Christmas Tree Mini Pizzas

Ho Ho Ho….we had some neighbours round recently for Cheese and Mulled wine & the kids made these festive mini pizzas for their friends. They used cookie cutters for the bases. How cute do they look? Check out the link below for the quick no proving required pizza base:

https://mumsinreallifecouk.wordpress.com/?s=Scone+base

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas xx

Easy, hearty and delish leftover Chicken Stew

Happy Autumnal Thursday lovely people. After sharing the snap of my a scrummy chicken stew dinner on Monday night a few of you have asked for the recipe, so here it is.

(Those of you who know me well will know I’m a chuck-it in kind of girl, so the measurements are down to your individual cooking style!).

  • Cooked chicken carcass (from your roast – mine was stuffed with lemons and garlic so leave any stuffing in for flavour and I also like to pour over any left over gravy for flavour too)
  • Stock pots (one chicken one vegetable)
  • Potato
  • Sweet potato
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Left over veggies (if you have roasties chop them up small they’re a great thickener)
  • Green lentils (mine were tinned) or Pearl Barley
  • Sweetcorn (canned or frozen is fine)
  • Salt & Pepper and a bay leaf to season

Method

  1. Put your chicken carcass and any gravy in a large pot. Boil the kettle and pour over enough water to mostly cover the carcass (it’s ok if some isn’t covered, they’re tricky shaped, those chickens)
  2. Add any chopped left over potatoes, parsnips or sweet potatoes at this point as they will dissolve and help to thicken the stew. Also chop the celery finely and add now too.
  3. Add salt and pepper and a bay leaf and simmer on a low heat for about two hours or until the chicken comes away from the bones easily.
  4. Leave to cool (just enough so you don’t burn the skin of your fingers) and pick out all the chicken bones and assorted bits you don’t want to eat. I like to do this with a large slotted spoon and have a big bowl ready for all the discarded bits and pieces. Make sure you check really thoroughly for small bits of bone in the stock.
  5. When you’ve been through the pot and are pretty sure that everything is edible, then you can add your stock cubes and I also add the sweet potato here so it completely disappears in to the stew (mostly to avoid the accusatory “What’s that, Mum?” from the eldest bundle of joy). If your tiny humans are a bit less fussy then pop this in at the end with the carrots.
  6. Cook for about 45 mins until the offending sweet potato has pretty much disappeared from sight and then add the potato and cook for 5-10 minutes and then add your carrots and sweet potato here. Cook for about 20 mins until almost cooked through. If at any point it’s running a little dry, add a few splashes of boiling water.
  7. Pop in your canned lentils and sweetcorn to cook. Season to taste. I also popped some chopped parsley on mine which adds a lovely freshness.
  8. Serve with a lovely wedge of buttered bread and enjoy that lovely warm hug in a bowl.

A note of caution – trying to serve this two days in a row did not go down well with fussy eldest bundle of joy. “Why do we have to eat the same thing two days in a row? It’s not fair”). Fortunately the other two happily scoffed the rest so my eldest joy didn’t have to put up with it three days in a row. Shame.

Happy Thursday lovely people.

Tahlia x

No Hassle One Pan Lasagne

We all know the drill. Kids bundle through the front door yelling “what’s for dinner?”. “Hello darling! Have you had a nice day?” “Yes, I’m starving!! What’s for dinner?”

You’ve had a full on day and quite frankly, are feeling a bit knackered!! This One – Pan Lasagne is basically the cheats way to make a good hearty, yummy meal for the entire family. It misses out loads of elements, making it super achievable on a week night.

The recipe comes from the One Pound Meals book, by Miguel Barclays (no, I’m not promoting him – just sharing some fine time hack recipes) I thought I’d give it a go and share the results! I scaled up to feed 4 of us.

Ingredients:

1 onion, sliced

500g Lean mince meat

4 garlic cloves, sliced

400g Tin Tomatoes

3 dried lasagne sheets

5 tbsp Creme Fraiche

2 tsp dried oregano

Enough grated cheese to cover the lasagne sheets

Olive oil

Seasoning

Method:

Start off by preheating your oven to 190•C/gas mark 5.

Add the olive oil to an oven proof pan (I used a casserole pot) and place on a low heat. Gently fry the onions for a few minutes. Next up, add the mince and season. Brown off for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, fry until it starts to brown and add the tomatoes.

Simmer for 10 minutes, until juices reduce. Add the oregano and season well.

Lay the lasagne sheets on top of the mixture.

Spoon over the Creme Fraiche and sprinkle over the cheese.

Pop the lasagne into the oven and leave to cook for 25-30 minutes.

Serve up with some veg or salad & enjoy x

Do You Budget For Your Meals? What’s Your Weekly Planning Secret..?

