A couple of weeks ago I actually was cooking for my brother and Jess one Saturday night and of course, they are both people who love pasta and cheese so of course I have to use these items so this when I decided to create a cheesy bacon mushroom pasta bake. This is something which would keep us warm on a cold autumnal night because after all it is something which felt super hearty and that is always something which you want at this time of year. So today I thought I would share with you the recipe and pictures so that you can make it yourself.
The ingredients for this recipe is:
5-6 White Mushrooms
6 Slices of Bacon
A Jar of pasta bake source
A shallow ovenproof dish
The first step I did was cut the bacon and I had to cut the fat off the bacon because this is something which I can not stand. Of course, I had to make sure that the bacon chunks were not too big because I was feeding a toddler and sometimes she decided that she does not want to chew food up even though she really should. I fried it till it looked like it was all cooked it doesn’t matter if it not fully cooked as it will go in the oven later.
What are your favourite recipes to cook in the autumn/winter months let me know. As cooking is something I want to do more.
I then stir in and made sure that it all of the pasta was covered because this is what is going to give it the flavour. It is at this stage I added the mushrooms which have been washed and sliced you could actually purchase them this way if you wanted to. I think I added about 5-6 mushrooms into my recipe. I also added the bacon I forgot to take a picture when I had added the bacon but this is when I did this. I put it on gas mark 5 I think it is for 25 minutes
This is a picture of the pasta bake at halfway you need to remove this from the oven after 25 minutes this is the stage where you need to make sure that you stir it. Make sure that the pasta is all over covered in the sauce and if you want the cheese to add this to the top. Of course, I had to add a ton of cheese because these people are cheese fiends Jess would have it all the time if she could. You need to then put it back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
And this was the finished article I promise it did look a lot nicer than it actually it looked. This was something which I think Jess enjoyed because she asked for more and this must mean that she really enjoyed it. For sure this is something which I would cook again even though it takes 45 mins plus prep time. It might have to be something which I would cook when we were having a couple day at home.
What are your favourite items to cook in the autumn/winter months because cooking is something which I want to do more and hopefully get Jess involved in the future. Please leave your recipes links in the comments.
With the summer nearly over now I thought I would share with you some of our favouite toddler snacks because we all know that after a long day exploring there is something nothing better than been able to give your whining toddler a snack to tide them along till the next meal. This is something which we have had to do a number of times this summer because we have been exploring and that sometimes means that meals times do get pushed backwards.
Toddler snacks are not something new to us we have been using them since we started weaning of course we do try and use things like fruit as snacks but sometimes when you are always on the go like we see to be. We have to resort to snacks which come in packs which can be easy put into bags and had when someone is about to have a temper tantrum.
We really love the brand Organix we have used them since day one and have found that the bags which they come in are a perfect size which means they do not spoil a meal should they have them close to the time you may be eating. They have no nasties in them which is always a positive because if you are like me you do not want to pump your child with food which will not be good for them and send them super hyper. As you can see from the picture we love the crackers we also love the gingerbread men which they do carrot sticks, tomato crosses and they also do an amazing flapjack style bar. Can you tell that they are one of our favourite brands they are a name which we have come to trust and if we are out and about and we have no snacks with us and Jess needs something we would try and head in a shop and get an Organix snack.
Little Dish are a new company to us I think we tried them first around Easter time when we have been travelling. Jess had tried the Go Go biscuits which are wholegain, oats, flax and chai seeds biscuits. Which means that there is no rubbish in them which again is something which we love these are some snacks which I will admit I have actually tried myself and thought these were tasty. They come in a pack of 5 which means that you can always have some spare in the cupboards and they are individually wrapped so can pop them in the bag very easy. We have only tried the coconut and raspberry ones I need to keep my eyes out for the other ones because I am sure Jess will love them.
Ella’s Kitchen are another brand which we love as well if you haven’t heard of them they are another company who do not like to put naties in food and are very proud of that fact. Jess has not tried a lot from their snack range I think she has tried some of the crisps which she demolished which must mean that she actually likes them. However, the product that I really recommend is the nibbly fingers which are also like a flapjack treat which is great because I like that they are small which means Jess can actually hold them which is a problem with some of the larger snack she can not get her little hands around them. I would recommend Ella’s Kitchen as you may remember I reviewed their cereal a while back.
