Thursday, 29 December 2016

Surviving the New Years Eve Hangover!

This Christmas I planned in advance not to consume as much alcohol as normal. Not only is it not great for your health but as you know I am on a weight loss journey and alcohol definitely does not help!

Displaying Vitamin B with Book and Keys[8].jpg

So when Get More Drinks asked me if I would like to share their hangover survival tips I knew that a lot of people could probably do with the information. We all know that a hangover is hell but there are ways that you can make it more manageable and speed up the recovery from a heavy night of drinks.

How many times have we said "That's it, I'm never drinking again!"? Probably every time that we have woken up feeling hungover. But we always do drink again. The key is to enjoy your drink but limit yourself. You do not need to go to excessive lengths to keep up with friends and drink as much as you can.

Get More have sent me the following information to share with you to help you avoid or cope with a hangover...

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2016 - A Year of Food

Now that we are almost at the end of another year I thought it would be nice to look back over 2016. Over the year I have shared so many recipes I thought that it would be fun to pick out my 12 favourite recipes. It has been lovely looking back over the year and reading through the various recipes and trying to narrow it down to one favourite recipe per month. But I have done it and here are my 12 favourite recipes of 2016!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Perfect New Years Eve Party Food from Aldi

Now that Christmas day is over with all of the attention goes to new years eve.

New years eve it a fantastic excuse to have a good get together with friends and family. Any get together needs good food but not a big sit down meal like on Christmas day. On new years eve a buffet, picky meal is so much better. If you have ever tried making canapés you will know how fiddly they can be not to mention time consuming. Thankfully Aldi are here to help and they have some delicious treats that will really impress any guests that you may have. Even better they are at a price that will certainly make you happy!

This is what I am planning to serve up to welcome in the new year...

Monday, 26 December 2016

Love your Turkey Leftovers!

I am sure that many of you have got lots of lovely leftover turkey and trimmings from your Christmas dinner. I love leftovers. The meals always seem to be even more flavoursome and they are simply too good to go to waste. Today I thought that I would share with you my top leftover turkey recipes and ideas.

Here are my favourite 6 leftover turkey recipes and my top tips...

Thursday, 22 December 2016

St Kew Goodwill Basket

Are you still looking for a gift this Christmas? Wanting to take a gift to someone for new year? If so Suttons Seeds have some lovely ideas. From gifts for the garden to gifts for the home, for him, for her and even foodie hampers.

Italinary - Italian Culinary Experience Review

If there is one cuisine that the whole family enjoys it has to be Italian food. I love everything about it from the fresh ingredients to the whole Italian way of eating, I am a big believer in their ethos of eating together, making it a social event and not just something that we do to survive.

When Italinary contacted me and asked me if I would like to try one of their Italian culinary experience boxes to try I was intrigued to find out more. As soon as I saw what Italinary was all about to say that I was excited to receive the box was an understatement and it did not disappoint.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Mincemeat Oat Bites

Last week I shared my deliciously moreish Cranberry, Coconut and Chia Seeds Oat Bites. They were enjoyed so much I decided to add a bit more of a Christmas twist to them. After having my first mince pie of the season on Sunday I am hooked. We all know that pastry is not great for us so I decided to combine my oat bites with mince pies and created these addictive snacks!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmas Dinner Vegetables from Aldi

Anyone that has cooked a Christmas dinner will know how stressful it can be if you have not got everything planned out in advance. But I thought that I would share with you a few ways to make it easier and how you can prepare a lot of the food before the big day. This will not only make it less stressful but it will give you back some valuable time that can be spent with your loved ones instead of slaving over a hot stove!

This week Aldi are certainly making it more affordable this Christmas. Their fantastic 'Super 6' fruit and vegetable offer is for 6 must have vegetables for your Christmas dinner. This week the 'Super 6' are priced at just 19p for the following:
  • Broccoli
  • Maris Piper Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Little Gen Lettuce
So, depending on how many people you will be serving you could potentially buy your Christmas day vegetables for just over £1!

In this post I am going to tell you how to make the perfect roast potatoes in advance, carrots, parsnips and a way to serve up the sprouts that will make you want more!

Monday, 19 December 2016

#CookBlogShare - Week 50 The Party Buffet Round-up

Hello and welcome to what is my final #CookBlogShare round-up of 2016. What a delicious year it has been thanks to everyone that joins in with the CookBlogShare linky each week. I have now been running the linky with the help of other bloggers for 17 months and love how the community has grown.

