Lower Calorie Gigi Hadid Spicy Vodka Pasta | Slimming Friendly

I first saw this dish doing the rounds on Social Media, after GiGi Hadid posted the recipe on her stories. A spicy, creamy tomato-based pasta dish with a kick of vodka!

I absolutely love pasta dishes, especially finding new ones. This one has a really unique flavour, which is delicious! 

Scroll down for full recipe and instructions!

Why vodka?? 

You may wonder why vodka is needed, as it doesn't really have much flavour of it's own. It is actually used to bind the ingredients together and soften the tanginess of the tomatoes for a creamy sauce. You cook off the alcohol as well, so don't worry about getting tipsy off this tasty dish! 

This dish is so simple to make, I will definitely be cooking this for my weeknight meals. It's also vegetarian too!

If you follow Slimming World, this dish is only 3 syns per serving, and the recipe makes 4 portions. I like to serve it with a massive salad, so I get in plenty of that speed food in! 

If you are following a calorie based diet, this dish will set you back per portion. 

I used quite a bit of chilli in this dish, but of course, you can adjust this to your own personal taste. 

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What do you think of this recipe? Let me know in the comments below!

Lower Calorie Spicy Vodka Pasta Recipe

Serves: 4

Syn value: 3 syns per portion (not including any healthy extras)


The Science of Cooking Oils: Which Are Really the Healthiest?

This is a contributed post

Cooking with oils has become the staple thing in many cuisines all over the world. However, not oils are equally healthy and beneficial, especially when it comes to cooking and food preparation. But, it’s important to point out that not all cooking oils are equally healthy and effective, which is why you should know which ones to use whenever you make specific types of food. So, if you’re interested in using more oils in your cooking, here is a mini-guide that will help you choose the healthiest oil for yourself.

Coconut oil

This amazing oil has been in use for ages, and nowadays it’s known for its amazing properties. It also has wide use in the cosmetic industry, which is why many nourishing hair care and body products have it as one of their main ingredients. When it comes to cooking, it’s also been used as a healthier alternative to industrial and overly-processed oils. Many believe that coconut oil is better than butter and other saturated fats, but in reality, there are no substantive claims that support this. 

Olive oil

Olive oil usually comes in two distinct types: extra-virgin and pure. The first one has more of its original flavor as it is derived from pressing the olives. The other types of olive oil are more refined, and therefore can lack the true taste of virgin oil, but they’re easier to find and to afford as they’re often cheaper. Since olive oil can’t stand high temperatures, it’s not recommended to use it for cooking. Instead, it can be a great option to use as a salad dressing or marinade.

Sunflower oil

In many cultures, sunflower oil is a go-to oil for cooking, baking, and frying alike. Due to its availability, that means it’s also refined, which some might dislike. But, before you make your mind up, make sure to learn what is high oleic sunflower oil and how it’s best used, so you’ll be able to use it the right way. Aside from that one, there are many other types of this oil, so feel free to experiment with different brands and types until you find the one that fits your cooking preferences and habits.

Grapeseed oil

This oil comes from grape seeds that have not been used in the winemaking process. It’s very versatile, which is why it’s been a favorite of many chefs all over the world. It has a mild flavor, so it’s easy to combine with stronger flavors. Due to its versatility, it can be used in salad dressing, roasting, or sautéing. However, it’s important to keep it in the fridge in order to avoid it from going bad. There have been no studies that confirm its benefits for human health, so it’s smart to use it as an additional source of fat in your diet. 

Avocado oil

In the past few years, avocado has become a favorite food among almost everyone. But, this amazing plant can also be used for its oil, so if you love avocados, feel free to try oil as well. Just keep in mind that this oil is more expensive and quite difficult to find. As for cooking, you can use it for grilling, tasting, or as a salad dressing, since it can endure higher temperatures. 


