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    Two of Everything                                                                                                                                                                                                      

    Two of Everything: July 2012

Monday, 30 July 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 30th July

In our veg box this week:
Plum Tomatoes
Spring Onions
White Mushrooms

This is the small veg box, so I also ordered some corn on the cob, baby courgettes and some extra tomatoes.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Lamb and mint burgers, hummus, potato wedges, cucumber and avocado - these are really nice burgers, and we have a healthy pot of mint in the garden at the moment, which is begging to be used!  I'll be using the spring onions from the box to make the burgers too.

Pan-fried hake, roast tomato sauce with rice and courgettes - I think rice always need something wet and tasty with it, especially when you're cooking with no salt as I do.  This roast tomato sauce fits the bill perfectly, and I'm looking forward to trying the different varieties of courgette with it.

Marinated chicken breasts, potatoes, garlicky mushrooms and corn on the cob - we've had some mushroom refusal in the recent past, however when I did some of these mushrooms for myself (I only had a few left), they were sampled, gobbled, and I didn't get to eat very many myself!  I think the trick is to saute them in a bit of spray oil so they dry out a little bit, and lose the slug-like texture...

Cauliflower and chickpea curry with rice - I love cauliflower in curry, and always order it as a side dish when we go out for a proper one.  I bought some fenugreek a couple of weeks ago so I'm going to have a play with that, and I'll be using fresh tomatoes.  

Baked hake with lemony couscous and chargrilled courgettes and peppers - this will be for me on Friday night, while The Daddy has a takeaway.

I'm off to Mrs M's to see what everyone else is eating this week.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Water, water everywhere!

Water play has been quite a feature in our garden this week.  It's been a wonderful way to cool down, and lots of fun too.

We finally managed to use the paddling pool we bought for our holiday.  Up to now we have had to use it inside with plastic balls in; it was nice to use it properly!  Little Miss wasn't sure what to make of it to begin with, but Little Man dived straight in (surprise, surprise).

They have also helped to water the tomatoes, and they were fascinated with the outside tap!

Our sand and water tray has sand in at the moment, so I bought a cat litter tray (£1.30 from Poundstretcher!) to use for some small-scale water play.  I put their sea creatures in it, and they really enjoyed exploring, and splashing in the water.  

I'm joining in with Country Kids at Coombe Mill.  Click on the badge below to see what everyone else has been up to outside this week.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Silent Sunday / 366

Love All BlogsTheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Thursday, 26 July 2012


I found a lovely blog recently, called Alexander Residence.  The author, Penny, is running a linky about memories, storing up memories of her childhood for her own children to treasure.  Each month has a theme, and the theme for July is 'Holidays'.  I have so many good memories of so many good holidays, I wasn't sure where to start, so I'm going to follow Penny's lead and do a list of things I remember from holidays past.

A few times when my brother and I were little, we stayed on a farm somewhere in Cornwall.  I have idyllic memories of these holidays and I'm sure the sun shone every single day!
- The farm had a resident goose called 'Hissing Sid'.  He was a real hisser.
- We had a full English breakfast every morning, with proper fried bread.  It was heaven, and their labrador thought so too - he used to lick the door of the dishwasher when it had been loaded to get all the juicy bits of egg yolk and bacon fat that had dripped down!
- I was also bitten by a duck.  I was telling it off for fighting with the other ducks over the bread I was feeding them.  Well, I was 6!
- One night I left my recorder on the floor of the farmhouse landing.  When I picked it up the next morning to play it, a beetle crawled out of the recorder and into my mouth.  I never, ever left my recorder on the floor again.
- One year my mum took some leftover roast lamb when we went down to stay at the farm.  We had lamb sandwiches on the beach for about a week!
- We drank coke from real glass bottles on the beach, and mum and dad had a Feast nearly every day!

As we got older we started to go abroad on holiday.  I remember:
- The watermelon man on the beach at Dubrovnik.
- My brother losing his Hello Colour bear on the coach from the airport to the hotel - he's still traumatised to this day...

