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Storytime Chefs: Space themed storybooks and recipes for the Summer break

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It's July (just!) and time for this month's Storytime Chef post. This month, we are embracing the them of SPACE, because what child doesn't love recipes (and stories) featuring rockets, space travel, aliens and intergalactic travel?

For those of you who are new to Storytime Chefs, welcome to our virtual reading and cookery club for families with children aged 2-10 years.

COMPETITION TIME:

We are celebrating our second month of book and cookery activities with a (UK) give away of a personalised copy of The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home (with your child's name) by Wonderbly

Just comment and share this post on Facebook, or tag us on Instagram with your space inspired baking (#organiccookeryschool #storytimechefs). See bottom of post for full terms an

 

The best children's books about Space

Do your kids love the topic of Space? This year both my Reception aged daughter (aged 5) and my 12 year old studied space and the solar system at school. It was great to hear them comparing facts, and I think Emily was a little jealous of how much art and craft her little sister got to do during their studies.

Emily loves to read with her little sister, so we dug out some of our favourite Key Stage 1 story and poetry books with a space theme. The following are all fiction, as it's pretty easy to find non-fiction children's books about space.

We also dusted out some quick recipes/food activities The Organic Cookery School had put together for a month of Rocket Science themed cookery activities at the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley.

Note: As we didn’t have access to any ovens at Wisley, they were all on a no cook / assembling /decorating vibe, but still fun to recreate when the kids have friends over for a playdate.

I’ve included the worksheets, which have recipes and instructions for giant gingerbread planets and astronauts, shooting star kebabs, rocket sandwiches, cake truffle planets and peppermints stars in the documents section of our Facebook group.

You can access those recipes and worksheets for free by joining our friendly Storytime Chefs Facebook group  before the end of August 2018. Once you've joined check the announcements or look in the documents section of the group.

But I also recommend making a bowl of alien soup (aka our Summertime soup) and deep space rock cakes (aka cheesy broccoli and quinoa bites), before snuggling down to a magical deep space story from the following list.

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 Find instructions how to make our Cake Truffle Planets in the  Storytime Chef  FB group

Find instructions how to make our Cake Truffle Planets in the Storytime Chef FB group

Fifteen teacher (and child) approved books inspired by the theme of Space

The First Hippo on the Moon by David Walliams    

Fun illustrations from best selling author David Walliams,  suitable from 3+

Eeek! The Runaway Alien by Karen Inglis 

Suggested age 6+ (also great for football fans)

Space Boy by Leo Landry In this charming picture book, the allure of space travel and the longing for peace and quiet entice a young boy to take his space rocket to the Moon for a picnic. Suggested age 4-7 years
 
Aliens Love Underpants and Aliens in Underpants Save the World by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort 
 "Aliens love underpants, in every shape and size, But there are no underpants in space, so here's a big surprise...." Great books for joining in (and giggles) Suggested age range 3-6 years.

Mousetronaut by Mark Kellywritten by a real astronaut! Astronaut Mark Kelly flew with "mice-tronauts" on his first spaceflight aboard space shuttle Endeavourin 2001. Mousetronaut tells the story of a small mouse that wants nothing more than to travel to outer space. The little mouse works as hard as the bigger mice to show readiness for the mission . . . and is chosen for the flight! While in space, the astronauts are busy with their mission when disaster strikes--and only the smallest member of the crew can save the day. Suggested age range 4-7 years

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers  By best selling author Oliver Jeffers, suggested age 3-5 years
Alien Tea on the Planet Zum Zee by Tony Mitton   
If you take your rocket to the outer edge of space, you'll come across a funny little alien place. The alien peoples call it Planet Zum-Zee, and they're meeting here today for a special picnic tea. Another great read-aloud book for 3 years plus

Coyote and the Sky: How the Sun, Moon and Stars Began by Emmett ‘Schkeme’ Garcia , a traditional retelling of how the sun, moon and stars began, for younger readers. 
Letters from an Alien School Boy by Ros Asquith

The Planet Gods by Jacqueline Mitton

Dr. Xargles Book of Earthlets by Jeanne Willis

Space Poems chosen by Gaby Morgan


We’re Off to Look for Aliens by Colin McNaughton

On the Moon by Anna Milbourne

 

Link to books on Amazon in books (or check your local library).

By shopping with the links we have provided, we may earn a small referral commission which goes straight back into our community outreach projects for vulnerable families It also doesn’t cost you anymore. Thank you!

Join the Storytime Chef Fun – Here’s How:

  1. Please leave a comment below, saying that you’re joining Storytime Chefs this month and reading The Rainbow Fish.
  2. Join our friendly Facebook group STORYTIME CHEFS for shopping lists and bonus activities covering art, crafts, science and links with the curriculum.
  3. Get a copy of the book using the links above or from your local library.
  4. Read the book together…
  5. ….then bring the kids into the kitchen and cook our featured recipes together.
  6. I would LOVE for you to share your photos on Instagram using the hashtag: #StorytimeChefs and please tag me too (@organiccookeryschool). 
  7. Tune in next month for  another book-themed recipe.
 Follow and tag us on  Instagram  to enter #organiccookeryschool #storytimechefs   

Follow and tag us on Instagram to enter #organiccookeryschool #storytimechefs

 

Ways to enter our competition:

1) Comment and share this post on FB

2) Follow and tag us on Instagram with some parent/child space themed baking

3) Share your space themed cookery activities with us in our FB group.

4) Get £5 off any Wonderbly book using this link.