Last week the linky was with me on Hijacked By Twins and what a treat I was in for. 39 delicious recipes were shared and it certainly was a difficult week to narrow my favourites down to just four recipes. There were so many festive treats both sweet and savoury, bakes, puddings even foodie edible gifts! For this weeks round-up I have decided to go for recipes that would be perfect for a party buffet. At this time of year, especially between Christmas and new year, we tend to have lighter meals and when people visit, a buffet is the ideal meal. The four recipes that I have chosen are ones that I know we would all love and I am sure you will too.

Here are my four favourite recipes for a buffet from week 50 of CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 19th December 2016

Before I tell you about my week I must apologise for the lack of a weekly meal plan last week! I did plan but just did not get round to writing about it, sorry.

Last week was manic. I felt like I was never in. There were school events on, shopping to be done and shows to see. The twins have now finished for the Christmas holidays but J still has two more days to go. The twins are absolutely full of it at the moment. This year, now that they are 4, they really get what Christmas is about and are so excited. It is lovely to see but I will admit, it can be exhausting! This week I am planning to keep them as occupied as possible. Today we are going to have brunch with Santa so that is today sorted. The rest of the week we will be going out walking and doing Christmas activities at home.

As for Slimming World, I am on track to reaching my first target. Two weeks ago I went a day early as I had a poorly twin at home so I went in the evening once the hubby was home. I was amazed to have lost 3.5lbs and achieved my club 10 target. Last week I lost another 2lbs and have now lost 22lbs and got my 1.5 stone award. This time something has clicked with my weight loss and feel that I am not on a diet as I eat a lot, but the difference is, this time I am eating a lot of the good foods.

Now on to this weeks meal plan. As the twins are used to having a hot dinner at school I am going to try and keep that going for them during the week. I will be either making them easy dinners at lunch or making extra the night before for them to have the following day. 

This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Friday, 16 December 2016

Cranberry, Coconut and Chia Seeds Oat Bites

One food that I love most at this time of year has to be the cranberry. I adore the sharpness of the fresh berries and they go perfectly in bakes.

This bake has evolved from the healthier Slimming World Baked Oats recipe. But when I made them, both the hubby and I agreed that there was something missing. So I reduced the milk, increased the oats and added some sweet extras. They may not be SW friendly but they are so moreish! You will not be able to stop at just one piece!

This is what I did...

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Beer52 for Christmas

There is no denying that the trend for craft beers is here to stay. More and more breweries and micro breweries are coming through and moving away from the big mainstream lager and are creating more unique drinks.

Personally I am more of a gin girl than a lager girl but since tasting craft beers I have found that there are so many different flavours to suit all tastes. The hubby does enjoy craft beers and so far, has tried a wide range of ales, stouts, porters and IPA's.

So when Beer52 asked me if we would like to try one of their festive boxes I jumped at the chance. 

Beer52 is the most popular craft beer club in the UK. They have sourced the best craft beers from around the world to showcase in their subscription boxes. Their boxes of brew are sent out each month and are priced at £24 and can be taken on a rolling month to month basis. Each month you receive 8 different, exclusive craft beers and their magazine telling you all about the beers, Ferment. They guarantee that you will be receiving the freshest beers which will be in your glass just 4 - 6 weeks of being brewed.

Look what came in their festive box.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Chunky Root Veg and Bean Soup

At this time of year I love a good warming bowl of soup. I find it so comforting, on a cold day to sit inside, snug and warm with a big bowl of soup. Not only is it a great comfort food but it is also a great way to get plenty of goodness into our diets.

While shopping the other day I spotted a stew vegetables bundle reduced down to just 25p and I knew it would be ideal for a soup so popped it into my basket! The vegetables that are in this super chunky soup are cheap roots and full of flavour.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Christmas Desserts from Aldi

Now that we are getting closer to Christmas I have started to get stocked up with as many foods for Christmas day as possible. This definitely helps the budget and makes the Christmas shopping trip quicker and easier.

During my shopping trip last week my focus was on desserts for Christmas day! It is the perfect time to allow yourself to indulge in some sweet treats. In true Aldi style they have a wide variety of desserts that are perfect for Christmas and are at a fantastic price.

Before I tell you about the desserts that I will be serving on Christmas day I have to show you the latest addition to our household!