I’d love to hear what people do when it comes to their household shop. Don’t be shy. Please share what works. Are you the type of person who flies by the seat of your pants and wings it every day? Buying food on a whim , depending on what your taste buds are calling for? Are you a strict planner, who knows exactly what your weekly menu will be and you don’t spend a penny over your list? Or, are you like me? Someone who does a large weekly shop based on what I think I may cook, plus a bit extra on the side that takes my fancy. And then a little bit extra on top of that for the spare freezer (just in case!). Someone who then pops out to the shops to buy some extra bananas & accidentally spends £32.47? I decided to take a deeper look at where my money is spent. The usual bills, kids clubs, gym membership etc but I was absolutely gobsmacked by the billions of times I pop into various supermarkets on a weekly basis, in addition to my weekly food shop!!! I must seriously love a supermarket! The odd £23 here, £3.42 there, then another £17 here and oops, another £6.75 here….it goes on. crazy!!! Am I alone? Do you go out for milk and return home with a hedge strimmer (minus the milk!)?

I therefore thought it might be a good idea to start planning my weekly shopping a bit better (everyone raves on about it, after all!). In doing so, I’ve found a nifty online tool which compares the supermarkets (uk – but must have similar in other countries) & offers the option of swaps and switches to reduce the cost of your shopping basket. I decided to go for it.

http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/?banner=35311&utm_medium=email&utm_source=affiliate&utm_campaign=MoneySavingExpert&utm_content=MoneySavingExpert

On average, our weekly shopping bill ranges from £97 – £134. Plus all the extras my husband and I buy in addition to this. Of course, it does differ & we need wiggle room. Is it the type of week where all the detergents need purchasing, do we have guests over, what’s the wine store looking like etc? Based on a good look through my cupboards and Fridge Freezer before I sat down to write my list, I’ve decided to be strict on myself and go for an £80 budget this week. I’m slightly scared. My shopping pattern does vary, especially if I’m a bit hungry whilst zooming around the aisles! And don’t even mention kids! If they come with me, it really does sky rocket with my little ones in tow!

As you may know from previous posts, we had a bit of an adventure with our youngest when it came to trying new food. See the posts here:

https://mumsinreallifecouk.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/synopsis-of-a-5-day-healthy-eating-plan-for-kids/

I really do try to engage the whole family when it comes to meal times, it works for us and has really given my youngest a little voice when it comes to dinner.

We therefore roughly decided on a menu (personally I find it helpful with my youngest. If it’s been agreed, then it’s much easier for me to negotiate when said dinner appears and the reaction is like I’ve dished up dogs doo doo!) . We’re still trying to try new meals (as you may know, I LOVE food and quite frankly dinner times were becoming tedious!). Here’s the menu for the week:

Now, I’m quite a conscious shopper. I always try to buy local where possible and to support farmers. I also care about recycling. Let’s see how I get on.

Now time to shop! I did the online comparison, and whilst all comparisons weren’t available, it became clear that the shop of the week for my needs was Aldi. This was ok, because I didn’t need all my other preferred brands (laundry powder, dishwasher tablets, shampoos etc) that Aldi doesn’t stock. Phew!

Off I went on my merry way. I got most of what I needed (and a few extras – I just can’t help it!) but wasn’t able to buy Sesame seed oil or Sesame seeds. I also swapped Sea Bream to Sea Bass. That’ll mean a trip to Tesco then (because it’s the nearest to me). Also, I didn’t buy any alcoholic beverages. I was so shocked when the time came to pay – £75.95!!

I was pretty pleased, I didn’t even compromise on my cuts of meats. For example, it would’ve been cheaper to buy less lean mince, but I stuck to my guns and bought the normal 5% Fat lean mince I always buy. I was able to buy a lot of British food, so that was fab. What I did notice, was the amount of packaging that the fruit & veg came in. Understandable when it’s travelling so far, but is it necessary? But this is for another blog.

I will probably need more fruit & milk as the week goes on, get through it faster than the click of a finger!!

Here are my fares:

I was pretty pleased with myself. Not a hedge strimmer in sight! Go me.

The food, ingredients and methods will be posted as I go along. Wish me luck with the Sea bass and fingers crossed it all gets enjoyed, I’m not a fan of waste 🤞🏻

PS: If you are shopping in Aldi for the first time…TIP: at the tills you bundle everything back into the trolley as soon as it’s scanned and pack afterwards once you’ve paid 👍🏻

Let’s Get Spiralling- The Courgette Way

best-gourmet-food-delivery-service

Here at Mums In Real Life, we love a gimmick and nothing quite beats a good ‘ spiralling’ session!! Not only is it fun (the kids LOVE watching!), but it gets the kids eating their superfoods too and…they just look so so pretty!!