With my mum and my brother, in Yugoslavia.

- Going on a boat trip to an island in Yugoslavia and eating barbecued mackerel.  It was divine, but I was sea sick on the way back, even throwing up into the sea when we docked.  There were actual people swimming in the sea around the boat...  Oops...
- Rum and Raisin ice cream in a hotel restaurant, I can't remember where now.
- Being really seasick on an overnight ferry crossing to France, then being made to eat a croissant just before we docked.  I couldn't eat croissants for years after that...
- My dad getting decidedly wound up watching England play West Germany in the 1990 World Cup, at a Haven caravan site in France.
- Winning a lilo race in the hotel swimming pool in Malta.  My prize was a Knickerbocker Glory in the restaurant - I didn't even know what it was until then!
- A freezing hotel pool in Austria, which my brother could hardly bare to get into, it was so cold.
- Eating ham and eggs at the top of a mountain, also in Austria, and a big dog (I think it was an Alsatian) deciding to walk between my brother's legs and get stuck...
- Eating Moules Frites in Nice.  Yum!
- A gala dinner in Italy where they paraded all the desserts around the restaurant.  And my brother shouting 'ole!' really loudly, just as everyone else had gone quiet.
- Fancying the pants off an Italian waiter, when I was about 14.  Until I saw him standing outside the hotel, picking his nose.
- Riding in my Great Uncle's huge Cadillac in Canada (well sort of, he is my Gran's cousin's husband and they emigrated in the 50s).  One day my mum announced that she loved sitting in the back on a hot day with the windows down because it gave her 'a lovely blow job'.

There are so many memories I have, I could write so much more!  Holidays are such precious family time and I have realised this all the more since our first holiday as a little family in June.  Just to spend two weeks together was bliss, and we created lots of new memories for us and the children.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Beautiful Blogger Award

I've been given the Beautiful Blogger award by the lovely Emma at The Mini Mes and Me.  She thinks my blog looks beautiful!  I'm quite chuffed, so thank you, Emma!  In order to accept the award, I have to do the following:

- Thank the person who gave it to you and link back to their blog
- Tell seven facts about yourself
- Nominate seven worthy people for the award and let them know

Here are seven facts about me:
1) I once ran a half marathon, in 2 hours and 9 minutes.  I'd love to do another one but I'm not sure I have the time for the training any more!
2) I have never been stung by a bee or a wasp.  Thank goodness!  I really hope I haven't jinxed myself now...
3) I used to play the flute - it was what I spent most of my time doing when I was growing up.  I was quite good, at university I played in an orchestra with Nigel Kennedy.
4) I did a degree in music, at Oxford.  In my twenties I was very wary about telling people this, as I often felt a bit judged, but I find I care a lot less about such things as I get older!  My husband isn't convinced at times, he suspects I went to deliver the milk because I do have my stupid moments...  
5) My husband is 16 years older than me.
6) I have a double-jointed left thumb.  It's quite weird.
7) I have just lost 2 1/2 stone in 20 weeks.  Another half a stone to go! 

I'm going to nominate some mummies of multiples for this award - well of course they're beautiful!
Fiona at Coombe Mill
Trouble Doubled
Rebecca at Here Come the Girls
Jennie at Edspire
Debbie at Johnson Babies
Jane at Northern Mum
Michelle at Mummy from the Heart

Monday, 23 July 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 23rd July

We're getting quite good at sorting the vegetables out now!  I gave the children a bag each before opening the box and they put courgettes in one and carrots in the other.  Little Man started off by putting everything in one bag, but soon cottoned on:

Sampling the wares, again...

Little Miss got it straight away, but then she does like sorting things out!  And the pepper that was in the box was a PROPER pepper - you don't get them like this in the supermarket:

Cor, look at that!

So here's what we're eating this week:

Salmon with new potatoes and broccoli - again, but we all love it!

