Fresh Content: Buying Food Machinery For The First Time

I’ve got a slightly different post today to do with food machinery – not something I’m that familiar with but interesting nonetheless.

When it comes to food production, there is a broad assortment of machines to choose from. You need to choose your food production machinery with a great amount of care, as this is something that will have a massive impact on quality and productivity levels at your business. Keeping that in mind, in this post we are going to provide you with all of the information you need to know when it comes to buying the best machine for you.

What should you consider when buying food production machinery?

New or second hand? – There is only one place to begin, and this is by determining whether you should opt for a new machine or one that is second-hand. The latter option can be extremely beneficial, as it gives you the opportunity to invest in a type of machine and/or model that you otherwise would not be able to afford. However, if you go for a used machine, you do need to acquire it from a credible retailer, as you don’t want to run the risk of anything going wrong. 

Efficiency levels – Efficiency is a factor that is of paramount importance when shopping for food production machinery for your business. You want to be sure that the machine is going to speed up the production process, so that the effects can be felt at your business in terms of enhanced output and consequently increased sales. 

Price – Price is a pivotal factor when buying any product for your business. However, you should not simply go for the first machine you lay your eyes on. You need to choose with care. Consider the other aspects first and then let price be the final determining factor.

Read reviews – You should read reviews that have been left by previous customers. This is the best way to get an honest insight into the machine that you are considering purchasing and to make sure the company has a good reputation in the food services industry. If people have generally not been satisfied, you can rest assured that they will have taken to the Internet to express their annoyance, and this is something you should be able to pick up on with ease.

Credible retailer – Last but not least, it is always a good idea to purchase the machine from a credible retailer. Not only will this improve your chances of benefitting from a quality machine, but it will also ensure that help is available in regards to maintenance and servicing as well. 

To conclude, there is a lot that needs to be considered when you are looking for machinery for your food production needs. However, if you carefully contemplate the points that we have mentioned, you should find it much easier to locate the machinery that you require for your needs. Take the time to do your research and assess the different options that are out there. The Internet is a great source for all your information.

Is there an area you’re familiar with?

Have you ever worked with food?

What I’m loving lately – January

Even during Lockdown 3.0 I’m trying to keep positive and find things to make me smile, though it can definitely be quite trying at times.

Being pregnant is all well and good and there’s definitely a constant low level of excitement and anticipation, but it’s quite a long time away before I actually give birth (July-ish) and I’m actually more often feeling impending doom and waves of fear. Fear of being a parent, fear of Big Life Change, fear of lack of sleep, to name a few. All the things basically.

But anyway I DO have things that I’ve been enjoying lately so thought I’d share.

First thing’s first, having Kyle come downstairs to inform me proudly he’s learnt how to swaddle a baby is pretty damn cute.

Especially considering the “baby” in question was none other than our baby Yoda cuddly toy.

It’s fair to say that both Kyle and I are entirely clueless with anything baby related so even these titbits of knowledge are gold dust for us. I feel very overwhelmed when I try and think about all the things I don’t know (let’s not even consider the “unknown unknowns”!). I know I need to be reading books, blogs and building a solid base of knowledge but at the moment I just feel it’s too much.

I also know that there are certain strong opinions on different subjects and if I read one book am I residing myself to that opinion? Or do I read everything?? Like best ways to feed your baby, getting them to sleep, routines… argh so much! So I bit of light relief from Kyle was lovely.

And speaking of baby stuff… I was recently sent an amazing piece of art from the lovely Mary (her blog http://www.ahealthiermoo.com/).

She’s started a business creating gorgeous pieces of running art (check it out here https://www.instagram.com/runnerprints/) which she was kind enough to send me one. I love it! Definitely be going up in the nursery (currently Kyle’s study). Thank you, Mary! Perfect gift idea for a runner 🙂

Something else I’ve recently been sent was a collection of bars from Human Food.

They’re basically an organic plant-based snack bar that contains no nasties, refined sugar, artificial ingredients and (which I love) their packaging is very environmentally friendly. They don’t use plastics and it’s all recyclable and biodegradable. Not only this but throughout their organisation, they pride themselves on fair treatment and fair wage of staff. Good stuff indeed!

