Family meals

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My dear friend (and fellow dietitian), Kellie originally gave me this recipe nearly 20 years ago! Over the years I’ve tweaked it, and now it’s a regular favourite in my house. One of the things I like about this recipe is that it makes a huge batch (depending on how big you make each pattie), which means there’s always plenty to go in the freezer for another meal.

You’ll notice a that I use full fat beef mince for this recipe. Most of the time I would recommend low fat mince and leaner cuts of meat to reduce your saturated fat intake. When it to hamburgers however, they become awfully dry if made with low fat mince. Most kids will reject meat that is too dry or tough. In fact changing to mince in this dish to full fat, was the simple change I needed to make to get ALL of my kids to eat it.

Now adults listen up. If you really want to take your burger to the next level then it’s all about the relishes in my mind. I simply can’t go past Beaver Brand Extra Hot Jalapeño Mustard (https://chilemojo.com.au/beaver-jalape-o-mustard-368gm.html). You can thank me later, in the meantime get out and BBQ!

 

Ingredients:

900g full fat beef mince
1 cup wholemeal bread crumbs (made from day old bread or whatever you have lying in the freezer!)
1 egg
1 carrot finely grated
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tsp of dried Italian herbs
2 Tablespoons of Beerenberg Tomato Sauce (or similar good quality tomato sauce)
2 Tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
1 Teaspoon of Keens Curry Powder
Salt and pepper to season (note: I omit the pepper as my kids dislike the flavour)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and use hands to shape into a variety of large (adult size) and small (golf ball size is fine for young children) patties. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Cook on the BBQ (or griddle pan inside) for about 4 mins each side or until cooked through.

To serve I like to use rye rolls for the adults and small dinner rolls for the kids. I usually also serve these with sweet corn cooked on the BBQ and maybe some sweet potato and potato chips (see Instagram for our recipe) as well as variety of salad which they can choose from to add to their burger. Using dinner rolls keeps the “grain” portion of the meal in check and serving a variety of salad and veggie options keeps the meal balanced and high in veg.

Enjoy!

Julia @ Bloom

 


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Every time I mention to someone that I cook my roast chicken in the slow cooker, I get a rise of the eyebrow and a “How do you do that?”. To be honest, it wasn’t very long ago that I didn’t know how to do it either, but with four kids and raft of after school activities, I figured out a way I could do a roast without being present to cook it! Now this isn’t a new thing, plenty of people before me have cooked their roasts in a slow cooker, in fact google “slow cooker roast chicken” and you’ll find plenty of recipes to try. The other great thing about a slow cooker roast is that the meat is so tender it literally starts to fall off the bone. This is great for lots of children who really struggle with chewy or tougher cuts of meat.

Now my roast isn’t fancy. It’s primarily about speed and flavour, so for that reason I reserve extra garnishes and rubs etc for those occasions when I have more time to spend. I simply focus on adding the bare essentials to ensure a delicious meal. You can add vegetables to your slow cooker too, just don’t expect them to turn out “crispy”. They will cook slowly in the juices of the chicken and will still be delicious, but they’re not roasted. For the record I usually sit my roast on a bed on onions and chopped pumpkin or carrots (or all 3!). Because my kids love a crispy roast potato (who doesn’t?) I cook the potatoes separately in the oven (hint: if you like your potatoes extra crispy, par-boil them first for about 10 mins, then rough up the skin by vigorously shaking the saucepan once you’ve poured the water out, or using a fork to “scratch” the surface of each one. Drizzle with your choice of butter or olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake at 200 degrees C for about 45mins. To speed up the process, I do the par-boiling earlier in the day so all I have to do when we get home is pop them in the oven). I find a 1.3 kg chicken feeds my family of 6, and cooks in about 5 – 6 hours on a low setting. If you need a longer cooking time because you’re at work etc… try a larger chicken.

 

Ingredients:

1.3 kg chicken
lemon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Onion – quartered
Pumpkin – cut into large chunks
Carrots – cut into large chunks

1-2 Tablespoons of plain flour

 

Directions:

Wash chicken including the cavity and pat dry. Prick a lemon all over and place inside the cavity. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (note: many kids will prefer you to season with salt only).

Add a generous amount of olive oil to a frying pan on medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides (about 3-4 mins per side). Whilst you are browning the chicken, chop any veggies you’re using and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.

