Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Weight Loss Fashion

Today I am sharing a post that is a little different to my foodie post. I have spoken in the past about my weight loss journey. I still have not reached my final target but I have reached my original target and I am finally feeling happy with how I am. Since I returned to the working world a few weeks ago I have been getting glimpses of the old Kirsty coming back and I love it!

Along with the weight loss and returning to work I definitely needed some new clothes. So when I got an email asking me if I would like to try out some summer clothes the timing was perfect. When it came to deciding what to try I knew that I would need some blouses and dresses. But I like clothes that can be multi functional, items that can be worn for work but also at the weekend.

#CookBlogShare Week 26 - Plus 4 Summer Recipes

Hello and welcome to week 26 of Cook Blog Share.

Well a lot has happened during the last 4 weeks. I have started my new job and loving it! But next week it is changing again. Until the end of term I am doing full days. So I have a feeling I will be well and truly ready for the six weeks summer holiday to come!

Last week the Cook Blog Share linky was hosted by Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes who, like me, could not resist the lovely summer feeling! As the weather has been glorious it is no surprise that summer dishes won again this week. I am hoping for plenty more lovely weather and lots of eating al fresco. The meals that I have decided to feature are all perfect for outside dining with the family or friends.

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 25 of #CookBlogShare...

Monday, 26 June 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday 2017 Week 26

Hello and welcome to week 26 of #MealPlanningMonday.

Wow we are already half way through the year! Where has the time gone?

Last weeks meal plan was a huge success, we had each and every main meal that I had planned! The only slight alteration was that the meatballs were used in a bolognese sauce and is in the freezer ready and waiting for next week as we decided to get an easy meal while we were out on Saturday. I am finally getting used to my new routine of housework, kids, blogging and work. But it is all about to change yet again! I have been asked to do some overtime as of next week. I will be doing full days until the end of term which is going to make meal planning even more important!

This weeks meal plan is a super cheap budgeting plan. As I am now employed I have had to declare this for our tax credits. I always declare any changes as soon as I can so that we do not get any over payments. This has meant that we have had a drop in money which, until I get paid, really is effecting our shopping budget. But I am not complaining I think it does us good to have a cheap week! Since my work with Aldi came to an end I have been looking round at supermarket prices and have been pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of prices at Tesco are now comparable to Aldi. This, for me, is great news as I can place click and collect orders and not have to pay significantly more for our shopping! The click and collect service is now a God send! I drive past Tesco on my way home so not only does it save me time but also saves us money each week!

This weeks meal plan is not only a cheap one, but, I think, a delicious one! This is what we will be having this week...

Friday, 23 June 2017

Lemon and Lime Meringue Pie - A kMix Recipe

One of the hubby's favourite desserts has to be lemon meringue pie. He often moans that I do not make this a lot and he is right. I could not tell you the last time, before now, that I made one. So when I mentioned to him that I wanted to try out the balloon whisk attachment on the Kenwood kMix stand mixer he suggested a lemon meringue pie without hesitation. As I was baking for father's day I could not refuse.

When I made the pie it was one of the hottest days of the year so needless to say I did not want to be in the kitchen for hours so I did cheat a little. Instead of making my own pastry I did buy some pre made shortcrust pastry. Unfortunately it did not turn out as well as when I make my own. I must confess I did wonder whether or not to share this recipe simply because of the poor pastry but the pie tasted amazing and the meringue was the best I made! Plus I am only human, not every single meal or recipe I make turns out Instagram perfect, but hey that is life!

When it came to making the meringue the Kenwood kMix did a fantastic job and I was able to hold the bowl upside down in no time! The meringue has to be the best meringue that I have ever made. It was so light and fluffy and once baked had the perfect crispy topping combined with the softer centre.

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Sprouted Wholemeal Spelt Flour Carrot Cake

One of my all time favourite cakes has to be carrot cake. Surprisingly it is not a cake that I make very often but that makes it even more of a treat!

