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Tarragon Chicken with Rosemary Potaoes...


Over the last few months I have regained my passion for cooking and try to cook something different every night if I can. I have even started to try new flavours, ones that I usually stay away from like Tarragon. I really don't like that aniseed flavour, so have always shied away from using it but I must admit that with age my taste buds have changed, so I decided it was about time I gave it a go.

And I am very pleased I did as this dish is delicious and great for the family. 


serves 2 - 4

Ingredients

2 - 4 large potatoes, cut into cubes
4 chicken breasts, all the same size if possible.
300g button mushrooms
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
500ml chicken stock
handful of fresh chopped tarragon
2 level tbsp dijon mustard
tbsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper


 Method

1. Boil your potatoes for 3 -5 minutes then transfer to a baking tray with a little salt, pepper. fry light and the dried rosemary. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden and crispy.
2. Meanwhile in a pan brown your chicken and set aside. In the same pan fry off your onion, garlic and mushrooms. Once softened add your stock, mustard and tarragon and then return your chicken to the pan. Simmer for 20 -25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. You want the sauce to reduce so keep it on a medium to high heat.
3. Serve with a green salad and a sprinkle of fresh tarragon.



For my Slimming World lovelies this is half a syn.
based on a SW recipe

DIY - Halloween Spider Bow and Ring...


Its almost Halloween...eeek!!! :) So pumpkins are ready to be carved and last minute details are being finished off for my costume, Like this spooky bow and ring. Which I thought was so cute, I had to share! :)

What you need...



1 bow - I used one of my Giant Wool Bows By Emah - which will be in my Etsy store in the new year!
1 ring - I used one of my broken rings, recycle recycle :)
a couple of plastic spiders
and a glue gun

What you do...



1. Place your spiders on your bow where you think they look best and then glue them down.



 2. Now find the top of your ring, add a little glue and stick on your spider. Hold it in place for a couple of seconds to make sure it is stuck down.



And just like that you have your own spooky accessories for Halloween. You could also do this with a headband or necklace, anything you like really. Just get creative.



Sunday - Orange Pork with Pak Choi and Mushrooms...


This recipe was inspired by a picture I saw, I did looked for the recipe but was unable to find it so I just winged it and was pretty pleased with the outcome.

serves 2

Ingredients

4 small pork chops, fat removed and halved
1 pack of pak choi, washed and sliced roughly
150g shitaki mushrooms, halved
150g Oyster mushrooms, halved
1 cup rice
half an ornage, squeezed
2 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp chinese 5 spice
spring onion to garnish
fry light/ oil


Method
1. Cook your rice as per instructions on the bag then marinade your pork in the orange juice, soy sauce and 5 spice. Once the rice is nearly done set to one side to steam and cook/grill your pork for about 3 minutes a side, depending on the thickness.
2. Once your pork is cooked set aside and cover with a little foil. In the same pan cook down your mushrooms and pak choi. This doesn't take much time at all. 
3. When the mushrooms and pak choi is cooked serve straight away.
4. To serve add a little spring onion to your rice for freshness and a squeeze of orange to your pork.


This is a lovely fragrant and earthy dish and would make a great dinner to cook for friends, as its so quick and easy.

For my Slimming World lovelies i think this would maybe be 1/2 syn for the orange juice but i'm not 100%.

Saturday - Shepherds Pie...


I have had such a lazy day today,  I think Benji and I had about three naps...hibernation kicking in maybe :) I still found the energy to cook dinner though and tonight its a real winter comfort. Shepherds pie.

serves 2

Ingredients

400g lean lamb mince
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 pint of beef stock
carrots, peppers, celery,courgette, chopped (I just used what was left in the fridge)
1 tsp dried mint
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp chilli powder
fry light/oil

Method

1. In a pan with a little fry light soften your onion, garlic and vegetables. Once cooked set aside and brown your mince with the dried mint and chilli powder.
2. Once you have browned your mince re add your vegetables and pour over the stock. Simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. While your mince is cooking boil your potatoes, drain and mash with a tsp butter, tblsp of milk, salt and pepper. You can of course add more butter.
3. Now that everything is cooked, assemble in a large baking dish or two individual dishes and bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden ontop.
4. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and aside of green beans toast in a little garlic.


Delicious, meaty and comforting! :)

Friday - Sweet Chilli Chicken...


