Our “week in dinners”

Our “week in dinners”

I really love the “A Week in Dinners” series over on Bumbles of rice so I couldn’t resist joining in when the series was opened up as a blog linky. I am really looking forward to seeing what everyone else is eating (because I am so nosy!) but here is my contribution!

This is what we ate for the second week of the Easter holidays.


We arrived back from visiting my parents with a LOT of chocolate and the leftover lamb from the big family Easter dinner. My mum is like most Irish Mums … afraid of not having enough she tends to cook a lot, especially when she has the whole family to feed. Knowing that the left over meat would not be eaten I took it home for a few more meals.

First up… a kind of curry with a Moroccan twist? (Okay I improvised and as the cupboards were fairly bare I threw in what I had to hand). Onion and garlic are always a good starting point, followed by tomatoes, carrots, herbs from the garden, tin of tomatoes, spices, raisins and ground almond…. I am a bit of a chuck it in and see what happens cook! It smelled good enough to draw them to the table… and I served it with a bowl of couscous.




I was a bit nervous serving this one up, waiting for a litany of complaints but SURPRISE! SURPRISE! they all loved it! Every scrap eaten. I was one smug mama sitting at a silent table of busy eaters!



As I said, my Mum cooks for an army when she has the whole clan together so despite last nights dinner, there was still plenty of lamb left over! “Waste not want not” as they say so the family was subjected to another round of lamb left overs. This time disguised as a stir fry, served with noodles.



Sit fries are common enough around here, usually with prawns or chicken but I thought I was fairly safe with this one. Not so! Perhaps one lamb dish too many, this one went down with mixed reviews, and a fair bit of picking the “I don’t like this” bits out.



It was the Easter holidays and I still had not done the big weekly shop so I decided to limp along through the rest of the week on what we had around the kitchen. The chickens were all back laying so we had a good supply of eggs… a Tortilla was on the cards for Wednesday night.



Served with broccoli and smoked salmon (for the egg hating family member)  this was another hit. Happy diners all around and clear plates at the end of the meal. Another smug mama moment.



As a rare and very special treat my hubby and I dined out on Thursday night so the kids were fed pasta with sauce and bruchetta and the adults ate this:



After a little stroll around Galway City we settled on a lovely little tapas restaurant (Lunares) for dinner and it didn’t disappoint! We got three tapas between us: potatoes with chorizo and a fried egg, prawns in garlic and chili and a chicken dish, marinated in wine. All washed down with a lovely glass of Tempranillo! The food, ambiance and service were excellent. The taste of the food was made all the nicer by the fact that I did not have to cook it or do the wash up after!



Friday night is pizza night in our house… without fail! On a good night the toppings are all gourmet and there are accompaniments such as chips and a lovely salsa, on a bad night it is sauce from a jar with a sprinkle of cheese. This Friday night fell somewhere in between… the sauce was homemade roasted vegetable but the toppings were basic enough (salami and olives with a sprinkle of blue cheese for the more adventurous) and there was no chips or salsa.



Each pizza has to be made to the personal preference of each family member, some like small thick bases, other prefer them large and wafer thin. Regardless of how they like them, they all eat them without complaint which always makes the little bit of effort worthwhile.



Still no shopping done but a rummage in the freezer revealed a pack of fish fingers so we were in business. Served with homemade oven chips and yet more broccoli and everyone was happy.



Simple, basic but no complaints… that is good enough for me!


Pancakes for dinner?
Pancakes for dinner?

We started the day well, with a big grill and homemade smoothies but the weather drew us outside for the day and after plenty of adventures and work in the garden, a lovely neighbour dropped us in a lemon drizzle cake. I hadn’t even started dinner but it was one of those rare moments when you just go with the flow and five hungry people tucked into a delicious lemon drizzle cake… and ate the lot. After that there was not much point in making a dinner really so I waited another hour or two until everyone was hungry enough and it was a kind of “eat what you want” meal (not very good mothering there I know). There was beans on toast for one, ryvita and cheese for another, sandwiches, fruit…. and even pancakes for one lucky boy !

A real medley of a meal and not very healthy, I’ll admit, but a nice way to round off the last day of the Easter holidays.


So that is our week of dinners, what did you have?
Check out the linky over at Bumbles of rice to see what everyone else is eating!
Bon Appetit!


Click on the badge to check out other posts in the linky

A little Adventure

A little Adventure

We spent the last day of the Easter Holidays enjoying the great outdoors right on our doorstep.

We are lucky enough to have a lovely two mile long lane into the bog right beside our house, so we decided to take advantage of it and headed for a family adventure in the lovely sunshine.