I was recently sent some new flours to try which gave me the perfect excuse to make a carrot cake! I was sent an email from the team over at Bite UK telling me about the new Spiffing sprouted flours. Needless to say I was curious and wanted to know more. Sprouted flours have been through a germination technique called sprouted. This process wakes up the grain, bringing it to life and acting as a catalyst for nutrients. Flours that have undergone this germination have many benefits including:
  • More easily digestible. They are rapidly absorbed by the body and kinder to the stomach.
  • Increased key nutrients such as Vitamins B and C, folate, fibre, essential amino acids and increased anti oxidants.
  • Enhanced taste and texture.
The flours come in four varieties:
  • Sprouted wheat flour
  • Sprouted wholemeal spelt flour
  • Sprouted buckwheat flour
  • Sprouted chickpea flour

For this bake I decided to use the sprouted wholemeal spelt flour. I love the nutty flavour that spelt brings to a bake and knew that it would be perfect for this cake. I got my inspiration for this cake from Signe Johansen's beautiful book Scandilicious Baking. This is what I did... 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Quick and Easy Food Hacks for a Healthier Tea Time! - Guest Post

Fast food and being healthy don’t usually go hand in hand, but when you’re whipping up your own dinners it’s possible to combine the two. Take a look at my food hacks for making classic dishes healthier and quicker, or preparing in advance to get you ahead on the night.
Wok it up
One of the quickest meals you can make has to be a stir fry. I like to pack in loads of vegetables so it’s really good for you – whatever I have in the fridge but usually carrots, peppers and greens at the very least. If you have a big wok you can cook your meat, veg and sauce together too and save on washing up.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday 2017 Week 25

Hello and welcome to week 25 of MealPlanningMonday!

I hope you had a great week and were as blessed with the summer weather as we were! It feels so good to finally have some sunshine and heat. My moods are always so much better when it is sunny! Over the weekend we have spend the majority of the time out in the garden. I even did my ironing outside in the sun while the children were playing under the water sprinkler.

Last week I started my job and I love it! I know that I made the right decision applying for the job. It has given me a new lease of life. I am my old self again, interacting with real people and having something different to apply myself to. Being part time means that I can still keep up with my love of blogging. I really do have the best of both worlds.

The only thing that did not quite go as well was my meal plan. It started off well but then the nice weather came and my food motivation went out. We did have the mushroom and lentil ragu, which was amazing and enough left for a second meal. So the following day I added some MOR pork, super green veg and lentil sausages that I was sent to try and had a second meal. The gluten, wheat and dairy free sausages went perfectly with the sauce. Each sausage is full of pork, asparagus, peas, spinach, green lentils, onion and coriander in a sweet chilli dressing.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Birthday Gift Round-up

It is official, I have been well and truly spoilt with both gifts and love! I thought that I would share with you some of my gifts and some things that I plan to treat myself to with some of my birthday money!

My family know that with Cath Kidston items they simply cannot go wrong. This is a brand that I love! So when I opened this beautiful British Birds Curved Saddle Bag I was over the moon. This is a bag that I had pointed out in the past to the hubby. It is smaller than my other bag and is perfect for me to take to work. As the bag is smaller he knew that I would also need a smaller purse, so also wrapped me up this lovely little leather Cath Kidston purse. As I have recently started my new job I also wanted some new work shoes. I like my shoes to be a bit different. If I am wearing all black I like a pair of shoes that give it a bit of contrast. These Elvington Rose Embossed Ballerina Shoes are a fantastic addition to my shoe collection!

Anyone that knows me knows I love gin! So receiving a bottle of Thomas Dakin small batch gin got the thumbs up from me! This is a gin that I have not tried before which made it even more exciting! For my coffee at work the kids also gave me this quirky quote mug that says "Do more of what makes you happy" this is a perfect quote for life!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Race for Life Energy Boost Flapjacks

Last week my mum and I completed the race for life. We usually run in the morning but the race for life was being held in the evening so I knew that we would both need an energy boost both before and after the race. This is how this recipe came along. After doing some research into foods I discovered that malt extract is a fantastic, healthy way to boost sugar levels and replenish your energy levels. Malt extract is not something that is widely available in supermarkets but I did find some in our local Holland and Barrett store. In this recipe I have paired the malt extract with honey, bananas, dates and plenty of protein!

This is what I did...

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Life and Luck Before 40!

Photograph courtesy of Pixabay

Today is my birthday.

Today I turn 39.

39, how can I be 39?

All of a sudden the years seem to have crept up. Next year I hit the big 4 0. I remember feeling dread as I went from my 20's into my 30's then once my birthday was over I realised it was not such a big deal. So why is 40 such a big deal?

