Food: Breakfast variety

Following on from last Friday’s post, this is a list of most of the things that we have for breakfast. My little one is two now, so it’s a lot easier to give her food that we can eat as a family, so I no longer have to do two different breakfasts. When she was about 8 months old she ate mostly weetabix with banana or porridge with frozen or fresh fruit for breakfast. I used to get fed up with waiting for the porridge to cool down, so putting in the frozen fruit meant that she could eat her breakfast quicker and we had less time for breakfast melt down’s!

At the moment, I need some inspiration for breakfast as I find we often fall into a rut and have the same things each week. I want to keep as much variety in our diets, as I mentioned on Friday, but as I work, our breakfasts need to be healthy and quick to make. I would really appreciate any suggestions that you might have as to what breakfasts you have with your little one’s or if you could recommend any resources that could inspire me. Thank you in advance!

  • Asparagus and poached egg
  • Bacon and eggs
  • Banana Bread (you can freeze this, but recommend slicing in advance)
  • Banana smoothie
  • Vegetarian sausages and beans (we buy the tins from Sainsburys)
  • Cooked breakfast (including tinned tomatoes and baked beans)
  • Croissants and grapes
  • English Muffins with squished banana
  • Frozen fruit smoothies
  • Fruity toast (am currently addicted to this stuff!)
  • Pancakes with fruit and ice cream (special breakfast!)
  • Proper porridge
  • Ready Brek
  • Scotch pancakes
  • Brioche
  • French Toast or Melba Toast
  • Pitta bread with ham and honey (under one’s shouldn’t have honey as it can cause infant botulism)
  • Scrambled Eggs on toast
  • Spaghetti hoops or beans on toast (I remember a Mum telling me that Spaghetti hoops were great for your little one’s fine motor skills)
  • Spinach and scrambled eggs
  • Crepes
  • Toasted Tea cakes
  • Weetabix with banana or blueberries
  • Rice Krispies with blackberries
  • Yoghurt with fruit
  • Greek yoghurt with crushed digestive biscuits
  • Frozen mini Croissants (Anita posted up about these on FB. You can get them from Ocado. We love them!)

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Food: Healthy Snacks

Food: Pudding/Desert Variety

I love my Slow Cooker!!!

A Day of Freezer Cooking

Weaning Ideas

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A day of freezer cooking

I’ve read a lot recently about Batch Cooking. We are very lucky that we have a large upright freezer and it has really been an amazing help over the past two years. When I was pregnant, before I was unable to walk, I spent a few weekends making extra meals ready for when my little one arrived. Having these meals on stand by were absolutely essential to those first few frantic months. Now that I’m working and a lot more experienced in my parenting, I try to spend one afternoon every couple of months making extra meals to freeze.

I’ve mentioned before that I mealplan because it’s cheaper and less wasteful. Having a large freezer really helps us to do this. I try to ensure that, as much as possible, my family eat homecooked meals. Most of my extended family and my friends will tell you that I’m a crap cook, but I’ve managed to pull together a few staple meals which keep us going.

Some of my easiest favourite meals to batch cook are:

  • Vietnamese Beef Soup
  • Cottage Pie
  • Casserole
  • Basic spag bol which can also be converted into Chilli
  • Goulash (so easy in the slow cooker)
  • Sausage rolls (may sound a bit strange, but my husband is from up north and it keeps him happy :-D)

Another way that I also batch cook is when we have a slow cooker meal. I try to ensure that at least one evening meal a week is a slow cooker meal, as I’ve mentioned HERE before. I’ve got the biggest slow cooker I could get, I think it’s about 6 pints, maybe even bigger! This means that when I’m cooking a meal, I nearly always cater so that there is enough for two meals. I either stick what’s left in a box or a plastic bag and it goes straight into the freezer. I do write on it the date of when it was cooker, so I know when to use it by.

I’m also a total addict of Lock and Lock Boxes. They are the best “tuperware” boxes that I’ve found. We also use Ziplock bags (Costco – beg for membership! It’s next to Madjeski Stadium, Reading) to freeze things like dried herbs and soups, but I am a little paranoid of storing everything in plastic. If only they made BPA free ziplock bags!!!

Do you Batch Cook? Which recipes are the easiest and quickest that you like to cook? I’m intrigued to know as it would be great to get some more meals to add to my repertoire.

Related Links

Once-a-month cooking made easy

Make your freezer your best friend

A Day of Freezer Cooking

 

My Meal Planning in 2012

Following on from yesterdays post about the joy of Slow cookers, I thought I’d follow up with a post about meal planning.

Meal planning is one of the things that helps our family keep on track and stops us from reaching into the cupboard and eating the quickest, easiest and normally most unhealthy, food we can find. I’ve been meal planning for several years but it was more a case of buying in food for the week and choosing which meal we wanted as and when. Now I’m back at work, we have less money and we have a baby, things have needed to be planned better. We’ve started to use the concept of having a certain type of meal each evening. Ours is:

  • Monday – Vegetarian
  • Tuesday – Slow Cooker (We have activities on Tues evening so we need something very quick)
  • Wednesday – Fish
  • Thursday – Pasta with homemade pasta sauce (we have more activities on Thurs evening so need something very quick here too)
  • Friday – Takeout/Dineout/Homemade Pizza/whatever we can find in the freezer
  • Saturday – I normally put in a fancy dish that takes a bit more time if we aren’t out and about
  • Sunday – Roast

This means that I no longer need to think about meals nor do I have to constantly answer my husband’s questions asking what we are having for dinner that evening. He knows that if it’s Monday, its vegetarian (his particular pet hate, but I think we are getting there slowly! What is it about some men and vegetables? lol). If it’s Wednesday it’s fish. Sometimes we chop and change Tues and Thurs so have a slow cooker meal on a Thurs instead of Tues. He knows that if he comes home on a Tues and the house doesn’t smell of slow cooked food, we are having pasta.

We use the MealBoard Application on iTunes as we both have iPAD’s (the iPADS’s have been our one indulgence in the past couple of years!). It allows me to add breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for each day. I love this because it ensures that we don’t waste that much food and reminds me to ensure that we have healthy snacks available. It also allows me to create templates based on one or two week’s existing meal plans, so I can just copy in a template for future weeks and move things around as I like. I don’t use the templates as often as I could because I like to keep as much variety in our meals as possible. You can sync the application to other Apple products which means that my husband can immediately check what we are having for dinner on any given day, and often he will start the cooking if I’m not back in time.

The MealBoard Application works for us but there are many other types of meal planning tools that you could use.

Using Meal Board and shopping online means that I can plan our meals and shopping in about 5 minutes now. I estimate that this planning gives me about an hour to two hours a week back with my family. Meal planning also helps me to ensure that we have at least one portion of fish a week, at least one vegetarian meal a week and that we are eating as much variety as we can.

I’ve enclosed a few links below that you might find interesting reading…

Sainsburys Meal Planning and Meal Ideas (I really like this site. They have some great recipes that are quick, cheap and easy to make).

Back to the Basics: Meal Planning I love Simple Mom’s website. It’s an American site but she has some great ideas and really appeals to my planning and organising nature.

Imperfect, Flexible, Doable Meal Blueprint

The six meal shuffle: extremely simple meal planning This is also an American website but Megan has some great tips and ideas.

3 Fail proof ways to stick to meal planning An American website but still some great ideas.