Tag Archives: cookery

Chicken Fajitas with Spice pods plus giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

It has been a little while since I shared a recipe post, as I rather lost my blogging mojo lately following my mum’s death. But now that I am confined to my home apart from when I am volunteering to help the vulnerable or a quick essentials shopping trip or a daily run / walk, it seems time to take up the blogging mantle again.

I think I got my love of cooking from my mum, although it had been a while since she had been able to cook due to increasing frailty herself. As a small child, I can remember kneeling up on a stool at the kitchen table beside her and learning to make the likes of jam tarts and gingerbread men. My mum would encourage me to enter the children’s cookery section at the local WI show. And when I unwisely chose broccoli and melon as ingredients for my cookery practical exam, it was my mum who searched to locate them for me. Those were the days before such items became commonplace on the supermarket shelves all year round. And now for a different reason, they may again have disappeared from the shelves.

I’m certainly feeling rather sad about all the panic buying we are seeing currently, as I’m sure it is leading to increased food waste, particularly with regards to fresh food. So it may still be a little while before I feel ready to post again on my series of “Reducing Waste” topics.

The Spice Pioneer

However after turning down a few product review requests whilst grieving, I agreed to do a review for The Spice Pioneer, who caught my attention due to their fabulous tree planting initiative. They kindly sent me a set of their five flavours of spice power pods to try for free. The flavours, which can also all be purchased individually are as follows…..

Fajita
Chicken Lollipops
Chilli Con Carne
Katsu Curry
Peri-Peri Chicken

Spice Power Pods


So I decided to try out the Fajita Power Pod first and cook a tasty Tex-Mex dish of Chicken Fajitas, along with all the traditional accompaniments. The power pod box includes this recipe on the back. However I did adapt it slightly to include an additional vegetable, namely courgette, as due to empty shelves, I couldn’t get three colours of peppers.

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients (serves 4)

Fajita seasoning
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp oil
1 onion
3 mixed bell peppers
4 skinless chicken breasts

Method

Peel and slice onion.
Peel garlic and squeeze through garlic press.
Slice pepper, (saving seeds to sprinkle in a salad).
Slice chicken into 1cm strips.
In a large bowl, mix the fajita seasoning, garlic, oil, onion and peppers.
Add the chicken, mix to coat evenly and marinade for 10 minutes.
Stir- fry in a large frying pan on medium to high heat for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Add more oil while cooking if needed.
Enjoy in heated tortilla wraps with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese.

chicken fajitas

I made a batch of tortilla wraps and you can see my guacamole recipe below. But I did cheat with the salsa and used a shop-bought jar. However part of the joy of power pods is the simplicity with the spices being perfectly portioned, so I didn’t feel at all guilty for cheating. In fact, I wished that I had cheated with guacamole too, as my avocado was rather under-ripe for the recipe. The power pod spice mixes aim to make cooking an easy, stress-free and enjoyable experience.


Chicken Fajitas

Guacamole

Ingredients

1 avocado
Juice of half a lime
1 small clove of garlic
Half a spring onion

Method

Cut avocado in half and remove stone.
Scoop out avocado flesh, with a fork, roughly mashing it.
Squeeze the juice from half a lime.
Peel garlic and squeeze through garlic press.
Mix together avocado, lime juice and garlic.
If the avocado isn’t that ripe, blend the mixture in a blender.
Serve and enjoy.

guacamole

I was pleased to see that the power pods are 100% natural ingredients. They are free from oil, preservatives, additives and refined sugar and are also gluten free. The products were all long-dated, best before December 2021 and they have been handmade in the UK. The boxes indicate that you can make your meal for 4 people in just 30 minutes. And they also show how mild or spicy each mix is.

The outer box was nicely sized to fit through a letterbox, so no missing a parcel if your delivery arrives when you are out. And look how well packed it is, certainly no excess packaging.

Spice Power Pods

It is a nice touch to have a recipe suggestion on each packet, plus there are plenty more recipe ideas on The Spice Pioneer website. The power pods can be purchased individually or as a subscription. All are reasonably priced.

Do take a look at The Spice Pioneer website to see the rest of their products. They also sell a range of recipe boxes and gin infusion kits. Great gifts for foodies. Every purchase contributes to their tree planting in the Scottish Highlands, which definitely gets my seal of approval.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a starter set of spice power pods like I received from The Spice Pioneer to one lucky winner. You’ll certainly be able to cook some great easy meals with these.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your recipe suggestions using any of these products. I’m going to make chicken lollipops next, so check back soon to see that recipe.