The final brand which we love is Kiddylicous who make the most amazing wafers for sure these are something which we repurchase time and time again. The ones which Jess seems to love the most is the blueberry ones. Inside the pack you get two wafers which means that you can always give your child one now and then give them one at another stage during the day. They can easily be broken down which means that you child doesn’t have to hold the whole wafer and make it very sticky and it also saves it been dropped and another tantrum occurring which is the last thing we all want.
What are toddler’s favouite snack?
This summer seems to be going very very fast would you believe that tomorrow is August. I for one can not believe how fast the year is actually going it is scary. Once the summer months approach more people seem to have more meals out this could be because you have had a lovely day out and a great way to finish the day by having a meal out. Eating out with Jess is something which we have done for a long period of time she has been used to eating out since before I think she could eat.
I have had questions by people who have been in the same restaurant as us on how I manage to cope eating out with a toddler and I have had multiple people come up and tell me that she is a huge credit to us because she is so well behaved while been out. I will admit I do not have the answers to everything these are just my tips and what I do to make sure that Jess is respectful to other guests who may be eating at the same place as us.
The first one is making sure that you are going to a restaurant which is suitable the last thing you want to do is get to a place and actually find out that your child is not going to want to eat anything on the menu. Most places do have a children’s menu which for the majority you can find online because there is nothing worse than forcing your child to eat something which they do not want to consume. For example, we love eating at all you can eat buffets such as Cosmo’s however, this is not a place we would go with Jess because she would not eat as much we would be more likely to hit a pizza hut.
If your child is as young as Jess is you might want to use a highchair which a lot of places have because this stops you worrying that they are going to be able to run around the whole restaurant and disrupt other diners. I have also found that making sure that she has something to play with always helps I have noticed that if Jess has something such as some colouring pencils and a menu which usually is the child menu she seems to be able to keep her entertained for a while which means that she is able to wait a little bit longer for her food.
Jess still used a bib when she is having food which means that when we eat out we make sure that we still take one because it helps catches the food which she may drop and this stops it been all over the floor. If there is one thing which makes me really embarrassed it is when I have to leave a messy table with food all over it and the floor so this is something which we have started doing and Jess seems to be fine with it because it is what she is used to we have a bib which folds up and lives in her changing bag so that we can just grab it when we eat out.
Another thing which you may notice if you have a young child who likes to use cutlery that when eating out it can be very heavy which means that Jess and other children her age may not be able to lift them. If you are like me you do not want to allow them to eat with their fingers when it suits you however, you do not want them to get into this routine and do it at home. I picked up a while ago in Jojo Maman Bebe this ladybird tum tum cutlery they are not to heavy for her at all they are the same weight as normal children’s cutlery. I have noticed that Jess eats really well with them and she will ask for them if she knows I have them and the cutlery in the place is going to be too heavy fot her I think this is because she knows she will be told off if she eats with her fingers.
Make sure that you are not eating out too late with children as well because sometimes if you make them eat too late they will be very grumpy which will end up stressing you all out and make the meal unpleasant. I try to make sure that Jess goes for meals close to the times when she would actually be eating because otherwise she can be horrible and it is not something I also do not like her going out too late because it means that she is more likely to go to bed on a full stomach which is not good for her at all.
The final tip which I have is to make sure that you have a beaker or cup which your child is used to drinking from with you. The amount of times we have found that we have been out and the place we are eating at only has glass or cups which have a large rim and are unsuitable for Jess to drink out of. We do purchase the drink from the place we’re we are eating and then just pour it into the cup which we have with us this means that Jess then can have a drink without it having to be a fruit shoot with a sports cap and does not end up with her drink all over herself.
What are your top tips for eating out with a toddler?
