The Boy Makes….Homemade Bounty Bars

Over the Easter holidays, the boy and I were inspired to have a crack at some more sweet cooking projects. We made chocolate cupcakes one day and then, scrolling through Instagram one morning, I came across this post for Homemade Bounty Bars by the gorgeous Mrs Bishop over at MrsBishopBakesandBanter. I LOVE Bounty bars and the boy has taken a real shine to coconut and dark chocolate recently (there’s not an issue in the world that can’t be solved with a Mrs Crimble’s Chocolate Covered Coconut Macaroon I tells ya!). We’ve never tried making proper ‘sweets’ before, so I thought this would be a fun place to start.

The recipe Mrs B (and I!) used was incredibly simple with just four ingredients:

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  • 100ml Condensed Milk
  • 75g Desiccated Coconut
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 200g Dark Chocolate
I weighed out the ingredients.....

I weighed out the ingredients…..

...and Oscar poured them into the bowl. First the coconut.....

…and Oscar poured them into the bowl. First the coconut…..

...followed by the condensed milk and then the sugar. Mix it all together.

…followed by the condensed milk and then the sugar. We mixed it all together.

It should come together in one easy to handle lump.

It should come together in one easy to handle lump.

Oscar helped me shape it into bars (it was only my desire for even bars that meant his lumps got flattened out!) Place on greaseproof paper lined tray and leave to firm up in the fridge for an hour or so. This recipe makes 8 big bars easily.

Oscar helped me shape it into bars (it was only my desire for even bars that meant his lumps got flattened out!) We placed the bars on a greaseproof paper lined tray and left them to firm up in the fridge for a couple of hours. This recipe makes 8 big bars easily.

Melt the chocolate. I do this is short bursts in the microwave, stirring each time, but you could do it in a bain-marie. Drop the bars into the choclate and spoon it over to coat. Oscar LOVED doing this bit. Lift onto greaseproof sheet and chill in the fridge.

Melt the chocolate. I do this is short bursts in the microwave, stirring each time, but you could do it over a bain-marie. Drop the bars into the melted chocolate and spoon it over to coat. Oscar LOVED doing this bit, but it was a bit messy and I got no photos – boohoo! Lift onto a greaseproof sheet and chill in the fridge until the chocolate sets.

Oh my life they were so good! We’re definitely going to make them again, but next time I am going to fiddle around with the proportions. I want to try adding more coconut and a little less sugar. I’m also going to make 16 small bars, instead of 8 big ones. Don’t get me wrong the big bars looked awesome, but realistically, I think a smaller bar would have been enough. You could also try making them in to bit size pieces, perhaps for a party. Bounty Bites, if you will! I think you’d easily get 32 bites out of this recipe, although I’m not sure if you’d need slightly more chocolate. Give it a go!

The boy likes them, but not as much as mama does!

Homemade Bounty Bars. The boy likes them, but not as much as mama does!

 

BakedPotato Mummy
Gym Bunny Mummy

Slimming World Update – Week 90

Hiya

How’s your week been? I hope you’ve had some of the good weather we’ve had this week. Man alive it’s sooo good to feel the sun on my skin and the grass between my toes again. I always thought Autumn was my favourite month, but the older I get the more I love the summer. I think I was born to walk bare foot! The sunshine just makes everything feel more hopeful.

We’ve had an amazing week in real life too! It was Oscar’s third birthday last Thursday. I know, my little itty bitty baby is now a strapping three year old, with a shock of blonde hair and the cheekiest grin. We had a day out on Thursday for him, which if you missed you can read about here and then a full on celebration on Saturday at The Hen House, in Haslemere. I’ll be writing a post about that shortly, but suffice to say we had an awesome time.

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But as far as the food has gone this week? Well, let’s just say it’s not been quite so awesome. On top of Oscar’s birthday shenanigans the house has also been awash (sort of) with Easter chocolate. Add to that party food, the odd tipple to celebrate and cake, well let’s just say this week was a write off.

At least I assumed it was.

Last night’s weigh in was a weigh and run. Not because I didn’t want to stay, but because I was coming out the back end of a 24hr bug and feeling ropey to say the least. To be honest, I could have just not gone at all, but I felt that would only compound the chance of me continuing to gain, so regardless of the fact that I felt rough and was going to have to face the result of an Easter/Birthday week, I made the effort and went.

