Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Ideas To Put The "Boo!" In To Your Halloween.

Ideas To Put The “Boo!” In To Your Halloween.

With Halloween just around the corner here are some ideas to help your spooky evening along …

No Sew Tutu Tutorial from Money Wise Moms

No Sew Tutu Tutorial from  Money Wise Moms

I love to sew but I dread the words “fancy dress”. It’s probably because there’s a stage of your child’s life when it seems like school are coming up with endless reasons for you to dream up a costume.

Back in the days before I did sew this tutu idea was a life saver because you can create a fairy, a witch, a princess and anything else you want out of this pretty net skirt just pop a pair of leggings or jersey shorts underneath.

For more information visit Money Wise Moms.

Witches Finger Biscuits from from Texanerin

Witches Finger Biscuits from from Texanerin

These finger biscuits are just the right amount of Halloween style creepiness for the younger members of the family with out being too gross but if you are worried about upsetting any of the teeniest ones just leave off the strawberry jam blood.

**If you are having a party remember to check that non of your guests have a nut allergy**

For more information visit Texanerin.

Jack O Lantern Garland from Disney Family

Jack O Lantern String Garland from Disney Family

This is such an effective decoration. You don’t have to make a long garland if you just want a couple of these hanging around … it’s up to you. If you pack these away carefully you will be able to use them year after year.

For more information visit Disney Family.

Glowing Eyes from Rust And Sunshine

Glowing Eyes from Rust And Sunshine

These glowing eyes would look spooky in your window. Smaller children will need help cutting the face features in to the cardboard tube.

We already have a small collection of glow sticks ready to go that have been given as party bag treats but a small torch might be worth trying too.

For more information visit Rust And Sunshine.

Mason Jar Pumpkin from Love And Marriage

Mason Jar Pumpkin from Love And Marriage

You don’t need to use a mason jar for this idea … we usually have a large jar of pickled onions in the fridge and the empty jar is perfect for crafts like this. The added bonus of this pumpkin lantern is that even the little ones can make it.

Remember to look for battery operated tea lights, or a small torch, to use with this lantern. Halloween costumes are often made from fabric that will catch fire easily so you don’t want to use a real flame in these jars.

For more information visit Love And Marriage.

Paper Plate Spiders Web from No Wooden Spoons

Paper Plate Spiders Web from No Wooden Spoons

You don’t need fancy yarn for this crafty idea. If you don’t have left over wool in your stash then check out the bargain bins for balls of yarn that will do the trick … it doesn’t have to be Halloween orange any colour will work and the kids will love making their own web.

You can adapt this idea to make a dreamcatcher at non spooky times of the year and add hanging plaits of wool, or ribbons, with beads threaded on.

For more information visit No Wooden Spoons.

Fabric Scrap Garland from Vicky Barone

Fabric Scrap Garland from Vicky Barone

What a great way to use up fabric scraps or costumes the kids have grown out of. The scrappier the better with this garland. Easy and fun to make plus you can bring it out every year and even add to it.

For more information visit Vicky Barone.

Zombie Brain Cupcakes from Bren Did

Zombie Brain Cupcakes from Bren Did

Halloween cupcakes have been around for a while but this was the first time I had seen zombie brains on cakes and for those of us who don’t have icing talents these seem like the answer.

If you don’t have the time or the energy to make cupcakes buy a pack from your local supermarket and set the kids on with the decorating.

If you don’t want pink then don’t do pink … zombies could have purple brains … or green … or orange … the choice is yours.

For more information visit Bren Did.

Yarn Pumpkin Garland from Design Improvised

Yarn Pumpkin Garland from Design Improvised

Pom pom style pumpkins without the pom pom fuss. Simple to make and easy to pack away so you can bring them out next year.

For more information visit Design Improvised.

Ghost Coaster from Yarnspirations

Ghost Coaster from Yarnspirations

This last one is not just for seasoned crochet lovers as you can use the idea to cut out felt ghosts to make a coaster or string them together to make a garland.

If you decide to make felt ones you can glue eyes on, stitch them using yarn or embroidery floss or use a sharpie marker instead.

