Monday, February 25, 2013

Michelin Star anyone...?

Shared by Rebecca U at 3:36 PM 1 comments Links to this post
As my regular readers know, I love food (both the eating and cooking parts)! The lovely people at Boundless Productions have approached me to share their exciting new cooking based show with you lovely lot.

Boundless is the production company behind shows like The Apprentice and Four Rooms and they are on the look out for people that love to cook up a storm in the kitchen. You will need to find a friend, sibling or partner to join you as they want the best amateur cooking couples and you must be UK or ROI based.

If you are selected to go on the show you could be cooking for some of the country's top professional chefs -  such an amazing opportunity!

If you have a REAL  passion for REAL homemade food, why not enter? I am definitely thinking of giving it a go!

Please contact Joe by phone: 0207 861 8248 or email: joe.deen@boundlessproductions.tv

(You can also follow or tweet them on Twitter)


So, if you and your cooking partner think you have what it takes to represent your region in the UK and Ireland's ultimate cooking test they would love to hear from you.

Good Luck!






Sunday, February 17, 2013

Healthier baking...

Shared by Rebecca U at 10:53 PM 2 comments Links to this post
I love to bake.

Much more than I prefer cooking. I think with cakes, cupcakes and cake pops, its the finishing touches and making it all look pretty that I prefer the most. I obviously can't eat everything I bake or I would be the size of a house.

More so.

So I have decided I will look at some alternative baking ingredients to make baking slightly healthier so that I can occasioanlly have some and the people I give the baking to, won't be worrying about the calories.

- Substitues for eggs: If you are making cakes, cupcakes or brownies you can replace eggs to make healthier versions. You can replace 1 egg with - 70g (1/3 cup) of applesauce OR 60g (1/4 cup) fat free yoghurt OR 1/2 mashed banana OR 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil.

- Sweetner instead of Sugar: Now, this one can be controversial depending on your thoughts on aspartemene but if you are OK with it, it is a calorie free alternative to sugar. Here is a conversion chart you can use so you know how much to replace.

                                         Sugar                   Sweetener
  •                                          1 tsp                        1/2 tsp
  •                                       1/4 cup               1/8 cup or 6 tsp
  •                                        1/3 cup                      8 tsp
  •                                        1/2 cup                   1/4 cup
  •                                         2/3 cup                   1/3 cup
  •                                         3/4 cup                    6 tbsp
  •                                        1 cup                      1/2 cup

  •  
    - Creme Fraiche: You can swap like for like amounts of creme fraiche for marscapone cheese.
     
    - Replacing Buttermilk: To make your own buttermilk and choose what fat level of milk goes into it, you need to add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to 1 cup of milk (you choose if you have skimmed, semi-skimmed or full fat, but if you're trying to cut calories, don't use full fat, obvs). Stir and let it sit for two minutes, then it is ready to be used as buttermilk.

    - Olive Oil instead of Butter: This can replace the fat in most baking and cooking. It is high in antioxidents and has more flavour and nutritional value than vegetale oil or rapeseed oils. Here is a conversion chart you can use (found at www.amazingoliveoil.com) where it lets you know how much olive oil you can use to replace butter in baking. It is not a good idea to replace butter with olive oil when making cookies though as this can make them flat as it doesn't cream together as well with the sugar.

    Butter
    Olive Oil
    Butter
    Olive Oil
    1 teaspoon
    ¾ teaspoon
    5 mls
    3 mls
    2 teaspoons
    1 ½ teaspoons
    10 mls
    7.5 mls
    1 tablespoons
    2 ½ teaspoons
    15 mls
    12.5 mls
    2 tablespoons
    1 ½ tablespoons
    30 mls
    22.5 mls
    ¼ cup
    3 tablespoons
    60 mls
    45 mls
    cup
    ¼ cup
    80 mls
    60 mls
    ½ cup
    ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons
    125 mls
    90 mls
    cup
    ½ cup
    160 mls
    125 mls
    ¾ cup
    ½ cup + 1 tablespoon
    185 mls
    140 mls
    1 cup
    ¾ cup
    250 mls
    175 mls
    2 cups
    1 ½ cups
    500 mls
    375 mls

     
    If you give any of them a go, let me know how you get on. I made some cake pops this afternoon with oilve oil instead of butter and I couldn't tell the difference.
     

