Put some wobble into your children’s lunch boxes with Hartley’s Jelly Pots

It’s that time of year where you are back to rummaging through your food cupboards attempting to put together some healthy, nutritious snacks ready to put into your children’s lunch box. Yes it’s back to school for the little ones and back to the shops for us.

If your children are like mine then they would like a variety of different types of food.

I always try to keep the lunch box filled with a balanced type of food, a sandwich, item of fruit, raisins, yoghurt / jelly and a snack. I don’t think the items of food have to be a work of art just as long the children eat it, that’s all that matters. Keeping it fun for them is a good idea but there is no need to go overboard.

What I do like to do is add in little messages or stickers for the children to read and use, a little surprise for them. They love to receive little messages amongst their wrap and fruit. Little words of wisdom, good luck messages if they have a test that day or just a little note to say how much I love them. I love seeing their little faces at the end of the day when i pick them up and they tell me that they got their message. Sometimes they reply back on the message so that i get to read it when I’m emptying their lunch box.

 

My boys are more snackers during the day rather than eating one meal. I think I most probably go over the top and add in too much for them but I like to know that they have a variety to eat from.

What I like to put into their lunch boxes:

Sandwich or a wrap – These are normally ham or cheese salad

Egg or pasta – I found these cute little egg moulders. They are shaped little cases that you place the boiled egg into and close it up to mould into the shape.

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Fruit – I normally put in a fresh piece of fruit and some dried fruit too. If I put in berries then i use a tupperware tub to put them in.

Snack – A packet of crisps, a pot of dried cereal or some rice cakes

Yoghurt/ Jelly – My boys love these in their lunch boxes, it is probably the first thing that they eat from it. I like to put both in for them, the small pots are ideal. Fruit in a jelly is an ideal way to introduce fruit into every day eating.

Fruit bars – Although my boys would rather eat a peanut bar they are not allowed them in school. I add in the raw bars, mostly made by myself from dates and coconut.

I also like to keep the added sugar in their lunches to a minimum. As a family we are keen on eating food with little refined sugar added in to them. Not only is it good for their health but good on the teeth too.

Hartley’s is a jam and jelly brand that has been feeding the nation from breakfast to after dinner snack for over 140 years, they offer Standard & No Added Sugar jelly pots which provide a quick and convenient snack. The Hartley’s No Added Sugar jelly pots have no artificial colours and flavours and are fat and gluten free. Stocked in all major retailers from only 49p, they are a tasty treat that will be sure to raise a smile.

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Get ‘Back to School’ ready with Hartley’s No Added Sugar jelly pots and put some fun into your kids’ lunchbox. There are five flavours to choose from including Strawberry, Raspberry, Orange, Tropical, Apple and Blackcurrant. They contain only naturally occuring sugars.

The No Added Sugar blackcurrant and tropical pots are vegetarian and vegan. They are the perfect size to add into lunch boxes or even into a bag for that little snack when out and about. My children find them very tasty and say that they taste like jelly made from home. They are strong in flavour and not watery like some pots you can get. I think they are ideal to add onto a party table too. I find that they are best kept in the fridge for keeping that fresh cold taste.

Hartley’s are gearing up for the Back to School season with an on pack collector scheme offer for our consumers. By collecting 12 promotional Hartley’s Jelly Pot lids, consumers can redeem a special edition Hartley’s lunchbox along with an assortment of fabulously fun stickers.

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The lunch box is a good size and as you can see from the photographs you can fit in quite a bit to fill those hungry little stomachs. Once you’ve collected the lids, claim your lunchbox here

I was provided with the lunch box and jelly pots for the purpose of this post.

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Raw Nutty Date Nutritional Bar Recipe

Looking for a guilt free snack? Well look no further.

These nutty date bars are nothing but full of goodness. They are guilt free, healthy and delicious. What makes them special is that they are made from raw ingredients. There are no artificial flavourings, preservatives, added sugars added into the bars. You get the sweetness from the dates and coconut and a little crunch from the almonds and flax seeds.
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Make them up in batches and store in the fridge ready to grab and go.