Curried squash, lentil and coconut soup with naan bread - this is a recipe from a Good Food magazine, one which I tore out months ago.  Of course when I decided to make this, it was last week and freezing cold, but I'm sure there are no laws against eating soup in hot weather?!  Anyway, it has coconut milk in, which makes it positively tropical...

Chicken and Courgette Pasta with pesto - This was going to be Broad Bean and Chicken Pilaf I have made before, but the broad beans I was expecting in the veg box were replaced with courgettes.  This does happen from time to time - the list on the website is really just a guide.  I made this last week and it was delicious; the recipe is here.

Turkey and Apricot Burgers with potato wedges and salad - I've been meaning to make these again for ages but haven't got round to it.  They are really yummy.

Noodles with bacon, mushrooms and peppers - this will be for me - The Daddy has a takeaway on a Friday night and the children have something quick and easy, usually pasta or something from the freezer.  This is the only night we eat after the children have gone to bed, and I am starving by the time I have watched them eat theirs!

I'm joining this up with Mrs M.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Silent Sunday / 366

Love All Blogs

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Washing the car

Today, the children have helped their Daddy wash his car.  It's the first time they've joined in and it was entirely by accident!  Little Man was still asleep in my car after a trip to the shops, followed by lunch in a restaurant.  Little Miss had woken and come in to the house for a snack (lots of mango!), then she wanted to see what her Daddy was up to.  She just wanted to watch from my arms to start with but, before long, she started getting her hands in the bubbles:

She was given a sponge and she was off!

Little Man joined in after he had woken and had a snack, cleaning my car as well:

The drive was given a clean too:

As were Little Miss's feet...

She was drenched when she had finished.  I peeled off her socks and her toes dripped.  She giggled.  

It always amazes me that she loves getting stuck in with this kind of thing.  When she's eating, she hates to get any food around her mouth or on her hands, but give her a messy activity and she's in her element!  

I'm linking this up with Country Kids at Coombe Mill.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, 20 July 2012

Chicken Pasta with Courgettes, Peas and Pesto

This recipe was inspired by one I saw in the August Good Food magazine, so I wasn't going to blog it.  But when I realised the only matching factors were pasta, pesto and chicken (and their's was ready cooked) I decided it was different enough to claim it as mostly mine!  This is a lovely summery recipe, and uses pesto mixed with creme fraiche as a sauce.  I've often used this combination as a sauce for filled pasta and it's really yummy.  I let Little Man have a taste of it before I added it to the pan and he loved it, he kept coming back saying "more, more!", and he and his sister got the scrapings from the bowl at the end of their tea!  This  recipe serves 4 adults.


Pack of chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium courgettes, chopped
2 handfuls of frozen peas
160g pasta
2 heaped dsp pesto (I used homemade, mainly to keep the salt down)
1 heaped dsp creme fraiche (I used half fat, for my sake!)


First, put the pasta on to cook.  

Heat a large, non-stick, shallow pan on a medium-high heat, and cook the chicken for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the courgettes, season with ground black pepper, and cook for a further 5 minutes, adding the peas for the last couple of minutes.  

While the chicken and veg are cooking, mix the pesto and creme fraiche together.  

When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the pan with the chicken.  Remove from the heat and stir in the pesto sauce.  


I'm linking this recipe up with Mrs M's Recipe Link Party.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


The other day in the supermarket, I spotted some peapods.  When I was teaching I used to grow peas in the nursery garden for the children to explore, and they could help themselves to the bounty when they were playing outside!  I decided to get some for my two, as it has been too rainy to get outside and plant peas.  I bought a handful and they cost me about 60p!  They had a wonderful time with the peapods, here are some of the things they were learning:  

How do we open this?

Look what's inside!

I have to use my fingers carefully to take these out of here!

These peas are rather yummy!

