Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 - A Year of Food

Last December I wrote a post about my favourite recipes of 2016. I loved looking back at what I had written and rediscovering recipes that I had forgotten about. As soon as the end of 2017 beckoned I knew that I wanted to do the same again. While the kids were busy baking with their gran I took the time to sit back, enjoy the peace and look back.

Here is my year of food for 2017...

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The Best of #CookBlogShare 2017

Hello and welcome to the final #CookBlogShare of 2017!

Yes, we have had another year full of delicious recipes and we have seen this lovely linky becoming more of a foodie community. We started the year as three hosts, Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie, Mandy from Sneaky Veg and myself. Part way through the year Mandy stood down from her hosting duties which left Eb and I with a space. Thankfully we had the two ideal additions to join the hosting gang. Jacqui from Recipes Made Easy and Monika from Everyday Healthy Recipes did an amazing job guest hosting for us so they were our immediate choices. Luckily they were both delighted to join us. Hosting the linky can be time consuming so to have two extra people on board certainly eased the pressure and they are doing a great job and have fitted in perfectly with Eb and I. It is thanks to these three ladies that the CookBlogShare linky has grown as much as it has. I returned to the world of the employed in the summer and they have been the lifeguard that has stopped me and CookBlogShare from drowning. So thank you Eb, Jacqui and Monika, I really am so grateful to you all and look forward to continuing to work with you all in 2018!

As this is the final week of the CookBlogShare linky of 2017 I thought that I would look back over the seventeen weeks that I hosted and share with you my favourite recipes that have been shared. As you can imagine, over the seventeen weeks, there were a lot of recipes that have been shared and selecting just seventeen recipes was very hard. But after a day of re-reading I finally chose the following recipes as the best of 2017.


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Stick to Stigu Planner 2018 - Review

A couple of years ago I reviewed the fantastic Stick to Stigu planner and I loved it. So when they got in touch to ask if I would like to receive one of their 2018 planners I could not wait to see what it would be like. When I first reviewed the planner it was new to the market. After a couple of year I was curious to see if it would be as good as the previous planner or if it would be better!

I was not disappointed!

The one thing that I didn't like about the old planner was the lack of colour, as you can see the 2018 planner is definitely not lacking colour! I love the bright vibrant colour theme and design. As for the inside the concept is, thankfully, the same as before. Lots of space to write what is going on each day. Being a busy, working, blogging mum means I often juggle not just life but also diaries. One diary for work, one for my blog, one for the kids, the list goes on! Thankfully with a Stigu planner there is enough room to merge all of the diaries together in one book. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Chicago Town's The Pizza Kitchen - A Perfect Midweek Meal

Since returning to work I have realised how precious time is. There are days when I simply do not want to cook a full meal from scratch. After a hectic day at work, helping the children with their homework, dashing around as mum's taxi I just want a quick and easy meal that I know everyone is going to love!

In our house pizza is always a winner. So when I was asked if we would like to try Chicago Town's new The Pizza Kitchen range I knew that the kids would love it! So what is different, you may ask. Well they have replaced the traditional pizza base with a deli style base which leaves the pizza with an irresistible deli crisp crust. These pizzas are frozen but taste like freshly made pizzas! The only way to describe the base is that it is just like tiger bread .

The Pizza Kitchen range comes in 4 tasty flavours:
  • Roasted chicken
  • Deli pepperoni
  • Cheese medley
  • Garden vegetable
Each pizza has a generous serving of Chicago Town's signature tomato sauce and finished with the toppings.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

#CookBlogShare Week 50 - Plus 4 Homemade Edible Gifts

Hello and welcome to week 50 of CookBlogShare!

I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of another successful year of #CookBlogShare. I love how far this linky has come and how it has grown into a lovely community of foodie enthusiasts. But it would not be where is is without the help from my fantastic co-hosts Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie, Jacqui from Recipes Made Easy and Monika from Everyday Healthy Recipes. Since I returned to the employed world, they have literally kept the linky afloat. Without their help I really do not know where it would be, so thank you ladies, I really do appreciate all of your hard work!

