O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...

Monday, 24 November 2014

Healthier frying with my Breville Halo+ Health Fryer

For the last couple of years now I've heard friends talking about the new breed of low-fat fryers and how amazing they are. Whilst I love a good portion of chips as much as the next person I just closed off really and didn't listen too much as who need another large kitchen appliance that just does one job?

Well it was only when I was visiting my friend Carey that I spotted her Breville Halo+ health fryer and asked her if it was any good, that I discovered just how versatile it is. This appliance that I thought would just deep fat fry actually does all sorts - bake muffins, grill salmon to perfection, cook a curry and even make me the most divine Creme Brulee. To say I was surprised is an understatement!

It was then even more of a surprise to find BritMums putting a call out to see if any of their bloggers would like to trial and review a Breville Halo+ health fryer. Of course I applied for that opportunity and fortunately for me and my family, I was successful.

My fryer arrived with me just over a week ago and I haven't cooked as much in it yet as I would like as I already had my menu planned and bought for before I even knew the fryer was on its way to me. Over the next few months I intend to really put this appliance though its paces and see if it is a good as my friend Carey says.

Of course the first thing I set out to cook was chips. It is a classic and in honestly the main reason I wanted one of these.  I never use the traditional deep fry method so if we have chips at home they tend to be oven chips and they are OK but not the same level of deliciousness as those that come from the chippie or my Mum's homemade ones.

I'll be honest frying your own chips is more time consuming and effort than getting a bag of ready made ones out of the freezer but the chips done in the Halo+ do taste at least ten times better than oven ones! Not quite as good as chip shop deep fried chips but then you have to make some allowance for the fact these have 95% less fat, that is a massive difference and a very important one when you are considering weight and a healthy heart.

You can see in the picture grid below how I did with my first batch of chips. As a family of 5 with big appetites we don't go in for small portions so I went for the full 1.25kg of raw potatoes, which is the capacity of this Halo+ health fryer.

I cut the chips to 1 -2cm slices, patted them dry to remove excess moisture, laid them in the pan, poured over the tiny spoon of oil, put down the lid, set the time and pressed dual cooking mode (so simple!). After the 35 minutes as suggested by the instructions the chips were not done enough to my liking so I went for another 10 minutes and then they were great. The non-stick bowl that rotates and the tilt function on the fryer means that the chips cook evenly and without sticking. They were super chips but at 45 minutes to cook and a good 10-15 to prepare they are not a quick dinner.


OK, so you can see my finished dinner and it was not the most healthy dinner in the world but every do often you have to have a treat, don't you? And, just think by using the Halo+ fryer for the chips I cut the calories in that meal radically and lunch had been a whole ton of veggies, so it all comes out in the wash.

Healthier Cooking
That is one of the really great things about the Halo+, I can still eat the meals I want to eat but because of the cooking method the result will be far more healthy than if I had traditionally cooked it and as I am embarking on a month of healthy eating, exercise and family fun in December this is the perfect appliance to have available to me.

One of my favourite simple meals is steamed veg with grilled salmon and lemon juice over it, it is perfect that I have been able to use my (too small) oven to cook for my family as they do not eat fish and then use my Halo+ to cook my salmon fillet to have with the same veg the family are having with their meat and potatoes (very traditional British family here!).

The only other thing I have used my Halo+ fryer for so far was to cook some frozen burgers for when the kids had some friends come round for tea. I was interested to see how the Halo+ coped with frozen food and it appears to do a fine job. This time I used it on grill mode rather than dual cooking and it was great to see all the fat come out the burgers and run to the bottom, this meant the meat I was serving was healthier and I was able to pour off the fat for it to solidify and be disposed of.


Recipe ideas
There are some excellent recipe ideas on the Breville website so you don't have to feel alone and like you have no idea what to cook, just head over there and make something delicious. I'll share a few that look simple and are on my hit list -


Cleaning the Halo+
You get a snap on very robust handle for moving the inside dish and this is good as it gets extremely hot, it is easy to use and I just pop it in the dishwasher. Generally I found cleaning the product really easy.  The grill rack and inside dish can be put in the dishwasher and come up well and the outside can be wiped with a damp cloth. The plastic hood also comes off for washing. The hardest part was the metal grill at the front of the grill fan, this does not remove and after cooking the chips the photo below shows how it came up looking after a wipe and then a scrub with wire wool. So it looks as though that top part will look stained, as I'd be loath to put cleaning product up there as the grill is behind it but as it is inside I'm not too worried.


In general I think the Halo+ looks like a little alien and it makes me smile each time I see it, it is rather bright and garish and luckily my kitchen is green. If it wasn't I might not like the bright colour so much. The Breville Halo+ Health Fryer has an RRP of £169.99 which is my opinion is pretty steep. From shopping around I see you can buy it as low as £99.99 at Argos but it is still a big investment and I think you would really need to want to cook deep fried items like chips and battered fish as otherwise you could just invest in a very good slow cooker to do many of the other jobs.




