Easy Carrot Cake Tray Bake

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We all love a carrot cake in our house, even the fussy child, so quite why I’ve never made one before is something I can’t answer! I think it’s because they always seemed like a terrible faff or had an ingredients list as long as my arm. You know me, I’m not one for faffing, I like simple, tasty bakes.

This definitely ticks the faff-less, simple and tasty boxes, and also it’s one of my favourite things ever…a tray bake. I love a tray bake because they’re so handy for cutting up and popping into the children’s lunch boxes, and carrot cake passes as healthy right? RIGHT?

The recipe says this cuts into 15 slices but I get a lot more as I’m a bit stingy with my squares.

Easy Carrot Cake Tray Bake

Ingredients

175g light muscovado sugar
175ml sunflower oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
140g grated carrots
100g raisins
grated zest of 1 large orange
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg

For the topping;
175g icing sugar
1½-2 tbsp orange juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4.  Grease and line the base and sides of an 18cm square cake tin with baking parchment. 

Tip the sugar into a large mixing bowl, pour in the oil and add the eggs. Lightly mix with a wooden spoon before stirring in the grated carrots, raisins and orange rind.

Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices and sift into the bowl. Gently mix all the ingredients together, the mix will be soft and almost runny.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40- 45 minutes, until it feels firm and springy when you press it in the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out, peel off the paper and cool on a wire rack. 

In a small bowl, beat together the ingredients for the topping i until smooth and as runny as single cream. Pop the cake on a serving plate and drizzle the icing back and forth in diagonal lines over the top, letting it drip down the sides.

Because of the oil, this case is wonderfully moist and keeps well for a good few days. That’s if there’s any left of course!

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Meal Planning Monday (31st August 2015)

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Hello!

Bit late to the (rainy) party today but it’s my party and I’ll be late if I want to…Well actually it’s my birthday and there is no party but that’s semantics. Who ordered this rain? Not me! I did not enjoy spending my birthday morning putting away a soggy wet tent in the torrential rain! Yes, we went camping again, hence the lateness of this post.

As we’ve just got back, there really is no meal plan this week and there probably won’t be as I am eating out not once, not twice, NOT thrice…but four times this week. Got to love a birthday! Especially when you’re as skilled at dragging it out as I am.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be cooking, oh no. There will be baking – can’t watch Great British Bake Off without cake on hand, and today was plum-picking day which means I will be making three types of chutney this week. Yes, really. Plums in abundance this year, not a single one last year. We seem to get a good crop every other year. The chutney always seems to go down well with friends and family and I find the whole process rather therapeutic, way easier than jam and I enjoy all the chopping and mixing. It will definitely take my mind of work and assignments!

So in the absence of my plan, lets see yours! If you’ll a regular you’ll know the routine but if you’re new to my blog or Meal Planning Monday then here’s how it works.

Simply link up your own meal planning blog post using the Linkytools form at the bottom of this post. If you’re not a blogger, then that doesn’t really matter, just leave a comment telling us what you’re eating that week!  There’s a whole post on tips and tricks for meal planning here that you might like to read.

We have a Facebook group that anyone is more than welcome to join, regardless of whether they’re a blogger or not and you can find that HERE. We’ve also got a Pinterest board where some of the meal planners have started pinning their favourite recipes from their blogs. If you’re interested in getting involved, then get in touch! Our hashtag on Twitter is#mealplanningmonday (Tesco once tried to steal it but I sent them packing!) Use the hashtag and I’ll RT as much as I can, and of course if you’ve got any questions about Meal Planning Monday, do drop me a line.

Look forward to reading all your posts this week!

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Meal Planning Monday (24th August 2015)

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Hey y’all.

Sorry for last weeks absence, what a mare! I went camping in Norfolk (no hardship, beautiful place!) but had no wi-fi and no phone signal on either of my phones for the entire time and I forgot to schedule before I went away. Seriously, what is the point of having a mobile phone in North Norfolk? No signal on Vodafone or O2, would be a complete waste of money! Anyhow rant over…

Meal planning kind of hasn’t really been happening at the moment. A combination of school holidays + full time work + camping trips + assignment HELL. I am in the middle of an assignment at the moment that is sucking up all my time, hence the lack of blogging. I’m so frustrated about lack of time at the moment as blogging was/is something for ME, myself, but I just can’t find the time. Hopefully when the kids go back to school, assignment is done etc but then I have revisions for exams in November to do. It never ends.

