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Recipe Index

Healthy, tasty & easy recipes on a budget

Ahoy there busy mums! You don't need bags of time, experience & money to make great meals. Check out my easy-to-follow tasty and easy budget recipes. When you feel the pinch look out for 'Credit Munch' recipes. Delicious, nutritious and easy budget recipes below £1.25 per serving!

 

Thursday
Jul282016

Organix PUNK'D - healthy snacks for cool kids!

Organix have launched a brand new range of snack food for older kids - Organix PUNK'D. Check out the video of my eldest and his cousins trying the 'cocoa & orange crash' and 'strawberry & vanilla smash' oaty bars.

With bold packaging and punchy flavours they are the first Organix snack food aimed to appeal to older children. However, they are still made in the same way all Organix products are - with organic ingredients, nothing unnecessary and nothing artificial.

The 'cocoa & orange crash' bars are simply made from wholegrain oats, sultanas, apple juice, cocoa and orange oil. The 'strawberry & vanilla smash' bars ingredients are just wholegrain oats, sultanas, apple, strawberry juice and vanilla extract. All simple good stuff.

What do I think?

Organix is a brand which I have complete faith in so as a mum, I'm delighted with these new snack bars. They are super-healthy with no nasties. Also there's no refined sugar - they are naturally sweet from fruit. 

They taste delicious. I would happily eat them myself. I love both flavours but the cocoa & orange crash flavour makes me think of chocolate orange. The texture of the bars is quite uniform, the sultanas are blended so there's bits. I like the oaty flavour.

My kids are always hungry so I love the fact that these are oat-based because they are more filling! They make a satisfying snack and because oats release their energy slowly it keeps them going for longer. They are also affordable - £2 for a box of 6 - or less (see right at the bottom). 

What do the kids think?

Texture

"They're not too hard and not too soft - just right" said Luke, 10

"Not too crumbly so you don't make a mess" said Joshua, 7

Flavour

"Really yummy" said Jacob, 6, on both flavours

"Just the right amount of vanilla - I really like them" said Luke tasting strawberry & vanilla smash

"Lovely and vanilla-ry, and tangy. I can taste strawberries!" Joshua added

"I really like these! They taste orange-y and chocolate-y!" Joshua said about cocoa & orange crash

"They are really tasty. They taste like chocolate orange" said Luke about the same flavour

Packaging

"I like the star and the bold writing....great wrappers" said Luke

"I like the turquoise and purple colours" said Jacob

Any favourites?

Jacob & Luke preferred strawberry & vanilla smash. Joshua's favorite was cocoa & orange crash.

Would you like them in your lunchbox?

A resounding "yeeessssssssss!!!" from everyone.

Last month, Isaac and I went down to Organix HQ in Bournemouth along with some other bloggers. We were given a sneak preview of the new Organix PUNK'D bars. The head office is very cool, and the people who work there are lovely and very down to earth.

Anna Rosier, managing director of Organix (pictured below), gave us some insight into the brand. I was interested to find out that Organix was founded in 1992 by a lady called Lizzie Vann. Her passion was to offer parents a healthier alternative to processed children’s food.

Emily Day, food developer for Organix (pictured below wearing glasses) explained the 18-24 month process of how a product goes from concept to shelf. Because Organix impose such strict guidelines upon themselves, such as only using organic ingredients and no artificial preservatives, development can be, in the words of Emily, crippling. However tough, they do not compromise their values, and as a result they are a brand which parents know they can completely trust.

I'm really excited about Organix PUNK'D. Finally, a healthy, affordable snack which the kids love the look of as well as the taste of. They are currently available from Ocado and Amazon (you can buy them in bulk on Amazon at the moment - 36 bars for £9 - bargain). Eventually you will be able to find them in the snack aisle of the supermarket.


Disclousre: This is a sponsored post. Words, opinions, product images and video content my own. Other images used with kind permission from Organix.

Tuesday
Jul052016

Organix Goodies Review #BigTasteLittleAdventures

Joshua & Daniel (age 7 & 5) have been testing out the new Organix Goodies snacks - Puffcorn, Crispy Bars, Mini Oaty Bites and Mini Breadsticks. I filmed them trying them for the first time, watch the video to see what they thought.

As well as being tasty and healthy, Organix goodies come with a 'No Junk' promise, meaning there's no un-necessary unrecognisable additives or ingredients. They're suitable from 12 months. Here's a bit more about the new Organix Goodies range including the boys verdict:

 

Banana Puffcorn and Sweet Cinnamon Puffcorn

Puffcorn is like popcorn without the hard kernels or sharp shells. Made from baked corn and rice it's light and crispy and available in two flavours - Banana and Cinnamon. They come in individual bags in packs of 4.