We talked about lots of things, like the colour they could see (they can both say 'green', just about!), what they tasted like (they were really sweet, and quite crunchy), and we listened to the 'pop' which you get if you squeeze across the top of the pod.  They both had lots of fun saying 'pop, pop'!

This was a great activity for language development and practising using their fingers.

And someone decided he could find something just as tasty as the peas...

Monday, 16 July 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 16th July

I found meal planning hard work when I sat down to do it at the end of last week.  Both the children had been poorly with a sickness bug over the course of the week, and I ended up with it by Friday, so I was feeling a bit jaded and uninspired!  Luckily my new Good Food magazine arrived so that helped get me going a little, and hopefully I've just about pulled it out of the bag!

When the veg box arrived this morning I was a little less than organised (I'm still not feeling quite 100% yet...) so it was raided once again.  I now have tomatoes covered in bite marks, but the children really enjoyed having a bit of a chew so I wasn't going to create a battle by removing them from their little paws.  I managed to persuade them to help me put them in a bag (bite marks included) and I think I may have to do an emergency batch of Roast Tomato Sauce later, before they deteriorate!  The carrots arrived in a muddy state (well, it's been a bit rainy!) which Little Man was less than impressed by - he picked one up and pulled a face.  At least he didn't try to eat that...

Here's what we'll be eating this week:

Quorn Sausage Pasta Bake

Grilled Salmon with new potatoes, corn on the cob and broccoli - the sweetcorn is from the supermarket - not quite seasonal for us yet but the children love it and I'm trying to feel a bit summery!

Chicken and courgette pasta with pesto - this is loosely based on a recipe in the new Good Food magazine, which uses green beans.  I'm going to make pesto and mix in some creme fraiche to make a creamy sauce, hopefully it should go down well as it contains some of the children's favourite things.

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Fennel and tomato couscous with seabass - couscous from Jamie Oliver's recipe again - it's so delicious and we haven't had seabass for ages so I thought I'd treat us!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Country Kids, at the Gardens

We went to some local gardens today.  We finally had a day of no rain so off we went, ready for every eventuality - I packed raincoats, sun hats, sun cream and jackets!  The children wore their vests - in JULY! - and had their jackets on the whole time; we had some sunshine but it was pretty chilly.  There was lots to see and do, and the children wore their little legs out.  There was a lovely big play area with Little Tikes cars, a sandpit and swings which the children were very pleased about.  They really enjoyed exploring the concept gardens too, lots of things to see, smell and touch.  Here's a snapshot of our day:

I'm linking this up with Country Kids at Coombe Mill, and Multiple Mummy's Family Frolics.

  Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Silent Sunday / 366

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Toddler-Friendly Beef Stew

This is a really basic, easy, beef stew recipe.  It's not going to win Masterchef, but it's good, comforting, proper homemade grub.  It seems crazy posting a recipe for stew in the middle of July, but the weather is so awful this is what I feel like eating!  I use whatever vegetables I can get for this stew (it usually depends what's in my veg box), but I always use something onion-related, such as leeks or shallots, and then carrots, squash, parsnips (but only in winter when the frost has sweetened them), swede, and occasionally some Jerusalem Artichokes, when they're in season.  Just use equal quantities of each.

Not the best picture in the world but had to make it a quick one - toddlers snapping round my ankles!


500g braising / stewing steak, or shin of beef, cut into chunks
500 -700g vegetables (depending how much veg you like!), cut into bite-sized chunks (see note, above)
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
500 ml fresh chicken stock (I use salt-free stock, but you could always use a low-salt stock cube)
1 fat sprig thyme
1 bay leaf (I keep fresh ones in the freezer)


Preheat the oven to 160c.  Put a tiny bit of olive oil in a frying pan and brown the meat all over in batches.  Transfer the meat to a casserole dish.  Put about 150ml water in the frying pan and let it bubble, scraping all the sticky bits off the bottom.  

