20 Days til Christmas

We may have missed meat free Monday this week but little lady really enjoyed a vegetable lasagne for dinner this evening.

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We’ve already decided we aren’t going to raise Amelia on a vegetarian diet but when I saw the range of Ella’s kitchen vegetable based meals I had to get some of them for Amelia to try. Amelia will eat anything and everything – at the moment she particularly likes paper – so her liking it wasn’t exactly surprising. She is a little piggy and loves her food. I can’t wait for Christmas when she can have her own little dinner.

20 days til Christmas today!

Things that are done:
All the presents have been paid for and most of them are wrapped
Our tree is up

Things still to do:
Write the Christmas cards
Take Amelia to see Father Christmas

How is everyone else’s Christmas lead up going?

#squashgoals

I can’t be the only one with loads of pumpkins left! We went pumpkin picking and I went a little over board. At the time, compared to the other people’s wheelbarrows, I thought I hadn’t picked that many pumpkins.

Last night I finally used up the remaining pumpkins or most of them. For once I was actually quite organised in the kitchen and managed to prepare dinner for last night and tonight and made a little snack from the left overs for Rob – chilli roasted pumpkin seeds!

The first thing I used the pumpkins for was last nights dinner – vegetable stew and dumplings. Of course I used vegetable suet for the dumplings but they were still delicious. Pumpkin aside, the stew was made up of onions, leeks, carrots and gravy. The perfect meal for a cold winter evening.

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Tonights dinner is a pumpkin cottage pie which I made while last nights stew was cooking. Instead of the usual array of vegetables I replaced some of them with little bits of pumpkin. The seeds that I scooped out of the pumpkin I saved and fried in oil with salt, dried garlic and chilly seeds.

 

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Next year I’ll remember not to buy so many pumpkins! There are only so many things you can disguise them in before all you are eating is pumpkin flavoured everything.

Proud Mumma

Mum and I took Amelia shopping yesterday afternoon. By the end of our trip we were all hungry so decided to stop in Poppyfields pub and rotisserie on the way home. When we got there Amelia was asleep in her car seat so we carried her inside in it. The mother at the table across from us had my sympathy immediately. Her little girl was having a major tantrum, chucking anything in reach of her high chair on the floor. Menus, cutlery, napkins, sauce, chips, everything.

Mum ordered a hunters chicken and I ordered macaroni cheese – a pleasant surprise as on my last visit the main vegetarian option was a beetroot curry.

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By the time our food came out Amelia was awake and I prepared for a tantrum like the Mum on the other table had had to deal with. But Amelia was an angel. She sat in her high chair and happily ate her Ella’s kitchen sweet potato and parsnip purée. I was so proud of her. My tiny baby all grown up eating her dinner in her high chair.

Mum Excitement

Anyone who has had children will know exactly what I mean when I say completely different things excite you once you’ve had a baby. The first month of their life you are just delighted if you get five minutes to shower and as they get bigger you are just as happy when you realise you remember to put the extra nappies in the changing bag.

Now Amelia is bigger and we have our own flat there are bigger but more ‘boring’ things that excite me. Take today for example. Me and Amelia went out on our usual walk to the shops and I found a piece of kitchen equipment I had wanted for ages. A steamer.

I know. It’s funny. I’m 21 and excited about buying myself a steamer. But I love cooking for my little family. I walked back with it balanced on Amelia’s pushchair with a smile on my face. No doubt when Rob sees it he will laugh.

When I was little my Nan always made bacon pudding in her steamer, bacon and stuffing wrapped in a suet pastry. I can’t wait to try and make my own vegetarian version this evening.

What ‘mum’ things have you got excited about?

Feeding the Family

Anyone who had their own place knows that there are A LOT of bills to pay. Rent, Council tax, TV license, gas, electric, water  and food shopping and they are just the obvious ones.

So I don’t like throwing food away. I wrote a post about a tagine I found a meal kit for in Marks and Spencer’s. I liked it so much I went back and bought 3 more kits (good vegetarian meal ideas are hard to come by).

I made the tagine last night and there was a bit left over so I decided to use it to make myself a kind of vegetarian shepherds pie and it couldn’t have been easier. All it took was an oven proof dish and some microwave frozen mash potato.

I put a sprinkle of grated cheese cheese over the top and popped it in the oven for twenty minutes it crisp up. It was delicious. How do you save money on the food shopping?

Meal Time Fun Halloween Style

So I was sitting on the floor trying to coax an unhappy, tired titchy princess into having a nap, wondering what to write about for todays post when I found this months issue of the free magazine Tesco give out in stores. How did it end up on the floor, I am sure you are wondering? Well for some unknown reason, probably because I was half asleep, yesterday I decided to unpack the shopping onto the floor in our room and when Rob helped me put it away the magazine had got left on the floor.

