A Strong Coffee

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Meal Planning Mondays

If there was ever a week to meal plan then I think this one is it. If I manage to get through the week without forgetting anything, I will be amazed. This week sees the kids dressing up as a Celt, and WW2 child. We have playdates, children in need (more dressing up) and little mans Birthday. I feel like I am throwing all my balls in the air and probably wont catch them.

So a meal plan may help in the midst of the madness. So here we go:

Sunday: Pork roast

Monday: Tacos, probably with quorn.

Tuesday: Slow cooked pulled pork

Wednesday: Filled pasta and sauce.

Thursday:Sausage and chips

Friday: A quick bit to eat to tide us over until the party

Saturday: I have no idea, but little man wants a chocolate cake so I may do an anti gravity one. Maybe a bigger version of these anti gravity cupcakes.

What have you got planned?


Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Making Life Easier With An Anker Portable Charger And Powerline.

It became clear when I reviewed the Eufy 11S Robovac, that I was in need of products to make my life easier. I need to be a more proactive at helping myself. I wasn't really sure that I could get excited over  the Anker portable charger and a Anker powerline cable that I was sent, but agreed to give them a try and see what I thought.

Anker battery pack and powerline

I guess there are two types of people in this world. My husband and I are polar opposites. The slight glance at the picture below, sends shivers down his spine.

5% battery screen

Yes, this is me on a regular basis. I am in the 5% or less battery gang.


Mainly as all the boys in the house steal my chargers to power their tablets and I don't know where they are! So now, thanks to Anker, I have my own. So why is it good?

I won't lie, I was sceptical over the £12.99 price tag to start with. I mean, why not buy a cheap one for half the price? Well I have done the latter before and it has been fine. The problem tends to be that they frey between the cord and the bit you stick into your phone. (Yes I am using technical language here!) With the Anker powerline this wont happen as it is reinforced with plastic.

anker powerline case

It also comes with a carry case. At first glance, I thought that this was it, however, it has two zips meaning that you can use it to adjust the cable and not have your wires getting in a mess. Clever!

The battery pack is also fantastic. As a blogger, I have no idea why I have never purchased one before. I have been at events in the past, worrying if my battery will make it through the day. Now it doesn't matter as I can have this fully charged in my handbag, ready to go when needed. It also comes with a mesh bag and charging lead so can be kept neat and tidy together.

Anker battery pack

So my question for you is simple. What products have you got that have made your life easier? What else do I need in my life?

Family Fever

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Christmas Spiced Caramel Filled Doughnut Holes

These Christmas spiced caramel filled doughnut holes are a mouthful to say but only a couple to eat. They are soft, squidgy and a taste of heaven.

Christmas Spiced Caramel Filled Doughnut Holes

I can't believe we have reached the final of this years Great British Bake Off. Whilst I think Rahul was lucky to have made it to the final, he did himself proud with his final show stopper. It has also once again made me realise that these are serious bakers with the ever complicated bakes they make. I have to say I was very excited to see doughnuts on the menu. I had never made these before so was interested to see what they would be like.

filling doughnut holes with caramel

I had a bit of a practice as I had a couple of ideas. I wanted to try baked ring doughnuts and then fry the doughnut holes. There was absolutely no comparison between the two. The baked ring doughnuts tasted like a roll. The fried doughnut holes, like freshly made doughnuts. Decision was made and a few tweaks to the topping and the final holes were baked (well fried.)

Christmas Spiced Caramel Filled Doughnut Holes

Christmas Spiced Caramel Filled Doughnut Holes

  • 400g strong white bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 packet of easy bake yeast
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 50ml water
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg
  • vegetable oil to fry

    To decorate and fill
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • Carnation caramel to fill

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave.
  2. Warm the milk and water in the microwave for 45s.
  3. Add the flour, spices, sugar, yeast and salt to a mixing bowl.
  4. Using the dough hook on a food processor, mix this and pour in the warm milk and water, melted butter and egg.
  5. Leave this kneading for around 5 minutes.
  6. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for an hour and a half.
  7. Roll the rough out and use a small round cutter to portion the dough and roll this into a small ball.
  8. Heat some oil in a pan and drop in the dough. Leave for a minute or two and then flip over when golden brown.
  9. Once cooked, remove from the oil and place on some kitchen towel to remove any excess oil.
  10. Mix the caster sugar with cinnamon and ground ginger and roll the holes in these.
  11. Take a piping bag and fill with Carnation caramel and pipe into the holes.
  12. Enjoy! Best when still warm.

Pin it for later:
easy to make Christmas Spiced Caramel Filled Doughnut Holes

If you want to see what other bloggers have baked this week then head over to Mummy Mishaps.

Meal Planning Monday

Well I am glad to see the back of last week. I had a cold and sore throat meaning I felt pretty rubbish and I rather stupidly did too much exercise meaning I could hardly move on Wednesday. This week I will take it easier at the gym!

Food wise it went pretty well and rather than giving the boys tomato tart, I made their meal into a puff pastry pizza which went down well.

