Tuesday, 24 October 2017

85 Calorie Double Chocolate Muffins

               DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS UNDER 100 CALORIES!!!!
Delicious and low calorie chocolate muffins
Ok, yes I'm yelling and yes I've disappeared for a wee bit. A lot has happened and gone on since I've last posted, including me eating healthier. Today I adapted Chelsea's Messy Apron's recipe and made these amazing double chocolate muffins and they are TOO amazing not to share. They are only 85 calories each AND gluten free!
Double Chocolate Mini Muffins
  • 1/2 cup, Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp, baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp, baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon, Salt
  • 2 tbsp(s), Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp(s), Splenda

  • 1/2 cup, Jif- Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup, Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/2cup, Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tsp, Vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp, Honey
  • 2 large, Eggs
  • 4 tbsp(s), Home ground Oat Flour 
  • 7 tbsp, Semi Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips (reserve 2 tbsp)











Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 24 count mini muffin tin with non-stick spray. Do not use muffin liners! The muffins won't come out well.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the  dry ingredients: cocoa powder, oat flour (blend GF oats until they are a flour consistency. Make sure to measure the oats AFTER being blended), baking soda, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and splenda.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter, applesauce, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and honey. Beat until completely combined.
  4. Slowly add in the dry to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Add the egg and combine until incorporated.
  6. Stir in 5 Tbsp of chocolate chips and distribute the batter evenly across the muffin tin.
  7. Top the muffins with the remaining 2 Tbsp of chocolate chips.
  8. Bake for 18-22 minutes (my oven took 20) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let muffins cool 3-4 minutes, or until cool to touch and remove from pan to finish cooling.
  10. Try not to eat them all while they are still ooey-gooey melty and warm.

Honestly these were so good AND my kids loved them. They taste super indulgent (like lava cake Blondie Boy said) and are only 85 calories each! I really don't think you can get much better with a  low calorie dessert! Full nutritional information below!



Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Frisch’s Big Boy Presents The Nutcracker

1980s Cincinnati Ballet Nutcracker
6 year old Ballet Blondie
When I was 6 years old I was a page in the Cincinnati Ballet company's production of Cincinnati Christmas classic The Nutcracker.  Now **cough cough** years later, Blondie Boy is 6 years old and I took him to his first performance of The Nutcracker.

From the very first performance of The Nutcracker in 1974, Frisch’s Restaurants has been the Ballet’s primary sponsor. It is one of the longest-lasting examples of corporate sponsorship in American arts history and a Cincinnati tradition that I grew up with. I hadn't been personally since 2003 before I left Cincinnati and moved to the UK and I couldn't wait to share it with BB for his first Christmas in Cincinnati.

Frischs Chicken Fried Steak Family Dinner
He likes it!
First though we headed to Frisch's to try their family dinners and famous Hot Fudge Cake. For $7.99 you can choose from carved turkey, country fried chicken, country fried steak, roast beef or meatloaf served with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. BB can be a picky eater. I knew he'd love the country friend chicken but I was surprise that he also loved the country fried steak! But let's keep it real, we both were after one thing: dessert.

As part of that partnership, Frisch’s worked with members of the Cincinnati Ballet to launch Frisch’s first-ever holiday edition of its best-selling dessert, Hot Fudge Cake. Peppermint Hot Fudge Cake is available for a limited time (until Feb.7) and this is the first time since the original dessert debuted in in 1970 that it has been offered in another flavor!

Nutcracker Peppermint Hot Fudge Cake


We were brought one to share, but BB loved it so much I had to get my own. We both loved this holiday twist on a classic and dare I say that I even liked this more than the original? Both the original and limited edition peppermint desserts are available at restaurants for $3.29.

Nutcracker Frisch's Peppermint Hot Fudge CakeFrisch's Peppermint Hot Fudge Cake

After practicing his best Nutcracker moves, we headed over to the Arnoff Center, where the Nutcracker is this year while Music Hall undergoes renovations. The performance brought back so many forgotten memories for me.

little boy cincinnati nutcrackerFrisch's Cincinnati Nutcracker

Even if you've seen the Nutcracker multiple times this year's show is an update: some hip-hop moves even make their way in to the performance. Classic characters are updated in ways you couldn't have imagined. Blondie Boy's favorite parts were when (spoiler alert) the Rat King died and the "very awkward dancing poodle."


Tickets for the Nutcracker are on sale through December 18th.


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Frisch's invited us for dinner and to watch the Nutcracker. We were compensated for this review, but all opinions are our own. 
I couldn't get a 6 year old to lie if I tried!

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Blythswood Square Glasgow Little Darlings Afternoon Tea

Imagine a six year old at end of the school February break. Throw in some snow, rain and the obligatory icy Glasgow temperatures. Then ask yourself what you could do together that would entertain the child and let you enjoy a touch of luxury. The answer I have found is the Blythswood Square Little Darlings afternoon tea in Glasgow.


