I've spoken on the blog before about it being important to me that my boys know where their food comes from and to be interested in nature. Last year we bought some vegetable seeds and planted them and it was lovely to see them interested in how they were growing and open to trying new things because they had come from our garden.
When you think of traditional British dishes, the pie should be high up on the list. Originating in ancient Rome, the pie is a hearty meal when served with mashed potato or chips and some form of vegetable. I have to admit that it's something I don't make often and when I do, I stick to the same recipe using up roast chicken leftovers so we were excited and interested to try something new at Pieminister in Nottingham City Centre.
I've got another new vegan recipe for you and this one is a lovely treat. My absolute favourite mid morning snack is a cup of herbal tea and a slice of cake. There's nothing better than having a break, sitting on the sofa and enjoying a sweet treat. What if that sweet treat was good for you? I love gingerbread but it's very heavy on the refined sugar and I wanted to reduce this and also make it gluten and dairy free.
Chocolate for breakfast? Yes please! It probably won't come as a surprise to you that we love our chocolate in this house. My Chocolate and Almond Granola is a staple and my boys, and in particular Ethan makes sure I make a batch every week. As I'm taking part in Veganuary I was looking for some new breakfast recipes and thinking about how I could find some nutritious as well as quick and easy to make breakfasts now we're back into the routine of school and work when mornings are rushed.
This recipe came about from looking for a new and quick pasta sauce recipe to try during Veganuary and experimenting with different ingredients. The first time I made it, I put toasted pine nuts on to garnish and it tasted great. Blending them in and adding the cream cheese has made this pesto even more delicious. It's super quick and easy to make. You can have a meal on the table in ten minutes tops, which is so good for when you're tired and don't want to stand in the kitchen for hours on an evening.
I want to try to do Veganuary again in the new year. I tried a couple of years ago and only managed 12 days so I really want to challenge myself to complete the whole month this time. When I tried it before I hadn't long been trying to be gluten and dairy free and I found it really hard to cut out meat and fish too. Over the last two years I have tried a lot more vegan recipes and therefore have more of a variety of foods I know I can eat and will like.
Being a working mom with various interests and hobbies often means there will never be enough hours in a day to truly do everything you want to do. Things will end up being moved to the schedule for tomorrow, thus bumping another item on the list for the next day, and so on. It’s one thing to embrace the paradox of unpredictability kids bring into your life, however, when your own time ends up suffering consistently, it’s a whole different problem.
And then they were seven! Seven seems so much more grown up than six, don't you think? They are getting so big! They had a normal school day and swimming lesson on their birthday. They opened their presents in the morning with Daddy and then Nana came round in the evening to have tea with us and a brownie. We had a party at a local leisure centre a few days after. It was chaos but they had a brilliant time!
The last four weeks of these two being six. The last couple of months they've suddenly seemed much taller. Half term went by in a flash, with our trip to Wollaton Hall to see the Jurassic Kingdom exhibition, a family brunch at The Pudding Pantry and Halloween. I love the autumn feel and the colours in this month's photos from a park trip on the 11th. The boys wanted to go on their skateboards but ended up moaning and bickering the whole time so we just gave up and went to the playground!
Making a Birthday cake for my boys has become a tradition, something that my Mum always did for my brother and I, and so something I wanted to do for my children. Each year I do something a little different but the one constant factor is chocolate! I have been using the same recipe for the sponge and buttercream for five years now and we all love it. The sponge is soft, light and wonderfully chocolatey and the buttercream is just addictive! I'm no pro when it comes to looks and decoration but my boys don't care, they just like the fact that I made it and that it tastes good. I hope they will remember these cakes just like I remember mine.