Esther and I were talking the other day about dinnertime and how neither of us are very good at planning the week’s meals out in advance. Esther has always impressed me with her spur-of-the-moment, find-something-in-the-cupboards type of cooking, which she’s very good at doing. I thankfully have a husband who is good at that, which means that as a result I’ve become a bit lazy about planning and shopping for meals in advance. The problem in our house is that we end up returning to the same trusty meals we’ve made over and over again and we rarely try new recipes or get very creative in the kitchen. It can be so easy to get stuck in a cooking rut, and I’m definitely guilty of it.
Esther has already shared a Tuesday Tips post about encouraging kids to eat healthily and how important it is to introduce new foods so children grow to be adventurous eaters, so we thought it might be good to share some tips for how to cook adventurously and how to plan ahead so you avoid the cooking rut.
We decided to ask our ShopUp event manager, Bethie, to share some tips. Bethie is one of the most organised meal planners and mama cooks we know, and I’m excited to share her tips with you:
I try to make meal planning as easy as possible. For me, this means using my smart phone to help me plan and organise. There are three apps I use to help me prepare our nightly meals: Pinterest, iPhone “notes” and my grocery app. I use Pinterest to inspire me to try new recipes (though flipping through favourite cookbooks also works!), my iPhone “notes” to make a list of dinners for the week (with links to online recipes), and my grocery app to make sure I have all the groceries I need for the week in advance (I prefer using my local green grocer for fresh produce).
When I browse Pinterest during the week I keep an eye out for easy, weeknight meals. Pictures can be deceiving, so I always read the recipe to make sure there isn’t anything too involved. If I find something that looks yummy, relatively healthy, and easy to make (or easy to adapt), I’ll pin it to my weeknight dinner board. Then, once I try and like a recipe, I pin it to my “Recipes I Love” board so I can find it again easily! I also follow some fun and inspirational Instagram accounts such as @smittenkitchen, @sproutedkitchen, @hostthetoast, and @biddiekitchen (a new favourite!). These also serve as great inspiration to help me add new recipes into the mix.
Once a week, usually on Saturday, my daughter (Charlotte) and I sit down to meal plan together. We start by looking at the calendar. What does our week look like? Are there any nights where we won’t be in for dinner? Will we have guests? Any nights where we need a really quick meal? From there I go to my “notes” app where I have an ongoing list of our weeknight meals. (I started this a few years ago and now have a big list to browse if I’m stuck for ideas!) Depending on what our week looks like, I choose a few meals to cook from scratch and a few quick meals. Charlotte likes to help me choose meals which is helpful to make her feel a part of the process. She is less likely to complain at mealtimes this way! I try to choose things she can help with, and any given week could look like this:
Monday: sweet potato and kale quinoa fritters
Tuesday: pre-made falafel with hummus, spinach and pita
Wednesday: one pot salmon pasta
Thursday: lentil soup (we like to add spinach to this so it is a one-pot meal)
Friday: homemade pizzas (we purchase the dough)
Tuesday’s pre-made falafel and Friday’s pizza are the quick meals for the week. They can be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes. The other three meals are also prepped in under 20 minutes or so, but take additional time to cook.
On a side note, we aren’t vegetarians, but we eat primarily vegetarian meals during the week. Vegetarian meals often cost less and take less time to cook which is helpful. I also like that my kids can help with the meal prep more with vegetarian meals (mashing potatoes, adding ingredients, stirring, etc.) where I would worry about helping as much when raw meat is involved.
Once I have a plan for the week, I order everything from my grocery app to arrive Sunday evening. (We don’t have a car, so ordering online is much easier for us!) This way I have no excuses when dinnertime rolls around. We also receive a weekly seasonal box of veggies from Abel & Cole, and this inspires me to try to plan meals around what foods are in season (and be more creative with foods I might not buy otherwise).
There you have it! This is what works for me and my family, but I would love to hear what works for you! Please share your favourite weeknight meals or meal planning tips below or share them on Instagram with the hashtag #babyccinomeals.
