Thursday, 14 August 2014

S is for Sick Days

S is for Sick Days

Sick days were always much easier pre children. We could spend the day in bed and recover and only myself or hubby would get sick, rarely would it be both of us.

Now with kids it's one in all in.  And with Bee and Bear going to kindy they seem to bring home more bugs too.  Bear currently has a chest cold which has been hanging on for more than two weeks and over the weekend Bee has come down with her first bout of tonsillitis.

So while we haven't been doing any cooking together I have been thinking about the best food for sick kids.  I have gathered together some of my own recipes and ideas for feeding sick kids and some from fellow bloggers as well as a couple of posts on activities to do with your children when they are sick.

S is for Sick Days

The one food I could rely on as a child when I was sick was Vegemite Toast Soldiers.  Vegemite (a savoury spread) always seemed to help settle my stomach and when I was a bit older mum would make me a cup of tea to go with it.  Bee is a fan of Vegemite and I have been able to get her to nibble on Vegemite toast and Vegemite on tortilla wraps.

S is for Sick Days
I don't add parsley to the kids' soup.

Chicken Soup is a wondrous thing when you are feeling sick.  Homemade Chicken Soup is even better and it doesn't have to be complicated to make. Click on this link to download my recipe for Easy Chicken Noodle Soup.

S is for Sick Days

Homemade Yoghurt Pops are soothing on a sore throat and if you use a yoghurt with active cultures they will be good for your child if she has been on antibiotics like Bee is at the moment.

S is for Sick Days

Ginger can be calming on upset tummies.  Try having your child nibble on some cute Gingerbread People (minus the icing and decorations) if they are feeling nauseous.

S is for Sick Days

Once your child is starting to feel better try these Falafel Burgers.  Their bodies will benefit from all the extra vitamins, minerals and other goodies.

mama miss

Or if your child is happy to eat their vegetables chunky this Seven Vegetable Minestrone from Mama Miss would give them a great boost too.

picklebums

This list of 8 Ways to Cope with Sick Kids from Kate at Picklebums is a good place to start.  The tips include how to keep fluids up and providing snacks to remind your children to eat.  I too have found the power of a heat pack for helping Bee with her aches and pains.

pint sized treasures

And to cheer your sick child up and keep them busy Alison at Pint-sized Treasures has 19 Activities for Sick Kids

If you have sick kids I hope this list helps. 


Monday, 4 August 2014

B is for Breakfast on a Dream Morning

B is for Breakfast

**This is a sponsored post.  While I was sent free samples of the products to try I received no other compensation and all opinions expressed are my own.**

It's funny how the threefootcooks, hubby and myself all have different ways we like to wake up in the mornings.

Bear's and hubby's dream mornings are pretty similar. They like to get up early, watch some television while waking up, have breakfast and then get ready for day ahead.

Bee on the other hand is fully awake as soon as she gets out of bed.  She will get changed into her clothes for the day, eat breakfast and want to start playing or go to kindy straight away.

My ideal morning would involve a late wake up, a cup of tea while watching breaky television in bed, a leisurely breakfast made by someone else and then I might be ready to start the day.

B is for Breakfast

We might very occasionally get our dream mornings on a free weekend but our regular weekday mornings are always more of a rush to get ready for kindy and work.

To make our mornings a little less hurried, I find the right breakfast options are essential.  They need to be quick and easy to make and filling to see us through until lunch (or morning tea in the girls' case).

B is for Breakfast

With the cooler weather lately I am loving Uncle Tobys Oats Quick Sachets.  The sachets are a convenient and tasty oats option, perfect for busy parents and their kids.  The Quick Sachets are easy to prepare in the microwave and mess-free which fits with my essential criteria above. 

The Uncle Tobys Oats Quick Sachets are made from wholegrain oats which I find keeps me fuller for longer making me less tempted to eat snacks mid morning.

And there is such a great variety of flavours in the Quick Sachets range.  All made with no artificial colours of flavours.  The Fruit Variety pack with Apple and Cinnamon, Apple and Raspberry and Apple and Honey, is deliciousness in a bowl.  I can't wait to get started on the Berry Variety pack next with the Strawberry, Blueberry and Triple Berry flavours. 

I really like how the Oats Quick Sachets have actual pieces of fruit in them.  Certainly simpler than having to add fruit to a bowl of plain rolled oats on a busy morning.

