It feels like I am on an eternal diet...
But actually I have made a change in my lifestyle and eating habits, for good.
Guess there will be lots of chicken salads in my future.
Green lettuce and ripe tomatoes.
Juicy cucumber and tasty chives.
Salad for lunch.
Salad for dinner.
We have a sweet little kids cook book with all kinds of easy recipes.
My husband actually found and made this one - he is quite good in the kitchen!
It is very simple and the kids liked it.
A chicken noodle omelette.
There is a bit of prep work involved, but once everything is ready and in the pan, it goes very quickly. I sliced it up 'pizza' style and as always Heidi enjoyed hers with a splash of tomato ketchup on the side.
1 packet of instant noodles
175 gram cooked chicken, chopped up finely (I used one chicken breast)
2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped (I left this out since I did not have any in the house)
2 eggs, loosely beaten
2 tablespoons grated cheese
Optional: Bacon or ham (My husband's little addition to the recipe!)
1. Cook the noodles as per the instructions on the packet and drain them.
2. Mix the cooked chicken with the noodles, parsley and eggs in a bowl.
3. Pour the mixture into a non-stick pan and let it cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Do not stir, just wait it out.
4. Sprinkle the cheese on top and then place the omelette under a hot grill until it gets a bit of colour and the cheese melts.
We sowed seeds!
Carrots, chives and radish seeds.
It was a glorious sunny day and after receiving the instructions from Moesie earlier this week I couldn't wait to get sowing.
Heidi was very excited too.
So excited that she dug a hole and dumped 12 carrot seeds into it.
I only realized later what she did and by then it was impossible to retrieve all the seeds.
They have been buried.
On we went, sowing the rest of the seeds.
Reading and following the instructions carefully as we went along.
I am a big fan of Donna Hay.
Her motto of fast, fresh and simple really appeals to me.
So it is not surprising that I was browsing her website and found a cookie recipe which seemed very easy to make with Heidi.
So off to the kitchen I went with Heidi in tow, checking that I had all the required ingredients. You only need 5 ingredients for the cookies themselves and then of course the icing. My food processor came in handy and pretty soon I had the dough rolled in a ball, wrapped and placed in the fridge.
The hardest part was waiting half an hour before cutting out the cookies!
To my surprise I only had very big cookie cutters. So I improvised and used a 60ml measuring cup to cut out my cookies. Heidi and I cut out many, many, many little round discs. I guess a good 40 cookies came from this one ball of dough!
They came out lovely and golden (some more golden than others).
We had friends over that afternoon and everyone enjoyed the cookies, especially Heidi.
Sadly, I did not try them because I am still on a diet... It was very hard to resist.
I took most of the cookies to work the next day as a treat for my team :-)
Plus I had to remove the temptation from my house!!
¾ cup (120g) pure icing (confectioner's) sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the flour, egg and yolk and process until a smooth dough forms. Knead the dough lightly, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180ºC (355ºF). Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper until 5mm thick. Cut the dough into rounds using a 5cm-round cookie cutter. Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 10–12 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the cinnamon icing, combine the sugar, water and cinnamon and mix until smooth. Put the icing into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each biscuit. Makes 36.
Now that we are eating ever so healthy I am always looking for new ideas and trying new things to cook.
I don't know if I should admit this, or drop my head in shame, but I have not actually cooked a fillet of fish before. Of course I have popped numerous fish fingers in the oven, and I am quite adepts at ordering fish in restaurants every now and again.
Make it myself? Nope. I've seen too many episodes of Masterchef to know that it is a cardinal sin to overcook fish. Plainly stated, I was scared.
But eventually I had to be brave.
I bought some beautiful cod (kabeljauw) fillets and decided that I shall overcome my fear of fish.
So, into a hot pan with one tablespoon of croma (it's a kind of oil that helps with browning of meat). I cooked the fish fillets for exactly 4 minutes on the one side, then I flipped them over for another 3 minutes and then I turned off the heat, leaving the fish to rest for a couple of minutes before I served it.
I served it with some sauteed vegetables - cauliflower, fennel, mushrooms and courgette cooked with herbs and spices and a dash of cumin for colour. Then I snipped some garlic chives over the fish and dinner was served.
It was a great success. The fish was soft and delicious.
Definitely on the menu again soon!
Who can resist a pizza?
Certainly not my kids.
Every now and again, usually on a Saturday night, we have ourselves a little pizza party.
Heidi loves it. She just loves helping with adding the toppings.
The last pizza we made was pretty basic since Heidi wanted ham and cheese on her pizza, but you can let your imagination go wild.
The best part of this dinner is that I buy the pizza base and sauce ready made in the supermarket. Yes, you simply open the packet and roll out the dough in an oven tray. It does not get easier than this and it is much cheaper than ordering in!
