If like me you have a little person in your house who’s not keen on fruit or veg then smoothies are a fantastic way to introduce vitamins and minerals into their diet. And if you can get them involved in preparing the fruit and making it with you, all the better. I often use smoothies as a mid morning or mid afternoon filler-upper. Keep a bag of frozen berries(Lidl or Aldi) in your freezer. then use whatever fruit and/or veg you have in the kitchen. Use up anything that’s about to turn,(black bananas, peaches or plums or kiwis that are very ripe, you get the idea). Grated carrots and celery work well too. My smoothies usually consist of 2 bananas, a couple of handfuls of frozen berries, what ever fruit needs to be used up from the fruit bowl, a couple of glasses of apple/orange juice or milk/yoghurt and I always add a couple of handfuls of porridge oats. The oats are obviously full of goodness and make the smoothie really filling. And if you find the berries are a little bitter then add some honey. Smoothies are high in natural sugars so drinking through a straw is good and don’t make them everyday to save little teeth.
It’s no secret that the nation has gone mad growing vegetables. Not one to be left behind I have jumped on the veggie growing band wagon. I started last year with a few square feet occupied by peas, swiss chard(swiss what?) and courgettes. Unusual combination I know but it was all that was left when I was buying seeds. Anyway, a year later having learnt a thing or two I am now proudly growing, peas, courgettes, carrots, potatoes(yet to be harvested), onions, tomatoes and mint which is just divine. Mojito anyone! Apart from being very relaxing, it is great way to introduce your kiddies to veggies. I have a two year old boy who eats no fruit or veg and he now wants to get in on the act of eating fresh peas from the pod. He spits them out every time, but its progress that he puts them in his mouth at all, and I live in hope that one day he’ll realise they are yummy. My two boys love checking on the growth progress of all the vegetables and they especially love when its time to pull the carrots from the soil. So whether you have a window box or a little space in the garden, give it a shot. If I have learnt one thing about gardening it’s that you should never give up on a plant, even if it looks like it should be thrown on the compost heap, a little love and some water and sunshine and it can really bounce back to a healthy veggie producing plant. And if you need a helping hand check out http://www.quickcrop.ie who featured on ‘Higher Ground’ on RTE’ this week.
If you, like most mothers feel at one point or another like you aren’t living up to the expected ‘Super mum’ status that we all seem to think we should have then I have the solution!
Well not a permanent solution but it will temporarily make you feel like you are a great Irish Mammy – Bread.
I just discovered that baking bread is really easy, pretty quick and not only does it make the house smell great but, but it makes you (me) feel like your are giving your family something nutritious and home baked. And hopefully in years to come it will be one of the reasons why they will come home on a Sunday to visit their parents. And to top it all off I calculated that my lovely loaf of brown bread which is really quite big, only cost me €1 to make!
My boys don’t always eat their five portions of fruit and veg a day. Some days its more like five portions of biscuits. And thankfully I’ve reached the stage where I realise its not something to stress about. As long as the biscuit days don’t out number the fruit and veg days then I can live with it. Baking bread makes me feel like I’m making the effort to improve their diet. And if you have the time and the patients its great to let your little budding chefs help with the mixing and measuring -be warned it does get messy but they will love it.
The recipe I used is from Rachael Allen’s ‘Bake’ pg. 109. So go forth and bake and bring out your ‘inner Mammy‘!