While this is bubbling, put the vegetables in the casserole dish with the meat and stir in the flour.  Pour over the stock and give it a good stir then add the herbs and the water from the frying pan.  Add some ground black pepper and bring it to the boil.  There should be enough liquid to just cover the meat and vegetables; if there isn't quite enough, add some water from a boiling kettle.  Put a lid on, then pop it in the oven for 3-4 hours.  

Great served with jacket or mashed potatoes.  

Thursday, 12 July 2012

How grown up are you?

The lovely Trouble Doubled has tagged me in this meme about how grown up we are, started by OneDad3Girls. He got the idea from a national newspaper of a list of 50 things that prove you are 'grown up'.

This could be interesting...

1 Having a mortgage 

2 Mum and Dad no longer make your financial decisions 
Good grief, absolutely not!

3 Paying into a pension 
After a fashion...

4 Conducting a weekly food shop 
Yes, I can manage that - and a weekly Meal Planning Monday!

5 Written a will 
On my to-do list...

6 Having children

7 Budgeting every month 
Not really - just a rough ball park figure...  

8 Cooking a meal from scratch 
Yes, one of my favourite things to do!

9 Getting married 
Yes, since December 2007 

10 Getting life insurance 
This is where I start to glaze over...

11 Recycling
I'm quite good with this - I feel guilty if I don't!

12 Having a savings account 
Yes, thank you

13 Knowing what terms like 'ISA' and 'tracker' mean 
More or less

14 Watching the news
This is where I know I'm grown up now, because I used to hate being subjected to the news, now I choose to put it on!

15 Owning a lawnmower 
Yes, but this is The Daddy's job

16 Doing your own washing 
Well I think I'd be in a pickle if I didn't 

17 Taking a trip to the local tip
Yes, I love a good clearout

18 Planting flowers
Yes, I love this although I haven't managed to do much for the last couple of years

19 Being able to bleed a radiator

20 Having a joint bank account
Yes, makes life much easier

21 Having a view on politics
I suppose so, although the whole thing bores me to tears...

22 Keeping track of interest rates
Oh gosh, no, I have far better things to do with my time!

23 Finding a messy house annoying 
With two little ones around I have no choice but to live with it!

24 Being able to change a lightbulb  

25 Owning a vacuum cleaner
Yes, I have a Dyson ball and Little Man follows me round with his replica!

26 Holding dinner parties 
Well, if you count a roast for the family and pizza from a box for the girls then yes - I don't have time for anything else!

27 Listening to Radio 2  
Ooh yes, I need Chris Evans to wake me up in the morning

28 Enjoying gardening 

29 Spending weekend just 'pottering' 
Excuse me while I just change my wet pants. That's hiLARious.

30 Mum starts asking you for advice 

31 Carrying spare shopping bags just in case 
No, but I always wish I'd remembered!

32 Like going round garden centres 
Sad, I know, but yes

33 Wearing coats on a night out
Hec yes! Always have - when I was at university I even took a scarf and tucked it in my sleeve when I took it to the cloakroom in a club.  I do not do cold. 

34 Going to bed before 11pm 
For this one I shall quote my friend Trouble Doubled:  "Before blogging, yes. With blogging, not a hope in hell." 

35 Making sure mum and dad are phoned at least once a week
We usually see my dad a couple of times a week - he only lives two minutes away (great for emergency childcare!)

36 Classing work as a career rather than a job
Not anymore.  I used to be very ambitious, now my children come first.

37 Repairing torn clothes rather than throwing them away
Most of the time I would probably throw them away, but a couple of years ago I tripped down some stairs wearing heels (I don't do heels, and it was the beginning of the night so I was stone cold sober!) and put a big hole in the leg of my brand new Coast trousers.  They were £80!!!  I had them repaired.  Oh, and I was ok, I landed on my feet (not sure how)

38 You iron 
Life is too short.  The Daddy irons his own work shirts but I still think he takes them round to his mum's because I never seem to see any...

