Saturday, 31 December 2011

Thanks

Thank you all for your comments to my last posting, you are all wonderful, lovely people.

I just want to wish you all a lovely and Happy New Year to each and every one who takes the time to stop off at my blog.

Love to you all xxx

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Aah, bliss

Aah, peace and quiet, bliss. Had a lovely busy Christmas. House full for the last two and a half days. Eight for Christmas lunch and 12 for Boxing day lunch. House looked like a bomb had hit it when I got up this morning! We had a fun night though.Waved goodbye to the family this morning then Hubby and I had a blitz on the house. All I plan to do now is chill! I'm going to laze around all day, read my new cook books and snooze. We shall eat leftovers as I am doing no cooking today then it's to work tonight to do a night shift.

Welcome to my new follower Anita.

See you all tomorrow : )

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

A Merry Christmas to each and every one of my followers and readers. Have a lovely day with your families whichever way you choose to celebrate Christmas.

I feel quite worn out and tired sat here blogging whilst listening to carols being sang on the TV and sipping a glass of wine. Got up after about four hours sleep after my night shift and started the food prep. Hubby had been cleaning the downstairs shower room and running last errands. Daughter No3 and Hubby helped a lot with food preparation. After hours in the kitchen daughter declared she had to sit down her legs were aching : ) Just glanced at the clock and it's officially Christmas day now. 12.02 Merry Christmas!

I've got my table ready for the big lunch. Daughters set the table.

Crockery ready to be used

My fridge full of food and not one morsel shall be wasted. I have prepared food stored in all corners of the garden, garage and house that is cool because my fridge is too full to take anymore.

So enjoy your festivities and I shall enjoy mine and be back as soon as I get a moment in these busy few days x

Friday, 23 December 2011

Thoughts of 2012


I've started to think about 2012 and the way I shop. I am getting increasingly frustrated at the silly price increases in the big supermarkets and their scheming ways at deceiving us. I'm getting to the stage I hate to give the big boys our hard earned cash so I'm making a new year resolution to rearly shop in the big supermarkets again in the new year. Now I never make new year resolutions because nobody ever sticks to them but this is one I feel so passionate about I know I will stick to it. I also want to help the local businesses and I think we should all do our bit to make sure they don't go under. I do use them but I know I can use them more.

My plan is to only buy our meat from the family butcher in the village a mile away. I do use this butcher but it is more expensive than the supermarket but the quality is great and all the meat is from local farmers. I shall buy  a few varieties of meat from the butcher each week and menu plan from there.  There's a deli/bakers in the village a mile away I can buy bits from. I am going to use a local farmers shop for all my veg. They are very cheap on potatoes ( I buy all my potatoes from them) but out of season veg can be expensive there but seasonal is really cheap. Got to start eating only seasonal veg which I'm not good at.  I will still buy my eggs from the egg farmer, they are so cheap there. I plan to use Aldi still. I find their prices rarely alter and they have great deals on their 6 fruit/veg deals each week.

Now the dilemma. Where do I buy my yeast, bread flour, Yorkshire t-bags etc when Aldi don't stock these? I could use The Co-op in the village a mile away but because it's a village store the prices are really inflated and I'm on a budget here. This is one I'm going to have to think harder about before I start this the first week of January. Any suggestions welcome.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Homemade Mc D



Firstly, welcome to my new followers, Anne and Debbie. Lovely to have you on board.

Fridges all cleaned and filled up today with my Tesco delivery. Keeping up with the ironing, don't want to end up with a massive pile to tackle after Christmas. I'm still not feeling christmassy. I'm feeling even less christmassy after my walk with the dog because the weather is so mild. Enjoying watching Christmas cookery programmes and documentaries about Christmas stuff.

Today we are having homemade beef burgers and daughter No3 has been wanting homemade onion rings with a meal for weeks now so I am making some today.

ONION RINGS

120g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
good grinding black pepper
1 egg
200ml milk
2 large onions
Breadcrumbs

Mix flour, baking powder, salt & pepper in a bowl.
Mix egg & milk in another bowl.
Slice onion and separate slices into circles. save smaller centres of onion to reuse in another dish.
Toss onion rings in the seasoned flour.
Mix egg & milk mixture into remaining flour.
Dip each onion ring in the batter then in the breadcrumbs.
Deep fry until golden brown.
Drain on kitchen paper.

The bits of leftover onion will be chopped and half added to my coleslaw,
and half added to the burger mix.
All that needs to be done now is the cooking

Better than any Mc D rubbish.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Menu plan & a busy week

I may have everything sorted that I need to buy for Christmas but it does not mean I can sit back and relax now until Christmas day. If only. Today is like a Chinese laundry here. I've had two washer loads already finished and drying on the radiators and airer. Both daughters beds have been stripped and are currently in the washer. I have done a pile of ironing and  I have shampooed the living room carpet with the carpet cleaner to freshen it up for Christmas. I still have 3 double beds to change because all the beds will be used over Christmas so lots of washing being done here. Shame Christmas is not hot here. It would make all the Christmas preparations a lot easier if it were. The 3 double beds can wait until tomorrow or Thursday, need to get this lot dry first.

