Search Results for : in the kitchen


Banishing family recipes to the bin 1

Banishing family recipes to the bin

How many times have you been eating something delicious and asked for the recipe, only to be told it’s a family secret passed down through generations? Well, it’s not exactly a regular occurrence but it must have happened a few times.

Every single time I can’t help but wonder why it has to be a secret. Can this delicious food not be shared between friends as well? I understand that these treasured recipes might evoke memories of a late family member or a particular special occasion but let us in on the secret too.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any family recipes that were created by my great-great-great-grandmother. I’m lucky if I can remember what my own mother used to cook for me. It’s a shame, but my family just isn’t that talented in the kitchen.

I’m not going to pretend that I am a spectacular cook but I can whip up some simple dishes if I have a recipe to follow. It doesn’t make it any easier when people refuse to share their recipes. Of course, I could turn to a cookbook but I find that most of these dishes end up bland or just not very nice.

So, to show my circle of friends that I can also pull something together that resembles a tasty meal and I don’t need an ancient recipe to help, I threw a dinner party. Now, I’ll let you in on my little secret… Schwartz recipe inspiration kits.

These kits are amazing. They include pre-measured pots of herbs, spices and seasoning and also come with a free recipe card. I decided to throw together a beef stew for my friends and it was so easy to make.

All you needed, aside from the beef stew mix, was a few ingredients that I already had at home, including the meat and vegetables. To make this delicious meal and surprise your friends and family all you have to do is brown the beef,fry off the vegetables, add the herbs and seasoning before transferring to the oven for a couple of hours.

Even the dumplings were simple enough to make; you just put them on the top of the stew and return to the oven.

As me and my friends were tucking into a hearty home-cooked meal, you’ll never guess what…they asked me for the recipe! Who needs old-fashioned hand-me-down recipes from hundreds of years ago when you can whip up delicious meals with no effort at all?


Good things come to those who wait 5

Today we were sent some Snazaroo face paints by the wonderful chaps and chapesses at Panasonic and Mini decided he wanted to have his face painted as Dracula. So me and Maxi sat him down and I did the best of a bad job. When I was finished Maxi asked if he could put a pumpkin on my face using a stencil we had been sent, so I said of course and then he asked for a couple of stencils on his face. I bit down hard on my lip and tried not to squeal a th shock and stenciled on a bat and a spider web as requested.

I then went in the kitchen to tidy up the mess and light the pumpkins and left the boys to play a board game. You can then imagine my shock when I walked in to find Maxi had been in the dressing up box and put on Mini’s skeleton costume from last year. Yes it was short, but he had put on his black thermal pants under, so you couldn’t tell.

I decided not to say anything and you should have seen MadDads face when he got home. He was delighted and for the first time ever he took both boys trick or treating. So good things come to those who wait, either that or the lure of all that Halloween candy got too much for him!


Autumn cleaning naturally 4

There is something about Autumn that sets me off on a mad cleaning frenzy. I know I should do it in spring, but for both me and MadDad it is an Autumn thing. We have just decorated the lounge, sitting room and hall, well painted them and I have the kitchen next on the list.

Cleaning is not my favorite past time, but since having the boys it is something that I get them to help me with. As I want them to help it is important to me that we use natural products, so that I feel safe having them use them too. My cleaning kit at the moment consists of white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, a gentle soap, borax substitute, tea tree oil and cloths.

All purpose spray cleaner

1/2 cup of white vinegar
2 teaspoons of borax substitute
A dab of liquid soap
5 drops of tea trea oil
2 cups hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag. I have a bag full of old tea towels t shirts etc that we use in the kitchen, in addition to some microfibre cloths that we use for cleaning. I also have a post about 15 uses for white vinegar over on A Thrifty Mum.

The only time that I really use kitchen roll is when I am cleaning the bin or the toilets, as I can use the sheet and then pop it in the compost bin for hygiene reasons.


