Saturday, 22 November 2014

Turkey Mac & Cheese

Do you remember me telling you about the Bernard Matthews event I attended last week? I may of mentioned that I ate the most amazing Turkey Mac & Cheese?!

Well the other day I decided to make the Turkey Mac & Cheese for my family, and let me tell you, it was just as yummy as I remembered and super easy to make!

So I thought I would share the recipe with you, it easily serves 6...

Ingredients:

420g (3 packs) Bernard Matthews  Roast Turkey Chunks
400g Dried Macaroni, or Spirally Pasta
45g Butter
45g Flour
568ml Milk
50ml Double Cream
200g Grated Cheddar
50g Parmesan
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 big squeeze American Yellow Mustard
4 tablespoons Breadcrumbs
3 tsp Cajun Seasoning
18 Cherry Tomatoes


Method:

Before we start with the method, I will just mention that when I made it, I omitted the Cajun Seasoning and the Parmesan. This was purely because I did not have them in my cupboard at the time! I still loved how it turned out!

Pre-heat the oven to 180c

Cook the pasta according to the back of the pack directions, then cool under running water. Drain well and set to one side.

In a large pan, gently heat the butter, then stir in 2 tsp of the Cajun seasoning. Stir continuously and add in the flour. Stir until it makes a sandy colour.

Slowly add the milk a little at a time, whilst whisking to prevent it sticking.

When the milk is all mixed in, reduce the heat and add the mustard, cheddar cheese, smoked paprika and cream.

When the cheese has melted and the sauce is glossy, take off heat and add the drained pasta, cherry tomatoes (I cut mine in half) and the Bernard Matthews Turkey Chunks.

Meanwhile, mix together the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan and the last tsp of Cajun seasoning.

Transfer pasta into an oven proof dish, and cover with the breadcrumb mix.

Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.


We didn't serve ours with anything else as it was such a filling dish! It went down a treat with my family, and really reminded me of the amazing Mac & Cheese that they serve in America. It is certainly something that I will be cooking more often. It was much easier than I thought it would be to make!

Does your family have any firm favourites that are always on your cooking list?






Campbell Christmas book countdown number 4. Lets Play... Ice Skating

So the second book in our Campbell Christmas book countdown is Lets Play... Ice Skating.


I don't know about you, but when I think of Christmas, I think of Snow. I don't know why because it has only ever snowed once at Christmas in my lifetime and I was about 7 or 8 at the time! I also associate Ice Skating with snow, so this book is the perfect wintery story for me, er... I mean the children!

Lets Play... Ice Skating is a really fun and interactive book. Set against a city backdrop, 3 little children learn to skate on an outdoor rink in a park. I think as adults we can all associate with that first time on the ice, I love that this story teaches Children that practice makes perfect. You get to see the 3 Children turn from slippery beginners to gliding stars of an ice show.




There are plenty of pull tabs and spin wheels for Chester and Millie to use. Its a big chunky board book so easy to use. Chester is 6 and as you can see in comparison to him, it is a fairly big book!


 The story is rhyming, which my children always respond well to. It has a fun and upbeat feel to it, and will certainly make you and your children want to have a go at Ice Skating by the end of the story! The illustrations by Yu-hsuan Huang are lovely, they are bright and lots of fun, filling the whole page with lots of details!

Lets Play... Ice Skating is currently on Amazon for £9.98 for a board book of its size I would say that is a fair price.

So what do you think of this wintery book?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Letters to Father Christmas 2014!

Its that time already, time to write the letters to Father Christmas, or Santa Christmas as Chester likes to call him!

Chester thought really hard about what he would like this year. He decided he would like... Skylanders! What a surprise! For the 3rd year in a row, he has asked Father Christmas for Skylanders. Gotta love him! This year its all about trap team so he is asking for some traptaniums and some figures. He was also quick to point out that he has tried his best to be good this year, and that he has worked hard at School and is excellent at Maths. Although he left the at Maths part off so really he just looks like he is being a bit big headed. Only Chester!


It won't surprise you that when Millie was asked what she would like from Father Christmas, she replied with Pom Pom Baby Panda! The child is obsessed! Although I do think it is kinda cute that she still has so much love for Baby Panda's, all thanks to a Kinder Egg toy! As this is just her 3rd Christmas, I spent some time explaining to her about where Father Christmas lives and about all of his Reindeer. She was particularly interested in the Reindeer and said that she really wants to go and visit them, and cuddle them!