MENU PLAN 19/12/11

MONDAY - Egg, chips and baked beans

TUESDAY - Homemade mince and onion pie, mash, vegetables and gravy

WEDNESDAY - casseroled chicken legs & veg, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings

THURSDAY - Homemade beef burgers, chips and homemade coleslaw

FRIDAY - Tuna pasta and homemade garlic bread

SATURDAY - Takeaway

CHRISTMAS DAY - Prawn cocktail/ pate
                                    Roast turkey/mushroom wellington, roasted carrots & parsnips,
                                    roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, sage & onion stuffing, peas,      
                                    sprouts and gravy
                                    Christmas pudding & custard/ lemon baked cheesecake

BOXING DAY -         Leek & potato soup
                                    Roast pork loin joint, apple sauce, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes,
                                    roasted carrots & parsnips, cauliflower cheese, peas and gravy
                                    Chocolate orange roulade/ pavlova

Shall have a takeaway Christmas Eve as I shall be too busy to make anything. I won't be up until the afternoon that day because I will have worked a night shift Friday night. I have a lot of food to prepare and the Christmas table to set too. Hope your Christmas preparations are going smoothly.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Hello!

Hi there, I'm back. Sorry not been posting for ages. Yet again feeling under the weather. Yet again full of cold. I seem to catch one after the other at the moment.

Well, how are the Christmas preps going in your house? Here we are all ready for the big day. Presents all bought and wrapped. Cards all posted. Decorations all up. Some food prepped and in freezer and the shopping order is done and coming later in the week.

My dining room Christmas tree

It's not really feeling very Christmassy yet to me. Hopefully as the week goes on I might get more into the feel of Christmas once I'm rid of this cold.

The weather today was lovely. Cold and frosty but a lovely sunny day.

The water to my right was frozen over and the ground was solid. I was all wrapped up against the cold
and really enjoyed the walk.

LAST WEEKS MENU

Mon - Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy
Tues - Pork loin steaks, apple sauce, boiled potatoes, veg and a creamy sauce
Wed - Fish pie, peas, carrots & broccoli
Yummy fish pie
Thurs - Sausage, mash, veg and gravy
Fri - Spaghetti bolognese &garlic bread
Sat - Chicken/tofu fajitas
Sun - Pork loin ( reduced )roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, vegetables and gravy

We had lots of dinners last week. It's that time of year when I tend to cook lots of them. I shall do next weeks plan tomorrow.

I shall sit now and watch the final of Strictly Dancing. I don't watch it on the Saturday as nobody else in the house likes to watch it so I always watch it the day after on my own. I know who won so that's spoilt my enjoyment a bit. Heard it on the bloody radio this morning. Hubby had warned me not to watch the TV news because they were talking about the winner on there so I avoided the TV only to have it blurted out on the radio!

Bye for now x

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Wet and wild!

Wow, what a wet and wild day. It was wheely bin day here today and the amount of bins blown into the roads on my walk with the dog was amazing to see. Youngest daughter wanted to go into the near town to get a few Christmas presents after school but I asked her if we could delay it as I did not fancy facing the storms and getting soaked. Dog walking today has been a" wrap up well" kind of day and "strap your hood down tight" day. So it was well and truly a day to stay in and do homely things.

A bolognese was put in the pot for tea but when we found out Daughter No2's boyfriend was staying for tea we had to have burgers instead as he does not like tomato based food. So Saturdays meal was eaten today and today's menu meal will be eaten Saturday! Fussy eaters eh! Bolognese made and in the fridge for Saturdays meal.

This morning I had some of the bread the girls like toasted. This bread is a white warburtons loaf and all I can say about it was that it was god damn awful. I felt like I was chewing on cardboard and it tasted like cardboard. I got straight onto making a loaf because I could not face eating that crap again for lunch. I made a lovely light white with a quarter wholemeal. Daughter No2 asked if her and boyfriend could eat some and her boyfriend really liked it. He had not tasted homemade bread before and he really enjoyed it. Quite sad that the youth today have hardly ever tasted homemade bread yet if they were given the opportunity I'm sure they would like it better than the processed crap that's pushed on consumers in the supermarkets. Don't get me wrong, my kids love the crap bread and they love my homemade bread but if you asked what they want their sandwich in for school or collage it will always be the crap bread because they don't want to seem different.

My kids have been great at taking different stuff to school to eat and getting comments on it. Usually they get comments on how nice it is their mum makes cakes and loaves for their lunch box and their friends want to try their food. They have never been ridiculed for taking different food in. They get the odd comment from a jealous mate who might say sarcastically " ooh look she's got a bagel today" but in my opinion it sounds like the kid is jealous at not having such a varied packed lunch. One lad commented to daughter he thought it was great how she went to school with all her little containers of nice food. 

Off track there with talk of school lunches. The loaf I made was accompanied with some homemade hummus. So cheap to make and really tasty and nutritious.

The dark patch on my hummos is only some Harissa spice to give it a kick. I made my hummos as follows

1 400g tin chick peas, drained (reserve liquid)
2 gloves garlic, grated
2 tbls tahini
olive oil
salt to taste
Reserved liquid from chick peas
Lemon juice to taste

Basically just whizz everything up in your food processor. Add the reserved liquid from the chick peas to thin the mixture and add as much olive oil to make a smooth consistency to your taste. My hummus needed a lot more salt than I put in so I had to add more at the end. Just taste and add until you get the consistency and taste you like.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Relax and shop


Relax in a chair and sip a cup of tea whilst doing Christmas shopping. That's the way I like to Christmas shop. Don't think I've been in many shops this year. So much easier and relaxing to surf the net and shop that way. Bought all my Christmas presents for the last six years this way.  Whatever you want you can get it on the internet. Nothing is out of bounds so why get stressed and traipse around shop after shop? 

I've even done my food shop on line. Got the day and the time I want it delivered already booked and got my groceries ordered. It has come at a cost, £5.00, but that is the best £5.00 I will have spent over Christmas. I HATE Christmas food shopping. Trying to find a car parking space. Four deep to get a sprout. Aisles so congested you can't move and the queues at the till!  No, not for me. I like to keep as far away from a shop as I can come Christmas week.


It's like everyone's gone mad. The amount of food bought and the amount that will get binned is madness. I plan for everything I will need and hope to keep waste to a minimum. Anyway, anything that is left over in my house will be used or frozen for another meal another day.

Do you love the hustle and bustle of Christmas or are you like me wanting it as stress free as possible?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Menu Week 05/12/11



MONDAY - Chicken/ seafood chow mein

TUESDAY - Pork loin steaks, potatoes, vegetables and apple sauce

WEDNESDAY - Casseroled chicken legs and veg, dumplings and mashed potatoes

THURSDAY - Spaghetti bolognese and homemade garlic bread

FRIDAY - Out at Christmas work do's

SATURDAY - Homemade beef burgers, chips, homemade onion rings & homemade coleslaw

SUNDAY - Roast chicken, roast potatoes, roasted carrots, veg and Yorkshire pudding

Got the Tescos 3 for £10.00 on meat this week. I'm going to stretch the 700g packet of minced beef to make three beef burgers for Saturday and the bolognese for Thursday. To make the mince go further I will add some breadcrumbs to the burger mix and will add a few lentils and a bit of quorn mince  to the bolognese sauce.

Today I prepared my Christmas day main and I'm having the same on Boxing day. This year I am having these http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/12804/melty-mushroom-wellingtons They were simple to make.
I open froze them then wrapped separately and popped them back in the freezer. All ready for Christmas.


With the scraps of puff pastry I wrapped four sausages from the freezer in the pastry and cooked them along with the final scrap of pastry which I topped with a bit of tuna I had in the fridge and some onion and cheese. Whilst the oven was on I took a flan case I had in the freezer and filled with some cheese, onion and a couple of wrinkly cherry tomatoes and added a beaten egg. This quiche will do daughter for lunch tomorrow.

Also made a batch of Hot cross buns and boiled a gammon then roasted it in the oven with a good drizzle of honey. This will be sliced later for sandwiches for the week. I also made the sponge for a chocolate and orange roulade for Christmas. Can only freeze the sponge but it helps having this ready to save time at Christmas. Was going to make my baked lemon cheesecake today to put in the freezer for Christmas but could not make it because I forgot the mascarpone cheese! So this will have to be made later in the week. So a good day in the kitchen today.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Awards

                                                      

                                                    

Not been on my blog since last Thursday and when I checked my messages this morning I was surprised to find I had been given this award by not one but two fellow bloggers! It's lovely to know people do actually like to read my days ramblings. The two lovely ladies who gave me the awards are Scarlet over at http://talesfrombeyondthenook.blogspot.com/ and a lady known as Mum over at http://mumssimplylivingblogat.blogspot.com/   Thanks again ladies.

The Liebster award is to highlight bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

The rules are, copy and paste the award to your blog.

Thank the giver and link back to them.

Reveal your top 5 bloggers and let them know by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Hope that your follower will spread the love to other blogs.

I would like to nominate just two today as it's getting very late and I want to go to bed. Firstly, a lovely lady I follow at http://nospenddays.blogspot.com/  and a second award is going to http://frugalwifeinfife.blogspot.com/ I really enjoy reading these ladies blogs.

Will continue with this when less tired.

Welcome to my two new followers too.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Really pissed off!




I regularly check our on line banking and check everything off with my paperwork. WELL, today I noticed our energy bill had gone up from £128.00 per month to £150.00 per month. What's pissing me off is we have only been with EDF for 3, yes 3 months and they are hiking the payments up already! Well they can p*** **f. Going to get Hubby straight onto it when he gets home. He took out the energy contract in his name only so they will only deal with him. I am so angry as you most probably can tell. Off to calm down now by making our evening meal. Shall let you know if he has any luck with them later.

