We spent years feeling smug in September. When everyone else was stressing about getting back into the school routine, we had none of the rush to get out of the house in the morning, or the after school hunger pangs and needing to get tea on the table by 5pm.
Nope - we spent three years of homeschooling not having to rush about anywhere and being able to eat throughout the day whenever we wanted to. We were seriously smug.
But this year, things were different. BOTH boys were back at school so after the luxury of lazy days and late dinners during the summer holidays, it was a real shock to the system getting back into a routine.
One of the biggest problems is lack of time. And when time is short, as a parent you need to find shortcuts that are effective and that you won't feel guilty about. Whilst I love preparing meals from scratch, there are days when it is just not possible. Not only do we have the school routine to get back into but the clubs begin too with filmmakers club, drama, youth club and boys brigade to fit into the week too, I need some help!
Top tip: Have some easy meal ideas to hand to avoid resorting to takeaways and feeling guilty.
Short of getting myself a TARDIS to travel back in time and give myself more hours in the day, I've found that I rely on being able to get healthy meals on the table fast.
I seek inspiration for those meals all around - often cutting speedy recipes out of magazines and getting inspiration from food blogs. But my very best friend is my freezer. My freezer can store spare portions of meals I have already cooked, it can store ingredients to keep them from going to waste and being thrown away, and it can store some brilliant meal ideas ready to go go go on a busy weekday after school.
Top tip: Make your freezer your best friend.
But rather than mealtimes being a rushed chore, it is also important to be able to enjoy your food and have fun with food. So we decided to have a little #AfterSchoolChefs fun of our own inspired by one of our favourite characters.
Top tip: Don't rush your actual mealtimes - make sure they are kept happy and fun!
The boys have long been into Doctor Who and recently Miss T seems to have become a little bit Dr Who obsessed so what better than using some of our Birds Eye favourites to make a Dr Who inspired meal.
Cybermats (those little cyber creatures that the Cybermen would send out), these 'cybermats' are made from Birds Eye Chicken dippers with a Birds Eye pea for their eye:
And one of the Doctor's most feared enemies and the monster I find the scariest of them all...A Dalek - Made from a tasty Birds Eye potato waffle, a Birds Eye mini potato waffle, Birds Eye peas and a few carrot batons and pieces of cucumber:
The Birds Eye Chicken Space shapes with star, moon and spaceship shapes make the perfect backdrop for our Doctor Who themed #AfterSchoolChefs meal.
The Brilliant Chef) but helping to make this themed meal, he discovered that sometimes the 'recipe' for making food fun is just as important as the cooking itself.
Top tip: Get kids involved in food and cooking from a young age. They'll be able to help you more and more as they get older and it teaches them valuable life skills.
This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Linky Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook page.
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