The crunchiest Snack Ever – Love Corn review

We received this awesome PR package from Love Corn, inviting us to try out their range of corn kernel snacks. Arlo was delighted to open the box which was full of all sorts of fun little treats but was most excited about trying out the different flavours. He is a little snack monster (no idea where he gets that from). I have always been passionate about making sure he has a balanced and healthy diet but it’s getting harder now to find treats for him which aren’t full of rubbish.

“Our ingredients are as simple as they get, just corn that’s been roasted then seasoned – no need to overcomplicate something so crunchin’ good!” – Love Corn

These little packs of corn kernels make the ideal treat to pop in to our back pack for days out and will be awesome when he starts school. A great alternative to crisps, especially with the range of flavours available. They also offer different sized pouches including a sharer size for movie night snacks. I have to admit that my favourite flavour is the Habanero Chilli – they really pack a punch.

Arlo liked the smoked BBQ flavour the most, and the first time we had a little garden soirée I found myself sharing these snacks with guests, just like you would usually offer pretzels or nuts and they went down a storm. I’ve been munching on these ever since they first arrived and I’ve even been using them as a salad topper to provide extra texture and flavour.

You can get your hands of a FREE sample pack by just paying for postage (£1.99) over at the Love Corn website and 20% off the entire website using the code CRUNCH20! Keep an eye out on our socials for a cheeky little competition too!

Whatever the question, chocolate is the answer

You might know that I’m a little bit of a chocoholic – and that’s because it runs in the bloodstream. My mum (in the pic above) is a chocolatier and so we get lots of chocolatey treats all year round, and especially at Easter. There’s just something about Easter Egg chocolate that fills me with delight. As soon as mini eggs appear in the shops (which is pretty much Boxing Day) I have to buy a pack and munch the whole lot. Then I have a spare pack for baking – and my mini egg cheesecake is unrivalled.

There’s just something about that crispy shell of a mini egg, or maybe it’s because they’re not always available and it’s a clever marketing ploy.

I’m not fussy about chocolate

I don’t often eat white chocolate on its own as I find it incredibly sweet and it has a very creamy texture to me but I do like to include it in recipes, if anything adding it to my recipes helps my cheesecake hold its texture. I also love colouring it and using it to make cake decorations and contrasting it with milk or dark chocolate to give a different appearance.

I think there’s a time and a place for all chocolate – no matter what the question, chocolate is always the answer! I’ve always loved that scene in the movie Chocolat where the shop owner played by Juliette Binoche spins a Mayan wheel – and chooses the perfect chocolate for each client based on the visions that they see.

Well you know me, I have a creative and somewhat restless mind which changes with the wind. I can’t even decide wether I prefer white, dark or milk chocolate. I think I’d see a new picture every time I was asked to look at the wheel. I must say that every time I’ve been away on holiday I’ve found myself craving dairy milk because chocolate abroad just doesn’t taste the same, and it’s usually the first thing I buy for myself on the route home from the air port.

I don’t know the exact science but there’s something about the sugar/milk/chocolate ratio which is unique to British chocolate and it makes it different. I forget all about the educational aspects of visiting Cadbury World as soon as I discover the samples – they give you a pot of liquid chocolate to dive in to.

Now I can happily indulge with a large bar all to myself whilst watching a movie, but I couldn’t finish a small pot of it melted down, although Arlo didn’t have any trouble. Maybe it’s the comfort of having something familiar which I’ve grown up with which makes milk chocolate the type of bar I most commonly reach for – Can nostalgia make chocolate more comforting I wonder?

I’ll never forget visiting Paris for the first time and experiencing the chocolatiers in the bustling capital city. Did you know there are more chocolate shops in Paris than any other city in the world? I found myself taking my time choosing one of two rich treats from the huge variety available in every shop I passed by. I felt really grown up at the time and I chose darker pieces just because it seemed like that was the done thing, even though when I was younger I wasn’t much of a fan. I think this is when I discovered that I was in fact a dark chocolate lover. I have to say when I’m choosing from a selection of chocolate I am often drawn to the darker pieces now.

