Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Recipe - Peanut butter & white chocolate blondies

This is a recipe I did for our last bake club meeting at the beginning of the month. The theme was tray bakes and I thought, well, I've made brownies plenty of times but never blondies, and I had some Reese's peanut butter left from my cupcakes from last month's bake club... So these were born! As the peanut butter is smooth there wouldn't have been any crunch to them so I added banana chips as an alternative (peanut butter and banana is one of my favourite combinations!). You could always use crunchy peanut butter instead and leave the banana chips out - or add them anyway! These have more of a cake than a gooey consistency - but still delicious!


Ingredients (serves 12)
  • 100g butter
  • 150g smooth peanut butter 
  • 1 medium egg
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g banana chips, chopped into small chunks
  • 50g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks (plus a little extra melted for drizzling)
  • 125g plain flour

Equipment
  • rectangular baking tin (I used 26cm x 20cm)
  • grease proof baking paper

Method
  • Preheat oven to gas 5/375F/190C.
  • Line the tin with baking paper (or just grease it lightly - I find baking paper makes it easier as you can just lift it out to cool).
  • In a large mixing bowl (or using a stand mixer) cream together the butter and peanut butter until well combined.
  • Mix in the egg, caster sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is a runny consistency.
  • By hand, mix in the banana chips and chocolate.
  • Again, by hand, mix in the flour until thoroughly combined; it should be a fairly stiff mixture.
  • Pour into the baking tray, smooth the top, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cocktail stick inserted comes out clean (or with a few crumbs on).
  • Leave to cool, drizzle with melted white chocolate, then cut into 12.
  • Enjoy!



Sunday, 29 March 2015

Project 365, 2015 (days 81-87)

Day 81 / March 22nd
We were at my brother-in-law's for tea tonight and the day before he'd promised J a cookie, N decided that he wanted some too. This a rare moment of affection! (N looks down in the dumps too because the poor boy had conjunctivitis).

Day 82 / March 23rd
I'm a member of The Orchard with Tesco and one of the campaigns I've had recently is fresh flowers. These ones are looking lovely.

Day 83 / March 24th
We were meant to be going to one of our regular play groups today but N had conjunctivitis and had been sick so we stayed home. I decided to get the tuff spot out for some messy play with flour as N needed a bath anyway and I managed to get our tea prepared for the slow cooker!

Day 84 / March 25th
N was feeling a bit better today and J was at nursery so he got in some play time on his bounce 'n' spin without J wanting to be in on the action!

Day 85 / March 26th
Another day and more sickness in the night when we ended up having to give N a bath and wash his sheets at 1.30am and then he came in with us. We seem to be plagued by illness this week.

Day 86 / March 27th
Kind of a cheat photo today, taking a photo of my latest Slimming World weigh in.

Day 87 / March 28th
At snack time today the boys were testing some new fruit bars from Organix.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Slimming World weigh in #10 - the one with a gain

After last weeks surprise 3lb loss I wasn't at all confident of another loss this week for one reason only - it was J's 3rd birthday and we had a two day celebration which meant lots of high calorie non-SW friendly food, and cake! I did try and counteract it every other day though with just eating as normal and lower syns but I decided I wasn't going to sweat it if I did have a maintain or gain, as life happens and we have to remember that.

Unlike the other weeks where I thought I'd gained and was nervous about weigh in, I went to group feeling quite relaxed about it all and just went with the mindset of finding out the 'damage'! When I got on the scales though it wasn't as bad as expected - I'd only gained 2lb, when I was expecting 3 or more; so even though it was a gain, I was pleased. Add to the fact I know exactly where it came from rather than being on plan and still gaining.


As I'm now back on plan I've decided next week to go for a 3lb loss which will take me back to last week's weight so back over my stone loss, plus an extra pound.

My stats for this week (week 10):
  • starting weight - 13st 4.5lb
  • previous weight - 12st 4lb
  • current weight - 12st 6lb
  • loss this week - 2lb gain
  • loss so far - 12.5lb
  • Club 10 target weight - 11st 13.5lb
  • final target weight - 9st 6lb

Hope everyone else is getting on okay!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Packing for a Scottish Highland holiday

I've written previously about my love of Scottish Highland cottage holidays; pre-children we visited just about every year from 2007 onward but we've only visited once since J was born, and that's when he was six months old so not really too active. That time we also went with my mum and stepfather so we had the opportunity to explore on our own - we'll probably have to wait until they're all grown up for a relaxing holiday now!

We were recently saying that we're getting withdrawal symptoms so we may visit for an annual holiday next year, though it might have to be on the Highland borders so we're near plenty to do for the boys. There are so many places we want to visit too that we keep meaning to but never get around to doing so. Most of these involve the great outdoors - well, you do go to the Highlands to be outdoors don't you?

I have a tendency to leave packing until the last minute, and even then hubby says I pack way too much - truthfully, I probably do, but I like to be prepared for every eventuality! There are essentials that are always on my list though:

  • a camera (other than a smartphone) - though I only have a bridge camera, I hope to own a DSLR one day.
  • a decent pair of walking boots - as this is one of the main activities of our Highland holidays.
  • a waterproof coat - we usually go in autumn and you can never guarantee the weather!
  • warm jumpers - as you can also never guarantee the temperature! These jumpers I found online are perfect for the unpredictable Scottish weather.
  • comfortable trousers - for all of the walking.
  • hair straighteners - strange one, I know. But with my hair, I need to take them everywhere I go...
  • books/e-reader - for cosy nights in front of the fire.
  • a bottle of creamy liqueur - to complete those cosy nights of course.

Those are items that I must take with me - it doesn't bode well for my husband if I forget (like the one time I actually did forget to pack my hair straighteners).

I have so many wonderful memories of our Scottish Highland holidays and I could talk and write about them all day. I hope as a family we get to make many more memories that will stay with us forever as the Highlands hold a special place in our heart.

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