Thursday, 31 December 2015

Beat The Winter Blues - Vitamin D3 from Epsilon.Life

Regular readers will know that I love trying new foods and ways to improve my health. So when Epsilon.Life asked me if I would like to try some of their health supplements I couldn't wait to give them a go!

In the past I have had problems with my mental health and am on prescribed medication for depression. When the winter months come I often feel worse. Not just in my mood but in my general well being. The sun is not out, the days are grey and dreary and it really does play a huge part in how I feel. So when I was asked if I would like to try some vitamin D3 I really was curious to see if they could make a difference.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

New Years Eve Party Food with Aldi

On the run up to Christmas I gave you my top money saving tips in my #ThriftyChristmasThursday posts with Aldi. I gave you tips on how to save money on your meat, fish and vegetarian optionsvegetablesdesserts and sweet treats and drinks. Today I am going to tell you how you can save money when it comes to your New Years Eve party.

Aldi stock a wide variety of party food. From their everyday range to their Specially Selected range. There is going to be something to suit everyone. Party food is definitely the easy option as their range can all be cooked at the same temperature. Served alongside fresh salad, dips, coleslaw and pickles you can be sure to create a buffet that will not only please but will also impress.

Here are my top party food choices, as taste tested by my family...

Monday, 28 December 2015

Leftover Turkey Recipes

Now that Christmas is over and we are now looking towards new years eve I thought that I would share with you a few of my favourite leftover turkey recipes instead of a meal plan. You know that I love to meal plan but this week I am stepping back and enjoying some time with my family so we will decide together what we will have.

One thing that I do love about Christmas dinner is the leftover turkey. I always enjoy the challenge of revamping the leftovers into a new, delicious meal.

Here are some of my favourite, past leftover turkey recipes...

Christmas Curry is a must! We always enjoy a good old leftover curry. The beauty of this dish is that you can add anything that you have got leftover. The more leftovers the better, add meat, add vegetables even add leftover stuffing!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

20th December - 31st December 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

Christmas week arrived and certainly did not go to plan. But despite everything we had a lovely Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

That is another Project365 completed. I have taken and shared a picture everyday throughout 2015. Now we have welcomed 2016 in I will be continuing my photographic diary. But as this year is a leap year it will be my Project366! I look forward to documenting our year in pictures.

This is how 2015 ended in pictures...

Sunday 20th December 2015

To help us get into the festive spirit we went to visit one of our favourite garden centres in the area. This really is so much more than a garden centre as they have a beautiful landscape garden to walk around and the kids love to run some energy off. We had a look round the shop and left with some delicious Christmas foodie treats.

Monday 21st December 2015

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas

I would just like to take a moment to wish you a very merry Christmas from Hijacked By Twins. Thank you for reading over the last year and I hope that you will continue in the new year. Things will be a little quiet over the Christmas week while I take a bit of time off to spend the holiday with my family.

Eat, drink and have a great time! Here is to a delicious 2016!

Kirsty x

Stick To Stigu - Blogger Planner Review

I don't know about you, but next year I am planning to be a bit more organised. Having a regular diary just is not enough when I am wanting to plan my blog posts as well as my personal life. So when I saw Stick To Stigu I thought that I may have just found the answer to my problems!

Stick To Stigu have just released their First Edition planners for 2016. Stick To Stigu's motto is "Plan Hard, Play Hard, Rest Hard" which, in my mind, is a great way to live and a great way to plan for the new year.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Parragon Love Food - Christmas Recipes and Crafts

One thing that I love about Christmas has to be the food. Sometimes I think that it would be great to enjoy some of these flavours throughout the year.

The latest Christmas Recipes and  Crafts book from Parragon Love Food Books is full of delicious, festive recipes and craft ideas. But what I love about this book is that a lot of the recipes that are in this book can be enjoyed throughout the year. I have got so many ideas for Sunday roast dinners and breakfast which would make the perfect, lazy Sunday breakfasts.

Today I thought that I would give you a taster of what this festive book gives, and how I plan to use this book throughout the year...

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Festive Mulled Port Loaf

This year I decided to make one of our favourite tea loaves into a more festive bake. The ingredients are more or less the same but to give it a true feel of Christmas I have exchanged the tea for mulled port, added some dates to the fruit and added some sweet, nutty marzipan.

