eat March 17, 2017
It might be March but spring has definitely not sprung in New England. After another heap of snow last week the temperatures have remained decidedly low and wintery.
The sun is shining and I can hear (although can't see so can only assume they are hiding somewhere warm) birds tweeting, there was even a snow drop peeking out of my front flowerbed.. before it got battered by storm Stella.
At times like this we need comfort food. Although as I'm still trying to stick with my healthy eating intentions of 2017 (and battling hormone induced bulge, which I swing back on forth on as to whether that gives me carte blanche to stuff my face because even if I starve myself the lbs keep piling on?!) I need comfort on a calorie budget.
This B&B pud is a cheeky little winter warmer that will give you the warm and fuzzies without quite as much of the stuffed and bloaties. It's not as sweet as the traditional pudding so add sugar to your taste (although, you know, not the point) or pile on some natural sweetness with some berries or baked fruit.
Bread and Butter Pudding
cinnamon raisin loaf (9 slices/ about ¾ loaf)
2 tablespoons Low fat spread
2 tablespoons raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon raw cane sugar, to top
4 tablespoons sliced almonds
Using almond milk in the place of cream for the custard, cinnamon for sweetness; less sugar; and low fat spread instead of butter makes this recipes a little more virtuous than it’s full fat cousin!
Butter one side of the bread slices, cut in half diagonally and arrange in the crock pot.
Mix together the eggs, almond milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour the custard over the bread and leave to stand for half an hour.
Sprinkle over the sugar and cook on high for 4 hours.
Top with the sliced almonds for some added crunch (and a little extra sprinkle of can sugar if you have a really sweet tooth!)
Find out more about how to win $100 credit towards a JORD wooden watch of your choice, plus EVERY entry will get a $25 JORD egift code!
Anyone that reads my blog or follows me on instagram knows I have two ridiculously adorable little boys. I'm pretty sure most will also know I also have a ridiculously adorable third boy in my life: my husband Charlie (soppy soppy soppy).
Charlie is my chief recipe taster (though he has two tiny usurpers on his heels there...), my best mate, and the father of aforementioned ridiculously adorable boys.
JORD thought that alongside being first in line for anything coming out of the kitchen, Charlie also deserved a bit of a treat in the form of a brand new watch!
JORD are makers of beautiful wooden watches. Wooden watches can be a bit hit or miss, they can sometimes look like a novelty or gimmick- not so with JORD:
"We are focused on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. We value sustainability, efficiency, and experiential living. We make our watches for people who don't just have somewhere to be, they have somewhere to go."
I'm not sure that statement could be any more true than for a new, first time dad! JORD make both men's and women's styles to complement all aesthetics and personal tastes- my favourite is the Fieldcrest series in Maple (Mother's Day is coming up Charlie.. wink wink).
Charlie has never been a jewelry guy. He wears a wedding ring but nothing else except a watch, however since having the babies he's had to curtail his watch wearing. Charlie likes nice watches and his favourite is a big, heavy, metal bracelet piece that weighs about the same as one of the babies at birth.
Since the day the babies were born Charlie's watch has lived in a drawer for fear of hurting one of our tiny boys. Even though the children are growing and getting bigger each day, the heavy, sharp metal bracelet still isn't ideal to wear around littles who now want to grab at and chew on everything in sight.
Then along came JORD! We chose the Dover in Olive and Acacia, JORD's newest model, as we really like the light, clean looking wood and the striking metal workings of the watch face that are visible both front and back.
It was awesome to be able to find Charlie a watch he loved, that didn't compromise his style, and has him completely worry free about wearing around the babies.
The classic style of the bracelet and the intricate visible mechanics of the face look classic and sophisticated, perfect for day wear with his suit in the office. The light olive and acacia wood bracelet is clean and modern which perfectly matches his personal style, making it a great addition to a date night outfit (or rather date lunch with the kids!).
I've teamed up with JORD to offer one lucky winner $100 credit towards a JORD watch of their choice. What's more EVERY person that enters will receive a $25 JORD egift code once the contest ends... so you literally can't lose.