They seem to have a shine which is just unrivalled. I couldn’t demolish a whole bar of dark chocolate, just a small piece or two is rich enough for me. Whenever I have a new box of chocolates I reach for the leaflet and have to read the details for every single chocolate in the box before making my mind up, whereas everyone else in the family seems to pick one at random and try their luck – one thing I can’t stand in chocolate is anything coffee flavoured or fruit flavoured. I’d be gutted if I bit into a strawberry cream – I can give or take coconut and cherry but that’s the extent of it. I like to know what I’m about to dive in to.

I think darker chocolate has a greater depth of flavour and when I’m baking I usually use dark chocolate in cake mixes. Our (not so secret) family recipe for chocolate cakes actually involves melting some dark chocolate with water and adding this in to the mix. I also love using dark chocolate to make a ganache.

You don’t get the same texture when you try to do this with milk or white chocolate – in fact adding water is a big No-no. Again I don’t know why but there’s a lot of science behind what goes in to forming the textures of chocolate – Baking Quality Analyser creates machinery which looks at chocolate at a cellular level to affirm qualities in aerated chocolate.

There’s got to be a definitive ranking for the most popular chocolate bars out there, but I’m not brand loyal at all. There’s just so much variety out there it’s impossible to stick to one single option. There’s something so wonderful these days about all of the different toppings and fillings people are experimenting with. I’m a fan of honeycomb and of butterscotch pieces and caramel, and I even think there’s a difference in taste between a Flake and a Wispa even though they’re technically both made from Cadbury’s they just feel different to eat – and that’s without mentioning a twirl.

I don’t know how they do it, or what would make my perfect chocolate bar – in fact I think I’d like to see a bar which was like a little selection box all fused together so that I could snap off each piece, bit by bit as the mood suited. I wonder if that kind of bar has ever existed? One things for sure I’d keep it in the fridge as I like my bars to be cold and to snap – that a whole other debate for discussion.

Michelin meals at home

I like to think of myself as a dab hand in the kitchen but I’m under no illusions that my meals are no where near “gourmet” standard. I’m really missing dining out and celebrating special occasions with beautiful meals. I’m no stranger to meal kits now and have been using the time in lockdown to broaden my horizons and what better way to complete a year of lockdown with fine dining at home?
I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to try out Haworth@home – from the renowned chef Nigel Haworth winner and judge from the Great British menu.
“Each week a new five course menu for two of draws on Nigel’s 20 years holding a Michelin Star and his passion for the finest, ethically produced ingredients, packaged and delivered nationwide for you to finish and plate at home
The box arrived packed full of fresh ingredients, insulated and chilled for delivery and complete with a handwritten note and an instruction booklet. At first glance I have to admit I was overwhelmed with the descriptions of the meals. How on earth would I be able to create a citrus sauce? Then I realised that all of the hard work had been done. The meat, fish, vegetables had been prepared already using a “sous vide” cooking method.
So all I had to do was follow the instructions.
Each week a new menu is created and you can register to be alerted as to when order slots are open – only a limited number are available on a first come first served basis and these are delivered on a Friday by courier. I have to say that the packaging for these is second to none in terms of quality and everything was very clearly labelled – I popped everything in to the fridge ready for when I was ready to start cooking.
The bread and hummus eased me in gently. All I had to do was pop the bread in the oven for six minutes before we could dive in. The bread was fluffy with the butter melting in to the air pockets. I spread copious amounts of the lightest hummus ever on top of my torn off chunks and was delighted with the slight hint of heat lingering. The best thing about preparing all of this at home was that I could space out the preparation and so I didn’t mind that full up bread feeling, and waited a little while before preparing the fish dish.
The Dorset Char was roasted in the oven with the fennel it’s balanced on and served with wild garlic Mayo, I couldn’t resist taste testing this first of all and it was incredible. The flavours of each individual component really shine in this dish and the quality of the ingredients is second to none. I began delicately trying each part separately. Putting it all together for a “fork-full” however is a bit of a taste sensation, the citrus sauce was a delight.
Then it came to preparing the main course, I followed the instructions to the letter, carefully basting the beef as it sizzled in the pan. I have to say I usually shy away from cooking beef at home like this as I’m no expert but after preparing and tasting the Char I found my new found culinary confidence, and I was delighted to slice the meat apart and reveal a perfectly cooked pink interior. The attention to detail with the preparation of the carrots didn’t go unnoticed. There’s absolutely no shortcuts taken here. It really is gourmet quality food.
Arranging everything on the plate is an art form in itself and so I was pleased to have the instructions available to give me step by step guidance. I only wish I knew how to replicate the bordelaise sauce. I’ve never tasted anything so beautifully rich in all my life. At this stage we were feeling quite full and so we paused and decided to come back to our dessert. That’s the best thing about preparing these meals at home, in a relaxed environment you can take your time.
The caramel sauce nearly didn’t make it on to the plate – I had to take a little sample again as later on I began preparing the final course and oh my gosh I just wasn’t expecting it to be so good. Carefully balancing all of the components together again following the guide and creating this beautiful dish was quite literally the icing on the cake. The coffee flavour in the sponge and the texture of the aero chocolate and the juices flowing from the pear were a delight.
I really enjoyed the entire process, from opening the parcel as it arrived to plating the food – never mind devouring it all. This is the ideal meal kit to order for a special occasion or as a gift for another couple. I almost forgot that the box also included artisan chocolates, as I had put these to one side. I opened the little box to find four chocolates with the most beautiful shine on them. I popped one in to my mouth, crunched down and let the caramel ooze out.
Perfect.
The meal kit was kindly gifted for the purposes of the review however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Indulgent no bake mini egg cheese cake

This weekend marked the Spring Equinox and so we decided to start with the Easter bakes. This indulgent mini egg cheesecake is a fun one for little ones to make because it involves lots of bashing with a rolling pin.

You will need:

For the base

  • Digestive biscuits – 300g
  • Ground almonds – 50g
  • Honey 2tbsp
  • Crushed hazelnuts 50g
  • Mini eggs – a handful
  • Butter 200g

For the filling

  • Nutella 3tbsp
  • Double cream 300ml
  • Icing sugar 120g
  • Full fat cream cheese 700g (two packs)
  • Vanilla essence 5 drops
  • White chocolate – 70g

For the topping

  • Sprinkles
  • Mini eggs
  • Chocolate shavings

When it comes to quantities it’s almost impossible to be accurate with a toddler – I try my best to stick to easy proportions so to begin we smashed up an entire pack of digestives give or take two and a pack of mini eggs too.

This amount was enough to fill the base of a large spring form tin and three ramekins – so in total 15 portions. You might want to scale this back if you’re not feeding the five thousand this Easter but for us “more is more.”

Add the mini eggs, biscuits, nuts and honey and mix well to distribute. Melt the butter in short bursts in the microwave and then mix this in – it quickly creates a nice ball which is cookie dough like in consistency. I cut a grease proofpaper circle in to size and add this to the base of my spring form tin before piling the mixture in and patting it down with a spoon.

We had lots left so used the extra in ramekins to make some individual portions. Then we popped this in the fridge whilst me mixed up the filling.

This is done in two stages. Melt the white chocolate in short bursts in the microwave and leave this to cool slightly. I whip the cream up with vanilla and icing sugar using an electric whisk until it forms nice peaks and then I leave that to the side whilst I mix up the cream cheese. It’s best to work with this at room temperature as it mixes in nicely. (If it’s cold then it goes lumpy). Pour the white chocolate in with the cream cheese and then a handful of crushed mini eggs too. I then combine the cream and the cream cheese together by folding them gently and taste testing at this stage. You want it to still form peaks and this is how you know it will set nicely.

For added indulgence we spread Nutella over our biscuit base before topping up with the filling. This is Arlo’s second favourite thing to do, and then it’s simply a case of leaving this all in the fridge to set overnight before decorating. This is where the little ramekins come in handy….. no one likes to wait for a taste and so if you’re impatient like us, you can dig in to these straight away.

We decorated our cheesecakes with more mini eggs, chocolate shavings and then some extra sprinkles for good measure. The result was a super rich and indulgent cake which has us all excited to dig in. I leave the spring form collar around until just before serving.

