Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Iceland #PowerofFrozen - Honey and Mustard Red Snapper Recipe

As long as I can remember there has always been an Iceland on the high street. But I will admit to not shopping there a great deal. That is until now!

In 2015 Iceland kicked off their #PowerofFrozen campaign working with Holly Bell, Great British Bake Off finalist and blogger at Recipes from a Normal Mum. They created a PowerofFrozen cookbook containing 45 recipes to celebrate 45 years of business. Since then they have worked with bloggers such as Emily Leary from A Mummy Too and Vicki Psarias from Honest Mum. So when they contacted me and asked me to write them a recipe, I could not wait to get started!

It has been a few years since I have shopped in Iceland so I really was not too sure what to expect. I knew that I was guaranteed of finding family favourites such as fish fingers and potato waffles but I was surprised to find them alongside superfoods, rare meats and Slimming World meals. I was amazed by the wide variety and choice they had to offer. When choosing frozen food from Iceland you know that you are going to be buying food that has been carefully selected from around the world. Modern freezing techniques ensure that the nutrients are locked in the product, unlike fresh products that loose nutrients as the edge closer to their best before stage. Thanks to these new techniques you can be guaranteed to have the same taste and quality of fresh food, but with the valuable nutrients kept inside. Selecting frozen food also inevitably reduces food waste. I feel guilty every time I throw vegetables that are past their best into the compost pile. Using frozen produce allows you to use exactly the amount that you require, leaving what is left in the freezer for another meal.

When it came to selecting what food I would like to show you from Iceland, I really was spoilt for choice. They had the usual fish that I was expecting to see like cod, haddock and tuna. But alongside it I was surprised to see red snapper, squid tubes and whole sea bass.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Top Baking Kits from House of Fraser

Now that the children are enjoying the Easter holidays it is time to have some activities lined up for any rainy days. In our house, one of our favourite activities has to be baking. Baking is the ideal way to introduce the children to food preparation, cooking and kitchen safety.

When I was taking a look on the House of Fraser website I found some perfect baking kits that are going to be great to use with the kids over the holidays. Today I am going to tell you about the kits that I got and give you an ideal, quick recipe for the kids to try over the holiday!

These are the products that caught my eye...

#CookBlogShare Week 13

It feels like such a long time since I have been writing a CookBlogShare post! The last few weeks have seemed like an eternity. Before I go on, I just want to say a big thank you, for your patience and support over the last few weeks. They have been hard and the blog did get put on hold, but now I am back and raring to go. I will admit to missing my blog and missing reading and checking out all of the recipes shared in CookBlogShare.

This week I am writing my round up with the linky, but from next week everything will be back to normal again. When I looked back on last weeks CookBlogShare there were so many deliciously naughty sweet treats! I could have chosen so many to feature. But I have decided to steer away from the sweet treats. After a weekend of chocolate over load I thought that a savoury round up would be needed!

Here are my four favourite recipes...

Monday, 28 March 2016

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 28th March 2016

Last week I did not get round to writing a meal plan and I will admit to feeling lost without one. It is the weeks that I have not meal planned that I remember why I write them. Having a meal plan gives me the organisation that I so need.

This weeks meal plan will be starting from Tuesday as we are going to be having a meal at my mum and dad's house this bank holiday.

Last week I bought some new cookbooks for my spring time reading so I have got a lot of new inspiration for meals and will definitely be having some of the delicious recipes that are in them.

This weeks meals will be either quick, easy meals or ones that can be slow cooked in the oven. As the children are now on their school holidays I know that my days are going to be busier!

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

Healthy Spring Reading List Shoppertunity

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SoFabUK #CollectiveBias

When I was challenged to write a spring time reading list I immediately knew what I would be going for. Spring time is the perfect time to kick start the healthy eating regime. I find that making new years resolutions for diets a waste of time as we are all more likely to over indulge on comfort foods during the cold and miserable winter months. Whereas once spring time arrives along with the longer days and nicer weather we are all in a better frame of mind to stick to a healthier diet. That is why my spring reading list is all about healthy eating. Summer is not too far away and there is no better inspiration than dreaming of hot summers days and holidays!

