Saturday, 30 June 2012

Protein without meat

I've been thinking a lot lately about the amount of meat that my family consume.  It's sort of become natural to think of the meat first, and then decide what we're going to have with it.  Last week I was watching a cookery programme and the presenter was talking about how the amount of meat that is eaten is bad for health and bad fr the environment, so we need to start looking at alternatives.  Then, while watching yet another cookery programme, I heard about quinoa.  I have seen this on the supermarket shelves and didn't know what it was, and obviously didn't know how to pronounce it as I'd always said it as it's spelt but apparently it's pronounced 'keen-wa' (you learn something new every day).

Quinoa is currently being called a superfood and is supposed to be very high in protein so naturally I thought this could be the perfect solution.  Off I went to the supermarket to get some to try.  I'd had a quick look online at the sort of meal you can use it for and thought I'd try something cold to suit the glorious summer weather we've been having (that is just ever so slightly sarcastic).

Here are my ingredients:

Pack of quinoa
Chicken stock cube (optional)
Small tin of chickpeas
1 teaspoon cumin
Onion
Lemon juice
Cucumber
Fresh mint
Frozen peas

I used about 50g of quinoa and had to guess with the amount of water as I wasn't really sure.  I added the stock cube and cooked on the hob for about 30 minutes (though this can be done in the microwave much more quickly).  When all the water had been absorbed I rinsed the quinoa under cold water and left to drain.

I chopped the onion, and cucumber and put them in a bowl with the cumin and plenty of lemon juice.  I cooked the chickpeas and peas then cooled these before adding them to the bowl along with the quinoa.  I mixed it all up, seasoned and then put in plenty of  fresh chopped mint for that lovely summery flavour.

And voilà, a nice easy salad that's high in protein.  We used it as a side salad to accompany fish and it was fresh and delicious.


Belated Blogiversary

I just realised that I've missed the first anniversary of the day my blog was born.  I started blogging on 16th June 2011 because I wanted to record my children's milestones and try to retain some sort of memory of their lives.  So, how have I done?  I will be the first to admit that I haven't done brilliantly.  I'm not very good at posting regularly and using my blog as a diary of some sorts, which was the original intention.  I think I've been a bit of an emotional blogger, where I post when something makes me feel happy, irritated, or sometimes sad.  Plus, when I started blogging  I wanted to get involved in all the linky's and the great camaraderie amongst other bloggers, but I kept forgetting about them (the linky's that is, not the other bloggers).

So what have I achieved over the last year?  I've discovered that there is another world out there where you can work with and help brands; I have an outlet when I feel that there is something important to be said; and I have made some new friends, which has to be the best part of blogging.  I would probably have given up a long time ago if other bloggers hadn't been so friendly and supportive.  So thank you to you all.

If I was marking my blog I would make comments like "more effort needed" or "could do better" so that is what I will try to do over the next year.  Though don't expect too much as I am quite lazy so doubt I'll be posting every day!  I will try to post more though.

So here starts my second year of blogging.  I just need to think of something to write about.  I'll do that now.  Or maybe it can wait until tomorrow........

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Styling with Next

When I walk into most children's clothing store I get really frustrated with the limited choice of boys clothes, and this is usually emphasised by the pure abundance of clothes for girls.  I don't really get it.  I want to dress my boys well and make them look good but some clothes shops seem to think that all boys want are jeans and blue t-shirts.

Thankfully, this isn't the case everywhere.  I love that I can walk into a clothes shop such as Next and see a huge array of boys clothes in all colours and designs spread out before me.  So when I discovered that All Baby Advice were running a competition to win £500 to spend at Next I had to give it a go.

I have loved searching through all the gorgeous clothes on the Next website to find the perfect outfits to suit my boys personalities.

First up is Zac:


Zac is 6 years old and has just started to become interested in fashion.  He is quite small and clothes always seem to look great on him.  His favourite hobby is playing computer games and he loves anything red.  I have chosen a pair of Belted Indigo Skinny Jeans as the skinny fit works best with his shape, and he also really need a belt to hold his jeans up!  I have paired these with the fantastic Grey Stone Roses T-shirt.  As soon as I saw this I knew I had to get it for him.  Firstly, the song title named on the t-shirt "I wanna be adored" is so apt for Zac.  As my first born he has got a bit of a superiority complex (I refuse to take any responsibility for this!)  The song could have been written for him.  Also, my other half is currently reliving his youth and is off to see The Stone Roses on the weekend so I know he would absolutely love to see Zac in this (plus I must admit I think it's really cool).  I have added a Navy Angry Birds Hoody to satisfy his need for anything gaming related and to add a bit of fun.  This outfit is then finished off with the Lace-Up Shoes in red and the Red Nylon Jacket simply because red is his favourite colour.  Altogether a cool outfit for my cool dude and all for just £80.

Next up is Ethan:



Ethan is 4 years old is very different to Zac even though he looks up to him in lots of ways.  He is a stockier build, loves anything green and is obsessed with dinosaurs.  He's not very interested in clothes and all he wants is to feel comfortable.  For him I have chosen these Grey Rib Waist Roll Leg Trousers.  He isn't keen on denim as he says it irritates him so would much prefer these soft trousers.  Also, he would feel much more confident being out and about in them as he can pull them up and down himself (he's not very good with buttons yet).  I have added the Dinosaur Badge Polo Shirt in green because, as I've already said, green is his favourite colour and he will love the dinosaur motif.  I'm continuing the dinosaur theme with the Navy Dino Hoody and I've finished Ethan's outfit off with Grey Retro Trainers and a Hooded Nylon Jacket in green.  I think this is a lovely outfit for a dinosaur mad boy and the whole thing costs only £68 in his size.

Lastly we have Oliver:


My last outfit is for 20 month old Oliver.  He couldn't care less about what he's wearing but I love this as, unlike with the other two, it means there's no arguments about what I've picked out for him to wear.  He is busy and noisy and adores his big brothers.  He loves Mickey Mouse and kicking balls around.  He is a happy, smiley little boy and I love to see him in bright colours as they suit his personality.  I have chosen a pair of Mid Badge Jogger Jeans for him as they've got a ribbed waist which will make it easy to get them off for those many nappy changes, and also ribbed leg cuffs which I think is vital at this stage as it avoids the 'tripping over the trouser leg' problem when he's toddling around.  I've added this Little But Loud T-Shirt as this is exactly what he is!  This Blue Stripe Zip Hoody will keep him warm while still looking cute and then I've added Grey Character Shoes and this Yellow Transport Print Cagoule which will add a fantastic splash of colour on grey, rainy days.  This outfit will suit his cheeky personality and I know will be very hard wearing, as all Next clothes are.  It is great value for money at £60.

So there's my three gorgeous boys styled in outfits that would be perfect for them and I have only spent £208 so I would still be able to buy lots more.  I have started adding more items that I love onto my Pinterest board which you can see here.  It's my virtual shopping list for my boys.

If you would like to enter this fantastic competition why not pop over to All Baby Advice to find out what you need to do.