    Cute Card Printable...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 6:28 PM 6 comments Links to this post
    I just had to share this picture that you could print out for a card that I did for my hubs for Valentines Day... It would work well for any old card really, as long as it is for someone you love and they are partial to a bit of Star Wars.

     
    You can find the link to the original source here on my Pinterest page (keep scrolling down until you see it)
     
     
    What it looked like as an actual card...
    
    Our wedding anniversary can get lost with all the Christmas and New Year celebrations so we made this year our 'Anniversaltine' as we didn't do anything just the two of us on our anniversary and didn't even exchange gifts or cards - boooo! So, I made the husband a 'Chocolate Bouquet' to go along with his new running top and water bottle (oxymoron, much?). But it went down well as he certainly has a sweet tooth and it was really simple to make.

    I used some plastic lollypop sticks that I have for baking cake pops and just taped the bars to the sticks. I weighted down a little vase and then propped them all in, making sure that it wouldn't topple over or anything. A plant pot would look cute as well but make sure you have shorter sticks if thats the case, or it will be hard to keep the chocolates weighted down.

    If you were making one for, say, Mothers Day, you could wrap up the chocolates in nice colourful paper so that it looks prettier - but I was trying to make this girly gift look as manly as possible haha.

    Treats for the hubs in the red wrapping, treats for me in the white bag - very spoilt!

    Friday, February 15, 2013

    Twenty Questions

    Shared by Rebecca U at 11:26 AM 5 comments Links to this post
    I have seen on quite a few blogs recently and on things like Instagram where there are 'Get to know you' questionnaires or a few random facts about yourself. I saw one on here that I have used so you can know 'All about (Family) U'...

    1. Tell me something obvious about you: I am a wife and mother.

    2. Tell me something about you that many don't know: Those close to me know, but I have terrible vision. I am so short sighted its unreal. Thank goodness for contact lenses.

    3. What is your biggest fear? I have had an irrational fear of my house burning down, since I was very young so the thought of that freaks me out - I don't even know why, I've never been involved in a fire of any kind.

    4. Do you normally go the safe route or take the short cut? It depends on what it is. I am very impatient so like the short cut but I like to plan and know something's are best done the safe route.

    5. Name one thing you want that you can't buy with money: I guess you could technically buy it with money, with a personal trainer etc but to have the fitness to be able to one day run a marathon.

    6. What is your most treasured possession? If family don't count then it would have to be our house. We are very blessed to own one so know we need to take care of it and then it will take care of us.

    7. What is the one thing you hate most about yourself that you do often? I don't like to say I HATE anything, strongly dislike perhaps... Probably being too honest. By that I mean I need to be more tactful. As those that know me know, I don't pull punches when it comes to airing my thoughts and it might bother some people.

    8. What is your favourite lie to tell? What a strange question - does anyone have a favourite lie? I think probably when I lie to myself about 'tomorrow'. I will restart the diet tomorrow, I will exercise more tomorrow. I will finish that project tomorrow...

    9. Name something you've done once that you can't wait to do again: go on holiday!! Bring on April.

    10. Are you the jealous type? Again, it probably depends what in. With my husband? No. Of other people? Yes, I can be, depends how insecure I am feeling.

    11. What is the one person, place or thing you can't say no to? Person - Max. Place - cinema or theatre. Thing - some chocolatey calorific treat.

    12. What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you? I like the random and small acts of kindness. When the husband has done something for me that I hate doing, like cleaning the windows, or when friends have brought over treats for us, offered to babysit etc.

    13. If you could do something crazy right now, what would it be? Right this second? Ummm, do a crazy dance?!

    14. When was the last time you felt so good that nothing else mattered? Yesterday, as it was Valentines Day I got completely spoilt by my love.

    15. Do you feel comfortable in public with a swimsuit on? Not particularly, who does? But doesn't stop me doing it. Even if I had the body I wanted I'm sure I would think of something else to be hung up about. Such is the way of the female.

