Monday, 30 November 2015

CookBlogShare Week 19 Round Up

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

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

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

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 30th November 2015

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

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

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

Here are last weeks foodie posts...

Sunday, 29 November 2015

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

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

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

Sunday 22nd November 2015

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

Friday, 27 November 2015

Proper Pickle Extra Special Sandwich with English Provender

When I saw that Foodies100 were working with English Provender I was excited to see what delicious pickle they had created. I have got to admit that I do love a good pickle on my sandwiches. So when I decided to step up the the challenge of creating a Proper Pickle sandwich I knew that it would be fun.

Creating the perfect sandwich is more complicated than you think. It is easy to make a regular, everyday sandwich, but I wanted to go one step further. I wanted to create a sandwich that you can sit back, enjoy and truly appreciate every single mouthful. Now how many time have you been able to do that? I know, not many times!

Getting all of the core ingredients at the highest quality is fundamental when creating a perfect sandwich. That is why I decided to make my own bread. You simply cannot beat the taste of fresh bread. Once I had decided on the type of bread that I would bake I had my first ingredient ready. Next comes the filling. English Provender have created four deliciously different pickles. They have made two Traditional Proper Pickles, one that is chunky while the other is finely chopped, a Pickled Onion Proper Pickle and a Beetroot Proper Pickle. To say that I was excited to try the pickles was an under statement. They are all truly scrumptious and exactly what you come to expect from a pickle, and more. My favourite pickle had to be the Pickled Onion Proper Pickle. I love pickled onions and can sit and eat them from the jar. This pickle contains yellow mustard seed so gives a real kick of flavours with every bite!

Once I had my bread and the pickle my focus went onto flavours that would combine well and compliment the pickle. One of my favourite flavour combinations has to be salmon and cream cheese. I know that onions go well with salmon too so I decided to give smoked salmon slices, topped with cottage cheese and finished with a spoon of Pickled Onion Proper Pickle and, WOW, it works so well! I seriously had to stop myself from eating all of the salmon before I had prepared the sandwich in the pictures.

Let me tell you how to make this Proper Pickle Extra Special Sandwich!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thrifty Christmas Thursday with Aldi - Meat, Fish and Vegetarian Options for Christmas Dinner

From now until Christmas, Thursdays are now officially called #ThriftyChristmasThursday. Every week I will be telling you how you can save money this Christmas. Working with Aldi and I will be showing you my top foodie finds which will be perfect for Christmas. Best of all you will find all of your favourite food and drink at a price that will not break the bank!

For me, and I am sure many of you, food plays an important part on Christmas day. I have fond memories of sitting down with my family enjoying a big traditional roast turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. It is only now that it is now my turn to prepare this all important meal that I realise how much time and effort goes into it. I have also discovered how expensive it can be to cater for everybody on Christmas day. That is why I am going to share with you my own 'specially selected' dishes which I think are perfect for the big day and will not disappoint anyone. I will also be sharing ways to make cooking the all important meal a little easier so that on Christmas day you are not stuck in the kitchen cooking while everyone else is having fun. You, too, will be able to spend quality time with your family safe in the knowledge that the food has been prepared and you will all enjoy a fantastic meal!

Today, I am focusing on the main course. Today is all about the meat, fish and vegetarian options.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Christmas Activities with Lakeland

Now that they children have just over 3 weeks left at school before they break up for the Christmas holidays I thought that I would start to plan some activities to keep them busy during the week running up to Christmas. For us all I think that the week will drag as we eagerly await the excitement of Christmas day. So to help them pass the time I am planning to create a Christmas activity box to help keep them occupied and having fun.

So when Lakeland got in touch asking me if I would like to write about their Make-Your-Own range that they have released especially for Christmas I knew that it would be perfect for the activity box. I love Lakeland, it is one of my favourite homeware shops. I cannot walk past their shop without going in to explore everything that they have got. Yes, this also means that I cannot go in without spending! I have always found that the products that I have bought from Lakeland have been of the highest quality and have lasted really well.

As you can imagine I was so excited when I saw what they had sent to us. This is what we received...

Leftover Beef and Bean Hotpot Pie

A few weeks ago I made a delicious Slow Cooked Beef and Bean Hotpot. One thing that I love about cooking a large slow cooked meal are the leftovers. Leftovers make such great second meals and I always enjoy transforming them into a completely new dish.

