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Black Bean Carrot Cookies

beans

Sounds disgusting right? Well in truth these are no chocolate laden Millie’s cookies but they are pu – rrity tasty and are great for sneaking some extra veg into your smalls (NB that is slang for children, I do not think you should be shoving carrots down your knickers!!!!). Children are pretty easy to fool  – if you act like these are a big treat then hopefully they will believe you. There is also the bonus that the flecks of black beans can look like chocolate chips (am I clutching at straws here…..?) . If these are a bit too ‘clean’ for your tastes you can always substitute the coconut oil for proper butter, add a bit of sugar or throw in some actual chocolate chips.

When I was breastfeeding Sonny I had to cut out all dairy from my diet and was constantly flummoxed as to what to eat. I found the Deliciously Ella blog great  – I was quite sceptical but actually the majority of her things taste amazing. I have incorporated a lot of her ideas into everyday cooking even though I am now back on the dairy (in bucketloads…..)

Recipe

1.5 tins of black beans (Drained)

1 mug of oats

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 carrot grated

1 pear (or apple) grated

1 Banana

2 tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 tsp Mixed Spice.

These are so easy to make – blend the beans, oil, banana and syrup together in a bowl then stir in the oats, spice, carrot and pear. Dollop onto a non stick or greased baking tray and bake on gas mark 5 for about 30 minutes or until golden.  I sometimes sandwich them together with cashew or almond butter.

I would love to hear what you think of these!

I am sorry I haven’t posted on here  in the last couple of weeks, Poor Sonny has been teething, had an ear infection and a virus. I actually feel like Widow Twanky, I have never done so much laundry in my life.

Have a wonderful week.

xx

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One Tomato Sauce

tomatoe

As promised here is the first of our recipes by the wonderful chef Juliet Cain. Juliet specialises in family cooking and has been working closely with Mortimer Nannies for years, teaching our Nannies to be more creative in the kitchen. This recipe is super useful and easy peasy to remember  – it is called ‘one’ tomato sauce as there is one of everything in the ingredients list.

Over to you Juliet…….

One Tomato Sauce

“I thought I would share this terrfic tomato sauce recipe as I love it for so many reasons. I have made this in so many disguises for my baby clients and they have always enjoyed it. Here we are in September and there is a glut of gorgeous tomatoes. It’s a great one for “hiding” vegetables if your little people (or perhaps your grown ups) won’t eat them! Very easy to make and also batch cook to freeze in portions. There are so many ways to chop and change this creation into something completley different (I have included a few) and it can be adapted for the grown ups too so no cooking seperate recipes for the whole family. Last but not least it’s tasty and nutritious. I suggest you google Lycopene and cooked tomatoes!

Happy cooking! xx”

Here it is…

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 carrot grated

1 stick celery chopped

1 clove garlic

1 tin chopped tomatoes or around 400g fresh tomatoes chopped

1 tablespoon tomato puree

100ml vegetable stock (no salt)

One dash of balsamic vinegar

Notes:

This will make enough for 4 generous portions for your child

This will keep in the fridge safely for 2 days and also freezes well

Method

Gather all the ingredients and prepare.

Heat the oil over a medim heat in a saucepan.

Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic to the oil and cook gently stirring now and then so that the

vegetables don’t brown but until the onions have turned translucent and soft – about 10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and vinegar. Give the sauce a good stir. Cover the pan with a lid and

simmer on a low heat for around 30 minutes. Check and stir during the cooking time. If it seems too dry or

starts to catch add a little water.

Blend with a hand blender, liquidiser or food processer and the result will be a super smooth sauce

Great served with pasta. Add some protein – fish, minced beef, chicken or lentils. Excellent mixed with

roasted vegetables.

Variations for introducing some new flavours

Add fresh or dried herbs – perhaps basil or oregano

Add a teaspoon of mild curry powder with the tomatoes

Add a couple of tablespoons of cream at the end of the cooking process

Variations for the grown ups!

May sound obvious but season well with salt and ground black pepper!

Add some chillis and extra garlic and you’re on your way to creating a chilli-con-carne or a veggie chilli.

To turn into a grown up curry sauce add some fresh grated ginger, garlic, ground cumin, turmeric,

ground coriander and cayenne pepper with the vegetables and simmer together with the tomatoes.

Add some cooked chicken perhaps?

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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

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Treasure Baskets

photo

I promise I am not going to fill this blog with complex elaborate activities as I know you don’t have the time or the inclination and frankly neither do I! I did loads of super duper Blue Peter worthy arts and crafts when I was a Nanny and learnt that actually kids are more happy doing the simple things. They will be happy to be spending time with you so chill out and don’t go getting stressed out (I once witnessed a Dad channelling his inner Gaudi and trying to build a cathedral out of toilets rolls, the child had long since lost interest).

Anyway this is not technically crafty but I guess it is an activity of sorts.

The treasure basket concept was inspired by Elinor Goldschmeid and is a simple idea focussing baby’s attention away from plastic (which offers little sensory stimulation). Babies tend to learn by engaging their senses and a treasure basket is a great way to nurture and encourage their curiosity. It really is a cheap and simple thing to do with your baby. I find it so sweet watching Sonny rummage through his basket. He actually now gets super excited when he sees it coming out and will sit, play and explore for a good 30 minutes before getting bored. His favourite 2 items are the loofah and ribbon. I know it’s pretty obvious so please forgive the government warning but it’s important to stay close to your baby whilst they are playing with the basket to avoid choking, entanglement etc. Anyway, patronizing advice over here is what our treasure basket contains;

2 pine cones (1 large, 1 small)

Large spool of ribbon

Wooden spoon

Loofah

Double sided wooden nail brush/ pumice stone

Wooden blocks

Hairbrush

Furry pencil case

We have had this for a few weeks now so I will probably mix things up a bit (wow how wild am I ?!) soon.

Use your imagination and include a good selection of household/everyday items with a range of textures, sizes and shapes.

Some ideas include;

Feathers, Sponge, Bottle Brush, PomPoms, Leather, seashells, keys and different fabrics. If you have any ideas to share with me I would love to hear them!

Happy treasuring xx