It Started With A Pea!

You might remember my post a few weeks ago ‘Taking It One Nibble At A Time‘ about Bruiser trying new foods, even if it was the smallest nibble imaginable. Those tiny nibbles have progressed to bigger nibbles and in some cases spoon full. Spoon full of vegetables no less!

It’s not that Bruiser disliked vegetables, quite the opposite. He was weaned onto them all and loved eating them all. That was until his sensory difficulties took over and eating became problematic. Since then he hasn’t touched anything other than banana and occasionally a small slice of apple.

It all started a few weeks after the nibble of those cheese on toast stars. I did the unimaginable and put peas on his plate along with the cheesy mashed potato balls. I was pushing my luck here, normally he would reject the whole meal when something unfamiliar was put on his plate and more so because the colour wasnt in keeping with his beige/yellow/orange food preferences. After psyching the plate of food out for a few minutes though, he sat down to the table. He kept touching them and then quickly withdrawing his fingers and then going back to them. Before I knew it he was trying them only one a time and it appeared that he liked them! He gave up after a bit and sat back. I asked if he was going to eat the other food and he signed NO! quite assertively. Pushing my luck again, I put a few of the peas on a spoon and proceeded to put them to his mouth and he ate them. In the end, he ate every pea!! He left everything else on his plate on this occasion but he ate the peas. I wasnt about to push it any further though. He had done great and I was very proud of him.

Since then he’s tried Strawberrys! and Apples… whole (but the apples have to be red!)!

Sunday lunch the other day was quite comical. I was serving the food out on the kitchen side and he was taking food off his plate and eating it. It’s such a joy to see him tucking into food at the moment and more so enjoy it, even if his diet still remains very limited in colour and texture.

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Ethans Escapades

The Perfect Sponge Cake

This little recipe for me makes the perfect sponge cake. You can tailor it to each individual taste like ginger, chocolate or lemon.

What I like about this recipe is that its very easy and there is no messing around, you literally throw everything into the bowl, mix it all together and bung it straight into the oven. What could go wrong?

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For a plain sandwich cake you will need:

5oz Self Raising Flour

5oz of soft Butter or Margarine

5oz sugar

a pinch of salt

3 large eggs

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For Chocolate Cake; substitute 4tablespoons of flour for 4tablespoons of Cocoa Powder (I use hot chocolate powder)

For Ginger Cake; add 2tablespoons of Ground Ginger

 For Lemon Cake; add the grated rind of one large Lemon

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Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas.4.

Line and grease two 7inch cake baking tins

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir. Beat until it is smooth for a couple of minutes by hand or with an electric mixer.

Divide the mixture evenly between the baking tins and level off each surface.

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack.

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Fill and top the cake as you desire. As you can see, I prefer to use chocolate 😀

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This sandwich cake recipe makes the perfect cake base for Birthday Cakes. Usually the two layers is sufficient but if you want more layers, double up the ingredients. Any left over cake mix can be used in paper cases to make little buns.

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Have a go, it’s a great recipe to get the kids involved too.

ps… don’t forget to lick the bowl 😉

Fruit Scones

Just for the Record, its pronounced Scone to rhyme with ‘cone’! 🙂

I always used to love my Mums scones when I was little, warm from the oven with lashings of butter and jam. On a holiday one year in Devon, we discovered Cream Tea’s and I’ve been hooked on them ever since. I think the combination of Jam with Clotted Cream makes my Mums scones even better!

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You will need;

10oz Self Raising Flour
3oz Butter
pinch of salt
3oz Sugar
3oz Saltanas/Currents/Raisins (your choice)
1 Egg
Dash of Milk
Sugar for sprinking

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Pre-heat the oven to Gas.8/230C/450F

Line and grease 3-4 baking trays

fruit scones

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.

Add the butter and rub together to make bread like crumbs.

Add the sugar and the fruit and mix well with your fingers.

fruit scones

Make a dip in the mixture.

In a jug beat the egg with a dash of milk so you have about 10floz.

Pour this into the bowl.

Stir with a knife until you have a dough.

Lightly dust the side with flour so the dough doesn’t stick and roll out the mixture until the dough is about and inch deep.

Cut out the scones with a small cutter.

Place scones on the greased baking trays.