Finally I have managed to get a Kevin the Carrot! Kevin the Carrot is the star of Aldi's Christmas adverts and also their fundraising star. This soft, plush carrot toy is being sold both in store and online and 100% of the profits are going to Barnardo's to help vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the UK. So if you do see one while out shopping, pop one in your trolley!

Now onto desserts!

#CookBlogShare - Round-up and Week 50 Linky

Hello and welcome to week 50 of CookBlogShare. I cannot believe that we have almost had another year of CookBlogShare! As this is my last CookBlogShare of 2016 be prepared for me to get sentimental!

Thank you so much for supporting the linky over the last year it has been a pleasure to host and read all of your delicious recipes. Next year the linky will continue with Mandy from Sneaky Veg, Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie and myself and we look forward to continuing this lovely foodie blogger community.

This weeks round up is all about chocolate. I simply could not resist the four chocolate delights that I have chosen as my favourite recipes. They are all irresistible, some are even healthy but all four will want you wanting more!

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 49 of CookBlogShare...

Friday, 9 December 2016

Christmas with Warninks Advocaat

This time of year is certainly one for reminiscing. Remembering childhood Christmases, remembering loved ones and remembering Christmas traditions and passing them on to the next generation.

When Warninks Advocaat contacted me about our favourite Christmas moments my mind immediately drifted back to my teenage years, standing in my grandparents conservatory, behind their bar, taking orders and making snowballs. I loved the moment that the lemonade hits the Advocaat and froths up. No Christmas is complete without a trusty snowball. Before I tell you about some easy snowball recipes I thought that I would share with you our Christmas traditions and how they are being passed down from generation to generation.

Once December arrives all of our attention goes to Christmas. One tradition that we have started since the twins were two is going to buy a real Christmas tree. This was something that I had always wanted so when we decided that it was going to be a memory for our children to treasure I was excited. The whole experience of going out to select the tree, watching it get wrapped up in the net, trying to get it in the car to bringing it inside and decorating has become a much loved occasion. Once the tree is ready for decorating the Christmas music goes on and the kids get busy. Before, I used to be so particular about how the tree was decorated. But seeing how excited the children get when they are adding the decorations that they have made is so much more important. Gone are the days of colour coordination. They have now been replaced with sentimental ornaments. This year our tree is full of memories from baubles that were my grandparents to home made ornaments, from decorations that Santa has left in the children's stockings to keepsakes that the hubby has bought for me over the years.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Clean Eating with MuscleFood's Live Clean Meals

You may have read that I am currently on a weight loss journey with Slimming World. But this time I am not seeing it as a diet, it is a lifestyle change that is for good. Starting my journey has made me evaluate what I eat, how I prepare food and ensuring that my meals are full of goodness. As much as I love to cook all of our meals from scratch sometimes life takes over and all I want is a healthy meal that is already prepared for me. This leads me to the next problem, finding a ready meal that is nutritious and wholesome. This is where MuscleFood's Live Clean meals come in!

If you have not heard of MuscleFood before let me tell you a little about them.

MuscleFood is an online food and nutrition supplier. They specialise in foods that are not only a high quality but also contain the necessary nutrients and proteins that you need whether you are a keen sports and fitness person or if you, like me, want to eat as healthily as possible with the aim to get to a healthy weight and maintain it. All of their meats are of the highest quality and all carry quality stamps such as the red tractor, RSPCA assured, free range, Organic Association to name but a few. So you know that you are getting exactly what you want. MuscleFood is tried and trusted by professional athletes, they are suppliers to some of the top British restaurants and deliver straight to your door without adding any water or salt to their products. Their meat has never been frozen and is even classically butchered on the day that it is dispatched to you.

With this ethos in mind MuscleFood have developed their new range of meals, Live Clean. The meals are nutritionally balanced, full of clean ingredients and will never contain added sugars or anything artificial! The Live Clean meals have been hand cooked by a Michelin star trained chef and are ready in minutes!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Tabl Recipe Competition! WINNER ANNOUNCED!

A Taste of Bordeaux

Would you like to win a £100 voucher just in time for Christmas?

Of course, who wouldn't!

Tabl are offering one Hijacked By Twins reader the chance to win a £100 voucher to spend on anything on their site.

If you haven't heard about Tabl let me tell you a bit about them.

