Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
International Egg-cellent Team Challenge
Happy Easter everyone! By now, you've probably had your fill of chocolatey treats and have hopefully been able to enjoy some precious time with those you hold dearest. However, now comes the time to return to normality, and many have already been fighting off those Back to Work Blues as they resume the daily grind.
However, Swagbucks is helping its members to extend the Easter excitement with yet another fun Team Challenge!
Monday, 10 April 2017
Midweek meals for the busy family
#ThankGoodness for #Dolmio!
A story that rings very true to so many parents out there today ...
"Not enough hours in the day!"
Too often, I find myself wanting to prepare a nutritious, satisfying meal for the whole family in the evening, but juggling the cooking process along with school runs, after school clubs and the general, everyday antics of three young children, can regularly see me short of time. As a result, I find myself searching for inspiration of quick family meals and often worry our weekly menu can become slightly bland. Couple these day-to-day dilemmas with three very fussy eaters (only two of which are children!), and mealtimes can fly dangerously close to the Chore Zone!
So when we were invited by Britmums to take part in the #Thank Goodness challenge with Dolmio, we were well and truly ready!
We're looking forward to cooking up a delicious, comforting Midweek meal thanks to #Dolmio. Spaghetti Bolognese is always a huge hit in this house. Feeling hungry just thinking about it! @britmums #ThankGoodness #ukparentbloggers #feedingthefamily #5aday #eatwell #mummyblogger #pblogger #MunchkinHartBlogA post shared by Liz Tumbridge (@munchkinhart) on
The good people at Dolmio recognise mealtime meltdowns and dinner dilemmas like no other, and they know that, when time is short and bellies are empty, we all look for a quick, comforting meal that will satisfy the fussiest of taste buds!
Our challenge was to gratefully accept the hamper of tasty goods that were delivered to our door and whip up a family favourite in the midst of our busy weekday schedule. And the star of the show ...?
As mentioned earlier, Munch, Plumlet and The Man are all extremely fussy eaters. They all love a spag bol, but their ideal dish would be very plain, vegetable free and lacking any 'colourful bits'. Myself and Beastie, however, couldn't be more different! However, I don't need to educate anyone on the importance of a decent intake of vegetables, nor do I want anyone to think that I succumb to their aversion to 'colourful bits' and neglect feeding them healthy stuff. I just have to be a little more creative sometimes. Chopping an onion to within a millimetre of its existence finding a variety of ways to conceal vegetables within their food as well as finding fun and exciting ways to present the colourful food to them seems to be a normal exercise in this house. However, this time, I did add finely chopped vegetables - onion and carrot, and added some yummy extras for myself and Beastie to enjoy with our dinner.
Using Dolmio Bolognese sauce means I can be confident that the whole family are eating well, as they enjoy a meal that is both tasty and nutritious.
Whilst the weather is wet and windy outside, there's nothing better than sitting around the table for a comforting family meal! #ThankGoodness for #Dolmio! A hearty favourite for the perfect midweek spaghetti bolognese @britmums #ukparentbloggers #feedingthefamily #5aday #eatwell #mummyblogger #pblogger #MunchkinHartBlogA post shared by Liz Tumbridge (@munchkinhart) on
To make this meal choice even better, it is really quick and simple to make. The ingredients I used were:
500g Lean Beef Mince
1 500g jar of Original Dolmio Bolognese Sauce
1 Medium Onion
1 Medium Carrot
1 tsp Italian Herbs
0.5 tsp garlic powder
1 handful Mushrooms (amount depends on preference)
1 Yellow Pepper
Grated Fresh Parmesan
350g wholemeal Spaghetti
The method for making a delicious bolognese is simple, well known and extremely versatile. Whilst chopping the onion and carrot small enough to avoid finding a little pile of colourful bits at the edge of three out of five plates, I also cooked up some mushrooms (a favourite for me and Beastie) and sliced some bright yellow pepper to garnish our plates as we fancied! Just goes to show, a good spaghetti bolognese should be made how you like it!