(All photos above are from Bethie’s Instagram feed. Thank you, Bethie, for sharing with us!)
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PS If you’re not subscribed to our channel yet, you can do that here.
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Masami Akatsuka is a Japanese mama living in the south of France, and creator of the most delightful objects. Her artful collection, called Cocon, is entirely handmade by Masami herself, and the way she uses colour, material and detail is absolutely wonderful. There’s just so much character in all of her makings!
I’m a serious fan of Masami’s work. We have a few of her products at home, like the placemats in these photos, and I love seeing them around me. They make everyday rituals just that extra bit delightful!
This little bird on our sideboard is another silent reminder of Masami’s amazing craftsmanship. It’s so perfectly pretty (and sturdy and stable) and has so much expression in its little face — like a tiny piece of art.
Cocon is a very inspirational collection — I’m nowhere near as artistic as Masami, but I did put my sewing machine on the table this afternoon. A quilt is in the making! : )
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We’ve decided to take a little blogging break this week to enjoy some time away from our computers. We are each in our favourite summer spots enjoying slow, lazy days with our families, and we hope you won’t mind if we push the pause button this week and resume as normal next week? In the meantime, here are some of our favourite blog posts from the past year in case you missed them:
- Dipped Wooden Spoons and Edible Gluten Free Playdough: we love Polona’s craft projects — always so pretty and down to earth (and completely do-able!).
- Open-ended play and evergreen toys: a wonderful selection of toys to encourage imagination and creative play.
- How often do you bathe your kids?: we loved the discussion that followed — so many cultural differences!!
- Traveling in Paris with kids: Because Paris (with kids) is always a good idea.
- Women: Are we are own worst enemy?: a good reminder to cut ourselves some slack (and to support other women!)
- Teaching Multiplication tables: because we need all the tricks we can use!
- Travelling light (with children): such handy packing tips for keeping things simple while travelling.
- Pim’s Lego-themed birthday party and Ivy’s colouring party: cute (and super simple) party ideas!
- Tea Party Manners: some handy tricks for encouraging good table manners!
- Quiche and Apple Crumble and Peanut Butter Cookies: some favourite recipes
- Some photos of the three of us: because it’s so fun to share such a close friendship and run a business together (and have the rare photo to show for it)
- Emilie’s Little trip to Marrakesh: This destination has been on the top of our ‘places we want to visit’ for a long time now. Such pretty photos.
- Esther’s Trip to Copenhagen and Something she noticed while in Copenhagen: it’s always so interesting to learn of such cultural differences and to see a city through someone else’s eyes.
- One Thousand Things and Where Bear? and Pelle’s New Suit: some favourite children’s book discoveries.
- Going back to work: ’cause we’re important too, mamas!
- Courtney’s Trip to Venice: a surprisingly kid-friendly city (and SOOOO pretty!).
- A Friends Book: we’re so proud of Esther for creating this pretty version of a classic Dutch children’s book concept.
- Shoe-lacing, Montessori style: another great (and educational) craft idea.
- Preventing sibling rivalry: some tried and tested tips for encouraging your kids to get along.
See you next week!
Courtney, Esther and Emilie xx
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In the summertime I am very, very partial to having a refreshing drink to nicely finish off the day (one of my favourite drinks is this one). But this summer’s favourite is a Hugo, which I discovered in Berlin a few weeks ago. Sooo very good!
Now this is a very inexact recipe as it really depends on how sweet you like your drink – just have fun testing!
You will need (per glass):
- Lemon, Lemon juice and mint
- 100 ml Champagne, Prosecco or and other good sparkling wine
- 100 ml Perrier
- Elderflower syrup (cordial)
- Ice cubes
Put some ice cubes in the bottom of a glass. Gently crush a few mint leaves and pour the prosecco and Perrier into a glass, add a slug of elderflower syrup, a a little bit of lemon juice. Finish off with a wedge of lemon, and one or two ice cubes and enjoy!
