Monday, 18 October 2010

Taking a Break


Hey there you crazy kids, incase you hadn’t noticed i haven’t been around here much lately, I’m just TOO busy at the mo, somethings got to give!

I’ve only got 4 weeks on Saturday till i get married!!! eeeeeeeee!

With wedding planning at an all time high, and college work and exams, and working full time and running 5-6 times a week, and concentrating on eating healthy and loosing weight still, and trying to squeeze in a bit of Buddy time and family time and friends time, its just exhausting, i’m falling into bed each night with out having had a moment to spare all day long!

I’ve been feeling so guilty not logging in here every day or most days, so i figured i’d relieve that guilt and let y’all know whats going on.

I will be back i promise, i want to blog so much, and once the wedding is over and i’ve been on my delicious honeymoon, life ought to settle back down to easy going again, and you’ll see more of me around.

I hope you keep me on your blog roll or whatever it is that shows you i’ve posted, and you’ll see me pop back to say hi every now and again and be able to hang out properly again after El Big Day!

Sooooooooo i’ll be seeing ya real soon.  Love Love Love <3 <3 <3 xoxo

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Rude Health Review and Home Made Apple Pie


Hey there blogger loggers! i hope everyone had a fantastic wknd! ours has be sooo productive, we managed 2 great hikes, the kitchen floor is now laid and finished, the door in the bedroom is now hung the other way round, the bedroom is completely changed round and some painting in there is finished, the hall cupboard is reorganised, the freezer is defrosted, and i’ve baked, muffins (they weren’t that great so i wont share the recipe), 2 loaves of tear and share bread, cauliflower cheese soup, apple pie and obviously all our meals, its been go go go, i’ll share my recipes from the wknd over the course of the week, tonight its apple pie.

First up the lovely peeps over at Rude Health sent me some products to try out and review on the blog, they sent me Granola, Fruity Date Porridge and Puffed Oats to try out and luckily for you they sent me a bunch of mini packets of the Fruity Date Porridge for giveaways.

I’ve been munching on these for the past few weeks, and here’s what i think.

The Granola is Deeeeelish! i think this might my my favourite Granola that i’ve tried to date, its got a sweet More-ish taste to it, just the right amount of crunch and the flavour is pretty awesome, there’s no nasties in it, the ingredient list is really great, the packaging is fun and green friendly, its obvious why it won “Great Taste Gold award 2010” my only criticism of this is the price tag, at £5.99 per box its a bit on the pricey side for me to buy it as my regular breakfast, but as i eat porridge most days for breakfast and only have things like this about once a week, i guess i could stretch to the cost, if i wanted to eat it most days though i couldn’t afford it right now, i would like to see the cost brought down a little so i could buy it a little more regularly.


Next up is the Fruity Date Porridge, I thoroughly enjoyed this porridge, the flavours were wonderful, you could taste the hint of apple and date and cinnamon through it, and because of these these there was no need to add anything to sweeten it, i took to eating it with fresh apple and sultanas, again the ingredients list is good, no nasties and the packaging again is fun and friendly, another great product from Rude Health, the price tag on this product isn’t bad either, at £3.89 a box, i think thats reasonable for a porridge with added extras through it, its definitely something that i’ll be buying to switch up with my regular budget porridge.


The last product they sent me was Puffed Oats, I’m not a huge fan of puffed oats it’s not something i would eat as a breakfast cereal, BUT i enjoyed these as a small handful mixed in with the granola, the flavour is good and there’s the right amount of crunch v. chew.  the packaging and ingredient list is in keeping with their other products, fun and friendly all round, and the price tag for this is just £1.96 for the box.  If you like puffed wheat i’d recommend buying this as a great alternative to the kids cereal sugar puffs.


All in all i enjoyed Rude Health’s products, i like what the company stand for and i like their actual products.  If they dropped the price of their granola slightly i’d be 100% sold on them, either way both their porridge and granola will be making regular appearances in my cupboards.  Tune in later this week for a giveaway of mini boxes of porridge for you to try out for yourselves.

So today i took Buddy on the Hike me and my dad did last wknd, and i got some awesome pics, and some even better pics of the castle than last weeks, this used to be the home of a large wealthy family that made cotton thread, but was eventually sold and is now a hotel, its a beautiful big building, with amazing grounds, its a hot spot for weddings round here, the hike is through their grounds and gardens.

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I dont even think the next two look real, they look like a painting!

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Rumour has it that theres a tunnel in there that leads up into underground passages and into the castle! 

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Yesterday, at Buddy’s request i made home made apple pie, its the first time i’ve made a pie! it felt like a very grown up thing to make and felt like quite an achievement!! i warn you now this is not a healthy recipe, but like i said it was buddy’s request, i had a very small slice to sample it and gave half to my parents, the rest buddy has eaten last night and tonight.