Even my two fussiest eaters loved it and requested a second round before they had even finished their first!
So, next time you are out on your food shop, be sure to add Dolmio to your basket. Versatile goodness, valuable convenience and satisfied tummies ... all in a 500g jar!
Take a look at the hashtags #ThankGoodness and #Dolmio to see what delicious creations others have been enjoying.
This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness
Sunday, 2 April 2017
From serving ribs ... to tickling them!
As a family of 5, going out for a family meal at a restaurant usually requires some careful consideration and intricate planning. Selecting a family friendly establishment with suitable facilities can be a task in itself. Then, getting all three children out of the door, looking respectable, getting seated happily at the restaurant, getting each child to choose their preferred meal from a menu of (what might as well be) a million possibilities, keeping said children entertained whilst their meals are being prepared (meals that at least one child will change their mind on 5 minutes later), and eating a relatively stress free dinner whilst avoiding the eye contact of any potentially disapproving or disgruntled diners!
It's no wonder our usual restaurant of choice is Harvester!
We've all been in a comparable situation, or witnessed a family in a restaurant facing a similar dilemma.
Harvester have come up with a great idea to distract those restless kids, to encourage those social media addicts to put their phones down and interact with one another and to keep everybody happy at the dinner table.
The popular family restaurant have recruited comedian Rhys James (of Mock the Week fame) to provide its staff with some comedic coaching.
The UK's favourite feel good restaurant hopes to help bring people together over food and drink and add some fun back into to its customers’ dining experiences through the use of some ‘fish & quips’.
A poll of 845 people conducted by the restaurant chain on Twitter revealed that the top dining situations people felt could use some humour are:
Screaming children (34 per cent)
Fellow diners too distracted by phones to have a conversation (26 per cent)
An awkward first date (21 per cent)
Boring dinner with the family (19 per cent)
A video of the ‘RibTickler’ training session sees Rhys James take some Harvester team members through a variety of comedy tactics and conversation starters before putting their new skills to test on unsuspecting diners, as he assists through a hidden camera.
Rhys James said:
“I once worked in a restaurant and my banter never received the appreciation it deserved, so it was great to live vicariously through the Harvester team. It’s the ideal situation - if they get a laugh, I’m a genius. If they don’t, then it’s all down to their poor delivery! Some of them did really well with their own improvisation, but I’m secretly going to put this down to my excellent training too.”
Hazel Laughey, who has worked at Harvester for 6 years, said:
“I’ve been part of plenty of training sessions but never one quite like this. We’re trained to create ‘feel good moments’ for guests, but this taught us the value of using comedy to improve our guests’ dining experience, which was the extra cherry on top. Admittedly, I was nervous at first, but once the guests started to laugh, it certainly gave me a buzz!”
Rob Pitcher, Divisional Director at Harvester, commented:
“Our ethos is based on ‘feel good dining’ and we believe that training our staff in comedy will help bring family and friends closer together. Introducing more humour to the server and guest relationship is something we consider very important. We want guests to know that if they go into a Harvester, they will not only be served delicious food, but they’ll have a brilliant experience too!”
Watch the rib-tickling training session in action:
I have to say, the reasons we always choose Harvester as our place to go for a family meal (apart from the fact that Beastie would happily spend our entire visit at the salad bar!) are vast and varied, but one of the chief reasons for us is their accommodating attitude towards families and young children. The staff always treat the children as though they are the most important people in the restaurant and no demand is too much work. This makes a huge difference to how well the meal goes and to how happy everyone is when we leave.
So, a family meal, with a delicious, varied menu, warm and welcoming customer service mixed with a team with a great sense of humour is surely the perfect choice for a family of any size and temperament! Check out your local restaurant here.
This post has been written in collaboration with Harvester. We were offered a meal voucher in return for the post.