PS. Esther and I were making these in jam jars as we were camping last week. Turns out that Bonne Maman jam jars are an excellent size for a cocktail 😉
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Last week we were on holiday in France with Esther and her family. It was such fun seeing the children interact, getting to know each other again and to see how they have all changed in what feels like a blink of an eye (it is also so nice to hang out with a great friend and have time to talk about anything and everything for hours ;)).
For one night on our trip the kids were responsible for dinner, from deciding on the menu, to buying the groceries to cooking the whole meal. Apparently this was the best activity ever — there were secret meetings in which they decided what to make, shopping lists had to be put together and recipes had to be followed.
And it all went off without a hitch! All kids still have all their 10 digits, nobody burnt themselves and we ended up with a genuinely good meal and some very proud children. Kids feel responsible, parents get time off to sip a glass of wine while watching the sun set — everyone is a winner.
PS Apologies for the bad quality photos, we were just quickly snapping on our phones.
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As we’ve hinted over the past few weeks, we’ve been working behind the scenes on some videos for a new Babyccino Kids YouTube channel! It’s something we’ve been talking about doing for ages now, but were just not ever organised enough to make happen. Last month we finally mustered up the courage, lined up the right crew, and then all met up in Amsterdam to work on our first videos. It was both hilarious and encouraging — being on film is not something any of us are particularly good at (or fond of), but we had so much fun together and managed to make a few videos we feel proud enough to share (and we’re hoping our on-camera skills will improve over time!).
We’re so excited to share our channel with you (which you can subscribe to here) as well as our very first video!! We share a really easy and delicious summer recipe for Broad Bean Salad which is one of my favourite things to make this time of year.
We hope you enjoy!
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Have you heard of furoshikis? They are square fabric cloths used in Japan to wrap everything from lunch, presents, picnics, pillows, groceries, you name it! Made from gorgeous printed cotton fabric, furoshikis are as beautiful as everything coming from Japan.
Besides the primary use of a wrap, furoshikis are also great to be used as scarfs, napkins, picnic blankets, table cloths… The biggest size can even be used as a beach bag and once on the beach, it doubles as a perfect beach sheet. The uses really are endless!
You can find a lovely range of gorgeous furoshikis in different sizes at Musubi London, and here you can learn about the different wrapping techniques. (Don’t you love the wine wrap? What an awesome present to bring to a dinner party!)
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Have you ever gone to your local park, forest or garden to collect edible weeds? My kids and I love to go out and pick our dinner in ‘the wild’. It’s fun, and I think it teaches them something about food and nature. Also, it motivates them to help prepare dinner (and eat it).
We’ve been making quiches from stinging nettles, salad from dandelion leaves and wild rocket, pesto from nasturtium, we’ve picked and eaten chickweed and wild garlic. All of which we’ve picked in the park, forest, or uncultivated parts of the garden. Isn’t it intriguing how much of the plants and flowers growing around us (and are considered weeds) we can actually eat?
Our biggest discovery this year has been the bishop’s weed (elder) in the the garden of my parents-in-law. It’s absolutely delicious in a quiche or stir fried with some (wild) garlic. Do you know of any other delicious weeds you can eat, or maybe you have a good recipe to share?
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We’ve been enjoying some tropical heat here in Europe so all the tricks to keep cool are coming out of our sleeves. The other day, Sara made some delicious ice pops, and they were really so super good I thought to share the recipe (which she found in the booklet that came with our pop molds).
Here’s the recipe that Sara used (although I think she used more strawberries and three bananas):
- 6 cups fresh strawberries (she left the green hat bit)
- 1 ripe banana
- juice of 1-2 lemons
- 3 tbs honey
Puree everything in the blender and pour into your pop molds. Freeze overnight, or until frozen.
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I’ve said it before, but one of my favourite things about being in this business is meeting so many inspiring women, many of them mums (most of them mums, in fact) who run a business of their own which somehow connects to ours in one way or the other. It is an industry where women support each other and where small brainstorm sessions turn into exciting collaborations. It is a world where a group of friends can plan an after-school picnic, and because of the talent behind it, it turns out to be one of the most memorable summer garden parties — including delicious food, happy children, a dreamy garden and a water fight finale to end the day!