When you’re chicken is nicely browned, place on top of your veggies (breast side up) and cook on low for about 5 hours. After 5 hours check if the juices are running clear. If so your chicken is done!

To make a gravy simply pour out any liquid (there should be plenty) into a small saucepan and gently heat. Whisk in 1 -2 tablespoons of plain flour and stir until thickens.

Enjoy!

Julia @ Bloom


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It’s been said by government agencies that meeting recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake could be the single most important improvement we could make to our nutritional health.

Plant foods are rich sources of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and a whole host of bioactive compounds too numerous to list.

The simple way to get these nutrients into your diet, is to get vegetables or fruits into every meal and snack.

With a little planning, its totally achievable, and there are two good ways to keep yourself on target – a checklist or a visual picture.

If your a checklist kinda person – its as simple as 2 & 5. Two serves of fruits and five serves of veg (around 1/2 c cooked veg or 1 c salad is a serve). And try not to leave it until dinner time to catch up on your veggies – make them feature in other meals or snacks in the day! (Little people may need a little less, check out the AGHE for more info.)

If you’re more visual, look at each eating opportunity you have – both meals and snacks – and try to make sure almost half of what you consume (or feed your families) is made up of fruit or vegetables.

But to make all of this happen, fruits and vegetables need to be the bulk of your food purchases. So look at your grocery shop in the same way – is half your trolley, basket or delivery made up of fruit and veg? Lots of companies now deliver fresh fruit and veg directly to your door, so you can always have a good supply at hand.

We tried out this delish family friendly stir fry from our food delivery last week. We liked it so much we had it again this week, served with edamame on the side (for even more veg) and amped up the flavours with coriander, chili, and extra lime and shallots.

This week, plan ahead to make it happen- grow more, buy more, prep more, and pack more, to eat more fruit and veg!

 

🌿 Angela @ Bloom


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Women’s magazines, television advertisements, or Instagram.

There has always been a source of that picture perfect family image, sitting around a table, laughing, sharing wholesome food at a gorgeously set table. Everyone is eating, drinking, smiling.
No-one is crying, refusing their dinner, and there is not more food down on the floor than there is up on the table.

It can be difficult to swing the dinner pendulum from one end of the spectrum to the other (unrealistic) one. But there are some simple tips you can apply to dinner prep and meal time to make things run a little smoother, so that everyone eats, drinks and smiles… for at least some of the meal 😉

So what can I do?!

Prepare as much of the meal ahead of time as possible. It will decrease your workload around meal time, and help set a more relaxed tone in the eating environment. If possible chop, par-cook, or fully cook parts of the meal that can be prepared ahead, without tired, hungry little people clutching at your legs. If you are at home, this might be at lunchtime while little ones nap, or the night before or early morning if you are heading out to work.

While you finish cooking or assembling the meal, ask children to help out, with different tasks depending on their ages. Washing hands themselves, setting plates, cups and cutlery are small things, but if they can do these independently they are occupied, and have contributed to making things work, while you’re free to put the finishing touches on a meal.

Offer meals platter or buffet style, serving components separately where you can to allow kids to choose which parts of the meal they would like. For example, serving a new slow cooker curry on top of rice directly on a child’s plate may mean they refuse the entire meal. But having the curry, rice, naan and a child friendly selection of vegetables separately at the table may mean your child tries more. Even if they don’t choose a food first time around, having it remain available to them, and seeing others eat and enjoy it, increases their exposure to the food.

Allow family members to season a meal to their tastes. Many people leave out large amounts of hot spices from family meals, like pepper and chilli, but allow them to be added at the table. But try offering other seasonings too – like lemon wedges, parmesan, dukkah, fresh herbs, pesto, tomato relish, smoked paprika… the list goes on! You may be surprised what your children enjoy. ( It may not be the best example, but throw back to the days of adding tomato sauce to a meal that wasn’t quite your favourite as a child… get my drift?!)

Consider having one or two “non-threatening” foods available when trying a new meal with tastes or textures that may be challenging for some members of the family. If serving a new meal, offer an item like bread, grated cheese, or salad vegetables that your child can eat comfortably, and still participate in the family meal time.

Finally, and most importantly, don’t feel the entire success of a meal, and whether or not your child eats it, is your responsibility alone. ‘The parent provides, but the child decides’ is the central message from Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding. Once you’ve done your job as parent, providing a wholesome meal in a relaxed environment, the rest is up to your child. Try to sit back and enjoy meal time for what it is – a family sharing together. Following this mantra can result in children progressively eating more of the family meal, enjoying a larger variety of foods, and a greater feeling of contentment at the family dinner table for everyone involved.

