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How I camped with a baby and toddler

How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) When I was little I had the most amazing memories from camping trips and sleeping in the tent is not the only one. I loved swimming in the lake when raining (because I am soaked in water anyways), exploring nature, finding wild strawberries and most importantly going for a walk at night in the woods and finding fireflies on the grass (magical!!!). Things are little different here in UK of course (mostly because of camping restrictions sadly), but I think there is still plenty of fun to be had. This is why I set out to camp with my boys, toddler and a baby (eeek!!!).

First we tried Lithuanian camping in the campsite near the a lake which turned out to be more equipped and modern to compare to my days camping. However I though that it will do for our first time experience with kids. My mum recommended not to do it but I held strong and did it anyways (now she wants to join me next year after I told it was actually pretty good). Luckily I had Joni to help me out so it turned out to be less stressful. We only did one night just in case I do not sleep at night and I become like a zombie next day. We were also very lucky with the company. Camping with my mum's church felt like being part of community where everybody help each other by lending necessities to each other or keeping an eye on your children (which meant that me and Joni could go for some canoeing alone). The only negative part of camping with kids was that Lukas refused to sleep till around 11pm. In the pic bellow he is in his pj still playing outside! But I have been told by other campers that the kids usually go back to sleeping better after few days of camping. So I guess it is worth to camp for a week at least so you can properly enjoy it. Unlike us, we had to settle in the camp one day and pack up the next. How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) Few days ago we tried camping here in England as well. Mostly because we wanted to get out as we had building works happening in the house again (now we are working on new kitchen, yey!). So Joni was not with us to give a hand. Luckily the company was great and I received plenty of help. The sleep was ok, I managed to put both boys to bed at the same time (very impressed with myself and only one hour late). I had a relaxing evening, I only wished I picked up a book with me to read. However lots of chocolate consumed and some wine too! Overall it was a great trip. Lukas enjoyed exploring (as well as sitting in the mud) and running/screaming together with other kids. I think once Tomas grow older, camping will be even better fun!   How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) When it comes to advice, I would say same applies as holidaying with a baby alone. Most importantly is to keep your expectations low and the rest of the advice you can read here, how to holiday with a baby.How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip)Hope you enjoying the last days of summer!!

Rasa xoxo

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BBQ Lithuanian style

BBQ Lithuanian style I know I know, bbq season is almost over, but I could not help but share my favourite recipe of the year! I was so addicted to bbq this year that I probably made this at least five times I think. The recipe is adopted from my dad who made it while I was in Lithuania this year (and many times before when I was little). Its fairly easy to prep, just need to think of it the day before because it needs to marinate overnight. It's pork unlike the other "shashlik" dishes in Middle East, but thats what makes it Lithuanian even though the name suggest otherwise. I love its freshness and the smell after marinating it overnight, it's a must try!

ŠAŠLYKAI (SHASHLIK LITHUANIAN WAY) feeds at least 5

  • 1.5kg pork, chopped into chunks for skewers (I used pork shoulder steaks)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, finelly chopped
  • 2-3 chilli peppers, finelly chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • salt and pepper to taste (be generous here)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, mix it well and cover it with plate so it is well compressed. Refrigerate the meat overnight. BBQ Lithuanian style2. The following day (can be even in the evening if you like), put the meat onto the skewers and you are ready to bbq.  BBQ Lithuanian style BBQ Lithuanian style 3. Serve it with plain rice, green salad and good quality ketchup (it really makes all the difference). BBQ Lithuanian styleI hope you will find the time while the weather is still warm and enjoy it as much as I did ;-).

Rasa xoxo

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Varškėčiai with pesto (Lithuanian curd cheese dumplings with the twist)

Varškėčiai with pesto (Lithuanian curd cheese dumplings with the twist)From all the foods I liked in childhood I loved my mums cooked food the most. My mum was never a good cook, in fact only recently she started feeling passion for baking. But I really liked varškėčiai that she used to make (although I realised that they were slightly different to compare to other curd cheese dumplings that I have ever tasted). Traditionally varškėčiai are soft type dumplings that are often served with jam and sour cream. My mum used to add more flour into them making them more pasta like and served savoury with sour cream and butter. So it's up to you what way you want to make them (less flour or more), but I decided to go with savoury and serve it with pesto (oh it was so yummy! I think I might be the first one to try them this way!).Varškėčiai with pesto (Lithuanian curd cheese dumplings with the twist)Varškėčiai are very simple to make, almost like gnocchi, except no need to prep anything ahead. Just mix three ingredients together into the dough and make the dumplings.

