Monday, 27 February 2017

Syn Free, Gluten Free Pancakes!

Tomorrow is pancake day and if you are watching your weight it can be a day of temptation. But if you want to enjoy pancakes without the guilt then I have the answer! Since making my Banana Pancakes last week I have been experimenting with eggs and yogurt and trying a range of different ingredients and I kept coming back to the most simple way of making a guilt free pancake. 3 simple ingredients, eggs, sweetener and flavoured essence. These pancakes are sweet omelette's and they are so delicious!

The beauty of these pancakes is that they can be made using a wide range of flavoured essence. So far my favourite has to be vanilla and salted caramel. To make them even healthier you can top them with yogurt and super healthy fruit.

This is what I did...

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday Week 9 2017

Hello and welcome to week 9 of #MealPlanningMonday.

Unfortunately last week did not go as planned. On Monday morning, the twins birthday, Little I woke up being sick so we did not have our day out like we had planned to. This was our week until Thursday! Stuck in and having snuggles. But Friday was a great day. The hubby had the day off so we took the twins and J out for a belated birthday treat. They had a McDonald's and we went to visit Uncle Henry's farm shop. We recently discovered this fantastic shop and it has now become a favourite place to visit. The children had an ice cream, the hubby and I selected some cheese and even a bottle of gin! After a walk through the walled garden to the forest snowdrop walk and a play in the park it was time for home. Friday felt like spring was finally getting closer!

My previous loss of 1.5lbs was sadly put back on last week. This was thanks to copious amounts of cake, alcohol being consumed after manic half term days stuck in and not having our daily school run walk. But I am fine with that as I went knowing I would have put something on. Last Thursday I did get to the gym to complete my induction and now have a tailor made routine and Tuesday is when I am going to set some time aside to go and start getting my fitness improved. This will also help with my weight loss.

With regards to last weeks meals we had all but two of what was planned. As the hubby had Friday off we had a treat night and the other meal did not get made due to a manic day. This week we are back with healthy meals as what I put on will definitely be coming off at my next weigh in!

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

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Root Vegetables and Pearl Barley Broth with Crunchy Welly Ham Topping #ThriftyEats

As you will no doubt already know, I am all for saving money on our weekly shopping and love to create budget meals. When creating a new budget busting recipe it is essential that quality and flavour is not compromised. Just because you are being thrifty in the kitchen does not mean that your meals are going to lack on flavour or goodness!

So when I received an email from Welly Foods just after Christmas asking me if I would like to create a thrifty meal using some of their delicious, British ham or chicken I jumped at the chance as I knew that it would be perfect for the Hijacked By Twins ethos, good, wholesome food that does not cost the earth and what the whole family will love!

At this time of year soups and broths make a perfect meal, it is pure comfort in a bowl. Sitting in the warm with a bowl of soup and some freshly made bread, perfect. So with this in mind I got planning my recipe. I love to eat as seasonal as we can as this not only ensures we get vegetables while they are at their best but also helps to keep the prices down as seasonal vegetables tend to be cheaper to buy. At this time of year the root vegetables are definitely the stars of the season. When shopping for root vegetables most supermarkets sell great bags of mixed root that are often labelled as stew packs. That is what I have used for this broth, to bulk it out I have added super thrifty pearl barley and topped it with a crunchy ham topping.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Gluten and Dairy Free Banana Pancakes (Low FODMAP and Low Syn)

If there is one foodie event that we all love it has to be pancake day. What is there not to love? It is the one day that you can have as many pancakes that you want without feeling guilty! But with me following the Slimming World eating plan and the hubby having so much success with the FODMAP eating plan we really do not want to undo the hard work. This got me thinking as to how I can adapt the classic pancake into one that is not just healthier but also one that is going to keep everybody's tummies happy.

When I saw that this week Aldi had included bananas in their fantastic Super6 offer I got stocked up. Everyone loves bananas here so I knew that if I used them as the base for this years pancakes they would go down well and priced at just 69p I can buy plenty as once you have tried these pancakes you will need to make more!

This is what I did...

#CookBlogShare 2017 Week 8 - Plus 4 Perfect Mid Week Meals

Hello and welcome to week 8 of #CookBlogShare.

Yesterday was the twins 5th birthday. Unfortunately it did not go to plan as Little I was not very well. So we did not manage to get to the cinema as planned but we did get the hubby home in the afternoon so that did make up for it.