I am going to admit this I am sharing these today because tomorrow is my birthday, A few months back I was lucky to be contacted by Caketoppers. Caketoppers are a company who specialise in cakes, cupcakes and printed icing which is edible for delivery across the UK. They actually get delivered to your door which is great if you have an upcoming birthday like me, anniversary or any other special occasion. This is something which I could see us possibly using should Jess ever been christened.
I was lucky to be sent two of the amazing cupcakes which you can personalise and have any print on that you want, however, because I was unsure of how good the cupcakes would be should you use something which has a lot of small details. You can have text on these cupcakes as well you do not have to have just pure pictures. Caketoppers offer a next day delivery service which is great if you are like me and sometimes nearly forget to order presents or extras such as these amazing cupcakes.
Another element which I like it’s the fast that you do not have to resize the picture which is a bonus because this means that you do not have to do anything. This means that you do not have to be technical in order to order some of these amazing cupcakes. Caketoppers do this for you and then they actually print them for yourself.
I used my cake tester Joe who as you may remember helped review Bakerdays for me around valentines. I love the way that these are personalised because it means that I could send them to people who I am not going to see around a special occasion. I was kindly sent both the chocolate and plain cupcake range to try. I found that the icing which has a layer of frosting on top of an amazingly fresh baked, creamy cupcake.
As the picture above shows the way you receive your cupcake they are well packaged which should mean that it is really hard to squash the cupcakes, Which is something that you do not want should you be sending them as a gift. I could not believe how fresh these actually were because of the fact that they had come through the post I didn’t expect them to the best. I am glad that I have been proved wrong about this though.
The cupcakes were a good size for a lovely little treat and were actually bigger than I expected. Caketoppers do not scrimp on the size or quality of the products.
If you would like to order your own cupcakes you can here www.caketoppers.com
What are your thoughts on getting cupcakes through the post?
This post includes a PR sample however, all views are my own
I was really lucky to review a huge box full of Hoots snacks just before Christmas the reason behind this was because as some of you may know I am a Hull blogger. Hoots are a company who are based here in Hull and to celebrate been the UK City of Culture I was send a box of there tasty snacks to review.
Hoots are a crouton style baked snacks which makes them a lot more crunchy than a bag of normal crisps. They almost remind me of the garlic bread snacks which you used to be able to get I don’t think you can actually get them any longer. Hoots as I stated previously are baked not fried which makes the a healthier alternative to crisps as well as they have no added flavour, preservatives, colours or nuts which is great as this means that Jess can snack on these as well.
There currently is only a range of 4 flavours which are smokey bacon, cheese and onion, pickled onion and also salt and pepper. I would say that I loved the cheese and onion ones the most because they actually tasted as close to cheese and onion crisps as you are going to get they were very cheese without been too much which is something I liked. I do not want to be made to feel like I am eating too healthy even when I am for some strange reason.
The smokey bacon ones reminded me of frazzles which you can purchase because they were very bacon like this is something which Joe loved because of the fact he really likes smokey bacon flavours. For me they were a little bit too strong but this is just me. If you like smokey bacon you will really love this product.
Pickled onion ones reminded me a little bit of the monster munch which we have in the UK I am unsure if you have them anywhere else in the world. These are not very pickled which means that they you can really taste the onion which is something which I love. I would not give Jess these because of the fact that I don’t think that she would actually like them.
Salt and Pepper hoots are very strong to me you can really taste the pepper which may not to be everyones taste. I know that when I offered these to my Dad he didn’t actually like them at all because of this, This is not something which bothered me usually products can be too vinegary which is not something I love because this product doesn’t have any in.
Overall I love this product I love that it is healthier than crisps however. you still manage to get all the flavour and more than you do from normal ones. The only thing which makes puts me off purchasing them again is that it is hard to get hold of the products.
Have you tried these snacks? If so what did you think
This post contains a PR sample however this does not affect my thoughts
A few weeks ago I was contacted by the lovely people at Juicy Fuel Cola contacted me and asked if I would like to try some of their healthy cola which is something that interested me as you know I love drinking fizzy drinks but I don’t like how unhealthy they can be.
