Super Single Mum's Blog

Life and all the shananigins!

Plum Baby Review

The lovely people at Plum Baby recently asked me to review some of their scrummy toddler biscuits and I of course jumped at the chance. I hadn’t tried these with H before and she has recently gone off biscuits so it was interesting to see what she would think.

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I received the Milky Moons and the Oat Rounds and was very impressed. These biscuits are shaped for little hands and are great for teething toddlers as they are quite substantial. Unlike “normal” biscuits, they don’t just crumble in a toddlers mouth. H did however find them a little hard and I had to break them up in a dish for her, but once I did that she loved them. And of course knowing they are targeted at her age range, I know her needs are taken into account.

 

And I also have to admit I really like the oat rounds too, which means we can both eat the same snack, as H, like many toddlers of her age, wants what other people have got!

 

I also love the fact the Oat Rounds come in handy twin packs which is great for picnics, pack ups, or just to have in your handbag for when your out and about. These biscuits get a thumbs up from me and from H, so go on and give them a go!

 

The folks over at Plum Baby have given me 15 samples of yummy 4 grain porridge to give away to my lovely readers.

porridgePlum Baby is all about real food for babies and not just baby food and all the products are made with the highest quality organic ingredients. They offer babies a taste of what’s to come and are full of nutrients and nothing artificial.

 

To enter, simply go to the Plum Baby newsletter  (http://www.plum-baby.co.uk/plum-mums/plum-mums-sign-up) and sign up using the code “Super Single Mum” – and the winners will be chosen at random in 7 days time.

 

Check out www.Plum-Baby.co.uk and discover more yummy products from the Plum Kitchen.

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May 20, 2010 Posted by | Product Reviews | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Very Lazy Garlic Review

I recently received a free sample of Very Lazy Garlic to try and then review on here. Now I will be honest, I don’t cook with garlic normally although I love the taste, but as a single mum I tend to have worked out a “quick” version of my meals and I never find peeling and chopping garlic quick. I have tried the crushing with the side of the knife then chopping, I have tried just chopping, I have a garlic crusher and most of the clove ends up still in the crusher when I am done. So that’s why I don’t use garlic. And that is also why I thought this sounded like the sort of thing that would be handy to have in my fridge. I also thought that as I am probably in one of the categories this product is aimed at then I could write a valuable review.

I have tried substitutes for “real” garlic in the past, to be honest I have always opted for nothing rather than settling for alternatives. Garlic paste to me never adds the right taste and has a grainy texture. I had given up hope of finding a substitute and only included garlic when cooking for guests or on special occasions. I had seen Very Lazy Garlic but never really looked closely enough to see what it really was.

That HP Chap @ Flickr.com My sample arrived, well packaged and I opened to find the jar and was greeted by the wonderful smell of fresh garlic. My initial thoughts were that the jar had broken in transit so I checked it over and no, all was well and in tact. I was optimistic already! My 1st experiment was roasted carrots. Now I hate carrots, unless in a casserole or grated into a sauce, but on this particular day the only vegetables I had were carrots. So I decided to do roasted carrots and use the Very Lazy Garlic to add a bit of a twist. The garlic is finely chopped and in the jar along with white wine vinegar, which evaporates off with cooking. The jar states that 1 teaspoon is the equivalent of a clove of garlic so that is what I have worked to. The carrots were lovely. I would never have bothered had I needed to peel and chop an actual clove of garlic. The fact it is in the vinegar also makes it easier to distribute that the sticky feel of fresh garlic. It was a twist that I only thought of because this product was there.

The next day I made bolognaise, and where I would usually omit the garlic, I added the Very Lazy Garlic and  was very surprised. It tasted as if I had used fresh garlic. I could tell no difference at all. It was better that real garlic though, my fingers didn’t have that lingering garlic smell, the garlic crusher wasn’t a nightmare to get all the bits out of. It was so easy!

After using this twice, I am converted. I know I will always have a jar of this in my fridge now. It may be lazy but lives are so busy, with this in my fridge I no longer have to compromise on taste. In fact I am going to look out for the other Very Lazy products out there and will be giving them a try too! Have you tried it and what did you think?