This week the children are on their half term holiday which makes meal times even more manic. When they are at school I have a bit more time to plan and cook so with this in mind I decided to focus on recipes that are perfect for a mid week meal. All of the recipes that I have chosen from week 7 of CookBlogShare are meals that the whole family would love and perfect for a busy evening. 

Here are my 4 favourite recipes from week 7 of #CookBlogShare...

Monday, 20 February 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday Week 8 2017

Hello and welcome to week 8 of #MealPlanningMonday!

This week is going to be a busy week as the children are on their half term holidays. Today is also the twins 5th birthday so it is going to be an exciting day for them. Yesterday we celebrated their birthday with family and today we will be going to see a film at the cinema as the hubby is at work. But we will be spending the day together as a family on Friday as he has the day off.

Last weeks meal plan was a success. There was a meal that was swapped as I forgot when I was planning our meals that Tuesday was Valentine's day so the hubby and I had Friday's steak dinner on Tuesday and changed Friday's dinner to a Slimming World curry night.

Last weeks Slimming World weigh in was not a huge loss but still a milestone of a loss. Last week I lost 1.5lbs which has finally taken me over the 2 stone mark! I have now lost a total of 29lbs and have reached a new number so I was delighted!

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

Weekly Meal Plan - Week 8 2017

Monday - Spaghetti Bolognese

As Monday is the twins birthday I will be making one of their favourite dinners, spaghetti bolognese and of course birthday cake!

Tuesday - Grilled Salmon, Jacket Potatoes and Vegetables

We have not had salmon in a while so I will be grilling some on Tuesday and serving it with jacket potatoes and Mediterranean vegetables.

Wednesday - Gammon, Pineapple, Egg and SW Chips

I saw a picture of gammon and pineapple the other day and have wanted it ever since! So this week we will be having gammon with pineapple, fried eggs and Slimming World friendly chips.

Thursday - Slow Cooked Beef

While I was listing what we had in the freezer I found a joint of beef which I am planning to cook this week in my Pressure King Pro and served with potatoes, vegetables and dumplings.

Friday - Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas

I love fish and chips so we will be finishing the week with them. Also it is a great easy meal as I do not know what we will be doing on Friday yet.

Saturday - Homemade Burgers

I love homemade burgers and will be making some on Saturday to have with jacket potatoes and salad.

What do you have planned for the week? Are your children on half term or did they have last week off?

If you write a meal plan feel free to join in with the #MealPlanningMonday blog hop!

Hope you have a great week x

Hijacked By Twins

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Friday, 17 February 2017

Vini and Bals Rustic Indian Curry Sauces - Review

You cannot beat a good Indian curry but if you are watching your weigh having a take away means consuming a lot of hidden calories. That is without mentioning the cost which when feeding a family can be high! So when Vini and Bal's got in touch to ask me if I would like to try some of their authentic Indian curry sauces I was curious to see whether they would be like getting one from a restaurant.

Vini and Bal's is the creation of a husband and wife team. Vini's family moved over the England in the 70's and Vini grew up cooking with her mother and grandmother, the food was made from scratch and she has treasured memories of growing up grinding spices with a pestle and mortar and making smiley faced chapattis. When Vini married Bal, Vini and Bal's was born. They both have a passion for healthy, home cooked food. After Vini had shared her families sauces with friends it became apparent that there was something special about the sauces. In 2011 they started to make the sauces commercially. Over time the recipe has evolved to cater for Vini's mother who was diagnosed with Coeliacs so the sauces needed to be healthy, clean and of course gluten free! They even paid a visit to BBC's Dragon's Den and got the backing from them!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Cottage Pie Topped with Butternut Squash - Pressure King Pro Recipe

A couple of weeks ago I told you about my new favourite kitchen gadget, the Pressure King Pro. Since I received this product is has been used so many times I have lost count. As it is being used so much and how much I genuinely love the product I am going to be posting many more recipes that I have made in the Pressure King Pro.

Today I am sharing with you one of our most loved recipes, cottage pie. This is a recipe that I have tweaked a lot over time, I have added new ingredients, tried different ideas and it really has evolved over time. When I started to use the Pressure King Pro I knew that a cottage pie sauce would cook beautifully in it and I was not wrong!

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Saving Money on Foodie Days

Foodie days out are the perfect way to treat someone special in your life. Whether it is for valentine's, a birthday or just because you want to there are some fantastic deals out there to be had. Today I thought that I would share with you some of my top foodie experiences that are on my 'to do' list as well as some that I have already done!

