Friday, July 20, 2012

Zoo Yatzy

When I was posting my orders yesterday I had a card to collect a parcel. I couldn't remember ordering anything so it was a nice surprise.

Introducing Zoo Yatzy!

Amelia was very excited that we had a new game to add to our 'family games night' which is fast becoming a Friday night tradition. With Daddy going back on shift work we are grabbing family time as often as we can as the tow of them don't get to see a lot of eachother during the week.

Dinner and dishes done, child in PJ's it was time to have a game. It was an easy concept for Amelia to understand , throw the dice, see what you have, match it to something on the score card and you have 2 more throws with the die that don't match to make them match. All up the game took about half an hour to play (3 players) and there were no tears and a lot of 'woop'-ing when she rolled a good score. I was the only player to roll a Zoo Yatzy and was 'high fived' about 10 times! Amelia had 2 turns towards the end of the game where she rolled more than 3 times to get the die she wanted, it was getting late, it's the end of the week so we let it slide...

Who won the game... I did! With Amelia one point behind me and Daddy scoring poorly with less than half of my score!  

Available here and at $9.95 it would make a great 'present cupboard' staple for the 4-10 year old age group.

Each side of the dice has a different animal on it. Each animal is a different colour. 

Monkey - black
Elephant - blue
Giraffe - yellow
Rhino - green
Bear - brown
Lion - orange

Throw the dice, work out what you are going to 'go for', throw the unmatching dice twice more and score. You can use the score sheets as a guide or make your own up, play by 'the' rules or by your family rules. This is heaps of fun and could be played with colours instead of animals.

For ages 4+ and 2+ players.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Banana and Raspberry Bread

Banana and Raspberry bread - based on a Weight Watchers Recipe

This is REALLY nice toasted in a toasted sandwich maker, have to get the outside crisp and then slather it with butter! I also halve the oil and put in one whole egg as well as an egg white, try it as per the recipe but feel free to change it about. 

2 egg whites
2 medium ripe bananas mashed
¾ cup soft brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil (I use olive and think it is too heavy which is why I do what I do with the egg)
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarb of soda
1 ¾ cups frozen raspberries
2x little tubs of fruit like peaches or 2 fruits – I use Goldburn Valley – drained

Preheat oven 160 oC
Grease loaf tin (22cm x 12cm) & line w paper hanging it over the long sides

  1. Combine egg white, banana, sugar & oil (or egg) in a large bowl. 
  2. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder & bicarb in to wet mix.   
  3. Mix to combine then add raspberries & other fruit. (be gentle so the raspberries don't get squashed)

Spoon mix into loaf tin & bake for 1hour 15mins or until skewer comes out clean. 

Stand loaf in tin for 5 mins then cool on wire rack.

 This doesn’t cut well when it is really warm.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Afternoon Tea Anyone?

This is a Weight Watchers Recipe... and essentially a cake recipe but, one day, I decided to pop in in a loaf tin and do a banana type bread with it, and it worked so this is how we have this most times. But it makes great muffins too and they freeze, so I normally double the recipe because, let's face it, what do you do with the other half of a tin of crushed pineapple?! I used to make one loaf and one muffin tray but the muffins wouldn't get eaten and the loaf would so, I bought a 2nd loaf tin...

Olive Oil Spray
1/4 cup spread (marge or butter)
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 egg and 1 egg white lightly beaten
half a tin of crushed pineapple
1 medium carrot
1 medium zucchinni (if you have an 'I don't eat green food' kid, peel it!_)
1 3/4 cups SR flour (works okay with White Wings gluten free flour too)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

And if you are doing it as a cake the icing is
125gms light cream cheese
1/4 cup icing sugar mixture
1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180 C. 
Spray your tin of choice with oil spray them line with baking paper 
cake = 22cm square tin, 
loaf standard loaf tin, 
muffin tray makes about 12 standard or more mini (which are great for little mouths!) 

If your mouths are fussy then grate the carrot and zucchinni on a fine grate...

Using an electric beater, beat your sugar and spread till light and fluffy. Add combined egg+ egg white in a slow steady stream and beat while you are doing this. Stir in pineapple and veges. Stir in the sifted flour, soda and spices until combined.

Spoon mixture into the tin and pop in the oven.

Baking times will vary depending on what you are making and if using GF flour it tends to take longer. Muffins are about 25 minutes, cake 35-40 minutes, loaf about 45-50 mins. If in doubt use your noggin and insert a skewer, if it comes out with batter on it it's not cooked :-)

If you are making a cake wait till it is almost cool to ice, it is a really cake when it is nice slightly warm.

With the loaf, I wait till it is cool, turn on its side or upside down and slice into finger thick slices then layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper and put in the freezer. Don't toast these in a toaster, use a flat bed toasted sandwich maker and line it with baking paper before putting the slices on - less cleaning up! Pop some butter on (not part of the WW recipe!!!) and enjoy with a hot cup of tea for you or a glass of milk for the kids. Your house will smell AMAZEBALLS! We love, just love this for afternoon tea. It's hard stopping at one slice and beacuse it has 'filling and healthy foods' in it, it will keep those little tummys happy till tea time.

