Oh what sunshine!

Hello and apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days. The sun has been shining so we have been making the most of the lovely weather.

I have been looking into milk alternatives as even before we look into the ethics surrounding milking cattle, there is the problem that dairy farming is the largest agricultural source of the greenhouse gases methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in Europe (Weiske et al., 2005). I wasn’t too keen on getting soya milk as I am very sensitive to hormone fluctuations (I lost a stone whilst pregnant from hyperemesis) and soya is also wiping out the Amazon rainforest (http://preview.tinyurl.com/px9ogvy).

 

I found Hemp milk in Sainsbury’s, Its made by British company Braham and Murray’s GOOD hemp. I was impressed that the ingredients didn’t have added sugar like most milk alternatives. Made from a blend of hemp seed, water, grape juice, seaweed (calcium) and rice starch. It is also a source of Omega 3 and 6, which is great as Elka isn’t a fan of fish.

I liked the flavour, it was creamy, you could tell it was made from seeds- I wouldn’t call it a nutty taste rather a ‘seedy’ after taste, but still good. It is delicious mixed with innocent smoothies, both Elka and I love our milky smoothies for breakfast.

The great thing with hemp, is a fast growing crop and therefore can be grown entirely herbicide and pesticide free, as it is a plant it takes CO2 out of the air, according to the GOOD company, Hemp crops breath in 4x the amount of COthat trees do.

The GOOD company don’t let any part of the plant go to waste:

Every 800 bottles of GOOD oil produces enough hemp straw to build an entire Eco-house. This amount of straw locks a net gain of 7.5t of CO2. More than annual CO2 produced by the average UK Household.”

It seems to be great stuff all round then.

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Eco alternatives to plastic toys

Becoming a parent makes you soon realise how much we rely on plastic, walk into any toy shop and you will see how prolific the material is. So, why is this a bad thing? Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century (greenwatch.com), it is well documented that plastic takes a minimum of 500 years to decompose. Although we have the means to recycle plastic only a measly 5% is actually recycled (greenwatch.com). It’s not great for your health either, plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body—93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical). Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects.

What alternatives do we have? Well there are more and more products coming out with the environment in mind. There is a green version of Lego (who are currently under attack from greenpeace as they are supplied by shell gas) it’s a Japanese make called Mokulock, tiny bricks made from wood. However the colors may be a little dull for children.

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I love the American brand green toys. Not only are the toys colourful, safe, sturdy, unisex but also are made from recycled plastic. They use recycled packaging (of which there is not an excessive amount). Elka loves her ferry that comes with two cars. There’s no tiny little bits that are a choke hazard either and for the quality very reasonably priced.

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Green toys also do their own version of blocks which are similar to duplo.

Plan toys, made in Thailand from recycled rubber trees has a variety of large toys such a doll houses and train stations.

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High-earning Mums Receiving Childcare (HMRC)

littlegreenmum:

I’m re blogging this because this is all I hear from mums in the uk. It’s disgraceful that having a career is a luxury for women with children. This is why we need feminism, this is why our society is not equal.

Originally posted on tommarter:

Further to yesterday’s post, my call to HMRC this morning left me with no other choice but to quit my job. It is not until something is taken away that you begin to realise how much it is appreciated in your life. This is the case with my job. I have been with the company for 4 years, enjoy working with the team, the variety of the workload and the work environment. The simple fact is i can no longer ‘afford’ to work there. Now HMRC have said our joint  income is  over the threshold, they will no longer contribute towards my childcare costs. My salary only exceeds my childcare costs by £50 and that is before fuel, so i would effectively be paying to go to work. It seems it is a luxury if you are a working mum earning less than £15 per hour to keep the wheels…

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Squash and quinoa patties (Baby led weaning and puree friendly )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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These little beauties are packed full protein and antioxidants you change the recipe to suit your families needs, notes are given throughout. they can be cooked and put in the fridge, I’d even go as far to say they could be frozen however I have not tried this myself (I would freeze them at the stage before they are fried/grilled).

you will need:

-one small squash

-one cup of cooked quinoa (5 units of water per one unit of quinoa)

-two cloves of garlic

-tsp of cumin

-tsp mild chilli powder

-tsp of bouillon stock powder or similar

-half a slice of bread (optional extra of handful of flaxseed or seed mixture for extra crunch) These are to make the ‘batter’ if you are spoon feeding as a puree this is not necessary.

Now, I roasted the squash in the oven (180-200degrees) for half an hour with the garlic and rosemary, however, for a quicker meal, you can microwave, ALWAYS pierce holes in the squash if microwaving, much like cooking a potato.  The quinoa takes roughly 20 mins to cook (always check packaging) I recommend using a stock in the water to give flavour) so you can cook the quinoa when the squash is in the oven.

If making the little crispy patties instead of the puree, put the bread and seed mix into a food processor until you have tiny breadcrumbs. Put aside in a bowl to use later.

