Day Ten to Twenty: What’s Elf been up to?

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Beside been flung around the place and generally disrespected as a messenger of Santa’s?  Well he’s doing very nicely actually, he’s mostly better behaved than the boys that live here, so I’d be tempted to make him a year round house member.

IMG_5158Today Dominic spent most of the morning telling me how good he was being, asking me “amn’t I being very good?” and shockingly, actually being very good.  Having had delicious hot chocolates in their Uncle & Auntie’s house yesterday, I offered this morning to take them to a cafe for some hot chocolate. It’s been a damp and blustery day, and the thought of sitting down in a cafe was appealing to me more than a playground. So off we set on the promise of hot chocolate. The morning started off well, as I swung into the car park directly into a parent and child space. Win! When we settled in the cafe they choose juice and a smoothie instead, so there was no burning/spillages from mugs to deal with.

IMG_5270Just as my coffee arrived, Dominic spied the toilet and decided he needed to go.  He loves to explore a bathroom area so he does. I relaxed for approximately 16 seconds with my medium-hot coffee after that diversion before the boys were finished their drinks.

And then it was time for the supermarket, always a joy, with a buggy and a basket and a very nearly five year old.

Dominic was very good.  He didn’t mither his brother, or ask me to carry him.
He didn’t run away in the supermarket, or beg for stuff that wasn’t on the list.  IMG_5293He did roar “BAGELS” in the bread aisle loudly and repeatedly but that was em, charming!  He suggested that he’d have soup for lunch instead of a boiled egg and generally was a little angel. Two women told him so too, and for once they were right.  So off we went home, where he duly ate loads of soup, then released his inner demon.

IMG_5369-0The afternoon was slightly more trying and all of us have bumps and bruises to show for it (mine are emotional).  Suffice to say, the elf isn’t used as a threat in our house, just a little bit of Christmas fun.

 

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Just for more special appearances for Mr Old Elf before he’s whisked off back to the North Pole.  I wonder what he’ll get up to?

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The calm before the storm. And some Christmassy baking.

I’ve been terribly quiet of late I know.  Mr T is nearly 5.5 months, and I’ve been busy cramming reading of my Baby Led Weaning book in during feeds, stockpiling j-cloths and taking a deep breath for what’s ahead.

It’s also been a time to reflect on how the journey has gone with Dominic.  He turns 3 in 2 weeks – a bonafide pre-schooler.  He’ll always be my baby boy, he’s just my big baby boy now.  Last night, for dinner he ate brown rice, with red lentil dahl (recipe from the back of the East End lentils packet), wilted spinach and green beans.  I gave myself a high five for that one.  Then I remembered last saturday where he ate a plain bread roll for lunch, and a plain bread roll and some scraps of cheese for dinner.  You can’t fret – it’s all about checks and balances and in the end.

Ta-da!
Ta-da!

In the meantime I’m going to share this weeks baking project.   There is no one alive who wouldn’t like this. It may kill a diabetic, but they would still go down smiling.  It also makes brilliant Christmas gift.  You’ll need 2 sessions to make this – one evening make the cake and refrigerate, then the next day do the icing.

Dominic moved from the toddler room to playschool in his creche this year.  Some of the staff jobshare.  So I worked out that including his 2 main current teachers, he’s been looked after by all 8 of the staff at some point or another just this year.  It’s a lovely cosy place, Dom’s creche, and I see the warmth with which they treat the kids.  Unfortunately I’m on unpaid leave right now and cannot afford nice bottles of wine x 8.  Nor do I know if they even drink wine.  And they can only go home with so many Yankee candles.   So I turned to my virtual mum friends.  I’m part of an online group of amazing, helpful and inspiring women, and it was from one of them that I got this idea. Chocolate biscuit cake christmas puddings.  One large one for them all to share during break time, and one small one each to bring home.

The prep
The prep

I visited a total of 7 shops to get everything for these, but now I’m armed with fancy twine, a roll of cellophane and assorted pudding bowl shapes so there’s no stopping me!  (Actually my friend Fiona got me the cellophane, well done her!)  I drooled my way through Decobake but managed to leave with just my coloured icing, and the silver cake boards.  I could easily spend a lottery win amount there.

Got them out
Got them out

The recipe came from Dee at Tremendous Fun, a wonderful crafty blog run by one of the aforementioned mammy-gang.  I tripled the quantities which made 1 x 3 pint pudding bowl (not quite filled up) and 8 mini yogurt pot puddings.  Dom! Eat another yogurt! was my mantra the last few days… My added extra ingredients were raisins and malteasers.  I didn’t have one little bit even left for me or Mark to eat.  The fact that the girls in the creche had it sliced and tasted before I left the building this morning, and then were texting me about it as I drove home means I think it was a hit.  Really need to make one for us now!

Jill

‘Tis the season. Except it’s not.

It’s really not.  I’m not at all bah humbug, but I’m a pretty firm believer in keeping a lid on the excitement until December.  That’s not to say that the man in red hasn’t already been informed about what he might need to pick up for the junior Jordan’s.  I gather he’s busy, good to get in there with him early.

Throwing shapes

Incidentally Dominic’s playschool hit the celebrations early and they hit them hard.  There’s a ‘Santa please stop here’ sign in the window, and he sang We WiSHhhhh you a Merry Christmas’ in the car last week.  I made a meek objection at pick-up time, but it fell on deaf ears.  I guess if you have the patience to listen to and deal with squalling babies and squabbling toddlers all day, it doesn’t bother you to have to listen to unseasonal songs for approximately 16% of the year.