Selecting which books was the hard part. I was challenged to buy one, maybe two books. As usual I simply could not decided. I went to my local Tesco Extra to look for some health inspiring books. We usually buy our books from there as they always have a great selection at a really competitive price. Plus the convenience of being able to pick up a book while doing the weekly shop is definitely a plus point!

As you can see there a lot of books to choose from. In the end I narrowed my choice down to three books. The books that I selected varied in price from just £3 to the most expensive being £8. I also decided to go for books which are not as well known as some of the other popular authors. I am going to tell you a bit about each of the books that I chose and also share with you the recipe for the breakfast pot below that I have made from one of the books.

I chose the following books...

Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Many Benefits of Wild Oregano Oil Today

Oregano is a delicious herb to add to foods and one that I often use. I recently wrote a recipe using oregano as a feature herb. When I was cooking my Oregano Prawn Spaghetti I was not aware of the other health benefits that oregano has. This guest post from Nature Supplies certainly will leave you intrigued!

There are few natural remedies which have as many health benefits as Oregano Oil. It can be used for a vast array of health issues; from treating foot and nail fungus to alleviating sinus infections and colds. It is probably most recognised for its use in the culinary world, within which it is used to add flavour to meat and pasta dishes. Although it was frequently used for medicinal purposes in the Ancient Greek and Roman times, the health benefits of Oregano Oil are not necessarily well known in the 21st Century.

What is Oregano Oil?

Created from the flowers and leaves of the Oregano herb, it is a member of the mint family and now grows in many countries around the world, despite originating from parts of Europe. This bushy herb has dark green leaves which along with the accompanying flowers are dried and steam distilled to create the high strength oil. The oil has a dark golden appearance and a very distinctive taste and smell.

Friday, 25 March 2016

19th March - 25th March 2016 - One Picture Everyday for One Year

This week has been such a long week and one that I am pleased is over. The children have got more and more tired as the week has gone on. I can tell that they are ready for the Easter break. Towards the end of the week things started getting back into a routine, which has been good.

This week has seen a heartbreaking day, a meal out, signs of spring and food!

Here is my week in pictures...

Saturday 19th March 2016

On Saturday when we popped out to Tesco the three children loved taking part in their Easter egg hunt challenge. They were over the moon with their Easter bag of treats!

Sunday 20th March 2016

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Sultana and Apricot Hot Cross Buns

One thing I love about Easter has to be the food. When I say food I don't just mean the chocolate eggs! I love simnel cake, I love lamb, I love fish and I love hot cross buns!

I find hot cross buns to be such a satisfying enriched bread to make. It is a harder dough to work with, but when you have worked through the sticky phase it is a lovely dough to handle. When baking they leave your house smelling of cinnamon and Easter scents.

This is what I did...

Sultana and Apricot Hot Cross Buns


500g strong wholemeal flour
300mls milk
50g butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
7g yeast
75g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1tsp cinnamon
100g sultanas
100g dried apricots, chopped
75g plain flour


1 - Gently heat the milk, coconut oil and the butter until warm to touch

2 - Place the flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and beaten egg in a large mixing bowl

3 - Pour in the milk and melted butter and using a wooden spoon start to mix into the flour

4 - As the dough starts to come together stop using the spoon and start using your hands to get a rough dough together

5 - Remove the dough from the bowl and on a lightly floured worktop start to knead the dough. The dough will be very sticky, but keep working through it and continue to knead, adding a little flour if needed, until you have a smooth finish to the dough

6 - Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size

7 - Remove the dough from the bowl and flatten out

8 - Evenly distribute the dried fruit over the top and fold into the dough

9 - Knead the dough until the fruit is evenly spread throughout the dough

10 - Roll the dough into a long roll and cut into 16 rolls and roll them into balls

11 - Place the flattened balls on 2 lined baking trays, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 30 minutes

12 - Pre heat the oven to 200C

13 - Once the rolls have roughly doubled in size again, prepare the mixture for the cross by mixing the plain flour with about 55 tablespoons of water and mix until you have a smooth batter

14 - Place the flour mixture in an icing bag and pipe over the crosses on the buns

15 - Beat the egg and brush over the top of the buns to glaze

16 - Place in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for 20 minutes

These really are delicious buns that are full of flavour from the cinnamon and the fruit. If you do not like fruit, or have children who don't you can substitute the fruit for chocolate drops.