39 You wash up immediately after eating 
This is The Daddy's job - I do the cooking!

40 You enjoy cooking 
Love it

41 You buy a Sunday paper 
No, too many blogs to read

42 Always going out in a sensible pair of shoes 
Oh dear, yes, I'm afraid so

43 You like receiving gift vouchers
Ooh yes

44 Work keeps you awake at night 
Well as my work is caring for two toddlers, not a chance, unless it's them waking me!

45 Filing post
Doing what?

46 You have a best crockery set 

47 Able to change a car tyre 
Why have a dog husband and bark yourself?

48 Being sensible enough to remove make-up before bedtime
I'm quite good at this because mascara is a nightmare on pillow cases - not that I wear make up all that often!

49 Being able to follow a receipt
Why would anyone not be able to follow a receipt?!

50 Owning 'best' towels as well as everyday towels
I have guest towels for when people come to stay but that's it

So I reckon I'm about 68% grown up, according to this.  I'm not sure if that's good or bad!

I'm now tagging 

to find out how grown up you are!  Let me know how you get on and pop on over to One Dad 3 Girls to let him know too. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Gallery: Food

Last November was my twins' first birthday.  We had a family party and I had intended to make cupcakes rather than big cakes, after all a first birthday is more for the adults than the children!  However two weeks before the party and with only one batch of cupcakes made and in the freezer, I suddenly realised I didn't actually have enough time to finish making the cakes, never mind do the frosting, which would have been a new task for me!  As usual, I had bitten off more than I could chew, so I called in the cavalry at Cupcakes and Co to help me out.  They came up trumps, and in the end I was quite pleased I didn't manage to do my own because they wouldn't have been as fabulous as these!  

This post is for The Gallery at Sticky Fingers, where the theme this week is 'food'.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Weaning Twins: How I did it (Part Two, Moving On)

Cottage cheese, yoghurt, and my sister's hands in my hair! 

In this second post about weaning, I'll tell you a bit about how we moved on from the first stages of weaning to eating family meals at around 9 months, as well as dropping milk feeds, and meal and snack ideas.  (You can see the first part of this post here) (Just to say again, though, I'm not a health expert of any kind, this is just based on my experience and you should follow anything with caution!!)

Around 6 weeks in to weaning my twins I started to introduce some protein to their diet.  They were having three meals a day, including rice porridge for breakfast, and I started by making some of the stew recipes in Annabel Karmel's Baby and Toddler Meal Planner.  These are really good recipes to start with as most of them contain something a little bit sweet like sweet potato and/or orange juice, so it helps little palates to adjust.  I wanted to get a bit ahead, like I did with the pureed veg and fruit, so I made some big batches which I could freeze in portions.

Some things I did at this point

- Once I had cooked a stew I would remove the meat and pulse it in the food processor (not the blender), mash the veg in the sauce with a potato masher, then return the meat to the pan.  This worked really well; it was fairly lumpy but they managed fine with it.  
- I made some cheese sauce (with cow's milk, which is fine to use in cooking from 6 months, and rice flour to start with which works in the same way as ordinary flour) to freeze in ice cube trays. 
- If we had a roast chicken I would make gravy from scratch using salt free fresh stock and freeze it in ice cubes.  I would also chop any leftover chicken in the food processor and freeze that in ice cube trays too. 
- I bought some white fish and froze it in portions 
- I continued to keep a stash of vegetables in the freezer.  Quite often I would do a big batch of whatever we were having for tea, eg I'd steam a whole cauliflower so we had enough for us and enough to freeze.  By this stage they were having their vegetables mashed or finely chopped (food processor, not the blender, is great for this).

