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Commissioned Post.

Family dinners are an incredibly precious time in this house. A chance to spend quality time together, it’s a chance to reflect on our day over a delicious home cooked meal.

family meal

I also love to get my kids involved in the kitchen so the fun begins from the supermarket as we select ingredients together and most evenings, my boys get stuck in to help me rustle up dinner even if that’s giving food a stir or setting the table.

Honest Mum eat Spaghetti Bolognese

When it comes to sitting down at the table, I’ve always been clear it’s a time to focus on one another and the food in front of us. Cooking them their favourite meal of Spaghetti Bolognese (my recipe is below) always helps get them to the table and eating happily.

spaghetti bolognese made with Dolmio

As kids eating in front of the telly was always a treat and I’ve followed that ritual with my own kids, imposing a no tech rule at dinner 99% of the time.  As much as I love working as a blogger and vlogger, my day can be dominated by all things digital and it’s important for me to have boundaries, particularly when it comes to spending time with my husband and kids.

My husband Peter often jokes that my iPhone is our third kid so I owe it to him and my little ones to give them my undivided attention after school and around the dinner table, picking up work once they’re asleep if I need to.

kids laughing

So for at least one hour each day, I go completely cold turkey on the digital front. And it’s not just me, Peter too has to leave his phone in the other room too and both boys are not allowed to bring their tablets or any other electronic games to the table. The TV – and even the radio – is switched off too.

Food time= family time!

child smiling at the dinner table

And it’s absolutely the right thing for us as a family and I hope it inspires you to go tech-free too. We’re all about #techfreetables here!

Honest Mum enjoys spaghetti bolognese

…New research by Dolmio has revealed the negative impact technology is having on the UK’s family mealtimes.

More than two-thirds of families say that dinner time arguments stem from technology and one in three has tried and failed to impose a technology ban at the table.

In an interesting experiment, celebrity mum, Louise Redknapp, trialled an innovative new Dolmio ‘Pepper Hacker’ which resembled an everyday grinder but was actually kitted out with technology to get kids talking and not texting at the dinner table. Watch it below:

While I have – touch wood – so far been successful in imposing my technology ban, I can also understand that when you’re waiting for an important email or can hear the buzz of notifications from your phone in the next room it can be tempting to cut the digi detox short.

In particular, breaking the kids away from their new fave game or DVD has also resulted in the odd temper tantrum, but over the years I’ve developed a few failsafe ways to guarantee a tech-free, argument-free dinner time.

Read my tips below and don’t miss my video at the end!

dinner

Get Kids Involved

Avoid boredom at dinner by getting kids involved with the prep, cooking and serving of the meal. Include them in shopping for the ingredients – even better growing their own ingredients! A herb or vegetable patch in the garden is a fun and educational way to teach youngsters about healthy eating and will encourage them to eat more. There’s no greater sense of achievement when you cook and eat homegrown fruit and veg!

Getting them involved in cooking the meal is another super way to make kids feel engaged at dinner time and less likely to reach for films/games. One of our favourite dinners to cook as a family is Spaghetti Bolognese using Dolmio’s bolognese sauce- and I’m sharing my recipe at the end of this post.

Dine Outside

Eat al fresco to enjoy the sun when it’s shining. Being outside offers fewer distractions and makes dinner time more fun.

Have a Carpet Picnic

We love a carpet/floorboard picnic on a blanket inside making food the main event and something a little bit special.

Explain the Value of Good Food

Explain that food will give them energy and make them strong and the importance of savouring every mouthful and enjoying it.

Have a Good Natter

Don’t forget about your little ones around the table-talk to them not just your other half.

Keep chat light-hearted too! Avoid pressing them with lots of questions – instead find interesting topics to discuss and make sure they feel they are being listened to. Remember mealtimes should be fun.

Watch the video:

Now for my much-loved spag bol recipe!

Honest Mum’s Spaghetti Bolognese 

Spaghetti Bolognese

 

spaghetti bolognese

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 400g white spaghetti, cooked according to packet instructions (use brown/gluten free if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g of minced beef
  • 2 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 500g Dolmio Bolognese Sauce
  • Grated cheese of your choice to serve

 

Method

  1. Cook the spaghetti in a medium pot of boiling water with a dash of olive oil.
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the minced meat until it is browned
  3. Add the red onion, carrots and garlic and fry until soft (add garlic last as this cooks the quickest)
  4. Add the Dolmio Bolognese sauce, lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes while gently stirring
  5. Drain the spaghetti and add on top or mix the sauce through (we like to place the sauce on the top)
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan or a cheese of your choice

Yummy!

spaghetti bolognese made with Dolmio sauce

child eating spaghetti bolognese

Now onto the competition and to win this incredible Dolmio’s Hamper that includes picnic hamper, chequered table cloth, selection of 5 x jars of Dolmio sauces, packet of spaghetti, block of parmesan and is worth £50.

Dolmio hamper

Simply enter via Rafflecopter below

T&Cs

This is open to those living in the UK

If the winner does not respond to the notification email within 7 days, a new random winner will be selected

No cash alternative

Ends 24th September 2016.

Promoted on Prize finder, BritMumsLoquax, Super LuckyUmeandthekids and Competition Database.

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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436 Responses

  1. susan greer

    I would love to win this as I love making health italian food, midweek when busy some dolmio is really handy bug just as tasty. Fantastic prize thank you for the opportunity

    Reply
  2. Susan Williams

    I love Italian food and like Dolmio products very much. They really do add a touch of Italy to my food ?

    Reply
  3. Natasha R-M

    I would love to win as I regularly enjoy eating pasta and pasta sauce, particularly with tofu and a selection of vegetables topped with herbs. I could put the lovely hamper to good use as well!

    Reply
  4. JO JOHNSON

    Dolmio has always been my fave pasta sauce brand and would love to make some delicious meals for the whole family with the hamper contents!

    Reply
  5. Christine Hobbs

    My children were brought up on Dolmio. Quality product and full of tomato goodness. Love making Italian dishes with good mince and loads of peppers and of course Dolmio for ease

    Reply
  6. Jamie Millard

    love cooking italian – from scratch but sometimes it’s not possible so good to have some cupboard staples and they are always dolmio

    Reply
  7. Natalie Gillham

    I would love to win this hamper as home made + dolmio assisted lasagne is our favourite dish, so this would really help me out with the cost of meals as I am on a budget at the moment. Thanks for the chance to win x

    Reply
  8. Robyn Clarke

    We are a pasta loving family, would love to win this so that I can have a helping hand cooking, so I have more time to spend with the kids.
    Robyn Clarke recently posted…Kidloland App reviewMy Profile

    Reply
  9. Jayne K

    I love keeping pasta sauces in the pantry, but haven’t bought Dolmio for ages apart from the stir-in.

    Reply
  10. Steve Davies

    I normally take the time to make my own sauces, but when busy through the week, this is a very nice quick method to enjoy tasty pasta meals with the family. Just one tip for a quick time saving kids pasta meal. Slice hot dog sausages and thread them on to dried spaghetti at 2cm gaps. Boil and drain the spaghetti as normal. Heat and pour over your favourite sauce. Kids can eat the pasta and hotdogs with no fuss. Job done

    Reply

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