People say that once you hit 40 you have hit mid life but I am going into my final year of my thirties with a different view. When I hit 40 I am going to be going into some of the best years of my life. During my thirties I have noticed a huge difference in how I feel about life. I went into my thirties as a single working mum to J. During my 30's I met, fell in love with and married my hubby. He turned my life into something that I dreamt of. He gave me the stability and completed me in a way that I always longed for. We have been blessed with our beautiful twins and have a loving family. My 30's have been the most settled, happy and stable years. Lady luck has definitely been on my side and as I go into the final year of my 30's I am actually looking forward to seeing how my life changes during my 40's.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Food for Healthy Hair

Recently I have been looking more closely about what vitamins and minerals are good various aspects of our health. At the moment I have been looking how food can benefit the health of my hair. Last summer I had a hair disaster. I decided that I wanted to change the colour of my hair from dark brown to blonde. Yes I thought that I would save some money and do it myself. Not surprisingly it did not go as planned. My hair went from dark brown to orange! This happened just before we were due to go on holiday with Carnival Cruise. I ended up getting the colour sorted at a hair dressers which did get the colour looking good but it did damage the condition of my hair. It needed a lot of bleach and toners and since then the health of my hair has not been fantastic. I try not use heat products unless I am going somewhere special and use deep conditioning products. But to try and repair my hair the natural way I have been looking at what foods will help to naturally repair the colour damage that I have done. Eating the correct balance of minerals, nutrients and vitamins will help to keep your hair shiny, lustrous and strong.

This is what I have discovered...

Photograph courtesy of Pixabay

Monday, 12 June 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday 2017 Week 24

Hello and welcome to week 24 of #MealPlanningMonday.

This is a big week for me. Today I am finally starting my new job. I am so excited and a little nervous but looking forward to starting this new chapter of my life.

This weeks meal plan was planned before I did my shopping. Over the last few weeks I have been getting a box of vegetables delivered so I have planned after the box has arrived. But as they are away for a couple of weeks I have had to plan more in advance. To save money I have also gone back to ordering our shopping online. When I go shopping I often get tempted by offers and always end up buying more than we actually need. So by shopping online I have more control and can easily add or take things off over the week. During the half term I did a 'click and collect' order so that I did not have to take the children shopping and it was so easy! So instead of getting my shopping delivered this week I have done another click and collect order and plan to continue shopping this way as it is going to be so much easier now that I am working.

Last week I completed the Cancer Research Race for Life. This, for me, was a great achievement because when I signed up to do it I could not run for 2 minutes let alone for 5k. So I am feeling quite proud of myself and plan to continue running. I completed the race in 41 minutes and found finishing with my mum to be really emotional.


Friday, 9 June 2017

Family Time at Prezzo

During the half term last week the children and I met up with my sister and her daughters for a lunch treat at Prezzo. The school holidays gave us the perfect opportunity to get together with the children to enjoy some food. 

Prezzo have made family dining even easier and family orientated with their new La Famiglia Feast sharing dish. We, as a family love to sit and eat together and regardless what others have everybody wants to dig in and try other meals which when you are out can be a bit difficult. But Prezzo have created the perfect feast for a family. One large bowl of pasta, side dishes, drinks and even ice cream. One bowl for everyone to share. This is ideal for families and a fantastic way to come together over some delicious food.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

One Pot Fish Stew on a Budget

Who does not love a good way to save money on meals? As the prices of our everyday food goes up I am constantly trying to find ways to make both the food and our money go further. Back in March The Guardian reported that there had been a 2.3% rise in the price of everyday produce that we buy from the supermarket. I am sure that we are not the only family that is feeling the pinch! Despite trying to save money I also want to ensure that we are eating healthily. One food that is full of goodness but always seems to be quite expensive is fish. When I go shopping I always check out the reduced section and when they have fish I get stocked up! 

Before I tell you all about my Fish Stew on a Budget recipe let me tell you how I save money on our meals...
  • Use less meat/fish and bulk dishes up with vegetables, beans or grains such a pearl barley or lentils
  • Always check out the reduced section in the supermarket
  • Freeze any leftovers as they can be added to future meals
  • Don't always go for the branded items, try the supermarket own brand and value brands
  • Check the price of loose fruit and vegetables and compare as they are often cheaper than the pre packaged ones
  • Visit the local independent greengrocer
  • Compare prices between the supermarkets
  • Visit bargain supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl
  • Before buying household items and toiletries check out the prices at discount home stores such as Home Bargains and b&m
  • Take any money off vouchers with you
  • Meal plan before you shop and write a list of what you need

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Honey and Lavender Cake

I love this time of year. In the garden produce is growing and flowers are coming into bloom. One of our favourite flowers has to be lavender. Not only does it smell amazing and look beautiful but it also goes perfectly in bakes. In the past I have usually paired lavender with lemon and my Lemon and Lavender Cake has always been a huge success! But this time I wanted to try something different and was delighted with the results.