Some popular meals from around 7-8 months

- Annabel Karmel's Lovely Lentils, chicken and beef stews
- Roast chicken with gravy, veggies and mashed potato (to begin with I would mix most of it together, then started to separate it as they got more used to chewing things without them being covered in a sauce of some kind)
- 'Fish Pie' - just a small portion  of white fish (probably a little bigger than matchbox size to begin with for the two of them), cooked in a foil parcel with a thin slice of unsalted butter covering it (lots of butter isn't so good for us but it's really nutritious for babies), then mashed into some cheese sauce, broccoli and/or peas and mashed potato.  They absolutely loved this, although I was nervous about giving them fish to begin with as I was allergic to it when I was little - I could hit the opposite wall when it came back up...
- Cauliflower cheese and pasta (usually with cauliflower and cheese sauce from the freezer, and I used baby pasta to start with)
- Pasta with cheese sauce and spinach - this was a big hit, and they still like spinach now, a year later. 

- I also tried to make sure they had some sort of finger food each meal, such as an accompanying vegetable, pieces of toast, or pieces of fruit.


I chose not to give the children any refined sugar until they were at least 12 months old (well, except for the tiny amount in Weetabix), so pudding was always fruit or yoghurt.  Fruit was mostly raw at this stage, except apple which I stewed, and they had it either whole in grabbable pieces or mashed up.  Until they were a year old I would give them greek yoghurt (I like Yeo Valley the best!) mixed with pureed fruit, usually homemade but sometimes I used Ella's Kitchen pouches.  After this point I started to use Plum fromage frais and yoghurts, and Rachel's Organic My First Yoghurts and Taste Explorers - all with no refined sugar but sweetened with fruit juice.  I know it's not a million miles from sugar, but it's not quite as bad!    

Eating together

By the time the children were 9 months old I was getting fed up of making separate meals all the time, and having to start cooking our dinner after the children had gone to bed.  We often didn't manage to eat until 8.30.  We are really lucky that The Daddy's work is only 15 minutes away and he is able to get home by 5.30, so we decided to start eating dinner together so it would all be over and done with in one go, and so we could start to broaden the children's food horizons a bit.  I would get the dinner ready at lunchtime while the children were asleep (as far as possible) and I found this much easier than trying to cook with babies round my ankles or them screaming for me at the gate across the kitchen doorway.  I think even if The Daddy couldn't get home by this time I would still eat with them, and heat his up later on.  We found quite quickly it made a definite difference to how well they ate, because they saw us eating the same things.   

More meals from 9-10 months

- I introduced lunchtime sandwiches around this time, which made it easier for me to eat with them as they could feed themselves.  Little Miss quite often preferred having hers broken into little pieces (she didn't have a single tooth until she was nearly 14 months old!).  At this stage I made them with sticky fillings to make them easier to hold, so cream cheese, leftover roast meat chopped up and mixed with mashed avocado, hummus (salty, but you only need a bit and it's easy to make if you're so inclined), leftover grilled salmon mixed with cream cheese (delicious!), cream cheese mixed with a little grated cheddar and chopped apricots (also delicious!).  I would also give them pieces of avocado, pepper, cucumber and halved cherry tomatoes to eat with their sandwiches.
- Chilli con carne and rice, with the kidney beans cut in half (simply because the skins were tricky with very few teeth!)
- Bolognaise and pasta (with adult pasta by now, cut into small pieces as Little Man would swallow them without chewing...)
- Courgette polpettes, venison stew and lamb curry from The River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook, which I can recommend very highly - I use this book a lot 
- Beef stew and mashed potato
- Baked white fish with Roast Tomato Sauce, rice and vegetables
- Grilled salmon with cheese sauce, broccoli trees and potato wedges
- Roasted chicken thighs with roasted veg sauce (courgettes, peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic roasted in chunks, then squeeze the garlic out of it's skin and pulse it all in the food processor to make a lumpy sauce) and mashed potato
- Breakfast was (and still is!) usually ready brek or weetabix mixed with mashed banana or a fruit pouch, but sometimes eggy bread (delicious made with slices of brioche) or pancakes

I did find at this stage they preferred their food to be wet, with some sort of sauce, so I'd make sure I always had something in the freezer to add to their meals if necessary.  Little Miss found it more difficult to eat pieces of vegetables like carrots and broccoli trees (probably due to her lack of teeth), so I'd chop some up and mix it into her sauce, but also give her some on the side to have a go at.  Vegetables in stew were much easier for her!

