Quick Lunch: My Loaded Potato Skin Recipe

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Looking after a baby is hard work. The main issue I find is finding the time to eat. So I’ve had to find foods which are quick and easy to prepare, and can be eaten one-handed! My best food for this so far has been loaded potato skins. Basically jacket potatoes, twice-cooked with a cheese and chive filling… You can make up a batch in advance, freeze them, then chuck in the oven for 20mins when you want them again and hey presto! Easy one-handed and tasty meals!

This recipe should make between 20-30 skins depending on how many potatoes you get in your bag!

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Ingredients:

2.5KG of Baking Potatoes
Soured Cream
Monterey Jack Cheese
Fresh Chives
Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat your oven to 160c (fan-assisted)skins7

Partially-cook your potatoes in the microwave, I usually do 10mins for 3 medium-sized potatoes – Ensure you prick them with a knife first so that they don’t explode!

Once done, coat all of the potatoes in a thin layer of oil (either coconut or olive), and place directly on the oven shelf in the center of the oven. I find it easier to take out the shelf and load my potatoes on, then put it back once they are all in place!skins5

Cook for approximately 1hr, or until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside – too soft and they will fall apart when emptying the center

Once cooked, place the potatoes on a rack, and leave to cool

Once your potatoes have completely cooled, cut them in half length-ways, and using askins4 spoon, scoop out the center of the potato leaving a
5mm layer in the skin (to hold it in place!)

Empty your soured cream and monterey jack cheese into a large mixing bowl. Chop your
chives into small pieces, approx 3-4mm long and add these to the bowl. Add some salt & pepper to your taste, and mix all together with a wooden spoon until the soured cream is well and truly blended in

Add the scooped potato into your mixing bowl, and using a potato masher, mash it all skins3up until it is nicely blended. You could use a blender for this, but I personally prefer the crunchy texture you get by doing it by hand… You don’t need it to be smooth in consistency – just well mixed so that all of the potato is coated in the cream & cheese mixture

Holding a skin in one-hand, use your spoon to push the potato mixture back into the skin, and smooth it over with the back of the spoon. Don’t worry about it being flat, slightly more in there is better! Just make sure the mixture is “packed” into the skin well, otherwise it will fall out when movingskins2

Once complete, you can either re-cook to eat, or freeze… To freeze, first you need to flash-freeze them, so put them in the freezer on a tray, without touching each other for about 30 60mins until they are almost frozen. This will prevent the skins from sticking together when freezing. Once this process has completed, you can bag them up and freeze fully

To re-cook, place them in a preheated oven at 170c for approx 20-30mins depending on how crispy you like them 🙂

These are a firm favourite snack/lunch in my household – Hopefully they will be the same for you!

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My Worst Buys for Baby

And onto my least favourite purchases for baby!

worst buys

  1. Newborn Outfits – Those outfits may look adorable, but when it comes down to it, all you need is some all-in-one sleepsuits for baby to live in day in day out… Far too many fiddly bits, buttons and what not = alot of hassle during all those nappy changes in the early days!
  2. Newborn Socks – I bought loads of socks for some unknown reason… I mean LOADS, I think I bought about 20 pairs as everyone told me they go missing etc. only thing being, my baby lived mostly in sleepsuits for the first 3m, so approximately 90% of those pairs were never worn!
  3. Teddy’s – I bought and was given combined, about 10 teddy’s… Where are they now? Sitting in a heap under the crib… I had them in the crib “on show” for the first month-ish, but as soon as he started growing, they had to come out for safety reasons, and so atm their just collecting dust…
  4. Cot Mobiles – I bought one, was given another, and also bought a monitor with musical lullabies and a built-in lightshow… Haven’t used any of them! Well, that’s a lie, I used them, but they neither soothed nor entertained my little one at any point! Maybe when he’s a little older he’ll appreciate the lightshow, but right now, not so much!
  5. Wash Mitt & Towel Set – I bought 2 and was given another one of these sets so that I would never be without a baby towel and mitt for the bath… Admittedly, I do like the towels, I know some people don’t and think their a waste of money, but I like them – Their a great size, and the hood prevents little man from completely pulling it off… The mitt on the other hand… useless! Pain in the backside to put on one-handed, slide around everywhere when on, and don’t lather up or hold water very well…
  6. Baby Shoes – Seriously, they will grow out of them within a few weeks, and their purely cosmetic… Enough said.
  7. Baby Products – I bought two of those Johnson’s baby boxes with all the products, plus got given a load more in gift bags… Have hardly used anything! It’s only in the past maybe 6wks that we switched from using just water in the bath to using one of those top-to-toe products, which you only need the tiniest amount of, so it lasts forever! Everything else is still unused in the nursery…
  8. Mittens – My little man refused to wear mittens… Whenever you put them on, they’d be off again within about 15mins… I must have bought about 20 pairs of the damn things…
  9. Baby Books – Luckily I only purchased a Hypnobirthing book as part of a course I went on (which I didn’t read), I did however get given a couple of baby books, and never read any of them! Didn’t have the time nor patience for it, and to be honest, found out more from trial and error, or a quick Google than I would have done by reading a load of expensive books!

All Change!

Haven’t posted again for a long time, had a lot going on, been unwell, and to be honest, totally forgot. So here we go…

Well first things first, big news in the Eskimo household, I’m pregnant! Currently 24wks, so due for a summer baby, and so far it’s been quite a ride!