The trick with this tea loaf is patience. Leave the fruit to soak up all the mulled port for a day before you are ready to bake. Believe me I have tried it both ways and the longer the fruit was left the more moist and rich the end result!

This is what I did...

Monday, 21 December 2015

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 21st December 2015

Welcome to my final weekly meal plan of 2015. Next week I will be having some time off and that also includes meal planning. I am going to plan each day as it comes and decide what we will eat as a family. I am sure we will probably be eating out at some point and will probably have some lazy, easy meals. But that is what the holidays are for!

Last week was a busy week for foodie posts. I shared a review, launched a new giveaway and of course shared some recipes.

Last weeks CookBlogShare was a Festive Round Up

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Travelling With Children Over Christmas

As the Christmas holidays arrive I am sure many of you will be thinking about travelling with children. Whether it is to travel to visit families or whether you are going on holiday travelling with children can be hard at the best of times but with the added excitement of Christmas it is even more important that they have plenty to keep them occupied.

Here are my top tips for keeping them busy on long journeys.

Pack a Festive Packed Lunch

How many times do you hear from the kids "I'm hungry!" when on a journey, I know ours say it a lot. So the best way to keep their tummies happy is with a festive packed lunch. If you look in the supermarket there are some fantastic, disposable plates, napkins and straws which will make the pack up even more fun. Even add a cracker for a bit more excitement.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

13th December - 19th December 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

Well that is the last week of school done! It has been a busy week full of Christmas activities, services and fun. Now that the children have finished school we are well and truly on our way to Christmas day. The hubby only has three more working days and I am preparing for some much deserved time off too.

Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 13th December 2015

On Sunday the hubby was busy doing jobs around the house so Taylor and I had a trip to Tesco just the two of us. I forgot how easy it is shopping with just one child! It was lovely having a bit of time with Taylor. When we got to Tesco he was so excited to see that it was Star Wars day and he could not wait to join in with some of the activities that they were running.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Olive It! - Cookbook Giveaway

I have got an exciting new giveaway for you. I have been given not one, not two books to giveaway, but a whopping twenty copies of Olive It! cookbooks to give away to Hijacked By Twins readers.

This book has been written to celebrate the olive and all that can be made with them. Olive It! is full of Mediterranean inspired recipes. Whether you like them green, black or mixed there will be a recipe to delight. Olives are so much more than a pre dinner treat and really are underestimated. They are such a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can be transformed into exciting, mouth watering dishes in a matter of minutes.

The olive campaign has been funded by the EU aid and in collaboration with the Spanish olive growers so you know that the olives which have been used in these recipes will be from some of the best olive groves in Europe.

Today I am going to tell you all about my new competition but keep your eye out as I will be giving you a taste of what this book has to offer over the next week or so!

Without further ado here is all of the information that you need to be in with the chance of winning one of these delicious books!
  • Enter the Rafflecopter below and complete all of the mandatory options and as many of the optional choices as you like
  • The competition will run from 00:00 18/12/15 until 00:00 08/01/16
  • Once the winners have been selected they will be notified then I will pass on the winners email addresses for the delivery of their prize to be arranged
  • I cannot be held responsible for any prize. I am simply hosting the giveaway on behalf of the company.
  • Only open to UK residents 
So get ready, get entering and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lentil Lasagne

Recently I have been cooking more and more vegetarian meals and substituting mince for lentils. I have found that our meals which are lentil based have been a huge success with both us adults and the children.

We always enjoy a good lasagne but as I am trying to loose weight I decided that I wanted to adapt the usual recipe and make it a syn free lasagne. After looking a various meat based lasagne recipes on Slimming World I finally had ways to make it healthier but keeping the traditional lasagne flavours.

This is what I did...

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Thrifty Christmas Thursday - Money Saving Drinks

At Christmas time we all indulge in food and drinks. This includes alcohol. It is the ideal time of year to treat yourself to an extra special bottle of wine and to get out the champagne or prosecco. But we all know that this can often be the most expensive part of Christmas. But thankfully with Aldi this is not the case!

