Nut Free Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Four Ways

Happy Thursday guys, one more day until the weekend. Hooray! This week has flown by with it starting on a bank holiday. I’m suffering from complete lack of sleep from one of my besties hen do’s last weekend, it was amazing but I’m still paying for the late nights. I arrived home to a poorly Reuben who has had us up every night. His 1 year injections really got him and after much debate between chicken pox or measles we decided it was a mild case of measles, on top of his two front teeth coming through… argh!! Mother on the edge spring to mind?

 

With me having felt so crappy this week, it’s been all about quick and easy foods. I’m sure that you’ve all had pesto before, maybe not if your allergic to nuts or seeds but it’s a delicious, quick and easy sauce to jazz up any lunch or dinner and one which I highly recommend you make regularly and keep stashed in the freezer. Making your own will taste so much better than the bought stuff and doesn’t have any added sugar or unwanted preservatives. I’ve never been able to buy ready made pesto due to my nut allergy, so it’s been amazing making my own and discovering what I’ve been missing out on. You really must give this a go, you won’t look back! I also think this is the perfect sauce to introduce big flavours to little ones. Remember never to shy away from giving them bold and exciting things to try, the more we offer, the better chance we have of less fussy and adventurous eaters on our hands.

So, I whizzed up a big batch of Sun-dried tomato pesto yesterday and made sardines on toast with it. (yep – sardines again!) Then I quickly cooked up a basic tomato sauce and added in the left-over sardine mix so that there was a pasta sauce ready to use today. I had roughly 4/5 tablespoons worth left over, so I split it between two pots and froze the rest down. I usually top Chicken or fish with the left-over pesto and then bake in the oven for us or Reubs to have as finger food with some veggies.

FullSizeRender

Without further ado here is the pesto recipe taken from my trusty Ella’s Kitchen cookbook, along with the mix to pop on toast and the pasta sauce.

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

*will keep in the fridge sealed for a week, suitable for freezing*

You will need:

2 cloves of garlic

100g pine nuts (optional)

50g fresh basil

6 sun-dried tomatoes

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

50g parmesan cheese

100ml water

 

All you need to do is:

  1. Throw all ingredients into a food processor, mini blender/blender and whizz up until mostly smooth in consistency. Job done! *Remember to heat before serving in other dishes*

 

With the below recipe, I made the full amount and used half of it for toast (one slice for dinner and the other for lunch the next day) and then the other half went into the pasta mix. This is also a perfect lunch for you and baby!

 

IMG_4295

Sardines And Pesto on Toast

*makes enough to serve 4 young children, suitable from 7 months*

You will need:

4 slices of wholemeal bread

2 tins of sardines in oil, drained and de-spined

4 teaspoons of pesto

2 spring onions, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced finely

 

All you need to do is:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium and toast one side of each slice of bread. De-spine the drained sardines and put into a bowl.
  2. Tip in the finely diced tomatoes, spring onions and pesto. Using a fork mash the ingredients together. Grate a small amount of cheese on top.
  3. Spread the mixture on top of the toasts and grill for around 3 minutes or until warmed through.

TIP: you could make cauliflower pizza bases, use naan breads, pitta breads or normal mini pizza bases with this mix. Just spread some passata over the bases, put the mixture on top and sprinkle some mozzarella or cheese of your choice on top.

 

IMG_0061

 

Pesto, Sardine & Olive Pasta Sauce.

*suitable for freezing. Suitable from 7 months.*

You will need:

1 large or 2 small onions, diced

2 tins of chopped tomatoes or passata

4 tbsp pesto

½ 240g bag spinach

½ of the sardine mix

1tbsp tom puree

6 olives, cut into quarters (optional)

1 tsp chilli flakes (for the adult’s portions)

 

All you need to do is:

  1. Heat up a tbsp olive oil in a non-stick, deep pan. Add the onions and cook for 10 mins to soften. Add in the peso and chopped tomatoes/passata. Bring to simmering point, cover and leave for 15 minutes to cook down.
  2. Add the olives, tomato puree and spinach and sardine mix. Stir through and pop the lid back on to simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Take out the babies/children portions. Season the remaining sauce and add in the chilli flakes if you like a kick.

