These Christmas Dinner Hacks are brought to you in partnership with Bacofoil. I LOVE Christmas Dinner. it is a real family affair in The Mad House with MadDad doing most of the prep and cooking and we me and the boys making the most of his delicious food.
I am a really big advocate of cooking with children and getting kids in the kitchen from an early age. Some of my happiest memories are of helping my mum bake and cook, but more than just happy memories, she left me with the legacy of being pretty handy in the kitchen and this is something I am really keen to pass on to both my boys.
I love this time of year. Summer fruits are readily available and this yogurt and berry crunch is a great after lunch treat or even perfect for a decadent breakfast. As it is no bake and super simple to put together it is great for getting kids in the kitchen and you can mix up the fruits depending on the season or based on your child’s tastes.
I love getting my kids in the kitchen and when we were invited by Angel Delight to design a dessert, well not a dessert exactly, but a character called delight. As a child of the 70’s I am going to admit I have a soft spot for Angel Delight and so do my boys. I had so much fun designing and putting together a kids dessert buffet.
We are currently enjoying Minion madness here in the mad house after watching The Minions last week. We all love the minions, we have done since we first saw Despicable Me. If you know anything about Minions then you know that our lovable sidekicks love bananas, so they are a big part of our Minions Milkshake.
I am a huge advocate of encouraging kids in the kitchen and my boys cook with me at least once a week. Sometimes getting kids to eat new foods and choose a healthy option can be a battle, but I find with my boys that they are much more likely to eat things that they have actually cooked. We have homemade pizza approximately once a week and this version made with whole grains is a new version to us, but looks and sounds delicious, but more than that it is perfect for cooking with kids. Vegetable & Salsa Verde Scone Pizza Recipe
We have a rule in The Mad House, which is that we do not partake in the ice cream van, this means that I have a freezer drawer full of ice lollies and we love making homemade ice lollies or popsicles. I never throw away nearly out of date juice or smoothies as they make fab lollies, Just like Kate at Crafts on Sea.
Ever since MadDad put raised beds in our garden after my Mastectomy six years ago we have always grown a small amount of vegetables, salads and fruits at home. I know from experience that kids are more likely to try to eat things that they have grown and nurtured. It worked for me in my Granddads allotment and for MadDad as a farmers son.
I am blessed to have kids that eat pretty much everything I put in front of them most of the time. However, we still have times when they are under the whether or just being kids when they refuse food. I find that a great way of getting them and me out of a funk it to bring them in to the kitchen and make things together. However, when that fails this is a failsafe way to encourage picky eaters!
I say boys, but really these tips are great for baking with any child. My children have been helping me in the kitchen from when they could sit in a high chair. I tried to involve them from a young age, even if it was just giving them some pastry to play with. I wanted them to feel comfortable in the kitchen and be involved in preparing their food. Baking is a great exercise for children, it involves lots of different skills such as reading recipes, measuring and weighing ingredients, following instructions, motor skills (mixing), measuring time and also is a great way to connect them with the food that they more »
We have decorated the kitchen this week and I have also rearranged the art corner, with the introduction of the boys small table in to the kitchen are and the addition of some great storage from Ikea for the pens etc. We have painted the kitchen Willow (a soft soothing green) after MadDad decided that the green I had chosen was too green! The table is from Ikea and I painted the top with blue chalk board paint ages ago and the boys love to use chalk on it. It works really well, as it means the boys can come in to the kitchen and do art or puzzles etc whilst more »
I think the sun forgot our little park of the North East today. So we have spent the day baking. Maxi did all the weighing and measuring Mini did most of the stirring and tasting We have had a lot of fun and made lots of cakes Oat and raisin cooks and mince pies (mini’s favorites) Many Muffins, sweet mincemeat and St Stephens Day Muffins, in addition to some fairy cakes. Whilst I was busy in the kitchen, MadDad tended the garden, including planting out the courgettes and cucumbers. Everything is looking great and really coming along. He also washed and cleaned the cars, ready for the trip we are taking today more »
I love my kitchen. It is eight years old and starting to show it’s age now. I am sure that the quality of kitchens they put in new houses is not very good at all, but the one thing it lacks is storage and display space. So last year MadDad bought me these fab shelves from Ikea.
