A Strong Coffee

Monday, 15 April 2019

Easy To Make Easter Nest Cupcakes

With Easter round the corner and lots of schools on holiday, these easy to make Easter nest cupcakes will keep the children busy.

Easy To Make Easter Nest Cupcakes

Little man is my resident baker and loved making these cupcakes with me. We just used a plain cupcake recipe as we were topping them with so much chocolate. One or two of the cupcakes only had one egg in as Mummy may have tested one or two of the mini eggs before realising there weren't enough!

Easy To Make Easter Nest Cupcakes

Makes 10-12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes
  • 4oz butter or Stork
  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz self raising flour

For the frosting
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 bar of melted chocolate (100g)
  • 3 flakes cut into smaller chunks
  • 2 mini eggs per vake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  2. Mix all the cake ingredients together. I find that it is easier if the butter is melted in the microwave first.
  3. Divide the mixture between 10-12 cupcake cases.
  4. Bake until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool before adding the frosting.
  5. To make the  frosting mix the icing sugar, butter, and melted chocolate together using an electric whisk. Pipe in a swirl on the cupcake
  6. Add 2 mini eggs to the center of the "nest" and then flake pieces around the outside.
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easy to make easter nest cupcakes with mini eggs

If you are looking for some other Easter bakes then why not try these Malteser Bunny cupcakes

or one of my favourite cakes ever: cherry and marzipan cake.

Cook Blog Share

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

[AD] Artie 3000 Code Your Robot To Draw!

My boys have been very lucky with our latest review, Artie 3000. A robot that you can code to draw.
When it comes to computers, I would say I am OK for my age, but coding is not my strong point. I have learned bits here and there with my blogs, but still have a lot more to learn. Now that coding is being taught in schools, this is a lovely educational gift aimed at children aged 7+.

Artie is easy to use and comes with simple set up instructions. It comes with pens but you need to purchase batteries. There are some simple cards to help you get started. Artie connects via bluetooth to your tablet or PC and you then go to a special website. Here you can use the preset instructions or have a go at coding yourself. Any codes that you write yourself can be saved to use again.

My boys are aged 7, 9 and 11 and are all keen to use Artie. It is my 11 year old that can work him best, and is now able to write some simple code himself. Here is a little video we made so you can see him in action.

Artie 3000 has an rrp of £69 and can be purchased from Learning Resources.

[Ad] Yoshi's Crafted World Egg Hunt At KidZania

Fancy an egg hunt with a twist? Well Yoshi's crafted world has an egg hunt at KidZania this Easter and my boys were lucky enough to get invited to Kidzania to review this event. We visited KidZania a few years ago and you can read my top tips for KidZania here.

My boys love computer games and were very excited to be try the new Nintendo Switch game: Yoshi's crafted world. The egg hunt is taking place at Kidzania university over the next couple of weeks. Children get the chance to play the new game and then take part in an egg hunt. 

The boys enjoyed playing the game as it required team play to complete the level. Little man enjoyed swallowing his brothers' Yoshi and then spitting him out to get to a hard to reach place.

After having fun on the Nintendo Switch, the boys were given an Easter Egg hunt sheet. They needed to go off hunting for eggs containing a letter that were hidden around KidZania. There were clues for the children to follow to help them locate each one.. Once they had unscrambled letters to make a word they headed back to the university to receive a special certificate and 10 kidzos each for their effort. 

There are also lots of other fun things to do whilst you at KidZania. If you are a Nintendo fan then the Labo workshops are not to be missed. My two Pokemon fans were upset that the Pokemon creator wasn’t up and running the day we went but gives them a reason to go back.

So if you are heading to KidZania this Easter holidays, don’t forget to hunt down Yoshis Crafted World and give it a try yourself. Also make sure that you take a photo on the special Yoshi board and upload it to twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #Yoshiscraftedworld #Kidzania for a chance to win a Nintendo Switch, copy of Yoshi's crafted world and a KidZania annual pass.

Yoshis crafted world

We received free entry for the event in order to write this post.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Cheats Fakeaway Sweet And Sour Chicken

Friday night is our treat night and this cheats sweet and sour chicken recipe is easy to take and much cheaper and healthier than your standard takeaway. I tried making my own sweet and sour sauce, but it wasn't to little mans tasting so I just use a jar of Tesco sauce.

sweet and sour chicken

The idea came to me when I was looking for ready made meals at Tesco. Little man had asked for sweet and sour chicken balls as this is his all time favourite takeaway meal. Looking down the aisle, you could buy these but to feed a family of 5 it would probably cost not far off as much as a take away. All the chicken pieces looked like were battered chicken nuggets. So I thought I would give my idea a go and it worked really well.