Tabl are real people who have a real passion for food. They are on a mission to create incredible foodie experiences that range from secret supper clubs to pop-up restaurants. Basically anything foodie that you can imagine. They are constantly sourcing independent and craft producers that can guarantee downright delicious food, from wagyu beef to green tea, granola to gin, and gluten-free to gluttonous. As well as the events that they host they also provide an amazing gift range that is ideal for this time of year. Their hampers range in prices from up to £25 to the indulgent hampers that retail over £100 but they cater for all tastes. My favourite hamper has to be their Ultimate Gin Hamper!

Christmas Bakes

Christmas is a great time for bakes. I would love to have the time to bake more for Christmas but life simply gets in the way and I am not able to bake everything that we love. Thankfully Aldi have got a deliciously tempting range of Christmas bakes this festive season. Whether you are looking for tempting sweet bakes or some savoury baked snacks you can be sure to find what you are looking for. Today I am going to show you my top Aldi finds of sweet baked products and share with you a healthier Christmas cake recipe.

Before I tell you all about the sweet treats let me tell you about a little bit of news. You may have seen in the media how this year Christmas dinner is going to cost more, that everything is more expensive, however if you shop at Aldi this is not going to be the case. Yahoo recently published an article how this year, thanks to Aldi, your Christmas dinner will be the cheapest in 8 years! The Good Housekeeping Institute have conducted a comparison survey of the main supermarket retailers and found that Aldi was the cheapest, coming in at just £22.03 to feed a family of eight! That is just £2.75 a head! This is yet another reason to go to Aldi and save money!

Now back to the sweet treats!

Here are my top sweet baked treats from Aldi this Christmas...

Monday, 5 December 2016

#CookBlogShare Week 48 - Festive Treats Round-Up

Now that we are in December I am in full Christmas mode. I am loving all of the Christmas foodie treats that are everywhere. But what I enjoy most is reading each unique twist on the good old traditional recipes that we all know and love at Christmas. That is the beauty of them, they can be made to suit all tastes.

Last week CookBlogShare was hosted by Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie. As always there was a lovely variety of recipes shared, but Christmas was definitely coming through and I expect to see more and more over the next couple of weeks.

This weeks round-up is all about four festive treats. One is all about how to style your fondant, another is a firm traditional favourite, one has been given a complete new twist while the fourth is a fun family activity!

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 48 of CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 5th December 2016

Yay we are in December! Our Christmas tree is up and the countdown is on! I have even revamped my Weekly Meal Plan badge and added a Christmassy feel to it!

Yesterday I did a trial run for a Christmas spiced turkey, using a chicken. A couple of weeks ago I did a Roast Chicken River Cottage Style which was a huge success. As soon as I tasted it I knew that I would want to transform it for Christmas and it was amazing!

Last weeks weigh in was a success. I lost another 2.5lbs which saw me also go into a new number! So far I have lost 16.5lbs. I am aiming to lose another 3.5lbs for Christmas, this will get me to Club 10 where I will have lost 10% of my weight! I am sure that I can do it as I have another 3 weigh in's before the big day. Changing the way that I eat and cook has made me think about how I can continue throughout the Christmas holiday. We all know that it is a difficult time of year to stick to plan. I have written an article for BritMums about how to have a Merry Healthy Christmas which I am planning to follow!

This weeks meal plan is all about trying to run the freezer down a little before I collect my meat hamper and turkey. This will not only run the freezer down but will also save us some money!

This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Week Commencing 5th December 2016

Friday, 2 December 2016

Full of Veg Pasta Bake

Since starting Slimming World seven weeks ago how I cook our meals has really changed. Now when I cook I am striving to cram in even more vegetables. This includes already healthy recipes. Bulking out dishes with more vegetables simply means bulking out with even more goodness!

When I was looking through one of my Slimming World cookbooks, Family Feasts on a Budget I found a lovely recipe for Sweet Potato Pasta Bake. I had planned to follow the recipe but, in true Hijacked By Twins style, I could not stick to the recipe and added a lot more vegetable goodness.

This meal was a huge success and I wanted to share it with you today.

This is what I did...

Organix Goodies Giveaway!

In the past I have told you how much the kids love Organix snacks. They are a healthier option and us parents can be safe in the knowledge that they contain no nasties! Earlier in the year I told you all about their new snacks for older kids, Punk'd, today I am going back to snack for the younger ones.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Leftover Christmas Dinner Soup and Lots of Christmas Inspiration!