In the hope of eating something other than fish’n’chips and pizza, I’ve done a small meal plan. I say small, because we’re off camping again at the weekend and have no idea what I’ll prepare for that yet!  Here’s the plan for the rest of the week though.

Fantastic Fish Pie
Chilli Beef and Broccoli
Paninis and salad
Pasta with a blue cheese sauce and garlic bread

Mr M is having to be a trooper and help out as much as possible whilst I am head down in my assignment, possibly the dullest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Anyhow, over to you peeps!

If you’ll a regular you’ll know the routine but if you’re new to my blog or Meal Planning Monday then here’s how it works.

Simply link up your own meal planning blog post using the Linkytools form at the bottom of this post. If you’re not a blogger, then that doesn’t really matter, just leave a comment telling us what you’re eating that week!  There’s a whole post on tips and tricks for meal planning here that you might like to read.

We have a Facebook group that anyone is more than welcome to join, regardless of whether they’re a blogger or not and you can find that HERE. We’ve also got a Pinterest board where some of the meal planners have started pinning their favourite recipes from their blogs. If you’re interested in getting involved, then get in touch! Our hashtag on Twitter is#mealplanningmonday (Tesco once tried to steal it but I sent them packing!) Use the hashtag and I’ll RT as much as I can, and of course if you’ve got any questions about Meal Planning Monday, do drop me a line.

Look forward to reading all your posts this week! I’m away again next Monday but I’ll remember to schedule the post this week – feel free to poke me and remind me on Thursday!

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Mrs M’s Travel Wishlist

I have serious wanderlust right now.

I pretty much think about holidays, short breaks and camping trips all of the time. It drives my husband mad. If I’m not planning a trip or looking to the next time we can go away, I’m diligently planning things to do, transportation and restaurants to book for existing planned trips. It’s becoming a full-time hobby.

I love to get away and I’m not even that fussy. A two week holiday in Barbados? Yes please. A two night stay in a tent in Bournemouth? Yes please. See, easily pleased.

It seems like over the past however-many-years holiday prices have gone up? Flights certainly have. This means we have to make better choices. Instead of going for the usual two weeks in Mallorca at a holiday resort, we’re knocking things off our bucket list, even if it means having to save really really hard.  Because I have mild OCD am a forward-planner I am already looking to 2016 and so far this is what is on my travel wishlist.  (Note: I’m not including anywhere I’ve already been but my yearnings to return to NYC and Florida are constant)

Avoriaz

Avoriaz, France – I am totally NOT a skier but Mr M is and I’d like the children to have the chance to try it. My plan would be to sit near a roaring fire with my Kindle and some hot chocolate, make use of a spa and generally just eat cheese. Pretty much a dream holiday for me.

Hawaii

Hawaii – Somewhere that has always been on my list, can’t tell you why. I just want to, ‘kay?

nashville

Nashville – I’m a country girl at heart and this is a MUST do. Ideally I’d like to go for the country musical festival in June time but beggars can’t be choosers. Ideally I’d also like to go with a girlfriend but my husband will throw a strop.

vancouver

Vancouver/Rocky Mountains – The strongest contender for Holiday 2016. Canada has never appealed but Mr M wants to go so…I picked Vancouver as it looks and sounds like an interesting city and I’d like to explore the Rocky Mountains too. Though not too much, I’m not overly keen on the thought of a bear all up in my grill.

alaska

Alaska – Might seem like an odd choice but an Alaskan cruise is way up there on my list of things I want to do before I peg it. Not sure I’ll convince my husband into a cruise but time will tell.

newengland

New England – Quaint towns, golden leaves, clam chowder and hopefully no Robert De Niro bobbing around in the sea waiting to BRUTALLY ATTACK ME. Yes, Cape Fear did that to me. Always always wanted to experience New England in the fall. One day.

sardinia

Sardinia – I totally want to go to Sardinia, laze on a beach for a week in a 5* star resort and do nothing but gaze at it’s utter beauty. I might need a lottery win though.

ireland

Ireland – The least glamorous of my holiday destinations but it’s been 20 years since I’ve been to the Emerald Isle, and as someone with an Irish parent it seems somewhat of a travesty. Mr M would like to go to and I’d like to take him off the beaten track, perhaps rural Galway where I once went as a child. It will of course rain like you’ve never known it.

