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Moroccan style sweet lamb

morrocan lamb

 

This has been one of my go to recipe for years. I used it with some very fussy eaters when I was Nannying and it always seemed to go down a treat. Now Sonny loves it. The dish is quite sweet so you can get away with hiding loads of veggies in there if your child is a fusspot. The recipe below is obviously made for Sonny so I have left out onions and tomatoes but if I were making it for a child without reflux I would add one chopped onion and a tin of tomatoes at the start.

1 pack (about 500g) diced lamb (leg or neck)

2 carrots

1 parsnip

1-2 inch disk of butternut squash

8 dried apricots finely chopped

Pinch cinnamon

Pinch Cumin

Tin of chickpeas.

2 cups water or homemade salt free chicken stock.

 

Brown your lamb then pop to one side. In a heavy bottomed casserole dish (if not using the slow cooker) gently fry your veg with the cinnamon and cumin until it has softened (about 5-10 mins) .

Pop the lamb back in with the stock/water and apricots then cook on a low heat either in the oven or on the hob for about 3 hours,

It really is that easy – or you can fry everything up then stick in the slow cooker and leave all day! Serve with couscous, rice, quinoa or mashed sweet potato.

Blend if for babies but if you are trying to add more texture just really finely dice the root veg at the start – the lamb literally falls apart anyway so there is no need for mashing.

I love this dish as well and always end up eating half of it – it is a very comforting, warming dish at this time of year!

 

Happy cooking x

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10 Handy Uses for Coconut Oil (For you and the Kids)

Coconut oil

I work my way through huge amounts of coconut oil – yes it is quite expensive and is having a bit of a ‘moment’ but don’t be put off .It has multiple uses and works out cheaper than purchasing loads of different products. I always have 2 pots on the go – one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen (you can often get them on offer from certain stores if you are buying two). Here are some things I use mine for;

  • Hair conditioner. Stick some through the ends of your hair and leave for a couple of hours (don’t go out though you will look greasy!) or overnight – wash out in the morning – voila – silky smooth tresses with no chemicals!
  • Nappy cream – I used loads of it on Sonny’s bum when he was in the throes of his milk allergy and pooed about 20 times a day. He very rarely got Nappy rash and I am convinced this is why. I still carry around a mini pot of it in the Nappy bag now.
  • Oil pulling – this sounds absolutely gross and does take a bit of getting used to but it does seem to work. You are basically supposed to swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes before brushing once a day. I never make it to 20 minutes (probably 10)and only use a dessert spoon but it still seems to do the trick (it is meant to pull all the bacteria out of your mouth and also whiten teeth). Don’t spit down the plug as it will block the drain!
  • When I was pregnant and ran out of my stretch mark oil I would use it as a body oil (and still do rub it in when in the shower sometimes as a body moisturizer )
  • Until last month I didn’t use any soaps or shampoos on Sonny – I literally would rub a little coconut oil onto his scalp then rinse off and pop a little on a flannel and rub it over his body. This did the trick just fine and as far as I’m aware he didn’t smell (other than of coconuts) and has lovely soft skin.
  • Make up remover. Every evening I massage it into my face then use my clarisonic face brush followed by a wipe with a hot flannel– it gets all make up (including mascara) off. I have greasy skin but I very rarely get spots after starting this routine.
  • Cooking – if you don’t mind the taste of coconut you can use the oil for frying, baking in place of butter, spreading on toast , stirring into coffee – the list is endless.
  • Coconut oil is antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. Gross but it works on athletes foot and soothes sunburn and chapped nipples.
  • Cradle cap – massage coconut oil onto your babies scalp then scrub gently with a hairbrush – it works a treat.
  • Hand Cream – If you have or work with children you will wash your hands A LOT. I am generally pretty rubbish at applying hand cream. As a result my hands have started to resemble chickens feet, this has improved ever so slightly by me rubbing Sonny’s coconut oil in my hands after I change his Nappy. It sinks in quite quickly so you don’t end up with slippy paws.

There are tons of other uses for this wonder product, I’m not getting paid to promote anything here but I truly love it and find it indispensable. I’m sure there will be recipes featuring coconut oil on here in due course.