Afternoon Tea

This is a classic English tradition that must be experienced by all. I was lucky enough to experience my first afternoon tea last year. I visited The Berkeley Hotel in London with the wonderful team from Carnival and dined on the exquisite Pret-a-Portea. We dined on sandwiches, cakes, scones and drank champagne! Before you book check out which hotels or cafes have any special offers running. A lot will have cheaper rates during the week!

Wine Tasting at a Vineyard

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

#CookBlogShare 2017 Week 7 - The Food of Love

Hello and welcome to week 7 of #CookBlogShare.

Last week the linky was hosted by Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie. For me last week was a wipe out hence me being quieter than usual. The dreaded cold bug returned and returned with a vengeance. Thankfully I am back on the mend and raring to go.

As today is the day of love, Valentine's day, my round-up is all about the food of love. Valentine's and romance was felt in many posts that were shared last week so I had plenty to choose from. As always the hard part was narrowing it down to just four recipes. The four recipes that I have chosen are a delicious selection of sweet treats that will keep you wanting more.

Here are my favourite four recipes from week 6 of #CookBlogShare...

Monday, 13 February 2017

Valentine's Cupcakes with Aldi

I love Valentine's day. As much as I believe in showing our loved ones how much we love them all year round, I do love an excuse for a bit more romance.

This year Aldi have got everything that you need to show your special person how much you love them. Whether you are looking for flowers, chocolates, champagne, a teddy, they have it.

But, if you have a loved one who loves cake then these little cupcakes of love will certainly steal their heart. Homemade gifts are not only made with love but are a great way to save money. If your budget is tight this Valentine's day then these cupcakes will come to the rescue!

This is what I did...

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday Week 7 2017

Hello and welcome to week 7 of #MealPlanningMonday.

I am well and truly ready for a new week. After I started so positively on Monday, the bugs returned and from Tuesday I have really not been well. So all in all it was a pretty rubbish week! However the Hubby did turn it around on Friday by taking me out for some dinner and also treating me to a new dress which was lovely! We had a lazy weekend which we all needed and I am finally starting to feel more myself, at last!

With not feeling very well I was expecting a weight gain when I went to Slimming World last Friday but was delighted to have lost half a pound. While we were out I took a picture to use in a pre Slimming World and now picture to compare. As I see myself all the time I don't always see the change. But seeing the following pictures side by side I realised how much it has changed me and it has given me even more encouragement to carry on. The picture on the left was taken in the summer while we were away with Carnival.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

#2PoundChallenge with Voucherbox and Zamcog

When I first heard about the #2PoundChallenge fundraiser I was intrigued to find out more. I love saving money on our weekly shop but being able to help raise money for a charity is even better.

Voucherbox are working with bloggers to raise money for Zamcog. Zamcog is a UK based charity that works with some of the most vulnerable children in Zambia. Zamcog support the Shitima School which has grown from being one class room teaching just 8 children to a fully functioning boarding and day school for over 446 children. To feed, clothe and educate a child in Zambia it cost £2 per day per child. To help us to change the way we view both food and how much we spend we were going to spend the day eating for just £2 per head. I could take the challenge in one of two ways, I could do the challenge myself or get my family involved and have the whole family eat meals for just £2 per head. I decided to do it as a family. I want my children to grow up knowing how lucky they are to live where we do. We have a constant supply of drinking water, they always have clothes and there is always food in the kitchen for them to eat.

Zamcog - Defying The Odds from Adam Dickens on Vimeo.

The day before the challenge I went shopping with £10 as we are a family of five. Before I went shopping I planned out all of our meals for the day so that I knew exactly what to buy and how much it would cost. The days shopping came to a total of £9.61.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Bramley Apple Week - Bramley Apple and Plum Crumble

We all love a good pudding and this week it is time to celebrate one of my favourite ingredients for a good, comforting pudding, the fantastically versatile Bramley Apple.

The Bramley Apple is a traditional cooking apple. Its bitterness settles to a deliciously sweet flavour once cooked and unlike eating apples it stays full of flavour. Bramley apples can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes making it a great all rounder and with them being at their best, now is a perfect time to start cooking with them. Today I am going to share with you one of our favourite puddings, Bramley Apple and Plum Crumble. The trusty crumble is a pudding that can be adapted easily to taste and can be used with a wide variety of fruits. It can be served with cream, custard, ice cream and even yogurt, the possibilities are endless!

Aldi currently have Bramley apples in store and priced at just 99p for 4 apples (approx 500 - 550g) they are cheap enough to buy a few packs, stew the apples, eat some and freeze some for another day.

This is what I did...

