A Little About Us: Alex, Carl, Isla and Taran
During our most recent visit to the local play park, it struck me how badly this last year has affected my eldest child, Isla. This might sound like I was unaware before; I wasn’t, let’s say, instead, that perhaps I just was in denial as to the extent. I think two separate things worked in tandem to place the problem immediately front and centre. The first was an article I read was written by Unesco; it is one of many they have published recently in an attempt to curb the shutting of schools. This one got my attention because It not only talked about the expected impact extended school closures due to coronavirus will have on children but also cited evidence from previous situations where extended school closures had occurred. The second thing was a distant friend of mine and my husband’s; he has a son of a similar age to Isla and has been noticing similar things we have but with his own child. He wanted support for an article he posted. It pushed for schools to remain open over Summer but for kids to play together rather than for educational purposes. The results of recent surveys show children had not only lost education but social skills as well. They were less friendly and more aggressive towards their peers. Sociability is a learned skill that needs constant practice. My friend’s son has not had that practice. Isla has not had that practice. How do we get them that practice safely?
Back to this particular day at the park, we arrived early, as we always do. Other people tell me how their child sleeps until 8am – I curse them silently! There were two other children already there. Obviously, they wake their parents up at some ungodly hour of the morning as well! Both were very young. Isla and Taran ran past them to climb and slide. Luckily, my two actually play together quite well – most of the time anyway!
Both Isla and Taran ran and climbed quite actively, so I asked them if they wanted to take their masks off. Vigorous exercise is allowed without the use of masks in Malta; if ever there was a level of vigorous exercise to reach, I believed this would be it. Taran instantly ripped his off and flung it to the floor – ok, I wasn’t very impressed with this and called him back to pick it up and hand it to me, or he would get a time out. He did do, but only because his other choice was a time out – this is, to mine and Carl’s despair, the current state of affairs with our willful, contrary number one son. Isla, however, looked around her and hesitantly removed her mask.
As the morning progressed, a few more children came. Taran, being Taran, was and is quite happy to approach everyone. Be it baby, little kid, big kid, or adult, he will run over to say hello – sometimes he follows this up with an attempt to run off with their toys which keeps me on my toes. In previous times, Isla had always been able to make a friend before the instigation of some game, requiring a lot of screaming. This time she ran back to me in a panic. She wanted her mask back on because of the virus. She needed to wash her hands because of the bad virus. We had to go to another part of the park because there were too many people around. Taran was playing quite happily, so I told her we would go later. She did, eventually, return to the large climbing frame. Still, she was very uncomfortable about it and would regularly run back to the safety of Mummy. If another kid was on the slide she wanted to use, she would run back to me and wait for them to leave.
I began to think about the other park visits recently. I realised she had been doing the same thing; however, it was less noticeable because there hasn’t been a lot of people in the parks.
By the end of the morning, I was fully aware that the past year has resulted in steering my sweet and sensitive eldest child towards becoming an unsociable germophobe. And now, like many other parents, my husband and I are left wondering: how do we fight this?
A Little About The Recipe: Sweet and Sour Cauliflower and Tomato
This recipe is my attempt to reproduce the classic sweet and sour blending of flavours typical of Chinese takeaways. Having never been to China, I cannot really say what they do in the country itself but, in takeaways across England and Malta, sweet and sour is a highly sought flavouring. In this copycat recipe, everything is simplified and healthier and paleo.
I Recommend This For: Sweet and Sour Cauliflower and Tomato
This is primarily a paleo dish. The carbs are too high for keto and Atkins’ Induction. Even with tweaking, it is difficult to reduce the net carb level to anything even remotely suitable for a keto side dish. Therefore, I don’t recommend it for these particular diets.
Atkins’ Maintenance could possibly squeeze it in one day with a pure meat main dish like Juicy-licious Pork Roast or A Juicy and Tender Beef Roast. Still, I would recommend careful planning for the rest of the day.
It is for the paleo and whole30 lifestyles where this particular recipe proves its worth. It works best beside a sauceless meat main dish. (The mains with sauces would spill over and alter the flavour.)
Try the Oven Roasted Lamb Meatballs for whole30 or Paleo Bbq Ribs for paleo. If you bought an extra-large cauliflower and need to use it up, try the Cauliflower Crisp Creole Style Chicken. The Cauliflower Crisp Creole Style Chicken requires the hob for cooking as well and has a similar cooking time to Sweet and Sour Cauliflower and Tomato.
And Here It Is: Sweet and Sour Cauliflower and Tomato
Sweet and Sour Cauliflower and Tomato
- 300 g cauliflower florets (about 3 cups or 1 small head of cauliflower)
- 2 medium tomatoes (250g)
- 1/2 medium green apple (100g)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp lard
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Dice the tomato. Peel and dice the apple.
- Place the cauliflower on a microwaveable tray and microwave for 5 mins. It will just be starting to soften at this point but still have some crunch to it. ( If you prefer soft cauliflower microwave for 10 mins.)
- Melt the lard in a large frying pan over a medium heat (I use number 6).
- Add the cauliflower, tomatoes and apple. Fry for 5-10 mins, stirring often. (5 mins for more crunch, 10 mins for less crunch.)
- Add the olive oil and then the remaining ingredients: tomato puree, grated fresh ginger, salt, garlic powder.
- Stir in and cook for another 3 mins.