Saturday, 25 March 2017

Cooking with Dolmio Sauce.

One of the pleasures I find in life is cooking, I have always enjoyed it and also use it as stress relief. But like many other people I am also a busy person.  I often tend to make more than one meal with the same ingredients to save time and make my own life easier so that on days I get in late I am less tempted to eat junk food or pick up a take away on the way home.

So when I received  an offer to work with BritMums along with Dolmio who challenges you to create a #ThankGoodness mid-week meal from a hamper of good things delivered straight to your kitchen. The goal: A simple, good-for-you meal including a jar of Dolmio Bolognese sauce which contains no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweeteners. I willingly said yes please.

 Many people are busy during the week with work and or child commitments and it can be hard to find the time to cook, but I am sharing a few of my own recipes with you to show how easy it is. All my meals can be made on a day you have more time and will keep in the fridge for a few days, or they will freeze so you just take them out the freezer in a morning and reheat when you get home.

some of the items I received to create meals with 

So first on the menu last week was oven cooked chicken and vegetables serve with Dolmio sauce and jacket potatoes. For me the preparation is what makes my life easier. So I peeled and chopped onions, peppers, courgettes, an aubergine, mushrooms and some carrots. I have oral allergy syndrome and cannot eat raw, or al dente fruit and veg, so for me the carrots required a bit of pre cooking to make sure they fully cooked in the oven. I half cooked the jacket potatoes in the microwave while I was prepping the meat and vegetables so they can just go in the oven with the rest when we got home.

Oven cooked vegetables and chicken

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: varies


  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
  • Aubergine
  • Chicken breasts


  1. Peel and chop all the vegetables
  2. Par boil the carrots for five or six minutes
  3. Meanwhile chop the chicken into smallish pieces. If preparing this for later in the day put the chopped chicken into a freezer bag, add some oil and seasoning of your choice and mix well. Place in the fridge until required.  
  4. Spread chopped vegetable and parboiled carrots onto an oven tray and stir through the marinated chopped chicken
  5. Cook at 180 oC for approx 35 minutes until cooked through and browned.
  6. Serve in a bowl. Pour over some heated Dolmio sauce and serve with a jacket potato on the side.

Note I have not specified quantities and this is adaptable to feed as many or as few as you want.

So as I already had the part cooked carrots and a pile of peeled and chopped vegetables I decided to make a vegetable lasagna. So I fried off some peppers and onions to part cook them as well.

Vegetable Lasagna

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: varies


  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Courgettes
  • Mushrooms
  • Aubergine

For the cheese sauce

  • margarine
  • plain flour
  • cheese
  • milk

  • Lasagna sheets
  • Jar of Dolmio sauce.


  1. Peel and chop all the vegetables
  2. Par boil the carrots for five or six minutes. Fry the chopped onions and peppers for 5 minutes.
  3. Starting with a layer of Dolmio sauce layer vegetables, lasagna sheets and cheese sauce in a loaf tin until the tin is filled.
  4. Cook at 180 oC for approx 45 minutes until cooked through.

Serve with oven chips or garlic bread.

I personally prefer my lasagna on day two as I feel the flavours are more intense. This is a great way of getting vegetables eaten by the people who are not so keen on them. If I was to present this amount of vegetables on the side of the plate to my husband he would scrap 90% of them into the bin, but he eats this willingly.

So while you have the oven on for the lasagna why not cook some meatballs in the oven at the same time?

layering it up and served with chips 

The meatballs will reheat the next day, or freeze either raw or cooked.

Meatballs in tomato sauce

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4


  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped and deseeded
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1lb minced beef
  • seasoning


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until onions and peppers are broken down.
  2. Transfer mix to a floured chopping board and shape into 24 small meatball with your floured hands.
  3. Place into a large casserole dish and pour over a jar of Dolmio sauce.
  4. Cook at 180 oC for approx 45 minutes until cooked through.

Serve with spaghetti and vegetable of your choice.

the ingredients, in a bowl, and served with spaghetti and green beans

I actually made double quantities and shaped some into beefburgers, these were oven cooked while the oven was on anyway. Very nice they were too.