This is what I did...

Monday, 5 June 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday 2017 Week 23

Hello and welcome to week 23's Weekly Meal Plan.

Last week I was a rubbish meal planner as I totally forgot to plan! I got so wrapped up in the long weekend I only realised on Monday evening that I had forgotten. So I rebelled and completely winged it and it really was not so bad! It was half term so we enjoyed a meal out then I was not feeling well so I reached for quick and easy dinners.

How was your half term? We had a lovely week and it really did fly by. We were only in for one day so I think that made the time go quicker. We had a lovely lunch at Prezzo for BritMums post and met up with my sister and her girls. Another day we went for a walk at the local hall and gardens and we finished the week with a bargain Mini Morn movie at our local Vue cinema. Normally the cinema costs us a small fortune but thanks to the Mini Morn offer I only had to pay £2.50 each!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Calsway Snacks Review - Plus Dessert Recipe!

Eating right just got a lot easier with the new health brand Calsway. Calsway have recently announced the launch of their Eat Right® (#EatRight) range of snacks.

Like the majority of busy people finding a healthy snack for on the go can be hard. But Calsway have created a range of naturally delicious snacks that finally solve this problem. Trying to follow a healthy eating plan you are bombarded by what you can and cannot eat, the amount of calories to consume, weighing foods, following a 'diet' can be exhausting. These Calsway snacks come pre packed in resealable pouches that come in 100, 150 and 200 calorie packets with both paleo and vegan options available. When Calsway contacted me to ask if we would like to try one of their variety boxes I knew that they could solve both my snacking problems and finding healthy snacks for the children.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Handwriting and your Health!

I love to write, I find that it is both therapeutic and a way for me to vent and get things out of my system. So when I was asked if I would like to share with you a guest post all about how writing is good for your health I knew that it would be fitting.

Photograph courtesy of Pixabay

Handwriting and your Health - A Collaborative Guest Post

Handwriting is good for the mind 

Handwriting is good for your health. Picking up a pen is a way of fast-tracking the memory banks to retain information.

Picking up a pen is good for your health 

In a research document published by Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer, they found that students writing out their notes longhand with a pen rather than using a keyboard could recall more information. It took them longer to write their notes rather than to type. The researchers emphasised how writing engages more parts of the brain and therefore aids memory retention. Laptops and tablets come alive with distracting alerts and pop-ups demanding more power from the brain’s processor.

#CookBlogShare 2017 Week 22 - Plus Four Delectable Bakes

Hello and welcome to week 22 of #CookBlogShare.

Wow it feels like such a long time since I have written a Cook Blog Share post and I know things have been quieter on Hijacked By Twins and Cook Blog Share. I mentioned before that I had got a new job, well I still haven't started as I am waiting for all of the clearances to go through but fingers crossed I will be starting in a couple of weeks. In the meantime I have been trying to get on top of jobs around the house so that once my clearance certificate arrives I can start my job knowing that I am on top of things. I have also been trying to scale down my blog work which has been hard but also quite refreshing. It is nice to look at what I post and not feel that I have to post (hope you know what I mean) I am writing about what I want to write about.

Now back to CookBlogShare. Last week the linky was hosted by Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes who did a great job! While I am talking about hosts, I just want to thank Monika, Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie and Jacqui from Recipes Made Easy for all of their help hosting the linky. Their help and support really has made a huge difference to me and my workload and this has allowed me to have more time away from the internet and with my family. I feel like I have a healthier work/home life balance now, so thank you!

Last week 33 delicious recipes were shared and this week I decided to feature the bakes. Here are my four favourite bakes from week 21 of CookBlogShare...

Friday, 26 May 2017

Date and Walnut Bread with Kenwood kMix

Last week I told you about the latest addition to my kitchen, the Kenwood kMix. I love baking and the kMix food mixers make it even easier and quicker. The first recipe that I shared was for my deliciously gooey rhubarb and ginger cake, this week I am sharing a bread recipe made with the kMix using the dough hook.

