Tag Archives: healthy eating

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all our customers and thank you for all your support through the year. We are looking forward to discovering new flavours and exploring lots of yummy super foods with your children in 2016.



This pale green courgette-like vegetable (pronounced doodee) is a staple food in tropical climates such as India.

How to use it: Wash and peel it before adding to soups and curry dishes, or slice it raw into salads. The taste is quite neutral so it can be grated into cakes or muffins for texture.

Nutrition and health: Contains a good balance of B vitamins needed for energy and a healthy nervous system. With 0.7mg zinc per 100g, it’s also a good source of a mineral needed for strong immunity and fertility. Easy to digest when cooked, Dudhi is recommended as a food source for the elderly and babies.


Chow Chow

Part of the gourd family, the Chow Chow from South America has a texture similar to a potato.

How to use it: Can be boiled, stewed or baked, or added raw to salads in a similar way to courgettes and carrots. It has a slightly bitter taste but becomes sweeter once cooked.

Nutrition and health: While this vegetable doesn’t stand out with any one particular nutrient, it gives you almost all you need in the right proportions. That said, the Chow Chow is high in fibre, making it good for digestion. It contains about twice the potassium and Vitamin C as the average cucumber.

Big Apple cooking!

When we think of American food we may think of ‘junk food’…hamburgers and fries!

What is the definition of Junk food? When asked this the children seemed to understand that these were foods full of fats and sugars with very little nutritional value. The confusion came in the understanding of how you can turn a food like chicken into junk food by frying it and chucking it in a bun with a huge dollops of mayo and fries on the side. Instead grill the chicken and cook some oven baked spicy chunky potato wedges with a nice crunchy salad on the side.

We all too quickly associate America with junk food but they have a lot more to offer than that! Every state in America has their very own special dish from pumpkin soup in New England to potato salad in Idaho.  They say that you can eat yourself around the globe in New York, which is famous for its delicatessens that sell all sorts of yummy stuff that’s good for you. Fruit, veg, salads etc. They also sell particular types of food, for example some specialise in Italian or Jewish foods. This is due to the huge migration to America. Each state has adopted or created their own version of other countries foods and some of their own. Here are a few dishes that are at the heart of the Big Apple and are as essential as the Statue of Liberty or the yellow taxis.

Apple Pie

Fried chicken and waffles

Hots dogs and chilli sauce or sauerkraut

Pastrami on rye

Cheese cake


Chinese ‘take out’

Hamburger and fries

Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup

How many of these are junk foods?

The Salad Challenge

We had great fun in our cookery club last week and the children got all creative with a wide selection of different veg, herbs and dressings to choose from to come up with their very own tasty summer salad. Here are some names the children chose to call their creations and some of the descriptions they used to try and get you to eat them!

Explosion Salad


George’s Super Salad Surprise

The Epic Salad

The Super Dooper Salad

Exspelyarmous – this salad will cast a yum spell on you

Clever Couscous Fantastic Salad – brilliant and delicious

The Fancy Salad – not suitable for those who don’t like chilli

Martha’s Mystical Salad – suitable for people who like lots of vegetables

Freddie’s Fazzbear Delight – my salad is the best in the world – it’s juicy, it’s fresh and it’s yummy Sunny Side Salad – this may be the underdog but it can pack a punch, it could be winter but it would warm you up and put a smile on your face.

Holly’s Awesome Salad – all ingredients are fresh

Richard’s Roaring Salad

Cosmos Salad – my salad is the best in the entire galaxy

Back to School Breakfast

Here we go, back to it! Maybe like my daughter you can’t wait to get back to school to see your mates or perhaps for some who are starting new school there is a little apprehension. And for parents they also may be worrying about how they are going to settle in or maybe you are desperate to get back into a routine? Whichever it is I wish you ‘Happy School Days’.  What with children and adults alike now be recommended to have 7 – 10 fruit and veg a day it is difficult to keep an eye on them while at school and the best we can do is make sure the meals we are involved in are full of the stuff. So here are a few Back to School Breakfast ideas for you to try:

Pancakes and wraps for Breakfast: make the mix and stick it in the fridge overnight or make them up the night before. Easy to buy in the shops buckwheat pancakes (slow releasing carbs), thick American pancakes or sophisticated thins. Fill these with mixed berries, Greek yoghurt and honey or blackberry and apple puree, banana and honey. Banana and bacon sounds weird but is very delicious.

Seeded wraps: easy and readily available in the shops – poached or scrambled egg with smoked salmon and fresh spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes.

Baked beans on brown toast! Might sound odd but they are a great sauce of protein and fibre

Cereals are often full of refined sugars these days but some have less than others. Check out the others and get them into the habit of adding some fruit on top.

Traffic light scramble: 4 eggs, chopped toms (or good quality tinned), chopped up parsley served on Rye bread

Fruit salad, topped with Greek yoghurt

Homemade Smoothie:  2 handful of fruit (banana, kiwi, melon, plums, raspberries…whatever you like) 2 x Greek yoghurt and add milk to get the right consistency. You can replace the yoghurt with soya, almond or coconut milk if you prefer. If you haven’t got time to make it there are some good readymade brands out there. Serve with thick toasted brown seeded bread, or bagels, fruit bread, oat cakes with peanut butter. The combinations are endless.



