Friday, 15 January 2016

Leftovers recipe: Chicken, bacon & broccoli cheesy pasta crisp

This is a great go-to recipe for a cheap, healthy & quick fix you know all the family will munch right up!

I've made one using chicken, bacon, broccoli and sweetcorn but you can literally substitute these with any cooked leftovers you have lying around the fridge or cupboard - tuna, peas, ham, Sunday veg leftovers..... Anything you want to bung in. 

As long as you stick to the basics with the sauce and cooking you'll be on to a winner.  

This recipe makes enough for a hungry family of 6. 




Ingredients
400g penne or macaroni
1 small broccoli, cut into small florets. 
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
1 tsp mustard (I use wholegrain but French is fine too)
300g pot of creme fraiche 
100g grated mature cheddar
Small handful of chopped parsley leaves 
100g cooked chicken pieces
1 tin of sweetcorn
2 or 3 rashers of bacon, chopped and cooked. 
1 packed of plain crisps 

Method
1. Boil the pasta and broccoli in water for 10 minutes and drain. 

  1. 2. In a pan dissolve the stock cube in 400ml of water then whisk in the mustard and crème fraiche and season to taste. 
    Bring to the boil and stir in half of the cheese and parsley before adding the pasta, broccoli, sweetcorn, bacon and chicken. 

    3. Preheat the grill and transfer the pasta in sauce into an oven proof dish.
    Top with the remaining cheese and scatter over the crushed crisps. 

    4. Put under the grill for 3-5 minutes, until the chicken is warmed through and the top starts to brown.

    Serve with garlic bread or side salad. 










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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Baby milestone: LB turns ONE!!!


I know everyone says this, but seriously, 
how fast does that first year fly by?

You think I'd be used to it by now, LB being my third & all.

And I tried my hardest to cherish every single moment.

When people were telling me to put him in his moses basket whilst he was sleeping, because of course I'd make a rod for my own back, I was busy ignoring them and cuddling little newborn LB every minute of every day.

And for all those who stuck their noses in, despite my constant 'handling' of my own child, he has slept through from 6pm to 6/7am pretty much since a few weeks old. So there!

But no matter how much I tried to hold on to these moments forever, it still just flew by within the blink of an eye.

He barely stayed a newborn. 

He has been wanted to be Mr independent since the day he was born.

He was walking at 8 months old & practically running and climbing by 9 months.

And now he is a confident, cheeky, beautiful little one year old.

The cake

I always try to make the children's birthday cakes. There have been times, like when pregnant, that I have been forced to buy cakes but on the whole I like to make them myself. 
I'm not the best baker in the world but at least I can say I did it for them.

I needed an excuse to make a cake to use my new stand mixer Christmas present too!

LB has a bit of a woodland bedroom theme going on in his bedroom so I decided to go with this theme for his first cake.


Inside is chocolate sponge covered in chocolate frosting with honeycomb matchmakers around the edge as twigs and crushed flakes for mud on top. The toadstools were bought from eBay but I made the leaves and owl from sugar paste. I then piped on green buttercream with a grass/hair nozzle for the grass areas.

I love it. I'm so pleased with how it turned out (often I have these ideas in my head and they never look quite the same in the flesh!). It was so very easy but very effective.

And most importantly, LB loved it too!


The party
Being only one, a party is a bit pointless but I always like to make a fuss of any birthday and get the whole family over!

I purchased a buffet server for Christmas, and I was so very desperate to use again to prove it's moneys worth so we decided to keep things fairly simple and do hot dogs for party food.


Who doesn't love a good hot dog huh?

And we jazzed it up a little by doing a gourmet hot dog menu and provided little pots of topping on a cool hot dog stand (from waitrose)


I decided to go down a cinema style route and also did a nacho bar with nacho's and toppings, cinema style popcorn and a hot chocolate bar with hot chocolate in a slow cooker, squirty cream, flakes and marshmallows.


The server has 3 separate dishes so we did bratwurst & frankfurters in one, warm cheese sauce in the other and onions and veggie sausages in the last.

It all went down really well. 

It looked impressive but was very very easy and stress free.

We played pass the parcel and musical statues & bumps.

LB had a lovely day.

The presents


Choosing presents for a one year old is already hard.

Choosing presents for a one year old who has just had a ton of toys for Christmas is even harder.

Choosing presents for a one year old who has 2 older siblings who've passed down all of their toys is virtually impossible!

I settled on getting him a smart trike. The other two had one and loved it, but theirs was a cheap version and we no longer had it. I splashed out a little extra to have one that featured a full hood and large bag on the back.

We were a little inpatient and ended up giving it him 2 days early as we were going to the park with the other two on their scooters so thought we'd give it a whirl. 


It's a good job he doesn't have a clue what's going on.

For smaller presents we ended up getting him every single twirlywoo's thing possible.

He loves the twirlywoo's and had the boat for Christmas which has proved to be a firm favourite so BB & LL were desperate to give him more for his birthday.

The day
His party was on Saturday but his actual birthday was yesterday (Tuesday).

P took the day off work so we could make the most of some time just with LB whilst the other two were at school.

He LOVES animals so we headed on down to Ash End Farm for the day.

But not before we started the day with a giant crumpet for brekkie!


It was cold, but he was wrapped up warm.

We went on a tractor ride, fed the ducks, goats & sheep, held a chick, picked our own chicken egg from the hatchery, sat on a pony and stroked bunnies and guinea pigs.

LB is a real farm boy and he was totally in his element.




HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY LITTLE MAN xxx











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Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Hello January!



Christmas has been and gone.

Can you believe it?

All of that excited build up, stress and panic shopping then poof! over and done with.

Actually it was more of a fizzle than a poof.

It felt never ending with visiting all of the families and doing Christmas day all over again with each.

And as if that's not enough, I only went and had my first baby right in the middle of the chaos on 28th December so we had LL's sixth birthday to celebrate too.

We worked out, as LL and BB went to their Dad's and saw his family too, they had continuous round of presents for 6 days straight!
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