December is well underway now and as we hurtle towards Christmas with not a lot else to do due to the lovely Coronavirus, we’re at home more than we’ve ever been before.
We’ve all had to get a little bit more creative at home to keep us going through this time. I’ve already lost count of how many Christmas films we’ve already watched, and the requests for hot chocolate are nearly daily. We’ve also had many a living room picnic, pizza and a movie and attempted a few board games (impossible with a two year old).
Back in November, Nanny brought over a goodie bag to make this S’mores recipe which sounded disgustingly sweet, gooey and chocolatey – perfect for yet another Christmas movie so I thought I would share it with you so you can try too.
What you will need:
A metal/oven proof dish
200g Milk Chocolate
300g Marshmallows (the small ones work the best)
How to do it:
Pop the chocolate milk and 200g of the marshmallows in a pan and heat very gently until they’re all melted and smooth.
Pour into the oven-proof dish and top with the remaining marshmallows.
Pop under the grill and keep a close eye until the marshmallows turn a golden toasted colour.
Using the skewers with a selection of fruit and biscuits, scoop up the gooey yumminess and get stuck in.
If you liked this S’Mores Dip Recipe and are looking for more Christmas Inspiration then head over to our ‘Everything Christmas’ Pinterest board where I’ve saved loads of stuff from decorating tips to Christmas recipes.
Sticky Maple Pork Loin with Apples Recipe – I think this is going to be a firm family favourite meal since trying it. It only takes about 20 minutes to make and all the ingredients are store cupboard staples apart from the pork loins. Isabelle who has been fussing with her food recently even asked for a second helping!
What you will need:
500g Pack of Pork Loin boneless chops
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Apples cut into pieces
1 Garlic clove crushed
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons wholegrain mustard
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
How to make:
Trim all excess fat off the boneless pork loins and cut into bite sized pieces.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the pork, cooking for around five minutes.
Remove the meat from the pan and add in the apples and cook for around 5 minutes so these start to soften.
Add in the garlic, maple syrup and vinegar. Add in a few tablespoons of water at this point, pop the lid on your pan and cook for a few minutes to allow this to soften further.
Add the pork back in as well as the wholegrain mustard and cook further until the meat and apples take on a sticky glazed look and the pork is cooked through.
We served this with buttered new potatoes and broccoli which went down very well with all.
This got a huge thumbs up from Isabelle so will definitely be repeated.
If you like this Recipe then take a look at our Family Recipes Category for more inspiration.
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I think everyone gets bored of the usual breakfast offering of cereal, toast, fruit and yoghurt so I’ve been having a little search around for some great brekkie ideas which are quick but tasty.
What you will need:
Crusty White Loaf
Grated cheese (enough to top as many slices of bread you want to make)
Salt and Pepper (optional)
How to do it:
Slice the bread into nice thickish slices.
Using a spoon or knife press the middle of the bread down to form a square that will hold the egg.
Season the bread to your liking (lots for Daddy).
Butter the non-flattened edges of the bread and add the grated cheese to the edges.
Season the top.
Bake in the oven at gas mark 5 for about 15 – 20 mins.
Breakfast is ready!!
Ps – I have to confess that my earlier attempts at this were a major fail as I put them in the pan which resulted in the bottom of the bread burning and the egg not cooking so I flipped them over and this is what I got!
Nothing beats a chunky soup or stew on a cold day, especially if its cooking in the slow cooker which makes it zero effort.
What you will need:
Chorizo cut into small pieces (approx 7cm piece)
4 chicken breasts
400g tin green lentils
500g carton passata
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 good teaspoons smoked paprika
1 veg stock cube
Small teaspoon English Mustard
New potatoes and carrot chunks – as many as you can fit into your slow cooker/pan Salt and pepper
If using a slow cooker, make sure that you put this on in the morning (just before school run is a good time). You can prepare everything the night before so that in the morning you can just pop it all in and leave all day long.
Cut the Chorizo into small chunks and add to slow cooker.
Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks (you can use skinless/boneless chicken thighs as well).
Add the lentils, passata, two cloves of garlic crushed, and two generous teaspoons of smoked paprika.
Add in a small teaspoon of English Mustard.
Peel approximately 4 carrots and cut into small batons.