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Food, Product Reviews | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mummy Tummy Begone, No Really – Go Away Tummy Leave Me Alone!

My tummy bugs me, what bugs me more is I have a midrif that sticks out further that my tummy. I hate my shape. Nothing looks flattering on me. I have fairly large boobs, a massive middle, an ok (considering my size) waist, a 2 c-section hang over tummy and my thighs need a tone. Oh and bingo wings. I like my hands and feet! So ok your all thinking “she can’t be that bad”, and to look at me it’s probably not as bad for every one else but my self image is awful and I need to sort it out.

I’ve always been on the larger side. I hit puberty and all the chocolate and crisps from the previous 3 years piled on. I never did diets because I saw mum and dad diet and regain weight and didn’t want to do that. I married at 20 and was quite happy, I didn’t have a flat tummy (although looking back I wish I had appreciated what I had!) but I was in proportion and about 2 stone lighter than I am now.

I fell pregnant with B and ballooned all over – I literally ate for 2 and didn’t think beyond the pregnancy, after 3 years and fertility treatment I was just focused on having a baby not what it would do to me. B was delivered by elective cesarean as she was breech, so I had that 12 week period of not being able to do much and so the weight didn’t shift early on. When B was 14 months I started weight watchers and lost 2 and half stone, but still wanted to loose another 1 and half stone. We moved house, routines changed and I didn’t loose, in fact I gained about a stone by the time I was pregnant again with H. I was good with my eating this time round, probably mainly due to the fact I seperated from my husband half way through and so lost my appetite. I opted for VBAC as I really wanted to know what labour felt like (hmmmm), but was over due and so was induced 10 days after my due date. After 12 hours of labour and not much progression things went pear shaped and to cut a long story short I was rushed for another section under a general anesthetic due to my uterus rupturing. My insides were pretty mangled but thankfully everything was able to be sewn back together and after 5 days on SCBU, H was fine. But again it meant I was sore, much more than the 1st time round.

The weight this time round shifted early on, as a new single mum of 2 I was back on my feet and doing more than was probably recommended at just 3 weeks – there was noone else to do it. But we are now 19 months on and my pre pregnancy clothes that 6 months ago were getting loose, are now fitting a little too snuggly! I’ve started snacking at night again. My portion sizes after watching this weeks Super Nanny, are way off the mark and I need to sort it out.

Well, as if by some psychic mummy blogger magic, the lovely Karin at Cafe Bebe wrote a post a few days ago saying the same thing, that she needs to take the bull by the horns and do something about it and by blogging it she hopes to crack it. A few of us all shouted out saying that’s us too and so Mummy Tummy Begone was born. I know Karin has already started and I am sat eating crisps and dip while I write, but my plan is to start the proper diet on Monday 22nd March, because that is the day I start work and so that means 1. I won’t be able to snack through the day so easily and 2. H will be in nursery so hopefully I will find some time to do things like the gym or swimming. So I have just over a week to decide how I am going to tackle this one. Watch this space…………..

March 11, 2010 Posted by | Food, Mummy Tummy Begone | , , , | 3 Comments

I Need Chocolate!!!!

As some of you may or may not know, I have given up chocolate for lent. I did this once before, before kids, and the sense of achievement after was amazing. I also appreciated  all my Easter Eggs so much more! Since having kids I havn’t given up anything for Lent, but this year I decided I would kick start my diet with Lent. Now as for the religous side, yes I am a Christian and I do understand the giving up something as a sign of appreciation for what Jesus went through for us. However, I am not practising, the last time I went to church was almost exactly a year ago when I had H christened. The reason I decided to do it this year was to kick start my healthy eating, now I am not convinced that will happen as I am already planning to binge eat chocolate for a whole weekend!