Friday night usually means a greasy takeaway and this dish is a great healthy alternative. You could actually use chicken wings, which would make it even more takaway like and fool fussy family members or kids :)


serves 2

Ingredients

4 skinless chicken thighs
2 tblsp sweet chilli sauce
6 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp 5 spice
2 large potatoes
salad leaves
salt and pepper
fry light

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 160 fan. With a sharp knife make a few slashes in your chicken thighs then mix your soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce together and poor over your chicken. Leave to marinade for 20 - 30 min. You don't have to marinade but it helps the flavour.
2. While the chicken is marinading slice your potatoes and boil for 5 minutes. Then transfer to baking tray, sprinkle with salt and pepper, spray with a little fry light/oil and place in the oven.
3. Once your chicken has marinaded sprinkle with the 5 spice and place in the oven with your chips. Cook both for 20 - 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the chips are golden and crispy. I like to baste my chicken in the juices once or twice to keep it moist.
4. Serve with a nice leafy salad and a sprinkle of spring onion. I used chives tonight as I didn't have spring onion.


for my Slimming World lovlies this comes to 1 syn.

based on a SW recipe

Thursday - Pasta Carbonara...


The cold has definitely settled in now which means...COMFORT FOOD!! And what's better then a delicious bowl of pasta.

Pasta Carbonara is another quick and simple dish packed with flavour and tummy satisfying goodness. Great for a chilli night snuggled up on the sofa in front of the tele, or in bed watching Buffy in my case :)


Ingredients

500g Pasta, I used Pene
6 Rashes of smoked bacon, for SW cut all visible fat off.
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 white onion, chopped
a good handful or two of mushrooms, sliced
handful of chopped chives
3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper


Method

1. Cook pasta as per instruction on the bag. In a pan fry off your bacon until it is nice and crispy. Once cooked set aside.
2. In the same pan, spray a little fry light and cook your onion, garlic and mushroom for a bout 5 min or until soft. Remember the pan mustn't be to hot otherwise your garlic will burn.
3. Once everything is  cooked add your bacon, onion, mushroom and garlic to your warm pasta and gently stir in the beaten egg. It can be on a low heat but nothing higher as you don't want the egg to scramble just coat your pasta in a smooth and silky like sauce. Season to taste.
4. To serve sprinkle with chives. Its great with a nice leafy salad and some garlic bread.


hmmm Delicious and comforting.

For my Slimming World lovelies this meal is syn free, without the garlic bread of course.

based on a SW recipe

Wednesday - Herby Chicken and Vegetable Traybake...


Chicken roasted/baked in the oven is always a winner and a season all rounder. It is even a great dinner party dish as its a all in one bung in the oven kind of dish. You cant go wrong really.


serves 3

Ingredients

3 chicken thighs, with skin
600g baby potatos, halved
1 large courgette sliced and halved
1 red, yellow and green pepper, chopped into pieces
half a red chilli, sliced into rings
1 clove of garlic, chopped
handful of parsley, chopped
handful of thyme, chopped
salt and pepper
fry light or oil


Method

1. Preheat your oven to 160 fan. Season your chicken thighs with salt and pepper and then brown in a pan with a little fry light/oil. While the chicken is browning boil your potatoes for about 5 minutes and then drain.
2. Place all your vegetables and potatoes in a baking tray with a little frylight/oil, sprinkle on your herbs, chilli and garlic keeping a little bit of herbs aside for a garnish later.
3. Now place your chicken thighs ontop of the vegetables and cook in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are roasted. Check it every now and again and if the chicken is catching or drying out cover with tinfoil.
4. To serve sprinkle with your left over herbs.



This is great for little ones, just chop up the chicken and vegetables and add to a little cooked rice.

For my Slimming World lovelies, without skin this is a syn free dish, wit skin 6 1/2 syns.

based on a SW recipe

Tuesday - Juicy Lucy Burgers and Chips...


The best part about Slimming World is you can eat so much and not have to give up the things you like! With just a few changes like cooking without oil for example you can eat all the things you usually associate with putting on weight!My proof... I lost 7lbs this week!!! And you see what I eat, I don't go hungry and I don't skimp on flavour!!

Tonight I indulged my inner fatty and made delicious Juicy Lucy Burgers or as I like to call it Em's Bad Boy Burger :) Here is how you make it...


Ingredients
300g extra lean minced beef
1 clove of garlic, crushed
salt and peper
1 tsp chilli powder
tblsp chopped parsley
2 babybel lights ( or full fat/chedder ect)
2 large potatos, sliced
2 wholemeal rolls
salad

Method
1. Mix your garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and half the chilli powder with your beef mince. Mould the burger in your hand placing the cheese in the middle. Make sure the cheese is completely sealed inside.
2. Place your sliced potato in a pan of boiling water and cook for 5 min, then drain and place in a baking tray with a little salt , pepper, the rest of the chilli powder and then spray with frylight, ( You can of course use oil if you prefer). Bake for about 20min or until golden and crispy.
3. After about 10 min start to cook your burgers, 3 - 4 min on each side and leave to rest for a min or so.  Place in a bun with sliced tomato and serve with salad and your oven baked chips hot out the oven.


This burger is crazy delicious and would be even tastier on the grill!!

For my slimming world lovlies - 2 syns for the babybel light ( could be a healthy extra a) Wholemeal roll is your healthy extra b. If you butter your roll remember to count it as syns.

based on a sw recipe

Monday - Smoked Haddock Kedgeree...