Ingredients

  • 20 dates, sliced and de-stoned (medjool dates)
  • 2 tbsp coconut water
  • 3 handful of blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground milled flax
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp organic oats
  • 3 tbsp oat bran

Method:

  • Place the dates and the coconut water together in a processor and mix together until you have a paste.
  • Add in the almonds and mix again, until the paste and almonds are ground together.
  • Place the mixture into a bowl
  • Add in all of the other ingredients and combine together (we added in the oat bran and coconut flour towards the end as it was too sticky)
  • You may need to use your hands to mix well
  • Place the mixture onto a sheet of cling film and model it into a square by pressing down with your fingers
  • Place a sheet of clingfilm ont op and press down. Use a rolling-pin to get it flat and as square as you can.

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  • Put in to the freezer for a couple of hours
  • Take out of the freezer and remove from the clingfilm. Cut up into bar shapes.

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  • Wrap each bar individually in cling film and place back into the fridge ready to eat.

These bars are very versatile and once you have the date mixture you can pretty much add anything you want.

They are perfect for picnics, pack lunches and to add into your bag for some food on the go. They are full of fibre and protein.

 

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The Pop of Colour Trail Mix Recipe

It’s National Trail Mix Day on the 31st August, yes, You heard correctly. There is a national holiday all about nuts, fruit and seeds.

The great thing about trail mixes are that you can pretty much add anything you want to together, knowing that they are full of goodness and it will be full of flavour. You will get the sweetness from the dried fruits and the crunchiness from the nuts and seeds.

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Nuts.com have teamed up with Brittany from Eating Bird Food to celebrate with a contest! I have been challenged to create a new trail mix or my own. I had to choose two items from a list and then add other items to the mix. We chose Goji berries and Cacao Nibs (click on Goji and Cacao to go through to the website)

The Pop of colour Trail mix Ingredients:

  • Almonds
  • Pecan Nuts
  • Pistachio
  • Freeze Dried Strawberries
  • Dried Mango
  • Goji Berries
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Coconut Slices
  • Cacao Nibs
  • 1tsp Chia Seeds
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 1tsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Most of the ingredients above can be found at www.nuts.com

Trail Mixes are simple to make. We used 3tbsp of all of the ingredients, but its your choice on however much you want to make. Add all of the ingredients into a plastic zip lock bag, close it up and shake away. Rub the mix together through the bag, ensuring that all of the oil and cinnamon evenly coats the ingredients. Get the children involved in the mixing and choosing the ingredients.

Empty the contents from the bag onto a tray to dry out a little. Once ready, place the mix into smaller snack bags and store in the fridge or a cupboard ready to be grabbed as you leave the door.

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Trail mixes are ideal for snacks on the go, pack lunches, picnics, adding to your breakfast or topping onto a yoghurt.

Nutritional facts

  • Cacao nibs are high in Fibre, magnesium and potassium
  • Goji Berries are high in vitamin A. The blue-red colours found in goji berries are natural anti-oxidants which may help protect the body against oxidative damage. Contains Lycium barbarum polysaccharides which may benefit the immune function, and may reduce fatigue.
  • Almonds are a good source of fiber and protein. Naturally low in sugar.
  • Pistachio nuts are rich in vitamin B6 and E, they are good for your skin and immune system
  • Pecans are a good source vitamin B1, thiamin. Rich in protein and critical minerals for growth and metabolism.
  • Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Pumpkin Seeds are high in Zinc which is good for the immune system and omega 3 fats. They are rich in vitamin k, E and B. Full of Protein. Contains huge amounts of zinc, a mineral very important in preventing osteoporosis
  • Coconut oil contains fatty acids with powerful medicinal properties

This is our entry into the competition for a chance to be featured on the nuts.com blog, also to win a trail mix selection.

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Easy Green Vegetable Curry Recipe

I love a recipe that doesn’t take too long to cook. I’m all for throwing ingredients into a pan, exploring with the textures and tastes and seeing what the final product turns out like.

Curries are not only quick to cook but are also easy. I believe you need to experiment with different flavours in order to find that perfect recipe.

