Monday, September 27, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Fruity

Another Monday, another Muffin Tin :)

Didn't manage to do that much fun stuff with food this week, with Emma dropping her naps, I've been too busy dealing with a very cranky kid.

I did, however, manage a muffin tin.  This week is a no theme week on MTM so my theme this week is fruity!


Instead of the traditional muffin tin, I went with silicone hearts for Emma.

Here is our second Muffin Tin.

Clockwise: white grapes, banana slices, kiwi slices, Special K cereal, pear slices, Special K cereal and in the center Morning Coffee Biscuits.



Emma loved it. You should have seen her face :)  And she munched all the most important cups.




The fruit was gone, she ate a little bit of cereal pieces and just one bite of the Morning Coffee...


I'm still holding hostage Daphne's traditional muffin tin. I really need to get one of my own.





Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth








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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Green Peas Recipe

This is a healthy, kid friendly recipe. What with all the green balls and orange cubes, how can you miss?  It's a great way to include greens and with their natural sweetness, peas are the perfect candidate.
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 30 min



Ingredients:
1 onion (chopped finely)
1 large carrot (chopped into little cubes the size of a pea)
1kg frozen peas
1 medium tomato (pureed)
1tsp Paprika seasoning
1-2tsp Vegeta seasoning or a pinch of salt
Water
Olive oil (to cover the pan)
1tsp flour (if needed)
Smallish cup/ glass (see the size I use here




Directions:

Heat olive oil in medium sized pan on medium high heat (about 8 on my electric hob).

When the oil is hot add onion. once it changes colour add chopped carrot. Saute the carrot until it softens a little and then add green peas.  Stir and cover for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat a little (about 6 or 6. on electric hobs). Add a smallish cup of warm water, stir and wait for the water to be used up.  Keep adding water a little by little as needed until the peas are completely soft, keeping the pan covered.

You may continue adding water depending on how saucy you want your peas. I don't recommend too much sauce, you want your peas to pretty much keep their shape on the plate and not contaminate all the other food if you know what I mean. 

Once the peas are soft add the pureed tomato, a little paprika and Vegeta to taste. If you have no Vegeta, use salt much more sparingly.

At this point you will have to judge the sauciness of your peas.  If you feel that its too watery mix a tea spoon of flour with half the smallish cup of hot water and add it to the peas.  I do this every single time. You will notice the sauce thicken and pull itself together to just the right consistency.


Its perfect served with chicken breast schnitzel, french fries (all fried in olive oil of course) and salad .  This is how I served it to Emma =)

Enjoy!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Shapes

I found a lovely online blog link up (every Monday) where mothers from around the world serve meals to their kids in muffin tins.  I think its a great idea, it breaks the usual lunch routine and adds a lot of room for creativity.

Almost every week there is a theme that you could follow and this week it's SHAPES.

So in honour of this wonderful tradition, here is our Muffin Tin.


From top left to right: cucumber hearts; yoghurt with a cheese circle, heart and square; cucumber squares; chicken trangles; green peas (little green balls and little orange carrot cubes); chicken triangles.


Emma ate almost everything! She loves these green peas.


Big thanks to my lovely neighbour Daphne for lending us her six hole muffin tin.  You could use any muffin tin, but I feel a twelve hole would be too overwhelming for a toddler.  I do need to go shopping for one of my own, I love the bright coloured, funny shaped ones.  I'll let you know if I find any.


Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speedy Pizza

Well I've been sick, so most of the food this week has been provided by grandmas or delivery men, but I did manage to create a fun snack for Emma. 

We had some leftover buns from a burger night, so I made them into pizzas. 


I cut the buns in half, chopped a tomato with the electric chopper and then drained the excess tomato juice.  I put the tomato on the half bun, added some chopped turkey ham and placed a slice of cheese on top. 

That was pretty much all I had the energy for, but you could actually add anything to the pizza;  broccoli, sweet corn, mushrooms.  You could mix carrots and zuccini into the tomato sauce.


I put it in the oven on the air setting at 200C, only for a few minutes until the cheese melted.


It was delicious! A good friend of mine uses Greek Pitas as pizza base.  I haven't tried it but I've heard its great.  So that's also an option if you don't have leftover buns.
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Simple, yet different

How would you serve your plain, old ham and cheese sandwich?

Here's Emma's sandwich snack.  We were all busy with cleaning and moving furniture from the painting we had done at the house this weekend so I went with quick and simple.

Emma seemed to enjoy it =)

I cut the sandwich into small bite sized cubes and put a toothpick in each for easy handling.  Emma loved the miniature squares.  She ate two entire sandwiches (excluding the crust).  I kept refilling the plate.  As a toothpick became available I'd place another square and add it to the plate.

I put yoghurt in a small silicone, heart shaped cake case and needed to refill it twice.  And, of course, a slice of cheese alone, for Emma to eat at the end.  It's just the way she likes it.


The heart shaped containers I got from Marks and Spencer home.  They come six in a box (three red and three pink)  I couldn't find this product on their site, but they do have something similar.

Disclaimer: Emma was always under adult supervision due to the dangerous toothpicks (and because she was sitting at the bar).



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Friday, September 10, 2010

Teddy Bear Madness

Emma's been asking for teddy bears so I'm following her wishes and maintaining the teddy bear theme in her bento boxes.  



