Delicious & Easy Weeknight Dessert

DessertBreakDownHowdy Y’all,

Today I wanted to share with you a LL little secret a dessert I have up my sleeve for those weeknights when guests are coming or your family demands or deserves a little treat. I love a dessert which tastes scrummy, can be adapted and is a little healthier than a slice of cake. I got inspiration from Mr. Jamie Oliver (thank you) and modified it to suit what I have in my pantry at the said time. The idea can also made healthier if necessary. I love cheesecake and find the biscuit base the best bit (never understood NY cheesecake.) I do however in the week want to eradicate the butter required to make that crumbly bottom, so I thought what would work as an alternative and granola sprang to mind. Granola is so versatile, perfect for breakie or as a snack but this provides a great base, plus depending on the granola you bake or buy you can use one with nuts, seeds, and dry fruit. Next, I add a dollop of heavenly curd, and this can be of your choosing, this time I chose lemon, but lime, raspberry, rhubarb or any other fruit curd would be delicious. Curd works well with the granola and is also scrumptious with yogurt. Then I add fruit, this again is personal preference, but I would recommend something which compliments the curd of choice. The piece de resistance is the topping which I use mascarpone, but you could use crème fraiche. I place in a bowl add a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and a teaspoon of icing sugar give it a good mix and voila a yummy topping. If you were looking to lighten things up reduce the amount of topping or use yogurt. If mascarpone is not your desire, you could use clotted cream, cream or ice cream. The versatility of this dessert is what makes this a winner. It always feels more sophisticated to present these in martini glasses, it also means you have greater portion control, and if you have dietary requirements, you can make to specific desires. I have also made this in sundae glasses or mason jars; they always look super cute! You can make these ahead, and they can last in the fridge for several days. All which make them a Lifestyle Lady Love.

 

Do you have a recipe I need to try?

Ta Ta For Now

Kx

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Blue Apron Review

Howdy Y’all,

Happy hump day! So todays post is a review of a new service I have tried last week called Blue Apron. I love to cook, I like trying new recipes and producing home cooked meals, I don’t always enjoy meal planning, list making, shopping etc. I often thought how nice would it be to have a service who took some of the hardwork out of it and voila we have Blue Apron. I had been meaning to try this for a while but with moving etc the time had never been right. When I got my hands on a coupon I thought lets give this a try. Now I am aware that Blue Apron is not the only place that provides this service but from what I have read to date Blue Apron has good feedback. It is a service which sends you in refrigerated boxes with fresh produce to provide meals for your family. You have two basic options 2 meals for 2 covers (2 person plan) or 4 meals for 4 covers (family plan.) I went with the latter because I need leftovers to send with Mr L for his lunch. Blue Apron explain that the meals are farm-fresh, seasonal produce, meat and poultry with no added hormones and sustainably-sourced seafood. So if like my family you are conscious about where your food comes from this is for you. As well as the fresh produce you are provided with extensive recipe cards which guide you in producing each meal.

A Photo Diary Of My Blue Apron Experience

Blue Apron Delivery
Here waiting on my doorstep as described was my first delivery
Blue Apron Box Open
When I opened the box, everything was well packed and very cold from the efficient ice packs provided, these can be reused by you if you want to. I was also impressed with the small brochure with seasonal ideas and the menu cards provided.
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Inside the boxes, you can see how cold the products are kept, which is a deep concern for people like me who live in a warm climate.
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The first meal I prepared was Lemongrass Roasted Pork . This had the thumbs up. Mr L loves pork so I knew it would be a hit.
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Please don’t judge my messy plate, I should have wiped it. But this is a view from above.
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This is Pan-Seared Barramundi with Prince of Orange Potatoes & Spinach. This was also delicious, I perhaps chopped the potatoes a little small, I enjoyed cooking with Barramundi, I love to cook fish but had never cooked this. I love extending my repertoire.
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An overview and the plate is a little cleaner.
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This was the vegetarian option Broccoli & Cheese Enchiladas with Tomatillos & Sour Cream, now a veg dish has to be good to get Mr L’s approval and this did. It was delicious. Plus it got Little L eating lots of veggies.
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These were yummy.
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Seared chicken with brown rice and glazed carrots. This was yummy and the purple carrots were different.

