Lifestyle

CHICKEN TINGA TACOS FROM JO PRATT

Chicken and Black Bean Tinga Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

With the recent publication of The Flexible Family Cookbook, we’re celebrating by reproducing the recipe for Chicken Tinga Tacos from Jo Pratt.

 

 

“This is super-easy to make and for that reason I serve it frequently at home. Tinga is a Mexican dish where chicken is cooked with onion, tomatoes and chipotle sauce and shredded when cooked. I like to do a half-halfnchicken and black bean combo, to vary things up and reduce our meat intake. This juicy watermelon salsa is well worth making. Put everything on the table to make a sharing supper for everyone to dig into.” Jo Pratt.

Time taken 50 minutes / Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp chipotle paste (or more for a spicier finish)
1 tsp red or white wine vinegar
400g/14 oz can chopped tomatoes
400g/14 oz can black beans or kidney beans, drained
2 chicken breasts, skinless or 350g/12 oz boneless chicken thighs
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa

300g/10½ oz watermelon, diced into small pieces
4 spring onions (scallions), chopped
½ green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
½ small bunch coriander (cilantro), chopped
juice of ½ lime
2 tbsp olive oil

To serve

1 large ripe avocado, sliced or mashed
sour cream
1 small red onion, finely sliced and mixed with
juice of ½ lime
grated Cheddar cheese
coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly chopped
soft corn or flour tortillas, warmed

Method

  • Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish.
  • Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened and starting to turn golden.
  • Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before stirring in the sugar, chipotle paste, vinegar, tomatoes, 200ml/7 fl oz/scant 1 cup water and the black beans. Mix everything together and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the chicken to the pan, spooning over the sauce to cover. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce thickened.
  • Meanwhile, make the salsa by mixing everything together in a serving bowl and seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and sit on a plate or board. Using two forks, shred into strips and then return the shredded meat back to the sauce.
  • Serve the Chicken and Black Bean Tinga with the watermelon salsa, avocado, sour cream, red onion, cheese and coriander. Pile everything into warm tortillas, wrap and prepare to get messy.

Flexible

Pescatarian: a delicious alternative to using chicken is to swap it for some chunky white fish such as cod, pollock or haddock. Let the tomato and black bean sauce cook alone for 20 minutes then add 400g/14 oz fish fillets to the pan. Spoon over the sauce, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Break the fish into flakes in the pan and serve as above.

Get ahead: once made, the chicken can sit in the fridge for 3–4 days and heated through when needed. It can also easily be doubled up so you can freeze half for another time.

 The Flexible Family Cookbook by Jo Pratt, £20 Frances Lincoln.

Photography Malou Burger

 For more of Jo’s Recipes, head to our Recipe page.

WIN A YEAR’S SUBSCRIPTION TO ANORAK

We’re celebrating Anorak’s 14th anniversary by offering you the opportunity to win a year’s subscription to Anorak.

 

With a circulation of over 20 000 worldwide, Anorak and sister publication Dot (now 5 years old) have carved a niche that is internationally acclaimed and recognised. Not bad for a magazine that distributors said would never last. As fellow print lovers, we’ve decided to celebrate this momentous milestone by offering City Kids readers the chance to win a year’s subscription to Anorak.

 

 

Their latest iconic issue features artist Mugariah and is all about imagination. It’s also available both as a paper edition and as a digital one.

Cathy Olmedillas launched Anorak 14 years ago without any real strategy in mind. Alongside its sister publication DOT, it’s become an integral part of family life and inspired many children and parents to learn through creativity. This effect has been especially prominent during the turbulent times of the Covid-19 lockdown, in which homeschooling had become necessary.

After 14 years, Anorak has not only launched many great illustrators’ careers but also brought back the notion of creativity in childhood.

Following Anorak’s mission, the publication created a Little Editors scheme helping to raise the next generation of creative doodlers through drawing missions that are sent out every month! Although Anorak and DOT have been spreading joy and creativity over the past years with their uniquely themed issues, there is still much more to come with books and podcasts during the planning stage!

Don’t miss out on other giveaways, news or offers. Sign up to our newsletter here

How to enter:

All you need to do is complete the contact form below and we’ll draw a winner on Monday 5 October 2020.