To glaze the scones, beat another egg with a dash of milk and use a brush to coat the top of each scone (or use your fingers) and sprinkle of a little sugar

fruit scones

Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes (turning half way).

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

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Serve and eat as desired but I believe they are best served with Jam (traditionally Strawberry Jam) and Clotted Cream for ‘Afternoon Tea’

fruit scones

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Mmmmm Delicious

Twinkle Stars

This is a lovely little biscuit recipe that my Mum would bake with me and my brothers when we were little. It’s relatively easy for little fingers and quick too so you don’t lose their attention.

Be prepared to make a mess though 😉

twinkle stars

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Recipe

6oz Self Raising Flour

Pinch of Salt

3oz Sugar

2oz Ground Almonds

(if you can’t get ground ones, use flaked almonds and blend or crush them up)

5oz Butter / Margarine

A few drops of Almond Extract

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Prepare

Pre-heat oven to 180C 375F Gas.5

Grease two baking trays

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How to Make

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl

Rub in the butter or margarine

Add the Extract and mix well.

Bring it together using your hands. (a little flour on your hands helps the mixture not stick to your fingers)

Roll out on a flat surface quite thinly

Using a star-shaped cutter, cut out the stars

Place the stars on the baking trays

Decorate the stars with what ever sprinkles your little ones want. Bruiser chose silver pearls because they are twinkly

twinkle stars

Bake in the oven for approx 15 Minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

twinkle stars

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Give them a go. They’re very delicious…

and don’t forget to lick the bowl 😉

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**this recipe contains nuts**

Makaton Monday ~ Meal Time Madness

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A very very rare moment…Bruiser enjoying eating and feeding himself

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Its safe to say that meal times aren’t the most relaxing times in our house. Meltdown after meltdown means stressful would be about right. Bruiser loves food and there isn’t anything he actually dislikes. But, he has a lot of eating/food related difficulties; he doesn’t like certain textures of food in his mouth or on his fingers, he doesn’t like been dirty and so refuses to touch food, his dislike of being dirty extends to not feeding himself with cutlery because he drops food on himself. Not to mention only wanting to do things on his terms, when he wants, which includes eating. Some days he is very compliant providing you get him the moment he decides he is hungry. The rest of the time we have to distract him by means necessary using cartoons, toys or numbers to take his mind away from what we want him to do, whilst wiping away any crumbs or splashes as quickly as they happen.

When he is in his most compliant mood however and eats or attempts to feed himself, he will use the signs associated with eating.

DINNER

FOOD

TABLE

TO EAT

PLATE

KNIFE

TO CUT
(with knife)

FORK

SPOON

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Sign/Symbol used with the kind permission of the © The Makaton Charity 2012

For any help or advice in respect of Makaton, please contact the Makaton Charity directly.

Pumpkin Pie

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This is a very seasonal dish which my Mum would make every Halloween without fail. Its delicious.

Scary Pumpkin Pie

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~ Recipe ~

80z Shortcrust Pastry

1lb Pumpkin

2 eggs

4oz caster sugar

4tbsp milk

A pinch nutmeg

A pinch ground ginger

2tsp ground cinnamon

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Line a 9-inch flan case with the pastry. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After removing the ‘inners’ from your pumpkin, taking care to remove the seeds and cotton woolly like inside part. Place it in a steamer or if you don’t have a steamer, between 2 dinner plates over a pan of boiling water. Steam for  15-20 minutes until tender.

Drain thoroughly and mash well in a bowl or puree with a blender. (I like to sieve it too)

Beat the eggs with the sugar and then add the pumpkin puree, the milk and the spices. Blend well.

Pour into the pastry case.

Bake in the middle of a preheated oven at gas.7/220˚c/425˚f, for 15 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to, gas.4/180˚c/350˚f and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the filling is set.

Serve warm with whipped cream

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Pumpkin Pie

Its Delicious. Give it a go.

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Spaghetti Bolognese

This was the very first thing my mum taught me to cook, i think i was about 11 at the time. Its fast and simple and doesn’t require any great culinary experience! My mum took the basic recipe from a cook book she owned and tweaked it to her own taste taking away some ingredients and adding her own.

Ingredients:

1lb mince steak
half an onion
1 oxo cube
a cupped hand of basil
6 cloves of garlic
2tbl spoons of tomato puree
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
2oz mushrooms
a pinch of nutmeg

Start by frying your mince until it turns brown and drain away any fat.

