First of all, I’d love to say a massive Happy New Year to all of you. I hope that you had a great Christmas. I know that some of us have a rough ride over Christmas and New Year, not to mention through the winter months but I hope that my little blog helps to cheer people up in a small way. The past few months chez SmartCookieSam have been very hectic, hence me being very quiet on here recently. I really miss blogging and sharing tips but I’ve really struggled.
I’m determined to be kinder to myself in 2019, although I’m not one for making resolutions. This includes having some time to myself and finding ways to de-stress which don’t involve comfort eating and putting my mental health at risk. One way of making myself organised and to get myself back into blogging is to set myself an achievable challenge. I would love to be one of those bloggers that bakes something everyday but that is just not going to happen. So instead I found a 30 Day Cooking Challenge image from Google and thought I would use this to base my blog posts, baking and family meals on. Each month I’m hoping to choose a theme/ chef or book to concentrate on. Whether this will work later on in the year, I don’t know but I’m going to start the year on a positive note.
For January, I am starting off by using the three Eat Well For Less books. I love these books and enjoy watching the TV series. Although a few of the participants do make me want to scream at them as well as it being blooming obvious that the families know they are being filmed walking around Tesco. But having said that, the books have some fantastic recipes in. My job can be hit and miss being a supply teacher, so at leaner times of the year the Eat Well For Less books have been an enormous amount of inspiration to me. As January is usually a time when I do cut back after the excesses of Christmas, I am looking forward to seeing what I can make fitting into the 30 Day Cooking Challenge. As January is a 31 day month, I will simply choose another savoury recipe to add to the challenge.
Day one for the challenge is meant to be soup. As it is New Year’s Day we are still in family meal mode and we usually have a roast dinner with leftover Christmas Pudding. Any New Year’s Eve leftovers get eaten today, too! For lunch we have had what was left of the antipasti with Italian meat and olives, as well as doughballs and garlic dip. In a little while I will be putting on the oven for a roast pork dinner with all the trimmings with Christmas pudding to follow. Instead we are swapping and having Day 2, which is dessert on Day 1 in the challenge.
Only there will be something else to go with our Christmas pudding leftovers. Mince Pie Ice cream! This is really a cheat’s recipe but a fantastic way of using up leftover Mince Pies. I’m really surprised we have any left to be honest, but this idea from Eat Well For Less is so versatile. In fact “you can do this with whatever you fancy- leftover Christmas Pudding, chocolate cake, cookies, shortbread or even a jar of Dulce de Leche to make your own caramel swirl.”
All you need is a 500ml tub of plain vanilla ice cream. I used Mackies Ice Cream which is one of my favourite vanilla ice creams. And what is more, it was on special offer in Morrisons when I bought it. But you can use any brand you like. All you have to do is to take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften for 15-20 minutes. When it is soft enough, tip the ice cream into a bowl and squish it slightly. Then add in your leftover mince pie pieces all crushed up. I used 4 of my leftover mince pies, leaving 2 left for Mr SmartCookieSam to have with his cup of tea. Fold in the added mince pie pieces, put into a freezerproof container and return to the freezer until you need it.