I used to have the Kenwood Prospero food mixer and when making a large batch of dough I found that it did struggle a little so I was definitely curious to see how the more sturdy and robust kMix would handle some dough. The kMix is an all round larger and stronger mixer so I was hopeful. After buying a date and walnut loaf the other week I decided to have a go at making my own.

This is what I did...

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Getting Fit with DW Fitness Centre

Regular readers of Hijacked By Twins will know that I am on a weight loss journey. So far I have lost over 2 stone by following the Slimming World plan. But as the weight has come off my focus has gone to my fitness. Like most mums I have areas which need toning up and I know that there are bits that will get better but simply will not go back to how they were pre twins. Finally I am in a place where I am happy with that. I am finally feeling happy with my body and am loving the increased activity that I am doing. I recently signed up to take part in the Cancer Research Race for Life which gave me a target. When I signed up I could not run for 1 minute let alone for 5k, but now after training, I can and I am confident that I will complete the run. So when DW Fitness Clubs got in touch to ask if I would like to try out their facilities and some of their sports wear the timing was perfect.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Tomato and Basil Soup topped with Quinoa

I love a good homemade soup. They are not only easy to make but when you make soup yourself you know exactly what has gone into making it. My favourite flavour combination for soup has to be the classic tomato and basil. This soup contains so much goodness and is full of delicious flavours.

This is what I did...

Monday, 22 May 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday - Week 21 2017

Hello and welcome to week 21 of #MealPlanningMonday.

Last weeks meal plan was a huge success. I found that having a more relaxed approach less pressure and did help me to stick to the meal plan. I have also found that having some lunches planned has helped me to stick to the Slimming World plan. This has paid off with a 1 and a half pound loss which means that I only have 3 more to lose for me to reach my target!

After last weeks success I am going to be carrying on meal planning in this way. This weeks meals will be accompanied with plenty for fresh vegetables thanks to the fruit and vegetables box that I got delivered. I love sneaking in extra goodness into our meals and seeing the children eating it with no questions asked!

This is what I have got planned for this weeks meals...

Friday, 19 May 2017

Rhubarb and Ginger Cake with Kenwood kMix

If you follow Hijacked By Twins on Instagram you may have seen that I have got a new piece of kitchen equipment. If not, let me show you my new toy...

When I received an email a few weeks ago from Kenwood asking me if I would like to try out their legendary kMix stand mixer to say that I was excited is an understatement. I love to bake and already had a Kenwood Prospero machine which was a fantastic addition to the kitchen but as soon as I saw the kMix I knew that it was going to be even better. Since my childhood Kenwood food mixers have been a part of everyday kitchen equipment. My mum and grandmother had them when I was growing up so I always knew that I would have one too.

Kenwood have a stylish kMix range of kitchen products that come in a variety of colours so you know that they are going to fit right in. When I unpacked the kMix the first thing that I noticed was the slim design. Having a kitchen with limited worktop space, with the Prospero I did struggle and had to keep the mixer in the cupboard. But with the kMix's compact design I am able to keep it out on the worktop without losing valuable room. The first time that I used the mixer I was amazed by how powerful the motor is but also how quiet it is. This is a mixer that can be used without disturbing the peace. Another feature that I love about the kMix is the huge glass mixing bowl. The large bowl means that you can prepare even more, it really does give this machine the added edge, plus watching the ingredients come together is so therapeutic! So far I have been nothing but impressed with the design, quality and standard of this food mixer and I am looking forward to sharing with you a series of recipe posts that demonstrate how truly versatile and invaluable this item is!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

#NationalVegetarianWeek - Mexican Spiced Butternut Squash Noodle Stir Fry

As you know, I love a good foodie celebration and this week is no exception! This week it is National Vegetarian Week. I am not a vegetarian but I do love vegetarian meals and this week is a good excuse to try some new veggie meals.

National Vegetarian Week is to promote how truly versatile and delicious fresh vegetables are. Even The Hairy Bikers are going veggie this week. We all know that we should eat more vegetables and how good they are for us but often finding new ways to incorporate vegetables into meals and be the stars of the dish is the challenge. Buying vegetables are also a great way to save money on your weekly shopping and if you have enough room growing your own is such a rewarding thing to do.

This recipe is all about savouring the vegetables and adding a little spice that will compliment this meal perfectly.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

National Multi Tasking Day with Nature's Finest Plus a Healthy, Quick and Easy Dessert!

