This month we’ve been doing loads of posts featuring vegan recipes. I thought it was high time we did a meat lovers, carnivore focused blog. First meat up? Pork. It goes with fruit, barbecue sauce, slaw, mustard. You name it pork’s been put with it. I didn’t want to dish up recipes for last weeks pork chops, but give you something to give your next pork dish a bit of inspiration. You know my motto “You don’t know if you love something until you try it”.

Normandy Pork Casserole

Pork Recipes - Appliance City - Normandy Pork Casserole

Woman and Home never disappoints when they set out to share a recipe and this Normandy Pork Casserole is no exception to the rule. My husband tends to eat mustard with just about any meat regardless of whether it has a sauce or gravy. This casserole combines his favourite flavours of meat and mustard in this perfect casserole for autumn. Warm, creamy and indulgent this pork dish is fantastic served with a side of roast potatoes or even by adding the potatoes into the casserole itself. One word. Delicious.

Paprika Pork

Paprika Pork - Recipes - Appliance City

Pork tenderloin has to be some of the most tender meat on the planet. Of course, that is dependent upon the person cooking it, when cooked to perfection it is juicy and delicious. This recipe from Slimming World checks all those boxes. Don’t be put off by the fact that is was created by a diet program. This doesn’t taste like diet food, it’s appetising, warm and filling – perfect for the whole family.

Does your oven cook unevenly? Check out our British made Belling and Stoves collection. Delivering culinary perfection every time.

French Pork with Apple Cream Sauce

Pork Recipes - French Pork with Apple Cream Sauce - Appliance City

Doesn’t this look absolutely mesmerising? Don’t let the word “French” put you off. I know that French food can more often than not take more than just amateur cooking skills. This recipe doesn’t happen to fall into that difficulty category. The Wanderlust Kitchen gives you the perfect step by step instruction to make this tantalising recipe. The writer of The Wanderlust Kitchen blog touts this as a date night meal and boy is she right. If you’re looking for the meal to seal the deal this is the one!

Bacon Wrapped Sage and Sausage Stuffing

Bacon Wrapped Sage and Sausage Stuffing - Recipes - Appliance City

Love bacon? Get a double dose of pork paradise in this bacon wrapped delight from Erren’s Kitchen. This isn’t your typical British stuffing. Forget the dry stuffing balls, no offence, they are nothing like the stuffing I grew up with in America. This dish has all your favourite stuffing flavours but it’s moist and covered in smokey bacon wrapped goodness. If you’ve ever had American stuffing, and loved it, then this recipe will be right right up your alley and definitely something to add to your Christmas menu.

There’s nothing stopping you from adding bacon to nearly everything to celebrate pork. If I’ve missed out your favourite pork dish, please feel free to share it with me and get it into one of our future blogs!

Many times people will judge a book, recipe or anything really, upon first glance. In the case of recipes it’s most likely to be the title or image of the recipe or the category the recipe falls in. So before any Judgy McJudgerson takes over have a gander at these fine recipes. The plot twist won’t come until the end (no cheating either).

Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Chocolate Pudding Cake

Pumpkin Spice Latte Chocolate Cake - Recipes - Appliance City

It is pumpkin season. People are shoving the flavour into any and every dish that they can. This dish is no exception. It is a beautiful combination of chocolate, pumpkin and coffee and is absolutely brilliant. It’s like having a cup of coffee and a slice of cake all in one. The recipe from Oh She Glows is easy to make and would make the perfect finish to an evening Winter meal or even something brilliant to serve Christmas Eve night. Make it a tradition!

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup

Italian Orzo spinach soup - recipes - appliance city

Perfect for a night in, chilling on the couch with a warm bowl of comfort food. This recipe from Gimme Some Oven could quickly become one of my favourite go to comfort food recipes. It has so many of my favourite things in it, spinach and pasta! Whilst I would normally go for a white lasagna, this is easier to make, lasts longer and doesn’t take up nearly as much of my time. Did I say it tastes and smells gorgeous? No. Well it does. Don’t take my word for it, make it yourself. Fill your home full of the scent of this delicious soup, then crack open a window and tease your neighbours with it!

Cheesy Alfredo with Peas and Kale

cheesy alfredo with kale and peas - recipes - appliance city

Happening upon this recipe by Pink Theory was the best thing to happen to me on a Monday. It literally had me at the words “Cheesy Alfredo”. I mean just the thought of Alfredo has my mouth watering. This recipe can easily be made uniquely for your tastes. I happen to substitute spinach for kale. I just like spinach a bit more than the bitter taste of kale. You can also mix in a bit of mushrooms, maybe some red pepper for spice or a bit of red onion. The options are endless. But the fact remains, this recipe is a winner no matter which way you make it.

Chilli Polenta Pot Pie

Recipes with a twist - chili polenta pie - appliance city - recipes

Take your typical pot pie and put a Mexican twist on it and you have this beaut from Potluck. It’s no secret, my favourite type of food is Mexican. I love polenta and mixing it with a fire roasted chilli was genius! It’s almost like my mum’s chilli topped with warm jalapeno spiced corn bread. Perfect for individual portions as it reheats nicely for a lunch!

Oreo Chocolate Mousse Tart

Recipes with a twist - chocolate tart - recipes - appliance city

Bless my chocolate lovin’ heart. This recipe has all the makings of a perfect Sunday afternoon dessert. Who doesn’t love chocolate, and if you say me, we are so not friends. I love chocolate and this recipe from Baking Equals Love is the epitome of chocolate heaven. It has a crispy, crispy chocolatey crust and the middle is silken chocolate. Nothing could be better. Why not try it tonight?

So have you figured out what the twist is yet? No? These recipes look like they are absolutely delicious don’t they? They all are filling, full of flavour and perfect for any family. But here’s the kicker. They are all VEGAN, some are even gluten, dairy and/or egg free. In my last vegan post there were too many nay sayers who immediately turned down the recipes because they were vegan. Look past the word vegan, and try something new. You’ll never know what you’ll like until you try!