Keep an eye out next week, as I will be sharing a great recipe for leftover hot cross buns and leftover chocolate!

Enjoy x

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Casa Costello

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Nutribuddy - Weight Loss Starter Kit Review

A few weeks ago I was sent the Nutribuddy weight loss starter kit.  Regular readers will know that I am wanting to loose weight ready for the Carnival Cruise that we will be going on in the summer. So when I saw that Nutribuddy were looking for bloggers to try their product I was excited to give it a go. I truly believe in eating a balanced diet to loose weight but do believe that sometimes we need something to give us that initial push. I also like to try out new slimming products to see if they really do what they promise to do!

When I received the Nutribuddy starter kit I was excited to get going. The started pack consists of:
  • Sculpting Whey
  • Hunger fix capsules
  • Multi vitamin tablets
  • Shaker bottle
  • Free - Little Book of Weight Loss

Vegetable and Bean Stew

At this time of year I love to use more root vegetables in our meals. Root vegetables make the perfect comfort food for this time of year. They are not only full of earthly flavours but are so versatile.

This dish is full of root vegetables and beans. This is a dish that you can prepare and leave in the oven to let the flavours marry together. My recipe is cooked in the oven but it can easily be adapted for cooking in a slow cooker.

This is what I did...

Friday, 18 March 2016

12th March - 18th March 2016 - One Picture Everyday for One Week

This week has been a strange week. The days have sort of mingled together. The hubby has been at home so we have both been out of routine but it has been nice and a bit of down time was needed. But from Thursday my work head was back on and looking towards the future.

This week has seen a lot of cooking, a coffee date, time with the hubby and a day out in London!

Here is my week in pictures..

Saturday 12th March 2016

I feel honoured to have been approached by the Children's Food Trust and asked to promote their Big Cookathon that is being run on 22nd April until 25th April. The Big Cookathon is being run to promote more families to cook from scratch at home. I made the vegetarian dish on Saturday and will be writing more about it next week.

Sunday 13th March 2016

The only pictures that I took on Sunday were of review products. These delicious raw bites from Bioglan will be on my shopping list from now on!

Full of Energy Porridge

With the children breaking up for the Easter holidays next week I have been thinking more about lazy breakfasts. During the week, the mornings are manic and breakfasts are quick and easy. But when the school holidays arrive I like to spend more time on breakfast. 

During the cold mornings one of the best ways to start the day has to be with a warming bowl of porridge. There is something so satisfying about a bowl of warm porridge and it is such a versatile bowl of goodness. You can add so many different flavours and it allows you to have a wide choice of combinations. Today I am going to share with you my full of energy porridge. This bowl of porridge will keep you going throughout the morning, it will keep your energy levels up and keep you full until lunch time.

We all know that bananas are full of energy, they are full of natural sugars. The best way for your body to digest these sugars and keep your energy levels up is to combine them with cinnamon. When you add the protein from the nut butter you have a bowl of pure goodness!

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Spring Time is Coming!

At last it really does feel like spring is almost here. With the feeling of spring in the air it is time to start thinking about what fruit and vegetables we are going to grow this year. We are very lucky to have a lovely long garden, one third of which is a dedicated veggie patch.

I cannot take credit for the wonderful area that we have got. It is all thanks to the hard work that the hubby puts in. We have four raised bed, a fruit cage, sheds, chickens and a greenhouse. Now is the time of year that we plan what vegetables we are going to grow this year. We look at what we use the most and the cost effectiveness of growing our own.

