MEAL PLANNING MONDAY: W/C 16/1/2017

It’s time for me to construct the family weekly meal plan and as social media would lead me to believe, today is blue Monday.

First thing this morning the boiler was as dead as a dodo. PANIC. After a few minutes of both Mr Vista and I standing there, pressing buttons and scratching our heads we realised something vital… the washing powder box had the pressed the boiler switch on the wall to off.

Ahem.

We may be dummies but the point that I’m making is this: things aren’t always as bad as they first seem. When faced with certain peril, stop. Take a deep breath and like the kids of ‘Bear Hunt’ figure out a way to go through it. There is always a way – sometime it is as simple as turning the switch to on.

It’s blue Monday. It’s wet. The toddler has a snotty nose and we’re skint. But I will SMILE. We have a lot to be grateful for. Read more

What’s in the Degustabox August 2015

August was  a pretty crazy month on Vista Street. It seemed to swing by in a heartbeat and before we knew it… it’s September!

But the end of the month marks two prominent occasions.

  1. Pay day.
  2. Degustabox day!

CABIN

So, armed with my trusty munchkin helper once more we unpacked our goodies…  Read more

Degustabox July 2015 – Grand Opening and Review

There are many things that make the residents of Vista Street happy… Three of those things…

  • A delivery
  • A good box!
  • A grand opening

This post… contains ALL THREE!

Yes folks, it’s that time of the month again… It’s DEGUSTABOX DAY!

CABIN degustabox review july 2015 life on vista street

Those of you that follow me on social media will know that I am currently on the Slimming World diet plan (not a plug!) and am, four weeks in, doing pretty well. So the first thing that I thought of when I was emptying the lovely box of its contents was…

How much of this can I actually eat?

And it turns out… ALL OF IT comes in well within the 15 syns per day guideline.

So here is a run down of the July 2015 Degustabox, the item’s  and their prices (as we’re all thrifty here) and their syn content…

Weetabix Breakfast Drinks

Weetabix breakfast drinks degustabox review july 2015 life on vista street

Price £1.49 for two.

An ‘on-the-go’ breakfast containing protein, fibre, four vitamins and iron. It tastes exactly like Weetabix! In a drink! It’s tasty too… and will set you back 10.5 syns per bottle.

A bit on the high side for syns value but a quick and filling breakfast if you need to dash – and ideal for getting those all important calories into growing kids!

Fru Snax

fru snax degustabox review july 2015 life on vista street

Price £1.25 for two

Simply put – these are fruit and yoghurt that have been freeze-dried. Sweet and tasty! And really interesting – you could easily entertain a little one by pretending its ‘space man food’.

A fun snack for the little one or a nice quick grab and go snack for you, or even a yoghurt topper! A full packet will cost you just 2.5 syns! Bargain!

jele vitamins degustabox review july 2015 life on vista street

The Jele fruit pouch was snaffled before I could wrestle it from Little Miss Vista… so it must have been good!

Lambrini #bringthebrini

lambrini #bringthebrini newtons appl fizzics degustabox review july 2015 life on vista street

Price £3.29

Fresh, fruity and frizzy. This well-known bottle is a fizzy wine type drink. It’s nice sipped from the back garden whilst you’re enjoying the last of the sun.

It’s also a nice Friday night treat that will set you back just 4 syns for a 125 ml glass.

Newton’s Appl Fizzics

Price £1.20 

A completely natural blend of apple juice and fizzy water. Perfect if you are looking to follow a clean eating / drinking lifestyle. It contains around 40% less sugar than normal apple juice too!

You’d blend in well at a party with the beer drinkers holding the long-necked bottle… and you can even enjoy the full bottle for 4.5 syns.

Say Yes To No 

say yes to no crackers degustabox review july 2015 life on vista street

Price £1.49

Tiny little round crackers that promise not to fill your tummy with additives.

We tried the sour cream and onion – they were a fairly strong taste but were a lovely accompaniment to some spread cheese and chutney… You can eat the whole bag of these babies for 21 syns… or just a handful for 2 syns!