So what were they like? I’m not a big fan of cereal or protein bars, but these were dense chewy, relatively sweet bars that I quite enjoyed.

They advise you can just eat them as a bar (very nice, I enjoyed it with a cuppa in the afternoon), or you can even break it up and add it to smoothies or even your porridge. Love this!

The ingredients are super healthy as well so you know you’re getting a powerhouse health snack (and as pregnant woman, this was so handy when I was suffering from nausea and really need to ramp up my nutrition in easy ways when I found so many other fruits and veg unpalatable). Each bar contains things like maca, ginseng, cacao and hemp seeds, along with other goodies like turmeric, spirulina, nuts and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. So a solid, quality snack that leaves a good taste in your mouth in more ways than one.

On a slight less healthy note… we’ve also been enjoying doughnuts from the a local Southsea small business (find on Instagram @southseadonutco). For £9 they delivered three homemade vegan doughnuts to us.

They were incredible. Unfortunately due to a confusion during ordering (probably my fault to be fair) we got the wrong order. But they were more than happy to deliver us our correct order the next day to make up for it – which is incredible!

So in the end we had four salted caramel doughnuts, a Biscoff one and a cinnamon sugar one. They were SO good. I especially loved the cinnamon and Biscoff ones. If you’re local, I heartily recommend these guys. We will definitely be ordering again. Soft, melt in the mouth and vegan!

We’ve also been seriously enjoying the influx of Easter chocolate that is now in the shops. Especially the Mini Eggs Bar that has just been released. This is such a moreish and delicious chocolate bar. We have literally been buying all our local shop’s stock. One of my favourite snacks in the evening is a few rows (*cough* few being subjective) of the chocolate with a decaf black coffee. It hits the spot I tell you.

We also managed to find the Easter Egg version of it so we have that ready to go for Easter (if we can avoid the temptation of scoffing it before that is). So it’s a thick egg with Mini Eggs in it with a bag of Mini Eggs (my favourite, so so dangerous though). This Easter we’re definitely not holding back – we need good stuff like this to keep us going with all things considered.

What has been so difficult (and I know pretty much everyone feels ecavtly the same right now) is not seeing our family that often. It’s so hard. Especially being pregnant, I want to be doing all the things with them like going shopping for baby items and just not having limits to seeing them. But it is what it is and we just have to live with that right now.

But I was lucky enough to see my mum for a walk down Southsea on Sunday – no hugging, no touching, but just walking and chatting. It was lovely but also so sad. My mum works in a hospital and she knows first-hand how bad it is right now and how we just have to keep going with being safe and sensible. But it doesn’t make it easier.

We got a takeaway coffee and she enjoyed one of the salted caramel doughnuts I brought for her, which she very much enjoyed.

Next weekend I hope to do the same, but with my dad. Tag teaming the family basically! It’s all we can do right now, and it’ll just have to be enough.

How are you coping in Lockdown 3.0?

Are there any new snacks you’ve been enjoying?

** Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Human Food for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones**

Just keep swimming… or running

I realise my blog has suddenly become quite pregnancy focused. Somewhat understandable as that’s what’s currently going on right now for me, and let’s be honest there’s not much else happening anyway!

I’m now a couple of days away from 15 weeks and feeling miles better than I was during the first trimester.

Some days I get a little bit of random nausea early in the morning but mostly I’m out of the woods. Just general tiredness really. And other than the increasing size of my boobs, I pretty much look the same as before. I don’t currently have a noticeable bump. If I eat a lot in the evening (like when we get a takeaway at the weekend) it definitely pops out more, but I’m guessing this is mostly bloating and the food I’ve just eaten. By morning I’m back to “normal”.

Other than my pregnancy, Kyle and I are just pootling along through Lockdown 3.0… WFH during the week, Facetiming family and friends and then getting a takeaway or two at the weekend to keep us from going mad.

Last weekend was nice as my friend Mark was able to join me for a 10k run on Saturday morning. It was just so nice to run with someone else! I did used to run with Kyle at least once a week but he’s struggling a little with motivation (no races, no parkrun) and doesn’t particularly want to get up early in the week like I do. For me, if I don’t run in the morning I’d really struggle to go later as my motivation just dips completely.