For more information visit Yarnspirations.

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Store Cupboard Baking With Kids

Store Cupboard Baking With Kids

It’s a great idea to bake with your kids. Not only does it teach them how to follow instructions, help to develop their hand eye coordination and motor skills and teach them about problem solving it is also a way to sneak some basic maths in under the radar. Lets not forget you get to spend quality time with them too.

There are limitless recipes you can try, complete with books from top chefs and TV cooks, but with money being an issue for many of us these days we can’t always stretch to a lot of fancy ingredients.

So what can we make with the bits and bobs we usually have kicking around in our cupboards? You may need to liven your store cupboard up with a few of the basics to start with but you can buy your local supermarket’s own brand to keep the cost down and then use them for multiple recipes. Remember too that the internet is a vast resource of recipes that are free.

Hopefully the recipes I have chosen cover family favourites, easy beginner ideas and a few tea time winners that you can make with the kids or for the kids …

Easy Three Ingredient Biscuits from Frugal Family

Easy Three Ingredient Biscuits from Frugal Family

I’ll start with a quick and easy biscuit recipe which is a great basic for you to experiment with.

Don’t forget you are not forced to make a full batch of any recipe and this particular one is a cinch to divide in half which keeps the cost down.

A huge part of the fun here is choosing your cutter and deciding how to decorate your biscuits but these are also yummy left completely plain.

If your kids are old enough to bake on their play dates these biscuits would be ideal to make, cool and ice in the time you have available.

We have to bake milk free in our house and this recipe is easy to convert using a dairy free spread instead of butter or margarine. If you are new to substituting dairy free spread in to your makes remember that some can be wetter than regular margarine and can alter the balance of the recipe so start with the amount that is stated and if you end up with biscuits that are not quite right you can tweak it next time.

Visit Frugal Family for the recipe.

Banana Bread from Inspired Taste

Banana Bread from Inspired Taste

We love bananas in our house and they are the ultimate convenient snack already packaged for you to pick up and go. What we don’t like is over ripe bananas but you can guarantee there will be one lurking in the fruit bowl at the end of the week.

This is where banana bread comes in because just at the point where you think “Yuck” your banana is perfect to make this tasty cake in fact if your banana isn’t ripe then you won’t get that scrummy banana flavour you are looking for.

This is one of the recipes which might mean your store cupboard needs a bit of a boost. Baking is a little bit about science and some ingredients in a recipe are necessary for it to work so don’t leave out things like flour, eggs and baking soda (which is bicarbonate of soda in the UK). However if you don’t have cinnamon or vanilla extract it’s no big deal.

Don’t be put off when you see “All Purpose Flour” in the ingredients list as this is simply pain flour. A huge selling point for me is that I can slice this, cut it in to sticks and freeze it ready for packed lunches.

Visit Inspired Taste for the recipe.

Brownies from Olive Magazine

Brownies from Olive Magazine

Chocolate … mmm!

I’m going to hold my hands up straight away and say this is not the healthiest of recipes but when it comes to chocolate you’ve just got to be decadent.

This recipe from Olive Magazine gives you the method to make basic brownies and then four ideas for variations which is something the kids will love and they might even want to experiment with their own variation … just substitute the 100g of added yumminess for your own choices.

Visit Olive Magazine for the recipe.

Ginger Cake from Fuss Free Flavours (Dairy Free, Vegan and Egg Free)

Ginger Cake from Fuss Free Flavours (Dairy Free, Vegan and Egg Free)

If you are vegan or need to stay dairy free then this traditional style ginger cake is perfect for you. If however these things aren’t a concern for you then don’t be put off because this cake is still a winner. It’s perfect to cut in to mini squares for packed lunches or to give to the kids when they need an after school snack.

I love ginger cake, it reminds me of Sunday tea at my grandma’s house when we were growing up, but I’ve never tried putting chilli in it and there’s a variation which uses just that so I must give it a try. I wonder what grandma would think.

Visit Fuss Free Flavours for the recipe.