These cooking oils can be a great addition to your diet, especially if you’ve been looking to go vegan and replace butter. But, not all of them have the same purpose, so make sure to get informed and if possible, try some of them out until you make a final decision. Also, remember that not all oils are equally healthy, so it’s important to not use them sparingly and mindfully.

Glamping at Puddleduck Valley

*I was gifted the stay with Puddleduck Valley, however all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own*

Following on from my post best places to go Glamping, I wanted to share my full Glamping experience that I had with Puddleduck Valley.

Puddleduck Valley is a combination of holiday accommodation, a petting farm and forest. While staying you can feed and pet the animals, collect the chicken eggs, toast marshmallows on the fire and even play in the meadows & woods. 

It is located on the border of Devon & Cornwall, and just far away enough from the real world to feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. 

While I enjoy camping, as I get older I definitely appreciate the more 'glamourous' type of camping. 

Puddleduck have 2 yurts which they offer for glampers, and we stayed in the Snuggledown Yurt. 

The snuggledown is an authentic top quality Mongolian yurt made in Ulan Bator, which can sleep a family of up to 4. 

 The yurt contains a king size bed, two single beds, a wood burning stove and all the equipment to make your glamping experience both adventurous and easy.

The Yurt has access to it's own private bathroom too, meaning you really are camping in luxury. 

The Accommodation 

When we arrived we were greeted by Phil and Mel, the hosts of Puddleduck. They were extremely friendly and welcoming, and showed us around the facilities. 

The Yurt itself is much larger than I expected, with loads of space to move around.  We had it set up for 2, so there was a little more pace than if a whole family was in there. 

The wood burning fire is the centrepiece of the Yurt, and you are provided everything you needed to get the fire started (including instructions!)

The warmth grom the fire heats up the Yurt at night when the cold sets in. 

It was beautifully lit up with the fairy lights, helping to create a truly magical atmosphere. 

Each Yurt has it's own picnic bench outside, as well as firepit. We absolutely loved sitting by the fire each night outside, and it is something I have missed being able to do since returning home from the trip!

The Facilities 

There are 2 yurts which had shared access to the large farm kitchen, and it had been equipped with the basics for you. 

There is everything you need in there to survive for your stay, as well as access to tea and coffee making facilities. 

We didn't spend too much time in there, believe it or not, as we chose to cook on the firepit outside for a full outside experience!

As well as the kitchen, there is a large dining area in the conservatory that you could sit and eat in, with beautiful views of the surroundings. 

One morning we took a walk to the chickens, and got a freshly layed egg to make one of the most delicious scrambled egg on toast. 

The bathroom is clean, spacious and well equipped. It is definitely a treat to have a proper shower!

The Setting

Despite being a fully grown adult, one of my favourite parts of the stay was seeing and petting all the animals. Puddleduck have Guinee pigs, rabbits and chickens in a barn which you can go and pet whenever you like. 

I loved the Guinee pigs, they were so cuddly and friendly!

There are also some goats, which you can help put in and out of their field, pet and feed.

Mel & Phil let me help take the goats in and out of their field with them one morning, as well as feed the chickens by hand. 

One of the mornings I was petting the animals, Phil was showing the child of some of the other guests all the animals, and Phil was so enthusiastic and engaging. The little boy was absolutely loving it, getting super excited. This is what makes Puddleduck that extra bit special for me. 

Just a short walk for the Yurt was a beautiful forest, which had this tranquil lake in it. Sitting here was so peaceful and relaxing, we spent a lot of time here. 

We were very lucky with the weather as well, it was sunny and warm, but not overly hot. 

Puddleduck is only a 25 min drive away from  Bude, so on one of the days we took a drive there. Puddleduck also offer loads of activities for kids and parents alike, from lambing to forest walks. 

Part of what made this stay so special was how welcoming and friendly the hosts are. Phil and Mel were always available to help with anything, nothing was too much effort. They were amazing with all the guests that were there, especially children. 

Puddleduck is an amazing place to visit, whether you are a family or a couple looking to escape. It is a place to full switch off from the world and enjoy some peace and serenity. 

