The Crazy Kitchen: August 2012

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Friday, 31 August 2012

Foodie Foto Friday - Week 1


This week my photo is of our indoor picnic lunch, complete with star shaped sandwiches inspired by Mummy Mummy Mum. It was polished off (along with a few extra sandwiches, dip and a few crisps) by my 3 hungry children within a couple of minutes.

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Now it's your turn, please share your photos here and make us all green with envy....


The Crazy Kitchen



Thursday, 30 August 2012

Warm Chipotle Chicken Salad

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I love a salad and eat one almost every day but they can often bit a bit bland, so I often like to spice it up a bit. This salad is definitely spicy, and very quick.

Warm Chipotle Chicken Salad - serves 1

1 Boneless skinless Chicken Breast
1 small red onion
5 or 6 mushrooms
1 heaped tsp Sainsbury's Spicy Chipotle Chilli Paste*
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salad leaves, cucumber & tomato

  • Cut the chicken into thin strips - I find that using a pair of scissors is easier than a knife
  • Slice the onion and mushrooms
  • Add the chicken, onion and mushrooms to a frying pan with the chipotle paste and water
  • Fry for approx 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through
  • Stir the olive oil into the pan
  • Toss the chicken through the salad and serve immediately



*I was sent the spicy chipotle chilli paste, along with some other ingredients from the Sainsbury's Speciality Ingredients range, to use in my recipes

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Scatter Brainz - Review

Scatter Brainz are a range of Seriously Sticky Deranged Darts. Each dart stands just over 6cm in height and is one in a series of character plastic darts that have sticky 'brain' tips.
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I never would have thought that something so simple would keep both of my boys (age 11 & 3) amused for so long. Sam (11) is the competitive one and it was all about throwing them at the target to see how many points he could get. For Jack (3) it was about attempting to throw them at the target with mutterings of "this is impossible" ...

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...and then sticking them to anything he could find, pulling them off, sticking them back on again, putting the lids on, taking them off, and repeating this over and over .

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Whilst the packs come with a game sheet for throwing the darts at we made our own target from a plastic lid to see who could score the most points.

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The darts really are sticky and stick to lots of surfaces and if they collect bits of fluff and dirt and start to lose their stickiness you just need to wash it off under the tap.

There are 64 darts to collect and can be found on Amazon from around £9.99. There is also a collectible case with interchangeable dart board as well as a Bazooka that can shoot the darts up to 15 ft - each including exclusive darts. These would make great stocking fillers this Christmas.

Recommended for ages 5+


We were sent 2 packs of Scatter Brainz for the purpose of this review

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Little Dish Kids Meals - Review

Jack can sometimes be a bit of a fussy eater, his favourite phrase at the moment is 'I want food....but I don't want dinner'. There seems to be a small window of opportunity in which dinner will be eaten but it's not at the same time each day nor does it follow a pattern of how much he's eaten during the day so dinnertimes are often a bit hit and miss.

At the weekend we had guests to stay and as I was making a curry for the older children and adults to eat later on I thought it would be a chance for the little ones to have some of the meals that Little Dish had sent us to try out. Our visitor for the weekend, Beastie, is already a tiny taster for Little Dish so we thought it would be a great opportunity for him to show off his taste testing skills to Jack and friend Master L. They each had a share of three of the meals we were sent -


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It started well for Beastie, as he dived straight for the meatballs.


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It was looking good as mouthful after mouthful went in.


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Whilst Jack was unfortunately struggling to get off the starting blocks


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but after a little pep talk from Beastie

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and a helping hand from big brother, he was off


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but there was no stopping Master L who munched his way steadily through Photobucket
to reach the point of full belly first


A couple of days later I gave Jack a chance to redeem himself and served up the Chicken & Butternut Squash Pie, which he loved and ate every single scrap.

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Little Dish meals are all prepared by hand using 100% natural ingredients, with no salt or sugar added and are suitable for little ones aged 12 months +. They are available from Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Waitrose Deliver & Ocado. 
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Receipt to Eat - Free Meals
Until 30th September Little Dish are offering a free meal for every 2 that you buy from Sainsbury's - you can find more details here.


We were sent some Little Dish meals for the purpose of this review.


XBOX 360 Lego Batman 2 DC Super Heroes - Review

After agreeing initially to review the LEGO Batman 2 DC Super Heroes game on the XBOX 360 eleven year old Sam was quite reluctant to try it out when it arrived, instead preferring to play FIFA with his friends online. I suspect the reluctancy was in part due to his friends being able to see what game he is playing whilst they're online and it's not perhaps seen as being 'cool'.
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After some persuasion he agreed to have a go with his old Mum (also not cool) and I took on the role of Batman and him Robin. I had no clue what I was doing but Sam, being rather experienced in these things, pressed the buttons on my controller as well as his own in between moments of saying 'don't kill ME'...oops.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I have no idea how the kids manage to figure out what they're supposed to do as there are never any instructions with these things, but somehow they work it out, moving from level to level. The levels that I played were quite dark and I found it difficult to manoeuvre around as the screen splits into two and I couldn't see where Batman had got to some of the time - this is just the opinion of a forty something Mother though and obviously not who the game is aimed at - bring back Binatone tennis I say.