 

I Hope you find the recipes useful. They will enable you to get at least two meals ready with little effort and time. You can do so many different things with pesto. It will never fail you when you want something quick and easy that tastes delicious! I hope you have some exciting plans this weekend, let’s hope the sun shines. I’m off the have a bath in peace and get snuggled up to carry on watching The Affair, I’m addicted! Say a little prayer that I get a good night sleep tonight, won’t you?

 

Jules xx

 https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18831927/?claim=vydp27n5hxy


 

Cracking Chilli Con Carne

Well I can’t believe that I’ve been back in work nearly a month. I’m still finding it odd, I struggled last week being away from Reuben so much. I felt wracked with guilt and kept thinking that me being absent would impact on him. I was being a bit dramatic because he was happy as Larry all week, its true when people say it’s usually the mothers that are worse than the babies! One of my friends said to me there is no room in your life for guilt, sweep it aside and carry on doing the best you possibly can. So, that is what I’m going to do. I regularly have to tell myself that I am being the best mum I can be (Even when I’m on Instagram, again!! Oops.) I am trying to be much stricter with myself when it comes to using my phone when Reuben is around, especially now that I’m working. There is something quite refreshing about not looking at my phone every 10 minutes, when I manage it!

We had a lovely weekend celebrating two special 1st Birthday Parties, I felt like I needed some nice things to be happening in my life right now after some horrible family news, so being around wonderful family and friends really helped.

A few people have asked me how I am managing to still cook different and healthy meals now that I am back in work so I thought perhaps it would be useful to share my thinking behind why I am so committed to cooking for Reubs and the family.

Firsty, I don’t find it a chore 99% of the time. I love to cook and try different things, which is half the battle I think. If you don’t enjoy being in the kitchen then I can see why you really wouldn’t be inclined to be cooking up meals for your children. But remember, we all want our sons and daughters to be able to cook so we need to set some sort of an example!

Secondly, I feel very passionate about the health and wellbeing of my family, and I know that I need to cook good foods to achieve this. We are an extended family under one roof at the moment and I must admit I am a bit of a Hitler Auntie when it comes to kind of snacks that the kids consume (sorry Leanne). I really feel that we owe it to our little ones to give them the most nutritious and delicious food that we can so that they flourish, live healthier lives and do better in school. Don’t we all want that for our babies? I have read so many articles and books that tell us just how important it is for growing children to eat a diet very low in sugar (if any at all) lots of healthy fats, proteins and good carbohydrates. Variety is key! We all feel different about how we want to raise our children and what we want to feed them so please do not think that I am preaching or judging you, because I am not. I am fully aware that we all love a sugar and junk food binge every now and then…pass me a McDonalds Chicken select, mmmmm!! On the whole I truly believe we should be trying to get our children to eat whole foods and plenty of different flavours and textures.  I think it would be great if mums and dads read up about the effects too much sugar and processed meats has on children, and us as adults too! It’s quite mind blowing stuff and it really made me re-think everything that Jack, Reuben and I eat.

If you can make small changes gradually in your life, then it would make a big difference.  E.g. eat natural yogurt instead of flavoured and add your own fruit. Ditch jam or nutella on toast and have porridge or eggs for breakfast, eat all wholegrain products and if your kids are already addicted to the sweet stuff try and gradually cut the amount in their diet down. The easiest thing to get rid of first could be squash. Try a fruit infuser water bottle instead with some lemon and limes In it.  My sister Laura does ‘sweetie Fridays’ they get their treat for the week after finishing school, it works well for her. Giving your children the biggest breakfast you can to fill them up until lunch will help them to be alert and perform well in school, and stop constant snacking on weekends. Foods like eggs, avocado, full fat natural yogurt, shakes/smoothes, fruit, oats, meats, etc. will sustain them considerably longer than a bowl of corn flakes which is essentially just a bowl of sugar when their body breaks it down. It’s all well and good giving your child a biscuit when they ask for a snack because they are hungry, but what are they gaining from it apart from a sugar high? They are telling us they are hungry, so when I hear that I take it as my cue to give them something healthy and/or filling if there is a wait until dinner! Can you tell I feel passionately about this? Sorry…. Remember, eat a rainbow guys!!