Along with their cut price food you will also find cut price alcohol. I have found some fantastic bargains and today I am going to share them with you!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

How To Make Your Gift Stand Out This Christmas

We are so blessed to be able to give and receive during the holiday season. Instead of spending money on items your loved ones may or may not enjoy, spend your hard-earned money on gifts they’ll truly appreciate, and make this Christmas the best you’ve ever had with your family and friends.

Here are my top tips for a successful Christmas...

Shop Early

If you want to ensure you have the best gifts this holiday season, don’t wait until the last second to head out to the mall or hop online. After Thanksgiving passes the weeks fly by, and Christmas Eve will be here before you know it. By shopping early, you can ensure you peruse the best selection, and if you are ordering online, you’ll have a better chance of securing your items arrive soon in the weeks ahead—meaning more time to wrap and less time to stress. Half of the excitement of Christmas is the buildup, at least for me and my family, and it’s always fun to have presents sitting under the tree in the weeks leading up to the big reveal.


If you really want something unique to wrap up, consider doing a DIY gift for all the names on your list that you know they won’t get from anyone else. If you have a streak of creativity, use it to your advantage and create a gift they’ll never expect but always cherish. Perhaps you can create a photo collage of all the wonderful times you’ve had with your other half, or send it to Shutterfly so they can do it for you and make your vision a reality. If you’re a culinary god or goddess, consider whipping up a large batch of your tastiest concoction and syphoning it into small containers as a thoughtful and delicious holiday treat for all of your colleagues.

Christmas Activities

Now that the twins are at nursery they have become more eager to do arts and crafts. You will have noticed that I do not write craft posts, I am not in the slightest bit artistic. But I have got next week with the three children at home. I need to find plenty of activities to keep them all busy while the excitement builds as Christmas gets closer and there are so many times you can bake!

I know that I am not going to be the only mum out there that is like this so I thought that I would share with you my top ideas for keeping the kids busy before Christmas arrives.

Baking and Food Fun

Baking is a must at any time of year, but at Christmas even more so! There are so many foodie treats that can be made. Go for easy bakes which the children can do, this will keep them busy making the bakes but they will be so proud to see the finish product! Here are a couple of ideas that I have tried and tested and would definitely recommend!

Nudo Adopt Review

One of our most favourite Christmas treats has to be a traditional Italian Panettone. The sweetness of the festive dried fruit and citrus, encased in a buttery, light bread leaves you wanting more and more. So when I was asked if I would like to try Nudo Adopt's traditional Panettone I simply could not refuse!

Nudo Adopt are a group of small scale collaboration of artisanal producers. It started off with one family buying and restoring a 21 acre olive grove and grew from there. Nudo Adopt is a platform for micro-producers to bring their high quality produce to a wider market. Everyone has their own responsibilities for the olive grove, garden or field. Nudo Adopts give the farmers the link to the customer. Having this link in place helps to preserve the traditional farming methods, protects the countryside and keeps things how they have always been. No intensive or destructive farming methods that most modern farms endure, it keeps it as natural as possible. This retains the food natural taste.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Bejewelled Brussels Sprouts

It is the time of year when sprouts are in season. Love them or hate them you simply cannot get away from them. I will admit to not being a fan of the mini cabbages, but I will admit to changing!

This recipe has changed my opinions on these traditional Christmas vegetables. Last year I roasted them and started to come around to them. This year I decided to go one further and add some additional flavours to them.

The one thing that I find that sprouts are lacking is the sweet touch, something to make them more appealing. I know that red onions, when caramelising during cooking go perfectly with cabbage. So I decided to add those to the sprouts and some other flavours that I know go well with cabbage.

All of these flavours combined with the sprouts go together so perfectly and I now love sprouts!

This is what I did...

CookBlogShare Week 22 and Week 21 The Festive Bake Round Up

Now I am in total Christmas mode. It is everywhere we look and last week's CookBlogShare was no different. I loved seeing all of the Christmas inspired bakes, drinks and meal ideas. They have got me craving to bake some treats of our own.

Thank you to Mandy from Sneaky Veg for doing a great job hosting. Thank you Mandy I really do appreciate your help!

