Monday, November 17, 2014

Cookbook Review ~ The Loving Kitchen by LeAnn Rice




Out of all of my hundreds and hundreds of cookbooks that I own, I am ashamed to say that I don’t have any Southern American cookbooks on my shelves! I know, I am embarrassed but I was delighted therefore when I was offered the chance to review The Loving Kitchen by LeAnn Rice so I could finally try out some good old Southern comfort food!

The Loving Kitchen is described as “a collection of comforting recipes straight from the kitchen of popular food blogger LeAnn Rice”, and I have to say it didn’t take me long to agree that this book is full of comfort food recipes perfect for sharing with your loved ones. The chapters are divided into courses including Morning Fare, Bountiful Breads, Soup and Sandwiches, Entrees and Desserts (plus a few others) and with more than 130 recipes I had plenty to choose from. In the end I managed to try out 4 recipes.

Tested Recipes:

Pasta in Creamy Savory Pumpkin Sauce
Lasagna Pinwheels
Cottage Herb Bread
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

The first recipe to be put to the test was the Pasta in Creamy Savory Pumpkin Sauce. I was a little dubious as it did sound pretty heavy/ insanely rich(!) with the amount of butter, cream and parmesan but both hubby & Wee One love creamy sauces and it was Autumn so I thought it worth definitely worth a go, especially as it was completely different from anything I would generally make. The recipe was straightforward to follow and didn’t take long to make. The only downside was the ingredients were listed on one page with the instructions on the following so I had to keep switching back but that is me being super fussy! The final result was that the meal was enjoyable. Hubby liked it more than me but that’s just because I found it very rich. Since there was so much sauce left over I made some fresh pasta the following night then added some sauce along with some cooking water from the pasta and I have to admit I enjoyed it even more than the first night. There was SO much sauce though that I had to freeze what was left as it was just too much but it makes for an easy mid-week meal in the near future! If you are a fan of rich, creamy pasta you will enjoy this.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pomegranate & Granola Yogurt Crunch




I seriously debated on what to call this…. Parfait, Pots and Crunch were all up there and to be honest I’m not sure if ‘Crunch’ is the right choice, however what I can assure you is that this is absolutely delicious and the perfect way to start your day!

I love eating this for breakfast and so I decided it was only fair to share it with you, especially since not only does it taste fantastic and is healthy but it looks so pretty that you could easily serve it to friends or family coming over for brunch. I use my own homemade Granola (click for the recipe) but you could easily use your favourite Granola instead – be it homemade or bought! It is so easy to make and the fruit can be changed throughout the year to whatever is in season, but I’ll be honest Pomegranate is my favourite!

Serves 1 generous portion – or enough for Wee One & I to share! (Easily doubled)

175g/ ¾ cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp honey (or to taste)
3 tbsp Granola
½ fresh pomegranate

Mix together the yogurt and honey and stir well before spooning half of it into the bottom of a glass bowl (or alternatively you could use glasses – either pretty tumblers or wine glasses). Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of Granola and ½ of the pomegranate then repeat with the layering, finishing with the pomegranate.


(Approximately 340 calories per portion however, that will depend on the Granola and Yogurt that you use.)


Monday, November 10, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays Nov. 10th ~ 16th


A short post this week but I am delighted that I have finally finished reviewing another cookbook (so look out for my review of The Loving Kitchen later in the week!). This week therefore I have moved on to another book - The Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook - another Southern cookbook packed with recipes that I can't wait to try, so once again 'Meal Planning Mondays' meets 'Cooking the Books'! Great for us (with so many new recipes to try out) but not so great for you as there aren't too many links available for this week's menu. That combined with the fact that we are out this weekend for meals (yay!) means this week is a little on the short side for Meal Planning Monday so I'm going to share some of the things I will be making throughout the week instead.

I hope you all have a great week with family, friends and of course good food!!

Silky Butternut Squash Bisque
Fresh Dill-Feta Quick Bread
Cara Cara Cashew Chicken
Italian Meatballs in Hearty Italian Sauce
Chocolate Ice Cream



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays & Cooking the Books!


I have been so quiet lately as not only have I been super busy but I was also lucky enough to have my Mum, Sister and amazing nephew/ God Son stay with us for the last 3 weeks! It was so much fun and meant there was no time for blogging even though I was still planning my meals like normal and cooking up a storm (nothing like cooking for family - it is by far my favourite thing)! Now I have a bit more time so Meal Planning Mondays are back, however for the next few weeks I am going to be focusing on some book reviews that are long overdue! I love reviewing cookbooks and putting recipes to the test, however it doesn't make for very exciting Meal Plans for you since there are no or minimal links for recipes, so for the next few weeks forgive me and instead I hope you look forward to reading the reviews! Once I am caught up with the three books I am currently reviewing I'll be back with more recipe links, hopefully some new recipes as well as even more new and exciting book reviews!

So since we are already on Wednesday of this week rather than posting my usual Meal Planning Mondays Menu, here is a list of some of the things I will be making and eating this week (links included where possible):

Pasta in Creamy Savory Pumpkin Sauce
Halloween Cake Pops (hopefully will have a pic to share!)
Mint Chocolate Ice Cream
Cottage Herb Bread
Key Lime Pie

So there you have it! Next week will be much the same with recipes coming from the books I am reviewing. If you are interested to see what books I am cooking from here they are...


Have a great week folks x

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Challenge Update!


Well I am happy to report that so far so good! The Glad Fresh Food Challenge has really opened my eyes to how much food I would usually waste and so I have spent the last week really paying attention to what’s in my fridge and pantry and coming up with new innovative ideas of how to prevent wasting my food.

One thing I have to say is that when it comes to saving food, the freezer is your absolute best friend and I don’t know where I would be without one! This past week my freezer has seen the addition of some finely chopped herbs (which I put into little bags and labelled ready for next time I need them) and bread crumbs. I have to admit that when it comes to bread it was high on my list of items being wasted, admittedly not always...but quite a lot. This week I have just taken the time to get out my food processor and whizz up the left over dried out pieces into breadcrumbs and put them into bags and into the freezer. Never again will I buy breadcrumbs….I have plenty right at my fingertips waiting to be used!

Another great use for your freezer is for meat and fish. I am lucky to have a large chest freezer in our garage so it works best for us to buy meat in bulk (it’s cheaper that way). The key to making this work however, is to break things down into portions. Separate chicken breasts, pork chops and steaks into individual portions before you freeze them (in either freezer bags or try Glad Press & Seal for extra protection) and weigh items such as mince, ground beef or chicken thighs into 1lb portions and freeze in bags that are clearly marked with the contents, weight and date. I do this every time I buy meat and it means I waste nothing. If you want to be extra organised (and a bit of a geek like me!) stick a white board on the wall above your freezer and keep track of everything you put in and take out of the freezer so you always know exactly what you have! It works wonders and I love it!


So there you go, week 1 of the #GladFreshFoodChallenge is complete and so far I am on track! 

How would you manage with this challenge? If you waste food why not try it, you will be surprised at how much you usually throw away and aware of how much money you can save if you stop!
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