Any of the above actions (completed by 31/8) guarantees an entry in the competition draw (UK residents only).  One winner will be chosen by random and contacted by social media on 1st September 2018. the chosen winner will have 7 days to respond, and will need to supply the name, gender , hair colour and address of the child the book will be personalised for. For further details visit Wonderby and select 'The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home for information on personalisation details required. These details will not be shared with any other parties.

Storytime Chefs: Rainbow Fish Digestive Biscuits

makes 10-12 biscuits

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Here’s the second recipe in Rainbow Fish themed Storytime Chefs series, our monthly virtual cookery and book club for families with children aged 2-10 years.

Read more about this month's book choice here, or try our delicious veg pack Rainbow Fish Pizzas.

equipment:

You will need:

  • an apron and clean hands
  • two baking sheets, lined with greaseproof paper
  • one large mixing bowl
  • one small bowl to melt butter
  • weighing scales
  • measuring spoon
  • a wooden spoon or silicone mixing spoon
  • a fish shaped cookie cutter
  • a rolling pin (and optional rolling mat)
  • a palette knife or similar to lift biscuits
  • a cooling rack
  • oven gloves

 

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Ideas for decorating your rainbow fish biscuits:

To ice or not to ice?

It’s pretty impossible to decorate biscuits (and avoid a mini sugar rush) without using some form of icing, chocolate or sweets and whilst this isn't the healthiest of food stuffs, it is part of the magic of this activity for your kids. These biscuits are delicious on their own, and are not overly sweet, so we normally decorate about half and leave the remainder plain.

When it comes to choosing decorating ingredients, we prefer to go as natural as possible, choosing options which don’t contain palm oil, artificial colours and flavours, and are organic where ever possible.

Baking and decorating biscuits/cakes (especially Rainbow Fish ones) isn’t an everyday event  - just like eating birthday cake isn’t an everyday event, which most children understand.

Here are some options (either fruity or chocolatey):

or

  • Melted chocolate (milk or white)
  • Colourful dried fruit ‘scales’ (eg cranberries, chopped apricots, golden raisins, chopped mango) or snipped up Bear Fruit Yoyos/homemade fruit leather
  • Naturally coloured/flavoured ‘Smarties’ or ‘Jelly Tots’ (eg Biona)
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Where to get hold of a copy of The Rainbow Fish:

Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon UK                      Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon US

Or don’t forget to check your local library.

By shopping with the links we have provided, we may earn a small referral commission which goes straight back into our community outreach projects for vulnerable families It also doesn’t cost you anymore. Thank you!

Storytime Chefs: Recipes inspired by The Rainbow Fish

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This month, we launch the first in a new series of cook and learn activities inspired by popular children’s books.

Storytime Chefs is our virtual reading and cookery club for families with children aged 2-10 years, and we are kicking off with a book I’ve shared with many of our community-based family cookery classes  - The Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister.

What’s The Rainbow Fish about?

The most beautiful fish in the ocean is asked to share one of his shining scales with a little blue fish, which he refuses. All the other fish in the sea leave him alone, and he wonders why. He goes to the wise octopus for advice, and she tells him to give away his scales. Rainbow Fish reluctantly does so, except for one. In the end, he is less beautiful then he was before, but he has new friends and is now the happiest fish in the sea.

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We've put together two beautiful child-approved recipes to make with your children:

Rainbow Fish Pizza and Rainbow Fish Digestive Biscuits

Where to get hold of a copy of The Rainbow Fish:

Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon UK                      Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon US

Or don’t forget to check your local library.

By shopping with the links we have provided, we may earn a small referral commission which goes straight back into our community outreach projects for vulnerable families It also doesn’t cost you anymore. Thank you!

Join the Storytime Chef Fun – Here’s How:

  1. Please leave a comment below, saying that you’re joining Storytime Chefs this month and reading The Rainbow Fish.
  2. Join our friendly Facebook group STORYTIME CHEFS for shopping lists and bonus activities covering art, crafts, science and links with the curriculum.
  3. Get a copy of the book using the links above or from your local library.
  4. Read the book together…
  5. ….then bring the kids into the kitchen and cook our featured recipes together.
  6. I would LOVE for you to share your photos on Instagram using the hashtag: #StorytimeChefs and please tag me too (@organiccookeryschool). 
  7. Tune in next month for  another book-themed recipe.

Featured Recipes for The Rainbow Fish

Get the Rainbow Fish Pizza recipe here

JOIN THE STORYTIME CHEFS VIRTUAL READING AND COOKING CLUB

Storytime Chefs : Rainbow Fish Pizzas

makes four individual pizzas

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These quick and healthy pizzas are inspired by The Rainbow Fish (by Marcus Pfister), and encourage children to pile up on a variety of different coloured veggies, helping them meet their five a day targets and eat a rainbow too. I’ve honestly never seen my five year old so keen to load up with every colour of vegetable.

For speed and convenience, shop-bought pitta bread works fine (Waitrose and Ocado stock organic versions).  Pitta are easy to cut to shape with sturdy kitchen scissors, and both wholemeal and white pitta both taste great in these pizzas.

Trimming into a fish shape can be a bit awkward (there’s a good chance that little ones could accidentally chop off a tail!) but is great for developing motor skills - so be prepared to model where to cut and help little ones. (and have a few pitta spare just in case)

If you want to make your own pitta (which is great fun and everso easy) - we’ve included a recipe to make your own in the resources section of our FB group.

Next comes a topping of our veggie packed magic tomato sauce, but any good quality tomato pasta sauce will work (we like Seeds of Change and Mr Organic sauces).

