Make Eat Get Read Go – November ’14

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Make

Salt dough

In reality I would like my “make” to say time, but as I can’t magic time out of thin air salt dough will have to do. Salt dough is easy and uses basic kitchen ingredients. I’m going to make a batch to get some Little Baker foot and hand prints using this recipe on the fabulous Imagination Tree blog.

Eat

Bonfire Brownies

I have a few jobs for the family bonfire display: Bake cake and heat the mulled wine. These Bonfire Brownies are in the GBBO Learn to Bake book and look like the perfect thing to make. Who can say no to brownies laced with pecans then coated in marshmallows and fudgy icing?

Get

Louise Jenkins papercutting

I’ve always admired papercutting as an art. Louise Jenkins’ work is beautiful and quite different from the other papercutting pieces out there. I particularly love the detail on this owl piece.

Read

Annabel Karmel Baby & Toddler Meal Planner

Now is the time to start swotting up on weaning. We will not be starting until January but I need to get my head around it. I know that two major weaning camps exist: purée and baby led weaning, and that’s about all. I’ve been given this Annabel Karmel book by a friend who highly recommended it.

Go

Bonfire display

Go for November had to be a fireworks display for Guy Fawkes Night. I’ll be watching the family bonfire & fireworks with Little Baker from the safety and warmth of a conservatory while keeping that all important mulled wine warm for the rest of the family.

Have a lovely, snug and warm November.

megrg tag

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2014/10/31/make-eat-get-read-go-november-14/

Our first family holiday – Center Parcs Sherwood Forest

Center Parcs 1

My family has visited Center Parcs Sherwood Forest since the early 1990s. Back then the accommodation was nowhere near as plush as it is now and I can remember the beds being simply covered in sheets and blankets and you had to make your own bed. We didn’t care, as long as we got to spend every waking hour in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise we were happy. We visited nearly every year until about 6 years ago when all of us kids had grown up and left home. Now Little Baker (LB) is on the scene we decided her first holiday had to be Center Parcs as it was somewhere we knew well and is renowned for its baby-friendly facilities. So on an unusually mild October afternoon, eight of us descended on Center Parcs to relive and reignite our family holidays. Naturally it involved champagne, cake and lots of food.

We stayed in two adjoining 4-person woodland lodges close to the centre. All the villas come with travel cots so I’m glad we didn’t have to lug ours along. Our car was already full with her things and just one bag for us squeezed in to the corner. It’s amazing how many things one little person needs. This villa location worked well as it’s the only time we’ve not brought bikes with us so facilities were only a short walk away.

Center Parcs has evolved over the years. Initially it was very much sport orientated, now it has more of a leisure pursuit slant. It’s always worked well for us, especially when teenagers, as we could all do our own thing. Mum usually avoiding all sporting activity with avid people watching and the rest of the family being our competitive selves. Over the years I think we must have tried nearly all the sports Center Parcs has on offer but we always fall back on three for a good bit of inter-sibling rivalry – Squash, crazy golf and ten pin bowling. I’m sure 3 months postpartum I shouldn’t be playing squash but hey I had a reputation to upkeep and no-one has to tell my GP.

Going to Center Parcs with a 3-month-old is different. You have to plan your day more and accept some of your favourite activities of the past are put on hold for a bit. The spa there is very good and usually a haunt of mine but with a baby who’d most likely need feeding during the 3-hour chill out session it wasn’t to be this time.

Center Parcs Sherwood Forest

Many people gawp at the prices of food & activities at Center Parcs. Yes you are paying a premium and I think you just have to accept that, budget for it and enjoy your holiday. Holidays are not for moaning and penny pinching. We did spot that the food prices have stayed pretty constant since our last visit 6 or so years ago. Many of the eating outlets are now run by well-known brands. There’s Cafe Rouge along with Strada alongside Center Parc’s own named eateries. It’s also unsurprising to know there is a Starbucks or St. Arbucks as we like call it due to it being in the building that was originally the Center Parcs church. All the meals we ate out were good especially the club sandwich at Foresters Inn which proved to be worth the initial gasp of “how much?”. A holiday tradition of ours is to drink hot chocolate and it must come with all the trimming available. In fact I think I prefer eating the toppings on hot chocolate more than the drink itself.

Even 20 years or so since our first visit the Subtropical Swimming Paradise is our favourite. Gone are the days when we used to get to the pool for when it opened at 10am and only leave once kicked out at 10pm. We are starting baby swimming lessons soon so I decided it would be the perfect time to introduce her to the pool. At Center Parcs they have family changing booths with changing table and nappy bins which made our three pool visits far easier. Little Baker, possibly the youngest swimmer in the pool, took like a duck to water and felt so chilled bobbing along by the waterfall in her rubber ring that she fell asleep.