We send our letters to the following address:

Father Christmas
Santa's Grotto
Reindeer Land
XM4 5HQ

All you need to do is make sure you put your childs name and address at the top of their letter, then a 1st class stamp on the envelope you send it in, and Father Christmas will send a reply (for free, thanks to Royal Mail)



Have your little ones sent their letters off to Father Christmas yet? What have they asked for?!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Bernard Matthews #Bootifulmeals

At the weekend we were invited to The Horniman Museum and Gardens in London to meet with the Bernard Matthews team and talk Turkey!

I chose to take both of the children with me, and they were just as excited as me. Both of them are massive fans of the iconic Turkey Dinosaur. When I say Bernard Matthews that is what they think of!

The Children were settled in with some colouring sheets and Duplo blocks, which kept them entertained whilst the adults (and some of the older children) took part in a food styling lesson with Olia Hercules.


I learnt lots of new tips and was reminded of some things that I had forgotten about, such as 'the rule of 3' meaning odd numbers look better on a plate than even numbers (this plays havoc with my number ocd!). After Olia had shown us the tips and tricks, we got to have a go ourselves. We were given some ingredients to make a turkey caesar salad and then had to dress it and photograph it. I think I will give myself a pat on the back for my efforts, as I am very pleased with the final outcome....


Next we were given a more difficult task of dressing a plate with a Turkey Dinosaur! The reason I say that this was difficult was that the children could not keep their hands off of the dinosaur, so no sooner had I got my camera ready the dinosaur's were making their way to the children's mouths!


We were served lunch, which of course was Bernard Matthews Turkey themed. It certainly made me realised that even for lunch there are lots of different ways to include turkey into your everyday meals. Everything was really yummy, especially the Turkey Mac & Cheese. It was infact the closest tasting Mac & Cheese to my very favourite American version, Which I have so far been unable to find or recreate!


We then were able to give our opinion on some ideas that Bernard Matthews have, it was great to get into a discussion with everyone. We all had different likes and dislikes with regards to the flavours, but I think a couple of things stood out from the discussions, they were that we all agreed the Turkey was yummy and also that it was perfect for all of the Family!

We then had a chance to explore the museum and gardens, we absolutely loved exploring, but with so much to see we are going to have to come back!

I think the main thing I took away from this event, was that Turkey is not just for Christmas. When people say Turkey in this country, most of us will automatically think Christmas! But actually it is a great year round food! Its tasty, its good for you, and its reasonably priced. So why are we forgetting about this great bird?! I for one will certainly be using Turkey in my meal plan more often.

I mentioned the delicious Turkey Mac & Cheese earlier, I loved it so much that I am going to make it at home, then I am going to share the recipe with you guys. I really wouldn't want you to miss out!

I have also been asked if I would like to become a member of the Bernard Matthews family panel, which is a great honor, I am really looking forward to finding out more about Turkey and sharing some recipes and information with you all.



Do you enjoy turkey year round or do you think of it as a Christmas dish?

Millie's awesome hair cut experience!

Last week my friend and I took Millie and her friend to the hairdressers. But not just any hairdressers. This hairdressers is completely dedicated to Children!

Its called Hairstyle Avenue, its situated in a spacious building in Rochester. It has an area for younger children, where they can sit in cars or planes and watch films whilst getting their hair cut! Then they have an area for older children where they can feel really grown up but have the option to play on a playstation!

Its such a fantastic idea! Millie has not had a haircut since coming back from Disney last year, where she had her first hair cut and was given Mickey Ears and a certificate! As soon as I heard of Hairstyle Avenue (found out about it on facebook, there page is here if anybody is interested) I knew that I just had to take Millie there!

I had shown Millie photos beforehand, so by the time we arrived she was very excited! She was greeted with a smile and asked to choose a vehicle to sit in. She of course went for the airplane as it was pink!


Then she was asked if she would like to watch Frozen, well this was just the icing on the cake for Millie. Getting to sit in a cool airplane whilst watching one of her favourite Disney movies. Perfect!


The whole experience was just really lovely, Millie's much needed haircut looks fab. In fact we loved it so much that we have booked for her to go back!