This past Friday, Celia from La Coqueta invited us over for a picnic in her beautiful back garden, the talented Skye McAlpine offered to cook the food, and Emma Donnelly came over with her camera to help document the day. It was a merging of different talents and good friends. Together we spent the day prepping for a picnic (by ‘prepping’ I really mean watching Skye work her magic in the kitchen!), and then, after picking the kids up from school, we all sat down to enjoy.
The kids, all dressed in coordinating outfits from La Coqueta, played so well together — like one big family. They played games, picked flowers and berries from the garden, did cartwheels in the grass… and kept returning to the picnic blanket for a sip of mint lemonade and another slice of cake! Meanwhile, we mums had the chance to talk motherhood, careers, food, photography, and everything in between. I felt so lucky to spend the day with such inspiring women, and the kids keep asking if we can do it again!
I hope you don’t mind me sharing so many photos from the picnic. Emma managed to capture the day so beautifully, don’t you think?
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Do you know the fruit cordials from Belvoir Fruit Farm? We have recently discovered them and are all hooked! We love the interesting, grown-up taste combinations, like spiced apple & ginger, rhubarb & strawberry, elderflower & rose, raspberry & lemon…
I try to give my children water or tea for as much as possible, but in the afternoon I’m ok to give them a glass of juice. These ones from Belvoir are so nice, and not overly sweet. We all love them — the ginger cordial is my personal favourite. Super fresh!
PS I’ll be making my own rhubarb cordial this week, so easy and another lovely fresh drink, especially in combination with sparkling water.
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Do you ever take cookbooks to bed? I do! I just love food — eating it, preparing it, looking at it, and yes, even reading about it.
Yvestown in the Kitchen, written by Yvonne of the beautiful blog Yvestown, is the kind of cookbook which is just the perfect read. It is the combination of a cookbook, a portfolio of beautiful food styling and photography, and it shows the most gorgeous interiors of some of the writer’s enormously creative friends.
Yvestown in the Kitchen was first published in Dutch but has recently been translated to English, so if you’re looking for a nice present for a food-loving friend (or for your food-loving self!), you can now pick up a copy on Amazon (UK or US) .
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It’s spring, and my mind is set on quiche. I’m not exactly sure why — is it the combination of the flaky puff pastry crust with the creamy filling and the salty cheese melted on top? Is it the fact that it is so easy to prepare? Or is it just because it’s the perfect dish for these warmer days, when it doesn’t really matter what time you eat, or where you eat…
Quiche can be served hot, luke warm, or cold, and it’s so informal — it’s lunch, it’s dinner, it’s a picnic, it’s a left-over… it’s whatever.
I always have puff pastry in the freezer, and usually have eggs, cream, cheese and bacon in the fridge as well. A quiche is quickly made. Many different fillings are possible — rucola, spinach, mushrooms, watercress, endive, peas, peppers, asparagus, courgette — you name it! Combine with grated gouda or cheddar or be more creative with goat cheese, ricotta, or camembert. As a basis, for the creamy bit, and depending on the size of your dish, I like to stick to 2 to 4 eggs per quiche, in combination with about 50 to 100 ml crème fraîche or double cream. Actually, the exact amounts can be played with — it’s always a bit different!
The other day, I preheated the oven to 200°C and buttered three quiche dishes and lined them with puff pastry. Using a fork, I pricked little holes in the bottom of the quiches and set them aside while I made three different fillings.
Quiche one became a ‘quiche lorraine style’ onion/leek quiche. My kids’ favourite. Here’s the how-to:
Gently fry 100 g bacon in it’s own fat. Once brown, add two large onions (diced) and one leek in thin slices. Sauté gently until soft. Divide the mixture over the prepared pastry. Beat eggs with crème fraîche and some freshly ground black pepper. Divide egg mixture over onion mixture, and sprinkle with 100 g of grated cheese. (This is my smaller dish, so I used two eggs and 60 ml of cream.)