 

 

Ts & Cs
The decision of City Kids is final.
No cash alternative.
If the winner does not claim the prize pithing 24 hours of notification, City Kids reserves the right to draw a new winner.
UK entries only.

BACK TO SCHOOL, BACK TO SLEEP

It’s the holy grail that all parents seek: SLEEP! Expert, Rosey Davidson offers advice on how to get back to normal bedtimes after an extraordinary year.

 



As the kids go back to school, we’re all hoping they’ll go back to sleep! 2020 has certainly been a year of challenges for most families. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the sleep of our nation. Children are no exception. Increased screen time, later bedtimes, increased anxiety, time away from friends and normal support networks… the list goes on.

During the pandemic research tells us that there has been a significant shift in bedtimes and morning wake times – 70% of children under 16 are going to bed later (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, ref: Sleep Council). The result of this is that it is harder than ever to transition to a ‘normal’ routine at the start of the school year.

Screen time has played such a big role in home schooling, but this heavy reliance on technology can have a devastating effect on sleep. Lots of exposure to blue and white light from devices can affect our drive to sleep and our production of melatonin (our sleep hormone). Essentially this means, the more screen time we have, the less sleepy we feel!

While it is quite normal for children to go to bed a little later during summer holidays, for many parents that bedtime/wake time has shifted far further than usual. Fear not though, there are positive steps that we can take to make the transition back to school a little easier…

My top tips to improving sleep habits.

  1. Make sure that you and your child get exposure to morning light – this is really valuable for our internal body clocks. Get outside for some fresh air early in the day.
  2. Cut screen time before bed – 1-2 hours of screen free time will really help you and your little ones to switch off.
  3. If your child uses a reading light in bed opt for an amber light – this is far less disruptive that blue/white lights.
  4. Ideally try to keep homework and other activities out of the bedroom – reserve it for sleeping only if possible. If not then perhaps put a screen across the room to cover the desk/workspace at night. This is important for your child to learn to switch off.
  5. Stick to a calm, consistent bedtime routine. Bath, story/or chat, cuddle and lights out. Children thrive on having clear boundaries. If your child is resisting bedtime I really like to create a bedtime poster together – detailing all of the steps towards bedtime and teaching them about the positive benefits of sleep to their bodies.
  6. If your child is anxious about returning to school and struggling to sleep, some simple mindfulness techniques can be helpful. Deep breath in and out, focusing on the breath and movement of the tummy can really help.

Prioritising your sleep and that of your child’s is not decadent. It will improve concentration, mood, support immune system, help maintain a healthy weight and more. Most of all, a well-rested child is a child ready to learn and embrace the new normal.

For more information visit:

justchillbabysleep.co.uk

@just_chill_mama

We have more fantastic advice on how to get back to routine as smoothly as possible from Zoe Blaskey

FAMILY STRESS: TIME TO RESET

The last six months has been the cause of much family stress for many. Zoe Blaskey tells City Kids that it’s time to reset

 

 

Six months ago, we were collectively thrown into the challenge of our lifetimes – a global pandemic and lockdown. Families braced themselves for a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges – school closures, loss of childcare, closure of all playgrounds, playgroups, camps and in fact, anything we could use to entertain our children. At the same time many parents were trying to juggle working from home (I’ve heard parents starting work at 2am to get half a day done before the children wake up) and homeschool at the same time. Family stress was at an all-time high, no wonder it’s time to reset.

It was unbelievably intense for many. In fact, 87%* of parents told me they are stressed with family life – still.

We had very little warning, and had to adapt our lives literally overnight. It was a time of survival. Getting through each day, collapsing at the end of it in front of the TV (or a laptop) ready to do it all again the next day. We had no idea how long this groundhog day would go on or what our future might look like.

And now it’s September and that ‘back to school’ feeling is turbo charged as we think about returning to some degree of normality for the first time since March. It’s time to reset.

Here’s how to use September to press the Reset button – to process what’s happened, build resilience for whatever else this year might throw at us and get back into some sort of routine.

5 steps to reset:

1. Stress is a natural response to uncertainty – but when we’re stressed for a long time without addressing it, it can become chronic and often shows in physical signs – exhaustion, headaches, digestive issues, aches and pains. Learn about stress – how it shows up for you (we all feel it differently) and what you can do about it.