So far we have decided to grow:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Aubergines
  • Sprouts
  • Courgettes
  • Parsnips
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • French Beans
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Blueberries
  • Limes
You can grow a lot of your own vegetables in your garden but greenhouses certainly do enable you to grow a wider variety of fruit and vegetables. In our greenhouse we grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chillis, aubergines and even limes! We really would be lost without ours! Growing our own fruit and vegetables has saved us money and has certainly reduced our carbon footprint. But we also get a great satisfaction from eating food that we have grown ourselves. You simply cannot get any fresher, being able to go down the garden and harvest your food. Not to mention the reduction of food waste, when you pick what you need there is no waste!

Getting the children involved in gardening is not only a lovely family pastime but it also educates them about where our food comes from and the growing cycle. They get to experience planting the seeds, nurturing the seeds as they grow and finally seeing the end product cooked and eaten. We have also found that the children are more likely to try new foods, especially if they have helped to grow them. The other year we grew sugar snap peas but not one of them made it to the kitchen table as the twins kept picking them and eating them while out playing!

If you have a good area of garden I would definitely recommend looking into growing your own fruit and vegetables. Investing in a greenhouse is a must where possible. But most important of all have fun, together as a family, in the garden. Our favourite time of year is almost upon us so bring on the longer days, sunny weather, barbecues and homegrown food!

Enjoy x

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

Sausage Casserole with The Black Farmer

Do you follow a gluten free diet or live with someone who does? If so you will be interested to know that 9th - 15th May is Coeliac awareness week. During that week I will be sharing some gluten free recipes but when The Black Farmer got in touch about their gluten free sausages I thought I would get an early start!

It is believed that around half a million people suffer in silence with undiagnosed Coeliac disease. The Black Farmer brand was one of the first to get behind the gluten free industry 10 years ago. Being a totally gluten free brand they are urging people who suffer to get tested. It is estimated that one in every hundred people suffer with coeliac but only about a quarter of those have been diagnosed.

I only became aware of gluten free products after getting together with the hubby. He has a gluten intolerance, but thankfully does not have coeliac disease. Since I started eating gluten free products, particularly bread, I have noticed that I have felt less bloated and uncomfortable after eating gluten free bread. But it wasn't until I had to shop for gluten free foods I realised how many foods actually contain wheat. Even sausages! The Black Farmer produce a range of product that are all gluten free and RSPCA assured so you are not only guaranteed to be getting delicious products but you also know that the animals have been well cared for on their farm of origin.

Today I am going to share with you a delicious, slow cooked sausage stew. This dish is perfect for the colder evening and provides you with a bowl of pure comfort food!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Retro and Traditional Sweets from Lovi Sweets

Everybody loves a good sweet don't they. For me, you cannot beat the good old traditional sweets. I have fond memories of going to my late grandad's newsagents and selecting sweets from the floor to ceiling shelves full of sweets in jars. Years later my parents bought their own newsagents and I know that Joseph will also have a memory similar to mine.

When Lovi Sweets got in touch and asked if I would like to try some of their sweets I could not refuse! Lovi Sweets have combined the traditional sweet shop with the modern online way of shopping. 

Lovi Sweets stock a wide range of sweets from hard boiled sweets to gummy favourites from chews to liquorice. Choosing which sweets to order was the hard part!

In the end I decided to try some classic gummy sweets that were sugar free, some chocolate sweets that are perfect for this time of year and some chocolate coated peanuts.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Foodieseeker Family Fun Day

Now that the countdown is well and truly on for our amazing holiday with Carnival Cruise they thought that it would be a great idea for us, as a family, to go out and enjoy some Italian food to really get us in the holiday mood. One of the restaurants that I am most looking forward to trying while on board Carnival Vista has to be the Italian restaurant Cucina del Capitano. What better way to get an idea of what the food will be like than for us to visit Prezzo Italian restaurant.

