Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Eleven Things

I'm always a bit slow at getting involved with the quizzes that go around blog world. I enjoy doing them, but I just never seem to have enough time/energy/brain cells to sit down and think of amusing, or at least vaguely interesting, answers.

You have probably already seen the "11 things" quiz that has been going round. I have been tagged three times now - thanks Sarah, Maria and Jemma - so I guess that is enough prompting for me to take part!

Here are the rules:
1. You must post these rules
2. Each person must post 11 things about themselves on their blog
3. Answer the taggers questions and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.

So first up, 11 random things about me...I'll try not to repeat too many things that I've already told you, but no promises!

1. I never used to even like it, but now I love coffee. Before I met Liam, I would always order a hot chocolate when I went to a coffee shop, but he got me hooked on the "strong stuff". Now I start every morning with at least one homemade latte/pot of machine coffee, use Costa gingerbread lattes as rewards for anything and everything, and in summer I make sure there is always a pot of coffee in the fridge ready to turn into iced coffee. Neeeed caffeine.

2. Like Hannah, I love looking up at the sky - it can be so pretty! When I looked out of the window this morning, I risked life and limb (literally) to go out and take this photo. "Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning" is right...the decking leading to my back garden was super icy!

3. I love visiting other countries and learning new languages. I did French and Spanish A-levels and the first couple of terms of a French and Spanish degree (which I then dropped out of and went to a different uni to complete an Education degree, but that's a different story for another day!) I also learnt Portuguese at evening classes for a while. Unfortunately I haven't really kept up with any of these, especially after having the children, but I would love to continue with them and/or learn other languages one day.

4. I only started baking in June 2010. I posted more about it in this recipe post for strawberry coconut muffins but long story short, but my first baking endeavour was not a success. Pancake flat rubbery rhubarb muffin anyone?!

I hope I've improved a little since then!! ;-)

5. We live in the same town as my Mum, both my sisters, both sets of my Grandparents, Liam's parents, Liam's two siblings and Liam's Nan! When I was a (horrible) teenager, I always wanted to live as far away from this town as possible, but after having Izzy I began to realise the benefits of having lots of family nearby!!

6. My little girl has started getting homework. This makes me feel old. On Friday, she came home from school saying that she had "homework to make a poster about friendship". The benefit of having a graphic designer for a husband is that these types of homework get passed over to Liam, and it was only after an hour + of them making a poster, that Izzy admitted that she had made the homework up as she just wanted to make a poster to show her teacher!!!

Then last night she got actual homework. She came home with the class bear and had to write about all the things she'd done with him that evening. Writing is more "my area" so we spent a loooong 20 minutes writing about the fun they'd had, and then Izzy drew some pictures this morning. Done.

7. When I was growing up, we had a swimming pool in our garden. I loved it. It was heated, but being outside we only opened it for the summer. My Dad always aimed to open it for my birthday weekend in May, I remember he always had to fish out dead frogs etc from the bottom of the pool, but after that it was great to swim in!! There was a shed by the swimming pool too, and I always used to tell my parents that when I grew up, they could live in the shed at the bottom of the garden, and I would live in the house. Haha, children have such a funny view of the world!

8. I'm so grateful for all the new foods I've discovered through blogging and reading blogs. Some were one buy wonders, but some have become new favourites. Lindt sea salt chocolate, smoked tofu, peanut flour, vanilla stevia drops, kabocha squash, medjool dates stuffed with (Justin's) nut butter etc etc etc. Love them.

9. I worked in a cocktail bar for 1.5 years before having Izzy. It was such great fun to make all the different cocktails, and even more fun to drink some after your shift!! I have never liked wine or beer and so cocktails are my ideal drink. I quite like spirits with mixers, but cocktails taste so much nicer and less "alcohol-like"...way too easy to drink!

10. I can't think of any sweet food item that I don't like. It is one of my major downfalls in losing weight. People always tell me not to keep snacky foods in the house, and if I have to buy them (for Liam) then to make sure I buy things I don't like. But I don't know what those things are. Sure there are things I like less - like boring crisps or dry biscuits - but if they're in the house I'll still eat them! The only exception is non-vegetarian things, eg with gelatine in, but Liam is getting a bit sick of me constantly buying him wagon wheels!!

