No Crisps, No Chocolate? Ermm.. HELP!

No crisps, No chocolate or sweets in the school packed lunch.

It shouldn’t be so hard should it? I strongly advocate healthy eating and although once or twice a week I give in to the sausages/fish fingers and oven chips thing just so I can have a dinner where I’m not fighting my son to eat his meal and it is eaten quicker than one and a half hours!  They eat loads of fruit and vegetables and such a variety I’ve always been lucky on that score…  On a recent visit to Morrisons cafe with just my daughter, I gave her free reign to choose what she liked from the counter. She asked “Can I have two things?” I said “It depends what they are!” She was thoughtful while I told her the name of all the cakes and we negotiated the fact I didn’t want her to have crisps. She chose “The fruit salad AND the Strawberries please?” How could I refuse that?

I’ve put chocolate in the small’s lunch box once out of sheer desperation, it was tight month there was no money left and very little in the cupboard so I have them what I had.  Crisps they always had though…

From Monday, the little Lady will be in school full time, school dinners can be provided, bought in from another local school but as a family we eat a cooked dinner in the evening with Daddy.  His working hours usually see him home before 4pm.  Once upon a time I might have been raring to rise to the challenge of the packed lunch, now it just makes me scratch my head…

Head scratching out of the way I have come to the following conclusion,

A sandwich,
A small pot containing cherry tomatoes, cucumber and pepper strips.
A piece of fruit/fruit salad
A Babybel stylie piece of cheese
A carton of juice
Sometimes a yogurt
Sometimes a home made cake
 

We have other things lurking around in the cupboard like Humzingers – they love those and small pots can always be filled with raisins or sultanas.  I have toyed with the idea of a Bento Box, not every day just now and then, there is a great looking book on Amazon which I have added to my Secret Post Club wish list, although I might not be able to wait. It looks like a really fun idea.

Bento

I suppose what I really need is inspiration. What do you do that really works well in your children’s pack lunch? Do you go for simple off the shelf stuff or make things yourself? If so recipes please!!

As from next Monday I’m going to be making 13 packed lunches a week! It’s time to crank up the #notadomesticgoddess mode into #tryingtobeadomesticgoddess and not burn anything…

Help?!

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Carrot…

I use carrots a lot…  It is one of the few vegetables that Daddy will eat happily.  Our home grown carrots were a bit of a disappointment this year there was loads of greenery but not much carrot, I think I shall choose my seeds with great care next year.  I cleared the vegetable beds out at the weekend, here is the last of this seasons harvest…

Although the little man is having a vegetable standoff at the moment there are ways to get him to eat some occasionally, he will quite often have a good go at a soup.

As the winter days are drawing in, soup is a great way to get some warm nourishment into the smalls, they are especially keen if it appeals to their sweet tooth…

Carrot and Honey soup.

2 tbsp Butter

2 small leeks

800g Carrots

2 tsp clear honey

1 bay leaf

2.5 l vegetable stock

small pinch of dried chilli flakes or a good grind of black pepper (optional)

sour cream or yogurt to serve

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the leeks to the pan, then cook for 3 mins until starting to soften. Add the carrots, honey, chilli (if using) and bay leaf, then cook for 2 mins.
  2. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 mins. Blend the soup in batches, return to a clean pan, then season to taste. When ready to serve, bring back to a simmer, then ladle into mugs. Add a swirl of soured cream or yogurt and serve.

Please stop by Chelle’s Place to see some other great carrot ideas.

Chicken…

Updated for Recipes for Nick on What Will Julia Do Next


This weeks magic ingredient for Chez Chelle is Chicken, Chelle commented that she is jealous of us Brits and our roast dinners, they are one of our favourites too, but since the local supermarket sells cooked chickens, hot from the rotisserie at almost the same cost as the raw ones I never seem to cook it any more…  Wonder why??

This casserole is quick, tasty and extremely low fat, in fact one portion is only 3 weight watchers points, here goes…

Quick Chicken Casserole

3 Chicken breasts chopped

1pint of chicken stock (or enough to cover rest of ingredients)

3 carrots chopped

4 “portions” of new/small potatoes with the skins left on

1 medium onion chopped roughly

1 cup of peas

1 desert spoon of dried tarragon (or equivalent fresh is you like)

Cornflour to thicken if you prefer

Salt and Pepper to taste, I usually shake in some garlic powder too…

Place the chicken, carrots, onion and stock in a large (hob top) casserole dish and bring to the boil, add the peas and tarragon and allow to simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Drain the juice into another pan, Mix cornflour with water and thicken gravy as desired. Serve.

Feel free to fiddle with the level of content, chicken can be a bit dear at the moment so I have used more carrots or added leeks and cut down on the meat before now.

If you keep an eye on the salt content of your stock cubes, this is ideal to whizz up smooth and serve as baby food.  I also use turkey instead of chicken.

Cinnamon….

It’s time for a new blog link up, the brand new Chez Chelle is a recipe exchange link up with a prompt for the ingredient, I can’t help being a bit trepidatious because after 13 years of living with my husband what I prepare in the kitchen is basic fuel not delicacies…

However, this is a favourite for both of us, it’s from “What’s Cooking Low Fat” by Kathryn Hawkins.

Fruity Lamb Casserole

450g lean lamb trimmed and cut ingto 2.5cm cubes

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1tsp ground Cumin

2 tsp Olive Oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree

125g no soak dried apricots

1 tsp caster sugar

300ml Vegetable stock

Salt and Pepper

1 small bunch of fresh corriander to garnish

1. Pre heat the oven to 180 °C /350°F / gas mark 4. Place the meat in a mixing bowl and add the spices and oil.  Mix thoroughly so that the lamb is coated in the spices.

2. Heat a non-stick frying pan for a few seconds until it was hot, then add the spiced lamb. Reduce the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring, until browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, remove the lamb transfer to a large oven proof casserole.

3. In the same fryingpan, cook the onion, garlic, tomatoes and tomato puree for 5 minutes. Season to taste. Stir in the apricots and sugar, add the stock and bring to the boil.

4. Spoon the sauce over the lamb and mix well. Cover and cook in the over for 1 hour, removing the lid for the last 10 minutes.

5. Roughly chop the corriander and sprinkle over the casserole to garnish. Serve with brown rice, steamed cous cous or bulgar wheat.

Lemon and Orange Cheese (slow cooker)

Dawn at The Moiderer asked her blog followers to let her know some slow cooker recipes for her new slow cooker, I’m a bit of a bung it all in and hope for the best kinda girl but this is my favourite proper recipe for my slow cooker although I usually substitute the orange juice for more lemon as my husband prefers it…

Makes 1lb (2 jam jars) Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours

1 Lemon, preferable unwaxed or organic

1 Orange preferable unwaxed or organic

100g unsalted butter

450g caster sugar

4 medium eggs

Preheat cooker on high. Finely grate the rind from the lemon and orange and squeeze out the juice. Place in a non reactive pan, add the butter, then stir in the sugar. Heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, then allow to cool.

When cool, beat the eggs into the sweetened juice, then pour into a 2 pint pudding basin and cover with tinfoil. Place in the slow cooker and pour in sufficient water to come halfway up the sides of the basin. Reduce the temperature and cook on low for 3 – 4 hours or until thickened. (If possible, stir occasionally during cooking.)  Stir well, then pot in a sterilized warm, small glass jar with a wax disc. When cool, cover with cellophane lids. Store in the refrigerator and use within 1 month.

Taken from The Slow Cooker Cook book by Gina Steer