VARŠKĖČIAI serves 2

  • 250g plain quark (it came slightly different to what I am used to, but it works as fine)
  • 1 egg
  • 5-8 heaped tbsp plain flour

Varškėčiai with pesto (Lithuanian curd cheese dumplings with the twist)1. Mix the egg with the quark and gradually add flour into the mix until the dough can be handled (so it does not stick too much onto the fingers).

2. Make varškėčiai dumplings  in the same way as you would make gnocchi dumplings. Roll the ball of dough into the "sausage" and slice it into small bits. Lay the dumplings onto floured plates ready to be cooked.Varškėčiai with pesto (Lithuanian curd cheese dumplings with the twist)3. To cook varškėčiai drop them into the salted boiling water and cook them this way for 2 minutes until the dumplings float to the top (I usually fish them out from the top with the slotted spoon when they rise). Varškėčiai with pesto (Lithuanian curd cheese dumplings with the twist)Serve with sour cream and pesto of your choice.Varškėčiai with pesto (Lithuanian curd cheese dumplings with the twist)Enjoy!

Rasa xoxo

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Lazy caramel and cranberry bites

Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipeIn Lithuanian these lazy bites are called "Tinginys" which essentially means "The Lazy One' (fancy some history about this? There we go!). Traditionally this easy to make treat is made with crumbled biscuits, coco powder, condensed milk and butter. But when I was little I experimented a lot (because there is no oven needed here) and I came up with this version (read on). I forgot about this for a while until I treated myself with my first cooking book "Cheap as Chips, Better Than Toast" just before my student years began (in year 2004, long time ago!). Oh, I learned so much from it, thanks you soooo much, Miranda Shearer. I probably would not be writing this blog if you have never written this wonderful book! But where art thou? I searched for you in twitter, no luck :(.

Anyway, I came across "Fridge Cake" recipe, which reminded me of my "The Lazy One" recipe. I used Miranda's recipe to recover my childhood's recipe and there we go! In all it's glory!!!! You would be silly not to try it! Even better if you make it with kids (because that's how simple it is!). Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipeLAZY CARAMEL AND CRANBERRY BITES

  • 175g malted milk biscuits
  • 90g butter
  • 30g sugar
  • 60g caramel (I use the one that comes in the tin and can be found in condensed milk department)
  • 60g dried cranberries

1. Crumble the biscuits either by hand or by using food processor. It does not have to be crumbled so finely, roughly will work as fine!Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipe2. In the pan melt the butter with sugar and caramel.Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipeLazy caramel and cranberry bites recipe3. Add the biscuit crumbs and the cranberries into the melted butter. Combine everything well and let it cool slightly. Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipe4. Wrap the mixture into the cling film and baking paper like the sausage. If you want even easer method, then put the mixture into cake tin and press down well. Leave it to harden in the fridge.Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipe Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipe Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipe5. The cake is ready after few hours! Just unwrap it (or remove it from cake tin) and slice it to serve.Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipe Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipe Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipe Lazy caramel and cranberry bites recipeEnjoy!!!! This is really yummy!

Rasa xoxo

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Happy 1st of September!

my school years1st of September has always been an official 1st day at school in Lithuania with celebration and parades. Don't you think that celebration is a great way to start the school? To me this was something I looked forward to, although I was never a good student (except arts and biology). Free lovely pattern printouts Another thing I was looking forward to at school was catching up with my friends, shopping for new stationary, organising the books and getting ready to start. So I could say organisation has been my stronger point. I used to enjoy (still enjoying) putting things in order so it looks prettier and it's easy to find stuff when you need them. I guess I should be able to give you some tips in this area of my expertise. But one thing I should point out that this won't make you a better student and spending too much time on it will lose your focus on something else more important. I of course have learned that good balance is the key to almost everything! My school yearsFree lovely pattern printouts to cover your booksSo today I would just like to share a project on how to protect your books with pretty covers (extra printable patterns as well). Click here for full project walkthrough. protecttive book cover DIY protective book cover DIY

 

Good luck and have fun at school (or work)

Rasa x

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