins, which they adore) and okra beans, then the whole gorgeous meal was greeted at the table by a chorus of “I don’t liiiiiiike it!”.
Pasta con le zucchine (Pasta with courgettes):
A super simple recipe for don’t-have-time-to-cook evenings
- Cut 1 or 2 zucchini/courgette into cubes
- Add to a large pan of boiling salted water
- Boil for about 5 minutes than add the pasta to the same water
- When the pasta is cooked, drain everything and dress it with plenty of butter and parmesan cheese (and pepper for grown ups)
- Serve immediately
The zucchini/courgette will fall apart and become like a cream. How long you need to cook them before adding the pasta depends on how big you’ve cut them. Even with the courgettes way overcooked it is nice, so don’t worry too much about it. This has been a big favourite in our family, for both children and grown-ups, for generations.
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Laura Marsden lives in Hatfield (UK) together with her husband Nick and her 3-year-old daughter Scarlett. Laura designs unique lifestyle accessories, all handmade and gorgeous (for kids’ rooms as much as for adult interiors), which she sells in her sweet boutique Lettie Belle. Here is her dinnertime story!
Food plays a big part in our family life, but having a 3-year -old means we don’t always experience meal times together. During the week, my husband usually gets home from work between 7-8pm. This is too late for dinner as a family, but he usually does story time. I sit with Scarlett at the table in the kitchen/diner while she eats dinner at around 5pm. She has a very healthy appetite, and snacks on fruit, nuts and raisins during the day (as well as odd treats). By dinner time she can be quite tired, so although she will sit down, it can take a long time for her to finish!
Luckily Scarlett will try anything and loves strong flavours. She prefers a choice of foods on her plate, rather than a one-pot dish. So, typically she will have pasta or chicken/fish/omelette with two types of vegetables such as home-made potato/butternut squash wedges, peas and she has cucumber batons with every meal! Some fruit, yoghurt or a lolly finish off her dinner with something sweet. We have recently gone through a phase of lolly-obsession, which made dinner rather prolonged! Scarlett loves to pick herbs from the garden to put on her dinner, and her Grandparents have a big vegetable/fruit patch so she has a good understanding of where some food comes from. (more…)
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Irene Hoofs is the creative brain behind two of our favourite blogs: Bloesem Living and Bloesem Kids. She always digs up the most beautiful finds, and her blogs are full of inspiration. Irene lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband Rik and their two cute sons Lode and Kiet. Here is her dinnertime story!
In my house we have dinner in ‘shifts’. We are all together, my two boys, my husband and I, but the boys have dinner first around 5:30pm or so while my husband and I sit at the table or kitchen countertop to have a drink and a snack. We have an open kitchen that directly connects to the dining area. Since we both work full-time, this is our moment to blow off a bit of steam and share the day’s war stories. After the kids have gone to bed around 7:30pm we sit down and have a quiet dinner, sometimes with friends or family who are visiting us in Malaysia. All sounds pretty organized? Not so organized actually; getting the boys to sit still for more than a few minutes and finish their dinner is quite a challenge! As a measure of last resort, we promise a reward, mostly ice-cream or a frozen yogurt-stick, if they finish their veggies. What is a mom to do?
My secret weapon, chef and backbone of the household, is lovely Ruth. Ruth is our live-in nanny and cook in Kuala Lumpur. She is simply amazing. Ruth left Myanmar when she was 15 years old and has been working as a private cook since. First, ten years with families in Bangkok and now she has been with us for almost a year. We are very lucky to have her and enjoy Thai cuisine every day; she also makes wonderful what she calls “non-spicy and a bit boring Western” dishes, such as Shepherd’s pie and lasagna. Ruth’s homemade secret recipe spring rolls are to die for! As you know, it is quite common in Asia to have a live-in nanny. To me, living in Malaysia without the support network of my family in the Netherlands close by, having a trusted pair of hands to help run the household is truly a blessing, allowing me to work at home and run my Bloesem blogs.
