Easy Chicken Alphabet Soup

Easy Chicken Alphabet Soup

Do you remember having alphabet soup as a kid?? When I saw these alphabet pasta shapes at our local ALDI I just had to buy some! More for me than anyone else. Possum has been really getting into the alphabet lately and can even sing the whole alphabet song (proud beaming mumma over here! hello!). I thought this would be a fun way for her to play, learn and enjoy delicious homemade chicken alphabet soup. Possum makes soup at most meals. This involves putting a bit of everything into her cup of water, stirring it and then drinking it……… delicious……

This Easy Chicken Alphabet Soup is the perfect way to use up leftover roast chicken. A nice bonus when you’re using meal planning is this 2 for 1 kind of cooking! Less fuss, less stress and less cost. Bingo!

And yes I did have just a bit of fun picking out the letters to spell “alphabet” for my nice pic up the top 🙂 You likey? I used a Lego keyring (guess who owns that one!) as my lighting. So fancy! So professional!

Alphabet Noodles

As a little side story, it’s funny how sometimes the universe knows things way before you do. I cooked this soup on Saturday night. I did the grocery shopping during Saturday day, I normally do it Monday. I also strangely had the house pretty darn clean and organised by the time I went to bed that night. Plus Possum hadn’t had any Mummy Milk for 3 days… That night I was rushed to hospital with bleeding. I am 30 weeks pregnant and have placenta praevia. Legoman was out bush and out of phone reception. Not a fun situation.

To cut a long story short, I am now home again after a couple of nights in hospital. Both baby and I are absolutely fine. I was joking that had the hospital had a kitchen, a DSLR and wifi I could’ve happily blogged whilst there! Instead I used up all my data on my phone reading everyone else’s blogs (I found a few new ones here and here)!

Easy Chicken Noodles Soup cooking

Easy Chicken Alphabet Noodle Soup – Serves 4

For the broth:

Leftover Roast Chicken (I had nearly half a chicken left), skin and bones included

3 carrots very roughly chopped

1 onion peeled and quartered

2 bay leaves

10 peppercorns

a pinch of salt

1/2 red capsicum very roughly chopped

5 cups of water

large handful fresh parsley

For the remainder of the soup

1/2 cup of alphabet soup noodles

2 carrots sliced

2 cups broccoli florets

1. Place all ingredients for the broth into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 10-11 hours. Or do as I did and start it on high for a few hours while you go do the grocery shopping then turn in to low until close to dinner time.

2. After cooking the broth, strain it through a pasta strainer. Strip chicken carcass of as much meat as you can. I still had nearly half a chicken on my leftovers so this was quite a meaty soup.

3. Add the strained broth and chicken meat to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add your sliced carrots. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add your alphabet pasta and broccoli. Cook for 5 minutes.

4. Then serve! It’s really that crazy simple!!

If you don’t have a slow cooker you can easily make the broth by sitting all the ingredients in a large saucepan on very low heat on the stove top. You could reduce the cooking time this way too.

I could’ve tried to style this soup, but really it’s such a kiddie classic and nostalgic wonder, I just had to put a picture of Possum’s cute little pink bowl and teaspoon instead. I hope your family enjoys this Easy Chicken Noodle Soup!

Toddler Serve of Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

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Easy Toddler Craft – Put old food magazines to good use

Easy Toddler Craft - Put old food magazines to good use

Hi my name is Ruth and I’m addicted to cookbooks and food magazines. If I had my way, I know of at least 4 food magazines I would subscribe to PLUS there is my want list of cookbooks. This easy toddler craft activity came about as I have recently started to run out of room for all the cookbooks and food magazines I actually do have (plus our little family has been trying to get rid of stuff). This put me in the unpleasant position of sitting down and having a bit of an honest and upfront chat with some of my dear old friends.

I had foodie mags on my bookcase from 10 years ago. 10 years. I don’t think I have any clothes I still wear from 10 years ago! And like clothes, food fashion has changed a lot. As I sat there flicking through, it became very clear and obvious there was no way I was going to cook anything out of most of these treasured tomes. The one recipe I pulled out was for bread. Yes, simple old bread. The little black dress of food.

So how did we get from saying good bye to these old food magazines to spending some quality time with my now 2 year old? The conversation went a little bit like this…

Possum: Mummy, I want to do some craft.

Me: Sure sweetheart, what craft would you like to do?

Possum: Black craft.

Me: Okay… how about some cutting and pasting instead?

