Tag Archives: Toddler feeding

Pancakes are for life

Not just for Shrove Tuesday and don’t let it catch you out as Pancake day is Tuesday 16th February 2010.  Yes indeedy it is time to pour the milk, crack the eggs, whisk with flour, flip, fill and eat – nom, nom, nom! 

Don’t take my word for it, allow me to introduce you to Lyle, he’s the guy that makes Golden Syrup don’t you know?  Anyway Lil’ H and I didn’t manage to make the Pancake training session Lyle’s Golden Syrup held down in London due to us being in Cheshire and Baby G being so wee still.  However the everything you need to make pancakes kit and new website with Emma Forbes showing us the inside track taught me everything I needed to know when it comes to pancakes and to not have to throw the first or two one away (the pan isn’t hot enough says Emma!) head over to www.welovepancakes.co.uk and swot up!  There is a step by step guide to pancake making  and loads more that will get you in the spirit for this years flipping fabulousness.  Heads up from me there is now an alternative to the, whilst iconic, still sticky, tin of syrup with the new Squeezy Syrup a no drip, no mess (disclaimer:  not guaranteed if used by over excited toddlers!) easy to use bottle.

Pancakes aren’t an annual event at Lancaster Towers they are a regular favourite as they combine a really easy & fun toddler activity.  My best advice is weigh out and measure everything in advance it’s super easy for a toddler to pour, tip, crack & whisk the mix together.  Also best left overnight to relax its an activity that can cover an afternoon shift by making the mix and also late morning making lunch together.  I’ve mentioned before about how involving my H in cooking positively increases the quantity consumed (I own one picky eater already hoping Baby G won’t make it a pair!) and pancakes are a clear winner for this.  Even spinach gets eaten in a cheese, ham and spinach pancake combo as first seen on My Daddy Cooks!  Here is H and I making pancakes together and him sitting down to eat them with the assistance of his digger fork – count the “get my toddler to eat” tricks!


Don’t forget: Pancake Day 2010 is Tuesday 16 February – don’t let it creep up on you and get prepared with exciting recipes and new methods to impress your friends and family.  For the complete “Four Steps to Perfect Pancakes”, advice, recipes, tips and more visit www.welovepancakes.co.uk.



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This weeks ENJOYING food!

At Lancaster Towers this week I am dieting, as I was last week, I started on 2nd January and this baby weight has its days numbered! I have enjoyed eating creamy mushrooms and I thought I would share the recipe, the word recipe is an overstatement by the way, with my #twiet buddies. Continuing through the family Lil’ H has thoroughly enjoyed making and eating Annabel Karmel’s “Bang Bang Chicken” and Baby G has been chuffed to bits with Aptimel, 6floz, 6 x per day!

Creamy mushrooms (serves 1)
Simmer 200g sliced mushrooms in a non-stick frying pan with 6tbspn of hot vegetable stock for 4-5 mins, until the liquid has almost evaporated. Stir in 40g of low fat soft cheese, Philadelphia Light in this house. Heat through for a couple of minutes. Serve on toast for breakfast or mix into 60g cooked pasta with steamed veg and chopped lean ham or chicken for lunch.

Bang Bang Chicken
1 boneless chicken breast
skinned 3 slices wholewheat bread
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
2 tablespoon plain flour
1 egg, beaten
vegetable oil

Directions: Cover the chicken with waxed paper and flatten with a mallet or rolling pin, then cut breast lengthwise into approximately 4-6 strips. Make bread crumbs from the slices of bread in a food processsor. If you are using the parmesan and parsley, mix these together with the bread crumbs in a bowl. I use parmesan because I always have it in and don’t use Parsley because I never have it in ;-)! Dip the chicken into the flour, then into the egg, and finally into the bread crumbs. I make this recipe in big batches and freeze the “Bang Bang Fingers” in foil at this point. To cook (if frozen defrost thoroughly first) fry in oil for 3-4 minutes each side until golden on the outside and cooked through. Drain well on paper towels and then serve.


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Where did your dinner come from?

At Lancaster Towers one of the daily unknowns is what meal times will bring with my toddler Lil’ H.  I hated weaning and perhaps the fall out of all the emotions of that is the picky, or not picky, unpredictable toddler that faces me for three meals a day.  I have a handful of balanced meal options I can present with minimal nonsense – spaghetti bolognese, sausage and mash, lasagne and fish pie.  Alongside this handful of “bankers” there are cookbooks, a bin and a freezer full of “denied” alternatives.  Just to be clear the rules around the refused meal options has small print attached – what is denied at home will be consumed (often with second helpings) at nursery – oh the power of peer pressure!