Cleaning your home is never the most glamorous job, but with these handmade cleaners it can be safer and more eco-friendly.

The products we tend to buy in our local shops are harsh. They are dangerous for our pets, children and ourselves. The harsh agents in these cleaning products aren’t really what makes them work, so why not make our own? Cleaners that work just as good, but are safe for our families and homes.

Dishwasher Tabs

Cleaning Products that are safe - Appliance City - Dishwasher Tabs

Making your own dishwasher tabs not only ensures that you know they are safe for your family but it will save you a ton of cash. Dishwasher tabs have to be one of the most expensive cleaning products you can buy. This trick for making your own from Easy Home Made costs a fraction of the price and uses ingredients that you won’t mind cleaning the dishes you and your family eat off of.

Furniture Polish

Handmade ecofriendly cleaning products - handmade polish - appliance city

Made with only three ingredients, this handmade polish from Pins and Procrastination is absolutely perfect. It keeps your furniture shining and dust and germ free, plus the lemongrass extract gives it an amazing smell. Make your own polish and I can bet you never go back to store bought polish again. I mean, who wants all those nasty chemical ingredients when they can have this lovely, family friendly, green one?

Laundry Pods

Handmade Laundry Pods - EcoFriendly - Appliance City

Do we even know what is in those little laundry pods we all buy from the supermarket? Sure they smell good, but what exactly are we washing our clothes in? Does it make our clothes wear faster? Does it have built in stain remover? Who knows.

This “recipe” for handmade laundry pods from Pop Sugar is absolutely brilliant. Not only are they completely green, they have a built in stain remover and make your laundry smell awesome! No seriously. You choose your own scent by adding your own favourite essential oils. Essential oils have several purposes and smelling incredible is just a bonus. They last for ages and with the essential oils you can rest assured your laundry still has that fresh scent even two weeks after being washed. No, that doesn’t include wearing them!

Bathroom Cleaner

homemade bathroom cleaner - ecofriendly cleaning products - appliance city

This is no ordinary bathroom cleaner. As you know, the cleaners you tend to purchase in the supermarket don’t actually clean all parts of your bathroom. That spray that has a tangy, chemical odour might be ok to wash down the sink and toilet but does nothing for the tile, grout or shower doors. Well, we’ve found the fix for all of it. This “recipe“, once again from Pop Sugar is brilliant for getting your tile, grout and all surfaces of your bathroom looking squeaky clean. Our only question, who is this Pop Sugar and can we get some of their cleaning / mastermind / inventive brains?!

Need an eco-friendly way to clean your oven? Check out our oven cleaning guide.

If you have you own make at home cleaning recipes, why not share them with us? We’re always looking for ways to go green, save money and make the world a safer place for our family.

By special request, we’re doing a waistline loving recipe guide for the season. Whether you’re doing Slimming World or Weight Watchers or just watching your weight, these recipes will be perfect when dishing up holiday meals for the family. Watching your weight doesn’t have to mean missing out on all our favourite holiday flavours, goodies or delicious culinary delights.

Please note: We have no affiliation to Slimming World or Weight Watchers just friends who partake!

Healthy Breakfast

Slim Down for the Holidays - Recipes - Healthy French Toast - Appliance City

The perfect day always starts with the perfect breakfast, holidays are no exception. During the holidays kids are home from school and it’s just so much easier to cook for everyone instead of something for you (dieting) and something for everyone else. This recipe from Every Miles a Memory is the perfect way to make a super sweet breakfast a healthy option for the holidays. Removing the yolks of the egg, removes quite a bit of the caloric intake and cholesterol.

Topping it with fresh fruit adds a bit of the sweet taste that is common with french toast. If the kids want a bit more they can always have maple syrup or treacle topping theirs and yours is still healthy and diet friendly!

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

Slim down Season - Recipes - Appliance City - Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

Doing lunch was never this tasty when I was on a diet! Typically, the lunches that you make yourself when you’re watching your weight aren’t something you would expect your children to eat. Dry tuna? Grapefruits? We’ve all been there. This recipe from Red Online is one you’ll be proud to serve the whole family and they won’t mind eating it either.

Full of colourful vegetables and smokey Moroccan spices, this tagine is perfect for lunch or tea. It’s even better the next day if there are leftovers, of course.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

Slim down for the season - recipes - appliance City - honey roasted butternut squash

Christmas dinner just got a whole lot healthier with this beautiful side dish from Peas and Crayons. The honey roasted butternut squash is perfectly complemented by the tartness of the cranberries and the creaminess of the feta. I’d even serve this atop a salad as a lunch, with maybe a vinaigrette dressing. Unless your children love to try new things, it may not be on the top of their list, but the adults won’t mind noshing on this one bit.

Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Slim down for the season - recipes - appliance city - thai curried butternut squash soup

This soup looked too good to pass up. Cookie + Kate have seriously outdone themselves on this one. Whether you are serving it for lunch, dinner or as a starter at Christmas your guests will be tantalised by the amazing flavours in this fragrant soup.

Don’t leave this recipe just for the holidays. If you’re watching what you eat this is the perfect lunch meal. It reheats nicely and always tastes brilliant.

Chicken Cranberry Sweet Potato Skins

slim down season - recipes - appliance city - chicken and cranberry stuffed sweet potato skins

Love twice baked potatoes or those nifty potato skin appetisers at restaurants? Make your own healthier (and less greasy) version this holiday season. This recipe from Amy’s Healthy Baking is an enticing treat, palate perfected with a unique layer of flavours. First you have the savoury sweet potato, then you have the bite of spinach and the tang of cranberries. It’s finished off with delightful chicken pieces  or leftover turkey and sensuous cheese. All the flavours of the season in one bite. I know I can’t resist.

Winter holidays just aren’t complete without an amazing dessert. Watching your weight doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a sweet treat, it just means you need to ensure there is a healthy dessert option at the ready!