FYI – It is always worth doing a little patch test on your child’s skin prior to using in case of allergy.

Have a great weekend xx

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Colcannon Cakes

colcannon

These are perfect finger foods for babies and smalls. They are also yummy for adults (I added a bit of salt and scoffed about 4 while cooking these up for Sonny) . They would also be great topped with a fried or poached egg for breakfast. If your little one doesn’t like cabbage you can add any kind of finely chopped greenery. Obviously as Sonny is dairy intolerant we steamed the cabbage, and fried the cakes in olive oil. If I were cooking these normally however, I would cook the cabbage in butter and also fry the cakes in butter – yum! They taste perfectly good without though!

It is a great recipe for using up leftover spuds/greens from the Sunday roast.

Ingredients

350g cooked potato (leftover mash or boiled)

1/2 sweetheart cabbage shredded

100g plain flour

1 egg

Ground black pepper

Method

If your potato isn’t already mashed then smash it up until smooth. Either steam, boil or cook in butter your cabbage/greens then finely chop (if for the little ones as it can be quite stringy) , if you are making this for older children then obviously don’t worry so much about chopping!

Beat the egg and stir into the potato mixture then add the flour and cabbage and fold until you have a firm (yet still quite sticky) mixture. Add a grind of back pepper.

Roll a ping pong sized ball of mixture in your hand then flatten it down and pop it in a frying pan on a low-medium heat. Fry until golden on each side (about 3 minutes on each side) This recipe should make approximately 9 cakes.

A tasty addition would be to add some grated mature cheddar or some crispy bacon (or both) into your mixture.

Happy cooking xx

Disclaimer (please note I am not responsible for your child’s farts post cabbage)

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Blah Blah Blah

blah

You can’t escape it, from the day you announce your pregnancy, a constant stream of advice, mostly well meaning, often patronising and occasional bullshit.

In all probability you will have complete strangers patting your bump (yuk), commenting on what you eat, how fat you are, how well/tired/shitty you look and generally bombarding you with shoulds and shouldn’ts for the whole 9 months. When your bundle of joy arrives brace yourself as it only gets worse.

Because you have produced and care for a small human – guess what? That makes you fair game for all manner of ‘advice’. Anyone who has also popped out a baby at some point in their life (whether that be the 1900s or last week)will be an expert and you, my friend, know nothing.

To be fair, most of this will come from a place of love. I know I have been guilty of sounding off in the past. I am sure my friends will have wanted to claw my eyes out for doling out Nanny advice then going home to my childless 10 hours of sleep and big fat glass of wine.

What I didn’t understand before having a baby was the sheer over whelmingness (I don’t think that is an actual word )of it all. I thought I knew everything about raising a child but during those early days I received so much conflicting advice, opinion and general white noise that I found I was constantly doubting myself. I focussed far too much on what other people were saying I ‘should’ be doing and less on actually tuning into my instinct and enjoying my baby. Having google close to hand only made things worse.

As a new mum you often feel like you have been hit by a truck anyway, self-esteem can take a knock and sleepless nights plus loss of identity/your old self can totally make you question every decision you make. All you really need is someone to make you a cuppa, give you a hug and tell you what an amazing job you are doing – because believe me you are.

To highlight the amount of conflicting advice I was given I thought I would make a list of some of the gems I listened to in the early days……

“You can never overfeed a baby “

“You are overfeeding your baby” (both health professionals)

“Don’t tickle your babies feet – it will give him a stammer” (?!?!)

“If you let your baby cry it will affect his emotional development”

“You pick your baby up to much – he is getting spoilt”

“Dummies will affect his speech and make his teeth grow funny”

“You should give him a dummy it will soothe his reflux”

“Don’t let him fall asleep with his dummy; he will end up with a sleep disorder”

“Dummies while sleeping can help prevent SIDS”

“Breastmilk is causing him problems you should give him formula”

“Mixed feeding is bad; he will never go back on the breast.”

“Formula is bad, he will get overweight”

“He should be sleeping through the night by now”

“He’s sleeping through the night? He is far too young to drop night feeds”

“Shouldn’t he be smiling/sitting up/ crawling by now?”