This recipe is not only easy but cooked all in one pan and a great way of using up all those vegetables that are in the fridge. What’s fabulous about a vegetable curry is that anything goes, you can put in any vegetable and it will work.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 6 big tomatoes, diced
  • Half red onion, sliced and diced
  • 250ml water/stock
  • 3 garlic gloves, diced
  • 2 small courgettes, sliced
  • 2 handful of green beans, sliced
  • Pack of mangetout and broccoli florets
  • 3 tbsp black eyed beans
  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 small red chilli, sliced
  • 1tsp coriander
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp ground cardamom
  • 1tsp curry/chilli powder

Method:

  • Fry the onion and garlic in a pan with 2 tbsp of coconut oil.
  • Once the onions are soft add in the tomatoes.
  • The tomatoes will become soft and begin to make a sauce. Add in some of the water/stock. Stir
  • Add in spices and stir. You could use garam masala paste.
  • Once you have a sauce add in your choice of vegetables and cook for 5-10 minutes until all vegetables are cooked, dente.
  • Sprinkle with flaked almond. Serve with rice.

Enjoy 🙂

 

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Leafy Spinach Soup Recipe

This lovely leafy soup is flavoursome and a great way of eating your five a day. It is very filling, light and healthy.

I have recently changed my diet due to my diagnosis. All the fresh food that I buy is organic and I have cut out all added sugar produce.

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Ingredients:

  • 450g fresh spinach
  • 1 handful of kale
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped and diced
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Grated zest of lemon and half lemon squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp of grated turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin coconut oil

Method:

  • Place the onion and garlic in a pan with 1tbsp of coconut oil and cook for 1-2 minutes until the onion is soft. Add in the potatoes and fry for 1 minute. Add in the stock and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
  • Add in the spinach, kale, turmeric and lemon. Place a lid on and cook for 15 minutes or until the spinach has wilted.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. I like it a bit rustic so I don’t blend for too long as I think that it tastes better.
  • You can freeze the soup or reheat it up and serve.

You could swirl in some cream at the end and add salt and pepper to taste or even some chilli.

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Hope you like it 🙂

 

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Quick and Easy Tortilla Chips

Perfect crunchy, healthy homemade tortilla chips done in the oven are so easy to make, you won’t be able to stop yourself from making them.

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They are easy to make and all you need is a pack of wholemeal tortilla wraps (the smaller ones are ideal), seasoning, olive oil and topping of your choice.

  • Preheat your oven at 180c
  • Grease a baking tray or line it with grease proof paper
  • Spread oil over your wraps with a brush
  • Cut in half and then quarter each half so that you have little triangle shape tortillas

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  • Place evenly onto the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper or any other flavouring that you desire. We used parmesan cheese sprinkled over some of ours and chilli flakes.
  • Place in the oven for 5 minutes, turn over for a few more minutes until they become a little golden

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  • Take out of the oven and place onto a plate to serve up

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Perfect with a dip or even on their own. Crunchy and tasty.

Make up a batch and place them into little snack bags for pack lunch or snacking when out and about. They’re healthier than normal chips so perfect for children.

Told you, simple eh!

 

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Our morning with EasiYo

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My family are huge fans of yoghurt, our fridge is packed with lots of different types of flavours in all different sized pots. Most of the time, when I open the fridge door that is all that is in there, yoghurt, yoghurt yoghurt! The OH is the main buyer of yoghurt, between him and my three boys they must get through a least 10 pots a day.

So when we was invited along to an exclusive brunch with EasiYo and presenter Jenni Falconer at London’s exclusive family members club Maggie and Rose for a morning of yoghurt making and food sampling, I thought it would be a morning of heaven for them.

As soon as we arrived at the venue, by the look of the outside, we knew that the boys would have lots of fun. Our eldest opted not to come along with us and spend the morning with his friends instead (I think that maybe he is becoming too old to be seen out and about with his parents now lol) The venue was perfect for the children, it took me a good five minutes just to get them in through the main door, as they were playing with the objects on the fence outside.

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As we entered we was greeted by the PR and shown around, the boys didn’t wait around they threw off their coats and headed over to the balloon modelling lady. I on the other hand was desperate for a coffee and a muffin, they looked delicious and smelt divine.

The balloon modelling lady was brilliant, I have never seen such creativity with a balloon before, she could make just about anything that you asked for. The boys chose a Tortoise ( just like our Oscar) and a Fish.

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They were ace! The boys played with them for ages. Oliver sat down on the many cushions on the floor and pretended to fish, he looked just like a little gnome. In fact we still have the Tortoise at home, 2 weeks after the event, sitting next to Oscars tank.

Whilst the boys were occupied with playing with playdough and their balloon creations, Paul and I had a sneaky look at the demonstration table. There were little pots of EasiYo delights for us to try after the demonstration on how to use the yoghurt maker.

