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Fast & Healthy Mid Week Meals

Fast & Healthy Mid Week Meals

 This post is sponsored by Weight Watchers but all thoughts and opinions including meal suggestions are my own.

I’ve always been someone who has been super busy. When school heads back each year I’m swamped not only with work demands, but extra-curricular activities for the kids, appointments, washing, cleaning…the list goes on. In recent times my husband and I have really tried to focus on cooking quick and healthy meals for our family. Like everyone I guess, we do our best to keep a balance, but sometimes it’s just so hard to cook after we get home from work. So when I was asked to try out the newly re-launched frozen meal range from Weight Watchers (www.wowfrozenmeals.com.au), I jumped at the chance!

Weight Watchers

I have to admit that I’ve never really needed to diet, but since turning 30, the need to ‘watch’ what I’m eating has really changed the way my body reacts to food. Since becoming a Mum, I have also really struggled to eat well during the day, as I’m so busy.

Dinner is usually my one main meal and so I want it to be quick, easy but also healthy if possible! So I was intrigued and interested to see what the Weight Watchers frozen meal range was really like.

Would the meals taste like they look? I have to say that I have been pleasantly surprised.

Their new three tier range of meals (Light, Classic and Gourmet) are designed to include the perfect combination of wholesome and nutritious ingredients, flavour and balance as well as provide the option modern and traditional meals that are convenient and easy to eat.

Dan and I have talked about the need to ensure that our portions are right. No more piling food up on the plate! These meals are perfectly portioned to ensure that you are eating not just the right thing, but the right amount.

The three meals I chose to try are:

Honey Soy Noodles from the Light Menu range. Asian style food is my favourite and this meal is great for lunch or a light meal. A great alternative for working days!

Pumpkin and Ricotta Cannelloni from the Classic Menu. I adore pumpkin, but my hubby doesn’t, so this meal is perfect for days when I am cooking just for myself if he is out.

Weight Watchers

Moroccan Chicken and Pearl Couscous from the Gourmet Range. We have loved cooking couscous lately as an alternative to other carbohydrates. I love couscous, especially the pearl variety!

I have to say that the best thing about these meals was the flavour. At approximately $6.50 each, the price is fantastic too.

Weight Watchers

If you are after quick meals for yourself, but want to ensure that you watch your portion sizes then I can highly recommend the new Weight Watchers Frozen Meal range (www.wowfrozenmeals.com.au)

Available at supermarkets across Australia!

Product Review: Food Babies Love – Fresh Pots

Product Review: Food Babies Love – Fresh Pots

Mum Life = busy, crazy, love fuelled chaos. Before you have children you think that you will have it all sorted. Once you have them you realise that some days you’ve got things sorted (well, sort of), and other days you are just trying to survive. No matter what happens in our busy daily lives however, the one thing that I want for my children is to eat well. Eat food that is nutritious, but is easy to prepare.

Despite the best intentions, life gets in the way and it’s not always easy for parents to cook meals for their children which leaves the majority of parents relying on pre-packed foods. Unfortunately for most parents,the ready-made options available in store, including well-known baby food brands, are heat blasted allowing them to sit on the shelves for up to 18 months – so whilst convenient, important nutritional value is lost.

What’s even worse, explains best-selling Author, entrepreneur, Melbourne-based baby food expert and mother of 3, Emily Dupuche, is that “There are whole fridges dedicated to fresh pet food in supermarkets, but you can’t find any fresh baby food. It is unacceptable. Busy parents today deserve access to convenient, fresh, nutritious meals for their children with less salt, sugar and preservatives. We don’t buy meat off the shelf to eat, so we shouldn’t have to serve our babies just that.” Whilst I’m not a Mum who is super fussy about what types of food my children eat, I do want my children to have a balance of healthy meals that also taste great. I’ve shared some products that I’ve found before on my blog, and am thrilled today to share another great product that can save Mums and their babies everywhere!



Food Babies Love Fresh Pots

Dupuche has been fostering healthy eating habits in children and inspiring parents for 5 years. Dupuche’s first book, Food Babies Love (published by Pan MacMillan) has sold over 10,000 copies, made popular for it’s easy and delicious real food ideas to suit parents looking for strategies and solutions to feed babies the good food they need to thrive.

