An easy peasy turkey meal

 

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I love food and I am especially keen on chicken, so when I saw a competition to make a superb turkey recipe I felt I had to enter and adapt my usual chicken lasagne recipe which is so loved in our house, it is an ideal recipe as a winter warmer or as a summer supper. It is well worth entering as there is a prize of £200 money off vouchers and 2 lovely runners up prizes of £50 too. All you have to do is to create an innovative dish that can be served at any time of year using British Turkey (mince, breast steaks, diced thigh) and 2 non-meat Red Tractor ingredients from the approved list. It is being run by British turkey in conjunction with red tractor, if you want more details find out more here.

As you all know I am not a brilliant cook, I tend to like doing things the easy way as the children keep me busy so preparation time is always kept to a minimum, easy recipes are standard in this house! I also try to sneak more vegetables into my dishes to add some nutrition, although my children are keen to try new things they sometimes try to pick out vegetables if they are too large, for this reason I have finely chopped the vegetables in this meal. When shopping I looked for the Red Tractor logo on the food, as the list said just about all English grown vegetables come from a Red Tractor grower, I found the logos on the tomatoes and the spinach as well as the turkey, but where possible I bought English produce to ensure it kept within the rules.

 

Really Easy Turkey and Spinach Lasagne

Ingredients

  • 500g British Red Tractor turkey mince
  • 400g can chopped plum tomatoes
  • 3 fresh tomatoes
  • 3 English mushrooms
  • 1 small pack of fresh spinach
  • 1 pack dried lasagne sheets
  • 2 balls mozzarella, sliced
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • I small tin tomato purée
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg

For the sauce:

  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 25g (1oz) plain flour
  • 500ml (17fl oz)milk
  • 1 bay leaf or as I did use a white sauce pre-made to reduce preparation time.

 

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Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the finely chopped garlic, and onions.
  2. Cook the turkey mince until lightly browned. Add nutmeg for additional flavour.
  3. Finely chop the mushrooms.
  4. Soak the lasagne sheets in hot water to stop them being crunchy.
  5. Then add the turkey mince, tomatoes, purée, mushrooms and seasoning keeping well stirred. Turn down the heat to low and continue to cook for about 15 minutes until thickened.
  6. Either make the white sauce or use a premade jar as I did.
  7. Layer the sauces; begin with a small amount of the meat followed by lasagne sheets, followed by white sauce and spinach.
  8. Lay the diced mozzarella on top and cook for 30 minutes until golden brown.
  9. Grate the parmesan cheese for serving.

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So here is how to layer it if you have never done a lasagne before

  •  just a little bit the tomato/turkey sauce on the bottom;
  • 1/3 of the lasagne sheets;
  • 1/3 of the white sauce mix;
  • A handful of fresh spinach;
  • 1/3 of the tomato/turkey mixture;
  • 1/3 of the lasagne sheets;
  • 1/3 of the white sauce mix;
  • A handful of fresh spinach;
  • 1/3 of the tomato/turkey mixture;
  • 1/3 of the lasagne sheets;
  • 1/3 of the white sauce mix;
  • A handful of fresh spinach;
  • 1/3 of the tomato/turkey mixture;
  • Layer the top with the mozzarella cheese

 

We served the meal with three olive stonebaked bread with a balsamic vinegar dip, the children loved it and it was a huge success. Additional servings were demanded too and the room was quiet – a huge achievement for a family of 6!

Shake it and make it!

I love a craft activity and several competitions just recently have asked you to think of a novel way to recycle plastics, one of our most fun ways was to make cheerleading pompoms from old plastic bags. When you look at normal pompoms all they are made of are strips of plastic – we have managed to get this effect with a few plastic bags and an elastic bag, providing some making fun as well as some playtime for the girls too.. Here is what we did…

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1. We laid a few bags together, add a few colourful ones if you have them

2. Cut off the bottom edge

3. Cut off the sides

4. Cut the bags into strips

5. Place the strips together

6. Gather them together with a hair band or elastic band

 

Tie the bags in the centre and once you have knotted them together thread through a piece of the handle that was cut off earlier, this makes the wrist band. It is really easy to do and a great afternoon activity, my girls spent the rest of the afternoon making up a routine with them to some music!

 

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Great fun!

 

 

 

 

Do you remember toot and ploot?

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I have happy childhood memories of toot and ploot, many of you won’t have a clue what I am talking about – but a random blog post reminded me of the only holiday I had as a child to Clacton Butlins in 1978. I would have been 7 at the time but remember it really clearly. So why am I reminiscing? Well, I saw a competition sponsored by Butlins Holiday Parks asking about fun childhood memories and straight away I thought of my week stay at Butlins.

I remember rollerskating (I think I have some photos somewhere!), falling asleep really late on my dad watching the evening entertainment and being carried back to our room, entering and coming 3rd, or was it 2nd in a beauty competition with my mum and meeting a very fuzzy bear at one of the evenings out. I even got my mum to dig out some photos that were taken there. She said it took her all evening as she couldn’t stop looking through them once she started, so I have scanned the best below. We had a great time as a family and I remember being so excited to be going away as I didn’t even understand what a holiday was!

butlins1 Above – on this I am number 5!

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  Above – Here I am with my num wearing number 2!

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Above – This is me in my favourite photo wondering what on earth I am being hugged by!

