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Educational Play with Schleich I'm a big fan of learning through play. Unforced educational play. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to be. I want my children to naturally learn whilst they are having fun. When I was contacted recently...

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Say Eh-Oh to the new Teletubbies toys! There back!! Teletubbies made a joyous return to CBeebies last year, and this year marks the launch of the new range of toys. As you know I was sent a box just before Christmas, and today I can finally...

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Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough Last weekend Nana and I took a rather lengthy journey north for a night away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Scarborough, with Little Dude in tow. The Ox Pasture Hall Hotel is a luxurious country hotel...

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A Place To Enjoy My Garden I love my garden. I love the fact that I have a garden, especially with the recent gorgeous weather we've been having. Whilst I have a pretty compact garden, there's a lot going on out there. Plants, fruit...

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Cuddles With Ben Cohen Some days I have a really difficult job. Days like this for example. *Ahem* That rather nice young man is former rugby player Ben Cohen. Ben is a bit of an expert when it comes to cuddles. He has...

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Foodie: Soreen

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 24-04-2014

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I must confess I’m not much of a fan of malt loaf, so when I was contacted by Soreen asking if I’d like to try out a box of their goodies I was a little apprehensive. They assured me that there’d be a range of flavours – not just plain malt loaf – and also a book of recipes to try with things to make using Soreen. I was looking for healthy snacks for during my pregnancy and I was intrigued as to what else I could do with a Soreen loaf other than butter a slice so I said yes and waited for my big yellow box to arrive.

I was hugely surprised by the massive range of Soreen products available. My goodie box was bursting at the seams with a variety of flavoured loaves, snack packs and lunchbox loaves. There was a delicious Toastie Loaf which is great as a mid morning snack and toasts perfectly straight from the freezer. The Apple and Sultana Loaf is also really tasty, and unsurprisingly the Chocolate Loaf proved very popular. The Banana Lunchbox Loaves have become so popular in our house in fact that they are now a staple part of our weekly food shop with both Little Man and Daddy popping them into their lunches when they go to preschool and work. The only one that we didn’t really enjoy was the Pre-buttered Snack Pack, but I think that was down to the pre-buttering and not the loaf itself.

Soreen Malt Loaf Sussex Mummy

There was also an Original Malt Loaf in the box and none of us were particularly keen to eat that plain. The included recipe book however saved us from having too. Ever thought about using malt loaf to make Chocolate Flapjack? Nope, neither had I but we tested out this recipe – which was super easy to make – and it was really tasty. I also suspect I’ll be buying more full sized Banana Loaves so we can try out both the Strawberry & Banana Trifle and the Chocolate Brownies recipes. If you head over to the Soreen website you’ll find lots of delicious recipes for things to make using your Soreen loaves, as well as the chance to submit your own recipes and ideas.

So am I a malt loaf convert? Well not in the sense that I’ll sit munching my way through a plain loaf, but yes, I am pleasantly surprised with the range and versatility of Soreen products. We will continue buying the lunchbox loaves without a doubt and I’m pretty sure I’ll be testing out a few more recipes soon. Trifle anyone?

Review: Actimel Smoothies

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 16-10-2013

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I’ve always liked the idea of Actimel. Little pots of drink which contain all this good stuff to keep your digestive system in order. Like most people I tend to only drink the one flavour when I do buy them – Strawberry – but when I finish the bottle I often think “Is that it?”. I always wished they were a bit bigger. It was a bit like having one mouthful of a really delicious milkshake and then not getting to have anymore. It never dawned on me that you could actually do other stuff with them.
Actimel launched a brand new flavour – Blackcurrant – recently and a while ago they sent me some to test out, as well as some recipe cards for smoothies, and a rather nice smoothie maker to make my creations in. The Actimel alone was pretty tasty – still think I’m a Strawberry girl at heart though – but I was keen to try a smoothie. Using one of the recipe cards I made a Blackcurrant, Banana and Apple Smoothie. Simple enough – a pot of Blackcurrant Actimel, 120g Blackcurrants, 1 ripe banana and 1 cored and chopped apple. This was all popped into the smoothie maker and whizzed up till it was all nicely combined. This recipe makes one delicious serving – a perfect breakfast accompaniment or morning snack. It was quite zingy – as you’d expect with fresh blackcurrants – but it was REALLY nice and a brilliant way of using Actimel instead of just that usual single mouthful.