Cut new potatoes into quarters (I find that 6yo Isabelle prefers quarters).
Once all of this is added to the slow cooker, add the vegetable stock cube and add water to fill the slow cooker.
Towards the end, add a generous amount of chopped fresh parsley, and if needed add a bit of flour to thicken it up. Add salt and pepper to taste.
We also like to add butterbeans, but unfortunately Isabelle isn’t a fan but I would usually have them.
This is a really tasty but filling family favourite and because it’s made in the slow cooker it’s perfect for busy family life. Ryan can grab a bowl full before going off to football training, Isabelle can eat as soon as she is hungry and we can eat when Isabelle is in bed in peace and quiet. That is if we’re not having it together as a family meal.
No excuse needed for making Pizza for dinner, but a Christmas Tree shaped Pizza is guarnteed to give you extra Mum points. To make these pizza’s you could cheat and use a ready made pizza base but we prefer to make our own. Here is the recipe for traditional dough base.
What you need:
3 cups of strong plain flour
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon of fast action dried yeast
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and cover. Leave for half an hour to give the yeast a chance to work.
After this time, divide the dough into 4 pieces and flatten with your hands. I then hand cut christmas tree shapes and put onto a greased baking tray.
Using a jar of pizza sauce (can be found in most supermarkets) or use tomato puree mixed with some dried oregano.
Then comes the fun bit of adding the toppings of your choice. I used a selction of peppers, sausage, chicken, salami, tomatoes and cheese. I let both of my kids decide what they wanted on their pizza. Put in the oven on gas mark 6 for approximately 20 minutes and they had them for dinner.
Check your Meat and Veg – Check Testicular Cancer Campaign
Check Testicular Cancer Campaign – As a woman I think we get great support and coverage for female cancers such as breast cancer and cervical cancer, but there is still a long way to go where all cancers are concerned.
Men (most men) are ridiculous when it comes to going to the doctor when it comes to genuine medical concerns. They’re all ready to claim near death when it comes to a bout of man flu, but in general they tend to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to genuine concerns.
We’ve all heard of Movember where men grow all kinds of moustaches in support of Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer and Mental Health in men.
The Check Campaign
Heck Sausages have changed their name to Check for the duration of November to support men who are affected with Testicular Cancer encouraging them to Check for lumps in their testicles, and for women to Check their partners too.
The Heck family have a personal story for their support, and want to break the silence of the men of this earth.
Jamie Keeble says, “I found a small lump, immediately went to my GP and received my diagnosis. Even though a lot of stigma surrounds going to the doctor for such an intimate area, it is key to be proactive if you find a lump.
“Our research shows that too many men would ignore it if they found something and that many are unsure how to correctly check themselves.”
“Too many men are dying young from ignorance and lack of quick action. This disease needs to be openly discussed so that more guys will check themselves and feel they can talk to someone if something doesn’t feel right.
“60% don’t even know what a cancerous lump would feel like. In this day and age this has to stop! People need to be educated so that we can start making a difference.”
Check Sausages are available to buy in ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose at £2.99 for a pack of six.
Did you know more than three quarters (76%) of women admitted they wouldn’t know what a cancerous lump would feel like on their partner’s testicles. Whereas almost half of men (46.6%) said they would know what a lump on their partner’s breast would feel like!
Hecks research revealed 82% of blokes are unwilling to talk to their doctor about any issues with their genitals.It seems that our men are too embarrassed to discuss their testicles with their GP, alarming new research has revealed.
A survey of 2,000 people has discovered the true extent of the taboo subject, with 82% of blokes unwilling to talk to their doctor about any issues with their genitals.The worrying results were commissioned by HECK – a Yorkshire-based sausage brand which is working alongside the world-leading men’s health charity The Movember Foundation.
Commenting on the poll findings, a spokesperson for The Movember Foundation said:
“Unfortunately this latest polling from HECK is accurate. Too many men are not checking themselves, not knowing what to look for and being too embarrassed to discuss the subject. Tackling these taboos head on, getting more men educated on the health risks they face, taking action when needed and talking when things get tough, is exactly why The Movember Foundation exists.”
The survey also showed that almost one in 10 (9.8%) of men between the ages of 18 and 24 would do nothing if they felt a lump on their testicle.