Why do I digress so? To give context to today’s foray into baking. It was a simple project – more craft than baking.  A few weeks ago in the hallowed (food)hall of Ikea, I picked up some cookie cutters and some Pepparkaka Deg (pre made ginger cookie dough).  The Scandanavians love gingerbread, and so do I.  A match made in heaven.

And on this cool and windy November day with our outdoor trip for the day done, and little brother asleep in his cot, I dug out the dough for the big fella.  It’s lovely texture and easy to roll.  I’d like to find a recipe for dough as malleable as this stuff because it got bashed and prodded, and re rolled a billion times.

Baking with Dom is a test of my patience though.  I gritted my teeth and praised his work as he put the wide side of the cutters down in the dough and proceeded to lean on the sharp side for the millionth time. Then he followed that with a wonderful idea of ‘let’s throw the dough in the washing up water mammy’.  I did waylay that one, but luckily I only produced half the dough to use today so I would have had spare.

Fat snowflakes. The best kind!

We got through it anyway, and these were really tasty.  The instructions are fairly vague – 6-7 minutes at 175-200 – so you’re required to “know” your oven.  Anyway, I wrecked a batch of cookies on saturday night – had to throw them straight out – so I went with 175 for 7 minutes, and I think 6 would have done! The dough spreads more than I expected – so the shapes went a bit splodgy.  What kind of dough doesn’t actually do that?  Maybe icing them is necessary for better identification?  Or is it an indication of the dough not being rolled thin enough?

I know I have some baking readers, so tell me your ginger biccie recipes & tips?

Jill

Christmas. There’s eating and drinking in it.

There comes a day, around this time every year, when your stomach yells STOP! Put something good in me, please!  Today was that day.  I can’t say that Dominic was as gluttonous as his parents over the last few days…at 2 weeks off age 2, I still have reasonable control over his diet.

Tucking in. Twice.

We had our Christmas Day feast in my sisters house – 7 adults & 6 children (3 aged 1).  Fair play the sister. (We tried a creche-style babies table, but somehow they don’t seem to behave as well for their parents as their minders!) Though I think he skipped the ham mostly, after 2 plates of traditional Christmas fare, he had his very first ice cream all to himself.  And then the next day he had his second!  He knew what he was at too, any offers to ‘help’ were swiftly met with a shrieked “MI-INE”.  I don’t even know why I bothered with the napkin, not a drop was spilled.

Mine, all mine.

So today it was time for some super-dooper not doused in oil & roasted, or mashed up with butter & cheese type grub.  Even Dom ate a leftover cold roast potato while I made our porridge this morning.  But after a month or so of picky eating, he’s on a roll at the moment and is a pleasure to feed.  Really hope I haven’t cursed it there.  So here’s tonights healthy option – I made lots to eat cold with friends tomorrow too, and my measurements are very loose, so I would probably half this for a small family meal.

  • Cook up 400g bulgar wheat with 4 tsp marigold low salt stock & the juice of a lemon.
  • Dry toast a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds.
  • Bash out the seeds of one large pomegranate. (we had some left from a Christmas day starter and the seeds were ready in a sandwich bag, hallelujah cos this is a messy job).
  • Saute a pepper & an onion chopped small, in some olive oil & add a tablespoon of cumin seeds.
  • Fry up some quorn pieces in sesame oil and add plenty of soy sauce.  I didn’t give Dom too much of this.

Whack them all in together.  That’s a bit Jamie Oliver, sorry. Stir them all together & serve.  Add some more lemon juice to taste.  I cooked some spinach and swirled it up with Dom’s too.

Excuse the poor food photography, it was a really lovely colourful dish.

Bulgar wheat with pomegranate

And, because that was all a little too non fatty, Sir had a cheese plate for dessert.  Well, “2 CHEESES 2 CHEESES”, and in his hand not on a plate. I’m delighted at his current cheese love though, for ages he just wasn’t interested and cheesencrackers is his number 1 snack right now.

2 CHEESES!

I think the only thing, the ONLY thing to look forward to about next week’s return to routine is the reinstatement of self control.  Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some chocolate tree decorations to eat before we have to pack the whole shebang away for another year.

Jill

Xmas eats, Pt 2

you! loyal subject! fetch more fud!

Do you like my hat? We all wore them while we ate our dinner.  I got lots of new things (duplo, wheelybug, wooden activity cube, animal socks, my first converse like mama and dada) and we wore hats for dinner.  It was a funny day, but I didn’t let that get in the way of my eating.  Everyone went ahead and ate without me first, I had to have a sleep I was so tired from playing and entertaining my Oma, Opa, Uncle Peter & Auntie Rachel and the neighbours.  Then when they ate their dessert (I don’t know what it was but I bet it wasn’t as nice as yogurt) I ate my dinner.   Oma put aside food for me because otherwise they might eat it all and I’d have none.  I had turkey and I had parnsips, and mashed potato and carrots.  Do you see my fork in the photo? I like eating from that, but mama and dada have to put thing on it first.

The next day we went to my Auntie Lisa’s house.  That’s the loud house.  Or at least it is when me and all my cousins are there.  We all ate another big dinner and I saw mama drink lots of bubbly stuff but I just had my water.  She’s allowed now because I have a bottle when I go to bed.  My little cousin Ross who’s only just started eating ate a big lump of parsnip like I would.  He must have seen me.  My dada tried to take it from him after he had it in his mouth for ages.  He wasn’t happy about that.  He likes broccoli too.  I’m going to show him how it’s done.

Dom