Two (Well Three Really) Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Cookies from Kirbie Cravings

Two (Well Three Really) Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Cookies from Kirbie Cravings

What if you’ve got that dodgy over ripe banana in your fruit bowl but you don’t have time, or the ingredients, to go full on for a loaf cake? These cookies are the answer.

I’ve been meaning to try this recipe for ages. The first thing to say is this is not a crunchie cookie but don’t let that put you off.

The second thing is that this recipe uses quick oats and I have regular Quaker Oats in my storecupboard so what is the difference? Quick oats have been pre cooked and so they give you a softer texture. You can still use regular oats though just give them a quick pulse in your processor to break them up. If you don’t have a food processor briefly pre soak the oats in a tiny amount of water or milk. Remember the liquid will have an impact on the recipe so don’t use too much.

To be honest the first time I try this I’m going to go rogue and just use my regular oats straight from the box after all it’s just banana and oats so it might be a bit chewier but nothing serious is going to happen.

The best part of this recipe is it’s tweaking potential as you can switch out the chocolate chips for dried fruit or nuts or seeds … or all three … and this is another one that would suit lunch boxes.

Visit Kirbie Cravings for the recipe.

Very Best Granola from Cookie And Kate

Very Best Granola from Cookie And Kate

I don’t need to bang on about how important breakfast is when your kids have a day of school ahead of them but there’s so much choice on the supermarket shelves it can get a bit overwhelming trying to keep the whole family happy.

Why then would you make your own granola?

Lets start off with oats being a natural source of fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Oats keep you feeling fuller for longer which means you are less likely to reach for that sugary snack mid morning.

Next you can whip this up with minimal effort and if the kids help then there’s more chance they will try it.

But here’s why I love homemade granola … everyone in the house can use the milk that suits them, whether it be cows milk or dairy free, and if you make it with out nuts and fruit then the family can add the things they like to their own bowl. I am the only one who likes nuts in our house but even then too many give me stomach ache so I don’t add them to my bowl every day.

Now obviously you can buy granola in the shops but it is expensive and many brands include a large amount of sugar. I definitely recommend having a go at making your own.

Visit Cookie And Kate for the recipe.

Granola Cookies from Mess For Less

Granola Cookies from Mess For Less

Right … you’ve made your own granola and you’re converted so what next?

Why not take the granola that you have made to suit your family’s taste and make cookies for that extra treat factor?

What if you don’t want to make your own granola? No problem … shop bought will work just as well in this recipe.

Visit Mess For Less for the recipe.

Mini Baked Bean Muffins from Kidspot

Mini Baked Bean Muffins from Kidspot

It’s probably safe to say that most of us have at least one can of beans in our store cupboard. They are the ultimate in fast food and teamed up with a decent piece of nutty wholemeal toast they are good for you.

Remember that the companies that bring us this yummy little bean in a tin now also offer a low salt and low sugar version which will be ideal for this recipe as the beans are mixed with plenty of tasty extras to make the muffins. The bonus here is that the beans are an ingredient, not the main event, so a can of budget low sugar and low salt beans will still give you the beany yumminess you need.

If you have picky eaters in your house this might be a way of sneaking some veg under the radar … chop those red peppers nice and small.

We don’t tend to have spring onions to hand but we do usually have onions kicking around and I’ve even used pickled onions in recipes like this as they are basically just a mini onion. I usually give them a quick rinse under the cold tap first to wash off any excess vinegar.

In the end you could chop and use any veg you have to hand in these muffins and yes they would be fab in the kids lunch boxes. This recipes is going on my “Must Try” list.

Visit Kidspot for the recipe.

Soda Bread from Easy Peasy Foodie (Dairy Free)

Soda Bread from Easy Peasy Foodie (Dairy Free)

This is half of the ultimate store cupboard combo in our house teamed up with soup made from what ever veg my husband brings back from the allotment. Both are fast and tasty.

I have included this recipe, which is dairy free, because I have used it and I know it works but you can just as easily use cow’s milk instead using the vinegar in the same way to convert it in to butter milk. I invested in a good quality bottle of apple cider vinegar which was costly however we have soda bread a lot and because you only need one tablespoon per loaf the bottle is lasting a long time.