For now, I am on the countdown to finishing work for the Christmas holidays. From Wednesday, next week, I will be off for 2 weeks and I cannot wait. One of the highlights of working in a school is the holidays, they not only allow me to enjoy the precious time with the children but it also allows me to continue working on Hijacked By Twins. Over the last 4 and a half years it has become a huge part of my life and something I cannot imagine not having. This week I am sharing my four favourite recipes from last week, next week the linky will be with Jacqui and then on Boxing Day it will return to me when I will be doing a round up of 2017. I will be featuring my favourite recipes from the last year, it will be a mixture of sweet and savoury recipes that you have shared over the last year. I cannot wait to share it with you!

Now on to this week's linky. Here are my four favourite recipes from week 49 of CookBlogShare, four recipes that would make delicious homemade, edible gifts...

Monday, 11 December 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday

Monday is back again, please can someone tell me where the weekend has gone?!?!

This weekend seems to have gone by in a blur of jobs, the traditional pre Christmas clear out and yet more jobs. I feel like I have not stopped! Now we are onto another week. The last full working week until the much needed Christmas break!

Over the last week I have cut out dairy to see if it was effecting how I was feeling. I was surprised by how much of a difference cutting out cow's milk, cheese and yogurt has made. I am not feeling as bloated and am not having the pains that I was, so it has been a successful trial.

Now onto this week's meal plan. This week's plan is going to full of easy meals as I have got a feeling that it is going to be a busy one!

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

Week Commencing 11th December 2017

Monday - Jacket Potatoes

Monday is a busy evening as J goes to cadets so we tend to want something that can be put in the oven and left while we get on. We will be starting the week with jacket potatoes, breaded chicken and vegetables.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Turkey, Pheasant and Cranberry Pie

As Christmas beckons we are thinking more and more about turkey based meals, especially leftover turkey meals. I always buy a turkey much bigger than we need simply to have leftovers. I love leftovers, they create such delicious, flavoursome meals. We usually go for a curry, but this year I have decided to go for a pie. Pies are such comforting meals that are perfect for a cold evening. 

One meat that we all love at this time of year is pheasant. It is such a rich meat that goes perfectly with poultry. So to make a real festive pie I have added some pheasant to this pie along with vegetables and some cranberry sauce. 

This is what I did...

Coffee Treats

I love coffee so when I was asked if I would like to try a couple of coffee products that went hand in hand with each other I could not resist.

I must admit I am a bit of a coffee snob. I am very particular with the coffee that I have and would rather spend more money to have a good cup of coffee. During the week I depend on our coffee machine and instant coffee but at the weekend the hubby and I like to indulge in ground coffee. As much as we like to stick with our regular coffee it is always great to try new blends. Blue Coffee Box is a new coffee subscription that I can see becoming a favourite of ours.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday

Hello and welcome to my weekly meal plan.

Now that we are in December all of our focus is definitely on Christmas. I adore this time of year. It is so magical especially for the children. The twinnies are a great age, being 5 they now fully understand the magic of Christmas. T made me giggle when I said to him last Thursday "tomorrow it's December" and his immediate response was "is it Christmas tomorrow?". It must seem like such a long way to go. After reading Rolling with Marbles meal planning post I decided to hunt down some Kellogg's advent calendars. I was delighted to get some in our local Tesco and the kids love them plus, for me, I am happier for them to have their cereal advent in the morning and saving the chocolate one for after school!

I even managed to get them at a reduced price, £3 instead of £4! All three have got them, the only problem that I have is finding space for all of the mini boxes of cereals!

In other news, I am trying to cut dairy out of my diet. Recently I have found that particularly after I have eaten yogurt, cheese or had some cows milk my stomach is making terrible noises and I am getting so bloated. After doing a bit of research I discovered that between the ages of 30 and 40 your body can start to reduce the amount of lactase that is produces, it is lactase that counteracts the lactose in dairy products plus I am sure years of taking anti depressants will not have helped my gut. So as a test I have swapped my Muller light yogurts for Alpro soya yogurts, cows milk for almond milk and I have even swapped my beloved cheese for vegan alternatives. I am going into this with an open mind and am keeping a food diary so that I can record how I am feeling and what foods may be effecting how I feel. Thankfully there are so many dairy free alternatives available. We do our weekly shop with Ocado and I was really impressed with the variety of foods that they stock, I even got some dairy free pesto! I will keep you updated with how I get on, I just hope that I find a solution!

Now onto this weeks meal plan. This week is, as usual, a busy one. J is at cadets on Monday and Wednesday then on Thursday the twinnies have got their Christmas school disco.

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