The popularity of the Food Babies Love guide and demand from parents looking for more food babies love, motivated Dupuche to take the favourite recipes from the guide and launch Food Babies Love – Fresh Pots – an Australian-first range of readily available FRESH baby and toddler meals.

Food Babies Love – Fresh Pots, is a range of convenient, nourishing baby and toddler food, offering time-poor parents peace of mind and the much needed opportunity to feed their babies fresh, wholesome and quick meals without compromising on nutrition, flavour and taste. It’s simple, real food that is kitchen fresh and exactly like home-made food.

“Mums want to know what ingredients they are feeding their children and how it has been prepared. With Fresh Pots the process and ingredients are transparent. We’ve taken the favourite recipes from the guide and prepared them fresh for parents. Being time poor doesn’t need to mean poor quality food for our children,”.

Food Babies Love Fresh Pots

 

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Dupuche has also chosen to package the meals in clear pots rather than pouches, specifically to stimulate all the senses of a growing baby including sight, smell and texture – key stimulants for developing palettes, interest and a healthy relationship with food. The 200g tamper-proof pots are microwavable and freezable and come in three distinct ages and stages. Early proteins for 6 plus months, textured meals for 7 plus months and toddler meals for 10 plus months.

There are 7 delicious varieties in the range. The range includes Lentil Dahl, Fish Pie, Curry, family favourites such as Spaghetti Bolognaise and more. Our favourite was definitely the chicken curry. I loved it too!

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Food Babies Love – Fresh Pots can be found in the refrigerated section of select supermarkets and grocers along the Eastern Seaboard with the option of weekly home delivery for Melbournians. RRP $6.45 and the book is also available in stores or via their website for $25. To purchase visit the store here: https://foodbabieslove.com.au/

kate

 

www.foodbabieslove.com.au

Facebook: foodbabieslove

Instagram: @foodbabieslove

Rafferty’s Garden Giveaway

Rafferty’s Garden Giveaway

As you all know, of late things have been crazy in our household. Every family I’m sure has experienced non stop fun over the holiday period, and this was heightened with our little man putting us to the test with endless nights of no sleep. During this time, I admit that I have found it difficult to cook all the time, and this had me worried that I wasn’t providing my family, and in particular Hudson with everything that they needed. Then one day, I got  a delivery from Rafferty’s Garden, featuring a huge box filled with a vast variety of fruit purees, baby meals and snacks for Ella. I could have kissed them and was indeed extremely grateful.

rafferties

Over the summer, I have used these products to supplement the other meals that I have made myself. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve used ready made products, and have ensured that the ingredients are only the best, and contain no preservatives. Essentially, Rafferty’s Garden is the ultimate ‘baby hack’. Saves time, reduces chaos and helps make life more enjoyable!

With a huge range of products, Rafferty’s tailor their food to suit your baby at different ages. Starting at four months, they ensure that they think about the cooking process, just as much as we do at home. Whether its pureed, lumpy or mashed, they have it covered. Fruit, savoury, custards, smoothies….their range is huge. Boy did it help me as a Mum over the summer.

Some of Hudson’s favourites were:

Not only are they convenient, but they have an incredible range of flavours to ensure that your little one gets a variety of meals.

Best of all, Rafferty’s Garden has teamed up with us at Happy Ella After to offer my followers the chance to win a Baby Hack Prize Pack filled with loads of Rafferty’s food and snacks for your little one! All you have to do is head to Instagram, follow @happyellaafter and check out the details!

Best of Luck!!

kate

 

 

Friday Find: My Child Magazine

Friday Find: My Child Magazine

MC33 COVER Email Sig[27]This week I came across a new magazine online – My Child.  My Child is targeted at pregnant women, new mothers and parents of children aged 0-8. It is professionally produced, well-written, beautifully designed and features advice, articles, handy services and cool products for the modern mum. Plus it’s independently produced by a small team and the editor from the study in her home – a classic work-from-home mum scenario!

