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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Last Minute Easter Treats

There's only a few days until Easter but there's still plenty of time to bake some Easter treats. I have already shared recipes for two lovely and simple recipes :

Caramel Chocolate Easter Cupcakes

Chocolate Pretzel Easter Nests

I have been meaning to make some Mini Egg Cookies for ages and had a bag of Mini Eggs in my pantry ready and waiting. I finally got around to making some - I'm not sure why I didn't make them sooner as they are really quick and easy, but here's the recipe if you want to rustle some up ready for the Easter weekend.

Mini Egg Cookies - Makes approx 16 large cookies

115g Butter, softened
230g Caster sugar
35g Golden syrup
1 Egg
230g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
100g Chocolate Mini eggs
  • Beat the butter and sugar together
  • Mix in the golden syrup & egg
  • Stir the flour and bicarbonate of soda together and add to the butter/sugar mixture
  • Mix well, adding the mini eggs just as the mixture starts to come together
  • Roll mixture into balls (heaped tbsp) and place on a greased baking sheet, spaced well apart
  • Bake in a preheated 170 C oven for approx 10 minutes, until golden brown
  • Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack
  • Store in an airtight container
Mini Egg Cookies

If you don't have the time or the inclination for baking this Easter, you could always pop along to your local M&S where they have a great selection of Easter treats for all the family, including an Assorted Chocolate Egg Nest (£10), Belgian Chocolate Mini Egg selection (£4), Percy Pig Egg (£6), Colin the Caterpillar Egg (£6) and many many more.

Easter Eggs
Marbled Egg (£8)

Easter Eggs
Feather Egg (£7)

If like hot cross buns then my kids say that you really should try the Toffee Fudge & Belgian Chocolate Hot Cross Buns (£1.49)

Hot Cross Buns


I was sent the Easter eggs & hot cross buns for the purpose of this review

Taking the Stress out of Family Cooking

Let’s face it, being in charge of feeding the family day after day can be a stressful job, especially when you’ve been out at work all day. It doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to put the fun back into family meal times by being more organised and creating a more relaxed environment in the kitchen.

Kitchen D├ęcor
Michelle Minetti of the Huffington Post says their readers feel the kitchen is the most stressful room in the house, but that can be changed by taking creative control. One way to revamp the kitchen is to update the present ornaments and accessories. Replacing something as simple as a roller blind can add a welcome splash of colour or an unusual print that can become the focus of a room, a range of options are available to purchase on ebay. With some re-organisation and a little redecoration this room can become an oasis of calm despite being the hub of the home.

Meal Planning and Budgeting
We aren’t kidding about reorganisation. It may not be what you want to hear, but getting some structure back into your kitchen and meal planning could be the best thing you have ever done for your health and happiness. For starters it’s a good idea to go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards and get rid of anything you have not used in the last six months to a year. These items are only creating more clutter and we definitely don’t need that! All kitchens seem to become a magnet for unsorted paperwork at one time or another, if yours is one of them then it is time to reclaim the space and create a filing system to hold all your letters and to-do lists.

With so many websites and blogs dedicated to meal planning you may not know where to begin, a good starting point for those on a budget is this four-week meal planner from goodtoknow.co.uk which gives nutritionally balanced meal plans for less than £40 a week. Once you’ve got into the habit of planning your meals and you have a better idea of what your family likes and dislikes, you can find a new meal planner or start making your own from scratch. If meal planning isn’t for you and yours, another option is to set aside some time at the weekend to prepare meals for the week ahead then pop them in the freezer to be removed when you need them. This saves a lot of time in the long run and allows your family dinners to be a more relaxed affair.

The kitchen always seems to become overcrowded when you need space the most, but this problem can be solved by introducing a little routine into the mix. This does not have to mean set mealtimes. By creating a set sequence of events, for example getting the kids to complete their homework while you prepare meals, you create a sense of structure and everyone knows what they should be doing. It reduces the pressure on you to entertain everyone at once.  It does not have to be homework of course, but by creating something for the rest of the family to get on with while you prepare dinner, you will give yourself extra breathing space.

Getting the Family Together

It is all well and good being organised, but if you aren’t getting the family together to spend quality time with each other after all the preparation, then you won’t be making the most of your clutter free space and stress free kitchen. Getting kids on board with meal planning is a great way for them to feel included. If they feel like meal times are their own little project then they are more likely to co-operate and enjoy sitting together at the table as a family.

Featured post

Self Cleaning Ovens? Really?

As someone who is looking at getting a new oven in the near future, a self cleaning oven is definitely something I will now be considering.

This article has been produced with the help of Appliance World team
The majority of people absolutely hate cleaning their ovens; it is a dirty, time consuming chore that few people enjoy and many put off until their oven is in a pretty desperate state. Pyrolytic Technology means that this oven cleaning dread can be evaporated, forever.
This incredibly useful system means you no longer have to use strong, damaging chemicals and wear yourself out scrubbing for hours.
So how does Pyrolytic cleaning actually work?
This impressive cleaning system utilizes temperatures of well over 500 degrees to effectively blast away all of those dirty layers of grease. Essentially burning away all of the almost impossible to budge residue that has built up in your oven over the months. The most impressive part of the cycle is when the oven has cooled and you have the opportunity to simply wipe away the ash left behind. The cycle only lasts between 90-120 minutes and will contribute towards additional oven efficiency after you’ve used the function a few times. So you can use that gruelling oven cleaning time elsewhere and enjoy the benefits of an oven that works better than before through no extra effort on your part.
Just some of the many benefits are:
       Efficiency improvement over time
       No need to come into contact with any harmful, harsh, oven cleaning chemicals
       Co2 gases and waste are reduced which means your oven is more environmentally friendly
       You save a lot of time and elbow grease
       You save yourself plenty of money over time as good quality oven cleaning products can be costly with some costing well over £4.00 pounds. The average cost for a manual oven clean using a mid range cleaner is around £1.40, a cycle in one of these efficient and economic ovens only costs around £0.35 pence.
And you needn’t worry about any safety issues either, the temperatures may be soaring over 500 degrees in the oven but you’ll have no chance of coming into contact with that heat during the cycle. Our safety aware auto-lock feature means that your oven door cannot be opened once temperatures reach over 300 degrees. You will then have access to the oven when the temperature has cooled, the cycle has completed and the oven is safe to open.
pyrolytic ovens

If this wasn’t enough, the external door surfaces are also designed to remain cool throughout the cycle so you don’t have to worry about any family members catching their fingers on a hot oven door surface.

So there you have it, our pyrolytic ovens are proof that self-cleaning isn’t a myth and you’ve every reason to start enjoying the convenience of this innovative feature today. All you have to decide now is how you’ll enjoy all that time you’re going to save!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

#NextKids Summer 2014 Range

Earlier in the week we visited the Next head office in Leicester to have a sneaky peek at their Summer 2014 range for children. Unfortunately, due to the M1 being closed we arrived, extremely late and only managed a quick browse of the new range.

Hanna was really pleased to see lots of blue's in the older girl's range, as she loves blue. There were lots of very cute clothes for both boys and girls, and lots of bright clothes once again for the boys, including a range of football t-shirts in the colours of all the main countries.

 photo NEXTKIDSjpg_zps89133518.jpg

I think someone has her eye on a few new pieces for her wardrobe this Summer!

We received travel expenses to attend this event, along with a giftcard and goody bags.


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