11. I was running out of things to say by this stage so asked Liam for inspiration. He wants me to let you all know that he is amazing..........at cleaning!! :-p <---- half true in my mind, he's good at noticing things that need cleaning, but likes to have a long moan at me before deciding to do (some of) it himself!! ;-)

Right, on to all the questions I have to answer!

The first person that tagged me was Sarah @ Sweet Potato Sarah. These were her questions:

1. Do you have any weird sleeping habits?
I sleepwalk/talk. More often as a child. I remember once waking up at the top of the stairs. I went back to my room but my duvet was gone, so I got a sleeping bag from the airing cupboard and went back to sleep. The next day my Mum found my duvet downstairs by the front door! More recently (only a couple of weeks ago actually, but it's not such a regular occurrence anymore) Liam woke up to me returning to the bedroom (he's not sure from where) and apparently I sat upright in bed saying something. He asked me to repeat myself and I just looked at him, mumbled some more then lay down and went back to sleep. No memory of it the next morning!

2. What is your favourite world cuisine?
Oooh, I have so many favourites! At the moment, I think Thai is winning - the last Thai meal we had was so delicious. I love Indian food too, but the local Indian restaurants don't have many exciting vegetarian options.

3. What is your favourite high street store?
Does Holland & Barrett count?? I don't really like clothes shopping, but on the rare occasion I do buy myself clothes, they seem to be from Next or Debenhams. [wails - I feel so old!!]

4. How many malteasers can you fit in your mouth at once? Ha!
Haha, no idea, and as I'm meant to be trying to lose weight I am not going to use this question as an excuse to go out and buy some!! ;-)

5. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
I thought about this one for ages, and I just don't know. I love so many different foods, I would hate to be limited to just one. If I really had to choose though, then maybe something like avocado. I love it, and it kind of fits the sweet and savoury gap so hopefully I wouldn't get bored of it quite so quickly.

6. What is your favourite colour?
Purple and green. We had purple as our wedding colour and emerald is my birthstone. My eternity ring has diamonds and emeralds and I wear quite a lot of both green and purple. Izzy would prefer it if I said pink though I'm sure!

7. If someone gave you a £100 amazon voucher, what would you buy?
When I first saw this question, I intended to go and have a browse of Amazon to give a proper answer. But that would possibly be too depressing/tempting. Something food/kitchen orientated that I didn't really need no doubt. I'm addicted to buying random little things to decorate the house with, Liam hates it!

8. If you could be any animal, which would you be and why?
To answer this, I just googled "animals that hibernate". I'm feeling tired and could do with a long break!! Out of the answers that came up, I think I'm going to go with hedgehogs. Despite the spikes, I always think they're kind of cute, and I used to love playing "Sonic the Hedgehog"!

9. Milk, dark of white chocolate?
Definitely dark. Even better if it has some kind of flavouring like sea salt or ginger, but good quality plain dark chocolate is fine by me too!

10. What would be the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?
Pretty standard answer here, but I'd probably give some money to family members that needed it and buy us a house and/or holiday depending on how much we won and which one we "needed" more at the time!

11. If you had (another) baby what would you call him/her?
Joshua for a boy. I always wanted to have a "little Josh" but Izzy was, obviously, a girl, and Liam ruled out the name Joshua when Toby was born as his former best friend was called Josh so it held bad memories for him. Boo.
For a girl, I'm not so sure. I like Jessica and Rebecca. But I'm sure I'll think of lots of other names I also like once I hit publish!

I was going to answer all the questions from all 3 people that tagged me, but quite honestly, I'm running out of time. I've written this post so far while Toby has been having his morning nap, but he's just woken up so I'll be finishing off this post this evening once the children have gone to bed and I'm tired, so I'm just going to answer a few of the questions that the other people asked.

The next person to tag me was Maria @ Running Cupcake, here were a few of her questions:

Where would you go for the best holiday?
My favourite holiday to date was when I went to Mexico, age 18. I went with my family and we stayed at an all inclusive. It was blissful - cocktails at the swim up bar, delicious buffet breakfasts incl freshly made smoothies, omelettes etc and lots of swimming and relaxing. We also did quite a few trips to get out of the resort - snorkeling at Xel-Ha, a trip to Chichen Itza and swimming with dolphins. I know that doesn't really answer Maria's question...I'm getting there! I'd like to go somewhere in the Caribbean or somewhere equally idyllic. I do also like going on holiday to places with more to do (like our honeymoon to Barcelona), but as I can't see my dream holiday happening for at least another 15 years, I'll definitely "need" a relaxing holiday by then!