Lastly, I batch cook and mostly plan ahead. This ensures that I have always got something healthy and delicious on hand when I walk through the door, too exhausted or time poor to cook. If I make a spag bol, curry, chilli, pasta sauce or anything similar I make double the amount and freeze it. Simple. Take it out of the freezer before you go to work and then its ready for dinner when you get in. I always have microwaveable brown/wholegrain rice in the cupboard for emergencies and pasta takes just 10 mins to boil. Make use of your slow cooker if you have one, there are tonnes of recipes you can use and you will have a delicious meal waiting for you when you get home. Try sitting down on the weekend and planning your meals for the upcoming week and buy your ingredients ready. It will save you money and stress! The key to having the time is planning and being organised, which can be difficult I know, it’s been a testing month for me but it has shown me that it is possible to eat well when you are stretched for time. Give it a try, if I can do it for 8 of us you can too!

 

Today I’m going to share another of my favourites, Chilli Con Carne. It’s been a staple in my family for as long as I can remember. Nothing super exotic but its blimmin lovely and super comforting. My mum used to always put baked beans in it because we refused to eat kidney beans, a tradition that my sister Leanne has carried on! I have been trying different things in the mix here and there for the past few years but this version has really nailed it and I think it could be ‘the one’! The cacao powder gives it delicious richness. I would recommend you make this the night before you want to eat it, the flavours have time to develop and it just tastes sooo much better. I do the same with curry and spag bol too.

 

IMG_3874

Cracking Chilli Con Carne

*Serves a family of 4 for 2 days. Suitable for freezing for 3 months, fridge safe sealed up for 3 days. Suitable for babies 7months+ *

You will need:

2 peppers, diced

2 onions, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery sticks, finely chopped

1 chilli – seeds removed and finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 500g packs minced beef or stewing beef, best quality you can afford

2 bay leaves

3 tsp cumin

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 jar 680g passata or 2 tins chopped toms/passata

2 tsp cacaco powder

1 very low salt stock cube, into 500ml hot water

1 tin black beans

1 tin kidney beans

 

All you need to do is:

 

  1. Place the chopped veggies, along with the garlic and chilli into a heavy based pan with a tablespoon of oil (I used coconut) and cook on a medium heat to soften slightly for 10 mins.

 

  1. Turn up the heat and add in the mince beef. Use a spatula and keep breaking it up into small pieces whilst its browning. If you use stewing beef, brown it on high too. When your beef is browned add in the herbs, spices, tomato puree and passata. Give it all a good mix to combine. Put a lid on and leave it on the lowest heat to simmer for 2 hours. Check it every hour to make sure it’s not going dry and give it a stir.

 

  1. After two hours, add in beans and the cacaco powder. Stir well and leave the lid off for a final hour. You should see that the chilli is starting to thicken and smell delicious!

 

  1. When you are happy with the consistency (3 hours should be about right) take out portions for young children/ babies and then season the remainder well with salt and pepper. If you like spicy chilli you can add chilli flakes in too, remember to taste so you get it just how you like it! You can either put the lid back on and leave for the following day or serve up with wholegrain rice, some crème fraiche and coriander sprinkled on top.

 

  1. For little ones, you can mash up or blitz if they are still getting used to lumps. Reuben (1) now has it exactly as it is with the crème fraiche and coriander too.

 

I know that the ingredients list seems long, but it’s easy to cook and I promise you it’s so delicious that it’s worth it. If you and the family are veggies, or don’t like beef you can make this with pulses. Replace the beef with a tin of chick peas and butter beans. It’s up to you what beans you use really, they would all work well.

 

I hope you enjoy and have a great rest of the week. As always please tag me on Facebook or Instagram if you whip up any of my recipes, I love to see them!

 

Jules x

Beef, Black Bean and Apricot Stew & Coconutty Cacao Power Balls.

This recipe comes from Madeleine Shaw’s ‘Get the Glow’ cook book which I really love. This stew has become a firm favourite of mine. It’s so easy to make, tastes delicious and the fact I can just throw it all in the pan and leave it simmer makes it taste just that bit better! I have doubled Madeleines recipe here and added in black beans rather than extra beef. If you haven’t cooked with them before they are roughly the same size as haricot beans, yummy and nutrient dense. When my sister and I cook, we try and add them into a lot of our family meals as they are good for the digestive tract, benefitting not only the upper intestine, but lower too, so great for Kate who has Ulcerative Colitis. They are high in fibre and protein, a 340g serving provides 60% of our recommended protein intake and 30% of our fibre intake. Packed with folic acid, magnesium, potassium and iron they are also great if you are pregnant (Laura, Sarah!) The kids can be funny about anything new, so I was dubious if they were going to eat them. After we said that they were black baked beans, they seemed to accept them and ask no further questions. Result! Reuben, being the dustbin that he is, demolished the whole lot. This is great to have stashed in the freezer. I usually serve it with sweet potato mash and some sort of greens. You could serve it with cauli rice, normal potato mash or anything that takes your fancy really. I hope you love it as much as I do!

