The 5 best one pot meals for busy parents

We all know the drill. Dinner time is approaching fast, the kids are being difficult, and there is a mountain of washing up in the kitchen. It happens to all of us.

Over time, our household has accumulated a list of one pot meals that we love. They’re quick and easy to prepare, they require minimal ingredients, and don’t take ages to cook. Our 17 month old loves them, and so does my husband and extended family. What’s more, they’re packed with healthy ingredients. Win win!

  1. Coconut Chickpea Vegan Curry

We love this one! It uses just 5 major ingredients, and some spices I guarantee you already have in your food cupboard. It took less than half an hour to make from start to finish, and was practically inhaled by my very picky toddler. It’s so creamy, and makes for perfect comfort food that you don’t have to feel bad about. It also does very well in the freezer, so its the ideal meal to batch cook and defrost later!

This recipe is by Jessica In The Kitchen. It’s not only vegan but gluten free (which is ideal if, like me, you have multiple family members with allergies. Jessica posts lots of recipes that are fit for those with allergies, so if you’re an allergy mum like me, you should check her out!

2. Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Trust me, if you’ve got a child who’s a picky eater (or more than one!), you will love this recipe. The brilliant thing about fajitas is that you can so easily customise them! While this recipe calls for specific vegetables, we’ve used just about every vegetable we can think of, and our little monkey has gobbled it all up! This recipe uses vegan ingredients for the marinade, so you can make the fajitas vegan, vegetarian or full of meat. You can even use gluten free wraps if you have Celiac disease like me. We love sheet pan meals because you pop it all in the oven together and forget about it, which is brilliant if you have little people to keep an eye on!

This recipe comes from Show Me the Yummy.

3. Healthy Enchilada Pasta

Do your kids panic when they see anything green on their plate? Are they basically vegetable-phobic? In our household, anything with cheese is a winner, but anything that’s green gets left behind. This one pot enchilada pasta has the best of both worlds. It uses beans and pulses as the source of protein, so you know they’re getting healthy food, but to your little ones, it probably won’t feel like it. It’s also topped with a healthy portion of cheese, which in my experience will always make it attractive to little ones! Like the fajitas, we love this recipe because it’s so customisable!

This recipe comes from the wonderful Peas and Crayons

4. Chicken Chow Mein

Had a rough day and craving take-away, but need to feed the kids too? This one is for you. This chicken chow mein can be prepared and cooked from start to finish in half an hour. It uses spaghetti rather than fancy noodles, which you’re more than likely to find in your cupboard!

We use low sodium soy sauce and chicken stock when making this recipe as we are feeding our little one too, but if you’re making this solely for adults, feel free to omit this step!

In our experience, spaghetti is usually a winner in the toddler department, so we often have a spaghetti dish once a week. This recipe is great as it contains lots of veggies (but they’re covered in a flavourful sauce, so your little might not mind that much!).

This recipe hails from The Recipe Rebel

5. Italian Chicken and Vegetables

We LOVE Italian food. I love it even more when my daughter eats her vegetables! This recipe is super easy, super simple and very customisable. I love that it only takes twenty/thirty minutes; it’s the perfect food for your ‘oh my goodness, how is it nearly dinner time?’ moments.

This dish is also ideal for those nights when you desperately want something light to eat! As much as I love pasta (and often call my daughter the carb queen) I want her to learn that meals without it can be tasty too!

This recipe does call for 2 tbsp white wine OR stock. We use stock and have found it to be just as tasty! Find this recipe at Sweet C’s.

Do you love a good one pot meal? Have you got any great ideas that we missed? Let us know in the comments.

Organix Snacks for Babies and Toddlers!

We were recently sent a big box of goodies from Organix to review! Included inside were a number of baby and toddler snacks which are all vegetarian and some even suitable for vegans and children with cows’ milk protein allergies (CMPA).

Part of the bundle of goodies we were sent were these new pea-based snacks:

The pea puffs on the left are suitable for vegans and CMPA, and the other two packets are suitable for veggies and a huge win with Olivia! Her favourites are the cheese and onion lentil hoops, but whenever she eats them I have to sit her away from me because the cheese and onion smell is quite strong!
These packets are great for taking out and about with you and even for packed lunches, and are a fab alternative to just having unhealthy crisps in the kids’ lunch bags. Organix have a no junk promise, ensuring that these are pretty much as good for your children as you can get. I love that these have hidden veggies in them but are marketed as NORMAL things your child would eat, specifically aimed at kids and with fun, colourful designs on the packets to make them more appealing… In fact, these ones Olivia calls her “sweeties”:

The fact that she thinks they are sweeties is adorable and great from a mum perspective, because I can bribe her reward her good behaviour with “sweeties” that are actually not full of rubbish! No mum-guilt here!


Here’s what Amy and Oliver thought!

Oliver tucked straight into his pea puffs, infact he snatched the bag as soon as he saw them and ga
ve me a massive grin, I was very intrigued to see his reaction as he has a tendency to be picky sometimes, but as you can tell by the picture, he was tucking straight in and at some points I had to ask him to stop ramming as many as possible in his mouth.

They we’re great to have in my handbag or his nappy bag to take out and about and since trying them I have bought more as they’re good value for money and it’s reassuring to know what he is eating is healthy and won’t give him a massive sugar high.

I could tell he enjoyed it as Oliver does this super cute thing where when he is enjoying food shouts “Mmmmmm” and makes a cute attempt at saying “delicious!”

