Tomorrow is another day

hair brushed, good dayI don’t brush my hair everyday but I did have my bra on from a reasonably early hour today so I thought it was going to be a pretty good day.

Little Chop had woken up early in the pitch black and it was 3 degrees outside – I should have been grumpy, but I wasn’t. We got up and I made us porridge with blue balls and apple. Yes…balls, Little Chop’s name for blueberries, which makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. Anyway, we were snuggly and warm in front of our big gas heater, eating our blue ball porridge, watching Giggle and Hoot and having a pretty good time. We read a few books, played with trains and danced to Play School songs in our jammies. Lovely.

At 11 I put Little Chop down for her nap, showered, perused eBay with a cup of decaf then set about making a bolognese to re-stock the freezer for lazy days to come. I was just browning the meat when I heard Little Chop wake, so I brought her out to the lounge room and attempted to put her down, but the closer she got to the floor the higher her legs climbed up my torso. Little Chop had emerged from her nap as a spider monkey of sorts. So, Little Chop on hip, I went back to the kitchen and attempted to carry on with the bolognese. Ever try cooking one handed while balancing a 12kg toddler on your hip when your 21 weeks pregnant with a bad back? Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it.

I managed to unclench Little Chop’s grip on my jumper and peel her off me but maybe I should have abandoned the bolognese at this point because she proceeded to go on a search and destroy mission in the kitchen. Nothing on the bench was off limits – plates, knifes, potato peeler and cutlery were all grasped at on tip toes. Next stop was the bin where packets and scraps were poked and examined. Then the cupboard doors were thrown open and every plate was threatened with sudden death. I must have said ‘no’ twenty times before Little Chop finally ended her spree of chaos, deciding to squeeze between me and the stove to climb my legs and demand ‘mup, mup, MUP!’ instead.

I managed to finish cooking the bolognese but Little Chop required my full attention for the remainder of the afternoon. I don’t know if she’s teething or going through a clingy period, or maybe a ‘wonder week’, but I have never heard ‘Mum’ so many times in one day.

LC: Mum, mum, mum, mum.

Me: Yes, Darling?

LC: Mum….Mum, mum, mum.

Me: Yes, what would you like?

LC: Mum, mum, mum, mum, mum!

Me: Yes?

LC: MUM! 

Me: Argh, what?

So, as I trudge down the hallway to resettle Little Chop for the third time tonight all I can do is remind myself that tomorrow is another day…

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Fussy toddler bolognese with hidden veggies

Little Chop having a great time licking the beater

Little Chop having a great time licking the beater

There was a time when my daughter would eat anything I made for her. Veggies twice a day, everyday, for months – easy as that. I knew other mums who were dealing with fussy toddlers and felt smug knowing that I didn’t have that challenge.

But one day, right around the time she started wanting to spoon feed herself, I lifted the spoonful of veggies to her mouth and she squeezed her lips together and turned away. I tried again, and again, but she wouldn’t open her mouth. I wanted to cry.

As though overnight my daughter had become… fussy.

These days she’d live on vegemite toast and mandarins if I let her, but I’ve found a meal she loves that I can sneak lots of veggies into – bolognese!

Here is what you’ll need for my Fussy Toddler Bolognese with Hidden Veggies:

500g lean mince – pork, beef or mixed pork & veal

1 medium brown onion, finely chopped

400g tin whole peeled tomatoes

1 cup stock – chicken beef or veggie

1 Tbls tomato paste

1 Tbls bolognese herbs/ Italian herbs (from dried herbs section of supermarket)

2 Tsp salt

2 Tsp sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

ADD any combination of the following veggies:

1 medium carrot cut into 1/2 cm cubes

1/2 medium eggplant cut into 1 cm cubes

1/2 medium zucchini cut into 1 cm cubes

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms

* The smaller you cut the veggies, the less noticeable they’ll be in the bolognese.

Soften the onions on medium heat in a large heavy bottom pot. Turn the heat up and add the mince, stirring until browned. Add all other ingredients and stir. When the bolognese is bubbling, reduce to a simmer and put lid on. Simmer for an hour, stirring regularly to help the veggies break down and ensure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add a little water if it starts to look dry. You want it to be quite saucy. After an hour, the veggies should be broken down and barely visible in the bolognese.

Serve with spiral pasta or macaroni with cheese on top.

Makes enough to feed at least 2 adults and 2 kids, or you can portion it out into little pots and freeze for a quick meal on standby.

Enjoy!