 

 

Beef, Apricot and Black Bean Stew.

*Enough for 8 adult portions. Suitable for freezing, will keep in the fridge for 3 days. Suitable for babies from 7 months. *

You will need:

500g stewing beef (best quality you can afford)

1 tin/carton black beans

2 onions, roughly chopped

2 red peppers, roughly chopped

2x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp paprika

4 tbsp coconut oil or butter

200g dried apricots (un-sulphured organic)

6tbsp tomato puree

Salt and pepper

 

All you need to do is:

  1. Melt the butter/oil in a heavy based pan. Throw in the onions, peppers, beans, beef, apricots and spices. Give it all a good stir.
  2. Add in the tomatoes and tomato puree. Stir well. Put the lid on and you can either place in the oven on 150°c (fan) and leave for 2-3 hours or leave to simmer on the hob for 2 hours on the lowest heat. If you have a slow cooker, pop it all in there and leave on low all day.

 

So far Reuben hasn’t tried any chocolate, biscuits, or cake with sugar in. I don’t really want him to become accustomed to the taste and then always crave sugary things. He doesn’t know what a treat is and he’s happy as Larry with a banana, so I’m happy with that! Some of you may think that’s a bit extreme, but each to our own! For as long as possible I want to keep the white stuff at bay because when he starts hitting birthday parties, it will be impossible. I do think eating cake, jelly and ice cream and party rings is a child’s rite of passage! I think when it comes to our children’s diet it’s all about being realistic.

I wanted to make a chocolatey treat for everyone, that would be delicious but healthy at the same time. I have seen lots of recipes for power balls, protein balls etc. so I decided to make my own. These are so easy to make, they were ready to eat within 15 mins and got a thumbs up from everyone (bar Kate). Dried apricots are full of iron, cacao powder is an antioxidant, high in fibre, protein and helps fight fatigue. Chia, as I spoke about in my previous post is such a powerhouse of a tiny seed and then nut butter or seed butter, again, is full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Here it is:

 

Coconutty Cacao Power Balls

*Makes 18 balls, will keep in an airtight container for 2 days*

 

You will need:

6 dried apricots (un-sulphured organic)

6 medjool dates (ensure seed removed)

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup desiccated coconut

½ cup melted coconut oil (roughly 2 heaped dessert spoons)

3 tbsp almond butter (if like me you can’t eat nuts, you can use sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter or coconut butter. I used almond butter as it was in the cupboard and I was making a batch for my Auntie who needs high protein and loves nuts!) I used Meridian as there’s no added rubbish in their products.

1/3 cup cacao powder (you can use sugar free cocoa powder if you wanted, but raw cacao is much better for you and tastes the same)

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 small banana or half a large.

 

FYI if you don’t have cup measures. For dry ingredients: ½ cup = roughly 70g. 1/3 cup = roughly 46g

 

All you need to do is:

  1. Place all the measured ingredients into your food chopper and blitz until it has all bound together and looks like chocolate dough.
  2. Make the mixture into 18 balls and then roll in some desiccated coconut to finish them off.

 

I hope you’ve all had a fab weekend, back to the grind tomorrow 😦

Jules X

Lovely Lemony Salmon, Spinach & Courgette Spaghetti

Can I just start by saying thank you so much to those of you who have sent me such lovely messages over the last few weeks. It has been wonderful to hear from you. Knowing that what I have been writing has been going down so well means so much to me and, more importantly, that you are loving the recipes I have been sharing has made making the time to do this so worthwhile. I’ve been grinning like a Cheshire cat!  Please get in touch with me if you are looking for ideas and I’ll try and help. I’m working on breakfast inspiration now at the request of a few of you. If you could, please all follow my blog, by clicking the ‘follow’ button on my Word Press page, I would really appreciate it!

We have had a lovely few days celebrating Reuben’s 1st Birthday. We had a fab party in the garden with our family and friends, we were so lucky to have the sun shining! He turned 1 on Friday, and it was so strange lying in bed and thinking back to last year. He woke at 5am Friday morning, so I went in to put his dummy back in. As I walked out I managed a little chuckle to myself thinking that at that point last year I was completely off it on gas and air, biting down so hard on the tube that I now have a clicky jaw as a result (as diagnosed by the dentist!) and eyeballing Jack because he was trying to take it away from me! Nothing was coming between me and my gas and air, it was bloody good stuff!!