I’m going to hold my hands up here and say I don’t use wholemeal flour because we found it a little heavy and so I use plain flour for the full 350 grams required.

Don’t tip the entire jug of homemade buttermilk in to your dry ingredients as each batch of flour will suck up different amounts of liquid. Some times I need all of it but other times I don’t. You need to be able to handle your dough so you don’t want a sticky mess. Having said that I have gone too far and made that mess but it’s not the end of the world … scoop it up with your big spoon, drop it on to the baking sheet and make a fairly reasonable round shape and it will still be lovely.

Soda bread has the bonus of being filling and gives you the opportunity to pimp it with dried herbs. We like chilli flakes in ours too.

To be honest there are never left overs when we have soda bread but hubby has taken it to work the following day with soup and reheated it in the microwave … it was a hit with him. Remember that you don’t have to make the full batch. I make half the quantity when there are just two of us.

I can whip this up and have it in the oven in minutes now. It’s also great with a stew or casserole and it means that at the end of the week when the big shop is due and you have run out of potatoes you can still fill the family with out that dangerous top up shop which always costs more than you want it to.

It might take a few tries to bake the soda bread to your liking as ovens do vary but it’s worth it and it is certainly a cheap and easy way to fill your family up. I like to make four individual loaves which take a little less time to cook and I turn them over five minutes before the baking time runs out.

Visit Easy Peasy Foodie for the recipe.

Scone Based Pizza from BBC Good Food

Scone Based Pizza from BBC Good Food

Scone based pizza … genius! It’s quick, there’s no yeast to mess about with and you can be fancy or use what ever you have in the fridge. The kids will enjoy picking toppings for their own pizza

You could consider making a big batch of your own sauce with tinned tomatoes and packed full of veg then blended smooth to hide the good stuff. This would freeze in portions so it’s ready to lift out and use on your pizzas and pasta.

You can visit Healthy Little Foodies to see a recipe for pizza/pasta sauce which will give you a great place to start if you fancy having a go at making your own. Tweak it to suit your budget and your available larder.

If you don’t want to make the sauce then the pizza recipe includes a method to make a speedy topping but you could also use a jar.

I am very rustic when I make scone pizza as I didn’t actually start with an official recipe I just use a plain scone recipe, usually with dried chives added, and then literally top it with what ever I have in. I don’t even roll the dough out as you can use your hands to shape and flatten it. I find that individual pizzas cook better than a giant one and the family can have different toppings if they want to.

We use dairy free cheese which used to be a bit of a gamble but recent advances in coconut based products mean the poor dog doesn’t have to put up with some of the cooking smells we used to inflict on her in the name of finding something that vaguely resembled cheese.

The added bonus here is that this is fab cold the next day in your lunch box.

Visit BBC Good Food for the recipe.

Breakfast Egg Cups from Delish

Breakfast Egg Cups from Delish

To be fair very few of us are going to go to this much trouble for breakfast however these look like a really fun weekend lunch treat or after school meal teamed up with beans.

The kids would get a real kick out of making their own … younger ones will need you to put the tray in the oven and remove it for them.

Visit Delish for the recipe.

Sweetcorn Fritters from The Petite Cook

Sweetcorn Fritters from The Petite Cook

Sweetcorn fritters are on my “Must try” list so I really should take this opportunity to make this recipe.

If, like me, you are using dairy free milk add it cautiously as I find you don’t need as much as the recipe states for regular cow’s milk.

If you don’t like chilli then leave it out. In the UK we call cilantro coriander and if you don’t like it, or you don’t have it, leave this out too.

Visit The Petite Cook for the recipe.

Tuna Fishcakes from Healthy Little Foodies

Tuna Fishcakes from Healthy Little Foodies

Opinion in our house is divided. I think that hot tuna is horrid however the rest fof the family will quite happily tuck in. If, like me, the idea of hot tuna makes you pull a funny face then you can substitute it out for a tin of salmon which is very tasty but obviously more expensive and to be fair we are more likely to find a tin of tuna lurking in our store cupboard than a tin of salmon.

