Thursday, February 15, 2018

Smoothies: Kiwi and Kale

This is my first time with a green smoothie. I always tend to go for berry flavours when I make them.


1 cup milk
1 cup kale
1 kiwi
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey

Blend together until smooth.

I was hoping for a bright green colour for this one but it's more delicate. It was really frothy and light to drink. There was a slight peppery flavour from the kale but the peanut butter was the strongest taste in this one. I enjoyed it. The last mouthful had lots of tiny crunchy kiwi seeds.

Kale is a great food to get in your diet as often as you can, it's benefits are numerous. Vitamins C, K and A, high in iron, anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants, high in calcium and also helps lower cholestrol. Kiwis are pretty great too, they have vitamin C, they help digestion plus apparently they're a good sleep inducer.

Next up: Beetroot and strawberry

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Well, Burger Me 9: Jerk Pork Burger

Amother week, another burger. this time the jerk pork burger. Made up with jerk seasoning. It's gonna be a spicy one!


500g minced pork
2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1 tablespoon oregano
salt & pepper

Get your hands in there and squish all the ingredients together making sure to incorporate the jerk seasoning quite evenly through the pork. Form into patties and fry in a pan for 5-8 minutes on each side depending on how you like them.

I'm coveting a burger press on Amazon at the moment so I had a go at a homemade burger press with these burgers. I used the lid of a peanut butter jar lined with clingfilm. It worked pretty well except the burgers are a bit small.

The taste of these burgers was great. Jerk is a lovely deep, spicy flavour. The addition of so much jerk seasoning made the burgers a bit dry though, almost a bit gritty. The addition of a sauce would improve it I think. Still, tasty!

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 3

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Family Game Review - Exit: The Polar Station

My sister Sally got us this game for Christmas and I was dying to play it. It says on the box that it takes 1-2 hours so we waited until we had plenty of time to set aside for it. (Even though I secretly thought we'd do the game much faster!). It's a one-play only game.

The idea of this game is to simulate an Escape Room Experience. You're trapped in a Polar Station with rescue helicopters about to leave. You only have a notebook you found and a mysterious decoder disk.

You start with one Riddle card and you have to solve puzzles to gain more Riddle cards. When you solve a puzzle you work out a three digit number which opens a drawer or cupboard in the room you're trapped in (revealing more clues). The puzzles were great, all different kinds of puzzles. Anagrams, number puzzles, impossible to solve puzzles and puzzles using things you wouldn't expect. We had to cut things out of the notebook, scribble things in it and use all of our collective mental efforts to solve them.

It took us 2 hours 43 minutes to complete! So much for my earlier confidence. :D

When we were solving the puzzles it was great but there were also times that we'd be stuck for 5-15 minutes not knowing what to do next. It was quite frustrating. There are clue cards you can use if you want to but we were reluctant to rely on them. We did eventually use them a few times as the game went on.

We all said how mentally tired we were after we'd finished. 

JD weeping with relief as we finally escaped the polar station.

It was a cleverly made game. Puzzle games are often too easy but this one wasn't! It was simple to set up, just a few minutes getting things out of the box. It took too long to play but that's a difficult thing to gauge as it depends on the people playing it. If we played another one we'd break up playing it between two sessions instead of persevering to the end.

Ratings: Emma - 4, JD - 3, Leigh - 4, Erin - 3

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Subscription Box Review - Simply Cook

This time we're testing Simply Cook. This service provides a recipe card and pots containing things like rubs, pastes or oils to make the meal. You buy your own fresh ingredients and each meal can serve 2-4 (depending on how much of other ingredients you buy). It costs £9.99 for 4 meals. I got a Black Friday deal for our box, just £3 to try it.

We chose the Mexican Pulled Chicken with sweet potato fries to try first. But we were having it with Leigh and Erin who don't like sweet potato so we switched to potato wedges. The first pot contained a Mexican rub for the potatoes.


The second pot had a Chipotle paste to add to mayonnaise to make a coleslaw for the sandwich. We added onion to the cabbage and carrot suggested.

The chicken was boiled then shredded, adding the third pot which was Mole (Mo-leh) sauce to finish it off.

We all enjoyed the chicken. Leigh and Erin didn't try the coleslaw but JD and I loved it. The wedges were a bit disappointing as they didn't have much flavour. Still, the whole meal was nice and it's great to try something new.

Things we liked:

You can adapt the recipe to suit your own taste.
Lots of recipes to try, many I hadn't heard of before.
Easy to follow recipe cards.
Great to be able to have either just the 2 of us or all 4 of us
Quick delivery and fits through the letterbox

Things we didn't like:

Hmm struggling here...
It's a little expensive for recipe cards and seasonings.