So anyway Mark and I were able to run together and it just reminded me how easy running feels when you’re chatting away with someone. Hopefully we’ll do it again soon. He’s coming back from injury so my pregnancy pace was luckily not too slow for him! (He’s quite zippy normally).

I’m trying not to think too much about the coming months if I’m honest. Kyle and I deliberately didn’t take any holiday other than the Bank Holidays over Christmas so we could carry more holiday over to this year. The plan being that we could go on a little “baby moon” (hate that phrase) before the baby arrives.

We have to take this holiday though before the end of March and I’m panicking we won’t be able to go anywhere because we’ll still be locked down. Obviously I don’t expect us to go anywhere abroad, but I’d love to go somewhere other than Portsmouth right now! A little AirBnb, some walks, some time together just the two of us.

I’d dread that we’d have to take the holiday and be sat inside our house. I would go mad. And I don’t really want to take any holiday after March for the 2021 allocation because this is going to help boost my maternity leave pay. Argh. But it’ll be what it’ll be.

So we just work weekend to weekend and try to find little things to keep us going. Like ordering doughnuts from the local bakery. Or trying new takeaways near us.

Delicious cake from The Parade Tearooms

Or going for walks down to Southsea and getting takeaway coffees and cake.

Anything to just keep it from feeling too much like Groundhog Day.

How are you doing?

Are you planning any holidays this year?

First trimester – running and how I’ve felt

In general I think I can say I had a good first trimester.

The worst part was, by far, the nausea. At the beginning, from about five weeks to eight weeks, I felt incredibly sick. The nausea would start as soon as I woke up (or even waking me up from 4am) and then continue throughout the day until the late afternoon. I found it very hard and I’ll admit I ended up in tears a number of times, saying to Kyle I wished I could be put in a coma until the second trimester.

I wasn’t actually sick but I wonder if I had have been that would have been better. I wanted to be sick and was close a few times but it never happened. There were foods I had to immediately cut out. Foods I had been eating for YEARS suddenly became trigger foods to intense nausea.

Now eating became purely functional, which was really sad for me. I’m the kind of person who enjoys my food, looks forward to every meal and enjoys eating big meals. But suddenly that disappeared. All my usual food loves vanished. The thought of porridge made me feel so sick. At first I tried to continue to eat it and I’d just feel a bit queasy afterwards. But then quickly I couldn’t even be near it. I had to switch to a very bland scrambled egg in a warmed pitta bread.

Food was no longer about tasting good or bringing enjoyment, but about filling me up just enough. Not too much because if I ate just slightly too much (not even too much for me as I can eat A LOT, but too much like slightly past the point of just hitting satiety) I would feel rubbish for hours afterwards. Because feeling rubbish was so bad and mentally draining I just avoided anything that wasn’t plain, carby and easy to digest. It wasn’t worth trying to see if I could risk it.

The 1st thing I’d eat in a morning

I stopped eating my salads at lunch time (salads I’d been eating since I started working over 10 years ago). Vegetables quickly disappeared from my diet unless they were hidden away. Gone were the days I’d pile up the plate with broccoli and cauliflower. Nope. I remember watching Kyle eating a Dominoes – which is something I’d never eat as I’m not a takeaway pizza fan – and have such a strong desire for it. Dominoes suddenly became a staple Friday night meal.

I quickly learnt how to navigate through the day – keeping my foods simple and eating small portions spaced out. I started to get some weird cravings as well. I watched a scene on the Crown where the queen ate a Greek salad and I suddenly couldn’t think of anything else but large chunks of cucumber, olives, feta and tomatoes.

And things like cheesy chips, Wotsits, Doritos and tangy Haribo’s occupied my thoughts regularly. I couldn’t get enough. But things like ice cream, cups of tea or coffee, my usual favourite crisps and evening hot chocolate quickly disappeared.

Other symptoms were spots (delightful) and incredible feelings of tiredness. I started ot regularly have a 20-30min afternoon nap as my energy just dipped so much. Other than that, I can’t say I suffered from much else thankfully!

In terms of my running, it was incredible how quickly pregnancy affected it. Like the night before I found out I was pregnant my run was terrible. I was running going “why does this feel so hard and yet I’m not even pushing the pace?”. It was another reason I thought I was coming down with something or that my iron levels were low. I literally went from running 8min/miles nice and easy to finding 8.30s to be like sprinting. But I was just happy to still be able to run. And as soon as I realised the reason for my runs feeling hard was because I was pregnant, it became a lot easier mentally.