I like to start mine off in the frying pan and then finish them in the oven as we like crispy bits but you can go for all oven or all stove top if you prefer.

I cook my potato in advance so it is cold when I make the cakes and if you have time to pop the formed cakes in to the fridge for a short chill this will help to stop them breaking up while you cook them.

Visit Tuna Fishcakes from Healthy Little Foodies for the recipe.

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Recipes With Hidden Learning Potential

Recipes With Hidden Learning Potential

Kids love to bake and cook so what better way to sneak a little hidden learning under the radar than disguised as something that also happens to be a lot of fun.

Here are a few recipes that you can make with your children which offer educational talking points.

Of course you can just follow the recipes and leave it at that, there are no rules, but if you do want to take it further then hopefully this will give you a good place to start from.

Domino Cookies from Learning 4 Kids

Domino Cookies from Learning 4 Kids

The recipe for these domino cookies inspired this article They are quite a smart idea and you don’t need anything fancy to make them.

If you don’t want to use sugar coated sweets then don’t … try raisins or chocolate chips.

You might not get enough dominoes to have a proper game but it will introduce the idea. A set of the real thing is quite cheap to buy or you could move on to making your own with cardboard and stickers.

For more details on this recipe visit Learning 4 Kids .

What can you talk about?

Learning 4 Kids backs up their biscuit recipe with a fantastic article which combines playing and learning using a simple set of dominoes. You can read it here.

Traffic Light Sandwiches from Planning With Kids

Traffic Light Sandwiches from Planning With Kids

This is pretty quick to do, although you might not thank me if it becomes a firm lunch box favourite, but it could be a way to encourage picky eaters to be a little more adventurous.

Get the kids to think about what other sandwich fillings could be used instead to create the traffic light effect.

For more information visit Planning With Kids.

What can you talk about?

You can go straight in here with a discussion about how many fruits and vegetables each person should eat in a day and why this is important. For more information visit the Change 4 Life site.

You can also talk about the Green Cross Code and crossing the road safely. You can read more about this at Road Wise.

Salt Dough Fossils from The Imagination Tree

Salt Dough Fossils from The Imagination Tree

You can’t eat salt dough so if you want to eat your fossils you will need to use a shortbread recipe for this activity instead remembering to scrub the shells before you start

However making them the way the tutorial suggests and then preserving them either with either a coat of acrylic paint or a glaze made with equal parts PVA glue and water is quite a cool idea.

For more information visit The Imagination Tree .

What can you talk about?

Do you have a beach near by that you could visit to look for real fossils?

Or perhaps there is a local museum with interesting fossils on display.

What else could you press in to the dough to make your own fossil? A plastic dinosaur figure perhaps.

You can visit Fossils Facts And Finds for some handy information to help you with your learning.

Chocolate Covered Kiwi Pops from Clean And Delicious

Kiwi Pops from Clean And Delicious

Kiwi fruit is cram packed with goodies … vitamins C, E and K, folate, potassium, fibre and antioxidants.

Apparently you can eat the skin and this gives you more fibre along with helping to preserve the vitamin C content. I’m going to be honest though I might need a little convincing before I sample kiwi fruit skin … perhaps hiding it under chocolate will fool me!

It couldn’t be much easier to make a lolly than this.

For more information visit Clean And Delicious. Why not have a dig around and see if you fancy trying any more of their recipes while you are there.

What can you talk about?

I actually have lots of questions so we must try this in our house …

Will the kiwi fruit go rock hard or will it be crunchy?

What will happen to the chocolate when you dip the frozen fruit in to it? Will it still be soft or will it crack when you bite it?

Will this work with other fruits containing a high percentage of water like water melon?

Homemade Burgers from BBC Good Food

Homemade Burgers from BBC Good Food

What is educational about a burger?

Well kids love burgers but fast food has a bad reputation and costs a fortune so why not have go at making your own?

Buy the best mince that your budget will allow for and after that the choice is yours … cheese or no cheese … pickle or no pickle … salad or no salad.

