Not everybody is a fan of desserts with dried fruits in them. However, I really love the appearance of a Christmas pudding. So we get around this by making a chocolate biscuit Christmas pudding cake. I like to lace mine with crunchy malteasers but you can add in any chocolates, sweets or nuts that you like!
As this recipe has no baking to be done I think it’s a brilliant one to make with children with little supervision. Once again I have a video to go along with the recipe on YouTube!
The beauty of this stuffing recipe is that it can be made well in advance. No more faffing around the day before Christmas, if you make this stuffing this week and lash it into the freezer then it’s all good to go on the big day.
These Christmas Fruit Parcels are a lighter alternative to cakes and puddings and have no suet and very little fat, no eggs and can be prepared quickly. They can easily be adapted for vegans too. Read More →
Normally when infusing alcohol with spices or fruit you have to wait a number of months for the best flavour. This is a cheat’s version, called dishwasher vodka, which if made today will be ready for drinking or gifting tomorrow!
With the Toy Show being on last night Christmas season has officially kicked off in Ireland; in fact I have a Christmas party to go to tonight. The kids are obsessed with Christmas and their pure joy and delight in decorations in the shops and music playing on the radio is brilliant. As usual for the start of December though I don’t have the decorations up and I’ve no Christmas Tree in the sitting room quite yet.
I know I’m not the only one. I suppose it’s a hangover from the days of being so stressed out about money that we tried not to put the decorations up early or the presents under the tree until we had them bought. It felt like we were making promises to the kids (and to ourselves) that we just couldn’t keep.
The memories of tossing in turning in bed at night wondering how to borrow from Peter and pay Paul will never go away. I hope that they never do because I understand now that they have (a) brought me to where I am today and (b) know exactly what it’s like for those who are struggling at the moment.
Over the next month I’ll have something new each day for you to read or watch. I’ll share my tips on how to prepare for Christmas on a budget; how to not to be a Mammy-martyr in the lead up to the big day, how to ask for help gracefully, and some budget present ideas for all ages.
For today, the first day of December, I’d like to ask you to add 1 small extra item to your grocery shopping this week to donate to your local food appeal. It needn’t be something expensive, even if it’s an extra tin of beans or a bag of rice. If you’d rather not add an extra item in, why not see if you have something in your cupboards already that you’d like to share. Here’s the list from the St Vincent de Paul for their food appeal (this is also suitable for the Lions Club food appeals). Click here for the St Vincent de Paul list.
I’ve got some bags of pasta and some tins of beans which will be brought to our local collection point this week.
Breakfasts don’t have to be boring with this take on french toast that all the family will love. Guaranteed protein from the eggs, seeds, and fresh greek yoghurt, will keep you feeling fuller for longer and give essential energy for training sessions and school.
This is one of my kids’ favourite breakfasts. They pester me to make it for them every morning! Read More →
The morning of the marathon I woke up full of fear, trepidation and unbridled joy. The build up to the marathon had been difficult but it was the day I was going to do it, complete the marathon and join the 1% club.
At no point did I seriously consider giving up. I’d trained for too long and sacrificed so much time to be here, plus I had the honour of being physically capable of completing the marathon. When we passed Alanna’s picture at Mile 8 it took my breath away and I had to pause and take a blast of my inhaler to recover. Serendipity meant that I was with my friend Olivia for the whole 26+ miles, and because I was running for Olivia, my sister who has Multiple Sclerosis, she was a constant reminder to me. Read More →
The beauty of the roast chicken pie is that you simply use up your roast dinner leftovers to make a second meal. It’s for this reason that I recommend you buy a medium or large chicken to roast for your dinner.
The recipe is below but even better again I’ve made another video to accompany it!
Vegetables of choice – leftover if available, or cooked fresh – I use all the vegetables from a roast chicken dinner so carrots, peas, turnip, potatoes, whatever is to hand.
To make the stuffing mixture melt the butter on a medium heat in a large frying pan. Cook the chopped onions until translucent (this will take about 10 minutes). Stir in the fresh parsley and the breadcrumbs. Toast the breadcrumbs in the pan with the butter for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Preheat a fan oven to 170°C.
Take a large baking dish and pour in the roast chicken, cooked vegetables and gravy. Stir together. Sprinkle the stuffing mixture on top.
There’s a fine line between cheering and jeering. It’s a line that somebody who has struggled with their fitness all their life is well aware of; in many ways is hyper-conscious of. It’s the point at which you look up in hope that actually, maybe somebody may be encouraging you and then notice that they are laughing at you. It’s a painful line and over time you become used to always being jeered and never getting cheered. Read More →
I’m a huge fan of roast chicken dinners. Obviously they are a family-friendly meal and I’ve yet to have a day where one of the family turns up their nose to a roast dinner. One of the reasons why they’re a favourite is because a roast chicken is so thrifty. Once we’re finished our meal, I strip any remaining chicken meat from the carcass and use it to make at least one other meal.
The beauty of this noodle bowl is that you can make it a day in advance and it keeps well in the fridge if you’re preparing in advance of a day’s training. With the new recommendations that you should be eating 7 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, this bowl has you covered for at least a 3 if not 4 portions. Read More →
For years I was under the impression that runners were slim and fast, who would zip past me as I was lumbering around a track. It’s only now, 10 months on since I started learning to run that I know this is a huge assumption to make. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, all speeds, and all different personalities, like (go figure) the rest of the population.
We all run for ourselves, not for anybody else. We run to achieve goals, to improve on where we’ve come from, or just to flipping complete a distance.
Looking back it’s remarkable how far I’ve come since I started to run in December 2017. This time last year I was short of breath even going up the stairs, I was struggling to get restful sleep, and my blood pressure was far too high. Running is not complicated but it can be intimidating so here is some of my advice if you’re worried about starting from zero fitness. Read More →
When Knorr Ireland approached me and asked me if I’d be interested in devising a simple recipe to use their stockpots I was delighted to take on the challenge because I do use stockpots and stockcubes on a regular basis. Even though I do make my own homemade stock in the slow cooker, I don’t always have stock to hand when the freezer is full of other things. It is simply a very handy option to add flavour to a meal.
Let’s talk about fibre for a minute though. I’ve become obsessed with healthy fibre in our diets. Without fibre things become a little bit backed up. One source of fibre I can always persuade the boys to eat is chickpeas. Whatever I make if there’s chickpeas in it then I know I’m onto a winner for a family meal. The boys demolish this chickpea stew anytime I make it. So does the fussy teenager because she loves the ‘curry flavour’. This is a winner on so many levels. It’s the perfect plant-based meal for a Meat Free Monday or a side dish to go with meat if you wish.
Shortly after this picture was taken the cheeky monkey lost that wiggley tooth at the front by the way.
You will notice that I’ve not put any added salt into this recipe. There is plenty of flavour from the garam masala powder and the stockpot so there’s no need for additional salt. Something I’m very happy about as I do try to be careful about the salt in our diets.
Place a large saucepan on a medium heat. Pour in the sunflower oil, onion, and pepper. Stir well for about 3 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the garam masala powder and stir once again so that the spices coat the vegetables and warm through in the heat.
Pour the chopped carrot and full tin of chickpeas (including the water) into the saucepan. Stir until the liquid begins to gently bubble.
Stir in the vegetable stockpot until it dissolves in the sauce.
Cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low for 30 minutes before serving with crusty bread or a bowl of brown rice.