Category Archives: Sophie is cooking

In pursuit of veg

How do you get your toddler to eat more vegetables?

This was not a question I thought I’d be asking. Having followed Arthur’s lead on weaning, a year ago he would happily tuck into courgette, mushroom, sweet potato, broccoli – pretty much everything, in fact, that we put in front of him. In the back of my mind I knew it was too good to be true.

Nowadays cucumber is the only thing we can be sure of. And potatoes, but I don’t think they count. He normally likes peas and sweetcorn, and will go for a carrot stick on a good day. But that’s it!

So I am always on the lookout for new ideas to persuade him that actually vegetables are pretty delicious. Having had lots of fun with bluenana muffins last week something that would involve him in the whole culinary creative process was even more appealing. So when I came across the idea of omelette muffins I knew I had to give it a go.

Veg, cheese and eggs. All put together in a cupcake tin and forgotten about whilst it cooks. What’s not to love?

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Arthur was intrigued by the smorgasbord of ingredients put in front of him, and was super keen to get involved with the liberal sprinkling into the (well-greased) tins.

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Once we’d we’d exhausted our supply of fillings, it was time for eggs. That was even more exciting – Arthur loved having a go at cracking them against the jug, and then mixing them up ready to pour.

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Once the pan was topped up with eggs, they went into the oven. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from these super-healthy, super-paleo muffins, but they looked amazing once they’d done their time.

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And they tasted pretty awesome too! But before I get into that here’s the recipe in case you want to have a go…

Super healthy omelette muffins

One of the brilliant things about this recipe is that the flavour possibilities are almost endless. What follows is what worked for me, but feel free to mix it up with whatever you’ve got to hand!

You will need:

12 hole cupcake/muffin tin

Ingredients:

Finely chopped:

Half a red onion

Half a courgette

3 mushrooms

Half a red pepper

Small handful chives

Cheese to taste

9 eggs

Splash of water

Salt and pepper

Olive oil for greasing

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 180 c

2) Grease the cupcake tin liberally with olive oil

3) Evenly distribute the vegetables and cheese amongst the tins

4) Whisk together the eggs with a splash of water

5) Pour egg mixture into tins

6) Place tins in hot oven for 20 mins, or until raised and lightly browned

7) Allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out to serve

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This is is the perfect lunch for toddlers and adults alike, working just as well with carrot sticks on the side or on top of a dressed leafy salad.

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They also provided the perfect snack for my husband to keep his brain going in the run up to his medical school finals, and worked just as well cold the next day.

All in all, for someone who loves eggs but finds conventional omelettes a bit of a chore, these were a revelation.

But…

Arthur wasn’t entirely convinced.

He observed and poked and prodded and nibbled, but not an awful lot was actually ingested.

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So the quest for veg to please the toddler is still ongoing.

These have definitely made it onto my regular lunch list (sorry kiddo), but if you have any other suggestions for ways to get Arthur to eat more vegetables then please share them below!

Mums' Days

The most important meal of the day

When I was a teacher, I was always more than slightly alarmed to see teenagers clutching litre bottles of cut price energy drinks as they arrived at school in the morning. Sometimes this was supplemented with a packet of crisps, but either way I doubted it was going to do much to set them up for a day of learning.

Just by talking to kids about their breakfast habits, it was clear that there was a strong correlation between a healthy and nutritious morning meal and the ability to focus, study and learn – something that has been confirmed by numerous studies over the years.

It is a sad fact that one in seven British schoolchildren go to school without having eaten breakfast at all, but when you look at Africa the figures are even more stark. Research has highlighted that about a third of people in Uganda and Rwanda are gravely undernourished – an estimated fifteen million people. For children, this becomes yet another factor which holds them back from reaching their full potential.

It is for this reason that Send A Cow has launched the Break… Fast Appeal which aims to raise £500,000 to give children in Africa a better start to their days and to their lives. And as part of this appeal they have launched a fantastic free recipe book, ‘The Most Important Meals of Their Lives’, which is available online here and captures in stunning images the food that fuelled the achievements of some of the greatest people in the history of humankind.

From Winston Churchill to Rosa Parks, from Florence Nightingale to Nelson Mandela, this intriguing and inspiring book offers an insight into the meals that created history. And not only that, the clear and straightforward recipes offer you the chance to recreate the meals for yourself.

I rather like the look of Cleopatra’s Ancient Egyptian bread sweetened with honey and dried fruits.

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Someone else who was keen on a starchy start to the day was Jane Austen, with her breakfast of bread and cake accompanied by tea and cocoa.

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Or perhaps you’d rather go for something a little more savoury, like Charles Darwin’s feast of game and eggs?

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Whatever your tastebuds crave in the morning you’re bound to find something in this book to tickle your fancy. I’m certainly looking forward to trying out some of the recipes as an alternative to our breakfast staple of porridge and fruit.

But this is more than just a recipe book. It is a fantastic educational resource that could be used at home or in school not only to raise awareness of the importance of breakfast for children in Africa, but also to spark off conversations with young people about how they start their day. Perhaps by exploring the meals that their heroes enjoyed, teenagers might be encouraged to rediscover this essential meal for themselves – who knows, it might just be enough to release the potential of the people who will shape our future just its subjects have shaped our past.

You can find out more about the appeal and download your copy of the book at www.sendacow.org.uk/breakfast. Whilst the book is free, there is a suggested contribution of £2.50 to the appeal. The UK government are doubling all donations made until the end of June 2014, meaning that your £2.50 would provide enough to support an African child for a month. For £30, you could support a child for an entire year! Now that’s a lot of breakfasts…

 

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