Amalfi

Amalfi Coast – It wouldn’t be a dream holiday list without some Italy in it  because Italy is one of my favourite places in the world. I’ve never been to the Amalfi Coast and I must, so I will.

So there it is, my current list. All of these should be totally achievable eventually – as long as I keep working that is, no retirement for me any time soon!

Any of these on your dream travel list? What other places would be on yours? Leave me a message or why not write your own post and share it below.

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Meet the Meal Planner – Hijacked by Twins

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Meet the Meal Planner is a new feature on At Home With Mrs M, designed to introduce everyone to the people who get involved with Meal Planning Monday each week.  This is each meal planners chance to tell us who they are, why and how they meal plan. I hope you enjoy this new item and feel free to leave a comment for the meal planner below!

Hi there and welcome to Meet the Meal Planner! It’s great to have you here. Lets start by introducing yourself. Please tell us a little more about who you are and all about your blog. (If you have one!)

Hi I’m Kirsty and I blog at hijackedbytwins.com. I am a stay at home mum with three children, 9 year old son and 2 year old twins. After my family my big love and passion is cooking and baking. I love creating new recipes and bakes. I regularly share a variety of recipes from cakes to bread, from main meals to desserts and plenty of stories about our lives.

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Lets get down to business. I’d like to know you have been meal planning for and what inspired you to start?

I have been meal planning for 9 months now. I started to meal plan as a way to budget better on our food shopping. Plus I was fed up of it getting to tea time and not really knowing what to cook. Having a meal plan has saved us money and saved me the tea time stress of wondering what to feed everyone.

It’s time to start writing your meal plan for the week. What do you do first? Talk us through your planning.

The first thing I do is look at what I have got in the fridge and list the items that need using in date order. This enables me to see what needs to be used first and I can plan accordingly.

Where do you find your meal-planning inspiration? Do you have a list of go-to meals or do you like to get creative and mix it up?

We have our regular family favourites that I try to include. But I have recently signed up for a weekly meat subscription. Each week I get a different selection of high quality meat, I have found that this has challenged me to cook meats that I wouldn’t usually buy and has given us more of a variety.

What cookbooks do you use the most? Is there a website resource you would recommend to other meal-planners?

I have shelves full of cook books so it is really hard to say which I use the most. I tend not to stick to recipes too much as I like to change ingredients according to our own tastes. I do love Save With Jamie by Jamie Oliver for ideas for leftovers. I also use BBC Good Food magazine and online site a lot.

So you’ve got your meal plan ready…do you ever go off-plan or do you always stick to it rigidly?

I do try to stick to my meal plan as much as possible however we all know how life can sometimes take over. However I do find it easier when I have stuck to my meal plan.

What benefits have you seen from meal planning? Do you find it helps you to cut waste? Save money?

I have found that the amount of food that gets wasted has dramatically reduced. This is down to better planning and knowing use by dates on fresh produce. I have also found that it has saved us money on our weekly shop. Before I did a meal plan I would often find that I had ingredients missing and would do mid week shops which quickly mounted up!

Any top tips for meal planning?

Always check your use by dates of fresh produce and plan around what needs using first. Also make it enjoyable, try new dishes and challenge yourself. I believe that food should be enjoyable from the preparation to cooking and of course to eating.

And finally, purely because I am nosey, what kitchen utensil/gadget could you just not live without?

If I had to pick one gadget or utensil it would have to be my scales. I bake a lot so it is important that the quantities are correct. I also love my Kenwood Prospero as it has so many gadgets that make life a little easier.

Thanks to Kirsty for sharing her meal planning tips. Why not head over to her blog and find out what she’s been up to recently.

I’ll be back with another Meet the Meal Planner really soon! If you’re interested in being featured, get in touch!

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