Anyway, back to food chat. I made a few bits and bobs for Reubs party on Saturday. The fruit skewers went down a treat with the kids, it’s mad how just putting fruit on a stick makes it so delicious and exciting for them. I was wondering if it would work as well with veggies…probably not!

I also whipped up a delicious avocado dip, which was a few simple ingredients blitzed. You can make it within 5 mins, it’s just:

2 Avos

1tbsp crème fraiche

1 garlic clove

Sprinkle Salt

Few turns of Pepper

Squeeze of Lemon juice

  • Throw it all into your mini blender and blitz, job done!

You have to try it, it’s so good for little ones to dip veggies or bread sticks into. I spread it onto cucumber and slices of bread for Reuben. It will also work really well in a wrap/pitta/sandwich with chicken/halloumi salad for the family lunch boxes. It just jazzes up a boring sandwich, and you up the nutrition levels!

The main recipe today was born from needing to use up stuff in the fridge! I had a salmon fillet, crème fraiche and a courgette left over from the weekend, so I decided to make a pasta dish for Jack and Reuben out of it, nothing super creative but it’s saved waste and tastes good! The good thing about this dish is that you can use freezer stuff here too. If you don’t have courgette or fresh spinach, just use frozen peas and frozen spinach. They work perfectly well and they are always there when you need them! I would be lost without my freezer, I throw everything in there! Herbs, chillies, ginger, wine, stock, veggies, you name it…it goes in! I’d really recommend you always have peas, spinach, butternut squash and frozen berries stashed in there.

 IMG_4007.JPG

Lovely Lemony Salmon, Spinach & Courgette spaghetti.

*Makes 4-5 baby portions, 2 kids portions, or 1 adult and 1 baby portion. Suitable for freezing, and re-heating. Safe in an air tight container in the fridge for 2 days. Suitable from 7 months*

You will need:

1 salmon fillet

½ courgette, finely diced

70g wholegrain or brown rice pasta/spaghetti

1 garlic clove

3 tbsp crème fraiche

2 chunks frozen spinach, defrosted in the microwave & water squeezed out.

1 tsp lemon zest & squeeze of the juice

 

All you need to do is: 

  1. Cook the pasta per the packet guidelines.
  2. Pan fry the salmon fillet in a small dash of oil for a few minutes either side until cooked. Remove from the pan and put to one side.
  3. Fry the chopped courgette, crushed garlic & spinach on a medium heat for 5 mins or until the courgette has softened. Flake the salmon back into the pan and stir in the crème fraiche to warm up.
  4. Drain the pasta and tip into the pan with the rest of the ingredients and give it all a good stir. Grate over the lemon zest, squeeze of the juice and you’re ready to serve.
  5. If serving to under 1’s don’t add any seasoning and chop up small. For older children, you can add a little salt and pepper. If for adults, season to your liking.

 

You can double or even triple this recipe so that it serves more people, you can make this dish work for you by adding extras or taking things away, it’s quite versatile. You could use smoked salmon or mackerel. You could alter the veggies you use or even add in a few extra herbs.

I hope you all have a great week ahead. As always, please tag me if you upload any photos of food you’ve made from the blog, I absolutely love seeing them! I’m off for a nice relaxing bath…I’m still feeling a bit sensitive from too many cocktails last night!

Julia x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Mighty Mackerel Pasta Salad & Thai Turkey Burgers

Well, it was my first day back in work on Thursday. I planned on being really prepared Wednesday night. I was going to make sure I had Reuben’s bag packed, my bag packed, clothes out ready. Well, none of that happened I was too tired Reuben was up twice Tuesday night and most of Wednesday night (hats off to you co-sleeping families – I cannot get a wink of sleep if Reuben is in our bed!) so I ended up catching up with The Good Fight and eating crumble and custard on the sofa! I then ended up catching a sickness bug Thursday night and only today have I felt able to even think about writing about food! So, sorry for the delay in this post.

Last week I tried out a few new recipes, I’m excited to share them with you all. I want to make sure that I am bringing you recipes that are quick and easy to make, but at the same time healthy, exciting and delicious for all of the family. Now that Reubs is nearly one, the majority of the time whatever I cook for him we will have or vice versa.