Let your junior chefs get busy with the cheese grater, minding their fingers (and fingernails)  before offering them a rainbow selection of veggie toppings.

*N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.


Developing cooking skills:

Encourage your children to do as much of the pizza prep as possible. We’ve highlighted the hands on skills they will be developing  below:

 

  1. Cut the pitta bread into a fish shape using scissors (adult/older child task unless very dextrous)

  2. Spoon and spread pizza sauce (child)

  3. Grate cheese and sprinkle over pizza sauce (child - may need support grating)

  4. Take a pinch of italian herbs and sprinkle over cheese (child)

  5. Prepare veggie toppings - dice and slice peppers, mushrooms, olives (child - younger cooks may need support slicing or offer strips which they can dice/snip with a safe knife or scissors)

  6. Snip spring onions (if using) with scissors (child)

  7. Build your rainbow fish pizza using fingers or a spoon to create colourful (veggie) rainbow scales (child)

  8. Drizzle or spritz with a little olive oil  - an oil spray works well for this (child - may need support)

  9. Ask an adult to place in the oven for approx 12 mins (adult or older child)

  10. Wait until cooled and enjoy.

 

Don’t forget to take some photos and share them with us in the Storytime Chef group (or tag us on instagram #storytimechef #organiccookeryschool)


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Enjoy this? Try our Rainbow Fish inspired digestive biscuits.

Where to get hold of a copy of The Rainbow Fish:

Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon UK                      Link to Rainbow Fish on Amazon US

Or don’t forget to check your local library.

By shopping with the links we have provided, we may earn a small referral commission which goes straight back into our community outreach projects for vulnerable families It also doesn’t cost you anymore. Thank you!

Solutions for baby CMPA - tips from parents on how to get your baby seen and treated as soon as possible.

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CMPA affects between  1.9 – 4.9% of young children and is the leading cause of food allergy in infants and young children younger than 3 years (GP INFANT FEEDING NETWORK), with many growing out of their symptoms by the time they are toddlers. However the journey from diagnosis to treatment (and solving baby pain) can be long and convoluted. 

Many mums start with their Health Visitor or GP, and have to return time and time again to be (eventually) referred to a paediatrian, and dietitian. 

With such high occurences, we thought it valuable to talk to parents who've been through this, and (just about) escaped intact - many of whom have gone on to blog about their experiences and offer support to other families on this journey.

The aim of this article is to illustrate the recurring point that you know your baby best - and if they have any symptoms associated with CMPA, you have a right to expect these symptoms to be addressed as soon as possible. 

We'll be exploring this issue in further depth in our upcoming dietitian-led parent workshop (online on 7th June, book a place here), when Nishti from Nishti's Choice will offer her advice on self-diagnosis tools and resources which will help you evidence your baby's problems to health care professional and get support as soon as possible.

Resources include:

  • Nishti’s Choice - My Baby’s Assessment  (to self diagnose)

  • Nishti’s choice - My Baby’s Symptom Tracker (to show to your healthcare professional)

  • The Milk Ladder Symptom Diary (to help you through the milk ladder)

  • CMPA Food Fact Sheet (to help you check food labels)

  • Alternative Products for the Dairy Free Diet (to help you pan your meals, especially if breastfeeding)

Book your place on the parent workshop here

But now it's time to hear from the ladies who've been through this. 


Emma's story, (from Free From Farmhouse).

It took 9 months to get my son officially diagnosed, despite terrible eczema, frequent doctors visits, a trip to A&E and reactions during weaning. With my daughter I knew from day one but I still had to fight for a diagnosis and dairy free formula. Unfortunately it's such a common story. I interviewed lots of experts for my book about living with allergies, which comes out next year with Allergy UK, and they all know the issues but still have a hard time getting GPs to recognise symptoms. 


Nina's story, (from Non-Ige Baby).

It took (sic) around 28 days for my youngest - he couldn’t lay flat for vomiting, his skin was awful and at the point when he struggled to breathe even when bolt upright he was diagnosed. My eldest is still waiting and she’s nearly 3. Luckily she’s able to drink oat milk and is willing to take supplements! I don’t think she’ll ever get any help if I’m honest- it was a battle with my son when the problem was plain as day to everyone who saw him.


Becky's story (from Incredible Isla)

We (sic) sSelf diagnosed after 5 months. Immediate dietitian referral who has been amazing in helping us through multiple severe food allergies .


Laura's story (from Five Little Doves)

 

(It took) 12 months with my first daughter and 9 months with my second. My second daughter was in and out of hospital for 9 months before they finally took it seriously and ended up really unwell. I wish I had pushed harder.


Sarah's story (from Mummy Cat Notes)

It took six months to finally get a diagnoses with my son, none of the doctors believed me and I had to change his milk that was recommended to me by a friend to show that milk was effecting him and they finally accepted it. it’s shocking how it’s one of the most common childhood allergies but no one believes it. 


Laura's story (from Edinburgh With Kids)

It took (sic) 14 months here. After an initial hospital visit at 3 months due to a lot of vomit, we were in and out of doctors visits as she went from vomiting and weight loss to chronic constipation, finally got referred to allergies at about 9 month but another 5 to actually be seen. 


 Zoe's story (from Mummy and Liss).

It took months for me to get a diagnosis for my daughter, I knew it was more than 'just colic' and I was right. In regards to speeding up the process of a referral.. just keep on at them, it sounds bad but do not back down or you will be turned away.. hang in there & just know that you're not an annoyance,  you're doing what's best for your baby  


Lauren's story, (from Dilan and Me).

