Cooking for Beginners 1 – ‘Simply Cook’

I’m an okay cook, but I’m lazy. I have a few default recipes and that’s it, so I have taken interest in those recipe boxes. I’ve mentioned Earthmiles before where you earn points for being active and you can use those points to get treats. I usually use mine to try out subscription boxes.

Enter ‘Simply Cook‘.

Unlike the rest of the recipe boxes out there, ‘Simply Cook’ don’t send you the ingredients. They have these pre-mixed pots and you supply the ingredients. The big downside to this is you can’t recreate the recipes yourself and it’s more like buying those sauce mixes than actual cooking. Regardless of how well this turns out, I’m not going to be continuing with a subscription…my free trial was enough. Amusingly, I’ve recently received offers from ‘Hello Fresh’ and ‘Gousto’…which I’ll probably try out.

Anyway, ‘Simply Cook’.

In my box I got mixes to prepare BBQ Tandoori Chicken, Malay Laksa, Bokkeumbap and Thai Red Prawn Curry.  I opted to make BBQ Tandoori Chicken, as I had a lot of the fresh ingredients to had.

One big advantage I can see these boxes having over ‘Hello Fresh’ and the others, is the ability to adapt. The BBQ Tandoori Chicken recipe called for sweet potatoes to make the wedges, but I don’t like sweet potato so switched them for normal potatoes…and being lactose intolerant I chose to use Alpro plain yoghurt instead of natural yoghurt.

Step by step recipe card (including tear off shopping list) and mixes for ‘potato seasoning’, ‘smoked chili blend’ and ‘Tandoori paste’. Pretty basic.

The preparation was very, very straight forward and simple to follow.

And this was the result.

Tasty? Definitely, especially the wedges. Worth it? No, not really. I mean for one…it’s not a lot of food. I have more chicken & wedges leftover and that’ll be tomorrow’s dinner but…IDK, it doesn’t feel like much.

I thought about preparing some rice to go with it but decided that it would be a little much with the wedges. I probably should have added more salad but I had a salad for lunch so didn’t have a lot of salad leftover (and my guinea pig tends to demolish any remaining salad bits).

I’m reasonably sure I’m going to be hungry later.

 

 

 

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BuddyBox – a Hug in a Box

The BuddyBox is the ‘brainchild’ of Blurt, a mental health charity which is working towards increasing awareness and understanding of depression so this is a little different to the subscription boxes I’ve dabbled in before.

The products are picked with self-care in mind, so that could be a colouring book (colouring is relaxing…I love my colouring books), something to help you de-stress or simply just something to make you smile.

I haven’t really discussed my mental health here, not because I’m ashamed of any sort of stigma (my colleagues know and I’m fortunate to work in an industry that’s very understanding) but there’s not much I can say other than my mental health is usually fair to middling with bursts of energetic enthusiasm. I do have a diagnosis but that is something I’m keeping to myself ;).

Given the current stress I’m having over potentially failing my creative writing module which puts my degree in jeopardy (but that’s for another post), my BuddyBox has arrived at the right time.

So anyway, the BuddyBox. What’s in it?

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Reward time! Earthmiles and first experiences with Lifebox

I’ve started using an app called Earthmiles, which rewards you with ‘earthmiles’ when you opt for ‘clean transport’. Basically, you get points for walking, running and cycling which you can spend on rewards. At the moment, it’s a lot of health and exercise based rewards but I’m sure they’ll expand their partners in the future. At the moment, I think it’s UK based but I think they’re going to start branching out of the UK soon.

At the moment, I have 475em and most things are around 250em. So what did I spend my first earthmiles on? Well, I enjoy the subscription box service (fun stuff in the post, what’s not to love?), a couple of the rewards get you money off subscription boxes and they’re the companies which offer one-off trial boxes.

Like LifeBox. LifeBox offer a subscription box of healthy, ‘free from’ and ‘superfood’ snacks and products. Before I go into what I thought of the box, I have to say that as much as I was impressed by the content, packaging and the price (even without a discount, it’s very reasonable) I don’t think I would be interested in getting the box regularly (unless I had dietary requirements and found it hard to find such products). Excellent gift idea for a vegan!

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So, what’s in the box?

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HorrorBlock #7: Is anybody there?

I realised the other day that my blog has largely become a “posting what I got in my HorrorBlock” blog. Every time I say I’m going to do something more with it, like review a couple of films or games, I don’t. I really should but to be honest I haven’t watched a film at all this year. Even when I was on holiday last week I didn’t watch a film (okay, I tried to watch The Babadook but freaked myself out about 15mins in), which is a bit shocking really when I think back to the time I used to go to the cinema pretty much every day. I’ve got a very long weekend coming up next week with absolutely nothing planned (I was supposed to be doing my final exam that week but I withdrew from the module and cover had already been arranged so may as well have the time off!) so I should do something other than sit in front of my laptop.

I also have a decision to make about continuing my HorrorBlock. On Thursday night last week, the Daily Mail gossip columnist Baz Bamigboye posted on Twitter that the musical Motown is opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre in February 2016, tickets now on sale. That means that Memphis (show I work on) is not booking past October 24th so I’m out of work from October. Hopefully I can get on Motown but that still leaves a gap which again hopefully I can fill with casual work and possibly panto. Money is not tight but I need to make sure I have enough saved up in case I’m not as lucky with finding work to fill the dark period. At the moment, I it’s a fun treat which definitely cheers me up but it is a luxury.

Right so, on to the fun bit!

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HorrorBlock #6: Are you Afraid of the Dark?

I was beginning to worry that April’s HorrorBlock was MIA but it arrived all happy this morning. The first thing I noticed was that it was really heavy, which probably explains why this one took longer than the others to arrive. No matter though, it means there won’t be as long a gap before May’s HorrorBlock arrives 😛 (apparently there’s another bit of Hannibal merchandise this month).

So the big question, what as in the box which made it so heavy?

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HorrorBlock #4: Don’t Look

My love affair with the HorrorBlock just keeps growing! This month there is a wonderful and awesome array of things which I would actually buy for myself! Not that the ClassicBlock’s I’ve received haven’t been interesting, they were more broadly geeky and evidentially I’m not that sort of geek. I don’t think there are many people reading this blog, or at least not many people who also subscribe to the NerdBlock’s but I would definitely be interesting in hearing from other people about their views on the blocks.

So, what did I get this month?

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NerdBlock #2: Return of the Block

After receiving my first ClassicBlock from the folks over at NerdBlock, I tried to cancel but missed the deadline for February cancellations so this was my “oops” box really. Cancelling is really straight forward, btw. You email them with your details, that’s it providing of course you’re the right side of the deadline! Because I’ve been talking about these NerdBlocks quite a bit recently, I’ve been sent a link to a company called Loot Crate which offer the same sort of thing for pretty much the same price so it’s interesting to see that there are others out there.

This months block was themed ‘exclusives’, but what were these exclusives?

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