And so this is what we did.

equipment

You will need:

  • old food magazines that you have said your final goodbyes to (look how young Jamie Oliver looks on that cover!)
  • Scissors (we haven’t reached scissor skills yet so these were just for Mummy to use)
  • Glue stick
  • A scrapbook or old notebook for pasting into

Possum and I sat down at her craft table with the food magazine, scissors, glue and notebook. I asked her to point to and tell me what pictures she wanted me to cut out. It was then her job to paste them into the book where ever she wanted. If your child was a bit older, they could have the job of cutting and you could ask them to find a picture of someone smiling, someone cooking, a tomato, a car etc. This activity is great for:

  • Spending one on one time with your little person
  • Developing language skills. Get them to talk to you about the pictures. For example “You want me to cut out the picture of the man? What’s the man doing? Oh you think he’s cooking? What do you think he is cooking?”
  • Developing fine motor skills. There’s pointing, cutting with scissors, using a glue stick, turning and orientating the picture, placing the picture. All wonderful things for little hands to practice.
  • Developing spatial awareness. How many pictures fit on the page? Where do you want that picture to go? Is that picture too big for the page? I was amazed to see how carefully Possum wanted to stick her pictures. There was absolutely overlap and bits hanging out of the book, but everything had it’s place. Really wonderful to watch.
  • Developing a love and interest in real food! “What’s in that picture? You think it’s chicken? Do you like chicken? What vegetables are there? What colours are they? Maybe we can buy some … next time we are shopping?”

Possum and I sat down and cut and pasted for about 30 minutes before she had had enough. And we both had a really lovely time together. And since then she now asks for cutting and pasting (instead of black craft!).

So instead of putting those old food magazines into the recycling, how about you sit down and share some time with your toddler for this easy toddler craft. Put those old food magazines to good use!

Easy toddler craft

***Want something else fun to do with your toddler? Check this out!

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How to have a stress free toddler birthday party + free party planner printable

How to have a stress free toddler party + free party planner printable

In case you missed it, my beautiful daughter turned 2 this week! So of course we had a lovely little party for her over the weekend. And I have to say the whole event was relatively stress free.

How was having a gaggle of toddlers and family around stress free? Well let me tell you why…

  1. Don’t have the party at your house. Possum’s first birthday was at our house. This meant the house had to be clean. Need I say more. This year we went to the park, literally around the corner from our house. It has kick arse swings, two slides, toilets and under cover picnic areas. Perfect. There was plenty of room for happy toddlers to run around, grass for younger bubs to roll around on and plenty of breathing room for this pregnant mumma.
  2. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Repeat after me. “I don’t have to do everything, I don’t have to do everything”. This is what friends and family are for. Grandparents are wonderful in so many ways. Their amazing cooking, cleaning and entertaining skills can all be put to good use when planning a party. For example my mother in law cleaned up the undercover picnic areas for us the morning of the party. Amazing. My parents came to our house to help do morning dishes, entertain Possum and my Mum was wonderful and whipped up some cream cheese icing at the last minute for Possum’s birthday cake. My sister loves shiny pretty things and is wonderfully creative. So her job was decorations. I literally said “balloons and streamers in rainbow colours”. I arrived to find home made paper chains, balloons, streamers, glittery shapes and a happy birthday banner. Way more than my brain could even compute!
  3. Keep things simple. Toddlers are wonderful little creatures and get crazy excited at even the littlest of things. Like having party hats and a cake. They don’t need a live band, 20 animal petting zoo AND a decorator cake. The little ones had so much fun dancing around the park with streamers, hiding in bushes and watching balloons make farting noises as they zoomed through the air. Nice and simple.
  4. Get someone else to take photos. Kind of like your wedding day, you want to enjoy the fact you have kept a tiny little person alive for so long despite horrible sleep, a diet of food scraps and cold tea and a complete and utter sense of having no idea what the hell you are doing. Celebrate! But do get someone else to capture your happy faces. Make sure that person understands your camera and are happy to be the camera person for the day. Reassure them you don’t want Ansel Adams images, just your typical family happy snaps.
  5. Skip the presents. I don’t mean all together, but just from party guests. I think Possum’s Grandparents would have a meltdown if we said no gifts from them! Ask guests to bring a plate of food to share instead. This is a double win. Your party gets catered plus you don’t have to deal with bringing even more stuff into your home. Also, many kids/adults have food allergies and sensitivities. Bring a plate allows families to bring known safe food. It also saves you having to make gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free anything.
  6. Have an amazing husband. I am beyond grateful for having a husband who is great with logistics and event planning. He used to organise logistics for ultra marathons and the such, so a toddler birthday party is easy! Lovely little touches he thought of were things like having a camping stove to make the nanas and grandmas hot cups of tea, packing camping chairs and picnic blankets, having camping plates rather than throw aways. So thank you so much Legoman for not only being an awesome father but also a wonderful husband! xx
  7. Have a plan. It’s a good idea to have at least a vague idea of what you need/want for this party. To make this easier for you I have made a free party planner printable. Stick it on the fridge (next to your free printable meal planner!) and add to it as you think of things. Click Pea Fritters Party Planner Free Printable to download.

I truly hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your little person! Have a friend who you think might find this post and free party planner printable helpful? Simply share this post on Facebook, Pinterest or email!