The difference in H’s eating between home and nursery is huge, probably massive and definitely really annoying.  Armed with my Annabel Karmel cookbooks I have cooked more meals for H than I have ever cooked for myself or for anyone else.  So to watch the food go from shop, to home, to oven, to table, through negotiation, some pleading, to low down tricks like dipping some in yoghurt, to flat refusal, to the bin (OK I confess I eat some!) is upsetting and being honest can be anger inducing. 

The difference between home and nursery got me thinking, what’s different and what can I replicate at home to improve my toddlers consumption?  Inviting his classmates round for tea everyday ain’t an option but helping me in the kitchen and the garden is.  H attends a Montessori nursery, one of the major appeals for me is the outdoor nature focussed activities they do, planting, growing & harvesting food from the vegetable garden, collecting eggs and helping create lunch from their efforts.  Taking involvement as the key thought I have managed to add “broccoli trees” and homemade pizza to the Toddler menu at Lancaster Towers over the last few weeks.  I don’t grow broccoli or wheat to grind flour to make pizza but H enjoys “chopping the trees” and decorating the pizza.  We talk about the food we’re using, where it comes from and it gets eaten with the special magic ingredient – pride.  Of course these are baby steps and if you were a Peeping Tom at my place last week you would have seen me cajoling Lil’ H with birthday candles using the chance to blow them out as an incentive for a mouthful of cottage pie – another of my parenting lows/tips shared – but hey it worked, we made it through another mealtime and this time had an empty to bowl at the end – success!

The Potato Story [3]So when I was contacted by the people driving The Potato Story I was really keen to support and help spread the word about food provenance.  Especially so having my own domestic challenges overcome by some of the key thinking behind the programme that undertsanding where food comes from is a key part of developing lifelong healthy eating habits in children. 

‘The Potato Story’ is part of a wider campaign by McCain called ‘It’s all good’ and is focussed on educating kids on food provenance visiting UK schools in 2009 trying to combat the shocking stats below that:

  • 1 in 10 children aged 7 – 11 think chickens lay potatoes!
  • 1 in 5 have no idea that potatoes are grown in the ground
  • 1 in 5 didn’t realise that chips are made from the humble spud

‘The Potato Story’ has been delivering its message from a purpose built double-decker bus visiting over 130 UK primary schools and has to date reached out to in excess of 17,400 primary school pupils.  My Lil’ H is preschool in age so has “missed the bus” so to speak but I wanted to write about the campaign as I have taken inspiration from it and started at home.  Come Spring time we will be planting veg in the garden and I will write more in 2010 about what we grow, cook and eat, well hopefully eat anyway!

You can see pictures of all the fun of the tour here and learn more by visiting www.thepotatostory.co.uk

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Full-fat or semi-skimmed milk?

I have never bought as much as milk as I have since having a baby now child in the house!  Until my early 20’s I didn’t drink either tea or coffee and my single days were spent with a preference for champagne, gin & tonic and the latest status cocktail to be seen with be it a Cosmopolitan or a Mojito!  My time in the USA introduced me to good old Starbucks and ten plus years of office life recruited me to the coffee / tea / team breaks.

I have a vivid memory and still the remnants of a scar on my leg from a herbal tea detox I was on which having spilt the boiling herbal tea (no milk just boiling water and a bag of herbs!) resulted in a second degree scold – that wouldn’t have happened had I been relaxing with a G&T rather than torturing myself and my body with a another diet fad!  Anyway diets, a post for another day, I apologise I digress… 

I attended parents evening this evening for my two year old H, at his nursery where he attends for three half days a week.  The nursery and the team are just wonderful, H and I love it and them, I cannot sing their praises high enough and developmentally he’s all on track – the right boxes all ticked – phew!  But it prompted me to get out the old toddler and child development books and read up a bit as I approach potty training and moving him from cot to a big boys bed etc.  Flicking through the different books I’ve come across some mixed thinking around which milk to give children after two, some say stay with full fat til 5 years, others recommend switching to semi skimmed from two, including the Food Standards Agency. 

I confess to being in a habit of buying and providing full fat milk and not giving the subject , being honest, really any thought.  With 4 litres of full fat, 2 litres of semi (for Mr!) and 2 litres of skimmed (for me!) in the fridge we have choices but I wondered what other mums were doing with their toddlers?  I’d be interested to hear your thoughts, views & experiences.

Below are a couple of links I found that maybe of interest to those pondering the same subject. 



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