Friday, 31 August 2012

Meals on the Cheap: Vegan Banana Pancakes (with Homemade Almond Milk)


I didn't post on Wednesday because it was my little tiny Naomie's 2nd (!) birthday. I don't feel like I've had her long enough for her to be two, but at the same time it feels like I've always had her. Since we are still in Turkey, we had a little party with our family here and I made her a little birthday sundae. I made one for the other kids aswell and one for me (since I did all the hard work :P) and put two candles on Naomie's. She loved it!


I want to share a vegan recipe today that I came up with the other day. I never thought that I would want to become vegan, but we seem to have accidentally fallen into it. I decided to cut out meat and eggs and I think the kids are intolerant to dairy so we are pretty much vegan!


We do still have honey so we are not truly vegan, but that doesn't stop me from making as many vegan meals as possible. Incidentally, the cake in Naomie's birthday sundae was vegan, made using this recipe and it turned out really nice! I did use cream made out of cow's milk because there is so little choice in Turkey for vegans. According to my Mam, they have just started selling soya products in the supermarkets here but I don't like eating soya because it is largely genetically modified.

Before making the pancakes, I looked around a bit since I had never cooked vegan so I didn't really know where to start. There is a LOT of choice for substituting eggs and milk but in the end I went with mashed banana to substitute the egg and homemade almond milk (which I will put a recipe for at the end of the post) to substitute the milk. (I have since made this recipe using only water and it was still scrummy!) I also added baking powder and a little bit of sugar since most of the recipes I found had some in.


Vegan Banana Pancakes (serves 4):

2 unpacked cups plain flour
2.5tsps baking powder
1tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 x ripe bananas, mashed (makes just over 1/2 cup mashed banana)
3/4 cup almond milk
3/4 cup water


In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and sugar. In another smaller bowl, mix together the vanilla extract, mashed banana, almond milk and water. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry bowl and mix to combine. Don't be too worried about getting all the lumps out. I mixed mine until just combined with a fork and they came out lovely. The mixture will be thicker than a 'normal' pancake batter but so long as it is still pourable then just go with it. For bigger pancakes you could add more water or milk but you need the batter to be a bit thick for the mini ones so they hold their shape whilst cooking.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and drop the batter into the pan (I made each pancake with two tbsps of batter spread around a little into a rough circle just to help them cook a little quicker). Fry on one side until bubbles appear then flip. Cook for a few mins on the other side and serve hot or cold. I managed to get 16 mini pancakes out of my batter, which was plenty for me and the kids with some spare!


I served ours with fresh fruit which made them taste sooo sweet but they would be lovely served with honey and lemon or even more sugar sprinkled on top. My brother had some with chocolate sauce and they are so nice plain aswell. Bear in mind though that some toppings may not be vegan if that is how you prefer to eat them.

Homemade Almond Milk:

1 cup raw almonds
water for soaking
2 cups water
3 dates, pitted

Soak the nuts in plenty of cold water for about 24 hours. After soaking, discard the dirty water and rinse well. In a blender, mix together the almonds, 2 cups fresh water and the dates. Blend until smooth then strain through a muslin. Store in the fridge for about 3 days. Shake well before using.

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Find more Meals on the Cheap posts here.

I don't know about you but we are really struggling at the minute with our money situation and I am in need of some cheap but nutritious meals to keep us going and keep our food bills down.

I have been scouring the internet for recipe ideas to help me plan the next months meals and I will be sharing a new one every Wednesday.

I have decided to cut down our meat by half and bulk meals out with beans and chickpeas. I find that we spend quite a lot on meat as I don't like buying the value range at our supermarket, but this obviously ends up being pretty expensive.