    16. Name something embarrassing you've done: hmmmm where to start. Been on a BBC game show. Watching  yourself back on TV is so cringe.

    17. What is your favourite food / meal? I love food in all different forms but I love a good old Sunday Roast (especially if my hubs or father-in-law have made the gravy).

    18. What song could be the theme tune to your life? I would like to think some fun and upbeat, I love a bit of Basement Jaxx so maybe Red Alert or Do Your Thing.

    19. When did you know you were going to marry your husband? When he asked! Haha not quite. We did the long distance thing to start so I knew when we would spend hours and hours on the phone basically every night and I didn't see it as a chore to do that. I knew as I was so excited to travel to see him or for him to travel to see me. I knew when he was top of the list of people I wanted to hang out with. Basically, when he became my best friend.

    I wanted to make this 20 questions, so here is last one:

    20. Describe yourself in 3 words: honest, fun, determined

    Feel free to share the questionnaire - just remember to link back to the original blog where it was found (link at the start of the post).

    New Perspective...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 8:37 AM 0 comments Links to this post
    I saw this post called 'Cathedrals' on my friend Alex's blog here and thougt it was fantastic. It was based around an snippet from the novel 'The Invisible Woman' by Nicole Johnson. I really enjoyed reading it and it gave me a new perspective on motherhood and the percieved perspective of motherhood.

    Hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

    "It started to happen gradually... One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him "Who is that with you, young fella?".
    "Nobody," he shrugged.
    Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5 but as we crossed the street I thought. "Oh my goodness, nobody?"

    I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family like "Turn the TV down please" and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute and then I would say again, a little louder "Would someone turn the TV down?" Nothing.

    Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for a few hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over and when there was a break in conversation, I whispered "I'm ready to go when you are." He just kept right on talking.

    Thats when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me. I don't think anyone can see me. I'm invisible.

    It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking "Can't you see I'm on the phone?". Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone or cooking or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, becasue no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

    Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask "What time is it?". I'm a satellite guide to answer "What number is the Disney Channel?". I'm a car to order "Right around 5.30 please".

    I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studies history and the mind that graduated University - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. Shes going... shes going... shes gone!

    One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip and she was going on and on about the hotel they stayed in I was sitting there, looking around at others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually mell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package and said "I brought you this".

    It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: To Charlotte, With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.
    In the days ahead I would read, no, devour, the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of the ir building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

    A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."

    And the workman replied "Becasue God sees."

    I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me "I see you Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great catherdral but you cant see right now what it will become."

    At times, my invisibility feels like an afflication. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centredness. It is the antidote to my strong stubborn pride.

    I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime becasue there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

    When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend hes bringing home from colleges for Thanksgiving "My mom gets up at 4 int eh morning and bakes homemade pies and then she hand bastes the turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.!. That would mean I'd built a shrine or monument to myseld. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if theres anything more to say to his friend, to add "You're going to love it there."

    As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women."

    Advertise...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 8:36 AM 0 comments Links to this post
    Do you have a button / badge for your blog that you want to see advertised? I know a lot of bloggers that do this, and charge, but I want to advertise blog buttons for free - why not share the blogging love? I will also include you in #FollowFriday tweets. If you want my button you can get it at the left of my blog.

    Please use the contact me and advertise tabs on the top of my blog to get in touch x

    Thursday, February 14, 2013

    That time of year...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 10:11 AM 4 comments Links to this post
    ... when awards ceremonies are here, there and everywhere. There are the Brit Awards coming up, the Oscars and of course The MAD's (Mum and Dad Blog Awards).

    I did a post here about The MAD's and I asked for a cheeky nomination - well, thank you to those of you that did nominate me - I am in the running! So thrilled. I now just need as many votes as I can, to get into the final. The final 4 from each category go to a posh do and the winner is announced there. There are so many wonderful blogs about that I just feel honoured to even have one nomination.

    You can vote for me by clicking the badge below:

    MAD Blog Awards

    My blog (All about U... http://all-about-u-blog.blogspot.com) is eligible to be voted in: Best New Blog, Best Family Life Blog and Best Blog - so whatever you think this little blog deserves.