Verdict: The boys enjoyed the popcorn. Joshua commented that flavours are quite subtle. He preferred the cinnamon flavour while Daniel liked banana. Perfect for munching while watching a film we thought. 


Cocoa & Orange Crispy Bars and Berry Crispy Bars

Crispy bars are made from puffed rice and blended raisins. They look a bit like a rice crispy cake crossed with a cereal bar. They are available in two flavours, Cocoa & Orange and Berry and come in boxes of 6.

Verdict: They were a hit - sweet and tangy wth a crispy, chewy texture. You can't taste the raisins in them at all and the texture in quite uniform. Daniel loves the berry bars because they taste like strawberries which he loves. Joshua says the cocoa & orange flavour bars taste like chocolate orange! They're great for lunchboxes or a snack between school and clubs.


Mini Oaty Bites

Mini Oaty Bites are made from raisins and whole grain oats and are available in two flavours - Apple & Orange and Apple & Raspberry. They are bite-sized individually wrapped little squares.


Verdict: The boys absolutely loved these. They were crazy about them! Joshua preferred apple & orange while apple & raspberry was Daniels favourite. The oats make them quite filling. The portion sizes were too small for my big boys - they needed two or three each for a substantial snack - but I can see how they would work well for toddlers size wise. They have them in their lunch boxes as a little something extra.

 

Mini Cheese & Chive Breadsticks

Mini Cheese & Chive Breadsticks are basically little bread sticks made with fresh cheese and chives. They are made with oat flour as well as wheat flour. They come in individual bags sold in boxes of 4.

Verdict: Daniel wasn't keen on them, chives are not his thing. Joshua loved them (he's big on onions). They're nice and crunchy. Good for lunchboxes and snacks.

 

Overall the boys loved the snacks and so did I because Organix is a brand which I trust. As I talked about here, I'm trying hard to get the kids into healthy food again after a bad patch. I don't have time to make things from scratch all the time, so healthy and tasty products like this are really helpful.

 

Now over to you! Apart from fruit, you find it hard to find quick, healthy and tasty snacks for your kids? Did you enjoy the video of the boys? They really enjoyed making it! Would you like to see another?

 

Disclosure: This is number four in a series of sponsored posts for Organix. All words, opinions, images and video content are my own. 

Monday
Jun202016

Easy Carob Brownies

The first and only time I've eaten a dessert made with carob was in the Algarve where there's an abundance of alfarrobeira (carob trees). Alfarroba (carob fruit) is a brown pod with inedible seeds. The seeds are discarded and the pods dried and made into carob flour or carob powder which is used in delicious cakes and desserts such as the incredible tarte de alfarroba (carob tart).

I've only seen carob in the UK in products in health food shops - it's treated like a super food, some call it 'healthy' chocolate. The carob bars and coated raisins are a far cry from the gooey cakes and tarts of the Algarve. I looked into the health benefits of carob (if you bake with it) and unless you're allergic to caffeine there's no health benefits to eating it instead of chocolate. However, it tastes incredible - like a cross between chocolate and figs - and that is a good enough reason to eat it as far as I'm concerned.

I have been trying to re-create my favourite dessert tarte de alfarroba for some time. I love the gooey texture of the tart, but I can't be bothered to make pastry, so carob brownies are a good compromise. They are rich, fudgey and delicious. They are also very quick and very easy to make. I made them for my dad yesterday on Father's Day. He's Portuguese. They got his approval.

I brought back loads of carob flour from Portugal to experiment with. It's quite similar to cocoa powder but slightly sweeter. I found mixing it with hot water gives better results (it can be dry like cocoa powder). You can buy carob flour (AKA carob powder) from Amazon or health food stores. It's quite expensive but you only need a little, so you'll be able to make loads of delicious brownies using one bag. It's kind of a good investment.

Easy Carob Brownies: Makes 9 servings / 18 small triangles:

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil for greasing
  • 65g carob flour or powder
  • 100ml hot (not boiling) water from the kettle 
  • 150g butter, cubed
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • Good pinch of salt (leave out if using salted butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 75g plain flour
  • 50g sliced almonds (optional)
  • Icing sugar to dredge

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C / 160 fan / gas mark 4.
  2. Grease a 20cm square baking tin and line with baking paper. Lightly grease the baking paper.
  3. Put the carob flour and the hot water in a small pan and whisk together until smooth. 
  4. Put the pan on the hob over a low heat and add the butter, sugar and salt (if using). Stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has almost dissolved.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool until slightly warm.
  6. Add the vanilla and eggs to the pan and whisk again until smooth and well combined.
  7. Add the flour and use a spatula to combine the flour into the mixture using a figure 8 motion.
  8. Pour the mixture into the greased tin and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the tin and give it a little shake. If the middle is wobbly put it back in the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes. If it doesn't wobble use a skewer to check if it has cooked through. If it comes out coated in mixture return to the oven for a further 5 minutes. The skewer should come out just clean when the carob brownies are ready. Keep a close eye on the carob brownies towards the end and check them with the skewer often so they don't over bake.
  9. Leave the carob brownies to cool in the tin. Remove from tin and place on a cutting board. Dredge generously with icing sugar and cut into 9 squares. Cut each square in half to make a triangle.
  10. Carob brownies will keep for 3 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature. 
Sunday
Jun052016