We have the Hemsley & Hemsley model, although there are plenty of others about!!

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Check out their page, they have a super range:

http://www.hemsleyandhemsley.com/shop-home-page/

So how did we cook the Courgettes? We simply added a small amount of salt to a pan of boiling water, added the courgettes and reduced to a simmer for 4 minutes. We then drained and served as a side.

Here at Mums In Real Life, we’re always looking for tips. Please comment or email us at:

hello@mumsinreallife.co.uk

Synopsis of a 5 day healthy eating plan (for kids)

It’s ‘throwback Thursday’!!! Way back when, here at Mums In Real Life we trialled out a 5 day healthy eating plan on some of our fussy little eaters. The results were AMAZING!!!! Take a read and as always, here at Mums In Real Life we’d love to hear any tips of secrets you may have! We’re all in this together, right?1

Soooooo, what an interesting few days in terms of the healthy eating plan we put in place and trialled throughout the week. As you may recall (or if you are new, welcome and all will make sense soon), we’ve been trying to encourage a couple of our fussy little eaters to try more food ingredients. Hail the red kidney bean!!! Hoorah for Mexican music! I salute you cod fillets rolled in breadcrumbs! You are forever in my heart, Avocado!

Looking through books, discussing what food we love & why, what food they REALLY dislike (and why – some untasted) we put together a menu. One that was simple, achievable but with a few dishes ordinarily a couple of kiddie winks ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT EAT at this stage in their little life.

Quite frankly, meal times were starting to get quite tedious. I’ve mentioned before, it was like Ground Hog Day.

See our previous blogs for some of the results. The one I was most dreading, was our Mexican theme night. I’ve tried this before. Loads of times. However, at some point this week all of the cogs fell into place.

I made up a quick mince dish today – it was so easy. For the purpose of this menu I left out Chillies, but I did add Cumin, Ginger, Paprika and Garlic.

I whizzed a (very) ripe Avocado in the blender with a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream and some lime juices. It took about 30 seconds and then I twisted in some pepper.

That was it. Done. As I went to pick my kids up, I mentioned to Tahlia that I really wasn’t sure how dinner time would go down. I genuinely felt quite torn about it.

I shouldn’t have worried. Like I say, some cogs had fallen into place for my youngest. I do confess at this stage to playing traditional Mexican music this morning, us all dancing around, really ‘bigging up’ tonight’s meal.

best-gourmet-food-delivery-service

Here are the results: Yes, they even ate the kidney beans 👍🏻

So a good week. I will go to bed tonight knowing that I’ve been well and truly played. The fact is, there isn’t much my ‘fussy’ little doesn’t like. Apart from a bit of control. But before I head off to bed, I’m going to add some jalapeño peppers to the mince and enjoy my feast (Mexican music and all).

Give it a whirl 👍🏻

5 Day Eating Plan for Kids

5 Day Eating Plan for Kids

A few days ago, I decided to create a 5 day healthy plan for my children (I also pondered a running plan…haven’t got there yet!). Like I said before, we are a healthy bunch but with my youngest going through a bit of a fussy stage, I often feel dinner time is like ground hog day!!

After looking through numerous cooking books, visiting other parenting sites and talking it all through with my kids, we have decided upon the following plan for next week:

Numbers 2, 3 and 5 will be a breeze. Numbers 1 and 4 may be a challenge but they are willing to give it a go! The thing is, my youngest adores tuna, pasta and tomatoes BUT the thought of eating the 3 TOGETHER seems to amount to Treason in my house! Like wise with Mexican. I AM going to add in red kidney beans. Even if they just TRY them, I’ll be ecstatic!

I’m also going to take Tahlia’s tips on board (have you seen her last blog?) and sneak in a few side salads, although to be fair they are quite good with salads already (just don’t mention cucumber…!).

Join me – I’ll post the recipes as soon as I can.

Carly

Mini Burgers

Keeping with the holiday theme of fun, fun, fun…it’s now time for little ones to help their Mum!

We rounded off the day with making these cute & tasty mini burgers. Really easy for little hands to make, with plenty of mince left over for us adults to add more seasoning & spice a bit later!

Ingredients:

500g 5% Fat Mince

1 Egg

1 Small onion (finely diced & gently fried – leave to completely cool)

Shop bought Mini burger buns

Method:

Preheat oven to 180•c

Put the Mince, Egg & Onions into a bowl and use clean hands to squelch.

Next, form into little patty shapes and place onto a baking tray (I like to also use baking paper, as I oven cooked these).

Put the burgers into a preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes (until cooked through). Plate up and enjoy!

Another seriously simple, interactive family meal time 🙂