I always find that leftover meals are so flavoursome and I often find that the meals taste even better the second time around.

When I had some leftovers from my Beef and Bean Hotpot I knew the perfect way to transform this meal was into a cottage pie style meal. Cottage pie meals are always a huge success in our house and a meal that the children always love.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Degustabox - October Contents

I love the excitement of receiving a box full of surprise foodie products. That is why I love Degustabox! When my monthly box arrives it feels like a birthday surprise as you open up the box to discover what foodie treats are inside this month!

As always, when my Degustabox arrived in October.I was not disappointed with the contents. As you can see from the products below the contents included a drink, some cooking ingredients, snacks and even a sweet treat. Let me tell you a bit more about the products that were in my box and I will also tell you about my favourite product of the month, the deliciously moreish 9Bar.

CookBlogShare Week 18 Round Up and Week 19 Linky

Welcome to another week of Cook Blog Share.

Last week there were 20 delicious recipes linked up with #CookBlogShare. There was a definite holiday feel with the recipes, there were Christmas and Thanksgiving recipes along with many meat free dishes, sweet treats and a lot of recipes that have gone onto my must try list!

This weeks round up had to be a holiday round up. All of the Christmas recipes that are starting to appear have aroused the Christmas spirit inside of me and this week had to be a Christmas recipe round up!

Here are my four favourite recipes...

Monday, 23 November 2015

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 23rd November 2015

Last weeks meal plan was a huge success. I planned three out of five meals to be meat free. I was not too sure how they would go down with everybody. But I was delighted to see that the whole family enjoyed their meals. Therefore from now on I will be making a lot more meat free meals. There was only one meal that I did not cook, that was the nut roast. As much as I love a good nut roast I have to say that it is not the healthiest meal. As I am back on the Slimming World food plan I decided not to cook it.

Last week I shared a delicious meat free dish, a healthy, organic cake, our Christmas pudding and an update on how the Carnival Vista development is going.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Stir Up Sunday - Lucky Sixpence Christmas Pudding

Today is Stir Up Sunday so we had to make a Christmas pudding. I love traditions like this and think that they are great to hand down through generations.

Today we started a new family Christmas tradition.

Today we added a lucky sixpence to our Christmas pudding. This year The Royal Mint made 2015 sixpences especially for Stir Up Sunday. They invited people to apply for one of the sixpences to add to their Christmas puddings. I was over the moon when I received one through the post. That is when our new, family Christmas tradition was born. Both the hubby and I love traditions and creating our own family traditions that our children will always remember as being a huge part of their lives. We hope to see them continue these traditions with their children and see them handed down through generations. Thanks to The Royal Mint we now have a sixpence for our Christmas puddings and it will stay in the family for years to come!

This year I have combined two pudding recipes. I have used my Wee Dram Christmas Pudding and some of the recipe that came from The Royal Mint with the sixpence.

This is what I did...

Saturday, 21 November 2015

15th November - 21st November 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

As I sit typing the dates I cannot believe that we are half way through November! It will be December before we know it!

This week has not really been an eventful week. The children have been at school and I have been stuck in thanks to my back playing up again. But this has meant that we have had a lot of quality time together. This week has seen silly selfies, food and ballet.

Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 15th November 2015

I took this photograph while we were at my mum and dads on Sunday. I love sitting and watching the twins interact together when they do not know that they are being watched. I have always enjoyed watching them and listening to them chatting together. Here they were sat together playing on the i-Pad and solving the puzzles on a game.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Foodieseeker Friday - Carnival Cruise Vista Update

This is the first of a new series of blog posts which are going to focus on our upcoming adventure with Carnival Cruise on their brand new ship, Carnival Vista.

The Carnival Vista has hit a major milestone. It is now floating in the wet dock. Now they are starting to preparing inside the ship. I was recently sent a few sneak peeks of both the building process, which I am going to share with you now, and some of the menus which I will be giving you a taste of in the coming months.

As you can see on the video below Carnival are going all out to make the whole eating experience on board you will never forget! As I mentioned before I have also been able to have a peek at some of the menus that we will be tasting while we are on our trip next year. I thought that it would be fun to pick a dish from each of the menus and cook the dish as I imagine it to be and then once we are aboard Vista I will order the meal and see if it was how I imagined it to be.