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Kids Weekend Box review and free offer

A year ago, we reviewed our first Kids Weekend Activity Box, fairly soon after their product launch. You can see the fun we had last time, on the following 2 posts.
Cooking Potato Boats and making 3D glasses.
Sand Art and making a bird feeder.
The boys had a great time doing these activities, so they were delighted to hear that we had been invited to review another box.

weekend box

I captured son2 opening the box on video.

weekend box

For those of you who haven’t come across it before, I’ll introduce you to Weekend Box which is a box containing Healthy, Green and Creative themed activities for your children delivered through your letterbox every fortnight. It is similar to a Graze healthy snacks box but with children’s activities in.

Each box contains 4 colour-coded activities:
Something to COOK (a healthy recipe with accompanying secret ingredient)
Something to MAKE (a craft kit with all the materials required)
Something GREEN (some seasonal seeds to plant or something to make with recycling/rubbish material)
Something to EXPLORE (sensory exploration games, for example)

Each activity is designed to build sensory exploration skills with little ones aged 3-6 as well as help teach them about different life skills in a fun and engaging way. And the colour coding makes it easy for the children to match the packets to the instruction sheets. You also get stickers for completing the activities. And the inside of the box turns into a certificate which can be coloured in.

The boxes are sent out (with free delivery) in time for the weekend every fortnight and since everything’s included in the box, you can focus on spending time having fun with your little ones.

Our box theme was Chinese New Year and a new feature included in the box is a card of Talking Points. The boys were really interested in all the information. They are already very knowledgable on the Chinese years and quickly told me that this year will be the year of the sheep and which years they are born in. All this has been learnt from a calendar that we were given at a Chinese restaurant which is on son2’s bedroom wall.

The four activities in our box were as follows:-
Red Activity with Wooster the Rabbit – Fortune Cookies.
Blue Activity with Sammy the Squirrel – Paper Plate Drum.
Green Activity with Hattie the Hedgehog – Chinese Lanterns.
Yellow Activity with Oswald the Owl – Chinese Dragon.

The boys were keen to start with the cooking. They wrote their fortunes and here I would suggest that I should have pre-cut the paper into strips for them in advance, as they boys wrote them very large when left to do this part by themselves. So we had to a lot of folding to get them small enough to fit inside.  And we had to do a bit more improvisation as I don’t possess a large enough cookie cutter. I do  want some larger ones. In fact, I’ve had 11cm and 13cm ones on my wishlist for several years but can’t find them anywhere. So if anyone knows where I can get some, please let me know. Instead we used a knife to cut round a tupperware lid as our template. Son1 was fine with that but son2 needed a bit of help. They both progressed well after that, with just a little bit of help on sealing the cookies shut, as they seemed determined to pop open.

I had already spotted that there was an error in the recipe versus the ingredients list. No mention of what to do with the 2 spoons of honey or syrup. I decided that we would use honey instead of oil to brush half the cookies. And feedback from the boys. The toppers didn’t live up to their expectation from the photo which looks like lots of small pieces of raspberry. Instead we had just 9 larger pieces of strawberry. Little and lots would have been more fun for sprinkling. However one thing there were no issues with was how yummy they tasted. We will certainly make these again.

fortune cookies

Secondly the boys made the paper plate drums. I provided additional plates etc, so that they could make one each. They were fine with this activity, but we didn’t find blu tack was that great at sticking the lolly sticks together. Very wobbly drum handles, so son1 requested sellotape instead.

chinese drums

Then we saved the other two activities for the following weekend. This time we started by making Chinese Dragons. I didn’t have a similar piece of yellow card for them both to participate, so I improvised by folding an A4 sheet of yellow paper in half and glueing an old Xmas card inside to stiffen it. I was very impressed with the glue dots that were included in this activity, worked better than the blu tack last weekend. The boys decided they wanted to draw the scales onto their dragons with felt-tip pens rather than using the paint. And then they had great fun pretending to be dragons, the exploratory part of the activity. I didn’t even need to prompt, they just started instinctively whilst posing for photos with their completed dragons.

Chinese dragons

And finally I had been saving the tubes from the loo rolls this week, ready for their Chinese Lanterns. This time we did use the paint, but I may have mixed it too stiff, as it wasn’t quite enough for 2 tubes. And we did have one objection from the boys. They didn’t like the colour pink for the handles, they said they should be red too, so you’ll see they are actually holding the lanterns by the base rather than the handle. I’m not sure how we could have incorporated putting LED tealights inside, as per an additional suggestion on the sheet, since they had no bases.

Chinese lanterns

The boxes retail at £7.50 including delivery which is great value for money in my opinion, less than £2 per activity. Last year I discussed what families of more than one child should do, and I’m pleased to see that you can now include siblings at £4 each. And you may choose to have your boxes fortnightly or monthly.