Of course, I do dabble in the kitchen myself in the weekends and make a few decent Italian dishes. I really envy the Italians, such a beautiful tradition of food and family dinners. So I try to instill a bit of that traditional family dinner culture in my house – time out for all to simply enjoy mom’s home cooking. If I don’t feel like cooking in the weekends, we eat out in one of the many restaurants in Kuala Lumpur; our favorite one, Chinoz, is only a short walk from where we live; they make excellent fresh sushi that even the boys enjoy; their favorite is the “cucumber maki”. Eating out with the entire family, including young kids or babies is a very normal thing to do in Malaysia and most restaurants are fully equipped with baby chairs, coloring sets and all sorts of other distractions for the kids to help them sit through a long dinner. This is one of the things I like about Asia: kids are allowed everywhere, all the time, the more the merrier.
Thank you ladies from Babyccino for this lovely invitation. I simply love Babyccino and all the inspiring things you do so it is a treat for me to be a guest here. xxirene
Last but not least a recipe… well actually I don’t really have one. But here at BKids you can find some handy ones!
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Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day is one of the most creative people we know. Her blog is super inspiring, and we love her adventurous nature — she recently spent a year living in Paris with her husband, Paul (an artist), and their two cute boys Moses and Roman. Here is her dinnertime story!
My husband Paul and I both work and we both share the childcare responsibilities. I do the menu planning and a big grocery trip once a week while he does the small trips through out the week. Our dinnertime happens about 7pm. Paul cooks dinner most of the time. But I do the prep work for dinner in the morning after breakfast. I hate that feeling late in the day of having to prepare dinner but you don’t have any food or ideas. So I eliminate it by preparing food in the morning. Then Paul just has to throw it together.
My kids are still small (2 and 4) but we try to all sit down for dinner together in the dining room. We don’t have any real rules but the kids have to at least try the main course to be polite. There are certain vegetables my kids love like fresh peas and haricot verts so we usually have a side of those and then make sure there is some sort of protein. One of the best things about France is the bread and cheese so we have a baguette and cheese with our dinner most nights. About once a week we do green smoothies. Our kids love them and it’s our last resort for getting vitamins in our kids when they are feeling picky. (Basic recipe is: 2 bananas, 1 cup of orange juice, ice, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, and two giant handfulls of baby green spinach and water as needed to blend.) Since we moved to France we don’t do take out very often but we do have regular easy meals like one night a week where we buy a rotisserie from our local butcher. And when the weather is nice we grab a pizza on Fridays and go to the park across the street from our house for a picnic. Besides that we eat lots of soups and bean and vegetable salads. I’m really inspired by 101 Cookbooks and Ottolenghi Cookbooks. I usually prepare a salad in the morning then we eat it for lunch or as a side dish for dinner. My favorite salad is this lentil salad. I make it 2-3 times a week. It’s so good, simple and fresh.
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Zoe Grant studied Creative Arts at Birmingham University, and loves creating and designing and has a passion for prints and patterns. She, her husband Drew and their five (!) children (Connor (13), Jack (12), Lucy (11), Amber (9) and Kitty(5)) all live in a little village in Suffolk, UK. We’re so impressed that Zoe still finds time to write her blog Zoe & Drew! Here is her dinnertime story.
Dinnertimes for me, in our house are the most important time of the day. It is the time when we all catch up on each others days and also helps my children to take turns in conversations. With five children life can be incredibly chaotic, especially during the week with Brownies, Guides, orchestra practices and sports matches. However apart from Tuesdays we manage to eat as a family everyday, with the occasional exception. We eat between 6 and 6.30pm everyday, which may seem a little late as our youngest is only five but with a healthy snack after school to stop the tummy rumbles, Kitty is more than happy to wait to eat all together. (more…)
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Elodie and I have a ritual of going to the sunday farmer’s market to get fruits, vegetables, and flowers for the following week. I tell her I am on the lookout for a bunch of beets or some mandarins and she gets so excited with this game of treasure hunt. My husband travels a lot for work but when he is home we definitely eat together. Elodie loves choosing the napkins for the table every night and is always in the kitchen helping me put together the evening’s meal.