To say that I am excited about our trip is a huge understatement! Take a look at this video and you will see why I am so excited!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Sculptress - A Great Way to Kick Start the Diet!

If you are a regular reader you will know that I have been struggling with back ache for the last couple of months. This meant that my diet and weight loss was put on hold until I was feeling better and was more active again. This resulted in me putting any weight that I had lost back on again and this ultimately got me down.

So when I was approached by MaxiNutrition asking me if I would like to try some of their products I saw it as an opportunity to re start my diet and give it the kick start that it needed. 

MaxiNutrition are an online sports and body fitness site who specialise in sports protein drinks that enable you to have the best body performance possible. To help you get the products that you need you simply tell MaxiNutrition what you body goals are. Whether you are looking to loose weight or take part in a triathlon, tone up your body or develop a six pack they have all of the information that you need. They can tell you what exercise plans you need, what food is best to eat and what supplements will help you reach your goal. So when I saw that they could help me to loose weight I knew that this would give me the kick start that I needed. 

I decided to give the Sculptress range a try and was sent a two week plan to get me started. I received a tub of the Sculptress chocolate flavoured powder meal supplement, the Sculptress tablets to help improve my metabolism, six pre prepared Sculptress strawberry drinks and the shakers. In the past I have tried meal supplements and I will admit that I do not agree with using them long term. I am a true believer in a healthy, well balanced diet and that means eating a variety of foods, not just liquids. But I do think that they are a great way to kick start a diet and give you the weight loss that will motivate you to stick with a healthy eating diet.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Keeping Our Homes Secure

I don't know about your children but the twins are obsessed with playing with keys. House keys, car keys or toy keys, they love them! We have often had to look through the toys to see where they had been playing with some keys.

So when I was asked if I had ever thought about using a key safe, it did get me thinking. What would happen if the twins got hold of the house keys and lost them? What would happen if the car keys got lost?

We would be lost!

It is amazing how keys can mean so much and how much we take them for granted.

You may have read in the past that we are planning to to extend our house next year and change the kitchen setting. When I took a look at security websites, such as Fast Keys I was amazed by how many home security and safety items that they provide and how they could fit into our house. When it comes to refurbishing the kitchen a key safe will be top of the list. The safe pictured below would be my ideal choice. Not only will the colour blend in but there are hooks for 100 keys and will keep them fully secure and safe from little fingers. This slim key safe would fit perfectly behind the door, it is not big or bulky or obtrusive. It is discreet and adds an extra bit of security to the home.

Photograph courtesy of Fast Keys

Meat Free Cottage Pie

I am always delighted when I cook a meal and see my family enjoying it. But I will admit to feeling quite triumphant when I see them all digging in and enjoying a meal that I know is full of healthy goodness.

I am always trying to find new ways of getting extra vegetables into their meals and them eating the meal with no questions asked, which we all know can sometimes be difficult with children. We are currently changing our diets to include more meat free meals and less meat. At the moment it is simply trial and error to see what the children will and won't eat. So when I find a meal, like this one, that is a success with everybody I love to shout about it!

Shepherds pie is a family favourite of ours so I did hope that it would go down well and I certainly was not disappointed. Not one person questioned what it was or where the meat was or why I had cooked it differently. Not even my 11 year old who has something to say about everything!

This meat free version of shepherds pie contains nine different vegetables and green lentils. But that is not where the goodness stops. I have also substituted the butter in the mash for Clover. Clover is better for you than regular butter. It contains half the saturated fats than regular butter but still has the same great taste. Clover is made with naturally low fat buttermilk and contains nothing artificial. With the extra vegetables and a healthier spread this really is a healthy meal which the whole family will love!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Mince Pie Taste Challenge

The one thing I love about Christmas is the food, especially the mince pies. However I will admit to being quite fussy when it comes to mince pies.

Only the best will do!

So when Aldi asked me if I would like to try their mince pies I was curious to see if we would be able to tell the difference. I decided to get the hubby and my parents involved and asked them to do a blind taste test, just like they do on the adverts.

We tested the Aldi Specially Selected mince pies against my usual favourite Tesco Finest mince pies, Tesco regular and value mince pies as well as Mr Kipling mince pies.

Top left - Mr Kipling
Top right - Tesco Finest
Bottom left - Aldi
Bottom right - Tesco

I knew that Aldi were facing a tough challenge as I adore Tesco Finest mince pies. As soon as they come out in the shops you can guarantee that a box will end up in my trolley!