Home Made Apple and Rhubarb Pie (Jamie Oliver style)

For the Pastry

500g plain flour

100g icing sugar

250g unsalted cold butter

zest of 1 lemon

2 large eggs

a splash of milk

For the filling

3 Bramley Cooking Apples

5 small eating apples, of any kind

50g butter

100g golden sugar

about 3 stems of rhubarb (i froze this earlier in the season, you can skip it entirely or switch it up for blackberries etc

1 egg


First heat up the butter and sugar in a large pot on the hob, peel and core and roughly dice all of the cooking apples and 4 of the regular apples, once the butter is melted add the apple pieces into the pot, simmer for approx 15 minutes stirring regularly.  Now add the rhubarb (or other fruit) and simmer for approx 10 more minutes, again stirring regularly, add in cinnamon, approx 0.5t and stir in.

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Set the mixture aside in a new bowl to cool (the new bowl is because it will take longer to cool in the hot pan, and the mixture should be added to the pastry cold, if you add hot filling to raw pastry it will start to melt the butter in the pastry and result in a harder not so light pastry.)

Now while the mixture is cooling make the pastry, rub the butter and the flour and icing sugar together to make breadcrumbs but dont over mix, stir in the lemon zest, now add the eggs and a splash of milk and mix it till you get a dough, again dont over mix, turn it out the bowl and make into a flattened ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Once your mixture is cooled and the pastry has had 30 minutes in the fridge, take it out and roll it thin on a floured surface, then place half into the bottom of a pie dish, and fill with the filling, top with the remaining regular apple, cored and peeled and sliced.


Brush the exposed edges of pastry with beaten egg, and then put the top on the pie, pierce the pastry in several places with a knife to release the steam when its baking, fork the edges, to ensure they are stuck down to the pastry underneath and then brush the whole thing with the beaten egg, sprinkle with some brown sugar and cinnamon.


And when your ready to eat it bake at 180degrees for approx 50 minutes.

Et Voila! perfect home made apple pie.

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Like i said not healthy but certainly good for treating yourself if your so inclined or your other half or friends and family if your having them over for dinner!

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Right then i’m off for my usual Sunday night clean up an pampering, my Sunday night routine every week involves, changing the bed, face mask, shower, tan, exfoliate, shave, dry and straighten hair, clean Jammies, manicure and polish hands and feet, and then a fresh clean Neen hops into a fresh clean bed with my book for an early night! hmmmm i do love Sunday nights!

Do you have a Sunday night routine, or an any other night routine? mine has been in place since i was at school, my mum always made me stay in on a Sunday night, when i was a teenager and wanted to be out with my friends every waking moment, i had to stay in every Sunday night to “recharge my batteries” for the week ahead, i had to shower and change my bed every Sunday night, its stuck hard as a routine and i love it, very relaxing and cleansing!

Stay tuned because…………………………….

Coming next: my brand new Bento Box….eeeeeeeee and Home Made Bread.

Coming soon: Rude Health Giveaway.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Cauliflower/Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Squash


Hey Bloggies, Hows everyone’s weekend? i hope you’re all having a good one, ours is busy, lots of DIY round here, we’ve been doing alot of work all round the house, nothing worthy of showing just yet, we changed our bedroom all round, and cleaned out our monster hall cupboard and laid the new floor covering in the kitchen, its all go go go!

I wanted to share a little recipe with you from last week, squash stuffed with cauliflower/broccoli cheese, hmmmmm!!

I split the squash perfectly in half and rubbed a little oil on all of the exposed edges, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and ground dried garlic.


Then i squished up tin foil to hold the squash upright and flat, and baked for 45 minutes on about 180degrees.

After 45 minutes, i took them out the oven and filled with little florets of raw broccoli and cauliflower.

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Once the squash are full pour over cheese sauce, you could make your own, but you dont need much sauce so i figured it wasn’t worth the effort of making my own and i used Bisto Cheese Sauce.

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Top with a little finely grated cheese.


And bake for a further 45 – 50 minutes, until crispy and golden brown on top.


I really really enjoyed this, i served it with some steamed baby corn and mange tout and a chicken breast marinated in lemon/honey/redwine vinegar/garlic/tarragon.


Buddy wasn’t so keen, apparently he likes squash soup and likes squash if its cubed and roasted with other veg such as carrots and parsnips etc, but as a whole vegetable served in this way he doesn’t like it. Go figure, i loved it though.

Coming next: A Rude Health Porridge and Cereal Review.

Coming soon: An exciting Rude Health Porridge Give Away.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Catch up and Butternut Squash and Butterbean Soup


Sorry Guys!! i should rename this blog the weekly soup kitchen! i will start posting more regularly again soon i promise! but for now, let me share with you THE.BEST.SOUP.IN.THE.WORLD.EVER.FACT! and a catch up from my bank holiday wknd.

It was Buddy’s stag do this wknd, so i drove him to the train station in Glasgow and dropped him and a bunch of his friends off, on the way home, there was an accident and the road was closed like all day, so after HOURS of hanging around i eventually decided to take another route, round the coast and over a ferry, i left the car on the other side, as it was too expensive to bring it over and i knew i had to return to Glasgow on Sunday to pick the boys up anyway so figured i’d take that route again.  it was a stressful day I left Glasgow at 2.30pm and arrived home at 9pm, it should have taken 2 hours!

