I’ll spare you the usual apologies for length between posts, but I will give you the sad update on my garden – neglect has finally claimed most of it, alas!!
With the exception of the daffodils, who continue to defy the odds by springing cheerily from the ashes on an annual basis, and the society garlic and passion fruit vine, which both appear to be doing well despite no intervention from me, the rest of the garden is in a sorry state. I think I will have to abandon the yearly attempts at blueberries, due to the inconsistent weather beating the poor little buds off the stems before they can even create the berries!! And my forgetting to water the avocado plant (and not noticing how much sun we were having) appears to have had a terminal effect on it 😦
I believe that having a more accessible garden will yield better gardening results, so am hopeful that the next place we live in will have such a garden, and that my future gardening reports will be more positive!!
That’s the growing – on the cooking and freezing front, the slow cooker really came into its own during winter, with chicken, lamb and beef turning into wonderful meals with minimal intervention – there’s something very satisfying about putting everything in a pot before you head off to work, then having an enticing aroma greet you when you return!! We would then eat the results for multiple meals, on pasta, couscous, in pies, in tortillas – very versatile!!
Abby, in the way of toddlers, sometimes likes our food, sometimes rejects it out of hand, so I continue to make meals for her and freeze them so there’s always something healthy on hand for her. She is a big fan of spaghetti bolognese, and I have found that our recipe, with the addition of a number of extra veggies food processed into it, can pass muster for us all, so I make up a big batch, with zucchini, carrots, broccoli, spinach and whatever else is lying around in the mix with the mince, and we all enjoy it!! I crossed the line by adding bok choy to one batch, however – it gave it an odd taste, so I’m sticking to mediterranean veggies from now on! My pro tip for freezing meals for toddlers? Freeze the leftover rice or pasta in with the meal itself, so it’s all ready to go when you want it – you’d be amazed how well it defrosts, and you have a complete and balanced meal!
She is a great little eater, liking fruit and veggies by themselves as much as in curries, bolognese and the ever-popular frittata, so we are very lucky – our only complaint is that she isn’t a big fan of chips or nuggets, so when we eat out, we have to ensure that there are other options, ie if we order her schnitzel, mash and peas, she is likely to only eat the peas!
She has also been known to eat broccoli and zucchini raw, and there was an enjoyable dinnertime where she repeatedly called for ‘more broccoli’ – not something you usually hear from a toddler, I’m sure – we know we’re very lucky!!
Her favourite snack/addition to a meal is chickpeas. For a few months earlier in the year, she demanded chickpeas for every meal, even breakfast!! I only complied for dinner, creating a mix of chickpeas, veggies, garlic, veggie stock and canned tomatoes, which she very much enjoyed. After a break of a couple of months, the chickpeas are back in favour – she’ll eat them straight, (ie drained and rinsed from the can), and likes them added to other meals – I actually have to put limits on how many she can eat at one sitting, as surely too many can’t be good for the digestion!
I know, I know, parents reading this will want to kill us – don’t worry, we do know how lucky we are, and try to appreciate it while it lasts!
I also tried some creative chickpea cooking – the results were a bit crumbly, but still eminently edible, although I enjoyed them more than Abby did, she’s a purist, just wants the chickpeas by themselves!! The recipe for these cookies is from One Handed Cooks ( http://onehandedcooks.com.au/recipe/chickpea-cookies/), who I heartily recommend for all food baby and toddler!
So I will leave you with a picture of Abby eating – I can’t believe she is already two!!
Her fork handling skills are quite good, and she can drink from a cup without too many spills, so she’s really growing up! She’s very chatty, loves talking and singing and all music, and has varied interests ranging from the garbage trucks to her dolls to the Mickey Mouse club!
I think in the absence of any successful gardening adventures, I might use her as the ‘grow’ part of the blog for a while!!