So how did Aldi's mince pies do?

Let me tell you the results...

Banana Coconut Cake and CookBlogShare Week 18

If you are a regular reader you will know how I love to experiment with baking. I love trying out new ingredients, especially healthier options and super foods.

So when Indigo Herbs asked me if I would like to try some of their organic, gluten free baking ingredients I could not wait to get experimenting and baking. When the products arrived I was delighted to see that it included some of my favourite ingredients, coconut products! I have recently discovered both coconut flour and coconut oil and have enjoyed baking with them both. I was excited to see that they had also sent me some coconut sugar which is an ingredient which I have not used before but have wanted to try out. If you are using coconut flour for the first time it is important to remember that coconut flour has a completely different consistency to regular flour. It is much more absorbent so requires more liquid and/or extra eggs. It is great to use as an addition to other flours. In this recipe I have combined it with gluten free rice flour and it has worked perfectly.

Indigo Herbs are an online shop where you can find any health food supplements that you may need. It is full of foods and tips to help you have a healthier lifestyle and include more superfoods in your everyday diet. I can see this being an online shop that we will continue to order from for the supplements that we love to add to our foods.

I really did enjoy baking with the coconut products and will admit that this was my second attempt at the cake. As I mentioned before, coconut flour behaves differently to regular flour and my first cake was too dense so after a few adjustments I found the perfect recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do and I look forward to sharing more coconut recipes with you!

This is what I did...

Monday, 16 November 2015

CookBlogShare Week 17 - The Sweet Treat Round Up

As always there were so many delicious recipes shared on last weeks Cook Blog Share which was hosted by Hayley at Snap Happy Bakes. It was great to see a mixed variety of both savoury and sweet recipes.

Thank you Hayley for doing a great job!

This week I have decided to make my Cook Blog Share the sweet treat round up. As always it took me a while to decided which were my favourite but the sweet treats definitely won me over. I loved the combination of hidden goodness treats, celebration treats and the excitement of the Christmas treats!

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

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 16th November 2015

For this weeks meal plan I am trying something a little different. As we are trying to eat healthier I am planning to make three out of five meals meat free. I love meat free meals but the hubby has been less keen but recently he has wanted to have more meat free, healthier meals. So this week I am going to see how the hubby and children like a more meat free meal plan. I am simply going to replace meat for extra vegetables and lentils. I am hoping that with some beef or chicken stock everybody will be happy with their meals.

Yesterday I spent the morning going through a pile of healthy recipe books such as Deliciously Ella, Honestly Healthy and Jamie Oliver's new Everyday Super Food books for some inspiration. They are all full of so many delicious recipes and have given me so many fresh ideas!

Last week my posts were a mixture of both recipes and foodie tips. I shared these two delicious recipes:

Saturday, 14 November 2015

8th November - 14th November 2015 - One Picture Everyday for One Year

This week has been a week of ups and down, thankfully mainly up, but the week has ended not so great thanks to my back.

This week has flown, as they all seem to be doing recently. We have had parents evening, homemade bread, a new cake, fantastic bargains and a date night!

Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 8th November 2015

On Sunday we took a family walk out with the dogs in the morning. This is becoming a good part of our Sunday routine. We all get wrapped up and go out with the dogs. As always we visited my mum and dad for Sunday dinner and when we got home in the evening the hubby decided that he wanted some cake so I tried and successfully made and prepared a cake in just 10 minutes!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Catering for the Party Season

We all know that the party season is almost upon us. So I thought that I would write a post telling you how to make catering easier. This will include my tops tips for the food and drink, but also for the all important serving plates, cups, cutlery and how you can make your life so much easier!

These are my top tips and how I am going to cater for the parties that are on the way!

Plates and Table Settings

In the past when I have catered for birthday parties, summer barbecues and Christmas I have used my regular plates, bowls and cutlery. This not only means that I run out of serving platters and we all have different style plates but, wow, the dirty pots at the end of the party certainly so stack up! This year I am planning to do things differently. 

This year I will be looking at catering supplies for plates, serving platters and cups. Catering supplies are available in various designs, colours and styles and are so much better that they used to be. I have found them to be a great way to ensure that, even if you have a lot of guests, everybody will have matching plates, bowls, cups and even wines glasses!

