Monday, 19 August 2013

Meal Planning Monday - a half a week holiday edition!

Meal Planning MondayA lot of this week will look horribly familiar. Some of last week's again got carried over, thanks to some last minute changes of plan. This is good because I want to minimise what I buy this week as we are going to Devon on Friday and I want to use what is in my fridge. Actually, I did the weekly shop on Sunday and I bought no fresh meat for the week and a lot of things to eat and drink during the journey down. As we're leaving on Friday, there's only 4 meals to plan.

This is our (half) week.

Monday - Chicken and sweet potato curry
Tuesday - Lentil and aubergine bake
Wednesday - Chipotle bean chilli with baked eggs
Thursday - Calzones with various fillings (for which read whatever we have left in the fridge!)

There will be no Meal Planning Monday from me next week as holidays demand more flexible meal plans (and it will be nothing special!).

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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A safari trip with Jungle Dogs

A trip to a safari park during the school holidays sounds a great idea, doesn't it? Jungle Dogs invited us to Knowsley Safari Park to an event to learn a little about their product and to go on safari. The last time we went round Knowsley, I drove somebody else's car - at least in mine, it would be a little less stressful!

Jungle Dogs are a new chilled hotdog product and they were keen for us to try their products. So much so that they prepared it in a number of different ways for us to try whilst the children did some colouring. Unfortunately, Missy Woo put her fussy head on that day and tried hardly anything because they dared to use a lot of soft cheese! And the wraps had green stuff in it. How very dare they?

I also ended up talking about school holidays with Tina O'Brien off Coronation Street which was also a bit bizarre. I may have asked someone what her name was - although in my defence, I was sure she was called Tina something. (Can you tell I have my finger on the pulse of popular culture?) The children had no clue either - I had to tell them later that she was on the telly!

Anyway, the children were very taken with their goody bags containing pencils, colouring books and finger puppets and even more exciting to be giving an animal onesie to take away; they have slept dressed as a kangaroo and a kitten ever since!

Ever since I had told the children where we were going, Monkey had been very anxious. The local radio station had been running adverts mentioning the baboon bus which he decided was going to be a bad idea. In fact, the ad came on the radio as we pulled up to the safari park. Having promised him we wouldn't go on the Baboon Bus (or in the enclosure) it meant we had to skip the guided tour and so I drove them around. This is why some of the photographs above are a bit wonky - the children took it in turns to take photographs; and believe me, those are the good ones, tightly edited! Our favourite animals were the lions (sleeping) and the baboons from the safe vantage point of the car friendly route that passes outside the compound. The children were laughing at the baboon showing his very red bottom whilst seemingly asleep on the bonnet of a moving car!

Back to the Jungle Dogs. They gave us some samples to take away - some packs containing 6 hot dogs which is enough for 2 or 3 children. Now, the whole point of these hot dogs is that they are meant to be a guilt free option. They are higher in meat than other hot dog brands (around 85%) with no mechanically recovered meat and no artificial colours or flavours. It's also sold as meeting the FSA target for salt. Sounds great, doesn't it?

I did however look a bit deeper. One of the things that always scares me about hotdogs is the amount of fat in them and it's hidden fat, because it's not obvious when you use or cook them that they contain a lot of fat because it doesn't render during heating. I looked at one of the packets of Jungle Dogs we've been given and was shocked to discover that each 30g hotdog contains on average 8.1g fat, and 2.9g of those are saturated fats! In other words, that's just under 30% fat and over 75% of the calories come from fat. If a child has all 3 hotdogs, they'll eat a whopping 8.7g saturated fat. Now, I can't find information on recommended amounts for children but an adult woman is meant to have 20g saturated fat maximum. Assuming a child's recommended amount is around a half to two thirds of this figure, you can see that 8.7g is a very large proportion of a child's daily allowance. If they were to label them the way the FSA wants food labelled, they would get red for their saturated fat content. In other words, guilt free? I don't think so.

Yes, they taste nice. Yes, the children liked them. Yes, we had a great day out, and we thank Jungle Dogs for that. But would I give them to my children regularly as a "guilt-free" option? No. I wouldn't ban them either but I will not be feeding them to my children too often. Sorry, Jungle Dogs. The facts don't stack up for me.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Meal Planning Monday - the getting myself back in gear edition!

Meal Planning MondayA meal plan, on a Monday. How unique! Seriously, this school holiday is messing with me cooking at the moment. The day is flying by before I realise I really ought to be cooking, then it's late and something else happens. I have so many things moved around, it's not funny. So... this week I am going to try to behave. Yes, there are carry overs from last week but still - I am at least going to make them!

Eyes down, people. Brace yourselves...

Monday - Salmon nuggets with sweet potato chips
Tuesday - Chicken and sweetcorn fried rice
Wednesday  - Pork and veg folded pizza
Thursday - Turkey burgers
Friday - Oven baked ratatouille with sausages
Saturday - Chicken and sweet potato curry
Sunday - Layered lentil and aubergine bake

Let's see how far we get with that!

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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Meal Planning Wednesday?

Meal Planning MondayI'm getting terrible! The weekend was very busy and sadly, husband had to withdraw from the Ironman a short distance into the cycle as he caught a cold that went to his chest. It kind of threw us out as we were planning to catch up with him at various points and instead we had to go on a mercy mission to collect him from a high school I had never been to and had no clue where it was, and then we had to take him to his car later so he could collect it, then his bike and his other stuff. It was sad, but it was the right decision as he knew he couldn't finish the bike (he knows the hills to come). He turned up to collect his bike shortly after the time cut off for starting the run and a number of people came in just a couple of minutes late and were quite distressed they couldn't continue. He was glad it wasn't him as by then, they would have been going for ten and a half hours.

Still, it was a shame after all that work. And after a weekend of trying to cook something with all the blackcurrants we have, I'm trying to keep on top of work. I have kind of had this plan in place anyway, especially as Monday's meal was a carry over from last week and today's was kind of put on hold.

This is the week I have planned.

Wednesday - Veg curry - effectively a fridge bottom one.
Thursday - Fish stirfry
Friday - Turkey tortilla stack
Saturday - Salmon nuggets & s pot chips
Sunday - Pork and veg folded pizza

Normal service *should* be resumed next week.
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