Simply follow the link here to enter
The contest ends on April 2nd at 11.59pm, all codes (both the winning $100 code and the $25 codes that every enter receives will expire May 31st 2017).
family February 28, 2017
In a fit of midweek 'aaaargh!' I hopped on to the internet and found us a place to escape to- Falmouth, MA.
We've been to Falmouth a few times before and have a special little affection for it as it shares a name with the British town where Charlie and I met at university.
We had a completely wonderful time, even with the military operation that was packing for the trip and the world of stuff we took with us. It's made us feel totally ready to head away on more mini breaks (and almost ready for the bigger trips we have planned this year) so I thought I'd share what we learned as new parents for other families looking to get a bit of R&R!
Out of season is the new in season-
You first though for a February getaway might not be a New England beach town.. rather a Florida beach town with some winter sun, but hear me out.
Staying at resorts out of their usual season has it major perks:
- It's not as busy- this means you'll have your choice of travel and accommodation dates, you won't struggle to get into restaurants, and you won't spend half your vacation time in traffic jams
- It's cheaper- MAJOR perk! You can stay in the better hotel, in the bigger room, and splurge on the upgrades that'll make your stay extra special because you're not paying the high season premium
- Avoid the crowds- a certain amount of hustle and bustle can be fun, but if you're navigating a double wide strolled through narrow doorways and lugging a diaper bag the size of suitcase crowd can be a bit of a headache. Visiting out of season you might not get to don your swimsuit for a beach day but wrapping up for a bright blustery walk on a beach all to yourself isn't too shabby.
- Low season doesn't mean a low chance of good weather- if you pick your dates right and cross your fingers you can enjoy glorious days of beautiful weather without the high price. We're having a 'summer' holiday later in the year in June, the week before high season starts and are paying a lot less then if we were staying in the peak of summer. If you're staying when the weather is unpredictable and it ends up not being exactly what you'd hoped have an alternative plan: Watch a movie nice and cozy in your huge hotel bed, choose a hotel with an indoor pool (which'll be more affordable out of season!) or hanging out someone fun locally.
Vacation might bring to mind hopping on a plane and jetting off somewhere a few hours away, but with littles in your party an hours drive might be the most your nerves can take in travel terms.
So often we overlook the wonderful places that are close to where we live in favour of far off locations, but does it matter if you're going 45 minutes down the road or flying 5 hours? As long as it's somewhere you'll enjoy being at the end of the journey it doesn't matter if it's in the same zip code or another country.
Familiarity is also a bonus if you've only got a short time to take your trip. By staying somewhere whose local haunts you're familiar with you'll know exactly where to head when you arrive in town to make the most of your time. It'll also mean you have a mental directory of what to do if the weather turns or children's attention spans are a little shorter than hoped for!
Discovering somewhere new is a lot of fun. But not if you don't have time to enjoy the perfect restaurant with stroller accommodating tables and a menu with kid friendly options thats just the right walking distance from your accommodation if you've spent the whole of your short trip searching for it!
..and by that I mean take advantage of all the conveniences you can. If, like us, life has been working you pretty hard and you're after a bit of a break, really give yourself a break.
I make all the babies' food myself from scratch, but the idea of transporting a weekend's worth of frozen home made puree cubes seemed like a lot of work, so we brought ready made pouches and everyone survived. My mum guilt didn't swallow me whole and the kids kinda liked the novelty of having food squirted at them from small bags- wins all round.
If you're a cloth diapering mama, maybe consider disposables for the weekend; if your kids are always in the most adorable matching outfits maybe let yourself off the hook and be ok with throwing a sweater over their pyjamas to take 'em out to dinner (it's SO much easier for when you get home and have to do 'the transfer'); screen time limits are great but if the weather doesn't know you only want the kids in front of the TV for half an hour a day and decides to throw down- movie night in bed isn't the end of the world.
Vacations are about treating yourself. As a parent I think treats come in both the form of a nice cold beer but also an easier life and happy kiddos!
A different kind of trip-
The mini-breaks you may have taken pre-babies may have been filled with unplanned days of exploration, stumbled upon local gems, and squeezing on to a seat at the bar of the hottest new spot in town, but that's probably not what this trip is going to look like.