Getting A Good Night Sleep - What Food and Drink Is Good!

If you have a young family, like we do, you will know that a good nights sleep is paramount. Ok, we don't always get a full nights sleep and a full nights sleep is rare. But what we eat and drink can effect on how well we sleep. If we follow these simple steps we can be sure that we are doing what we can to get a good nights sleep. I found these tips on BBC Good Food.

Food and Drink to Avoid

There are some food and drinks that you should avoid if you want a healthy nights sleep. If you cut the following out 2 - 3 hours before bedtime the better:
  • Coffee
  • Carbonated drinks containing caffeine
  • Black or green tea as they contain caffeine
  • Avoid eating too late or too close to bedtime. If you go to bed feeling full you are more likely to have a disturbed night due to heartburn or indigestion.
  • Wine, cheese and chocolate can cause the brain to be over stimulated
Food and Drinks to Help Sleep

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Ch, Ch, Chicken Hotpot

One of my favourite flavour combinations has to be chicken and chorizo. The flavours simply go hand in hand. When cooking with chorizo you really do not need to add any additional spices as the smoked paprika and garlic juices from the chorizo do all of the work for you. I made this meal in the slow cooker. Cooking slower allow the flavours to really develop, giving you a delicious meal.

This dish combines chicken with chorizo and chickpeas, hence the name ch, ch, chicken hotpot, all of the ch words was a bit of a mouthful so here we have Ch, Ch, Chicken Hotpot!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Kale and Vegetable Linguine - The Weekend Cook Review

I love a good cook book hence why I love being a Parragon Book Buddy. Every month Parragon send me one of their delicious Love Food books to read and review. Last month I was sent a copy of The Weekend Cook.

This book is full of mouth watering recipes that will make you want to entertain all weekend simply so that you have a good excuse to cook some meals that you normally would not have. However there are also plenty of recipes that can be made with less fuss and in less time which leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy the weekend.

This book has seven chapters which cover everything from take away style meals which are perfect for a Friday night to breakfast, brunch and lunch, from breads to Monday morning boosting smoothies.

There really is something for everyone. What I love about this book is the added extras which it contains. It is not simply a recipe book. Within the chapters are pages of information to help you not only cook an outstanding meal but it also tells you how to create the perfect menu, top ten garnishing tips, top ten styling tips and winning wine tips. I know that this will be a book that will be used often, if not for the recipes then definitely for the added information that is included.

To give you a taste of this book I decided to cook the Kale, Lemon and Chive Linguine. Except I decided to make it a little more child friendly and bulk it out with added vegetables. This really is a great mid week meal as well as a weekend treat. It is such a quick and easy dish to make and it is sure to go down well with the whole family. I was delighted to see that there were clean plates all round after I gave this to my family!

Monday, 9 November 2015

CookBlogShare - Week 16 The Pumpkin Round Up

At this time of year I love pumpkins. I love squash throughout the year but do enjoy being able to buy culinary pumpkins when Halloween comes around. I have got a pumpkin waiting to be used in either a sweet or savoury dish, I am still undecided so when I saw four delicious pumpkin recipes on last weeks CookBlogShare I knew that I had found this weeks four favourite recipes for my round up post.

Last week there were 20 lovely recipes linked up. They were a mixture of sweet and savoury dishes and I was delighted to see the first Christmas recipe from Snap Happy Bakes, a festive 3D Christmas tree made of Gingerbread Biscuits with Lemon Icing. As soon as I saw the post I will admit to getting excited about all of the Christmas recipes that will no doubt be coming up! I love Christmas and all of the festive flavours and cannot wait to get cooking some treats!

Anyway before I get too carried away, lets get back to week 16 of Cook Blog Share. Here are my four favourite pumpkin recipes...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 9th November 2015

Last weeks meal plan was a great success! We enjoyed all of the meals that I planned.

As I mentioned last week I am giving my diet a kick start and I have had a great first week. I was over the moon when I stepped on the scales this morning and saw that I was 5lbs lighter! This really has given me some motivation and have really got back into my healthy Slimming World eating plan. I have even bought some of their cook books for some inspiration for our meals.

Last week I shared some delicious recipes. Two lovely baked treats, a Cheese Postie review and some healthy cereals. This is what I shared last week...

