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NutriBullet

Hands up if you’ve heard about the power of juicing? (yup) Hands up if you’ve tried to follow a juice only diet for 3 or more days? (yup) Hands up if you thought it was practically impossible and you just gave up on the whole thing? (both hands up) You know me, I’ve tried most diet plans out there, anything for a quick fix! But, surprise surprise, just like your mum told you, you don’t get results by trying to cut corners.

I’ve had my Vitamix for a while now and I love it, but it’s just *so* big and takes a fair bit of cleaning, when you want to blast a quick juice in the morning, it’s not the most simplest of gadgets, which is why I was really interested in trying out the NutriBullet.

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The beauty of this is just how easy it is to use. It’s literally just a case of filling it with your fruit and veg, adding some liquid and blasting it. When it comes to washing it all goes in the dishwasher and you even get cups with lids so you can make one and leg it out the door screaming at the kids to hurry up if you want to. (What? It’s not just me that does that!)

I’ve been using mine for a week and a bit now, and I’ve got to be honest, I was worried about using greens in my juice. I know they’re a super food and amazing for you, but after having some really bad tasting veg juices I think I was scarred for life! I put the 50% spinach in the tall cup, added my pineapple, strawberries and blueberries and prayed it wouldn’t taste anything like spinach, and thank god it didn’t! It wasn’t fully green by any stretch of the imagination, but the book you get tells you to start yourself off slowly, I won’t be drinking sprout and cabbage juice anytime soon. I’ve gone for ease so far, using frozen fruit with my fresh spinach, which means my juices are like smoothies and that suits me. I’ve slowly found the right balance of water, the first few were a bit thick, but now I’ve got it down to a fine art.

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I haven’t tried adding a banana or avocado to the mixes yet, they’re meant to make it smoother and I’m tempted, but I’m not sure how avocado would work in a juice and I can’t stand banana in anything other than actual whole banana form. I have issues I know.

I love the size of the NutriBullet. I don’t have the biggest kitchen and counter space is limited so anything that stays out all the time has to take up as little room as possible and be something I use every single day. Compared to the Vitamix this is miniscule. I can leave the base out all the time, and if the large cup isn’t on it, it’s in the dishwasher, so it’s the perfect size.

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As well as smoothies, the NutriBullet can also make amazing soups, pasta sauces, dressings, dips and they come with a milling blade that can mill brown rice into flour, almonds into almond butter, and so much more. I want to make almond butter asap.

Even though it comes with a recipe book, I’ve been pretty much making it up as I go along, sticking with fruits I know I like, and using the spinach as the greens. I’m getting more fruit and veg in each day than I usually do and it’s a better breakfast than anything else I can make in that amount of time so it’s win win for me.

The NutriBullet costs £99 and is available here. I’ve got to say it’s a bloody good gadget and I would have bought one myself if I hadn’t been lucky enough to be sent one. I know I’ll use it every day, the kids are getting interested in having juices, which can only be a good thing so it’s already paid for itself in my eyes. When you think about the cost of the Vitamix, this is practically a bargain!

I’m in love with this little baby, and if you have a look at my Instagram page you’ll probably spot a new recipe each day!

I was sent a NutriBullet for the purpose of this review but all views are my own obviously! 

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Slimming World take 3….?

I should be a complete and utter Slimming World expert by now. Having followed the plan before falling pregnant with TB, and again straight after having him (and losing 3 stone of baby weight) I had it nailed and was *this* close to target, but, like always, life got in the way, I couldn’t always get to group and once you miss a group here or there, you end up not going at all and we all know what happens then!

2 stone back on and ready to start again!

This time round I know what I need to do, I don’t have any external pressure, no need to “fit back into my jeans” (mostly because I want to buy new ones) and I’m not putting myself on a time limit. I’m ok as I am, but I do feel happier, personally, when I’m a dress size smaller. I’m not aiming to get down to a size 10 because quite frankly I can’t be arsed. I like good food, nights out and fun and I don’t want to spend the best part of my life battling against myself. So, I’ve decided to go back to the plan that worked for me and get inventive. I hate being bored, so I can’t stick to 3 meals repeatedly. I think I’m quite a good cook these days and I have a little bit more time now both kids are older (and they’re both willing to try new things) so we can get creative in the kitchen.