Double Dark Chocolate Coconut Pie

Slim down for the season - Recipes - Appliance City - Double Dark Chocolate Coconut Pie

Picture this, a fantastic, utterly tantalising dessert that is no bake, refined sugar free, gluten free and vegan. What would that dessert look like to you? Like this one? I hope so because this exquisite double chocolatey goodness is all of the above. I found this on Feel Great in 8‘s blog, where most of her foods are the above, real food, no preservatives and healthy. I wanted to find a dessert that my cousins daughter could eat because she has so many allergies and this one is great! She won’t feel like she’s missing out on any of the holiday goodies and her mum won’t need to worry about her having a reaction. Plus, adults can partake and not worry about their waistlines because it’s all natural and good for you.

Do you have a go to Slimming World recipe? A Weight Watchers winner? Share it with me and I’ll feature it on one of our upcoming blogs for Christmas.

Who ever came up with this idea to have a nachos day is brilliant! Crunchy nachos, gooey warm cheese, spicy jalapenos and savoury guacamole makes everything in the world seem just right, if only for a few minutes.

The perfect snack or appetiser, nachos are the spicy answer to all your hunger needs. But wait! I’ve been fumbling around on the interwebs and found *shockingly!* that there are other ways to make nachos. I’ll share a few with you all, tell me what you think. Yay or Nay? Is it just sacrilege to make nachos any other way but the traditional way?

BBQ Chipotle Chicken Nachos
Nacho Day - Recipes - Appliance City - BBQ Chicken Chipotle Nachos

I came across this recipe from Lemons for Lulu when searching for “nachos big enough for a full meal”. I know, I know! Nachos are supposed to be snack food, but this recipe goes way beyond the munchies to full on hunger satisfying. Chicken, black beans and delicious cheese combined with spicy salsa and chipotle seasonings gives you a good does of your 5 a day with a kick of flavour that your tastebuds will thank you for.

While I know the cheeses are either impossible to buy here in the UK or very difficult (if you know where I can get some let me know!) there are great substitutions. Monterey Jack and Gouda can be substituted by white cheddar and sharp cheddar mixed, then add a smokey cheese. Voila, it’s the closest you can get to those American cheeses.

Fluffernutter Apple Nachos

Nacho Day - Recipes - Appliance City - Fluffernutter Apple Nachos

Holy Batman! Those aren’t nachos, they’re apples! Someone is confused, that would be me by the way. These “nachos” from Inside Bru Crew Life make my inner child smile. Growing up I was a huge fan of fluffernutter sandwiches. Don’t know what they are? It’s marshmallow fluff and peanut butter, incredibly tasty and equally bad for you. This recipe will be every child’s favourite dessert. Apple slices topped with drizzled creamy peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and halved peanut butter cups. Perfect for parties or a sweet treat for family time, I’m definitely making this for my little ones.

Carne Asada Nachos with Avocado Pico de Gallo

Nacho Day - Recipes - Appliance City - Carne Asada Nachos

Is there anything more delicious than carne asada steak? Probably, but I can’t think of anything at this moment. These nachos are the exquisite combination of smokey carne asada steak, spicy pico de gallo and smooth, creamy avocado. I Wash You Dry has created the perfect combination that I would be happy to serve this dish as a main at dinner or during parties or barbecues. If you’re looking for a cure for your Mexican craving, this recipe will definitely be the cure.

Sweet Potato Nachos

Nacho Day - Recipes - Appliance City - Sweet Potato Nachos

Have 25 minutes and these five ingredients? Then you have everything you need to make these yummy sweet potato nachos from Hola Jalapeno. I’d call these something more like loaded sweet potato fries, but we’ll go with nachos – depending on how crunchy they are. Nothing worse than some soggy nachos!

Smoked cheddar, black beans, sweet potato and coriander – just the sound of putting them together makes my mouth water. Have a small dish of sour cream to hand for dipping or even some pico de gallo. Either way you won’t be let down with this sweet, savoury dish.

Slow Cooker Beefy Nacho Soup

Nacho Day - Recipes - Appliance City - Beefy Nacho Soup

Tis the season for soup…..and nachos! Why not have both? In this recipe from The Recipe Critic you get the best of both worlds. Heart warming soup and delicious, crunchy nachos. Sounds like a match made in culinary heaven. Besides the fact it tastes out of this world good, it can be made in a slow cooker! So perfect when I walk in the door and “Hello! Dinner!” instead of “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Of course The Recipe Critic also includes the recipe to make on the stove top if you are so inclined. This is so good, you just might want to keep the recipe to yourself.

Nach-o day, Nacho Day! Get it? Not your day, Nacho Day!? Yes? No. Nevermind. It’s Nacho Day, get dipping, crunching, crumbling, crisping and cracking. Enjoy every bite.

National Vegan Month definitely isn’t one we can all relate to, but why can’t we try? Put yourself in the shoes of your vegan friends and try one of these super healthy, delicious vegan recipes. You don’t have to make a lifestyle change, just a menu change this month!

Soy Free Vegan Benedict

Vegan Recipes - Appliance City - Soy Free Vegan Benedict

Having a breakfast that is planet friendly and animal byproduct free was never so easy. You could always eat a bowl of fruit but why would you when you can make this amazing recipe from Keepin’ it Kind?

Whilst the sauce does look a bit too thick for my taste, the author of the recipe vouches that it can be made a bit thinner to resemble original hollandaise sauce (animal free of course). What I love about this recipe is the shiitake bacon, voila mushrooms do have amazing uses! I also love the thick chickpea patty. Making chickpea patties are relatively easy and what’s great about them is the ability to add different spices to them to make them perfect for any dish. Play around with it, make it a Mexican vegan Benedict or a Greek one, the options really are endless.

Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas

Vegan Recipes - Vegan enchiladas - Appliance City

Looks delicious doesn’t it? Vegan food isn’t all about raw, salads or tofu; you can have amazing hot lunches and still be animal byproduct free (not to mention tasty). I happen to love South American / Mexican food, so this recipe from the Binary Vegan was right up my alley.