I think it is so exciting for a child to get their own box through the post. And son1 is several years above the target age of 3-6, but still really enjoyed it.

If readers of my blog would like to try out the Weekend Box, I have been given a unique promo code for you to get your first box for free (including free delivery).

The unique promo code is CLAIRE43 and can be redeemed at www.weekendboxclub.com. If you have any difficulties with the code, try signing up with this direct link www.weekendboxclub.com/main/signup?promocode=CLAIRE43

Family Fever

Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Kids Weekend Activity Box review and free offer

My children are very excited about the mystery package I have received from Weekend Box to review. It even indicates which way up the box should be opened.

Weekend Box

The box is upside down

The box is upside down

But first, I’ll introduce you to Weekend Box which is a revolutionary new concept for having Healthy, Green and Creative activities for your children delivered through your letterbox every fortnight. It is similar to a Graze healthy snacks box but with children’s activities in.

Each box contains 4 activities:
Something to COOK (a healthy recipe with accompanying secret ingredient)
Something to MAKE (a craft kit with all the materials required)
Something GREEN (some seasonal seeds to plant or something to make with recycling/rubbish material)
Something to EXPLORE (sensory exploration games, for example)

Each activity is designed to build sensory exploration skills within little ones aged 3-8 as well as help teach them about different life skills in a fun and engaging way.

The boxes are sent out (with free delivery) in time for the weekend every fortnight and since everything’s included in the box, you can focus on spending time having fun with your little ones.

So we opened our box and found 4 colour-coordinated activities inside. A great idea as it makes it easy for the children to match the packets to the instruction sheets.

Red Activity with Wooster the Rabbit – Potato Boats to cook.
Blue Activity with Sammy the Squirrel – DIY 3D Glasses.
Green Activity with Hattie the Hedgehog – Lolly Stick Bird Feeder.
Yellow Activity with Oswald the Owl – Sand Art Explorers.

Also there was a sticker packet, with stickers for completing each activity and a larger “Finished” sticker. And if that wasn’t enough, there was also a Sealife sticker activity book.

Weekend Box contents

Weekend Box contents

We initially decided the boys could do 2 activities each. Son1 went first by making the potato boats. It was interesting that he chose this as he doesn’t like eating jacket potatoes, but he had fun cooking. I did the oven jobs for him. He made 2 boats, rather than 8 as per the recipe. Although I did notice that the packet only contained 4 cocktail sticks rather than 8, so we would have needed to find a few extra in that case. I thought his cooking was very tasty.

Mashing the potato

Mashing the potato

Adding the pepper

Adding the pepper

Making the sails

Making the sails

Son1's Potato Boats

Son1’s Potato Boats

But then both boys wanted to make 3D glasses. On opening the packet, it looked like there was enough red and blue acetate for two pairs, so I improvised. I scanned the template and printed an extra copy out onto card, and cut the acetate in half. But then disaster struck, as son2 started to cut his blue acetate again. He had assumed he needed a piece the size of the eye hole, which then wouldn’t have had any margin to glue on. I stopped him before he cut fully across, but it meant there would be a split in his partway across the eye. I gave him more supervision after that. He also insisted that his acetates be stuck on the outside of his glasses rather than the inside. Son1 made a little mistake too, as he spread glue completely across one of his pieces of acetate, forgetting to leave space to look through, but I washed it clean for him, so no disaster that time. Weekend Box had also included a sheet of images to look at wearing the glasses. Son2 wasn’t very interested in this, but son1 enjoyed identifying what they were.

Cutting out their glasses

Cutting out their glasses

Homemade 3D glasses

Homemade 3D glasses

Image quiz

Image quiz

So for families of more than one child, you need to decide will your children happily share doing the activities or do you wish to buy them a box each. Perhaps Weekend Box may consider introducing a marginally more expensive variant which has sufficient contents for say 2 or 3 siblings to participate in each activity.

The boxes retail at £7.50 including delivery which is great value for money in my opinion.

We didn’t have time this weekend to try out the other two activities yet, so I shall repost again once we have completed those, but I wanted to get this post published quickly, as I have some offers below to share with you.

If readers of my blog would like to try out the Weekend Box, I have been given a unique promo code for you to get your first box for free (including free delivery).

The unique promo code is CLAIRE43 and can be redeemed at www.weekendboxclub.com If you have any difficulties with the code, try signing up with this direct link www.weekendboxclub.com/main/signup?promocode=CLAIRE43

Also, as an extra special bonus for my readers, anyone signing up to Weekend Box during January 2014 with the unique promo code above will also get ALL future boxes for just £5 each (normally £7.50).

Disclosure. This post is a review of products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.