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Apple Pie for the family

We have been ordering the Oddbox vegetables lately and it is such a joy to receive a box of treats to use in your cooking. We do not plan our menu around it, but we always make full use of it, this recipe came about because we got some lovely large apples in a box that we needed to use. I need to give some thanks to Diethood as I searched Pinterest for a recipe and theirs seemed healthy and tasty, perfect for the entire family! Now heat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius and start your prep.

Ingredients:

FillingOat topping
2 – 3 Apples, Granny Smith but any will do1 cup plain flour
Half Lemon juiced1 cup rolled oats
1 Tbs plain flour1 cup light brown sugar
¼ granulated sugar1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon½ teaspoon baking powder
1 can of peaches1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ – 1 cup of raisins1/8 tsp salt
 ½ cup of butter, melted
 1 tsp vanilla essence

Roughly peel and chop 2-3 large apples disposing of the core, cover with the lemon juice this prevents browning. Put a knob of butter in a pot and melt once bubbling add the apples and sugar, stir well. Add the water and a tsp of cinnamon to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. In the meantime, open the canned peaches rinse them under the tap and chop into pieces. With 10minutes simmering left add the chopped peaches and raisins and stir let it simmer for the remainder of the time.

Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and mix until they are well mixed. Whisk the vanilla into the melted butter and combine into the oat mixture, set aside until you need it.

You can see the consistancy of the filling in the above picture

Once the filling is ready, add 1 tbs of plain flour and ½ tsp of cinnamon into it and tip it into a baking tray and top with the oat topping. Place it in your preheated oven 40- 45 minutes and once it is done let is stand for 15 – 20 minutes and enjoy with a scoop of icecream or whipped cream!

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The Social Shift: How to find your place

We are all on this crazy roller coaster called 2020.  As the shops open and the we dust off our ‘out clothes’ and life resumes to some sort of normality, I find myself sitting in a bit of a pause. Before the 23rd of March we would head out at least 4 days out of 5 in the week. Whether we went for a walk in the park nipped to Tooting to go to the Childsplay Brasserie and buy a few things from the shops or meet friends for a coffee/ brunch. Admittedly the latter was happening way less, as the twins were on the move and it was just such hard work.

I loved going out on Mommy nights, Mommy & Daddy dates, but now I feel hesitant. I received the ‘heart drops letter’ that I was on the high-risk group, so we were shielding. I am healthy except that I do not have a spleen, so my immune system is compromised. About 3 weeks into isolation my doctor called me back as I wanted to confirm the reason for being on the list. She asked me a few questions and decided that I could go to the medium risk group but still needed to isolate. I started to go out for solo walks or maybe take the kids out but never any shops and not seeing anyone, it was more for my sanity than anything.

The reality is that I got used to it, the isolation that is. We eat well, we work out, we drink cocktails and go for walks on the Common. I almost feel safe and the idea of going out meeting multiple people is even on a subconscious level very intimidating for me. It’s a weird one because I am not scared of getting ill, but I am concerned that if I do get ill, I may die. It really isn’t as bed a s it sounds when I say it out load, I mean surely it is a real fear. The media and old Boris haven’t said it all fine you can go out and you should be okay.

Then when we go out with 2 friends to Tooting Common and see people gathering in groups of 20, yes, I feel uncomfortable because we meant to be in groups of 6. Is it a social disorder? I know we all need to do what we feel comfortable with but really, I am wondering if anyone else is here, where I am or close? I am not a hermit I like/ like going out, shopping, eating in restaurants, so how does our future look ?

A question we must all be asking because it will not be the same. It should not be the same! This is our chance to pivot life. They used to say you can do that with your career, but literally we can do that for our entire socio-economic lives. I would really love to hear from you guys, if anyone is finding the ‘freedom’ hard to process.

Packed Baked Beans: Version 2

We are adapting the original because we don’t have spinach or mushrooms today. I am surprised I didn’t put carrot in the original actually! This one can work for breakfast, lunch or dinner just add an egg or a baked potato to switch it up.

Ingredients:

1 Tin of haricot beans2 tsp Tomato paste
1 Carrot grated1 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1 Small onion finely dicedPepper, salt to taste
¾ Can chopped tomatoes½ – 1 teaspoon paprika
Splash of water if neededMixed herbs
Grated cheese and yogurt ½ teaspoon Garam Masala

Method:

Fry off the onion in a bit of oil, once brown and soft add a small nob of unsalted butter and add the carrots and garlic. Once they are cooked add the beans, spices, herbs, and canned tomatoes. The beans are sometimes a bit hard straight from the can, I checked mine and decided how much water I’d need. Simmer all for 10 minutes.