This dish is incredibly easy to make – including the homemade enchilada sauce. What’s perfect? It’s even better the next day, so it’s perfect for a leftover lunch! Your peers will be dying for a bite, but I’m not sharing.

Spicy Thai Quinoa Salad

Spicy Thai Coconut Quinoa Salad - Vegan Recipes - Appliance City

Whomever said tofu doesn’t taste amazing has never tried this beautiful Thai recipe from ChowHound. Imagine all those lovely bowls of Thai food that you can get at Wagamama, then imagine eating them at home, in front of the telly watching Strictly or Corrie. Heaven, that’s what I call that. The fact that this is eco and animal friendly makes it that much easier to enjoy.

Lemon and Lavender Cheesecake

Vegan Recipes - Lemon and Lavender Cheesecake - Appliance City

Ok, I’m not saying that desserts will save the world, but this one is a great step in the right direction! This recipe from One Green Planet isn’t your typical cheesecake, though you’d never know the difference. I love the fresh flavours that come together beautifully in this vegan dessert recipe. I never thought to put lavender in a cheesecake, I mean it’s perfect in sweet cocktails so why not? So you’re probably wondering, how is this a “cheesecake” without the cheese? Well you can’t technically class this with cheesecakes because it’s essentially made from cashews and coconut oil among other things, but its creamy and delicious. Give it a try!

You don’t need to go vegan forever, but why not support the planet for one day this year and give one or all of these recipes a try? What would it hurt? Definitely not the planet or your waistline!

Tricks, treats and fun, freakish eats! Halloween is the perfect holiday to try new dishes, dress up ultra fancy and decor your house to a home of horror. I have to admit, Halloween is one of my favourite times of year. My kids get the most excitement out of decorating the outside of our house to scare their friends when it’s time for trick or treating, plus they love to make fun halloween recipes the whole week up until the day.

Did you know that Halloween is also National Toffee Apple Day? Well it is. But of course I couldn’t do an entire post on toffee apples, well I could have but then I’d be missing writing about Halloween! So it’s all going into one. Toffee Apples are delicious and not just for fun fairs, make them at home, add your own toppings or use chocolate instead of toffee  and give those out instead of candy for trick or treating.

My favourite toffee / chocolate apples are incredibly easy to make and more importantly my kids love to get in on the fun! Adding smarties, hundreds and thousands, nuts, crushed Maltesers, popcorn or crushed biscuits to the outsides of their apples makes it all the more fun.

Toffee Apples with Toppings

Recipes - Toffee Apples - Halloween

Toffee apples have to be the easiest most fun way to celebrate Halloween. I’m not a big fan of giving out loads and loads of chocolate miniatures or bags of sweeties when I know that the kids would much rather have something like this. Side note: I only do this for the children in my neighbourhood where we all know each other. I wouldn’t suggest taking an unwrapped treat of any kind from strangers. If you aren’t close with your neighbourhood then this might just be the perfect addition to your families Halloween party. For go the piñata and go for this fun way to entertain the kids and give them something sweet that is tailored to every child.

For the easiest way to make toffee apples I found this recipe on WikiHow.

Easy Halloween Decor – DIY Style

Halloween decorations can cost a bomb, and if you work or have school aged children when do you have the time to go all out and decorate your garden / home? I don’t have an extra minute in my day let alone a few hours. So with this being one of the biggest kiddy holidays I get them involved. I found this awesome Window Monsters DIY Halloween Decoration from and just had to give it a go. I made a few short amendments that made mine a bit spookier but that was up to what my kiddies wanted. Make yours just how you want them as well.

Window Monsters - DIY -Decor

These are so cute, and not so scary, so the kids will love helping to make them. My few changes were to add tissue paper where there were eyes, so that they glowed a bit from the back lighting. I also didn’t leave the entire room light on, instead we chose to use battery operated candles so it glowed behind them making them more spooky. It’s fab when people drive by and see them, then they drive by again real slow.

Floating Candle Ceiling

Appliance City - Halloween Ghoulish treats and tricks

Did your kids (or you) love the floating candle great hall scene from Harry Potter? Then they will love this DIY Halloween Decor idea from Eating Bender. This would make the ultimate halloween party decor for children or adults. For an adult party it gives great ambiance and for a kids party I mean Hello! Harry Potter themed kids party was my kids dream for years. Little do they know our conservatory is becoming the great hall on Saturday and it will be a fantastic surprise. Super easy to replicate using LED lights, cardboard rolls and white paint; do this for a birthday party or really any party.

DIY Kids Halloween Costumes

Halloween costumes are a big discussion point in my house right now. There have been several news items regarding the costumes that are purchased in stores being a fire hazard and I’m not taking any chances with my babies. When there are pumpkins around with candles inside there is no reason why I would even chance something horrible happening. So this year, we’re going DIY.

Voodoo Doll 

Sorry for the lack of imagery here, no pics of my babies in costume until after the day and using pictures of someone elses kids just seems out of sorts. So i’ll try to paint a visual picture for you so that you might be able to use this to make your kids a fun, safe costume.

My daughter decided on a voodoo doll as her Halloween costume after seeing some posted on Pinterest. This one was a lot of fun to create and she is definitely excited to show her friends at the party on Saturday.

Creating the outfit:

  • Red and white stripped tights
  • White Dress
    • Red felt heart cut out and sewn over the heart on the dress. I also sewed on white pipe cleaners with red puff ball ends to resemble needles.
    • Permanent market stitches on the tights and bodice of the dress.
    • Face paint with stitching over the mouth and fake needles in the hair

It’s a girly and fun outfit, but would be perfect for a boy dressed in white trousers and a white long sleeve top. It’s also a great adult Halloween costume, really it just is what you make it. Get creative!

Minecraft Steve

My youngest (8) is all about Minecraft right now. We’d already purchased for him the diamond sword and pickaxe, which are actually foam and do absolutely nothing but he loves them. I have to admit, I don’t exactly understand Minecraft but I’m more than happy to build and mine with him to his delight. So this year we found an online tutorial for a Minecraft Steve costume.

