Once Upon a Time…
In my pre-Mum days, I was convinced of the sort of Mum I’d be. I would exclusively breastfeed at all costs. I would use cloth nappies. I would be homely, nurturing and devoted. I would take them to baby signing and baby massage classes.
As they grew up we would spend hours harmoniously playing educational games, and teaching them a second language (early on whilst they were super-receptive to it, obvs). Later on I would bake, and cook organic, nutritious, delicious meals for them to come home from school to.
We would have no TV until night time, and they would learn musical instruments and take up educational hobbies. They would voluntarily eat fruit as a snack if they felt peckish…
Obviously my (delusional) ideal Mother-self hovered somewhere between pretentious and ridiculous… But of course, it’s easy to scoff once you’re there, in amongst the snot and lego.
In the before-times nobody really knows any better, do they?
Parenthood IRL has been a lot more shouty and chaotic than I’d imagined. There is more wine, more whine, and a lot less Zen Mother Pinterestiness.
I have three very chatty, funny, single-minded kids. They can be great fun, but come dinner time I am invariably tired, frequently a bit grumpy, and often spattered with some kind of foodstuff / bodily effluent courtesy of one or more of my offspring.
And of all the various accoutrements of the daily parenting routine, I would say that mealtimes are by far the biggest shitshow of my parenting life so far. Mealtimes are a clusterf*ck. My older kids are fussy eaters, and meal times are a total pain in the arse.
Now, I love those little buggers, and they’ve come out pretty well so far (although it’s early days… And as charismatic as he can be #2 child takes such delight in destruction there is ample room for a little wanton vandalism down the road tbh…)
But, without fail, every dinner time we enter a vortex of frustration which inevitably ends in me retreating around the corner out of view before before silently doing this:
until I feel better.
Not only are they fussy as f*ck, but they are very differently fussy. What one likes, the other one hates, and so invariably one of them kicks off about something every dinner time.
And that is why there is wine.
Otherwise there would be murder.
FFS How Do I Make This Easier?!?
Ultimately I want my kids to eat better, but also I want to make things as simple and easy as possible too. These days, we tend to take the hard line on mealtimes. These are the moments where my Mum’s voice comes out of my mouth.
There’s a lot of “…No, you’re not having Weetabix for dinner.” Usually followed by (tersely) “Fine. You don’t have to eat it, but that’s all that’s on offer, and it’s a long time until breakfast tomorrow.”
There is often moaning, belligerence, eye rolling (kids) and snappiness, angry dishwasher loading, wine pouring (me).
Cue sweary fingers.
What Are The Best Online Resources For Finding Quick and Easy Recipes?
However, I do try and make my life easier, and this is where my ninja Googling skills come in. Often I go off in search of inspiration / ideas for meals that everyone will actually eat without World War Three erupting.
My main prerequisites when I am finding new meals to cook, (other than looking tasty and possibly like every family member will entertain eating it) is to find sites with simple recipes which don’t take up too much of my time.
If I can bung it all in a pot and leave it to simmer for a couple of hours that’s a big thumbs up. If I can do it with minimal pans and equipment I’m extra likely to try it. If I can make it ahead of time and thus avoid cooking during the witching hour, that’s a real bonus.
It’s on these grounds that I have (possibly entirely subjectively) selected my top pics for the best online resources for finding quick and easy recipes for Mums…
My Top 3 Sites:-
1.) BBC Good Food
Why I Rate it:
I didn’t want the BBC Good Food website to be my top site… In fact, in an effort to prove myself to be hip, alternative, and very much NOT turning into my mother, I scoured the furthest reaches of the Internet to see what good I could summon forth.
However, when it comes to recipe resources, there’s no beating the good old Beeb.
I suppose it makes sense really. Where most sites and blogs feature the best recipes by their authors, BBC Good Food pools all the formidable resources from it’s own corporation’s programmes, which of course means that it features innumerable fabulous chefs from all over the world.
There is a ridiculously huge amount of recipes on here. Thousands. Obviously I haven’t tried them all. But I have used a shedload of them, and I’ve never been disappointed.
Best Used For:
Use it like it’s Google for food. Seriously. Whatever you fancy, type it into the search bar. IT WILL HAVE THE ANSWER.
My own personal favourite recipe is this one for Chilli Con Carne. (Fun fact: I typed ‘chilli’ into the search bar and 893 results came up. See – told you its like Google for food).
One night I fancied making a chilli, so I Googled ‘Best Chilli Con Carne recipe’ and this came up. It’s the best chilli recipe ever. Really simple, really quick prep time, and bloody gorgeous.