Last Wednesday was a great day, my Niece Kate has been really poorly the last few weeks,she suffers from ulcerative colitis so it’s been quite a tough and worrying time for the family. She came out of hospital last Monday night and it was so nice to see her cracking a smile and slowly getting back to her normal self. I promised that we would make chocolate brownies together when she came home, so we got stuck right into making the chocolatey delight.

She also helped me make a mackerel pasta salad with cold pasta I had left in the fridge, which is the first recipe I will share with you. This is perfect for the whole family’s lunch box and for little ones from 7 months upwards, just ensure that you chop up all of the ingredients really finely and that they are happy with lumps. I am a massive fan of using tinned mackerel or sardines in meals for Reuben. They are packed full of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and all you have to do is scoop them out of the tin. You can’t get any simpler than that! You can play around with the ingredients here, but this had the seal of approval from Kate, my sister, Reubs and the Hubs. I have to rely on them as tasters when it comes to fish as try as I might I cannot abide it!

IMG_3814FullSizeRender

Zingy Mackerel Pasta salad – serves a family of 4

You will need:

200g whole wheat, spelt or brown rice pasta. Cooked and cooled.

110g tin mackerel (I used John West steamed).

 120g pot of full fat natural yogurt (I used Yeo Valley).

10 cherry tomatoes, chopped finely.

½ tin no salt, no sugar sweetcorn.

Juice of ½ lemon, and a few gratings of zest.

Handful of rocket snipped finely

Handful of spinach snipped finely discard of the thick stalks)

2 hardboiled eggs chopped finely (optional)

All you need to do is:

  1. Stir the yogurt through the pasta, break up the mackerel and sprinkle in.
  2. Tip in the rest of the ingredients, juice and zest of the lemon.
  3. Add the eggs if you used them.
  4. Set aside portions for your littles ones and then season the rest well with salt and pepper to your liking.

This will last in an airtight container for 3 days in the fridge.

I was having one of my regular food chats with my Sister Laura last week, looking for some inspiration putting some turkey mince I had to good use. She suggested  trying out some Thai style burgers, so that is exactly what I did! I was pretty chuffed with how they turned out! I made mini ones for Reubs and bigger ones for us. Reuben absolutely loves Thai Curry, I think the flavours must be really exciting for little ones so I thought these might work just as well! They freeze down well, so they are good to make in batches to have on hand when you can’t be bothered to cook. I’m always looking for ways to get the good stuff into foods I make, so with these beauties I mashed up some nutritious haricot beans to add extra protein, fibre and vitamins. You could use any other soft bean of your choice if you don’t have them in the cupboard. They are easily available in all supermarkets so have a look next time you’re doing your weekly shop. Adding pulses and lentils to your food is a great way of bulking up casseroles, soups, pasta sauces and packing in amazing nutrients for your little ones and the family. These are suitable from 7 months.

IMG_3721
Plate is from Bamboo Bamboo – they offer awesome suction plates and bowls in a range of lovely colours, all made of natural bamboo.

Thai Turkey Burgers – makes 4 big burgers and 10 mini ones

You will need:

500g turkey thigh mince (best quality you can afford)

1 small onion, cut into half, then half again.

1 egg

2 garlic cloves

Thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

½ small green chilli de-seeded (optional)

1 tin of Haricot beans, drained and rinsed

Tbsp blitzed oats or breadcrumbs

Small bunch coriander

Lemongrass (optional)

 

All you need to do is:

  1. In a mini chopper blitz up the onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, beans & chilli (if using) until they are well minced. You may need to scrape the sides a few times, mix around and re-blitz to get all of the ingredients nice and fine. If you don’t have a mini food processor/ chopper then finely chop the onion , chilli and coriander. Grate the garlic and ginger and mash the haricot beans.
  2. Put the mince in a large bowl, crack in the egg, tip in the breadcrumbs/oats and then add the blitzed ingredients. Combine well with a metal spoon.
  3. Make the 10 small burgers and place to one side. Season the remaining burger mix with salt and pepper and mould into 4 large burgers.
  4. Add a little coconut oil into a frying pan. If you are using the lemongrass stalk you can warm this up in the oil too to add some citrus flavour, just give it a good bash before popping it into the pan.Cook the burgers on a medium heat for a few minute each side until slightly browned and cooked through.
  5. Serve the mini burgers as finger food with veggies and fruit of your choice.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely bank holiday weekend, I’m on countdown to Reuben’s Birthday on Friday and party on Saturday, I can’t wait!  I’ll share with you a few things that I whip up for it.