What is your least favourite household job?
First place goes to cleaning the bathroom - yuck. I did that yesterday so next time I'm going to try to make it so that it needs cleaning when Liam's home at the weekend! ;-) Second place goes to washing up. We don't have a dishwasher so it just seems a constant chore. I try to keep on top of the washing up during the day, and then Liam and I take it in turns to wash up after dinner.

What did you want to be when you were little?
Since I was about 5, I've always wanted to be a teacher. After a while I added the job "Mum" in there as well so I figure I'm not doing too badly - I'm already a Mum and I've done an Education degree, but still need to do a one year PGCE at some point and then actually find a teaching job (not very easy where we live). One day.

And a few questions from Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes:

Cupcakes or cookies?
Definitely cupcakes! I love the icing so much - butter icing, cream cheese icing, even regular icing sugar + water icing, love it! I have recently started developing a taste for cookies as well though - Millie's style American cookies are delish!

Autumn, Winter, Spring or Summer?
Summer for me! I love the heat and also the summery foods - smoothies, ice cream, fresh fruit. I had some strawberries today, and whilst they were nice they're just not the same in the winter. In the summer strawberries don't need sugar!

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?
This one was a really hard one for me to answer. If I wished to be younger, I'd be wishing away the children, but if I wish to be older then I'd be wishing away their childhoods! So I'm going to go with 24 - the children were both (and still are) at very cute ages and I had the excitement of planning my wedding. Fun times and hopefully there are many great years still to come! :-)

Now I need to tag some people and ask them 11 questions. I can't think of many people that haven't been tagged, but if you haven't then feel free to join in, and apologies to the below if you have already been tagged!

Lara @ Princess Goddess Mummy
Hannah @ Mind Running Wild
Becky @ Becky Blog
Sarah @ Every Day's A Picnic

1. What is the most memorable thing you have ever done?

2. What is your favourite type of baked good?

3. What is your favourite city/place in the UK?

4. How much exercise do you do a week? Any type that you particularly enjoy?

5. Did you have any childhood nicknames?

6. How many blogs do you have in your Google Reader?

7. What would be your ideal job/occupation?

8. Do you watch much TV? Favourite programme?

9. What do you eat for breakfast?

10. What was your favourite subject when you were at school? Did you like doing homework??

11. Now this is an important one...do you like parsnips? ;-)

There we go. As predicted, that took me forever to write. Why is it so much harder to think of things to write about myself than it is to ramble endlessly about food??!! ;-)

If I haven't tagged you (or even if I have), feel free to answer one of the above questions in the comment sections...I'd love to hear all of your answers! :-)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Grocery Shopping - Price Comparison

Whilst I sometimes post about my grocery shopping highlights, I never normally show you everything I buy. This morning, however, I was so shocked by how much we spent that I decided to show all. We have two main choices for supermarkets in our town - Lidl and Waitrose. We always go to Lidl first for the bulk of our shopping (I find the quality of their fruit & veg is better than Waitrose, but they don't always stock such a wide range) and then to Waitrose for anything we haven't been able to get in Lidl.

So first up, here's what we bought in Lidl.

Bready stuff - part-bake rolls and bread are usual purchases, plus I made the mistake of letting Toby choose something for breakfast (waffles), so then Izzy (scones) and Liam (scotch pancakes) had to choose something as well of course! ;)

Vegetables - carrots, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, mange tout and cucumber:

Fruit - bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries x2 and a red grapefruit:

Fresh stuff - full fat milk for the others, skimmed milk for me, ham for Liam & Izzy's sandwiches and little yoghurts for Izzy & Toby:

Tomatoes - lots and lots of tomatoes!! I don't like fresh tomatoes at all (those are for Izzy's packed lunches) but get through loads of chopped tomatoes and passata in meals!

Random stuff - biscuits for Liam, lemon juice and yeast (this was only 25p so I thought I'd give it a try - will it be any good for making your bread recipes Maria?)

And free range eggs, on their own because I forgot about them until I'd packed everything else away...

Total for the Lidl shop: £24.66

I was really impressed by how much we got for that amount of money. Unfortunately that's when things started going wrong - I only had a "few" things to buy in Waitrose but a) their stuff is so much more expensive and b) Liam had had enough of shopping by then so he took the kids for a walk whilst I went round the shop on my own - bliss! Here's what ended up in the trolley...