So not only are you saving time you are also saving on power by cooking more than one meal at a time.

beefburgers shaped on a floured board

Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g sauce is 100% natural.

In each jar, you’ll find at least 10 juicy diced tomatoes, a dollop of tomato puree, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs including basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water and nothing more. In fact, a jar provides a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each and that’s before you add any further veg to the meal!

For more information visit or if you’re looking for mid-week meal inspiration check out the label on Dolmio jars.

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio.”

Hijacked By Twins

Project 365 week 12


Using up the last of my annual holidays. Lilly is not suppose to be getting walked so spent a lovely relaxing weekend. Spent it sat at my sewing machine making various bits and pieces.Made one for Lilly with a Jack Russel on it. I really liked the stripey background, almost makes the dog look 3D. \The dog is made from fleecy blanket.


Was in the town so took a wander into the crafting sections of a few shops looking for inspiration and ideas. Spotted this book in The Works for £5. Lots of great ideas in it that I had not thought of and various templates as well as patterns.
Back at the optician, he is not happy as my tear ducts are blocked and infected and this is causing me to have dry eyes and gritty discomfort. So sending a letter to my GP to get me referred to the hospital.


Today was the birthday of a friend, sadly it was also the day of her gran's funeral. So I made her a little gift just to let her know I was thinking about her. She has a cat that keeps bringing her mice, so I added a mouse for the cat. The learning curve for this one was trying sewing them right sides together and turning inside out. Oooopppps I put the wadding in the middle and the backing on the back, then when I turned them inside out the middle went to the outside. So the back is a different colour than I intended. The recipient has put it on her bedroom wall.
Some of the stripes and the cats head are made from fleece blanket to add texture and the mouse's tail is dangling.
"update I am so excited for my friend as she got engaged yesterday ( Friday) she is the loveliest person going and deserves the happiness"


Bob came round rather than going shopping with his mum and dad. Some of the time he played on his laptop and we had a break for an hour and played uno roboto. He won all three games.


Went for another sewing session at L's house. Its great when you are working on a piece of work and we bounce ideas off of each other. I was working on a Scottie dog, picture will follow once completed. L is working on a quilt for her daughter and is using the quilt as you go method. I will try it next time I am quilting.

Popped down to watch the kids while daughter went to the twins parents evening. Dinky was being a moaning face little horror, she is going through a daft phase of not liking anybody.


Went to the GP hoping he had the opticians letter but he does not. So nothing can be done until he gets it, lets hope it is soon as I am fed up with mucky gritty eyes and the headaches it causes.
Watched the twins while mum ran Bob to Centrestage for his drama class. Minky was doing heads, shoulders, knees and toes, the words were in the right order but the actions were a bit off, it was very cute.
The close ups are about typical of the kids. Dinky is reading books, and the dark haired baby is a friends little girl. She has been quite happy to come to me and get cuddled in, but does not usually like strangers.


Peppermint and licorice teabags, yum yum.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Project 365 week 11.

Been a mundane week, work, sewing and dog walking. The  big red quilt I made got posted to its forever home this week.


DD2 SIL and baby Ziggy were down for twenty four hours. They had come to see Bob perform in his show at Centre Stage. Did not think I would see Ziggy but she was up before I went out to work.

Crap quality picture, taken with my phone across a half dark living room.


One of my colleagues at work came across some unused curtains that she had had for years and wanted to know could I use them, So thanks to C for adding to my material stash. I am making her a piece of applique as a thank you.

Dropped Bob at gymnastics and then took Lilly for a walk. Her usual field that she really likes has been fenced off. Sadly this means all the dogs will now go into the already busy field so will make walking her there nearly impossible now.


Friends of ours are due to get married in May. Hubby is to be his best man. So we went down for a visit and a catch up on some of the details. The wedding is on Arran, my suggestion last year, and so we have booked a room and just need to get our ferry tickets come pay day. Took Lilly with us, and they put their dog in his cage in the hall. Have to say we were surprised there was no woofing or growling from her at all. She was even up at the cat nose to nose and being nice. Maybe there is hope yet. Here is Lilly getting round them and lying on the back of their couch watching out the window.