2.) Pinch of Nom
Why I Rate it:
So, I hadn’t come across this one before I started researching this blog post. Probs because it’s a recipe site for people who do Slimming World. I did get a lot of people telling me that it was their go-to site though, so I checked it out.
It’s a real hidden gem. There are so many good recipes on here. I’m still a bit baffled by the points system used in Slimming World, but seeing as I’m not especially concerned about losing weight ATM it makes no difference to me anyway. There’s a great range of ideas separated into subgroups so it’s really easy to search too.
Best Used For:
Searching by meal type for inspiration. If you hit their Recipe Index tab you’ll find heaps of categories. And if you’re like me, and you want something tasty with minimal effort and clean-up you’ll be chuffed to find subcategories which cover one pot meals, slow cooker meals (thank bejesus for the invention of the slow cooker!.. More on this later…) and batch cooking friendly stuff.
There is an entire category dedicated to waffles. WAFFLES! And this is all stuff for people who do Slimming World, so it WON’T EVEN MAKE ME FAT!
3.) Nom Nom Paleo
Why I Rate it:
This might seem a bit left-field for those of you who have never given much thought to the paleo diet. I decided to go on it a few years ago in an attempt to ditch my post baby muffin-top after #2 baby. Actually I did lose about a stone in 6 weeks, so it really did work like a charm, but that’s not why I’m recommending it.
When I say I went paleo, what I basically did was ditch grains and sugar. I couldn’t force myself to give up cheese (cheese, oh how I love thee! Let me count the ways…) but basically ignoring the no-dairy aspect of these recipes made it much easier and massively reduced the faff.
My paleo phase fizzled out a good while ago now but I still use a load of these recipes on the regs. They are super tasty. Just make sure you have a cup measure of some sort, because the author is American, and they do everything in cups rather than lbs / oz.
Best Used For:
Looking for out-of-the-box inspiration. Also if you’re cutting down on carbs there are loads of filling and yummy meals on here, and a fair few ideas which even my fussy little bastards will chow down on.
The Spicy Tuna Cakes are delicious and really really easy. And if you’re after a sweet treat, try out the grain-free Dark Chocolate and Cherry Scones – these are AMAZING! and there’s no sugar in them either so you can feel all virtuous while you scoff half the batch.
My Top 3 Blogs
A great blog site by author Nicky Corbishley, a busy Mum of 2. Her blog is ram-packed with lovely homely family dishes and, better still, loads of one pan and quick and easy meals. Check out the Big Batch Creamy Chicken and Mushroom One Pan Casserole – so good!
This is a blog by a busy Mum of 3, who is also a gymnastics coach and all-round fitness fanatic. She’s got a fab food section with some lovely bits and bobs in. Her Easy Cheater’s Chicken Pies are brilliant.
4 Simple Slow Cooker Recipes – Mummytries
This is a lovely blog site from Mum of 3 Renee. This post is a 4 for 1 deal. The recipes are simple but really homely and full of flavour. All for the slow cooker, so real melt-in-the-mouth results. Yum!
FYI – If you haven’t got a slow cooker, and cooking can be a bit of a chore, then you should seriously consider getting one. They aren’t super-expensive (between £20-£50 depending on how snazzy you want to go, but I think I paid about £25 for mine) and they are brilliant for bunging stuff in and then just leaving it to do it’s magic… It’s a mahoosive timesaver x
So I know I’m not exactly a walking advertisement for this medium, but I often look to Pinterest for cooking ideas. I’ve got a load of stuff on my Pinterest cooking board. Sometimes I might just have a browse for inspiration, but I do tend to pin away. Don’t be put off by things being paleo (from my “paleo” phase), you can adapt and add in to lots of these recipes, plus it means lots of stuff is fairly guilt-free too ;0)
And with that, hungry Mamas, I will love you and leave you.
I hope these resources answer your mealtime conundrums. May your dinner-times be calm and your kids be grateful and full.
If I’ve missed anything or you’d like to get in touch. Or perhaps you’ve got a site that you’d like me to review or collaborate with, feel free to give me a shout, I’d love to hear from you.
This week’s Mum Life Blog: Recipes for Disaster (Or in other words: The Perils Of Cooking For Small Children) is now live (Disclaimer: there will be swears) so feel free to check it out… If nothing else it will probably make you feel better if mealtimes are a shit-show in your household too ;0)
In the meantime, if you’d like a laugh, a chat, a moan, or just to giggle at a few random memes, come and join the Mum Conundrum Facebook group. It’s chock full of lovely Mums, and it’s a great place to find and share interesting, funny or useful stuff too.
Big love, Kate x