Rice Krispie Chicken Nuggets

Last night I was on the look out for something different to do. I had some lovely fresh chicken breasts available but having had pasta the day before didn’t fancy that and the weather was too warm for the Monday night “roast” they had been bought for. I hit up Google for some ideas and came across suggestions for various crunchy cereal coatings for chicken and fish and as luck would have it we happened to have plenty of most of the options suggested! The ones I found all suggested marinades and herby additions which me and Poppy would probably have enjoyed but the key to making dinner for the fusspots (husband and Izzy) is to keep it simple! It worked and was a hit all round, even with the littlest, Bluebell, who was able to gum down some extremely slim cuts (I am nervously embracing baby led weaning). I served them with mashed potato and loads of veg, some of which Izzy actually ate too! So here we go…

For the four and a bit of us I used:

Three good sized chicken breasts, a bowl of rice krispies, 1 egg, a splash of milk, flour and some frylight spray oil.

First I got some little helpers to smash the heck out of the rice krispies in a sandwich bag with a mini rolling pin. As they reduced the cereal to fine crumbs I diced the chicken into good chunks and floured them. Then I asked the biggest (Izzy) to prepare the egg with the splash of milk, she whisked together well, and put it on a plate with a rim. I transferred the floured chicken chunks to the egg plate a couple at a time and made sure they were totally covered. I put the cereal crumbs onto a big plate and put the eggy chicken on there, turning with a fork to coat them (I originally started out with my fingers but they were so covered in egg that the crumb kept coming off the chicken and coating me instead – the fork worked well to leave the crumb on the chicken where it belonged!). I had a couple of baking trays greased with a few good squirts of the Frylight oil standing by and as the chicken nuggets got dusted I placed them on there. Once they were all on the trays I gave one squirt of oil from above just for moisture and browning and popped them into the preheated oven (190°C) I left them in for 10 minutes before turning them over and giving them another 10 minutes but it will depend on how big, small, fat or thin your strips are. We like ours quite chunky!

Already been asked for them again and it was nice to get the girls in the kitchen with me on a project that required so little assistance from me so I could do the sharps and hots without lots of interruptions! Any recipes for an easy tomato ketchup I could whizz up would be gratefully received!

Xxxx

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To the other mum at the traffic lights…

It was almost like looking in a mirror.

I was stood on one side of the road and you were stood on the other. I, like you, had my pram and was flanked by two children – five year old on one side of me, three year old on the other. The three year old was screaming “mummy I want a cuddle!” with one breath and then, Miss Contrary that she was, bellowing “No mummy – leave me!!!” when I actually dared try to engage her. You were trying to placate your toddler boy and I could see your fraught face though I could not make out your words over the din of traffic and my own noise maker. We caught each others eye briefly as we waited for the green man to tell us we could continue the march to school and that is when, I think, we each saw ourselves in the other. Finally the beep as the green man appeared – the starter pistol telling us to get the banshees and go. Halfway across the road we met and I said “Something in the air?” just as you said “What’s up with the kids this morning?!”. You summed it up perfectly with your half joking, half deadly serious “GAAAAAAARGH!!!”.

For a few fleeting moments I had a comrade, a sister in arms, in you the perfect stranger and it made me smile in spite of myself (or, more accurately, in spite of bloody stroppy little madam to my right!).

I hope your day got better. Mine did, mainly thanks to bribery and Peppa Pig (not Dora the Explorer as after much brin wracking I now remember her to be the cause of the frackas in the first place!).

TTFN xxxx

The nocturnal ponderings of the preschool mind…

There is nothing quite like the fall of dusk to trigger a full on inquisition from a preschooler. First is a reasonable statement upon the announcement of bedtime “No it’s not, it’s not dark!”. At which I have to explain that the sun goes to bed later in the summer (as explaining seasonal clock changes in a way my three year old can understand is beyond even me, the mummy who uses ballpit play balls to explain how static shocks occur to the bewildered looking imp – well she did ask!). This prompts its own question. “But why does it go to bed late in summer?” I think for a bit and tell her the sun works hard in summer, shining lots to help make things grow before winter comes and everything grows more slowly, and so it shines for a bit longer. “But why can’t things grow faster in the winter as well?” “Because it’s cold and lots of things don’t like the cold”. “Mummy, can I have another story please?” “No, it’s late now sweetheart.” “But mummy I have been working hard like the sun today so I should get extra play time too”. “Maybe tomorrow, it’s late now”. Turn over to sleep, edge out of the room. “Mummy, is it school tomorrow?”. “Yes baby.” “And Jane’s (childminder)?”. “No baby, it’s school and then  you and me and Poppy time tomorrow”. “Oh good, I like our little holidays.” “Good, night night sweetie”. “Mummy, is daddy at work tomorrow?” “Yes but then it’s the weekend” “Oh good… mummy?” (Sighing a bit haughtily) “Yes Izzy?”. “I love you, you’re the best mummy in the world”. (I feel guilty for being haughty and melt into a puddle of maternal happiness at this matter of fact compliment) “Oh thank you sweetheart, what a lovely thing to say!  I love you too, you are a beautiful and amazingly kind little girl”. Kisses and cuddles ensue. I go to leave. “Mummy? I have a sore throat. I need calpol and chocolate milk”. It’s half past ten. We have had colds and I had a sore throat yesterday so rather than argue I grant her a small dose and a little drink and get her back into bed. “Oops, I need a wee”. Down she gets and goes to the bathroom. Ten minutes later “Izzy are you done yet?” “No, I am doing a poo”. Lovely. Another ten minutes. “Are you ok in there? Izzy? Izzy?” Open the door and there she is playing with bath toys in the sink. Finally at 11pm she goes to sleep.