Wednesday 24th May 2017 is National Multi Tasking Day. Being a busy working mum to three children, wife to the hubby and caring after animals multi tasking is something that you need to do to maintain sanity! I never truly knew what multi tasking was until the twins arrived and the hubby returned to work after his paternity leave. Having two babies needing you, often at the same time, makes you look at what you do and try to make life as easy as possible.

Nature's Finest is celebrating National Multi Tasking Day and making preparing fruit one less job to do! Their pre prepared fruit contains no added sugar and is preserved in natural juice. The fruit in Nature's Finest has been picked and packed at its peak ripeness to ensure all of the goodness is retained.

Nature's Finest

It has been identified that 24th May is the country's busiest day. People are starting to plan their summer holidays, the children are getting ready for yet another half term holiday, work that needs doing, like all families, the list goes on. So to make the busiest day a little easier I am going to share with you my top tips for multi tasking and how to survive the busy day! Plus a deliciously quick and easy recipe that is perfect for the days when you are not prepared for the question "what's for pudding mum?".

Monday, 15 May 2017

British Sandwich Week - Two Italian Toasties

Who doesn't love a good sandwich? The mighty sandwich is such a versatile meal, it can be easily adapted to suit individual taste, there really is nothing that you cannot do with a sandwich.

One of our favourite ways to have a sandwich is by toasting it. When you toast a sandwich the flavours transform into something special. So when I was asked if I would like to try the Breville DuraCeramic Sandwich Press I jumped at the chance. Toasted sandwiches are a firm favourite with everyone here so I had a feeling that it would go down well!

To celebrate British Sandwich Week I was challenged to create an international, flavours from around the world, sandwich. I decided to use Italian flavours. We all love Italian dishes and flavours and even more so after our holiday to Italy last year.

Like all families, we have different tastes. I love vegetables, while the Hubby is a big meat eater. So to satisfy all of our tastes I have created two delicious Italian deli style toasted sandwiches, one filled with vegetables and the other filled with meat.

This is what I did...

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday - Week 20 2017

Hello and welcome to week 20 of my Weekly Meal Plan.

You may have noticed that last week there was no meal plan. Well, there was a meal plan in my book, but not on my blog. This was for a couple of reasons, firstly I was not sure if I wanted to carry on writing my meal plan and secondly time, after having a couple of weeks with poorly twins time seems to be running away! The two weeks that the kids were poorly my meal plans went completely pear shaped and I will admit I did lose the faith in my meal plans.

But fear not, I am back and raring to go! However I will be relaxing my meal plan a little. I am going to be looking at what I have got in and will be writing a list of meals but will not be specifying which day we will be having it. I hope that this will give me a little leeway and will allow us to select our meals depending on what we fancy. As well as main meal lists I am going to be writing a list of lunches to have over the week. I have been feeling quite uninspired and unprepared for lunches, this needs to change and hopefully this will help!

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

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Sugar Free Stewed Rhubarb and Ginger Compote

I love rhubarb season and having three mature rhubarb plants in the garden there is always plenty to go round. We always enjoy stewed rhubarb, it is such an easy way to use up a great harvest. But I am not keen on the amount of refined sugar that is used. Rhubarb has quite a bitter taste when it is cooked without the sugar. This got me thinking as to how I could stew rhubarb using only natural sweeteners. It took quite a few tastes, adding more ingredients but I finally got a balance between the sweet and sour flavours and have got a healthier stewed rhubarb.

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Wholemeal and Rye Seeded Loaf - #RealBreadWeek

This week it is Real Bread Week. Real Bread Week is a time to celebrate your local bakers and get making your own bread. Baking bread is a passion that has been reignited. When the twins were smaller I did not buy bread, I only made it. But then life took over and time became an issue so I resigned to that fact that it was easier to buy bread. But now that the twins are at school, I have some more time and have been baking bread again. After I baked for the first time in months I remembered what it was that I loved about baking bread. The whole process of mixing the ingredients together, seeing them come together, feeling them change during kneading, and how after baking the dough you have a loaf of bread.

As it is Real Bread Week it is only fitting that I share a bread recipe with you. On a recent shopping trip to Aldi I found some lovely organic flour on special buy. So I got stocked up with a variety of spelt, wholemeal, Italian 'tipo 00' and dark rye flour. combined with Aldi's The Pantry strong wholemeal flour I have created a delicious bread.

