Baked sea bass with salsa verde (sponsored post)

For many of us, December is a time when our diets get richer and our waistbands get tighter. It’s all about red meats, roasting feats and sweet treats.

If you’re already feeling the weight of one too many mince pies, check out this lovely recipe idea for baked sea bass with salsa verde. It looks straightforward, light and delicious – just how we like it!

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Snack Ideas – much healthier than pre-packaged processed snacks

Detox hummous

Lauren Sexton from Lemon Squeezy shares her tips for healthy snacks.

The children come home from school starving. You’re unprepared. They end up with a chocolate biscuit or a slice of cake. And you join them.

They don’t need sugar after school (neither do you) but healthy snacks don’t have to be boring.

Here are some ideas.

Soup – a small mug of soup.

Smoothie – try the Lemon Squeezy Berrilicious smoothie.

Hummus – some hummus with crudités or a couple of oatcakes. Try our Homemade hummus recipe.

Seeds and fruit – a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds with some fresh fruit, or dried un-sulphured apricots or prunes.

Nuts and fruit – a small handful of unroasted, unsalted nuts – 4-5 pecans or brazils, or 8-10 almonds, cashews, or macadamias – plus fresh or dried un-sulphured apricots or prunes.

DIY popcorn – put a handful of popping corn into a saucepan with a dessertspoon of olive oil, cover and heat. Remove from the heat when popping has stopped (approx 3-5 minutes). Eat au natural or sprinkle with cinnamon.

Topped rice cakes – two rice or corn cakes topped with cottage cheese and grapes or strawberries.

Fruit – the best fruit to eat as a snack is a low GL one – berries, cherries, plums, apples, pears, apricots.

Five Sneaky Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Their Fruit and Veg!


© Supertrooper |

Guest poster Julie Cooper has some great tips for getting fruit and vegetables into your kids.

If there is one dilemma that nearly every parent can relate to, it is trying to get kids to eat more fruit and vegetables. Unless you are one of the fortunate few parents who are blessed with children who actually enjoy eating vegetables, you have likely fought this battle many times. This might be one of those situations in which the direct approach is not the most effective; instead, a little creativity can help you make sure your kids are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy.

# 1: Make Fruit and Veg Fun and Easy

Set aside one shelf or part of a shelf in your refrigerator that is exclusively for your kids. Tell them that any time they feel hungry, they can take anything from that shelf. Stock this section of the fridge with fruit and veg that have already been washed, cut and portioned in individual baggies. Even if your kids are not wild about the healthy food, they may enjoy the responsibility and grown-up feeling of being able to choose their own snacks.

# 2: Use Fruit and Veg as an Appetiser While Your Kids Are Waiting to Eat

Instead of trying to convince your kids to eat their vegetables during the meal, when they have several other preferable options, offer the fruit or veg ahead of time. If your kids are drooling with hunger while they wait for dinner to be ready, they will be much more receptive. The classic warning about spoiling their appetite does not apply here, since you actually want them to eat these foods before their meal!

#3: If Necessary, Hide the Fruit and Veg in Other Foods

It is certainly preferable to gradually acclimatise your kids to eating their fruit and vegetables of their own accord. If you are faced with a particularly picky eater, however, you may need to use stealth to include these foods in your child’s diet. Cookbooks like Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef can give you ideas for meals like spaghetti with squash hidden in it, or macaroni cheese that contains hidden cauliflower.

# 4: Plant a Garden Together

Possibly, no strategy will motivate your kids to eat their vegetables like helping them plant and grow a garden. Not everyone has enough space to do this, of course, but if you do you might be surprised how much a garden changes your kids’ opinion of their vegetables. Spend time picking out what vegetables you want to grow, cultivating them together and finally preparing and eating the harvest.

# 5: Make Sure You Eat Fruit and Veg Yourself

This advice may hit a little close to home, but remember that most kids like to imitate what they see their parents doing. Set a good example by eating fruit and veg for snacks yourself. Even better, when you and your kids finish a job or outing together, enjoy a healthy snack that you make and eat together.


Julie Cooper works in her fruitful office as a writer and is also a mother of three, meaning she has two full-time jobs, but she wouldn’t change a thing. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys raising German Shepherd Dogs and restoring the type of carriage that was pulled by a single horse in the 19th century.

Hungry? Innocent’s new recipe book hits the spot


Innocent has released a new recipe book that is aimed at all the family, so we tasked Maeve with trying it out with her grandson.

Cooking together

Pasta has always been a favourite in my house. My 3 year old grandson and I made a tomato sauce (p. 81) using the delicious homegrown tomatoes that he and I planted a few months ago.

I put the tomatoes into hot water and when they cooled my grandson peeled off the skins and we chopped them up and sieved them instead of using the tinned variety. We then followed the recipe, which was really easy to do and only took a few minutes.

After this, we made the Courgette and Lemon Pasta, which was again very easy to do, using vegetarian parmesan and basil straight from the garden. After adding the courgettes, we poured some of our tomato sauce over the top. That’s really all there was too it!

The results were delicious and he seemed to enjoy it all the more knowing he’d helped make it.

The verdict

I think this is a great book for families with young children. I love the short stories (especially The Remarkable Tale of Ned the Newt) as much as the ‘healthy, no-fuss recipes’. As a lecturer in Child Care and Education, I shall certainly be recommending it to my colleagues and the students.

(disclosure: this book was provided free of charge for review and reviewed with 100% honesty)

Fun-fillers for Christmas kids….Day 3!

OK, so today you and the little folk can indulge in the loveliness that is CHOCOLATE! :)

Now I always thought that making chocolate truffles would be a real pfaff and messy, but it’s actually much easier and simpler than I thought, so have a go (and let me know what you think!).

You’ll need :

Homemade Truffles

Image by joeywan via Flickr

8 oz/225g plain chocolate, smashed up into pieces (fun from the start for the kids, just try not to eat too much at the same time!)

6oz/175g unsalted butter

4 tablespoons/60ml double cream (tiny tip, I always get confused over which is a tablespoon so if you’re like me, it’s a bigger one that you’d use to serve food with)

4oz/100g icing sugar

3oz/75g ground almonds

Cocoa powder, icing sugar, hundreds & thousands or more ground almonds for coating

Melt the chocolate and butter, either in a bowl over a sauce pan of hot water or in the microwave – stirring with a WOODEN spoon.

Remove from the heat and then add the double cream and add the icing sugar and ground almonds. Mix all together and then leave it to cool, either in the fridge for a few hours or overnight even.

When you’re ready to go on to the next stage, have a teaspoon (that’s the small one) and a bowl of hot water. Dip the spoon in the water to warm it and then scoop up some of the truffle mix.  The warmth of the spoon will make it easier to gentle push off of the spoon. Pop your truffle into the coating of your choice and use a cocktail stick to gently move it around, coating it nicely. You could try other coatings too – grated plain chocolate, nibbed nuts, dessicated coconut or chocolate strands (Vermicelli to the posh amongst us).

And that’s it! Easy peasy.  Experiment as well, if you like, with adding flavourings such as vanilla extract or a few drops of lime juice or by adding a little lime zest to the mixture….the possibilities are endless.  Yes, if you’re making them for a gift for an adult, you could use a shot of alcohol, but naturally be careful of this with the children around! ;)

You can pop them into individual cake cases/petit four cases if you like and then put them in a box or cellophane bag tied with ribbon and this makes a lovely gift.

3380 homemade chocolates

Image by imcountingufoz via Flickr

Not that I’d expect them to last long, as these truffles don’t have any kind of preservative, it is best to eat them within a few day.

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