Combine the flesh of the squash with the cook quinoa with the chilli, roasted garlic, cumin and pepper in a food processor. This can be used as a puree food for little ones, if you think its too thick you could add crème fraîche to slacken the mixture.

To make the patties, get a palmful of the squash mixture and roll it into the breadcrumbs pat down on to a frying pan with a little oil and cook until golden and crispy. I actually cook it like that the night before and we had it for lunch the next day, I grilled them the next day for a couple of minutes to heat and to get extra crispy but you could skip the frying part and just grill (roughly 6 minutes) or just eat after you’ve fried them.

 

 

 

 

 

Seasonal vegetable frittata/spanish omelette (Baby Led Weaning friendly)

This is roughly what it should look like before it goes into the oven

This is roughly what it should look like before it goes into the oven.

This is easy! It’s the best way to use up any odds and end in your fridge. You can add meat, cheese an assortment of vegetables it all works. the best thing is if you have any over it’s just as tasty next day cold. Serve with salad or just on its own. This can easily be cooked in half an hour, like all thinks getting things in the right order an

You will need:

I find a non stick oven safe deep frying pan works best for this.

three medium sized eggs (I find having one or two on standby just incase it needs more to hold it together!)

-One large potato (Diced)

-One medium courgette

-One red onion

-Half a sprig of rosemary

-Oil to fry with (one tbsp ish?)

-Two tbsp of milk (whichever type, this isn’t mandatory, but I find helps to bind)

-100g of cheese (hard cheddar)

Turn the oven on to 180 (fan assisted) or 200. Start by adding the eggs and milk to a bowl and whisk, always wash hands after touching raw egg. Set the bowl to the side ready for when you need it. Get the boiling water ready for the potatoes that need to be peeled and diced. Boil potatoes for roughly ten mins (pro tip- people seem to forget that putting a lid speeds up cooking and therefore use less gas) or until the potato is soft enough to eat.

Whilst the potato is cooking, fry the chopped onion, courgette and rosemary (or whatever you are using) in oil on a medium heat, season to taste. When the potato has cooked add to the vegetable mixture (If adding cooked meats add now) let the potato absorb the flavour for 5 or so minutes before adding the egg mixture. The egg needs to be mixed in and around the vegetables so that it will hold together. Keep cooking on the hob for a good ten minutes, then put into the oven for up to ten minutes. Always check in the middle for raw egg before eating and adjust times accordingly.

Put a plate on top of the frying pan and flip over and you are done.

 

 

Grovia All In One Birth to Potty

Comfort including fit: 9/10

Ease of use: 10/10

Reliability: 10/10

Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 9/10

 

The GroVia ™ All In One’s combine a sewn in, super absorbent Organic Cotton inner with a soft layer of waterproof TPU outer- no inserts, no stuffing- Simple!”

The promise is simple, absorbant good fitting nappies. I have to say, I agree that they have ticked all those boxes. For us, they really are the best fitting nappy. Elka has a small waist but big thighs, the side snaps are such a great fit, they don’t gape at the front like most nappies do (even disposables). They are made from a stretchy, silky soft waterproof TPU. You can always remember which popper to snap to which I can never remember with the front ‘ebay cheapies’ or other front popper types.

 

The down sides to this nappy. Well, I haven’t got any yet, but my concern is that the cotton will wear down quicker than my other nappies, its a thick cotton but looking at preloved nappies for sale on eBay etc, they look as if they start balding around the legs.

If you don’t like bulk, these will definitely be your go-to, they are slim yet highly absorbent easily last five hours. As with all super absorbent nappies they can take a little while to dry, however they are quicker than bamboo, yet with equal absorbent ability. In terms of reliability, I haven’t had a leak from them yet, I personally think a lot of this is mostly down to the great fit but also the lovely heavy cotton fibre inner.

The designs are super cute, really vibrant prints and colours, plenty of unisex designs. As these are American, there are only a few outlets to buy from in the UK (http://www.fill-your-pants.com mainly) so they are quite expensive. I got one by chance as it was on a  Real Nappy Week offer. There aren’t so many people selling them on eBay in the UK either, but hopefully they will become more popular which will help bring the price down.

 

Creamy avocado with courgette ‘pasta’ (Baby Led Weaning friendly)

Avocados are truly wonderful. Even better when you can pick up two last minute from tesco for 6p each. Now I’ve basically made my own version of a guacamole. I also did serve it with real pasta however, I think it would be better with raw courgette ribbons (low carbs too)
Ingredients:
One big clove of garlic
One lime
Two avocados
One large courgette
Half a tbsp of toasted sesame oil (gives a lovely flavour, but you could always go for tahini instead)
One tomato (pips and skin taken out)
Chilli to flavour
Tbsp of creme fresh (or vegan substitute, will still be creamy without)

This is so easy just get all the ingredients in a food processor/blender whatever and mix with cold pasta or grated/ ribboned courgette and you are done.

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‘Food is good but these straps are super interesting right now’