This is what I did...

Friday, 5 May 2017

Quick and Easy Warm Rice and Quinoa Salad

When it comes to lunch time, I want something that is healthy, something that I can prepare quickly and easily. If it is not quick and easy I tend to go for a sandwich. I love salads but after a few they can get boring. So to make them a bit more exciting I have been trying some new ways to enjoy a salad. You can expect to see some new salad recipes over the next few months!

My first new salad recipe is a salad that is so full of flavours, health benefits and quick to prepare. To make it quick and easy to prepare I have used a pouch packet of Tilda brown basmati rice with quinoa, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I am a huge fan of the easy rice pouches but love that this one has the added grains and seeds. When I saw it on a recent shopping trip I knew that it would make a delicious addition to a salad.

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Cinco de Mayo

This week is one of my favourite excuses for a feast. On Friday it is the Mexican fiesta Cinco de Mayo! Many people believe that Mexico and the USA celebrate Mexico's independence on Cinco de Mayo but that is not true! The reason that people celebrate Cinco de Mayo is to commemorate Mexico's victory over France, who had invaded Mexico. People celebrate with mariachi music, parties, food, margaritas and cerveza!

What is there not to love?

To join in with the celebrations I will be preparing a banquet fit for any Mexican fiesta. Thankfully Aldi are getting into the Mexican spirit and have some fantastic offers on Old El Paso Mexican dinner kits as well as the ingredients you need to make a good old guacamole in their Super 6 offer. Today I am going to tell you about the great Mexican products that I have got to celebrate Cinco de Mayo from Aldi.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

#CookBlogShare 2017 Week 18 - Plus 4 Delicious Dinners!

Hello and welcome to week 18 of CookBlogShare.

It feels like a long time since I have written a CookBlogShare post. I have had a lovely couple weeks off and return with some big news! Last week I had an interview and was offered the job, which means that my blog time is going to become more limited and more precious. As both Jacqui from Recipes Made Easy and Monika from Everyday Healthy Recipes did such a great job covering the linky while I was away they will be joining Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie and I on a regular basis! I am currently planning the future dates but once they are confirmed I will be sharing them on the CookBlogShare Facebook page and on my CookBlogShare page

Now on to this weeks post. I loved looking through all of the delicious recipes that were shared last week. The only theme for this weeks post is that they are all delicious dinners!

Here are my favourite four recipes from week 17 of CookBlogShare...

Monday, 1 May 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday - Week 18 2017

Hello and welcome to week 18 of #MealPlanningMonday.

Wow what a week we had last week. I am not ashamed to say that the meal plan did not go to plan. We started the week getting home from our holiday, which was fantastic. Tuesday was full of stress for a job interview that I had on the Wednesday. After a stressful morning of tasks and the interview I was delighted when I received the phone call offering me the job! Yay! I cannot wait to get started. My new job is as a PA in a local school so it will fit well around the children and as it is for 15 hours a week it also means that it will fit in around housework and my beloved blog! I will be working everyday for 3 hours in the afternoon so meal planning is going to become a vital part of our week. I need to know exactly what I am cooking for when I get home from work. I will need to plan whether anything needs leaving in the Pressure King Pro, make sure meat or fish has been defrosted, I am going to need the organisation that meal planning gives me.

After a couple of weeks of over indulgence we are all longing for healthy meals. While on holiday we had some amazing meals out in restaurants and at the time they are great but we are always craving some home cooked meals afterwards.

Over the school holidays I will admit to not following the Slimming World plan and have enjoyed not counting and measuring. I am back on it now but am not going to be as strict. If I want a few protein packed nuts or some avocado, I am going to have some, but in moderation. I am a true believer in everything in moderation!

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

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mashed Potatoes and Beef Bowl - The Perfect Quick Meal

Today's post is a guest post recipe and a meal that we love! Cottage pie style meals are always a huge success in our house. One of our favourite ways variations of cottage pie was my Cottage Pie topped with Butternut Squash Mash that was a quick meal thanks to the Pressure King Pro.

But this recipe that has been shared with me is an even quicker one!

Guest Post

On busy weeknights, spending hours in the kitchen is the last thing most of us look forward to, even if we love to cook. For days like this, it is a great idea to prepare a quick and healthy dinner that is not only nutritious but also delicious. This delectable recipe serves four and is bound to give you the perfect comfort food feeling: