Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 44: Bosna

This sandwich is Austria's version of a hot dog. Often eaten late at night after drinking. Looks good!

Ingredients: ketchup, mayo, mustard, curry powder, hot dog buns, bratwurst sausages and onion.

Fry the chopped onion and sausages. While the sausages cook make up the sauce by mixing the mustard, mayo, ketchup and curry sauce.

 Remove the cooked sausages and onion from the pan and fry the bread letting it soak up the oil from the sausages cooking.

 Put two sausages in each bun, add onions and cover with the curry sauce.

I might just be giddy from it being my birthday and being high on chocolate consumption but this was the best sandwich we've had so far.

The bread was crispy from being fried and it was a lovely contrast between that and the sauce. The fried sausages were delicious and went perfectly with the spicy curry sauce. JD enjoyed the fact that this sandwich had two sausages per bun as compared to regular one sausage hot dogs.

We made half the amount we'd normally make due to eating fish & chips earlier in the day and after finishing the sandwich we both wished we had another one to eat. They're so good, seriously, try one!!

Ratings: JD - 4, Emma - 5

Coming up next Saturday - Po Boy

Monday, January 26, 2015

Another Healthy Snack Attempt

This time I decided to try a smoothie out on the kids. I found this recipe for a Chocolate Banana Berry Smoothie.


6 tablespoons of yoghurt
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup of chocolate milk
1/2 cup of water

Blitz in a blender until smooth.

Don't let the picture fool you, these smoothies are impossible to drink through a straw. :D

Me and Leigh really enjoyed our smoothies. They're thick (so thick it's easiest to eat with a spoon), delicious and filling. The frozen blueberries made the whole drink instantly chilled which I really liked. Chocolate and blueberry blend nicely together to make for a lovely flavour. These smoothies are good for extra fibre intake with (I think I remember right because I can't find the original details) about 10g of fibre per glass.

JD and Erin, on the other hand, really did not enjoy the smoothies. They both tried a tiny spoonful and made faces about it. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. :)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 43: Sabich

The Sabich sandwich is a traditional sandwich eaten by Jews on the morning of Shabbat. Sabich is Hebrew for morning. As there is no coooking done on Shabbat, eggs and eggplants must be boiled and fried the day before in preparation.

I predict we'll enjoy this sandwich because we often have hummous in pitta breads for our lunch.

Here's a recipe if you want to try a Sabich yourself -->

 Chopping up cucumber and tomato ready for the salad part.

 Ready to assemble the Sabiches.

Holding the surprisingly hot toasted pitta with a cloth so I don't burn my hand.

We did like them! JD was pleased the sandwich was vegetarian but still really enjoyable since he usually feels a sandwich needs meat. I loved the combination of creamy boiled eggs and soft fried aubergine (I usually dislike aubergine too). Everything was a lovely texture with smoothness from the tahini and hummous but crunchiness from the cucumber and tomato salad.  The chili sauce was a nice kick too.

We've both had an awful cold for a few days and our taste buds aren't really back to normal so we'll likely try this again when we're firing on all cylinders. :D

Ratings: JD - 4, Emma - 3

Coming up next Saturday - Bosna

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 42: The Crisp Sandwich

This sandwich received mixed reactions from the Jackson house this week. Erin was keen to try different crisps in a sandwich. Leigh didn't want to try any at all. JD wasn't impressed with the idea of eating a sandwich with only one filling (we have eaten much more luxurious sandwiches of late). I was up for trying alternate crisps to ready salted for my crisp sandwich but didn't expect to find anything better.

And so we embarked on a crisp sandwich journey to try a few different types and see which we found to be the best.

The ingredients: bread, crisps and butter.

 Erin and JD sampling crisp sandwiches.


 Butter the bread, add a filling of crisps and then fold.

I've picked up the habit of tying crisp packets in a knot from my Dad. I can't help myself now.

We tried 5 different crisps in sandwiches. Cheese and onion, sea salt, salt and vinegar, beef beastie bites (cheapo monster munch) and pickled onion beastie bites.

The results were as follows:

Beef Beastie Bites - 11.5 points
Sea Salt - 10 points
Cheese & onion - 9.5 points
Pickled onion - 7 points
Salt & vinegar - 6.5 points

A bit of a surprise winner really!

