Saturday, 28 January 2017

Baxters Souper Swap Challenge

Lunch during the working week can sometimes come and go  without any aplomb, with choices made on autopilot or with only 'hobson's choice' from the local shop or food delivery van it can be all quite groundhog day.  And there are times when you don't even bring anything in from home.

I have soup at least once a week anyway to give myself an alternative to sandwiches and salads, whether that be a home-made portion or a shop bought one.

Baxters approached me to see if I fancy stepping it up a gear and having soup more often in the week via their Souper Swap Challenge.  So I thought why not!

Easy for me, as my workplace has a microwave that I can use so having hot soup is feasible.  The first thing that came to mind was apart from having to source some crusty bread (a must!) to go with it, is that I don't have to think about where and how I'll be lunching.  Here's a can - ready to go.

So what do Baxters have on offer?  I think most people recognise it as one of the main soup manufacturers on the market and found in most shops.  They have their own Vegetarian range as well as their Hearty range which also features vegetarian flavours. 

Charts c/o Baxters

They are very keen to demonstrate the benefits their soups offer.  In addition to the variety of ranges within the brand, they include calorie scales for those that are conscious of that as well as options that are low fat and/or gluten free.  It seems there is something for everyone's dietary needs.


So I started my challenge off with Baxters Garden Pea & Mint flavour.   It was very hearty, the taste of pea came through fully with a hint of mint but it wasn't overbearing.  It's traditional, but it is a nice neutral flavour.


Baxters Lentil & Vegetable flavour again was hearty with lots of small vegetables within.  A good balance of ingredients and equally wasn't too 'lentily'.

Lastly I tried Baxters Minestrone & Wholewheat Pasta.  A flavoursome soup and the one thing I was impressed with was that the pasta came as whole shapes - like conchigliette, not just cut off pieces.  Very enjoyable.

The soups are really good especially as they come in cans.  As mentioned above, the challenge is easy to do and this time of year, some warming soup is exactly what you need.  Grab a can and go.  Also, I felt fuller for longer during the day, a typical trait of soup in general, so I was less likely to snack later on which is a good thing.

Adding commentary to the challenge's benefit, Fiona Hunter, expert nutritionist says: 

The Souper Swap Challenge is an excellent way to kick start your healthy eating regimen. A bowl of soup is a nutritious and filling lunch and has much less fat and calories than many other lunch time options, and with some types of soup contributing up to three portions of vegetables reaching your five a day target should be a doddle. The Souper challenger will also help you save time (no more queuing at the sandwich shop) and money.”

Will you take up The Souper Swap Challenge?


Disclosure:  This review was conducted following receipt of a complementary samples from Baxters.  The review was conducted honestly without bias. For further information about reviews, please see the Disclosure tab on this website.


Friday, 20 January 2017

Ukrainian Christmas Festivals

January is always very busy for me, hence I'm only now just sitting down to write.  Reason being, I have my second Christmas in January - my Ukrainian Christmas as I call it.

Through my Ukrainian parentage, my religion, Ukrainian Greek Catholic, we use the old Julian calendar, similarly to the Orthodox faith and as such when everyone else is wrapping up their celebrations, mine are starting (again).

6th January is Christmas Eve which is celebrated arguably with more ceremony than 7th January which is Christmas Day itself.  Prompted by the first star seen in the sky that evening, a 12 course pescatarian meal commences with Kutia to start with (a wheatberry, honey and poppy seed mix) and ends with a dried fruit compote known as Uzvar with plenty of hot dishes in between. 

Image:  Owner unknown, sourced from internet

The table is laid with a candle in the middle to mark the star that guided the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem, straw is scattered around the table to symbolise the straw from the manger and a straw wheat arrangement (known as a Didukh) which represents one's ancestors is placed at the end of the table.  A small gesture to remember those that are no longer with us.

Homemade Pampushky Garlic Bread
Eaten on Christmas Eve
Image:  Word In Veg Ways

Christmas Day (7th) traditionally commences with a mass at church and more feasting. 

New Year's Eve on 13th January (known as Malanka) brings about its own style of merriment with a Zabava (a dance) being held the old villages and towns in Ukraine, just like it is in a lot of the Ukrainian communities here in the UK.  (I've never left one sober....)

It all ends with Epiphany on 19th January, known as 'Jordan' (Йордан) as this marks the day that Jesus was baptised in the river Jordan.  In Ukraine, church services are held for the whole village by the riverside, ice sculptures are made in the shape of a crucifix, water is blessed which is consumed and often houses are blessed with holy water by the priest.  Some brave souls even swim in the icy cold water and with typical temperatures of -3 degrees - rather them than me!

So I always endeavour to celebrate as much as I can, hence my January is busy, busy, busy!  I do my best to make the 12 dishes, I lay the table just so, I dance my heart out on the 13th and yesterday, I sprinkled holy water around my house for Йордан.

You can understand  now why there is no way I can take part in any faddy diet or participate in Dry January!  What sort of Christmas would that be?! 

I've got the best of both worlds and I love it!