“Shouldn’t he be having gripe water/infacol/calpol?”

“Babies don’t need so much sleep”

“He is overtired”

And I could go on and on and on and could easily fill 10 blogs with this stuff.

If I could go back in time ( and I know it is easy to say now I have come out of the sleep deprived hormonal stage)I would tell myself to drown out the white noise, lock the iPhone away, and just try and tune in and listen to my instincts. Enjoy your tiny human – you are not going to get that time back and it goes so quickly. You are his/her Mother, you know best and you are doing the best job ever – choose your own ‘parenting style’ (I hate that expression) not one from a book and your decisions are bound to be the right ones. We are all in the same boat, muddling along and doing our best – if that is fine for our little humans and they are happy and healthy then that (and not what Mabel up the road says) is all that matters xx

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Sugar Free Cake

cakeIf you read my last weaning post you may remember me mentioning I was going to introduce Sonny to egg gradually by making a sugar free cake. He was fine and is now chomping scrambled and mashed hard boiled eggs like a little protein guzzling muscle head.

The cake was a huge success (both with Sonny and my other half)  so I thought I would include the recipe here. I have adapted a tea loaf recipe that my mum used to make us as kids. I also used to make it a lot for families when I was a Nanny (although I kept the fruit whole and the sugar in). The original recipe contained only sultanas but I have included apricots and dates in this also.

Recipe……

500g of dried fruit ( I used a mixture of organic apricots, dates and sultanas)

375 ml of warm tea (as this is for kids I used organic rooibos which is caffeine free – you could also use camomile or even apple juice)

250 gr self raising flour

1 egg lightly beaten.

(The original recipe also included 175 g soft brown sugar but I think it is sweet enough)

Method.

Empty your fruit into a bowl with the tea – cover and leave to soak overnight. If using as a finger food for babies then blend the fruit in the morning. If for older ones then don’t bother. Add the lightly beaten egg and sift in the flour. Plonk the mixture in a greased and lined loaf tin and bake in the oven at 375/176/Gas mark 4 for 1 hour 30 – 45 mins. You can serve this on its own or spread with butter.

Easy Peasy – Enjoy xxx

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Weaning Part 3.

IMG_0347So this will be my final ‘weaning’ post – I know they don’t make for hugely exciting reading but hopefully someone might find them useful!  During these 40 days I pretty much introduced all the hard-core stuff (ie meat, pasta etc) and unfortunately the nappies became hard core too. (I defy you not to gag on the smell of your babies first meaty turd) .

I still haven’t introduced egg – I don’t know why but I’m a bit scared that Sonny will be allergic, I have no idea where this fear has come from and yet again my Nanny self would have wanted to slap me! Anyway I am going to grow a pair and make a sugar free cake tomorrow (whoop whoop my life is so wild) , so will feed him some (with piritin on standby) and let you know how it goes!

We had a few grade A spews this month, mainly because Sonny took a while to get used to texture and would gag. This is quite normal, but even more so with reflux babies. As soon as Sonny gagged on a lump he would projectile a load of his food out. It’s important not to look worried or scared as you may scare them, just clean them up and continue,maybe leave the textures for a couple of days then try again.

I am still steering away from tomatoes, apples etc – anything slightly acidic seems to bring on a reflux attack that can last days. You will notice at the end of the post I start to introduce more finger foods – bits of soft fruit or Organix carrot Puffs seemed to go down the best!

Day 60.

AM – Rice, Pear and Peach

Lunch – Lentils and Parsnip (gagged and threw up)

PM – Banana and Peach with rice

Day 61

Oatmeal and Pear

Lentils and Squash (pureed this time)

Avocado

Day 62

Avocado

Carrot Peas and Pear

Peach, Banana and Rice

Day 63

Peach, Banana and Rice

Green Beans

Pear and Rice

Day 64

Apricots Banana and Rice

Baby sweetcorn and peas

Pear and Rice

Day 65

Apricot, Banana and Rice

Baby sweetcorn and Rice

Avocado

Day 66

Peaches and Rice

Peas Pear and Broccoli

Rice and Banana

Day 67

Avocado

Chickpeas, Sweet Potato, Sweetcorn

Peaches and Rice

Day 68

Peas, Pear and Broccoli

Chickpeas, Sweet potato and sweetcorn (not v.keen)

Tried again with chickpeas (hit the spoon away!), had peaches, banana and rice.

