Monday, 3 October 2011

Weekend Baking + School Lunches Rant

Morning Everyone! Did you all have a good weekend?

We had a great one - lots of sunshine with a walk to the seafront/play park on Saturday, and then we went to visit my sister and her boyfriend yesterday. They took us to a nearby pub which had the biggest outside 'garden' I've ever seen! Pretty much a field - with a wooden play park for the children and lots of open grass for us to relax on. I normally choose Pimms and lemonade as my summery drink, but decided to have a longer drink instead - this strawberry and lime cider was delicious, so fruity!

I also did some baking. On Friday I made Caramelised Banana Pancakes (these taste cakey enough to count as baking!) and Averie's Caramel Apple Bars...

and last night I made cheese muffins and a mahoosive lemon drizzle cake (I multiplied the recipe up to be a 5 egg one as my tin was a bit bigger than the suggested size)...

The sad (although probably good for my waistline!) thing is I wont even get to eat any of last night's baking efforts! The cheese muffins (which I usually put chives in, but I forgot) are for Liam's breakfasts - the recipe makes 10 muffins (so 2 each work morning) plus 2 mini muffins that Izzy takes instead of sandwiches for one of her packed lunches. None left for me!

The lemon drizzle cake is a late-birthday present for my Grandma - I couldn't think of what to give her so wrote in her birthday card that I would make her a cake of her choosing, and she asked for lemon drizzle. I'm seeing her this afternoon so will give it to her then. This morning I added an icing squiggle (just icing sugar and lemon juice) as she'd asked for it iced (I gave her the option which was a bit silly really as I never normally ice lemon drizzle cakes) - do you think this is enough icing?

I guess it'll have to be good enough anyway as it is all packed up ready to go now...

I hope it tastes as good as it smells! I ended up cooking it for half an hour longer than the recipe said as the skewer test wasn't coming out clean in the middle. I normally cook my lemon drizzle cakes as either cupcakes or sandwich cakes these days (again, why did I give my Grandma the option of a loaf cake?!!) The only other time I've cooked one in a loaf tin was for my little sister to take away camping, in the early days of my baking. Even though I cooked it for longer than the recipe, I eventually gave up and it was still practically raw in the middle! My sister just took all the slices from the ends and my Mum ate the middle more like a pudding. It all fell apart though - I'm crossing my fingers that doesn't happen to my Grandma! This cake seems more solid so hopefully it will be ok!

Oh, random rant alert, but did anyone see in the news (I saw it on the BBC news app on my phone) about how parents aren't putting any/enough fruit & veg in their children's packed lunches, and school dinners are so much better etc? It does annoy me slightly. Izzy has school dinners twice a week, and yes ok, they're served vegetables with the main course (which is quite often pizza, fish fingers and chips etc), but they're then given puddings like jelly and ice cream, or sticky toffee pudding afterwards (Izzy always chooses which days she has school dinners based on the yumminess of the puddings, so she rarely goes for the fruit salad day which does admittedly happen once a week). The packed lunch children get given "healthy lunch box stickers" if their lunches are deemed good enough by the adults. My friend's little boy didn't get a sticker the other day because he had a bag of crisps in his box, which ok isn't ideal, but I think it's a bit unfair as my friend is now worrying what to give him as he only likes certain things. This is what Izzy's taken to school today...

Leftover quinoa with roasted peppers, cucumber and goats cheese (she always has one 'main' thing - either sandwiches, cheese muffins or leftovers), cucumber sticks, grapes, a cheese string and a yoghurt. I personally wouldn't choose to eat the sugary yoghurt and the cheese string, but she loves them. They're only children. My friend's little boy also always has fruit and veg in his lunchbox as they're some of the things he is guaranteed to eat, so I don't really understand why the children eating school dinners get to have sugary puddings, but the packed lunch box eaters have to earn the "healthy" lunch box stickers. Meh. As my Mum will no doubt think as she reads this, I probably need to find more important things to worry about!! :)