Frozen - peas, blueberries & raspberries. I could have bought these in Lidl but I was worried about them defrosting, and that's also a good excuse to buy the nicer raspberries - when I make smoothies with the Lidl ones they end up full of seeds, but then these raspberries look almost too perfect to blitz up!!

Fresh - 2x cheddar (on offer), 2x 0% Greek yoghurt, Quorn "chicken" ham (not sure I'll like this - it looks like plastic - but I thought I'd give it a try!), sesame smoked tofu (I also love the basil one but I still have some of that in the fridge) and chocolate cheesecake for Liam & Izzy (they're under strict instructions not to give me any!!!)

Savoury Dry Goods - noodles, wholewheat spaghetti and curry powder (Lidl didn't have any of these), plus a couple of tins of soup for Liam to take to work on the days Izzy has school lunches:

Sweet Dry Goods - instant coffee, ground coffee, cocoa powder, chocolate chunks (to make biscuits later) and Bear granola nibbles:

Random - asparagus and the Waitrose magazines:

and a cute mug that I, again, forgot to photograph until the rest of the shopping was packed away. This was "only" £2.50 so I figure it can be my equivalent of Liam & Izzy's cheesecake!!! ;)

Total for Waitrose shop: £47.24

Yikes! I think we bought many more things in Lidl than we did in Waitrose, for almost half the price! I suppose we do tend to get the harder to get, and therefore more expensive, things in Waitrose and more branded products as well, but still. Definitely glad we only shop at Waitrose once a fortnight now - when I worked there I used to pick up things after work most days!!

Which shops do you do your grocery shopping at? Do you notice a difference in price between the different shops? & are you any good at sticking to a shopping list? When I go to Lidl during the week I'm great at sticking to my list - I rush around (with Toby trying to climb out of his pushchair) and only get what I need - in and out as quickly as possible. Taking Liam and Izzy shopping with me is a bad idea though - even in Lidl, we wouldn't have got grapes or ham or all the breakfast breads if they hadn't been there. The extras in Waitrose are down to me though - going there is a bit of a "treat" now so I tend to get drawn into buying too many things!!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Full Of Goodness

Happy Saturday!

Have you all had a good start to the weekend? We've had a nice day here, not too busy but it's been nice to spend some time at home. I've also eaten really well (for me) today which always makes me feel more positive!

I started the day with an unpictured latte, as always. Izzy had wanted to go to gym club this morning, but Liam took her only to find that it had be cancelled as the hall was in use. So when she got back home and we snuggled up on the sofa watching The Pacifier and eating sliced apple with peanut butter. Toby had a bowl of his own as he doesn't share well!!

I love this but am usually too lazy to make it myself (silly I know - I always seem to reach for the chocolate instead!) but Liam chopped these apples up for us, yey, thanks Liam! :)

For lunch I did actually get off my bum and take the time to make something. Not that it took long - this soup was so easy, but really tasty. Just sliced leeks, diced carrots, red lentils, veg stock and a tsp of curry powder. I didn't even bother to blend it - I prefer chunky soups as it feels like you're actually eating something! Served with a part-bake bread roll - I can't eat soup without bread!

This was so tasty, and super filling. Probably a way too big portion size, but at least I figure it was full of good stuff - better than eating rubbish! This was when I thought of today's post title - I found myself sat at the table saying to Izzy and Liam "eat up, this is full of goodness...so good for you" etc, haha, I do find myself being too "Mum-like" sometimes!!!

The soup did a good job of keeping me full for the afternoon. I did end up eating one of Izzy's Halloween chocolates in a moment of weakness, but it was just a tiny chocolate eyeball so not too bad. And a few blueberries when I found myself staring blankly into the fridge!

For dinner, Liam cooked sausage and mash for him & the children, so I made myself a smoothie. Simple yet tasty seemed to be my motto today - this was just a banana, frozen raspberries (and a couple of frozen blueberries ruining the colour!) and Kara coconut milk, plus desiccated coconut on top. I also drizzled on some agave after taking the photo as it wasn't quite sweet enough for my liking.