Top ten food safety tips to protect your family from kitchen bugs
Last week was Food Safety Week 2013, run by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and this year they focused on ways to reduce the risk of food poisoning at home. Here are some simple tips to help keep you and your family safe.
1. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before cooking and after changing nappies, touching the bin, using the toilet, handling pets or preparing raw food.
2. Wash or change dish cloths, tea towels, sponges and oven gloves regularly and let them dry fully before you use them again.
3. Remove unnecessary clutter and wash worktops before and after cooking to prevent cross-contamination.
4. Always use a chopping board and wash the board in hot, soapy water after using and in between preparing raw and ready-to-eat foods. Better still, use a separate chopping board for each.
5. You don’t need to wash raw meat or poultry as thorough cooking will kill any surface germs. Washing meat can actually splash germs and raw juices onto other surfaces and equipment.
6. Make sure your fridge is set below 5°C to prevent harmful germs from growing and multiplying.
7. Don’t overfill your fridge. Air needs to be able to circulate to maintain the set temperature. If you are using infant formula we recommend you make up each feed as your baby needs it, using boiled water at a temperature of 70ºC or above to reduce the risk of infection, and use it within 2 hours. If you have no choice but to store made up bottles, do so in the coolest part of your fridge, away from the door, and for no more than 24 hours.
8. Cook food thoroughly until steaming hot in the middle to kill harmful bacteria. Food can then be cooled to a suitable temperature for children by cutting into smaller pieces and separating into shallow bowls, or even placing in a sealed container and running it under cold water.
9. ‘Use by’ dates are typically found on perishable products (dairy, meat and fish) and are based on scientific testing to determine how long these foods will stay safe. After that date, food could be unsafe to eat even if it is correctly stored and looks and smells fine. If you need to store a food for longer, consider freezing it.
10. ‘Best before’ dates are used on foods that have a longer shelf life and tell us how long the food will be at its best. After that date it is normally safe to eat, but its flavour and texture might have deteriorated.
To see how safe your kitchen habits are and for more tips, take the FSA’s Kitchen Check online. You can get your little ones involved too by downloading their fun young people’s activities.
Kitchen Check can be found at: www.food.gov.uk/kitchen-check
As I have said I have a love of mid century and Orla Kiely has a great interpretation of it. I love her tins and fell hard for her melamine range. The tray is a great size and the handles makes it perfect for the boys to carry. The containers are going to get a lot of use from storing baking to summer picnics.
I adore Camila Prada’s designs, they are clearly the love children of Tove Jansson and Orla Kiely. We use a Koko storage jar as a sugar dish and it makes me smile everytime I use it. I love functional peices that look good and work for us and rather than having the same things as everyone else I am happy to save up for the item I want or ask for it for Christmas!
Most of you will know by know that I am a tea monster too and when Not on the High Street offered me a gift I decided to get a Linda Bloomfield tea pot. I choose the handmade 2 cup size and it is reassuringly heavy and pours beautifully. It is a delight to use and makes drinking tea even more enjoyable. MadDad things is looks rather breast like and it is delightfully tactile
After losing yet another lamp shade and cup to a ball in the house, we decided we needed some family rules and Find me a gift were happy to help and sent me a personalised family rules print. My rules are: no balls in the house, try new things, use kind words, mind your manners, do your best, laugh out loud, be happy, share, enjoy the little things and keep your promises. What would yours be?
I am planning a video of my updated kitchen as soon as a few last things are finished and in place.
Get the Basics Right in Your Kitchen
We would all love to have a more impressive kitchen but what if you don’t even know where to start? Will you need to spend a fortune on completely overhauling the place?
Before you start splashing out big sums of money on expensive changes it is best to think of the basics which can make the difference.
