6m +, Lunchbox Idea, Nut Free, Savory

Leftovers Pasta Bake

  • 6m +
  • Nut free
  • Can be frozen
  • Lunchbox Idea

I know leftovers don’t sound very appealing but this pasta dish is truly delicious. I hate throwing food away but every weekend when I do a roast dinner I seem to end up with a randomly size portion of veg and meat left over,  so I needed to create a nice easy dish to use it up. 

The ingredients list on this recipe is simply a guide,  it really varies each week depending on what I have an excess of.  This dish also freezes really well,  I normally pop it in to a muffin tray,  stick it in the freezer and then when frozen transfer the perfectly sized portions into a freezer bag. They are super handy when The Monster needs a different meal than we are having,  or even a filling lunch after his swimming class. 

Ingredients:

2 cups dried pasta shapes

1 cup leftover roasted veg (this week I had carrot,  pumpkin and broccoli) 

1/2 cup roasted chicken

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons cream

Grated cheese (for shrinking on top) 

Method:

In a saucepan, boil the pasta until half cooked (don’t cook it fully as it will continue to cook in the oven and will become mushy) 

Pre-heat the oven. Drain the pasta and return to the pan. In the same saucepan,  add the garlic, tomatoes,  veg and chicken (or whatever meat you choose, or none if you want to make it a veggie dish) stir,  pour in the cream and stir again.  Transfer to an oven proof dish,  sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve. 
Enjoy

Em xx

6m +, Breakfast, Uncategorized

Review: Eggspectation – JBR Dubai

Don’t let the name fool you, this popular JBR cafe does more than eggs (although they do, do them very well). My friend,  The Monster and I decided to check it out for a late breakfast during the week. The clouds were rolling in so we opted for a seat inside rather than on the terrace. 

Let’s start with the downsides (only a few,  I promise) It was freezing in there! Seriously I was so glad we had jumpers with us. While they have bathrooms on the premises it was just one per gender (so we had a queue as the cafe was packed)  and no changing table for babies! Not an issue now the monster is a toddler but still a shame and off putting for those with little one’s. 

The positives, OK here we go,  the good stuff…. So many highchairs! And all of them were clean. The staff are super friendly to both the adults and kids,  always near by but never hovering. They supply kids plastic plates as well as kids cutlery,  which is a breath of fresh air,  so many place’s need to follow suit! The kids menu has a good range of option’s and no nuggets and chips. The main menu is massive (the downside is it takes ages to decide what to have). 

As soon as we were all seated our waiter Tasleem brought The Monster some crayons and a colouring-in placemat, which was promptly discarded so he could draw on a napkin (blooming kids, lol) He also offered to get us our drinks while we looked at the menu,  which was good as the decision making process took some time. We finally ordered,  high rise pancakes (pancakes layered with sausage,  bacon,  potatoes and topped with an egg)  for me, lobster benny (which was mind blowing, so I stole it)  for my friend and a kids banana waffle for The Monster. The food was fresh and really tasty although the portion sizes were massive, and could easily have been shared. Kids drinks come in a plastic cup with a straw which is fab and meant I wasn’t juggling glass. Service was prompt and friendly. 

The cafe doesn’t have a play area,  although to be fair it is right by the beach at JBR so there is plenty of room for the kids to have a run about and entertainment for before and after you have eaten. 

So would I go back,  yes totally.  Our three meals, drinks and coffee come to about 250dhs, so it wouldn’t be a regular haunt for breakfast but great every now and then. They have also recently opened a new branch in City Walk as well,  so are now easily accessible from both ends of town. 

Hope this helps.

Enjoy

Em xx                  

 

      

6m +, Breakfast, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Savory, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Review – Book Munch Cafe


4 out of 5

  • Food: 4/5
  • Entertainment for kids: 3/5
  • Facilities: 3/5
  • Discounts: Emirates Platinum

So I have been promising you all that I will start doing reviews for ages now, and this week I’ve finally got around to it…yay! 

The Monster,  the best friend and I visited the Al Wasl branch (they also have one in Business Bay)  of Book Munch for lunch. It was the first time I have been here and I have to say that the fact it marries two of my favorite things (food and books) was a good selling point for me. 