For those of you not familiar with Slimming World, it consists of 3 plans (mostly), Red days, Green days and Extra Easy. EE is their newest plan, but so far I haven’t had much success with it. I seem to maintain each week when I follow EE, which would be great if I were at target! So, my idea is to follow red and green throughout the week, and EE at the weekend, viewing it as my ‘treat’ meals, even though they’re still full on Slimming World style.

I’ve been through their newly released Extra Easy Express cookbook, and I’ve found PLENTY to keep me going, along with good old faithfuls like jacket potatoes, pasta, and steak night There is absolutely no reason why this won’t work, it’s all completely do-able. It’s just a case of getting my mind to keep up with my body! Or vice versa maybe?!

I am using the online membership for the next 4 weeks, to see how much I can lose and how I find it and my plan is to blog my favourite meals, and check in each week with my losses (yeah, not sharing my actual weight with you!) Hopefully, by the time we get on that plane to Spain, I’ll be well on my way to my goal weight.

Fingers crossed!

 

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Lunch Box Ideas & Capri-Sun

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

****Back to school this week!!!**** Not that I’m looking forward to it or anything!

#shop #cbias #caprisun #kids

The school uniforms are purchased, the shoes have been bought and we’re now onto the last few bits, including packed lunches! GG is starting senior school and has decided she wants to have school dinners as they look a bit more exciting than junior school ones, but The Boy is flitting between both so I’ve stocked the fridge up, but I’m trying to come up with some healthy lunchbox ideas that are a little bit different. He would eat ham sandwiches until they were coming out of his ears, so this term we’re on a mission!

I hit my local Tesco this weekend to have a look for bits and pieces, and take part in the #CapriSunSchool and #CollectiveBias challenge.

#shop #cbias #lunchbox #kids

#shop #cbias #healthy #lunchbox #drinks

Usually, a typical lunchbox would involve, a sarnie, a bag of mini cheddars, 2 or 3 bits of fruit (they get to eat one piece during their first break) and a yoghurt. Drinks wise water is always preferable, but The Boy hates it and will only drink it under duress, so anything that’s good for him and isn’t fizzy, that he will drink is a hit with me, Capri-Sun is perfect, it’s 75% fruit juice, 25% water and counts as one of their five a day. I’m actually really lucky in that both kids will eat most fruit and veg so I don’t have to battle with that (The Boy even asked for more broccoli at a restaurant this week!) so we probably manage more than 5 a day, but if I can squeeze in 2 more it might cancel out the biscuits they sneak in as soon as they walk through the door! The flavours are also a big hit, with Tropical, Apple & Pear and Apple & Blackcurrant in the Fruit Crush range, as well as apple, orange, summer berries and apple & cherry. I’m sure there was just orange when I was younger…!

#shop #cbias #healthy #lunchbox #kidsI’ve seen so many amazing lunchboxes on Instagram and Pinterest, honestly it puts me to shame! Colourful boxes, sandwiches in shapes, baby pizza slices, home made quiches, I could go on but it just makes me miserable! They look so pretty, I don’t know that I’d even be able to eat it, but it does give me some inspiration! Anything to step away from the boring ham & two slices of wholemeal. I definitely need to get some of those fancy little shaped pots too.

What do you put in the kids lunchboxes that interests them, is good for them and catches their eye? Any ideas are welcome!

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Easy breakfasts for kids to create.

Keeping the kids both happy and healthy when it comes to food can be a tiresome chore, but all mums enjoy offering a treat once in a while. The key to ensuring that they get their daily intake of nutrients, carbohydrates, protein and vitamins involves teaching them to prepare a number of balanced, nutrient-rich and wholesome meals, breakfast being one of the easiest to make.