Sometimes I make egg fried fried rice, but most of the time steamed basmati rice is the way to go. The recipe below serves our family of 5.

Cheats Fakeaway Sweet And Sour Chicken

  • 1 packet of battered chicken dippers (you will want- each) 
  •  1 jar of sweet and sour chicken sauce
  • 300g easy cook basmati rice
  1. Place the chicken nuggets on a baking tray and cook through until hot but not too crispy on the outside.
  2. Wash the rice under cold water until the water stops going milky. Fill to about 1cm over the rice and then heat to boiling. Pop a lid on and turn the heat down low and steam for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat through the sweet and sour sauce and add the chicken nuggets.
  4. Enjoy a takeaway style meal in less than 30 minutes.

sweet and sour chicken

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Meal Planning Mondays

We are on the countdown to the Easter holidays and I am quite frankly ready to eat the store of chocolate I have in for the boys. Life has been really busy the last few weeks and again it is another easy meal plan, where I am trying to use up some of the meat I have in the freezer.

For Mother's Day I opted for salmon as it is one of my favourite meals - you probably already know this as it pops up on my meal plans a lot!

So what about the rest of the week?

Sunday: Salmon

Monday: Scrambled egg and chorizo

Tuesday: Garlic pork in black bean sauce.

Wednesday: Smoked salmon and poached eggs

Thursday: Sausage pasta


Saturday: I subscribe to The Spicery and have chicken tikka masala to make this month. It sounds fantastic!


Saturday, 23 March 2019

[AD] Quick And Easy Beef Fajitas

This post is an entry for the #MeatMatters Challenge, sponsored by Simply Beef and Lamb. Learn more about the benefits of cooking and eating beef and lamb along with recipe ideas and inspiration here. I was given a voucher to purchase the ingredients for this post.

When it comes to quick and easy dinners, this beef fajita recipe is a winner. Beef is rich in protein, as well as being a source of iron, which helps reduce tiredness.So this simple recipe has more than just quick cooking time on it's side.

beef fajitas

Weekday evenings are always a rush, so finding simple recipes that all the family will enjoy that can be prepared and cooked in less than half an hour is top of my agenda at the moment. This beef fajita recipe ticks all those boxes and is great as the children can choose what they add to them. They are not big fans of avocado yet, so I tend to add more chilli flakes to that to make it hotter for me and my husband.

I used to always buy a fajita mix to season the meet, but then discovered that making your own is really easy and the boys actually preferred it. When it comes to avocado, I have recently found that frozen chunks are the way to go. No more waiting for it to ripen! When it comes to bell peppers, I love the contrast of the sweet sticky cooked peppers with the raw crunchy uncooked ones, so like to have both.

making beef fajitas

Quick And Easy Beef Fajitas

  • 375g beef stir fry strips
  • 1 red pepper and 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 2 red onions
  • cherry or plum tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar
  • avocado chunks
  • 2 limes
  • chilli flakes
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika
  • 2tsp ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  1. Start by making the salsa. Dice the cherry tomatoes and mix with 1 dessert spoon of balsamic vinegar.
  2. For the avocado, spinkle over a teaspoon of red chilli flakes and the juice of 1/2 lime.
  3. Prepare the onions by slicing 1 red onion and squeezing the juice of 1/2 a lime and 1/2 and orange over it.
  4. Slice the red and yellow pepper. Keep half to add to the fajitas and put half into a wok with the other sliced red onion and chopped clove of garlic. Spray with a little oil and heat. 
  5. After 2 mins add the beef strips and fry for a few more minutes, adding 1 tsp chilli flakes, 2 tsp smoked paprika and 2 tsp ground cumin. Add the juice of a lime.
  6. Serve with some flour tortillas and let the family choose what they want.
  7. Enjoy!

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simple beef fajita recipe - cook in under 30 mins

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Meal Planning Mondays

My boy is home from his residential, complete with a suitcase of washing. He had a great time and loved the food - but was careful to say it wasn't quite as good as mine. He will do well in life.
Last week went by in a flash and I feel as though I am treading water at the moment and just about staying afloat. I am looking forward to the Easter holidays in a few weeks and a slightly slower pace.

This week, my main aim is to get organised. I am spending my day off, getting ahead with work. Meals this week are going to be easy and quick as I have to get on top of everything else. We will also be making use of some batch cooked meals later on in the week.

Sunday: Beef Fajitas

Monday: Cheese and ham quesadillas

Tuesday: Sausage casserole

Wednesday: Garlic pork in black bean sauce.

Thursday: Quiche Lorraine with tortilla crust

Friday: Slow cooked chicken Korma that we have frozen.

Saturday: I can't quite think that far ahead yet!

What meals have you got planned this week?