We visited Blythswood Square, a five star hotel in Glasgow city centre, several times previously but always in the company of adults and to be truthful I wondered how the quiet ambience would suit a six year old. There was no need to worry. From the moment we arrived the staff were pleasant and helpful and made him feel like a very welcome and special guest.

Afternoon tea is served in the colonnaded salon overlooking the square itself, a beautiful room with elegant furnishings.


The waiter explained the menu to us and asked if there were any particular dietary requirements. Of course Blondie Boy was quick to mention his egg allergy but this didn't present a problem.

It was his first experience of afternoon tea and he loved being presented with his own three tier cake stand. As well as sandwiches which he had chosen from the Little Darlings menu, there were scones with cream and jam, cake and a candy floss cone filled with raspberry mousse which he loved. There were also fresh strawberries and he wolfed those down before even attempting cake. 

Blythswood Square Glasgow Little Darlings Afternoon Tea

Children's afternoon tea glasgow


The staff were attentive without being intrusive and we enjoyed the unhurried atmosphere. It was such a special end to the school holiday for us both and one we will definitely repeat. I'm sure some people might be doubtful about a five star hotel as a venue for a children's outing, but it was truly an exciting and memorable occasion and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend. Afternoon tea is such a British institution so I'm so glad it was an experience we got to have together.

The cost of the Blythswood Square Little Darlings afternoon tea is £12.95 which is more than reasonable for the surroundings and spread! 




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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Make your own Lego Movie with Lego Brickflicks at St Enochs




Take a deep breath... Our names are... and we're Legoholics... And exhale. It feels good to have gotten that off of our chests. 

My son and I share an addiction, fortunately he's too young for drink and drugs and wild women but I'm definitely living proof that you're never too old for Lego. We've built the toys, watched the movie and the TV shows, visited the theme parks and also visited exhibitions using standard Lego bricks to create anything from modern art to scale models of famous landmarks but we haven't been to anything like the Lego Brick Flicks Exhibition at the St Enoch's Centre yet. Running from now until the 17th of April, the exhibition features famous movie scenes recreated in brick form by Lego artist Warren Elsmore, from the Wizard of Oz to the Godfather and it's FREE to attend. As part of the celebrations, St. Enoch are also running a series of Bricks for Kidz events throughout the Easter holidays which will allow kids to get creative using Lego bricks. The workshops run from 4th to 15th of April and will offer a series of activities to encourage children's creativity through building with Lego. These sessions are free and run on a drop in basis from 11am to 3pm each day.



To celebrate the exhibition St Enoch's challenged us to recreate a famous movie scene using Lego and the Lego Movie Maker app, which is available on iTunes and the Google app store. Never one to turn down a challenge (particularly one involving Lego!) we jumped at the opportunity. We discussed a wide variety of options but I was never going to win an argument with a six year old, so we settled on a scene from Capture the Flag, which he saw recently and loved. In it two kids stow away on a space shuttle heading for the moon. We picked the scene where the kids sneak on to the shuttle and get a shock when it launches.

Here is our effort:




We're pretty far away from directing a new Lego Movie but the app was easy to use and we had a great time doing it.  I'm sure our next attempt will be better after we head to the exhibition for some inspiration!
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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Vileda Windomatic

 
 
Image result for Vileda WindomaticI don't know anyone who likes cleaning windows and as for mirrored wardrobes - aargh! Those of us who do have to tackle this chore realise that the hard part is polishing the glass to smear-free perfection. Then there is that sinking feeling when, having spent ages doing the windows, the sun shines and all the streaks are suddenly visible. No wonder everyone hates this task! Finally I have found a product that not only saves time and effort but also ensures that the windows are sparkling and streak-free in no time at all.The Vileda Windomatic is a cordless, handheld vacuum, easy to use and compact. It's lightweight with a flexible head and once charged the you can use the device for 20 minutes. 
After charging the product for an initial six hours, I tried it out on a glass door, sticky with children's fingerprints and the dog's nose! I favour the water spray and micro cloth method of cleaning. Instead of reaching for a dry cloth and spending ages polishing the glass, I switched on the Vileda Windomatic, pulled the rubber blade over the glass and, hey presto, the job was done, unbelievably quickly. The Windomatic literally sucked up the residue of water.
 
I tried it out too on our mirrored wardrobe doors similarly marked with the sticky fingerprints and the result was the same - sparkling mirrors. Condensation, particularly on the bedroom windows, was also no problem for the Windomatic. The water tank, capacity 100ml, was easy to empty and since the product is compact I had no trouble finding storage space for it in the kitchen. To be honest, I was initially concerned that the twenty minutes before the Windomatic would need recharged would be too short but that wasn't the case.