The boys were allowed "ride shotgun" once we got into the wilderness
The boys were allowed “ride shotgun” once we got into the wilderness


We drove to the end of the lane and then walked along by the stream in search of a little waterfall we hear was nearby.

The adventure continues "on foot"
The adventure continues “on foot”


Of course there was a picnic (as all true adventurers need food). Plenty of sandwiches and a left over Easter egg for that extra treat!

Time for some food!
Time for some food!


We didn’t find the waterfall but we did find lots of other treasures.

Clockwise from top left: Grass of pernassis, a frog, violet and a hairy caterpillar
Clockwise from top left: Grass of parnassus, a frog, violet and a hairy caterpillar (see tomorrows Mystery Creature post)


Why go around the muddy puddles when you can go through them… especially when wearing sandals?

"We can't go over it, we can't under it, Oh no, we have to go through it!" from A bear hunt by
“We can’t go over it, we can’t under it, Oh no, we have to go through it!” from We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury


It is a long way back to the car, especially when you are only four and a half.

It is always good to have a back up plan
It is always good to have some alternative transport arranged!


We had a wonderful Easter break and hope you did too!
Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

 Do you like 
green eggs and ham 

I do not like them, 
I do not like 
green eggs and ham. 


dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham
dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham

I am sure this would suffice as an add on to the coloured egg experiment post but we had so much fun with this I felt it deserved a post all to itself!


We repeated the experiment but this time on two eggs, one of which we coloured red as before and the other one we coloured green… because the children (especially the BIG ones) couldn’t let it go without trying to make “green eggs” and ham!


The first day we dissolved the shell away in vinegar and then yesterday we transferred the eggs a cup of coloured water and left them overnight. We had the fun of checking them out when we got up this morning… and they didn’t disappoint!



Two coloured eggs
Two coloured eggs


A handful of coloured eggs
A handful of coloured eggs
Squishy eggs
Squishy eggs


The colouring step definitely worked, but we still wanted to cook a coloured egg.

We snipped the membrane of the green egg and scrambled it, and finally we had our “green eggs and ham“!


Green eggs and ham
Green eggs and ham

Doesn’t look too appetizing, does it? But I persuaded the Science Wows team to try it out…


The Science Wows Team tuck in
The Science Wows Team tuck in


And how does it taste?…


How did it taste?
How did it taste?





It tasted awful!!!


But we had fun!


I would not eat green eggs and ham. 
I do not like them, Sam-I-am. 



Coloured-bouncy egg experiment

Coloured-bouncy egg experiment

This egg experiment is a new take on an old favourite. We have made bouncy eggs before, we even made them fluorescent! This year we decided to add more colour.

This is a really simple experiment, you probably have everything you need already in your kitchen and it is guaranteed to entertain both the young and the young at heart!


You will need:



Clear malt vinegar, a glass or cup, a whole raw egg, food colouring



What to do:


Place the raw egg in the glass and cover with vinegar, making sure the egg is completely covered.

Leave overnight or up to 48 hours if necessary.

After this time, remove the egg carefully and rinse it in a bowl of water.

The vinegar will have dissolved all the shell of the egg, leaving just the egg membrane keeping the structure together. The “naked” egg will be soft and bouncy and a little delicate so do be carefully when washing any remaining shell off.


A bouncy "naked" egg after the first stage of the experiment
A bouncy “naked” egg after the first stage of the experiment


Next place the egg into an empty glass and cover with water, add at least two teaspoons of your chosen food colouring (we used red here) and leave overnight again.

The next day carefully remove the egg from the coloured water, rinse and pat dry (you may find your fingers will get a little stained from the food colouring but it will wash off).


After step 2 of the experiment our "naked" egg has a little more colour
After step 2 of the experiment our “naked” egg has a little more colour


Now you have a coloured, bouncy egg, but be carefully when you bouncy it…



What has happened:

When the egg is in the vinegar you will notice some bubbles forming and eventually a foam will appear at the surface of the vinegar. The eggshell is made up of calcium carbonate. The vinegar (an acid) reacts with the calcium carbonate (a base) producing a salt and a gas called carbon dioxide (these are the bubbles you see). The vinegar will keep reacting with the calcium carbonate until it is all gone, leaving the egg contained in just the cell membrane.

A delicate, but bouncy egg.

When the egg is then placed in coloured water the water will travel into the egg by a process called osmosis. The egg will swell a little with the extra water.