Why not let the kids get stuck in when it comes to shaping the burgers.

In order to keep the calorie content down don’t fry your burgers instead pop them under the grill or in to the oven.

A big bonus for the cook of the house is that once you have prepared your burgers they can be frozen so make a big batch and you’ve actually got your own fast food to hand when you need to it.

You can get the recipe for this burger by visiting BBC Good Food .

I can recommend baked chips, like the ones here at Cookie And Kate. Kate suggests using Russet potatoes but I just use what ever the supermarket has at the time. I haven’t tried soaking mine first though so I’m intrigued by what difference it will make. Don’t get hung up on creating perfect chips just chop your potatoes in to wedges, with the skin still on, and you don’t have to flavour them … mine are usually just simple potatoes and olive oil.

What can you talk about?

What do the children think? Do they prefer the homemade version?

What toppings could you add to make your burger more fun or to help top up your five a day quota?

Perhaps the kids would like to try looking for a recipe to make a veggie version.

Baked Apple Crisps from Kid Cultivation

Baked Apple Crisps from Kid Cultivation

For more information on how to make the baked apple crisps visit Kid Cultivation.

*Also along the same lines*

Microwaved Sweet Potato Chips from By Stephanie Lynn

Sweet Potato Chips from By Stephanie Lynn

For more information on how to make the sweet potato chips visit By Stephanie Lynn.

Obviously you don’t want to let your children loose with a kitchen mandolin or a sharp knife and so adult participation in this activity is key but children do love crisps and they are usually loaded with salt and fat so both of these recipes offer an interesting alternative.

If you don’t want to add sugar to the apple crisps or salt to the sweet potato crisps then don’t.

I’m not comfortable using a mandoline so we don’t have one but I’m going to have a go with a potato peeler … the crisps won’t be round but it’s not the end of the world.

What can you talk about?

In essence this is about looking for a healthier alternative to junk food, showing children that homemade can taste as yummy as the bought version and broadening horizons.

Crisps don’t have to be potato and they don’t have to be fried.

Rainbow Cupcakes from Good To Know

Rainbow Cup Cakes from Good To Know

The instructions from Good To Know use a cake mix, which is handy if you are pushed for time, but you can make your own cake batter from scratch using the BBC Good Food Victoria sandwich recipe.

This recipe is not for everyone as some children may need to avoid food colouring but it is fun to see how the cup cakes turn out.

For more information visit Good To Know.

What can you talk about?

What are rainbows and how are they formed in the sky? Find out more at Weather Wiz Kids and Explorable.

You can also look at how the colours change when the cakes are cooked along with making pastel rainbow cakes using less food colouring.

Try experimenting with how you put the coloured mix in the cake cases to make a swirl pattern or a marble effect.

Does the colour of the cake affect how you think it will taste?

Easy Bread from Kids Activity Blog

Easy Bread from Kids Activity Blog

Shop bought bread is loaded with chemicals and additives which extend it’s shelf life and keep it looking and tasting the way you expect your favourite brand to do.

With today’s busy life it’s unlikely that you will have the time to make bread on a regular basis but I can say from experience that children love baking bread so if you can find time during school holidays or at the weekend it’s worth giving it a go.

The kids might get fed up if the bread recipe requires a lot of kneading so a recipe tailored to little ones is essential which is the bonus of this featured easy bread.

Remember home made bread won’t last as long as shop bought but in our house that’s never a problem.

To find out how to make this bread visit Kids Activity Blog.

What can you talk about?

Plenty to learn and talk about here …

Why do you add yeast?

Why do you use warm water?

What happens to the yeast if the water is too hot?

Why do you have to leave the dough to rest?

You can visit Teacher Resources to find out how yeast works.

Why not use the dough to make your own pizza base, spread it with sauce and let the children choose their own toppings.

If you are inspired to try yourself I’m a big fan of River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall who believes homemade bread should be accessible to everyone and you can find his basic bread recipe here.

Making bread is a time consuming activity however if you do have chance to try making your own bread the results are worth the effort … I highly recommend it.