What I wasn’t expecting, in any way, was the result I got.

OK, so I want you to understand I DO NOT know how this happened (unless the sun can melt weight!). I also DO NOT mean to advocate Prosecco and M&Ms as a weight loss method. But yes, this week I have had a loss. And a rather substantial one at that. I lost 5.5lb taking me to 6 stone 2lb lost. When I looked at the scales I was convinced it said 5.5lb ON. I sort of sighed. Then my sad face turned to a shocked face and I had to be asked if I was OK. I continued to be baffled all the way home. I seriously can’t explain what is going on with my body at the moment, and I’m well aware this week might come back to bite me on the behind next week. However, it has given me a much needed kick in the right direction.

Funnily enough a couple of other things have happened to bolster my motivation this week. Firstly I had a message from a friend I haven’t seen, or even spoken to, in about 8 years. She said she’d just seen a picture of me (ahh good old social media, how I love thee, you weird little thing!). It said:

I hope you don’t mind me messaging you out of the blue but I saw a picture of you and did a double take so I just had to tell you how bloody fantastic you look!

This friend was someone who helped me enormously when I lost some weight back in 2006. She was my inspiration, in the way I hear people tell me I have been for them. So it was super flattering to hear her say how impressed she was with my progress and a real boost. Secondly, I was looking at getting some boots online. I haven’t bought any boots since winter 2013, and I know it’s the end of the season but they really are falling apart! I used to buy my boots from the plus size retailer Evans, as their wider fit suited me. Now, although my feet are much smaller than they were, they are still wide fit (I’ve had wide feet literally all my life – I was an H fitting as a child). So I thought I’d take a look on the Evans website, to see if they had anything in the sale. Now, I haven’t visited their site for aaaaages (I’ve not needed to) and almost as soon as I landed on their homepage, I just felt so very sad. Like, I don’t really know how to explain it, but sad that this used to be my life and desperate that I don’t want this to be my life again. I had a quick look around, feeling worse and worse and closed the browser. I didn’t get any boots.

So all these things combined to make me think a bit really. To make me not want to slide back into oblivion. And I’ve come up with a new target for myself. I want to get back to what I was just before Christmas. And I want to do it by the time I go on holiday. To do that I need to lose 8.5lb in 5 weeks. I think that’s realistic.

And I don’t ever want to have to shop in Evans again.

I’ve got some super meals planned this week, including a couple from the Slimming World Fake Away book:

  • Pan fried Salmon, stir fried vegetables and noodles
  • Steak, SW Chips, salad, mushrooms and red cabbage
  • Black Bean Pork with peppers, green beans and noodles
  • King Prawn Dopiaza with spinach and rice
  • Chicken and Aspragus Risotto

And I’m feeling really focussed for the week ahead.

Let’s see if can’t limit any damage the last week may do to me next week! I’m going for a loss of 2lb.

Enjoy the sunshine and smile.

We can do this.

Xxxxxx

Sim's Life

 

 

 

Slimming World Update – Week 82

Hi chaps

How has this week gone for you? If you’re anything like a large proportion of my group last night, its been a tricky one! I don’t know what it is, maybe its the cold weather or the feeling of deep winter, with no view of summer in sight? Either way I know a lot of people have been struggling with life, let alone a weight loss journey. And I can count myself among them.

The last week has been such a week of contradictions. My meals have often been wonderful. Smack on plan and completely food optimised. I’ve tried new recipes and used ingredients I’ve never cooked before. We had Cottage Pie one night, a recipe from the Slimming World Lifeline Online. It had kale mixed through it, which I’ve only ever eaten as crisps before. It was delicious, although next time I wont be mixing fromage frais through the mashed potato. It just didn’t work for me. I also made my interpretation of a friend’s Quinoa, Bean and Tuna Salad recipe. I used dried quinoa, rather than the ready cooked packets. As with a lot of things, cooking it from scratch makes it a free food (the packets often have syns, some as many as 6.5, which is fine if you have the syns to spare and want something lightening quick) and it was so easy to cook, I have no idea why I’ve never tried it before. I’ll definitely be making it again but possibly with less beans and tuna. The quinoa has such a nice flavour it would have been nice to be able to taste it a little more!