Angela @ Bloom 🌿


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“Mama, what’s for dinner?”

For those of us who’ve ever had a fussy eater, this question can make you break into a sweat. You’ve spent all this time, and money, making a new recipe. A wholesome family meal, which looked fabulous on screen, sporting 5 shining starts and rave reviews from other people telling you how much their family liked it. But what about your family?

If you’ve every had this situation, and found it an epic fail, don’t despair. Take a few steps back and look at where the opportunities lie to improve your success rate; it could be about timing…

 

Being exposed to new foods at the dinner table can be too confronting for children who have difficulty with food variety.

The eating environment at dinner can be a little overwhelming for some young children; it may be loud or rushed, or they may sense their parents stress or expectations about the meal ahead. On top of all of this, young children can be very tired come this time of day.

To improve your strike rate with eating new meals, allow kids to be introduced to new foods well ahead of time, with no expectation that they have to eat it. This can be as hands on as you and your child are happy for!

Print out the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating . Point out different ingredients and talk with your child about which they have tried, those they like, or dislike, and why. See if you can pick any similarities between foods they either like or dislike. Ask what can be done to different foods to make them taste better to to them.

Give your child a grocery catalogue or a food recipe magazine and a pencil or Texta. Sit together and ask them to circle foods or recipes that they’d like you to try (you can get ahead of the game and tear out the confectionary and soft drink pages, or anything else you’re keen to avoid!). Older children may like to cut out pictures and stick them on to a shopping list.
Take your child to the fruit and veg shop. Ask them to collect the food that you need and place it in the trolley or basket. You don’t need to ask if they will eat it, the aim is to have them exposed to the food, learning its name, and touching it as it goes into the basket.

While you unpack groceries into the fridge and pantry, talk to children about the great things that eating good food does for their bodies. “This meat will help to make you strong”, “This brown rice will give you energy to run fast”, “This salmon will help to make your hair shiny”… whatever works for your child’s age and interests!

Kids can participate in meal preparation. Young children may have their high chair placed in a safe place within the kitchen so they can view food preparation, and be given small pieces of food and utensils to “help” and play. Older children can participate in preparing parts of the family meal, to have a sense of ownership over the food.

Food doesn’t have to come from a shop! A simple but effective way to have children become familiar with new foods is to grow them yourself. Kids love colour, so if you have the space, try to grow a range of different coloured fruits, vegetables and herbs in pots or your backyard. If ‘greens’ are a problem in your home, try milder or sweeter varieties to get the ball rolling, such as snow peas, cucumbers or even avocados.

And remember, there are lots of times in the day to try a new food or meal. If your child is happier and more willing earlier in the day, consider making brunch or lunch a key time to try new foods. Set up a picnic on a rug, or play restaurant at your child’s play table if you want to help them have some fun with new foods.

So, what to do when dinner time comes around? Check out out post on “Happy Meal? How to make dinner time more successful and enjoyable when feeding your young family”

Over the years we have helped lots of families improve their child’s eating. Feeding, just like family life, is about finding what works for you. For more great information, our e-book (coming soon) shares genuine advice and practical tips that have been a success for many families, including our own!

Do you have any good food familiarisation tips for young eaters? Drop us a line…

Angela @ Bloom 🌿

Note: some children have more serious, medical issues that will also impact upon their feeding. In the SOS approach to feeding these are known as ‘red flags’. You can read more about them here . If your child is showing signs like these, or anything else medically concerning, speak to your family doctor as soon as possible.


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Ingredients:

1 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 zucchini grated
2 sticks of celery diced
1 potato diced
2 carrots diced
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup risoni pasta
2 cups of chicken stock
1 x 660ml Passata
2 x chorizo sausages, diced

To Serve:

chilli flakes
fresh basil
grated parmesan

Directions:

Heat Large heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Add diced chorizo and cook until browned (about 3-4 mins). Remove from saucepan.

In oil from chorizo cook onion, garlic, carrot and celery until soft, about 4-5 mins.

Add grated zucchini and cook for a further minute.

Add passata, chicken stock, potato and chickpeas.

Add any extra water necessary to adequately cover veges.

Bring to boil and simmer for 30mins.

Add risoni and cook for a further 10 mins.

To serve top with chilli flakes, parmesan and fresh basil.