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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Beautiful Christmas Jewellery gifts from Merci Maman


I've seen that quite a few of my blogger friends have written about Merci Maman over the last 2 or 3 years so when they contacted me and asked if I'd like to review a necklace for them I was very excited. Sadly the email had gone into spam and been unnoticed for a while so when I went back to them to ask if they were still seeking people I wasn't sure if they would be but it was obviously meant to be as they sent me a link for a new necklace that as yet had not been reviewed by anyone else. Coincidentally this was the necklace that I had chosen the night before when I looked through the site.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My top 10 #AYASummit Moments

I've got so much going round my head at the moment and it is just becoming a big jumble. I sit down at the computer to put my thoughts into words and nothing comes and then I get cross with myself and try to focus, realistically it is a bit of a vicious cycle.  I know myself well enough to know it is time for a bloggy break and that's coming but I've just got a few things to sort out first.

One of the things I really did want to capture before taking a break is all the amazing moments I experienced when I was in Washington DC with ONE for the #AYASummit. As I've said before this really was the most inspiring and all-consuming conference that I have ever had the privileged to attend. I just need to get my head in order so I can use all the information and experiences I gained.

Here is my top 10, I thought about doing a count-down but it would seem wrong to place the events in any kind of order of importance or relevance as they were all so impacting -

1.  Listening to Marquesha Babers read her poem she had written as an entry to the Girl Rising competition to attend the Women in the World summit. What was remarkable is that 19 year old Marquesha has spent most of her life homeless and yet her spirit and morals are fabulous, she talked after about protecting her cousins for poor TV choices and getting an education.



Monday, 17 November 2014

How to make your Christmas wrapping easy and fun

Do you enjoy wrapping the presents?  I know many people don't but I'll be honest with you, I love it, it is probably one of my favourite parts of Christmas, all that anticipation and knowing that I have chosen gifts that will make people smile.  Wrapping my kids presents is the best as I know how chuffed they will be when they rip the paper open on Christmas morning.

I have to be honest, with the kids I don't go in for fancy wrapping with beautiful bows and ribbons as that feels like a waste of money but I do wrap absolutely everything, including the 20-30 stocking gifts each.  I estimate I must wrap at least 140 presents for the kids and before you start to chastise me that I'm spoiling them, I'm talking about wrapping stickers, pencils, chocolate coins etc for their stockings all separately. I don't spend that much on my kids but I do like to put thought into it and make sure they get things they will really enjoy and appreciate.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Let's find mushrooms mummy (A year in photos)

After Church today I asked Miss E if she fanced a walk around the grounds where we live. JJ wanted a chilled afternoon before a game of football with the volunteers, Miss M was to make Anzac biscuits with Daddy for home learning and that left me and the little cutie,

'Let's find mushrooms mummy' she said excitedly, 'we can take our cameras'.

So that is what we did, a nice walk for a couple of hours enjoying the fact it was not raining but enjoying finding the fruit of all that rain as there was some fabulous fungi to be found! We then finished off the afternoon by inviting the rest of the family to join us for a cup of hot chocolate at the Orangery.

One on one time with my chidren is so special, that it can't be taken for granted, so as we walk I always take time to chat. We talk about the week gone, the week ahead, school, activities, friends, who we can pray for and what is on our hearts. It is very special to have that time to enjoy being together.
 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Rampant commercialism or a great reminder of past times? #ChristmasIsForSharing



I watched the Sainsbury's Christmas advert for the first time today and I balled my eyes out. For me it is the best advert I have seen in a very long time, in fact it is one of the only Christmas adverts that I do not mind seeing this early into the festive season. Actually scrap that, the festive season hasn't even started yet, has it?

Over the last couple of weeks talk on Twitter, Facebook and blogs has all been 'ahh isn't Monty the Penguin cute? Haven't John Lewis done a great job again with their Christmas advert?' and yes it is nice, it's sweet, it's endearing and as a mother it makes you think about your own child and their relationship to their special toy and if you are a romantic sort like me it makes you smile seeing all those couples in love but it is just to sell products from John Lewis. And I like John Lewis, I really do, I'm a happy customer of theirs and I'll keep buying from them but my eyes are fully open, they just want to sell to me and to make maximum profit, OK they provide great service, I'll acknowledge that but still it is Christmas commercialism gone mad.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Winter snuggle sessions with Netflix #StreamTeam

We have been away on holiday just recently and when we go away we always allow some of the young adults who live in our community to come and stay at our house. On the one hand this is great for us as we have peace of mind and on the other it is nice for the girls as they normally share a bedroom with two other people and rarely have the chance to just kick back and enjoy home comforts.

I know they love our Netflix so one of the first things I do when I return home is tune into my account and look at the 'recently watched' to see what the girls have been watching (not because I'm checking up on them, they are adults after all but) because it gives me some new ideas of films and series that I might like.

In the short time we were gone on our last break they seem to have had some mammoth viewing sessions in between their working hours.  I'll share with you some of the ones I like the look of -


GREEK - After finishing all the episodes of Gossip Girl I really need a new series that is lighthearted watching for me to dip in and out of while I'm doing the housework and cooking and this college based one looks just right.

Monday, 10 November 2014

What the hell are you waiting for?

That's not the kind of title you normally find on my blog is it? But frankly it works for me right now.

I just watched a short video with Colin Farrell doing the voice over and I want to urge you to watch it too. It is pretty hard hitting and I don't even like everything in it but I think we all need to see it and think on it and then ACT. As Colin says in the clip 'What the hell are you waiting for?'

Short and simple from me today, just click play please.....


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