My first attempt at non packet Cottage Pie with carrots and broccoli. Delicious!

My first attempt at non packet Cottage Pie with carrots and broccoli. Delicious!

But then there’s been the cookies. We discovered last week that Oscar loves (and I mean loves) baking. It’s such a fabulous past time and helps with his attention and speech. However it does also result in delicious cookies. And I have been tempted more than once (or twice or three times 😉 ). I meant to send them off to work with Ben, but somehow they ended up staying in the house! School boy error I suppose. Then there were other lapses, when eating with friends or trying to recover from the mother of all crappy mornings. But for the most part these were choices I made, knowingly and with full understanding of what I was doing and why. And I did chose reduced fat cheese on my pizza! 😉

Cookies. So many cookies!

Cookies. So many cookies!

So last night’s maintain was thoroughly OK with me. I was astonished I didn’t gain if truth be told. So I remain at 6 stone 6lb lost.

Anyway I came home from group last night to the news that I’ve got an important family occasion to attend in three weeks time. Ben’s grandparents are celebrating their 60th (60! I know! Amazing!) Wedding Anniversary and have invited us to join them for a meal and an overnight stay at Buckland Tout Saints in Devon. Its such a lovely idea and I cant wait to see the family again. It does of course mean I’ll need a nice new frock to wear. And that’s got my mind firmly back in the game! Shopping always does! Hahaha only joking, it’s the thought of being able to walk in, proud and confident, at least a stone lighter than the last time I saw them. And I’m going to use that visualisation to help me this week. I do have a night out with the girls on Friday, but I’ve already decided on various strategies to minimize any impact that could have, including eating an early dinner at home before going out and sticking to long drinks such as Spritzers.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Have a great week, wearing your very best positive pants (eh Sara? 😉 )

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Dressing for Best

Over the Christmas holidays Oscar has shot up. And I mean SHOT up. The trousers that fitted at the end of November are suddenly two inches too short and all his adjustable waists have had to be taken out. He’s grown like a weed and right in the middle of a season too. How rude 😉 . It’s too cold for spring clothes, but is it worth buying winter wear that may only last him a short time? It’s the constant malign of parents across the land and the reason my poor child constantly lives in second hand gear!

It’s rare that he grows and the seasons change in sync, however last Autumn he did. He suddenly needed bigger clothes overnight, and it was early enough in the season to make a few new pieces worth it. I got him some jeans, a couple of tops and a gorgeous sweater from Next. This one in fact.

Super Star boys sweater Next Autumn 2014

Super Star boys sweater Next Autumn 2014

I love it so much, the colour makes his eyes seem so very blue and anyone who knows me will know stars are just my thing (I don’t know if it signifies anything but I’ve been drawn to the star shape all my adult life. I even got a star tattoo when I was 18) Anyway the point is I love this top. And I realised the other day he almost never wears it. It’s not because the weather’s not been right, or because it doesn’t fit well, it’s because it’s new (to him) and therefore kept for “best”.

But when is best? And how often is best really needed? And more to the point, how often will best come around before he ups and grows out of it? I realised I had to ask myself a question. What was I actually worried about? What would bother me more, him wearing this gorgeous jumper in ‘boring’, every day situations and it potentially getting dirty and worn, or him only wearing it a handful of times before it’s too small and can’t be worn at all? Seriously. Why buy it at all, if he’s going to get no moneys worth out of it? It’s clearly not a formal item, the kind you might keep for very special occasions such as weddings etc. Its an everyday item and was surely bought to be worn. I’m not sure where this attitude has come from. but with the speed at which he’s growing, it’s surely not one worth having?

I read an article recently written by Tim Wotton, a man with Cystic Fibrosis, who has outlived doctors expectations. He leads a full and active life, and is married with a son, despite (or maybe because of) the age expectancy of someone living with CF. It’s a great article and I urge you to read it. Tim has also written a book I’d love to read. But something he said in the article stuck with me.

I dress each day like it’s my last day on Earth, and never leave my favourite clothes in the wardrobe waiting for that special moment.