Last week it was lovely to see the regular blogs back. I really do look forward to seeing what you are going to share and we have got a lovely community of foodies, so thank you for your support. Last week we also had some new foodies join in which was lovely and I sincerely hope to see them joining in again. Time is manic at the moment due to the run up to Christmas but after Christmas I hope to share CookBlogShare even more and hope to grow the community further by sharing more on Google+ and looking into sharing via Instagram! Next year should be a great cooking year!

Anyway back to the round up. I simply could not resist all of the festive bakes so this weeks round up is dedicated to them!

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 21 of CookBlogShare...

Monday, 14 December 2015

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 14th December 2015

I don't know if it is because of the time of year and being so busy lately but my meal plans have not been going to plan. After a couple of busy days I have felt so tired by dinner time we have settled for quick, easy meals.

Despite the last couple of weeks I am continuing to meal plan as I know that it does work and that my life is so much more organised by having it.

Last week I shared a variety of foodie posts from a delicious cake recipe to the contents from Novembers Degustabox. This week I am also including my CookBlogShare round up post. I now organise and host with some other bloggers the foodie linky CookBlogShare. I thought I would share it here so if you ever have any recipes that you would like to link up you know how to find us. Here is a quick round up of last weeks foodie posts...

Saturday, 12 December 2015

6th December - 12th December 2015 - One Picture, Everyday For One Year

Can you believe we are at week 50? Another Project365 is almost complete! This has been yet another busy week. As we get closer to Christmas the weeks seem to go quicker. This week has seen, as usual a lot of foodie pictures, Christmas activities, a ballet show and a good pre Christmas clean up!

This is our week in pictures...

Sunday 6th December 2015

On Sunday morning Isabella took part in a Frozen workshop at her ballet class. She had been looking forward to dancing to Frozen all week. She absolutely loved taking part and they even did a performance on the stage to the song Let It Go. All of the girls in her class are 3 - 4 years old and they all did a great job, they looked so cute. We can see Isabella becoming quite the performer!

Monday 7th December 2015

Friday, 11 December 2015

November Degustabox

As you probably know, I love it when the postman comes with my monthly Degustabox. I always enjoy the excitement of opening the box to discover that delicious foodie treats I have received this month. 

This months Degustabox was full of delights as you can see below. Let me tell you a bit more about the foodie treats I received...

Thursday, 10 December 2015

#BlogItForward - Giving To Those Less Fortunate

When I read Penny Alexander's post about #BlogItForward I knew that I had to take part. Sometimes it easy to get wrapped up in life and we do not always appreciate what we have got. But when I read this post about giving back a bit at Christmas it got me thinking. What could we do to to give something back? Then one day when we were walking into our local Tesco store the perfect opportunity was stood in front of us. The day that we went they were promoting a collection for the local food bank.

This was our way to give back.

I go to the supermarket various times a week. Whenever I look in the cupboard and realise that I am missing an ingredient I pop out, every time we start to run out of milk or bread I jump in the car and go straight to the shops without a second thought. But when I saw that the local food bank was collecting for Christmas it did get me thinking.

How must it be if you see that the food is running low but there is no money to buy more?

What would happen if you did not know how you would pay for the next weeks shopping?

I really do not know what I would do and I am thankful for that.

So for my BlogItForward post when we went to pick up a few items, I took a shopping list and did two lots of shopping, one for us and one for the food bank. When I suggested it to the hubby he said that he had also thought about doing a bag of shopping for them. This was the shopping list that they gave me.

While we were shopping I picked various items up coffee, sugar, squash, fruit juice, shampoo, shower gel, cereals, UHT milk and custard. When the children asked me why we had some items in bags and some not bagged I explained to them that there were people in the world that were less fortunate than us and that the food was to help them. As the twins are only three all they wanted to know was who was going to eat the big box of biscuits. So I explained the best I could. I told them that there were families that did not have the pennies to buy biscuits so we were buying some for them as a Christmas gift and they understood that.

But this got me thinking even more.

We have done this for Christmas, that is just one time of the year, but there are people that need the help all year round. I would like to add something to the food bank trolley every month.

That is how I am going to BlogItForward.

Not just in December. I am going to add items off this shopping list once a month. We do not have a lot of money, we get by on what we have, but we are a lot better off than some others. We have a roof over our heads, we have a warm house and we have food on the table whenever we want it, our cupboards are always full. I make sure of that. Being a foodie blogger I am always cooking and baking food. It really is something that we take for granted but writing this post has made me realise how extremely lucky we are. While I was shopping and thinking about this I decided to add a couple of Christmas items that were not on the list to help make a families Christmas a little better and a little easier.

