Grabits chicken snacks are chicken pieces with different flavours. They are a quick and healthy snack to grab on the go and ideal for lunch boxes.

Preparing a packed lunch can get boring. There are only so many combinations of sandwiches and snacks you can try before they start to feel the same. I am always on the lookout for new tasty snacks to add to our families lunches. Recently I was sent some Grabits chicken snacks which I have been trying out. Grabits chicken snacks are pieces of chicken which have been marinated in different flavouring and then put on a stick. They resemble a chicken lollipop and are really easy to eat on the go. Three different flavours are available, regular chicken, nice and spicy and Chinese. They are really tasty and make a lovely snack.

Green lentil salad with grabbits chicken snack

Green lentil Salad

The other day I bought a packet of green lentils. The intention was to make lentil soup. I would normally buy red lentils to make this but none of our local shops had any in stock. I was hoping that green lentils would make a good substitute but I found out green lentils do not work well in lentil soup. Red lentils tend to become mushy when cooking them which makes them ideal for soups and stews. Green lentils, on the other hand, retain their shape on cooking as well as taking longer to cook. They also have a much nuttier consistency. When I blended the soup to make the right consistency it did taste nice but in future I will use red lentils. After this failed soup experiment I was left with half a bag of green lentils in my cupboard.

Fortunately green lentils have other uses and they do work very well in salads. The nutty taste and consistency adds some bite to the salad and makes a nice contrast with chopped up cucumber, tomatoes and red pepper. Add a French vinaigrette dressing to the salad and you get a lovely combination. The mixture of tart dressing, chewy lentils and soft salad vegetables makes a delightful lunch. Add a Grabits chicken snack on the side and you will be full until dinner time.

Green lentil salad and Grabits chicken snacks

Grabits Chicken Snacks

I have to admit the Grabits chicken snacks did not last long in our house. They are just too easy to grab hold of and nibble. The chicken snacks are tasty and when you are hungry they really act to satisfy the hunger pangs. Grabits chicken sticks are packaged in individual wrappers which makes them really easy to add to a lunch box as a treat. The three different flavours are lovely. Regular chicken is just chicken breast on a stick. The Chinese chicken adds a taste of the Orient while the nice and spicy has a hint of spice without being overpowering. It is difficult to choose a favourite as they were all nice.

Grabits chicken snacks

Even better each of these snacks is only seventy calories and contains 12g protein. Grabbits chicken snacks are available at Spar, Costcutter, Londis and other stores.

Green Lentil Salad Recipe

Green lentil salad
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 200g green lentils
  2. 900ml water
  3. 2 tomatoes
  4. ½ red pepper
  5. 6 cm cucumber
  6. for the dressing
  7. 1 tsp mustard
  8. 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  9. 2 tbsp olive oil
  10. black pepper
  11. 1 tsp mixed herbs
Instructions
  1. Put the lentils in a pan and add the water
  2. Bring to the boil and cook for about 25 minutes until the lentils are soft
  3. Leave to cool
  4. Cut the tomato, cucumber and red pepper into small pieces and mix with the lentils.
  5. Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette dressing together and pour over the salad.
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/

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Green lentil salad is a recipe that uses green lentils.  A healthy and delicious salad that is low in calories

Do you have any ideas for recipes to make with green lentils? Let me know below.

Linking up to the kitchen clearout linky on Madhouse Family Reviews as I used up half a pack of green lentils.

kitchen clearout

I was sent some Grabits to try. My opinions are honest and my own.

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It is meant to be Summer, although the weather seems to have a different opinion. Hopefully the sun will soon decide to reappear. Even though the sun has not been out much it has been really warm and muggy. When it is warm I never feel like eating much or spending a lot of time cooking. Salads are a great option for summer dining. You can basically throw anything together, add some tasty dressing and have a lovely meal in minutes. Broad bean salad in lemon dressing was a result of throwing a few ingredients together. It is a quick and tasty salad and a great way to use up leftover vegetables.

Broadbean salad in lemon dressing

Recently Sainsburys asked me if I would like to take part in their salad challenge. Sainsburys want to inspire people to be more creative with their vegetables and create more inspiring salads with different ingredients. They have seen their sales of vegetables rise recently. The most popular vegetables to show a rise are avocado (147%), asparagus spears (118%), broccoli (40%), courgettes (30%) and bunched beetroot (25%). They have teamed up with food artist Amber Locke, who has over 100k followers on instagram, to create some gorgeous summer salads. Broad bean salad in lemon dressing is my creation for this challenge.

Broad bean salad in lemon dressing

Isn’t it funny how vegetables seem to come in and out of favour? When I was a child broad beans were commonly served and were my granddad’s favourite bean. My mum always used to serve broad beans with the Sunday roast when my grandparents were coming for lunch. These days they are much harder to find.

Broad beans are also known as Fava beans, famously enjoyed by Hannibal Lecter with a nice chianti in film Silence of the Lambs. The beans are sweet and delicious with a creamy texture so it is easy to see why they are a favourite. They are in season for only a short time so make the most of them while they are fresh.

broadbean salad in lemon dressing

Broad bean salad in lemon dressing is so simple to make. Cook some peas and broad beans or use leftover ones from another meal. The secret is in the dressing. The mixture of lemon juice and olive oil with chopped up herbs makes a tart but tangy accompaniment for the beans. Serve with some cold meat and some crusty bread and you have a perfect simple and easy lunch.

Broad bean in lemon dressing recipe

Broad bean salad in lemon dressing

Broad bean salad in lemon dressing
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Ingredients
  1. 200g peas (podded)
  2. 400g broad beans (podded)
  3. Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon#2 tbsp olive oil
  4. 60g mint
  5. 60g parsley
  6. 60g chives
Instructions
  1. Place the peas in boiling water and blanch for 1-2 minutes until bright green.
  2. Rinse the peas and set aside to cool
  3. Put the broad beans in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until bright green.
  4. Rinse the beans and set aside to cool.
  5. Chop the herbs coarsely.
  6. Combine the herbs, beans and peas in a large bowl.
  7. Mix the lemon juice, rind and olive oil together.
  8. Pour over the salad and mix together
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/

The salad would also make a perfect side dish at a barbecue, along with some mushrooms a la Grecque and Gado Gado salad. It would add colour to the table and be more interesting than the standard dishes of coleslaw and potato salad. Of course there is nothing to stop you serving these as well and giving your guests more choice.

Why not pin this recipe to make later?
broad bean salad in lemon dressing

Do you have any favourite salad recipes? Let me know below.

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No matter how carefully I plan the food shopping I sometimes end up with duplicates. This week I managed to end up with three cucumbers. I like cucumber but using three before they went off was going to require some creative thinking. I remembered watching Julie & Julia a while ago. If you are a foodie obsessed person it is a great movie to watch. Julie decides she is going to recreate every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook and as a result a blog is born. The movie follows Julie’s adventures as she recreates the recipes as well as taking us back to see Julia Child learning to cook in order to create the cookbook. One of the scenes I remember from the movie was when Julie threw a dinner party. At one point she holds up a fork and declares “Braised cucumbers are a revelation.” The idea of braised cucumbers intrigued me so I decided to experiment and create braised cucumbers in orange sauce.

Braised cucumbers cooked in orange sauce

A while ago someone had mentioned to me that cooking cucumbers totally changes their flavour. It had been something I had been meaning to try for some time. It seems there are many ways of cooking them, from braising to frying or roasting them. My main use of cucumber up to now has been adding them to salads. If you have tired eyes a slice placed over each eye is a great way to soothe them, reduce puffiness and also help get rid of dark rings. Cucumber sandwiches are also very British, if you are having a garden party then you must serve these. Had I been missing something special by not using cucumbers in cooking? Now was the time to find out.

Cucumbers braised in butter and cooked in a orange sauce.