The crisp sandwich is ok for a quick snack if you have no time for something better but as a sandwich JD and I weren't that impressed. JD said he prefers crisps on their own than in a sandwich. I still like a salted crisp sandwich best.

Official rating: JD - 2, Emma - 2

Coming up next Saturday - Sabich

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Food Bank and Negative Holidays

We've got a couple of new things going on since the New Year.

We're trying to help Leigh and Erin understand how lucky we all are. How we all get to live in luxury every day with everything we'll ever need taken care of. Simple things like food to eat, heating, fresh water and lots of other things too.

Firstly, we've started a collection box to donate to the local Food Bank.  I printed off their 'shopping list' from their site at and put a plastic box in the kitchen.

We've let Leigh and Erin know what it's for and that if they want they can add to it from their pocket money whenever they go out shopping themselves. Also, we're getting a couple of items each week in with our weekly food shop to go in the box. When the box is full we'll take it to the food bank to donate it.

Any normal family would stop there. But to further make the kids understand how great eating what you want is we're going to then have a week where we eat only food that's on the food bank list. Mostly canned foods which to be honest won't be terrible (I'm thinking corned beef hash which I LOVE) but it will be more limited than what we normally eat. No fresh stuff, milk, bread or fruit & vegetables. It'll be interesting, anyway!

Secondly, we've decided to celebrate what we like to call 'Negative Holidays'. Instead of having an enjoyable celebration of food, games etc we'll celebrate something we take for granted by going without it.

This might seem insane (I blame JD, he came up with it) but we really do want to appreciate all we have because that leads to a happier more content life. Which is what we want for Leigh and Erin.

So, tomorrow is going to be No Heating Day. Our heating will be turned off at midnight tonight and will be off for 24 hours. We expect to be wearing our coats inside since the weather forecast is for possible snow and -1'C (30F).

Leigh and Erin will be at school most of the day but JD and I are at home all day. It'll be worse for JD since he hates the cold but I'll help him keep warm (nudge wink etc).

Expect a report back in a week or so. If we make it through the cold. :D

What luxury do you find you take for granted the most?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 41: The Hot Brown

This sandwich was invented by The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, hence the name.

Stuff You Need: turkey slices, bacon, bread, mornay sauce, gruyere, paprika and parsley.

Make up the mornay sauce by melting butter in a pan, adding some flour and stirring to form a roux. Next add warmed milk and stir in until a thick sauce is achieved. Grated gruyere makes it into a mornay sauce.

Toast two slices of bread and then add a couple of slices of turkey. Cover in mornay sauce, sprinkle with paprika and parsley then a bit more grated gruyere. Grill until it's all melted and browned.

 Add the bacon and another slice of toast.

 Cutting the sandwich in half was a terrible decision that made for a messy sandwich. :D

It was a pretty great sandwich. The mornay sauce was delicious and made for a nice, moist filling along with the meats. The sandwich was meant to have thicker bread but we used what we had. It would've been better with thicker bread and if we make it again we would use 'doorsteps'! Anyway, we both really enjoyed it despite feeling that what was essentially cheese sauce is an unusual sandwich filling. It's the first time either of us has had gruyere in cheese sauce and we'll probably switch to gruyere for other cheese sauce occasions in the future.

Ratings: JD - 4, Emma - 4

Coming up next Saturday - The Crisp Sandwich

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Healthy Eating with Kids

Things are a lot better food-wise in our house than they used to be. Years ago I remember making a separate meal for the kids and us. We didn't eat together and the kids had a limited range of foods they'd eat.

We've made a lot of changes that have helped with that. We gradually started introducing more foods to the table. We started eating together at the table. We lay out the food so the kids can put what they want to eat onto their own plates. And it's really helped mealtimes to be more enjoyable.

Leigh and Erin no longer feel harassed to eat something they don't like that's already on their plates. JD and I don't worry if the kids will try what we've made, they either do or they don't. The range of foods the kids will eat has grown and grown, much more quickly than I expected. We now eat curries together, Leigh likes lasagna and shepherd's pie and Erin enjoys pulled pork and meatballs (to name a few examples that have changed recently).

