2016 in pictures

L to R:  Es 4th birthday, visiting friends in Essex, Easter Egg hunt with bestie, new baby brother L arrives, playgroup sports day, extra play dates with Daddy, superhero cousins, bobble hat cousins, camping in Porlock with buddiesGower seaside break, half term break at the school gate, now we are 4.

Previous years:  20152014201320122011

January 1, 2017 at 10:04 am Leave a comment

a first Christmas

With baby L and as a family of 4.  Oh what a lovely time we’ve all had sharing present opening (aka wrapping paper chewing) and playing with this little fella.

Wishing you all a blessed 2017.


(Greeting card from a selection at http://www.kaartfanaat.nl)

December 25, 2016 at 10:59 pm Leave a comment

OXO stocking filler ideas for your favourite foody

I’ve been really organised about Christmas this year (versus last year when I was pregnant) and thanks to on-line shopping from my phone while baby naps I will not need to join any last minute scrums in town this week. If you feel like you’re running out of shopping days/energy/inspiration here are some suggestions for you from the fabulous OXO Good Grips range (and with 2 days left for next day delivery too!).
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I like to gift practical items that can be loved, used daily or passed on. Sometimes we make edible gifts to enjoy and share (no time for that this year sadly but there’s a terrific Christmas Pudding truffles recipe here!). When the OXO elves sent us this lovely selection of pressies to try out I immediately thought of simple every day uses to bring something tasty to the Christmas table. We used our apple corer, stainless steel bowl mixing bowl, heat resistant silicone spatula and lemon squeeze and store to make a fruit and nut filling for baked apples. The house smelled delicious and baby L was able to share the apples with us. If you have gluten free guests at your Christmas table these would make a simple mince pie alternative (with a big dollop of cream on the side I’m sure they wouldn’t even mind the missing pastry).
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The 4 cup angled measuring jug featured in my stocking fillers review a couple of years ago and is still one of our favourite kitchen essentials. I use it most days and unlike every other plastic measuring jug I’ve ever owned it hasn’t cracked from pouring boiled water into it time and time again. This week alone I’ve used it for making gravy, coconut milk from powder, vegetable stock, measuring rice and cooling boiled eggs. E’s favourite use of course is for melting jelly cubes. Yesterday we used it as a receptacle for scooping salt and flour out with our measuring cups. Ours is a 1 litre jug but it’s also available in 1 cup 250ml size and a 2 cup 500ml size.
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I’ve always wanted a set of measuring cups to save the time I spend converting recipes using cup measurements into grams. The arrival of this lovely set was timely as the battery has run out on my kitchen scales and E had asked about making salt dough christmas tree decorations. We used Mommypotamus’s salt dough recipe which was simple with our 1 and 1/2 size cups. Whether upsizing or downsizing recipes these cups are fab – the largest is 1.5 cups and all 6 cups have a convenient half line measurement inside. There’s a handy spreader for ensuring an even level for dry contents which doubles up as the hook for hanging your cups away afterwards.
photogrid_1482186902577You may have noticed the stainless steel mixing bowl in both our makes. We’ve reviewed it before here and it really is the one-man-band of mixing bowls. E no longer wears it as a hat but it’s only a matter of time before L does. I’m sure he’ll happily turn the bowl and spatula into a drum kit soon.  It’s my number one recommendation for a kitchen gift for Christmas, birthdays or weddings.
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I know what you’re thinking, a mixing bowl will not fit inside a stocking. In which case my ultimate stocking filler buy would be the lemon squeeze and store and deserves a mention all of it’s own (especially as I forgot to add it to my picture selection above).photogrid_1482228456583

It’s just £4 and strains seeds and pulp while directing the lemon juice out of the holes and directly onto your salad, fish, cooking pan, water and more. When you’re done, the Squeeze & Store will hold the other half of your lemon, keeping it protected until the next time you need a splash of citrus.

All items are available from the OXO website (use links above for details) except for the Stainless steel mixing bowl which is available from several other cookware suppliers. The photo used in my review is from Mamahome.com.  There are a whole heap of other kitchen gadget gifts in the Good Grips range.

Disclosure: I selected these items to try.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

 

December 20, 2016 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

wordless wednesday

December 14, 2016 at 8:38 pm Leave a comment

Seasons Greetings

”Can I take a picture of your card before you take it into school?” I asked.
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”Yes but you have to take it like this covering my face”

I love how E directs photo shoots now.

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E made this card for his class. A beautiful christmas tree filled with love for the front and a pulled cracker complete with ‘POP’ and a racing car toy for the back. Mince pies and a rocket ice lolly for the inside, of course!

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December 9, 2016 at 10:19 pm Leave a comment

wordless wednesday

November 30, 2016 at 10:02 am Leave a comment

making courgetti and squoodles

courgetti-on-fork-for-blogWhen I was pregnant with Luca I felt constantly hungry and found myself reaching for starchy carbohydrates to fill me up and calm the acid reflux that fired as soon as I ate anything vaguely wholesome.  7 months on from birthing my 9lb something boy I’m breastfeeding, sleep deprived and carrying him back and forth on the school run so I haven’t been too careful about what I’m eating and make poor food choices when I’m tired (which is most of the time!)   My  baby weight is creeping up rather than down so I’ve resolved to rely less on sugary foods to get me through the day and get back to a healthier way of eating.spiralizer_courgetti-for-blog
I’ve been trying to use vegetables more to replace lazy bread and pasta options.  I was using a vegetable peeler to make courgetti but finding the result rather mushy.   A cheeky plea to my friends at OXO Good Grips to try their 3 blade spiralizer has since resulted in this divine dish;  made in minutes from just a few simple ingredients (a friend’s home grown squash, spinach, sunblush tomatoes and parmesan cheese).  What’s more E was able to help make the ‘squoodles‘ and I found they were better for being made ahead and left to dry out a bit (which was just as well after spiralizing every vegetable in the house created enough noodles for 3 meals).
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The OXO Good Grips spiralizer comes with 3 different blades for two sizes of noodles and one for slicing.  It’s really simple to set up and has a suction pad underneath to help secure it to the table.  I felt happy to let E use it alongside me as the vegetables felt securely attached and it’s operated by turning a handle so small fingers and sharp blades are kept well apart.  We did find that half way through it tipped and lost suction and moved but this may have been due to our technique with E’s body weight coming at it from a different angle than a standing adult would.
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We worked our way through courgettes, squash, cucumber and carrots and there’s a video here for other vegetables to try it out with (onions, apples even cauliflower to make a low carb alternative to rice).
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We also tried the OXO Good Grips hand held spiralizer which is brilliantly simple to use and clean and takes up hardly any room in the drawer.  It’s much more affordable at £15 but a bit more work than the £40 three blade spiralizer.
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Although the pictures suggest it can be used for harder vegetables like carrots and beetroot I didn’t find it as good.  I think spiralizers are the sort of products where the cautious among us would opt for the cheaper hand held version and not be disappointed by it’s effectiveness but also not realise the endless possibilities and ease that comes with buying the table top spiralizer.  I vowed to only keep one so will be passing on the hand held one to a friend.
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Tonight’s spiralized butternut squash for squoodle bolognese..

Disclosure: I was sent the spiralizers to try. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

November 29, 2016 at 9:37 pm Leave a comment

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