𝅘𝅥𝅮 It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas 𝅘𝅥𝅮

Yes, December is here and all of our focus is now on Christmas! I am planning meals, we are planning shopping trips and we are all planning our decorations. When it comes to Christmas food I always do a traditional turkey, that is a must. But I also love to plan what we will be having after Christmas day and how I will be using up any leftovers from Christmas dinner.

As much as I love Christmas dinner I always enjoy the leftovers the following day. There are so many ways for you to revamp leftover to create a whole new meal. But one of my favourite leftover meals has to be a good, warming soup. A couple of weeks ago I shared with you a post all about a fantastic five bird roast that is perfect for Christmas dinner. I purposely cooked extra vegetables just for the leftovers!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Foodie Prints from Desenio

I have mentioned before how we are having building work done at the moment. We are nearing completion of the first outhouse room so that means in a couple of weeks I will have my own office area! To be honest I do not know what I am most excited about, finally having room for a tumble drier or having my own work space. A space that I can make my own.

So when Desenio asked me if I would like to take a look at their wall art I saw it as the perfect opportunity to get some prints for my new study. Being the foodie blogger that I am I wanted something that represented the passion for what I do. Desenio have a wide variety of themes for prints so you can be guaranteed that you will find just what you are looking for. 

Take a look at what is going to be adorning my walls...

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

All About the Drinks! Christmas with Aldi

This weeks is a fun week! Today I am going to tell you my top drinks and bargains from Aldi. In true Aldi fashion they have great, top quality drinks at a price we have come to expect from Aldi.

Today I thought that I would showcase a bit of all sorts. I have got some wines, gins, liqueurs, beers and even champagne. They really do have something for everyone and to suit all budgets! 

But you do not need to take my word for it. In a recent study by Which? Aldi champagne, malbec and even their turkey has been voted by the experts at Which? as their best buys!

Monday, 28 November 2016

#CookBlogShare - Week 47 Perfect Party Pieces

Welcome to #CookBlogShare week 47's round-up. Last week the linky was hosted here on Hijacked By Twins. There were so many delicious recipes shared. It is fantastic to see so many of you joining in each week, along with new blogs. I have said it before, and I will say it again, this has become a lovely little foodie community and this is a post which I always look forward to writing. Thank you! As we are almost in December it is fantastic to see more and more Christmas recipes coming through. The way that the year has gone so far, Christmas will be here before we know it!

For this weeks round-up I have chosen four recipes that would make perfect party pieces. Over the coming weeks I am sure many of us will be thinking about entertaining and preparing buffets. The four recipes that I have selected will keep your guests returning for more!

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 47 of #CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 28th November 2016

Last weeks meal plan was a success. You my remember that we started the week with a five bird roast. Oh wow it was so good! We all thoroughly enjoyed the rich flavours from the goose, duck and pheasant with the cranberry stuffing, turkey and chicken. It also made a lovely soup the following day.

Last week was a funny old week. The twins were full of cold so all week I have been up with one of them or the other. This has left me exhausted. The school runs have been done in the car so my steps for the week have been so low compared to usual. This did have an effect on my weigh in results this week. This week I only lost half a pound. But that half a pound meant I got this...

Friday, 25 November 2016

Carrot Cake Porridge

Since starting Slimming World six weeks ago breakfasts have become a meal that I look forward to. In the past I have, more often than not, skipped breakfast. This often leads to snacking. Breakfast is often known as the most important meal of the day as it gets your metabolism going and sets you up for the day.

Breakfasts do not need to be boring they can be easily transformed into something quite special. My favourite breakfast food has to be porridge oats. They are such a versatile ingredient that can be revamped into so many different flavours and accompanied with endless additional ingredients.

I recently shared my Fruit Layered Porridge Breakfast Bowl which has been a favourite of mine. That was until I tried today's porridge. While I was at my Slimming World group last week someone mentioned a carrot cake porridge bake. This certainly got my attention as carrot cake has to be my favourite cake. So when I got home I looked at my favourite carrot cake recipe, noted the ingredients and got planning as to how I could transfer the flavours into a porridge.

This is what I did..

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Roast Chicken River Cottage Style

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting River Cottage based in Axminster, Devon. While we were there, before we dined on an outstanding meal, Senior Sous Chef Andy Tyrrell gave us a talk and demonstration on brining and curing meats. We were told how to transform pork into ham at home, how to cure beef into bresaola and even how to brine a turkey!