From left to right:
  • Yoghurt in yellow triangle silicone container
  • Edam cheese in green teddy bear container
  • Basmati rice shaped like a teddy bear
  • Cucumber slices
  • Grilled salmon kebabs
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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Think like the Japanese

I found this quote in an article:
The ancient Japanese proverb hara hachi bunme says it best: “Stop eating when you are 80% full.” So, while our society glorifies terms like “super-sized” and “all you can eat,” in Japan, foods are eaten slowly and in smaller quantities. Meals are appreciated as much for their excellent taste as they are for their beautiful presentation. 


I'm not sure I'll ever get to this stage in Emma's food preparation, but somewhere close to that is a must! :P   

The idea is: fun, fun, fun.... she won't be able to resist.


On the other hand, I have no intention of doing this:




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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bourgouri (Bulgar Wheat) Recipe with Carrots and Zucchini

This is a great recipe. It's also a kid friendly recipe, quick and easy to make, and by adding carrot & zucchini you add more goodness to an already healthy meal.  If you want the traditional Bourgouri recipe, follow the below exactly but without carrot & zucchini.  Also it worthy to note that carrots and zucchini do not change the flavour.

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min

Ingredients:
1 medium onion (chopped finely)
1 carrot (chopped finely)
1 dark zucchini (chopped finely - you can peel half of it to minimize green colour in food)
2 medium tomatoes (pureed)
1 smallish cup bulgar wheat
Handful of short vermicelli pasta
1.5 cups of water
Season to taste
Olive oil (just to lightly cover the pan)




Chopping: This seems like it takes a long time, but I use an electric chopper which really cuts down the job to seconds really. After cleaning the veggies, I chop each separately and I also puree the tomato.  All with the same device - same setting.  As i chop I add to the pan from the chopping container so no extra bowls to clean.

Directions:

Place olive oil in a medium sized pot on medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot add the onion, once it changes colour add carrot and zucchini, stir.  Let it shallow fry for a minute or so.  Add the handful of short vermicelli, stir and wait a minute or so until it changes colour slightly.


Onions, carrots, zucchini & vermicelli


Then add tomato puree. Stir and after a minute add one cup of bulgar wheat, stir well and add 1.5 cups of water.  Season to taste with salt/pepper. I use Podravka's Vegeta seasoning. Cover.

The size of glass I use when measuring bourgouri. Its next to the standard sized cup for easy comparison.
Bring to boil. Once the first bubbles appear turn down the heat to lowest setting and let stand for a few minutes.  The bulgar wheat will soak up the water and become soft.  Be careful not to add too much water or it will become mushy.


This is what it should look like, but a little more red.  I forgot to add the tomato puree when making it this time.
 Serve with yoghurt and a side of grilled chicken.


Comment on Vegeta
This is my favorite Croatian seasoning and I use it when cooking on just about everything. I use it instead of salt since it has salt in it. My grandma used it, my mom, and well you know how it goes.
Vegeta
You can find it pretty much in any ethnic food shop or on Amazon, but in Cyprus I know that the Slovak Shop carries it for a very good price.  There is also something similar in the market which you can find in any supermarket, its Maggi's Bio seasoning powder.  I haven't used it but have heard good things.

     


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Monday, September 6, 2010

Road Trip Life Savers

We went on a road trip on Sunday.  I used the leftovers from Saturday's lunch to make lunch boxes for Emma and her friend A.



From left to right:
  • Bourgouri (bulgar wheat) shaped like a teddy bear
  • Yoghurt in a small silicone container
  • Cucumber sticks
  • Three mini chicken kebabs
  • And of course white seedless grapes
To shape the bourgouri I used an onigiri shaper.  These are usually used in Japanese cuisine to shape rice.  They come in many shapes and sizes even though Onigiri actually means "rice ball".  These are especially used for on the go lunches or as they're also known in Japan bento boxes.

We got our shaper from Dubai but you can find them just about anywhere.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Magic...

Today I served Emma's lunch at home in a fun way. Emma was really hungry so I didn't have much time to do too many things. Actually I wasn't even planning to do anything special except food on plate, but when she said that she didn't want the meat today, I decided to fun it up :)


I didn't have time to grab the camera before she dug in, so here are the pics:





Here you can clearly see the food (from left to right):
  1. Mini grilled chicken kebabs
  2. Bourgouri (bulgar wheat) with carrots and zucchini in a teddy bear mould.
  3. Yoghurt in two silicone cups.





Remember when Emma said that she didn't want the meat?



Well she ate all of it, one by one piece from the tiny skewer.  In addition to eating all of them, we went over all the shapes and colours on her plate (in all three languages), I guess fun lunches can also be educational :P.

In reality, the bear mould should be used to turn out the bourgouri and make a shape in the plate, but Emma wanted to eat from the little cup.  I'll show you next time what the effect should really be like.


A bowl of Emma's favorite fruit, white grapes, followed this lunch.

The usual bourgouri recipe is without the carrot and zucchini. To see this recipe click here

Enjoy!
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Smiley Thursday

I guess, besides making healthy meals for my lovely, its also a great way to reduce waste!
Lunch packed in Emma's Dora lunch box
Last night Emma had a Butterfly shaped burger. Today she has (starting from top left):
  1. a buttered mini bun with a slice of Edam cheese (eyes are dried cranberries, smile is cucumber :o)
  2. a few cucumber slices, 
  3. two mini kebabs of leftover burger patty from yesterday,
  4. and a muffin skirt full of white grapes and dried cranberries.
  5. milk is the drink
I think I reached all the pyramid requirements today!
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