Meal Plan – the “how is it half term already?” edition

If there was ever a clearer example of the phrase “is it that time already?” It has to be the Autumn half term. The past 6 weeks have gone by so fast that I actually feel a bit dizzy! Or maybe I was just enjoying that glorious break after a spring and summer of my family just being so THERE all the time.

Anyway. Time marches on and we find ourselves hurtling towards Winter and now with a week of home based fun. I hear that some poor souls get a 2 week half term? Godspeed to you. We don’t have plans because I, unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at things), have to work every day all bar one.

Luckily MrG has taken a couple of days off but given that I cannot think of a single time he has taken our kids out without me being present and he is still very much in lockdown mode… I’m not sure how helpful it will be to have him home. He can flipping well cook on those days though at least. I forgot just how tricky it is to cater for a family and work a structured full time working week.

Colder weather means my kind of food though! No salads for me, it’s all roasted veg and sausages from here on in. I am still trying to avoid takeaways (trying being the operative word) and I am just really conscious that our local rules concerning lockdowns and what not could change at any moment. I obviously wouldn’t do anything as selfish as to buy up everything in our local supermarket but I like to make sure I have enough to tide us over until my next day off.

It’s so hard at the moment to make plans for anything less immediate than dinner I think. Maybe we would be best just to write off the rest of the year and start again in 2021?

Gnocchi bake

Our week in food

Friday – sausage and egg ramen bowl.

I layer grated carrot, pea shoots and sweetcorn and top with instant noodles (which are suspiciously cheap but also the kids favourite), a bit of chicken broth (aka the water I just boiled those cheapo noodles in) and top with chopped up sausage and a boiled egg cut in half. It’s quick, cheap and the kids ask for it at least once a week. If I am in need of amusement and not in a rush I give them chopsticks. We have to make our own fun at this point.

Saturday – Homemade Burgers and Wedges with some kind of veg – maybe a “what’s in the fridge” slaw.

Sunday – Roast Pork with cauliflower cheese, Brussel sprouts and an obscene amount of roast potatoes

Monday – Gammon, egg and new potatoes with peas.

Tuesday – chicken and bacon gnocchi bake with lots of spinach because my energy levels need all of the help.

Wednesday – Fish and chips and mushy peas.

Thursday – Turkey drummers, mashed potato and baked beans – I just found out that Aldi sell their own brand turkey drummers so we are having a proper nostalgic feast!

 

Katykicker

6 Slimming World Breakfast – Perfect For New Members

There was a time when breakfast (when I bothered) meant either toast and peanut butter or cereal. I don’t like cereal. It was just quick and easy. 

Slimming world rules means that I could still have either of those (yay) BUT if I do I have then used up my healthy extra choices for the day (boo), and I don’t like to do that. I prefer to save them up most days just in case I am feeling a bit depleted later in the day (spoiler: I always feel depleted later in the day) 

With that in mind here are some of my favourite go to ideas for a Slimming World friendly breakfast;

1.Good Old Cooked Breakfast

It’s big, it’s filling and it’s delicious. I love onions so I always add them to the pan with my bacon medallions but you could also use Courgette or chopped Sprouts (think bubble and squeak) or Asparagus.

There are masses of great tasting low syn sausages on sale nowadays but I usually buy the Linda McCartney Red Onion & Rosemary one because I know they are syn free leaving me lots to play with for the rest of the day.

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2. Banana Pancakes

These pancakes are bananas – no, really. They use just 2 ingredients; 1 banana and 2 eggs. A cooked banana is 5 syns but you can get 8 pancakes out of that so in my opinion are well worth it! If you add a pinch of baking powder you will have a lighter, fluffier pancake. I like to have mine with berries and a teaspoon of choc shot or fruit syrup (1/2 syn per tsp) 

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3. Sausage and Egg Notmuffin 

Roasted peppers, 2 large baked mushrooms, an egg, 2 Quorn breakfast patties (1/2 syn each) and a slice of cheese if you want to use your healthy extra A choice. 1 syn for a great tasting breakfast.

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4. Just Fruit

Being a serial breakfast skipper before I started examining how I ate, I do still have days when I just want something very light. On those days I like fruit. Sometimes I even have time to arrange it in a fanciful fashion on my plate – if you think for a second that I got to eat all of this without a 2 yr olds hand diving in, you are very much mistaken! 

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5. Baked Oats

1 way to use your healthy extra B choice is to have baked oats for your breakfast. Porridge, sweetener, yoghurt (low or no syn of course), an egg and a little vanilla essence. Just mix it all up and pop it in a cake tin or a dish and cook it in the oven. You can change the flavours, I love adding raspberries and almond essence for a bakewell flavour. 

