Food

Gardening: First Harvest

The sudden and long awaited turn in the weather this last week has finally meant I’ve been able to move all the large vegetable pots off the table in the conservatory and out into the garden.

This has had a down side as now we’re back to fighting snails again, as well as the ever hungry slugs and aphids we were already dealing with. Turns out an adult snail can demolish two courgette plants in one night. Oh joy.

On the up side, the last remaining courgette, the one I bought ready to be repotted, is growing at a beautiful rate and I can see some flowers headed this way. It’s first flower was beautiful but the courgette itself was tiny, no bigger than my baby finger. It pretty much rotted while I was waiting for it to grow.

The fated aubergine, or egg plant, has also been victim of the snails, and its leaves are looking paltry – but there are some buds showing too, so hopefully, hopefully.

The tomatoes we got from Heinz are finally doing really well. They seem to have grown every time I look. No flowers yet, and no tomatoes but again, I’m hopeful!
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I harvested all the Kale this week, and made an incredible salad that I really loved. I’ll post the recipe on Keeper of the Kitchen this week.

It seemed to like being harvested though because new leaves are popping up all over the place, which is great.

I also had the first potato harvest this week. By the time I got to planting the potatoes, they had long roots already and I didn’t have much hope for them, or much soil, so I dumped them all on one bag and let them get on with it.

I thought I’d have a rummage for some new potatoes a few days ago and proceeded to break most of the foliage. Who knew potatoes were so fragile?

I did manage to find some new potatoes though – my first ever potato harvest, so they accompanied dinner tonight. Yum.

We’ll see what happens to the potatoes from here on out though. I did find as many exploding rotten ones as ready to eat ones though, and I’m curious about that. Why has that happened? Is that to do with the slugs? Have I left them too log? I do wish I was doing this with someone who knew what they were doing.

The apps on my phone are pretty useless. They’re telling me I should be reaping like mad right now! Which, clearly, I’m not.20130707-222135.jpg

I’m glad we’re doing this in the pots though, rather than straight in the ground. It’s made meeting the needs of my seedlings so much easier. It’s like attachment gardening.

Only you eat your babies if you’ve done it right.

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Gardening – It’s Like Watching Water Boil, But More Exciting

I’m so glad I decided to plant the sunflower seeds the same day as the tomato plants, because for days and days nothing happened. We opened the growing thingy each day to find nothing, except one random weed that popped it’s head out. I was beginning to think the Heinz Grow Your Own tomato plants were a fail. I did find another bag of seeds though, so thought I’d try again.

20130505-222540.jpgThe sun flower seeds sprouted and one of the two of them shot right up. It’s pretty cool though. The other may or may not have had a fight with a pigeon. I’ve stuck it back in the ground, but I’m not sure it’s grown at all since then. At least it hasn’t died. That’s progress, right?

It’s been a bit of a rubbish week, weather wise, so I haven’t really been out in the garden much, and left my ‘failed’ tomatoes where they were, and I’m glad I did.  When I got back to them, there were four little plants smiling up at me. I’m not sure if Ameli was more excited, or me!

We’ve replanted the sunflower plants, and will be replanting the little tomatoes soon. In the meantime we’ve also planted some potatoes from the Grow Your Own potatoes scheme that was advertised earlier in the year – did you know there’s a potato council? It’s a little like the Ministry of Magic, eh? – but I took more than a month to open the box, by which time all the eyes had sprouted and now I’m not sure if they’re actually going to grow or not. We’ll see, I guess. I’m still really hopeful for something more than herbs from our garden this year!

Anyway, I have yet to plant the next bag of tomato seeds. They’re a different variety, so hopefully between the two we’ll have a good harvest, and once again I’m really hoping I didn’t leave it too late!

 

Festival of Food Carnival: Child Tested Recipes

It’s Festival of Food time, and I’ve decided to share our Frozen Yoghurt recipe with you over on my new Keeper of the Kitchen blog.

As part of the carnival, my co-host Jennifer at  Hybrid Rasta Mama shares Coconut Milk Popsicles, a super easy creation that is customizable. Seems Jennifer and I have similar ideas on yummy healthy summer snacks for our little people!

Lindy over at the Poppy Soap Company shares some super tasty, super easy Granola Delight Bars inspired by her sweet son. Don’t these just look perfect for lunch boxes and lazy afternoons spent picnicking? 

Mercedes at Project Procrastinot shares a comfort-food recipe sure to be a future family favorite. Don’t miss this Grown-Up Mac & Cheese for You and Baby to Love. I wonder if this could convert my I – don’t – like – cheese – sauces husband?

Finally, Jorje at Momma Jorje has fun throwing together Monster Smoothies with her girls. The key is in the flexibility and you can use pretty much whatever you have available. 

Do you want to join us next month, when we’ll be talking Summer Smoothies and Mocktails. If so, follow our Facebook page to find out when the call goes out!

 Do you have previously published child-loved recipes? Share them in our linky below!



Under The Sea Birthday Party

Aviya’s 1st birthday is just over a week away, and while knee-deep in preparations for it, I realised that with the mayhem and madness of visas and flying to Australia in October, I never posted the photos from Ameli’s 3rd birthday party. For her party we had an Under The Sea party at a Puck’s Oak Barn in Compton. It’s an absolutely stunning venue and it happened to be one of the rare beautiful days of last year, weather wise. It didn’t rain, and in fact the sun came out and cast that golden hue around the orchard. It was simply breathtaking, even though it was still a little cold.

We didn’t have entertainment, because we were in an orchard, and while it took everyone a little while to ‘warm up’ to the venue, once they did I think everyone enjoyed just being outdoors. The kids made up a treasure hunt with pretend maps and it was – to me, at least, – an idyllic afternoon.

