Monthly Archives: January 2014

Winter warmers

Hi all,

Just a quick post this time as I wanted to share 2 recipes with you I have been making a lot of recently…chicken soup and ‘Oaties’!

Chicken soup for the soul…

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With this hideously wet and cold weather we are having in the UK (SA followers – stop smirking!!) I have been making a lot of soups and chicken soup in particular, to cheer me up! The girls love it and it is great for using up left over roast chicken and vegetables.

Ingredients:

Left over roast chicken or 2-3 chicken breasts (cut into cubes)

Left over roast vegetables – peppers, courgettes, red onions, parsnips, etc

Garlic – 1-2 cloves, crushed

2 Leeks, chopped

2 tsp Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon

Approx 1 litre water

A little flour for thickening

Method:

–       Add the leeks and garlic to a pan and sauté with a little oil.

–       Add the chicken and roasted vegetables and give a good stir

–       Next add the stock powder and the water

–       Simmer for approx. 20 minutes

–       Mix a little flour with either water or milk for a creamier soup

–       Add to the soup and stir until thickens slightly

–       Serve with warm, crusty bread

‘Oaties’

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These oats biscuits are similar to a previous recipe I posted of ‘Oaty snack bars’ but these are bit more like biscuits as they have some flour added and I think these are better! They are great as after school snacks to keep the kids going until dinner time. As they contain oats, they will give your children a slow and sustained energy release instead of a sudden sugar high and then (just as sudden) drop!

Ingredients:

75g oats

75g whole meal self-raising flour

75g dried coconut

1 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp milk (can use a non-dairy alternative too, such as coconut milk)

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 Tbsp honey (optional)

Handful seeds eg. Sunflower and pumpkin seed mix (you could also add some chopped nuts eg. almonds)

Handful dried fruit eg. Raisins/dried cranberries

Method:

Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix….it’s as easy as that!

Shape into biscuits – you should get about 8 large biscuits from this mixture or 12 small ones.

Take this with you to the school gates and the children will love them (and you!)

Lastlya clever snack/dessert idea: 

Chopped banana with a dollop of peanut butter, sprinkling of coconut and a blueberry/raspberry on top. They are sooooo good…give them a try!

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Paula x

 NOTE:

Tbsp = tablespoon (15ml)

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Omega-3 rich recipes

Omega-3 rich recipes

Try these recipes to get your children eating more oily fish – they will love these!

Grilled salmon with pesto

This is a delicious way to serve salmon and my girls love it! It is so simple…all you need to do is spread approximately 1 teaspoon of basil pesto onto a salmon fillet and top with a little finely grated Parmesan cheese.

Then bake at 200 oC for 8-10 minutes. That’s it!

It is delicious served with boiled new potatoes and a crisp green salad or veggies of your choice.

Mackerel pate’

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Ingredients:

3-4 whole smoked mackerel

4 Tbsp crème fraiche or low fat cream cheese

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fresh flat-leaf parsley  – small handful

Method:

  1. Remove the skin from the mackerel
  2. Add the mackerel, crème fraiche, lemon juice and Dijon mustard to a food blender and blend until smooth
  3. Then add the ground black pepper to taste and the finely chopped parsley
  4. Serve on toasted wholemeal bread of your choice or on crackers
  5. Enjoy!

Other ideas:

Why not try a delicious Fish Pie or homemade Fish Cakes to tempt your children into trying different types of fish?

 Very easy Fish Pie…

I have noticed you can buy a ‘fish pie mix’ now in the supermarket, which includes salmon, pollock (or other white fish) and haddock.

  • Make your mashed potatoes first.
  • Then make a white sauce with milk and flour; set this aside.
  • Next add the fish (raw) to an oven-proof dish, pour over the white sauce and add some grated carrots and peas to add colour and vegetables to the mix.
  • Top with your mash, bake in the oven for approx. 30 mins and voila, you have an easy fish pie!
  • You can add some grated Parmesan cheese to top the mash for a ‘posh’ version!

Paula x 

Omega-3 fats and children’s learning…

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There has been lots of coverage in the media about omega-3 fats making children “brainier” but is this actually true?? What about oily fish? And what if your family is vegetarian or vegan? Have you ever wondered about giving your child an omega-3 fatty acid supplement?

What are omega-3 fats?

They are part of a group of fats called long chain polyunsaturated fats (LCPUFA’s) and are essential nutrients for humans. This means that must be obtained from foods/our diet. Omega-3 fats are one type of LCPUFA, there are also omega-6 fats.

There are 3 types of omega-3 fats known as as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).  EPA and DHA are found in fish and other marine oils, whilst ALA is found in plant oils such as flaxseed/linseed oil and algae oil (vegetarian/vegan sources).

It is the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats that is crucial. We tend to eat too much of the omega-6 fats (sunflower, corn or soya oil) and not enough of the omega-3 fats (oily fish).

Why are these fats important?

Omega-3 (and omega-6) fats play a central role in normal development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. Babies receive these fats from their mother before birth (across the placenta) and after birth from breast milk in order to optimise eye and brain function.

Omega-3 fats are part of all cell membranes in our body, have anti-inflammatory properties and are important for neurotransmitters in our brains, which affect our mood, attention and motivation.

Omega-3 fats and children’s learning:

There is a potential role for omega-3 fats in the management  of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD occurs in 8-12% of children worldwide and symptoms include aggression, clumsiness, mood swings, literacy problems, sleep disturbances and temper tantrums.

About half of the studies looked at in a recent review, found a beneficial effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on ADHD symptoms. EPA seems to be the most important fatty acid in this group of disorders and a dosage of around 560mg for 3-4 months has been found to be effective.

For children without ADHD or other learning problems, supplementation with omega-3 fats does not seem to improve intelligence, memory, verbal learning and visual attention, at least not on the tests that were studied.

 So should we give our children omega-3 supplements?

For children without diagnosed learning problems, it seems that the evidence is actually not that strong for omega-3 fat supplements making our children “brainier”, but as they have many other health benefits it is important to encourage your children from a young age to enjoy eating oily fish. Salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring are all very good sources. Try them in fish cakes, fish pie, mackerel pate’, grilled salmon topped with pesto, etc. Recipes to follow!

Please note:

I have only spoken about children here, but there are MANY known benefits of eating oily fish for people of all ages, such as lowering blood cholesterol, lowering blood pressure and the anti-inflammatory effects on rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimers disease, depression and many more. So eat oily fish once or twice a week, whenever you can!!

Paula x

References:

  1. Supplementation of N-3 LCPUFA to the Diet of Children Older Than 2 Years: A Commentary by the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition. ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition: Carlo Agostoni, Christian Braegger, Tama ́s Decsi, Sanja Kolacek, Walter Mihatsch, Luis A. Moreno, John Puntis, Raanan Shamir, Hania Szajewska, Dominique Turck, and Johannes van Goudoever JPGN Volume 53, Number 1, July 2011.
  2. Fatty acids in the management of ADHD. Dr Carrie Ruxton and Dr Emma Derbyshire. Complete Nutrition, vol 13 No 4, September 2013
  3. Schuchardt et al Significance of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids for the development and behaviour of children. Eur J Pediatr 2010, 169: 149-164
  4. Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease: the science behind the headlines. Professor Philip C Calder, University of Southampton. NHD Volume 3.22, Nov 2013