Monday, 21 January 2013

Toddler food and snack ideas - energy balls and fake pizza

Morning everyone,

Hope you are not too cold today! We are using up one large lamb roast and eating nourishing food / plenty of protein in cold weather has inspired me to make more protein snack balls for AJ (daddy sometimes steals them too).

I just had to share these with you as they are incredibly easy to make and so good you might have to make yourself some:

ENERGY BALLS (click for original site)
1/4 cup finely grated carrots
1/4 cup rolled oats or Granola*
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 Tablespoon honey
3 Tablespoons peanut butter

Mix and roll into balls. Easy carrots in the tummy! 
*Granola makes these Energy Balls more tasty and adds a nice crunch!

They freeze very well and I then take 2 or 3 out in the morning for him to have during that day.

Personally I always like to add grated banana or apple too, plus any dried fruit lying around etc. I also coat them with flaked coconut, wheatgerm or even the odd one in powdered chocolate as a special treat.
AJ loves, loves these and as soon as he sees them stretches his hands out and grabs 2 at a time... I may experiment with courgettes, sweet potato etc as they have natural sweetness and would be a great way to get more veggies in.

Fake Pizza

For my fake pizza you simply take 2 slices of bread. Grill one side. and part grill the other side. Butter the part grilled side, and spread tomato paste on it. Add ham,finely sliced green and red peppers, pineapple, sliced cherry tomatoes and some grated cheese. Grill for around 5 minutes keeping an eye on it until golden. Cut into triangles for the full pizza effect! Cheap, colourful and cheerful and most importantly, quick!  A good way to sneak veggies in too...

We are off to playgroup later and Ive also got to put together a presentation for work tomorrow, hopefully a nice long nap after lunch, and that'd be lovely for me too ha ha...  but next on my list this morning is to check the Approved Foods website for deals and also to start a Shepherds Pie for dinner with our lamb leftovers. AJ is also clamouring for breakfast, so we've got the raspberry porridge from yesterday yum yum.

Friday, 18 January 2013

£0.05p bagels and comfort food ideas for the cold weather

Hi everyone, well happy new year and tut tut to me, what a Bad blogger I am! Christmas and work have literally been huge focuses over the last couple of months, and needless to say one little toddler who just turned 18 months.

I can't go to work today due to the snow - it's worse than the photo below now, which as taken at around 8:30 this morning:

Anyway today I want to show you some of the things I have been making lately. Firstly cinnamon rolls, which hubby loved and I decided I will only make once in a blue moon because they are BAD for the hips:

AJ helped, by making 'Socks A La Mode' for dinner:

Next, I made bagels, which I had always wanted to try out. They are great fun to make and after several recipes and a few not so great results, I finally found a good bagel recipe to follow. The only changes I made to it were to bake at 180C (fan oven), and only for around 18 mins. I also like to add an egg wash to the tops before putting sesame seeds, rock salt etc as it sticks better. Rosemary, chilli and garlic are one of the good flavour combos I found for savoury bagels. For sweet ones, the classic cinnamon and raisin is fab, I also did a Christmas one with dried fruits, nutmeg, cinnamon etc. I also find that adding semolina to the bottom of the baking tray before baking means the bagels don't stick, plus gives them a lovely floury consistency underneath.

Please, please make these - loads of fun and so cheap to make - strong flour, sugar, salt and dried yeast are all you need for basic bagels and a batch of 8 bagels as per this recipe is probably only £0.35p ingredients wise. That's around £0.5p a bagel, insane!

Hubby gave me a lovely book called 'Sweet Tooth' for Christmas, an artisan baker in London wrote it and it's lovely plus explains lots of baking techniques, I made these muffin sized banoffee pies from it:

So as you can see, I've been experimenting lots and learning! I've also signed up for a cake decorating course Monday nights, something non-business like so my brain can relax into something and zone out in me-time.

Anyway have you cooked anything great lately that you want to share?

I'm def going to be cooking comfort foods in this weather - tonight will be chicken pasta bake I think as we have a chicken to stretch out into as many meals as we can. Stay warm and say hello below!