I hope you have fun with this one, and please do let us know if you try it out. We are currently repeating the experiment as my Junior Scientists want to see the eggs with different colours… we will keep you posted!
It is International Earth Day – and this is what is on my mind!

It is International Earth Day – and this is what is on my mind!

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc
photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

It is International Earth Day today.

I have been thinking of the Earth a lot lately, even more than usual.

Global warming, endangered species, renewable energy have all been in the news lately, and well they should be.

But that’s not what I am thinking about.

I am thinking about plastic!

In fact I am thinking about plastic so much I am trying to think about anything else!

But I can’t!




My ten year old daughter did a project on plastic for school recently.

Here are just some of the facts she shared with her class…

photo credit: jschneid via photopin cc
photo credit: jschneid via photopin cc

Plastic takes 500 to 1000 years to degrade.

It has been estimated that over ONE TRILLION plastic bags are used worldwide EACH YEAR and only 0.5% to 3% of all these bags are recycled.

In 2006, the United Nations found that each square mile of the ocean has 46,000 pieces of plastic in it.

Over 100,000 mammals are suspected of dying due to plastic pollution every year, on both land and in our oceans. 

Marine trash, mainly plastic, is also killing more than a million seabirds each year.



But it is not so bad, right? We can recycle the plastic we use!

Unfortunately not!

My obsession has run to reading all the fine print and checking the recycle symbols of the packaging we use everyday.

Supermarket shopping has become a major stress… it is not enough that it is Irish, locally grown or organic… the plastic it comes in cannot go in my recycle bin!

The more I look, the more I see…. and I wish I didn’t! I wish I could go back to a previous state of ignorance, but I can’t!

It is driving me mad.

So what will I do? Little old me, what can I change… and what difference will it make?

I am not sure what difference it will make, but I have to do something. I may rant and rave here from time to time but I am not a big activist.

So I am going to start off small.

One piece of plastic at a time!

I am going to bring a cloth bag for my vegetable.

I will change to choosing loose vegetable whenever possible and they will go into my cloth bag, not a little plastic one that is on offer for such purposes!

I will choose more farmers markets, where loose produce are more readily available.

I will join a local scheme that delivers a selection of in-season fruit and vegetable to my door each week. It may cost a little more but if I cook wisely I can make these go further.

I can grow more vegetables in my own garden.

Small changes I know, but often small things can lead to BIG changes… so I will keep reminding myself of the Butterfly Effect theory, every time I eliminate one plastic bag from the shopping trolley!


So that is what is on my mind this Earth Day, what’s on your mind?


The best Easter Egg Hunt… ever!

The best Easter Egg Hunt… ever!

We are spending a lovely few days away as we visit Grandparents and the children get to catch up with cousins. After a long chocolate and fun filled day, some very happy children went to bed declaring “That was the best Easter Egg Hunt ever” …

The loot for hiding
The loot for hiding


We chose seven hiding places around the garden and prepared seven rhyming clues for the children to work out where each stash was hidden.


There was a treat to find at each hiding point
There were treats to find at each hiding place


Clues to find...
Clues to find…


There was a lot of reading and deciphering of clues
…and read and decipher!



There was lots of searching...
There was lots of searching…


...and running!
…and running!


And the best bit of all was the personalised mini mug by Colorines Wonderful for each child! A real treasure!


Very happy with their treasure
Cousins…. very happy with their treasure


We hope you had a very happy Easter too!!


As everything turns green – it is nettle pesto time again

As everything turns green – it is nettle pesto time again

The lawn mowers are out, leaves are appearing on trees and all things green are starting to emerge…. including the nettles; but don’t despair, when you look at them change your thoughts from annoying, stinging weed to… nettle pesto!

 Young nettles are great as a diuretic, a natural anti-inflammatory (used for allergies, asthma, rheumatism) and to treat high blood pressure… to name but a few benefits!

Last year we decided to put all this natural goodness to some use and tested some nettle pesto recipes, tweaking the ingredients to what we had to hand, and what flavours we preferred. Here I revisit an old blog and share our preferred recipe.

First up…. harvest your nettles, even better if you can recruit a helper or two, this was my “helper” for the task – gloves, hat and all!

My nettle picking helper... complete with gloves!
My nettle picking helper… complete with gloves!


Wearing our nettle protecting gloves we headed out into the back garden and collected a large basin full of lovely nettles (harvesting the top two to three bracts)…

Our fresh nettle harvest
Our fresh nettle harvest


Next I removed the leaves and washed them, ending up with a colander full!

Picked, washed and ready for the pot
Picked, washed and ready for the pot


Next step was to blanch the nettle leaves, so they were added to a large pot of boiling water for two minutes then removed with a slotted spoon and added to iced water.

