Yummy toddler pinwheels: Quick win

I love pinwheels! My toddler doesn’t mind them either, so they are a great choice for lunch or a quick teatime meal.

It is also a meal your toddlers can get involved with making!

Get yourself some frozen puff pastry, you normally get two in a pack and they defrost within a couple of hours, then you always have a sheet in the freezer as a back up.

  1. lay out the pastry and make some tasty sauce, you can use passata and I like to add some oregano and pepper, but you can add any flavours your kid likes.
  2. Spread it across the pastry and then layer with cheese, I like to use red cheese to add some colour.
  3. Pick your next ingredient, it could be strips of ham, pineapple, chicken… just lay it out, with the strips you are going to cut in mind.
  4. Then add some more cheese on top, and you are ready to slice it up!
  5. The fun bit – let them help you roll them up!
  6. Lay them out on some baking paper and pop them in the oven for 15 or so mins!
  7. Get ready to eat them! Lovely with some salad.

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Five snacks my toddler LOVES : Great snacks for on the go

Hallie has always had a healthy appetite, so snacks are constant throughout the day. I like to make sure they are healthy or contain something she can get some goodness from. Sometimes we get this right and most days the snacks are a hit, but not always, I don’t think anyone can predict 100% what a toddler is going to want to eat, most of the time they don’t even know. Funny though that white chocolate buttons can be a hit snack any time of the day, any day of the week.

Raisinsย 
She love, love, loves them. Hallie would eat them all day long if I let her. Not surprisingly she likes them out of the small (easy portable) snack boxes, better than the big bag, so my tip is – keep the little boxes and fill them up with raisins from the bag. Cheaper, they will get more and they are still easy to take out and about.

Carrot, cucumber and pepper strips
Healthy, yummy and colourful. As they say, eat the rainbow and you won’t go far wrong.

Breadsticks
This is a new like for Hallie, and one will keep her happy as I make her dinner. Also great fun for her to pretend it is a sword.

Fruit salad: bananas, oranges, blueberries & grapes
Lots of good stuff that little ones need, blueberries have always been a fave in our house and oranges are the new fave. I got some nice little tubs from Tesco, I try (and have the energy) to make them up when i’m making breakfast and pop them in the fridge. Great for if we are going out.

Cheeeeeseย 
In strips, in shapes (stars look good and interesting), or if you are Hallie straight out of your Mum’s sandwich, what a delicious plain cucumber sandwich I enjoyed today. She doesn’t seem to mind what shape they are in on mummy’s plate, but she is incredibly picky of what is on her own.

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My top three batch cooking faves – for toddlers

All these recipes are great for batch cooking, as you can just double or triple what you would normal cook and freeze them. I put them into small containers, let them cool and then freeze them. Then throughout the week I will just get them out when I am making Hallie’s lunch or you can take them out the night before and pop them in the fridge.

Hallie’s ‘Toddler’ Curry

  • Courgette
  • Leek
  • Onion
  • (Optional chicken)
  • Coconut milk
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Korma paste
  • Baby chicken stock cube
  • Rice

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Hidden Veggies Sauce

All your toddlers fave & not so fave veggies pureed up into a lovely sauce for pasta or potatoes.

  • Courgette
  • Onion
  • Red pepper
  • Celery
  • Leek
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrot
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Vege stock cube – low salt

Bolognese sauce

A classic, and again pureed as Hallie doesn’t like the mince texture

  • Mince (beef or even turkey)
  • Garlic
  • Carrot
  • Tomato puree
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Low salt stock

Time savers! Leaving more time for playing and getting out the house.

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Need for speed: be healthy with the microwave

There is so much more to microwaves than frozen micro meals. I moved away from the microwave for a while, before I had a toddler and didn’t need to cook quickly, all day every day! But now I am back and loving the microwave! My toddler LOVES food, I cannot express how much, and if it isn’t available as soon as she is hungry, let’s just say the Hulk has nothing on her. So with that in mind I started to use the microwave more.

I would say the most important thing for parents when cooking for their children, is that it is healthy, and I don’t think people associate that with a microwave – but that is wrong! A lot of recipes you find online for the microwave, such as ‘mug recipes’, are American and have their microwave timings, but we can recreate these in the UK! We have great microwaves that now offer healthy options, such as steam combination cooking, which boasts the steam to preserve vitamins, therefore making them a healthier option – more info @ย microwaves in the UK by Panasonic.

I was watching This Morning not long ago, and they had a chef demonstrating healthy meals in a mug, cooked in the microwave! Holly admitted her mother cooked all their meals using the microwave including a whole chicken! This got me thinking back to my mum doing the most fluffy scrambled eggs in the microwave, a lightness you just can’t get in a pan!

We had a few common microwave faves;

  • Scrambled eggs with butter and milk yum!
  • Jacket potatoes – my sister won’t even eat one that has been in the oven as she prefers the texture from a microwave.
  • Frozen vege – this is so much quicker and you can add a small knob of butter for that extra bit of yum!

However, if I was to use the microwave more, I had to broaden my horizons and find some more recipes that worked for our family. Some of our new faves are;

  • Microwave quiche (in a cup) – eggs, ham, milk, cheese, spring onions? peppers? whatever you fancy, throw them in the mug and cook for a couple of mins – great breaky idea.
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For this crustless quiche I used 2 eggs, splash of milk, pepper, cheese, spring onion, tomatoes & parsley

  • Fish & vege parcel – wrap them up in greaseproof paper, season and let them cook for at least 5 mins (or until done)
  • Microwave sweet potato crisps (or other vege, maybe kale?) – slice, toss in a small amount of oil & pop them on greaseproof paper, then cook until crispy.

All quick, easy and nutritious! What microwave recipes do you swear by? Share them below…

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Hallie’s Veggie Paella

I love making Paella as it can be as easy or difficult as you like! Tonight I chose the easy way and made a simple veggie filled paella for adults and toddlers.

You’ll need…

1 onion, 2 peppers, hand full of green beans, 2 cloves of garlic, oil, paprika, parsley, salt (a little), pepper, reduced salt vege or chicken stock, paella rice (100g per person) and peas. Chicken and chorizo is optional but very yummy.

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Chop up and onion, a couple of peppers, a handle full of green beans, a couple of cloves of garlic and a dash of oil and throw it all in a pan. Stir until the veggies start to soften slightly. (For a meat version I would also add in diced chicken and chopped up chorizo).

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Stir in some paprika and parsley, with salt and pepper (not too much for the youngsters), then add in your paella rice, I would say around 100g per person should be fine. Stir it in for a few minutes and let it take on the flavour.

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Add in the stock, a reduced salt vege stock cube or chicken. For a four person paella you will need around 1.2 Litres of stock, I normally add a quarter at a time and see how it goes. Don’t forget to add in your peas round about when you have added half your stock.

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Let it bubble gently away until all the liquid is absorbed. Don’t let the rice get too soft though! You want a bit of bite.

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Then you’re ready to serve! Yum!

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