Butternut Squash and things to help NotSquashNuts

Cooking with kids is brilliant for learning and for bonding. Plus, when it is snowing or it is half term or you are too broke to afford a trip to a PlayGym, it is an awesome cheap activity. Not just cakes and biscuits but dinners too. Personally, the run up to dinner in my house is when I eye up the left over Baileys from Christmas – it is a stressful and tense time of the day. Everyone is hungry and shouty, and under my feet. By getting the kids involved in helping with dinner, it means less screaming (from me) because they are focussed on doing an acitivity before tea. And Tesco Real Food are also doing these amazingly easy savoury dinner recipes which are EASY. Do you understand what I am saying? They are EASY.

Husband and I feel strongly about giving the kids good fuel. Yes they eat biscuits and cakes, but all in moderation. Even the grandparents are hopping on the bandwagon. Although I did walk into the kitchen the other day to find my mum, who was baking with the boys, giving Alex a bowl of icing sugar. To eat. To. Eat. “Oh! It’s just a bit of sugary dust, Hannah”.

I have a wheat intollerance so we tend to cook food from scratch as much as we can. But this isn’t always possible – in our world, in anyones world – people work, kid’s get poorly, La Senza does an excellent bra sale so you are late getting indoors and don’t always get a chance to whip something up from scratch (but your boobs feel supported and amazing in this unsexy but practical sale number you found at the back of the rail… and you made a brilliant joke, albeit to yourself, in the shop “Nice rack” *snigger*).

Sometimes, you just can’t be arsed.

So when Tesco Real Food got in touch I wanted to pick one recipe which isn’t 100% from scratch, so if you are in a rush you can get a little bit of a help and a cheat. And this one is packed full of veggies. Last week Edward adored, loved and simply couldn’t get enough of carrots. This week, hates them. Refuses to eat them because we used one for the Snowmans nose when it snowed at the weekend. “I CAN’T EAT HIS NOSE, MUMMY!” he shrieks, running away from me, clutching his own face. Apparently you need to try a food ten times or something before you are “allowed” to say if the children actually genuinely like it or not. Whatever. I just want them to eat as much fruit and veg as possible. So, sometimes, I lie to my children and force feed them veggies without them realising. I don’t care if this is morally wrong. At this age I care more about their skin and bones and inner bits. I hide the nutrients in dinners. Tescos Real Food veggie curry does just that, if you want it to  – healthy veggies, a splash of learning and fun (how twee), but with a dash of cheat (a sauce).

Veggie Curry – Tesco Real Food

Ed got right involved. We have had many a chat about how KatieIcancook is WRONG. You do not use scissors for cooking. Using scissors and food is what drunk people do at the end of a night out when they are desperately trying to get into their kebab and all they can find are scissors. For the love of cooking! You need a knife.

This is a blunt knife (mum please don’t panic). But does the job. And look at the concentration on his face! He probably mashed all the juicey goodness out of that pepper with his attempts, but at least he did it, with a knife and not a pair of plastic lollipop sticks hinged together.

If I am honest, because this one didn’t involve chocolate Alex couldn’t really give two sh*ts about cooking. What he did like, was getting some of his fathers clean undercrackers from the laundry room and running round with them on his head.

You can used reduced salt stock, and the salt in the jar of sauce isn’t high either, plus everything is freezable so you can freeze for another day. Easily would I get 3 meals a piece at least out of this for both boys. Ergo 6 servings+nice and cheap+nice and healthy veg = happy mum and happy kids. The boys really loved this and it was a real shame because I accidently *cough* served up too much for them so I licked the bowl. Ed told me this was ok because I was “cleaning it”. Do feel free to come round anytime for tea.

Check out Tesco Real Food cooking ideas for all sorts of other ideas. And not just for the kids but grown ups can eat them too.

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February 15, 2012. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Cooking and baking and memory making

It is Valentines day. Always seeming to tie in to half term, this is a double whammy of brilliance. There is no school traffic on the road in the mornings. Husband leaves for work later, gets home earlier. We are in the pub by 5.30. I have hardly any appointments in my diary (I work in education) and my boss tells me we were so quiet I should just go shopping for an hour or so. I am 25 years old, my arse is firm, I have intact stomach muscles and a healthy bank balance.

I am forced awake by little fingers poking me in the eye and a snotty spitty dummy being forced in my mouth. I catch a whiff of wee as a fat nappy full of nightime piddle is placed on my face. *sigh*. I have romantic competition for my husband by 2 family friends who have sent him a Valentines card. They are both very pretty so I don’t hold out much hope for me. My only trump card is that they are 3 and 1.

By 8am I have play doh-ed, I have painted, I have made valetines cards. I am out of ideas. Playschool is shut. Play gyms are jammed pack of other peoples screaming children. I get possessive over my lego house and frustrated by Edwards (unrealistic) insistence it “needs a diggers scoop coming out of the roof mummy!” and I am reminded of when the clocks went back and I was awake at 4.50am and playing Elefun. I swore daylight savings was God’s form of contraception. I swore no more babies. Ironically at the moment Valentines Day is doing much the same thing. Feeling broody? It’ll pass.

But it is VALENTINES DAY! And explaining this to Ed as I opened his curtains went something like this.

“HAPPY VALENTINES DAY DARLING!”

“Eh?”

“Er… Valentines Day…it means…erm…you know, it means a day full of extra cuddles and loads of cakes and chocolate. Why not.”

When I was a little girl my mum and I always baked together and my memory shelves are packed full of happy moment’s plus I know how to whip up some excellent meals and treats. Those of you who know me, know that the kids and I bake 3 or 4 times a week. Tesco Real Food approached me with some recipes they wanted me to try out with the children and very kindly donated the ingredients too. Lets start with a favourite – CAKES!!!!!!!! Chocolate cakes with spinkles.

Chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles – Tesco Real Food

Just a tip I find helps get Ed involved with the maths and the weighing and the numbers of cooking – I draw a little line on the scales to mark where he needs to get to.

What wasn’t in the plan is Alex getting the pen and drawing on himself.

Another thing you will notice from the photos is I use cheap boring old tupperware bowls to mix and weigh the ingredients. You don’t need an expensive mixing bowl. Just use whatever you have around the house.

The best thing about this recipe is you just throw EVERYTHING in to one bowl. You don’t need to hang around throwing in some flour here, then whisk your eggs seperately. Bish bash bosh, whack it in. 3 year olds don’t have much patience so this is ideal. And it allows time for imagination. Ed mixed the mix with a spoon and made a hole in the centre. “look mummy! The Gruffalo’s cave!”. (I moved the sugar away from him….enough of that for now my lad I think…).

One more thing, passed down through generations…DON’T FORGET TO LICK THE SPOON!!!!!!

(and the bowl).

Ours don’t look quite like the ones on the website…

But who cares?

February 14, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.