Image result for Vileda Windomatic
The main plus points for me are the time saved - I'm too busy to spend hours cleaning glass - and the superb result,  perfectly gleaming windows. If there is a downside to the Vileda Windomatic it's simply that you have to remember to charge it in advance. Not much of a drawback to what is overall a great product.

The Vileda Windomatic retails for approximately £40/45 and is available in most DIY Stores, as well as supermarkets and online. 
 
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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Glasgow Loves Christmas

If you've been in the city centre of Glasgow recently you've probably noticed the transformation of George Square into a winter wonderland, complete with christmas lights, a ferris wheel, the Winter Lodge bar and of course the ice rink around the statue of Sir Walter Scott.

Ice Skating George Square Wheel Glasgow

Blondie Boy has been quite a regular visitor to an indoor ice rink this year so he was incredibly excited to try skating outdoors on George Square. The day we visited was a fairly typical Glaswegian December day, with plenty of rain, but this didn't dampen our spirits at all. The sessions at Glasgow on Ice are half an hour long, so be sure to be there in plenty of time for your session starting to maximise your time on the ice. Since Blondie Boy is only five we chose an Under 8s session, which meant that the ice rink runs at reduced capacity, for only younger kids and accompanying adults so that little skaters can enjoy their time on the ice. There are also skating aids available for little ones who need a little help.


Child's skating aid Glasgow

 Remember that you are skating outdoors in a Glaswegian winter! Warm/ waterproof clothes aa must. Before visiting check the Glasgow Loves Christmas website in case the weather isn't suitable, in which case the box office can rearrange your tickets.



The weather wasn't great when we visited, so there was some water sitting on the rink and we did end up a little wet but we still had a great time on the ice. After our skate we went upstairs to the Winter Lodge for a warm drink to dry off. There is a full bar for adults and there are craft and storytelling sessions for kids. When we visited Blondie Boy took advantage of a storytelling session, which he loved.
Story telling sessions Glasgow

After our skate round the square we took a wander round to Princes Square for some lunch. As usual the decorations inside are exquisite: well worth wander round just for a wee look at them!

Christmas tree made out of baubles ornaments

We rounded off our afternoon with a wander round the Christmas market at St Enoch Square. There's the usual mix of craft stalls, if you're looking for a present for that someone who has everything, and stalls with all kinds of delicious and unusual food and drinks.

With six weeks of events running right up until December 31st it's easy to see that Glasgow really does love Christmas! Even if iceskating isn't your thing, there's bound to be something that's more up your street, whether that's shopping in one of the many participating malls to the Style Mile  or a night out at one of the many restaurants running Christmas dining offers. The hardest part is finding time between now and the end of December to squeeze it all in!


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Transatlantic Blonde were invited to experience Glasgow Love Christmas free or charge but all warm, Christmasy sentiments, and bruises from falling skating, are our own.

Santa at Hamleys, St Enoch Centre

In case you hadn't noticed, it's that time of the year again! Christmas songs are playing in supermarkets and every ad on TV seems to be for the latest toy craze. I'd like to say the streets are blanketed in a covering of crisp white snow but we all know it's been grey and rainy for weeks but hey, isn't that  the true Christmas weather of the West of Scotland?

Like most families with small kids one of the important dates in the festive calendar is the visit to Santa. This year we visited the big guy at Hamleys in the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow. With the weather as miserable as it could possibly be the first real benefit was the attached car park. It's so much easier shepherding a five year old and a one year old in a pushchair from an indoor car park than trying to organise them in the street and march them through the rain. We even left our heavy jackets at home so we looked our best for Mr Claus.

Children going to see Santa


'I met Father Christmas at Hamleys!' is an hour long experience, which begins when two of Santa's elves pick up the children and take them to Santa's living room. Blondie Boy was so impressed that he not only got to meet the real Santa but also got to meet real elves too! The children sang songs with the elves and then had some dinner together.

Boy and Christmas ElfBoy's Rudolph Reindeer Jumper


After dinner the children finally met the main man! Santa read them the poem 'Twas the night before Christmas', they played a game of 'Musical Snowmen' and then the elves helped them prepare the all important lists.
Children meet Santa Claus Father Christmas

Santa met them all individually, talked through their lists and posed for pictures.


Santa reading little boy's letterSmall boy and baby girl meet Santa


Each child received a goodie bag as a gift from Santa, the contents of which got played with immediately!

Baby Girl cuddling teddy bear

After meeting Santa the elves took the children out into the St Enoch Centre, where they used their magic to make it snow indoors!

Snowing indoors Glasgow Scotland

The whole evening at Hamlets in the St Enoch Centre was magical and the children loved it. The 'I met Father Christmas at Hamleys' experience costs £25 a child, includes everything listed above and must be booked in advance. You can find more information about festive events at the St Enoch centre here.



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Transatlantic Blonde was invited to visit with Santa free of charge but all magical experiences are our own.