Testicular cancer is often described as a small pea-like lump on one testicle, but many men are unaware of this. Two thirds of men had no idea this was a sign of the deadly cancer.
One in five blokes (18.4%) of men incorrectly assumed that a cancerous lump feels ‘like a flat coin’.
The research also found that three-quarters of women (76%) would have no idea what a cancerous lump would feel like on their partner’s testicles.
In contrast, slightly less than half of men (46.6%) said they’d know when to be concerned about a lump on their partner’s breast.
The research was carried out by the brands founder, Jamie Keeble, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer two years ago. He said, “If men don’t know what testicular cancer might feel like, how can they possibly check themselves? Testicular cancer is on the rise and men can reduce their chances of dying simply by knowing what to feel for.”
Other results from the research include:
• The three UK cities where men are most likely to know what a cancerous lump feels like are: Warrington at 71%, Portsmouth at 61% and Sunderland at 57%
• More than one-quarter of men (26.7%) in Scotland say they’d wait a few days before doing anything if they discovered a lump on their testicle, compared to just 12% of men in the South-West
• Almost one in 10 (9.8%) of 18-24-year-old men say they’d do nothing if they felt a lump on a testicle; by contrast just 3% of women would do nothing if they felt a lump on a breast.
The facts speak for themselves really.
Come on Fella’s GET CHECKED! Better safe than sorry.
HECK is a family run business making farmers market quality sausages for Britain’s supermarkets. They have since increased their range to include burgers, meatballs, gluten-free and vegetarian sausages. All their products are made using ethical meat and ingredient choices to achieve award winning quality at affordable every day prices.
We were asked by HECK to produce a Meat and Two Veg Recipe in support of the Check Campaign.
Sausage, Bacon & Bean One Pot
2 Packs of Check Sausages (12 sausages)
1 Packet smoked Bacon
1 sliced red pepper
400g tin Butter Beans
200g tinned tomatoes (half a tin)
700g Jar passata
400g ton of beans
2 Teaspoons English Mustard
2 Teaspoons Barvarian Sweet mustard (can use wholegrain mustard)
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
A couple of sprigs of rosemary
A handful of parsley
A squirt of barbeque sauce
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
Roughly chop the bacon and fry in a little bit of oil and set to one side.
Brown off the sausages and add in the rosemary.
Put in the beans and add the bacon back in.
Add all the remaining ingredients and leave on the hob on a low heat for 30 – 40 minutes.
Towards the end add in the fresh parsley.
We had ours with buttery mashed potatoes and broccoli.
We’re big fans of one pot meals, and both of our kids are fans of sausages. We were really impressed by the quality of the sausages with very little fat coming out during cooking. They stayed in tact as well which not all sausages do when added into a saucy one pot. The meal went down very well with all of us enjoying it, and as an added bonus there are plenty of leftovers to make another meal.
Our family has recently been hit by the reality of male cancer so we were more than happy to help promote the CHECK Campaign. We were sent two packets of sausages for the purpose of this post but all thoughts and opinions are our own.
Simple Cookie Dough Recipe. We love to bake and aside from cupcakes, cookies are the easiest thing to make and keep the children entertained as they can help to make them and then decorating them afterwards is really fun and a great chance for mum to grab a cuppa.
Here’s the recipe that we use which can be frozen if you don’t use it all for another day.
10oz/300g plain flour
5oz/150g caster sugar
8oz/250g butter, diced and at room temp
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (if wanting chocolate biccies)
Put the sugar and butter in a bowl. We tend to put our butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds to make it easier for Isabelle to mix with the sugar.
Separate the egg yolk and add to the bowl with the vanilla essence, mixing until smooth.
Adding the flour, cocoa powder (if making choccie biscuits) and pinch of salt, mix everything together. May require little hands to get stuck in.
Once the mixture is formed into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for about half an hour.
Sprinkle flour on an even surface and roll out so that it’s about 1/2cm in thickness and cut using whatever cutters or shapes you have.
Put them onto a non-stick baking tray and bake at gas mark 4/180 degrees for approximately 12 minutes.
Once cooled these can be decorated with icing, sprinkles, chocolate buttons or whatever cake toppings you may have.
As you can see, ours received a thorough makeover with lots of edible glitter to make them extra special.