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Monday, 18 July 2016

Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce

This is a lovely family dish that's easy to prepare, and great for midweek meals. It's full of veggies and tender chicken breast. You could use boneless chicken thighs instead, which makes it even tastier, but just increase the cooking time a little.

Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce

Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce - serves 4/5

1 tbsp olive oil
4 skinless & boneless chicken breasts, halved
5 tbsp barbecue sauce (I used Heinz Classic barbecue sauce)
1 large onion, sliced
3 peppers (red, green & orange), sliced
1 courgette, sliced
beef stock cube
200ml boiling water
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan or skillet 
  • add 1 tbsp of the barbecue sauce
  • add the chicken breasts and fry for a few minutes each side until browned and the sauce starts to caramelise
  • remove the chicken from the pan and set aside
  • add the onion, peppers & courgette to the pan and fry for a few minutes until starting to soften
  • dissolve the stock cube in the water and stir in the tomatoes and remaining barbecue sauce
  • pour the sauce into the pan and stir to combine the vegetables
  • bring to a simmer, place the lid on and simmer gently for 20 minutes
  • add the chicken back in and simmer for an additional 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
  • serve with rice
Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce Chicken and Vegetables in Barbecue Sauce

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Music in the Forest #ForestLive #WeLoveForests

On Sunday evening I had tickets to see Kaiser Chiefs at Cannock Chase, as part of the Forestry Commision Forest Live events held throughout the Summer (this is Summer incase you've forgotten) at seven forest locations throughout the country.

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This was to be my third time at a concert in Cannock Chase, with the first being Paul Weller in 2009 and then Jessie J in 2014. They are always a great night, with plenty of atmosphere.

The plan was for myself and the husband to enjoy a very rare night out together, however the night clashed with the Euro 16 final and we lost our babysitter to football & pizza with his mates. In the end I took 7 year old Jack, as he was desperate to go, and his teen sister preferred to stay at home to watch Love Island!

The beauty of going to a concert in the forest is being able to take your own picnic and drinks (in plastic bottles) as well as picnic blankets and chairs. When we got there just after 6pm it was already quite busy, but we set up camp on the hill in the sunshine with a good view of the stage.

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The Kaiser Chiefs were supported by two bands, Vitamin and Spring Kings, before the main act coming on at 9pm.

It was a great show, but as Jack had school in the morning we left just after 10pm, missing, from all accounts, an amazing end to the weekend of concerts in The Chase, as can be seen by this amazing photo!

We can't wait to go back again next year, and look forward to seeing who's playing. If you can get to one of the 7 forests next Summer you are definitely sure of a great family night out! (kids under 5 get in free). 

I received tickets for Kaiser Chiefs in exchange for writing this post. 
All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts

Last weekend saw a brief break in the rain long enough to get up to allotment to do some weeding, and whilst up there Jack picked a few raspberries. Some of them were quite ripe, and after a quick wash they were a little on the mushy side. We could've eaten them with vanilla ice cream but as I had a pack of puff pastry nearing it's use by date I thought tarts would make a nice dessert.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts
Making these couldn't be simpler, as they require zero cooking skills or effort.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts

Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts - makes 8

320g pack of ready rolled puff pastry
2 tbsp milk
approx 200g ripe raspberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
75g good quality white chocolate

  • slice the pastry sheet into 8 equal pieces
  • lay the pastry onto a large baking tray (or 2 smaller ones) lined with baking paper
  • brush the pastry sheets with milk
  • gently mash the raspberries with the back of a fork
  • spoon the raspberries into the centre of each pastry sheet and spread over the sheet, leaving approx 2cm around the edge
  • sprinkle the sugar over each sheet, including around the edge
  • bake in a 200C oven for approx 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and puffed up
  • allow to cool before drizzling with melted white chocolate

Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts Raspberry & White Chocolate Tarts

Eating Well, Even With Food Allergies

Food allergies, such as gluten or dairy intolerance, can place some hefty restrictions on your diet. If you or any other member of your family is dealing with this, it’s likely a challenge to find food that everybody enjoys and can eat. It isn’t impossible though, and it can actually be a great opportunity to examine your family’s diet, make improvements, and do a clean eating overhaul. Even if most of your family is free from allergy, you can cut out harmful additives and GMOs by doing a food makeover. With the right information and attitude, it isn’t too hard. Food allergies might seem like a restriction, but you can view them as an invitation to better eating. Thankfully, there is a wealth of information available on the web that makes cutting out gluten and dairy easier than ever. These pointers can help you stay on track, stay healthy, and start your healthy eating endeavour right.

Double Check Your Plate
One of the greatest detriments to healthy eating is misinformation. Many people mistakenly assume that certain foods are good for them, despite a nutrition label that may indicate otherwise. In order to get the most out of your meals, double check your plate. First, check to ensure that it doesn’t contain any allergens that will harm you, and secondly, make sure that it is, in fact, as nutritious as you think it is. You deserve to know what’s in your food, so don’t shy away from researching its ingredients. Even foods that are marketed as healthy can have hidden dangers.

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Get Creative

Perhaps the best way to combat a seemingly restrictive diet is to get creative with your food choices. There’s no limit to what you can discover in your kitchen, and clean eating startup hamptoncreek knows that better than anybody. In formulating their line of food, they found materials such as pea protein to replace traditional and more irritating ingredients. Alhough you probably don’t have a high-tech science lab in your kitchen, you can experiment and try new things. You might be surprised what kind of results you get when you start improvising your daily cuisine.

Quality Over Convenience

Food allergies can put you in a tough spot. When the family needs easy snacks, and you don’t have time to keep homemade ones on hand, you’ll likely end up scouring the grocery store for food that is simple, clean, and high quality. You might not think this task is difficult, but anybody who’s undertaken it knows that it is. Hampton Creek identified this void in the market and launched its Just line of foods. With a selection of gluten and egg free products, they make it easy to swap bad snacks for good ones. Quality is more important than convenience.

Find Products You Trust

Studies suggest that most people don’t trust the companies that manufacture their food. With the revelation of harmful additives and GMOs being nearly ubiquitous, it’s no wonder consumers might question its source. The good news is that several companies have taken the cue and built enterprises based on principles of transparency, simple ingredients and clean eating. This is great for families who must accommodate food allergies, because labels are easier to decipher and potential allergens are easier to spot. Do your research and find products that fit your needs, work with your diet, and above all else, deserve your trust.

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Take Control of Your Food
When it comes to food and food sources, unless you have a farm, you can’t control the way it is produced and processed. You can, however, support the companies that make living with food allergies easier. You have control of your plate, and what you choose to put on it says a lot about your values. As more families cut out all of the allergens and GMOs that permeate food, it sends a clear message to companies. You don’t have to deal with food allergies to know that eating clean and choosing quality foods is better for your family. As you take control of your food, you can join the countless other families who have made the same choice and never looked back. You deserve food that is honest and simple, and seeking it out is a service to your health. Whether you have allergies or not, a little effort goes a long way in making better meals, improving your lifestyle, and forging meaningful changes.

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