As Carnival Vista is still being built I thought that I would show you a video of what Cucina del Capitano looks like on their Breeze vessel. 

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 14th March 2016

Welcome back to another week of meal planning. Over the weekend I enjoy having a look at what I have got in the fridge, freezer and cupboards and plan what meals we will be having over the week. I have been meal planning for a while now and have found that I no longer have the stressful decision of wondering what to cook while the kids are shouting "I'm hungry!". I have found that meal planning gives me the organisation that I so need.

Last weeks meal plan went out of the window due to circumstances completely out of our control. I am not going to talk about it here, but if you want to know why our week was turned upside down you can read it in my Project366 post.

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

Week Commencing 14th March 2016

Monday - Veggie Meatballs

I am planning to make some meatballs using mushrooms and black beans instead of mince meat. They will be served with a tomato sauce and brown rice.

Friday, 11 March 2016

5th March - 11th March 2016 - One Picture Everyday for One Year

This week has been a hard week. It has been full of worry and upset. The week seems to have gone on forever. I have had a few days away from my blog to have time with my hubby and reflect on life in general. To be completely honest as I write this post I simply cannot think what else has happened during the week but I am sure that the pictures will prompt memories.

Here is our week in pictures...

Saturday 5th March 2016

When Mother's Day comes round the hubby always buys me a little treat. This year I got this lovely bottle of gin!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Easter Lamb Stew

When Easter time comes so many foodie delights come to mind. One of these has to be lamb. I love to slow cook a leg of lamb for an Easter Sunday dinner. But with lamb being in season I like to have it more than as just a Sunday dinner.

Aldi have got in store a wide range of Easter food. One being lamb! So this week I thought that I would share with you a deliciously warming lamb stew. On days like we are having at the moment there is nothing better than sitting down to a slow cooked stew. Pure comfort food!

I know that traditionally lamb has been from New Zealand but I was pleased to see that Aldi stock 100% British farmed lamb. This not only helps farmers in our country but also reduces the carbon footprint that has been made.

I cooked this in the oven, only because my slow cooker broke, but it can be cooked in either the oven in a casserole dish with a lid or in the slow cooker.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

CookBlogShare Week 10 and The Savoury Round Up

First of all I must apologise for being so quiet on the CookBlogShare front. Things are just a bit manic and unsettled at home but we must continue on and I am looking forward to sharing with you my eight favourite recipes from the last two CookBlogShare's.

For this weeks round up I have gone for the savoury dishes. These dishes are all meals which my family and I would all love to have as a meal!

Here are my eight favourite recipes...

Monday, 7 March 2016

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 7th March 2016

Meal planning time has soon come around again. At the end of the week I will be travelling down to Dorset for a foodie weekend with some other bloggers. But I am planning to cook an extra meal on Thursday for the hubby and children to have on Friday.

Last weeks meal plan did change. On Tuesday we still had some leftovers from the lentil cottage pie so we finished them off then. I had also planned a meal for Friday forgetting that the hubby and I were out. We enjoyed a date night at the cinema and had salad, cheese and bread with some nice wine when we got home.

This week I am planning a recipe using some lovely gluten free sausages that I have been sent, one fish recipe and the rest will be vegetarian.

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

Week Commencing 7th March 2016

Monday - Hubby's Mother's Day dinner leftovers

Yesterday the hubby cooked me a delicious Mother's Day meal of mushroom and quinoa nut roast. As there was some leftovers I am going to transform them into a pasta dish. With added chopped tomatoes and the nut roast chopped up I will have a mince meat textured sauce.

Tuesday - Cassoulet

I have been sent some gluten free sausages to try so I thought that a cassoulet would be a delicious way to try them. It will be packed with root vegetables and beans.

Wednesday - Kedgeree

Last time I made a kedgeree it was a huge success. When I found some smoked fish in my freezer I knew that everyone would enjoy this!

Thursday - Vegetable lasagne

I will be making my vegetable lasagne which is not only a healthier lasagne but is also Slimming World friendly and syn free!