As Andy went through each process I sat scribbling away as I knew that I would want to try as many of the recipes as possible. So far I have only brined a chicken but I am planning to make a bresaola ready for Christmas! Today I thought that I would share with you how I brined the chicken as I was so happy with the results.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Aldi Specially Selected Five Bird Roast

When we think of Christmas dinner we all immediately think about turkey. But there are so many other options for Christmas dinner. This year I will definitely be cooking a turkey but I am also planning on cooking a second meat. After sitting and looking through the meats that Aldi will have this season I was tempted by so many other meats. Unfortunately the fresh meats are not available until nearer the time but Aldi do have some frozen meat dishes in store that can even be cooked from frozen!

So far I have narrowed it down to the four delicious meats pictured.
  • Goose - The fresh British goose from Aldi is free range and from the fields of East Anglia.
  • Beef - This Specially Selected beef rib joint is from herds that have been reared in the great outdoors. They have been grass fed and slow grown to give the meat a high level of marbling.
  • Venison - From 19th December Aldi will be stocking fresh venison haunch joints. Raised on open pastures of New Zealand this premium lean meat is complimented by a juniper berry jus.
  • Lamb - Lamb is often associated with Easter but it is a versatile meat that can be enjoyed all year round including Christmas. This whole leg of lamb will be available from 19th December.

#CookBlogShare Round-Up and Week 47 Linky

Week 47! Wow the weeks are flying by!

Last week the CookBlogShare linky was hosted by Mandy over at Sneaky Veg and there was, as always, a lovely variety of recipes shared. Now that we are nearing the end of November we are starting to see more and more Christmas inspired recipes coming though. I have also loved seeing some of the River Cottage posts being shared after the event that was run by Foodies100. I am planning to share my post this week so keep an eye out for it!

When it came to selecting my four favourite recipes this week there was no common theme to go with. So this week my round up is simply called 'The Delicious Round-Up'.

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 46 of #CookBlogShare...

Monday, 21 November 2016

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 21st November 2016

Wow, Monday's are certainly coming round quickly!

Last week I wrote my first Christmas post, yes the big 'C' word is out there and over the coming weeks I will be talking about it a lot more! Like last year, I will be showcasing what Aldi have to offer this festive season. Last Tuesday I gave you a sneak peek at what you can expect to see. We are starting the week with a bit of a feast. Today we will be dining on one of my top Christmas meat finds and I am certainly looking forward to tonight's meal. Keep an eye out tomorrow as I will be telling you all about it!

My Slimming World eating plan has been going really well. I feel, for the first time, as if something has clicked in my head. I have started to go for the healthier options when selecting what to eat and am enjoying my food. When I attended my group last week I was delighted to have lost a further 3lbs but was a little disappointed I had not lost 3.5lbs as that would have given me my first stone. But it has made me even more determined to see a new number on Friday!

I am eating a lot more fruit and vegetables and have found that I feel so much better for changing my eating habits and cutting down my sugar intake. I just hope that I can continue it over Christmas!

Now back to my Weekly Meal Plan. This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Christmas Preparations

Can you believe it is Christmas day in just 5 weeks? Now that we are almost in December my thoughts are definitely turning to the festive preparations. I am starting to write my lists of what I need to do and what I still need to buy.

Being the foodie that I am Christmas dinner is top of my list!

Photograph courtesy of Pixabay

So far I have got ideas for the big day but I am planning on having a few trial runs over the next few weeks to find the perfect centre piece for the traditional Christmas turkey. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing how I get on and how I will be preparing my turkey on Christmas day.

Then I need to plan what I will be serving alongside the turkey. The vegetables, side dishes, starters, desserts, snacks, drinks, oh the list goes on!

Then there are the presents to buy!

Friday, 18 November 2016

A Winter Feast at River Cottage

If you follow me on social media you will not have missed that I recently spent the evening at the iconic River Cottage in Axminster. River Cottage is a place that we, as a family, have followed since the start of their journey. From the early days when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall left the city to live in the original River Cottage to developing Park Farm.

When we arrived at Park Farm I was amazed at the beautiful setting. We waited for the tractor at the top of a hill looking down, into the valley, where River Cottage is based. To access the cottage we were transported down in a trailer on the back of a tractor. As we made our way down the lane River Cottage gradually came into view. Nestled in the Dorset valley it really was a picturesque sight.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Christmas Gift Guide - Foodie Men

This year I thought that it would be fun to do some gift guides on the run up to Christmas. Finding the perfect gift for loved ones can be hard as we all want to find a gift that we know our loved ones will love! Today I am going to share with you my top gift for men who love dining out! Who does not love a good foodie treat or going out for a lovely meal. The whole dining experience, great food, getting dressed up. This can make a fantastic gift.