If you have any particular recipes that you would like me to try out then please just shout! If you don’t already, give me a follow on Instagram and Facebook @scrumptiousbambino. Have a great week.

Jules x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Ella’s Kitchen Coconut Dhal & Hearty Red Chicken Soup.

 

Another week has gone by, where has the time gone!? The last few days I have been enjoying my last week with Reuben before starting back at work. I cannot believe it’s been over a year since I turned my out of office on filled with excitement and trepidation as to what lay ahead of me. It turned out to be the most exhausting, traumatic, yet wonderful experience of my life, but that’s a story for another time!

So, I’m a bit of a recipe book geek, I love them! I read them when I go to bed, eating my lunch, drinking my luke warm cuppa (yes…it always seems to be bordering cold these days, anyone else have this problem?)  Whenever I see a new one about to be released I cannot help but pre-order it. I’m trying to get better at using the library, but I find that if I like the book I’ve borrowed I want to keep it, so I end up buying it anyway!

Over the last few years I have become really interested in healthy eating, nutrition and learning more about cooking. When I found out I was pregnant, my interests naturally started to gravitate towards reading about caring for yourself when expecting and breastfeeding, but also the weaning stage. I was really looking forward to that part. I know a lot of Mums dread it, but what have you got to be fearful of fellow mums? You have just grown this tiny human for 9 months, given birth to them, and cared for them day and night for the last 6 months. You have achieved two of the most incredible and scary things that only us women can do, so you should absolutely trust yourself to nail the weaning phase because let’s face it, you nailed the other two! There are a tonnes of weaning books, blogs, websites, friends and family that you can visit/speak to, to help yourself gather the knowledge that you need, but never ever think that you won’t do it right, because you will in your own way! 6 months + is a really fun time where you can introduce so many exciting foods into your little ones diet and help them create a positive and healthy association with food for the rest of their lives!

A child’s diet, in my opinion (and lots of health food authors/ dieticians/nutritionists from books I’ve read) should be nutrient dense and jam packed full of veggies, protein, fruit, good carbs and full fat dairy so that we really see them grow, be healthy and happy. There is no such thing as ‘children’s food’ there is only food that we choose to allow them to eat. I always wonder how chicken nuggets, fish fingers, burger, chips and beans have become the norm when we think of children’s meals, they are on the majority of menus in restaurants. From seeing this, Parents begin to think that it is what they should be feeding their children, when really it is the complete opposite! I’ve been brought up with my mum saying ‘anything in moderation is fine’ and I do mostly agree, we can’t keep our children away from junk food forever, I think they all need to have treats every now and then but I will always try and give Reuben and my family a really healthy and varied diet 99% of the time.

 

Talking of varied diets, I’m an Ella’s kitchen fan and think that their cookbooks are brilliant for offering different and exciting ways to cook food for not only your children, but all of the family.  I think their brand and ethos are awesome and I also think that their pouches are great for when you are stuck and need to get some food into your wailing child ASAP, I use their pureed fruit ones in puddings quite often. I am an advocate for making your own food for baby wherever you can. It’s way cheaper, healthier and teaches you so much. I have become a much better and more experimental cook since I started cooking for Reuben.

I used Ella’s ‘The Purple One First Foods’ cookbook when I first started our weaning journey and it was brilliant. It gave me the confidence to try new flavours and combinations of food I never would have before. It has simple to follow recipes, easy to get hold of ingredients and great info and tips. If you are a first time mum like me, then it will teach you a lot.

When I saw that they were bringing out a new ‘The Orange One Easy Family Cookbook’ I ordered it straight away. I wasn’t disappointed. Jam packed full of exciting recipes to cook for us all (as I mentioned in my previous post I have my sister, brother-in -law and their 3 lovely kids living with us too) it really does suit everyone’s taste buds. So far I’ve cooked ten different recipes from it. Each one has turned out well, been easy to make and has tasted really yummy! I would really recommend.

I thought I would share two of my favourites with you so that you can give them a whirl

IMG_3627

Three-step easy coconut Dhal.  

Serves a family of 4. Prep in 10 mins, cooks in 30. Suitable for freezing.