I was treated to 3 of the original juicy fuel cola and 3 of the cherry juicy fuel cola. I have changed my opinions while testing out these products at first I was unsure if I liked them due to the fact that they were almost like flat coke.
The reason my changed was the fact that I was expecting something different but when I actually checked what the product was I found out that it was one of your five a day which is a good way to get some of your fruit in your diet. The reason why it is classed as one of your five a day is because of the fact that it is made with kola nut extract, grape and lemon juices as well as barley malt. One element which really reaches out to me is that there are no preservatives, no added e-numbers, no added sugar and no added sweeteners- yet is basically is pure fruit juices.
I think that the packaging also helps so much on this product because they look stylish so you do not think that you are drinking something which is healthy but looks cheap. I love the way that they have a couple of flavours I feel like the cherry one actually is my favourite because I can really taste of the cherry nd this is one which I feel like we rarely get pure cherry drinks, however, this could just be me. The original one is really nice and I know that my brother who I let try them actually preferred this one so it does just show that it is all personal preference.
The element which amazed me from this product was the fact that they actually taste almost like cherry coke and the original coke, I do love how the original has a similar style designs as well. The only reason why I think that it is not the same as coke because it is not as gassy or fizzy which could be the reason why I thought it was flat coke however it is something which I like. I would purchase some of these drinks if they were more easily available to me.
You can purchase the drinks from Amazon, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Asda. I personally have not seen the drinks instore’s I feel like I need to make my hunt more intense.
You can purchase them on Amazon for £6.99 for a pack of 6 but they are only for one flavour which may bother you personally this doesn’t bother me. It works out as £1.16 for 250ml can which works out more expensive than Coke but you have to remember that it is actually healthy
What are your views on a healthy cola, would you drink it?
This posts includes a PR sample however, all views are my own as ever
Breakfast is one of the areas which we kind of struggled a little bit when it came to weaning with Jess. We are lucky because she actually loves to eat fruit, however, when we are going on long days our when we are commuting to nursery I worry that maybe she has not eaten enough and she is actually going to be hungry for the rest of the day. I know mummies are always worrying I could give her toast as well but I do not want to give her too much bread as she has a lot of it at nursery because we have found that she now has a lot of sandwiches and wraps so I do not want to give her too much.
We had tried a range of cow and gate cereal, however, this only goes up to around age 10 months and then they stop I could give her this, however, there is not a lot of different textures and that is still classed as “baby food”. I know some of you may wonder why I don’t just give her other children food which is designed for toddlers and old people. The reason behind this is because that these can be high in sugar and salt and these are really not something which I want Jess to be addicted to.
When on the hunt for something which was suitable I for my needs I found Ella’s Kitchen have some amazing breakfast food and they soon have become Jess’s favourite. I feel like they only have a range of 3 kinds of cereal due to the fact that I have not seen any others and I have been to a range of supermarkets.
The three which they have are the following the wakey wakey round ones which remind me almost of cheerio’s however, they are suitable for little ones these are something which Jess will eat either with milk or without and pick at them like a snack, however, we only give her them at breakfast because she would have them all of the time if she could.
Another product which she loves is the banana and cinnamon muesli which sounds really nice as this is not something we have in adult ranges it is like oats and then has some chunks in it which makes me think of something which I can not think what it is. You can serve this hot or cold so sometimes like when it was super cold in the winter months we did heat it up for Jess and she seems to like it either hot or cold because she is always handing us an empty bowl back.
The final cereal which we have is the strawberry and raspberry porridge no joke you can actually smell the strawberries in it I wish I could eat it sometimes but I am sure that Jess will moan at me. These, of course, are something which has to go in the microwave so are great for these colder mornings which we are having. This is porridge is one which is made with milk because this allows you to get milk into your child instead of having to give them in a bottle format or a cup.
I have found this cereal a really good way to fill Jess up when she is having a long day, I do give her some fruit so she can have some otherwise she may get grumpy because she really does love it. The only thing which I wish that they were a larger range because this would allow us to vary what Jess has for breakfast.
What do you give your child for breakfast?