Sausage and mash was never my favourite meal even when I did eat meat, so I wasn't at all jealous of their meal. Izzy, on the other hand, spent most of the time staring longingly at my "pretty pink smoothie" and asking constantly what it tasted like. Bless her, I didn't want to risk letting her taste it and getting gravy on my spoon, but I've promised to make it again for us both soon!

I've even prepared a treat for myself to have later on. I found myself getting a bit peckish at about 5.30pm, but instead of eating something so close to dinner, I decided to make myself something delicious for later - Jemma's choco, pb and nana pudding - love this!

Yum. This is currently sitting in the fridge waiting for me :) It's weird - knowing it was there if I wanted it seems to have stopped me reaching for other things, yet I haven't eaten this yet either. Shows that most of my snacking isn't actually because I'm hungry I guess. This pudding will be needed later though, when Liam sits eating chocolate and/or ice cream as usual!!

I'm so pleased I've actually managed a good day of eating for once, it shows I can do it, now I just have to keep it going for more than one day!

What are your favourite good-for-you treats? I have such a sweet tooth, but snacking on biscuits all day long does me no favours either for my energy levels or my weight. Having something like Jemma's pudding as a treat to look forward to sometimes works well though - it tastes no much nicer than shop bought "treats" and is better for me too, I just wish it was enough to tame my snack monster every day! Some "good" days are better than none I guess! :)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Foods thats make you feel better...

Hello! I'm glad to see that Blogger is working for me again today - I went to write my WIAW post last night, but Blogger wasn't letting me upload any photos - when I went to the upload option, the usual browse button to let me find the photo I wanted to upload wasn't there. Very annoying, especially as I'd made the effort to take photos of everything I ate yesterday! Has that issue happened to anyone else before?

It seems to be working fine today though, weird, so I will get on and write this post!

Izzy was off school today. She came home yesterday looking terrible - she always goes a funny yellow colour when she's tired & she looked really drained. We decided to wait and see how she was this morning, so when she came in this morning saying "Mummy, I don't feel very well. I don't think I can go to school" I decided to keep her home. To be honest, I'm not convinced that she's got any majorly serious illness, but she's exhausted. She loves school and is normally desperate to go in, so I figured if she wanted to stay off then there must be something not quite right, and the day at home seems to have done her good.

We started our day with smoothies as Izzy thought that would soothe her throat (her "illness" seems to be an all encompassing throat/stomach/head ache!), and it was nice to have time to make one on a weekday anyway.

This was a banana, lots of frozen berries and milk, plus some peanut flour. Last time we had smoothies we had peanut flour sauce, but Izzy didn't want any today so I snuck the peanut flour in there for some protein. Topped with blueberries, granola and some peanut butter for me.

The morning was spent doing not a lot. Toby was so glad to have Izzy home so they spent lots of time rolling about on the floor together, and then Izzy went to play in her room for a bit as the noise down here was giving her a headache (!) My Grandma popped in for a coffee too which was nice.

Izzy remembered her "face plate" that she had for lunch last time she was off school, and asked me to make something similar today. Will this do?

She wasn't impressed that there was no hair this time, but liked having the leftover peanut butter & jelly thumbprints for eyeballs!! I made Toby a similar plate, but with only one cookie as there were only 3 left. The sandwiches had already been made up the night before (Liam or I make them in the evening at the same time as making some for him) - cheese, lettuce & mushrooms (Liam's idea for a combination, but surprisingly nice!!)

Izzy in fancy dress, Toby in PJs...that's how we roll!!
After lunch, both the children went for a nap - bliss - and I got to enjoy my lunch in peace. I wasn't sure what to have, but in the end went for a Food Doctor pitta with the rest of the roasted red pepper houmous, a sliced apple and some frozen grapes I found hiding in the freezer. We're running a bit low on veg but fruit pleases my sweet tooth more anyway! :)

Loved this. I hadn't had frozen grapes in ages so I don't know how long they'd been in the freezer for, but they were still sweet and delicious.

Izzy didn't nap for as long as I'd have liked. I'd made the mistake of promising her that we could go out in the garden if she woke before Toby, so I think she was determined to make that happen! Weirdly, considering my lunch, she came down asking for frozen grapes...luckily I'd spotted another pot of them in the freezer!

It was a lovely day today, but still cold - Izzy ran back inside for a jumper as soon as she'd finished the frozen grapes, and then set up a little "work station":

and drew me a picture (of a teddy in the snow!!!), aww...