I am really impressed with the idea of making smoothies from my Actimel. I think it will certainly encourage me to buy them more in the future and whizz them up with fruits of my choice. You don’t really need recipes to make smoothies, you can just throw in whatever you fancy. I can see me trying a lot of the other Actimel flavours too – who knew there were so many of them – and making tasty smoothies for all the family.

If you head on over to the Actimel website you’ll even find a small number of recipes for other things to do with your Actimel, from cheesecakes and salad dressings, to soups and even curry. A more versatile little pot than I gave it credit for it seems.

Pancake Day Recipes

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Foodie, Product Reviews | Posted on 05-02-2013

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With a week to go until Pancake Day you may well have started thinking about what sort of pancakes you’re going to make. I know a lot of people I follow on Twitter use Pancake Day as an excuse to eat pancakes at every meal – and good on you if you do – but in our house we usually tend to just have them as dessert in the evening, though I may be open to persuasion.

Fresh ingredients are key to a good pancake – I don’t just fancy the bottles of ready mixed batter personally! – but you also need a good frying pan and a good turner. When I cook pancakes I use a good flexible silicone turner, generally as thin as I can to ensure I don’t leave half the pancake in the pan. I’ve never been brave enough to try tossing them – I fear for the floor! I like the look of this one from from Oxo – nice thin edges with a big surface area.

Your frying pan should ideally be non-stick to avoid any disasters. This Pancake Pan from Typhoon is perfect. Its 28 cm diameter gives you plenty of space to create nice big pancakes, and because its made from carbon steel the heat spreads evenly so it cooks quickly. It can be used on all cooker tops and can even be put in the oven if you use it for frying anything else. The pan and handle are one piece of metal so you need to use a handle holder or wear oven gloves when you’re handling it. The oven gloves which are actually gloves are ideal for this as they give you good grips and excellent control.

So you’ve got your kit and you’ve made a stack of pancakes – how are going to fill them? Well these are my two favourite recipes from Philadelphia – one savoury and one sweet – which you should try out on Pancake Day next week. Enjoy!

Vegetable Pancakes

Ingredients
350g mixed vegetables like baby corn, baby carrots and mange toute.
150g Philadelphia Light with Chives
3tbsp semi-skimmed milk
Black pepper
Mixed Salad to serve

 

 

Instructions

Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and steam or microwave for about 5-8 minutes until tender.

Heat the Philadelphia with the milk – don’t let it boil – and then mix with the vegetables and pepper.

Fill each pancake with the mixture and serve with a salad.

Alternative: Add pieces of cooked chicken from your Sunday roast to the Philadelphia when you’re warming it.

 

Choccy Philly Strawberry Pancakes

How delicious does that look?
Simply spread Philadelphia with Cadbury onto each warm pancake and decorate with slices of fresh strawberries. If you’re feeling really decadent – and I hugely suggest you do – you could also add a dribble of cream to this too. I think this recipe is going to prove VERY popular in my house next week, especially with Little Man who loves chocolate and strawberries.

 

 

 

Have a great Pancake Day!

Health: Good Food & Drinks For Christmas & New Year

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Christmas, Foodie | Posted on 18-12-2012

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Overindulging is one of the best parts of Christmas – I certainly do it, and I’m sure everyone reading this will be guilty of it this year too. As the New Year dawns we’ll all start thinking about resolutions and no doubt healthy eating and a new fitness regime will be part of that for some of us. I’m pretty sure we all start each new year with the best of intentions, but no doubt by the end of the first week all hope is lost!

Here are a few recipes for drinks, meals and snacks which might just help you have a healthy Christmas and New Year. By using Philadelphia Light, Total Greek Yogurt or making “Mocktails” with Welchs Purple Grape Juice, you can eat well, and eat healthier.

Turkey & Cranberry Bites
This is a great way to use up Christmas Day leftovers and create some tasty nibbles for Boxing Day and beyond. Take a 375g pack of ready rolled puff pastry and cut it into 24 little squares. Top each square with a dollop of Philadelphia Light, some Cranberry Sauce and a few pieces of cooked turkey. Cook for 10-15 minutes at 220degrees/Gas 7 until the pastry is golden. Allow to cool a little before serving.

Mini Cheesecake Bites
These are also a great party food, or you could make a large one anytime. Take a packet of mini chocolate chip cookies, shortbread rounds, or oat biscuits and top generously with spoonfuls of Chocolate Philadelphia. Top with fresh fruit of your choice, such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.

