Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Organic Carrot and Lentil Soup - Aldi Organic Range

September has been Organic month and I have trying to swap some of our everyday foods for organic alternative. During the month I have found that some ingredients have been expensive to swap and we simply cannot make a permanent change, especially when, like us and most families, money is tight and you need to budget. So when I was contacted and asked if I would like to try some organic products from Aldi I was curious and could not wait to see what they had to offer.

I will admit that I have never done a weekly shopping trip at Aldi before so this was going to be a completely new experience. I have, of course, seen the television adverts about their prices and have heard many people talk about how much money they saved. But for me, saving money is not everything, the quality of food is much more important. As a mum, wife and food blogger I am passionate about good food and good quality is everything.

When I heard that Aldi were starting to introduce their own affordable organic range this certainly sparked my interest. If I was able to buy organic, all of the time, at affordable prices I definitely would.

Monday, 28 September 2015

CookBlogShare Week 10 Round Up

Wow last week was week 10 of the new CookBlogShare and I would just like to say thank you to everyone who joins in. It has been lovely to see the Cook Blog Share party continue. Each week I love looking at what you have been sharing and each week you make it really hard for me to select my favourite posts!

Thank you to Beckie from This Is Not My Home for hosting the linky party last week and doing such a great job!

This week I have chosen two savoury dishes and two sweet ones. I have chose the following recipes because they all contain foods which I love and they are recipes that my family would love.

Here are my favourites from Week 10 of Cook Blog Share...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 28th September 2015

Last week saw me restart Slimming World and think more about what I was eating. What I love about Slimming World is that it is a 'diet' that can be adapted easily for the whole family! There was only a couple of times that I had to slightly change a meal for me to fit in with the diet. But that was easily done. Like when everyone else had pie I simply removed the pastry from my portion!

I have really found that meal planning has helped me stay on track this week. So from now on I am not only going to plan our evening meals but I am also going to plan my lunches. I find that when I do not know what to do for my lunch I'll have bread or grab a packet of crisps which leave me hungry in the afternoon and I end up eating biscuits or chocolate or sometimes both! Within my lunch time meal plans I am also going to plan for the twins lunches. I have found last week I made them lunches that I could also eat and the three of us sat together at the table and it was a lovely bit of mummy twin time, which cannot be beaten!

This week is also going to be about getting the meat that is in the freezer down so that I can do a trip to the market to visit the butchers in the next week or two. I often find that I am left with bits that I thought were a good idea to get or a good bargain and then find myself stuck with what to do with it. So this week I will be using as much out of the freezer as possible.

These are the recipes that I shared last week...
This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Week Commencing 28th September 2015

Monday 28th September 2015

Lunch - Homegrown tomato and roasted pepper soup (with bread for the twins)

Dinner - Tuna Pasta Bake - This is a good old easy family favourite which usually contains just tuna and sweetcorn, but as I am eating better I will be adding more vegetables this week. For the family I will also be serving some garlic bread.

Tuesday 29th September 2015

Lunch - Either leftover pasta if there is any or leftover soup

Dinner - Pork Meatballs - While going through my freezer I found some pork mince and the perfect thing for pork mince has to be meatballs. They will be served with Actifry cubed potatoes and cooked with a variety of vegetables.

Wednesday 30th September 2015

Lunch - Jacket potatoes and cottage cheese for me and melted cheddar for the twins

Dinner - Beef Stew - I also found some casserole beef while going through my freezer and this is the perfect time of year for a good old stew! I will make dumplings for everyone else but obviously not for me!

Thursday 1st October 2015 (I can't believe it is October already!)

Lunch - Smoked salmon salad for me and cheese toasties for the twins

Dinner - Roast bacon joint with beans, mushrooms, Actify potatoes, eggs and tomatoes. This is a bit of a breakie dinner but I will have mine with turkey rashers instead of bacon.

Friday 2nd October 2015

Lunch - Veggie omelet for me and cheesey ones for the twins

Dinner - Fish Friday! This week we will be having some tempura battered basa that I found on my shopping trip to Aldi. It was my first visit to Aldi and I will be publishing my post about my experience and a recipe tomorrow!

Saturday 3rd October 2015

Lunch - Salad

Dinner - Haggis neaps and tatties!