Living in Southern California means we eat a lot of mexican food and when I’m a little rushed I turn to my go-to meal of quesadillas or molitas (recipe below), black beans and rice with a salad on the side. We mainly prepare vegetarian dishes at home and save the meat eating for dinners out. We try and use whole grain tortillas such as ezekiel rather than flour tortillas as they have loads more fiber and protein. We sometimes have black beans with just a dash of cumin and salt in them for added flavor or i will make an avocado and black bean salad. A simple pear, strawberries or whatever is in season works for dessert!
We make it a point to feed Elodie the same food we are eating. She eats a wide variety of cuisines because of this and hasn’t really said no to anything just yet. Still, getting a toddler to eat at dinnertime can be quite challenging. Someone recently said told me, “It’s not what they eat in a day but what they eat in a week that counts” which has helped me to relax a bit but i’m still known to bribe her every once in a while!
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (anything that can handle heat, like canola)
- pinch of kosher or sea salt
- 2 taco sized corn tortillas (2 for every molita)
- 1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup beans (refried, whole, or black beans)
- 1/2 cup fresh white corn (optional)
- 1/4 cup spanish rice
Heat a cast-iron skillet, flat griddle, or other frying pan over medium heat.
Sprinkle the cheese on one tortilla and top it with a 1 1/2 tablespoons each of rice, beans and corn.
Cover the bottom tortilla with the top one.
Brush one side with the oil and put that side down in the skillet, then brush the other side with oil.
Cook for several minutes on each side, until it is developing beautiful crispy brown spots.
Avocado Black Bean Salad
- 1 tablespoon lime juice or vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 can (14–19 ounces) black beans, drained
- 1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado (8 ounces), cubed
- ground black pepper optional
Place the lime juice or vinegar in a large bowl and gradually whisk in the oil. Stir in the beans, bell pepper, garlic, salt, and black pepper (if using). Taste and add more lime juice or vinegar if you like. Stir in the cilantro. Add cubes of avocado just before serving.
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Sarah from Nyom Nyoms is a full time mummy of 2 little children, Noah (6) and Matilda (4). She lives in Bushey (about 20-30 minutes outside of London), and is passionate about children’s clothing and interiors, and easy-to-prepare dishes. Here is her dinnertime story!
Ok…let me begin this by saying that when I was asked by Esther to guest post my dinnertime rituals, I was thrilled!! So that night, when pesto pasta was on the menu, the camera came out hoping I could get some great snapshots. The kids were enthusiastic to help. Fantastic, I thought, I should get some fab pictures! Then within the next 10 mintutes my son Noah smashed one of my favourite glasses after I’d told him to calm down for about the fifth time, one of the cats was sick over the kitchen floor and the pan of water cooking the pasta boiled over and put out the gas on the hob….which I hadn’t noticed!! I became monster mummy!!!! Aggghhhhhh!!! Of course it isn’t always like this, but some days it is… (more…)
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Before she had her two children, Joslyn Oppenheimer was a professional chef. But she had to think of a career change after her first baby was born: late nights were spent breastfeeding and not at the stovetop of a restaurant! And thus, she started the wonderful and well-known online eco boutique, Shak-Shuka. Joslyn currently lives in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, with her husband, two children (Uma (4 years old) and Zev (4 months old)), and a giant St. Bernard dog. Here is her dinnertime story!
