It is finally been completed!

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A Healthier Berry Muffin

No butter, no oil and no sugar….but yes they are tasty! I love to bake and after watching the first episode of “The Great Irish Bake Off” on Wednesday I was seriously craving some kitchen time. As I am trying to lose this darn baby weight and get out of my maternity jeans a full on chocolate cake had to be a big no no so I came up with these 🙂

Preheat your oven to 170.
Spray a 12 piece muffin tray with frylite/Pam spray. (I used muffin cases and forgot to spray them so I am highlighting this point as mine stuck to the cases)

Ingredients:

200gr self raising flour
2 eggs
150gr of berries – I used raspberries and blackberries.
Approx half a cup of sweetner
165gr pot of fat free vanilla yogurt (I used mullerlight vanilla with choc sprinkles)
Teaspoon of cinnamon – optional
Splash of water if required.

Method:
Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowel.
Mix yogurt, eggs and sweetener in another bowel.
Add to flour.
Mix in berries and add a splash of water if its needed to loosen the batter slightly.

Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 15-20min or until golden and a fork comes out clean.

Enjoy!

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Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? ….. A Life Changing Decision

working womanwe can do it

I suppose it is an age old question. Can women truly have it all? Can we work full time and do well, while also doing well at being a wife and a mother.
I have worked full time for most of my elder childrens lives with the odd few months at home with them while I was either between childcare providers or studying. I didn’t work because I wanted to be out all day in the rat race or because I enjoyed running from home to childcare to work, sometimes in the very early hours of the morning, in the winter, in the rain! It wasn’t because I was in a career that would provide me with the job satisfaction I longed for nor was it because I was earning a 3 figure salary. It was because I didn’t have a choice. The bills had to be paid, the dinner on the table and clothes on the childrens backs. I worked to live, I did not live to work.

I resented the people who could afford to stay at home and still have a top of the range car. I missed my children while I wasn’t there and overcompensated for the guilt when I was.

I read a post on facebook posted by an old school friend regarding working mums. Her comments were harsh – women should be at home rearing their children and if they werent they were only part time parents! I couldn’t believe what she was saying. I was never a part time parent I was a parent who had to fit in 40 hours of work on top of being a parent. It doesn’t mean either of us have done a better job then the other but it got me thinking again about the decision I now have to make about whether or not I return to work after my maternity leave is up. Now I do have the choice.

Six months felt like a very long time back in February but it is slipping away very quickly and I am getting anxious. I am battling with the independent, strong willed and often stubborn woman inside me who still wants society to see her as a breadwinner. The woman who still needs adult conversations, fancy lunches, suits and a briefcase!

Over the years and especially since having my third baby another woman has developed inside me. She is caring, compassionate and wants her only job to be her children, her home and her husband. She wants to cook, she wants to clean she wants to bake for the school cake sale, she wants to have the time to help with homework. “How ridiculously old fashioned” sneers the working woman. “We didn’t burn our bra’s for this!..Women can do it all!”….

And that’s it – that’s the battle. Should I stay or should I go now?

Is there ever a balance between the two? Can I be both women anymore? …. Time will tell.

Coffee Table Up-cycle Project

My sister was throwing out her solid wood coffee table a few months back and we hadn’t got round to buying one so I took hers with all the intentions of upcycling it to match our living room.

I was pregnant at the time so it kinda for delayed until recently.

I finally decided to paint it (after toying with the idea of decoupage for ages!).

It isn’t finished just yet as the weather here hasn’t been reliable enough to leave it outside for any length of time and the paint fumes are too strong with a newborn in the house. I am hoping to complete it this week!
Please don’t hold me to this – I am a serial procrastinator!!

My living room is really dark. Dark furniture , dark fireplace etc so I decided to paint it in an off white/cream. I got a new paint being sold in the local hardware which promises that no primer is required.

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This is what the coffee table originally looked like

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I had removed the two pieces of extremely heavy glass at this point!

Even though the paint said I didn’t have to sand I decided to do it anyway just to be sure!

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I used fine sand paper just to rough it up and give the paint something to stick to.

(As you can see I started this project in doors and then realised the strength of the paint – I did eventually move out doors 🙂

When it was all sanded I put on a very quick first coat.

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I have since put on a second coat but it looks like it will probably need another two!

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I am starting to see what the finished result will be. Had I have been more observant I wouldn’t have gone for a gloss paint. I think the shiny display at the hardware for this amazing new paint dazzled me :).

