We have been trying out Pop Chef from Character to cut food into shapes and make some fun lunches. The set contains 6 different shapes and works with a variety of food from fruit and vegetables, to bread, cheese, sliced meat, and more. You can also use it to shape dough while baking to get cookies in these shapes.
Happy Pancake Day! Since it’s Pancake Day, I made some pancakes with the boys as we do every year. Instead of the traditional lemon and sugar topping, I thought it would be fun to make a sweet shop theme and put different sweet toppings in bowls for the boys to sprinkle over their pancakes themselves, to decorate however they like.
Every so often, I like to show you all some of the most interesting new food products we have been trying out lately. It’s been a while since I’ve posted any of these, so I have plenty to share!
First up: Plum – Mighty 4
This Love Heart Meringues recipe is a perfect treat for Valentines day. They are sweet to eat, and sweet on the eyes too since they are so cute and pretty!
Love Heart Meringues for Valentine’s Day
Makes: 2 pairs
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
With Valentines Day approaching, we decided to make some heart shaped chocolates. This is the first time I have tried making chocolates from a mould but it was very easy, and a great activity for the children to join in with.
First we melted down some chocolate. This can be done in the microwave which is really quick, so ideal when working with impatient preschoolers. I didn’t use cooking chocolate, just normal milk chocolate.
We were using a heart shaped silicone mould from Asda,but you can buy similar ones online very cheaply like these. You can also use them as ice cube trays so they are multi functional throughout the year.
We broke the chocolate into cubes. I used 100g gram bar at first, then melted a little extra as that did not quite fill the mould, so we used about 150g in total. The chocolate was melted for 1 minute in the microwave, then stirred, and then put back for 10 seconds at a time until totally melted.
Even though it looks messy, it doesn’t matter as the finished chocolate came out okay! We left it in the freezer to set for a couple of hours, and ta-daa… our very easy but very yummy Valentines chocolates!
Not forgetting the savoury food for Valentines, I also tried out the egg shaper to make my husband a snack.
You might also like these DIY gift wrapped chocolates that we made at Christmas. Just change up the wrapper to a Valentines theme and it works perfectly for this time of year too.
You might also like these fun Valentines cooking ideas
Valentines Kitchen Supplies
affiliate links to Amazon included
We have been trying out a new activity box recently, the Weekend Box, and this idea is adapted from one of the ideas included. We didn’t have all of the ingredients required so ended up making our own version of their potato boats.
Mr Z helped me with this activity after school and it took maybe half an hour to do, and was not too difficult but definitely needs an adult to be involved.
As always, we have been trying out lot of new food products. As it is a New Year and many people, myself included, are trying to make an effort to eat a little more healthily to feel detoxed, fit and full of life, I thought I would share with you some of the healthier foods that we have been trying lately.
LivLife is a bread with 50% fewer carbs per 100g, compared to regular seeded, white and brown sliced loaves. It is baked with a mix of linseeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. It is lower in carbs as vegetable protein flours have been used to replace some of the wheat flour. It is 68 calories per slice.
When I first heard about this bread I was quite interested, as I find it really hard to reduce carbs. I did wonder whether it would taste okay, or be too different in taste from the regular bread that I am used to but actually I am enjoying eating it and it has still retained the familiar bread-ish taste!
You can see above – LivLife bread made into a sandwich on the left, and a toasted slice on the right. It tastes good both ways, and is also great to accompany soup. I had vegetable soup with a slice of LivLife bread earlier for dinner.
If you want to find out more about LivLife follow them on Facebook where they are also running competitions asking people to share their #LivLife pledges
Nogii and Nogii Kids bars
Nogii bars are well known in the USA and have just launched here in the UK. They are suitable for the Paleo diet as they are high in protein, and are gluten free. The Nogii bars are free from trans fats, hydrogenated oils and using only natural ingredients. We tried a variety of the adults and kids bars. There are 5 types available: Nogii D’Lites, Nogii Paleo, Nogii Kids, Nogii High Protein and Nogii Super Protein.
I have to admit, I didn’t love the taste of the bars but I do sometimes find that problem with gluten free foods. Although I know gluten free is healthier and some friends advise me to cut out gluten as they had great effects on their health and well being when doing so, I really do find it hard to get used to the taste of any gluten free products.
If you have made the choice for a more gluten free lifestyle, these bars would definitely be a good option though and they are very convenient to take out in your bag for a snack on the go. Another option for those looking for more gluten free foods is Orgran. I’ve recently tried their gluten free biscuits at our Bloggers Night In and have tried the pasta and crispbread before. Although again these are not really my cup of tea, the wide product range will be ideal for those who are on a strict gluten free diet.
All the Nogii products can be purchased from Win Naturally online or in store in the Trafford Centre Manchester.