This week is another busy one. It looks like the boys will now be doing karate every Monday which means tea needs to be easy and light. On Friday we are off to an event with Zoggs so a light snack will be in order. Wraps feature heavily in this weeks meal plan!

So what have I got planned this week?

Sunday: Chicken Fajitas

Monday: Cheese and ham quesadillas

Tuesday: Lamb dhansak made in the slow cooker

lamb dhansak

Wednesday: Chicken in leek and bacon sauce.

Thursday: Tortilla crust quiche Lorraine.

tortilla crust quiche lorraine

Friday:A quick sandwich to keep us going.

Saturday: I know it comes up a lot on our meal plan, but we love salmon.

What have you got planned?


Sunday, 28 October 2018

Choux Puffs With Chocolate Cream

I can't believe that it is the final of bake off this week. I certainly can't believe that I have managed to bake along each week either. This week I decided to look to one of my many recipe books for some help. I opted for Soulful Baker and her choux puffs with chocolate cream.

Choux Puffs With Chocolate Cream

My basis was that when we used to go to France on holiday as a child, we always enjoyed their filled eclairs and choux buns. I personally always opted for the coffee flavour, however, as the boys were eating these I went for a chocolate flavoured filling instead.

The choux mixture was quite runny so I did add a little extra flour. The only problem that I had was that my buns ended up being quite big. Paul Hollywood would probably complain that they weren't dainty enough for a french patisserie.

Middle man however, was very impressed with my efforts. He happily declared that there were just like profiteroles, but even better!

Choux Puffs With Chocolate Cream

Now just to see if I have time to bake along with the final too.

To see what other bloggers have baked, head over to Mummy Mishaps.

Meal Planning Mondays

I missed meal planning last week as it was half term and I wasn't sure what we would do. This week it is being back to being organised as it is a busy week. I have the boys parents evenings over two days, a husband who may or may not be away one night and a training at work. Oh an Halloween on top. I have gone off Halloween now the boys are older. I used to love it, making gingerbread mummies and cupcakes.

We would keep trick or treating to a handful of houses and have fun dressing up and playing games.
Last year though we had moved and it seems everyone in the local area comes to our estate. There were groups of 10 kids a time. Kids wanting to take handfuls of sweets. It just wasn't nice. The boys wanted to trick or treat their friends but they were out themselves so it was just a bit rubbish. I have told my eldest that this is his last year as he is getting too big. He just wants the sweets!

Anyway, forget my moans about Halloween, what will we be eating this week?

Sunday: Salmon, potatoes and veg

Monday: Egg and bacon sandwiches

Tuesday: Chili and rice.

Wednesday: Cider and apple pork.

Thursday: Sausage and chips

Friday:Tomato tart

tomato tart

Saturday: Roast pork

What have you got planned?


Friday, 26 October 2018

Halloween Fun At Waddesdon Manor National Trust

Yesterday we visited Waddesdon Manor National Trust with gifted garden entrance to see what it had to offer.

Waddesdon Manor National Trust

We had previously been National Trust members but had never visited Waddesdon. It is just over an hour from where we live and has been recommended by lots of friends.

We arrived at just gone 11 and you can either catch a bus or walk to the main area. Not wanting to put the boys off immediately with loads of walking, we chose to get the bus to the stables area as this had been suggested to us by the lovely over40andamumtoone who is a regular. This is where all the Halloween activities could be found as well as a cafe and toilets.

We opted to take the Halloween creatures of the night trail. The trail is small but it certainly makes my boys more interested in going for a walk. The creatures of the night that you had to spot all had a little bit about them and their anger levels. The younger two (6 and 8) particularly likes reading these bits.

I found it amusing that this one has such a high anger level. She’s a Mum of 3 so it goes without saying!

Halloween trail at Waddesdon Manor

Who wouldn't agree with this monster? I mean no one likes a soggy bottom!

Halloween trail at Waddesdon Manor

At the end of the trail we got to pick up some glow in the dark ears. The trail costs £3 a child and I would recommend it for preschool and primary aged children.

glow in the dark ears from Halloweed trail at Waddesdon Manor

We then headed to have our picnic and over to the playground. This was fantastic. One of the reasons we have had a break from our National Trust passes was that the places near to us didn’t cater for older children in the playgrounds. This one however, was full of things for my boys to do. Zip wires, slides, a basket swing and places to build dens. We spent a good 45 minutes playing here, and could have easily stayed longer.

playground at Waddesdon Manor

Next, then walked up to the house and aviary, enjoying the gardens as we went.

Waddesdon Manor

Little man spotted a quiet hour sign so we decided we should probably stay away from there!

Quiet area at Waddesdon Manor

We had a lovely day at Waddesdon and the Halloween trail helped keep the boys happy. I have heard great things about their Christmas event which you can find out about here. Have you been? What did you think?

Disclosure: We were given complimentary tickets to the grounds but paid to do the creatures of the night trail ourselves.

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