Sunday, 13 April 2014

Review: Udi's Gluten Free

Udi's Gluten Free sent me some of their products to try recently and I was delighted to give them a go!  As you know, being Coeliac means following a strict gluten-free diet, so I'm always on the look-out for different gluten-free options.  Here's my thoughts on the range!

I'd already tried the plain bagels before Udi's sent me the cinnamon and raisin bagels to try.  The flavoured bagels were lovely toasted with butter for breakfast, and the cinnamon wasn't overpowering - normally I give cinnamon a wide berth as I'm not overly keen, but these bagels made a yummy breakfast and it made a change from my usual toast and butter.  However, my preference is for the plain bagels.  I always find that lunch is the hardest meal of the day for Coeliacs, particularly when out of the house.  I like the plain bagels toasted, then spread with cream cheese and topped with ham.  I've noticed that the price of the bagels has come down in both Tesco and Asda in the last couple of weeks, making them more affordable.  They freeze well too.

My favourite product in the Udi's range was the ancient grain crisps!  Udi's sent me jalapeno cheddar and aged cheddar varieties to try - I preferred the jalapeno ones, which went particularly well with a glass of red wine!  But the aged cheddar ones were nice too.  A tasty alternative to "normal" crisps, these snacks were crunchy and so moreish!  Sadly the price is a bit steep (£2.50 a bag in Tesco last time I checked) so I don't buy them as often as I would like... mind you, that doesn't do my waistline any harm!

I wasn't so keen on the strawberry toaster pastries - these are equivalent to a "pop tart" kind of thing - I think!  I was never a fan of pop tarts in my pre-coeliac days so I didn't have anything directly to compare them to, but I found them a bit to sweet for me.  Maybe something coeliac kids would like for a treat?

Finally the two-pack of muffins were really nice, and I thought it was a great idea to have two different varieties in the same pack - chocolate chip and toffee flavours.  I liked both and couldn't choose a favourite.  The texture was perhaps slightly dense but the muffins were moist, flavoursome and went well with a cuppa in the afternoon!  I do like cakes!

It's great to see brands like Udi's moving into the UK and increasing the variety on offer for people following a gluten-free diet.  The Free From shelf space in supermarkets continues to increase and for Coeliacs like me, that can only be a good thing!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Scotch Pancakes

Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, is the one day of the year we're guaranteed to make pancakes.  This Pancake Day was no different!

I made my mum's tried and tested recipe for scotch pancakes. I used gluten free white mix but self raising flour would do the job too!

8oz flour
1oz butter/margarine
4oz sugar
Pinch of salt
2 eggs

Rub the butter into the flour and add the sugar and salt. Beat the eggs and add these along with as much milk as required to make a thin consistency. Pour a dollop at a time into a heated non-stick frying pan (over a medium heat) and when bubbles appear over the surface of your pancake, it's time to flip over and cook the other side.

These scotch pancakes are delicious with sugar and lemon (Lizzie's preference) or with golden syrup (Dougie's favourite). Personally I prefer my scotch pancakes cold with butter!


Monday, 3 March 2014

Weekend away!

This weekend saw a break away for me as I headed off to Glasgow for my dear friend's hen weekend. She gets married in 4 weeks and I'm thrilled to have been asked to be her bridesmaid on her special day!

Despite Glasgow city centre being just over an hour away by bus, I've only been a couple of times, other than to the airport! So off I went to join women who had travelled from London and Aberdeen for a weekend of celebration and frivolity!

We arrived at our penthouse apartment and once our sleeping arrangements had been sorted, we cracked open some wine and snacks and set about catching up. Our paths have all crossed at many points over the years, and it was so nice to see where all these women's lives had taken them so far.

Saturday, and after breakfast to set us up for the day we headed out for our hula hoop lesson. What fun! We enjoyed practising our new moves (surprisingly energetic!) and by the end of an hour and a half of tuition, we'd confidently mastered the basics and were hula hooping away!

After lunch in the apartment, we headed out to browse the shops. Wow - Glasgow is great for shopping! If ever I win the lottery, I'll be heading straight there for a massive spending spree!! We barely even scratched the surface of the shops on offer before it was time to head back and get ready.

Once pampered and preened for a night on the town, we headed out for a meal at Bella Italia (great for me, as they have a gluten-free menu) and afterwards moved on to a bar and then a club until the small hours.

At 3am we called time on the festivities (yawn!) and the morning saw us packing up and heading home in our various different directions.

How I loved my weekend away with such a lovely bunch of women. But oh how happy I was to get home to my family! My darling husband had put fresh sheets on the bed for me in anticipation of my crawling wearily under the covers at the end of the day. Bliss!

Great to get away - but always great to come home.


Thursday, 27 February 2014

Mums and Toddlers

Today my littlest Miss and I headed out to try a local Mum and Toddler group.  Now that she's moving around and generally showing much more interest in what's going on round about her, I'm keen to find new experiences for her to explore and take in.

We met a friend of mine there, who has very recently given birth to a beautiful baby boy. I was somewhat distracted by all the newborn loveliness, but I still had time to get a feel for the toddler group.  The hall was clean and there was a great variety of toys available for the children to play with. The older children had a snack, and the mums had a cuppa.  Everyone seemed warm and welcoming and there was a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere - and all the children were having fun.

Molly spent the first hour playing intently with the same car and babbling to anyone that paid her attention. Then she promptly fell sound asleep in my arms - socialising is exhausting!

We enjoyed ourselves and will definitely be returning next Thursday to get to know the group better!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

It's all Go!

This week, Molly refined her rolling-around-the-floor technique and is officially mobile! She uses a combination of press ups, leg dragging and army crawling, with some rollovers thrown in for good measure - and manages to get herself wherever she wants to go, and fairly quickly too!

Time to "baby-proof" the house - stair gates, socket covers, locks for cupboard doors.... Nowhere is safe from her inquisitive nature!

Now that Molly can follow me into the kitchen (and she loves sliding about on the shiny floor) I find she's always by my side, always at my feet, watching and following my every move! I love having my wee companion with me - she laughs at my silly noises, delights in my dodgy dance moves and beams from ear to ear when she catches my eye, peeking her head proudly round the kitchen door!

She's almost 8 months old now, and learning new things every day! It's fabulous to watch her process things and work them out for herself - you can almost hear the penny dropping as she works out how to start the music going on a toy, or how to tip the toy box over... Every day is a joy!