UPDATE
Well after 25 minutes on hold, listening to some crap music, someone finally answered my husbands call. The outcome of the call was from next month, payments will go back to £128.00! Why bloody change it in the first place I don't know. They've still got £22 quid of ours though, cheeky beggars. Going to be even more frugal with the gas and electric now because they have peed me off. I'm aiming for a further reduction once winter is over but to get them to reduce it we have to use less! I've started already and turned the heating down even further and tomorrow it can stay off all day because we are all out. I'm going to snuggle in bed and finish watching Cutting Edge, The ultimate guide to penny pinching.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Menu Week 28/11/11






MONDAY - Leftover different types of casseroles from freezer, roast potatoes, peas and Yorkshire puddings

TUESDAY - Sausage & mushroom crumble, peas and broccoli

WEDNESDAY - Homemade beef burgers, chips and homemade coleslaw

THURSDAY - Roast chicken, sage & onion stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, mash and vegetables

FRIDAY - Spanish rice (using leftover chicken)

SATURDAY - Homemade lamb doner kebab, pitta salad, white kebab sauce & chips

SUNDAY - Sausage, mash, vegetables & onion gravy

Had a search on google this afternoon looking for budget meals. I printed a few off that I thought the family might like and planned a couple into this weeks menu. So two new dishes will be tried, one tomorrow and one on Friday. Before I hit the supermarket I called into a local family butchers near us and bought 1kg of pork sausages. I know sounds a lot of sausages but we will have some tomorrow and some on Sunday. I shall leave 3 out for daughter No2's boyfriend for a sandwich when he finishes football training on Thursday. If there are any sausages left, which I doubt, they will be frozen. I also called into the farm shop and bought a half sack, 12.5kg of potatoes for £2.70.

I went with my list of everything I need for the week and stuck to it. I shall have to return to the supermarket later in the week though. I wanted some minced lamb and Tesco had none left on the shelves. I know I could have bought some in the butchers but it is a lot more expensive there and I cannot afford it this week. Also Tesco had no hard water Yorkshire T-bags left on the shelf so shall be going back for these items Friday.  I did fail to stick to my shopping list with one item though. Soap. We don't use much soap. Think I use it the most in the shower. Can't do with shower gel but the others use it. So when I saw the bargain price of 15p for two bars of soap I had to try it.


I was really pleased with my cheap soap when I tried it in the shower tonight. It lathered well and had a nice light smell. Shall definitely be buying this again.

After our evening meal I made some pastry, not too much, to line two small foil cases to make a quiche for daughters lunch tomorrow.   Sauteed a little onion and a bit of bacon then added this to the pastry case with a couple of cherry tomatoes chopped up and some grated cheese. The second  pastry case I froze for another day. With the leftover pastry I made a jam tart with some homemade blackberry jam. I've also boiled a gammon then roasted it with honey which will be sliced for sandwiches for the week. I found a pepper starting to go wrinkly in the fridge today so chopped it up and popped it into a container and into the freezer. Shall use this in a recipe I am making on Friday. Had a productive day really. Hope weather hold out for me to get in the garden tomorrow and do a bit of garden tidying.

Have you had a productive day today?
See you tomorrow x

Thursday, 24 November 2011

All done

Thank goodness I've finished all my mandatory training for this year today. I'm sure they'll find some other course that they want me to do before I start all over again with my mandatory training next Oct - Nov 2012. I hate training days. They take up such a lot of my personal time. I work nights but training sessions are always in the day time but I do get lieu time for going in.Threw some chicken legs in the slow cooker before I left for the course so tea was rustled up in no time when I got home.

Really looking forward to watching the new series on Channel 4 tonight at 9.00pm, Living with the Amish. I'm fascinated by these people. They live such simplistic lifestyles and I'm sure it will appeal to so many people these days who yearn for a simple frugal life.


Just realised it's on in 15 minutes so I'm off to jump in the shower before it's on. Might come back to let you know what I thought of it.

Loved the programme. My girls watched it too. They watch all the Amish programmes that are on because they are fascinated by them too.  They are very quiet people but are very genuine and welcoming. I love how no technology enters their lives. No TV, no computers, no phones. The teenagers who went to experience Amish life did not even miss their technology because they were so busy. I think this is where we are going wrong. Kids don't have enough to occupy them these days so they rely on TV, mobiles, hanging on street corners and computer games to entertain them. Not once did the teenagers on the programme mention their phone or missing a TV. It's because they were occupied and busy with all the chores.

My 17 year old daughter could not believe a girl her age on the programme had never wash a pot in her life and did not know how to sweep the floor. It's not the girls fault, it's her mothers. I do let my girls off with  a lot of stuff but they do have certain jobs that must be done like washing up, taking rubbish out, filling and emptying the dishwasher ,dog walking, tidying up after themselves and attending to their own rooms. I think if kids had such busy lives as the Amish there would not be as much youth trouble as there is in society today. Can't wait to watch next weeks installment.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

How much!

Nipped into Tesco this morning because I really needed some mayo for packups and Hubby wanted some deodorant. Thought I'd buy a tin of Tescos value tuna chunks for sandwiches but did not even bother picking the tin up when I saw the price. Bought some maybe 10 days ago and a tin was 55p, today they were 66p! Stuff paying that . Will look in Aldi next time I'm in there as they were selling them at 55p at tin.

I bought 4 of the little Lindt bear chocolates in Tesco to make  little chocolate bags for the grandaughters. The bears were 50p each or 4 for £1.00 so I bought 4. I put them with some chocolate lollies I bought for £2.00 for 6 at the weekend and a bag of chocolate coins which were 75p.