Quiche two became a broccoli quiche. Here’s what I did:
Cook the florets of one head of broccoli in salty water for about 5 minutes. Drain well and divide over the prepared pastry. Divide approximately 150 g unsalted cashew nuts over the broccoli. Cut a 250 g camembert cheese in slices and spread over the broccoli. Prepare egg mixture (I mixed 4 eggs and 100 ml of crème fraîche with some salt and pepper) and divide over the quiche.
The third quiche is an old favourite — tuna quiche.
Drain 2 tins of tuna. Prepare egg mixture (4 eggs, 100 ml cream), and mix the tuna and 100 g grated gouda (or cheddar) with the egg mixture. Pour the tuna / egg mixture in the prepared pastry dish. I like to put cherry tomatoes on top — I love the taste of roasted tomatoes and it looks so pretty!
The three quiches bake for about 25 to 35 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and brown on top and the pastry is cooked. Eat hot, warm, or cold, for lunch, dinner, tea, or whatever.
PS Tarte à la tomate et à la moutardeis also deliciously easy!
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Recently I found a passion in creating healthy versions of the not-so-healthy treats. For instance, our whole family loves dark chocolate, even Talan who is not even 1.5 years old loves 85% cocoa chocolate because frankly he never even tried any other kind but I wanted to make an even healthier version of it by substituting sugar with dates.
Dates also contain sugar (fructose) but contrary to plain sugar they are also a great source of many vitamins, minerals and fibers. They contain oil, calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium. They are also very well known to help with health issues like constipation, anemia, diarrhea and many more. Just like with any other food, overeating is never a good idea but if eaten in normal quantities dates can do you only good.
And there is also cocoa, which is only one of the healthiest foods on the planet – did you know that? Just google Cocoa health benefits.
So this recipe is a definite win-win! My kids love it and I love looking at them while having their faces (an unfortunately also half of our dining room furniture) covered in it.
Here’s the recipe:
-1 cup cocoa butter
-1 cup raw cocoa
-date paste by taste
First, to get the date paste simply mix whole pitted dates in your food processor until smooth in consistency.
Then slowly melt the butter in a pan (or a heatproof bowl) by sitting it over another pan of barely simmering water and stir frequently.
Once melted remove from heat, add cocoa and dates (I used about a table spoon of paste but we like bitter tasting chocolate) and stir well.
Pour the mixture chocolate into a flat dish lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with roasted nuts, raisins, cranberries… or leave as is.
Put in a refrigerator for a couple hours, brake into pieces and enjoy!
Ps. the chocolate is much sweeter once hard so take that into consideration while tasting the liquid mixture 😉
To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!
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How come some children are good, healthy eaters, and some are super picky and have a difficult relationship with food? Is it a matter of nature, or of nurture? I was recently chatting with my girls’ ballet teacher, a lovely lady of sixty-something, and she was telling me about her baby granddaughter, who basically refused to eat anything from the day she was born. She’s been in and out of hospitals, being fed with drips, feeding tubes in her nose, and all sorts of astronaut kinds of food. There doesn’t seem to be a physical reason that the baby is refusing to eat — the little girl simply has no interest, probably even an aversion, to food. (I can only imagine how difficult this must be for the baby’s parents.)
So we can’t say that difficult or picky eaters are always a product of their upbringing. I do however think that very often, our own attitude to and relationship with food is of an enormous influence on our children.
My own four children happen to be very good eaters. They are interested in food, they try new things, and are not overly picky or fussy. Probably my husband and I have partly been lucky, and we’ve partly been doing some things right.