I thought I would share another idea of what you could do this Valentine’s day. Joe and I really like eating out sometimes this means that we will take Jess with us sometimes we do for meals without her usually it means we go out for meals when she is still in nursery and we have an afternoon off. New Years Eve we decided that we wanted to go hunt for Lush Christmas sale items and we decided we wanted some food while in Peterborough. We found a restaurant which we hadn’t previously heard of it was Wildwood since this I have researched them and found that they are a chain and they actually have one in York which we plan on going to very soon.
On first impression I could not believe how beautiful the restaurant the style reminded me of somewhere which was old but still was super stylish. As you can see the menu above is white/cream and has strands of gold. I feel like that the menu looked super stylish and there is a huge choice of food on the menu which is always good for me because I never know what I want to eat, I must admit I was super spoilt for choice but I am sure this would be the same for anyone. If you are a picky/fussy eat I am sure you would be able to find something which you would fancy.
There are a range of cocktails which you could consume but due to the fact that it was the middle of the day and Joe was driving I decided against it. To be honest I really don’t drink a lot anyway so this was not something which bothered me anyway. I decided that I would go for a pint of coke due to the fact I knew that we was going to be in there a while however, I did not expect it to come in such a beautiful glass I know its a beer glass but it was one which was like a wine glass. You do actually get charged for two cokes if you get them like this and they did give us the remainder in the glass coke bottle. I love the glass coke bottles because I feel like this is not something which you see a lot and the little touches mean so much.
Now I am going to share with you watch I actually consumed when I was in the restaurant. We decided that we was going to have starters because we prefer savory to sweet. I had the baked brie this was something which was beautiful I am a huge fan of cheese anyway but to have it baked is something which I would not have thought about having. It came with some amazing fresh bread which was toasted as you may know toast is one of my favourite foods. This did have some garlic in which I think really made the starter, As you can see you do not get a lot but because it is cheese it does mean that it is super filling. I would totally recommend this Joe has a prawn cocktail and this looked amazing but I am not a huge fan of them for some reason I hate big prawns I don’t know why this is, I decided I was not going to be the super annoying girlfriend and make sure that I took pictures before he ate so I don’t have pictures of what he got sorry about that.
For main I decided that I was going to go for a pasta dish because this is something which I adore, The one which I went for was the Peri Peri Chicken Pasta this was one which was super full of flavour. Peri Peri usually is however, this pasta was not super spicy as you know I like spicy food but this was mild for me but because it was super tasty this did not bother me at all. Again the bowl was not super huge but it was one which was filling.While I am writing this post I wish I could consume it again because it was that amazing maybe I will have to have it when I go back. Joe also choose a pasta dish which is not like him usually he will go for something proper meaty, I think what he actually went for was a spaghetti bol even though I may have be wrong. It did look beautiful though I have to see if he can recreate this for me in the future because he sure does love cooking which is always amazing as his food is beautiful.
I am not a huge desert fan as I have said in the past but we saw people who were close to use who had them and we could not resist the Raspberry Sundae. I will actually admit this is not something which I can remember what it is cold. This was amazing it has the right amount of everything because of the fact that usually they can be a little bit to sweet for me. This was not one which I found to be like this while writing this post I actually really crave I think it would be amazing if they could deliver one to me right now.
I will actually tell you I loved the restaurant it was so beautiful as you can see from the picture above it is in the bathroom which make me want something like this. It actually reminds me of the lights you see backstage in theatres I feel like this is what they are aiming to achieve and they do it so well as well. The Wildwood in Peterbough actually have a cinema in it which they have films in once a week and you can have a meal and go to the cinema in the same place which seems such a clever idea. I am unsure if this is the same at all of them the films which they show are all upto date as well from example I am sure they had sucide squad advertised when we went however, I could be wrong about this. The whole meal including drinks cost us around the £50 mark and we was stuffed for a long time which is always something that I love when I go for a nice meal because I do not want to be eating again after a few hours.
Have you eaten at Wildwood if do what did you think?