Tasty Little Numbers

tasty little numbers sausage and tikka degustabox review july 2015 life on vista street  gluten free

Price £3.49 for two

Comparative in price to other pre-packed lunches. Tasty and ‘ding’ in just a few minutes… and gluten free! This made Mr Vista very happy.

Tasty Little Numbers are smaller portions too, so would be great for a young person or someone with a smaller appetite. Perfect accompanied with salad.

We tried Chicken Tikka and the Sausage dish. Both scrummy, both 10 syns each.

Quinola Mothergrain 

mothergrain quinola quinoa degustabox review july 2015 life on vista street

Price £1.99

These little pouches of quinoa are designed as ready meals for kids 3+… well Mr Vista pinched it as it’s gluten free and smells amazing. As far as quinoa goes it’s tasty too. I liked this because t has very few ingredients – always a winner to me!

The whole pouch contains 9.5 syns so a little high in syns for a slimmer but perfect for the target market – growing kids!

Taking the Pea!

taking the pea flavoured peas \degustabox review july 2015 life on vista street

Price £1.50

The UK’s first range of flavoured peas.

High in fibre, low in fat and perfect to grab and go for snacks in the car or after swimming. We tried cheese and onion… I thought they were interesting, but my Little Miss Pea Lover loved them! 9.5 syns for the whole bag but around just 1 syn per handful.

So there we have it – it’s well worth treating yourself and your family to a Degustabox if you’re on a weight loss plan!

We love the whole experience of Degustabox! If you want to find out more, you can check out their social media here: Facebook and Twitter.

Fancy giving the box a whirl this month? YES? Great – here’s a discount code to get a few quid off your first box: RK05L

Have you ever had a Degustabox? What did you love out of your box this month? 

*This box was sent to use for the purpose of this review – all views are our own*

Thanks so much for reading: Degustabox July 2015 – Grand Opening and Review

Love

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My kitchen and I are waiting for pay day… Potato Cakes

My kitchen and I are waiting for pay day... Potato Cakes written by katie haydock for life on vista street

That week is upon us once more… it’s interesting meal week!

Unfortunately for us, my maternity payments have now stopped – meaning that my current wage is £0.

Argh!

 The good news is that we are managing to keep afloat, but I am having to be inventive in the kitchen. After all the bills are paid and we have provided milk and nappies for Little Miss, we aren’t left with much money to play with.

With September literally just around the corner, I intend to embrace the month of no waste whole heartedly.

There are very few ingredients in the kitchen this month, but I did manage to find some left over mashed potato. I saw this as a perfect excuse to make Potato Cakes!

One of the best things about this recipe is that you don’t really need to be exact with your measures, so if you have no cheese in the fridge then you don’t need to rush out and buy it. They will be just as tasty without.

You will need: (to make approximately 10 potato cakes)

100 g (ish) of plain flour

Mashed potatoes – how ever many you have (up to 300 g worth will work)

50 g cheese (I used Edam but any medium to hard cheese will work)

50 g butter

Method: (please excuse the Samsung S3 photography)

potato cakes, potato scones, cheap and cheerful, bread line, gluten free, finger food, payday, #nowasteweek, september,
Chuck everything into a bowl…
potato cakes, potato scones, cheap and cheerful, bread line, gluten free, finger food, payday, #nowasteweek, september,
… and mash until everything is combined…

Then using clean hands, scoop out the mixture a little at a time, roll into balls and flatten out in your hands to make a disc (similar in shape and size to a scotch pancake).

Add a little bit of oil to a hot frying pan. Not enough so that the cakes fry, but enough so that they won’t stick!

potato cakes, potato scones, cheap and cheerful, bread line, gluten free, finger food, payday, #nowasteweek, september,
Similar in shape and size to a scotch pancake.
potato cakes, potato scones, cheap and cheerful, bread line, gluten free, finger food, payday, #nowasteweek, september,
Fry on both sides.

 Fry the potato cakes on each side for around one minute or until they are starting to brown off.

Serve whilst still warm. (Unless you are freezing. These will keep in the freezer for a month or so.)

I like to serve these beauties with poached eggs and ham for dinner. Even the Little Miss likes to demolish these as finger foods – I just make them a little smaller for her.