2 minutes in boiling water
2 minutes in boiling water



Then straight into iced water
Then straight into iced water


Then I placed all the nettles into a clean tea towel and squeeze out the water until the nettles were fairly dry

Squeezing out the nettles
Squeezing out the nettles


Ready to make pesto
Ready to make pesto


This left me with 100 g nettles, I was ready to make my pesto!


My ingredients

Pesto Ingredients
Pesto Ingredients

100 g preped nettles
50 g pinenuts
Juice and zest of one lemon
150 mls olive oil
30 g parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic
Sea salt to taste
Pepper to taste

All that remained was to add all the ingredients together and blend, blitz or pound them to the preferred consistency.

Grind to your preferred consistency
Grind to your preferred consistency


I got about 250 g of pesto from this, nicely filling four 150 ml bottles…

The finished product!
The finished product!


This pesto goes really well with plain old pasta, or just spread on nice crusty bread. It makes a lovely homemade gift too… just be sure to keep a jar for yourself!


Further reading:

Stinging nettle pesto recipe
Nettle pesto recipe
Latest science on Rooibos and Nettle Tea


Mystery Creature reveal… the Potoo

Mystery Creature reveal… the Potoo

Last week’s Mystery Creature was the Potoo, in this case the Common Potoo (Nyctibius griseus). Here are some interesting facts about this very unusual bird:

Potoos can be found in Central and South America, although fossil finds dating back to the Oligocene and Eocene suggest ancestors of these birds were once also found in France and Germany.

Potoos make some very unusual sounds. As thy need to communicate through a vast habitat they need a noise that can travel. Each species makes a unique call: The common Potoo, for example makes a series of mournful whistle type noises that deepen with each call. Legend has it that this sound is a mournful lament for a lost love – the moon.

Potoos are nocturnal animals. As they spend their days perched on trees and branch stumps they need some effective camouflage. Their elaborate plumage helps them blend in with their arboreal surroundings. Once the Potoo is perched it is very hard to spot as blends into the bark of the tree or takes on the appearance of a branch stump.

photo credit: julian londono via photopin cc
photo credit: julian londono via photopin cc

Potoos usually mate for life.

Potoos do not build nests; instead they will lay a single, spotted egg in the stump of a branch or appropriate nook on a tree.

Both parents will guard the egg and tend to the hatchling.

Potoos have small beaks but very broad mouths, helpful for catching insects such as moths and beetles while in flight.

An interesting feature of the Potoo is that it can still see even when it closes its eyes… a useful feature when relying on camouflage for protection. Their eye lids have little kinks to allow them a discrete peep-hole view of their surroundings.




In this short video clip Sir David Attenborough gets up close with one of these elusive birds.

Our five favourite Easter experiments (or should that be eggsperiments)

Our five favourite Easter experiments (or should that be eggsperiments)

Are your children just starting their mid term break? Looking for some exciting activities to entertain them over the next two weeks? How about some Eggsellent Eggsperiments to keep everyone happy?

Here are five of our favourite experiments for Easter… or any other time of the year.

Easter Experiments



Take the floating egg experiment one step further!
Take the floating egg experiment one step further!


Take this one step further….

We mentioned in the video that you can take this experiment a step further.

Float the egg in the salty water as before.

Add a few drops of food colouring to a jug of unsalted water.

Carefully pour this coloured water down the side of the glass so that it sits on top of the salty water.

The egg will sit between the two layers… can you see it in this picture?





Amaze your friends with this egg balancing trick
Amaze your friends with this egg balancing trick



The junior science team were a little enthusiastic

with their salt levels in this video

but you can get this to work with A LOT less salt.








Not only did we make a bouncy egg, but we also made a fluorescent one…. check out these experiments here.


There will be plenty of great Easter blog posts by fellow Irish Parenting Bloggers over the next week or two…. here are a few already posted and if you check back I will keep this list updated as new posts are available.

You may also like…

Easter gift tag printables over at My Country Girl Ramblings

Check out these great dairy free treat ideas over at Dairy Free Kids

Easter Hama bead activity and Things I love (and hate) about school holidays over at Learner Mama

Easy Easter bonnets at Where wishes come from

Office Mum wonders “Is the Easter Bunny a thing?”

There is an Easter trip involving “Hot cross buns and Vikings in the Park” over at The Busy Mama

Tyler Lee’s Easter basket over at Dolly Dowsie

or check out what Bumbles of Rice has planned for Easter with this lovely Easter Ideas post


Happy Easter!