    Thank you heaps x

    Here is a video from the lovelies at the MAD Blog awards that I thought I would share.

    These are some of the British Blogs I like, so go check them out: 3 Children and It, The Ar-BlogProudMuma, Musings from a Mum and Cathy Bussey.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2013

    Miss to Mrs...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 1:34 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    I was looking through some photos on my computer and realised I hadn't posted about my best friends wedding. It was just after Christmas and was a lovely day. I was honoured to be asked to the the maid of honour to my friend Hailey and I'm so excited for her and new husband, Ben.

    (These are all phone pictures - will post more when they arrive).


     



     
    Max borrowed his cousins little tux - how cute?!

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Prawns & Mango Salsa...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 6:10 PM 1 comments Links to this post
    This is a recipe that I really enjoy making. Why? It is really simple, quick and super, super tasty. Bonus that it is healthy too. I used to work with a nutritionist at work and she would always tell clients that their meals need to be be 'full of colour'. This recipe certainly fits that bill.

    Let me know if you give it a go and how you get on...

    You will need (to feed four):

    - Bag of fresh spinach
    - 250g Cous Cous
    - 220g - 250g King Prawns (ideally raw and derosted if frozen)
    - Bunch of coriander, chopped
    - 1 tbsp Olive Oil
    - 2 pinches of salt
    - 1 large mango, diced
    - 1 medium avocado, diced
    - 1 beef tomato, diced
    - 1 medium red onion chopped
    - Juice of 1 lime
    - Optional: Jalapenos to taste, finely chopped (we love food with a bit of kick in our house, so I add plenty, but it tastes great without too)

    What to do:

    - Chop and prep all of your ingredients. Pu the kettle on to boil and put the grill on a medium heat.
    - Make up the cous cous, as per package instructions.
    - Mix the prawns with the oil, one pinch of salt, and half the coriander and put on a tray. Place under the grill until cooked (approx. 10 mins)
    - Combine in a bowl the mango, avocado, tomato, red onion, lime juice, jalapenos, a pinch of salt and the remaining coriander.
    - Serve up the spinach on plates, top with couscous and the mago salsa.
    - I like to then mix it all up on the plate and... Enjoy!

    Alternatives you could try is with quinoa instead of cous cous and you can grill the prawns on a bed of the spinch leaves if you prefer spinch to be wilted.





    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    A First...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 9:16 PM 1 comments Links to this post
    What I love about having a little one is that everything is new to them. Seeing a train for the first time, a bus, new tastes and sounds. It probably was a bit early but we decided to take Max for a new first; the cinema.

    We went to see 'Wreck it Ralph' and it was brilliant. Max was brilliant too. As soon as we walked in the cinema, it was of course full of children, and with the big screen he just kept saying 'ooooohhhh', 'ooooohhhhh', 'ooooooooohhh', whilst smiling away. So cute.

    He was pretty well behaved too. He sat a bit with me and a bit with daddy and even fell asleep half way through the film.

    I think we will definately have to try this first again.


    This was after the film and he had just woken up... he was smiling when we arrived haha.
     
     

    #SilentSunday

    Shared by Rebecca U at 9:03 PM 0 comments Links to this post

     
    

    Silent Sunday

    Friday, February 8, 2013

    Giveaway Winner...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 3:08 PM 1 comments Links to this post
    The winner of the Valentine cookie cutters is *drum roll* Beth from Little Miss Busy (I will contact you by Twitter and email but you can send your address to me at allaboutublog@gmail.com and it will be with you before V-Day).

    Thank you to everyone else that entered and hey to my new followers. Watch this space for more giveaways soon!

    Have a great weekend

    X

    CHD Aware...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 9:34 AM 0 comments Links to this post
     
    It is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness week  - I wanted to share the signs and symptoms in infants with you all, as it is something close to my heart (no pun intended).

    In babies, the signs that they could have a CHD are:

    - excessive sweating, particularly during feeding
    - unusually tired
    - rapid breathing
    - limited weight gain and growth
    - rapid heartbeat
    - repeat infections of airways

    The child many not have all of these but if you suspect something, take them to see their GP.