Brabantia WallFix Airer Review & Video #LoveNature

Brabantia are encouraging people to take a #LoveNaturePledge - a promise to dry laundry outside for 30 days to help the environment. Because they care about the environment, Brabantia plant a tree for free for every airer they sell as part of their #LoveNature campaign.

I was sent a Brabantia WallFix Airer to review. We moved 18 months ago into a house with decking instead of lawn. There was no place to put a hole in the ground for my rotary line, so a wall-mounted retractable washing line seemed like a good solution.

The airer was easy to install - Mr K drilled four holes for screws and mounted the line onto the wall. The screws heads were concealed neatly with plastic caps which came with it. When closed, the line is 107 x 16 x 15 cm in size so quite small and discrete.

The washing line can be used indoors and outdoors or in a carport or similar. A handy little cover clips over it when closed to keep the lines clean when not in use.

The washing line is super easy to open and close with one hand. There's a little handle at the front which you simply lift and pull to open up the lines, and click to lock them in place. Same to close it.

When open, there are 24 metres of nice and taut non-slip, UV resistant line. The longest outside line is 120cm long.

The airer is large enough to hang one family-sized load of washing. It has a maximum weight capacity of 20kg, so it's fairly strong.

When open, the line is approximately 180cm wide and deep. The kids can still ride their trikes on the decking underneath it because there's no central pole. It also makes a nice little shaded area for them to sit under in the sun.

The end of each of the three long arms has a specially designed hole for hangers. Perfect for jumpers and other items which can easily become out of shape when hung up.

The line is strong and sturdy. It's weather resistant and made of anti-corrosive materials. It's the usual great quality and design that you would expect from Brabanita. I would definitely recommend it for someone who has limited space but looking to dry their clothes naturally.

 

Do a #LoveNaturePledge - dry your laundry outside for 30 days. It's good for your clothes and the environment! It's also free and gives your laundry a lovely fresh smell.

Brabantia cares about the products it creates and the impact they have on people and planet. For every rotary dryer sold Brabantia & WeForest will plant a tree for you, for free. Since the start of the #LoveNature campaign in 2015, WeForest has planted more than 500,000 Brabantia trees

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All words, opinions, photos and video content are my own. Images used with permission from Brabantia.

Friday
Jun032016

7 Brilliant Weaning Tips from Organix

I found weaning Joshua one of the trickiest stages of parenting. At the time, it seemed like a mission to get him from milk to three meals a day. I need not have worried, he happily chomped down whatever he was offered, which was mostly cubes of pureed organic food as baby-led weaning seemed relatively new at the time. Joshua, now 7, is a very adventurous eater and a keen cook. He eats huge portions at mealtimes and is always up for trying something new.

 

When it came to weaning Daniel, now 5, it was a different story. He wasn't keen on any of the pureed foods I offered him and heaven forbid he found a lump. Eventually he would take very fine purees and very gradually began to tolerate a little texture. The first time I saw him really enjoy something was when he had some dough balls at Pizza Express. Perhaps baby-led weaning would have been a better option for Daniel back then?

Isaac is only 10 weeks old, but I'm already thinking about how I'm going wean him. I recently asked a friend of mine who is a health visitor what the latest advice on weaning is. She said they're currently recommending a mixture of baby-led and purees as you can make sure a baby gets all the nutrients they need in the purees while exploring a mixture of flavours and textures through finger food. It makes sense to me and it seems like quite a natural way of doing it.

 

There's lots of great weaning advice in the downloadable Organix Little Book of Weaning which includes lots of great hints and tips. There's also lots of good recipes for weaning and beyond on the Organix website. They work with children’s food expert Lucy Thomas who has created lots of simple, fun activities to help inspire parents about introducing new taste sensations to their baby. Here's seven of them.

7 brilliant weaning tips from Organix

1. Fingers first

Help your baby to dip their fingers in some bright fruit or vegetable puree and guide their fingers to their mouth. Exploring the taste and sensation of food on their hands might be messy but it's the first step towards getting your little one to feed themselves.

2. Dip dip

Offer your baby finger food along with some puree to dip it in. Vegetables should be cooked until they are soft enough to squash between your fingers. Rice cakes are great for later on. Introducing different textures early on will help your baby become accustomed to both whole and purred foods.