And Poppy wakes for a feed.

TTFN xxxx

The truth about breastfeeding a toddler (according to me lol!)

Well the first thing to say about it is that it doesn’t usually hurt as much as you would expect. Feeding a toddler with most of their teeth is the same as feeding a baby with none (though I reserve the right to amend this soon as the fangs are coming through!). The only time those gnashers come into contact with flesh is when the little bugger falls asleep hehe! Poppy is now 17 months old and shows no sign of quitting the boobie feed. Daily, nightly and ever so rightly, if I am there then so is she!

I never planned nor intended to keep going for this long. I am not a mummy who feels the bond will be broken when I give up this “special time in our lives”. In fact I feel more awkward about feeding at this age out in public than I ever did when I first began breastfeeding way back when my eldest, Izzy, was born (her first public feed was in a church as my Godson was Christened). There has been so much publicity surrounding extended breastfeeding of late that I feel if I whip one out and pop Poppy on I may be hunted down with torches and pitchforks by baying villagers. Baby feeding seems to be the new witch hunt… switch to formula too early (or, God forbid, skip breastfeeding althogether) and you obviously don’t care about your baby’s health and wellbeing. Quit breastfeeding too late and you are “hanging on” to the baby days, stunting your childs emotional independence and obviously don’t care about your child’s health and wellbeing. I can’t comment too much on formula feeding partially because I don’t feel strongly about it either way – we combination fed Izzy after a few weeks so she had one bottle a day that my husband gave her for daddy bonding time and the rest of the time was breastfeeding. That’s been the extent of our experience with formula as Poppy would never touch it. Even when I was away from her at four months old, taking a few hours a week to learn dressmaking, she turned her nose up at daddy’s bottle and screamed until I returned. We tried giving it to her from a beaker. A cup. A straw. Nothing worked. Then we tried cows milk and still nothing. However if I expressed she would have a little from any of the drinking paraphernalia aforementioned (mainly because my body doesn’t seem to express well unless she is feeding off the other side simultaneously so a little was all I could ever manage). I can comment on her emotional independence though – if she is midway through a feed she has demanded and something more interesting catches her eye, she is up and off like a shot. Children, dogs, cats, adults – anyone who looks interesting can persuade her to bugger off and leave me there, boob hanging out and dripping like a coffee machine. Her independence, emotional or other, remains intact and flourishing.

My main reason for carrying on is that, quite simply, she isn’t ready to quit. If you were sat at the pub and the barstaff whipped your pint or glass of wine (or something stronger) away you wouldn’t be best pleased. If you were thirsty and hadn’t had anything to drink for a while and someone sanctimoniously said “No you can’t have what you have ordered” without satisfactory explanation you would request to speak to the manager or simply leave and go somewhere you could get the drink you wanted. And quite rightly so -we are given the opportunity to choose as adults and whether we choose what is good for us or something naughty is down to us entirely. As children we have choices thrust upon us. “You have to wear a cardigan because it’s chilly”. This is probably true uif you are a grown up sitting at a desk but if you’re three, running around a classroom crowded with other hyperactive three year olds all kicking out body heat it is probably pretty tropical. But we grown ups know best. “Eat your carrots, you can’t say you don’t like then until you have tried them 15 times” (or whatever the books are saying this year). “Um, no. I have tried them mum and I really truly DON’T like them. Feel free to try my lukewarm pureed spinach 15 times before you tell me you don’t like it though.” Well breastfeeding is no different. Young Poppy here has a choice. Milk from an animal in a field run through a process of heat treatment and cooling, bottling and transportation to a coldstore until put out on a shelf in an openfronted fridge. Or she can have powdered milk that you add boiled water to then wait patiently to cool to the correct temperature (a bit like a pot noodle for kids). Or she can have what she has known since birth – fresh milk on demand,  untouched even by fresh air, at a perfect temperature, in a variety of flavours if mummy’s had something nice for dinner. All this and it comes with a free cuddle. I was going to say the second reason was her aversion to any other kind of milk but actually having read my own breakdown of the main reason I suddenly don’t give a crap about that second reason anymore.