He’s so right. We never know what tomorrow holds. So even if it’s just the last day a sweater fits, I’ve decided I want to make the most of it. I’d rather see Oscar in clothes I love, at any time, than wait for a moment that never comes. So today I dressed him in his ‘best’ pair of jeans (and one of the only ones that fit properly) and let him go in the garden. They were muddy within minutes and we were off visiting this afternoon. Sigh. But so what? He’s a little boy. And he’s wearing some damn fine threads.

Actually, I think I’m going to do the same. Wedding dress party anyone?

My super, superstar

My super, superstar

 

 

You crafty thing….

Despite only using it it for the past six months, Pinterest and I have had something of a bumpy relationship. I avoided it for so long because I worried that, once I jumped in I wouldn’t find my way back out! To be honest I have had moments like that, but all in all I have found it to be a great resource. I don’t tend to pore over it, looking at interiors I would never be able to replicate, and homes so tidy I’d be scared to breathe in them. Doing that tends to make me feel a tiny bit miserable. So instead I tend to use it to find ideas for specific projects, like when we redecorated our room, and the Pretzel Pumpkins I made at Halloween. Just lately I’ve been trying to be a bit braver when it comes to crafting with Oscar. I wrote recently about how he’s started to really enjoy play dough, so last week, with the rain pouring down and me without a car, I decided to pull my finger out and try some ideas for entertaining toddlers with cabin fever.

The first thing I tried was home made Moon Sand (using this post from the wonderful frugalfun4boys.com) and I can’t tell you how easy it was or how successful it was. To make it I emptied one can of shaving foam in to my maslin pan and mixed in a few drops of blue food colouring in until it was evenly distributed. Then I mixed in one box of cornflour a bit at a time to make sure it was all mixed thoroughly. The end result was the texture of damp sand and smelt like my Grandad (I’d forgotten he used to use Gillette Sensitive until I squirted it out!).

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I then dumped the whole lot into a cheap underbed storage box (wide and deep), covered the kitchen floor with a plastic dust sheet (I had no idea how messy this stuff might get, so thought I better play it safe), put a few of Oscar’s toys in it and called him over. I couldn’t believe I’d managed to prep and set up a craft in such a short space of time and with the boy in the next room!

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He was a little cautious at first

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Then he realised he could bury things in it

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His favourite game was driving the car into the drift of moon sand. I think he was re-enacting the episode where Thomas (the Tank Engine to those not in the know!) gets suck in the snow!

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We played together and when I tried to leave him, he came and got me and sat me back down – most unusual for the boy!

We had a great time together. He listened when I asked him to keep the stuff in the box and I loved making little sandcastles with him

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He’d fill the ‘bucket’ and I’d press it down. He’d then shout Ready, GO! and I’d turn it out

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His favourite thing to do was to pick up the ‘sandcastle’ and crumble it back down.

This stuff was amazing. Let’s forget for a moment that I got the recipe from Pinterest and it actually worked for me (Yay!), he absolutely loved playing with it. The sand stayed pretty much in the box and what did get on our hands, clothes and the floor came off so easily (I patted myself on the back for the bright colouring – it meant I could see it to clear it up!). It was easy to assemble, the ingredients were easy to get hold of and cheap. But the best bit was it is reusable. After we finished with it, I shook as much off the toys as possible and pored the sand into a smaller airtight container (you could leave it in the box you used to be fair, it was just easier for me to store it in a smaller container). Then on Sunday we set it all up again and Daddy got to have a play with it too!

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Second time round he had just as much fun. As did Daddy!

Buoyed by my success with the moon sand I decided to have another crack at my own playdough, with a recipe I’d been given by our local Children’s Centre.

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I didn’t use glycerine in mine and I coloured it red. I would say 1 minute was probably enough in the microwave for me, but your machines may vary so start with a short burst and keep checking it. It came out a treat. Wow! I can do crafting after all and the boy loved it!

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I was so proud! Really pliable and not at all the colour of surgical stockings

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Not sure Percy was so thrilled about the set up though! Looks to me like Toby is smirking in the background! Don’t worry Toby, your time will come!

I think I just need to be a bit braver when it comes to crafts (and mess). I’ve been looking into making my own paint and I found an awesome post of how to get any stain out of children’s clothes. I just need to find a good, reasonably priced craft supplier. Where do you guys get PVA and glitter from? I miss Woolworths!