Gordon Rhodes – Rubs, Crumbs and Sprinkles
Gordon Rhodes have a range of rubs, crumbs and sprinkles which can be used for meat, fish or vegetables. These are great for either using in main meals or for making healthy party nibbles which will be much more wholesome than buying ready made.
The brand was founded by the late Gordon Rhodes, inspired by his love of exploring the globe in search of exotic tastes and flavours. This is the first time that I tried any Gordon Rhodes products and I found them really handy to have in the cupboard. They have a strong and taste which my family and I enjoyed, much better than something bland!
These can be used in loads of dishes, and sprinkling the lazy hazy summer sprinkle over you salads is about as easy as you can get! It might help to liven up your salad if you are eating plenty of them throughout january!
I also liked to make chicken bites with some cubed chicken breast and the easy crumb easy go seasoned crumb mix. This can work as a healthier alternative to chicken nuggets.
You could serve these with chips oven baked or fried in an air fryer, if you want a healthier twist on the traditional children’s tea time favourite – along with some chopped carrots and cucumber, sweetcorn or whatever vegetables your little ones enjoy.
We also ate these chicken bites with couscous and mixed vegetable dishes, which makes a healthy and really filling dinner.
For healthy and convenient lunch ideas, don’t forget Ryvita. There are plenty of ways to mix it up and keep it interesting with different varieties and toppings. I have been taking part in #Ryvita31Ways challenge which you can see here (includes the full 31 day plan)
Another healthy addition to our home is our new Brita Torlan 3 Way Water Filter tap. This was just installed yesterday! So it’s too early to tell you much about it, but I am quite excited to have it and to see whether we notice a difference with drinking filtered water rather than regular tap water.
Linking up to:
Have you been trying any healthy foods or any new healthy habits this New Year? How is it getting on? Please share your recommendations with me in the comments!
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*Disclaimer: Products included in the post have been sent as PR samples. Affiliate links are included.
Fresh salmon is high in omega 3 fats which helps to keep your heart healthy and can also speed up your metabolism. This spicy cajun salmon sandwich recipe makes a great healthy and tasty lunch!
• 1 large wild salmon fillet skinned and cut into 4 portions
• 2 teaspoons blackening or Cajun seasoning
• 1 small avocado, pitted
• 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
• 8 slices of LivLife bread
• 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
Rub salmon on both sides with blackening (or Cajun) seasoning. Grill until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Mash avocado and mayonnaise in a small bowl. To assemble sandwiches, spread some of the avocado mixture on slice and top with salmon, tomato and onion.
Enjoy your delicious spicy Salmon Sandwich!
LivLife is a new bread boasting 50% fewer carbs per 100g, compared to regular seeded, white and brown sliced loaves. See more in my New Year – Healthy Food post here.
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Like many people, I love coffee! It always wakes me up in the morning and gives me my energy throughout the day.
Those of you with a Nespresso coffee machine may be interested to hear about Gourmesso, a new brand from Germany which sell a variety of coffee pods which are compatible with most machines and are at a more competitive price than the other brands. Gourmesso was established in February 2013 and since then the company managed to become the leading online retailed for coffee capsules in the region and is now successfully operating in France, Spain and UK. They believe that high quality capsule coffee should not be provided by a single company as this can negatively affect the price that the end consumer is paying. Because of that they pride themselves as being the only company that offers Nespresso compatible capsules, which are of the same high quality is the original ones, only 30% cheaper (£0.21 per capsules as opposed to £0.30 and above for the original capsules). They also have the have largest number of coffee blends available – currently 15 different varieties and this is always expanding. The range includes Fairtrade & Bio coffee, Coffee with a caramel flavour, and decaf – alongside all the usual varieties that you would expect.
The Gourmesso capsules are designed for Nespresso machines and a full list of compatible machines can be found here, so you can check that your coffee machine will be okay with these coffee capsules. If you do have one of these machines it will definitely be worth giving these a try to see what you think of them, and save money on your coffee!
For your chance to win 2 boxes of Gourmesso coffee in varieties of your choice, enter via the Rafflecopter below:
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com
Lunch is one of the meals I struggle with at times – as it comes in the middle of the day when I am busy, it’s easy to forget and miss lunch. Of course then a couple of hours later I realise I’m hungry and end up quickly snacking on something which may not be the healthiest option. I am always looking for quick, easy and healthier lunch ideas to help combat this problem and Ryvita is ideal for me.
To help me get started with healthy lunches this new year, Ryvita sent me a selection of their crispbreads and a supermarket voucher to help me enjoy them in a variety of ways. I have been eating Ryvita for lunch every day so far in January and intending to keep it up all month and hopefully beyond. I haven’t followed the list below to the letter, but it’s great for inspiration. I find the problem with healthier lunch ideas is that if you only have a couple of ideas it is easy to get bored but these ideas will rule out that risk!