So breast it is. Not because I have an attachment issue. Not because I am bohemian or hippyish. Not even because it’s ‘best’ (the jury is still firmly out on the nutritional benefits of extended feeding in the western world with our ‘superior’ diet – coz I reckon a Macdonalds is packed with nutrients). Simply because Poppy has voted with her tastebuds and her tummy and it turns out she thinks it’s best for her. And that makes it best for me too (even if my back hurts as she grows heavier, my sleep is STILL seriously disturbed by a little gannet in the middle of the night and I warily eye the fangs poking through her little pink gums).

So am an advocate of extended breastfeeding? No, not at all. If your toddler will happily leave you to partake in your first alcoholic beverage since that pregnancy test, let you take stronger painkillers for the migraine brought on by too many high pitched voices on kids tv or wear that gorgeous but high-cut dress with absolutely no boobie access without stripping – do it! Run for the hills while patting yourself on the back for breastfeeding through the socially acceptable period and quitting before your boobs hit the deck. But if you can’t… if you feel your child isn’t in that space yet and you are ok with carrying on for the timebeing at least… then settle down for that cuddle, use the excuse to request your other half to bring you a cuppa while you sit on your bum doing what only mummy can. And if you get nipped or pulled or your back begins to ache, don’t feel guilty for thinking “God I thought we’d be done by now”. But do try to remember why you’re not done. Because to your toddler you are awesome. You’re warm, possibly a bit squishy still (damn baby weight!), you’re a perfect fit for their ever growing body and they love you more than they have ever loved anything in their whole entire busy little lives.

Love you, my beautiful chunky monkey and gorgeous little princess.

Take care

TTFN xxxx

Let’s get ready to rumble!!!

Well we made it through Izzy’s terrible two’s and the onslaught of fresh terror that age three brought with it (read http://dadoralive.com/2013/04/terrible-twos-easy-like-sunday-morning/ and apply it to my life and basically that’s it lol!). And just as there was light at the end of that very long and dark tunnel soI found myself ducking as a Scooby Doo figure came hurtling past my head, accompanied by a frustrated and extremely inarticulate shriek… what the f… Poppy?! Your first taster tantrum at the tender age of 15 months?! Batten down the hatches coz Poppy has always been the placid, laid back one and we know what they say about the quiet ones! Sure enough a few hours later hurricane force temper tantrums destroyed rooms and sent the dog running for cover. I grabbed my mental armour and prepared myself for battle, reminding myself that this wasn’t like dealing with an overtired three year old, this was back to basics. I could ask what was wrong and reason all I liked but when a child is too young to talk all you can really do is make soothing ahh, shh, ooh noises and approach with caution. Think antelope in a lions den. Think elephant on a rope bridge. Think chav on Jeremy Kyle. You know something bad is going to happen it’s just a matter of when. Make a sudden move to escape and it’s going to end badly. Sure enough legs kicked, arms flailed, backs arched (hers as she flung herself backwards in the time honoured tradition of angry toddlers and mine as I desperately tried not to drop her). Right, screw gently gently “Oi, Poppy, enough! Enough now!” Dog barks thinking I am bring mean to his friend. “Buster shh!” Izzy tugging at my top for attention “Um, mummy I think Poppy’s in a bad mood!” Y’think? What gave it away? “Um, mummy, she’s giving me a headache!!!” I nearly laughed atthis.  Izzy had colic from two weeks old through to four months old. Her terrible two’s began at 18months and as previously mentioned she became an all out warrior aged three. My headache has been pretty permanent since she blessed me with her presence on 3rd July 2010 and here we are about to do it all over again with her little sister.

Eventually bad mummy reached for the bribery. Actually I say eventually, it was only about twenty minutes into it because Izzy was starting to make noises and with my parents-in-law living in the adjoining bungalow I am always worried they are going to think I’m killing one of their sweet, innocent granddaughters if the noise lasts too long. All I can say is thank God Poppy’s still on the boob because it works better than any chocolate bar ever did! So for now peace is restored and I sit here a wiser mummy. Because unlike last time, now I know the storm is coming and this time I know it’s not just a phase, that implies a slightly inconvenient and brief problem to be resolved with simple psychology.  War is what this is. Parents versus toddlers, survival of the fittest, winner takes all. Chocolate is our friend. The boob is our friend. Tiredness is their weapon of choice and they have a three year head start. The game’s afoot; follow your spirit and upon this charge, cry “God for Harry, England and St George!”.

TTFN xxxx