Routine Is Great

My daily routine has changed since the 5-year-old went back to school. The arrangement that we had last year has altered and instead of me just whooshing him out the door by 8.30am, now all 3 of us (2 boys and myself) leave the house by this time.  Thanks to one of my sisters we have a lift to the school and after we’ve dropped the eldest boy off, I walk home with the small boy. It’s quite a distance and he’s not strong enough to walk it all by himself yet so I bring the buggy with me. Continue reading

Sugar-Free Flapjacks. Copyright Caitriona Redmond, Wholesome Ireland

Sugar-free Flapjacks

“An é seo folláin?”/”Is this wholesome?” My 5-year-old requires absolute honesty when we go shopping together. He won’t buy anything unless it’s “folláin” (the Irish word for wholesome). As I call out items from the list and he wanders around the supermarket; he’ll pick up items, and check the wholesome factor. It wasn’t always like this. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have been able to walk the gauntlet that is the biscuit aisle, or the chocolate aisle, without picking up biscuits and treats. Now products that don’t pass his test get put back and he meanders on, scrutinising the shelves.

If I don’t buy the sweet treats then we don’t eat them. I confess that I find this exceptionally difficult at about 8pm when I make my last cup of tea of the day and crave something to dunk. I feel like I should reward myself for making it to the end of the day with the same number of children that I started out with. Every now and again the 2-year-old asks for some chocolate but he’s easily distracted with a square of bread and jam. You see it’s not that we don’t eat sugar, we just don’t eat as much as we used to.

The stand mixer has recently been relegated from the kitchen and I’ve stopped baking cakes every week. Continue reading

Where Does Your Meat Come From?

If you buy your meat at the supermarket you can clearly see where the meat has come from. Plain meat with no sauces or “value added” to the package. If you go to a decent supermarket, you’ll be able to see which farm reared the animal that the meat is from, or which county it’s from. That makes it really easy for those of us who go into the shops to choose whether or not we want to buy Irish meat.

Irish meat labelling can be confusing but at least you can be confident that if you buy a whole Irish chicken in a supermarket that it’s been raised on the island and within the 32 counties. It’s peace of mind you want to support Irish producers and normally a great guarantee of quality.

I buy my meat from a local butcher. He’s a Craft Butcher and this is meant to suggest that the butcher is top of his craft and you can be sure of great service when you purchase from him. I know that he has an Irish-Only policy and any meat I buy from him is Irish.

ACBI encourages consumers to look for the CraftButcher logo to be sure of having the very best, traceable, traditionally prepared meat available. Meat from a Craft Butcher is sourced, slaughtered and prepared locally and so reduces Food Miles (helping our carbon footprint), and also eliminating stress to the animals. Transporting animals long distances before slaughter has a detrimental effect on the meat quality. By supporting your local Craft Butcher you can be sure of the highest quality produce.

There’s another local butcher who is also a Craft Butcher. Their shop is brightly lit and clean, it looks great from the outside. There are huge signs facing out saying positive things like “Irish Lamb” and “Quality Irish Beef”. From the outside it looks fantastic.

There are no signs on their chicken or chicken products about the origin. Nor are there signs on most of their pork products including ham and bacon products like ribs and sausages.

So I asked where their meat came from.

Go figure, the majority of their pork and chicken products are not Irish in origin. Yet they carry the Craft Butcher logo.

It’s not the only butcher in my County that doesn’t display origin on all their meat even though they are affiliated with a great organisation. It’s deceptive because they’re omitting where the meat has come from.

If you’re not confident that the meat you’re being sold is Irish, then ask.

Bord Bia have a scheme for restaurants called ‘Just Ask‘:

Just Ask! is a public awareness campaign that aims to encourage consumers when eating out to look for information on where the food (particularly meat) on their plate comes from and to encourage chefs to provide this information on their menus. With so many fantastic and great value restaurants right on your doorstep, eating out is still on the menu.

I’d love to see this rolled out for butchers nationwide because it may be the encouragement that some craft butchers need to display the information more prominently. It would also be a chance to commend those who are outstanding in their field.

Cookery Books For Free

As regular readers will know, I’m going through a bit of a declutter at the moment. I’m trying to make space for other things in the house and I have a considerable list of books that I’m willing to give away, providing you can cover the cost of the postage! When I mentioned last night on my Facebook Page that I may have some books to give away I never expected to get such a big response!

Due to the huge demand, I’m listing the books below for everybody to get a chance to have a good read through and see if they’re interested in anything. I will bundle books together but no more than 3 books to any one person. I can only post to ROI I’m afraid. Continue reading

Alternative Breakfast Wholesome Ireland

Alternative Breakfast

I’m still here, still sorting out some life laundry type stuff. The decluttering has escalated. I have turned off all push notifications on my phone. This means I don’t see if somebody has emailed me unless I have the phone in my hand. I don’t see a mention on any social media network.

It’s been really liberating!

I’m learning only to check my emails when I’m free. I’m focussing on my work; new projects, clients, and clearing the house of stuff that I don’t need. The 5-year-old goes back to school this week and I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine. Mind you I’m not looking forward to those walks in the rain that has descended for the week but I think the fresh air will do me the world of good. Continue reading