I think LB is going to be an active outdoors girl. She was fascinated by the trees and certainly slept well after days out in the fresh air. Now she’s back home she’s wondering where Grandpa, Nain, aunties & uncles have gone along with her daily dip in the pool. We may be heading back sooner than we think…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2014/10/29/our-first-family-holiday-center-parcs-sherwood-forest/

Easy Monster Truffles

Monster truffles annotated

It’s well documented that I have a secret love for Oreos. If they are spied in a biscuit tin they will be second choice to Jammy Dodgers. As well as just scoffing them Oreos make great edible dirt or in this case the base of easy monster truffles.

This recipe is based on the ridiculously easy oreo truffle recipe which uses just two ingredients: biscuits and cream cheese. This is a great activity for young children as it involved fine motor skills, no heat and a little bit of mess. What is cooking without a bit of mess? I highly recommend wearing disposable gloves to make the truffles as the mixture can get sticky, but don’t worry the truffles will firm up with a brief chill in the fridge. Alternatively you could use the same decoration technique with my rum truffles recipe.

Making coloured coconut is also a great activity for children to get involved with and you’ll be glad to know this involves less mess than you think.

  • Put the desiccated coconut in a freezer bag.
  • Add a small amount of food colouring (ideally the gel kind).
  • Seal the bag.
  • Rub the bag and its contents until the coconut is evenly coloured.
  • Pour out on to a plate and it’s ready to use.

When it comes to the biscuits used in the truffles it doesn’t have to be Oreos, though these give a darker colour, bourbon biscuits work equally well. Also you don’t have to just make monsters, the limit is your spooky imagination.

easy oreo halloween truffles

Monster Truffles
Makes 12

  • 100g oreo or bourbon biscuits
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 25g desiccated coconut
  • green food dye
  • small amount of white sugarpaste
  • small amount of brown or black sugarpaste
  • cocktail stick
  1. Put the biscuits in a freezer bag and break into fine crumbs with a rolling pin. Alternatively pulse in a blender until the biscuits have turned into crumbs.
  2. Mix the biscuits crumbs with the cream cheese until well combined.
  3. Make the green coconut as instructed above.
  4. Roll the truffle mixture into 12 balls then roll in the green coconut.
  5. Place on a piece of baking parchment.
  6. Roll a small ball of white sugarpaste and top with a small ball of brown sugarpaste, then squash this to make the eye.
  7. Attach the eye to the body by pressing the cocktail stick through the eye into the body.
  8. Chill the truffles until ready to eat.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2014/10/13/easy-monster-truffles/

Little Baker Picks – October ’14

LB picks

As mentioned in the Changes post this blog is changing slightly and is now going to incorporate some things from Little Baker too.

As her only form of nutrition at the moment is milk that would be a rather boring blog post so along the same line as my Make Eat Get Read Go posts here are some Little Baker Picks. Like usual these are not sponsored posts, no PR stuff, just thing we genuinely use and enjoy.

When a first time parent you’re bombarded with products that you must buy. We bought the bare essentials until Little Baker was here, then bought on an as need basis and tried not to be swayed by what magazines/websites said we should buy. Never buy parenting magazines, they only make you feel inadequate and think that if you don’t spend £100+ on a bouncer that you can plug your iPad into (you think I’m joking) you’re seriously hampering your child’s development. EBay has been my friend along with the refusal to pay full price for anything.

Star wrap

These fleecy star wraps by Tuppence & Crumble are great. Little Baker has nearly grown out of the smaller size so a larger one is winging its way to us as we speak. She loves being in hers. They’re very handy for prams and buggies, with a huge plus point being they are very easy to get the baby out of if they’ve fallen asleep. I’d like a giant adult version please.

Waitrose bottom butter

This product has the texture of Vaseline but it is made from just olive oils, chamomile oil and flavoured with vanilla. This was great at calming her peeling, dry, overdue baby skin and I nick some to use on me too. In fact I rarely use it for the original bottom butter purpose. Some women swear by it as a facial products but I haven’t gone that far yet.

Beaba Stockholm changing bag

This is my second changing bag (the free Boots one doesn’t count). My first bag was a Black Koto one. I loved the pics of it online but in reality it was bulky, had an ugly shiny finish and the pockets were too small to be useful. I’d looked at a Beaba Stockholm while pregnant but couldn’t justify the £75+ price tag, then a few weeks ago spotted it in TK Maxx for £35. It was missing the cool bag that comes with it but I didn’t mind as I wouldn’t need it. I prefer this bag. It’s spacious, has useful features like buggy clips, straps long enough to go over shoulders and antibacterial pocket for dummies though I use it for the all important Infacol.

Frugi bee gown

I fell in love with the bee print while pregnant and bought Little Baker this Buzzy Bee gown before she was born. I’ve bought a few Frugi things after being recommended them on Twitter. While their items can be pricy, the material is lovely, soft and washes well. This gown was great in the warmer months on its own plus the open end is a godsend for late night nappy changes. I also like the integrated mitts which make keeping Little Baker’s hands warm easy. Now it’s getting cooler she’ll wear it with a grobag.

What baby items have you found useful?