Creamy Lincolnshire Sausage Hot Pot
For a great family friendly meal try this delicious hot pot.

Prep time: 45mins
Cooking time: 1hr
Serves: 4

454g Lincolnshire pork sausage (8 sausages)
2 Eating apples (preferably red to add colour to the dish)
1 Leek
2 Large carrots
1 Medium onion
1 Clove of garlic (crushed)
½ pint Chicken stock
300g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt Classic
4 Medium potatoes
50g Butter
Olive oil for cooking

Method:
Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/400F or 200C.
Peel and par boil the potatoes in a saucepan of salted water, drain and allow to cool.
Cut each apple into four wedges and remove the core. Gently sauté in a frying pan with a little olive oil for around 3-4 minutes then remove from the pan and place to one side.
Roughly cut the carrot, leek and the onion into 1 inch pieces.
Gently sweat with the garlic for approximately 5 minutes until they start to soften, then add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
When stock has boiled, remove from the heat and add the yoghurt.
In a frying pan, quickly fry off the sausages in a little olive oil whilst cooking the par boiled potatoes into ¼ inch thick slices.
Place the sausages and apples into a large casserole dish. Then pour over the carrot, onion, leek and yoghurt mixture.
Next, lay the sliced half cooked potatoes over the top in an even layer. Generously brush with melted butter and bake in the middle of oven for approx 1 hr until crisp and golden on the top.

This is delicious, and a great recipe for hiding vegetables from little ones too!

Black Forest Gateau In A Glass
This is a lovely healthy twist on the classic dessert, and served in individual glasses looks great too.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
500g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt (0%, 2% or Authentic)
1 tin Pitted black cherries
½ pkt Luxury chocolate cookies
100g Nutella
1 Cadbury’s flake

Method:
Drain the cherries, but keep the juice.
Crush the cookies and chop the flake into small pieces

To Serve:
Take four sundae glasses – or any quirky glassware you have – and layer the ingredients. Start with the cookies and drizzle with the juice from the cherries. Next add a layer of cherries, a layer of chocolate spread and a layer of yoghurt.  Keep adding the layers until glass is nearly full. Finish with a sprinkling of crumbled flake!

These look amazing, and taste delicious!

Mock Mulled Wine
Try this festive juice this year instead of the traditional alcoholic version. Put 300ml of Welchs Purple Grape juice, 2 cloves, 1cm stick of cinnamon, 1 star anise and a 2inch piece of orange peel into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a hot drinks glass – removing and pieces first of course – and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Tasty and much better for you.

 

Book Review: “Saved By Cake” by Marian Keyes

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Book Review | Posted on 17-07-2012

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Depression is a very real condition, though it remains somewhat of a taboo subject even in 2012. Beating it is of the utmost importance, but some days its just about making it through. Irish Author Marian Keyes is most famous for her witty and poignant fictional books, most of which are set in her native Ireland – which is one of the reasons I love them so much. What Marian is perhaps less well known for is her battles with depression and addictions, and the somewhat unorthodox method she found for battling her demons. Marian Keyes was “Saved By Cake”.

Yes, every girls favourite author has decided to turn her hand to baking, and with spectacular results. And don’t worry – there is still bucket loads of her infamous humour thrown in for good measure.

“Saved By Cake” is packed with over 80 recipes to help “bake yourself happy”. Now my love of baking and cookbooks is probably well known by now after my recent reviews of “Biscuit” and “A Passion For Baking”. What I particularly loved about this book though is Marian’s overriding message that its only baking. Its nothing to get stressed about, and if your batch of “B-List Chocolate Chip Cupcakes” are not identical and topped with professional looking icing its okay. Life is too short to worry about perfect baking – its meant to be fun after all! And if you only have 397ml of condensed milk and the recipe asks for 400ml DON’T PANIC!! The missing 3ml won’t make the slightest bit of difference.

There are a few things she is adamant about however. Full fat coke must be used in “Rita Anne’s Birthday Cola Cake”, edible blue glitter is an essential part of any good “Blueberry Mess” and plain vanilla biscuits should generally be cut into handbag or shoe shapes!

“Saved By Cake” combines a very honest insight into Marian’s battle with depression and the journey she went on with baking, with some great fun recipes which will soon become family favourites. This book is not just for those of you who may be suffering with depression yourselves, but I’d like to think it would put a smile on the face on anyone who is.

“Saved By Cake” is available now from all good book shops.