I have been looking around for great foodie gifts for men and have found the following...

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Peachy Giant Couscous Salad with Del Monte

We all love fruit. It is the one food which the children have free run of. We keep the fresh fruit in baskets in the fridge so that it is easily accessible. This is great for their health but the amount of times I have gone to the fridge for some fruit to find that the kids have eaten it all are endless. That is why we always keep some tins of fruit in the cupboard. So when Del Monte asked me if I would like to create an easy recipe using some of their fruit I could not wait to get started.

To get my ideas flowing they sent me a lovely hamper full of Del Monte goodies.  The hamper included some of their new kids Squeezie pouches. As soon as the children saw the Minnie and Mickey design they could not wait to try them. The pouches are 100% fruit based and are aimed at children aged 3 - 9 years old but even my 12 year old wanted to try them! The children got to try two of the new flavours, apple and mango and apple, strawberry and blueberry. Both flavours were a huge success and we will definitely be keeping an eye out for them on our next shopping trip. They are perfect to pop in the bag for days out or for the children's lunch box.

For today's recipe I have used some of Del Monte's tinned fruit. Did you know that tinned fruit can be more nutritious than fresh fruit? This is because the fruit is picked when it is fully ripe and is processed immediately. This locks in the goodness that can deteriorate over time. A recent study actually found that when they compared fresh, frozen and canned foods the nutrients were surprisingly similar. Plus when the fruit is kept in a can it has a longer shelf life. Inevitably this reduces food waste and saves us valuable money!

This recipe is a deliciously healthy salad recipe that contains fresh vegetables, chicken and the star of the dish, Del Monte peaches.

This is what I did..

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Home Improvements and a New Office

At last we have some news on the home improvements front. At the moment our outhouses are being transformed from a shed and coal house to a washing room/utility and a new larder. It is ridiculous how excited I am simply about having a larger utility and the opportunity to finally get a tumble drier. Then there is the larder! As we live in an older house storage is a huge problem so to have a room specifically for food storage will be a huge help. After my visit to River Cottage I am even hoping for some space to hang cured meat!

But something else that can now happen inside thanks to the building work is that I can finally have my own work space. The room that is now our small utility is to be my office. Having my own work space has got me thinking about how I will decorate the room, what will I furnish it with, as it will be my study I will need some work furniture. I already have some beautiful images for the wall which I think are fitting for my blog..

Christmas with Aldi

Yes I have mentioned the big 'C' word!

The Christmas adverts are on the television, shops are putting up the trees and the shelves are now being stocked up with Christmas goodies. Instead of my regular Aldi recipe post, this week I am going to be telling you all about the Christmas foodie posts that I have got planned, showing you this years Christmas advert from Aldi and show you some fantastic foodie gifts!

But first check out the star of the their advert this year Kevin the Carrot...

Back in July I was invited down to London to experience Aldi's Christmas in July event. At the no expense spared event Aldi showcased the best of their products this Christmas season. While I was at the event I had the opportunity to speak to some of Aldi's chief buyers. Being able to speak to them in person helped me to understand the ethos of the buyers. They clearly stated that what they look for when hunting out products is for the items to have a high end supermarket quality but one that they are able to provide for their customers at a bargain shop price. This is just what customers want. When shopping at a budget shop you do not want to compromise on quality and Aldi are able to allow us to get both!

Whilst I was at the event I was able to taste many of their outstanding Christmas products and over the next 5 weeks I am going to be showcasing my favourite high end products alongside recipes and ideas to make your Christmas table truly spectacular this year.

Monday, 14 November 2016

#CookBlogShare Week 45 Round-Up - 4 Perfect Autumnal Dishes

What a busy week it was last week. It was lovely to finally meet my fellow CookBlogShare host Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie at the River Cottage event. While we were there we were talking about how great it would be to meet more of you lovely people who join in with the linky each week. We all feel that we know each other but it would be amazing to meet in person. Hopefully in the new year we will have the opportunity to get the CookBlogShare tribe together! 

Thank you Eb for hosting last week. Tomorrow the linky is with Mandy at Sneaky Veg so do not forget to pop over and show us what you have been cooking up!

Last week there were so many autumnal recipes shared and this week my round-up is all about my favourite four.

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 45 of CookBlogShare...