Under the Sea Birthday Party (10)[pinit] The barn is attached to an orchid with a great play area, wild forest bit and a stream. It’s the most perfect place for outdoor play.

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As guests arrived they walked through the door with hanging fish garlands* (US Link) meant to represent the ocean, like they were ‘swimming’ through a school of fish. I had some of these same fish on the floor inside the hall.

Under the Sea Birthday Party (1)

There were also “bubbles” – aka clear balloons (US Link)– strewn across the floor. This provided great entertainment for the little ones. Here’s Aviya crawling after a balloon.

Under the Sea Birthday Party (2)We had a great big blue sandpit shell that we borrowed from a friend. I set up balloons around it – they’re missing in this picture – and put a white blanket inside and set up a camera on a tripod so people could take photos of themselves in the shell, like perfect little pearls.

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I spent a lot of the days leading up to the party planning and preparing food for it. There were octopus red peppers on the home made hummus, and a platter of vegetables to choose from. I had a treasure chest – far right- with Starfish Haribo (US Link) pouring from it like treasure, and kiwifruit lollipops covered in dairy free chocolate with edible fishy printed ricepaper. Under the Sea Birthday Party (4)These icecream cones are an unhealthy favourite in our house, originated from the icecream week we did for Andrea’s Summer Camp At Home. Not quite under the sea, but close enough to the sea to be welcome.

Under the Sea Birthday Party (7) These ice cream cones were gluten free, with cheese and chicken or ham, pressed out of bread with cookie cutters (US Link).
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And there were white and brown bread fishy sandwiches (US Link) with Tuna and sweet corn and home made mayonnaise .
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A lot of effort, but worth every second for this, my beautiful princess, my three year old.

I hope, my gorgeous child, that every year affords me the ability to make your birthday as special as your life has made mine.

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*If you purchase through any of these links, you will not be charged any extra, but Amazon will pay me around 5% of the purchase price. If buy without an affiliate link, Amazon just keeps the whole amount!

** You can find many more ideas on my Under The Sea Pinterest Board

Batch Cooking For The Freezer: A Babymoon Menu

I’m really bad at OAMC – that’s once a month cooking for us novices – and once something’s made it into the freezer, it’ll stay there for ever and a day. We do prefer our fresh food, but obviously that’s not always convenient.  With our recent sickness the vegetables have been stacking up, and I had to do something with them all – that’s two weeks worth of veggies – so I decided to stock up the freezer with some healthy meals to give us a cooking break when we’ve had our baby and our family have been and gone.

Here are a few items off the menu I cooked in preparation for our babymoon. (more…)

Home Made Yoghurt Topping Options

I have tried to do regular food posts here since almost the start of this incarnation of the blog, but something always comes up. Initially I posted recipes based on the organic food deliveries we received, then we joined a foraging group, and I started posting about that. We then went to South Africa and all foraging stopped, but when we returned last year, we started foraging for food again.

Then I became ill, and that stopped too. I’d love to start it up again, but I know that I won’t be able to keep up a weekly foraging post, what with a baby coming and all, so I thought I might combine the two – recipes we use as we explore healthier, organic and seasonal food, and those we come up with when we find ourselves able to forage.

One of my big ‘to-dos’, which I’ve been planning for a while now is making our own yoghurt. I know – it’s about as crazy as making your own mayonnaise, right? But the thing is home-made mayo is exceptionally good and ridiculously easy. So, I thought, perhaps yoghurt would be too? (more…)

Pregnancy Friendly Alternative To Mulled Wine : Russian Tea

I adore Mulled Wine (Gluhwein). There’s nothing like the aroma of spiced red wine, cinnamon and cloves lingering over the house, but it’s been a few years since I’ve been able to indulge now, what with breastfeeding and pregnancy.

I’ve tried a number of different alternatives for Christmas and winter flavours, but so far this Russian Tea is my favourite of all, and hopefully you’ll enjoy it too! (more…)

Natural Recipes – Breast Milk Enhancement Tea

It always saddens me so much when someone says that they had to quit breastfeeding at six weeks because their milk dried up. It also maddens me, because I think health care professionals should explain to people how it all works.  For the first six weeks your milk reservoirs, so that you  have a constant supply – then it ‘dries up’ but it doesn’t really dry up, it just becomes available on demand and might not respond well to expressing either! know it’s frightening, it was to me too, but this concoction of herbs really helped improve my flow and I was able to go on. Armed with this knowledge, I’m almost certain more people would be able to feed for longer.

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Just Have to Share – Lactation Biscuits & Breastmilk Smoothie

I have to admit right off the bat that I have not tried these yet, but since it is National Breastfeeding Week and I adore breastfeeding, I thought I’d see how I could combine a foody post with breastfeeding. What better excuse for eating biscuits though – with these you can really say ‘but it’s for the baby’ and mean it! (I’ve borrowed this recipe from Yummy Mummy Cookies and adapted it slightly)

  • 1 cup butterchoc chip
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips / caramel chips
  • 2-4 tablespoons brewer’s yeast

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

3. Beat butter and sugar well.

4. Add eggs and mix well.

5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.

6. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.

7. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.

8. Stir in oats and chips.

9. Scoop onto baking sheet.

10. Bake for 12 minutes.

11. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

Some people seem to swear by lactation cookies, so if you have trouble, it may just be worth a try.

With all the extra breastmilk you should now have, you could try one of the multitude of breastmilk recipes available readily on the internet. If you’re brave, you could even drink it yourself – I know my own breastmilk dabbed on my mouth ulcer has removed the ulcer overnight!

Smoothie

  • 1 cup breastmilk
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks (optional)

Directions

1. Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth and serve.

Have you ever made anything with breastmilk? Would you? And what have you tried to increase your milk supply? Share your links or ideas below!

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