Before braising the cucumbers I removed the seeds. The easiest way to do this to to chop the cucumbers in half lengthwise and scrape a spoon along the seeds. This lifts them out quickly and easily. It would have been a good idea to peel the cucumbers as well before braising them. It would have made the finished dish more tender. Once the cucumbers are chopped into slices they just need to be cooked in some melted butter with a touch of orange rind. After a few minutes I added the orange juice and left the cucumbers to cook for about ten minutes. Finally I poured off the juice, added some cream and brought the sauce to the boil until it thickened. The cucumbers were served in the sauce.

cucumbers braised in an orange sauce

So are braised cucumbers a revelation? Cooking the cucumbers gives them a whole different flavour. They are firm, buttery and melt in the mouth. The orange sauce complements them and this dish would make a lovely side dish with chicken. It is the perfect side for a hot summer day.

Braised cucumber in orange sauce recipe.

Braised cucumber in orange sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Cucumbers braised in butter and cooked in orange sauce

Ingredients
1 cucumber
25g butter
grated rind of one orange
150ml orange juice
4 tbsp double cream
salt and pepper

Method
Peel the cucumbers. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds using a spoon.
Chop into slices around 5mm thick
Melt the butter in a pan.
Add the cucumber and orange rind and cook for three minutes.
Add the orange juice and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and cook for seven minutes.
Drain the juice into a small pan and add the cream
Bring to the boil and keep stirring until the sauce thickens.
Add salt and pepper to season and pour the sauce over the cucumber

Linking up with the kitchen clearout linky on Madhouse Familly Reviews as I got rid of a glut of cucumbers.

kitchen clearout

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The last couple of days have been really sunny. Whilst the mornings are still cold and a little frosty the sun soon burns off the frost and it feels like Spring is here. I managed to hang my washing outside yesterday and it dried, something I have not been able to do for a while. I even managed to get into my garden and start clearing it. We started with the patio in the back garden. It was covered with weeds and the muck and dirt of the winter. I weeded it and my husband and son gave it a good brush. It now looks much better and I am looking forward to warm Summer days when we can sit out on it. We even managed to mow the lawn, which had been looking bedraggled and soggy for quite a while. There is something about sunshine that makes you want to eat lighter meals. Salad is the ideal choice for a sunny day. It seemed like a great chance to try making an Indonesian salad – Gado-Gado.

Gado Gado

You may have noticed I have been trying out a few Indonesian dishes recently. I was inspired by Kitchen Trotter, who sent me their Indonesian box which contains four recipes as well as all the spices and exotic ingredients you need to make them. It has been a fun culinary adventure. I started by making Ayam Areh which is a rather delicious but odd looking chicken dish. I then tried making some green pancakes, Kue Dadar Gulung. These have a coconut filling and the green pancakes would be ideal for St Patrick’s Day. Gado-Gado seemed the ideal choice for this warm day as well as being quick and easy to make. There is nothing worse on a hot day that having to spend ages in a hot kitchen.

Gado Gado

Gado-Gado is a mixture of lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, cooked potato and boiled eggs. What makes it different is the sauce. The sauce is made from Gado-Gado mix which is a mix of peanuts with sugar, mixed herbs and spices. It is mixed with Kecap Manis or Bango which is a sweet thick soya sauce and an Indonesian cuisine staple. It is often found in restaurants instead of salt and pepper. The result of mixing these ingredients plus some water is a brown sauce which has an amazing taste. It is sweet with a hint of fire behind with and has a lovely crunch. It goes perfectly with the vegetables in the salad. You want to drench them in the sauce and eat more. I think I may have discovered a new favourite salad dressing.

Gado Gado
Not only was I impressed by the dressing but my son loved it as well. He ate all the salad and demanded more, proclaiming the sauce to be gorgeous. I think I will be on the hunt for both these ingredients in my local stores when I run out or working out a way to make it myself.

Indonesian Salad: Gado-Gado Recipe

Indonesian Salad: Gado-Gado
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. For the dressing
  2. 80g Gado-gado mix
  3. 2 tbsp Kecap Manis
  4. 2 Combava leaves
  5. 80ml water
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. For the salad
  8. Romaine lettuce
  9. 4 small potatoes
  10. 4 tomatoes
  11. 4 raddishes
  12. 4 eggs
  13. ½ cucumber
Instructions
  1. To make the sauce add the water to a saucepan with the combava and bay leaves. Bring to the boil
  2. Add the gado-gado mix and stir until it thickens.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the Kecap Manis
  4. To make the salad
  5. Peel the potatoes and boil until tender.
  6. Boil the eggs for nine minutes
  7. Peel the eggs and cut into quarters.
  8. Cut the raddishes and tomatoes into quarters and thinly slice the cucumber.
  9. Shred the lettuce.
  10. Dice the potatoes.
  11. Mix all the ingredients in a salad bowl and pour the gado-gado dressing over the top
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
Have you ever tried Gado-gado? What did you think of the sauce?

