Tips and Tricks

Sometimes  the endless catering demands just get too much, many is the time when I just want to take the kids out for a meal or reach for something instant because it is SUCH hard work some days.

There are however a few ways of making things a little easier..

Yes coffee helps but here are some more useful tips...

  • Cook in bulk and invest in a larger freezer. We have a large chest freezer in the garage - once we realised we were in for the long haul we invested and it's been worth every penny.
  • Wrap portions separately before putting them in the freezer, makes it simple to defrost portions.
  • Cheat when you can - buy frozen bagged veg to microwave - take the pressure off when you can!
  • Buy in bulk too if you can. My supermarkets keep running out of safe bread - so I buy 5 or more at a time and freeze them.
  • Don't worry if some things cost a little more - you will be surprised how much cheaper the weekly bill can be if you a) make everything from scratch and b) buy in bulk. (I don't mean HUGE quantities, just double up?)
  • If a recipe asks for oil, which is common in recipes avoiding major food groups, use vegetable oil such as sunflower oil because it is a lot lighter. Olive, Almond and Hemp oil are all great but tend to weigh mixture down and reduce rising in recipes.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment with familiar recipes by just substituting, you don't always have to "reinvent the wheel" so to speak.

Useful info

If you are excluding Soya, then check with your Dr but you can almost certainly have Soya Lecithin. This is a highly purified oil, and does not contain any soya protein and is almost never a problem.

There is a fantastic table for egg alternatives here or you could try the Vegg - egg white alternative.

Quickest Main Courses

Jacket Potatoes are the BEST. Cook more than you need, then you can dice and fry in cubes for a second meal. Cut into wedges, spray in oil and serve with tomato salsa dip (CHECK ingredients) or humous. I was told once (by an allergist!) that humous ALWAYS has sesame in. Well, I have read hundreds of labels and Tesco's humous certainly doesn't, and none of the others I buy. You can also reheat and mash the insides of a cooked jacket. 

Oven chips are fab! Make a star with them around a dippy egg - a great tea for kids. The boxes of microwave chips are also great when you are in a hurry. Don't feel bad, our kids naturally eat far fewer processed foods or unhealthy foods.

Some tomato soup does not have dairy in (the tomato and basil type, not cream of tomato) and a free from crumpet or toast and soup makes a nourishing, warm winter tea.

Vegetable soup with risotto rice cooked slowly in it makes a healthy vegetable risotto.

Gluten free pasta often cooks faster - add tomato sauce (if your kids allow, mine refuse to have anything on theirs!!) and buy gluten free sausages to go with it. Musks sausages are really nice.

Instant Desserts

I keep the following in my fridge/freezer/cupboard all the time:-

Stewed fruit and/or bananas
Oatly cream
Dove's Farm plain chocolate sprinkles
Fruit puree pots or pouches (from the babyfood section)
Raspberry sorbet
plain chocolate covered rice cakes

From this list I can make many desserts pretty instantly!
Stewed apple with a flapjack crumbled on top is instant crumble
Puree pots with chocolate rice cake to dunk in
Sorbet with sprinkles
Puree with cream swirled in... you get the idea!

You can make custard very easily with Oatly milk, custard powder and caster sugar - in fact it is less likely to go lumpy in the microwave than custard made with regular milk!!

Gluten free dough

Little ones who cannot play with play doh and other brands due to wheat/gluten allergies? Check out Clay Dough.

Remember, you are NOT alone. Come and join our Facebook Group for extra support, it's a tough road and we can all support each other. Our members have lots of tips and advice.

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