Here’s a slice profile for you too. I can’t even explain how delicious this is. Now that spring has arrived we are going to use the base of this recipe and adapt it with some different flavours – I’m thinking lemon and raspberry next!

Making a meal of it – the roast beef version

I previously wrote about how I like to make the most out of a roast chicken by stretching out the leftovers to make additional meals and I had so many questions and requests to showcase what I would do with other meats.

This week we had a Sunday roast with beef and so I had a little think about things and decided to plan ahead for this one. First things first, we don’t eat beef too often, I like to wait for a decent price joint with not too much fat and every so often a fabulous offer comes along – this joint was £6/kilogram and I picked up a decent size for £7.

I prepared our roast by searing the meat on all sides and then roasting it – my top tip here is to prepare your roast with the beef cooked more on the rare side. This means that when you use the meat for leftovers it’s not going to end up getting too tough. Obviously this is down to personal taste too – I tend to cook the beef for twenty minutes per half a kilo and then add an extra twenty minutes.

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I added a selection of veg to the same tray as the beef and prepared some potatoes and stuffing whilst this was cooking away nicely. Once the beef is ready I take it out to rest and and also remove the bulk of the veg out and then add some stock to the oven tray placed over the hob to make my gravy, using all the juices and leaving nothing to waste.

We were well and truly stuffed after this meal, and there was over half a joint left over, so plenty for us to be getting some fab meals from. The first thing I’ve been wanting to do for ages is make some steak bakes in the style of a popular high street bakery. On Sunday I made sure to cut up the beef in to slices and chunks to cool it down before storing it safely in the fridge.

I took out a roll of ready made puff pastry from the fridge and cut out rectangles – piling each with cuts of beef and some bits of leftover veg too. Like I said the beef is very pink but I knew this would be going back in to the oven. Our leftover gravy was also saved and so I added some of those before crimping the sides together and scoring them to make our pastries.

These were popped in to a medium hot over and baked for thirty minutes until golden brown …. I made four of these with the intention of having them as an evening meal with some extra veg but as soon as they were cooked both Arlo and I tucked in so they became our lunch – we were going to have chunky beef sandwiches with red onion and rocket but plans often change when there’s a three year old dictator involved.

I still had a fair amount of beef left and so I decided to split up what we had – I was needing a new evening meal option for the evening and so whilst I decided what to do with that I put all the remaining veg and half of the beef in to the stock pot – I love making soup with leftover chicken but when it comes to beef I prefer more of a stew – and for anyone wondering, the main difference is the amount of water you add in to the mix.

I like to keep my stews chunky and so this is where all the leftovers went – I think 3 carrots and a parsnip, some onions plus lovely big chunks of beef and the last remaining gravy. I topped this up with a small amount of stock and left it to simmer. Tomorrow this will be topped up with dumplings and then I’ll portion it out and freeze what we don’t eat to save for another day.

With my last remaining beef I decided to go for something completely different – with our chicken I often do a pasta or stir fry and so with this I opted for chilli beef broth with noodles- a fairly light option given the steak bakes were so filling but a fabulous way to create a completely different flavour profile using the meat and adding in some veggies to bulk out the meal.

So there we have it – this week I managed to get another 17 portions out of our Sunday roast leftovers.

Sunday dinner – x3 portions

Steak bakes x 4 portions

Beef stew x6 portions

Chilli beef noodles x4 portions

I think I’m going to try this challenge out with pork and lamb over the next few weeks and see how I get along.

Love bug cookies

These love bug cookies are a twist on our super simple sugar cookie recipe which is the basis for all of our fun themed biscuit bases.

You will need:

  • 200g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 300g flour
  • Vanilla essence
  • Red food colouring
  • Choc chips
  • Chocolate
  • Edible eyes
  • Heart cookie cutter

You begin by combining the sugar, flour and butter in a bowl with the red food colouring. At this stage you can add vanilla essence or another flavouring of choice. Then roll out the red dough and sprinkle your chocolate chips on randomly before cutting out heart shaped pieces.