The rest of the afternoon went by in a bit of a blur. Once Toby woke up we all ate toast with pear jam, and then the children slumped in front of the TV while I made dinner. Something simple was called for aka pasta:

Pasta with chopped veggie burgers and soya beans. I'd planned to tip a tub of passata in there too but we were all out, so I just used some Philadelphia and tomato puree + lots of cheese on top! This was ok, but a bit lacking in flavour - passata + smoked paprika/garlic powder would've been better.

What are your "get well" foods that you like to eat when you're feeling a bit under the weather? Izzy always asks for cold things - like the smoothie and frozen grapes. I do love both of those, but when I'm feeling ill I generally prefer hot foods - soups or hot water with honey & lemon. I suppose it depends on what type of illness you have. I always seem to feel shivery when ill. We both seem to agree that smooth liquids are the way to go though! When I was little my Mum would always give me tinned tomato soup and/or soft boiled eggs with toast "soldiers" when I was off school, good memories & always better when someone else makes them for you! :)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Lots of baking + new house

Hello! Good day? I spent most of my day, well morning at least, in the kitchen.

First up was a non-bake recipe. As soon as I saw Averie's post this morning I knew I had to make them asap! Peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies - in my case filled with strawberry & rhubarb jam...

This were really simple to make, and tasted pretty good...but a little too sweet, even for me. The kind of cookie that you can only manage to eat one or two at a time, although that's not necessarily a bad thing!! Izzy, however, loved them! She gobbled down at least six of them before we stopped her, and we only managed that with the promise that she could have more tomorrow!!

My Mum had invited the children and I to go round to her new house after school today, so I decided to take these with us. I also made some fudgy chocolate brownies for non-pb lovers...

These are my reliable recipe - whenever I'm making something new I make these as well so I have something delicious to fall back on. I didn't actually eat any of these today - my little sister and my Mum's partner love them so I left them the ones I took over, and the rest I saved for Liam - these are his favourite so hopefully the 12 that are left will keep him happy!!

I didn't need to eat any brownies anyway - I'm choosing not to count how many of the below I've eaten this afternoon! Averie's caramel apple bars. These came out slightly gooier than usual (I think I didn't put in enough oats) but they are just perfect when kept in the fridge...

I took a selection of each with me this afternoon...

leaving lots still at home for us! I must put the remaining caramel apple bars in the freezer before I eat them all - I've been meaning to make them again for ages to give me a frozen stash - love them!

I wanted to share a few photos of my Mum & her partner's new house as well - I'm so excited that they've all moved in! The house move isn't exactly finished yet - condensing two households into one is creating a little bit of chaos!! Luckily they both have a bit of time to finish up emptying their old houses. My other sister is going to be renting my Mum's house and is moving in on Saturday, so Mum is busy sorting everything out before then.

This is the sitting room...the children were very happy that Mum had brought along my little sister's rubber collection (my Dad used to buy them for her when he went on business trips abroad) - there are no other toys in the house yet but these kept them happy!

The house is split into four floors, and my little sister pretty much has the top floor all to herself! There is a guest room up there too, and then her big room with ensuite shower room. Very nice! Her room is probably one of the more "done" rooms at the moment - I love this picture on the wall...

She's got 3 walls painted white, and then one bright red so the picture ties in with that. She has a huge wardrobe too...

Only one of us to ever have a TV in her bedroom!!

My Mum has a wardrobe this size as well, but she has to share hers with Colin, so Olivia's seems much more spacious!!

My favourite room in the house is the kitchen, of course! It's lovely - granite work surfaces, lots of space for a big table, and leading onto a terrace with nice views. I keep telling Liam that I wish to have a kitchen like this one day!! ;-)

Excuse the mess, haha, my children seems to = lots of chaos!!
We didn't stay at Mum's too long this time as the children were a bit over-excited and hyper...to say the least!! Plus we wanted to walk home before it got dark. Next time I'll come over on my own and enjoy the peace, hey Mum?! ;-)

When we did get home, I wanted a quick, and healthy, dinner. This was actually the first meal I ate today...unless you count one latte and lots of sampling of the baked goods...whoops. The others had poached eggs with toast, and I had poached eggs with asparagus, yum.

And then another caramel apple bar, haha, so addictive!!