Popped them into two little bags and tied with ribbon. Two little bags of chocolate for two little girls this Christmas.

Whilst in Tesco I used my £12 of vouchers they sent me towards a turkey for Christmas and I also bought a rather large pork loin joint which they had on offer so they are both in the freezer now for Christmas. The rest of the bill was taken out of my Christmas food money. Every month we save into a separate account just for Christmas so we have enough money every year to cover Christmas presents, food and drink. I remember those years oh so well when we never saved for Christmas and just put everything on Visa and then spent half the year clearing the bloody debt. Never again . No debt for us once Christmas is finished.

Cleared a spicy Thai bean burger out of the freezer for my lunch which I had in a breadcake with sweet chilli sauce , also from the freezer. Nothing else coming out of the freezer today. Our evening meal will be pasta and a tomato sauce with cheese. I have just made some bread to turn into garlic bread to have with the pasta. Will make extra pasta so daughter No3 can take pasta to school tomorrow for lunch. Also just boiled some eggs to make egg mayo for my sandwich for work tonight and for Hubby if he wants it for his sandwich tomorrow.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Inventory of all food

This morning did an inventory of all the food in my cupboards, fridge and freezer. Going to try and use as much as I can from what I have and only shop for a few  things we really need. I want to clear the freezer of food to make a little space for anything I make for Christmas and to stash the turkey when I buy it. I'll cross anything I use from my list as I use it. Tonight I'm using up a tub of pork in mushroom sauce that was left over from a meal the other week. To make it stretch to two I am turning it into a pork and mushroom pie. Got plenty of flour and fats to made some pastry


I then added the pork mixture which I had thawed.


I then popped on a lid of pastry and in the oven it went. That's where the pictures end. I was going to show you the finished product but something happened with the camera after I uploaded this last picture so, it got eaten without a picture being taken.   With the scraps of leftover pastry I wrapped a couple of veggie sausages with some chopped onion inside and these were for me. We had these with mash and four different vegetables.

After our meal Hubby asked where the camera was because he wanted to take a picture. I told him the camera had locked up so didn't think he would be able to use it. Hubby sorted the camera out and told me he wanted to take a passport photo of himself because he was not going to pay a fiver for some done in a booth. He needed a passport sized photo for a safety course he's to go on this week. Anyway after some fiddling with the computer and using some photography paper we have had for years he had his photos. A fiver saved.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Hello Friends

Hello everyone and can I just say, thank you all for your lovely comments over the last week. Much appreciated.

Don't know where to begin. Not going to dwell on why I've been away. Things still need sorting. What I am faced with is a deluge of food. Upon my return home I thought I had better call into the supermarket first and stock up on some shopping. I spent about £40.00 on a good amount of food that would make food for us for at least five days with stuff for lunches too. On arrival home Daughter No2 was home and informed me they had all gone shopping last night. I looked in the fridges and cupboards to find we had nearly duplicated a lot of the shopping. I have so much veg, cheese and meat I am going to have to get my thinking hat on and start menu planning a lot of extra veg into our meals over the next week.

Not going to waste any of the food and shall be creating more veg based meals to make best use of all this food. Hopefully we can eat for quite a while on what we have in and I hope to not shop for quite a lot of days. Hopefully not until pay day. I also want to use up as much as I can from the freezer to free some space for the Christmas turkey. I also want freezer space for all the food I am going to start preparing for the festive season. I have a lot of tried and tested desserts that freeze really well so need the space for these.

I spent this evening at the dining table writing my Christmas cards. All done except the personal family cards which I shall buy Friday in The Card Factory. They are so cheap in this shop and save us a fortune compared to buying in a top name card shop. I also got a pile of presents wrapped. I've made my Christmas list for Santa! "All I want for Christmas is" a pile of cookery books. I've made my list of books. I've sourced the cheapest place to buy them all (Amazon) and the list is on it's way to Hubby. I love my cookery books and only indulge at Christmas when other people can buy them for me. Ordered a couple more presents today off the Internet. Two personalised books for our niece and nephew. The books are  printed with the child's name and friends names, birthdays and where they live into the stories. I thought they were a bit different to the usual gifts and I'm sure the kids will love to have a book with themselves in it.

Feel like I'm nearly sorted for Christmas now and that's a good feeling!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Happy 1st Anniversary

 Happy 1st Anniversary to my blog. Time passes so quickly. Does not feel like a year since I first took tentative steps to start a blog. I'm so glad I did. Feels like I have a whole bunch of lovely friends out there, we just never get to meet up.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Sorry not been posting

Shall resume shortly. Not at home at the moment. Took myself off on my own for some thinking and sorting time. My heads not into blogging over the last few days. I'm in a little rented flat on the coast and it's lovely only having to think about myself but I do miss my family but I need this time to sort my head out. Normality will resume shortly so don't give up on me yet, please. : (

PS thanks for following my new followers. Much appreciated.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Menu Week 07/11/11






MONDAY - Baked coley with a herb citrus crust, potatoes, vegetables and parsley sauce

TUESDAY - Sausage & liver and onion gravy, mash, cabbage & carrots

WEDNESDAY - Beef casserole, Yorkshire puddings and mash

THURSDAY - Egg, chips and beans

FRIDAY - Salmon fishcakes, wedges and coleslaw

SATURDAY - Homemade doner kebab, pitta salad and white kebab sauce

SUNDAY - Not sure yet

Well the time came to put the heating on. Quite pleased we went so long without it but it's been on for a few days now.

