RSS Feed

Author Archives: TheGingerbreadMum

How To Not Give Up On Veganuary

* This post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.   

How To

We’re just past the halfway mark for Veganuary and apparently today is the day that many people will give up. Here are some tips to help you keep going.

Jakub Kapusnak Unsplash

Remind yourself why you’re doing it
Whether you’re going vegan for your health, for animal rights, to help the planet or another reason, reminding yourself why you made the decision can get you back on track. The official Veganuary website have loads of resources to keep you focused on your specific goal.

Recognise your progress
You’ve been vegan for more than two weeks and you’re more than halfway to the end of January. Give yourself a pat on the back (or why not reward yourself with a back massage!) for getting this far and feel confident you can keep going.

Take one day at a time
Even though you’re more than halfway there, maybe another two weeks without the foods you’ve been used to eating seems too daunting. If that’s how you’re feeling, just focus on being vegan for more one day, then do it for another day, and then another. Take baby steps to help you keep going towards your goal.

Don’t be too hard on yourself
If you slip up, don’t punish yourself. And it certainly doesn’t mean you have to give up Veganuary altogether. For a lot of people switching to a vegan diet is a big lifestyle change so be kind on yourself. Remind yourself why you’re doing it (which probably isn’t to punish yourself!), remind yourself of your progress so far and keep going.

Try something new
Look for some new vegan recipes to try and discover snacks you didn’t realise were vegan-friendly.

If you’re running out of ideas for specific mealtimes, have a look at Purely Amy’s Weekly Vegan Meals which has lots of ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She’s also put together a great list of vegan-friendly snacks and ready meals (hobnob anyone?!).

There’s loads of recipes on the official Veganuary website and why not also try:

Poppy and the Bees Veganuary

Basic but Brilliant Lentil Bolognese from Poppy and the Bees

Simply Living Vegan veganuary

Creamy Pea and Mushroom Pasta from Simply Living Vegan

Chocolate-Covered Katie veganuary

The Best Vegan Brownies from Chocolate-Covered Katie

And these three vegan cookbooks are currently on sale at Waterstones:

Vegan 100 by Gaz Oakley
How To Go Vegan by Veganuary
Feed Me Vegan by Lucy Watson

You can also check out my Veganuary Pinterest board for more recipes and ideas to help keep you going.

Are you doing Veganuary? Do you have any more tips to make it easier for people to change to a vegan lifestyle?

Advertisements

What Does Your Child Eat in a Week?

Global obesity is rising. Forty years ago, 1 in 40 American children were considered obese; today it’s 1 in 4 and life expectancy is declining because of the over-consumption of empty calories.

Here in the UK the statistics aren’t much better. An NHS study in England showed in 2015/16, over 1 in 5 children in Reception (first year of school) and over 1 in 3 in Year 6 were obese or overweight.

Gregg-Segal-Daily-Bread-Frank-Dakar

Frank, Dakar

The countries with the healthiest diets in the world (as identified by a 2015 Cambridge University study published in The Lancet) contrast dramatically with the United States. While the nine African countries in the top 10 have diets full of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and grains, shockingly vegetables make up only 1% of a typical American diet.

Gregg-Segal-Daily-Bread-Nur-KualaLumpur

Nur, Kuala Lumpur

Shocked by these facts, California-based photographer Gregg Segal went searching for regions where families eat healthier home-cooked meals, focusing on children because eating habits are often formed when we’re young.

Travelling the world for the last two years, Segal has been asking children to keep a diary of everything they eat over a week. At the end of the week, he takes a portrait of each child surrounded by their week of food.

Gregg-Segal-Daily-Bread-Andrea-Catania

Andrea, Catania

These glorious, insightful photos made me think a lot about what my fussy six-year-old eats during a week, and more specifically how many junk snacks he gets through. When Nicholas was a toddler I was really strict about his diet, not letting him have salt or oil for his whole first year of weaning and certainly not refined sugars. What kind of mother would I have been otherwise, I thought!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Then the dreaded fussy stage set in, a stage I was not prepared for and stuck my head in the sand about for a rather long time. I was relieved whenever pretty much any type of food made its way to his tummy. Even now he can still be a stressful fusspot when he’s not given his limited range of preferred meals, and when mummy’s tired or sick of cooking it can be easy not to choose the healthiest of options. Yep, more reasons to feel guilty about my parenting skills.

Anyway, this photography project definitely got me thinking about my child’s diet and how to make it better. Has anyone gotten their kids to keep a food diary? Healthy eating is a topic they’ve covered at school so a food diary could link into that. Or should we focus on setting the best example we can for our children?

Gregg-Segal-Daily-Bread-Beryl-KualaLumpur

Beryl, Kuala Lumpur

Read Time’s feature on Gregg Segal’s Daily Bread project and see more portraits on his website.