The Right Kind of Lighting
The type of lighting you use in the kitchen is vital to making it a pleasant room to be in and to cook in. Your first step should be to check out some ideas using chandeliers, recessed lighting, under cabinet lights and all of the other kinds which are available now. Once you know what the options are you can work out which ones would fit in best to your room. In general terms, a mixture of different types of lighting is best, although this might not be the case in a particularly small kitchen.
The Pots and Pans
Of course, the kitchen is a room we cook in and this means that you need think about the basics required for doing this right. A good example here comes with the saucepans from Lakeland. Buying a few of these will give you practical pieces of cookware and will also ensure that you have attractive pots in the room as well. You will find other ideas for useful basic items on the site at Lakeland.co.uk. By stocking up well on these things you will make it a nicer room at little cost.
The Colour of the Walls
There are some highly popular colours used in many kitchens and others which aren’t so highly recommended. The exact tone you would be best using will be determined by factors such as the style of the kitchen and the size of the room. If you aren’t sure which colour to use then a good idea is to buy a few of those little sample pots and paint small areas of the walls with different colours. After you have lived with the different tones for a few days it should a lot easier to work out which one to choose for the whole room.
One of the most common complaints which people make about their kitchens is around the lack of space. If your kitchen is too small or cramped then cooking is probably more of a problem than it should be. This might seem like an issue without a solution in some cases it could be but there are some tips to help you get a bigger working space in most types of kitchen. The first and simplest one is to clear out anything you don’t use on a daily basis. This can make a lot of space and help the room look better too.
After Sally tagged Pippa, Emma and Vic to show us our fridge, I was asked by WORLDFOODS fusion of flavours to show you my kitchen, so I decided I would make a quick video of the kitchen, but I didn’t tidy up before I did. This is in the hope that you get an idea of what my kitchen looks like.
I am a great fan of affirmations and inspiration quotes and sayings and have been looking for a way to display some of these in my home. I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen, cooking, eating breakfast, washing the pots, putting the washer on, sitting and chatting to friends. So was ideally looking for something to use in the kitchen. I also wanted to be able to update the words as and when I needed to. MadDad came up with the idea of a chalkboard after me and MaxiMad painted the playhouse. Never one to sit on my laurels I set too yesterday. We marked out the area more »
Make a start on homemade christmas items
Encourage the boys more in the Kitchen
sort the boys toys, sell, give away and recycle all that we can
Find something to occupy me at junior football matches
Learn something new
Decorate Maxi’s bedroom. We have some great things that GLTC and Next have provided for it, so really need to crack on
Talk to my consultant about operation that I need
Summer 2013 was a great time, the BEST summer we have ever had as a family. It was relaxed, filled with fun and sun. It was a summer that will go down in history, that we will look back on in years to come. I see it as a faded photograph with curled ages, slightly worn through over handling, but something treasured to be held close to our hearts. I think that the weather made the summer, but also the fact that we all tried new things, went new places and really tried to embrace the changes that surround us. We succeeded in less electronic time as a family, but didn’t manage to get camping.
Feel free to join in and make your own goals and aims for the autumn, I would love to know what they are.
As the years have gone on we have learned that we just can not grow carrots. That cabbages are hit and miss for us and although we can grow onions they are actually really inexpensive to buy so are not best use of our tiny bit of land.
This year we have planted new potatoes, cabbage, sprouts, broad beans, peas, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers (in the conservatory), pak choi and salad leaves. We have three raised beds which have the peas in one, potatoes in another and broccoli and sprouts in the other. Each year we rotate what is in each of the beds and as soon as the potatoes come out in a week or so we will be planting some winter kale and other winter greens (spring cabbages).
We have two large barrels which both have broad beans in this year. We want to encourage the boys to eat them and growing them is often the best way for us to introduce a food to them. In fact the peas never get from pod to plate, just pod to mouth! We are growing strawberries in hanging boxes and baskets, but they are very small this year. Perhaps we need top replace them next year. Has anyone else had this issue?
Tomatoes are also grown in planters and we have one tumbler in almost the flowers, which has done remarkably well.
I also have a number of pots with herbs in including Sage, Chives, Mint, Rosemary, which remain outside all year round and we have more tender ones in the kitchen including Basil.