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

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Saturday, 26 September 2015

20th September - 26th September 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

This week has seen some lovely autumnal weather. For once it has been dry, a bit cold, but sunny! This has meant that we have been able to enjoy lots of fresh air on the school run and me taking the dogs out for more walks.

Last weekend ended with a family birthday dinner for Joseph which had to include cake! The rest of the week has seen blue skies, food, new shopping experiences and flowers!

Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 20th September 2015

Garden Pictures - How Does Your Garden Grow?

While life has been manic one post that I have missed writing is my How Does Your Garden Grow post. The posts kind of got put to one side while I concentrated more on my food. But I have missed them. 

I have decided to start making the time again to go out and photograph nature again. I recently had a down fall with my depression getting worse and I stopped doing things which I loved to do before. Photography was one of them. Now my moods have balanced out again thanks to a new dose of medication I am gradually rediscovering "me" again.

I have decided to restart my How Does Your Garden posts again. But this time I will not be writing about the goings on in the garden. That is the hubby's area and if I am honest I did get stuck for things to write. So this time I am going to share pictures that I have taken in our garden.

There is nothing like a new toy to reignite my love of photographing nature. When I ordered my iPhone 6 a few weeks ago I also added an Olloclip lens to my basket. This will enable me to capture macro shots without lugging my camera around. This week I am sharing some of the shots that I captured in our garden over the last week.

This is how our garden has grown...

Friday, 25 September 2015

Degustabox Review

Last month I received my first Degustabox. Before receiving this box I had heard a lot of talk about Degustabox so when I was asked if I would like to review on I definitely was curious to see what all of the fuss is about.

If you do not know what a Degustabox is, let me fill you in.

Degustabox is a monthly subscription. Each month you will receive a surprise foodie box containing 9 - 14 surprise products. A lot of the products which you will receive are products that are new to the market. The cost of the products inside of the box will exceed the subscription cost of £9.99 plus £3 delivery charges.

When I opened the August Degustabox I was amazed by all of the products that were inside.

This is what I received...

Thursday, 24 September 2015

SlimmerSeeker - Weigh In 1

Last week I mentioned that I am going to restart my slimming campaign and explained why I now have a goal to work to.

I have now been following the Slimming World food optimising plan since Monday. I have tried to follow it before but I lacked motivation. This time it feels different. I am making healthier choices and enjoying them. Last time I wasn't completely honest and did not follow the plan 100%, hence why I failed and returned to my unhealthy ways! This time I have got motivation and determination behind me, but more importantly I have something to work to.

When I weighed in at the end of last week I was not surprised to see that I have put on all of the weight that I lost last year. Last year I decided to follow the Juice Plus plan which I can now see was not the healthiest way to loose weight. You are denying your body of food so therefore crave it more. As the diet is mainly shakes as soon as I started to eat again the weight came back on. As I had denied myself so many foods when I did start to eat I wanted all of the foods which I had missed. I am a true believer in everything in moderation. We can enjoy treats as long as they are not all the time and are balanced out with both exercise and other healthy foods.

That is why I feel that the Slimming World plan is going to be the best plan for me. I am a foodie, I love my food, I love trying new foods and it is a big part of my life!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Organic Mince Beef Pie

This month is Organic September!

I have been challenged to create a meal using just organic ingredients and to show you that not all organic ingredients are expensive.

Eating organic can be done cheaper than you may think.

Now that the weather is turning more autumnal I am steering more towards some good old comfort meals of pies and slow cooker meals. 

So I have decided to make an organic meat pie.

Every single ingredient is organic and when I was shopping I was amazed by how it was not as expensive as I thought it would be. I even discovered that there were some organic products that were actually cheaper than the regular ones!

Organic foods are not just fresh foods. In this recipe I have also used organic flour, frozen peas and stock.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Tapas Tortilla with Chorizo and Cervezas Alhambra Reserva 1925 - Recipe and Giveaway!

When I was 20 years old I moved to Gran Canaria. I lived there for 7 years and one of the things that I fell in love with the most was the food. In particular the tapas.

When I go out I really do struggle to select what dish I am going to eat, that is why, for me, tapas is the ideal meal. As the portions are small you simply select a little of everything that you want to try! 

The best way to wash down tapas has to be with an ice cold cerveza (beer!). So when I was asked to create the perfect tapas dish to be served with Cervezas Alhambra Reserva 1925 I could not wait to get started. 

