Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Easy Meals with Hello Fresh

Now that the kids have gone back to school easy meals are a must. When the younger ones get home from school they are tired and you need some dinners which can be made either in advance or prepared in advance. That is where Hello Fresh come in. 

Hello Fresh provide healthy recipe boxes. The boxes come packed with all the ingredients, pre weighed and ready to create delicious meals. We received a family box that came with four meals. Each meal made enough for all five of us to enjoy. I was amazed to see how many different ingredients were packed into the box.

Our Home Improvements

A few weeks ago we started to focus on the house and getting some much needed jobs completed. When we moved in, nearly five years ago, there was so much that needed to be done. But we only had two weeks to get the jobs done before we moved in. We desperately wanted to be in for Christmas so a lot of jobs were rushed and not done to how we really wanted. But time and money meant that we had to make do.

Over the past two years, once the twins were no longer babies, we have started to really make the house our own. The hubby has completely transformed the garden from a long, lawn garden to a garden divided into three areas comprising of a vegetable, fruit and chicken area, kids play area and a family and dogs area. We have had a completely new roof fitted, the front garden has been replaced with a gravel driveway and we have started to decorate inside. A few months ago we had a flood upstairs thanks to J leaving a tap running with the plug in the sink while we were out. This caused a lot of water damage but meant that we needed to have the hall and landing redecorated and a new carpet fitted. We also needed the ceiling in the lounge re plastered. Seeing the new against the old installed the decorating bug in us. We have now got a beautifully, fresh and bright lounge after decorating. This has ignited a fire inside of us to really get the house as we want it. I spoke a few weeks ago about our kitchen dreams. We want to brighten up that room next. Having the house looking lovely inside has got us looking at all aspects of the house, both inside and out and looking at how we have done jobs in the past and if we would change anything.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Mary Berry's Bakewell Tart

Last weeks Great British Bake Off was all about pastry. The technical challenge was a Bakewell tart. I love traditional Bakewell tarts so could not resist making one.

So I found Mary's recipe on BBC Good Food and got baking!

For this weeks Bake Off post I have used some great ingredients from Aldi. Like other produce from Aldi they are all at prices which you simply cannot go wrong with. There are also many baking products that are available at Aldi on their Special Buys. Their The Pantry range consists of various different flours, sugars, food colourings, nuts, dried fruit, baking chocolate and many other items to help you bake. Baking is such an enjoyable pastime and one that does not need to cost a great deal. Last week I even found some jam sugar which has come in handy as we have got a lot of raspberries to harvest!

This is how I got on making Mary Berry's Bakewell Tart...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 26th September 2016

Welcome to anther weekly meal plan. I wish that I could tell you that last weeks plan went as expected but it did not. The hubby was not feeling well so I had to change a couple of meals and from then on it sort of fell apart. But onwards and upwards, this week will be better!

This week marks the start, yes again, of healthier eating. I hate to diet, it makes me miserable, it makes me grumpy, but my back is starting to play up again and I really do not think that the extra weight helps. So I am going to be trying to shift a couple of stone. We have also decided to go sober for October! We have three kids and often need a gin or wine to wind down at the end of the day but as we all know they contain empty calories. This is going to be a real challenge for me as I do love a gin but it will do me the world of good to have a month of no drinking! Can I do it? I am really not sure, but I am going to really try! I will be letting you know how I get on as I think that this will encourage me even more.

This is what we are going to enjoy this week...

Friday, 23 September 2016

#FoodieseekerFriday - Ji Ji Asian Kitchen

While we were on holiday on Carnival Vista in the summer we had the opportunity to try the speciality restaurants. Before we set sail I wrote a post about the restaurants and even selected what meals I planned to have at each location.

When it came to selecting what we would have when visiting Ji Ji Asian Kitchen I will admit to not really knowing what the dishes were on the menu. There were aspects of dishes that I recognised but all in all I knew that it would be quite a new eating experience for all of us. I also did not know what the children would want to try.

Ji Ji Asian Kitchen was the second speciality restaurant that we visited and we were well and truly in holiday mode. We decided to have our tables booked for 5.30pm when dining with the children. For families with young children this is an ideal time to dine as it is often the first sitting and the quietest time. We found that we were often one of the first families in and the service was impeccable as the restaurant was so quiet.

The staff at Ji Ji Asian Kitchen were so welcoming and interacted fantastically with the children. We were shown to our table and left to look at the menu.

While we were waiting for some drinks to arrive our waitress arrived to explain to us how the dining experience works in Ji Ji's and little bit about the foods. We were told that we would be having a true Asian style family meal. We would be selecting a variety of appetisers, entrees, sides then desserts. The dishes would be served in the middle of the table allowing everyone to dig in and try a bit of all sorts. As soon as we heard this we had a feeling that we would enjoy dining here. Before we could order we needed to decide who would be the lucky host. Ji Ji means lucky lucky and the dice would show us who the lucky host would be. The waitress rolled the dice and it came up with the number one, that was to be our lucky number. We were then told to take it in turns to roll the dice and whoever rolled a one first would be the lucky host. The dice was passed to J and he immediately rolled a one, making him the lucky host.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Naturally Tasty with Knorr

Last week I was invited to an event in the Kings Cross area of London. Before I went I did not know a great deal about the event. I knew that it was being hosted by Knorr and that it was being held at a venue called the Skip Garden. Before I left home I did have a look online to have a look at what the Skip Gardens were and I was astounded to read that it was literally gardens in skips. Also as the event was being held by Knorr I had a sneaky suspicion that were going to reveal a new range of herbs.

When I arrived I was amazed by how the Skip Garden was such a little oasis of natural calm in the midst of all of the construction chaos of central London. There were numerous skips that had been transformed into mini gardens, a man made greenhouse, a glass house made with reclaimed glass panels, a kitchen and even a cafe! While we waited for everyone to arrive we were treated to cocktails that use fresh herbs. We could have either a Gin and Basil Smash or a Vodka and Rosemary Highball. I went for the Gin and Basil Smash which adds fresh basil before shaking to release the maximum amount of flavour. The cocktail was the perfect mixture of gin with the sour from lemon juice combined with the sweetness from some sugar water and finished with the fresh basil. It was heavenly!