The recipe can be moderated to use rice flour instead of wheat to make it gluten free – but remember that the finish may be a little paler. They will still be a delicious and easy treat.

Cheap and cheerful and can be made with the staple left overs of most kitchens!

 How do you eat yours? 

Thanks so much for reading: My kitchen and I are waiting for pay day… Potato Cakes

Love 

My Cheaty British Bake… Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

Last week on The Great British Bake Off (GBBO), I think the contestants got off pretty lightly on their first week. Not that my Cheaty British Bake… Shrove Tuesday Pancakes are mush more difficult…

Swiss roll and cherry cake would have a been a pleasure to bake! Although it must be awful baking in an oven that isn’t your own… How to confuse me easily:- give me an electric cooker!

Claire from Cheshire was the first to be given the boot for creating this…

My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

Although, I have to give it to her – I think she did have a really bad week and possibly could have done better had she stayed longer.

It’s always nice to have your token Northerner in there too. However – Advice for Claire: The first rule of Fight Club Bake Off, is that you don’t talk about Fight Club Bake Off to Mary Berry! Are you insane? I was disappointed to see that when the bakers could choose any British Classic they wanted to – they all went for either Victoria, Lemon Drizzle or Coffee Cake… did I miss any?

If it were me, I might have tried mini upside down pineapple cakes. Fondant Fancies are one of my favourites, but other than the Mr Kipling factory in Wigan I’m unsure as to where they derive from. Any ideas?

My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

From the gist of the above, and if you read my blog, you will know that I LOVE to bake and that I LOVE GBBO even more. Sadly since I had my daughter back in November 2013, I haven’t had much time to bake. So for my link up recipe, I thought I would share one of the quickest (and cheapest) British Pudding recipes that there is.

Apple Pancakes

My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Swirl of apple skin optional – I was just showing off, Brownies style!

 

Although I am pretty sure pancakes can be tied to any country in some way, shape or form, I am claiming that they are British. We eat them on Shrove Tuesday, they are made out of the same stuff as Yorkshire Puddings and this recipe was also part of a UK War Time Cookery Book, issued in the national food campaign exhibit from 1940.

Lots of my baking ability comes from my Grandmother. She was a girl during the Second World War and loves to tell us ‘during the war’ type stories.

I hear the sorts of things that her mother would cook for her and her sister and cringe from time to time… dripping anyone? Obviously during that time everything was rationed and they had to made do. I enjoy all things ‘mend and make do’ and clearly inherited this from my Nan. This pudding is also one of my husbands particular favourites.

To make a basic pancake mixture…

You will need: (this will make approximately 8 pancakes)

100 g plane all purpose flour (Doves gluten free will also do the trick)
2 eggs
300 ml milk
A bit of oil for frying

To make the apple filling…

You will need:

1/2 an apple per person (ish)
A good squodge of golden syrup

To make filling:

Peel and finely chop the apples and add to a heated saucepan. Add a good glugg of golden syrup – a few desert spoonfuls does the job unless you want your apples really sweet.

My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Diced apple
My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Good old Golden Syrup – or honey will do!

 

Leave the apple mixture with the lid on to simmer until the apples are soft. Don’t forget to keep and eye on them whilst you make your pancakes, as the mixture can burn quite easily.

To make the pancakes:

Throw all of the ingredients in bowl and whisk until smooth.

Cover and pop to one side for a few minutes to settle (ideally 30 minutes in the fridge will make all the difference).

Put your frying pan on the hob to heat up and smear just a little bit of oil over the surface so your pancakes don’t stick.

My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
I find about four desert spoons of the batter mixture makes a nice thin pancake, add more for a thicker consistency.
My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
FLIP! No pressure…
My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Fry your pancake on each side for no more than one minute – unless you like them crispy.
My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Pop the apple mixture in the middle of the pancake and roll.
My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Serve with a little icing sugar if you want to – but it’s sweet enough as it is.
My Cheaty British Bake... Shrove Tuesday Pancakes
Ta daaaah!
Yum!

Ok, I know. This isn’t technically baking. But it’s British. It means something to me and it is cheap and easy! Makes a change from all the Swiss Roll we have been eating too…

What did you bake this week?

Linking up with
Thanks so much for reading,
Love