Moonstruck chocolates by eszter.Picture Credit: eszter

Today I have discovered that Sunday’s are not part of Lent!! Now I have never heard this before and neither has my mum. According to Google there are 2 trains of thought depending on what Christian culture is being looked at. So the 1st is how I understood things; Lent lasts 40 days and 40 nights from Ash Wednesday, which means that Palm Sunday marks the end of Lent, a week before Easter. The week directly before Easter being known as “Holy Week” is not part of Lent although is another period of fasting in the Christian calender. This is what I have always believed from being a child and this was never in doubt even while I was a regular church goer. However, the other day B came home from school and told me that I was allowed to eat chocolate on Sunday’s as they are not part of Lent. I disagreed with her and told her the above and thought maybe she had just misunderstood things. But, I have just been told the same thing by a friend on Facebook. It seems that Western Christians practice this as they believe Sunday’s are Holy Days and as such cannot be included in fasting periods. Then of course there is the Catholic approach, which states that Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter Sunday, marks the end of Lent, followed by Good Friday and Easter Saturday which are also periods of fasting. It seems even Google cannot provide a solid answer as to when Lent ends. It’s one of those things that there should be an answer to, but ultimatly it’s down to what we believe, so therefore I am sticking to what I have believed all my knowledgable life and still not having chocolate on Sundays!

See but now I worry that apparently I shouldn’t be abstaining from things on a Sunday as I should be celebrating the day of Our Lord. It makes me understand why religon is one of those things that causes heated debate, just like politics. And then throw in other religons too, wow, now there’s a bottle about to errupt. My personal belief is that Jesus didn’t get to come back from the desert every Sunday for his roast dinner, therefore I’m sticking to my 40 days being a straight run through! I’ve normally done all the way through to Easter Sunday too, just not realising it takes me over 40 days, or that “Holy Week” is a seperate period of fasting. It’s all so bloomin’ confusing, all for giving up a bit of chocolate to try and loose a few lbs. Trouble is after all this I need chocolate even more, I can feel my hair going greyer as a type!!!!!

Roll on the end of Lent………………………whenever that may be!!!!

March 2, 2010 Posted by | Food, Religon | , , , | 5 Comments

Pancake Hell!

Yesterday, as we all know,was Shrove Tuesday, more commonly these days known as Pancake Day. Last year was my 1st ever attempt at making pancakes as my ex was always the one to make them before. Last year proved why! I didn’t have a clue so rang my mum for a rough guide on making the batter. I was told I needed plain flour, and used self raising as that was all I had. Every single one stuck and I felt such a failure after. But on the plus I had other stuff in the fridge and I think we ended up with omlette instead!

This year I tried things differently. I bought one of these “Just add milk and shake” pancake mix in a bottle things. I brought a new frying pan specially because I’d thrown my old one out a few months ago and hadn’t replaced it yet. I followed all the instructions and guess what……….they stuck like mad again! I was so angry, especially as H now eats what we eat and the 1st one I managed to save so it went on her plate. Now all credit to these easy pancake mix things – the taste was spot on. But with 1 small pancake between 3 of us, well that wasn’t going to work. So I rang mum and we joined them for mum’s homemade perfect pancakes.

I watched, I even had a go and cooked a perfect one there, gas hob same as mine, only difference was mum let the fat warm up more than I had so I assumed that was my problem. Nope tried again when I got home and the hotter the fat the worse it seemed to stick. So I have decided that’s it no more pancake making attempts from me, if mum isn’t about I’ll buy shop bought ones!

pancakes by roboppy.

On the plus side though, B was very interested in what pancake day is all about, and why I was asking her what she would give up for lent. I explained that pancakes were made to use up the perishable food before fasting for 40 days and 40 nights from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. She was fascinated and initially said she would give up sex for lent (!!!!), I asked her what she thought that would mean, to which she replied it would mean not looking good till Easter! Hmmm, talked her out of that one and so she has decided to give up being naughty for lent – yeah we will see how that one goes! I have decided to give up chocolate, so to all my dear friends out there, please don’t offer me chocolate till Easter!

It got me wondering though, how many other people actually explain the meanings of these special days to their kids? I mean, B obviously hasn’t learnt about it at school, even though their pancake races are a big event each year. I wouldn’t class myself as religious in that I don’t go to church every week, but I do have my faith and Easter is a time when I find myself taking stock and thinking about what my faith means to me. I always try and give something up for lent. B was christened on Palm Sunday too, so that holds special significance for me as well. What does it all mean for you?

Picture from Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/roboppy/7953025/ by roboppy

February 17, 2010 Posted by | Food, Parenting, Religon | , | 6 Comments