Click on the following link for more information on Uncle Tobys Oats Quick Sachets.

While I might not get my ideal morning everyday, using Uncle Tobys Oats Quick Sachets will certainly get me closer to a more relaxed and calm breakfast routine.

Friday, 25 July 2014

T is for Tiny Biscuits

T is for Tiny Biscuits

Tiny things always seem to be a hit with children.  Tiny pet toys, tiny lego pieces, tiny fairies and tiny dolls are popular in our household.

Bee and Bear also love the small packets of even smaller biscuits for a snack.

T is for Tiny Biscuits

And while they are cute and convenient, the biscuits do work out to be quite expensive when packaged like this. Besides, with only a few biscuits in each packet they don't last very long.

I knew I needed to find a homemade version that I could package up myself to include in the girls' kindy lunchboxes.

T is for Tiny Biscuits

T is for Tiny Biscuits

Amanda from One Crafty Mum has this recipe for Homemade Tiny Teddy Biscuits on her blog and that is what we used for our tiny biscuits. We don't have a thermomix which is what Amanda used to make this recipe.  She does suggest that the recipe would work with a mixer or a bowl and spoon so we used our stand mixer.
T is for Tiny Biscuits

We added 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder in with the flour to make tiny chocolate biscuits.  And because I am impatient I didn't bother putting the dough in the fridge for an hour.  The weather was reasonably cool the day we made these and the biscuits turned out fine.  But if I was to make them in summer I would definitely rest the dough in the fridge for a while.

To make the dough for the Tiny Biscuits, I creamed the butter and sugar.  Then I mixed in the egg,  vanilla, flour and baking powder.

T is for Tiny Biscuits

Once it was all mixed well, we turned the dough out onto the lightly floured bench, rolled it out and starting cutting out our shapes.  We don't have a tiny teddy shaped biscuit cutter so I searched through the girls playdough cutter collection and came up with small bear, small elephant, small duck and small dog shapes.  After a good wash in hot, soapy water the cutters were ready to use.  If you want to buy a tiny teddy cutter Amanda has links in her post.

T is for Tiny Biscuits

T is for Tiny Biscuits

T is for Tiny Biscuits

T is for Tiny Biscuits

T is for Tiny Biscuits

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten-free

Mmmmmm chocolate!

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free

We have made chocolate brownies before but it has been a while since the last batch.  Our usual Chocolate Brownies recipe contains apple purée which cuts out the butter and eggs and therefore lowers the fat and kilojoules.

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free

This time we made a gluten free version inspired by this recipe for Gluten-Free Fudgy Pecan Brownies on Martha Stewart and it might have just become our new favourite.  I have converted the measurements for the ingredients to the Australian equivalents, lowered the amount of sugar used (next time I will try using just 1/4 cup sugar), used less chocolate overall but went for a dark chocolate for flavour and left out the pecans to make it nut allergy suitable.

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free

To make these Gluten-free Chocolate Brownies here is what to do.

1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.


C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free
2. Grease and line the baking tin.


C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornflour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt.



C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten-free
Bear breaking the chocolate into small pieces.

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten-free
Adding the chocolate to the butter for melting.

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free
Melted butter and chocolate mix.
4. Break the chocolate into pieces and add it to the butter for melting in the microwave.


C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free
Bear is getting better at cracking eggs.

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free

5. Add the eggs to the butter/chocolate mix, one at a time, and mix it really well.
 
C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free
6. Carefully stir the sugar and vanilla in with the melted chocolate/butter mix. Add the cornflour mixture and stir it until the batter is smooth.

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free

7. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake it for 35 minutes and then let it cool.

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free
8. Cut the brownies into squares.

C is for Chocolate Brownies Gluten Free
9. Enjoy!

You can download a printable copy of this recipe from here.