Eating is a much debated and quite sensitive topic amongst parents. This weekend I was talking with some girlfriends after we just had lunch with our families. We were discussing how we raise our children, and what parenting choices we have made to help our children become the good eaters they are today. I thought this would be an interesting (but difficult) topic for our Tuesday Tips series, so I have made a list of tips that in my experience can help make eating a positive and fun part of the day. Here goes:
– Involve the children in the dinner preparation. They can start helping at quite an early age. Tell them what you are doing, let them try the ingredients. Trust them with a knife — Ava has been making a really good Caprese Salad from the age of 4. Even Casper (2) chips in with cutting the mozzarella! Also: grow your own veggies if possible (even on the windowsill). Take your children shopping (f.e. to the (farmers) market), let them choose some food and prepare that food that evening. When your children have been actively involved in the dinner preparation, they will be more open to try and enjoy the food.
– Eat with the children as often as you can. Sit at the table, and have a proper family dinner experience. Don’t turn the tv on (you could even argue to turn the music off). Dinner is a social experience, it’s about connecting with each other and sharing the pleasure of each other’s company and good food. Set the scene, make a nice table, use little bowls, napkins, light candles, etc
– Don’t allow negativity about food, instead be positive and adventurous about food. Set the right example; don’t ‘dislike’ food yourself. If you love food, your children will love food. I’ve had children at my table who started to be negative as soon as I served the food on the table. ‘Oh, tomatoes! I hate those! Eeeks, I don’t eat brussels sprouts, they are disgusting!’ I personally don’t allow my children to use those kind of strong associations in connection with food. In general, I want my children to understand that the food that I buy, prepare and serve on our table, is good, healthy and delicious food. I don’t allow my children to be disrespectful to this food, or to the cook (me!) who has done her best to prepare a yummy meal.
– Be relaxed about food. When introducing a new food — don’t overhype or over-react, be casual about it, make it a part of the regular eating experience. I also have experienced that some foods, which I expected my children not to like (sauerkraut, for instance, or olives), have been received with great enthusiasm. So instead of being doubtful (‘you can try, but you probably won’t like it’), be casual. You might be surprised!
– Always encourage your child to try everything on the table. Don’t let them get away with ‘not liking’ something too easily. If my children, after positively trying the food, don’t like it, I ask them why they have difficulty with it — for instance, the food can be too spicy, too bitter, too salty, etc. I then try to get where they are coming from, and most often understand, but maybe we talk about how ‘too salty’ can also be good in combination with other things. Overall, this has made eating and trying food a more positive experience and a fun interaction.
– If a certain food is disliked, just let it pass, but don’t ban it from your kitchen. Positively offer it to them again at other times. Encourage them to keep trying; their taste might change and chances are that at some point, they will (learn to) like it. Especially if they see other people enjoying that food!
– When your kids don’t want to eat their dinner, that’s ok, but don’t offer a substitute.
– Expose your children to different varieties of food from a young age. Don’t generally cook ‘child-friendly’ dishes for your children, serve them regular adult dishes with regular herbs and spices. (I personally believe that even during pregnancy it’s important to eat a variety of dishes!) Take your children to restaurants, and choose from the main menu (most restaurants will be happy to serve half of a main dish to a child, or split one main dish on two plates). Emilie told me that she encourages her children to be flexible in their eating so she can take them to friends places and she can travel with them and experience different cultures. She told me that she refuses to be a guest in someone’s house and have her child turn their nose up at a meal, so if her girls want to come, they will have to eat without making a fuss!
That’s it! I realise this is a tricky subject, so please remember that these are tips that stem from my own experience. I’m curious to find out what your family’s relationship with food is. What’s your attitude? What are your tips and routines?
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After eating delicious American breakfasts in NYC last week (pancakes, huevos rancheros, doughnuts, scones, bagels!) I came back inspired to spruce up our breakfasts a bit. Conveniently, I had pinned this buttermilk-blueberry breakfast cake on Pinterest a couple weeks ago so I already had in mind what I wanted to try first.
Marlow and I spent the morning trying out a couple new breakfast recipes, and this blueberry cake was definitely our favourite. Here are some very grainy iPhone photos from this morning with my little blueberry snatcher…
The recipe is from a website called Alexandra’s Kitchen which I discovered from Pinterest. The cake is delicious — moist and light at the same time, and I like the combination of the lemon zest and blueberries.