(You can see more of the things we eat now on my 'Meal Planning Monday' posts, here every Monday, or try the 'Search' box in the side bar.  Why not subscribe and never miss a post?!)

Snacks which we enjoy

- Fruit
- Rice cakes and corn thins (sometimes with a little peanut butter or cream cheese, but more often than not plain - these are a great mobile snack)
- Breadsticks
- Grated or tiny cubes of cheese (great for hand-eye coordination!)
- Sultanas (also great for those little fingers)
- Dried apricots (the dark, unsulphured ones)
- Avocado
- After 12 months I started to offer the occasional Organix biscuit or Scotch Pancake, and now they like homemade Oat and Sultana Cookies

What about dropping milk feeds? 

I can remember this being like the holy grail when I first started weaning.  I was desperate to start dropping milk feeds as I found the whole bottles-for-two thing really hard work, but it doesn't happen overnight and milk can't really be replaced with just fruit and veg.  I didn't drop any milk feeds until they were eating a good breakfast (which was made with milk anyway) and had started eating some protein at lunchtime, at which point I dropped the mid-morning bottle.  Little Man's went first at about 8 months, he was eating loads and was only having about 4oz milk for this bottle by now, Little Miss continued with hers a little while longer.  I also started giving them their morning milk after their breakfast, as I was finding they weren't very interested in it after a full bottle of milk.  The afternoon bottle stayed until around 10 months, when it was replaced with a snack.  It's just important to make sure they're getting the recommended quantities of milk, but this includes dairy products they might be eating too.

Some good places to go for recipes

Mamacook, a blog with lots of lovely recipes for babies, toddlers and grown ups too!
- I use some of Jamie Oliver's recipes quite a bit, for example Fish PieSlow Roast PorkSlow Roast Lamb (slow roasting meat like this makes it lovely and soft, and easy to eat), and the couscous from this recipe.  I just fiddle with the recipes a bit so there isn't any added salt.  
 - The Baby Led Weaning Cookbook - we particularly like the Cheese and Lentil Wedges in this book, with broccoli and tomato sauce.  
- I'm starting to put some toddler-friendly recipes on this blog, too!

Mmmm, oranges!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 9th July

I didn't manage a Meal Planning Monday post last week on holiday.  I did one for the first week but as I relaxed more I didn't care quite so much about being so organised!  But I did actually do this plan whilst still on holiday - I wanted to get my shopping ordered online to arrive when we came home on Saturday, so I wouldn't end up with bare shelves and an empty fridge.  I haven't had a conventional veg box this week, I decided to make up my own as the boxes had a bit too much in the way of salads for my toddlers, but here they are having a nosey, with my brother to help!

Here's what we're having this week

Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder (a Jamie Oliver recipe) with roast butternut squash, broccoli and jacket potatoes - we have my brother with his wife and their nearly 6 month old baby coming for tea so a joint is required, even though it's Monday!  This is a great recipe - stick it in the oven and leave it.

Broad Bean and Chicken Pilaf (a Good Food recipe) - this went down so well last time I'm going to do it again.  It seems broad beans are a huge hit.

Beef stew (with shallots, squashand carrots) - it seems bonkers making stew in July but as far as I'm aware, we're still waiting for summer...

Mussel and broccoli pasta - this is a Mamacook recipe (if you haven't seen her blog yet you really should - brilliant recipes for little ones and grown ups too).  I haven't offered mussels yet so this could be interesting!

Beans and courgettes in tomato sauce with rice and grated cheese - because it's easy, and by the end of this week, back to being on my own after two weeks with an extra pair of hands, that's what I'll need!

You can see what everyone else is eating this week at Mrs M's.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Silent Sunday / 366

Love All BlogsTheBoyandMe's 366 Linky