Rainy day activities – Foam in a box

IMG_1728It is the last day of the Christmas holidays and everyone is bored, the older children have occupied themselves but the younger two are following me around like little lambs and generally being grumpy. I read not long ago about making foam in the food processor so it seemed a perfect opportunity to give it a go!

Simply put a small amount of washing up liquid and water in the food processor and mix until it foams up, a word of warning here don’t put much in each batch it overflows very quickly!

I used a cardboard box since it was about to go in the recycling and i knew the activity would be over before the box disintegrated but if you have children with a slightly longer attention span a cardboard box obviously wouldn’t be a good choice!

It took around 5 batches of foam to fill the box which wasn’t much washing up liquid so this activity is a wonderful activity if you are looking for a cheap way to entertain toddlers.

The children LOVED it after I took the picture the older ones came and joined in so it actually entertained 5 children from age 22 months up to 9 years old for around 20 minutes – which is miraculous.

The only problem was a box of soap and toddler eyes don’t mix so you have to watch the younger ones like a hawk to stop them dipping their heads in or otherwise causing the whole thing to descend into chaos, so if you are looking for an activity for the kids to do while you get on with something else this probably isn’t the activity for you!. It is great for passing half an hour on a rainy winters days though!

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Paleo Egg Salad Bento Box – Paleo lunchbox ideas for 2014!

This was delicious and is the first of many

2014 is going to be a paleo filled year!

photo (3) 1.Hardboiled egg and avocado chopped up and mixed with spinach

2.Sliced mango and apple

3. Date, nut and apple bites.

 

Date, Nut And Apple Bites

I forgot to measure how much i used but i don’t think the actual amounts really matter in any case.

Put a  handful of dates and a handful of nuts in the blender until you have a paste (there can be lumpy bits it doesn’t need to be totally pureed.Add is a spoonful or two of desiccated coconut and  chopped apple and mix again . Form the mix into balls and roll in some more desiccated coconut and they are ready to eat! Mine recipe made about 8 balls.

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Paleo Cabbage And Bacon Breakfast Hash

photo (2)

4 days into being paleo and I have gone from 185 pounds to 181.6 pounds – which is amazing since I haven’t had to go hungry at all. I am guessing that now the initial shock to my system is done the weight loss will slow a little!

This morning I am waiting for this weeks shopping to arrive and when I got up looked in my pretty empty fridge and heard a slice of toast calling me. I resisted the urge though and instead used up some odds and ends to make this breakfast. It made 2 -3 servings depending on how hungry you are.

Paleo Breakfast – Cabbage and Bacon Hash

8 Slices of bacon (chopped up)
1 small white cabbage (shredded)
250g mushrooms (sliced)
1 onion (sliced)
A few herbs
Fry the bacon for a few minutes then add the rest of the ingredients and fry until soft, add in the herbs. Eat!

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My paleo diet begins – Paleo breakfast fruit salad

I have been reading (and madly pinning) a lot about the paleo diet lately. I did a 2 week paleo diet run a couple of months ago and lost 6 pounds over the two weeks. Since its the only diet where I have really enjoyed the food AND its seemed to ease the digestive troubles I get! I have decided to give it a proper go. I am no expert and I am going to be learning as a I go so dont expect perfection fro the start!

In honour of the first day of the rest of my life I present Paleo breakfast fruit salad.

Ingredients

Strawberries
Banana
Desiccated Coconut
Almond Butter

Chop the fruit and add a spoonful of almond butter and desiccated coconut – yummy!

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Crochet Toeless Slippers

These crochet toeless slippers fit my UK size 7 feet to make them smaller simply crochet fewer rows in the sole.photo I used DK wool

Make 2

Sole

with 4mm hook ch24

row 1 – 27  hdc in each across ch2 turn

row 28 2hdc in first hdc, hdd in each ch across ch2 turn

row 29 hdd across to last hdd 2 hdd in last hdd ch2 turn

repeat last row 28 and 29 twice more

Make bow

Ch40

row 1 hdc in each ch acros ch2 turn

row2-8 repeat row 1 fasten off.

fold in half and sew down one end so you have a rectangle of wool then wrap wool tightly round the middle to form a bow. Secure ends.

Attach one side of the bow to the pointy end of the sole (the part where you had done the 2hdcs) Attach the other end to the other side to form the toe section

Sides

Row 1 Attach and HDC around the edges of the sole – up until the bow (dont do the front) ch2 turn

Row 2 in back loops only hdc in each hdc around  until other side of bow attachment ch2 turn

Row 3 hdc in each hdc around to bow attachment fasten off

Fold the back of the slipper and sew to make heel.

Cross

Attach wool on one side and hdc in 3 hdcs.

row 1-15 (depending on how wide you foot is) hdc in each across ch2 turn secure to opposite side of slipper

repeat for the other side of the cross

Edging

Attach edging wool and sc in each stitch around the visible edges . Fasten off.

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Nutellla – Worth The Effort?

nutellaEveryone in our house loves nutella, we buy a jar pretty much every week which quickly vanishes between the seven of us (I am blushing here at our level of Nutella consumption)

At the time of writing the price of Nutella in Sainsburys is £3.55 for a large (750g jar) doesn’t seem like a huge amount until you find yourself on a really tight budget watching every penny. Put another way one jar a week is about £14.20 a month or £184.60 a year.

I decided to put to the test the idea that homemade food is cheaper and more tasty than shop bought to find out if the effort of making your own was REALLY worth it.

 

First off I found a fab recipe on the eccentric cook  which didn’t look to hard. I used ready chopped walnuts as I couldn’t for the life of me find whole ones so I skipped the whole first step about roasting and just poured my chopped walnuts into the blender to begin. So the verdict?