Gluten-free Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from www.marthastewart.com
Makes 16 pieces

Ingredients
84g unsalted butter, chopped plus extra for greasing baking tin
1/3 cup cornflour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon table salt
220g dark cooking chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.
2. Lightly grease a 20cm square baking tin and line with non-stick baking paper. Leave 5cm extra hanging over edges.
3. In a small bowl whisk together the cornflour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt.
4. Break up the chocolate and place it in a large microwave safe bowl with the butter.
5. Microwave the butter and chocolate in short bursts on medium power until melted. It should take about 2 minutes all up.
6. Stir in the sugar and vanilla with the melted butter/chocolate mix.
7. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
8. Add cornflour mixture and stir until mixture is smooth.
9. Pour batter into prepared tin.
10. Bake for 35 minutes or until skewer inserted in middle of brownies comes out clean.
11. Let cool in pan.
12. Remove brownies from pan and cut into squares.



Monday, 21 July 2014

P is for Plain and Simple Pancakes

P is for Pancakes

Why plain and simple? 

Because sometimes the simplest version is the best.  Even at only 4 and 3/4 years of age Bear and Bee know this recipe off by heart. 


P is for Pancakes

Sometimes too much effort is required to follow a 'fancy' recipe.  Especially first thing in the morning.  
P is for Pancakes

And apart from tasting good these pancakes use basic pantry staples. No buttermilk. No having to let the batter stand.  And that's important when catering for drop of the hat pancake requests.  It's also useful too if you have unexpected guests drop in for afternoon tea.

P is for Pancakes
Whisk together the egg and sugar.

P is for Pancakes

P is for Pancakes
Stir in the flour and milk.  Mix the batter well but don't worry if there are a few small lumps still visible.

P is for Pancakes
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat.  Brush with a little butter or use a cooking spray and place spoonfuls of the pancake batter into the pan.

P is for Pancakes
Wait for mum to stop taking photos so you can sneak a taste of the pancake batter!

P is for Pancakes
When bubbles start to appear on the surface of the pancakes flip them over and cook for another minute or two or until cooked through and golden brown on both sides.

Remove the pancakes from the pan and keep warm on a plate covered with a clean tea towel.
 
Repeat with remaining pancake batter.

P is for Pancakes
You can go wild with the toppings.  For us it's plain and simple again - Maple Syrup.  Sometimes with crispy bacon on the side.  But you could add fresh strawberries or blueberries, honey, jam, preserves, whipped cream, chocolate topping or icing sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.

It's a good idea to double this recipe to make sure you have plenty of pancakes to go round. Download the printable recipe card from here.

And check out this post on Fun Ways to Pack Pancakes for Lunch from Keeley McGuire: Allergy Friendly Fun Lunchboxes for ideas on adding pancakes to your child's lunchbox to use up any leftovers.


And there you have it. Plain and simple pancakes that should be anything but plain to eat.


Friday, 18 July 2014

L is for Love Your Lunchbox

L is for Love Your Lunchbox

Now that Bear and Bee attend kindy I have decided to dedicate every Friday on our blog to Loving Your Lunchbox.  Lunchboxes and their contents can be the cause of much frustration in many households.

What goes in the lunchbox, what's not allowed in and what comes home uneaten can all be problematic and as Kylie from Octavia and Vicky said in her post on School Lunchbox Ideas 

"Then just when you think you’re on to a winner, your lovely child decides that they now hate their favourite lunch box choices."

There is a lot of information about lunchboxes and what to put into them available on the internet, so I will be endeavouring to bring you the best of these each Friday.  We will also be trying out some new recipes and some old favourites too of lunchbox foods that kids can help make.  And by bringing these ideas to you on a Friday hopefully you will have a chance to add some things to your shopping list, try out some new ideas on your kids over the weekend and get those lunchboxes organised for the next week.

To start this new weekly series off, here's a few of the recipes on our blog that would be great for lunchbox fillers.

Weetbix Slice

Choc Raspberry Muffins

Savoury Muffins
Vegie Cheese Puffs

Anzac Biscuits

Popcorn

Plus, here is two more good ideas for lunchboxes.

Childhood 101 20 Lunch Box Snack Ideas

I like this printable of 20 Lunch Box Snack Ideas from Christie at Childhood 101.  It's a great idea to print the list and hang it inside your pantry door.


If you want a lunchbox menu plan for the week go and have a look at MomablesMOMables is a kid friendly family meal plan that tackles school lunch and family dinner. It helps parents feed their kids a variety of meals they will love. Members receive 2 family sized meals (perfect for dinner) and 3 single lunch ideas. 
Click on the link above or the Momables image in our sidebar to check out the website.

What does your child like in their lunchboxes?