In the opinion of my 'he of few words' 11 year old is that the graphics are 'ok', the overall game is 'good' and he'll be continuing to play it, but it's not his favourite. However after playing it for a while longer and getting into it his view of the game changed to 'it's really good now'. That's a thumbs up I think!

LEGO Batman 2 is available for the XBOX, PS3, Wii & PC from GAME from £17.99 with a pegi rating of 7+


Batman and Robin return in LEGO® Batman™ 2: DC Super Heroes, the highly-anticipated sequel to the best-selling LEGO® videogame of all time, which to date has sold more than 11 million units worldwide.  This time the Dynamic Duo join forces with other famous DC super heroes including Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to stop the notorious villains Lex Luthor and The Joker from destroying Gotham City.   Batman fans of all ages will enjoy a new and original story filled with classic LEGO videogame action and humour as players fight to put the bad guys back behind bars.



I was provided with a promotional copy of Batman 2 for XBOX 360 for the purpose of this review.

Warburtons Baked Naan Chips - Review

I made a curry at the weekend for family and friends so thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the Baked Naan Chips that Warburtons had recently sent me.

There are some recipes on the Warburtons Facebook page for accompaniments to have with the chips, as well as some using the chips in the recipes. I decided to make the Mint & Sunflower Seed chutney to go with our curry and Naan Bread Chips and prepared it in advance.


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I was disappointed when I opened the bags of chips as almost all of them were crushed. Maybe this would be different if I'd bought them from a supermarket instead of receiving them by post, but as they had arrived packaged in a cardboard box I'm not convinced they would be.
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Aside from that no-one thought they were particularly tasty and, disappointingly, 'bland' was one word used to describe them. The chutney, however, was a hit and went really well with the curry, and definitely had a kick to it. We did also receive some Baked Pitta chips in the package and they weren't crushed and were packed with flavour, our favourite being the Sour Cream and Chive.

I don't think I'll be buying the Naan Bread Chips again, we may just stick to naan breads and poppadoms to accompany curry in future, but I'll definitely be making the chutney again and buying some more Pitta Chips.

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Warburtons Baked Naan Bread Chips come in three flavours - Creamy Korma, Classic Tikka and Fiery Madras in big 150g bags. They are available in Morrisons stores priced at £1.79


We were sent the Naan & Pitta Chips for the purpose of this review

Monday, 27 August 2012

Turkey & Apple Picnic Pies

I have been once again challenged by Lean on Turkey to come up with a family turkey meal for under £10. This time it's a Summer meal, so with this great Summer weather we're having recently (!!) I thought I would make something for a picnic. These individual turkey pies are great for picnics and can be eaten hot or cold with salad and coleslaw.

As the weather was so rubbish this bank holiday we ate ours at home with baked potatoes and salad. The recipe makes around 12 pies, plenty for a family picnic and costs under £6 in total, making them less than 50p each.

Turkey & Apple Picnic Pies

150g Butter, straight from the fridge, cut into small pieces
300g Plain Flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp dried Rosemary
3-4 tbsp cold water
garlic clove, crushed
tbsp olive oil
340g Turkey Breast steaks
454g good quality Pork & Apple sausages, skin removed
1 egg, beaten

  • Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs, alternatively use a food processor or mixer.
  • Stir in the salt and rosemary
  • Mix in the water, a little at at a time, until the dough starts to come together. You may not need to use all of the water so add it gradually, or add more if needed.
  • Form into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for approx 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the crushed garlic and fry the turkey gently, taking care not to brown, until cooked almost through (it will finish cooking in the pies)
  • Allow the turkey to cool slightly and cut into small pieces
  • Roll the pastry dough out to about 2-3mm thick and using a pastry cutter (or cutting around a round object) cut 12 rounds large enough to fill a hole of a muffin pan
  • Use a smaller cutter to cut 12 rounds for the tops and set aside
  • Press the large rounds into each hole of the muffin pan
  • Place a small amount of sausagemeat into each pie and top with pieces of turkey, repeat the layers until all the pies are filled
  • Brush the sides of the pastry case with beaten egg
  • Place a pastry top onto each pie and press down and seal the edges with your fingertips, carefully sealing any gaps
  • Brush the tops of each pie with beaten egg & make a small slit to allow steam to escape
  • Bake in a 180 degree (C) oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown
  • Leave to cool slightly in the pan before removing
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raining outside - no surprise there!

This is a sponsored post, however the recipe is my own

Foodie Foto Friday

After watching this very funny You Tube clip that I saw shared on Facebook it struck me that I do take a lot of photos of food, and I know I'm not the only one as I see them on Instagram all the time. Maybe it's because I blog about food that I take lots of foodie shots, or is it the other way around - is it because I take lots of foodie shots that I blog about food? Whatever it is I know that I'm always taking pictures of food I make and food I eat - when food is served up to my family they sit back and wait, not because they are super polite and want to wait until everyone is ready to start, no, it's because they know that I need to get my camera out and take all necessary photos first.