Gregg-Segal-Daily-Bread-Rosalie-Nice

Rosalie, Nice

Do you feel you set a good example for your kids when it comes to eating healthily?

Would you try keeping a food diary with your kids?

Crispy Rice Christmas Trees

Today I’m sharing a last minute, super easy Christmas treat that kids will have lots of fun helping you make.

After our school Christmas Fair, the chair of the PTA handed over an almost full 1kg bag of mini marshmallows, saying she was sure I could use them for the last school bake sale of the year. I asked Instagram for ideas (popcorn snow balls, rocky road, chocolate brownies, marshmallow nougat…) but to save time, I settled for the rice krispie and marshmallow classic.

crispy-rice-marshmallow-christmas-trees

A lesson learned from making crispy rice treats in bulk: don’t double the mixture!!! It was hard (and very sticky work). Instead of saving me time, it slowed me down. So, my advice if you want to make these in bigger quantities would be to make one batch at a time. That way you avoid the marshmallow and butter mixture quickly cooling down and setting before you’ve completely mixed it through the crispy rice.

CRISPY RICE CHRISTMAS TREES

Prep Time: 15 mins (plus decorating)
Cook Time: 0 mins
Makes 8 large treats

35 grams butter
250 g mini marshmallows
150 grams crispy rice cereal (e.g. rice krispies)
sprinkles or edible glitter
4 candy canes

Grease a round cake tin (mine is 23 cm in diameter) with butter or cooking spray.

In a large, heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat.

Add the marshmallows and stir constantly until they’re completely melted and combined.

Take off the heat and immediately add the cereal, mixing until all the cereal is completely coated.

Press the mixture into the greased tin. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula that’s been warmed in a mug of hot water to make it easier as the mixture is very sticky. Flatten the top and scatter over the sprinkles or edible glitter.

Let the mixture cool completely before cutting into eight equal slices (as if it were a cake).

Cut the curved tops off the candy canes (you don’t need these) and cut each straight piece into two. Gently push each piece into the bottom of each crispy rice wedge.

Merry Christmas!

 

Fun (and easy) Christmas Food

There aren’t very many sleeps left until Christmas! Is it just me who feels like November and December have whizzed by this year?

If you’re in need of some inspiration for some fun (and easy) festive food for your excited little ones or even the Christmas-loving big people in your family, hopefully these will help. You can also check out my Pinterest board (Christmas food) for loads more suggestions.

snowman-sandwich-balls-fun-food-tutorial-from-Eats-Amazing-UK

Grace from Eats Amazing created these Snowmen Sandwich Balls that are healthy as well as cute.

c12031

Another cute and healthy Christmas snack is from akinoichigo. I love how simple this is, starting out with just a cheese triangle on a cracker.

DSCF1355

But even simpler is this super healthy candy cane from Make Do and Friend.

cheese-wreath

A very easy centre piece for a Christmas buffet is this cheese wreath from Kraft.

Rudolph-Hot-Chocolate-Header-1

Di from PaintSewGlueChew has come up with an adorable way to top your hot chocolate that I’ll definitely be trying over the holidays.

Which one is your favourite?

 

How to get your kids to eat their vegetables

I remember vividly when the fussy stage of eating hit us. We went from a toddler who very happily ate absolutely everything I gave him, to a stressful monster who only wanted to eat the same tiny selection of foods over and over and over.

Three and a bit years later, while Nicholas generally eats a wider variety of foods (thank goodness!), the range of vegetables he’s happy to eat is MUCH smaller than I’d like. I don’t stress about it… well not in front of him… but I definitely dream of the day when my child is no longer fussy. Please let it be before he moves out!

Feeding My Kid made a super helpful infographic with lots of useful tips to keep you sane when dealing with the challenge of a picky eater who refuses to eat their veg.  And for even more practical advice, read How to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables by my paediatrician friend Dr Orlena Kerek.

Do you have a fussy eater? What’s worked for you? 

fussy eater guide help

Fun Halloween Food

Inspiration-for-Halloween-food-TheGingerbreadMum

Halloween is quickly approaching. It’s taken me a bit to get into celebrating it, but having a monster-loving boy, who already decided last month what his Halloween costume would be, has helped.

There are so many amazingly creative food ideas out there to make the most of the spooky season, but if you have monster lovers at home there’s no reason why you can’t make some of these fun creations all year round.

Here are my favourites this year and check out my previous posts (here and here) for more inspiration.

My Fussy Eater: Spooky Spider Rice Cakes

A healthy snack to balance those ‘trick or treat’ sweeties, Ciara at My Fussy Eater has made her Spooky Spiders from bite-sized rice cakes, blackberries and grapes.

TexanErin Baking: Halloween Monster Mouths

Another healthy Halloween treat are these Monster Mouths from Texanerin Baking.  I love the oozing dripping strawberry jam blood!