 It took several months here. My little boy was sick all the time (actual puddles of sick everywhere we went), then his weight gain flat-lined. He fell below the second centile and was diagnosed as “failure to thrive” but no one knew why. I began to suspect CMPA as a friend's baby just had that diagnosis. At 6m we started BLW and he had some chicken cooked in a cream sauce, then immediately came out in hives everywhere it had touched. Luckily he hadn’t ingested any. We both cut out dairy and soya immediately (I was Breastfeeding) and his sickness stopped, and his weight shot up. So basically it was completely diagnosed by myself with very little healthcare professional support. I was dairy and soya free for 2 years until he self weaned, and he’s very very slowly progressing up the milk ladders now at 4.5. 

I advise mums to research as much as they can for themselves, and to read the MAP guidelines which health care professionals should be following. Unfortunately you have to be quite pushy and really advocate for your child to get the support you/they need, but I find showing a GP the guidelines in black and white tends to get them to act and actually refer you to wherever you need. For breastfeeding mums in particular a dietician referral is recommended because it’s important someone is monitoring their diet too for all the correct vitamins and nutrients x

Lauren has created a really helpful Dairy and Soya Free Treats list (perfect if you are breastfeeding).


Samantha's story (from Serenely Sam)

 It took around 4 months for my daughter to be diagnosed. I know thats a lot faster than some but it was only thanks to my amazing health visitor. My GP was very dismissive and wouldn't listen to any of my concerns about my daughter's symptoms. She was being sick all day, explosive nappies all day, she was writhing in pain during every feed, had blood coming from her bum on a few occasions, and also had reflux. The GP refused to look passed the reflux, even when she knew that CMPA ran in my family! My Health visitor's hands were tied really as I had to go through my GP but when the GP wouldnt help, and my daughter was so ill, she referred us to a dietician herself as an emergency case. My daughter was prescribed Similac formula which immediately helped her. 


Nathalie's story (from The Intolerant Gourmand)

My son had a severe allergic reaction and was rushed to A&E at 8 weeks old. But it took until he was 16 months old, and 3 further severe allergic reactions where we almost lost him, before he was finally diagnosed with multiple severe allergies, including CMPA! 
I now work with a number of clients creating allergy safe recipes, lecturing with leading Paed Consultants at various conferences across Europe to help them better understand the impact of diagnosis and the time taken for diagnosis, and coach parents and children to help them to live positively with allergies.


Don't forget to join us on 7th June 2018, for our live parent/dietitian workshop. Tickets cost £10 and are limited in number.

Thank you to all the bloggers who shared their experiences in this post. Please check out their websites and let them know we sent you :)

Ask the expert - we talk to an oral health expert about the best ways to look after your family’s teeth and avoid child tooth decay and extractions.

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The dental health of children, including issues such as tooth extractions and decay are currently making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Numbers of child tooth extractions are up, causing what must be for many children, a great deal of unnecessary stress and discomfort, as well as putting additional pressure on the NHS.

Hospitals extracted multiple teeth from children and teenagers in England a total of 42,911 times – 170 a day – in 2016-17, according to statistics obtained by the Local Government Association

As a parent, and someone who spent a lot of time in the dentist’s chair from the age of ten (due to two broken front teeth rather than cavities), this worries me deeply not only because I know just how distressing and painful dental work is, but also because for most, it is avoidable.

I’d like to think I’m a well informed parent, but these statistics make me wonder just what’s missing in our parenting education, for this problem to be growing so dramatically.

Yes, we need to give our children less sugary foods.

Yes, supermarkets need to stop promoting sugary food.

But as well as dietary choices, how much do parents really know about the best ways to care for their children’s teeth?

As a parent educator, I also know it’s something that other parents lack confidence in too, especially those who have babies starting solids or preschoolers.

Is there enough support and information to support parents right from when a baby starts solids, through to when a child is left to brush their teeth independently?

With this in mind, I decided it was time put some of our parent questions to an expert, and I am very grateful to Samantha Glover, Dental Public Health Program Manager at Public Health England, for taking part in the following Q and A. All questions were submitted by The Organic Cookery School’s Parent Focus Group.

This first question came from Isabel, who like many parents often gives homemade smoothies as a way to boost her children’s intake of fruit and veg (particularly spinach, which as we all know becomes infinitely more acceptable to a child blitzed up with fruit)

Q: Are smoothies really bad? Are they better if drunk through a straw?

A: It is so much better to eat whole fruits; when you blitz the smoothie you release the sugars which can damage your teeth.

These can also be quite acid, leading to enamel erosion. If you are going to have a smoothie or any drink that is not water or milk, drink it with a meal and over a short period of time. The worst thing you can do is sip these drinks throughout the day as it means the damage is continual rather than being in one hit.

If straws reduce the amount of time a sugary drink is in contact with teeth, then yes, but this is reduced if being sipped over a long period.

Find out more on this topic here


Amy wanted to know whether it’s better to offer smoothies at a particular time of day.

Q: Is it better to give a smoothie in the morning (because you can brush teeth after)

A: Give it with a meal and stick to water or milk in between meals. Do not brush your teeth for 45mins after you have eaten or drank anything. Once you eat or drink the sugars and acids in the food form an acid which attacks the enamel. Over the next 45 mins your saliva with help neutralise this acid environment and bring the PH back to a neutral level. At this point it is safe to brush again. If you want to help you teeth drink some water after eating or drinking.

