A Week In Dinners: What We Ate Round Ours.

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As part of a look at what ‘real’ families eat, Sinéad over at Bumbles of Rice started a ‘Week In Dinners’ linky. I’m always interested in what other people are chomping down on, and I think it’s important to represent for the veggie contingent here in the Properfud house.

Monday: I concocted something with bulgar wheat, chickpeas and a creamy nutty dressing which was FINE but a bit forgettable. It got eaten by everyone but the leftovers are still in the fridge. I suppose I should chuck them now.

Tuesday: A random walk through the Marks & Spencer food hall meant some items threw themselves in my basket like Cheese Tasters, overpriced dark chocolate and stem ginger cookies (for a trip to a friends house), a Nutty Superfood Salad and a Sprouted Bean Salad.  For dinner the husband cooked up some quorn pieces with red pesto, a little stock and frozen spinach and we ate that served with the salads. The boys picked the bits they wanted out of the salads and we ate the rest. I didn’t even try to make them eat any more than they wanted because I wanted it all to myself.

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Me, when I get my hands on Cheese Tasters

Slim-With-TinaWednesday: I got my hands on the Slim With Tina book a couple of weeks ago. You can find out more and buy it here.

I’m not slimming (see above), but I do really like Tina’s approach to health and fitness and this book includes lots of great meal ideas. I learned to run properly on a Run With Tina group course, and have had a strong social media friendship with her since.  My ever-popular pancake recipe even made it into her book with some healthy modifications! I was like a proud mammy when I saw that in there.

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Anyway, she has a delicious simple Chana Masala recipe in the book. I had run out of chickpeas so it was technically Bean-a Masala, as I used a couple of tins of mixed beans. This is a real store-cupboard meal for me, I always have the ingredients (or substitutes!) on hand. I picked at food as I cooked and then ran out the door to my Boxfit class as the boys sat down for dinner. Plates were cleaned!  I also did some grilled aubergine and courgettes on the side because I swear I get itchy if my day doesn’t have enough veggies in it. My husband didn’t even offer them to anyone so I ate them all later *burp*

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Thursday: I made both banana bread and scones on Thursday so had run out of steam a bit by dinner time. Baking with a toddler is double the work, and due to waning enthusiasm for both bonding and cleaning up obviously I dispatched him to in front of the TV while I rolled and cut them. That tiny baby bib is what he insisted on wearing as his apron. It protected NOTHING.

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Luckily I found some Lorraine Pascale marscapone gnocchi in the freezer – this stuff is so good, I always make a good big batch and freeze some. I fried that up, served it on rocket with basil pesto, avocado and yellow peppers. Plates were served according to taste preferences – that is no leaves, loads of pepper for the kids. I think Teddy robbed about half my gnocchi.

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Friday: I cooked up some fresh rice and the boys ate leftover Chana Masala. I didn’t feel so great with a crappy sore throat, and the husband had his eye on a takeaway. I eyed up an avocado smoothie recipe in a bid to make myself feel healthy. Then I thought about the Cheese Tasters for a bit. Curse you M&S and your tasty snacks! I relented and made the smoothie (and it was delicious). Did I have takeaway later? You’ll never know…

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Don’t forget to look at all the other Week in Dinners posts over here!

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Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…

Captures dinosaur, returns to cave for his tea.

We’re had quite a few beany meals this this week.  Suffice to say Prince Windypops is reigning supreme over his royal cot since then.  We’d been eating a lot of stodge the previous week, pasta,  coconut milk based curry, creamy risotto.  I’m currently eating a side order of breakfast cereal about 4 times a day if I allow myself and felt we needed some gooooood simple proteiny foods.  So as soon as it was just me & the boy for dinner I lashed together a store-cupboard bean salad.

  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can chickpeas both well rinsed
  • a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes quartered
  • some frozen sweetcorn cooked
  • a red pepper chopped small
  • half a cucumber cut into small cubes
  • some parsley

Then I threw together a dressing – olive oil, crushed garlic, black pepper, honey, lemon juice.  I have no clue how I measure these things, just taste taste taste.

Peas!  Yellow peas!  Green beans!  Red peas! I don’t care what he calls them, he eats them all and loves them.  And I gave us a break from cooking and processed starchy carbs, nommy & comforting as they are.

G’wan. Give a bean a go.

– Jill

 

Sous chef extraordinaire. Customer not so great.

Looks all innocent here.

Oh he’s a great little helper alright.

“Mama I see! I see!”  half dragging half pushing his stool over to the counter.

“Stir in the bowl” I hand him a wooden spoon.

“Chheeeeeeessse! More cheeese” as he bites off part of a carefully weighed ingredient and I snatch it from him. Okay that’s not true, it’s the more the ‘that’ll be enough that bit that’s left there’ school of cooking.

Buttons on coffee machine & kettle are pushed, weighing scales upended, toy tools are carefully fed lumps of mashed black eyed bean and all the while I try to keep the show on the road and the child out of danger.

Ta-da!  Quesadilla!  With extra mashed up avocado inside!

Didn’t touch them.

These are in fact delicious and we’ve eaten them up lots of times, with whatever tinned beans that seem like they might be vaguely mexican oriented in the cupboard – black beans, black eyed beans, kidney beans.  Its a Domini Kemp recipe from the Irish Times but as it’s over a year old you’ve to pay to see it so here it is here.