I'll admit that when we were choosing our restaurant for our one night away, I really wanted to head to the local independent foodie favorite. But after a quick call to check about stroller access and subtly glean whether or not their eyes would roll at the sight of not one but two small babies on a busy Saturday night's service, it was clear it wasn't going to work!
We instead went to a chain restaurant in the nearby larger town who were incredibly friendly on the phone when I asked about bringing our huge stroller, and were so welcoming and helpful with all our kid related requests when we went to eat.
No, it wasn't going to yield my most liked instagram post of perfect culinary dreamer's flatlay, but it was a great meal that I got to enjoy with my whole family without worrying about the side eye I was getting from fellow diners (or staff).
We took that same approach to all aspects of our trip: breakfast in the restaurant at the hotel instead of the quaint but super packed local diner; a short walk to the beach and back instead of spending too much time in the beautiful but blustery sea air; heading to bed by 8pm with a movie on low and take out tiramisu instead of a late night and cranky kiddos the next day.
It wasn't the same kind of trip Charlie and I would have gone on in years passed... it was so much better.
eat February 24, 2017
Trying to eat healthfully during the week can be hard. Even if you're full of good weekend-meal-prep intentions life often gets in the way and suddenly it's Monday evening and you're not sure what's for dinner.
This is a hearty, wholesome and pretty healthy weeknight meal that won't use every pan in the house or have you dining at 10pm.
Serves 4 people
8 x sausages, I like sweet Italian but it’s your choice!
1 large red onion
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tablespoon cranberry/redcurrant jelly
1 teaspoon flour
16 oz frozen cauliflower
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Slice the onion into chunky eights and scatter over a roasting tray; don’t separate all the layers of onion, you want them to remain chunky.
Lay the sausages over the onions, space them evenly on the pan to allow them to brown all over. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper; pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
Whilst the sausages cook prepare the cauliflower mash. Use frozen vegetables rather than fresh to cut your cooking time as they are part cooked before freezing. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil on the stove (fill with already boiling water from an electric kettle to save time), drop the cauliflower into the water and boil for 6-10 minutes until tender.
Drain the cauliflower. Add butter, salt and pepper, then use an immersion blender or food processor to puree into a fine mash. Cover until needed, you can pop it in the microwave for a minute or two to reheat it when you are ready to serve- this also freezes really well for an even quicker weeknight side dish!
When the sausages have been cooking for 25 minutes they should be browned and cooked through (if you are unsure use a food thermometer to check that the internal temperature is at least 165F and no pink, uncooked meat is visible), and the onion will be soft with crunchy edges.
Mix the bouillon cube with water (follow the instruction on your brand’s packet- typically it’s about 1 cube to 2 cups of boiling water- again, use the kettle to save time), stir in the jelly and flour. The flour shouldn’t be lumpy if you add it to the liquid whilst hot, but whisk it in well to be sure that the stock is smooth.
Pour the stock into the pan around the sausages and continue to bake for a further 5 minutes (use this time to reheat your cauliflower mash and assemble your plates and flat wear).
Serve with a generous dollop of mash topped with two sausages per person; spoon a pile of roasted onions over the sausages and pour over the gravy.
This post was originally created for and posted on the Mac + Mia blog here
Whenever I have an event or occasion to attend I get a very specific idea in my head of what I want to wear. Not like I've seen an outfit I'd like to buy, or I fancy wearing something yellow, I mean I almost instantly get an idea for an entire outfit... whether or not it exists.
I, along with the rest of the aesthetic world, really like hand lettering. Instead of paint or an iron-on patch, this DIY uses ribbon to create a unique, handwritten design. You can adjust the ribbon to mimic your own handwriting, or use a print out of a script you like to work from
I wanted an oversize, baggy sweater to wear with skinny jeans. Something cute and unique I could throw on and look vaguely presentably in when I'm still actually wearing my pyjama top underneath.... no judgement please. You can use this DIY on any style shirt you fancy, with any pattern or design that suits your style.