Sunday, 8 November 2015

1st November - 7th November 2015 - One Picture Everyday for One Year

This week, finally, I have felt more myself. The medication that I have been prescribed for my back ache is starting to work and I am feeling that I can do a lot more than I have been able to do in the last 6 weeks. On Sunday I took my first walk out and about and I have been able to do the school run all week! Before my back started to play up I really did take doing the school run for granted. It is only when you cannot do something you realise how much it means to be able to do it. I have really enjoyed being able to do this again and the twins have also told me how they are happy that mummy is taking them to school again.

This week has seen the start of a new month, walks with the dogs, a new hair colour, Christmas shopping and baking. Here is my week in pictures...

Sunday 1st November 2015

After a wet Saturday it was nice to have a few hours of dry weather on Sunday. So, as I was feeling better, we took the dogs for a walk. Joseph was out playing with his friends so the hubby and I took the twins and dogs for a walk down the lane and across the fields home. This was the first walk that I have taken out with the dogs in about 6 weeks. There were so many puddles that the twins loved splashing in.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Yorkshire Parkin Buns

As it was bonfire night yesterday, and we are a family of traditions, I had to make some Yorkshire Parkin for the hubby.

Yorkshire parkin traditionally contains oatmeal and is usually eaten as a bonfire night treat. This year I decided to make my parkin a little differently to my usual recipe, this year I decided to use porridge oats instead of oatmeal. The difference is that this parkin is a little denser but contains all of the traditional flavours with visible oats. Plus I love how the children like it in buns, they are great for little hands!

Another change that I have made this year is to substitute the butter with Clover. I am always trying to find new foods which I can use to make our meals and treats healthier. Having a healthy diet is so important and I truly believe that how you teach your children about foods and healthy options sets them up for life. If they have a healthy childhood it will become the norm and they will have these values as they become adults and teach their children.

So what makes Clover a healthier option?

Well let me tell you!

Clover has the same delicious buttery taste, (believe me, I actually licked the knife!) but it does not contain all of the saturated fats that butter contains. It is made with naturally low fat buttermilk but contains half the saturated fat of regular butter. Clover contains more buttermilk than any other brand which give it the great, creamy taste. If you want a buttery spread that contains even less there is Clover light which contains 30% less saturated fats than the regular Clover or even their Lighter Than Light Clover which contains an amazing 80% less saturated fats than butter! That is practically guilt free!

Clover spread contains absolutely no artificial ingredients, it is 100% natural. This, for me, is a huge selling point. I like to feed my family food which is as natural as possible so this ticks all of the boxes. It has only natural colours and flavours, is suitable for vegetarians and contains no hydrogenated fats.

That is why I decided to give Clover a try in my baking. Cakes and bakes traditionally contain a lot of butter. We all love a good slice of cake so if we can make it healthier and less guilt ridden we can all enjoy a treat a little more often!

This is what I did...

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Dorset Cereals New Bircher Muesli Mix

Breakfast really is the best way to start the day!

Making sure that you eat a healthy, balanced meal is what is important. Breakfasts not only kick start your metabolism for the day ahead, but it also gives you the energy to get going. Once you have had a good breakfast you are ready for the day ahead.

I do love to have a healthy breakfast which usually consists of a cup of coffee, my must have after a night of being up and down with the twins, followed by either muesli, porridge or a granola. I usually have these with either coconut or almond milk or fat free yogurt.

When I was approached by Dorset Cereals asking me to try their new Bircher Muesli Mix I was really excited to see what delicious breakfast they had come up with. I will admit that we do already love Dorset Cereals muesli and porridge and always have a box in the house. My hubby will not leave the house without a bowl of their fruity muesli!

When their package arrived with two different varieties for us to try I could not wait for breakfast time to arrive!

If you have not had bircher muesli or do not know what it is let me tell you a bit more...

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Cheese Posties Review

If you love cheese toasties, you are going to love this new, postal, lunch concept!

As the name states the box contains all of the ingredients that you will need to make a cheese toastie. This is a weekly meal subscription and every week they will send you a different cheese toastie. But these cheese toasties are not you average run of the mill, slices of bread and cheese toasted! Imagine delicious dishes such as vegetable lasagna, Italian ravioli and even chocolate cheesecake transformed into a toastie!

That is exactly what Cheese Posties are!

Wow was my initial reaction too!