Find out more on this topic here:


Lianne has a toddler and school-aged child and wanted to know how important it is to use toothpaste targeted at different age groups.

Q: Do I really need different toothpastes for all the different ages? Does it matter if my two year old and 8 year old have the same one?

A: The difference in ages for toothpaste is the fluoride content. Children from 4 years old who are developing their adult teeth benefit from the higher dose of fluoride (1450ppm). This is the same for all children older than this. With children 4 and above use a pea sized blob. Children under this age use just a smear. Rub the toothpaste in to the toothbrush so the child doesn’t just suck the paste off the brush and swallow it.

Find out more on this topic here:


Lianne also asked about mouthwashes targeted at children.

Q: Do my children need to use children’s mouthwash?

A: Children should not need to use a mouthwash unless recommended by their dental professional. After brushing the teeth for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste spit out the bubbles but do not rinse. You want that fluoride to soak in to the enamel to help keep it strong. If you rinse with water or mouthwash you will wash all of this away. The child’s saliva will slowly  wash this away once it has done its job.


Monika wondered about whether toothbrushes need cleaning.

Q: Should I clean my child’s toothbrush (eg sterilise it)?

 

A: No, toothbrushes should be replaced regularly. Every three months is recommended but if yor child has been sick or been unwell replace the toothbrush before. Use a toothbrush cover once the brush is dry or keep them in a cupboard. Do not use each other’s brushes. It is always best to replace than try and sterilise or disinfect a brush. Just rinse the bristles well after use and leave to try.

Find out more on this topic here:


Inga wondered about the effects of dried fruit on teeth, especially as a playtime snack or at lunch.

Q: Can I give my children dried fruit snacks during the day?

A: Dried fruits such as raisins are very concentrated sugar and stick so they stay on the tooth surface for a long time. Try to limit snacks to two a day (100cals) and drink plenty of water after a snack to help clean the mouth.

Find out more on this topic here:


Ines posed a great question about foods that might help neutralise sugar acid during the day.

Q: Does cheese (or any other food) neutralise sugar acid?

A: Yes to a degree. Low acid and sugar snacks include rice cakes, cheese and milk. These can be a good addition to the diet and water and milk are a good option after something acidic or with sugar.  

Find out more on this topic here:


Chloe, one of our ‘Cooking for Baby’ mums asked about babies and teething.

Q: Is it ok to let my baby chew her toothbrush when teething?

A: Teething rings are better for long term chewing but introducing your baby to a toothbrush whilst they are teething is a good idea, they can get used to the feeling of the bristles so this feels more familiar when you start to brush the teeth. Children should be supervised to brush up to the age of 7.


Sam wondered whether her son’s current dental routine was linked to recurrent bad breath.

Q: My child has bad breath, but we clean teeth regularly, are we doing something wrong?

A: Bad breath can be a sign of a throat or stomach problem. Take the child to check that the teeth and gums are clean and healthy. If this is the case then check with your GP.  Often when a child has a throat infection or stomach problem it can cause a bad taste and smell in the mouth.


We also asked about rinsing with water.

Q: Should my child rinse with water or leave some toothpaste in their mouth after brushing?

A: Spit don’t rinse (see above)


And whether Samantha had any specific advice on sippy cups/giving up bottles.

A: Children should be encouraged to drink from a free flowing cup from 6 months. This will help with keeping the teeth healthy as the liquid is not pooling in the mouth and is in contact with the teeth for a shorter period of time. It will also help with speech development as different muscles are used to drink from a cup.

Find out more on this topic here:


Best books to encourage your children to brush their teeth (and eliminate worry at the dentist)

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As parents we all want our children to understand the importance of brushing their teeth properly, but the natural consequence of not doing so (tooth decay, drilling, filling, gum disease and even tooth extractions) are pretty scary. Most of the dentists I’ve visited have been brilliant with my daughters but it can still be a little scary, particularly if you have an anxious child.

The following book list has been put together by myself and Samantha Glover,  Dental Public Health Program Manager at Public Health England, who recently answered parent questions about the best ways to look after your children’s teeth.

When choosing stories on a dentist/tooth brushing theme, Samantha tries ‘to steer away from books that link the dentist with toothache i.e ‘little princess had a terrible tooth ache so she went to the dentist to get it fixed’. We want young people to get used to going to the dentist (from one year old) as a routine thing not related to pain or anxiety.’

The following books are all available from Amazon, and should be accessible from your library too.

You can read the full article, Ask the expert - we talk to an oral health expert about the best ways to look after your family’s teeth and avoid child tooth decay and extractions, by clicking this link.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. The Organic Cookery School may receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using affiliate links.

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Peach Melba Chia Pudding

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Here’s the second recipe in our series of chia seed puddings which are perfect for babies (over 6 months), toddlers and big kids too! Based on a classic peach melba, it’s perfect for summer months when peaches and raspberries are plentiful.

100 million times better than a processed kids’ dessert, it’s also got the thumbs up from Abby, our registered dietitian.

This delicious dessert is bursting with vitamin C and fibre from the combination of fruits. Chia seeds add omega 3 to help healthy brain and heart development. They also provide healthy protein for normal growth and development.
— Abby Ixer, Registered Dietician

With no added sugar and vitamins and minerals galore, you'll want to try this with your fussy eater too.

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Healthy Valentine Recipes Your Kids Will Love

HEALTHY VALENTINE RECIPES YOUR CHILDREN WILL LOVE fb THUMBNAIL (1).png

We love Valentine’s day at The Organic Cookery School. Partly because it often falls in our February half term (so extra time for kids’ baking classes!) and because it’s Lucy’s wedding anniversary (awww!) on the 14th.