If you have children, do they take packed lunches to school or have school dinners? Or do you take packed lunches to work? Would your lunch get a "healthy eating sticker"? I know Liam's certainly wouldn't - this morning he took cheese muffins (breakfast) and then leftover quinoa, banana and an apple for his lunch, but then also about 6 biscuits and some chocolate - he does like his sweet treats!! :) Those of you that work in a school, do your schools 'police' the lunchboxes with stickers etc? I hate having to worry so much about what I put in Izzy's lunchboxes. She gets upset if her friends get the stickers and she doesn't (she loves stickers!) but I don't even really understand what is and isn't "allowed" in their lunchboxes - I wish they were more specific. I know there is a website with lunch box guidelines, but if the school is going to reward "healthy" lunchboxes in this way then they could at least give us specific guidelines of what they do and don't consider to be healthy to give us a chance! Is homemade cake ok or will any sugary treats stop them from getting a sticker? If you include fruit and vegetables does that give you more leeway to include something sweet? Or is it only school dinners that are allowed sugary puddings?! Aargh. I wasn't planning to talk about anything other than my weekend baking in this post, but that rant came out, sorry! I feel better now for letting off steam though!! :-D


  1. " quinoa with roasted peppers, cucumber and goats cheese " ...that would get thrown back at me by my kids - they are turning in to real food junkies. I know I just should;t buy it but its hard!
    Izzy is very balanced :-)

  2. Yes, I know I am very lucky that Izzy will eat the things that I give her, hopefully she won't start turning her nose up at my food in the years to come!

    I don't see why the odd sweet treat or "junk food" is so bad though - it's like the schools are already labelling foods "good" and "bad" with this sticker thing which is likely to lead to food hang-ups in the future. Surely everything in moderation is the way to go?

    I guess the thing in the news is more aimed at parents who don't even try to give their children fruit/veg etc, but like you say it's difficult - different children have different preferences. My friend has two sons with only a couple of years age boy will eat anything, the other has a very short list of things he will eat!

  3. Our school does not give out healthy stickers or anything, but it is hard because as a school we are judged by ofsted on the healthiness of the lunch boxes- something we can advise on but cannot control. So I do understand where these schools come from. It does seem that the line used to be "no sweets and no nuts and no fizzy" and it seems to blur now- are cereal bars healthy? Some of them have more sugar than a chocolate bar. And what about yoghurts marketed at kids- they are not healthy either but are probably deemed healthier than other snacks. But it did shock me that 40% of kids had no fruit or veg in their lunch boxes at all! We have some children that never have a sandwich (or pasta or savoury anything)- they would have cakes, crisps, pepperami, chocolate, biscuits...... I think it is all about balance personally, and children having a little bit of less healthy food is fine as they need the carbs, protein, fruit, veg and some sugar too. Their brains are very busy learning all day after all.

  4. I am so shocked about the sticker thing. I hope parents are complaining about it. First of all it's giving the kids something they can't control to feel bad about or be teased for. Secondly it's silly little things like these that sow the seeds for eating disorders further down the line. As I'm guessing these people have no nutritional qualifications they really have no business judging lunches unless something is blatantly wrong e.g only sweets & crisps. Even if there is a problem it should be communicated to the parents directly and not via their children.

    I'm so going to be the nightmare mum at school when I have kids! :)

  5. Thank you all for your comments, it was really useful to get different points of views :)

    As you will see in today's post, I went back to the school about the lunchbox issues so hopefully that post will explain my thoughts more.

    Maria - it definitely does get confusing. I understand that it must be difficult for schools to have little control over what goes in to lunchboxes, but I don't really think our school is going about it in the best way.

    Angela - I don't normally speak out much at school, but this did annoy me, especially after the making Izzy a sandwich thing yesterday! I'm guessing that, as they've seen the need to mention it in the school newsletter, other parents have complained too.


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