Dear Santa, I confess to being slightly shitty this year at the whole Christmas thing…

So last year B was about 5 months old; tiny, immobile and I was on mat leave which meant that apart from being sleep deprived I actually had a fair amount of time. I do actually love Christmas but this year is a whole different playing field and I really need to up my game for next year before Bodes cottons on…

  • Our Christmas Tree is in actual fact no more than a mere Christmas 2015-12-2019.22.19shrub. Since moving house I have no idea where our decorations are so I was very grateful for the salt dough tree object Boden brought home from nursery the other day. I’ve since bought a shit load of lights and tipped them all over it in the hope that it will jazz it up somewhat – the kids are all about the lights anyway. Plus, judging from all these Facebook posts about children mounting Christmas trees I’ve figured that in fact I’m just side swerving the potential for crisis and a trip to A&e – practical parenting.
  • Me and salt dough don’t really get on. I tried to do the whole crafty-mum Christmas decoration thing. Failed. Burnt it. Forgot the actual hanging hole. Maybe I’ll try again next year… maybe I’ll just keep the burnt one and leave it at that. Thank you nursery angels for stepping in.
  • Bodes has eaten quite a few mince pies… I’m expecting a few eye rolls at this for the sheer amount of sugar he will have consumed in doing so. I don’t care. Technically they’re not chocolate and it gets so very boring being the disciplinary cowbag of the house all the time.
  • B doesn’t have a stocking this year – I’m not entirely sure if this is a thing yet at 18 months but I endeavour to improve on this for next year.
  • Called up to book to Santa and his magical, wish-come true grotto today (I figured I still had time)… Missed that boat. Apparently everywhere is either fully booked or now closed as it was the last weekend before Christmas?! I’m wondering whether I can get a husband sized Santa outfit to somehow rectify this situation. Getting him to wear it is probably beyond even my capabilities so maybe I’ll scrap that idea too. Or learn how to photoshop B into a Grotto? Or… maybe I’ll just take him to B&Q and let him run free among the Christmas display for a bit and take a few action shots.
  • For those of you who may have seen my Facebook page, I actually sent Bodes to nursery with broccoli fritters for his party plate – there was literally NOTHING else in the house. Dire.

N.B. These were actually pretty tasty, if you want to give them a go:

One tree of broccoli – chopped and give it a couple of mins in the microwave with a dash of water to soften up.

Chuck it in a bowl with one egg, 40g plain flour, tablespoon of cream cheese, half teaspoon of baking powder, crunch of black pepper, dash of milk and a lot of grated cheese. Blitz it all up and fry off in dollops with a little olive oil on a medium heat. Turn them when bubbles appear on the surface. 

I have however, purchased a cracking Christmas jumper for the little champ which I figured claws back a few points?

So for now, I’m drinking a gin cocktail (totally legit now it’s Christmas) and planning on being a far better Christmas reveler for next year…

 

 

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Weekday quickie involving a chorizo

Just a really quick recipe alert for anyone wanting to use the old slow cooker in this miserable winter weather.

Two of my favourite ingredients are chicken and chorizo… a winning combination. A bit like lobsters, I feel as though these two should mate for life. 2015-12-0721.42.53

This recipe freezes really well and you can make it the night before ready for the after work onslaught.

This will make enough for the two of us and a few portions for B. But you can always add a few more chicken pieces and chorizo if you’ve got a bigger slow cooker than me.

  • 1 onion diced
  • Splash of olive oil – don’t go too heavy as the chorizo is quite oily
  • At least 2 cloves of garlic
  • Pack of chicken thighs and legs – approx 3 thighs, 3 legs (Fillet won’t be great as it’ll dry out)
  • Half a ring of chorizo – if you’re making for more of you then whack a whole one in – this was just my attempt at being ‘frugal’ and then hiding the remainder from my husband for another dinner. Although being frugal with chorizo is a bit ridiculous in itself.
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes approx 500g
  • 500ml chicken stock – go low salt if you’re sharing with the little people
  • Generous splash of red wine
  • Good crack of black pepper
  • Sprinkle of thyme
  • Squirt of tomato puree 

Fry the onions off with the olive oil and garlic.

Throw in the chicken and chorizo (I had some bacon in the fridge which needed to be eaten so I chucked that in too) and brown it off.

Add the wine and let it reduce down a little.

Put all of the above into the slow cooker as well as the rest of the ingredients and give it all a good stir. 

Leave it to cook for a couple of hours until the chicken is tender and delicious. 

Serve it with mash, or rice depending on how much effort you want to put in and maybe some crusty bread to mop up the ‘gipper’ as our good friend Lee calls it. And then pat yourself on the back for being organised and drink some wine in the bath.

My sister is also quite the fan of this recipe, and I may have backseat cooked this with her for a date. So it’s good for dinner with friends or prospective lobsters in your life too.

 

Homage to hummus and pitta bread

I’ve got a confession to make…

I may have squeezed a ready made, shop bought Ella’s Kitchen food pouch into a tupperware container to make it look like I’d made it myself.

Now I did this because we were living at my parents while our house was being rewired and I had given them to B in his lunchbox for nursery about 3 weeks on the trot and felt it was only a matter of time before I was called up on this. Part of me was slightly embarrassed for being so deceitful, the other part of me thought it was actually pretty genius and wondered whether I could get away with it for a few more weeks. You’ll be pleased to know I didn’t follow through with that thinking and actually pulled my finger out and went back to sorting proper lunches again.

I don’t think I’m alone in lunch struggles with a toddler though? It would seem that at this point sandwiches are just a bit of a push because that situation where the bread gets stuck on the roof of their mouth and then you have dig it out and get all gross seems to happen quite frequently and I just feel it’s a bit undignified for the poor bugger. So sandwiches are out and he is also now past the point of wanting mushed up lunches so I found myself having to look at alternatives.

As a side note, I’ve noticed I get a bit jealous of his lunches but also feel turning up to work with a packed lunch fit for a toddler would be slightly inappropriate… when I’m not cheating and pretending the box of goodness is wholesome and homemade I try to give him a bit of a variety with it being the spice of life and all that. Then I look at the lunches I have, usually a shit soup or some beans on toast and the reality of motherhood hits me – I’m officially a parent, my child eats better than I do.

So anyway, the solution to my lunchtime problem lies in the form of a simple, pocketed item known as the pitta bread.2015-11-02 15.20.54

They’re manageable in terms of grippage, they can be filled with all sorts of different things such as cheese, marmite, jam etc. and you can even hide a bit of cucumber or tomato in there if you’re feeling brave. If you’re wanting to feel even better about yourself you can get the wholemeal ones, Mum points… tick.

If you’re feeling particularly culinary you could even attempt to make mini pizzas, I did this once… they tasted great (I thought) but they were possibly a push too far for Boden at the time and I think I got a bit ahead of myself in the weaning stakes – you generally need teeth to eat them.

My go to though is hummus… I’m pretty sure I spend a small fortune on the stuff but Boden seems to absolutely love it and to top it off generally finishes with a very gratuitous garlicky belch. That and he feels the need to smear it through his hair as some form of edible hair gel.

So to all my fellow mum’s out there, never be ashamed of fobbing off shop bought food as your own – We’ve all done it (I think). And opt for pitta; the handy, healthy and grippable food stuff.

They’ve changed my life.