Even being a trained chef, I find dinner time to feel like a battle: me versus the gastronomic enemies ahead. At one meal I have to think about a meat-loving husband, a vegetable-despising child, and a veggie me – all while caring for a newborn baby! At times, I like to imagine what we look like as I’m preparing dinner (picture it: child running around in a tutu while the baby cries and I’m cooking and rocking the stroller with my back side!) and I just have to laugh and give in. I think if you give into the chaos and not try and fight it (ie – control it like I think we want to do) then it works out better and you might even have fun. (more…)
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Ah yes, dinner at the RDM family can be the greatest time of the day or the most stressful one! Either we are all sitting at the dining room table and finding out how everyone’s day went or it’s that time of day where I use my bargaining powers, false promises and even blackmail desperately trying to get my kids to stay seated and eat!!! Honestly, the stress starts even before then, I like to think I’m a creative person, but when it comes to cooking I lack all imagination, I don’t even like to do the groceries. To top it off, my kids have opposite tastes and they both don’t like potatoes, so I can’t stuff them with all that starch! Lastly, my husband doesn’t cook at all, so it’s all up to me; at least he does all the cleaning up…
On the weekdays, I usually pick the kids up from daycare around 5PM and by the time we walk home it’s usually 5:30PM, so while the kids play I try to cook some dinner, it has to be something relatively easy and quick. My kids have a snack at school around 3:30 and they get pretty hungry around 6PM. My husband doesn’t get home until 6:45, so usually by the time we start eating, the kids are having their desert. Thursdays, it’s just the kids and me, so I try to make something they really enjoy, like pasta or grilled cheese. Fridays we alternate and eat at my mom’s or my in-laws and finally, the weekends are pretty chill, we sometimes eat out, order in, eat leftovers or frozen pizzas and sometimes I’ll make crepes.
My daughter is a “snacker”, she would rather eat a little all day while standing up (don’t ask!), and she could live on bread and butter, cheese and ice cream! She doesn’t like pizza, she doesn’t love pasta and I need to cut her grilled cheese in cute shapes, like a bunny for her to eat it, she has just started to eat meat and some chicken, but at least she likes fish. One meal both my kids enjoy is toasted bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon, and I usually serve that with some fresh veggies and avocado.
My son on the other hand could eat pasta every night… He enjoys beef fajitas, pizza, grilled cheese and any type of raw vegetable; fish on the other hand he has a hard time with. If the kids want dessert, which usually consists of yogurt, applesauce or some type of berries, then they must eat a little and try at least one bite of whatever is on their plate. Dessert is always a great motivation or bargaining tool in my home!
The one meal the whole family can agree on is Spinach Quiche. This is pretty easy to make and you can substitute the spinach for so many different ingrdients such as mushrooms, asparagus, ham, olives… The kids will have some veggies with their quiche and us grown-ups will have a tomato and mozarella salad or a green salad of some sort.
Here’s my QUICHE recipe…
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We try and sit down at 6:00pm everynight and have a family dinner. I would like to be able to have it earlier during the week but my husband doesn’t get home until 6:00pm and I think its important that he gets to have dinner with the kids and we can all talk about our day. We always have dinner at the dinner table. Our dining room is off the kitchen and has windows that completely open all around it so in the summer we have the windows open so it feels like we are outside. It’s a really relaxed place to eat. I love it!
Dinner is usually fuss free in our house. I don’t spend a lot of time preparing dinner and we mostly eat homemade food. If we have take-away we would buy fish and chips. My husband makes a mean pizza which is far better than a take-away pizza so if we feel like pizza we would have homemade. Eating out in New Zealand is expensive so for us we only eat out for special occasions. I have no problem with taking the kids to a restaurant though as we would often take them out when we lived in Holland and they are well behaved (most of the time!).
We are quite strict on manners at the table and the kids have to ask to leave the table. They also have to eat everything on their plate. Unless they really don’t like it and they have at least tried it. My daughter will eat pretty much anything (except lettuce!) but my son is a bit more picky. He is getting better the older he gets though. If they don’t eat much dinner they know there is no more food until the morning. The kids usually have plain unsweetened yoghurt with chocolate sprinkles for dessert. In the weekends we may have ice-cream as a treat. (more…)
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For us dinner can be the best of times and it can be the worst of times…. For my daughters and I, it is such an important moment to catch up after a long day. It can also be a moment of frustration,when 3 tired females have different opinions on how the meal is supposed to go down and what is edible and what isn’t…
As I work full time, I only pick the kids up from school at 6pm, so it is a mad rush getting home, getting a meal ready, doing homework, squeezing in a bath and a bedtime story. I try to pre-cook at least 3 meals during the weekend, so I don’t have to think when I get home during the week. Big favorites are lasagne (a simplified variation on this one) and shepherd’s pie (with as many vegetables squeezed in as possible) and all sorts of soups (from vegetable to chicken noodle) — basically dishes which can be easily re-heated. I also often pre-make some pasta sauces in big batches and freeze them.