Friday - Cottage Pie

I will be making a cottage pie on Thursday and leaving it for the hubby and kids for their dinner on Friday.

Saturday - Treat night

As I will be away on Saturday night the hubby is going to treat the kids to a pizza.

Do you meal plan? What have you got planned for your week?

As always I am sharing my meal plan with At Home with Mrs M - Meal Planning Monday

mpm different fonts.png

Friday, 4 March 2016

27th February - 4th March 2016 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

This week has been a tough one. I have had my medication for depression changed yet again. Thankfully the new one seems, so far, better than the last.

This week has seen a lazy weekend, a tea party, cake, flowers and walks through puddles. This is my week in pictures...

Saturday 27th February 2016

On Saturday I managed to have some crochet time which was lovely. I got behind a few days with my sky blanket but now I am almost caught up.

Sunday 28th February 2016

Introducing Super Yummies

As much as I try and steer the children away from snacks they do love them. But who doesn't! I am a believer in a bit of everything in moderation so snacks are definitely not banned in this house. But if I can offer the children a healthier alternative, I will.

That is why I was delighted to see the Cow and Gate have created Super Yummies. Super Yummies are Cow and Gates delicious new snack range that have been developed by both mums and nutritionists so you know that they are going to be both tasty and good for your little ones.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Butternut Squash and Chestnut Soup from Sunrise

Last year I tested a delicious Bailey's Cheesecake recipe that was sent from Sunrise Senior Living. So when they got in touch again and asked me to try out one of their new recipes I could not wait to see what new meals that had created.

The menus at Sunrise Senior Living are all created by Michelin star chefs and provide only the best quality of food to ensure that people in their care get all of the essential vitamins and nutrients from their meals. Not only do Sunrise provide excellent care but also serve delicious food!

After taking a good look at the menu I decided to have a go at making their Butternut Squash and Chestnut Soup. At this time of year soups are a perfect option for lunch on a cold day. They are a lot more satisfying that a boring old sandwich! Soups are not only delicious but they are a great way to consume more natural goodness.

Dining at Sunrise consists of...
  • Tailored menus to meet residents’ individual dietary needs
  • A choice of favourite classics, regional dishes, resident requests and healthy international recipes
  • Finger food choices for residents who need easy-to-eat meals
  • Crockery and cutlery designed to make dining easier for people living with dementia
  • Fresh, seasonal ingredients chosen by our dining team
  • Low-fat, low-sodium, high-fibre, high calcium, reduced-calorie, diabetic friendly and vegetarian choices
  • Appetising and attractive food for people who find solids hard to swallow
This is how I got on making their soup...

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Keeping Kids Safe in the Kitchen

Spending time in the kitchen, cooking or baking, with the children is an wonderful activity to do together. I find that when the children have helped to prepare, cook or bake food they are more likely to try and experiment with new foods. We all know that kitchen safety is important when cooking but when children are also in the kitchen it is even more important.

Today I thought that I would share with you my top tips for keeping little ones safe in the kitchen. These tips will be not only focus on cooking time but will also focus on everyday safety. I find that regularly checking not only refreshes my mind but also ensures that the children stay safe.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Fairtrade Fortnight - Fairtrade Banoffee with a Difference Cake

Yesterday marked the start of fairtrade fortnight. Fairtrade products are now widely available in all of your supermarkets. But people often believe that fairtrade items cost more money. Today I am going to show you that they are more affordable and more available than you may think.
Image result for fairtrade fortnight logos

Aldi stock fairtrade products and because it is fairtrade fortnight I thought that I would share with you my own fairtrade recipe using products from Aldi.

While I was shopping I picked up some fairtrade, organic bananas, fairtrade Colombian coffee, fairtrade Peruvian single origin chocolate and I could not resist some fairtrade roses!

Having these three main ingredients gave me a great idea for a cake. Here is my Banoffee with a Difference Cake. The difference being the "offee" is not toffee, it is coffee.

This is what I did...