We all had a lovely holiday back in 1978, I would love to go back (obviously not to this one as I am not sure it is there any longer). I have four children who are a similar age to what I was when I went – I would just love to go and show my four children how much fun there is to be had at a traditional British holiday site. I am sure my daughters would just love to enter the competitions with me just like I did with my mum, and my boys would love all the other activities there are on offer too.

“Competition sponsored by Butlins Holiday Parks, helping your family make memories.”

Secret treasures of Barcelona

I love going aboard especially when you go slightly off the beaten track and try to do something other than the guidebooks suggest. When I first visited Barcelona I was a photography student – I foIMG_2252und it stunningly beautiful and travelled round all the sites in the guide books, took lots of photos and had a great time. Since then I have been back as a family of 6 which of course made the break very different to my first as a lone traveller within a large group. Well, Apartime are running a great blogging competition – all you need to do is to write an article for your blog about a place in Barcelona that interests you the most – places off the beaten track that are often overlooked, secret treasures of Barcelona that not many people know about. In doing this I have written about a few days we spent in Barcelona with our four children and then nominated our favourite place of the ones we visited. Obviously our travels were more child orientated as we had to keep them happy and entertained too!

La Sagrada Familia

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We visited the La Sagrada Familia but ended up spending just as long in the beautiful park just in front of it playing with the children. In fact the views of the architecture were even more stunning from the park. I think all too often the emphasis is to get as close to something as possible and the overall view is missed.

Left – La Sagrada Familia a view from the children’s play area

 

 

 

 

 

Tibidabo Amusement Park

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Our next idea was to get the Tibidabo Funicular to Tibidabo Amusement Park which is at the top of a hill 500m looking over Barcelona, it was great fun getting the funicular, the children found it very exciting as they had never experienced being on one before – a kind of cross between a bus and a train – but not quite a tram! We climbed to the top and was treated to beautiful views over Barcelona and the surrounding areas. The park is superb too, 25 rides to choose from for a reasonable price, a perfect offbeat activity for the children and great views for the adults!

Right – Our eldest children in front of the funicular on the way to Tibidabo Amusement Park

Below – Panoramic views of the city from Tibidabo Amusement Park

 

 

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Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria

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We walked around the town the next day and stumbled upon Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria which was filled with amazing foods, people and bric-a-brac. It was a colourful and large market, containing every type of food you could imagine. The children loved the colourful food and especially the sweet stalls.

Left – My daughter in front of a food stall at Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria

 

 

 

 

 

The Mediterranean Sea

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Another great day out was spent enjoying the Barcelona coastline – children love sea, and especially warm sea! I wasn’t quite as prepared for the topless bathing as my baby was breastfeeding and very keen on boobies, she kept pointing which was entertaining but slightly embarrassing too. We all had a giggle about it afterwards as she spotted a well endowed lady and shouted boobies (she was only 1!) the lady understood what she said and smiled!

Right – My children enjoying the warm Mediterranean Sea

 

 

The Montserrat monastery

While we were in the area we decided to travel a bit further out to see Montserrat monastery, it lies about 45 km northwest of Barcelona and is an easy journey or bus ride from Barcelona, many bus companies run trips on a regular basis. We drove there as we had hired a car, it was an excellent journey reminiscent of the bends which are filmed for Top Gear, I was only slightly nervous! To make it more fun we drove to the cable car and travelled to the summit in style. The cable car was journey was amazing – I would really recommend it. When we got to the top we looked around the stalls and bought some cheese from the monastery, I think the children were more impressed with the journey than they were the monastery!

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Above – The cable car we took to the Montserrat monastery

 Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres

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No visit to Barcelona is complete without taking in some art – of course if you are in Spain it has to be Dali! We popped into the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, it was a really nice museum with lots of large artworks to see, because it wasn’t like a normal gallery the children remined interested, they loved the bizare artwork and especially the huge lips – there were things to do and lots of places to take photos too.

Left – My son in front of one of Dali’s massive paintings

 

 

 

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Of all these places the one that I would nominate for being off the beaten track and a true secret treasure is the Tibidabo Amusement Park – I have chosen this because it has everything, from an amazing journey to get there, something for the children (or the inner child) when you get up there, and also stunning views of a beautiful city. It is so peaceful, which is such a contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city centre. If there is a day you have spare when on a trip to Barcelona definitely take the time out and travel to Tibadabo – you won’t be disappointed!

Cycle Addicts ‘funny things they say’ competition

I have just been emailed about a wonderful competitions run by Cycle Addicts, as soon as I saw it I knew I had to enter. We all love our bikes and scooters, in fact hubby has just build a cycle rack as we have so many bikes and scooters with six of us in the house, all of course very precious and all with different uses. Below is a piccie taken by me of all the children – our youngest lagging slightly behind!

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With four children I have quite a few moments to choose from but one of the funniest has to come from when my youngest was in the school nursery which would have made her about 4. She had been noticing the differences between men and women and had started drawing men with willies and women with boobies. I went in one day to collect her and the teacher just chuckled, when I saw the drawing she had done I understood why. She had apparently drawn hubby with a massive willy and me next to him wearing the most massive smile. I laughed at the teacher and said ‘I can understand why I have a big smile on my face’. She was laughing so much she was crying in the end and I joined in, hubby thought it was especially funny when I brought the drawing home, still it beats being drawn with a tiny one!

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Here is my cheeky daughter, and her with one of her drawings made into a stuffed toy – to remember it forever!

 

 

 

 

 

Some other bloggers that might be interested in entering are

Di Coke – http://www.superlucky.co.uk

Looking for the postman – http://lookingforthepostman.wordpress.com