Tag Archives: vegetables

Green fingers

The unschooling diaries: week twenty-four

I have never had much luck with growing things, but it seems that with my green-fingered assistant by my side my fortunes are starting to change. In fact our little veg patch, which we planted together about six weeks ago, is almost growing too fast for its own good!

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Before we actually started planting, we had lots of fun getting the ground prepared – pulling out the weeds and making sure the earth was well and truly turned over. Most mornings Arthur would be straight out there in his wellies and pyjamas, and we even discovered the thrills of making volcanoes after our trip to see them in Lanzarote.

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It was almost a shame when our plants arrived, but Arthur helped me then too – watering in the seedlings and positioning his scarecrow to watch over the growing crops.

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He was particularly interested in the potatoes – not just because they’re used to make chips, but also because he couldn’t quite believe that actual potatoes would turn into plants. He watched the planter for a while, hoping to see some evidence that this was true, but reluctantly accepted in the end that it might take a little bit longer than he was willing to wait…

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As time went on, he was brilliant at reminding me to water the plants as they grew – though with all the rain we’ve had that hasn’t been such an issue!

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In fact the rain might be one of the reasons why the garden has just exploded in the last couple of weeks! I’m actually thinking I might have to transfer some of the plants to pots, having paid very little heed to the recommended planting distances…

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Arthur has loved watching his garden grow – especially because we came up with an alternative place for muddy play in the shape of an old planter. He’s dying to taste his peas, but only the lettuces and the spinach are really ready for harvesting. We checked on the carrots the other day, but I think they have a way to go yet too… And would definitely benefit from not being completely overshadowed by pumpkin leaves.

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What we did find, though, when we were looking through the leaves, was a little cluster of caterpillars – the perfect subjects for our next metamorphosis project! After demolishing the lettuce we sacrificed to feed them, they are now resting in their cocoons. Once again I suspect I might be even more excited about the change to come than Arthur is, though he’s enjoyed reading about their life cycle – and revisiting The Very Hungry Caterpillar of course.

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All in all this year’s garden is turning in to a wonderful learning space. I think I may try to keep it going right through Autumn and Winter so we can explore what grows in the changing seasons – the thought of home-grown food all year round is pretty enticing too, even if we might not enjoy quite such lushness as we’ve got right now.

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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