I have so many tapas dishes that I love so choosing just one really was difficult. However I decided to make a Tortilla with Chorizo. I have used a hot chorizo so really do need an ice cold beer to go with it. When adding chorizo to any dish you do not need to add any other herbs and spices. The chorizo oozes out delicious smoked paprika and garlic flavours as it cooks. It really does make a flavoursome meal!

Monday, 21 September 2015

CookBlogShare Week 9 Round Up

Every week I love looking at all of the recipes that have been shared!

Thank you to Hayley at Snap Happy Bakes for hosting the CookBlogShare party last week. As always it was difficult to decide which recipes to feature in my weekly round up. But the four that I have chosen this week really did make me hungry!

They are a mixture of both savoury and sweet and they are all recipes that I would love to try!

Here are my four favourite recipes from Cook Blog Share week 9

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 21st September 2015

After a busy week last week I am hoping for a quieter week and getting back into a routine. We have found that since returning to school the twins are getting tired earlier again so we are needing to have our evening meals a bit earlier. Now that it is feeling more autumnal the slow cooker and more comforting foods are going to be cooked!

Again I am planning to restart my slimming world plan. In the past I have lacked a goal to work to, but now I have a holiday as my goal. I have got just under a year to go, so there is plenty of time to loose some weight gradually and healthily. I am going to be cooking one meal and just adapting my meals to make them slimming friendly. I am also going to start documenting my journey to better body confidence, I am hoping that this will give me some extra drive and motivation.

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

Saturday, 19 September 2015

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

Wow what a busy week! Busy, but a lot of fun!

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were non stop then before we knew it the week was over and Joseph's birthday arrived! 

This week has seen a lot of foodie pictures, exciting meetings, a lot of girlie giggles and a birthday. This is our week in pictures...

Sunday 13th September 2015

Sunday was an exciting day for the children. On Saturday we took Joseph bike shopping for his birthday and we arranged to collect it on Sunday. While we were looking at the bikes the twins had so much fun playing and we had a lot of tears when they had to leave the bikes. We decided to get bikes for them too as a surprise. The hubby did an amazing job at making Joseph's first bike look like new so we only needed to buy a Frozen bike for Isabella. All three children were over the moon when the got their bikes. The hubby also bought me a gorgeous retro style bike as a surprise!

Friday, 18 September 2015

An Exciting Year with Carnival Cruise

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of venturing down to London to meet up with the Carnival Cruise team and the other bloggers who are their 2015/16 FunSeeking Families.

Since receiving the news that we had been selected as Carnival Cruise FoodieSeeking family at the beginning of the month it has all seemed quite surreal. But this trip and meeting has made it all so real!

My meeting was not scheduled until Thursday morning but I did meet everybody on Wednesday evening while having a delicious meal at Tutton's in Covent Garden. Glasses of prosecco certainly did help me to relax. I will admit to feeling quite nervous in the car on my way to the restaurant. But as soon as I got talking, I was fine!

It was great to finally be able to put faces to the people that we have been having contact with via emails and telephone calls. As the other bloggers at the meal had already had their meeting I did hear the odd bit of information. But I really am pleased that my meeting was after the meal. Having the meal before hand really did break the ice and I was a lot more relaxed in the meeting.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Bacon and Broccoli Pasta

In our house a quick an easy pasta dish is always a winner. Pasta is such a versatile ingredient and can be adapted in so many ways to suit everybody.

This dish is such an easy recipe to make, you simply cook the ingredients and throw them all together. It really is that easy!

This is what I did...

Monday, 14 September 2015

Apple Frangipane Tart with a Cider and Elderflower Syrup - Great Bloggers Bake Off

Last week the bakers in the Bake Off tent faced the pastry challenges. I have to admit I do like making pastry, I love getting my hands in a feeling the ingredients come together. So when I was not feeling up to making pastry, thanks to a bad back, for my bake off tart I was disappointed. But I knew I had to still take part. So I did use shop bought pastry for this bake *sorry*.

This is the first time that I have made frangipane! I know I could not believe that I had never made it either! So this was totally new bake for me and one that I was delighted with! This tart was so delicious and the creme patissiere base worked so well with the almond frangipane and the apples. The flavour combinations in this tart simply go hand in hand with each other.

For the basic frangipane and creme patissiere recipes I used Paul Hollywood's How To Bake.