What are your favourite type of baked good/sweet treat? Chocolate, fruit, no-bake?? I like fruity desserts but Liam doesn't, so the caramel apple bars are perfect for me as they store in the freezer really well. They are still quite sweet as well. I didn't put the extra caramel topping on this time, and only half the amount of white chocolate, and yet Mum and Colin still found them too sweet! Averie's dessert recipes are always the first place I look when I want something indulgent with lots of sugar!! :)

Monday, 23 January 2012

The last 5 days...

Hello! How are you all? I've been a bit absent from blog land the last few days haven't I?! It's weird, once I was out of the habit of blogging, it's been really difficult to get back into it. I want to get back to normal though so I'm just going to post some random highlights from the last 5 days so that I can start afresh after this post! :)

My laptop has also decided to mess up the contrast settings whilst I've left it untouched the last few days. Liam has tried to fix it but I don't really trust what I'm seeing on screen anymore, so please let me know if the colours are all messed up on my photos.

Lunch today was a Food Dr pitta with egg mayo and lettuce...

I tried to layer this nicely - lettuce, egg, lettuce, egg etc - but it all fell out as soon as I put it on the plate! There were 2 eggs' worth of filling hidden in there though.

Other lunches have been big snack plates to share with Toby - I've been trying to get more veg into both our diets:

This one had cucumber, mushrooms, basil tofu, carrot and caramelised onion houmous. The carrot sticks with houmous was definitely our favourite, but it was all really good! It's not that I don't enjoy vegetables, I just need to make the "effort" to chop up some veg rather than just grabbing the chocolate or cake!

I've been trying to reach for fruit when I want a snack - lots and lots of blueberries (we've got through 3 of these little punnets in the last few days!):

Apple slices with peanut butter - I love this, why don't I have it more often?!

And a mango lassi today from Lidl - this was really tasty, they do other flavours that I want to try too - pineapple & coconut, and something with green tea I think.

Breakfasts have included amazing banana bread pancakes:

The recipe said to blend the mixture before cooking - which would probably have produced better looking pancakes - but they still tasted great. Think I'll be adding cottage cheese to pancakes more often!

Apple yoghurt bowl - spiced apple yoghurt, cinnamon & apple granola and apple butter - delish!

There have also been big bowls of porridge (with blueberries and peanut butter) and smoothies (banana, frozen blueberries, peanut flour sauce etc) but these seem to have escaped the camera.

Finally on the food front - sweet treats. I tried the fro yo that I bought from Waitrose! Pomegranate frozen yoghurt with blueberries and granola. Apologies for the appalling lighting on this one - the fro yo is actually a really pretty pink!!

This was delicious, but I'm not sure the pomegranate flavour added a lot except for the colour. Next time I will just get the plain variety I think.

I also made a batch of chocolate chip banana bread this week. This is amazing, definitely one to make again!

After eating a couple of slices, I sliced the rest up to put in the freezer for Liam to take to work...and then ate the little end slice spread with peanut butter, mmm!! :)

Right that's all the food photos that I think are worth sharing. No dinner photos - partly because I've been too tired to take any by the time dinner rolls round, and partly because the ones I have taken could do with some editing to get rid of bad lighting, but I don't trust the colours on my screen so...

Some random photos instead! A microwave...

Not just any microwave, a new (to us) microwave. Ours broke on Tuesday for no reason. It was fine in the morning for my latte, but wasn't heating anything by the time it came to heat Toby's milk in the evening. Luckily on Friday my Mum's partner gave us his. They've moved in together today (exciting!) so they had duplicates of some things. He said he's used this no more than a dozen times in the whole time he's had it, whereas we use it at least 3 times a day!! I realised quite how much we used a microwave when we were without, so bit of a random photo but important to me!

30 Day Shred DVD...

Only 20 minutes, but they've been nearly killing me!! I've had this DVD for ages, and went through a phase of doing it quite regularly but then stopped again...back on track now though. I like that it doesn't take too long to do - I can fit in exercise and a "reward" of a nice hot bath after while Toby has his morning nap, and then don't need to feel guilty for not having the energy to go to the gym in the evening. ;)

Whew, if you're still reading...well done! Just a couple of photos of the children to share and then I really am done!!

There we go - all caught up. I don't know about you, but I feel better now - I can look forward to writing a blog post tomorrow without having loads of photos that I "need" to post first.

I've given you my highlights, now I want to hear yours. What is the best thing you've done or eaten over the last 5 days?
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