Blackbean tortillas 

This would serve 4-6 as a light snack. Serve them on their own or else purée a couple of avocados with some garlic, a splash of Tabasco sauce, a squeeze of lime juice and some salt and pepper for an easy dip.

1 tin (400 g) black beans

100ml crème fraîche (approximately)

80g strong cheddar, grated

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

Salt and pepper

4 flour tortillas

Olive oil

This couldn’t be simpler. If you want to jazz it up for grown-ups, then add a pinch of ground cumin or ground coriander or chilli flakes to the black beans. Preheat an oven to 200 degrees/gas mark six. Drain and rinse the black beans. Mash them to a bit of a lumpy paste with a potato masher. Add the crème fraîche, cheese, garlic, and season well. Mush them up a bit more.

Oil a roasting tray. Place a tortilla on the oiled roasting tray and spoon half the mixture into a circle on the tortilla, leaving a good three-centimetre rim around the outside. Smooth it down, top with another tortilla and smear or brush the top with some more olive oil. Bake until it’s crisp on the bottom (eight minutes or so). Flip it over, bake for another few minutes then remove from the oven and place on a chopping board. Allow it to cool and settle for a moment, before slicing and serving.

These are so easy you could just set up a mini conveyor belt and keep churning them out. You will be very popular.

What’s the difference between a tangerine and a mandarin?

Tangerines have a medium fibre content, mandarin low… Who knew?

WARNING: this post contains poo!

One of the biggest changes in my life when I had a baby, was the amount of time spent thinking about, discussing and generally dealing with poo.  Months go by when it’s not a big deal,  and it’s just another part of your day when you and your partner ask each other or the minder in creche “poo today?”

Then once in a while, it becomes a focus – there’s too much, or not enough.  Right now there’s not enough.  I nearly had words with the pharmacist yesterday so vexed was I by her quizzing – no, he doesn’t even eat bananas, he has weetabix & porridge for brekkie, his diet hasn’t changed, he gets enough fibre I think given his general diet… I think it was caused by teething initially a couple of weeks ago – that catch all ailment that explains away so many things.

She seemed happy that that could be the main trigger and recommended 2.5 mls of Duphalac twice a day and keep going past the point of it improving.

But I’m on a mission now to solve the problem at source, as I can only listen to my little guy shouting ‘sore bum bum, no poooooo’ as he grips onto my shoulders for so long.  Lunch of brown bread and baked beans and dinner of brown rice, babycorn & green beans with marinated tofu.  And, the biggest treat of all, we’ve been giving him watered down prune juice.  It’s gross, but he thinks its christmas as it’s usually water or milk all the way in this house.

I found this link to the Dietary Fibre Content of Common Foods  really helpful in sussing out my meal plans.  Obviously common sense played a part, but when I was marinading tofu I had no clue how high or low fibre that is (low).  It’s also made me rethink his snacks for the week – for example – convenient Organix fruit pots (apple & peach) and grapes are out, the pear & kiwi puree I have in the freezer is in.  I always puree any fruits I don’t think we’re going to get through, and they come in handy for a snack.  In fact, the same puree even went into the pancake mix this morning instead of banana!

If you have managed to read this far, then you must be a parent, and you’ll be pleased to know: there was a big result before bedtime without half as much discomfort as last time. Anyone any other tips on how to help this along naturally?

Jill

Beans beans they’re good for your heart…

I don’t like baked beans.  Well, I don’t like baked beans in a can. but I do like beans and I do like tomatoey stuff, so something doesn’t add up. The texture? The beans are squidgy and kinda crumbly.  A few weeks ago, a friend of mine tweeted that he was making homemade baked beans.  And so inspired I went off in search of a recipe.  Damn there is a lot of lard & bacon laden baked beans recipes out there. They mostly seem to be from the American southern states.  Why can’t you just keep an inherently healthy meal healthy dudes?  So I came across this Tana Ramsay recipe.

The only adaptations were pinto not haricot beans, because they were what I had, and no Worcestershire sauce cos it ain’t vegetarian.  I don’t even know what that tastes like.  Anyone know what a veg-friendly substitute might be?

full o' beans

These were such a handy thing to have in the fridge, I had them for lunch in work, for a saturday brunch on a bagel, and Dom loved them.  He ate them off toast, he ate some from a fork and he enjoyed picking them out of the bowl and making a beany-tomatoey mess.

Disclaimer: I don’t know how much sooner I would have given them to him than I did  (about 11 months).  They’re certainly firmer than tinned baked beans, and they could present a choking hazard so you might want to wait til over a year, or make a call yourself on how able baby is for them.  And obvs, supervise him.

Jill

coming attractions include:

I was playing with my toys on the table but then mama moved the differently colouredy shapes & put these new toys in front of me instead.  I put them in my mouth like I do with everything but it wasn’t as easy as envelopes or leaves, and I took them out again just like i do with my other toys too.  You can see my green square in the bottom of the picture.  Its the same colour as the new stuff.

Once I got them all where they belong onto the floor, she gave me another thing.  I liked it a lot, and with my one tooth and my gums I got some of it to stay in my mouth for a while.  Then when I was done with it,  I didn’t put it on the floor, mama finished it.
-dom