(Ok so I like this one because it is quite cakey) 

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6. The No Time for Breakfast, Breakfast

With 3 kids, a business to run and frankly not being a morning person I don’t always have the time to sit and engage in a proper breakfast. On those days I stick a pan on and hard boil some eggs. This is all stuff I can chomp on while I am shouting like a lunatic at whichever child has lost their shoes 5 minutes before we leave for school. Again. 
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So there you have it. 5 reasons for you to start today.

Good luck and let me know what your favourite Slimming World friendly breakfast is by commenting below!

10 Easy and Affordable Halloween food ideas with Jacks Supermarket

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Usually Halloween for us is packed full of fun and lots of people. Most years we all get dressed up and head over to my sister’s house where we have a big party. My Mum sorts out the food while we take our little ones out trick or treating in a big group. Safety in numbers and all that. Except this year that term has become a bit of a misnomer hasn’t it? 

With the world still being hit quite hard by Covid 19 our plans have to be adjusted accordingly and you may well find yourself having to celebrate Halloween at home. With the help of Jacks Supermarket I have created 10 Halloween food ideas which will be guaranteed to help you have a monstrously marvellous time this Halloween! 

Everything shown below was bought for less than £40 and I was really impressed by just how much could be done on a low budget! 

Witches Brooms

cheesestring pretzel witches broomsticks

Our witches brooms were a little fiddly but definitely worth the effort. The broom is made from a pretzel stick pushed into a cheesestring (one cheesestring will make 3 or 4 broom heads depending on how big you want them to be) and then tied with a chive. Jacks sell chives prepared and for pennies – you will find them near the veg!

Spider Pizza

This was such an easy one to make. Jacks Supermarket sell a slab pizza for just £2.79 which is big enough to share. To make the spiders you will need black olives. Just slice longways to make 2 bodies. Slice another across the other way to make 2 heads and then slice a couple of others into thin strips. Simple!

Vegetable Cadaver

Vegetable body halloween

 

Speaking of veg, I wanted a way to make our Halloween spread nice and healthy and thought this was a great solution! I used a pot of tzatziki for the head, sliced cucumber for the spine, baby sweetcorn for the arms and sliced peppers for the ribcage. I popped an olive at each elbow. The peppers were a little long when I sliced them so after I trimmed them to make the ribs I used the offcuts as hair! 

Mummy Dogs

These were a tasty alternative to sausage rolls. Probably slightly healthier as they use less pastry as the usual kind too! I used a tin of large hot dogs from Jacks and then wrapped strips of puff pastry around them. I baked in the oven for 15 minutes and finished them off with some ready made eyes I already had in the cupboard (because sometimes I just add eyes to my children’s food to see if they are paying attention)

Finger Rolls 

With hot dogs being the unofficial official food of Halloween we used them twice! This time around we went for a family favourite with a gross twist. To cook, I boiled my hot dogs (you can bake them but the skin tends to be a little tougher to cut) and then cut a nail shape and made little knuckle cuts with a sharp knife. I added an almond sliver for a grotty looking nail but you could cut a slice of cheese which would work just as well. I then added a generous squirt of ketchup to the bread roll before nestling my “severed finger” in and finishing off with another squirt of ketchup at the base. 

Spidery Soup

Sometimes you want something a bit more grown up and what could be better than a lovely bowl of soup? I was tempted by the ready to go broccoli and stilton soup Jacks sells but in the end I decided on carrot and coriander – the orange colour looked spot on for Halloween! I added a little cream and a plastic spider to finish it off. 

Creepy Crawly Jelly

2 packets of raspberry jelly and 1 pack of worm sweets and you have a definite winner on any Halloween table! My tip to make jelly set faster? Add ice cubes instead of cold water and pour into smaller moulds rather than one big bowl. Easy.

Tangerine pumpkins

I love how easy these little Halloween treats are. Just a peeled tangerine and a little bit of celery or cucumber pushed into the top. That’s it. So simple you could even get the kids in to take over with this healthy treat and this would be a fun way to liven up a packed lunch too!

Mini Meringue Ghosts

What is Halloween without ghosts? These mini spooksters are a must and incredibly simple to make. All you need is a pack of mini meringues and an icing pen. These sweet little ghosts were so easy that I showed Moose (age 6) how to do one and he got on with the rest – I bet you can’t even tell which one I made. 

Monstrous Apple Mouths

I enjoyed making this spooky treat the most. It’s a little fiddlier than some of the others but so worth it and not at all difficult. To make your mouths you will need apples (I chose red but if you use green you could add eyes and make frogs or aliens), some peanut butter or chocolate spread and some pine nuts along with a few strawberries. 

Cut your apple into 4. I soaked my apples in fizzy water for 10 minutes after cutting to stop them going all brown so quickly. Then cut a smaller section out of the middle of your apple quarter. It doesn’t need to be perfect. You need to coat the inside of the cut gap with either your peanut butter or chocolate spread. If you are making these as a trick for someone and you are feeling cruel you could use marmite. Pop a slice of strawberry in for the tongue and some pine nuts for teeth. 

Tonka Metal Movers and Micro Movers | Review

When I was a little girl I owned a Tonka tractor. I have no clue how old I was when I got it but I remember it very well. Heavy, green and with it’s own trailer (good for ferrying around all manner of creatures). My brother would nab it at any given opportunity but despite his best efforts it always came back to me in perfect condition. Not a scratch on it. Ever.

Tonka has been around since the 1940’s. That means that in our family, Moose will be the 4th generation to play with toys from the Tonka brand. Quite impressive then that the brand doesn’t really appear to have strayed from it’s core products. Diecast metal vehicles which are built to last. To me, Tonka is one of those toys you don’t throw away. Rather, they get passed down. One of my aims for this year has been to ensure that I am choosing quality over quantity for Moose’s toy collection. Tonka definitely fits with that perfectly.

boy happy with tonka toys

Tonka Micro Metals

What’s in the box?

Our pack contained 3 vehicles we could see which were a fire truck, a police cruiser and a garbage truck. It also contained some ‘Tonka Tough Dirt’ and …a mystery box!

If you know Moose you know how excited he gets about blind bag style toys so this aspect was a massive hit with him. Inside his mystery box he found a mini version of the Tonka dumper truck! He was very happy with this.

Each of these micro versions measures approx 4cm making them great for playing with at home but also when you are on the move. I always let Moose bring a little bag with his choice of toys when we go on holiday and these Micro Metals would be perfect.

The Tonka Micro Metals come in an emergency vehicles pack which we received and also a construction site pack which I am sure will be on Moose’s Christmas list this year. Each pack retails at around £10.

Tonka Metal Movers

What’s in the box?

We were lucky enough to receive the Metal Movers combo pack and a few of the Metal Movers mud rescue.

The Tonka Metal Movers combo pack contains a bright yellow bulldozer and dump truck. Both vehicles are, once again, really sturdy and feel as though they could take a lot of playing with. The detail on the vehicles is fantastic and they are easy to use. Moose really enjoyed filling the truck with the Tonka Tough Dirt and emptying it out again.

The Tonka Metal Movers Mud Rescue sets are a great idea and a little bit different in that the first thing your child needs to do is to use the little tools included to dig the vehicle out of the dirt! This set was priced a little lower than the others and I think would make great birthday party gifts or pocket money toys. Inside this set you will find the aforementioned tools, a vehicle, some cones and fences, some Tonka Tough Dirt and an awesome Mud Rescue medallion.

 What did we think?

This one was not a hard sell for me. I have loved the Tonka brand for a long time – these new Metal Movers sets only reinforced that Tonka is still a great brand which offers amazing quality toys which will last and last. Moose really loved playing with all 3 of the sets and he will definitely want to add to his collection now. He has also asked that we get some for his best friend – high praise from a 6 yr old indeed!

You can find Tonka Metal Movers in all good toy shops including JLP, Shop Direct and Amazon. Be sure to check out Tonka tough time for fun new activities and chances to win! 

Back to school – Living Arrows week 37 2020

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

Can you hear that? Yup, it is the sound of silence and it is bliss!

This weeks photos were both taken this morning (in a rush of course) just before both Bess and Moose left to go to their respective schools and approx 30 minutes after MrG left to go to the office. It has just been me and the dog for the whole day for the first time since April and honestly, I could get used to this!

It feels like we are waiting at the moment though. Not sure for what exactly but just waiting. For normality? For it all to kick off and close down again? I don’t know, just waiting. At least I get some peace and quiet for now though!

I think my lot have gone back quite late compared to some schools. Either way, it was worth the wait.

Looking at these photos and then back at old ones (obviously we do this every year, we have to now we have been doing it so long) it          is astonishing how much Bess especially has grown. I do miss the littler version of my girl – even if she did chop herself a dumb and                dumber style fringe just days before she started reception class at her primary school!

Living Arrows