I really hope now that I have blogged this project I will finish it. I have learnt over the years of starting projects of this nature that patience is the greatest tool required, a virtue I really lack but it can be learned so bare with me folks! I will update asap!

Finally finished and I love it
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Lean Mean Green Breakfast Drink

So I figured I should really start using the blender that has been sitting in the press for about a year untouched…yes I said a year!!

I am trying to eat more healthy (in case you hadn’t noticed! )

I invented this juice/smoothie this morning and it didn’t kill me to drink it!

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Ingredients:

Packed cup of spinach
1/4 of a cucumber cut into bitesize pieces
Handful of blackberries
Tablespoon of natural yogurt
Water
Sprinkle of splenda – optional/to taste

Method:

Whizz the spinach with water until smooth
Add other ingredients and blend until it reaches the consistency you like
Pour into a tall glass and add s couple of ice cubes.

Looks gross but doesn’t taste as bad 🙂
Great way of getting some goodness

Fake KFC Chicken Recipe

OK, so I have heard about this recipe for a few years via various social media and forums. I finally decided to try it and while it didn’t taste exactly like fried KFC chicken it did make me feel very bold and provided that salty spicy fix. Give it a go and see what you think. The family loved it 🙂

Ingredients:

Chicken strips/breasts/drummers
Bovril chicken paste in a jar
Pepper
Garlic flakes (optional)
Chilli flakes
3/4 sachet of instant mash potato
2-3 eggs depending on consistency (I used 2)

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Method:
Boil your chicken for about 20 mins and let cool.

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While your chicken is on the boil prepare your mix.
Put the instant mash, Bovril and spices in a dish and mix. Then add your egg.

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Your mixture should look something like this.

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Spray a baking tray with frylite

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Then start to coat your cooled chicken with the mix…it gets very messy and sticky and is difficult to completely coat the chicken but its fun and the kids will love it!

Put your oven onto its highest setting and place your tray in to bake for about 15 mins. This is only a guide but once the coating is crispy and dry it should be ready.
I made two trays.

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Very tasty… I removed salt from the recipe as I felt there was enough in the Bovril paste.
You can replace the instant mash with breadcrumbs or even cous cous whichever you have to hand or prefer.

I made sweet potato wedges to go with mine 🙂 hope you enjoy 🙂

Fat Free Cream Cheese…The Recipe

OK first of all sorry for the delay with this but I was trying to find fat free natural yogurt all weekend and none of my local shops had it in stock. To make this recipe fat free this the yogurt you need to use…I will be using low fat for the above reasons but the process and results will be the same.

This is what you will need:

500ml tub of fat free natural yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
One clove of garlic – depending on taste

Utensils:

Sieve
Large bowel
Small bowel
A tin to use as a weight
Spatula
Muslin cloth or the foot of an old (clean) pair of tights

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First empty the yogurt into a bowel and mix in the salt, garlic and pepper. The salt is to help the curd separate from the whey and you won’t taste it in the cheese. I am using garlic and pepper to flavour my cheese but you can use anything you want…chilli, fresh herbs, whatever you fancy.

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When you have given the ingredients a really good mix you need to set up your “cheese maker”.
Place the sieve on top of the large bowel and line the sieve with the muslin or tights.

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Pour your mixture into the muslin.

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Twist up your muslin and give a little squeeze. Place your second bowel on top and your weight on top of that. You will need a big shelf free in your fridge!

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This will encourage the separation of curds and whey until you are left with cheese! It takes over night in the fridge. You can then wrap your cheese in cling film and twist into a tight roll. The consistency should be dry and a little crumbly like goats cheese.

Also please note that the flavours you add will intensify a lot! I like garlic but if you want a milder taste add less. You might have to play around with the recipe until you find the one you like.

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I will update with a pic of the finished product in the morning 🙂

I would love to hear from any of you who give this a go..it is so very worth it. Something so nice about making your own cheese!

Just wanted to add a couple of things…
1. I just checked my cheese after 5 hours and its creamy like cream cheese. I prefer mine to have a more crumbly texture so will leave it another 5 hours. I advise checking every so often and tasting until you have the consistency you want.
2. After tasting its very strong so I will reduce the amount of garlic to one clove next time 🙂

Breakfast Time ….Yum
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It turned out really well so well in fact kids took it to school for lunch and hubby had some with crackers last night!