Appliance City - All Hallows Eve

This costume is seriously easy to make all you need is a printer, a box the size of your child’s head, paper that is poster sized A3 will work and cardboard. Use a blue t-shirt so he looks like him and cut out the holes for eyes. Voila, your mini me is a mini Steve.

Here at Appliance City we’d like to wish you and your family a safe and Happy Halloween.

I really think that this should have been my birthday in some alternate universe. 

Pumpkins are fantastic gourds. They are the original halloween decoration, the perfect soup ingredient, fun to carve, perfect for pies and the seeds are addictive. There are so many things you can do with pumpkins this time of year, not just set it on your steps and let it get mushy!

Painting Pumpkins

National Pumpkin Day - Pumpkin treats and tricks - appliance city

Carving your pumpkin can be a serious mess. A fun way to get the kids involved, with no knives and pumpkin guts is to paint the pumpkins. These pumpkins from Parent Map are the perfect example of how creative your children can be with their own pumpkins.

Pumpkin Carving

National Pumpkin Day - Pumpkin Carving - DIY - Appliance City

I’m definitely not the best pumpkin carver in the world. I think the best I’ve ever done was cut a big hole in one, fill it with ice and stick a bottle of wine in the pumpkin. Voila, table decoration a la adult halloween party. Pumpkin carving is a lot of fun with the kids, though it can be quite daunting trying to get one to actually look like something resembling a face. The easiest trick I found was to do the following:

  1. Cut the top of the pumpkin off and clean out the insides (keep the seeds for later)
  2. Find a pumpkin face stencil and trace it on to your pumpkin or draw a face that you would like on your pumpkin
  3. Cut out along the lines of the stencil
  4. Clean up the insides and make sure there aren’t any bits hanging down
  5. Place a votive or tea light candle inside – or in our case we use a battery operated candle so it is safe and lasts a good few weeks

This way your kids can choose whatever design they want to see lit up on your pumpkin and having something to trace makes it a lot easier. Just make sure your knife is very sharp and not serrated. Serrated knives seem to make carving a bit more difficult when you’re trying to make a design or face.

If you don’t have access to the real deal you can always make pumpkin crafts with the kids and decorate the house with them for Autumn. Fun crafts for half term will keep them busy and your house will suddenly be very festive.

Pumpkin Recipes

Of course I’m going to include all sorts of ways you can use pumpkins for things other than decoration. Pumpkins are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals and it helps that they taste fantastic either sweet or savoury.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chilli

Appliance City - Recipes - Pumpkin Chilli

I love recipes that both contain pumpkin and I can make them in my slow cooker. Coming home to dinner already prepared is a mothers vision of happiness. Now if only the dishes would do themselves!

This recipe for Pumpkin Chilli is simple and easy to make. If you are making it as a family meal you may want to omit the jalapenos as children aren’t as keen to eat them as some adults. My Vega has touted this recipe as a vegan one but there is nothing stopping you from adding minced turkey (which is what we did) to bulk it out a bit. We also added cheese to the top and serve it over my family recipe cornbread. It’s one of the recipes I look forward to making every Autumn because when you smell it in the house you know Christmas is well on its way.

Spicy Pumpkin Pasta

spicy pumpkin pasta - recipes - national pumpkin day - appliance city

Pumpkin goes savoury again in this recipe from HGTV. Pumpkins are definitely famous for being made into exceptionally good pies and lattes, but there is so much more that a pumpkin can do. Take this amazing spicy pumpkin pasta for starters. This dish is incredibly simple to make yet tastes so much more complex. There are fresh flavours like mint and hazelnuts combined with pumpkin and parmesan. Think it wouldn’t work? It does, fantastically.

My variation on this recipe is to forgo putting it all together into one dish. Instead, I puree all ingredients (apart from the pasta) together. I then stuff either tortellini or ravioli with the puree. I top it with a pumpkin Alfredo sauce. The sauce is incredibly easy to make:


  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 235ml Cream
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed / minced
  • 100g parmesan cheese
  • 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • 1tbsp olive oil

Combine the olive oil and garlic in a pan and saute’ over low/medium heat, but don’t let it go brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat through until the cheese is melted. Voila, pumpkin Alfredo sauce. If you want it a bit runnier, add stock to the sauce.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies - recipes - national pumpkin day - appliance city

Until National Pumpkin Day came along and I started doing research for pumpkin recipes I had never heard of a pumpkin chocolate chip. Oh have mercy on my waist line I can’t wait to try these. Don’t like pumpkin or chocolate then these aren’t for you, but I’m ok with that because that means more for me! This recipe from My Paper Crush is my new favourite recipe and the next one on my must try list.

In the UK we don’t have vegetable shortening per say. It is sold in stores as vegetable fat (solid) but you can substitute butter if you can’t get hold of this ingredient. The texture of the cookie will be a little bit different without the shortening but will still taste lovely.

It’s National Pumpkin Day, so get celebrating! Decorate your home, fill it with the smells of yummy pumpkin meals. Whatever you do, make it a day to remember with your family.

Ok, so if you have a peanut allergy this may not be your most favourite day of the year. If you don’t well you’re in luck! I’ve scoured the world wide web and countless recipe books to serve up some fantastic dishes that contain everything from peanuts to brazil nuts and all sorts of nuts in between.

To keep in tradition with other “Days of the Year” posts I’ll feature a recipe with nuts for every meal of the day then throw in a few extras just for good measure.

Sweet Morning Potato with Yogurt, Maple Syrup and Nuts

Appliance City - Recipes - Sweet Potato with Yogurt and Nuts

I know what you’re thinking “Kat….sweet potatoes for breakfast, you’re really taking this too far!” But hear me out. Sweet potatoes are awesome. They are versatile and can be savoury or sweet. We can have sweet potato pie or sweet potato fries, they are the heaven of root vegetables. This recipe from TheKitchn changed my outlook on sweet potatoes from a lunch / dinner ingredient to something I would definitely be happy to eat for breakfast.