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Breakfast time:
Breakfast is said to be one of the most important meals of the day and rightly so – especially if your little ones are constantly on the move. From running around in the schoolyard to swimming lessons at the local pool, our children are often a lot more active than we are. Thankfully McCain.co.uk offer a variety of breakfast-worthy, kid-friendly options perfect for those who need to build up their energy levels.

The perfect components to a hearty breakfast:
If you can, it’s important to enjoy a family breakfast at least once a week. You may find that everyone is free on the weekends. If this is case, ensure the table is set and the ingredients are in stock in advance. From bacon and eggs, to hash browns and lightly buttered toast, when it comes to making a hearty breakfast, it’s often fun to get everyone involved. The kids can become involved in the prep work from helping to mix the eggs to buttering toast. The role you give your child should be determined by their age. The likes of scrambled eggs on a muffin and dippy eggs with a side of hash browns are both easy and tasty options for the little ones to create.

Get the kids’ involved:
Finding healthy breakfast recipes is a must when you have children, especially if you want them to indulge in a nutrient-packed diet. There’s nothing quite like waking up to a delicious and nutritious breakfast, and teaching your kids how to make their very own dishes is a great place to start.

For one, when you’re not around to help them make an early morning meal, you’ll know they’re able to fend for themselves. Breakfast acts as brain fuel and for your little ones to do well at school ensuring they have a hearty breakfast is key. Pre-made items come in handy, such as hash browns, which can easily be taken out of the fridge or freezer when required and placed easily in the microwave.

Vegetarian options:
Whether your little ones are fussy eaters or quite simply don’t like the taste of meat, looking into a number of vegetarian kids recipes can prove extremely beneficial. From blueberry muffins to melon and crunchy bran pots, there are a variety of easy-to-make options to choose from. Getting children involved in the preparation of meals can benefit them by teaching them to eat healthily and also encourage their love of food.

 

GP

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Me time (with added tea & cakes)

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.

#shop #cupcakes #cbias #carrotcake

The last week or so have passed in a bit of a blur, various things, but I was determined to take some time out, some me time, and do something away from the computer, away from the kids and away from the hubs. So, I decided to do some baking, alone. When I say alone, I think it’s been documented a few times on here that I like to bake cakes & cook without the kids ‘helping’ me. I know, I know. Bad mummy and all that! Blah!

As it’s almost Valentines day, and we’re off to Paris in 18 days (who’s counting!?) we’ve decided we’re not doing presents here, saving that for France, I thought I’d bake a cake the man likes, rather than one that the kids request, and, being a man, there was no chocolate involved. At. All. Weirdo. He requested a carrot cake! I have never, ever baked a carrot cake in my life, but I thought why the hell not.

Anyway. I hit Tesco nice and early, and I mean, nice and early, it was practically empty. If I could get my backside out of bed at that time every morning I might be tempted to do my weekly shop then, but I can’t.

#shop #tesco #cake

Once the kids were deposited at school and I’d hit the usual social media channels, I got to it. It’s a pretty simple recipe to follow, the only thing that threw me a little was the carrot part, there is a lot of liquid in grated carrots, so I squeezed out some but I probably could have done with getting rid of a little more.

Cupcakes
150g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
150ml sunflower oil
150g self raising flour, sifted
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
1/4 tsp of salt
a drop (or two) of vanilla extract
150g carrots, grated
50g chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Icing
300g icing sugar (sifted)
50g unsalted butter
125g cream cheese

Heat the oven to 170C or Gas mark 3. Put 12 cupcake cases into a cupcake tray.
Beat together the eggs, sugar and sunflower oil, until combined. Slowly mix in the self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
Fold in the carrots and walnuts and spoon into cupcake cases until 2/3.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes, before transferring to a wire cooling rack. (I added an extra 5-8mins because of the moisture from the carrots)
Once cool, you can make the cream cheese icing. Beat together the room temperature butter with the cream cheese, slowly adding the sifted icing sugar.
Spread the icing over each cake, decorating with some chopped walnuts if you want to. I did some with & some without as the boy is anti nuts. I won’t tell him there are some inside the cakes!