This week I am going to post a recipe a night to show that evening meals don't have to be the same old boring thing night after night and week after week. The recipes will all be easy, delicious and healthy. ( Even Slimming World friendly )

Tonight's recipe is one of my favourites... Smoked Haddock Kedgeree! I have loved it ever since I was little. It is really easy to make and packed with flavour.


Ingredients

2 Smoked Haddock fillets 
1 pint of chicken/fish stock
1 cup of rice
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped roughly
1 tsp Tumeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
Parsley to garnish

Method

1. Place your haddock in a deep pan and cover with the stock. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 min until the fish is cooked through. Once cooked remove from the stock and place to One side.
2. Pour the remaing stock into a measuring jug and top up with water if needed. Now fry your onion and garlic with the spices for a few min and then add your rice. Pour over the stock. Again bring to the boil and then turn down to a low simmer. Cook for about 20 min or until the rice has absorbed all the stock. 
3. Once your rice is cooked flake in your haddock and add your egg. Keep some egg aside to garnish.
4. Serve hot or cold with a sprinkling of parsley. 


So simply, so quick and SO delicious!! It's even great for breakfast! :) 


For my Slimming World lovelies this is syn free.

based on a SW recipe 

Soy Sauce, Lime and Chilli Chicken with Mixed Pepper Noodles...



Last night I was really stuck at what to make  for dinner and some how stumbled across this, Its something I totally made up as I went along using what ever I had in the fridge and cupboard. That's what I love about cooking, with a little imagination and a few ingredients you can create something really delicious!


Ingredients

4 small to medium chicken breasts
1 lime, squeezed
5 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp honey
half a red chilli, sliced into rounds
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 small thumb ginger, finely chopped
red, yellow and green peppers. sliced
spaghetti/noddles

Method

1. In a bowl mix your soy sauce, lime, honey, garlic, ginger and chilli.
2. Place your chicken breasts into a large dish and pour over 3/4 of the marinade/sauce. Leave for 20 - 30 min to marinade. (not essential but the flavour will be better)
3. Once marinaded fry/grill your chicken for a few minutes on each side, making sure it is cooked through. The honey can catch so keep an eye on it, things can get smokey.
4. While the chicken is cooking, get your spaghetti/noodles on the boil and start frying off your peppers in a wok. Once your spaghetti/noodles are cooked, drain and add to the wok with the peppers. Pour on the remaining marinade/sauce and fry until everything is mixed and coated.
5. By now your chicken should be cooked. You can either serve it whole or sliced. A squeeze of lime over the top really finishes it off.


For Slimming World Lovelies it comes to 2.5 syns for the tblsp honey.

September what a month... October not so much...


September...was a good month!!!  I got my 1/2 Stone award and my 1 Stone award as well as Slimmer of the week and Slimmer of the Month!

banana explanation- in group you get a bag of fruit for slimmer of the week and i got the biggest banana in the world in mine!! had us in hysterics...


 I also got stuck into my swimming taking up the channel challenge which is swimming 22 miles in 12 weeks! On average I was swimming just over an mile (64 lengths) in each session which I am super proud of!!




But then October happened...sigh...I got a nasty cold and then like an idiot I dislocated my knee and have started putting on the lbs instead of losing them! I know we are only half way through the month but its going to take allot of work to get back on track!


So while I'm recovering I am in my knitting zone and crafting bits and bobs for my Etsy store opening in the new year - exciting!! And making sure I stick to Slimming World 100% so I can start losing the lbs again!


Lets hope October does turn around so I can turn my lunch time catalogue browsing into actual purchases :)


DIY - Cute Halloween Wreath ...


Halloween is by far my favourite holiday as I love all things spooky, dark and scary! And now I finally get to go all out on Halloween...why...because I have a little person!! Hello fancy dress, treats and a house over run by spooky decorations. YAY! :)
Now I would love to just buy anything I can get my hands on but I am on a budget and love anything DIY. so handmade spookiness is the theme this year. 

To start it all off I made this cute little Bat Halloween Wreath just using what I could find around the house and outside.

This is how I made it...


You will need

an old wire hanger
pliers
a glue gun and glue
scissors
scrap black paper
Autumn leaves
string
googly eyes
bat stencil (I used a cookie cutter)



1. Using your pliers cut the top of the hanger off and form into a circle. if this is difficult for you do what I did and ask your other half :)


2. Lay your biggest leaves out on the floor in a circle, this will for the base of your wreath.


3. Using your glue gun, glue the ring in place over the leaves.


4. Once dry, turn over and build up layers of leaves.


5. While that dries make your bats and then glue them onto your wreath. I found odd numbers look best.


 6. To finish it off add some googly eyes to your bats and glue a little loop of string to the back so you are able to hang it up.
Leave to dry completely and then hang on your door or on your wall!

You don't have to use bats, use anything you like. Go mad! :)