You will need:

2 tbsp coconut oil/sunflower oil

1 onion, grated

1 carrot, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, grated

2.5cm fresh root ginger

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tsp turmeric

150g red split lentils

300ml coconut milk

500ml very low salt vegetable stock

2 good handfuls of spinach

 

All you need to do is:

 

  1. Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook with the lid on for 7 mins until softened.
  2. Stir in the spices, lentils, coconut milk and stock. Bring almost to the boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 20 mins. Stir occasionally to prevent it sticking and add a splash of water if it seems too dry. Stir in the spinach and cook for a few mins, until wilted.
  3. Serve in bowls topped with hard boiled eggs.

 

 IMG_3400

Hearty red chicken soup.

Serves a family  of 4. Prep in 10mins, cooks in 30. Suitable for freezing.

 

You will need:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped

400g passata

500ml reduced salt chicken stock

Can of kidney beans

½ – 1tsp fajita spice mix

1 tsp dried oregano

250g chicken breast, cut into bitesize pieces

115g no sugar, not salt canned sweetcorn

 

All you need to do is:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and pepper, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes until softened.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180◦C/350◦F/Gas Mark 4. Add the passata, stock, beans, fajita spice mix and oregano. Bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat too low, part cover with a lid and simmer for 10 mins.
  3. Stir the chicken into the pan and cook for another 7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Add the sweetcorn and heat until warm.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls.

 

 

I hope you enjoy both of these recipes, if your little one isn’t quite loving the lumps just yet you can blitz it up.

 

I’ve chatted for long enough, have a great weekend!

Julia x

Vanishing Veg Pasta Sauce

IMG_3556

Happy Easter! I hope yesterday was filled with the joy and excitement of your little ones on an Easter egg hunt and spending precious time with family and friends. Reuben isn’t at the hunt or chocolate stage yet, so I was treated to an extra hour in bed which was lovely. It’s been a busy week and I’ve felt exhausted the last few days, so I’ve been a bit delayed getting this post up, sorry!

So with there currently being 8 of us living under one roof (my sister, brother- in- law, niece and 2 nephews are living with us) we have a few go to recipes that are quick, easy and healthy. This sauce allows us to get as many different types of veggies into the kids without being met with various protests, face pulling and meal refusals!

This isn’t a new creation and I’m sure you have probably made or read about this kind of sauce before, but for those of you that haven’t I’m sure that it will become a staple for you. It smells delicious roasting, it freezes beautifully and has numerous uses. I have stirred it through plain pasta, as a bolognese sauce, lasagne base, poured over meatballs and mixed it with roasted chicken and pancetta. It works equally well with salmon, sardines and mackerel. There are endless combinations here so the choice really is yours! When I am tight on time but want to ensure Reuben has something nutritious for his dinner I will defrost and warm up a portion of this sauce, boil some spelt or wholemeal pasta and then add in a sardine or two (de-spined). A delicious and nutritious dinner ready within 15 mins.

I hope that you love this recipe as much as my family do, it’s always a big hit with the children.

Serves 8 (4 adults, 4 young children)

You will need:

2 red onions

1 yellow pepper

1 red pepper

2 courgettes

300g butternut squash

3 garlic cloves skin on

4 tsp Oregano

2 tins of chopped tomatoes or passata

Fresh basil

 

 

All you need to do is:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan. Wash the peppers and courgettes.
  2. Slice the onions, peppers and courgettes and place into a large baking dish.
  3. Peel and slice the butternut squash (you can buy this ready chopped but it is more expensive) add into the dish.
  4. Drizzle over some olive oil/ coconut oil and sprinkle over 2tsp oregano. Roast for 45 mins, checking and stirring half way through.
  5. When the veg is soft, remove from the oven, Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and then tip the whole lot into a large heavy based pan on the hob.
  6. Pour the tomatoes over, add in a handful of fresh basil, the remaining 2 tsp of oregano and heat through until the tomatoes are simmering.
  7. When hot, blend with a stick blender, season with salt and pepper if you are serving to over ones, if not take out their portions beforehand. If you feel it is a little thick or you want the sauce to go further, feel free to add some water or stock.

 

To freeze, I portion Reuben’s into small snack bags I got from Tesco, ensure there is no air in it and push flat and then larger bags for the rest of the sauce. This enables you to get more into your freezer!

Enjoy the rest of your bank holiday, relax!

 

Julia x

Follow my blog with Bloglovin