I have Blue Apron delivering this week, mainly because I have been so impressed. The app and website have a great interface, clear and easy to use. The service is first class, every time I have emailed the response has been prompt and effective. I will add, this service is not for someone who has little or no interest in cooking, it does require prep. If you are looking for a prepared meal service this is not for you. If you are a family or couple pushed for time who like wholesome good food and enjoy eating around the table this is for you. If you are in a meal rut and like some insipiration this also may help. The meal cards, provide extensive photographic and written method so if your wanting to improve your cooking this would also help. I really wish they had this service when my husband and I were both working. This would be a great gift idea for new parents or a family or couple on the go. I have been so impressed I intend to keep the service up, I will use in weeks where we have lots going on. If you wish to cancel or miss a week to do so is very easy and straightforward.

If you were thinking of giving this service a try I urge you to do so.
Enjoy the rest of your week.
Ta ta for now
TLLx

Birthday Party – Daniel Tiger Neighborhood

Howdy Y’all,

Happy Monday. I hope your weekend was great, mine was interesting as Mr L is away on business and I have been flying solo with Little L for the last week, she has been pretty good except for night waking. I have to tell you this mama does not do well on little sleep. I did try my first hip-hop class this weekend, yes you read this right and Beyoncé I am not although I had great fun. On Sunday evening my friend and I took our daughters to see Daniel Tigers Neighborhood which was performing in Houston and that inspired me for todays post. It was wonderful to see so many parents appreciating the value in taking their preschoolers to the theatre. I secretly hope Little L shares my passion for theatre, it is one of the things I miss most about my British life, I was spoilt with the West End on my doorstep. I was blessed with the variety of theatre I saw in my formative years, so whenever their is anything suitable for Little L I pounce. I was touched to see her actively participating in the audience, she was so upset when we left as she wanted more “Dan Dan.”

I have been meaning to share this post for a long while, but better late than never -right? Now Little L has started pre-school I find myself nostalgic about where the last (almost 3 years have gone -wth?)  A wise person said “the days are long but the years short.” They definitely had toddlers. She turned two in the latter part of last year and Mr L and I decided to celebrate this milestone with a party at Gymboree. If you are not familiar with this establishment it is a program of classes for children from 0-5 available across the world. Little L had been attending our local classes since she was 8 weeks old and I have never underestimated how much she has benefited from attending. Like so many of the children’s facilities they offer parties, after all who wants to entertain a group of toddlers?

Gymboree do offer an excellent range of themes for their parties, at that time she had one great love and he came in the form of an animated tiger called Daniel or as she calls him Dan Dan. This is based on Mister Rogers Neighborhood. I appreciate my European readers will not be familiar with this cartoon but if you see it on Netflix or Amazon Prime and you have a toddler, download. If you need further convincing I was reading over the summer of some research by Texas Tech on preschoolers who watch Daniel Tiger and its affect on social skills development. (I link article here.) Little did I know when I purchased some very cute electronic invites of Daniel Tiger on Etsy, how little party merchandise there was. Disney and Nick Jnr seem to have all their characters covered but the PBS characters have a less commercial presence.(Although I think this is improving.) So this means that TLL had to spring into Pintrestmom and make and create things that would fit the theme. Below I wanted to share with you some of the photos of things that I made to give it the Daniel Tiger party it’s feel and make it a party for Little L to remember.

The majority of the party was a class of fun games and activities on the equipment and I knew that it was during snack time and home time is where I could create the theme feel.