I hope by the end of this, we'll have saved quite a lot of money on our food bills! 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Mint Stuff I've Seen #21

This Week's Features:


High-Waisted Sash Skirt - This Big Oak Tree


Honey-Wheat Dinner Rolls - Country Momma Cooks


50 Road Trip Ideas For Kids  - Six Sisters' Stuff

[Image Source]

Crocheted Hot Pad - Miss Abigail's Hope Chest

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Feel free to grab my button from the sidebar if you've been featured :)

Friday, 24 August 2012

Summer refashions and repairs


I'm on holiday at the minute visiting my family in Turkey so I have been fixing and refashioning our summer wardrobes. I took a pile of Naomie's sleepsuits that she had outgrown in the legs and arms and simply cut them off so she stays nice and cool at night :)


I found some nice blue 3/4 length pants in the back of my wardrobe here. I think I must have bought them when I was a bit bigger than I am now so they were too big and baggy on me. I decided to take them in a bit and elasticate the cuffs. I took them up a bit to just under knee length and  also had to repair the crotch as I somehow managed to rip them last time I wore them.


I had this white top with slashes down the back that I loved but didn't wear very often because it was very low and always flashed my bra. I took it up at the shoulders and now it fits much better.


I also made a very cute little flower for my plain white flip flops. I love this refashion so much. Gorgeous!



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I'm linking here:

Serenity you   homework  Sugar Bee Crafts   Reasons To Skip The Housework Our Delightful Home 


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Meals on the Cheap: Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce


Last week I wanted to make some pasta for my two girls but wanted to add more veggies than just the usual chopped tomatoes. I know fine well that if I give them veggies chopped up in a bowl they are very likely to leave them. There are only a few veggies they will actually eat without being hidden so I decided to just trick them and blend up some raw veggies and let them think it was just tomatoes *mwahahahaha*

Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce (Serves 4)

1 x large courgette
1 x red pepper
1 x onion
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (or enough chopped raw tomatoes to make up 400g)
1tsp mixed herbs
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
plenty of black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth(ish). Transfer to a pan and cook over a medium heat until just starting to bubble. I just served mine over cooked pasta but it would be lovely with chicken in Spicy Chicken Pasta :) You can taste the veggies still but my two eat it all up and I don't think they would touch a raw courgette or a red pepper even if they were starving :P


This would also be delicious with rice, in a lasagne or even as a sauce for meat served with bread to dip in at the end. Yum!

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Find more Meals on the Cheap posts here.

I don't know about you but we are really struggling at the minute with our money situation and I am in need of some cheap but nutritious meals to keep us going and keep our food bills down.

I have been scouring the internet for recipe ideas to help me plan the next months meals and I will be sharing a new one every Wednesday.

I have decided to cut down our meat by half and bulk meals out with beans and chickpeas. I find that we spend quite a lot on meat as I don't like buying the value range at our supermarket, but this obviously ends up being pretty expensive.

I hope by the end of this month, we'll have saved quite a lot of money on our food bills!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I'm linking here:

Serenity you   homework  Sugar Bee Crafts   Reasons To Skip The Housework Our Delightful Home  

Monday, 20 August 2012

Mint Stuff I've Seen #20

This Week's Features:


Rag Doll Tutorial - Becoming Martha


Creative Ways To Break a TV Habit - Awesomely Awake


Inspirational Quote Sign - By Wilma


Healthy Sweet Potato Skins Recipe - Pinch of Yum


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Feel free to grab my button from the sidebar if you've been featured :)

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Guest Post: 3 Steps to Getting Your Little Ones Helping Out Over Summer by Louise Blake

I am very excited to have Louise back again this week. She is here to share a brilliant article she wrote about getting kids to help around the house. I definitely need to get my kids doing my chores for me :P

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3 Steps to Getting Your Little Ones Helping Out Over Summer
by Louise Blake

The summer holidays are a source of great love and great loathing for parents. You love seeing their little smiling faces around the house. You love that you don’t miss them when they’re at nursery. You love that there’s so much more opportunity for trips and adorable photo ops. However, one thing no parent loves is the fact that all little ones seem to resemble miniature house-bound hurricanes, and any opportunity for a bit of quiet tidying up, cleaning or laundry-doing is gone with the hours the kids spent making the schoolroom a mess!