Day 69

Tried Chickpeas again (no luck)

Peach, Banana and Rice

Avocado and Lentil

Day 70

Plums, Pear, Parsnip and Swede

Sweet potato, Broccoli and Peas

Avocado, Sweetcorn and Chickpea

Day 71

Plums, Pear, Parsnip, Swede and Rice

Carrot Peas and Pear

Sweetcorn and Lentils (didn’t like)

Avocado with lumps (massive spew)

Peach and Rice

Day 72

Decided to leave the plums (seems to reflux more afterwards)

Rice Banana and Peach

Lentils, Courgette and Avocado

Rice and Pear

Day 73

Avocado

Chickpea, Courgette, Carrot

Rice, Banana, Peach

Day 74

Ella’s Banana Porridge

Lentils, Carrot, Peas and Pear

Avocado, Courgette and Potatoe

Day 75

Ella’s Banana Porridge (gags a little on texture)

Lentils, Broccoli, Peas and Pear

Avocado and Courgette

Day 76

Banana Porridge

Butter Beans, Courgette, Carrot and Potato

Peaches and Rice

Day 77

Avocado and Lentils

Sweet potato, Broccoli and Peas

Pear, Peach and Rice

Day 78

Porridge

Chicken, Carrot and Sweet Potato

Peach and Banana

Day 79

Porridge

Chicken, Carrot, Sweet Pot, Avocado

Apricots, Banana and Rice

Day 80

Porridge and mashed banana

Chicken, Carrot, Parsnip and Spaghetti

Rice pudding, Pear and Peach

Day 81

Porridge

Ellas Chicken Casserole (didn’t eat much)

Same for dinner (then had bad tum at night)

Day 82

Porridge

Ella’s Morrocan Chicken

Rice Pudding, Pear and Peach

Day 83

Porridge

Chickpea, Sweet Pot and Sweetcorn Mash

Greenbeans and Pasta. Rice Pudding, Peach and Pear

Day 84

Porridge

Ella’s Chicken Dinner

Rice, Carrots, Broccoli, Sweet Pot (Didn’t eat much) Pears and Peaches

Day 85

Porridge

Cod, Potato, Peas. Peach and Banana

Chicken, Potato and Avocado

Day 86

Porridge

Same as above minus pud

Avocado, Rice Pud, Peach and Banana

Day 87

Porridge

Chicken, Potatoes and Peas

Sweet pot, Carrot and Broccoli

Rice Pud and Pear

Day 88

Porridge and Pear

Lentils, Sweet Pot, Carrot and Broccoli

Avocado and Pasta

Day 89

Porridge and Peach

Ella’s Lamb Dinner

Rice, Lentils, Broccoli, Peas and Pear

Day 90

Porridge

Ella’s Lamb Dinner

Chicken, Carrots and rice

Day 91

Porridge, Peach and Banana

Avocado

Lentils, Courgette, Squash, Broccoli, Pasta

Day 92

Porridge

Chicken and Carrots (puked –  a bit too thick)

Potato, Squash, Broccoli, Courgette

Watermelon

Day 93

Porridge

Lamb mince, Squash, Pasta

Rice and Watermelon

Day 94

Porridge

Chicken and potato with carrots and peas

Avocado

Rice pudding with peach and banana

Day 95

Porridge

Salmon, Peas and Potatoes

Pasta, Peas and Avocado

Day 96

Porridge

Lamb mince, Squash, Pasta

Salmon, Peas and Pots

Day 97

Porridge

Carrot puff (organix crisps) Lamb Dinner

Chickpea, sweet potato and avocado. Carrot puff

Pear and Peach

Day 98

Porridge, Peach and banana

Beef Stew with carrot, potato,sweet pot and peas.

Chickpea, sweet potato and sweetcorn, carrot puffs.

Piece of pear. Peach and Banana

Day 99

Porridge, Banana and Pear

Chicken, Carrots, Broccoli and peas

Carrot puffs, Rice pudding, apricot and Banana. Organix banana biscuit.