A lovely walk up to Failford. Not been up there for a while. Was rather muddy but Lilly loved her walk and her exploring in the woods. This little dog just loves to run and run.

DD1 took Spud to A&E as she had hurt her foot, they were not too worried as she is still weight bearing, apparently strapping it up can do more harm than good at her age. So as she was not going to be back in time I picked the twins up from nursery. One of the local gardens has two ducks so they showed me them on the way home.


Been busy doing various bits of sewing. Finished this one this week. This is my first piece that I have sold for the charity but I am holding onto it to let other people see my work in case they want to order.


Back at the optician. Have used the two lots of drops he gave me but not doing much good. He thinks my right eye is allergic irritation and my left infection. Gave me different drops to try and to go back on Monday.

Took Lilly to the vet as she seemed to be in pain. He seems to think it is a disc in her back and gave her an anti inflammatory injection. Made a difference very quickly and she came home and ate willing for the first time in a while. Not much they can do for it except injections but he is hopeful it should settle.

Received a food delivery yesterday for a blog post. So tonight's tea was oven cooked chicken and veg with some Dolmio sauce and a jacket potato.


Using up the last of my annual holidays this week. So been busy with the sewing machine. This is my first attempt at what they call cathedral windows. A very time consuming piece of work but very pretty when it is done.
Made this into an envelope cushion cover. It would benefit from a run over with the iron.

What have you been up to this week?

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Project 365 week 10


Spent the evening yesterday seeking out pinterest pictures to use for my applique, printed them off and cut them out, then laminated them. Spent my break cutting them out to use as templates. Seemed like a lot of work at the time but if I am going to be making any more than one of each then will be worthwhile. Slotted them into poly pockets to keep them together.


The day I take Bob to gymnastics, normally sit in the library but is now light enough to be going walks up the country estate again. So Lilly hubby and I had a pleasant walk. The Spring flowers are coming along nicely.


Another walk. Spotted masses of frog spawn in the flooded part of the field.Sadly the water had receded round these ones but there were more than enough in the water that the frog population in the area will not miss them.


Doing holiday cover this week. Will be grateful for it come payday but wanted to play with my sewing.  Love the display of crocuses that come up every year.


Going to be making up a few samples so people can choose what they fancy. A lot of  time  goes into them and if it was not for the charity I would not be making and selling them at the price I am, but all for a good cause. This one is probably eight hours.


Back to the optician as the eyes are not improving much, they seem to for a few days then right back to square one. This has been since beginning of December. He and I both now think it is more allergy related than infection. So given me something to help, I hope.
A spot of babysitting, was bedtime for the twins so I did stories and then took Spud down and gave her something to eat. This is one sleepy Minky.


Got my official paperwork through during the week. You can find my profile here and I will be sharing pictures of my completed work.

Friday, 10 March 2017

How To Get Free Samples Online

Search For Websites Dedicated To Free Samples

There are a lot of very good freebie sites on the internet that you can easily find with a simple web search.  These sites may want you to watch some advertisements, fill out a survey or enter your email address before you can get your free sample or download a coupon for a sample.  Most of these websites will have links to other organizations or companies for the samples.  You should not assume that all of the sites listed on the freebie website will be trustworthy.

Tip: One of the most popular UK freebie site to get free samples is: WOW FreeStuff

Have A Separate Email Address For Offers

Unless you are willing to deal with all of the marketing emails you will get it is recommended that you open a free email address for the offers.  You will need to check the email address periodically to confirm the shipment of your free sample.  Most companies will send a confirmation email to your email address before they send out your sample so you need to have a valid email.  However, the new email address will stop the influx of marketing emails and make it easier to deal with.

Learn How To Identify False Offers

The best way to determine if an offer is real is to think about it from the company's point of view.  Legitimate companies will give you a small sample which makes you want to buy more later or recommend them to a friend.  If you are being given an iPad or another expensive item then you should reconsider the offer.  These offers will generally be scams where people are trying to get your personal information for spam or identify theft.
Be Careful When Providing Personal Information

A website that offers a free sample is going to ask for a lot of information as they want to send you marketing information or attempt to steal your identity.  The only information that a company really needs to send you a sample is your name and address.  If you are asked for a phone number then use one that you no longer check.  You may want to use a real number should the company contact you about shipping problems, but you will need to be prepared for the many marketing offers or other spam that you will get.