I then spent the wknd at my parents house, being pampered and looked after, there ain’t nothing like staying at my parents every now and then for a bit of TLC!

I managed my first run on Saturday since before the Hen do (due to that toe!) it was awesome, so good to get back out there!

Sunday morning my dad and I took my dog and his dogs an early morning hike, it was a new route that i’d never been on before, it takes you through the grounds of a castle hotel and out and round a small island, it takes around 2 hours, its pretty spectacular! only a 2 minute drive from my house, Buddy and I will be doing this route soon fo sho’!

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Then i set off on the drive back to Glasgow to pick up Buddy and the boys.

I took the ferry.


The drive was a pretty drive, the weather was lovely


But this did not ease my mood, i got lost, TWICE! and it took me almost 4 hours, it should have taken just over 2! this wknd was not a successful wknd in terms of travel!!

Not a happy Neen!


Things were to get worse though!

When we got home we found that the kitchen floor had sunk dramatically over the wknd, we had to investigate, what we found was NOT GOOD!

Turns out the boiler has been leaking since we put it in about 9 months ago, the floor was completely rotten under the laminate flooring, there was all sorts of fungus in at the back of the boxed in boiler, it was hideous! my kitchen was totally destroyed!

So on our Bank Holiday Monday (what was supposed to be our catch up day off together), we tore the kitchen out.

It was NOT pretty! Poor Buddy had to rip the flooring back to the bare concrete floor, it took us hours and hours! and my whole house was upside down!


We kicked off at 9am and didn’t get finished until about 10pm last night, we managed to salvage the actual kitchen units, although kitchens are not made to be pulled out and put back in, so it doesn’t quite fit right anymore! it will do till after the wedding though!  we did have to replace the insulation and all the flooring, and we have to buy new floor covering.  It looks amazing now though compared to what it did yesterday morning, there were real tears and everything!

We’ll buy the floor covering this week and get it laid at the wknd! what a traumatic day yesterday was!


BUT in amongst the carnage buddy had to put my cooker outside, so i set a couple of hours aside and left him to some of the hard manual labour and cleaned that baby to within an inch of its life, its so much easier to scrub it down when its outside!


We worked hard yesterday and got the kitchen back to a workable order in time for bed, there is still much work to be done but that will have to wait for the wknd now!

Today i made good use of our workable kitchen and made the most amazing soup ever!

I’m not very good at soups, i dont seem to have much luck, but this is beyond a doubt the best i’ve ever tasted, anywhere!

Its a bit fiddly and certainly not a throw together soup, but well worth the effort. I bought tub of microwavable Baxters Butternut Squash, Giant Butterbean and Mascarpone soup and had it for lunch yesterday mid kitchen ripping out, it was awesome so i checked out the ingredients and figured i’d try it at home but healthier! and WOW!

Butternut Squash and Butterbean Soup

1 Butternut Squash

1 Tin of Butterbeans

1 Onion

1 clove Garlic

Ground dried garlic

Chilli flakes

1/2 Red Pepper

2 Carrots

1 Potato (or 3 baby potatoes)

1 Parsnip

Fresh Sage (dried will do)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

A knob of butter

1t Vegetable Bullion (1 veg stock cube will do)

Prep your butternut squash, cut in half, deseed, score, rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, ground dried garlic and chilli flakes, bake at 190degrees for approx 1 hour.


Meanwhile, fry the onion and garlic in a little oil and butter


Once softened, add in the parsnip, 1 carrot, 1/2 of your 1/2 pepper, and potato, cook down for approx 10 minutes on a gentle heat, stirring often.


Add 1 pint of water, and the vegetable bullion, bring to the boil then allow to simmer for approx 15 minutes until the veg is soft.


While thats cooking and the Butternut Squash is baking, prep the rest of the veg, chop the other carrot, rinse the tin of butter beans and finely chop the other 1/2 of the 1/2 pepper and set aside.


Once the Veg is soft in the soup, blend with a hand blender until smooth.

Once the Butternut Squash is roasted take it out the oven and scoop out the flesh, add to the soup and blend, i worried that a whole butternut squash was too much, but it was just fine, so perceiver and go ahead and use the whole thing. 

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Now blend till the soup is smooth and silky.

You should now boil the remaining veg in a separate pan, the carrots and peppers for approx 10 minutes, adding in the butterbeans for the final 3 minutes.


While the final veg is boiling heat up a non stick pan with a little oil and drop your sage leaves in till they go a bit transparent (omit this step if using dried sage), (i used twice the pictured amount)


Add the Sage to the soup, along with salt and pepper to taste, and blend a final time.


Now add in the final cooked veg, the butterbeans, the carrots and the peppers, and stir.

Et voila!  the best soup ever! it sounds more complicated than it is i promise! now run out and make it my dear bloggy friends!


Tonight i made a special dinner for buddy (he wasn’t so keen – oopsy! but i loved it and i know you will too!) Baked Acorn Squash stuffed with cauliflower/broccoli cheese, recipe coming soon!

Right then peeps i’m off to chill with buddy.

Much Love <3 <3 <3 xoxo.