Daughter No3 tried on her coat from last winter this morning. The sleeves were short and it was not a good fit with the blazer being a bigger size this year. So off we went to town when she finished school. We went in New Look and she found a black 3/4 length jacket for £39.99. We went into another shop and she found a jacket she liked more so we bought that one too. It cost £36.00 but had a label on saying £10.00 off so we got it for £26.00, bargain. I shall take the expensive jacket back tomorrow when I go to do my voluntary job. Need to take daughter No2 now and find her a winter jacket, hope we can find as good a bargain for her

Saturday, 5 November 2011

M5 Crash

Lets take a moment to think of all the people who have lost their lives or nearly did because of the M5 motorway crash. 7 dead so far and 51 injured in the 34 car pile up on the M5. My god, how those families must be feeling! Does not bear thinking about. I have been following this story all day.

                                               RIP

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Hallelujah!

Finally got some of the trees pruned today. Watched the weather forecast when eating my breakfast and it looked glum so thought I'd better get on with the job straight away. After taking the dog for his morning walk I got the ladders out and got straight on with the job. The blossom tree was stripped of most of its branches and will benefit from this drastic pruning as it has not been done in the last five and a half years we have lived here. I then chopped all the branches into small pieces to go in my compost wheelie bin which the council collect every other week. This is then turned into compost for the local farmers to use. The one tree nearly filled the bin. I saved thicker branches to give to sister-in-law for fire wood.

I then started on the three lilac trees of our neighbour. They are down the boundary of our properties and encroach on my garden and are a pain as I catch my car wing mirror on them so I was ruthless and chopped all the branches that came into my garden. Again theses were chopped small to fit in the recycle bin. I only have another tree to prune now so shall leave it until my bin is emptied then I shall fill it again with tree branches.

I love the fact we have a bin for garden waste to be recycled. When we lived in the city this was not done. I just love the fact that I am recycling and helping farmers grow what we eat. It saves us having to fill our car with garden waste and drive to a tip with it. Saves fuel and time and land fill space.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

My version, seafood paella

Really fancied a seafood paella this week but seafood can be expensive. I bought a bag of mixed frozen seafood from Aldi which cost £2.99 for a 500g bag.
It had a good mix of squid, mussels, prawns and plenty of king prawns. I only used about 1/3 of the packet for two of us. Paella uses saffron as one of the main ingredients but I can't afford saffron so made do with a bit of turmeric to add the yellow colour.

Seafood paella (my easy cheaper version)

1 tbsp olive oil
onion, chopped
Red pepper, chopped
clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika
Plenty of hot stock
Paella rice or risotto rice
Mixed seafood
Frozen peas
Juice 1/2 lemon
Parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper

I cooked the onion, pepper and garlic in the oil over a low heat for 5 minutes.
Add the paprika, turmeric (or saffron) and the rice and cook for a minute.
Add some stock to cover and keep giving it a stir adding more stock as it's absorbed until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Add some frozen peas and cook for a few minutes.
Add the mixed seafood, parsley, lemon juice and season. Heat through until seafood is just hot. Cooking any longer will make the seafood chewy and tough.


Not given any quantities. Just add whatever amount you fancy for however many people you are feeding. A really good stock will give it a good flavour.  I think it made a lovely colourful bowl of food.

Nothing much happening here today. Spent part of the day sleeping as I worked last night. Washing still getting hung in the garden to dry as the weather is still lovely for the time of year. I plan to have a busier day tomorrow. Want to attempt to cut the trees I planned to do last week but got rained off the day I wanted to do it so hopefully will get this sorted tomorrow.

Plenty of packages been delivered this week full of Christmas presents. This is the way I like to Christmas shop, on the Internet, no crowded shops, no wasting petrol and free delivery for all the gifts I got delivered this week. Another job I must do tomorrow is to go in the loft space over the garage and find my Christmas cards. I usually buy them in the sales in January then stash them away with the Christmas decorations so must find them tomorrow to check I've got enough. If I have time I might try printing some of my brown wrapping paper tomorrow too.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Just a short one

I'm setting off for work very soon so just a short blog today. I saw daughters boyfriend today when I went to pick her up from his house. He looked a bit under the weather and was still in shock and in a lot of discomfort but at least he's alive. He booked his driving test today. I think this has really scared him and he wants to get rid of the bike.

I made chicken, sweetcorn and mayo sandwiches this morning for daughters packup and needed to open a new tin of sweetcorn. When I only need a bit of sweetcorn for something what I do is drain the can then portion the sweetcorn into small containers.



I pop these containers in the freezer so whenever I need a bit of corn I just have to defrost a small pot and I am not wasting any food.

Forgot to show you my bargain shoes I got at my charity shop last Friday.

These are my glam shoes for over christmas. A bargain at £3.75 and they are nearly perfect. I think someone bought them for a special occasion and only wore them the once they are that new.