Lay all your hearts out on a baking sheet covered with grease proof paper and bake in the oven for about 12 mins at gas mark 6. This varies from oven to oven. Whilst the cookies are baking melt down some chocolate in a bowl and leave it to one side to cool down slightly and then fetch the cookies from the oven to cool down too.

Once the cookies are cool enough to handle dip the top half in to your melted chocolate before carefully placing them down on fresh grease proof paper. Add your edible eyes to the chocolate whilst still wet. If you have any chocolate left then you can carefully use the back of a spoon to draw a line down the centre.

This mixture makes about twenty heart shaped cookies. We popped a couple each in to bags for nanny and grandad and delivered these with a hand made clay ornament as their surprise valentines gift and the rest have gone down a great here.

Making a meal of it….. how to make the most out of a roast chicken

Sunday roast is a “thing” – it always has been in our household and I just love the comfort of the meal, especially on a cold winter afternoon. With all of the discussions about meal planning and cutting costs of a food shop taking over the headlines recently I thought I’d share the kinds of things I do to really make the most of a humble chicken. Admittedly it’s just Arlo and I with a small chicken so for a larger family it won’t quite go so far without additional ingredients – bear that in mind when planning your meals. I previously worked with Jacks supermarket – getting a weeks worth of essentials for £30 – read all about that here

The main event – A roast dinner

It starts on Sunday with a roast dinner, I cook the chicken simply, seasoned with salt and pepper and then stuffed with a lemon. This isn’t to everyone’s taste but you can swap this for anything which tickles your fancy. Served with roast potatoes and seasonal veg – I try to take advantage of seasonal offers on veg and mix things up every week.

This week we opted for tenderstem broccoli and frozen peas and I chucked in a few carrots and an onion with the potatoes. At this point it’s probably useful to add that my leftover plans work with any kind of meat, these rules don’t just apply to chicken so I’ll add in some alternatives along the way. We are fans of the dark meat, Arlo will have a leg with his roast whilst I prefer the wings so that really helps with options for the breast meat on Mondays.

A healthy lunch for Monday

First things first…. there’s nothing better than a humble wrap or sandwich for a quick lunch idea. This is one of my favourites, I tend to chuck in a bit of salad and some of the breast meat along with dressing. As I was working with Jacks on their budget shop challenge I had bought red peppers from their “fresh five” – the red onion I used was also left over from the roast dinner. I tend to pile all the leftovers on to a plate and pop them in the fridge and nothing goes to waste. You can do the same with roast lamb and beef – adding complimentary dressings to suit your taste for sandwiches and wraps. It’s at this point in time I strip the chicken carcass and separate some of the breast and dark meat away for our Monday evening meal.

Second chance saloon – Leftover chicken pesto pasta

There’s always lots of different options to use up the leftover meat. This week I had fun with all of the ingredients pictured, (red onion, pepper, courgette, tomato and garlic) sautéed it all off in a pan with a little oil and then added this mixture to pasta and pesto.

The Monday meal is the perfect chance to use up whatever you have in the cupboards – so other options we often have include fajitas, curry and even a Moroccan style tagine – If I have a lot of veg from Sunday left over I will pop the whole lot in to a pie dish (including the leftover gravy) and cover it with a sheet of pastry… or mashed potatoes. The more veg you pack in the less meat is required but this isn’t a meal which feels like it’s short of anything.

They think it’s all over – Using a chicken carcass to make a stock.

Don’t Chuck away the scraps!!! – If you aren’t a fan of the dark meat or fatty bits keep them to one side. Once you’ve stripped the carcass of the meat you want to eat in your Monday evening meal there’s still potential and this is literally the easiest thing to do. Set aside the “nice” meat you can eat and bung everything else from the chicken (the entire carcass) in to the bottom of your biggest saucepan with some oil and add fresh garlic and a finely sliced onion. Leeks too if you have them. Fry it all off and add some seasoning. This is the basis of your stock for an awesome soup. This pan might look a bit gross but trust me this sticky residue is where all the flavour is.

