Hi I'm Elaine from Thimbleina, I am a stay at home mummy to a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old boy who are both very energetic. As family life is a bit full on most of the time, especially as I try to fit in as much creativeness and mindfulness that we can into our lives.
It is therefore very important for the whole family to eat well and as healthy as possible without completely giving up some of the nice things and at the same time getting the kids to participate in the preparation of the food and the growing of food so that they learn what they can from me so that they are equipped to cope on their own later in life when they fly away and go on their own adventures.
Before I became a mummy I was an Accountant and my job entailed going out at 7.00am (sometimes earlier) and not getting back some evening until after 7pm and also involved flying a couple of times a month, so a rather hectic life.
I didn't eat well at all, mostly ready meals, takeaways and restaurant food and not a lot of fresh fruit and veg, my husband was the same.
When my little girl came along I read up on how important it was to feed her the right foods to help her body grow as it should. As a new mum I wanted to do everything right.
My cousin who has a daughter who was 18months older gave me a book she had been given by a friend when it was time to wean her daughter Baby and Toddler Meal Planner by Annabel Karmel. This gave all the information that although I kind of knew, it kind of brought it home as to how important it was for not only her but her daddy and I to eat well to be able to cope with the amount of energy that we would need to take care of her. This book really was the start of my taking more of an interest in cooking, although I had cooked before for friends - fancy special meals from cookbooks which didn't really cater for the everyday meals that need to be cooked in a hurry before the house is screamed down as the littlest member is extremely hungry and can't wait a second longer.
So I pureed like mad and gradually introduced foods and she ate everything with gusto and to my surprise loved all those vegetables that I didn't before think most kids ate. So although the title of this book suggests it is only for small children I still use recipes from it as everyone in the house loves them and we have now graduated onto the After school meal planner which is also by Annabel Karmel.
So in honour of the special place these books have got me to where I now cook all our meals from scratch and bake bread in a bread machine and make biscuits and cakes, I have given a recipe for Sticky Salmon which is a great recipe to get kids eating fish (my kids always eat the fish first in this dish and if full up leave the noodles or rice). If in a hurry I serve with egg noodles which only take four mins. in boiling water. If I have more time I do the Easy Chinese fried rice which goes with it. The sticky salmon was originally in the 'After school meal planner' but I have adjusted it for how we like it.
skinned salmon fillets cut into cubes (I normally use around 250g for two adults and two kids, but you will need to adjust depending on how much you would normally serve)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp dark brown sugar (I normally use muscavado)
Mix sauce up then pour over the salmon which you have put in an oven proof dish with a lid.
Then bake in an oven on medium heat - now how long will depend on how well done you want the salmon, so keep checking on it to check it doesn't dry out, but normally it cooks quite fast, normally by the time I have boiled the water for the noodles and cooked them it is done if the oven was preheated to the right temperature (by the way I am not the most accurate of cooks)
Easy Chinese fried rice (amended from the original recipe)
(serves 4 depending really on how much you would normally serve)
200 g basmati rice
65 g carrots, finely chopped
75 g frozen peas
1 tsp veg oil
1 egg lightly beaten
65 g onion finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 spring onion finely sliced
Cook the rice in pan of boiling water as you would normally.
Heat veg oil in frying pan or wok, sauté the carrots and onion, add rice and then pour over egg and move around until egg cooked and mixed in add peas and spring onion and soy sauce cook until peas cooked then serve with salmon on top
Other recipe books which I have found very useful are:
Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall's - River Cottage family cookbook (good for getting children cooking as lots they can participate in - making butter, marshmallows, minestrone soup, also good on giving basics to adults and kids)
Nigella Lawson's - Nigella Express
Jeanette Orrey's - Dinner lady and second helpings