Got to go now. Bye

Monday, 31 October 2011

Not the evening we expected

Daughter No2's phone received a text whilst we were driving to the pub. It was her boyfriend and he was letting her know he had been in an accident and was on the way to the hospital in an ambulance. She had been with him all day and was catching the bus from town to our village. Her boyfriend wanted to make sure she got home okay as it was dark so decided to follow the bus on his scooter. As soon as daughter arrived home we set off for the pub, this is when she got the text. She's had a call since saying he's okay and needed stitches to his head and is bruised badly but is allowed home. Apparently a car hit him and did not stop. A man walking his dog witnessed the incident so the police are involved and his scooter is in the hands of the police who are looking for clues as to the colour of the car that hit him.

What gets me is motor bikes and scooters. Every time he visits or returns home I worry about him being on his scooter on the dark country lanes from here to his home. I would never let one of my daughter's have a scooter, I just would not settle when they were out on it. I know lots and lots of teenagers around here have motor bikes or scooters because transport is not good and it is long distances between friends but I could never allow one of mine to have a bike.   Poor daughter is riddled with guilt because if she had come home when it was still light he would not have followed. Anyway, thank heavens he seems okay and he's here to tell the tale. The bastard who hit him most probably won't be found but how can that driver live with himself . He must have known he hit him and he drove off and did not care about his well being. He could have killed him. I hope the bastard is tossing and turning in his bed tonight with the worry of what he's done. Daughter's boyfriend; he's not even my child and I worry the hell about him!

Happy Halloween

Hello fellow Bloggers and how are you this fine Halloween? Must admit I have always hated the constant knocking on the door of every child in the village and I think I have only ever taken my girls trick or treating once. They have always gone with friends parents or with big sis when she was old enough to take them. Then when they were old enough they used to go out with friends. I know it's good fun for the kids and they love it but myself I hate it. So this year I have bought no sweets and I'm off out for the night to the local pub with one of the daughters and having a cheap pub meal and keeping away from any trick or treaters. I know, I'm a miserable cow but I don't care. Daughter No3's going out with friends to trick or treat. She was not that bothered for going but friends wanted her to go with them.

MENU PLAN WEEK 31/10/11

MONDAY - Off to pub
TUESDAY - Chicken & leek pie, roast potatoes and vegetables
WEDNESDAY - Seafood risotto
THURSDAY - Spaghetti bolognese & homemade garlic bread
FRIDAY - Sausage, mash, vegetables and onion gravy
SATURDAY - Chicken/tofu fajitas
SUNDAY - pork, apple sauce, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and vegetables

When I did my shop in Aldi today they were selling a roll of brown packaging paper for £1.49.

The roll is 15meters long. What I plan to do is print Christmas images on the paper using potatoes and paint then use it to wrap presents. Will update you with the finished wrapping paper.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Bloody Rain!

Rain messed up all my plans to prune two trees in my front garden today. Shall have to wait for a dry day to do the job now. Instead I had a day of bread making. Made my usual hot cross buns for daughter No3's breakfasts and then made some rustic roasted veg bread. I needed to use up some marrow I had in the fridge for ages and I had lots of peppers so roasted these and about 4 cloves of garlic. I made my bread dough using some olive oil left in a jar of olives I'd finished. When the dough had risen I knocked it back then added some of the roasted peppers, marrow and garlic all chopped into small pieces.



The bread is covered in a lot of flour, I always sprinkle the bread with flour before cooking, it gives the bread a soft crust. So we had one with our meal and the other is in the freezer for another day.

Used up some leftover mascarpone cheese in the pasta sauce we had tonight and also blended into the sauce some of the roasted marrow and some of the peppers. Still got some roasted veg to use in a sandwich for lunch tomorrow and for work tomorrow night. Got lots of odds and ends used up today so no food waste happening in this house. Tea tonight, good old cheap pasta with the use it up sauce with some value tuna mixed through it. Lovely it was too.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Nothing much of a day

Had quite a nice sleep after my night shift. Daughter No3 took the dog out for his walk this afternoon so I didn't have to get up and take him out. Daughter No2 was busy at the hairdressers she works at usually at weekends. Wanted to prune some trees in the front garden today but I never seem to have much energy after a night shift so shall tackle them tomorrow. Had an evening tea of Fragrant pork rice one pot. This is a very frugal meal needing only a few main ingredient, sausages, rice, tin tomatoes and half an onion. Was a request from Daughter No 2 this week. The recipe is here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9527/fragrant-pork-and-rice-onepot    we had this with some homemade bread.

Nothing much happened today. It's been a quiet day and I hope to have a more productive day tomorrow. To tell you the truth, a none productive day is quite a lovely day and a rare day here!

Must just finish on a high. So pleased with my views on my blog each day, I'm up to about 150 a day which is a big increase on my blog. Thanks to all who view. Much appreciated.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Chocolate Fondant Day

Had a morning of catching up on a huge pile of ironing whilst catching up on my celebrity master chef (don't tell me who won, I've not totally caught up yet) Felt good to have gotten rid of the huge pile of ironing but it doesn't take long for it to grow again!