JD made up a spreadsheet to list the foods the kids eat/don't eat which has made it much easier to see how their tastes have changed. All colour coded to easily see who likes what. Green is things we all like, red is something nobody really likes etc.

Leigh and Erin still don't eat as much fruit or vegetables as I'd like but it's much better than it was. Leigh loves salad now and instead of negatively asking "Is there onions in it?" she now wants us to add onions. Erin used to eat such plain food it's great that now she's developing a love of spicy foods as well.

I've decided lately that I'd like us to try eating healthier snacks to help with getting the kids to eat well and try an even bigger range of foods. The meals they eat are much better now but for snacks/treats the kids will almost always go for Pringles often spending their pocket money on them. More variety is needed!

I have a slight distrust of healthy versions of snack foods though. They often describe themselves as delicious (or even better than the original) but aren't! I'm going to experiement anyway and give some more recipes a try.

Today I made us some chocolate cornflake cakes with bran flakes instead of the usual cornflakes.

Obviously not the MOST healthy snack since they're covered in butter and chocolate BUT it's something delicious we sometimes have, now with added fibre too.

I've bookmarked some more healthy snack recipes to try so expect to see them here soon!

Let me know if you have any good healthy snack ideas. I'd appreciate any recipes you've tried and loved. Thanks x

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 40: Pan Bagnat

This sandwich comes from Nice in France and is a picnic loaf which is then cut into sections for everyone to enjoy. We made a smaller version for just JD and I as you know we don't like to be greedy...ahem :D

Here's a recipe if you want to make it yourself -->

 Start by hollowing out a loaf of bread. I feel this is always a good start to a sandwich recipe.

 Chopping up some vegetables.

 A blurry picture of the tuna salad.

 Putting food in the hollowed out bread.

 Even more food!

Et voila! A delicious pan bagnat loaf split in half just for us.

These kind of sandwiches are always perplexing. There's so many flavours going on that it's like your taste buds give up and get confused. Weirdly, of all the tastes in this sandwich the boiled egg is what stood out the most. Not the anchovies, olives, capers or onion! We enjoyed this sandwich for it's moistness from the dressing and the combined flavour from all the ingredients.

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 3

Coming up next Saturday - The Hot Brown

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year - End of Photo Challenge

I've made it. I challenged myself to take a picture a day through 2014 and I did. I've learned three things along the way:

  • Setting yourself a challenge for a whole year is a terrible idea. A year is a loooong time!
  • Some days you just don't do anything picture-worthy.
  • Trying to find something to photograph in your house just before bedtime is a difficult task.
It went well for most of the year. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to find something to capture every day. It all went wrong when we got back from America in September. We took so many pictures on holiday that I'd had enough. Usually there'd be a break before we did anything else to photograph but I had to keep going relentlessly taking pictures day after day. It got really hard and I almost gave up but JD kept me at it reminding me how great it'd be having all the pictures to look back over at the end of the year.

We did go through the pictures on New Year's Eve and it was great to see our whole year laid out in pictures. Lots had happened that we'd forgotten about and the kids had changed a lot in the space of just a year. It made us realise how much we'd done in one year.

The best thing was waking up on New Year's Day and realising I didn't have to take a picture :D

Here are some of my favourite pictures:

Erin started High School and Leigh started Year 10

Our hamster Missy died :(

Dad celebrated turning 60 with the flattest cake ever

Leigh got her braces taken off

We had many lovely walks

JD published his second book and wrote the third

We moved house

We completed the Nidderdale Walk and raised money for charity

Le Tour fever swept Harrogate

Erin had her last day of Primary School

Leigh and Erin got to meet JD's parents Jack and Andina

Leigh and Erin discovered Minecraft

Whitewater Rafting \o/

Many sandwiches were eaten

Many magpies were photographed

I made some stuff

Visa application: Check!

It's been a great year to look back on. All the pictures can be seen here --> if you're insane enough to want to see 365 pictures of our life.

I'm glad to have finished the challenge and happy I stuck it out. I don't think I'll ever take as many pictures as I have this year!

I hope your year was just as enjoyable and wish you a Happy New Year for 2015.
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