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2014/10/10/little-baker-picks-october-14/

Changes

formby beach

 

This blog has been going since 2007 and it has seen some big changes. For starters it was called Domestic Goddess in Training. I started to write it as a way of cataloguing recipes for my own personal use. Hubs (then fiancé) & I had bought our first house together – a tiny, 1-bed, 200-year-old cottage with the smallest of kitchens. Out went our student diet. It was time to learn how to cook from scratch. Small fridge and no freezer so forget ready meals. Fast forward, we’ve now been married 7 years, moved house and now have a daughter. Over this time the blog has evolved too. It’s no longer recipes but also gardening, travel and life.

With our new addition it felt only right the blog should change yet again. Note the new name – Butcher Baker Baby and slightly tweaked graphics. Don’t worry this doesn’t mean I’m going to start writing posts about 10 ways to get butternut squash stains out of baby clothes, it just means`I may write more about our life as parents and what Little Baker gets up to. I know this may not suit all readers and can totally understand if you unsubscribe, but I feel it’s the natural progression of the blog.

So here’s to a new chapter on the blog and I promise the next post will be a recipe!

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2014/10/09/changes/

Make Eat Get Read Go – October ’14

oct14

Little Baker is 2 months old and we’re very much used to her presence now, though she leaves very little time for much else. This little one has an active social life of classes and play dates. I’m writing this at the only chance I get – 4am while she has a feed.

Make

Wooden bunting

Can’t beat a bit of bunting and I’ve wanted to make some for Little Baker’s nursery. This wooden bunting from Things We Make could do the trick.

Eat

Beetle Forest Gateaux

You can’t ignore that October features Halloween so I feel my beetle cake needs to be reincarnated in all its macabre glory. Yes it does contain real insects thanks to cochineal in red food dye. Not for people with a fear of insects.

Get

Becka Griffin Edible Kaleidoscope Calendar

I’m a big fan of Becka’s work and have recently subscribed to her stationery mystery package (a girl can never have too much stationery) but also love this calendar. For us the old school paper calendar is essential for keeping up with Little Baker’s social life.

Read

Jamie Oliver – Comfort Food

Not very original I know but we bought a copy of his book last month, have already cooked some recipes from it and they have been a great success. If you only cook one recipe from the book it has so be the Ultimate Burger.

Go

Liverpool & Formby

Now is the time to dress Little Baker in a shell suit and curlers and introduce her to my homeland; Liverpool. There will be trips to Formby beach, watching the red squirrels in my parents’ back garden along with a trip to Liverpool One and a walk around Albert Dock.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2014/09/30/make-eat-get-read-go-october-14/

Make Eat Get Read Go – September ’14

sept14

I feel the summer has whizzed by and autumn is knocking at the door. You can usually guarantee that once the kids are back in school the weather is glorious. The advantage of being on mat leave at this time of year, I don’t need to be going back to school either. Hurrah!

Make

Magic Trees Fabric

As most of furniture and decoration in Little Baker’s nursery is hand-me-downs or from Ikea, I felt I was allowed to splurge on one item. Even before we knew we were having a little girl I fell in love with a set of curtains in John Lewis (whoa that sounds sad) made with this beautiful Magic Trees fabric. I couldn’t resist the design and her curtains have turned out to be the most expensive in the house. You can also buy the fabric by the length and now need to think of something I could make for the nursery with it. Maybe a simple envelope cushion for the nursing chair.

Eat

Ultimate Cheese on Toast

This simple recipe for ultimate cheese on toast has become a staple in this household. Great when you have a hankering for cheese on toast, but not quite enough cheese to stretch to two rounds. I sometimes add a pinch of mustard to the mixture.

Get

2+1=3 print – Sue Bulmer

To commemorate Little Baker’s birth I wanted to buy a piece by a local artist to go in her nursery. I saw this print by Sue Bulmer a couple of years ago and have waited for a reason to buy it. I decided this print would be perfect and hopefully something she’ll keep for years to come. Note: Sue’s new site is being launched any day now.

Read

Recipes From a Normal Mum

Holly Bell, GBBO finalist, released her cookbook entitled Recipes From a Normal Mum recently. It’s a family friendly cookbook that is about all types of cooking, not just baking, which is different compared to other GBBO contestant books. We’ve only had the chance to cook one thing from the book so far, but the savoury bread and butter pudding with ham and cheese will certainly be served here again. Quick, easy comfort food.

Go

Beyond Limits – Chatsworth House

We have traditions and one of these is to visit Chatsworth during the Beyond Limits exhibition. It’s my annual attempt to force feed Hubs a bit of culture. Just so happens Chatsworth is one of my favourite places in Derbyshire. Throughout the gardens during the exhibition you will find sculptures from various artists that are then sold at the end of the exhibition. Any trip to Chatsworth has to involve a pasty from the hut near the shop and ice cream. We will be introducing Little Baker to her first bit of culture and search for Mr Darcy.

 

Note: All my MEGRG posts feature things I love and are not influenced by PR or freebies. My copy of Recipes From a Normal Mum was a gift from Holly herself (I was about to buy myself a copy) but I wasn’t obliged to write about it.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2014/08/29/make-eat-get-read-go-september-14/

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