To make this shirt you will need:
-A sweater of your choice,- I used this one from Walmart for $7
-Ribbon in your choice of colour- the only thing to check for is how well it drapes so that you can create your letters easily- I used this one from Walmart for $2.97
-Needle and thread in the same colour as your chosen ribbon
-Handwriting sample, written or printed (optional)- here are some great handwritten style fonts for inspiration
Start by hemming your ribbon so that the raw, cut edge won't fray. Fold over the edge of the ribbon, then fold it over itself again so that the raw edge is completely covered. Use your needle and matching thread to make some small, neat stitches to secure the hem.
Place your ribbon into your chosen word. I find a short, simple word works best. You don't want to work too small otherwise the loops and folds of the ribbon can get a bit complicated and difficult to read.
I chose 'hello' as I'm planning on wearing this sweater to The Lady Project Summit (which you should totally come to!) as I want it to be an easy conversation starter for all that networking and friend making!
Some other words that would work really well are:
Feel free to print out any of these for your design!
One you're happy with how your ribbon text looks (be sure to check it's positioned in the middle of your shirt), use dressmaking pins to secure it to the sweater.
I wanted the ribbon to keep a lot of its natural drapes and loops so I pinned as little as I needed to keep the ribbon securely in place.
Now that your motif is pinned and secure, you can slip on the shirt to make sure you're totally happy with the positioning and how the ribbon drapes when it's being worn vertically. Be careful of the pins!
It's also an excellent time to check you have accidentally pined the front and back panels of the shirt together by accident!
Once you're happy, get to sewing.
It's easier to work with shorter lengths of thread than try and affix the whole word with one continuous line of stitches. I always use a double thread to add strength to my sewing, it also means the thread doesn't slip out of the needle.
Thread the needle and pull the end of the thread until it's inline with the other end. Hold the thread together and tie them in a double knot.
Secure your final stitch by sewing over it a couple of time on the inside of the shirt, then tying the thread into a tight knot.
TO care for your shirt, wash on a gentle cycle and spot treat any stains rather than washing your sweater on a heavy cycle- be gentle with your ribbon!
Did you try this DIY? I'd love to see! Post your DIY on instagram or twitter with my tag, or email it to me so I can see!
The shopping links in this post are only for the convenience of anyone that wants to buy the same materials I used, I do not earn anything from you shopping through them and this post is not sponsored by any of the features brands or products.
I snack HARD. The majority of my diet, although I attempt to do otherwise, is snacks and coffee. If you can eat it with one hand whilst the other hand is soothing a baby/wiping something/shaking a bottle/holding a very big coffee then it's on my 'to eat' list.
I do try and make sure I have healthful snacks to hand but there are those days when every fresh diaper has been instantly filled, the fifth outfit changed has been sicked on (my clothes included), and nothing else but chocolate will do.
At this point I say thank goodness for Theo.
Seattle based pioneers of supplying organic cocoa beans into the US back in the 90's, Theo take its chocolate seriously. As the first fair trade, organic chocolate maker in North America (and remaining one of only a handful today) for Theo 'chocolate isn't just a product, it's a journey from bean to bar'.
Their newest offering, Chocolate Clusters, are perfect for me to grab on the go, and with ingredients like crispy quinoa, toasted coconut and 60% dark chocolate I know I'm not munching on rubbish. I get my hit of chocolatey goodness with the feel good flavors of salted almond, coconut turmeric, and lemon hemp.
I was super lucky to get my hands on these little bites of loveliness as Theo prepares to make them available across the US- they'll be in Whole Foods nationwide in May!
To enter simply follow @hollylikestocook on instagram, like & comment on the post here!
The small print.
This competition is open to residents aged 18+ of the continental US. Competition closes at midnight on Friday 24th February 2017. One (1) winner will be picked at random and receive three (3) packets of Theo Chocolate Clusters, one (1) of each flavour. No cash prize alternative is available. The winner will be notified by midnight Sunday 26th February via instagram (you will be tagged in a public post on the @hollylikestocook feed) and must make contact with postage information by Friday 3rd March or forfeit their prize. The prize will be sent by USPS mail, postage cost is inclusive in the prize.