A BIG treat is crepes: the girls get the toppings ready while I make the batter and everyone is allowed to put together their own concoctions. Last time we did it, Violette insisted on a houmous and tomato crepe…. who can argue with that? I think I it is even possible to pre-make to batter the night before but I have never tried this! I do usually serve up a grated carrot salad first, as there is very little interest in vegetables once the crepes are ready. I do think that kids will survive if they don’t always get a freshly cooked meal made from scratch. Scrabbled eggs with toast and a salad is totally ok, too. The girls are given a fairly healthy 3 course meal for school lunch here in France, so I feel that dinner can be simpler. (more…)
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I am going to admit straight away that I actually don’t really love dinner time. In fact, I sometimes even dread it. My kids are tired, my patience is usually gone by then, and trying to keep three kids at the table until they finish their dinner is exhausting (remember this post?). I’m also not like Esther — I’m not super passionate about cooking. I mean, I do it… but it’s not something that I really love (my husband is the passionate chef in the family). But, I think dinnertime is incredibly important for a family, and the lessons of sitting at the table together, using proper table manners, trying different foods, taking turns in the dinnertime conversation, etc. are all such important lessons to teach our children.
During the week, I usually make the kids their dinner and serve it to them around 6ish. I usually give them a bath before dinner, so they eat dinner in their pyjamas (see photo), and then when my husband comes home around 7pm, he can read them a book and put them to bed. I usually make something simple for them or I give them the left-overs from our dinner the night before. My kids are pretty good eaters, although there are some meals which go down better than others (pasta is usually a winner). After dinner I usually let the kids have a little square of chocolate if they’ve eaten their dinner. We’re not big dessert people, but we do like our chocolate! (more…)
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Dinner time usually occurs around 6.30 pm in our house, because that’s when my husband comes home from work. Cooking is my thing — my husband usually takes care of breakfast (I’m worthless in the morning!), but dinner-time cooking is my task and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love to cook, I love the creativity of it! With three little and hungry children it’s not always a relaxing time though, so I often turn on a movie when I start to cook so they can relax a bit and I can focus on what needs to happen in the kitchen. Or, when I have enough patience and time, they like to give me a hand. Six-year-old Sara already makes a fantastic salad Caprese, and Pim (5) is quite proficient at slicing cucumbers and other salad ingredients. I also quite often ask our nanny Katherina to stick around ’til my husband gets home to help me keep little Ava (1) entertained. This is a huge help and it makes this time of day much more pleasant than what it used to look like: me cooking with an upset, crying one-year-old on my arm, and often ending up overly tired, frustrated and angry. Not worth it!
Because I work full-time and often don’t start cooking until 5.30 or 6 pm, I usually cook something within an hour, or even half an hour. But since my work is fairly flexible, on occasions I am able to prepare dinner beforehand and I can make more time-consuming dishes. Sometimes I’ve had such a crazy day and I’m un-inspired to cook, and we order in: usually pizza, Thai food, or sushi (our favourite!). Or we prepare an easy dinner like cheese fondue (exception to the homemade rule: this comes from a package — always handy to keep in the fridge for an easy and quick dinner that we all love). On weekends, we occasionally take the kids to a restaurant, a treat! (more…)
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Dinner time can be a stressful time when you’re a parent. The kids are hungry and tired, YOU’re hungry and tired, but dinner needs to be served in order to bring the day to a good end. How do other people handle this time a day? Do they cook in advance, do they order in, do they organise help… What do they cook? Could they share an easy recipe?
Because of our rather curious nature, we decided to start a little series called ‘Dinner with…’, where we will invite other mums (or dads) to share their dinnertime with us. But to be fair, first we’ll give a peek into our dinner rituals ourself. I’ll go first! Hope you love our new series!