Food

Moose loves to cook and so do I. Here is where you will find our kitchen adventures

Starting Slimming World in January does feel like a bit of a cliche, but sadly needs must. Please don’t misunderstand me though. I am not ashamed of my body. Far from it.

My body has carried me through to the age of 37. It has walked for miles when I couldn’t afford any other kind of transport or just when I fancied a bit of a walk. My body can really move (when it wants to) especially through water. I think maybe on account of my oversized feet which make for effective flippers.

It has carried and fed 3 children. My tummy is covered in stretch marks and my breasts are not as perky as they once were. They aren’t ugly to me. I see them as a map of the pregnancies I have been fortunate enough to have experienced.

I don’t care what anybody else thinks of my body. I have strong legs and capable hands and shoulders which I know can handle some weight. Metaphorically and otherwise.

I want to be clear. I’m not starting this because I dislike my body. I am doing this because I love it. It deserves better than how I have been treating it for the last <cough> few years.

If I am honest I would quite like to be able to buy clothes a bit more easily. It might be nice to queue for a theme park ride without thinking “oh shit, what if I don’t fit”. The thing I really want though is to be healthier, to be stronger and to give my amazing body its best shot at a healthier future.

So, this morning I joined a Slimming World group.

If Mondays on the blog are about the children with my Living Arrows post, Wednesdays will be about me. I will be making an update every Wednesday as that’s the day after weigh in day and I will talk about how I got on and share any meals I liked from the week. I feel really positive about this change in lifestyle. Hopefully it will help me to feel better and look better.

The plan seems relatively simple to follow. My biggest change I think will be just being aware of what I am eating and also trying to drink enough water. I am pretty awful at this really.

I just hope I can stick to it! Either way, I’ll keep you informed.

We had been itching to try Turtle Bay since it opened in Peterborough last year so it didn’t take much for us to say yes when asked.

MrG has a love of all things Caribbean (especially rum) and he was very excited to sample what Turtle Bay had to offer. We thought it only fair that we let the children come along too. None of us are well versed in Caribbean cuisine so we took a look online beforehand.

There is a Turtle Bay app where you can book your table and earn rewards too!

turtle bay peterborough

Turtle Bay is situated on the outside of Queensgate in the city centre opposite St John The Baptist church. As well as offering a great food menu it also offers a vast array of cocktails and mocktails and a lot of rum!

turtle bay games

Turtle Bay’s famous happy hour lasts from 11.30am – 7pm and then starts up again at 10pm! This makes it the happiest happy hour in town with ALL of their cocktails available at 241 during that time – a must for cocktail lovers and rum enthusiasts all week long.

Starters

For our starter we chose the Just Jerk Platter. Included in the platter was marinated jerk wings, glazed pork ribs, beef patty, jerk chicken flatbread, sweet corn fritters and a super green salad.

As you can see it was huge! So tasty and I would absolutely recommend this as a great start to your Turtle Bay experience. I loved the sweetcorn fritters and the salad was really good too.

Main Meals

I was a bit unsure about bringing the children to a restaurant famed for being spicy. The children’s menu (or, Little Turtles) was really good though. I like that it offers choice and it’s not just your all too common fare of “something, chips and beans”.

Moose decided on the chicken flatbread with fries and I thought the portion size was really good! Bess decided to order the goat burger from the adult menu which she found a bit too hot. She said that if we were to return she would like to order from the childrens menu.  She tried Moose’s flatbread and loved it.

turtlebay flatbread

MrG who is not really a lover of spice either chose to try the Shack Stack: a seasoned beef burger topped with jerk pork belly, mature cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and jerk bbq sauce. He loved it!

Trying something new

Something Turtle Bay has recently changed on their menu is that the burgers and wraps have reduced in price but now don’t come with a side (other than a little slaw). The idea being that you choose from the sides on offer and order as much or as little as you would like. I think this is a great idea, especially for the lunch crowd.

I opted for the Jerk Pork Belly which arrived with rice ‘n’ peas, crispy rind and a pineapple chilli salad. The pork belly itself was absolutely delicious and went perfectly with the rice and the salad. I also ordered crumbed plantain because it felt like the right thing to do. It was.

turtle bay jerk pork belly

Sadly for me it was my turn to drive so I couldn’t sample the alcohol but I would definitely come here for a night out (I am a Mum so, lol) as the cocktails look amazing.

Between us however we did try the peanut butter smoothie, the Reggae Sunsplash, the virgin kolada and the Virgin Raspberry Reggae. All were lovely, my favourite was the Virgin Kolada and Bess loved the Reggae Sunsplash.

turtle bay apple juice

Moose asked for an apple juice and was most impressed when it arrived in a bottle!

We all agreed that we were just far too full for desserts this time but we all said we would like to come back to try something from the dessert menu for sure.

We were given a meal in exchange for review. All opinions are our own.

One of my favourite aspects of taking a holiday abroad is trying the local cuisine to get a real flavour of where you are. I meant that pun and I am not sorry.

Of the 3 small humans I have created, my eldest 2 have inherited this love of trying new things. I have always preferred to give them a smaller portion of “adult food” and felt pretty good about my parenting in this area. Col was scoffing curries before he could walk and Bess loves sampling cheeses which could make a grown mans eyes water…

Then along came Moose. This child is the king of vegetable refusal. He likes peas and sweetcorn but anything else is met with serious resistance.

ANYTHING.

If it looks funny – he won’t eat it. If it smells funny – he won’t eat it. If it is touching anything with any kind of sauce? Forget it.