So whether it’s a weekend or school hols activity, Valentine’s is a perfect time to get hands on in the kitchen with your little ones.

Here are some our our favourite health(ier) recipes for Valentine’s.

 These raspberry yogurt mousse pots from  Eats Amazing  are super quick and lower sugar than your average dessert.

These raspberry yogurt mousse pots from Eats Amazing are super quick and lower sugar than your average dessert.

 Peanut Butter fans will go crazy for  Healthy Little Foodies   Raspberry Peanut Butter Freezer Bites     

Peanut Butter fans will go crazy for Healthy Little Foodies  Raspberry Peanut Butter Freezer Bites     

  More than Just Carrots  have also rethought the Jammie Dodger, with a strawberry chia jam and wholemeal hazelnut biscuit.                                                                                                                            

More than Just Carrots have also rethought the Jammie Dodger, with a strawberry chia jam and wholemeal hazelnut biscuit.                                                                                                                            

 Frozen strawberries work perfectly in these healthy Strawberry Breakfast Bites from  My Kids Lick The Bowl  with oats, coconut and sunflower seeds.

Frozen strawberries work perfectly in these healthy Strawberry Breakfast Bites from My Kids Lick The Bowl with oats, coconut and sunflower seeds.

  All About Kids  have reinvented the traditional Jammie Dodger with raspberry chia jam. Yum!         

All About Kids have reinvented the traditional Jammie Dodger with raspberry chia jam. Yum!         

 And if hummous is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this Beetroot Hummous recipe from  Baby Gram

And if hummous is your thing, you can’t go wrong with this Beetroot Hummous recipe from Baby Gram

 And Valentine’s is one time when breakfast balls needn’t just be for breakfast!  Healthy Little Foodies’s  Raspberry and Coconut ones look delicious and are perfect for little hands to roll.

And Valentine’s is one time when breakfast balls needn’t just be for breakfast! Healthy Little Foodies’s Raspberry and Coconut ones look delicious and are perfect for little hands to roll.

 Lucy and Clare over at  The Happy Weaner  have plenty of ideas for cute Valentine snacks

Lucy and Clare over at The Happy Weaner have plenty of ideas for cute Valentine snacks

But one of our favourites has to be these super cute Valentine apple love bugs from Grace at Eats Amazing Who could resist?

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We hope that’s given you a little inspiration for 14th February and we’d love to hear if you try any of the above.

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Best lunchboxes for the new school year

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With a little less than a fortnight left of the Summer holidays (for some of us – I’ve two starting 10 days apart!), preparation for the new school term is well under way.

New shoes, new uniform, new pencils and new lunchboxes all round. Even if your kids have a hot school meal, a small lunchbox can serve as a useful break or after school snack holder.

We round up some of our favourites for boys and girls of all ages.

 

SKIP HOP UNICORN

Fun, robust and easy for little hands to open and close. The unicorn designs is one of our faves, but they also come in monkey, owl, hedgehog, bees and ladybird. Cute to the max.

Buy it now.

THERMOS RADIANCE

Sturdy and plain enough for kids who just aren't into character lunchboxes anymore.

Buy it now.

SISTEMA BENTO CUBE TO GO

Dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe, BPA and phthalate free, these sturdy bento sytle lunchboxes come in lots of colours and include a poy of fruit/jelly/yogurt.

Buy it now.

SUCK UK ROBOT

How cool is this? A roomy, retro style lunch tin, which we'd happily take to work.

Buy it now

HAPPY JACKSON BRAIN FOOD LUNCH BOX

Bright and colourful (and with a choice of messages) these smaller lunchboxes from Happy Jackson are also great for school break and afterschool snacks.

Buy it now.

FRINGOO PINEAPPLE TOTE

In stretchy, insulated neoprene, with a ton of fun designs - we love the pineapple dots but there are also unicorns, cheeseburgers, cats and pirate designs. It's also machine-washable.

Buy it now.

MY LITTLE PONY

With the new My Little Pony film coming out in October, there's little chance of your little one getting bored of the insulated lunch bag from Thermos featuring Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie.

Buy it now.

YUMBOX CLASSIC BENTO

The ubiquitous classic yumbox has a lot of fans and comes in a myriad of rainbow colours. Not the cheapest on the market but built to last.

Buy it now.

 

MINECRAFT

A favourite in our household, this official minecraft lunchbag will go down well with any would be Steves.

Buy it now.

Does my baby need vitamin supplements?

An article for new and weaning parents, exploring whether babies and toddlers need vitamin and mineral supplements.

Many parents participating in our practical weaning course 'Cooking for baby' ask us about supplements for their babies. We asked Abby Ixer, RD for her advice on supplements for babies and toddlers.

 

The Organic Cookery School Does my Baby need vitamin supplements

Does my baby need vitamin supplements? If so, why?

Babies who are exclusively breastfed should be given a vitamin D supplement containing 8.5 to 10mcg of vitamin D every day from birth up until one year of age. This is because there are very few dietary sources of vitamin D and maternal levels may be low. Vitamin D is vital to enhance absorption of calcium for strong bones and teeth, so it is important to ensure adequate intake.

However, infants who are fed with at least 500ml formula every day do not need vitamin supplements. This is because formula is fortified with these vitamins so no additional supplementation is required. 

The Organic Cookery School Cooking for baby does my baby/toddler need supplements

What about when they start eating solid foods?