This is a job for a Monday afternoon and I like to come back to this for a meal on Tuesday. Once all these bits and bobs are golden brown add in some water – just a small amount to cover the carcass and this gets all the sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. Leave this to simmer for a short time and the last bits of meat simply fall off the carcass. I carefully pick out the bones at this stage – you can strain through a sieve or cloth if you need to. This is now your made from scratch stock and from here you can make any flavour soup you like.l Add in any left over gravy plus your veg of choice and top up the pan with water.

How much water depends on the amount of veg you have. If I’m pinched for time I’ll use a bag of pre prepped casserole mix, if I have any random carrots in the salad drawer of the fridge then this is where I’ll use them – It’s at this stage if you have any shredded chicken meat left you can add it back in to the pan. I bring this lot to the boil over a high heat and then add the lid on and leave it all to simmer down.

You can thicken your broth by adding cornflour and maybe add dumplings so it becomes a stew – this is an essential if I’m doing this with leftover beef. If the meat situation is rather thin then you can add a handful of “soup mix” – which is a combination of pulses such as lentils and barley for added protein to bulk out the meal – check out the instructions on packs as some of these need to be soaked before hand.

I have one more little tip here – if you’re a fan of fresh bread and find you often have half a random baguette which is going a bit hard then makes yourself some giant croutons – slice it all up, drizzle with olive oil and toast it in the oven with garlic and Rosemary whilst you’ve got the soup warming up….. maybe even top with some grated cheese. These make the perfect accompaniment to a home made soup…. which is essentially made from scraps otherwise destined for the bin.

So there we have it – my favourite soup made from leftover chicken – this weeks versions was whizzed up with a stick blender and swirled with cream – we used two portions for dinner, I’ve set aside two portions to freeze and there’s one more left for my lunch tomorrow. So all in all I’ve managed to stretch one roast chicken out for four days worth of meals.

Results – 14 meal portions from one chicken

I love my food so I’m confident enough to say that I didn’t scrimp at all on the portion sizes and I think all of the meals are fairly well balanced and nutritious too 14 portions of food isn’t too bad for a humble chicken.

  • Sunday roast x3 portions
  • Monday lunch wraps x2 portions
  • Monday evening meal – pesto pasta x3 portions
  • Tuesday lunch – pasta salad x2 portions
  • Tuesday evening meal – soup x2 portions
  • Wednesday lunch – soup x2 portions

I quite enjoyed preparing the blog for this challenge, I’d love to work on more challenges like this so let me know if you’d like any tips or advice about family and budget friendly meal planning.

A trolley load of value

(This blog post is sponsored by Jack’s Supermarket)

Introducing a new budget friendly store

Jack’s supermarket is a relatively new kid on the block when it comes to budget supermarkets and I was delighted to be given the opportunity to try out Jack’s for my essential food shop and see just how far I could stretch £30. My local Jack’s is five minutes drive away in Rubery and I didn’t do any special preparation for the challenge other than compile a list of things I needed for my weekly food shop.

I admit before lockdown I didn’t really do much meal planning, and would pop out to the shops every couple of days for whatever tickled my fancy but things have changed. I now like to do a shop which contains enough to keep us going for about a week, I tend to plan our evening meals for a few days ahead and then buy items I need to top up what we already have including baking ingredients and cleaning supplies.

Money saving on fresh foods

Jack’s has a “fresh five” which changes every two weeks and so at the time of my visit I decided to add to the food shop peppers, tomatoes, butternut squash and sweet potatoes – I like to challenge myself and see what I can come up with and so I’m thinking potato wedges, a squash and sweet potato soup and then also a roast veg side dish for an evening meal. Cooking from scratch doesn’t need to be a challenge and often helps save money as you can batch cook and freeze portions.

Here in this picture you can see exactly what I picked up – so much more than I expected to be able to get and I appreciate this might look like a rather random selection but I checked the cupboards briefly before we came out so I wasn’t getting any duplicates. I wanted to get a good cross section of things from the Jack’s branded range to share our experience with you.

Meal planning with a pre-schooler.