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The demonstration was given by EasiYo celebrity Ambassador Jennifer Falconer and head Sales Manager Paul. Here’s what we found out:

  • EasiYo was invented 20 years ago by A Kiwi Father who had 8 children to feed, which cost him a small fortune to feed. He was slightly worried about how fresh the shop bought yoghurts are and that they were  full of preservatives. After tinkering away in his shed he came up with a system of making yoghurt at home that was fresh and healthier, being a Physics teacher helped with the invention.
  • The new red design has a layer of New Zealand Wool insulating it, which helps to keep the yoghurt at the right temperature during the fermenting process
  • The design is sleek and small enough to fit into a Kitchen cupboard, laying down or standing up
  • It comes apart easily to clean
  • The lid has an easy grip handle and locks into place with a click when closing
  • Easiyo yoghurt is a good source of calcium
  • EasiYo is the number one selling yoghurt maker in New Zealand, with over half of all households having one
  • EasiYo yoghurt has no added artificial colours or flavours and no stabilisers.
  • Easiyo yoghurt is also gluten free
  • EasiYo yoghurt contains Acidophilus, which helps maintain an acidic environment in your body that can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria
  • The yoghurt once made can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, 1 week if fruit added to it.
  • It is quick and easy to make, even the children can join in and help
  • Once made up, Easiyo yoghurt can be introduced to just about any recipe
  • The longer you leave the yoghurt to ferment the tastier it gets, it becomes thicker and creamier
  • It has no added sugar, which we love the idea of.
  • No electronics, no moving parts, no fuss

The yoghurt is easy to make and can be done in 3 easy steps

easiyo instructions

1. Half fill the yoghurt jar with room temperature water. Add the yoghurt sachet, pop the lid back on and give it a good shake. Open it back up and fill it up with water, shake again

2. Push the plastic spacer into the bottom of the maker. Pour boiling water to the top of the spacer (adults only if making with children)

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3. Place the jar of yoghurt mixture into the maker so that it sits on the spacer. Put the lid on the maker and leave on the side for 8-12 hours to let the yoghurt set.

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Et Voila!

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Once set it can be moved to the fridge to keep cool or added into recipes.

After the demonstration and Q&A’s we were treated to food sampling. There were Spanish frittatas, blueberry muffins, dips and different flavoured yoghurts to tantalize our taste buds with.

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My favourite was the toffee apple yoghurt, Greek EasiYo yoghurt with little pieces of apple and toffee syrup. Lots of others who attended the event preferred the chocolate and peanut yoghurt but I found it too sweet for my taste buds. We certainly was treated well with the food, as the chefs just kept handing out food after food. I’m a sucker for dips, I’m a real party food eater as I like to nibble on food. The Tahini yoghurt cream and avocado dip were lovely and creamy. The yoghurt doesn’t taste powdery as I expected it to but fresh and creamy.

Who knew you could do so much with yoghurt? It can be used as an alternative in most recipes to replace cream, sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise. As it is made in your home, it is always at your finger tips. Not only can it used to make sweet treats but also sauces for main meals ie; beef stroganoff, lamb curry and lasagne.

With a full belly and tired out children the event was over. We were gifted with an EasiYo Yoghurt Maker and a few sachets of yoghurt mix to take home and try.

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As soon as we got home the boys couldn’t wait to try out the maker and make their own. They really enjoyed the shaking and couldn’t believe that it only took a matter on minutes to do. The only thing was they wanted it there and then, they didn’t want to wait until it was set. I explained the process of the yoghurt and told them that good things come to those that wait lol. We made ours before bedtime, so that when they woke up they would have some yoghurt for breakfast. The boys decided to add kiwi into theirs.

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It was a big hit with all the family, the yoghurt was creamy and the kiwi was juicy.

DSC_2468_opt (1)What’s great is that they can take from the pot whenever they want and it’s good to know that they have made it themselves meaning it tastes even better.

EasiYo is stocked all over the UK at retailers including QVC, Wilko, Lakeland, The Range, Holland and Barratt and Hobby Craft.

The EasiYo red maker retails at £17.99 and each yoghurt sachet is priced at £2-£3 (per 1kg serving)

Thank you to Carousel PR and Easiyo for the invite

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