You should never provide a sample site with your credit card information, bank account details or social security number.  Any information that could compromise your safety should not be provided.  The risk of identity theft is not worth the sample you will get.

Make A Note Of Limited-Time Offers

There are a lot of offers, particularly on social media, that only apply to the first people to like the post or enter the contest.  If you want to have a chance with these offers you will need to be on your computer and logged into the social media network before the offer begins.  If you are not then you could miss your chance with these offers.

some free samples.

Getting Free Samples In Person

There are many chain stores that offer free samples.  Some companies will offer free food samples while others will have samples of a variety of products.  The companies will generally have their samples at a table and a staff member will be there to offer the sample to you.

You should browse locations with a number of shops or stalls.  If none of the chain stores offer you the samples that you want then you should be able to find some samples in areas with many stalls because they are competing for customers.  Local fairs and farmer's markets are great places to check, but is this is not working then you should look at the mall.

You should also consider befriending the salesperson.  If there are no free samples officially offered then you could still ask for one.  You will be more successful if you start a conversation with the salesperson first by asking how their shift is going and if they like working at the store.  You should keep it friendly and smile then ask about samples if the salesperson is thy smile back and seem to enjoy the conversation.

Acting interested in the product will also help.  Looking at the item before asking for a sample or ask some questions about it help.  The salesperson could offer you a free sample to help you make up your mind.

Look At Birthday Freebies

Restaurants and other locations will often provide a free bonus if it is your birthday.  You will need to be a paying customer to get these freebies and you may have to prove that it is your birthday.  However, you will get great value with free desserts, drinks and much more.

This is a sponsored post.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Project 365 week 9


Had been cracking up at the sewing machine, was working fine for some bits and then other bits it was not. So had spent time unpicking the seams where the bottom thread was all a knotty tangled mess and I lost the plot with the machine. Came back to find a note on it.


Took the new camera for its first proper outing today. Does not have anything like the zoom the last one had but does have higher pixels


Decided to try something different. Made a padded double sided  applique cushion as part of Spud's birthday.


DD2 came down for Spud's birthday tomorrow. Ziggy looked so cute in her cot, not very often I share a sleeping baby picture. The pink rabbit in beside her was bought for DD2's first Christmas, 36 years ago, cost a lot of money at the time, but still plays Brahms Lullaby. Looks a bit sadder than it did but is still well loved.
A run to Stirling today as it was put off from last Thursday when the whole area ground to a halt with people stuck on the motorways for more than 5 hrs in the snow.


Today is Spud's first birthday. As per usual I made her birthday cake. Tasted yummy but minimal decoration. Wrote her name on top in marshmallows, did not realise babies and young children are not allowed to eat them as they are a choking hazard. The twins were quite happy to eat them. Quite difficult to get a picture as she did not want to be in her chair. Minky blew out her candle for her.


Went to a hobbycraft show in Glasgow today. It covered all sorts from card making, to pinning, bead work, knitting, cross stitch, as well as a lot of beautiful quilts on display. Got some hints and tips and ideas from the day. Did not spend much but having won the tickets it seemed a shame not to go.Actually won two lots but posted the others to a fellow local comper who wanted to go.

The car parking was difficult to find, just a multi storey now all the open air car parks are closed off. But have to say it looks amazing. You cross a walkway over the road to get to the main building and they run open buggies that carry six people backwards and forwards.


Have had a few people ask me about the applique picture I made for Spud, and wanting one. So with that in mind I bought a few stencils at the show and am going to be taking orders and selling them on behalf of our local cash for kids charity. I signed up to be one of 500 people raising £100 for them before the end of the year. Here is an owl I have cut out. This was an experiment to see how I could keep the pieces held in place while I sew them, Tried blobs of glue on this but they are visible so that rules this out, next one I will try small pieces of wonderweb.