I love a good cheese toastie but Cheese Postie take toasties to another level. They have created 21 different cheese toasties that are all based around both savoury and sweet dishes. You can even order gluten free bread!

So when I was asked if I would like to try some of what Cheese Posties has to offer I really could not refuse.

This is how I got on...

Wallace and Gromit's BIG Bake for CookBlogShare

When I was approached to promote the Wallace and Gromit BIG Bake I really was intrigued. As a family we love Wallace and Gromit so I had to look into what it was. I discovered that the Wallace and Gromit Organisation is a children's charity that helps to improve the lives of sick children in hospitals and hospices. They rely on campaigns such as the BIG Bake to help raise funds to enable them to do this important work.

Since 2003, Wallace and Gromit's Children's Charity has given over £2 million in grants to 291 projects, in 93 different hospitals and hospices. This is providing life saving medical equipment, free family accommodation, a range of arts, music and play therapy programmes, sensory equipment and facilities as well as respite care.

I was amazed to read that the Wallace and Gromit Children's Charity is the only charity that supports sick children in hospitals and hospices in the UK.

This year baking queen Fiona Cairns has been announced as this years BIG Bake ambassador. They are urging the country to come together and have a big bake and sale. All of the money raised will go towards helping sick children and their families. The BIG Bake week is 7th December - 13th December 2015.

To get you going Fiona Cairns has created some recipes for bakes. Today I am sharing with you the Sticky Toffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream. These are delicious little cupcakes which really will impress at a cake sale! I did change the salted caramel buttercream to a salted caramel toffee sauce.

I thought that CookBlogShare would be the perfect place to share this great fund raiser!

This is how I got on...

Monday, 2 November 2015

Raspberry Cranachan - A Scottish Recipe to Celebrate the Release of Outlander Series 1 on DVD and Blu-Ray

When my oven broke I had to think of new non bake sweet treats.

This was a pudding that I first made on Burns Night and as it was such a success I decided to make another one and adapted a few of the quantities to our taste.

We love the combination of the cream and fruit with the whisky that gives the cream an extra kick!

This is definitely an adult only pudding which would be perfect for a date night!

This is what I did...

Raspberry Cranachan


400g raspberries
400mls double cream
40g Scottish Oatmeal
1tsp caster sugar
3tbsp single malt whisky


1 - Heat the oatmeal in a dry frying pan until they are toasted and smell nutty, remove from the heat to cool

2 - Mash the raspberries, keeping a few whole one for the top, and add the caster sugar to sweeten

3 - Whisk the double cream until stiff

4 - Mix the cooled oatmeal and whisky into the cream until evenly combined

5 - Layer the raspberries and cream in serving glasses and top with the whole raspberries

6 - Place the puddings into the fridge and leave to cool for about 30 minutes

This pudding is a real treat and is always a winner in our house.

I have also made this using a mixture of raspberries and blueberries but any berries that you may like would also work!

Enjoy x


This Scottish recipe is my entry to the Outlander Series 1 Scottish Recipe competition. Outlander series 1 is now available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray!

Picture is courtesy of Sony Pictures at Home

CookBlogShare Week 15 - The Savoury Round Up

Happy November to you all. I don't know about you, but to me it feels like the months are flying by way too quickly! You can guarantee that now November is here we will start to see more Christmas recipes popping up and it will be here before we know it!

Before I tell you all about my four favourite recipes from last week, I want to say thank you to Beckie from This Is Not My Home for doing a great job hosting the #CookBlogShare linky party!

This week my four favourite recipes are all savoury ones. They are all meals which I would love to make and they all look like meals which I would love to sit down and be served. Each and every one of them is going to be going on my to try list!

My four favourite recipes from week 15 of CookBlogShare are...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 2nd November 2015

The months are flying by! I can't quite believe it is November already!

Thankfully the weather has been ok so far (touch wood!) and we have not had many really cold days but I am still enjoying preparing more comforting foods. Last week I cooked all of the meals planned apart from the pheasant. As the hubby had the day off work we decided to go out for lunch to save me cooking in the evening. We all enjoyed a lovely lunch at Frankie and Benny's.

Last week I shared a slow cooked meal, a yummy cake and a spooky dinner for the kiddies...

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Sunday Picture

25th October - 31st October 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

This week has been half term and it has been lovely to have some lazy mornings with the children. Thanks to the cold weather we haven't been far but have still had a good week!

Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 25th October 2015