    It is not something that not many people have heard of and think that it is great that there is an awareness week for it. Spread the word!

    PS - I am running for the British Heart Foundation in order to raise money for the great work that they do and you can sponsor me here if you feel so inclined, thank you x

    PPS - Therre are only a few hours left to enter my giveaway (here), winner will be announced THIS afternoon!

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    #SilentSunday

    Shared by Rebecca U at 10:49 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Silent Sunday

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    Get Fit Feel Epic...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 1:51 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    I am the plateau queen.

    If there was a prize for the person that can maintain their weight the longest, plateau, I think I would win. Hands down. I am fine at keeping my fitness and my weight at the same level but I have to really push to actually lose any weight, or get any fitter.

    I can follow the rule book by eating a certain amount of calories, exercising at least 30 minutes five days a week, drink lots of water each day, walk everywhere I can and so on but nothing budeges. Just stay the same. Plateau.

    So, this year, 2013, I am going to really push myself. Max is walking now so it will definately mean lots more running around after him. I have signed up to do a (5 or) 10k race in March so I can raise money for Charity (and get fitter of course). I want to get back into proper running again. Before I had Max I would run about 5k every day and I ran a half marathon when I was pregnant so would love to get back to that fitness level. Theres a lot more freedom to just go out and run before the hubs goes to work, now I don't have a little one that is constantly wanting to be fed. So bring on the lighter mornings and running time!

    I have been doing various workouts from YouTube (see this post for details) and I have really been enjoying it. But somethings got to give. I hope to boost weight loss with more running, walking furthur and longer and good old calorie counting!

    This post has been inspired by a fab competition 'Get Fit Feel Epic' on Yummy Mummy In Training where you can win a great prize, a 'FitBit', through MoneySupermarket.com.

    Friday, February 1, 2013

    V-Day & Giveaway...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 2:55 PM 5 comments Links to this post
    Now, for those of you that are in relationships, I know that you don't really need a specific day to show your loved one some love and kindness but any excuse right? Valentines day is two weeks away! Have you thought about what to do or get your special someone? Or do you not really celebrate it? For the singletons is it something you dread or are you going to get together and party with the girls?

    As someone that pretty much spent their teen years single on Valentines Day, I like any excuse to shower my hubby with gifts (not as many these days, and usually homemade lol) but just generally do nice things for him. Its probably the one day a year, other than maybe his birthday or Fathers Day, that I will actually get up earlier than him and make a nice breakfast, before he shoots off to work.

    If you are wanting to make some cute (or cheesy, depends on how you look at it haha) homemade gifts my favourites I have seen recently are...


    'You're the Bomb' wrapped Rolo's from Make it Do



    Printable Love Coupons from I Heart Nap Time


    Printable tag for muffins - hubs could take to work with him? From Tutto Bella Blog



    Sweetie Bouquet from All Free Crafts

    If they haven't given you any ideas then you could enter my GIVEAWAY to win a set of 5 Tala Red Heart Cutters! You can use them to cut out heart shaped pancakes or toast or make some heart shaped cookies for your loves. They are plastic, dishwasher safe and have safe edges so if you have kids they could even 'help' you bake too.


     
     
    To be in with a chance of winning you need to:
     
    - follow this blog if you don't already
    - leave a comment on this post
     
    For a bonus entry follow @rebecca_aau on Twitter and say you have / already were following, in the comment.
     
    The giveaway ends at 12 noon on Friday 8th February 2013 and the item will be posted out in time for Valentines Day on the 14th.
     
     Good Luck!
     
     
    Sorry - UK entries only. The winner, drawn at random, will have 48 hours to respond to an email, to claim their prize. If no response, the draw will be done again, and so forth.
     
    Please email allaboutublog@gmail.com if you have any questions :)
    




    Mad Blog Awards...

    Shared by Rebecca U at 12:38 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    The Mad Blog Awards are coming up! For those of you that don't know they are the UK’s biggest and most exciting awards for parent bloggers.

    There are 11 categories to nominate in and if you want to vote for me you can by clicking the badge below... My blog URL is http://all-about-u-blog.blogspot.com

    Thanking you heaps! x




    
    MAD Blog Awards


     

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