This recipe involves baking a sweet potato and topping it with vanilla or plain yogurt, maple syrup and your choice of nuts. I added a pinch of cinnamon to mine and just a tiny bit of butter. It is a seriously filling breakfast but will need some prior preparation because who has the time to bake potatoes in the morning before work. The author of the blog also gives you tips on how to heat up pre-baked sweet potatoes in the morning so you can easily have this fresh at your desk at work or whilst reading the paper with a hot cup of joe in the morning.

Olympic Power Salad

Appliance City - Recipes - Olympic Power Salad

Kick your lunch up a notch with the Olympic Power Salad from Get Me Cooking. This is the ultimate salad for that midday slump on a Monday afternoon. When you need a bit of a pick me up the amount of protein and energy in this lunch is powerful. Packed with chicken, blueberries, lettuce, walnuts and seeds it tastes as delicious as it is nutritious. It’s super quick to make so whipping a few of these up for your work week lunches is a cinch. Get packing!

Thai Chicken with Cashews

Appliance City - Recipes - Thai Chicken with Cashews

That looks absolutely spectacular. Unfortunately, my husband is allergic to nuts so serving something with nuts for tea is out for me. Thai food is one of my favourites, this recipe from The Wanderlust Kitchen looks like it would quickly become something I’d eat all the time. Made with two different soy sauces and fish sauce it has all the classic flavours of your restaurant Thai dish minus the lemongrass. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, instead of going for a takeaway why not make this as a fakeaway and share your experience with me? I’ll live vicariously through your recipe reviews!

Olive Oil and Almond Cake

Appliance City - Recipes - Olive Oil and Almond Cake

When I was a teenager I attempted to make a box cake when my mother wasn’t home. When I say teenager I mean 12, literally. Well we had no vegetable oil in the house to speak of so I thought it would be a good idea to substitute olive oil in the box cake. Wow, what a mistake and it was the grossest cake I’d ever had. Lesson learned. I came across this recipe from Food and Spice that told me “hey, put some olive oil in this cake”. I was dubious after my previous experience with olive oil in a cake but surprise, surprise it came out blissfully wonderful. Almonds are my favourite nut, they are perfect in just about anything. They can go sweet or savoury and add just that little bit more protein. This recipe would be perfect with a cup of Earl Grey first thing in the morning, hold the milk and sugar because this cake has plenty. Don’t take my word for it, make it yourself! It’s like chocolate and chillies, once upon a time we all thought that combination was a bit of a nutter (pun intended).

Celebrate this world nut day with everything from peanut butter and jam sandwiches to peanut brittle. As long as you partake you’ve got a reason to celebrate!

Reading in the Metro this morning I saw that this is supposed to be the coldest winter in Britain in over 80 years. They say to expect over 36 days of snow and ice and record setting low temperatures. My response? Yes! I get to make loads of soup! Guess I better buy a new freezer to put all these leftovers in.

Typically this time of year you can find potato and leek soups, tomato basil soups and broccoli and cheese soups as common menu items in local restaurants. I wanted to showcase different soups that you may not have thought of to bring a bit of a different taste to your palette and a refreshing change to your soup routine.

Spanish Potato, Garlic and Chorizo Soup

Potato Garlic and Chorizo Soup - Recipes - Appliance City

This soup doesn’t just look delicious; the smell and taste are exquisite. This morning I awoke to the rain absolutely hammering it down, the wind was whipping up a gale and all I could think is “I’m going to freeze today”. Straight into the crock pot when this beautiful soup from Food and Travel. It isn’t meant to be made in a slow cooker, but I have a full time job, go to school and hot yoga, I don’t have time everyday to commit to making a full on meal. So this baby went in my trusty slow cooker. I’m cooking it low and slow, but following the normal recipe the chorizo comes out a bit more crisp than it would in a slow cooker. Either way you get the lovely creaminess of the potato, smokey spiciness of the chorizo and the lush hint of white wine. It is beautiful and perfect for a winter date night in.

Rustic Parsnip Soup

Rustic Parsnip Soup - Recipes - Appliance City

So many people are put off by the parsnip. It isn’t a traditionally delicious root vegetable when served on it’s own, though I do love them roasted or prepared like chips. In this soup by Petit World Citizen the parsnip is joined by Jerusalem artichokes (Sunchokes), pear, walnut and coconut milk. It is a beautiful curried soup that has complex flavours that even the most picky palette will love. When it comes to preparation don’t be confused and think that jerusalem artichokes can be substituted for regular artichokes, they aren’t even related. If you can’t find this elusive root vegetable you are better of substituting with something like a potato since the consistency is relatively close, though the taste is different. I added a fresh slice of garlic ciabatta bread for dipping, because what soup doesn’t deserve a good dipping bread?

Split Pea Soup with Portobello Mushrooms

Split Pea Soup with Portobello Mushrooms - Recipes - Appliance City

Split pea soup doesn’t tend to be a favourite in many households. Mine isn’t included among those. Probably because split pea and ham is one of my favourite soups of all time. This one just might knock that off the top spot though because what do I love more than pea soup, mushrooms, put them together and it’s heaven in a bowl. Food and Wine deliver this beaut of a recipe that takes just under an hour to prepare. Finished with the sauteed mushrooms and fresh parmesan and you have a decadent soup that you’ll want to eat day after day.

My only suggestion that might make this a bit better, and it may just be my love of bread, but it would be to serve it in a rustic bread bowl. The flavours of the split peas soaking into the bread to be eaten after is absolutely delicious and would make more filling for someone who prefers meat in their soup.

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Stew

Appliance City - Recipes - Mexican Chicken Stew

I come from the southern states in the US, where there is an abundance of Mexican restaurants. No, I’m not talking about Taco Bell but the real deal, family run restaurants with amazing soups and stews like this one. Making this stew reminds me of home and when I smell all the delicious aroma when I walk in the door from work it makes me feel all warm inside even though I haven’t even touched a bite. Sweet Peas and Saffron have hit the nail on the head with this fabulous recipe. It has all the essences of Mexican food in a simple recipe that makes your life simpler by being made in your slow cooker.