My Child has been published in print in Australia since 2006 and became the third-biggest selling pregnancy and parenting magazine in Australia plus the biggest-selling independently produced one. Now, with their June edition, they have moved from a quarterly print magazine to a free monthly digital-only format, so they can reach parents all around the globe!

What I love most about it are the simple to read features about every day Mums and brands that help families. Much like my own blog, it supports local businesses and features ideas and advice to help parents stay sane! I just love the fact that you can read it from the comfort of your iPad, phone or laptop. If you want to know more about a featured business or brand, you can click away and purchase if you like!

Here are a few  of my favourite snippets from their latest issue..

The most recent ‘best in websites’ for shopping online for pregnancy, baby and kids’ gear..

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A feature on the latest and greatest in stripes…

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Super cool leggings featuring my local favourite…Kapow Kids!

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So to read their latest June issue click here:  http://www.mychildmagazine.com.au/magazine/

You can also subscribe the get this delivered to your inbox each month HERE!

A great, local publication for Mums!

kate

Win a copy of the Healthy Mumma Healthy e-Book

Win a copy of the Healthy Mumma Healthy e-Book

On Friday I was delighted to share a new venture by my cousin Lisa. Healthy Mumma is a new brand bringing delicious, tasty and healthy food to mums and their families. It was established in 2014 by Lisa, who has always loved food and has a passion for health and well-being since becoming a mumma to her 2 children. She believes strongly that a happy, healthy mum leads to a happy, healthy family.

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Lisa’s Healthy e-cook book has recently been launched to great success. Incorporated is range of healthy, quick and simple recipes for families, this book has already proved to be a hit as samples of yummy dinners are shared across Instagram and Facebook. Her tips are really practical as she also helps you plan ahead for your busy week.

The e-book provides fantastic recipes that cater for all dietary requirements, including; gluten free, sugar free, vegan, dairy free, nut free and full paleo eating plan. It is divided into simple sections covering:

  • breakfast
  • smoothies
  • entrees and soups
  • salads
  • mains
  • sides
  • sweets
  • condiments and treats

Healthy Ebook Front Cover

I am delighted that Lisa has offered Happy Ella After Readers the chance to win your own copy of this fabulous e-book. Simply follow the link below to enter the competition. As always, entrants need to like both the Happy Ella After and Healthy Mumma facebook pages via this link. You can also earn extra entry points by leaving a comment below about your tip for being a Happy and Healthy Mum!

Enter directly below…Good Luck!

kate

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who ate all the cookies?

Who ate all the cookies?

Photo 12-01-2014 5 44 39 pmWell I can’t believe it’s 2014! My little family has been to Port Douglas and Noosa for a wonderful break with family and friends, and now it’s back to reality. Reality in Melbourne means a week of scorching heat, with four days above 40C. Hot!!!! With two weeks left of my summer holidays, we’ve got lots to do. I’m 20 weeks pregnant and this means our scan tomorrow (very excited). We are also finally starting our renovation, and this means moving out of our house for a while, whilst my Hubby works his magic. It also means that this is our last chance to catch up with friends before the school year begins. Ella is at such a beautiful age where she loves playing with friends, and today we are having two special little girls over, along with their Mums for a play date.

Whilst it’s not quite the right weather for baking, I saw this fantastic recipe for M&M cookies on Ian Hewitson’s show last week. His niece showed how to make them, and thy seemed pretty easy and fool proof. With only a few simple ingredients, they are also pretty cheap to make. A basic shortbread recipe, you simply adorn them with what ever you like. I stuck to yummy mini m&m’s and given the fact that Ella’s Dad took some to work with him today, they must be yummy! The best thing is, if your kids are a bit older, they will simply love making these with you. As a teacher, I’m always pushing the importance of cooking with kids. So much mathematics involved, and so much fun learning with you!

M&M Cookies (Original Recipe from Ian Hewitson here)

preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 Minutes

Cost? Cheap!

Makes: about 25!

