7 Days of Love – Marshmallow Krispie Hearts

I found this recipe at Nurture Store and it seemed like an easy, fun treat to make for the girls to give to their teachers. We had a trial run first, just in case it turned out to be a disaster.

It really is as simple as melting the ingredients and pouring the mix into a baking tray to get firm.

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I couldn’t find my small heart-shaped cookie cutter, so used the next biggest size. I struggled a bit to cut the hearts just using the cookie cutter and needed a knife to make sure I got all the way through. I’m not sure if it was because the cookie cutter is plastic or if my Marshmallow Krispie layer was too thick.

The hearts looked amazing, though.

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And my taste testers agreed that it was delicious.

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So we’ll make them for Poppet and Pixie to give to their teachers for Valentine’s Day.

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Do your kids give their teachers Valentine’s gifts?

7 Days of Love – Chocolate Hearts

What is Valentine’s Day without chocolate?

Every year I like to send a little something to school so that my girls can give their classmates a Valentine’s gift. Last year we did cookies; this year we made mini chocolate hearts.

The girls were curious about what “making chocolates” entailed, and more interested in eating the chocolate than in spooning melted chocolate into the moulds.

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I bought the chocolate, heart moulds and foil at The Chocolate Den (on Linksfield Road in Edenvale). This is my favourite baking shop, partly because of its name, but also because they have absolutely everything you need there.

The girls each filled in one tray, then licked their spoons clean. I made the rest of the chocolates later.

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When they had all been made, I cut the foil into small squares and wrapped each chocolate. I did this while the girls were at school to avoid the whining for chocolate that I knew would happen if they were around.

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20 kids in each class. That’s a lot of chocolates.

I wrote a little note and stuck a chocolate on each.

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Hopefully there’ll be a lot of smiling kids next Friday.

Do your kids make Valentine’s gifts for their friends?

Surprisingly Delicious Chicken and Baby Marrow Pasta Bake

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Has it ever happened to you that at around 4pm, you open the grocery cupboard and realise it’s not quite as full as you thought it was? And then you remember that your plans to go grocery shopping never materialised for some reason?

It happens to me, more than I’m willing to admit.

The other day, I found myself rifling through the grocery cupboard, desperate to find something to feed my children because toast and cheese three nights in a row was not going to happen.

What I found: pasta twirls and a packet of Knorr Creamy Chicken soup (just one month past its Best Before date – what’s one measly month, right?) and some Mozarella cheese, baby marrows and chicken breasts in the fridge. (Look, you’ve got to give me credit for defrosting the chicken ahead of time. Technically, I had a plan. Chicken and . . . something.)

I chopped up the chicken into strips, tossed them in salt and pepper and fried them in olive oil while the pasta cooked.

Then I grated two baby marrows and mixed the soup powder with boiling water to make a thickish sauce.

I put the chicken, pasta, baby marrows and soup-sauce in a baking dish and mixed everything up nicely. Then I grated some Mozeralla cheese and sprinkled it on top, then put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 180°C.

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I nervously presented it to my children, who promptly scarfed it down as if they hadn’t eaten in days. They didn’t drop dead, so Hubby and I had it for supper a bit later.

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Oh. My. Word.

Delicious.

Seriously. You guys have got to try this dish.

Did you try it? Did you like it?

5 Lunchbox Ideas

As a kind of follow-up to this post, I thought I’d show you what my girls have been getting in their lunchboxes.

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Poppet and Pixie love grapes. They eat them so quickly I wonder if they actually get to taste them. I made those bran muffins with a muffin mix – easy peasy. Pick n Pay has a great range of character yoghurts that are also good for the budget.

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Popcorn is a super-quick and super-cheap snack to make. The Fairy yoghurt is also from Pick n Pay. There’s just enough space for the peach. 🙂

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Old Faithful – yoghurt, Mini Cheddars and a banana. I like it when the girls choose diet-friendly flavours I don’t eat (like biltong).

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Pretzels aren’t expensive if you buy in bulk – although, if your kids are anything like mine, they don’t last very long in the cupboard. Yoghurt and yellow peaches. Yum.

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Provitas and Mozarella cheese, a nectarine, and yoghurt. Always yoghurt.

What do you put in your child’s lunchbox?

Lekker Lunchboxes

Poppet and Pixie have two breakfasts during the week: one at home and one at school. They also get a cooked lunch at school (so I feel less guilty when supper consists of fruit and sandwiches). I do have to send a mid-morning snack, though, and it’s hard to keep from falling into the rut of Mini Cheddars, yoghurt and a banana every day. Luckily for me (and you) there’s Pinterest.

For those of you who are also running low on lunchbox ideas, here’s a list of inspiration for you. You’re welcome.

5 Dollar Dinners has 31 days of lunchbox ideas as well as free printables to help you compile affordable, healthy lunchboxes for your kids.

Keeley McGuire offers 20 non-sandwich lunch ideas for kids with allergies or gluten intolerance.

Princess Pinky Girl has a link-up to 100+ lunchbox ideas for you. She also gives some tips on how to successfully pack a lunch box.

Very Culinary has some yummy ideas that don’t require a lot of time to prepare.

Following In My Shoes has ideas for lunchboxes that can be made the night before. This will help free up some time to sleep later in the morning, or have a cup of coffee, or just slow the routine down. Some of the ideas are gluten-free.

My Life and Kids links to 30 lunchbox ideas for your kids.

Image credit: a2zlifestyle.com

Image credit: a2zlifestyle.com

A Bowl Full of Simple has some advice on not driving yourself nuts making lunches.

This blog has some healthy lunch options.

Family Fresh Meals has some holiday-themed lunchbox ideas.

Paging Fun Moms has 20+ ideas for kids who don’t like sandwiches.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really, really hungry now.

What do you normally pack in your child’s lunchbox?

12 Days of Christmas – Gingerbread Cookies for Santa

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Stuck for an idea of what to leave for Santa? These yummy gingerbread biscuits are easy and quick.

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Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup golden syrup
1 egg, separated
2 ½ cups flour sifted
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

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Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar using an electric mixer. Then beat in the syrup and egg yolk. Fold in the flour, spices and bicarb. Cover in plastic and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

The cookies spread a little bit during baking, so don’t place them too close together.

Bake cookies for about eight minutes. Allow to harden for a few minutes on the tray before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies taste best fresh out of the oven, but will keep for two weeks in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

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What do you leave out for Santa?

12 Days of Christmas – Candy Cane Cookies

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I saw this cookie recipe in the Artful Parent’s Winter e-book a while back, and it looked like a fun activity for the girls to do. (I haven’t included the recipe because I couldn’t see it on her site.)

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It started off well enough. Poppet had a lot of fun rolling the dough into snakes. Instead of twisting the two colours together, she broke off pieces of white dough and pressed it onto her red snakes to make the candy canes. Pixie decided that it would be a lot more fun to break up her dough into lots of little crumbs.

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When Poppet got tired of making candy canes, I gave the girls cookie cutters. Pixie was far more interested in building a structure than rolling dough.

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The cookies turned out rather well. (And they’re delicious.)

Do you bake with your kids?