The main problem here is that little ones see summer as free-rein time – no school, no restrictions – which can mean they’re reluctant to help you out with chores, as, Mum, there are so much more exciting things to do! Did you forget that you put the paddling pool up yesterday?!

But there is a simple way to get them helping in just three steps!

Create a routine

As parents know, your dream of a summer filled with lie-ins now the school run has ceased is a dream destined to go unfulfilled – kids will still be up at 6.45am no matter whether they have school or not, simply as they are in the routine of doing so.

Now, this can work to your advantage. As they now have time to spare, try to work a few extra things into their routine. Encourage them to make their bed, take their breakfast bowls to the sink and put their clothes in the wash basket at the end of the day. You might meet some resistance at first, but after a week or so of reminding and encouragement they will do it automatically, as part of their daily routine.

Make it into a game

For the more boring tasks that are difficult to work into a routine, try making them more fun and appealing by making them into a simple game. For example, sorting laundry can be a great categorising activity – if you have two or more little ones, give them each a basket/pile of laundry and get them to sort it into whites, colours and darks – the quickest wins the game!

Vacuuming, mopping or dusting can be made fun by making it an assault course (put small toys on the floor for them to navigate) or by hiding a small treat under an item of furniture that can only be recovered by the “Dust-Eating Monster” (aka the hoover/duster/mop). Just keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t cheat!

Image by Visa Kopu

Reward them

Rewards can be one of the simplest, yet underused or misused ways of encouraging little ones to help around the house. If your child is really unwilling to participate in chores, I would try to resist the urge to reward them with junk food, money or toys for every task, as they’ll come to view a reward as a necessary payment for doing anything – even putting their toys away! Taking a leaf from the school handbook for motivating pupils is a better choice.

Little ones are used to getting rewards in schools in the form of star charts, which work great at home too. Make a list of the weekly chores you want them to do over the summer and transfer them onto a big sheet of card, with a “BONUS POINTS” section at the bottom for rewards for things that aren’t on the chart (even more bonus points if they weren’t asked to do it!).

If you like, you can have them working towards a small present of their choice – for example, earning 100 stars could earn them a brand new pencil case for the new school year, or a trip to the local water park. The more things they do to help, the quicker they get their reward!

Do you have any top tips to add to the three step system? What do you do to encourage your little ones to help out over the summer?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Meals on the Cheap: Spicy Spinach and Egg Breakfast


This is another recipe I have picked up from Turkey and it is one of my favourites. I love how good this breakfast is for you and it still only takes about 10mins to prepare and cook.

Spicy Spinach and Egg Breakfast (serves 1)

big handful spinach, washed well
1 or 2 eggs
1 or 2 pieces of bread, toasted
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper

Add the spinach to a large frying pan. Cook over medium heat for about 5mins until wilted. Don't add any extra water, the water clinging to the leaves after washing is plenty. When nearly cooked, drain any excess water out and return the spinach to the pan. Push all the spinach over to one side of the frying pan. Heat 1tsp olive oil in the other side and crack your egg(s) in. Sprinkle with your seasoning and leave to cook, usually takes about 5mins. Serve on toast. Delish :)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Find more Meals on the Cheap posts here.

I don't know about you but we are really struggling at the minute with our money situation and I am in need of some cheap but nutritious meals to keep us going and keep our food bills down.

I have been scouring the internet for recipe ideas to help me plan the next months meals and I will be sharing a new one every Wednesday.

I have decided to cut down our meat by half and bulk meals out with beans and chickpeas. I find that we spend quite a lot on meat as I don't like buying the value range at our supermarket, but this obviously ends up being pretty expensive.

I hope by the end of this month, we'll have saved quite a lot of money on our food bills!
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