Slow Cooker Chicken and Bacon Casserole

When Little D was a newborn I bought a slow cooker. I was breastfeeding him and he was permanently attached to me and would feed for hours so I needed something to make my life easier. I had no clue about them, what size to get, what I could make but after procrastinating for ages I picked up one from Lidl and hoped for the best. I’m so glad I did because I love that I can chuck all the ingredients in first thing in the morning and I usually don’t need to worry until later.

My Mum bought me a slow cooker cook book for my birthday and I looked on the web for ideas. I found it quite difficult finding things that worked for all 5 of us taking into account the kids food allergies. A lot of things were tomato based which were out because Miss C couldn’t tolerate it. I’m not afraid of using spice and I think kids needs to try all different flavours to adapt their palates at a young age so I was happy to make curries and hot pots as long as they suited everyone.

We eat a lot of chicken so that was the first place I looked for inspiration. I came across this recipe and it was an instant hit. The only amendment I would suggest is I usually double the flour, stock and purée quantities. I also shred the chicken halfway through cooking or it can go a little dry.

If you’re going to try it then let me know how it goes.

Good luck

Cx

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The start of something new

Miss C has been going to “the cafe” since she was a bump. It’s a local place which does nice food, reasonable prices and they have lovely staff. She’s never been able to eat anything because of her allergies but this morning after her emergency doctors appointment we popped in. I hadn’t had as much as a drink of water and she hadn’t eaten much either. We spoke to the chef who checked the allergens list and the kids chicken and chips was safe but then we realised the chips would be cooked in the same oil as mozzarella sticks. I was just about to give up on the idea when he said he would oven them and then they would be completely safe. We were both delighted and she had her very first meal there.

If you are out eating with someone who has dietary needs it can be really intimidating. If I take the kids out then I usually take food with me unless I’ve done hours and hours of research and called ahead to make sure it’s safe. The thought of either of the wee ones eating something and having a reaction doesn’t bear thinking about and the guilt is immense. Miss C has overcome 7 intolerances already and we just need to tackle her cows milk protein and soya allergies, but I have a plan for these.

I have to admit I felt really emotional sitting there watching her enjoy her very first chips and knowing that she had food that I hadn’t brought with me. Obviously since she is a sassy threenager she styled it out by wearing her shades most of the way through lunch.

The Kids Are Alright

Today Mark and I are celebrating 20 years together. 20 years!!

When we got together we were 17 and 18 and our relationship moved pretty fast. We moved in together after 6 months and bought our first flat 6 months after that. We got engaged on my 19th birthday and married when I was 23.

From the very beginning we were all in and I knew straight away from the start that he was the man I wanted to marry and have children with. It was intense and we were determined that we would do what we wanted and faced everything that was thrown at us together.

There was a lot of barriers in the way in the early days. Everyone seemed to have an opinion and didn’t hold back in telling us what they thought. We were told we were too young, too dumb, didn’t know what love was, it would never last, I was only interested in getting pregnant. But here we are 20 years later and still going strong.

It feels like such a big achievement and I suppose by today’s standards it is. We’ve had amazing highs and some awful lows, but we are stronger together and always get through whatever it is we are facing.

We’ve grown up together and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years brings.

Mark, thank you for the journey so far, there’s no one else I’d rather share it with.

Cx

Here are some of my favourite pictures of us over the years, finishing with our 3 little monsters.