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Ingredients

1 cup castor sugar
150 gm unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
2½+ cups self-raising flour
cooking oil spray
400 gm mini M&Ms

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C fan forced (200°C normal).
2. Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy in an electric stand mixer. Then add the egg and stir until the mixture is runny.
3. Add 2½ cups flour, all at once, and briefly combine with the electric mixer, before kneading with your hands in the bowl and then on a lightly floured workbench.
3. Spray 2-3 large baking trays with oil and then line with baking paper. (I didn’t bother with the oil)
4. Roll the dough into golf ball-sized balls and flatten onto the baking paper with your hand, leaving plenty of space between each one. Then carefully press 5 M&Ms into each cookie and cook in the oven for about 10-15 mins until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 mins to cool and set, before transferring to a cake rack and cooling for another 5 mins.

Tips:

*Make sure you leave a lot of space between the cookies as they spread and rise considerably.

* The trick is to make sure that you get the cookies out of the oven, just before they start to brown.

Given by the expression on Ella’s face….I think she loved them!!! I’m sure you and your kids will too!

Photo 12-01-2014 6 25 55 pm

kate

Solid Start

Solid Start

Let’s get one thing straight. Babies and solids is messy work. Very messy work. Starting solids should come with a warning – expect there to be more food on your child (and you), than in their tummy. I should have known this I guess, well in advance of Ella beginning solids. For some reason I thought it would be ok to feed her solids whilst wearing clothes that I would like her to stay in for the rest of the day. Nope. First time Mum fail. See I (naively) thought that something called a ‘bib’ would  neatly wrap around my child’s neck and conveniently catch any spit ups or bits of food that (for some reason) did not end up in the right place. Before Ella was born I even went out and bought her a few gorgeous bibs, hand made with loving care. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

For months now, Ella has had a drawer of dozens of bibs, not being used. I also (naively) thought for a fleeting moment that maybe I wouldn’t need so many. How on earth could a child need so many bibs. Now that Ella has started solids….I understand why. Mess, mess and more mess. In fact, most of the bibs that I bought her just don’t cut it! New Mums should be warned against buying gorgeous little bibs with handmade embroidery and appliqué. The only advice you need is, buy big ones. The bigger the better. In fact, someone should make an outfit made out of giant bibs that Mums can slip onto their child before feeds and wip off into the wash afterwards. Now that would be money well spent! I’ve since learned that you can buy plastic ones and even one variety that has a large scoop like container on the front to catch all the mess. Wonderful! Something I would have liked to know a month ago!

Starting solids with babies is a confusing topic for most new mums. To start with, there is so much debate about when to start, how to start, what foods and when, how much, sweet or savoury, home made or bought, it’s enough to make you go batty! When Ella was born, the advice was six months. Now the advice is between four and six months. I had been looking for signs of readiness for a while…Ella watched us eat, was gnawing on everything (teething??) and lately has started waking in the night again for feeds after a somewhat blissful month of sleeping through the night. So starting solids was something that I thought would be fairly straight forward in that when she was ready, she would chow down like a master.

Let’s just say that I’ve worked out that it’s not as easy as that. For starters, we first gave her rice cereal and she did not seem interested in that one bit. Not that I blame her, it is disgusting stuff. So I mixed it with breast milk, then pears and tried to make the whole experience ‘fun’ for her. All I can say is that my little girl certainly hasn’t developed her appetite yet. She certainly enjoys the experience more with her Daddy. Yes, he thinks he is more fun than me! Don’t get me wrong, I love this new stage of her development, but at times it feels like a whole lot of hoop jumping! Steaming, stewing, blitzing, pureeing…all to end up on her shirt front. Needless to say for about a week, I was a little frustrated, and I’m sure Ella wasn’t far from it either.

Advice from friends has been a real blessing in terms of putting things in perspective and not rushing things. Every baby is so different. Focussing on introducing foods slowly to look for any allergies is really the basis for starting at this age. Since we started (about a month ago) she has now shown a real love of pears, but I guess she can’t survive on a sole diet of this sweet fruit in various forms. Pumpkin was next (much to her Daddy’s disgust) and she certainly shared his sentiments early on in the piece. My little pumpkin wore more on her face and clothes than anything. Today she ‘wolfed’ down sweet potato which is promising. I guess I’ll just continue to take it one day at a time and build up her taste buds and familiarity with using her mouth in this new way.

In the mean time, I’ll stock up on extra large bibs and lots of them.