A fab fun thing to do with your children. When we think of Sushi we think raw fish but it’s not all fish though. At Yo Sushi there’s a huge variety of food, cooked or cold dishes, dancing their way around a conveyor belt. Small potions served in colourful bowls – a perfect way to get your little eaters to try something new as they have control over what they choose to swipe off the belt. I took my children and we had so much fun. I highly recommend it if you want your little monkeys to become more adventurous with food.



However you like yours they are a very versatile veg and one of our staples. You may think that these critters are rather boring and mundane but oh no we have a huge variety of spuds to choose from. Coming up in April/May will be the new spuds and we are so very neglectful of the many varieties of potatoes available. Have you ever tried a pink Fir Apple? Imported from France in 1850 they are my favourite. They are truly a wonderfully delicious new potato, best cooked whole with skins on – advantage of skins is tons of goodness and fibre. Potatoes are quite easy to grow, available all year round and lend themselves to a variety of flavours that you can add to them including herbs, garlic, cheese and veggie bubbles as in bubble and squawk (as I like to call it). By the way you don’t have to just use cabbage in squawk – there is all sorts you can use, but we will save that for another day. Now is the time to get planting if you like to grow your own, they are easy peasy to grow and you can get the children involved. If you haven’t got a lot of space you can buy special potato pots to grow them in. Home grown are delicious and without the chemicals.bluepotato

Are your kids like mine? Do they like to make pink mash potato with ketchup?  Well how about blue/purple coloured mash, not GM modified and do away with the ketchup bottle. Surprise your kids and watch their faces while you dollop some purple mash on their plates. Keeps them on their toes and gives them a new experience- nature’s  magical colours!

New Year New You

Happy New Year to you all.

New resolutions made? I bet many of you have said that you’ll lose some of those extra Christmas pounds and hit the gym more often. Check out Families Chiltern Magazine http://www.familiesonline.co.uk/LOCATIONS/Chiltern to read my article on wacky diets and the lengths of torture that some people are prepared to put themselves through to shed the pounds. For some sensible advice read personal trainer Jean Piggott’s tips:

  • Psych yourself up. Be positive – this is something you can do.
  • Picture what you want to look like – look at some old photos of yourself, when you were heaviest and lightest. Stick one on the fridge.
  • Plan ahead – clear out the junk food, boxes of chocolate and biscuits so that temptation is not to hand. When invited out for social events try to ensure that you warn your host beforehand so that you are not expected to munch down half her homemade, full of fat and cream puddings.
  • Keep a log of your progress and a food diary.
  • Look at health hazards – exercise isn’t just about losing weight. Have you any old injuries to consider before starting an exercise routine, for example back issues? You may want to consider a quick health check with your GP.
  • Time Plan, so that you have a goal of what you would like your target weight to be (be realistic). Schedule a down to earth period of time to reach your goal safely;  6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks.
  • Reward yourself. Not with a massive sugary snack after each work out but with a pamper yourself session; hot candlelit bath with essential oil and a face pack. And reward yourself as you reach milestones – a new outfit, get your nails done, new hair style…
  • Review past challenges. Take the time to look back at where you were a week ago, a month ago; you’ll see that you are making progress, for example increasing the number of sit-ups you’re now able to do.
  • Focus on challenges. Don’t worry that you may not have changed body shape overnight – focus on what you’re going to achieve this week.
  • Join a gym and employ a personal trainer to help you reach your goals in a more healthy and realistic life style changing way rather than hitting on an unhealthy, unrealistic latest fad diet or some supposed miracle workout regime that has just been invented to waste your money.

You can contact Jean on 07805 292739 or visit her at www.fitness4less.com and see her in action here


Less is More

Have you ever examined the ingredients of a shop-bought cake? For starters most of the basic Birthday cakes from well-known stores (which start around £25) contain over fifty different ingredients, mainly for prolonging shelf life. They also contain unnecessary amounts of sugar and are flavourless. These cakes are often unsuitable for nut allergy sufferers and those that are unable to have gluten or have other dietary requirements are not a consideration. I have often witnessed these cakes being uneaten or left at the bottom of a party bag turning into a pile of mush and then being thrown away – what is the point of this exercise? Adding so much sugar numbs our children’s tastebuds so that they cannot taste real food or notice subtle flavours. Their tastebuds have been stunned as with people who have too much salt in their food.

Supermum extraordinaire and amazing cake maker for Cookies Miranda is one of those mums who appear to be able to juggle three children (not literally) of varying ages while producing fresh homemade produce  – no processed mumbo jumbo here. Miranda has plenty of hands on experience when it comes to home baking and we welcome her talents to our team. I for one have experienced Miranda’s baking skills on several occasions. In fact I deliberately invite her over as often as possible just so she will bring one of her delicious home baked creations with her. She is always home baking all sorts of goodies and yet still manages to involve her children, teaching them how to bake in the process, which is lovely to see. As a Supermum she always makes her children’s birthday cakes – some of which have been a challenge. However she always comes up with the goods…from a formula one Ferrari to Cinderella carriages and cats, it appears Supermum can put her hand to most things. Not only do these cakes look fantastic they also taste great. Miranda’s cakes start from £20 for a basic girl or boy cake and if you are interested you can order these cakes through Cookies by calling or emailing. Here’s just a couple of examples: