Monthly Archives: September 2011

To share or not to share..

When Elvis arrived, Boo seemed to have instantly become a brilliant big brother, admittedly we perhaps spoilt Boo when Elvis first arrived, and maybe this is why he welcomed him so warmly?

Elvis has started to move around under his own steam, he’s speed crawling and pulling himself up on the sofa. He’s not 9months yet, but Boo was walking by 9 1/2months.. It looks as though Elvis might go the same way.. Why is this relevant? Well, since Elvis can now move around, he can reach Boo’s precious collection of cars.. and this means tantrums and tears. Boo is quite happy for Elvis to play with the Lego Duplo, as he feels that is a toy ‘to share’ where as the cars no, they are ‘his’.

Sharing appears to be the hardest lesson to teach Boo, and while he will share – if he gets given sweets or other foodie treats he will instantly offer them around – he doesn’t seem to fully grasp the concept. But is it so wrong that he doesn’t want to share his cars? I mean I have things which are ‘mine’ and I wouldn’t let Boo, or Mr G touch? E.g. My jewellery box and my handbag?

Generally Boo is very good natured, and I wonder whether I’m taking the ‘sharing’ thing to far? Is it worth Boo being made to feel resentful over a box of cars which he has collected over the course of over a year (infact since I became pregnant with Elvis)which he fears will get ruined by his baby brother (and in truth they may well do..) While i do not wish to encourage him to be possessive about things, is it wrong that he learns to look after his things and in doing so keep them away from his baby brother?

The Tilda taste panel wants to get you cooking!

Ever since being sent a fabulous rice recipe book by Octopus Books, rice has been on the menu in our house! I had always seen rice as something that went with a main meal, instead of the substance to make a main meal! My rice of choice is Tilda, I found that it is easy to cook and has taste and texture I much prefer to other brands, so it was with much delight I accepted an offer to try out their new chilli and lime microwave rice!

To my further delight, Tilda actually sent me 3 bags of their microwave rices, Sweet Chilli & Lime, Egg Rice, and Basmalti, along with a couple of recipes for me to try out! The recipes form part of the new Tilda Taste Panel, the three members of the panel are food writer Jo Pratt, Indian cuisine expert Maunika Gowardhan, and nutritional expert Azmina Govindji these ladies are all Mum’s and understand the importance of eating healthy but also the difficulties often associated with cooking when you have children – e.g. time! They will create recipes and give advice to busy parents to help them keep mealtimes healthy, tasty, and easy! If you join the Tilda Mummy Tasting Panel you get the opportunity to receive money off Tilda Products and be kept upto date with all the latest Tilda Mummy Tasting Panel ideas!

The recipes can be cooked in 10 minutes, initially I was sceptical as often it might say 10 minutes but in practice it takes longer! However I can vouch for the speed and ease of creating these delicious dishes! I started off by trying the recipe for Special Fried Rice, I always worry that the rice will stick to the wok, but using the Tilda steamed rice I just opened it poured it into the wok and it cooked without any stickiness or mess. The result was a very tasty meal which could compete with the takeaway, at a fraction of the cost and in less time than it would take me to go to the takeaway!

I made a variation of the Special Fried Rice using the Great Taste 2011 Gold award winning Sweet Chilli & Lime steamed rice, I had never tried this flavour of rice before so I was quite excited! It smelt fantastic,  a really sweet tangy smell of lime combined with unmistakable hint of chilli. I found it was quite a firey flavour, but the lime really made it a pleasent taste, taking the edge off the heat of the chilli! Would I buy it again? Most definetly! It made such an amazingly tasty meal and will be great for quick winter warming dinners!

If you’d rather watch how to cook they’ve even got a great range of videos on the site so you can cook along with more complicated and slightly longer to cook ideas, I’m planning on trying out paella next week!

Disclaimer: I received 3 bags of Tilda Rice to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Getting a little hot with Very Lazy Food

We were sent a jar of Very Lazy Food’s Chilli con carne cooking concentrate to try, with the weather turning dreary and nights drawing in my thoughts are turning to warming ‘comfort’ food so this seemed like an ideal opportunity to try out a winter favourite!

I have to confess I made Mr G do the cooking, as I knew he couldn’t really go wrong and it gave me a night off! The jar says to add tomatoes, minced beef, kidney beans and red pepper, as Mr G has an aversion to red pepper he didn’t add any, but followed the instructions otherwise! He has described this as a super lazy way to ‘create’ in the kitchen! It was as easy as pouring in a jar of sauce, but with alot more flavour! If you are wondering why you should buy this concentrate instead of a simple jar of sauce I shall explain!

Mr G got a real enjoyment from cooking the chilli, but without the stress of having to find a recipe season ‘to taste’ or any of the other stuff that goes along with cooking from scratch. It is a halfway house, providing the opportunity to cook a proper ‘home cooked’ meal within a limited time and even with limited skills!

The finished product smelt superb, and looked delicious! I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to eating spicy food and my home made chilli is really a spaghetti bolognese with added chilli, so I was a little worried what I would think! The Very Lazy Food Chilli con carne has a strong flavour, it is warming but not exactly ‘hot’, if you imagine quite a peppery flavour then it is that sort of warming flavour! The small jar easily created enough chilli for 4 ample portions, and while I did need to take a breather and enjoy a cool drink after a few mouthfuls I would certainly happily enjoy it again!

Very Lazy Food currently have a competition on their site to win a Year of Very Lazy Cooking to celebrate their sponsorship of ITV2’s Hells Kitchen USA why not enter for your chance of a year very lazy cooking?

Disclaimer: We were sent a jar of Very Lazy Chilli Con Carne Concentrate in return for the review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Making mistakes..

I’m having a bad week, I made an error of judgement for which I am kicking myself. To cut a long story very short, I enrolled Boo in a pre-school, and after arriving to collect him early and being unimpressed with what I saw (on top of a whole catalogue of other issues with the place over the week) I have removed him.

If I had any doubt that I had made the right decision, the communication with the woman running the place when I told her we wouldn’t be returning really cemented things. I may look exhausted and tatty around the edges, but it doesn’t mean I cannot recall what was said one day to the next, and trying to convince me I am stupid or inferior does not make me a happy Mummy.

So, here I am feeling guilty, that Boo is at home with me and Elvis, when if I had made a ‘good’ choice, he would be off playing with his new friends. Actually, Boo is playing very nicely with his farm set, and has just given me an explanation of why there are so many cows on it, apparently he needs lots of milk to feed the farmer who gets very hungry working hard all day long.. Well, he knows where the milk comes from so I guess I must be doing something right!

Araagghhh!! Pass me the chocolate!!

Last week, I arrived home fairly excited and with a bounce in my step. I’d done it, I’d lost 1 & 1/2 stone and therefore was the lightest I have been since giving birth to Boo (who is now 3..)although still with a long weigh (see what i did there?!) to go! Suddenly I felt driven, seeing myself achieve that in a fairly short space of time, I really could see the end of the tunnel!

Of course, typical, this has been a stupidly stressful week. I’ve started to do some freelance work, and we’ve all been poorly amongst other things. Then the final straw, today I drove to the local shop (a few miles away) and I literally couldn’t park anywhere, so, I drove around and then tried again. Still unsuccessful in finding a space after 15minutes of wasted time driving around the village, I drove in frustration to the big supermarket in town. I dislike going there, especially on my own, as all the bad food seems to end up in my trolley.

I avoided the Krispy Kreme doughnuts, I avoided the wine, then I reached the sweets aisle..My hand lingered on Thornton’s toffee, I could just imagine how creamy and sweet it would be, then I remembered my tooth is still broken from the incident earlier in the week involving scan bran – which by the way does taste exactly like cardboard. I scanned the aisle and took it all in, toblerone, jelly beans, galaxy, kinder eggs, GALAXY..i saw it the second time and some how it made its way into my basket and to cut a long story short, I am sat chomping on it.

It’s not that bad is it? I hear you cry! Well, what I’ve not told you yet is that it is actually two bars of galaxy.. so 300g of pure chocolaty yummy badness. I’m trying not to look at just how many calories it is, but I know it is probably more than a days worth!!

So, I’m feeling grumpy, and a bit sick, and tomorrow when I get weighed and have gained about 4 stone, I will have a cry, remind myself what a rubbish week I’ve had, and hopefully re-focus.

Milkshake Gold! Dvd Review & GIVEAWAY!!

With the weather turning grey and miserable, my thoughts turn to entertaining the boys on days when it is too cold and wet to venture outside. We’ve all had a horrible cold, so you can imagine the delight and excitement on Boo’s face when a parcel turned up containing the New Milkshake Gold Dvd!

Packaging Design © 2011 Abbey Home Media Group Ltd. All rights reserved. © Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited 2011. All characters ™ & © 2011.

Milkshake is a firm favourite in our house, we love the colourful combinations of such family favourites as Roary, Thomas and The Mr Men! The Dvd promises over 2hours of the best pre-school characters and as boredom busters go, this was superb! Boo particularly enjoyed the familiar faces of the Milkshake Presenters introducing the cartoons. I loved seeing ‘Harry and his Bucket full of Dinosaurs’ and explain about Dinosaurs to Boo, although I realise my knowledge about them is distinctly lacking! There are also several ‘extras’ on the DVD, of which Boo’s favourite was the ‘Roary Rev Up’ – he loves cars so this was inevitable!

We’re planning a trip abroad towards the end of the year, and the Milkshake Gold Dvd will definitely be coming with us as a familiar treat to watch while we’re away! There is so much variety that it will keep everyone entertained (I almost feel I should insert the photo of Mr G watching the Dvd avidly while off work poorly but I had best not!)

The DVD features: Little Princess, Roary The Racing Car, Bert & Ernie, Fifi and the Flowertots, Mio Mao, Mr Men, Igam Ogam, Castle Farm, Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs, Hana’s Helpline, Bananas in Pyjamas, The Adventures of Bottletop Bill, Olivia, Thomas & Friends.

Competition

Abbey Home Media have kindly offered to giveaway 5 copies of the DVD to readers of the blog!

To enter:

Follow the blog via GFC and leave a comment below telling us which is your child’s favourite Milkshake Cartoon Character and why?

Please remember to leave either your twitter ID or an email so I can contact you if you win!

Competition CLOSED!

Winners selected using random.org were: Phyllgerry , Kasza, Firsttimemum, Rachdreaming, Mamapook

Please email me with your details so I can pass them onto Abbey Home Media and get your prize to each of you!

The competition closes at 9am on the 26th September 2011, the winner will be selected at random.
There are a total of 5 prizes to be won.
I reserve the right to re-draw the winner, in the event that the original winners do not  reply within 72hours.
Only one entry per person.
Only one prize per household!
Sorry, this competition is only open to UK residents

Back to School Treats with Whole Earth Foods

It’s that time of year where the days are already starting to get shorter, and as the children go back to or start school, thoughts turn to warming winter treats!

Whole Earth Food offer a variety of organic treats, yes I did say treats! They believe that eating organic is not only about being healthy but still having great flavours! Last year I reviewed their peanut butter and raved about how we enjoyed it, in fact it is still a regular on my shopping list and no other brand is acceptable in our household anymore!

We were lucky enough to be sent a variety of Whole Earth foods fantastic Chocolate Spreads to review!

The Dark Chocolate Spread came as perhaps the greatest surprise, I expected quite a bitter flavour and was amazed that actually the flavour is comparable with a rich dark bar of chocolate. There is a super recipe for Dark Chocolate Cupcakes which Boo & I are going to be trying out today! Boo happily sat eating it thickly spread onto toast only to ask for more at the end! It contains 30% cocoa and all the spreads are approved by the vegetarian society as suitable for vegetarians.

Crunchy Hazelnut Spread is packed full of crushed hazelnuts, it really is a nutty experience! Mr G & I loved this, Boo found that he didn’t enjoy the tiny bits of nuts in his teeth, although loved it when we spread it onto frozen banana ‘lollies’ as a chocolaty coating! It was divine on toast, really sweet and very luxurious! Mr G enjoyed this on toast in the morning and found he felt full until lunch.

Our absolute family favourite and in fact we have already bought another jar (actually two..) has to be the Chocolate & Caramel Swirl Spread it even sounds delicious doesn’t it? This was rich and creamy, when spread on toast it tasted almost like fudge! A teaspoonful sneakily enjoyed in the kitchen was better than a single chocolate liberated from an open box! It is the ultimate treat and perfect to brighten up dull autumn days! I’m experimenting with cooking with this one, and will endeavour to update my best discoveries!

Whole Earth food chocolate spreads contain no nasty preservatives or hydrogenated fats, making them ideal for making ‘dull toast’ into a tasty after-school treat! You can find Whole Earth Foods in major supermarkets as well as a variety of health food shops. Follow them on twitter or join their facebook page for more news and ideas!

Another year older, but none the wiser!

Over the weekend, I celebrated my Birthday, I realised I’m getting old as I was more intent on the children being happy then anything else! I didn’t really mind what I did or didn’t do as long as I had two happy bambinos!

Naively, I thought that by age 3, Boo would be easier to entertain. In fact I have decided age 3 is worse than age 2 was, as distraction no longer works! At least last year when he demanded to get out of the car while we were in the lion enclosure of a safari park I managed to distract him by getting him to look at the keeper in his 4X4.. This year I had to use ever ounce of my power of negotiation in the Lion and the Wolf enclosure as Boo was adamant, he was getting out.. It sounds silly writing it now, but I suddenly felt paranoia flowing through me, what if I hadn’t remember to put the child lock on the doors and he got out the car?!

 I must admit I was relieved to get into the relative safety of the giraffes, who strangely quietened Boo down and caused him to say  with his nose squashed against the glass ‘I wonder what they are thinking’. It’s a good point, and something that had never crossed my mind before, what are those beautiful creatures thinking as they are surrounded by people sat in cars snapping photos like paparazzi!

 Mr G treated us to tea, and Boo demanded the biggest cake he could see, while Elvis just cooed and tried to grab the tablecloth – at least my reactions are quicker these days. When the biggest cake had to be divided into two – (I am trying to lose my baby weight and it isn’t a rapid process!) – Boo decided to express his distaste by shouting ‘No!! That’s mine!! Mummy your not having any!’ at the top of his voice, much to the displeasure of the group of senior ladies from Germany at the next table. To these ladies, should they be reading, believe it or not, I didn’t particularly enjoy the shrill tone of his shrieking either. As I’m sure you could see, it was either let him shriek while I held onto the plate for dear life, or risk the cake actually flying across to join you on your table.

Of course Elvis slept all the way home in the car, so when we were ready to go to bed, he was wide awake and wanting to play. While Boo was crying saying he was tired and needed E to be quiet so he could sleep. I finally climbed into bed at  gone 2am, only to be woken by a lively Boo at 5am, so forgive me if my writing is slightly erratic! When will I learn, I’m not sure I ever will!