Neighbourhood Food Collection

With every donation made at Tesco they will top it all up by 30%. The extra 30% is made in a monetary donation to the charities The Trussell Trust and Fare Share which are two charities that help support people who find themselves in desperate need of support.

But that is not all, because I have written this BlogItForward post Wayfair will be donating £50 to Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity support people all over the world who are affected by disaster and poverty. They assist them to build new homes or rebuild their homes after a disaster. Habitat for Humanity have been helping people and families since 1976, during this time they have helped 5 million people to live in a safer and better home. Home really is where the heart is and Habitat for Humanity understand how powerful a home is, that is why they help the poorest and most vulnerable people get themselves out of poverty by helping them to build their homes which inevitably helps to improve communities.

So next time you are shopping in Tesco, look for a donation trolley and pick up a couple of items. The cost of the items could be just pence but they could mean the world to someone.

If you are a blogger and would like to BlogItForward you can, it is simple. Write a blog post about how you have given something back this month and by adding the Wayfair badge to your post you will be donating £50 to Habitat for Humanity. If 100 bloggers write a post that is a huge £5000 to help. So, come on, give something, write a blog and show how the blogging community can help to make a difference to lives! Visit Wayfair for more details!

Thank you and merry Christmas x


Thrifty Christmas Thursday - Desserts and Sweet Treats

This week has to be my one of my favourite weeks. This week I am focusing on desserts and sweet treats. Christmas foods would not be complete without some delicious sweet treats. I always say that for the week over Christmas and new year the diet gets put to one side and I enjoy eating all of the sweetness that Christmas has to offer. I am delighted to say that Aldi are certainly not short on the sweet treats and desserts! They stock your regular mince pies and Christmas puddings but also have so many of the traditional European breads and cakes too, and all at a great price.

As you can probably imagine I was spoilt for choice when it came to deciding which desserts and sweet treats to feature this week, there were so many! But I did manage to narrow it down. Here are the desserts and sweet treats that I would recommend!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Gluten Free Spiced Chocolate Cake

This is a recipe that started off as a good old chocolate cake. As it is nearing the festive time of year I decided to add some mixed spice. I love to add mixed spice to bakes, it really can give any bake a festive touch. Plus I adore the combined spices!

This got me to thinking about how I could make this cake something a bit more special. This led me to look in Novembers Degustabox for more inspiration. In there I discovered both Jim Jams No Added Sugar and Gluten Free chocolate spread and Food Thoughts Organic Cocoa Powder. They would both be the perfect ingredients for this festive, gluten free chocolate cake.

This is what I did...

Ideas How To Improve Kitchen Storage

I do love my kitchen and I have told my Kitchen Tale in the past all about how we had to redesign our kitchen before we moved into our home. This was such an exciting project for us, but particularly for me. I have never had the opportunity to design my own kitchen before. This is our first house and we hope that it will be our last. When we designed the kitchen we added all of the storage that we could with the budget that we had. However three years down the line we have realised that we need more storage. That is the one thing that we really do lack. This got me thinking to how we can add more storage.

As you can see from the picture above we really do lack storage space. Our kitchen is not long but is very wide. So it is paramount that we utilise the space that we do have to the best of our abilities. I am no interior designer so I did what most of us do, I went online to look for ideas. After looking through many different websites I came across Homify. This website is jam packed full of ideas for every part of your home. From kitchens to dining rooms, from gardens to study and office areas, from living rooms to bedrooms. They have ideas for every room that you may have in your house including the outside area!

Monday, 7 December 2015

CookBlogShare - Week 20 The Tempting Round Up

Last week Cook Blog Share was full of delicious treats. Both savoury and sweet recipes were shared and I was well and truly spoilt for choice when it came to selecting my four favourite recipes.

I will admit to changing my mind a couple of times but I did keep on coming back to the sweet treats that were on show. So it was no surprise that I ended up writing this round up. Calling it the tempting round up is extremely fitting as these dishes simply kept on calling me back for more!