To be honest this is a great service. As someone who has eaten a meal from every country there's still lots of new recipe ideas on the site I've never heard of. You get to try a new food without having to hunt down difficult to find spices or herbs (I've done a lot of that in the past). This service just makes it very easy for you.

You don't even have to subscribe, you can order a one-off box anytime or send one to a friend. This would make a great gift.

I'm looking forward to trying our other 3 recipes soon.

I'd recommend this subscription to anyone who likes cooking and being adventurous with new flavours.

P.S. JD and I had Vietnamese Pork last night and it was delicious!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - The Gym

My favourite exercise is plain old walking about. I like walking in the countryside, walking about my neighbourhood doing errands and fast walking listening to my Zombies Run! app.

I could stick with walking but I vaguely worry I'm missing out on something more fun that I might like even more. So I've decided to try out some new exercise types to see how I get on.

It's January and that means one thing. Rushing to the gym after all the Christmas excess. Except, I started back in December so I'd be ready to post this blog post. Aha, tricked you!

I got a deal to try 5 days at a Puregym for £5. I went once a week for 5 weeks.

As gyms go, they're pretty good. You don't have to sign up for a year, you can join for just a month. You can even buy a day-pass if you want to try it before you join.

I almost failed at the first hurdle. When you book a day-pass online they text you a code to use to get in. I had to press the help button because I couldn't get my code to work. When the code does work you step into the futuristic tube which closes shut behind you, then opens up in front. It was a bit snug for someone of my generous proportions. I don't think it was made with me in mind!

The first couple of times I went I started off on a treadmill which is weirdly different to walking outside. It even affected different leg muscles than usual. I enjoyed being able to set an incline on my treadmill walks and there was even a fan built in to cool me down.

I enjoyed my visits to the gym. I tried the treadmill, cycling, the cross trainer, free weights and some of the weight machines (I have no idea what they're called). It was good to try out different things and I'm glad I did it. I found the gym staff friendly and happy to help with advice.I liked the competitive physical atmosphere of the gym, everyone is there to get fitter and make their bodies feel good.

Gyms aren't for me though, I prefer being outside walking to being inside on a treadmill. I enjoy the scenary as I walk about. Yesterday when walking I saw a fat little robin sitting on a branch and it pooped as I passed. How majestic! I enjoy that my legs are actually propelling my body along as I walk. Treadmill walking seems to take twice as long as walking outside. It's like humans have invented a way of exercising that's less enjoyable than actually walking. Closed off in a room with other people not getting anywhere.

As my Dad used to say, it'd be boring if we were all the same. It was great to see lots of people enjoying the gym. Good luck to them on their fitness journeys. I'll keep walking outside for now until my next  exercise test which will be Yoga. Watch this space. :)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Playing Silly Burgers 8: Chilli Burger

Chilli burgers are one of JD's favourite burgers and one time a few years ago he ordered one in a takeaway only to be given a burger with a sauce made up of hot chili peppers. He was not pleased!

So today we're doing it the proper way with chilli on top of a burger. Well almost the proper way, we're using canned chilli for convenience.

Mix together minced beef, sausage, mustard, parsley and garlic to make the burger patties. Fry them in a bit of oil and top with chilli on a ciabatta bread roll.

The burgers were pretty great. Messy to eat with the chilli on top but still good. The inclusion of sausage in this burger made them a bit soft whereas we'd have preferred just beef patties. Ciabatta is a good choice of bun as it soaks up the chilli nicely. Overall a decent burger.

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 3

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Smoothies: Cocoa and Oat

I'm quite the fan of smoothies. Especially after exercising as an easy way to replace electrolytes. JD got me a smoothie maker for Christmas so I'm going to try up my smoothie game by making a few new recipes in it.

First up is a Cocoa and Oat Smoothie


3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup yoghurt
1/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 banana
1 dash cinnamon

Put it all in your smoothie maker (or blender) and blitz until smooth (usually on a few seconds).

I have a very limited repertoire of smoothie recipes so it was nice to try something new. I felt suspicious that the oats would be chewy but they just added a nice thickness to the whole drink.  It had a sweetness from the honey but wasn't too sweet. A success!

Oats have a fibre called beta-glucan in them that helps lower your bad cholesterol and cocoa is a great ingredient to use in January as it has anti-depressant qualities. I don't need help feeling good in January because it's my birthday month!

But I was thinking of you guys. :)