 

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I opted for cupcakes this year, since the focus was on the toddlers, these are much easier to portion and don’t require a sharp knife. Little L also loves pink and insisted on pink frosting (didn’t she get the yellow and red Dan Dan theme – kids!) The cupcake topers I purchased from Etsy, I printed cutout, stuck to card both sides and attached to cocktail sticks. Each little one could choose which character they wanted to be.
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This was the toddler tea, pre-toddlers, I made sure I took a photo. It is difficult to see but I bought small red paper plates and then stuck a Daniel Tiger images on each, I followed suit on the plastic cups. I even went more mad by making water labels with Daniel Tiger, I am insane. I made sure all food was finger related so it did not require silverware. (Less washing up.) I kept the table decorations simple with little Daniel Tiger figurines which you might be able to see. You will see at the back I made larger trollies for extra decoration.
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I am really pleased I ordered the yellow and red ballon arrangement, they were relatively inexpensive and I think they added impact. I also seperated them and gave each friend a ballon with their favor/party bag at the end of the party. If you have super eyes you may also notice another large trolly I made on the gift table.
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In this picture you can see the garlands I made to help decorate, I printed out, punched holes and thread string through. They looked great. You can see the larger trolley again. I keep mentioning these because they were the most difficult to make. I love these red table cloths that I bought from Dollar Tree. They hide a multitude of sins, under the table was boxes and bags which carried all these things from home to the venue.
Gift Table
I also printed these posters which I scattered around the venue.
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These are the favor boxes. I made them individual trollies. You may see that better on the photo below. I used red favor boxes I found at Dollar Tree but all party places carry something similar.
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You can see closer up in this photo, the face masks which the children loved I attached to straws, and they match the character on the trolley. Think I might be a little obsessive.
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Here is a final photo of the favor boxes with the balloons attached. I was thrilled with how it all turned out.

Food Ideas

As I was serving a simple tea, I wanted the food to be light, relatively healthy and easy to transport. I made these pizza bites which I found through Pinterest. The kids loved them. I kept them veggie as I had vegetarian, they all went. I also made fruit salad and portioned them into small pots, similar to this, they were perfect to transport and the right size for toddler tummies whose eyes were on cupcakes. I also served raisins and veggie sticks. I was pleased as I was left with very little food and all the kids seemed to eat and enjoy. They sat for 20 mins eating and chatting which was super.

Favor Boxes/ Party Bags 

You can see the favor boxes above, they did take a while to make but once you have made a few you can speed up. I think they look pretty effective and the kids loved them. Inside was a face mask as you can see. I also included a Daniel tiger crayon pack which I made, I bought sets of crayons placed them in a clear gift bag very similar to this. I added some coloring pages, a ball and a free pass to try a Gymboree class (thanks Gymboree.) Honestly it is a while since I packed them and I had none spare after delivering to some guests who couldn’t make it. I think there might have been one or two extra items.

Decorations

I will be honest and say I would have been “up a creek without a paddle” if I did not have access to this PBS site, they helped with printouts and inspiration. I did adapt and change some of the ideas but generally a super resource. Little L’s party invites came from NineLivesNotEnough via Etsy. They were perfect and set the tone. I also bought her thank you cards at the same time which matched. Looked super. The same shop provided many of the printouts I used to decorate everything. I urge you to take a look.  Little L’s T-shirt came from littlemacboutique via Etsy, again this was great for the party gal.

We really had a super time and it created many happy memories. I was very impressed with Gymboree and how professional and fun they made the whole event (I am fussy.) In  conclusion I want to thank my brother who helped me prepare some of the decorations when he was over visiting (who knew you needed to be an Engineer to make trolleys?!) TLL knows how to treat her guests well. I would urge you to check out dollar/pound shops for party supplies (I never thought I would write that!!) I was impressed with what was available and you don’t mind trashing after the event. The party also reinforced to me that the party is for the kids and not the adults who attend. Little L’s first birthday we had lots of adults and we catered more for them, this time we made the right decision with a Gymboree style option. We had a great time, lets hope we can make some new friends in this new location before November so I can plan another party, but Little L if you are reading this lets have a more commercial theme next time? Princess’ Frozen, Sophia the First, Thomas, any of those would be great!

Hope this was useful, I had fun.

Ta Ta for now.

TLL x