Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Recipe: Courgette and Cheddar Loaf

Every couple of weeks I like to bake a loaf cake to slice up and have in the freezer for snacks.  I usually make a banana bread, or carrot cake...something sweet, but recently I made this recipe for zucchini cheddar bread from the Weelicious website (check it out if you haven't already, it is an amazing resource for meal and snack ideas).  

This savoury loaf is essentially a soda bread and mixes up super quick with no added butter or oil.  The added zucchini is a great way to sneak a bit of veg into Lyra's diet.  I substituted white flour, because that is what I had in the cupboard.  So easy.  

Once completely cooled the loaf slices really easily.  I sliced it into 1cm thick slices and wrapped each one individually in cling film.  Into the freezer they went and now I can just take one out at breakfast and it is defrosted well before snack time.  

Monday, 24 November 2014

Staycation North Norfolk: Kew's Pie and Mash, Cromer

We love seeing new shops and restaurants opening in Cromer. During our visit last month we checked out new comer Kew's Pie and Mash on Garden Street. This place serves up a selection of  local pie maker, Mr. Kew's AWARD WINNING pies with mash and gravy, as well as sausages from local butcher Icarus Hines.  The classic steak pie was great and Lyra really enjoyed her sausage with mash.  

There is a great seating section at the back of the restaurant, a bar area at the front and you can also order pies to take away. The staff were extra kind to Lyra, and even gave her kiddie sized cutlery! We are already looking forward to our next visit in February. 

Kew's Pie and Mash

9 Garden Street 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Toddler Snacks: Rectangles

2 sizes of rectangle cookie cutters

larger rectangles of pancake
smaller rectangles of banana
spoon of peanut butter

Monday, 17 November 2014

Staycation North Norfolk: Sticky Earth Cafe, Cromer

On our recent trip to North Norfolk I took Lyra along to the Sticky Earth Cafe in Cromer to get messy and creative and to make David his Christmas present.  Last year, as a family, we had made decorations for the Grandparents with Lyra's handprint but this year she and I decided it would be extra special if she did something just for her dad.  

The staff are very helpful and are used to working with small children. They suggested popping her into a high chair instead of having her on my lap (such a great idea) and provided her with a smock to cover her clothes.  

We selected a cereal bowl, a few paint colours and let her get creative.  I'll admit that I did HELP a few times, wiping her fingers, turing the bowl around, and helping her to change colour but for the most part she did it all herself with either her fingers or a paintbrush.  

I asked about putting her handprints on the outside of the bowl and the staff said that was not a problem.  They painted her hands and placed them on the bowl for me so I didn't have to worry about mucking it all up. 

A few days later it was glazed and fired and ready to collect.  Now we just have to keep it hidden until Christmas...our little secret. 

If you are in the Cromer area and looking for a fun way to spend part of your day I really recommend Sticky Earth Cafe.  At 14 months Lyra breezed in and out in about an hour, max...but she was busy busy busy that whole time.  

Sticky Earth Ceramic Cafe

15 Church Street 
NR27 9ES

Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Eating Out in Edinburgh: IKEA Cafe

I'm not sure what I look forward to more from a trip to IKEA...all the crap I'll buy or eating in the cafe.  Since we have had Lyra we've been to IKEA a lot...a lot, a lot.  Before Lyra I could easily make my way through the store and arrive at the end of my mission having only bought those things that were on my it is a different story...and our trip always involves stopping to have something to eat. 

The children's menu is good value and there is a really good selection of hot and cold foods.  We usually share an adult portion of meatballs and mashed potatoes, though.  She can only manage about 2 meatballs at this point so it isn't like she is putting  a huge dent in my mountain.  I personally would rather fries...but...oh well.  

Breakfasts are equally as yummy and easy to share, but if we go first thing in the morning we've usually had breakfast at home so just stop for a cinnamon bun (of course) and a drink.  

