The Swedish Kitchen – Cooking Outdoors

The beautiful Swedish countryside is full of outdoor fire pits, making cooking outdoors very accessible to everyone.  They come in all shapes, sizes, and conditions, but there is no doubt about it, being able to do your cooking outdoors on a hike or a camp, safely and responsibly, adds to the experience and memories, especially for our three children.  

There is no knowing what you will find until you reach one.  Some are marked on trail maps, others are not, but they are little gems tucked away in the Swedish countryside, usually complete with a stunning view to admire whilst you eat your tasty treat.  Some are very basic, just a few rocks.  Others are luxurious, with the ability to set your grill rack at different heights, and complete with picnic tables.  Sometimes a kind person has provided wood for the fire and left it in a little shelter, and occasionally there is a bucket which you can use to collect water in (which we then have standing next to the fire as a safety precaution).  Due to not knowing what we will come across, and being out with three small children, I carry our fire wood (I’m getting quite strong!), just to be on the safe side.  As we get more experienced and the children get older, then we can think about rummaging around the ground for fuel supplies. There is something very special about being able to cook over an open fire, and we now have made a habit of doing this at least once a week, rain, sun, or snow…..in the winter it provides a well needed warming meal, and in the summer, a break in the hike to relax while the children play for a few hours.  If you need any ideas of what to cook (both sweet and savoury), I have lots of outdoor recipes that are quick and easy 🙂 The provision of the fire pits have benefits far more reaching than just being able to do your cooking outdoors.  They allow you to connect together, and pause a while from whatever adventure you are on.  Usually we are hiking.  The children either immerse themselves playing in nature, or are busy helping me, learning good bush craft and survival skills as they go along.  They have now all learnt what you need and how to start a fire, as well as looking after it, and putting it out safely.  Also, importantly, they have learnt how to behave around a lit campfire.

Top Tips for Cooking Outdoors

  1. Carry your food, water, and fuel for the trip
  2. Have a little fire starting kit ready made up.  You can see what is in ours here
  3. Allow lots of time.  This is not an activity that can be rushed, both for safety and enjoyment reasons.
  4. Be prepared to improvise, whether with cooking accessories, or fuel supplies.
  5. Let your children help.  It teaches them valuable skills.
  6. Leave no trace of you being there, so there is less impact on the environment.  If you’ve moved rocks to create a windbreak, put them back etc
  7. Use fire pits when you can, or a stove if there isn’t one.
  8. Take ALL your waste home.
  9. Put any fires out completely before you pack up and leave.  We don’t want wildlife hurt, nature harmed, or it to become a safety risk.
  10. If you are using firewood from the surrounding area, only use from the ground.  Don’t go chopping or tearing branches from trees and bushes.

We really enjoy eating our food cooked on a campfire, and I find the children tend to eat better too!!  Make sure you check out our outdoor cooking recipes, and next week I will go over campfire basics, and campfire problem solving here on the blog.The Swedish Kitchen-cooking outdoors, Campfire, campfires, outdoor cooking, campfire cooking, bushcraft, Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration Wednesday – Dreams

Inspiration Wednesday - dreams, dreams, dream, goals, live life, quote, quotes, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Perfect Pizza Wraps

In previous recipes I have experimented using both Swedish flat breads and French baguettes to make pizza meals, and both have been a success.  However, today’s idea of pizza wraps wins hands down over those two, according to the taste testing panel of my crazy trio.  They were so easy to make, very quick to cook, and extremely tasty to eat.

Ingredients For Pizza Wraps

  1. Tortillas
  2. Tomato puree
  3. Grated cheese
  4. Salami

You can play around with the toppings and add in/take away what you fancy.  This combination was both simple and worked well.  Don’t forget your tin foil to cook in.

Method To Make Pizza Wraps

  1. Take a piece of tin foil and lie the wrap on the top.
  2. Spread tomato puree over half the wrap surface area.
  3. Then add your toppings….for us cheese and salami
  4. Roll it up, and then wrap it in the tin foil.
  5. Place them on the fire, but only leave a minute or two before turning, and then the same again.  These cook very fast.  Watch for the tin foil scorching and as soon as it does it will be ready.

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did if you give them a go 🙂Perfect Pizza Wraps, Campfire Pizza, pizza, outdoor cooking, campfire cooking, camping food, bush craft food, outdoor food, Hiking food, www.mammasscholol.co.uk

Chokladbollar – Chocolate Ball Recipe For Chokladbollens Dag

Friday 11th May (fredag elfte maj) is chokladbollens dag….yes, that’s right, they have a whole day dedicated to eating chokladbollar (chocolate balls)!  The longer I live here, the more I feel this country is the perfect place for my sweet tooth to have taken residence.  It seems there is always a yummy treat to spend a day officially celebrating!  We have celebrated cinnamon bun day, “Fat Day” with semlor buns, and waffle day.  Now it is time for chocolate ball day.  So, in order to show we were integrating well into Swedish culture and life, we whizzed up a batch of these no-bake treats (like we really needed a reason!!).  Give them a go and tell me what you think.