We are already planning our next trip back!


'Five Cooking Tips If Your Kitchen Is Being Renovated

If you have moved to a new house, it is likely you will need to do some work on your new abode. Whether you have moved to an apartment such as D’aman Ria Condo or a house in the countryside, you will want to make it your own and put a personal spin on it. If the case is that you need a new kitchen, you could end up with a lot of disruption to your daily routine. Because of this, it is best to plan ahead. Here are five cooking tips for if your kitchen is being renovated

Image from: https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-leafed-plants-on-kitchen-island-1358900/

Freeze some meals

Living off take away meals can be a pain, not to mention not very good for your health. Prior to the renovation, plan your meals ahead and batch cook. Make sure you have a freezer big enough (or look at buying a chest freezer) and freeze the meals that you make. It’s worth varying these meals and making sure that they taste good when being reheated in the microwave. Sometimes a microwavable meal doesn’t come out as good as you hoped!

Ask your neighbour if you can use their kitchen on occasions

A neighbour can be your best friend, and when renovating your kitchen, this is the time to make sure they are. Before your renovation, ask your neighbour if you can cook in their kitchen occasionally so that you can have some freshly prepared meals. Make sure these meals are easy to make and you could either cook extra so that your neighbour can have some. If possible, try and cook enough so that you can freeze some for the coming days.

Check which takeaways are near you

Every now and then you will get sick and tired of having to reheat a meal you made the week before. At this point in time, a takeaway is needed! Make sure you have all the menu’s ready to browse through and order one in as a treat. If you can, order a takeaway that tastes good the next day as you can store your leftovers. A Chinese takeaway, pizza or Indian always takes great the following day.

Supermarket meals

When you’ve exhausted your frozen meals, take away options and your neighbours’ kitchen, it’s time to turn to reheatable supermarket meals. You may be surprised, but some aren’t that bad and aren’t that unhealthy either. Most supermarkets offer a health-conscious microwavable meal as well as some more indulging options if you are treating yourself.

Use a temporary camping hob

A microwave will help with most meals that you will be eating during a renovation, but if you fancy another way of cooking, you do have another option. You could look at purchasing a camping hob which can be used on most safe, fireproof surfaces. With a camping hob, you can expand your dining options and cook something fresh that only needs a saucepan such as spaghetti bolognaise or a chicken curry. This is the perfect way to give you a day off reheated meals or a takeaway as these soon become a little mundane.

Buy yourself a BBQ or temporary BBQ

If the weather is nice, a BBQ is a great way to have something different. It’s fun, you can get everybody together, and it’s not a microwaveable meal. With a BBQ you will be able to cook up some chicken, burgers and prepare a salad to have alongside it. If your kitchen renovation is only going to be a week or two, this is a perfect option to switch things up and make your dinner more entertaining.

Enjoy a meal out in a restaurant

Every now and then it’s nice to eat out; even more so when your kitchen is being renovated. It’s a good way to forget all the mess within your house and to go out and have fun. It is also an excuse to try a new place and to invite your friends or family too.

Having your kitchen renovated is exciting, but whilst it’s happening, it can be a stressful process. Seeing your property looking like a builders site isn’t nice but remember once the work is complete, you will have a beautiful kitchen to show your guests and cook in. Above is seven ways that we managed to survive our renovation.

Are you planning on improving your kitchen? Or have you already had a new kitchen put in? What tips do you have to survive a renovation? Let us know in the comment box below.


Whether you are "empty nesters", newly weds or single, this scaled down recipe for individual potatoes au gratin is easy, tasty and reheats well too!! This recipe makes 6. 

2 large russet potatoes
1/2 cup grated Colby Jack cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tablespoons heavy cream PER PORTION
1/2 cup finely chopped ham or crisp bacon

Peel the potatoes and put them in the food processor along with the ham (or bacon). Pulse the potatoes and ham just until you get pieces about the same size as medium hashbrown chunks. Remove from the food processor and stir in the cheese and salt and pepper.