Perhaps something to try over the weekend? Have a good one, everyone! (And happy Mother’s Day to all in the UK.)
P.S. Marlow’s dress is from the new collection at Milou & Pilou! x
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This week we thought we would offer some fun tips for getting kids to eat… because every once in a while it’s good to have a trick up your sleeve to outsmart the kids at mealtime.
- Sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on apple slices. My kids eat apples, but they LOVE them with cinnamon. And if I add some raisins to the mix, it’s like they’re eating apple pie! Cinnamon also works on porridge, pears, sweet potato, frothed milk (babyccino!), and even on toast.
- My dad used to play this game with me when I was a child, and now my children play it with us: When eating soft-boiled eggs, teach your kids the practical joke of turning the empty egg shell upside down after they’ve eaten it to trick someone into believing it’s a new ready-to-eat egg. I swear, my kids eat the egg quickly just so they get to do the trick! (Oh, and don’t forget to act surprised!)
- Make faces, or stories out of the food. Just be creative — broccoli or green beans for hair, a sausage for a nose, tomatoes for the mouth (and mozzarella for the teeth!), mashed potatoes for the bow-tie, etc. So fun! (‘Oh no! You’re eating his eyes! Now he can’t see anything!’)
- A few years back I got a stash of vintage fondue plates from the ’70s, and my children love it if I use those for their dinner. A little dish in each section (a bit of left-over pasta, some slices of banana sprinkled with cinnamon, a hard-boiled egg, some raw veggies — anything that you can find in your fridge!) — I think it’s their favourite dinner — they eat everything so well. And it’s really easy and fast to prepare ; ).
- Offer your kids a bowl of frozen peas for a little snack — my kids prefer to eat them frozen rather than cooked. Marlow eats frozen peas like it’s candy!
- Pretend your toddler is a dinosaur eating trees (broccoli) or a mouse eating cheese or a bear eating fish, etc. Somehow pretending they’re an animal gets them to eat the food on their plate with added gusto.
- Make frozen fruit lollies — insert a popsicle stick or toothpick into sliced fruit (watermelon, kiwi, peach, pineapple, strawberries, a banana, etc.) and stick it in the freezer. Easiest ice lolly you’ve ever made.
- Make DIY dinners (meals that kids can make themselves) like fajitas, stuffed pitas, summer rolls, pizzas or any kind of flat breads or crackers. They seem a lot more inclined to try and test new things if they can assemble it themselves. You can also just serve finger food items and let the kids have fun dipping: guacamole is a great way of eating avocado, houmous a great introduction to chickpeas, etc. I have even made beetroot dips, yogurt dips, broccoli and parmesan dips — basically dips out of everything in my fridge. The fun of being able to dip, rip and roll makes eating a lot of fun.
- Let your kids help in the kitchen. You are more likely to eat something you have personally slaved over and are super proud of. Be it being the person who has pushed the button on the blender or having mixed the salad dressing or cut the vegetable etc. It also takes away a lot of “prejudices” — if you have made your own pesto (which all kids love) you are less likely to protest about eating basil, pine nuts or garlic…
Please share your food tricks — we can never have enough of them!
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At the moment, mostly governed by the cold, dark nights, we feel like we deserve something nice and warm, and apple crumble is a firm favourite. I have developed a little technique about making a super easy apple crumble. We make a huge batch of crumble and then freeze most of it. Then it is all ready to use! We just cut up an apple or two into some ramekins, sprinkle on the crumble and bake them while we are eating – seriously simple.
Here is my recipe (if you can even call it that):
300g of plain flour
200g of unsalted butter cut into small pieces
150g of sugar
Put it in a bowl and rub the ingredients together until it resembles bread crumbs (some people use a mixer but I use my children because they love doing this). You can also add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon or replace some of the flour by almond powder. Some people like adding oats to the crumble, though I am not such a big fan of this!
I bake my crumbles at 180° until they are golden brown. Honestly they are mostly golden just when we have finished our main course, it is almost like magic 😉