So what do you need to make this gooey treat for chokladbollens dag?

Ingredients for Chokladbollar:

250g soft butter

400g rolled oats

175g caster sugar

4 tbs cocoa powder

4 tbs strong cooled coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

desiccated coconut

This made around 30 balls, but I think it should easily reach 40-50 if you don’t have a 10 year old chocoholic deciding the size of them 🙂

Method To Make Chokladbollar

  1. Whizz all the ingredients together, apart from the coconut.
  2. Pop into the fridge to allow them to go a little firmer.
  3. Once firm, roll into small balls, and then roll each ball into the desiccated coconut to cover it.
  4. They should keep in the fridge for around a week….ahem….if you haven’t got me living with you!!

These are very easy and quick to make, and perfect for little people who enjoy “helping” in the kitchen.  Although to be fair my little lady is actually a help now, rather than a hindrance.  As for the twins……….!!!!

 

choklad bollar, chocolate balls, chokladbollens dag, chocolate balls day, Swedish food, Swedish recipe, Sweden www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Inspiration Wednesday – Dream

Inspiration Wednesday - Dream, Dreams, Goals, Follow your dreams, life dreams, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Bare Feet – 7 Reasons to Let Your Children Have Them!

Bare feet….my trio love having them!!  But why, as grown ups do we tend to shy away from letting them do it?  Conformity?  Our adult brains weighing up the consequences of dirt and injury?  Why do we stop it so much when it leads to a child feeling so free and less encumbered?  As my little lady says, she “loves sinking her toes into chocolately mud”!!!  I now bite my tongue and let them get on with it (within reason…I’m not about to let them trundle over areas with broken glass or anything!).  Let me see if I can persuade you too with the following seven reasons 🙂

1. Our feet used to be just fine walking bare.  Shoes can change how they function, and also damage them, as well as have knock on effects on ankles, hips, knees, and backs.  Going with bare feet allows the feet to develop the way they are meant too.

2. It’s a sensory experience and makes children happy to experience all the pleasure from that.  My children love squishing and squelching the mud through their toes.  They like warm soft grass to tickle their toes and they can feel it like a bouncy cushion.  They love feeling warm sand on their bare feet, and wetness from puddles.

3.  Going with bare feet increases the body’s and foot’s strength.  We worry about injury and illness to the feet, but in fact going without shoes can aid us prevent these more (within reason!).  Increasing the foot’s strength can prevent injury, and toughening up of the skin of the foot can give it more protection.  In fact, shoes provide the perfect environment to grow and trap more fungus and bacteria.

4.  Going with bare feet helps proprioception (spacial orientation from stimuli), and also vestibular development.  It is due to the direct connection between the child (via their feet) and the terrain they are walking on.  How many times has your child tripped over due to their footwear?  Footwear can hinder our nervous pathways and we gain more of them from having bare feet.

5. You can feel connection with nature more 🙂 I am a big one for wanting children to connect to nature more, for reasons I go into more depth elsewhere on the blog. Have a look at the following links:

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/healing-nature-relying-beach-work-magic/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/outdoor-adventures/wild-camping-children-sweden/

6. Children feel freer…..anything’s possible when you feel free and less encumbered.  Life is more enjoyable with a feeling of freedom!

7. It’s a researched and proven stress buster!!  So, what are you waiting for, kick off those shoes and socks and get out there and enjoy a bare feet life with your little people 🙂  We have a lot to learn from them!

Bare feet - 7 reasons to let your children have them, barefooted, go with bare feet, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Fruity S’mores

On Easter Monday we headed out for an outdoor adventure, and I was trying to rack my brain with a way of using up a little Easter  chocolate with a new campfire treat.  I came up with fruity s’mores!  They were given the thumbs up by my testing trio, plus Dadda on this occasion, and we will definitely be making them again.

Ingredients For Fruity S’mores

  1. Apples.
  2. Mini marshmallows.
  3. Mini eggs – but chunks of chocolate will work too if it isn’t around Easter time!  We also had vegan chocolate to use for Dadda.
  4. Foil to wrap them up in.

Method To Make Fruity S’mores

  1. Take an apple and a corer and remove the middle of the apple.
  2. Alternately stuff into the gap chocolate eggs (or chunks) and mini marshmallows, until the middle is bursting.
  3. Wrap in tin foil, and pack.  All ready to pop onto your campfire.