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Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake (Happy Birthday my gorgeous Possum!)

Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake - Egg Free

Birthday’s deserve cake, and it’s nice to know this Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake not only passed the picky toddler test, it also passed the tired hungry mum test! Hurray! One mummy friend shouted out “Can you blog this one? Little man is loving it!”.

This time two years ago I was swaying and vocalising my way through early labour. By 7:30 tomorrow morning I would’ve given birth to the most wonderful little bundle I have ever met. My gorgeous little Possum. What a proud mummy I am! This birthday, Possum specifically requested an apple cake, so her birthday cake was a Toddler Friendly Apple and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.

Possum asked for there to be one red apple and one green apple in her cake, and I suggested a carrot (as she loves carrots) which she agreed whole heartedly. There was a decent meltdown over whether the gooey seeds (chia) would end up in the cake or in her belly, but a timely arrival of Grandpa and Grandma put all to rest *phew*. There’s some creamy buttermilk and just a touch of cinnamon to round off this moist yummy Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake. Of course this cake is egg free, as little Possum has an egg allergy. I think I’m getting the hang of this egg free baking now though!

We had a little party for our Birthday Girl today at our local park. A handful of happy chatty friends, a bevy of proud family to play and eat and giggle with our precious Possum. I have to say it was a lot more fun than her first birthday and much less emotional. It was so wonderful watching her play with her little buddies, hiding in bushes, sharing the swings, giving cuddles and kisses. What a wonderful age this is.

A big thankyou goes to my Mum who made the cream cheese icing at the last minute at my request. It really topped off this Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake! She recommends even adding a little lemon zest to give it some extra zing.

I hope you and your birthday toddler (or not so little person!) enjoy this cake as much as we did!

grated apple and carrot

Toddler Friendly Birthday Cake aka Egg Free Apple and Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cups SR flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 green apple, peeled and grated

1 red apple, peeled and grated

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp No Egg replacer with 2 Tbsp water (or use 1 egg)

2 Tbsp butter melted

2 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes

ICING:

Philadelphia cream cheese

Pure cream

Caster sugar

Vanilla essence

Preheat Oven to 180°C fan forced/200°C conventional. Grease and line a spring form baking tin. Mix your chia and water and let sit for 15 mintues

Meanwhile, mix together your SR flour, almond meal, baking powder and cinnamon,

Add your grated apples and carrot, stir to combine.

In a seperate bowl, beat together your brown sugar, buttermilk, vanilla and No Egg (or 1 whole egg if no allergies).Add to your flour/apple mix. Stir through chia seeds and melted butter until all just combined.

Pour into your prepared baking tin and bake for 1 hour.

To make the icing, use a spoon to briskly mix together your cream cheese, cream, sugar and vanilla to suit your taste. (I think my Mum didn’t use a whole block of cream cheese…). Once the cake has cooled, spread icing over cake. Place as many candles as needed/wanted, sing, horray, cut and be merry!

I can't believe she's 2

Toddler Cooking Adventures!

quick and easy microwave popcorn

It’s all been feeling a bit like Noah’s ark at the moment. Crazy rain and wind throughout our state for days on end. Weather like this makes me want to crawl under a blanket, eat lots of food, drink hot chocolate and binge on TV series on DVDs. Alas being the mother of a toddler, this scenario pans out a little differently…. “mummy! mummy! mummy! I want to watch a mooooooovie!! mummy! moooooovie!” normally this has started at about 8:30 in the morning. Depending on my level of sleep, patience and general awesomeness I can sometimes hold out until about 3pm. Then it is not just a movie, but popcorn and movie time! For Possum AND mummy 🙂

Possum has been really enjoying getting into the kitchen lately and pretending to cook constantly. Making microwave popcorn from scratch has been a really fun, simple and easy way to include her in the kitchen as well as make a super tasty and reasonably healthy snack for the two of us to share.

Here is how to make it! What movie will you be watching? Our favourites are Madagascar Two (Possum calls it Lion Movie), Ratatouille (Rat Movie) and Rio 2 (Rio Movie).

Easy Microwave Popcorn – serves 4

1/3 cup popping corn

a decent chunk of butter

a shake of salt

Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl (I use my Pyrex mixing bowl) for around 30 seconds in the microwave, making sure you have a cover over the bowl. Take bowl out of the microwave, add your salt and popping corn (this is Possum’s job). Stir to combine (also Possum’s job).

Possum's cooking adventures

Possum’s cooking adventures

Stir stir stir

Stir stir stir

Place bowl and cover in the microwave for 3 minutes 20 seconds for a 1000W microwave.

Don't forget the cover!!!

Don’t forget the cover!!!

Stay close by to listen for when the pops slow down. Take your delicious hot bowl of buttery popcorn out of the microwave using oven mitts. Divide among movie watchers or share from one big (but still hot so be careful!) bowl. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Delicious hot popcorn!!

Delicious hot popcorn!!

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