I also found running an escape from the nausea. It was nice to be outside with the fresh air. Amazingly I’ve managed to keep my mileage around 30 miles per week but take each run as it comes. I literally don’t care about pace anymore. I just want to be able to continue running for as long as I can. If that means going a lot slower – that’s fine! But of course I’ll listen to my body and if anything feels off or wrong, I’ll stop. And I have no ego about maintaining my mileage or speed. I’m fully prepared for everything to decrease (or potentially stop) the further along I go through this pregnancy. But so far so good!

I still love my long weekend run, but it’s not at a max of 13 miles. And sometimes I feel absolutely great afterwards and sometimes I feel utterly drained. But on the whole, I believe running is good for me and I’ve had no ill effects from it (other than the tiredness occasionally). But as my boobs become bigger I have had to buy some new bigger sports bra as the friction and tightness can cause a lot of issues!

I’m now comfortably in the second trimester at almost 14 weeks (we are week ahead of what we thought after having our NHs scan!) and I feel pretty good in general. Running is a bit easier as I have more energy. Nausea rarely crops up unless I eat something a bit off (apples are very hit and miss sadly). As I said, I’ll continue working out and running while it feels comfortable and I have no issues. I’ll take each day as it comes, with no goals or targets (i.e. pressure) in mind.

Do you have any goals for 2021?

Did you run through your pregnancy?

If you were pregnant, how did you find the first trimester?

Healthy Snack Inspiration for the New Year

I’m not one for big resolutions with the new year but I do feel the need to clean my eating up just a teeeeny bit after all the leftovers and chocolate have been on the heavy side for the last few weeks.

So here’s an article to help give some good directions on some more balanced snack ideas…

Source: Image Pexels CC0 License

Everyone loves a sweet treat, especially as a pick me up during the cold winter months. But, if cutting down on sugary snacks is one of your resolutions for the new year, then you may be on the lookout for healthier alternatives. Trying to curb your snacking can be tough, especially as everyone is spending so much time at home and within easy reach of the fridge right now! If you need some inspiration for tasty, yet healthy alternatives to your usual snacks, then why not give some of these a try?

Seeds

Seeds are an excellent choice of healthy snack to satisfy your hunger between meals. One of the best varieties of seed to snack on is pumpkin seeds. They may be small, but these tasty seeds make a perfect snack choice to keep mid-morning hunger at bay. Each seed is packed full of protein, fibre, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Vitamin B2, folate and calcium are all also contained in pumpkin seeds.

One of the best things about seeds is that they have a long shelf life, so if you are someone that often shops for health foods, but then ends up binning them because they have gone off before you have had a chance to eat them, seeds are an ideal choice.

Berries

Sometimes you need something sweet to satisfy your cravings. Berries are the perfect choice to relieve your urge for a sweet snack and are packed full of flavour. Choosing strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a mix of each will help you get your five-a-day while satisfying your sweet tooth. These berries are full of antioxidants as well as flavour, which provides many benefits to your overall health. Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation levels in the body and also help to lower bad cholesterol.

Yoghurt

Some yoghurts are full of sugar, and fat-free varieties that are promoted as ‘diet’ foods can contain sweeteners. To avoid yoghurts that are not as healthy as they seem, it is well worth reading the ingredients list carefully and opting for natural yoghurts. Choosing natural yoghurts containing live cultures can provide benefits for your digestive health. Many people believe that these live cultures can improve the balance of good bacteria in your gut. 

Smoothies

If you want to pack as many nutrients as possible into one serving at snack time, then preparing a smoothie is an excellent way to do it. Making a fresh smoothie at home enables you to fill it with many of the healthy options listed above. Adding yoghurt, berries, and seeds to your smoothie will help to fill you up and makes a perfect snack for any time, whether you are working or out and about.

Hummus

Hummus is the perfect way to enjoy a tasty and filling snack. One of the best things about hummus is that it is easy to make yourself, and is also really versatile. Use hummus as a spread, or as a dip for crudites to help you get your five-a-day.

What are your favourite snacks?

Do you like to snack between meals or just have big meals?

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?