Saturday, November 19, 2011
I know you're out there. You browse the photos, the recipe names, and the little stories ... but you don't make any of the recipes. You want to (you really do!), but you find you don't have the time or the energy, and organic stuff is just too expensive.
You *can* do this. If you want to change the way you - and your family - eat, it's not that hard ... but it does help to know where to start.
Here are some of my favourite recipes that are easy on time, energy and budgets!
1. Make your own toasted muesli. You can cook up a batch on the weekend, and have it all week long. Homemade toasted muesli/granola is fresher, you can add whatever you like best, and it's probably got a lot less fat than the store-bought stuff.
2. One of my favourite things to do in the morning is make myself a cup of coffee and enlist Nelle to help make muffins. This is a great way to not only have a yummy breakfast but also have some parent/child activity time first-thing.
My fave recipe is sweet potato muffins ('cos you don't even have to grate the sweet potatoes!), but a close second is my Whatever You've Got muffins - which you can make with any number of ingredients.
If you haven't tried getting the kids to help out in the kitchen, then making muffins is a good place to start. You can even get all the ingredients sorted the night before if you like, so in the morning the kids can assemble ... you put the muffins in the oven while everyone gets dressed and ready ... and then voila!
1. School lunches can be tricky, because you want to find that balance between stuff that's going to give the kids good energy and stuff that they'll actually eat. My tip is small amounts of lots of different things, which is why I use a craft box for Nelle's lunch.
But whatever you do, I recommend trying to include a variety of colours, flavours, textures - and in general trying to make lunches look as pretty as possible. Because like Paula commented recently, 'we eat with our eyes first'.
This can be the trickiest meal of the day, because who isn't tired after a day of whatever constitutes work for you personally. To be honest, the days I have Nelle for the whole day can sometimes be the most exhausting - and by dinnertime I'm so uninspired I feel like ordering pizza.
So here are some time-and-energy saving ideas for great dinners:
1. This is a great sesame pasta dish that takes 10 minutes and is a great veggie-sneaking device. Heh heh.
2. One of my favourite pasta dishes is so elegant and so yummy, you'd never guess how easy it is. I make pasta with pepitas (which takes about 10 minutes) every week or two.
3. Who didn't grow up with tomato soup (and toasted cheese sandwiches)? It's comfort food for cool weather or days home from school. My version takes only about as long as it would to warm up a can of the stuff we grew up with ... but uses tomato puree instead.
4. These are a staple for my little one, and the homemade version of baked beans (with rice/potato/or toast) can be made in 10-20 minutes with a fraction of the salt etc in the canned version.
5. Pizza was meant for cheating. Even if you buy premade crusts, top them yourself, and bake, you'll have a much better pizza than takeaway ones. If you have some naan breads on-hand (and you *should*), you can have a delish garlic naan pizza in less than 15 minutes.
Snacks, desserts, and breakfast goodies
(That won't make the kids go nuts)
Because I've got a sweet tooth, oh yes indeed. And so does my daughter. But I don't want her sugared up to the eyeballs, so these are some of the goodies we make most often in our house. My stipulation is that food (even dessert) should have *some* nutritive value ... and all of these recipes do.
1. This is why you should *always* have frozen bananas in your freezer. Buy up when they're on special, or turning brown, and you'll be happy you did. Especially when you make your first batch of frozen-banana ice cream
2. Or this awesome combo: Choc-Avo smoothie
3. Most families of young kids will have applesauce in the fridge ... a really simple dessert (that seems far more extravagant than it is) is this deconstructed apple crumble.
4. Cookies are great because they're quick to mix up and quick to bake and they satisfy all those sweet cravings. My favourite cookies include more healthy stuff, yes, but the kids won't notice. (My dad didn't)
5. How can you pass up some fresh fruit in season?
6. And last but not least, if you keep puff pastry in your freezer, you are only about 20-30 minutes away from a beautiful super-quick pastry using the fruit (or veggie) of your choice.
Hopefully this will inspire you out there to *get started*! Let us know if you give any of these a go this week, or if you have any great go-to recipes to share. We all love hearing from you!