Add half a finely chopped onion and stir in.

Crumble in an oxo cube and then add the cupped hand of dried basil and stir in again.

Add the peeled crushed garlic cloves. (i use a garlic crusher, it saves on smelly hands and you can add it straight to the pan as you do it!) and stir again.

Turn up the heat and add the two tins of chopped tomatoes and the tomato puree.

When its bubbling away, add the chopped mushrooms and stir in.

Add a pinch of nutmeg. (my mum used to say it added shine to the sauce)

Turn heat right down and simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

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Serve with any pasta of your choice and garlic bread.

Mmmmm Delicious

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This post is part of the #FaveFamilyRecipes Competition with BritMums and Tilda Rice. Every pack sold will provide a meal to an expectant mum in need in support of the World Food Programme’s Mothers Helping Mothers initiative in Bangladesh.

Why not add your favorite recipe to the Linky!

A Package of Love

Trying to find inspiration to make your child eat a healthy and balanced lunch at school takes a lot of time and effort. You have to balance the requirements of what you would like your children to eat, with what your children wants to eat. Make it attractive to eat, whilst also trying to ward off the school lunch police!!

According to nutritionists, a balanced packed lunch should contain:

  • Starchy foods. These are bread, rice, potatoes and pasta.
  • Protein foods. These are meat, fish, eggs, beans and others.
  • A dairy item. This could be cheese or yogurt.
  • Vegetables or salad, and a portion of fruit.

Whilst this all makes for good common sense, it’s actually harder than it sounds.

I’ve discovered with my son Wriggler, through trial and error, that he is much more likely to eat food that takes little effort. Remember, they are on a time frame, they need to eat and get back out to play with their friends asap… the longer they spend eating the less time they have to play!

Here are my tips on making packed lunches that are fun, attractive and appetising!

  • All great packed lunches start life in a fun, attractive lunch bag with matching drinks bottle. This year Wriggler chose Angry Birds (as did most of his friends!)

  • Prepare lunches the night before. This gives them a cold start to the following day and therefore they remain fresher longer! and thus its one less thing for you to do in the morning.
  • I make 2 slices of bread for sandwiches with either ham cheese or jam (on 50/50 bread). I make them into either small little squares or triangles, perfect for their little hands. Or you can be adventurous as I have in the past and made them Ben10 Omnitrix style, cut into a large circle and then triangles!

(if your child really really doesn’t like crusts, just cut them off, it’s not the end of the world is it? and… they are more likely to eat all or more of their sandwiches without them!!)

  • No packed lunch is complete without a small bag of crisps or baked savory snack. Wriggler prefers Wotsits or Hoola hoops
  • A Yogurt or Fromage-Frais. this gives them their dairy portion and tops up their calcium and vitamin D, to help keep their bones and teeth healthy.
  • A pealed satsuma / clementine, or a little tub of grapes, a box of raisins perhaps.
  • A chopped raw vegetable ie carrot or cucumber sticks.

(remember time is of the essence hence the peeling and slicing)

  • Water bottle with some very very diluted (sugar free) juice in.

I’m all for making sure my little ones drink lots of water, but sometimes even I find it boring. I add a little juice to the water purely to add some flavor so they get a great tasting drink and I don’t have to worry about their teeth in the process.

  • That’s the main criteria covered for their lunch… But, sometimes I like to add a treat. Previous experience tells me that little tiny (and I mean tiny) bags of say chocolate buttons get taken away by the lunch police and thrown away as do chocolate biscuits like breakaways or clubs, so I disguise this little treat in a bun or scone.  A little cupcake / muffin with a few added chocolate chips makes them feel like they’ve had a treat and they’re more than likely to get to eat it!

My ‘Package of Love’ especially for my little man

This does all sound like a lot for a little one to eat. Most days Wriggler will eat it all but some days he only manages a few things. To make sure that he gets the energy he’s going to need for the afternoon from his food, I have an agreement whereby he must eat his sandwiches as a minimum and then if he’s not that hungry, 2 of the other options from his lunch bag. He usually picks his crisps and yogurt. He will then eat his fruit and treat on the way home from school.

How do you pack your little one up for school? do you have any tips to share?