Easy, no sew infant car seat blanket

It can be tough to know what to dress babies in with the cold weather, especially as thick padded snow suits are not recommended for use in a car seat. And blankets shouldn’t go under the straps and when they are laid on top they can be kicked off. So how do you keep baby warm?

It’s easy! (in every sense!)

You will need:

  • A piece of fleece at least 30 x 40 inches (I cut up one of the really cheap IKEA fleece blankets which only costs £1.50! And now I have more fleece left over for another project)
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure

Cut out a rectangle which measures at least 40 inches wide, by 30 inches high. If you want to get a little bit fancy you can round the corners like I did, but it makes absolutely no difference to the final thing!

Then fold the blanket in half vertically to make a rectangle of 20 x 30 inches. Half way up the blanket, on the fold, cut a straight line in from the edge, through both layers, 1.5 inches long (so when the blanket is unfolded the hole is 3 inches wide). This is the hole for the clip part of the seatbelt to go through (does that bit have a proper name? Am I just having a major baby brain moment?!).

Feed the clippy bit through the hole on your baby’s car seat. You’ll probably find there’s a little fold over needed at the top edge of the blanket under the shoulder straps, but it leaves room to grow!

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Then find yourself an adorable baby and pop them in it!

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As you can see you strap them in before you cover them with the blanket. Then fold the blanket like an old fashioned swaddle, folding over the excess at the feet, and you’ll have one toasty little baby all ready to go!

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He is never that happy to go in his car seat when it’s actually going in the car… How can he tell the difference?!?

Easy scones, with several variations

So it’s been just over a year since my Grandma died, and several years since she lived (and cooked) in her own home. Now, my Grandma was definitely not known for her prowess in the kitchen. I’m fairly certain that she started boiling her Christmas vegetables on the 1st of December, and my Mum has told me of the time that Grandma attempted to use a pressure cooker and redecorated the kitchen ceiling.

Despite this, I have fond memories of her scones, one of the only things she made that I remember enjoying! And it seems that her talent has been passed down, as my Mum and I can both make a very tasty batch of scones, if I do say so myself!

This recipe is easy to follow, has very few ingredients, and is very easy to modify to create interesting variations.

Basic Scones

1lb self raising flour or 1lb plain flour and 4 tsps baking powder
A pinch of salt
4 ozs non-dairy butter
4 tbsps sugar
Milk to mix (soya or other)

Start by preheating the oven to 170°c (fan). In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, butter and sugar, rubbing the mixture between your finger tips until it is a sandy consistency with no large lumps. Add the milk a splash at a time, only adding enough for the mixture to come together completely without feeling wet.

Now the secret to a good scone is to not overwork the mixture, so try to handle it as little as possible, just enough to bring it together in one piece.

Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and gently roll it out to around 1.5 to 2 cm thick using a rolling pin. Using a circle cutter, or another shape if you’re feeling fancy, cut out your scones and place on an greased and floured baking tray. My cutter is about 5cm in diameter and I got 12 whole scones and a little one with the leftover bits. You will need to keep bringing the mixture together and re-rolling it, so just make sure you handle it as little as possible while doing so.

Once the scones are all on the baking tray, you can lightly brush the tops with a little milk if you wish. It will help give the scones a little colour, but it isn’t a necessary step, so if you don’t have a pastry brush then don’t worry.

Place the scones in the centre of the hot oven and bake for about 12 minutes, but the time will depend on the size of your scones and on your own oven. I’d recommend checking them after 10 minutes and taking it a few minutes at a time from there if needed. Allow them to cool completely then enjoy!

Store them in an air tight container and they’ll keep for a couple of days. Exactly how many days I couldn’t tell you as they never last very long in our house!

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(OK so I said I’d made 13 and there’s only 10 in the picture, but come on, we had to check they were nice!)

Variations

Try adding raisins for a classic fruit scone.

Glacé cherries and coconut is my favourite combination.

Grated apple and cinnamon.

Today I experimented and made cinnamon, date and flaked almond scones which have turned out very nicely.

In other words, don’t be afraid to experiment! If you think of a combination that you think might be nice but you aren’t sure, try splitting the mixture and only making one or two as testers before committing to a whole batch. With my experiment today I did half a batch of plain scones and half the batch as the cinnamon, date and almond.

Toppings

These scones are delicious as is, but they are even better with a little butter. And the plain scones especially go very nicely with strawberry or raspberry jam, amongst others.

Or for a decadent treat try a delicious vegan variation on a cream scone using coconut cream. You can easily get this from a can of coconut milk if you open it without shaking it first as it settles on top of the coconut water in the can.

Making these scones is a wonderful activity to do with young children as they can get stuck in with the mixing, rolling and cutting. My only trouble was stopping young sir from eating the raw mixture!

Happy baking!

Chunky Tomato Soup

For some reason my little man has been obsessed with soup recently. To the extent that we had bananas and custard for pudding the other day and he insisted that it was “nana soup”!

So yesterday we took a trip to the shop and gathered all the ingredients for some yummy tomato soup:

Ingredients

1kg tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
1l veg stock
250ml/1 cup Passata
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper

First boil the kettle and put the tomatoes in a large bowl or pot. Pour the boiling water over the tomatoes to blanche them, this will make removing the skins much easier. Put to one side and leave while you chop up and fry the onions and garlic in a large pot.

Once they are fried, add the veg stock and leave to simmer while you prepare the tomatoes. Lift them one at a time from the hot water. You may find that the skins on some of the tomatoes have already burst in the heat, if not then use the tip of a sharp knife to get it started, then peel off the skins and discard. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the stock.

Pour in the passata, and give it a good stir. Cut up, or rip by hand, about half a dozen fresh basil leaves, add, and season the soup to taste.

Add more fresh basil just before serving, and eat with some crusty fresh bread. Enjoy!

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