In my kitchen – Welsh Mum Writing

In my kitchen – Welsh Mum Writing

Welcome to another week of In my kitchen, the guest blog series where bloggers share with us how they feed their families. This week I am joined by Helen from Welsh Mum Writing. I hope you enjoy reading more about her family and how they cook and eat.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I’m Helen and I’m a forty something working mum from South Wales. I have a two-year-old, an Irish husband and a rescue cat with OCD. My life as a parenting blogger is relatively new. I started in late 2017 as I wanted to share some of my experiences in the hope they’d help others. I get a lot of “you should put that in a book” about my random bits of knowledge or how I manage to get so much done, so a blog was a good compromise. It’s also a creative outlet for me. I’ve written a few fiction books, but I just don’t have time for that anymore. As many of you will know, everything changes once you have kids.

Who does most of the cooking in your house? Do you enjoy cooking?

It’s usually me. I do the shopping and manage the finances so it’s also a natural extension of that. I’m one of those people who can look in a cupboard and see meals, where my husband finds it more challenging if there’s not an obvious marriage of ingredients. I like experimenting and I’m addicted to the Food Network. I hated cooking for a while as it just felt like a chore and I had no time with a very intense job, but when I got pregnant with “Small Boy” that changed, and I became more interested in diet. That’s increased tenfold since weaning.

Do you meal plan?

I do. It really helps with staying on a budget and avoids the stress of wondering what to make. Without a meal plan, it’s far too tempting to get a takeout or eat less healthily. I generally plan for a week as I have a small kitchen and not much storage, so I shop for a week and that’s it. I’m passionate about meal planning – probably why I give my newsletter subscribers a free template. I genuinely believe it’s the one thing that a family can do now to save time and money and improve their diets. By looking ahead, you can avoid falling into the trap of eating the same things all the time, which is good for kids when you want to encourage them to try new things.

What are mealtimes like in your house? Do you eat together as a family?

This is a bit of a tough one. I want to say we all sit together and break bread, but, that’s not always the case. Small Boy is in nursery three days a week, so my husband and I tend to eat separately and usually a little later. Apart from that, we will usually eat at the same time as we’re eating the same things.

What are your favourite family meals to cook?

This is a bit of a tough one. I want to say we all sit together and break bread, but, that’s not always the case. Small Boy is in nursery three days a week, so my husband and I tend to eat separately and usually a little later. Apart from that, we will usually eat at the same time as we’re eating the same things.

Do you cook the same meals frequently or are you always trying new recipes?

There’s a few things we have regularly, but I do like trying new things. I’m a great experimenter! I’ve bought a few new cookbooks which I need to go through and work out how I can build some new ideas into my meal plan. That’s a job for tomorrow!

Do you have any tips for dealing with fussy eaters?

My top tip is to not stress too much over it, particularly if they’re having a balanced diet overall. Getting them involved in cooking or choosing what to cook from say two or three options can help, as can ensuring that if there are two or three things on the plate, including one thing that you know they like. If it’s fussiness of vegetables, I’m a believer in hidden veg. Let’s be honest, a big pile of carrots isn’t that interesting, but grate them up and include them in a pasta sauce and you’re generally onto a winner. I will often keep a bag of grated or finely diced carrots, onions, peppers, and courgettes in the freezer and add them to sauces. This isn’t just true for kids, but also adults.

Do you have a favourite cookbook?

A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe. It has an amazing collection of dishes which you can make on a budget and with limited skill or equipment. It’s based on her experiences of feeding her and her son on ten pound a week. You would never know it. I use at least two recipes from it a week – whether it’s the vegetarian tagine or the banana bread or any number of other delicious options. I bought it when my maternity pay ended and haven’t looked back. Small Boy hasn’t refused a meal yet.

Do you enjoy baking?

I can officially now say yes! This is a big for me as I had a traumatic experience making a swiss roll in school and never baked again. Basically, I couldn’t roll it, it was rock hard, and I had to slice and stack it. In recent months I’ve tried again and even created some of my own recipes. They really are fool-proof. I bake bread at least twice a week, then usually a sponge and biscuits. I exercise more self-control with homemade baked goods because of the effort I’ve put in.

Do you have any tips for making feeding the family easier?

Meal planning and batch cooking works very well for me. I don’t think I’d go back now. I meal plan on a Saturday and then shop and start cooking on a Sunday. I usually prepare two dinners, usually something like a cottage pie or casserole, and portion off some for lunches too. I usually make “overnight oats” or bread for breakfast. It means I don’t have to worry too much on the days I’m at work and it also means we can stick to a budget.

Do you get your kids involved in the kitchen?

Right now, it’s a little difficult as Small Boy is two, so we’re limited. He can help cutting out biscuits with plastic cutters though. When he’s older he will be my sous chef.

Where can we find you?

Physically, I’m either in the kitchen, at my desk, or driving around in my car trying to get Small Boy to sleep. Online, I blog at www.welshmumwriting.com so stop by and leave a comment.  I’m also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

2 Comments

  1. April 13, 2018 / 5:50 pm

    Thanks for having me Claire and sorry for not stopping by earlier. I love this series so very flattering to be in it. I love reading how others manage eating and cooking as a family.

    • Claire
      Author
      April 13, 2018 / 8:56 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to take part. I’m enjoying this series too.

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