Cooking With Curls: Toxic Waste Mac and Cheese

Still keeping it healthy, Cooking With Curls‘ Toxic Waste Mac and Cheese should be a big hit with any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans while giving them a good dose of spinach and cauliflower (but they don’t need to know that!).

The Bearfoot Baker: Pumpkin Cakes

How cute are these cupcake Jack-O-Lanterns from Lisa at The Bearfoot Baker?

Half Baked Harvest: Hocus Pocus Spellbook Brownies

Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest created these scrumptious and cute Hocus Pocus Spellbook Brownies.

Yummy Crumble: Monster Strawberry Cupcakes

Yummy Crumble’s Monster Strawberry Cupcakes remind me of Audrey II as a baby plant from A Little Shop of Horrors, cute but also rather scary.

Better Homes and Gardens: Simple Halloween Cupcakes

These cupcakes from Better Homes and Gardens are at the top of my list for my upcoming school bake sale because they scream “Halloween!” while taking very little effort to make.

Barman's Journal: Green Monster Shot

Halloween food doesn’t have to only be for kids. I love this sea monster (or is it a Kraken?!) coming out of the green depths that’s actually a tequila and green Bloody Mary shot created by Barman’s Journal.

Kitchen Table Scraps: Creepy Panna Cotta

Who knew a coconut panna cotta, a slice of kiwi, a raisin and some raspberry coulis could be so creepy! Renee at Kitchen Table Scraps has transformed an ordinary dessert into a spooky spectacle.

Which one is your favourite?

For more inspiration, take a look at my Halloween Food and Fun board on Pinterest.

Seven Recipes to Use Up Apples (and how to freeze them)

One of the many things I fell in love with when I first saw our current home were the apple trees in the garden. Both produce eating apples, one red and one green. Every summer since we moved in, we’ve had loads. And every year I promise myself that I’ll be better the following year with using them!

7-Apple-Recipes

So what can you do when you have too many apples? Here are some delicious recipes to eat now or to put in the freezer or pantry for later.

1. Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Chutney

NaturalKitchenAdventures-SlowCookerSpicedAppleChutney

Source: Natural Kitchen Adventures

The perfect accompaniment to a cheeseboard, this spiced apple chutney from Natural Kitchen Adventures is cooked in the slow cooker making it super easy – just throw everything in and leave it to cook itself! You can feel super organised by keeping some of this chutney for Christmas, when there’s never enough time to cook.

2. Carrot, Apple and Oat Breakfast Cookies

MyFussyEater-Healthyreakfastookies

Source: My Fussy Eater

A cookie you can eat for breakfast? Yes, please! Packed with healthy ingredients (oats, carrots and bananas as well as apples), these are a terrific way to get more fruit and vegetables into any fussy eaters you may have. Apart from grating the carrot and apple, this is a quick and easy ‘throw together and mix’ recipe.

3. Apple Crumble Flapjacks

CharlottesLivelyKitchen-AppleCrumbleFlapjack

Source: Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen

Charlotte’s apple crumble flapjacks would be a wonderful after school snack as well as a delicious dessert with custard. They’re so simple and quick to make, and a great way to get your little ones helping in the kitchen. These aren’t going to last long in our house!

4. Apple Cinnamon Blondies

MarshasBakingAddiction-AppleCinnamonBlondies

Source: Marsha’s Baking Addiction

These blondies from Marsha’s Baking Addiction look so lusciously gooey and packed full of apple. Like all my favourite recipes, they take very little time to prepare and better still, everything is mixed together in the one bowl, no mixer needed. Perfect for afternoon or dessert as the days are getting cooler, I can’t decide whether these would taste better with ice-cream or custard.

5. Mini Cardamom Apple Pies

DomesticGothess-MiniCardamomApplePies

Source: Domestic Gothess

These super cute mini apple pies from Domestic Gothess are spiced with cardamom and cinnamon. Make several batches to keep in the freezer to impress unexpected guests. And I won’t tell anyone if you use store-bought pastry to make them even easier and quicker.

6. Homemade Apple Chips 

LivingSweetMoments-AppleChips

Source: Living Sweet Moments

No dehydrator is necessary to make these yummy apple chips or crisps. While you’ll get a good arm workout slicing them, after that the oven does all the work. They should keep well in an airtight container or ziplock bags, and would be perfect to add to school lunch boxes.

7. Unsweetened Apple Sauce

apple sauce

Source: The Gingerbread Mum

Apple sauce isn’t just for babies or to eat with roast pork. It’s a brilliant sweetener and sugar substitute, and super easy and quick to make. You can freeze batches of sauce either in ice cube trays or ziplock bags depending on how you’ll use it later.

How to Freeze Apple

If you still have apples to use, simply freeze them. Then you’ll always have a supply to use in cakes, crumble or even smoothies. Shelly from Frugal Family Home has some advice for how to freeze apples.

What’s your favourite way to use up apples?