November 2015

Beautifully Balanced Product Review – Chicken and Lemon Risotto.


I got to try this for free from Tesco’s Orchard Program, it went along with my last review of their soup and also some frozen mixed berries.

What I liked about this risotto was that it was all natural ingredients, so many times have I got a “healthy” meal only to find it full of sugars or artificial items that it more calorific then the original version! Also the simplicity of out of the freezer and straight into the microwave, no peeling or stabbing holes into impossible to remove film topping.

Once cooked I liked to serve it on a proper plate and not eat out of the tub.


I didn’t do any fancy stirring before I put it on the plate, so it was dumped! I found that the rice wasn’t cooked in the risotto sauce but was layered in, like most ready meals. It wasn’t a problem as a quick mix on my plate and it was sorted.

Onto the taste over all tasted fine, probably wouldn’t have it again as the lemon/lemongrass taste didn’t do it for me. The chicken was really nice and soft, and all the vegetables tasted as expected.


Tesco Beautifully Balanced product review

I joined Tesco Orchard program which sends you vouchers to exchange for tesco products a while back, and received  the Beautifully Balanced range. I picked the Spicy Butternut Squash Soup.

spicy Butternut Squash Soup

So what was it like? When you first open the packet you lots of small “cubes” of soup which makes it easy to weigh out the amount you need. The packet serves two each 300g portions. I personally found that would be too much as I wanted to have a sandwich with my soup. All you need to do is simply put in the microwave for the time on the packet and there you go one quick soup.

How did it taste? Well when I ordered it didn’t realise that it was spicy, I don’t normally like spicy things and not having it before I was concerned! I was surprised as it tasted really nice, not too spicy, the right amount of creaminess.

If you want to buy this yourself, I believe you should be able to find it in the freezer aisle in Tesco, but as I bought online, I’m not sure where it would be.

I got to try this for free from Tesco via the Orchard.

The Tenner a week challenge update

I was planning on writing my update on this yesterday, but life as usual got in the way!

I was lucky (or unlucky) to have the car on Friday so I was able to get out and about to the shops. There are a lot of shops near me to get most things, but if I’m looking for a bargain I need the car or go on lots of buses which can be bothersome. I do like going to B & M as it has lots of bargains sometimes! In total I spent £25.94 of which £.99 was spent on food the rest on wrapping paper and Christmas tree lights. The lights cost £14.99 which I thought was a bargain for 200 multifunction LED lights. Tesco was another shop but only walked out with a birthday card for Bob to give to Squidge total £1.50. Next onto Boots only wanted vitamins and painkillers (received a birthday voucher so seemed a good idea to use it whilst I had the car to carry it all) total spent £48.56 with nearly 600 bonus points! Finally Asda total spend £15.26  Christmas food and a present spend for the challenge was £10.61.

My total spend for the week was £30ish! Not bad really would have been much better if I didn’t have the car on Friday! I will plan another Tenner A Week challenge mid December, have to be careful of the date as we have a birthday party and birthday ten days before Christmas! I could plan it so it covers birthday week and not the party week!

Homemade Lemon and Cherry Buns – recipe

As part of my Tenner a Week challenge, I needed to use up store cupboard ingredients rather than spend money. So as both my girls love these buns I thought I would make a batch.

i use a very simple base recipe

100g butter

100g caster sugar

2 medium eggs

100g self raising flour

to this I added lemon extract and some quartered glacier cherries.

My ingredients.

After mixing all the ingredients. As you can see there is a variety of sugars, needed using up, so no caster sugar but golden sugar, acquired or another recipe and not making again!

Ready for the oven

These are all ready for the oven at 180c for about 15ish mins.

allow to cool before eating. Mmm

All ready to eat

The Tenner a Week Challenge day one

As in a previous post I stated I was going to start today the Tenner a Week challenge. More information and how to do it can be found here (not sure, but if you click it it might take you there!).

so first things first, write a menu plan based on what we already have.

Mon Chicken Escolopes and veg (in fridge already)

Tue Sausage and mash (in freezer, just need potatoes)

Wed Fish and chips (in freezer already)

Thu Pasta and sauce (in fridge)

Fri Curry and rice extra veg on side(Sauce in freezer, chicken in freezer, bread and rice in store cupboard)

Sat Salmon and veg (need to buy all this)

Sun out for main meal,

I already have plenty of breakfast cereal and frozen bread to last all week and probably all next week as well. Lunch, Squidge at school, Husband at work (homemade soup, Two portions in freezer, Friday at conference, no lunch) so that leaves me and Bob. Cheese needs eating up, leftover homemade soup to eat, and plenty of frozen bread, and for Bob tinned spaghetti already in store cupboard. After school snacks, I’m going to bake some buns using store cupboard ingredients.

i do need to do a online order, which will take me over the £40 budget, but my delivery saver runs out next week so want to stock up, I will add the things I need for this week first to see how much I do spend, then top up with offers and household things. At the same time I will also order things that I will need to eat at the beginning of next week.

I have decided not to post everyday about this challenge, as I can get a bit boring. I will show some pictures of my baking this afternoon on a later post.

The Tenner A Week Challenge

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I found this challenge on . It sounds like an excellent idea, especially this close to Christmas.

As there are four of us we can spend £40 next week. I already know we have a preschool music group costing £2.50 and a play group to go which is £2.00 entry and £1.00 for a hot drink. So the week starts off already £5.50 down. Total spend for next week is now £34.50.

so a menu plan is required, and a proper shopping list. I already know that Sunday I will out all day at our Mother-in-Laws so nothing required to spend that day!

I have lots of cereal in the cupboards, and snacks, plenty of those. My youngest daughter will be at home with me all week as she doesn’t go to nursery, so two for lunch during the week. eldest daughter gets free school dinners, and husband takes homemade soup, which needs to be made.

so this leaves tea ideas, sausages in the freezer to use up, pasta bake, pasta and sauce, fish and chips and chicken and veg. So far five meals and not buying anything, might then treat us to some salmon for Saturday.

Well that went all wrong, now what do I do!

Well I had good intentions of eating healthily, exercising every weekday and just try to improve my well being. The first three days were hard on the healthy eating ideas, I eat too many snacks. Exercising was going really well, even increasing my time on the exercise bike. On Thursday morning I woke up with a sore throat and things just went down hill from there! The good thing about Thursday was it was the first day I managed to not snack all day, well until after tea, so that made me feel happy.

I still feel poorly, but nothing like I have been feeling the last week. At times I had to hide under my duvet and periods of shortness of breath. To make things worse my husband was also poorly, we took it in turns to have to stay in bed, as he was poorly. We both had a strange illness, normally you start feeling unwell become unwell then start to get better. Not this time we were both up and down feeling well one minute and down the next, hopefully both of us on the getting better front now, husband back at work following his annual leave and me with just a sore throat.

This week I’m taking it easy and not exercising, but I need to think about healthy eating this week, I’m not going to weigh myself this week. But hopefully later this week I might try a very gentle exercise bike ride, nothing too much.

i have decided to take up the tenner a week challenge more information on that in the next post.

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