Egg-based fail

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This weekend we all stayed in a castle (or at least a tower and farmhouse), where we got to be princesses and knights and cook on a range and bathe in a roll top bath.  We were part of a group of 8 adults, 3 toddler/preschoolers, 3 under 1 – all celebrating one of the grown ups significant birthdays.

We got home today with no inclination to go to the supermarket at all.  So dinner, I felt, was an inspired healthy meal cobbled together from the meagre contents of our kitchen. And, it was themed: Eggy Crowns for my little princes.

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I think we have a milk-product addiction.

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Grown up yogurts, full of seeds and such, sugar-free kids ones and sugar-packed fromage frais. Baby yogurts, a big tub of natural yogurt for everyone, a big tub of Greek yogurt because why not?

Some kids yogurt tube things, frozen for a pretend-it’s-an-ice-pop treat. (Never mind the Ben & Jerry’s, and mini Lidl magnum knock-offs)

Creme fraiche and sour cream – are they even that different?

Butter, salted & unsalted – waiting to become cake.

Dairygold spread- for weekend toast.

Milk, ‘pink’ and half or full-fat, to fulfill gender stereotypes

Mozzarella, 2 packs which might go to live on a pizza. Emmenthal & cheddar for sandwiches and the rest. Parmesan for cooking. Cream cheese for crackers for everyone. Feta for muffins & spanokopita. Cashel Blue for grown up treats. Halloumi for griddling with lemon juice & chilli…Sweet cheeses, that’s a lot!

Oh, there’s a lonely mini Baby-bel, bought in a net of its friends, on offer and mostly only played with.

This isn’t a list of things we buy over time – this is a list of what’s in our fridge right now. There’s another whole plethora of potential milk-based goodness that might be in there any other week (cream, ricotta, marscapone, the very occasional novelty cheese-string)

My sons are 3.5 and very nearly 1. The younger only has daily yogurt and some cheese in meals, he isn’t even drinking cows milk yet and yet still, this is what we get through as a family.

I dread to think of their teenage years, the pair of them hanging out of a fridge door downing milk straight from the carton. Actually I’m going to have to start looking for those massive American containers I’ve only ever seen on TV aren’t I? (What is a quart anyway?) I’m going to need a 3rd job, as if bringing up two boys and working full-time outside the home wasn’t enough. I’ll need to get my salary lodged straight to a dairy farmer.

We display no obvious allergies or sensitivities to any of the above but I can’t help thinking you can have too much of a good thing. Our diet is generally balanced (‘5-a-day’ is a minimum under my roof) and I quite like alternative milks to cows’ in my coffee – like rice, or almond or soya. So at home I wonder should I replace some of that lot with these? Or would it just be a homeopathic dose – a drop of almond milk in a bath of the cows kind?

Having written this post, I saw the Dairy Free Kids blog latest post this morning,  it’s inspired me to make some changes.  Have you or your family cut down on dairy and found tasty alternatives? I’d love to hear.

Jill

All hail the humble chickpea

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I had to post about these Crispy Chickpeas ‘toot sweet’ they are such a revelation. In fact I have just removed the second batch in as many days from the oven. We are noted fans of the chickpea here at Properfud Towers, so there’s always a few tins in the cupboard.

One blog I love to read for general parenting stuff, recipes and an overall relevance to any family working on a budget is Wholesome Ireland. The other day she featured this recipe for Crispy Chickpeas. They are a complete no brainer to make, so when I saw it I knew they’d work in our house – last night I threw in a tray of them while cooking a roast vegetable tart, then this evening I put more in with an oven-baked risotto.

Yep, we’ll have a few of them

I snacked on them with a bottle of beer last night, had them in a salad today for my lunch and then shared the remainder with the kids this evening while we waited for dinner. It’s a great way to add a healthy protein kick to something and also to try out different heat tolerances with children. It also tests the pincer grip of the 11 month old pretty well.  Caítríona used harissa spices which I didn’t exactly have. It’s an easy enough blend to concoct though. I added a few shakes of ground cumin, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne & chilli flakes to mine.

Clearly we are big baby led weaning advocates here, but as you can see, these are of a roundy shape that some among you may deem a choking hazard.  Obviously use your own judgement as to whether your baby is ready for these and don’t let them eat them unsupervised.  Any that were slightly larger, I squished slightly between my thumb and forefinger before giving to Theo.

Tomorrow I’m going to mash a few in with Dominic’s tortilla wrap for his playschool snack. If I leave any…