Dairy, egg, meat free. Can be gluten-free if you like.

Unhealthy made more healthy (or even very healthy) is my favorite kind of cooking.
I shared with you a recipe for burgers and banana pancakes. Now the time has come for a falafel tex-mex style. It takes max 25 mins to prepare and is a real delight! It is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s falafel recipe and our love for tex-mex food.

Ingredients (4 servings):
– 1 can red beans,
– 1 can any other beans,
– fresh coriander,
– a lime (optional),
– flour,
– cherry tomatoes,
– 1 clove of garlic,
– 2 peppers of different color,
– spring onions/1-2 onions,
– avocado (plus optionally coriander, onion, tomato, garlic),
– soybeans (optional),
– lots and lots of olive oil,
– corn tortillas.

1. Preheat the oven to whatever temperature is needed for your corn tortillas.

2. In a food processor blend beans (without their liquid), olive oil, coriander, juice from 1/2 lime).

3. Add 3-4 full tablespoons of flour and mix.

4. Form chops and fry them on medium heat until crispy on the outside (but with soft inside).

5. On another pan preheat olive oil add peppers and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper if you like.

6. Blend cherry tomatoes with garlic to get a delicious salsa.

7. Put corn tortilla to the oven.

8. On another pan fry green beans until they soften a bit (olive oil again). Season with salt and pepper if you like.

9. Avocado – can be just halved and served for everyone to take bits of it with a spoon. If you have time and will go for homemade guacamole (food processor: avocado, fresh coriander, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 onion, half of a big tomato, big lug of olive oil).

Bon appetit!

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Big books

We love words, stories and cuddling while reading. We love talking about books we read but we are also huge fans of big format illustration books. I was very surprised to find out many parents don’t know about them. Z started enjoying them at around 14 months but I know a boy who was very interested in these books earlier.

These books are big, A4 format, have no words but contain lots of stories. Usually you can follow each character on every page – that can be even 20 stories in one book. Then there are all the objects to name, to find, to follow. All the details to find. There is one particular series that we’ve read for almost a year now and I still keep finding new features!

They are also great for spending time together, great boredom busters for waiting in queues (pediatrician’s office, airports, trips). If you’re, like me, not a big fun of books that are made of boring squares of illustrations with names underneath, but you’d like a book with lots of objects to name then this is your win.

It is impossible to review all of them, but there is something for everyone. You can easily find a book that will fit your child’s interest and broaden his horizons, his vocabulary and his knowledge: space themed, animal themed, medieval themed, princess themed – you name it. Our favorites are:

1. A series by Rotraut Susanne Berner, which has an English title “In the town all year round“. It really doesn’t matter if you buy this book with German, French, Polish or English title. There are no important words inside. Illustrations speak for themselves. We have 4 parts, each corresponds to different season of the year, we follow same characters in the same neighborhood and observe how their life and surroundings change. Pictures are very realistic but you will find some funny twists (is a nun carrying a penguin lantern or a penguin shaped balloon a coincidence?).

2. Less realistic pictures, same concept. This time it’s the seaside, painted brilliantly. Aliens, a super hero, sea creatures and a nosy boy, whose mother is looking for him on every page. “At the seaside” (“A la mer”) by Germano Zullo & Albertine.

3. Not any less favorite than two above is a Polish series by incredibly talented authors – Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinscy. They are known outside of Poland for their beautiful books “Maps“, for which Z is still bit too young but I can’t wait to buy it in max a year. Their series that I want to recommend is a tale of a city called “Mamoko” (literally “I have an eye”): “Mamoko long, long time ago”, “Mamoko” and “Mamoko 3000″. Past, future and present animals, fantasy creatures and aliens – something for everyone, great for imagination. Pictures are fantastic, stories are funny. It does not matter at all that the title is in Polish, you don’t need to speak it to read these illustrations.

4. I lately bought 2 Ali Mitgutsch’s books via internet and I regret it. I don’t like the illustrations, there are almost no stories inside but a big plus for many details in the pictures.

If you buy just one, good big illustrations books you will see that they are addictive and you will thank me for making 1h waiting in the doctor’s office pass quickly. For more tips on books and reading check this post, Pinterest board and fb page.