I was sent the Kitchen Trotter box for the purposes of review but was not obliged to say anything nice. My opinions are my own.

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Recently I have been seeing more recipes that use whole grains instead of rice or pasta. These have exotic sounding names like quinoa, pearl wheat, wild rice and can turn a simple dish into something that sounds more exotic. These whole grains are an excellent source of protein as well making them ideal for vegetarians. I have wanted to use these grains for some time but not got around to it. Recently I decided to be adventurous and on a sunny day I made a mixed bean and 5 whole grain salad.

mixed bean and 5 whole grain saladUncle Bens made the preparation of the salad easy for me as they have just bought out a new range of rice and grains. These easy to prepare pouches are ready in two minutes in the microwave and can be used as an accompaniment to many meals. There are five flavours, Wholegrain & Quinoa, Pearl Wheat, Quinoa and Wholegrain, Wholegrain & Quinoa Tomato and Basil, 5 Whole Grains and Rice Medley.  I was recently sent these to try along with a recipe leaflet that I used for inspiration for my salad. I modified the recipe slightly in order to use ingredients that I had in the cupboard.

Uncle-BensFor the base of the salad I used the pack of 5 whole grains. This is a mix of wholegrain rice , wild rice, red quinoa, millet and pearl barley lightly flavoured with cumin and soy sauce. This was heated in a microwave for two minutes then poured out into a bowl. In the meantime I cooked some french beans and left them to cool. These were chopped into pieces and added to the salad. I also added some cooked beans, a chopped red pepper and some sweetcorn. I used cannellini beans, soya beans and black eyed beans but any beans could be used.

 whole grain and bean saladThe result was tasty but I wanted to add a little bit more flavour to the resulting salad. I decided that a vinaigrette dressing would work perfectly and take the salad to another level. Every time I make vinaigrette dressing I make it differently adding different herbs and spices depending what I have in. The basic recipe uses three tablespoons of oil and two tablespoons of vinegar. I usually use olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but cider and wine vinegars add a different flavour. Pepper, salt, mustard, chopped garlic, herbs and sugar can all be added to vary the taste and flavour. For this salad I added a teaspoon of lime juice and some black pepper to the basic vinaigrette mixture. This added a slightly tropical flavour to the tart dressing which worked well with the beans.

whole grain saladThe resulting salad is lovely eaten on it’s own. It can be packed into a lunch box and taken to work and also used as a side dish to chicken or fish. The grains are a nice alternative to rice making the dish more unusual.

Mixed bean and 5 wholegrain salad recipe

Mixed bean and 5 wholegrain salad recipe
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Ingredients
  1. Pack Uncle Bens five whole grains
  2. 100g cannellini beans,
  3. 100g soya beans
  4. 100g black eyed beans
  5. 100g French beans
  6. Red pepper
  7. Small tin sweetcorn
  8. For the dressing
  9. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  11. 1 teaspoon lime juice
  12. black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook the french beans and leave to cool. Cut into sections.
  2. Cook the other beans according to instructions
  3. Heat the Uncle Bens 4 wholegrains in the mircowave for 2 minutes. Tip into a bowl.
  4. Add the cooked beans and mix
  5. Chop the red pepper into small squares and add with the sweetcorn.
  6. Mix the ingredients for the dressing together and pour dressing over the salad according to taste.
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
For other salad ideas why not try this chicken and bacon tortelloni salad which makes a lovely filling dish.

chicken and bacon saladFor a more exotic salad this seafood salad with a mango lime dressing is lovely and refreshing.

Seafood salad I was sent the Uncle Bens rice and grains in return for an honest review.

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