Anyway, with this in mind, I've started a new linky so everyone can share their food photos. It can be food you've made, food you've been served at a restaurant or just something nice that you've seen. There are just a few simple rules

  1. The photo must be of food
  2. Post the photo on your blog and add the badge below and come back here on a Friday and add to the linky
  3. Ideally the photo should be taken in the week leading up to the post
  4. Please DO NOT use the words 'nom, nom, nom' !

It will start this Friday (31st August) and run until we're all sick of the sight of food.


The Crazy Kitchen

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Mobile Monday - Luggage Trolley

I've not joined in with any Linky's recently so to ease me back in gently I've joined in this week with the Cake, Photo's Life Mobile Monday linky. What could be easier, post a photo that you've taken on a mobile device and link it up.


We've been back from our holiday for a week now and this photo was taken on my phone at Faro airport whist waiting for our flight home.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App


CakesPhotosLife

Friday, 24 August 2012

Starting School - Helping Your Child to Cope

Our local NHS Trust no longer offers a routine 3 1/2 year check to children in the area, instead they ask parents to complete a questionnaire which should highlight any concerns that they may have. I received some great information along with the letter and questionnaire about preparing children for starting school, and thought I would share it.

Firstly there is a list of things that a child should be able to do around the age of 3 1/2 and if parents have any concerns about their child they should contact their Health Visitor.


Look at ME, I am 3
  • I can talk in sentences
  • I can chant nursery rhymes & songs
  • I can make myself understood when I speak to people
  • I can follow instructions (when I want to)
  • I can scribble, hold a pencil and copy a colour and draw a straight line
  • I can run, walk upstairs, kick a ball, pedal a bike & throw a ball
  • I can stand on one foot
  • I am dry in the day
  • I like to pretend play
  • I can concentrate on an activity
  • I have no problem sleeping
  • I eat a varied diet, including fruit & vegetables
  • I can feed myself with a fork and spoon
  • I can see & my eyes don't wander
  • My eyes are straight & work together
  • I can dress & undress with a little help
  • I like to help with grown up things
  • I can share and take turns
  • I can play with others


Then there are some advice sheets, including what will be expected of your child when they start school, along with activities and games to help develop the skills needed. 

Click on the images to see them larger, save to your PC or print

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Thankfully we've got another year to work on these although Jack is keenly working on his knife skills already.

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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Kenco Millicano Caff Free - Review

I do love a nice cup of coffee and enjoyed some lovely Expresso's whilst on holiday recently but now I'm back I need to get back into diet and healthy eating mode and that includes reducing my caffeine intake. I was doing well before I went away and even got into my daily cup of herbal tea to start the day, but I can't say that I ever enjoy drinking it.

When Kenco asked if I would like to try their new Millicano Caff Free wholebean instant I did wonder if it would be strong enough for me but at the same time thought it couldn't be worse than the aniseed, fennel & cardamom tea I'd been drinking.


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I like a skinny Latte in the mornings usually, with a good heap of coffee in if I'm not using 'proper' coffee so I boiled up some milk, frothed it with my frother and poured it over the Millicano granules (which incidentally definitely had that coffee shop smell to them).


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I can say that I have been pleasantly surprised that the taste was as good, if not better, than my usual instant and comparable to 'proper' coffee that I've made Latte's with at home before - the only problem is that it's not getting rid of my 'going cold turkey' lack of caffeine headache, but that should go over the next few days.

The big test now will be to see if my weekend guests will notice that it's decaff......


Kenco Millicano Caff Free is available from August 2012 with an RRP of £4.79 for the 100g tin and £3.59 for the 85g refill pack. For more information visit their Facebook page 



I was sent a tin of Kenco Millicano for the purpose of this review

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Cheap n Cheerful Pasta

It's the school holidays, your kids want half the street to come for tea, but it's 5 o'clock and you haven't even given tea a second thought. This pasta dish is quick, easy and cheap and best of all very tasty (even Jack eats it all up). The kids love it and it only costs just over £1.50 to make 4 large portions using value pasta, beans & tomatoes.

You will need :

400g dried Pasta
1 Can chopped tomatoes
1 Can baked beans
1 Knorr Herb Infusions stock pot
100g Cheddar Cheese, grated

  • Boil the pasta as per instructions on the pack
  • Heat up the tomatoes and beans and stir in the stock pot and bring to the boil
  • Stir the cooked pasta into the sauce and mix well
  • Stir half of the grated cheese through the pasta and sauce and sprinkle the rest on top

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Monday, 20 August 2012

Our Holiday in Pictures

We've just returned from a relaxing two week family holiday in The Algarve. Fourteen whole days of lazing around on a sunlounger by the pool, soaking up the sun (apart from the overcast day where we played cards and sipped G&T's and Sangria instead).

We played with friends, both old...
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and new...
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We enjoyed lovely food, both in...
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and out...
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Had fun in the pool...
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and at the beach...
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we had days filled with blue skies...
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and sunsets in the evening...
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We enjoyed the beauty of the natural world around us...
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and the not so natural...
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Now we just need to save up for next year

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... we'll be back

I've linked this up to 3 Children & It's holiday blog hop.
;

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