Here are my four favourite recipes...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 7th December 2015

Another Monday is here and it is time for my Weekly Meal Plan. I cannot believe that the children only have two weeks left at school until they break up for the Christmas holidays. This term has flown by, as has the year!

A few weeks ago we began to eat more meat free meals during the week and I have been delighted with the response from everyone. We are continuing to have only two out of five weekday meals with meat. This has not only varied the children's diet but has also given me a challenge cooking the meals. I am trying new foods and experimenting more with new meals. If I have found that the family do not like a vegetable I have enjoyed the challenge of finding a way that they do like it. Aubergine is a perfect example of this problem. Nobody really liked it when it was cooked with the skin on, however when I remove the skin, it blends in with the other vegetables and everybody eats it without realising. I did feel quite smug when I saw them all enjoying a vegetable which they thought they disliked! Keep an eye out for more vegetarian recipes! Last week I shared a variety of healthy dinners, baking with the twins and a delicious, super quick to make cake.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

29th November - 5th December 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

Wow this week has been a busy one. I feel like I have not stopped. This has been because of an increase in work, which is great especially at this time of year, and the twins being off school for two days. But at last Christmas has arrived to the Hijacked By Twins household.

Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 29th November 2015

On Sunday we decided to light our annual Christmas candle. This year I bought the Noel candle from Crabtree and Evelyn which, when lit, fills the room with Christmas aromas.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Quick, Easy Microwave Cake - Surprise Chocolate Bottom Pudding

A couple of weeks ago the hubby was moaning that there was no cake in the house. So I gave in! But I certainly was not going to bake a regular, oven baked cake at 8 o'clock in the evening. So instead I made a microwave cake. This got me reminiscing about my childhood. I have many fond memories of doing some of my first baking with my Nanna using a microwave. Using a microwave is a great way to let children cook and bake more independently. I remember feeling so grown up as I could place the buns into the microwave, set the time and watch them bake. My Nanna had a traditional, round bun mould, which now seems to be classed as a 'vintage' piece of kitchenware and she had one of the first microwave ovens that were around in the 1980's. Now, 30 years on (yes I do feel old saying that) technology has improved no end. We now have a combination microwave that can also grill and cook like a regular oven and the moulds are now silicone.

I have been spending time trying to perfect this recipe and have been using a glass bowl. But now that the recipe is just how I want it to be I have been looking into buying some better microwave cake moulds. I did have a look for one like my Nanna had but they really are quite rare and the only one that I did find was from America! But this is what it was like...
Vintage Anchor Hocking Microwave Muffin Pan PM447-T1
Photograph courtesy of Amazon

Unfortunately I cannot find a brand new one and if I am honest I would only want it for old times sake. For the fact that it reminds me of my Nanna. But after taking a look at what products are available now for microwave cakes I am settling on silicone. Silicone is a great material to bake with. After only a slight greasing the cakes easily pop out thanks to the flexibility of the moulds. After looking around at different shops the best set that I have found has to be this 6 piece silicone bakeware set from ProCook Kitchenware. I love the colour of it but the fact that you get a great variety of moulds makes this a must have. Also with 50% off the retail price means that it is going on my 'to buy' list!

Now back to the cake. The first one that I made was a chocolate chip cake. I have also tried making a classic sponge. But I have found the chocolate chip cake the most successful. With small microwave cakes they are better eaten warm. With the chocolate chip cake as you cut the cake the chocolate chips spill out delicious melted chocolate. This led me to try something else which has turned out to be a perfect, quick dessert that will please and surprise your guests. Cooked in individual ramekins it is an ideal pudding and has just the right amount in, they are not too filling nor will they leave you hungry. It is perfect with a scoop of ice cream melting over the top!

So without further ado, let me tell you and show you what I did...

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Thrifty Christmas Thursday - Vegetables and Trimmings

This week for Thrifty Christmas Thursday I am focusing on the vegetables. Vegetables can often be forgotten, but on any Christmas dinner they also take centre stage.

We all know about the traditional Christmas vegetables and have all seen the Christmas cook spending all Christmas morning in the kitchen preparing the big meal. So today I am going to give you my top tips on how you, the cook, can leave the kitchen and enjoy Christmas day with your family safe in the knowledge that all of the food is prepared and will be easy to cook.