Cost

Hazelnuts 200g (two packs as shown) Packs were £1.37 each so the hazelnuts cost £2.740000000490535_FifthDimension_140x140_v1_m56577569834098246

 

 

 

 

41e3d291-2456-4952-bb9c-b3f1c646655a_Spec2_v1_m56577569834323776 Condensed Milk (one tin as shown) was 99p

 

 

 

003D0766-C500-42E3-AF6F-447E913ACE44_Spec2_v1_m56577569833918950

Dark Chocolate (as shown) was 33p per bar and I used 2.5 bars so 83p

 

 

 

Also used a little milk but that would have a matter of pence plus most people have milk around anyway!

The recipe actually made pretty much the equivalent amount to the large jar so we can just compare the two directly.

So the total cost of ingredients was £4.74 So in my experiment Nutella wins on cost HOWEVER i am sure you could get walnuts cheaper than this is you looked about thus could bring the cost down a little although there is a £1.19 difference to make up which may be difficult.

 

Taste

I have to say eccentric cooks recipe made some fantastic Nutella – I had to hold myself back from just eating it with a spoon (there may have been some tasting required – for the purposes of testing you understand). Shop bought Nutella is sticky and can feel a little slimy sometimes but the homemade Nutella had none of that it felt fresher and much cleaner. It spread like Nutella so you would use it in the same way. Homemade wins every single time

Effort

Well theres no real competition here is there – shop bought you open jar and eat. Homemade wasn’t hard especially skipping the roasting etc. It took about 10 minutes but still longer than opening a jar.

Health

Lets face it a jar of chocolate is never going to be healthy BUT what with the recent “horse meat scandal” its made me think twice about buying anything not because it might have horse meat in (Nutella with horse meat really WOULD be a story) but because you never know WHAT is in the food you eat unless you make it from scratch yourself – this includes chemicals preservatives etc. So at least by making your own chocolate spread you take back control of your food a little.

In conclusion Nuttela from a shop is cheaper and easier but homemade Nutella is nicer and gives you more control over ingredients. It really depends what you need. If you are on a tight budget your NOT going to save money making your own especially when you start taking into account the cheaper (but less tasty) supermarket own brands. You also need to actually make it so if you are rushed off your feet its probably not worth your time. If ,however, you are looking for a tasty treat or you are trying to  reduce your consumption of over processed food then this is certainly a wonderful tasty way to do both those things.

Now if you’ll excuse me theres chocolate to be eaten!

 

 

 

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Slow Cooker Lamb and Leek with Mashed Cauliflower

This slow cooker meal was a lovely warming dinner. It was also really easy to make and didn’t cost a fortune! Serves 2 adults and 4 small children.

Ingredients

500g diced lamb
Tablespoon of flour
4 Carrots (peeled and sliced)
Small swede (diced)
1 Large leek sliced
1 pint lamb stock
Mixed herbs
Cauliflower
Pepper
Bit of butter to add to the cauliflower

Really simple  – coat the lamb in the flour and put in the slow cooker. Add in the swede, carrots, stock and herbs cook on low all day.When you are nearly ready to eat cook the cauliflower the chop up really small an mix in butter and pepper. Serve with chunky bread and butter and cheese!

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Walnut Cream Cake

Well baking has never been a strong point but I was quite pleased with this cake it actually tasted pretty yummy! and it was easy and cheap to make which was a big plus.

I used the sponge recipe here and added a load of chopped walnuts. Then made up butter icing according the the instructions on the box (i doubled it) which i put between the layers and over the top. Finally adding the rest of the walnuts to the top of the cake.

I have been informed (by Jessica) thats its “ok” to make this again – high praise from a 7 year old.

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Huge bow toddler head band

This big bow headband used up the leftovers of a ball of wool and although perhaps not the most practical of headwear (!) beth loved it. I admit the photo isnt the best – my children are not the type to pose nicely for photos sadly! in the end i distracted her with Peppa pig and snapped her on the couch…


 

using 4mm hook

ch140

row 1 dc, ch1 miss next ch dc in next (repeat to end)
row 2-6 slip stitch in first ch1 space, ch2, dc ch1 in each ch1 space across to the last leaving the last ch1 space unworked
fasten off and sew end together so the cross to form the bottom of the bow.

bow:
ch12
row 1 dc in first ch ch1 skip next ch, dc in next (repeat across) ch2 turn
row 215 dc ch1 in eac h chain space across ch2 turn
fasten off

centre of bow

ch4

row 1-6 dc in each across then join  into a ring

fasten off

thread the bow through the centre ring then attach into the headband!

 

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Summer frill skirt

I made this little skirt to use up some scraps of DK wool i had. I made it pretty short as it is summer (or meant to be if it ever stops raining!) and you dont really want a long woolen skirt in the summer!. You could easily make it a little longer by just adding more round to the skirt part. I made this one to fit Rosie who is 3 months.

using a 4mm hook Ch 78 and join to form a ring ch1.

Rounds 1 and 2, hdc in each stitch around, ch1 and slip stitch to starting ch.
Rounds 3 – 7,*hdc, ch1 hdc* in each hdc around ch1 and slip stitch to starting ch. Change colours as desired.
Round 8 hdc in each ch sp and hdc around ch1 and slip stitch to starting ch.
Round 9 *dc, ch1, dc* in each hdc around ch1 attach to start ch. ch1
Round 10 dc in each dc and ch sp around do not ch1 or on join from now on nust work in one continous round.
Round 11 – desired length dc in each dc around (i changed colour for the last round to give the edging)

fasten off.

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