If you were in the US, I would definitely follow the recipe to a T. But being in the UK, it’s been very difficult for me to find a “salsa” that actually tastes like salsa should. So a substitution is called for. Now either you can grab a can of chopped tomatoes with chillies and throw them in. If you have a small food processor or are good with a knife I’d suggest my pico de gallo recipe to throw in there.

Kat’s Killer Pico de Gallo:


  • 3 Large Tomatoes – chopped
  • 1 Avocado – peeled and diced
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic – minced
  • Handful of Fresh Coriander – chopped
  • 3 Jalapenos  (can use red chillies)
    • The trick to jalapenos is use more or less depending on how hot you want it. Remove all the seeds if you want it as mild as possible, and keep the seeds if you want it really spicy.
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 Lemon – Juiced
  • 1 Red Onion – can use white onion I just prefer the red ones

Chop, dice and mince everything and combine into a bowl. If you want something that is less chunky put everything into a blender and voila you have a salsa without chunks.

Now that you have your own pico de gallo come salsa you can add that to your slow cooker with your chicken, black beans and other ingredients. When you walk in the door, tea will be ready, the kids will be fed and cleanup is a cinch. Enjoy.

Zuppa Toscana

Appliance City - Recipes - Creamy Gnocci and Kale Soup

If any of you have ever visited the United States and eaten at a restaurant called Olive Garden, this soup will seem quite familiar. The recipe from Gimme Some Oven creates a soup that is nearly identical in taste which is, let me tell you, amazing. This soup is incredibly easy to make with only seven ingredients, most of which you can find in your local supermarket. The only ingredient I had a difficult time finding was the spicy Italian sausage, but I did find some good alternatives. Heck sausage has an Italian chicken sausage and Asda has an Italian inspired pork sausage. These may be hard to come by so it may be worth using pork sausage and adding spices to make up for the lack of Italian sausage. Either way the soup will be gorgeous! The sausage is definitely the main ingredient in this dish, though I happen to love the gnocchi. It’s a heavy soup so I would suggest having it as a tea rather than a lunch.

Have a favourite winter time meal? A go to meal plan for when the snow is piling up? Share it with us via email or tag us on Twitter @appliancecity.

Title Image Credit: Bojon Gourmet

Just under two weeks away is one of my favourite holidays of the year! No, there are no presents involved, just wholesome family fun with a big Halloween party. Why is it my favourite holiday of the year? I get to make some awesome culinary creations to delight and scare party-goers and it starts a few weeks before Halloween.

No party is complete without delicious foods to go with it. So take some of your ordinary party foods and make them look as if they belong in an asylum, haunted house or deserted fairground. Everyone will love them and you’ll love making them. Bonus, they aren’t candy – so they are dental and waistline friendly!

Severed Fingers in a Bun (Hot Dogs)

Appliance City - Recipes - Severed Fingers on a Bun (Hot Dogs)

These would be great at a Halloween party for kids or adults. Probably one of the grossest main Halloween meals I could find, but they are brilliant! Party Tipz brings us the severed finger, a la, hot dog in a bun with loads of tomato (blood) ketchup. A few slices and a fingernail fix and you’ll be scaring the pants off party-goers. This would also work with tofu dogs for the vegan friendly version. This takes “finger foods” to a whole new level.

Halloween Spaghetti

Appliance City - Recipes - Halloween Spaghetti

Oh my gosh, looks absolutely creepy doesn’t it. Kids will love this Halloween Spaghetti from The 36th Avenue. It is incredibly easy to make with just icing colouring found in the baking section. The pasta doesn’t dye your mouth and tastes exactly like pasta should, it just looks a whole lot creepier! Instead of olives for my eyeballs I made bread rolls, really small ones and a sun dried tomato for the iris. My kids won’t eat olives, so if yours will this is excellent and looks something like a melted alien. So even if you aren’t doing a big halloween party, you can still surprise the kiddies for tea this Halloween.

Stuffed Jack O’ Lanterns

Appliance City - Recipes - Halloween Treats

A fantastic way to bring a bit of Halloween cheer to the dinner table. Peppers stuffed with anything from spaghetti to zucchini noodles or rice. This recipe from Healthful Pursuit turns Halloween from a sugar filled candy feast to a healthy meal with all the fun. This is the perfect way to fit Halloween in if your children suffer from food allergies as they can get involved and there are no allergy worries. According to Healthy Pursuit it can be made gluten free, corn free, sugar free, yeast free, nut free or vegan. There’s a bit of something for everyone.

Fun Halloween Treats

Halloween doesn’t have to be all about buying those massive bags of sweets and packingup little goodie bags. Kids do love their sweeties, but we’ve got some fun (and sometimes healthy) alternatives that you can make for this years Halloween party. Even the kids can chip in and help make some of them.

Ghoulish Toffee Apples

Appliance City -Recipes - Poison Toffee Apples

These look absolutely fantastic. My kids would definitely find them awesome! These Poison Toffee Apples from Simply Delicious Food definitely put a ghoulish spin on the typical toffee apples. Goose Fair just ended here in Nottingham and the kids didn’t feel like they got their fill of these fun fair treats, so they’ll definitely be on our Halloween Party menu this year. The recipe is rather easy to make. It’s literally five ingredients, just make sure the apples you choose aren’t waxed or the toffee will just slip right off. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle Mummies

Appliance City - Recipes - Pumpkin Truffles no bake

I can tell you now, these are more than just a Halloween treat. Take away the red mummy eyes and you have great treats for any party, any time of year. I mean who doesn’t love pumpkin cheesecake?

These mummy pumpkin truffles from Le Creme de la Crumb are the perfect quick, no bake treat this year. They do require quite a few ingredients, but this time of year I have nearly everything already in my cupboard. Plus, you read right above, they are no bake. The baking time on the recipe actually correlates to the amount of time they need to be refrigerated. Make them ahead or as a last minute addition to any party. They are guaranteed to make the ghouls grin.