Spray your cupcake pan with cooking spray and fill each "well" to the top (patting down VERY lightly). 

Pour 2 full tablespoons heavy cream over EACH portion. Cover with foil and bake at 375° for 40 minutes (take the foil off the last two or three minutes and put them under the broiler to get some color).

Remove from oven and let them sit for about 5 minutes before lifting them out of the pan with a large spoon.

These are deliciously creamy, cheesy and "ham-y"; they will go with almost anything. Recipe makes six portions. One portion is perfect for children, but adults can easily eat two portions.... well, WE can anyway 😉

IMPORTANT:  I like to use a Texas size muffin pan, but a standard muffin pan will work too. If you are using a standard cupcake pan, put a baking sheet under the pan because the cream tends to bubble up a little during cooking.



This recipe is not only super quick, super easy and super tasty, but it is very pretty!! It's great for any special occasion, and it goes together in the wink of an eye, so it's also great for a week night meal!!

2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatine
2 tablespoons COLD water
1/4 cup BOILING water
3 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small cup, mix unflavored gelatine with 2 tablespoons COLD water. Stir and let it sit for a minute while you heat up the water.

Add the boiling water, stir and set aside while you whip the cream.

In a mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, sugar cocoa powder and vanilla. Whip until soft peaks form.

After soft peaks start to form (and while still beating) slowly drizzle in the dissolved gelatin, then beat the mixture on high till stiff peaks form.

Put mousse into dessert dishes and chill, at least, one hour.

Note: This recipe fills 8 normal size dessert dishes.

NOTE FOR EMPTY NESTERS:  I cut this recipe in half and it is perfect for the two of us.......for two nights. It keeps VERY well (covered) in the fridge.



Picky-picky husband loves these little omelets with diced ham and cheese in them, but I like them with chopped mushrooms, broccoli and bacon. Either way, two mini-omelets make a very filling (and fun) breakfast. 

 Another reason I like this recipe is that it can easily be doubled for a crowd with no standing over the omelet pan while your company is waiting for you!!


EASY BAKED MINI-OMELETS        (makes 12)

1 pound of breakfast meat cooked and drained (ham, bacon or sausage)
1 cup favorite veggies, sauteed (optional)
8 large eggs
1/4 cup milk (or cream if you're feeling self-indulgent)
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (depending on how salty your meat is)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Preheat oven to 375° and spray cupcake pan with vegetable spray.

Whisk the eggs, milk, oil, baking powder and salt and pepper together until smooth.

Divide meat and vegetables evenly between the 12 greased cupcake wells; top with a little cheese.  Pour enough egg mixture in each well to come very close to the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes (my electric oven takes 22 minutes exactly). During this time, they will really DOME UP like a cupcake, but after you take them out of the oven, they will slowly flatten back down as they cool.

Remove from oven and garnish with another pinch of cheese (I use a little sharp cheddar). Let the mini-omelets rest in the pan for 5 minutes before you take them out (they will easily lift out of the pan after 5 minutes).

NOTE: Use your imagination regarding veggies you want to use in this recipe, just remember the veggies have to be pre-cooked.

NOTE: These little muffins stay warm for quite a while and they reheat VERY well in the microwave. They would be a fantastic addition to any brunch table because they are still tasty at room temperature.

EMPTY NESTERS TIP: When I make these for just the two of us, I cut the recipe in half, which gives us 2 mini-omelets each and a couple to snack on later.


The Perfect, Pour-over Coffee Recipe

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay 

Making a pour-over coffee is like a ritual. Meditation. You don’t have to use a lot of machines. There are no green flashing lights. Just you. Sitting at home. Using a couple of simple tools. Have you ever tried making a pour-over coffee before? If not, you’re in for a treat.

