When I see a title like ‘Quick & Easy’ when it comes to toddler food, it instantly grabs my attention. I always aspire to being one of those Mums that effortlessly seems to conjure up tasty, attractive and healthy looking meals but haven’t quite got there yet. I have visions of my boys sitting at the dinner table (like the good little boys they can be) eagerly awaiting my latest culinary delight and happily polishing off the plates – goodness and all.
I always mean to make their meals look more aesthetically pleasing and more fun, with silly faces made up of pieces of food and providing lots of bright colours to make it more exciting. I do at least try and I have found using partition plates to be really useful and Beastie loves the sections being filled with different things.
The challenge I have at the moment with the boys is that one has turned more fussy and has to be pursuaded to try new things, unlike during his younger years. Then my other one is happy to try new foods and could happily eat for them both but often will be fussy over the foods that his brother prefers. Plus he almost always insists on feeding himself and because he’s not competent with a spoon yet, it gets messy like I haven’t known before.
A finger food foodie versus a safe food fusspot. If I’m going to be preparing meals that appeal to both of them then I need them to be as fuss free as possible.
There has been a new study that has found British toddlers to be the fussiest in Europe and that parents admit to having just seven meals that they regularly present to them. It identified the most stressful times of the day and not surprisingly Mondays have been voted as being the most demanding day. Mums can be cooking up to 63 different meals a week to meet the demands of their family and their differing tastes! 56% of Mums feel guilty if they can’t cook from scratch – myself included. This is why it’s important to be able to find simple food solutions to get them through mealtimes without causing more stress than is needed.
So Annabel Karmel’s latest recipe book providing meals that can be made fairly swiftly and will tickle the tastebuds of our little ones is worth every parents attention surely? If something is going to make my life that little bit easier by providing inspiration and tips then I am going to buy into it.
My favourite part of the book (besides the recipes) is the tips included for quick snacks. Such as cold spanish omelette cut into chunks and tomatoes, ham and mozzarella threaded onto a straw. These are such easy ideas that you wouldn’t necessarily think of. The pasta sauce suggestions are also such simple ideas that really are so easy to make. I have been so used to making my own tomato sauces from scratch in a pan, I wouldn’t have thought about using sundried tomato paste as a sauce for pasta, nor would I have added passata to crème fraîche to make a creamy pasta sauce. Sweet balsamic vinegar and soy sauce also make speedy sauces that have a bit of a kick to them. The presentation of the foods makes them look more tempting for kids and no hassle at all to prepare with a little imagination.
What is so appealing about Annabel Karmel books is that the recipes are varied and tasty enough to be enjoyed by the whole family. I want to prepare meals that will go four ways as much as possible and not just for one or two people. The only times that we tend to sit down as a family is at the weekend when we occasionally have a roast because we have the time and everybody enjoys eating it. During the week of course it’s more difficult to eat together as a family as the children eat their dinner earlier but it’s an awful lot easier when we do. This is why a lot of the simple and speedy meals are ideal for just the kids as well as throwing together the same meal a couple of hours later for the adults.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this fantastic book to any Mum that just needs some inspiration when completely out of ideas. It’s proof that you really can rustle up some tasty meals with a combination of simple ingredients. There is no being put off by extensive ingredient lists in this book, most recipes only have a handful of things you need – most of which will be in your cupboard. Since I have had this book, I have added loads of staple items to the food shop that provide crucial ingredients for really simple meals. I like nothing better than being told ‘that was delicious Mummy!’. It’s the little things that really make me feel appreciated…
Nb. I was sent a copy of the book for the purpose of this review but all views and opinions on the product are my own.