Ooey Gooey S’more Munchie Mix

Appliance City - Recipes - Golden Graham Smores Mix

I’m not sure what screams more Halloween about this dish, the s’more flavours or the nightmare of a mess. Eh, never mind the mess, the kids will love the chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker flavours in this fun gooey munchie mix from The 36th Avenue. This is an autumn staple for my family here in the UK. Without the bonfires on the weekend where we can roast marshmallows and make s’mores this is the perfect alternative. What’s even better is we can eat them from inside without venturing out in the cold!

Now, if your Halloween party is more of an adult affair, I’ve gathered up some of the spookiest cocktails I could find to delight your guests. Why serve up cervezas when you can serve up on of these?

Pumpkin Spice Margaritas

Appliance City - Recipes - Halloween Cocktail - Pumpkin Spice Margarita

If you’ve read any of my other blogs then you know that I am a lover of anything pumpkin spice and this Pumpkin Spice Margarita from Real House Moms is no exception. Until I came across this recipe I believed that margaritas were best left for beach holidays abroad in the sun. That all changed with this fun autumn alternative on the original. Perfect for the adult halloween party or even just a dinner party during the season. They are relatively easy to make and you can make the mix in bulk so you don’t have to play bartender.

The Conjuring

The Conjuring - Halloween Cocktail - Appliance City - Recipes

What a seriously spooky looking cocktail. What could be more Halloween like than Absinthe? That is the main ingredient in this Halloween cocktail from Divine Caroline. For some reason looking at this cocktail reminds me of fog in a cemetery and gives me that creepy goosebumps feeling. Sounds like the perfect juice to serve up at my party next week! Hopefully, everyone will love it as much as me.

Now remember, when you’re serving these epic cocktails with a spooky twist, please drink responsibly.



Well we have to call these hacks because how else can you describe a homemade version of your favourite big brand, coffee shop latte? A frap hack? A macchiato metaphor? Whether it is any or all of the above we’ve got some of your favourite high end coffee shop recipes, that will not only save you money but are typically better for your waistline.

The first step to an amazing Pumpkin Spice Latte or Peppermint Mocha is to have the right syrups. Typically you can purchase the basic syrups in your local supermarket but I’d rather make them homemade, because then at least I know what is going into them.

Homemade Coffee Syrup

Appliance City - Homemade Coffee Syrup - Recipes

Image Credit: A Beautiful Mess

All homemade coffee syrups have the same base:

  • 235ml Water
  • 227g Sugar

These two basic ingredients then make your simple sugar syrup. You can also make these using a sugar substitute like Stevia to make it diabetic friendly.

Now for the fun bit of making it the flavours that are to die for at the coffee shop. We’ll start with the basics like vanilla, caramel and mocha.

Vanilla Coffee Syrup


  • Vanilla pod – sliced and scraped
  • Vanilla extract (2 tbsp)

Bring the base (water and sugar) and the vanilla pod and beans to a rolling boil on the stovetop. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Once the mixture is fully cooled, run through a sieve to remove the pod and vanilla seeds. Pour into a fun container like the ones used for oil and vinegar on the tabletop. Label.

Please note: This mixture will keep for one week on the worktop and up to one month in the refrigerator. If you are keeping on the worktop ensure that the container is airtight.

Caramel Coffee Syrup

This recipe uses the base mixture, but in a bit of a different way from the above.

Start with your 227g of sugar, place it into a saucepan over medium heat. Continue to stir over low heat until the sugar starts melting. Once the sugar starts to turn brown add your 235ml boiling water (have the kettle at the ready!). If you burn your sugar, simply start over. Allow the mixture to cool, sometimes taking up to two hours and remove to an airtight container.

Life Begins with Coffee – Get Drinking!

Chocolate Coffee Syrup (Mocha)

  • Base mixture (separated)
  • 125g Unsweeted Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Mix together (thoroughly) the 227g sugar and 125g cocoa powder. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and 235ml cold water. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it thickens, typically three to four minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Allow the mixture to cool and place into an airtight container.

These syrups can be used to make your favourite lattes or frappes or added to your smoothies, ice cream or any treat.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

It’s that time of year when everyone is wanting those magnificent pumpkin spice lattes at that coffee shop that shall remain nameless. Get your own pumpkin spice fix at home with this simple syrup.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 can of Pumpkin Puree – This can be found in Tesco’s, Waitrose or Cosco if you’re lucky enough to have a card.
  • 50g Brown Sugar (Billington’s works best and can also be found at Tesco)
  • 2 Tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
  • A tiny pinch of Nutmeg (Be careful, too much and it’s overpowering)
  • 235ml Water

Combine all ingredients into a saucepan in whisk over medium heat. Once fully combined reduced to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool before removing into an airtight container.

This way you can pumpkin spice anything in your life!

These are my favourite coffee syrups I like to keep on hand at home. Coffee syrups can cost a bomb and are normally full of all sorts of preservatives, so I prefer to make them myself. If you need sugar free versions of these, just send us a message and I’ll see what I can do.

While it isn’t summer, I might as well share my favourite cold coffee recipe. I absolutely love an iced caramel macchiato and they are even better when you don’t have to get dressed to go to get one! Enjoy one of these out on the patio this summer.

Iced Caramel Macchiato

Appliance City - Iced Caramel Machiatto - Recipes

One of my favourite summertime drinks (I’m a coffee addict and not afraid to admit it) is the Caramel Machiatto from Grace and Salt. The recipe calls for almond milk but I use coconut milk in mine because the aftertaste of almond milk just doesn’t agree with my palette. The taste is a bit different than what you would expect with almond milk or normal milk, but so good! You can also use full fat or skimmed milk in this recipe to make it your own.

Image Credit: Pocket Change Gourmet

Coffee doesn’t have to be hot, it can be whatever temperature you want it. Just remember it’s best served with cake!

In the mood for cake? Try one of these dessert recipes from our Macmillan Cancer Coffee Morning!