I’m not the most organised of planners. I like to try and keep my options fairly open when it comes to evening meals as I never know quite which style of food I’ll want to have, but with fresh foods and a decent stash of herbs and spices in my dry store I have lots of options – we usually begin with a traditional roast dinner.

Sunday Roast

  • Chicken
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Frozen Peas

(I add stuffing and other veg I already have at home to our meal)

This roast chicken was £3.21 and I thought I would challenge myself to see just how far I could stretch it out – check out my blog post here to see exactly how I managed to make it last until Wednesday.

Admittedly, using leftovers does require additional ingredients – this is where things like the fresh five and the great pricing on fresh foods really comes in handy. When I save money like this on my shopping and there’s room in the budget I like to have a wander down to the herbs and spices aisle and add in things I know I will use. This week I picked up rosemary, which I used to season my giant croutons when I made a leftover chicken soup.

I was really impressed with the family meals offer in store. The display included everything you needed side by side so it was one less meal to have to think about. This week’s Jack’s offer was a chilli con carne, which wasn’t at all on my list but is a fave meal of ours so I picked up the leaflet with the recipe, which was mainly dry ingredients. I’ve frozen the mincemeat and I’ll whip this out to defrost at the end of the week which means avoiding a trip to the supermarket for one more day. We’ll probably end up having a jacket potato with chilli the next day for lunch too.

Chilli con Carne

  • Mince meat £2.18
  • Kidney beans 30p
  • Tomatoes 28p
  • Spice packet 40p
  • Onions 89p (huge pack)

(I already had rice in my cupboard so I didn’t pick that up)

My eagle eyes love spotting a deal and there were many easy to spot offers available in store – These bags of veg were two for £1.50. I have learnt through lockdown to keep things like this in my freezer stash which can be added to any meal which is always handy when you’re due to do a food shop – the sliced peppers are extremely handy in a pasta or curry and saves on prep time too – I’ll probably add some to our chilli to make it stretch even further and I’m dreaming about chilli nachos already – that’s another meal option for us. When I cook meals like this I do a big batch and pop a couple of portions in the freezer which can come out whenever we need them.

Breakfast

I picked up a few bits and bobs, including porridge oats (75p) cereal (89p) as well as sausages (£1.21) spaghetti hoops (29p) and a loaf of bread (45p) plus milk (£1.09). We have condiments and spreads at home but I hadn’t checked before I came out, so I had a look down the aisle to check out the variety and pricing – making a mental note to come back next week to top up. We tend to have toast, cereals, yoghurt and fruit most mornings – Apples, oranges and bananas are always in our fruit bowl and I was impressed with being able to get a melon for 80p too.

Household items

This is where everything else comes in, and with trying to limit unnecessary trips and wander around the high street shops to seek out the best deals it’s refreshing to see that everything you need is available – I picked up loo roll (£2.59 for x9) because that’s a lockdown essential and then also popped washing up liquid (33p) and cat biscuits (90p) in to the trolley – I have to say our three cats are usually fussy creatures but they seemed happy with their Jack’s branded food.

We’ve had a busy week so far and there haven’t been any remarks from Arlo regarding his snacks either – I chose the Jack’s branded crisps, yoghurts and orange squash – switching things to see if he would notice. These are the kinds of things which Arlo goes through like no ones business so it’s fabulous that they come in big packs which offers better savings and that extra bit of reassurance that you can shop on a budget without compromise.

To find your local Jack’s click here

Melted snowman cookies

Here’s a really simple way to incorporate winter in to your baking….. melted snowman cookies.

You will need:

  • Cookies
  • Icing sugar
  • Marshmallows
  • Food colouring pens

I made a batch of cookies using our three ingredient sugar butter and flour recipe but you could just as easily use a digestive or similar biscuit as a base if you’re short of time.

Simply decorate your marshmallows with your icing pens – orange for noses, black for coal mouths we used blue for eyes – unfortuanlty some of our snowmen didn’t make it last this stage and were consumed as they were!

Stick the marshmallows to your cookies with some icing made up as per the pack instructions and gently spooned over the cookies – the messier the better to create the dripping snow effect.

Winter themed eyfs messy play ideas craft projects for kids