I’ve made no secret of the fact I’m a pretty rubbish cook, but I still have fun trying things out with the girls.
So when Nairn’s got in touch to see if we wanted take part in their six-week Naturally Energising Challenge, it was a pretty quick ‘yes’!
The NAIRN’S NATURALLY ENERGISING CHALLENGE is a FREE six-week subscription plan created by nutritionist Amanda Hamilton. It’s been carefully designed to teach busy families about good nutrition and give them quick, simple steps towards a healthier and more wholesome diet.
When you SIGN UP you receive a weekly lifestyle email comprising informative videos, recipes and helpful nutritional tips to benefit everyone in your family, including how to bring balance to your diet, enjoy guilt-free treats and increase your intake of energy releasing foods; all things I’m very interested in learning more about.
As Amanda says, it’s based around ‘keeping it real’, and taking simple steps to make our diet and lifestyle more healthy and balanced. Each of the six challenges is delivered in a bite-sized (pun intended) email, with loads of practical advice you can quickly and easily implement into your, and your family’s, diet.
We were invited to undertake the Week 6 challenge – to get back into the kitchen and indulge in some good, old-fashioned cooking from scratch – which was perfect, as it’s something I’d wanted to do more of for ages now. Juggling work and kids means there’s never enough spare time, and because I’m not a natural cook I’ve definitely been guilty of taking the easy way out with their meals.
I always include some salad or veggies, and usually a bit of rice or couscous, but often I’ll buy supermarket meatballs, or fish goujons, or a ready-cooked chicken to go with it: all things that would be so simple to make at home, I just… don’t.
I saw the challenge as the perfect way to put my plans into reality.
Our aim was to introduce more simple, healthy food the whole family can enjoy. When I saw our recipe was OATY CHICKEN GOUJONS, I was really pleased – the girls loved the store bought ones, and I’d been meaning to try homemade versions for ages. It was such a quick and simple dish to make, and so much healthier using fresh chicken breast and zero preservatives.
We started with the really fun bit: I put Nairn’s fine-milled oatcakes in a sealable bag, and got the girls to crush them into small crumbs while I cut the chicken breast into strips.
While I mixed in a teaspoon of chilli powder, to give the crumb mixture a bit of kick, Big Sis covered the chicken strips in plain flour. She then passed them over to Lil Sis, who dipped them in beaten egg mixture.
I spread the oatcake crumb over a large tray, and the girls took turns to roll each chicken strip until it was evenly coated. We popped them in our fan oven at 170 degrees, and while they baked the girls cut up some plum tomatoes and cucumber to have as their side salad.
After 20 minutes I took the chicken goujons out, to find the oaty crumb was now nice and crunchy, and had gone a lovely golden colour.
Lil Sis is quite suspicious of anything new, so while Big Sis was already tucking in (‘Mmmmmm, Mummy these are so delicious!’), she was holding up one of her goujons, and staring at it warily. She took a tentative bite and a look of surprise spread across her face. ‘I like them,’ she said, taking a bigger bite. ‘I really like them!’
All up, it took us 20 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of cooking time, so now I know there’s no excuse for not making fresh, real food. Add to that, the girls learned some new kitchen skills (fingers crossed they end up with more culinary talent than me!).
Perhaps best of all, at a time when I’d usually be chucking a packet of something in the oven and the girls would be winding each other up, we were spending fun, family time together instead.
That’s a win, whichever way you look at it.
The NAIRN’S NATURALLY ENERGISING CHALLENGE is a FREE six-week subscription plan created by nutritionist Amanda Hamilton. SIGN UP today to receive your weekly lifestyle email; inside you’ll find videos, recipes and helpful nutritional tips to guide you and your family towards a healthier, more wholesome, diet.