I’d firstly like to say, they really don’t tell you what I’d class as the “important” bits in the books you read/films you see… You know, you get told the obvious, your going to have a large bump, your going to be sick, and your going to be tired… That’s about it… Well let me tell you, it’s really not that simple. Maybe for some women it is, and if your one of them (like my mother was) then I seriously envy you, but for the rest of us, it’s a real rollercoaster journey even getting to this stage.

I think I spent more of my first trimester either in bed or at the hospital than I did at work, in fact, I know I did. It seemed to be one thing after another sending me back, and by my 12wk dating scan I had already had 3 scans at the EPU! Now at 24wks I am getting ready for my 6th scan tomorrow, which is to measure growth due to baby being a bit small at last scan. So fingers crossed all is well tomorrow!

The last few weeks have been a bit stressful, I picked up a particularly bad ear infection which after 10days of not being treated by Dr’s, ended up giving me a throat infection to boot… Thankfully they then gave in and gave me antibiotics, which I’m hoping now have cleared both infections! Also been having rather bad back and hip pain, particularly when I lay down, sit down ir walk… So basically all the blooming time! And my nausea has come back! Add all this to the fact that baby has been getting more and more active, it’s been quite an experience! And only just starting the final trimester! All fun and games!

So for now, I’m signing off, but hoping to be able to add some product reviews to my blog now, namely baby related, so hopefully they’ll be of some use to people!

Night world! X

Mum’s 50th Birthday Cake…

So it’s coming up to my Mum’s birthday again, and whilst trying to think up ideas of what to do, I started reminiscing about her birthday last year… Last year was my Mother’s 50th, and so rather than her usual “BBQ in the garden” style get-together she has had every year since I don’t know when, she decided so throw a proper party inviting everyone and his uncle, hall-hire and all! So in honour of this special occasion, my sister’s and I decided to make her a special birthday cake to go along with it…

I’m quite creative when I want to be, so decided to go all out, and design and make a themed cake…Amongst other things, my Mum is a qualified kayak instructor, and so when trying to come up ideas for a theme, this one came up trumps.

Ingredients:

– Two Large Round Sponge Cakes (I used basic vanilla sponge with jam and buttercream filling)
– Ready-to-Roll Royal Coloured Icing (various colours to suit)
– Smarties
– Buttercream Icing
– Food Colouring
– Plain Flour for Rolling the Icing

Method:

– First off, using a sharp knife, cut one of the sponge cakes straight across into a 70:30 sized split
– Make up a batch of plain or vanilla buttercream icing
– Spread a small amount of the buttercream icing onto one side of the still whole cake (to cover about 60%), then gently place the larger part of two pieces of cake you cut earlier onto the icing with the curved side being in the middle of the base cake. Position the top piece so that it is as “flush” to the back of the base cake as you can. You’ll notice that your top cake will overlap slightly on the sides, but this is fine
– Follow the same steps for the smaller piece of your cut cake, and you should finish with a 3-tier cake, which looks like it has “steps” going up the front of it
– Using a sharp knife, very carefully trim the over-hanging edges of your cut pieces, so that the cake is flush all the way around (i.e. still rounded). You should also have a very small amount of your base cake sticking out at the back which you could cut away too
– Your cake is now ready to decorate! So, after choosing your icing which will be your first and base layer all over, start by gently kneading the icing between your fingers to soften it up. Then, using a rolling pin, roll out the icing onto a lightly floured surface; do this until your icing is a flexible and thin, even sheet
– Once you have done this, lightly cover your cake with the buttercream to form a sticking “glue-like” surface, and then very gently, lay the coloured icing over your cake. You may need to use a couple of sheets of icing, depending on how big your cake is, if so, use the crevices of the “steps” to hide the creases in the cake
– Using your fingers, gently press the icing into the cake so that it sticks and sets into the appropriate crevices to show off the design of your cake
– If you are adding a second colour, like my water feature for instance, it will be easier to place the sheets in smaller layers, as you can blend the edges together with the colours
– Once completed, you should have a stepping-stone shaped cake with coloured icing… You’ll now want to decorate it!
– I started by splitting a small amount of my buttercream into two pots, and adding some food colouring to them to create green and blue buttercream. I then used a combination of my fingers, and a pastry brush to dip into the buttercream, and dab onto the cake. This enabled me to create the effect of having patches of green grass on my hills, and also the effect of running water to my waterfall
– To complete the waterfall, before my buttercream set, I sprinkled both silver and light blue “shimmer sugar” over parts of the water feature, and dabbed it into the buttercream with my fingers so that it would set in place
– Using some dark brown royal icing, I created a small “mud-patch” to place near the bottom of the waterfall, and using the shimmer sugar and a little of both coloured buttercreams, I blended this into both the grass and water coloured icing so that it didn’t look too blocky
– Using a small sharp knife, I created tiny flowers out of rolled pink and yellow icing, and boulders by rolling brown and dark yellow coloured icing into ball between my palms, and then squaring them out slightly before setting them into the cake with buttercream
– In between the boulders, I also threw in a few green and brown smarties to mix up the rock/boulder shapes, and to create the effect of mounds in the grass… You could also use the off-cuts of cake to do this if you like…
– Last but not least, the kayaker! This little bugger took me lots of time and patience of rolling icing and shaping to create a kayak, and then a little person separately to place inside the kayak… I then used a toothpick to hold the oar in place and stop it from flopping in the heat, and set the pieces together using buttercream

I’d like to have another go at creating a themed cake, so will have to have a think of what to do and when, but for now, I didn’t think this was a bad first attempt!! 🙂

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