The Pyrex Dish 14

Even as I grew up and had a family of my own, my mum always encouraged me to cook and I realised that she had given me a firm foundation in the kitchen and love of seasonal produce. I know you are only a dish, but I cried a little last night for a woman that I miss so much and then when I saw you in the bin this morning I cried a little more for the time in my life you represent.

Yes, I know my mum would be saying “it is just a dish Jen” and indeed it is, but also a thousand memories were baking inside it and it will always hold a place in my heart.


How to make a bubble snake maker 9

We are making the most of the good weather at the moment and trying to make things that we can use in the garden and this bubble snake maker is so fun and easy to make from things that you will already have in your home, all you need to do is add a sprinkle of imagination.


Ten Fabulous Free Meal Planning Printables 23

Once a week we sit down as a family and talk about what we loved about that week’s menu and what we want the following week.  It has started to become a real family affair as both the boys are now preparing and cooking at least one meal a week.  I am a sucker when it comes to stationery, so I have gathered together some fabulous free meal planning printables to share with you.


Lemon and Ginger Scones

Lemon and Ginger Scones is a paid collaboration with Opies as part of their #FreetheGinger campaign.  These lemon and ginger scones are just perfect for afternoon tea and remind me of summers with my Mum and a nice big pot of fresh tea. The combination of lemon and ginger is refreshing and slightly fiery at the same time. They are brilliant serviced with butter, but also equally delicious with either clotted cream and lemon curd.


Simple Ways to Turn a Rented House in to a Family Home

Simple Ways to Turn a Rented House in to a Family Home 3

Decorating a rented property can be tricky as there are all sorts of things to consider, not least of all your deposit. Many landlords don’t allow any permanent changes to be made but others are happy to allow rooms to be repainted providing the tenants return the house to its original state.  So I have collaborated with Homelet to bring you some simple ideas are a great way to turn a rented house into a family home. #RentingRules


The Benefits of Audiobooks 6

The benefit of audiobooks is a collaborative post with BookBeat.  We are big fans of audiobooks here in The Mad House. We use them a lot and I want to share with you that they are not cheating nor do they prohibit reading.  In fact, in our case, they have actually helped fuel the love of books. I am an avid reader and always have been. When I was younger I could always be found with my head in a book and this is a love that I have always wanted to pass on to the children.  However, as much as we have already read to the boys and encouraged them both more »


This rich 4 ingredient chocolate shortbread recipe is easy to prepare and keeps for several days in an airtight container. Perfect for cooking with kids.

Chocolate Shortbread with Salter Cook – Cooking with Kids 21

I am passionate about getting kids in the kitchen and getting them cooking, and anything that makes that easier and simpler is great by me. So when Salter asked us to take a look at their revolutionary Salter Cook range, which includes the Salter Cook 10kg Pro Bluetooth Kitchen Scale and the Salter Cook Bluetooth Cooking Thermometer that links to their cooking app, we decided to adapt one of the recipes we found on the app and make chocolate shortbread.


Over 150 Low cost and no cost summer activities 12

Summer holidays, you either love them or hate them.  I am never sure about which camp I am in.  I love spending time with the children but do worry about the cost of summer activities.  I relish not having to get up each morning and giving up the school routine, but I don’t like hearing the words “I’m Bored”  That is why I came up with the bored jar (about four years ago).


Green Cleaning Tips

Green Cleaning Tips and Polti Moppy Review 5

I hate cleaning but love a clean house.  There is something about having a tidyish and clean house that makes me feel calmer and more content.  However, as a Mum to two boys and a dog it can be challenging.  I am also keen to use green cleaning products due to my cancer history and the fact that I have a genetic predisposition to cancer (BRCA 2) and the fact that there is a 50% chance that the boys might have the same spelling mistake.


Handmade Fathers’ Day Gift Ideas 1

We love anything handmade here in the Mad House.  I think that there is nothing better than a kid made gift or a homemade card.  Kids love getting involved and being creative and as a parent, there is nothing better than receiving something made by your child and Father’s Day is no exception.  So get a little create with these fabulous, but achievable handmade Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Handmade Fathers' Day Gift Ideas