As you, I am sure that you are very aware that valentine’s day is coming up but as a parent, it means that you many not be able to get a babysitter and be able to go out on an actual night out for a meal but this doesn’t mean that you can not celebrate. You could actually cook a meal for your other half something which I love to cook is a chilli you can change the recipe which I am going to share with you today due to the fact I do love pretty hot food but I aware that some people mat not be the same as me
I know this may be different to how other people making it due to the fact that I do not fry the mince this is due to ease because when I am cooking sometimes I am juggling a number of things such as looking after Jess and doing other things.
The ingredients which I use are the following:
500g lean minced beef
1 packet of Schwartz Hot Chilli Powder.
1 carton of Cirio chopped tomatoes and basil
1 chilli (optional)
1 tin of Cirio baby plum tomatoes.
The most important part now the method:
- Shred the mince with a knife and fork make sure its medium pieces
- Add to a microwaveable tub followed by cover with clingfilm
- Microwave the mince for 6 minutes on 100 power I have an 850w microwave so you may have to adapt this depending on your wattage
- While waiting for this to cook chop up the chillis if you are adding them to the mixture.
- During this time I also put the rice in the rice cooker, however, you could boil this in a pan and do it this way if you’re not fortunate to own a rice cooker.
- Once the 6 minutes are over they are I stir the mince up to make sure that it is fully cooked I also shred the mince again to make sure that there are no major clumps of mince.
- This followed by putting the mince on again for another 10 minutes on 100 power.
- Add the tomatoes both the tin and the cartoon to the mixture along with the chilli mix and chillis should you be using them
- Stir in the mixture making sure it is as even as it can be
- On completion of this, I put it back in the microwave for another 5 minutes
- Again I really want to make sure it’s as even as it can be so I stir this in again
- Finally, I finish the chilli off by putting it back in the microwave for another 5 minutes.
Again you could change the recipe a little bit because you may want to add kidney beans this is not something which we do not do as some of our family do not like them. Obviously, you really do not need to add chilli’s you could actually add some of the chillies flakes if you want a little bit of heat but not too much.
What are your plans for Valentine’s Day
This item contains a PR sample however, all views are my own as normal
This year I have decided that I want to share with you some food and drink type of posts. The reason behind me wanting to include this element on my blog is we all eat and drink however, some of the brands which normally we might not pick up due to the fact we do not want to waste our money if we do not end up liking them. I think my food kind of posts are going to be on a Friday however, this does not mean that there is going to be one every single week.
The first company which I want to share with you are a company called Aspire Drinks they are a cold green tea company who are sold in a handful of supermarkets, Holland and Barrett and also stocked on Amazon. These are a chilled green tea brand who are free from sugar, calories and also carbs, As someone who can drink way too many sugary drinks these are a great alternative for me and I have found that you get even more flavour from one of these than you would with other fizzy sugary drinks.
Currently Aspire only have a range of three drinks which are Cranberry, Apple & Acai and Mango Lemonade. As you can see from the names they are all super tasty sounding and they are actually something which would I would drink even though they are healthy they don’t sound too healthy if you know what I mean. They are also in a super stylish can which is 250ml these can be picked up for £1.85. Due to the size of the can it means I could always put one into my university bag and have one on my lunch or the commute. The only thing which would bother me is I do have to order these online but if you live close to a Holland and Barratt you could always pick these up.
I have tried all three of the range my favourite one was the mango lemonade which actually to me tasted more like Peach for some reason I don’t understand why this was. I could not taste any of the green tea as this is something which I am not a huge fan of I think that this is because it is so sharp. I also asked my mum to try a bit of each drink and she does have a different favourite one to me she loved the apple & acai to me this one did not have as much taste as the mango one to me.
The best thing apart from the taste is this drink burns 209 calories over the period of a couple of hours which is amazing as this is more than a cup of coffee and it does actually have the same amount of caffeine as coffee. This is an added bonus to someone like me who in normal life is constantly drinking caffeine to keep awake as I have so long days and who doesn’t want to lose a little bit of weight.
I have actually ordered some more of these drinks because I love them so much I never thought I would love a drink which has green tea in it.
Have you tried this brand? What do you think about a drink which helps you burn calories?
This post included a PR sample however, all views are my own.