2. Supporting ourselves: during lockdown many parents’ own needs went further down the pile than ever before. Of course it did. But in times of intense pressure, it’s even more important to look after ourselves. When things get pushed down and down, the result tends to be an explosion. Think of a beachball being pushed under water and then released. Your needs don’t go anywhere just because you’re not tending to them. ‘Self-care’ as a parent isn’t about expensive spa days or candlelit baths. It’s taking just 5 minutes every day to fill your cup back up. The trick is knowing what to do – my favourites are meditation, free writing and mindful breathing.

3. How to support your children: I’ve heard consistently that across all ages, children’s behaviour has changed through this experience – they too have been on an emotional corona-coaster. It’s really important we learn the tools to help our children process their challenging feelings. There’s neuroscience behind how to do this – it’s just a matter of learning the skills.

4. How to handle disappointments and change.  One thing is for sure, whatever the future may bring, it will bring change. Despite the rhetoric, of children handling change well, studies actually show children need more help with change than we may realise. Learn the ways to help your child handle change and disappointments that will make them feel heard, loved and connected to you – not pacified.

5. Reshape your future.  In a recent study* 83% of parents shared they want to make changes to family life going forwards but change only happens when we are deliberate about it. So this is a perfect time to reflect on where we’ve been and how you want to handle wherever we might be going.

Deep breath. And reset.

Zoe Blaskey is the creator of The Family Reset Plan which, together with Dr Emma Svanberg a clinical psychologist and Dr Nnkea Ikeogu a child psychologist, dives into each of these five areas with practical, yet really effective ways to future proof your family.

You can read more about it here and if you work for the NHS – it’s absolutely free in recognition of our gratitude.

See more back to school ideas here.

*2,000 National UK parents surveyed with One Poll

BACK TO SCHOOL: BAGS

10 of the Best School Bags

When the kids go back to school each Autumn, parents are faced with requests for new bags, stationery, shoes, coats etc. At City Kids we aim to make parenting less painful, so we’ve rounded up some of the best bags around. Whether you want colour, neutral, big or small, we have 10 great school bags to take you through the winter.

 

 

Mini Backpack in Navy Colourblock

£17.95

babymel.com

Vans Black and White Old School iii

£30

schuh.co.uk

Smiggle Illusion Reflective Access Backpack

£26.25

smiggle.co.uk

Personalised Blue Tribal Design Infant Backpack

£20

my1styears.com

Galaxy Attach Rucksack

£26.25

smiggle.co.uk

Engel Zipper Backpack

£32

kidly.co.uk

Mini Rodini Beige Notes School Rucksack

£90

alexandalexa.com

 

Allan Backpack Cat Mustard

50 euros

Liewood.com

Kids Eco Backpack

£39

jemandbea.com

Kids Leopard Print School Backpack

£20

marksandspencer.com

For some back to school shoes, take a look at our Start-Rite review here. 

BEST PRODUCTS TO AID SLEEP

With sleepless nights on the increase, City Kids takes a look at the best products to aid sleep

 

 

2020 has seen anxiety hit new levels in kids and adults as we all try to navigate our new working and home lives. Sleep is commonly interrupted which adds to the problem. But sometimes restless nights or lack of sleep can just turn up out for no apparent reason at all. Insomnia is can turn into a vicious circle where we’re desperate to try ANYTHING to get some zeds. We’ve tried some of these natural remedies and put together our list of the best products to aid sleep.

Thisworks Baby Sleep Pillow Spray

Lizzie Loves Be Sleepy

Cowshed Baby Pillow Spray

Childs Farm Bedtime Suitcase 

Bloom and Blossom Dream Catcher’s Pillow Spray

Bloom and Blossom Very Hungry Caterpillar Baby Pillow Spray

 

 

For grownups 

Thisworks Deep Sleep Super Blend

My Expert Midwife Spritz For Sleep

Cowshed Sleep Body and Pillow Mist

 

Rituals The Ritual of Jing Deep Sleep Pillow Mist

Neom Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist

The White Company Sleep Candle

 

For more lotions and potions head to our round up of hand sanitisers and hand care.

 

Top image by Photo by Dakota Corbin