Day 100

Porridge

Beef stew with broccoli, carrots and potatoes.

Lentils,courgette and parsnip with pasta. Carrot puffs, Pear and banana pieces.

I will hopefully be including a few basic recipes every month from now on. Chef Juliet Cain will also be contributing a recipe once a month. I can’t wait as she is a super duper chef and has been teaching our Nanny Cookery classes at Mortimer HQ for the last 3 years!

Have a great week xx

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Surviving Festivals.

So as promised here is my post on surviving festivals with a baby – I am chuckling to myself as whether I survived is up for debate (see photos below – as you can see the weather was not on our side ) and I still feel like I am recovering!

photo 5            photo 2

1 – My first and most important tip would be – make sure the person you are going with is a festival person – we can safely say my other half is not and this made the first part of the festival stressful to say the least. By the end he had settled down a bit but really? One baby is enough to worry about! (Hopefully he won’t read this as he now thinks he had an amazing time and is a convert) In all seriousness he did enjoy himself after the first day or so and embraced the muddiness – we love camping and always have. Leave the precious people behind – even if you are glamping there WILL be mud, and limited showers!

2 – Pack for all weathers – even if it is boiling hot in the day chances are you will freeze at night, I bought a long sleeved sleeping bag from JoJomamanbebe (bought off eBay – bargain) – it has detachable sleeves and also has a hole between the legs so baby can wear it in the car seat/pram when travelling.

3 – I don’t know if this is a tip or not as Sonny just wouldn’t settle in his (completely my fault as I left it to the last minute so he didn’t get chance to get used to it – he seemed to think it was a play tent and went bonkers / wide awake as soon as we put him in it!) Buy a pop up travel cot – koo di make a good one – again I got mine from Ebay – it has incorporated black out blinds although these don’t make it very dark!

photo 4

4 – Take a bucket/tub – for baths – you meanwhile can expect to stink!

5- If you are bottle feeding take a large Tupperware pot and some Milton tablets for easy sterilising on the go. The bottles are sterile in the solution for 24 hours so you can just pop them in and out as you wish. Even if you are not bottle feeding this is handy for bowls/spoons/dummies etc.

6- Expect to chuck the routine out the window if you have one. A festival is not for the Gina Ford disciple – you can however maintain a loose routine – keep feeds, naps and baths within a half hour each side time scale and things shouldn’t go too far off kilter. If they do – don’t beat yourself up – this is one weekend out of 52 – what fun is life if you don’t have some spontaneity?!. You can always get things back on track when you get home!

7 – Expect noise – no escaping it I’m afraid – festivals are noisy places. Even if you bag a quiet spot there will be other babies crying and it will be noisier than home. Again try to go with it, if you were there without children chances are you would have broken sleep anyway! Sonny didn’t sleep so well – he was fine for the first part of the night and would sleep in his pushchair like a dream , no matter how noisy it was out and about– it was when we transferred him to bed that things got difficult. I ended up with him sleeping on me (my Nanny self would have been horrified) but you know what? It worked and since we have been home he has gone back to his own bed no problems.

8 – Buy some kids ear defenders – if you are planning to spend a lot of time by the main stage (even if you are set back a bit) there will be lots of bass which can affect small ears

9 – Expect to be converted! However daunting it sounds – when you get to the festival wherever it may be you will see all manner of families out and about enjoying themselves. From huge big families to couples with teeny weeny week old babies and they all survive and have a great time. When Sonny didn’t sleep too well at night and I was thinking to myself that the day would be hellish, he really surprised me and was on top form. He absolutely loved all the things going on, staring at the flags and bunting, listening to the music and watching the other children. Since we have been home I think he is actually quite bored of my company!

10) Enjoy! There are so many things for kids at festivals these days and lots of it is free. Really embrace it and let your little one get into the festival spirit, trying things they wouldn’t necessarily do at home. I got so many ‘tuts’ from disapproving people when I would mention we were going, but you know best and if you think your family will enjoy the experience then go for it!!

photo 1

Have fun – I would love to hear your stories – good or bad!

xx