Monday, 6 February 2017

Cypriot New Potato Salad

One of my favourite vegetables to use has to be the new potato. As soon as new potato season arrives they are my go to potato. However, as we know, in the UK we do not have new potatoes all year round, we simply do not have the weather for them. Thankfully Cyprus does and thanks to Tesco we can enjoy them right now!

These deliciously versatile potatoes have come straight from sunny Cyprus and are of the 'Spunta' variety. The Spunta potato has a lovely yellow skin and is a fantastic all rounder potato but in my opinion, it is perfect for salads! Their mild, buttery, earthy flavours mean that they are a potato that will go with vegetables, meats and even fish. They are the perfect potato for when you are short of time as all they need is a wash and they are ready to be cooked. They can be steamed, boiled, baked and even made into chips.

As I said before my favourite way to use Cypriot new potatoes has to be in a potato salad. Forget buying a tub of potato salad, once you have tried my healthy potato salad there will be no going back!

This is what I did...

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday Week 6 2017

Hello and welcome to week 6 of #MealPlanningMonday I hope you all had a good week and are ready for another delicious week.

Last week our house was full of bugs. On Tuesday Little T got sent home after being sick. Thankfully the sickness did not last long, but he was still poorly for the week with cold and raging temperature. Little I must have an immune system made of steel, bless her, apart from a bit of a snotty nose she is well. But now the rest of us are feeling it. I am not too bad, I just feel completely washed out so homemade broth has been just about all I have eaten. Isn't it amazing how a good homemade soup or broth can fill you with comfort!

Last weeks meal plan was more or less followed. The lasagne turned into a chicken pasta bake made in the Pressure King Pro and I was not up to cooking the sausage casserole on Saturday. This week the Pressure King Pro has become my go to piece of equipment. Last week I shared my review but this week it has proven to be invaluable. I was able to sneak off while Little T was sleeping, prepare the food, put it in the PKP and leave it to do all the hard work for me.

I managed to get to my Slimming World class but went in the evening instead of the regular morning session. I was a bit disappointed to have only lost 1lbs but looking back I am happy, at the end of the day it was another loss.

Now onto this weeks meal plan. This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Thursday, 2 February 2017

#SimplySeasonal February 2017

Welcome to February's #SimplySeasonal!

Last month I started this new monthly feature and blog party to celebrate all seasonal ingredients. Following Mother Nature and using the fruits and vegetables that are at their best is not only a delicious way to cook throughout the year but can also be a more economical way of cooking. Fruit and vegetables that are in season tend to be cheaper in the shops and if you have enough room you can even have some of them growing in the garden.

Before I tell you what fruit and vegetables are at their best this month let me show you what tasty recipes were shared in January.

I love kale at this time of year and the Pesto Kale Salad that I added to the linky has become a favourite dish. Since making this I have been adding kale more and more to salads.

Basement Bakehouse shared an easy way to transform a high calorie pizza into a vegetable, healthy based pizza. This Easy Peasy 30 Minute Cauliflower Pizza is a must try!

Soups are perfect for this time of year. Dragons and Fairy Dust shared this deliciously seasonal Parsnip and Cauliflower Soup and reasons why they are also eating with the seasons!

The second recipe that I shared featured more kale. This Naked Coleslaw is both syn free for anyone following the Slimming World plan and contains only low FODMAP foods so you know that it is going to be packed with goodness!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Pressure King Pro - Review

I love getting kitchen gadgets. The unboxing, using it for the first time and getting creative with meals is one of my favourite things to do. So when I was asked if I would like to review the Pressure King Pro I jumped at the chance! Only a couple of days earlier I was telling the hubby that I needed a new slow cooker as my other one had broken so after having a look at the Pressure King Pro online I was definitely excited for it to arrive. I have never used a pressure cooker, but I do have memories of my mum using one when I was a child. Of course they have all updated since then and are even digital! Before the Pressure King Pro arrived I really was not sure what to expect but I could not wait to find out more.

Thanks to the speedy delivery from it arrived in no time. The first thing that I was surprised at was the size of the Pressure King Pro, it was bigger than I was expecting which is fantastic when you are preparing meals for a family of five. The Pressure King Pro comes with everything that you need to prepare delicious meals in even less time!

Before you can use the Pressure King Pro for the first time you need to give it a steam clean. This is to ensure that all parts are thoroughly clean before you add any food.

To really jump in at the deep end I decided that my first meal using the Pressure King Pro would be a joint of beef in a ragu sauce.

This is what I did...