Even when it is busy there is somewhere to sit, highchairs aplenty and for the most part everything is cleaned very quickly.  There is a really great station for warming baby bottles and baby food, plastic plates and cutlery are also provided...and bibs.  On a Tuesday there is a breastfeeding clinic run by local midwives.  PLUS there is a chance to load up on all that crap I just NEED for the house...gotta love IKEA.  

Friday, 14 November 2014

Recipe: The Best Chocolate Cake

This really is THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE, ever.  It is my GO TO recipe, and David's number1 request. 

The cake and "frosting" are Nigella's Devil Food Cake with Chocolate Frosting.  I normally top it with some sliced fruit (to feel more virtuous when devouring huge slabs) or just a dusting of cocoa powder. THIS TIME I wrapped the sides with a combination of plain and cookies n cream Kit Kats, and covered the top with Malteasers. THIS TIME was an extra special occasion...David's birthday. 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Meal Ideas: Homemade Hamburger Helper

The original recipe for this dish is called 5-STAR CHEESEBURGER CASSEROLE because it pretty much tastes like a cheeseburger (including dill pickle topping)...awesome right? I came across it on Pinterest the other month while searching for new things to make with a package of ground beef and I immediately thought of the Hamburger Helper Man from the TV commercials of my childhood (who doesn't love a dancing glove).  I can't actually remember if I have ever had Hamburger Helper, I know that I have never made it myself and I'm pretty sure my Mum never made it for us...but I can't be sure.  Anyway, I don't imagine it tastes as good as this does and I'm pretty sure it would take just as long to make as this casserole did...but you do need to buy nice, juicy, tasty tomatoes (although I suppose a tin of chopped would work as well) which makes it more expensive than a box of Hamburger Helper I suppose.  

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Staycation North Norfolk: Breakers Cafe, Cromer

Breakers Cafe on Garden Street in Cromer is THE PLACE to go for your morning fry-up, and is often our first stop the morning after our 8.5 hour drive down from Edinburgh (who wants to stock the fridge at 7pm?).  I love waking up on our first morning in Cromer, going down to check out the beach, pier and seafront and then pottering over to Breakers for a vegetarian breakfast with eggs.  Mushrooms, tomato, beans, toast and eggs...mmmm.  

The portions are generous and between the 3 adults we happily shared enough food with Lyra (who had already had breakfast and a snack by the time we got ourselves out the door).  They have an extensive breakfast menu (basically anything in any combination that you could ever want), hot hot hot milky coffee, and a really good lunch/hot meal menu.  Plenty of high chairs, lots of room for a buggy and really friendly staff.  

Breakers Cafe
28 Garden Street

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Friday, 7 November 2014

Meal Ideas: Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast for of the easiest, and in my opinion BEST, meals to whip up after a busy day.  I could easily eat breakfast stuff for every meal of the day (and maybe for snacks too) so this is really a no-brainer for me.  

Sometimes we have french toast, sometime eggs, sometimes pancakes...whatever takes our fancy really.  The key is, we always TREAT ourselves to BACON when we make breakfast for dinner.  If we are having eggs I'll make some oven chips or pan fry some potatoes for hash browns, or make a bubble and squeak from left over veggies.  If we are having french toast or pancakes I'll chop up from fruit for a fruit salad or make a veggie hash, I try not to have potatoes with french toast or pancakes.  

Really Simple and oh so tasty. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Staycation North Norfolk: Huckleberries Cafe, Cromer

One of the best places for a proper latte and scone in Cromer has to be Huckleberries on Church Street.  We've been frequenting this cafe during our visits to North Norfolk for the past few years and always look forward to our hot drinks and baked goods after our morning walks along the beachfront. 

This visit our walks were slightly shorter and slower but that didn't stop us from stuffing our faces with gorgeous (and decent sized) scones and teacakes practically every morning, while enjoying GOOD fresh coffee.  

At first glance this busy cafe might seem a tad small but there is a large seating area downstairs (perfect for little ones) with comfy sofas and benches.  They also have free wifi (a total bonus in an area with very poor network coverage), newspapers and magazines to read and a coffee loyalty card. Oh and I spied at least 3 highchairs (a big plus). 

43 Church Street 

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