The vegetables which I am going to feature today are...

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Bakedin Christmas Special Recipe Box

Last year you may remember that I worked with Gousto and wrote a review on their delicious recipe boxes. These are great boxes which arrive with all of the ingredients and step by step instructions on how to create a restaurant style meal. We all really enjoyed the meals that we received. So when they got in touch with me again asking me if I would like to try their Bakedin Christmas recipe boxes that are perfect for little hands I could not turn them down. Now that the twins are three they love to help me in the kitchen when they get the chance so I knew that they would love this.

Bakedin have joined forces with Michel Roux to create a deliciously festive Snowflake Brownie box. We received two boxes, one for the twins and one for Joseph to bake with. Joseph also loves to bake, but he likes do bake independently. He is now 11 and wants to done things on his own so this box is an ideal way to raise his confidence in cooking. These boxes are a perfect way to help children bake more independently. All of the ingredients are labelled and pre weighed so all that the children need to do is add a couple of fresh ingredients, have some adult help when using the oven and they can make their own delicious treats.

Here is how the twins got on making their own Snowflake Brownie...

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Chicken and Butternut Squash Casserole with Potato and Pea Mash - CookBlogShare Week 20

At this time of year I love to cook casseroles. They are always such warming meals that are so comforting on a cold, wet day. You will probably know how I am constantly trying to get extra vegetables into our meals. One way that I have found it so easy to get some extra goodness into the children is by adding different vegetables to the potatoes when I am going to mash them. In this recipe I have added peas to the mash. They worked so well together, the flavours were perfect and were a great accompaniment with the chicken and butternut squash.

This is a great meal as you can simply leave it in either a casserole dish in a low heat oven or in the slow cooker until ready. As the meal cooks your kitchen will be filled with delicious aromas as the ingredients cook and come together.

This is what I did...

Monday, 30 November 2015

CookBlogShare Week 19 Round Up

Last weeks CookBlogShare had a wide variety of both savoury and sweet recipes. Last week I featured sweet, Christmas recipes. This week has seen me sway more to the savoury side. This is probably because I am trying so hard to not be temped by delicious sweet foods. But thankfully the Slimming World plan does allow you to have the odd treat! Over the weekend we visited Cadbury World to celebrate Christmas with the Carnival Cruise team and families who we are working with over the coming year so as you can imagine the diet went out of the window for the day! But now I am back on the syn counting and enjoying my healthier foods.

The recipes that I have chosen this week are healthier meals but they are all full of flavour! They all contain a sweetness that is combined perfectly with the savoury. They really are the best of both worlds! 

Here are my favourite recipes from week 19 of CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 30th November 2015

When I wrote last weeks meal plan I completely forgot that I did not need to plan a meal for Friday night as we were travelling down to Redditch. We stayed over night as we had the day at Cadbury World with the Carnival Cruise team and the other FunSeeking families who are working with them over the coming year.

The first two meals that I had planned went well, however after that it went to pot. There was no meal plan and not feeling well did not help. It is times like this I appreciate having a meal plan but I also realise that I need to have some easy meals on hand for when I am not feeling good or the meal plan does not go as planned. I do cook all of our meals from scratch but having some pre prepared frozen meals in would be a great help.

Last week I shared a variety of foodie posts. I shared a tasty leftovers recipe, my Thrifty Christmas Thursday tips which is the first of a five week feature that I am working on with Aldi, a delicious extra special sandwich and the contents of last months Degustabox.

Here are last weeks foodie posts...

Sunday, 29 November 2015

22nd November - 28th November 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

This week has been so busy and has flown by. The Christmas feeling has started to enter our house. I have been reading more and more Christmas recipes, we have made our Christmas pudding and I have even started to plan Christmas activities for the children during the week that runs up to Christmas.

This week has seen Christmas puddings, saving money doing our shopping, Christmas dinner, beautiful sunrises and a lot of chocolate! Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 22nd November 2015

Sunday was stir up Sunday and as tradition states we made our Christmas pudding. I was lucky to receive a sixpence from the Royal Mint for our pudding this year. I am hoping that this sixpence will be the start of a great family tradition and one that we will continue for years to come. Then passed down through generations.