So a big thank you to the team at Hairstyle Avenue, see you soon!

Do your little ones enjoy their trip to the hairdressers?








Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Wall Create Canvas review and giveaway

As you all know, I love to take pictures!

My friends think I am crazy. I take pictures of the most random of moments, or the silliest things. But I see it as a way of preserving memories. When I am 90 and don't have much to do, I am going to look back through my photos and remember those random moments!

We have some pictures up around the house, but in my opinion we do not have enough. Something that is clearly missing are some pictures of our Walt Disney World holiday last year. I spoke about my Disney blues last week, and that is probably the reason that I have not displayed that many photos of the trip. But as I mentioned in the post, I have now decided to embrace the memories rather than feel sad that we are not there now!

Wall Create have been around since 2001, they are one of the most popular canvas printing companies in the UK. This month they have kindly sent me a 30cmx40cm canvas print of one of my favourite Disney memories from last year....



This picture was taken shortly after Millie made Minnie Mouse laugh, as well as everyone in the que and all of the cast members! Initially she had rushed over to Minnie when it was not her turn, so I had to go and fetch her and get back in line. She was only 22 months old and had not quite mastered the idea of waiting, she was just desperate to see Minnie! So when it finally was our turn, she ran up to Minnie, gave the dirtiest laugh and said 'its my turn now, hahaha' like she was some kind of evil villan! Everyone was in stitches, Minnie then spent lots of time with Chester and Millie, it was a really great Disney moment.

The Wall Create website is really easy to navigate around, they have lots of options, which are all clearly marked and easy to read. It took just under a week from the time I ordered for the Canvas to get to me. When it arrived, it was packaged in a large brown bubble wrap envelope, with plenty of padding to prevent any damage.

The Canvas itself is really sturdy and well made. You can tell it has been made with quality materials. The picture looks fantastic on the canvas and great on our wall! The price of this particular canvas is £17.97, considering the quality of the canvas I think this is good value for money.


I love the fact they have a really wide range of sizes to choose from, I have been playing around with the sizes on the website and I have to say I really like the idea of a 20cmx20cm for only £8.97. I have always thought that this size canvas would look great as a cluster of 3 or 4 on a feature wall or going up the stairs. So for under £30 you can transform a wall in your home into something personal. Or you could even go for some Triptych art, where a picture is spread across more than 1 canvas, I love this idea for the feature wall in our bedroom.

So, who would like to put a photo of their choice onto a canvas the same size as mine (30cmx40cm)? Well, the lovely people at Wall Create have offered one for a giveaway! All you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below! Just answer the question (mandatory entry requirement), posting your answer as a comment below, then if you wish, there are extra ways to enter too. These are not mandatory though!

Good Luck!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Campbell Christmas book countdown number 5. Whizzy Santa

As you know, this year I have decided to start a new family tradition and do a book advent. The lovely people at Campbell books kindly contributed towards our book advent, so I have decided to do a Campbell Christmas book countdown to show you the wonderful things that each book has to offer. The countdown is in no particular order, in fact I think it would be impossible for me to put them into an order! I really love the magic of Christmas time and I truly believe reading Christmas stories to children just add to the magic!

So on with our first book....

Whizzy Santa, by Marion Billet.


We are already familiar with Marion Billet books, and you may remember at the beginning of the year we reviewed Hello London, which is also written by Marion.

So we were very pleased to see that the bright illustrations that we loved from that book, were carried on in this book!

Its a board book with a difference, this book has wheels! So not only can it be enjoyed as a book it can also be enjoyed as a toy! Great fun, and hours of play possibilities! Millie absolutely loved this, she thought it was really funny, and even Chester at age 6 was happy to push is around the floor and make up his very own santa story/game!



Researching further I was pleased to see that the Wheels range is not just for Christmas, they also have a big range of vehicle books with wheels on and also some fun scooter books!

Whizzy Santa tells the story of Christmas eve. Unfortunately though, his reindeer have got Flu! So Santa needs to come up with an alternative way to deliver his presents to all of the Children!


Its a really lovely story, with some lovely detail in the illustrations, the children really loved spotting all the details on each page! Priced at just £6.99 I think that is great value for money! This books is sure to give hours of endless fun!

Even better, that this week I have spotted it on Amazon for the amazing price of £3.50!!