The result, a nice cup of coffee to go along with a dessert, which will remind you of drip coffee makers, but with a significantly more flavored and complex taste. Even if you have been making pour-over coffee for years, I invite you to try out my version. Its flavor will be the same both on the first and the tenth try. If you can, find a couple of minutes to slow down: consciously watch the bloom. 

The rising cream after the first pouring. The swelling of the coffee. The first traces of steam. Take a look at the flow rate and how each spiraling pour changes the taste of the final cup.

The Tools You’ll Need

When you’re trying to make a cup of pour-over coffee, you should keep in mind the following factors:

How good are coffee beans

How pure is the water

Both will incrementally affect the coffee taste. Of course, other details matter as well. You’ll have to grind the beans to a specific coarseness, always use adequate measures, and have the proper water temperature. 

Let’s see what else you’ll need:

High-quality, fresh coffee beans (Try out those coming from Ethiopia or Guatemala).

Coffee grinder 
Filtered water.
Paper filters.

Scale (for precise measuring).

Pro Tip: Home barista site Coffeeble recommends using a grinder for pour overs that can dial in the coarser grind size needed for V60, Chemex and other similar brewing styles.

Preparing the Pour-over Ritual

When it comes to preparation, there are various recommendations on the water/coffee ratio. I’ve researched the subject for quite a while, and what I’ve found is that the best water to coffee ratio is using 1 gram of coffee on 16 milliliters of water. Meaning that for two large cups of coffee (250ml), you’ll need about 32 gram of coffee and half a liter of water.

Of course, this is under the pretension that you already have quality coffee beans. Not to mention filtered water. People often make needlessly strong coffee in order to hide low-quality beans or water imperfection.

It’s also recommended that you grind your coffee beans just a bit finer than usual. The ground coffee should have the consistency of table salt. This goes above the average recommendation of grinding it to the coarseness of rough sea salt. However, this way, you’ll get a more balanced taste with your pour-over coffee.

Even though it doesn’t look like it, remember that you’ll get a strong cup of coffee. Although you should make adjustments when you’re using different systems or beans, the process will hold up.
The Nitty Bitty Instructions

Now come the instruction details of making your perfect cup of pour-over coffee. Try to follow them to the letter, if you want to get that same taste.

Use around 1 gram of coffee with 16 milliliters of filtered water. This amounts to 32 grams of coffee for two big cups of coffee. You should grind your coffee beans to have the coarseness of finer sea salt or your average table salt. After grinding them, set them aside. Moreover, remember to add slightly more water (around 600ml). This extra water is required for wetting your filter in the next step.

Bring the water to a boil. Spread your paper filters. To do this, separate them with three folds on one side and a single fold on the other. Next, place your filter on top of your coffee making machine. Insert the three-folded side toward the sprout. You should now wet the paper filter. Use just enough boiling water to saturate the filter. This will help you minimize any likely “paper taste” in your pour-over. 

From here, spill the excess water through the sprout. Now, place ground coffee in the filter and shake it gently so it settles. Place enough water so it just covers the ground coffee. This will make the coffee “bloom”. Wait for 45 seconds. This is needed in order to allow the gas to escape which improves the overall taste of the coffee.

After the coffee has bloomed, you can begin placing the remaining filtered water over your coffee. Do this in small spirals. You should concentrate your water mostly in the center of the coffee, with just a bit of pouring around the edges in order to consistently wet the beans. In the first round, you should use around 200ml of water.

Also, keep in mind that you should pour the water slowly. This will allow you to keep a consistent pour and enable the whole coffee to filter in the same amount. In other words, get the optimal taste. Of course, you can always use your water in batches of around 200ml. Still, even here, you should never allow the grounded coffee to go entirely dry. Your overall pour time needs to be around three and a half minutes.

After the coffee has been brewed, you should detach the filter. Now, you can enjoy your coffee.

Bonus advice: Just before you place your brewed coffee in a cup, you should use any leftover hot water to warm it. Of course, you should remove this extra water before pouring your coffee. 

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