This is what I did...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 14th September 2015

I am amazed by how quick the weeks are flying by, it doesn't feel like two minutes ago I was planning last weeks meal plan!

Last week it was lovely to get back into a routine and back on with meal planning 100%, I really have missed having structure throughout the day.

This week is going to be a busy one so I am sure that it will fly by again. On Tuesday the hubby and I are taking Joseph out for his birthday treat. This year he has asked us to take him to watch a football match so on Tuesday we will be leaving the twins with my mum and taking him over to Leeds to watch a Leeds United football match. On Wednesday I am going down to London to meet with Carnival Cruises and am being taken out for a meal with the four other Carnival Cruise Bloggers. But I am still meal planning for the hubby and kiddies as I will be making their dinner before I get my train. Then at the weekend it is Joseph's birthday so we will be having a meal out.

Before we know it the week will be over again! Anyway getting back to business, here is what we will be enjoying this week...

Sunday, 13 September 2015

6th September - 12th September 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

The children have now completed their first full week back at school. It has been lovely to feel like I am getting on top of all my jobs that I got behind with over the summer. But I have noticed a difference in the twins. They really do thrive on routine and are so pleased to be back at school.

This week has seen busy mornings, an extra day with the hubby at home, autumnal mornings and the return of the good weather!

Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 6th September 2015

Friday, 11 September 2015

Spicy Chicken and Chorizo with Roast Butternut Squash Mash Plus Vanish Giveaway!

On of my favourite flavour combinations has to be chicken and chorizo. When you add chorizo to any dish no other spices are needed as the chorizo does all the work! As it cooks delicious spicy, paprika and garlic juice oozes out and add such a depth of flavour to the dish.

When I saw some spicy, uncooked chorizo I simply could not refuse it and knew that it would be perfect with some chicken.

This is a spicy dish, but if you do not like your meals too hot simply buy the traditional chorizo. But the butternut squash is a perfect mash to cool the heat!

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Family Meal of Sweet Potato Cottage Pie with Finish and Giveaway!

I love cooking a meal for a get together with family.

Once upon a time, it would have been a dinner party, but now that we have children a dinner party for us is getting the family around a table and enjoying a meal together.

I love sitting down and deciding what meal I am going to cook for everyone. Having children it means that the meal must be one that does not take too much preparation and time. Our family get togethers are usually at the weekend which is valuable family time together. 

My ultimate dinner party would consist of the hubby and I with our children and parents. I would host the party in our home. It would be a relaxed dinner party where the food would be child friendly, there would be plenty of laughs and quality time spent together. Time with family is so important, not just for us but for the children as well.

When I cook a large meal I have a tendency to use every pan available and do make a mess! There are always plenty of pots to clean. When hosting a dinner party you do not want to waste time cleaning pots. This is where Finish dishwasher detergents can help. Regardless of whether the pots have been cleaned straight away or if they have been left out all night, with dried on food, you can guarantee that they will come out of the dishwasher clean first time.

To really put Finish to the test I decided to make one of our family favourites that does make plenty of pots to wash!

This is my Sweet Potato Cottage Pie...

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Baking with Vegetables - Parragon Book Buddy Review and #CookBlogShare

Recently I became a Parragon Book Buddy. Each month I will be trying out and reviewing one of their fantastic cook books! I love cook books and have a great collection already but I do not really use many of them now, so I am hoping that reviewing these books will help me, and you the reader, discover some new books to fall in love with.

Monday, 7 September 2015

#CookBlogShare - Week 7 Round Up

As always there were so many delicious recipes shared last week. Thank you for linking up and joining in!

There was a huge number of delicious bakes which really do make trying to loose weight very difficult! There were so many recipes that I could have chosen.

This week the recipes that I have selected contain ingredients that we either have growing in our garden or contain an ingredient that I want to do more with.

My favourites from week 7 of Cook Blog Share are...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 7th September 2015

This week marks a return back to a routine. Back to a school routine and back to my blogging routine. After a summer of relaxing my blogging routine I am ready to get back to normal!

As well as getting back to a routine I am also looking forward to thinking about myself again.

Over the summer my healthy eating and keep fit have completely gone out of the window! I am eating what I want, when I want, and not doing much in the form of exercise. I can feel such a difference in both my weight and my mental well being. My depression and anxiety have been like a roller coaster. My moods have been so up and down and I am sure that a lot of it is due to my lack of exercise and unhealthy eating.