 

3. Spice it up

Baby food needn't be bland - little ones will enjoy a tiny taste of herbs and spices in their food. Try sprinkling a little cinnamon or nutmeg on their porridge or apple puree, or curry powder on their parsnip puree. Let them have a lick of a slice of lemon from your water to experience the sour flavour.

4. Mirror mirror

Babies love to watch their own reflection. Hold a mirror in front of your baby while they are eating so they can see themselves and what they are exploring. It will help them with their coordination as well as their interest and confidence with food. This really works as you can see in this video.

5. Hot or cold

Encourage your little one to explore food at different temperatures by putting spots of fridge-cold puree alongside warm or room temperature puree. Let them feel it with their hands first so they become familiar with the sensation first. They may show a preference.

6. Eat your greens

Introducing your little one to tricker tastes, particularly green vegetables, will help them accept them more readily later on. Don't be tempted to mask the strong or bitter flavour of something like spinach or cabbage, offer it to them lots of times while singing or smiling. It can take 10-15 attempts before they accepts a new food, it's completely normal for them to pull a face!

7. Frozen fun

While the ups and downs of teething can interfere with weaning, cold foods can help to sooth babies gums as well as offering a new taste too. Offer older babies a frozen homemade mini-pancake, a frozen cube of puree or peeled frozen celery stick to gum on. Remove the lid of mini pots of sugar-free baby fromage frais and insert a spoon into them before freezing to make great little frozen yoghurt pops.

 

 Disclosure: This is the third in a series of sponsored posts for Organix. Words and most images are my own. Video used from Organix.

Tuesday
May032016

Eat the Seasons and a recipe for Simple Dahl 

Earlier this year I shared how Organix asked me to be a 'No Junk Mum' and join their 'No Junk Journey' this year. The aim of the campaign is to help parents make healthy food choices for their kids. It's had a big impact on how we've been eating as a family. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen some of the healthy swaps I've made.

As well as avoiding processed food, we're eating a much wider range of fruit and vegetables. My boys are really into trying new things now. It's so great to see them exploring new foods and getting excited about it. They get a sticker for trying something new even if they decide don't like it. 

I try to shop seasonally because fruit and veg that's in season always tastes better and it's cheaper as well. It's also more naturally grown. I now try to buy organic as much as possible as well, especially for the kids. The flavour is so much better, I'm amazed at how good organic carrots taste compared to regular ones.

Getting my boys to help in the kitchen encourages them to eat better. I let them choose fruit for their lunch boxes in the supermarket as well, they love that. They also love to watch You Tube videos showing how food is grown and harvested. It's great for kids to watch and learn about food in this way, and it's easy too.

It's important for kids to eat a variety of purple, green, yellow, red, orange and beige fruit and vegetables as the different colours contain specific nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy, for example, orange fruits and vegetables help keep eyes healthy and red ones can help keep blood pressure low.

I love this Simple Dahl recipe from Organix which is topped with roasted courgettes. Most of the ingredients are from the store cupboard and you can swap the courgettes with any vegetables you need to use up in the fridge. It also freezes well and can be eaten with rice, quinoa or on it's own. Great for weaning babies.

 

Simple Dahl: Serves 4 adults & 1 baby

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil or olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 4 cardamom pods (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsps curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 x 400ml can coconut milk
  • 250g red lentils
  • 300mls water
  • 2 courgettes (or other vegetables - see notes)
  • To serve (optional): brown rice or quinoa, squeeze of lime, fresh coriander

Method

  1. Finely chop the onion and sauté in the oil in a large deep frying pan or saucepan over a low heat until soft.
  2. Crush the garlic and finely grate or chop the ginger, then add to the pan.
  3. Remove the seeds from the centre of the cardamom pods (if using) and grind with a pestle and mortar along with the cumin and coriander seeds (or use ground spice).
  4. Add the spices, coconut milk, lentils and water.
  5. Cook for 35-45 minutes until lentils are soft and the consistency has thickened.
  6. In the meantime, cook the rice according to pack instructions, usually about 20-25 minutes.
  7. Whilst the dahl is cooking, dice the courgettes and place on a baking tray with a drizzle of oil, then roast for 20-25 minutes at 200°C / 180°C fan / gas 6 until golden.
  8. Top the dahl with the roasted courgette and serve with fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime accompanied by brown rice or quinoa if desired.

 

Now over to you - I'd love to hear about your family’s food and healthy eating. Do you have any tips or tricks for encouraging your kids to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables? Comment below or tweet using #NoJunkJourney 


Disclosure: This is the second in a series of sponsored posts for Organix. Words and opinions are my own. Recipe and images used with permission from Organix.