Spread the sauce over the dough. Select your favourite toppings and generously cover the base. Lastly sprinkle grated cheese on top and pop into a hot oven for 15 minutes.
Definitely a winner in our house in terms of the kids and the grownups. Just serve with a green salad and enjoy!
Sometimes I just need some inspiration for the home.
You know, something other than Ikea.
The perfect place for this is Loods5.
If you live in the Netherlands and you don't know this shop then I can highly recommend it!
The beauty of their concept is that they provide a space for all kinds of home stuff sold by different retailers. They have everything from kids furniture, kitchen utensils, lighting, vases, fake flowers, cool designer chairs and sofas.
This is kind of a variation of a shepherds pie... except deconstructed.
I basically used an onion, 200gram lean beef mince, a peeled and diced tomato, two peeled and finely chopped carrots, a can of corn and about 200gram potatoes.
Start with the potatoes, peel them and slice into bite sized squares.
Add to a pot of boiling water - it should take about 15 minutes at most to cook through.
Brown the mince and onion, add the carrots, add the tomato, add the corn and let it cook through. I also added a dash of worcester sauce and a squirt of tomato ketchup.
Let it simmer away while the potatoes cook.
Once the potatoes are done, remove from the heat, drain and set aside.
Now dish up the mince on a plate and add the potatoes to the side.
Serve to hungry kids!
I started a follow up course at the UCK a week ago and last night we had our second class.
It is an illustration course, but with the emphasis on getting your illustrations from paper onto the computer and modifying it in Photoshop.
In two lessons I've already learnt quite a few tricks and I'm really excited about the rest of the course. My teacher, Kim Welling, is so enthusiastic about Illustrations and her craft, a real inspiration.
Here is my very first wallpaper (repeatable pattern)...
It started off as a few pen drawn pictures of vegetables:
So there I was, just staring at the contents of my fridge.
Wondering what to make for the kids.
I had something of everything to work with.
Then I saw half a jar of white beans which I used earlier in the week in soup, and half a jar of corn kernels and it just came to me.
Surely it can't be that hard to make?
It was dead simple and the kids loved it!
All I did was mix the corn and the beans together (in total it was about a cup worth) and then I mashed them with a fork. Then make a bit of a batter. I used half a cup of plain flour, one egg, half a teaspoon of baking powder, a dash of milk and a two tablespoons of cold water.
I have to be honest - I simply made it up.
Now mix the batter and the vegetables and give it a good stir.
Pour vegetable oil into a pan until the base is covered, about half a centimetre in depth (or less) and turn on the heat.
Now pour a dessert spoon full of the mixture into the hot oil and let it fry a couple of minutes per side. Try not to make it too thick, but rather spread the mixture a little bit so that it will cook quicker.
1 Large Very Ripe Banana (or two small ones)
1 Egg with enough milk to make One Cup liquid
113gram Softened butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1-1/2 Cup Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
Put all ingredients in a large bowl together (don’t need to sift or
mix anything beforehand). Use mixer on slow to medium to mix until
lumps are pretty well gone (not too long or bread will be too firm).
Pam-Spray® bread pans (do not flour).
Fill pans 2/3 full
Bake 55 Minutes @ 180 Degrees Celsius until Golden Brown. Toothpick test for
doneness. This bread comes out quite moist and quite a lot of banana
flavor (with only the one banana)!
You can use this same recipe to make itty bitty, kid-sized teacakes
(bake time is about 15-18 minutes), cupcakes, small loaves, etc.
The baked bread can be wrapped up in foil and frozen. Just pull it
out, defrost it, unwrap and reheat in paper towel in the microwave
until warm. Slice it and enjoy!
You better make sure you have a more than a few wipes nearby once you feed this to your kids. Well, that is if they are one year old and likes eating with their hands...
Stella loves food. It is a pleasure watching her devour everything you put in front of her.
As long as she can use her hands, she is happy. It also gets very, very, very messy.
I like this recipe because I used the frozen pasta sauce which I made last week.
Simply dice a carrot or two and saute it in a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
At the same time, add 200 gram pasta to boiling water and cook as per the instructions. In my case it takes on average 13 minutes for the penne pasta which I like to use.
Now add some lean beef mince meat to the carrots and brown it.
Feel free to season as you like. I made this for my kids and did not actually use any salt.
Pour in the defrosted tomato based pasta sauce and let it simmer for a bit.
Remove from the heat when everything is cooked through.
If you time it well then your meaty sauce should be ready at the same time as the pasta.
Drain the pasta and then mix with the meaty sauce.
Let it cool slightly before serving to soon to be covered in pasta sauce kids.