Meal Planning Monday (a day late!)- Tuesday 21st July 2015.

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It’s the start of the summer holidays for me so this means I can start getting a bit more organised. The last few weeks have been very chaotic here and some days I didn’t know whether I was coming or going.  This week I’m trying to use up stuff in the cupboard and freezer, also trying to shop more little and often to avoid wasting things.  When I’m busy I end up buying more than I need.

I’m also trying my hardest to lose weight, though I’ve lost 13lbs so far with another 1 1/2 stone to go. Everything I try to cook I’ve been pointing for Weightwatchers and trying to have smaller portions. Though this doesn’t always work out when you’re tired and you’re hungry.

   

 

I baked a Lemon and Gin flavoured Bundt Cake last week and took it along to a very special Photoshoot with The Clandestine Cake Club.

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I’ve also been baking cupcakes as Thankyou presents.

This week I’m planning on using a well loved,  favourite cook book of mine- Holly Bell’s Recipes From A Normal Mum.  We ended up having her Roast Chicken with Tapenade, roast potatoes with rosemary and roasted Mediterranean veg on the side for Sunday lunch.  Though I wasn’t concentrating when I forgot to stuff the tapenade inside the chicken so it ended up being served on the side. My husband made rude comments saying it looked like concrete mix!

I’ve got a lot of sausages in the freezer so I’m going to use them up this week!

Monday:  I was out having tea and cake with a friend so I didn’t eat any dinner.  My family had bangers, mash and beans.

Tuesday: Bring Out Your Leftovers Chicken Enchiladas

Wednesday: Triple S Lasagne (this uses sausages)

Thursday: Tortilla Traybake (this uses chorizo sausages)

Friday: not a Holly Bell recipe but I’m hoping to bake a Steak Pie using a load of stewing steak I’ve got in the freezer.

Saturday: Hubby and I are going to York Races, but will put a chilli in the slow cooker for my Mum and my kids to eat while we’re out.

Sunday: Pulled Pork in the slow cooker with salad, new potatoes, coleslaw and pickles. Might bake Holly’s Elderflower and Gooseberry Frangipane Tart for a pudding if I can find some gooseberries, if not I’ll use blueberries or raspberries in it.

Hope you have a good week.  I’m off over to MrsM’s blog to see what everyone else is having for their MealPlanningMonday this week.

Sam xx

 4th July Peanut Butter, Chocolate and M&M Layer Cake using equipment from The Cake Decorating Store.

As a very busy working mum who also loves baking and cake decorating it is always useful to know about local cake decorating suppliers. I find myself relying a lot more on online ordering, especially when I’m short of time.

I was over the moon when Hayley from The Cake Decorating Store contacted me after reading SmartCookieSam and asked if I was interested in reviewing some of their products.  I love the chance to try out new products so I jumped at the chance.

The Cake Decorating Store is an online store based in Leeds (so very local to me, too!) and sells everything to do with cake decorating that you can think of, including bakeware and cake boxes.

 If you would like to find out more about The Cake Decorating Store, then why not pop over to their website?

www.cakedecoratingstore.co.uk

A couple of weeks ago I was excited when a box arrived on my doorstep.  I love getting surprises through the post and this one was no exception! A 7″ diameter loose bottomed sandwich cake tin, a cake tester and a cake leveller.  I was pleased to get another 7″ cake tin, I already have three for when I bake a triple layer cake but it is useful to have an extra tin. If I’m baking for charity and need to bake two sandwich cakes at once, now I can do it!

I had not used a cake leveller before although I had seen one in Lakeland.  If I need to level cakes I’ve usually used a ruler and a knife. I can’t wait to try it out the next time I need to bake a cake with a level top.

The cake tester was also extremely useful.  I have a couple of metal skewers I use when testing my cakes but they’re always hiding themselves in my drawer. I can never find them when I need them in a hurry so this cake tester with its big top won’t be lost in a hurry!

All three products were of an exceptionally high quality.  The cake tin and leveller are by Tala which is a reputable brand that has been associated with baking and other household equipment for over a hundred years now.  I remember my late Nana who loved baking giving me a Tala icing set and a book showing me how to use the nozzles. So anything by Tala to me speaks of heritage and high quality.  The tester was by Chef Aid, a brand I don’t know too much about but I have seen a few of their products in supermarkets, etc.

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My cake baking goodies which came from the Cake Decorating Store.


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Here is my new sandwich tin and cake tester in action.

I’m a bit behind with my blogging at the moment. You’ll be thinking, well 4th July was a couple of weeks ago!  True, but this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and get typing.  I was going to join in the Clandestine Cake Club’s VCake event for that weekend but I completely forgot to download the pics.  Story of my life but anyway at least I got to bake a fantastic cake using my new goodies.

For 4th July I wanted to bake something with an American taste and theme. I adapted a recipe I had from the Primrose Bakery Cupcake book and instead of baking cupcakes put the mixture into two 7″ sandwich tins instead.  Miraculously there was some peanut butter left in the cupboard. Usually when I buy it my family snaffle it before I can say the word “peanuts”!

The frosting was a milk chocolate one.  I used two bars of Green and Blacks Milk chocolate and nearly fainted to see them still in my baking cupboard.  My family are losing their touch!  I also used some of another of my favourite products at the moment, the fabulous Sugar and Crumbs chocolate milkshake icing sugar in place of ordinary icing sugar.

Here is how it turned out!

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My peanut butter layer cake was decorated to look like the USA flag though please don’t count the white “stars”. I had to resort to mini chunks of white chocolate and I don’t think there are 50!


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I decorated my 4th July Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake with a luscious milk chocolate frosting.


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I found some red, white and blue M&M’s in my local Co-op. Some looked a bit battered about though but i bet they still tasted the same.


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To continue with the American theme of the cake, it was sandwiched together with some Blueberry Jam, not authentically American “jelly” but I found this Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry Jam in my local Co-Op.


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The peanut butter cake, sadly not for me as I am on a diet. But my family tucked in over the next few days and my son who never gives me compliments said it was “Well nice!”


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The rest of the cake just saying “EAT ME NOW!”

Many thanks again to Hayley from The Cake Decorating Store for sending me the tin, cake tester and leveller to try out.  I didn’t need the leveller for this cake but I will try it out very soon and let you know how I get on with it.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Baking With French Glace Cherries.

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About three weeks ago I went along to Pudsey Clandestine Cake Club‘s last event which was very exciting.  It was sponsored by French Glace Cherries. Sharon the group organiser had been given lots of fantastic freebies for us all to … Continue reading

Bundts, Bundts and More Bundts.

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I’m getting just that teensy weensy bit obsessed with collecting Nordicware Bundt pans now. I think it needs to stop or else I will need a kitchen extension!  I just love the interesting shapes that the pans come in and … Continue reading