This is such a tasty and easy treat.  Give it a go and let me know how you get on 🙂

Fruity S'mores, outdoor cooking, campfire food, hiking food, camping food, outdoors, s'mores, smores, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Inspiration Wednesday – Play In The Dirt

Inspiration Wednesday - Play in the dirt, Dirt, Outdoor play, nature play, mud, dirty, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Get Your Vitamin N – May Outdoor Activity List

Back in February, I started uploading a monthly outdoor activity list which you can access under the freebies tab. You will need to subscribe to the blog and you will be sent an email with the password to access the freebies tab.  It is now time to think about the May outdoor activity list, which can be accessed under the freebies tab 🙂    If you don’t have the password, don’t worry, subscribe to the blog and you will be sent it in your confirmation email.  Spring should be well under way now, and I hope that even we in Sweden may have chased the snow away and stopped lighting log fires in the evenings to keep us warm!!

Any form of getting children into the outdoors is a good one.  Whether it is a gentle potter around the back garden or a good old hike for older ones across the countryside, if it is for 5 minutes or 5 hours, the benefits can still be reaped.  You don’t need to climb a mountain, a little dig in the garden is perfect too.  As the author Richard Louv famously suggests, we should be using vitamin N (N for nature) as treatment for nature deficit disorder.

That is why each month, at the start of the month, I will add onto the freebies page a list of 10 activities to help inspire you to head out there for your dose of vitamin N with your little, or not so little, people.  These are some of the things I do with my three to give me some direction and an aim for getting them out there, which often helps everyone’s frame of mind.  So head over now to the freebies tab and check out the May outdoor activity list.

The aim behind the ideas for the May outdoor activity list for getting vitamin N is that they are all very simple, so shouldn’t put you off.  And if you need a little more convincing about the ideas where mud is involved, head over and have a read as to why mud and dirt are worth all the extra effort 🙂  Vitamin N can be achieved without sitting in the middle of a forest, wild camping, and hunting for your supper!!  It can be achieved by just stepping outside your front door (or back door), into whatever awaits you out there.  With spring well under way there should be lots to see, hear, smell, and touch easily now.  A sensory pleasure for the mind, so it is a perfect time to head into the outdoors to see what you can discover, using our May outdoor activity list to guide you.

 

I am hoping through these activities that you make a lot of happy memories, have fun together, and enjoy being outside.  If you need more information about an activity on the list, I have blogged about doing most of them, so if you type in a few keywords in the search box, you should then be able to get some more information, or see what we have done in the past.

Let me know how you get on with the May outdoor activity list in the comments below, I will love hearing about your experiences.  You can also share your experiences on social media too, it will give others ideas and I can keep up with what you are all doing.  Use the #fridayoutdoorfun on your Instagram  photos, and don’t forget to join in with our Friday outdoor fun thread on Facebook (every Friday). And if the children have got mucky, then join in with our Mucky Mondays thread (every Monday) over on Facebook .  Go and have fun in May 🙂

May outdoor activity list, Get your vitamin N - May's 10 vitamin N ideas, vitamin N, nature play, outdoor play, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Inadvertent Hiatus – A Week Of “Silence”

This week has accidentally been a quiet one from me, both on the blog and social media.  Actually, real life took over…….twins that couldn’t seem to get into a groove and cohabit this week, a little lady that has found a lot wrong with life (from red ants to hair brushing….an eclectic mix of issues), an exhausted Mamma for no apparent reason – but it certainly involved crashing out before no.1 was in bed a few times!!  We’ve had sock-gate; this involved twin 2 being determined to wear the same socks as twin 1 every day, but twin 1 having none of it…cue discarded socks everywhere and temper tantrums from all concerned! We’ve had bedroom confined play to keep my sanity with the amount of arguments going on. And we have had an accidental lovely hour’s lie in for Mamma and Dadda which caused Dadda to miss his bus, stealing the car for the day, and everyone racing like loons to get three sleepy children into school for 8am!  All this has amounted to me rather neglecting the blog, and everything that entails.  However, feeling significantly less tired (I won’t say refreshed, that would be pushing it!), and having had a lovely adventure helping take the sheep from the barn where they live for the winter to their summer island residence today (by boat), the change of scenery and routine has done wonders and I am feeling a little more able to tackle the blog once again!  Normal service will be resumed next week, with usual posts on Tuesday and Thursday, together with the Inspiration Wednesday post.  We are now looking forward to a couple of weeks of 3 day school weeks, so hopefully a few adventures will do us all good.  Enjoy the weekend everyone and see you next week 🙂 xxxx

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