 The Department of Health recommends that all children between the ages of six months to five years should be given daily vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D, unless they are receiving more than 500ml of infant formula a day. It is essential to ensure that babies receive enough of these nutrients to aid healthy development. These vitamins have important functions in the body.

          - Vitamin A – needed for healthy growth, vision and skin.

- Vitamin C – important for development of the immune system and maintenance of healthy tissue. Also helps to absorb iron.

- Vitamin D – essential to help absorption of calcium for healthy bones and teeth. This is particularly important as it is very difficult for young infants to consume enough vitamin D from dietary sources alone.

Cooking for baby starting weaning cheesy quinoa bites

I have a toddler, should I give them supplements and if so for how long?

Although infants should be eating a varied diet by 12 months, it is important to continue to give vitamin supplements until they are five years old to ensure that they receive enough nutrients for growth and development. If a child does not eat much or is a fussy eater, they may struggle to get their recommended intakes of vitamins and minerals through food alone. Supplements should be used in addition to a balanced diet and are by no means a way of replacing the nutrients acquired through food.

The Organic Cookery School Food Explorers toddler Nutrition course

Are some brands of supplement better than others? What should I be looking for?

Many supplements can be purchased over the counter, but it is always best to ask a pharmacist for advice on which is most suitable. Any vitamin supplements given to babies need to be labelled as 'suitable for children under one year of age'. Always follow the recommended dose and do not be tempted to give more than one supplement to your child. Some people are entitled to ‘Healthy Start vouchers and vitamins’, which provides free vitamin drops to children and is specifically designed to help low income families. Your health visitor can provide advice on vitamins and where to access them.

 

For more information about Healthy Start vitamins, please visit:

https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/healthy-start-vouchers/healthy-start-vitamins/

 

 

For more ideas on meeting you baby's changing nutritional needs, check out our recipe books with full nutritional breakdown or sign up for one of our courses

References:

 

Healthy Start Vitamins

https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/healthy-start-vouchers/healthy-start-vitamins/

 

Start4Life

https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby-foods

 

National Institute of Clinical Excellence – Maternal and Child Nutrition (2008)

Available at:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph11/resources/maternal-and-child-nutrition-1996171502533

Five Best Smoothie Makers for your family in 2017

So, it’s January, and we are all full of new year’s resolutions for our family’s diet and wellbeing. If that includes eating more fresh fruit and veg, and you haven’t yet invested in one, you’re probably thinking of investing in a smoothie maker.

But which to try? Will a stick blender do just as good a job or do you need a full on magic bullet/seed and nut blitzing top-of-the-range model?

We put five of the most popular models to the test in The Organic Cookery School Kitchen.

The Nutribullet

Our review: The ubiquitous Nutribullet magic bullet has everything you need to make healthy and delicious smoothies. It’s easy to clean, handles frozen fruit and veg well and makes short work of blitzing nuts and seeds.

It comes with a selection of cups in two sizes and lids, plus a spare blade, all of which are dishwasher proof.

It’s also come down considerably in price over the last year making it a good investment buy for the future.

 

The Nutri Ninja

Our review: Another big price reduction means the Nutribullet’s main competitor is now closer to £50, rather than the original £100 launch price. It’s powerful motor handles nuts and frozen fruit/veg well. The basic model comes with just one blade,however, and less cups than the Nutribullet. A good contender though, making a delicious blended juice in seconds.

 

 

KMix  Blender

This traditional freestanding blender comes in an eye popping range of colours. It'sa great blender and looks amazing in situ, but with a glass jug, we prefer the Nutribullet or Breville (see below) for ease of use and safety when making smoothies with kids.

 

Breville Blend Active Family Blender

Our review: What a great buy! Rather than cups it comes with three portable bottles (which you may or may not prefer) and at this price point it delivers great value for money. It doesn’t feel quite as weighty as The Nutribullet or Nutri Ninja, but it handles frozen fruit and veg well.

 

Braun Stick Blender

Our review: We thought it only fair to give our trusty stick blender a chance too, and tested the Braun MQ100 model. It's not the cheapest handblender there (there are models from around £5). The limitations are that you can’t blend frozen fruit or veg (so no frozen spinach, avocado or bananas for us) or seeds. So whilst it’s great for baby food and soup, you will be limited to very ripe fruit and veg for your smoothies. 

Our Conclusion:

Whether you've a fiver or £50 to invest, we are a big fan of homemade smoothies. We are big Nutribullet fans, but our second choice would be the Breville Blend Active Family Blender. 

We'd love to hear what you think and your favourite smoothie recipes.

The Organic Cookery School Five Best Family Smoothie Makers Review for 2017
All opinions in this article are unbiased and our own and we haven’t received any free products or renumeration for featuring these products.
We include Amazon affiliate links, and any affiliate income earned contributes directly to our free community cookery programmes for vulnerable families.

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites

makes 20-24 bites

Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites - The Organic Cookery School

Babies and toddlers love to be independent and will feed themselves as soon as they are given the chance . Perfect for baby-led weaning, and a healthy lunchbox treat for older kids, you can offer these knowing they are  the perfect hand held snack.

These portable nutrition bombs contain quinoa, a unique grain containing all of the essential amino acids that the body needs, which is also naturally high in fibre, B vitamins and magnesium as well as vitamin rich broccoli, eggs and cheese for protein.

They freeze really well too. Enjoy!


N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.


Try something different

Try mixing finely chopped carrot or raisins instead of broccoli

 

Did you know?

Quinoa is a gluten-free wholegrain

You can get white, red or black quinoa.

