15 Feb 2014

The busy life of a new mother...

When I went off on maternity leave I was worried that I'd end up bored and lonely. Of course I knew that looking after my little chunk would keep me fairly busy, after all he can be pretty demanding when he's hungry! But I half expected to be stuck in the house, unable to get out and about because I was going to be knee deep in dirty nappies and covered in baby sick. My expectations couldn't be further from the reality! Thanks to Baby I, I appear to have a non-stop social life...  between breastfeeding support groups, baby groups and baby sensory I seem to be out of the house more than I'm in it :-) The groups have been a fantastic way to meet other new mothers too and I seem to have become involved with a new group of mummy friends who all attend the same groups. I'm not sure if I'll be able to find time to return to work in September ;-)

9 Feb 2014

Recipe: Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

I cooked meatballs for the first time last night and they were delicious! I'll definitely be cooking these again as they were pretty simple to make and incredibly tasty. I looked online for a recipe and found one on Jamie Oliver's website but just used it as a guide rather than sticking to it religiously, it's much more fun that way ;-)


Makes: approx 4 servings
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins

Ingredients

Meatballs
500g minced beef
1 large egg
Approx 50g breadcrumbs
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons of english mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper

Tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
Handful of mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed/minced (we love garlic, adjust amount according to your preference!)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
Dash of worcester sauce
Approx 100ml water
2 tablespoons dried mixed herbs
Sprinkle of dried crushed chillis

Method
1. Pick Rosemary leaves from the sprigs and discard the stalks. Finely chop.
2. Add to mixing bowl with mince, egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, mustard, salt and pepper. Scrunch and mix up well using your hands.
3. Divide into 4 large balls. With wet hands, divide each ball into 6 and roll into little meatballs – you should end up with 24. Place in the fridge until needed.
4. Fry onions in a little oil, when starting to soften add garlic and mushrooms and fry for 2-3 mins.
5. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, water, worcester sauce, herbs and chilli and simmer for 15 mins.
6. In a separate pan, fry meatballs until browned and cooked through
7. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer for another 15 mins. Serve with pasta and a side salad.

5 Feb 2014

Recipe: Chicken & Sweet Potato Soup

When I was pregnant I cooked big batches of food to freeze so we didn't have to rely on take always and junk food once Little Chunk arrived. This soup was really simple to make and perfect for freezing! (I made about 4 times the amount this recipe is for as I planned to freeze it). We defrosted some the other day for lunch and it was delicious. I got this recipe from the Hamlyn 200 Meals for Two recipe book.

Makes: 2 servings
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
1 tin of coconut milk
600ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
salt to taste

Method
1. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and fry for 3 minutes until softened.
2. Add the sweet potato and chicken and fry for 2-3 mins until the chicken is coloured all over
3. Add the coconut milk and stock, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 mins until potato is tender.
4. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth.
5. Season to taster with salt, stir through chopped coriander and serve.

Healthy eating starts... tomorrow? Maybe?!

Since Baby I arrived, Mr M and I have been pigging out and not really watching what we're eating. We decided that healthy eating would start on Monday but it got off to a bad start when Mr M made tea in the morning, while I was feeding Baby M, and brought it up to me in bed with some biscuits. His argument was that the biscuits had fruit in them so it was ok... hmmmmm! It went from bad to worse when we went for a walk along the seafront and stopped for coffee to warm us up, again Mr M was a bad influence and bought us cake to go with the coffee. After that we decided it was pointless pretending we were healthy eating that day and would start the next day...  but again we failed miserably! We really need to start being more disciplined but my friend just sent me the most amazing looking recipe for Creme Egg Brownies. Maybe we should wait until next week ;-)