Let me know if you make this and how you liked it. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Drink bottles

This is where the 'freezing a plastic water bottle' debate comes up. I am not a fan of constantly freezing plastic bottles as the freezing and defrosting may break down the plastic which leeches into the water, which is then ingested, blah blah... Doesn't matter whether it is a Mt Franklin type bottle or a BPA free bottles, plastic - cheap every day type plastics - are not designed to be frequently refilled and reused or exposed to extreme temperature.

Stainless steel is a better option, in my opinion, for sustainability and longevity, BUT it has the disadvantage of not being able to be frozen. With the wide necked bottles like the ECOtanka you can add ice cubes. Lots and lots of ice-cubes!

Back to the lunch topic...

We are lucky at our school, all the children get a lunch provided each day in a dining hall. It is usually something hot, it is vegetarian and each serve has a serve of veges in it, even mac and cheese... The things the cook can do to sneak veges in is amazing! The children also have a plate of fruit, bread and spread condiments for sandwiches, a container of grated cheese, a jug of water and a container of sultana's. One of the most popular sandwich combo's with the kids is honey and sultana!

Keeping it all COOL and SAFE to EAT!

How can Belles Familles keep your little ones lunch safe to eat after being in the school bag for 5 hours (based on 7am lunch making and 12 noon lunch eating)

One of my favourite products for children of ANY age, starting solids, kindy right through to high school and even going to work are the Fridge 2 Go lunch bags. These have a frozen brick in them that really does keep the food cold for 8 hours! I had my doubts and was encouraged to try one a few years ago. Thankfully I was amazed, I love them and added them to the product range!
Most kids need lots of filling and healthy food snacks to keep learning focused. Good choices for morning tea will get them through till lunch time. Yogurt, cheese and crackers or a sandwich are a good choice and you can be assured that the Fridge-2-Go will keep the snacks cool enough to be enjoyed.

The lunch food containers

You need to ask yourself, can your child open their lunch box on their own???! If  the answer is no then they have the wrong lunch box. Now is the time to test those fancy schmacy food containers and see if your child can open the box on their own. If they can't then it is not the right lunch box to use this year. If you are a cling film user, same deal, your child needs to know how to unwrap the wrapped goodies! A teacher will help children with food, especially kindy kids but ultimately independence is the thing kids crave the most, why not help them acheive that in the playground in front of their peers?

Don't just give them the box the morning of the first day or school and say 'Becky, can you open this box for Mummy?'... panic will ensue if you do this! The holiday break is ideal for picnics (if we ever get summery weather) and park visits, bike rides and catching up with friends. It is also ideal for doing a dummy run or 10 of a school lunches. Pack what you would send for lunch in the fashion (container or cling wrap) they are intended to go to school with and get your child to open them now. We did this last year and it was an interesting exercise!

The same deal with drink bottles, your child needs to be able to twist the top or pop the sports top and access their drink.

Here are some lunch tips...

  • If you are sending packets of things up (chippies, biscuits, rice wheels etc...) start a tear on one side and show your child where you have torn the packet.
  • Same deal with muesli, fruit or popcorn bars - make a small tear on one side, not right at the edge so it will tear off, about a third of the way across the top works best we have worked out.
  • Make sandwiches with frozen bread in the morning and the bread will be fresh as a daisy at lunch time.
  • Yogurt tubes can also be frozen and make a refreshing cool treat.
  • Wobbly teeth and the first year of school sort of also go hand in hand... if you have wobbly teeth in your house hold cut up fruit or softer fruits are a better idea than an apple.
  • Add lots and lots of ice cubes to stainless steel drink bottles in the really hot months.

Starting School or Kindy

This started out as one really long post but I have broken it down a bit and spread it over a few blog entries.

Amelia ready for her first day at school 28 Jan 2010 and the welcome our teacher had on the blackboard.
The start of the year and the school term means a lot of you will be packing lunches each day, making sure school shoes are polished, drink bottles are full of water, uniforms are clean enough to get through the day and frantically ironing a shirt or dress if they aren't (or is that just me??!) and applying sunscreen before you walk out the door in the mornings. And a lot of my lovely customers will be doing this for the first time!

There is no better way to make you feel old or wonder where the years have gone than seeing your 'baby' in their school uniform and a way too big school bag on their back. I know it made me tear up last year!

Not only do you have to...

  •  make sure they have enough food for the day,
  •  it has to meet the schools food policy if it has one (you might want to check with the school office the week before school returns), 
  • not have nuts, 
  • be nutritious and be something you are reasonably confident will be eaten! 
 Where was this chapter in the parenting books?

 Lunch boxes and summer time, to me, don't mix. How do you

  •  keep yoghurt cool? 
  • Ham from going off? 
  • Cheese from going manky?
Stay tuned, I know how!

But there are a few other really important things about morning tea and lunch that are far more important than a lunch box coming home empty... you child has to be able to open, the containers that the food you have sent to school with them!

Settling in to do some work, all the kids were so good on this day. Gosh, she looks so little!
Me and my girl.

First day was a half day and we took AMelia to one of her favourite parks for a treat for a late lunch.
Pony tails were ripped out the second she got out of the classroom, the next days challenge was to keep them in till we had left school grounds!