Here are 31 delicious ways to eat Ryvita for lunch throughout January:
• 1st – New Year’s Day treat: Ryvita Mediterranean Herb Crispbread with Sardine Escabeche
• 2nd – Back to work reward: Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbread with Stilton cheese and sliced apple OR brie and cranberry jelly
•3rd – Fish Friday: Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon on Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbread
• 4th – Crunchy Saturday: Peanut Butter & Banana on Ryvita Original Crispbread
• 5th – Sunday treat day: Butternut Squash & Sage Soup with Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbread Croutons
• 6th – Give soup some love: Tomato Soup with Ryvita Pumpkin Seeds and Oats Cripsbread Croutons
• 7th – Healthy Tuesday: Ryvita Sunflower Seed & Oat Crispbread with Hummous & Slices of Red Pepper
• 8th – Mid week warmth: Pumpkin Soup with Ryvita Dark Rye Croutons
• 9th – Fresh and crisp: Mini Caesar Salads with Parmesan, Anchovies and Ryvita Sweet Onion Crispbread
• 10th – Friday feeling: Ryvita Fruit Crunch with Sliced Banana, Cool Yoghurt, Basil, Passion fruit and Honey
• 11th – Weekend treat: New York Delhi with Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbread
• 12th – Fresh snacking: Ryvita Mediterranean Herb Crispbread with Parma Ham and Melon
• 13th – Taste experience: Goats Cheese, Pear, Honey and Walnut on Ryvita Fruit Crunch
• 14th – French classic Tuesday: Tuna Nicoise on Ryvita Original Crispbread
• 15th – Indulge your taste buds: Prawn, Mango and Avacado with Ryvita Sesame Crispbread
• 16th – Delicious and Nutritious: Tuna Mayo with Cucumber on Ryvita Sunflower Seed & Oat Cripsbread
• 17th – Friday twist: Ryvita Sunflower Seeds & Oats Cripsbread with Waldorf Salad
• 18th – Sensual Saturday snacking: Ryvita Fruit Crunch with Greek Yoghurt, Berries and Honey
• 19th – Sunday morning warmth: Ryvita Pumpkin Seeds & Oats Crispbread soliders with a soft boiled egg OR topped with fresh berries and yoghurt
• 20th: Blue Monday: Ryvita Chocolate Bombs
• 21st – Fruity snacking: Ryvita Fruit Crunch with Mashed Banana and Sliced Strawberry
• 22nd – Mid Week Hump: Tuna Pate with Ryvita Cracked Black Pepper Crispbread
• 23rd – Treat Thursday: Ryvita Fruit Crunch Crispbread with Chocolate Spread and Strawberries
• 24th – Indulgent Friday feeling: Ryvita Fruit Crunch topped with Goat’s Cheese, Pear, Honey & Walnuts
• 25th – Weekend lunchtime: Ryvita Sweet Onion Crispbread topped with Mango Chutney and Coronation Chicken
• 26th – Back to basics: Egg Mayo with Cress on Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbread
• 27th – Victory Monday: Ryvita Dark Rye Cripbread with Salt Beef, Watercress and Dill Pickle
• 28th – Mini pizza time: Grilled Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes and Basil on Ryvita Multigrain Crispbread
• 29th – Mid week treat: Ryvita Hint of Chilli Crispbread with Spiced Potted Crayfish Tails and Watercress
• 30th – Scrumptious Thursday: Ryvita Cracked Black Pepper Crispbread with Parma Ham and Chutney
• 31st: End of the month with a bang: Chargrilled Chicken, Guacamole and Peppers on Ryvita Hint of Chilli
Now the mission is to keep up the healthy lunches for the rest of the year! They do say, if you do something for 30-40 days then it becomes an ingrained habit so I am off to a great start with my 31 days of Ryvita!
Why not Pin the list so that you can refer back to it!
For more great ideas for the New Year check out:
Celebrating the New Year with Kid Friendly Fun – Enjoy some great New Year’s books, then grab your video camera to interview your children’s thoughts about the New Year.
New Years Eve with Kids – Enjoy these 25 family-friendly ideas for ringing in the new year with excited kids underfoot — making the evening memorable and fun for all ages.
How to throw a New Year’s Eve Party for the kids – Ideas for a New Year’s Eve party with kids. Tons of fun suggestions.
Six Tools for Organizing Your Homeschool Space – Need some homeschool room organizing ideas for the New Year? Find them here along with a daily challenge to refresh your room for New Years.
Creating the Planner that Works for You! – Creating the Planner that Works for You takes a little thought and well… a little planning. Step one is defining what the term planner really means.
Seven Ways to Organize Montessori Materials – Fabulous ideas for organizing you Montessori materials or any home classroom!
Healthier Lunch Ideas for January – 31 healthy and delicious lunch ideas to see you through January, to create some healthier lunch time habits that will hopefully last throughout the year
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