This week I am taking back control. I will pick myself up back up again. Eating more vegetables, healthier lunches and cutting out the unhealthy snacks are top of my list!

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

Saturday, 5 September 2015

30th August - 5th September 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

Wow what an exciting week we have had!

The week was started with a lovely long weekend. We had the hubby home for an extra day. As well as the hubby we also had the twins god father over which was lovely. They took to him straight away, it really was a pleasure to watch them with him.

The next big news was that my younger sister gave birth to a precious baby girl!

All of this combined with the return to school it has been a busy one!

Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 30th August 2015

The twins are well known for their shyness so we were wondering what the twins reaction would be to seeing their god father Dom. But they took to him straight away. Poor Dom didn't get a break from them.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

We Are Carnival Cruise Lines Foodieseeking Family!!!

Back in June I attended BritMums Live which was an fantastic two day blogging conference. While I was there I decided to apply to become an ambassador for Carnival Cruise Lines.

If I am completely honest, when I completed the application form, I never imagined that I would be selected. So when I received an email on Tuesday that had the subject heading of...

"Winner! Carnival Cruise Line Funseeking Family Competition"

I was gobsmacked! I literally needed to sit down to read the email that had the heading below...

I am so proud that I can finally announce and scream from the roof tops that we have been selected as their Foodieseeking Family!

Over the next year we will be working with Carnival Cruise Liners and will be going on a dream holiday, a cruise on their brand new cruise liner the Carnival Vista! The Carnival Vista is to be launched in 2016. At the moment the ship is in phase 5 out of 9 of the building process and is to be ready for April 2016. It will have a guest capacity of 3,954, will weigh a whopping 133,500 tonnes, it will be 1,055 foot long and will have 1,450 people working on board! 

We have never been on a cruise before and simply cannot comprehend how immense it is going to be!

To say that we are excited is an understatement!

There have also been 4 other fantastic bloggers that have been selected. They are:
As we are the "Foodieseeking Family" you can be guaranteed to hear all of the foodie news from Carnival Vista and I will be telling you all about our adventure from beginning to end. I will also be documenting this milestone for the twins as this will be their first time on holiday abroad!

So bring on the passports, the sun, the fun and food!

Thank you so much Carnival Cruise Liners for selecting us as your ambassadors. I truly cannot wait to work with you all!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Great Bloggers Bake Off - Free From Week - Coconut Bounty Cake

When I saw that the week that I would be hosting the Great Bloggers Bake Off linky party was free from week to say I was excited (and pleased!) is an understatement!

I have recently been baking and eating more free from foods. This have been a journey of food discovery. Free from baking is completely different from traditional baking. All of the weights that you regularly follow go out of the window. It is like learning all over again. Different flours and ingredients act in different ways so some research needed to be done.

This week, in the tent, the bakers had the following challenges...
  • The signature challenge saw the bakers create a variety of sugar-free cakes. They used honey, agave syrup and fruit, but there's more to replacing sugar than just adding sweetness.
  • Paul's technical challenge was gluten-free pittas, which are made with a very sticky dough which really tested the bakers' skill.
  • For their show-stopper, the bakers made dairy-free ice cream rolls. Mary and Paul were looking for silky-smooth ice cream, surrounded by jam and a light sponge. 
After seeing what the challenges were I decided to make a cake which is not just a sugar free sponge, but is also gluten and dairy free. The chocolate ganache does contain sugar in the dark chocolate but is also dairy free.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Cook Blog Share

I am sure I am not the only parent that is pleased that September has arrived. It has been a lovely summer but I am now well and truly ready for the children to return to school and getting back into a routine. Thanks to a busy week I did not share my weekly round up yesterday *sorry* as it was the bank holiday and the last one until Christmas I decided to spend the day with my family away from the computer.

Therefore for the first Cook Blog Share of September I am combining my weekly round up with the linky party.

First of all, I want to say thank you to Mandy from Sneaky Veg for hosting the party last week. There were so many delicious recipes shared and as always it was hard to select my favourite four recipes. Since the start of Great British Bake Off I have noticed an increase of baking recipes, which I love! I know that I have been baking more since it returned.

My favourite recipes from last week are...