White quinoa will cook to be the fluffier, whilst red and black will cook to be a little more crunchy.

Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition, and provides a good amount of fibre and iron.


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an adult. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Infants and Toddlers will need less calories according to their age.
Click here for advice on how many calories your child needs.

Bread and Butter Pudding Muffins

MAKES 16 MUFFINS

Lunch box staple and after school treat. These never last long in our household and are ideal to cook with little ones. Great for using up stale bread and a portable form of bread and butter pudding. Need we say more?



Did you know?

These muffins are full of calcium (good for your bones) and contains very little added sugar because of the natural sweetness of the dried fruit.

 


Pear and Chocolate Pudding

serves 4

pear and chocolate pudding

Low sugar and using store cupboard staples, this is perfect when you need a healthier chocolate pudding for the family. This goes down a storm in our community cookery classes and we’ve heard reports of it being served at fancy dinner parties. If you’re feeling indulgent throw in some extra dark chocolate chips ☺


Tip: 

Younger children may prefer their pear cut into smaller chunks.

 

Optional chocolate sauce recipe:

Break 150g dark chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl over simmering water, add a tablespoon of honey and a knob of butter and stir until combined and glossy. Slowly whisk in 100ml of warmed (but not boiling milk). Can be made in advance and reheated when ready.

 

Did you know?

  • Pears are good source of dietary fibre, vitamins C and K and minerals such as copper and potassium.
  • There are over 3000 varieties of pears grown around the world.
 

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an adult. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Infants and Toddlers will need less calories according to their age.
Click here for advice on how many calories your child needs.

Summertime Soup

serves 3 – 4

Try this if you’re making our potato, pea and mint puree for baby – it’s delicious and delightfully green. Also known as Mean Green Soup, we’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t ask for seconds. And we’ve heard that lettuce has soporific qualities – perhaps a good sleep inducing supper.

N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.


Try something different...

  • This basic soup can be varied with whatever vegetables are in season. Swap potato for sweet potato, butternut squash or pumpkin, and onions for spring onion or leek.
  • For information about what’s in season visit: www.eattheseasons.co.uk

 

Did you know?

  • Soups can be thick or thin. A thin, clear soup is often referred to as a consommé.
  • The potatoes and peas in this recipe which are blended together give this soup a thick consistency which is filling and satisfying.
 

 

Sweet Potato and Orange Muffins

makes 12-18

The apricots in this mix make these muffins – which are low in added sugar and full of natural sweetness from sweet potato, carrots, orange juice and dried fruit. We made them in standard muffin cases here, but they are perfect as mini muffins too – split the mix and have some mum and baby/toddler-sized ones. Perfect for lunchboxes and freezable.

* Adult supervision is required for all chopping, and use of ovens.


Did you know?

  • Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene).
  • They are also a good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fibre, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.
     

Try this!

Swap chopped apricots for any other favourite dried fruit – cranberries, raisins, even chopped prunes!


 

Tomato and Paprika Biscuits

makes 20 small biscuits

There’s something pretty unique about these biscuits – our very anti-tomato 10 year old loves them!  As does pretty much everyone who’s made them in our community classes (even fussy eaters!)  They can be thrown together in minutes, require pretty much store cupboard staples (just need to make sure you have a couple of spring onions to hand) and are perfect blw or lunchbox staples.

* N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.


Did you know?

  • The English word “tomato” comes from the Aztec word, “tomatl”. Tomatoes are full of health: A good source of vitamins A, C and E tomatoes also contain potassium which may help lower blood pressure and calcium which is vital for healthy bones and teeth.
  • To read more about the humble tomato visit: www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

 

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an adult. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Infants and Toddlers will need less calories according to their age.
Click here for advice on how many calories your child needs.

Courgette, Pear and Carrot Cakes

makes two small loaves or 8 - 10 muffins

Here’s another low sugar lunchbox treat, which the kids will love making. Dead simple, packed with veggies and naturally sweet with very little added sugar. We regularly make these in our Little Foodies toddler cookery classes, and everyone loves them.

Need any further excuse to try them?

Carrots are rich in beta carotene which is converted in the body to vitamin A. This nutrient is used to strengthen the immune system and to ensure good eye health. Courgettes are also a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as folate and potassium and fibre, which help to ensure a healthy bowel and prevent constipation in little ones.

*N.B. Children should always be supervised when cooking, and an adult should oversee the use of heat as well as all preparation involving sharp utensils.


Try something different

  • Try changing the pear for another fruit or your choice. Apples, plums and peach would work well.
     

Did you know?

  • Courgette (also known as Zucchini) contains more potassium than bananas and are a rich source of vitamin C and manganese.
  • Carrots although usually orange in colour can also come in purple, red, white, and yellow varieties.
  • The human body turns beta-carotene from carrots into vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for the health of our vision (including our night vision) as well as our bones, teeth and skin.

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an adult. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Infants and Toddlers will need less calories according to their age.
Click here for advice on how many calories your child needs.

 

Cheesy Spinach and Apple Muffins

Perfect for babies and toddlers

If your children are bored of sandwiches, these are great in lunchbox ( perhaps with some cooked chicken or a boiled egg for extra protein). Loved by toddlers, fussy eaters and baby-led weaners they freeze perfectly and are our secret weapon for sneaky some extra veggies into our little ones diets. We’ve made these as full sized muffins, but they work just as well as mini muffins for babies and toddlers.


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an adult. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Infants and Toddlers will need less calories according to their age.
Click here for advice on how many calories your child needs.