Now add the tomato paste and BBQ sauce and simmer, I had to add a little more water and reduce for 10 minutes on a simmer. You are looking for the consistency in the image below if it is still a bit watery reduce more. I mashed the beans slightly and then added cheese and yogurt for the children.

You can add a bit of chilli at the end if you are having it on a baked potato for dinner yourself.

Food prep the Mom2Squared way

It has been a while since I managed to do a post as I have been tweaking my schedule at home to be more mindful and spend not only time on exercise but also fit in meditation and other positive influences in my day. I have shared a few recipes with you on here now and I am not sure if you have noticed a pattern, but I have definitely found a method that works for my and the family.

We don’t do large batch cooking, yes, we do freeze extra portions but we make fresh and then freeze a few portions for when we need a meal quickly. What I do is use the entire day to prepare the meal in stages and it comes together at night for the dinner. We generally feed Austin and Aria at 5pm and then pull ours together after bedtime, but we are not starting from scratch. I would at the very least have fried the onions and vegetables in advance depending on what meal we are having.

I would say that roasting vegetables has become a huge part of my cooking because the vegetables love it, they morph into something delicious. They sizzle and crisp, soften and sweeten. What is not to love right? I would normally start off roasting a batch of whatever it is that I may need first thing, when every I have the time to chop dress and pop in. Normally around 10:00 while The Mini Music Makers are on and I can nip to the kitchen. There are a few key spices that add the flavour to our food and we have found them very baby friendly. The magic happens by using the right amount of the following; Mixed Herbs, Garam Masala, Ground Cumin, Paprika, Garlic powder, Ground black Pepper, Fennel Seeds, Onion Seeds and Rosemary. Start small with the spices and see what works for your family. We just add salt and chilli once we have removed the childrens portion.

Roasting the butter nut for our pasta sauce first thing or when you have 10 minutes to prepare it.

When need a quick meal, I always start with frying off onions and grating a carrot in, for me I then know that is the makings of a balanced meal. Add some mixed herbs and a splash of balsamic vinegar fry off the vinegar and add a can of chopped tomatoes or passata, now you have a nice pasta sauce, not from a jar, no hidden sugar. You can always put a teaspoon of maple syrup or sugar alternative in. I use the same sauce when making our rice balls and just use a little bit and then have plenty left for another dish.

If you are doing anything you make in a pan, early in the day when you have time chop up your onion and other vegetables you are planning to use and fry them down. Sometimes I even do this without staying there I just pop back and stir once in a while or you can unpack the dishwasher will it is cooking away. As you get more used to cooking you will figure out your own short cuts, just know it doesn’t have to be a big job and a big clean up.

The finished product of the Tomato based pasta sauce, only two pans to clean

I use the same chopping board throughout the day, unless I have done meat on it. It just stays there until I am done chopping the last vegetable or herb, load the dishwasher as you go and rinse your utensils. By the time you have eaten you should only have the pan and the plates and cutlery you used. Yes, there will be exceptions but for the most part you have it under control. Happy cooking people!

Healthy, whatever you got Muffins

I hope you all had a great start to the week.? Here we jumped out of the starting blocks only to feel like I needed a nap! I have been trying to make something with pecans and raisins for about two weeks and I saw a lovely recipe on Instagram yesterday I decided as soon as just go down I would bake.

Unfortunately, I could not find said recipe and was scrolling through my entire Instagram following list… I still do not know who it was. Half Baked Harvest helped with Honey, Strawberry muffin recipe that I adapted to our ingredients and what I had in my mind.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of Flour (plain of self-raising)1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs of flaxseed mix1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbs of Chai seeds2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
½ cup of honey1 tsp of baking soda
2 eggsPinch of salt if desired
1 cup of whole milk½ cup melted unsalted butter
½ cup of natural yogurt½ cup coconut oil or alternative

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, if you know your oven is very warm do it to 170 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Now add all the bits you want to put in; nuts, raisins, seeds, and flax mix I also added desiccated coconut.

Whisk your eggs together and combine with all the wet ingredients (butter, coconut oil, yogurt, milk, honey, vanilla essence) and add that to the dry ingredients in 3-4 batches.

I greased the muffin tin with butter, just a little amount with your fingers I then but it in the oven just for a moment and removed to fill the tray. Bake for 20 minutes and check them with a toothpick or something similar. I forgot to put oats in, but you can put ½ cup in with the other dry ingredients and mix through before you put the wet ingredients in.

Once cooked remove from the tray and put on a baking rack to cool. You can eat these plain, with cheese or jam, honey anything I’d say. The recipe made 12 tasty large muffins!

Served here with butter and honey and on the otherside with jam