These biscuits were also a big hit with both of them, and definitely a much better alternative to normal sugary biscuits! Oliver and Olivia enjoyed sharing them and kept coming back for me!

All in all, these are fab little snacks for babies and toddlers of all different ages! Oliver is almost 2, and Olivia is 6 months older than him.

The no junk promise makes these the perfect selection for picky children who want a treat, without any mum guilt!

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7 Top Tips for Shopping with Food Allergies

My son was 5 months old when we finally established that the reason for his slow weight gain, reflux, explosive nappies, wheezing and general discomfort was CMPA – Cows’ Milk Protein Allergy.

As we were just about to  embark on weaning we had to learn to shop for allergies pretty quickly, and by this point my maternity pay had stopped so we had to do it on a budget. One stroll down the “free from” aisle in any supermarket will tell you that allergy shopping can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, so here are my top tips for allergy shopping:

1. Plan meals around things that don’t usually contain your allergen(s)

It might seem obvious but sometimes its hard to see past ‘replacement’ items and look at what is already available to you. For us there are a lot of things that are fine to eat without changing anything. Pasta, noodles, rice, bread and potatoes are usually all dairy free as are fresh fruit and veg and meats. for people with a gluten allergy there is still rice, potatoes and rice noodles before you have to start looking at ‘free from’ alternatives.

2.  Search for vegan recipes rather than “dairy free” or “egg free”

Veganism is growing in popularity fast, there are a huge amount of vegan recipes out there that you can make as they are or add whatever you like. Dairy free and egg free are a little more niche when it comes to cooking blogs and videos. Having a good selection of meal ideas is going to make your planning and shopping easier and cheaper.

3. Swerve the free from aisle and look at value products.

My favourite example is garlic bread. In Tesco they sell a free from garlic baguette for £2.50 and an Everyday Value garlic baguette for 35p. Both are dairy free. Asda’s own brand mince pies are 89p and vegan so dairy and egg free and Lidl ‘Simply’ white loaf is the unicorn of breads – it is dairy free like most bread but also contains no soya flour. **Correct at the date of my last shop in each supermarket**

4. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS read the label.

Sometimes they sneak milk products into the funniest of places, like the sliced sandwich chicken in ASDA or Bernard Matthews Turkey slices with added milk proteins. Even if you’ve had something before, check again because recipes change.

Don’t just check the ingredients though, the allergy advice below can be important. A lot of products in Sainsbury’s and ASDA have the phrase “not suitable for milk allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods”. This basically means that there is a very high chance of cross contamination with milk products.

5. Get your chocolate fix on the cheap

There are free from chocolate options available but normal dark chocolate is often dairy free and a fraction of the cost. Instant hot chocolate powders contain milk but Cadbury Drinking Chocolate has a dairy free recipe (it says may contain traces which can be fine in some families) so pop some of that in a cup of oat milk and have a creamy hot chocolate.  Bourbon biscuits, for the most part, are also dairy free but that can vary massively from brand to brand so check the packet!

6. Shop around

Alternative milks are perhaps one of the unavoidable free from products. We like oat milk best of all and that can come with a pretty hefty price tag. ASDA is usually the cheapest for fortified Oatly and Morrisons for Oatly Barista when we can get to one. Sometimes they come up on offer on Amazon or  other online retailers so its worth checking around from time to time and stocking up when you find your milk at a good price. Recently, Alpro Hazelnut milk was on 3 for £3 so I stocked up on that for myself and let my son keep drinking our more pricey oat milk stash.

7. Find other allergy families

The best source of information, recipes and bargain tip offs is other people with allergies. I’m in several Facebook support groups and when there’s an offer on they always let us know. They will share their experiences with certain products and let us know if they are worth buying or whether to give them a miss.  I also have some local friends whose children have allergies and it can be much easier to have lunch dates with them because their food will either be safe to share or they will understand the importance of the children not sharing.

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How to make VEGAN Heart of Te Fiti cookies

I was writing my upcoming blogpost about the best Moana party ideas on Pinterest (subscribe to see it when it goes live), and as I was doing so my daughter was just too excited by the pictures of Heart of Te Fiti cookies… So, of course, I had to make some, and we did them vegan style!

What you will need (this will make 20-25 small cookies depending on individual sizes):

  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g Vitalite dairy free margarine (Flora also have a dairy free range)
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1tsp/a splash of soya milk (we used Tesco own brand)
  • A green icing pen

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees C and place a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray ready

2. Place the flour, margarine and sugar into a bowl and mix it with your hands until it is mixed well and forms a breadcrumb texture

3. Add the vanilla essence and enough soya milk to make the mixture sticky – you can mix this in with a spoon to save your hands getting even messier!

4. Roll a small ball of dough in your hands and flatten it out into a thick oval shape, repeat until there is no mixture left

5. Place the cookies into the oven for 20-30 minutes, checking them periodically until they’re a light golden brown colour

6. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool

7. Once they have cooled down, grab your green icing pen and decorate them! It’s easier to do the swirl in one smooth motion and enough pressure to make sure the icing sticks to the cookie

8. You can eat them right away, but if you want the icing to set a little then pop them in the fridge for an hour or so first!

Let me know if you’ve tried them! I plan on doing these again for my daughter’s birthday party at the end of the month so would love to know if you’ve found any more Moana inspired party foods!

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