It turns out he is not alone. Emirates have done some research and they have found that over half of parents worry about what their children will eat while away with almost two thirds (64%) stashing failsafe food items in their suitcase. 

With this in mind, Emirates Holidays has partnered up with chefs from their top family resorts to create an exclusive series of ‘Little Foodies’ recipe cards to encourage families to cook together, expand their taste buds and remind themselves of their holiday through local flavours this summer.

You can find more info here

We had a go

I decided to try out the Coconut Nougat recipe with Moose. He hadn’t really tried coconut before and I thought that making sweets might be fun. It was! (once I had opened the coconut, obviously)

How we got on

First of all I procured some of my husbands tools to get started.

Not my usual cooking tools but they were necessary. Gently(ish) hammer the screwdriver through one of the coconuts soft spots and drain out the water into a glass. Drink it, I love it!

Then wrap in clean tea towel and smash it with a hammer. I found thinking about how my neighbours currently enjoy the BeeJees on repeat (at volume) helped with the hammer smash but you can use your own motivation.

Once I opened the coconut (like a boss! I was expecting it to be hard work) I simply followed the instructions on the recipe card.

I was a bit confused by the lemongrass having not used it before. The recipe card didn’t really tell me how I should prepare it so I went with removing the outer woody layer and then hacking it into chunks which I removed after boiling. I could really taste the lemongrass in the nougat so I would use this approach again.

 

I am really keen to widen the variety of foods which Moose will entertain and this definitely helped! Making our own nougat (although if I am honest the finished result was more like coconut ice?) was really good fun and Moose loved getting involved!

This was a collaborative post but all opinions are as ever my own. Moose loved the coconut nougat and we will be trying more of the little foodies recipes!

 

 

Last week Mcdonald’s launched the newest addition to their Happy Meal options; the grilled chicken wrap. We were invited to go along to their St Pauls branch in London to find out more and to have a taster!

St Paul's mcdonalds

Mcdonalds has been working with Mumsnet over the last year to find out what parents wanted to see added to their Happy Meal menu.

Over 1,000 Mumsnet community members were surveyed with nearly 8 in 10 wanting to see grilled chicken on the Happy Meal menu. 

The wrap comes with a small tortilla, grilled chicken slices, lettuce and ketchup with tomato, onion, cucumber and if you are into that sort of thing you can now add pickles too.

I really appreciate how much choice there is now when it comes to ordering at Mcdonalds.

There are now 6 choices of main item (cheeseburger, hamburger, fish fingers, chicken nuggets, crispy chicken wrap and the new grilled chicken wrap) and you can choose fries or substitute those for a healthy side such as bag of carrots or a melon bag.

There is also a really good choice of drinks to accompany your child’s happy meal now too with milk or water both on offer alongside old favourites like the milkshakes. Another thing to point out was that I noticed that Mcdonalds have made the move from plastic to paper straws.

All of the above still comes presented in the Happy Meal box (which of course you can now convert to a little tray) with a toy or a book for your child to enjoy.

A Mcdonalds Happy Meal is a firm favourite in our house and as a parent I feel like the table service now available in Mcdonald’s restaurants is a great asset! I remember trying to juggle the tray and pushchair and it was no fun!

The fact that you can now use a kiosk instead of queuing which allows for much better personalisation of your order and have your food brought to your table while your child plays with the interactive table games is wonderful – nobody deserves a Big Mac more than a parent of young children.

This post was a collaborative one but all opinions are my own – including my steadfast love of pickles

 

Bess and Col are always in the fridge.

Honestly, I sometimes cannot believe how much they get through and of course they only ever really want crisps or chocolate. Our rule is that they can help themselves to fruits or vegetables but the other stuff they need to at least try to go easy on!

It’s not just the health aspect which is obviously important but the cost too! As well as those things though it is important to me that they get involved in the kitchen and help out with the preparation of their meals to educate them for the future.

I was recently asked to get involved with the #Rustlershack and try to create a tasty family friendly meal using as a base the Rustlers Southern Fried Chicken burger. I decided that this would be a great thing to do with Col and Bess

This is what we came up with!

Bess chose the ingredients for her creation. Rustlers are known for their burgers microwaveable qualities but Bess wanted to be different. She went for a toasted bun and chose to oven bake her chicken (so it would be crispy) and then she added a grilled pineapple ring and grilled halloumi – salty sweet perfection! She served this with some crunchy vegetable sticks and a glass of cold milk.

Col’s approach was to create what he called the champion of burgers! Again opting for the toasted bun and baked chicken combination to get the best possible texture he added a hash brown, spinach leaves, some cheddar and onion rings along with some BBQ sauce to make a magnificent tower of chicken goodness (his words) and he served that with chips because he is a growing boy!

I have a confession

When it came to my turn I didn’t really fancy a burger. I decided to opt for a salad (both kids rolled their eyes) and I was so glad I did!

I sliced the bun and tossed it in a pan with a little olive oil and garlic powder.  Meanwhile I microwaved the chicken and made my salad of leaves, tomato and avocado. I placed the sliced chicken to the dish and used the burger mayo as a salad dressing. It was hands down one of the tastiest lunches I have ever knocked up in less than 5 minutes!

This was great fun to play around with new ideas for dinnertime and it was great that we could all add our own unique ideas to really make the meals our own. If you would like to get involved you can grab a twinpack Rustlers chicken burger from Tesco!

This post is an entry for Britmums Rustlers Burger Hacking Challenge, sponsored by Rustlers