This months the magazines theme is, unsurprisingly, Halloween. I’ll be honest, the doughnuts pictured on the front were what made me open it. I flicked through it, hoping to reach the doughnut page quickly, and instead found myself reading all the other recipes. If you are planning a Halloween party then definitely go and find yourself a copy of the magazine as there are loads of really good ideas for buffet food and cakes in there.

Whoever wrote this months issue must have done so with me in mind, as there is an entire segment dedicated to vegetarian food and a recipe for ‘mini brain fondue’ – and who doesn’t love a big pot of melted cheese to dip their food in?

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I will definitely be trying out the recipe, my one attempt at Halloween themed cooking. If you have older babies this would also be a good way to get them to eat their veggies!

 

 

 

To Veggie or Not to Veggie?

I have been vegetarian for nearly eight years. For the first year I ate fish and on a couple of occasions during my pregnancy I ate mackerel – I craved it and anyone who has been pregnant or has interacted with a pregnant woman knows cravings are not to be messed with.

As Amelia gets older we are asked increasingly often whether we will raise her on a vegetarian or meat based diet. Rob, the dad she adores and my other half , is most definitely not vegetarian. Yesterday morning was a perfect testament to this as I made him not one but two bacon sandwiches for breakfast.

Rob lets me decide most things related to Amelia as he believes I know the most about babies out of the two of us. Vegetarianism and babies is a very unpopular topic. I have been told numerous times by people that obviously don’t know much about a healthy diet that not allowing her to eat meat would make her extremely poorly. However my midwife made it very clear to me throughout my pregnancy that being vegetarian was perfectly healthy for me and baby provided I ate a balanced diet. She even said that changing my diet to include lots of meat just because I was pregnant was not advisable; it was likely to make me sick and my body just wouldn’t know what to do with it. So anyone who tells me it is not healthy for Amelia would be very wrong.

That said I am not going to stop her eating meat. Her dad does not eat meat everyday as I will not cook it everyday so she will have it when ever he does. If she decides she’d rather eat what I am eating then she is welcome to that too. She’s a little person and is welcome to chose whichever version of the meal that she’d prefer.

Last night I made a vegetarian tagine using a wonderful meal kit from Marks and Spencers. Instead of using chicken I used quorn chicken fillets and rob was quite happy with that.

This idea that we must eat meat with every meal is a bit silly. It’s expensive, often full of unnecessary amounts of fat and is very limiting. There are so many meat free foods to try. Why limit yourself to the traditional meat and two veg type dinner when you could try so many other things?

Baby Weight

These days it’s nearly impossible to be secure in your own body when everywhere you look there’s a tiny model in a swimsuit with a perfect tan, hair and makeup done by a professional every morning and their own personal trainer.

I think this is particularly true for new mums. Instagram gives you access to a never ending stream of gorgeous bikini bodies. Most girls my age will have heard of Tammy Hembrow. She documented both her pregnancies through regular full body pictures and was very critical of her body a few weeks after each pregnancy. She was very vocal about how she kept up her weight training until very close to her due date.

It’s deceiving. Most new mums won’t have the time to hit the gym in the early days and theres no shame in that! And as for working out during pregnancy? Great if you can but if not that’s not a bad thing. Take time to enjoy your pregnancy and watch your bump grow. The stronger your abs are the longer it usually takes for your bump to appear and I don’t know about you, but for me that was one of the things I enjoyed most about being pregnant!

Tammy Hembrow may have been lucky enough to be able to work out whilst pregnant but I certainly wasn’t. For a start I had a job and a degree to study for which isn’t exactly conducive with several hours a day in the gym and secondly my health didn’t call for it either. I had morning sickness so severe that I lost 7lbs in the first 20 weeks and had an ambulance sent out to me and for the latter half of my pregnancy I was on crutches.

I’m the first to admit that I was quite lucky in that I slimmed down very quickly. Thanks to breast feeding and an early baby that got readmitted to hospital my tummy pulled in very quickly and the first couple of weeks I hardly got the chance to eat more than the three meals a day the hospital provided. 6 days after having Amelia I was back in my prepregnancy jeans and by six weeks I weighed the same as I did before pregnancy too.

I’m proud of the fact I have maintained the weight loss and am still eating healthily as I did before having Amelia – aside from an odd glass of wine which I think us mammas deserve. I’ve always been a reasonably healthy person and didn’t use my pregnancy as an excuse to over indulge – I strongly believe in eating in moderation. Have the chips or the pizza but make sure you have the salad too.

But if six months down the line you’re still a few pounds off your prebaby weight that is fine too. What’s more important is that you are happy and healthy and crash dieting whilst caring for a newborn is far from healthy. If you’re breast feeding you naturally burn around 500 extra calories so deciding to stick to a 1200 calorie diet would leave you feeling really run down and could hinder your milk supply.

Your body took nine months to grow that tiny human and its hard work. It deserves at least six weeks to heal before obsessing over getting into those size eight skinny jeans.

(and incase you were wondering the picture is of my favourite meal in the last few weeks of my pregnancy – Halloumi salad with seafood sauce and non-alcoholic moijitos)