Parking is available at the rear of the building, it’s RTA parking so not expensive at all. As soon as we approached the door we were greeting with a big smile and help with the pram,  always a good start. The cafe was pretty quite so we had plenty of space but I would see it being a squeeze if there were a few people with prams there. Then first thing I noticed when I went in was the kids book den (which also has a box of jigsaws). Bright,  cosy and with a wide selection of books in English and Arabic. The Monster wasn’t impressed at having to leave it when it was time to eat. 

The highchair for The Monster was brought to the table quickly and was clean. The kids menu had plenty of choice and most importantly for me included a good section of healthy choices and not processed fried foods. The Monster had breaded fish with mash and cherry tomatoes. It was all made fresh and the fact he demolished a good three quarters of it shows that it also tasted good. 

As for the grown ups,  I had the sweet potato poutine. It was a generous portion and tasted great,  so good The Monster stole some of it too. My friend had the steak sandwich which was massive! It looked pretty impressive and she really enjoyed it,  the down side was she then had no room left for dessert…. Oh well guess that’s down to me. Sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream and salted caramel sauce. I have eaten my fair share of sticky toffee pudding in my time and I would defiantly put this up in the top 5, so good,  I’m actually drooling just remembering it hahaha. Oh and we washed it all down with homemade ice teas, berry and lemon. Neither was sweetened a per our request and they were really delicious however the lemon one was very lemony,  which was a hit with m friend but some people may find it a bit over powering. 

So after a lovely lunch,  a kids reading nook and friendly staff why did it not make the 5/5 mark? Quite simply,  the bathrooms. While clean you do have to leave the cafe to access them, first getting an access code from staff. There is a changing table in the disabled toilet and it was spotless but it is a downside.

Overall I would definatly go back, I loved the friendly feel of the place and the food was fab.

Enjoy

Em xx

6m +, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Vegetarian

Teething Biscuits – Cinnamon and Sweet Potato

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  • 6m +
  • Egg Free
  • Nut Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Can Be Frozen

Tooth number 13 is on it’s way and it is really causing The Monster some stick, so it was time to knock up a batch of sugar-free teething biscuits for him to munch on.

The biscuits contain cinnamon which is a natural anti-inflammatory, so helpful for swollen gums, as well as being super delicious. Sweet Potato means no need for added sugar, so I don’t have to worry about how many The Monster wants to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of oat flour (aka oats you have whizzed up in a blender until super fine)
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut oil

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180 and line a baking sheet

Place all the ingredients into a bowl and using your hands mix into a dough. Roll the dough to about 1/2cm and cut into desired sized using a biscuit cutter. lay on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. remove from oven and allow to cool and crisp.

 

Enjoy

Em xx

6m +, Puree, Savory, Veggie

Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup/Puree

+pumkin puree

  • Suitable for 6m +
  • Can be frozen
  • Vegetarian

The great thing about this recipe is that you can split the batch and adjust the thickness. Use less stock when blending to make a puree for little one and use the extra stock to make a delicious soup for you to enjoy as well, two birds one stone.

The quantity of the ingredients isn’t set in stone you can adjust the quantities each time you make it giving you a subtle flavour change and helping you use up any veg that you need to use up.

Ingredients :
Vegetable stock (homemade is best but shop brought is fine if you use the low sodium type, the regular ones have too much salt for tiny tumz)
1/2 a small butternut squash or pumpkin
1 cup of carrots
Small red onion
1/2 a medium sweet potato
1/2 bulb of garlic
1 tsp of chopped Sage
1 tsp of Paprika

Method:

Heat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Slice the head from the 1/2 bulb of garlic but do not peel it and then place it in an oven proof dish with a dash of olive oil. Bake it for approximately 25 mins or until soft and golden. Whilst that is baking finely dice the onion and soften with the sage and paprika (but do not brown) in a frying pan with a small knob of butter. Peel and roughly cube the rest of the vegetables and place in a sauce pan with enough stock to cover and bring to a simmer. Add the onions and continue to simmer until all the vegetables are lovely and soft. Once done remove from the heat and drain, ensuring you keep the stock as this will be re-added shortly. Place the vegetables into a blender or if your using a hand blend into a saucepan or bowl. Remove the garlic from the skin, it should slide out easily, and add to the vegetables to taste, my monster really likes garlic so I use the half bulb but feel free to use less if you like.  Add about 1/2 the stock to the blender with the vegetables and blend, This sound give you a good puree.

If you want to create a soup for yourself as well; take some of the vegetables and blend with extra stock until you have the thickness you desire and enjoy it with some fresh crusty bread.

Enjoy

Em  x