Easy! It is a messy recipe I won’t lie! My hands are still stained orange from the carrots, and it probably wasn’t a good idea to do the grating with my left hand (twice as long!) but I had no choice. It would also probably be helpful if your electric whisk didn’t keep flying off the handle (literally) I really need to convince the man to get me a Kitchen Aid! Imagine the cakes I could make….!

#shop #whisk #cakemix

The end result is a really moist (hate that word) light cupcake. I’m wondering if I could vary the icing on top, maybe add some lemon zest/juice to it to give it a bit of a lift. Has anyone ever made carrot cake with chocolate icing? Does that even go, or is it too much of a flavour combination?

#shop #cupcake #walnuts

As sad as this may sound, going back to Flinstone time or whatever, but I actually really enjoyed baking these, I had my music blasting out, the house to myself and I’m quite proud of my little cakes! The boy even said if I can’t manage to make the Captain America cake for his birthday (panic) then these would be good! I can’t imagine a room full of 4 & 5 year olds appreciating carrot cake, but it’s the thought that counts eh?!

Oh, and have a look at this last pic. Does anyone else think my dog thinks I’m a messy cook by any chance? He was my shadow the whole time I was baking, like a Dyson with four legs. Don’t think you went un-noticed Lenny!

#shop #dog #cakes #baking

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Quick Easy Meals for a Busy Mum ~ gp

It’s not always easy to rustle up a decent meal against the clock. If you’re anything like me, the kids and housework take up plenty of time, which can mean you’re left with a tiny window of opportunity in which to get something on the table. The good news is there are some quick and easy meals that you can fall back on.

Dig around and you’ll find options for every taste too: whether you have a hankering for McCain French fries, or feel in the mood for a warming soup, you can find something to match. Don’t let all those after-school activities, neighbourhood meetings and other commitments prevent you from cooking up some hot and tasty food. You don’t have to resort to a McDonald’s burger and French fries for fast food.

Pizzas and burgers

A make-your-own pizza meal always goes down well with the kids and caters for fussy eaters too. You can make your own pizza crust before cooking, or buy a frozen one, and then leave it to each member of the family to pick out what they want: ham, pineapple, pepperoni slices, sweetcorn and so on. You can also rustle up a side salad.

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Or what about cooking up your own burgers? Again, this is a meal that doesn’t take much preparation and the kids can help out. Maybe they could choose their own relish or garnish and make it. You can mix all kinds of flavourings and herbs into your beef to get a taste you like, and the frying or barbecuing process should only take 10-20 minutes.

Soups and casseroles
Soups are quick to put together and there are endless tasty varieties to pick from: spinach, pasta and pea soup is one of the favourites at our house, and you can have it ready in about 20 minutes. Add a hunk of bread and you’re all set to go. Again, you can experiment with different tastes and flavours to see what suits your family.

Casseroles, like soups, can be cooked in one batch and don’t require you to time multiple cooking processes to perfection. What about a creamy chicken enchilada casserole? It enables you to make good use of a store-bought rotisserie-cooked chicken, and takes about an hour to put together from start to finish.

Meatballs and sandwiches

Meatballs, together with rice and noodles, are quick and easy to throw together, and you could even have them with oven-cooked French fries. You could add in some pineapple or a spicy tomato sauce for a bit of twist.

Sandwiches are an obvious choice that require little preparation, but you don’t have to settle for the boring, regular versions. You could put together some turkey-cobb sandwiches from your Sunday leftovers, whisking in mayonnaise, vinegar, pepper and salt, before adding salad and a dressing. Toasted, uncovered sandwiches are another option, using your favourite fruits and salad ingredients.

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Those are just a few ideas for you to chew over — if you’ve got some quick and easy meal tips of your own, be sure to let me know. I’d love to hear them!

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