Think it was one of the earlier parts of master chef that I saw one contestant making chocolate fondants and thought to myself I must try making these myself one day. I have wanted to make them for years and have never gotten around to it. I bought a bar of chocolate a couple of weeks ago so thought today shall be the day. We are not pud eaters in our house but I'm sure we will enjoy them. They are cheap enough to make using just chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar and flour. All the ingredients people usually have in except the chocolate. My eggs are cheap because I get them from the farm. I bought two dozen free range seconds yesterday for £2.00 so the fondants have not cost much to make. I have spent half hour making them and they are sat in the fridge ready to cook later. That's the hard bit, cooking them for the right amount of time or I shall have no runny centre. We shall see later.

The last few days I have looked out of my kitchen window and thought what a lovely colour my blueberry bush is. So today I thought I'd take a picture to show you.


I then went on a walk with the dog. It's been another lovely day here again. We walk each day by this apple tree

It's on the edge of the carrot field Sherlock harvests every time we pass it. I like to pick an apple when I fancy one on our walk. Here's todays picking



They are lovely apples, taste a bit like a golden delicious but sweeter. Shall have to come and pick the rest off soon as they are all dropping on the floor and the tree is on the turn now so they won't be there much longer.

Fondant update

They worked! Came out perfect.

Could not finish mine and Hubby only had half of his as they are quite rich . The girls polished off theirs though. I halved  the recipe by Gordon Ramsay http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8168/chocolate-fondant 

Monday, 24 October 2011

Menu Week 24/10/11

MONDAY - Creamy pesto chicken, jacket potato, peas and roasted tomatoes
  • Mascarpone tomato & tuna sauce on pasta with homemade garlic bread
  • Fragrant pork rice one pot with homemade bread
  • Creamy beef and potato layer, carrots, broccoli and peas
  • Thai fishcakes with noodles
  • Roast chicken, Yorkshire puddings, mashed potatoes and vegetables  
Will choose what we fancy on the day from the list above.

Back on track this week. Hate it when things get in the way of my routine. Hated not knowing what to have for our meals last week and so glad I normally menu plan, makes life so much easier. Because I was on a course last Monday I could not do my usual shop. Tuesdays I'm too busy to go shopping, Wednesdays in bed because done a nightshift. Anyway, you get the picture so ended up shopping as I passed a shop and picking up something for a meal that day. I hate shopping this way. Come this weekend the cupboards and fridge have been bare. Ran out of lots of essentials and toiletries so today I was back on track and have replenished all my cupboards and fridge. Got a couple more Christmas presents too so my stash is building up. I bought a bag of nibbles to put away for Christmas too. I like to buy a bag of nuts or nibbly things and I stash them away each week and I have a good amount to cover Christmas and New Year and I don't notice the extra £1.00 - £2.00 each week.

No heating on yet. I admit to popping it on for a hour to take the chill out of the air in the morning when grandaughter was here this weekend and it was on for about an hour or so on a cold day last week but managing just fine without at the moment. Took advantage of the lovely breezy day today and have done a load of darks and a load of bedding and also decided to throw the dogs bed in the washer and get that done whilst its a good day for drying.

Oops look at the time. Better go and sort out tea.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Another rubbish day yesterday

Thought things were on the turn for the better then we had Thursday! My crown on a tooth broke so had to get a quick appointment at the dentist. They could fit me in at 2.00pm she said so off I toddled to the dentist yesterday. The dentist put a temp crown on my tooth and took an x-ray  because the bit of tooth my crown gets attached to was wobbly and she wondered if we should take a different route with crowning my tooth. One route was to go private and have a dental implant but this was expensive she said. £1500-£2000 per tooth! dont' think I'll be having that done then. On the NHS it's a plate or another process she explained where a metal plate is attached to the tooth next to the one I want to crown and this has the tooth attached to it somehow. Anyway shes going to check my x-ray and write to me with the options so I can study them and decide which way I want to go. Hoping the temp crown lasts until after Christmas then I will tackle the expense of a new crown in the new year.

Then, yesterday evening whilst eating my evening meal I began to feel unwell. I could not eat my meal so left it and said I may try to eat it later that evening. We had to be at daughter No3's school for 6.45 due to her receiving two awards at the award presentation evening. There I was sat in a crowded hall feeling unwell when I said to Hubby I was going to stand near the hall door because I was feeling sick. A teacher brought me a chair and another brought me a glass of water. I felt dreadful and just as the presentation was starting I had to make a quick exit into the car park. I had been hit with a D & V bug and ended up going home and missed daughters presentation which I was gutted about. So today I'm still not fully right but nearly there. Rang the voluntary job to let them know I would not be in this morning so I think I shall go back to bed now and try and get some more sleep.

It never rains but it pours as the saying goes. Promise my next blog won't be a moan.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Having a moan

Whatever I said a few days ago about being better with my cold did not hold. I actually felt terrible after that posting and it has taken me a few days to get myself together and feel ok to blog. All last weekend was taken up with me sleeping and not feeling up to doing much of anything due to my really bad cold. I can't believe the crap time I've had this week with work, training and just trying to catch up with life has had on me!

I started to feel like a human being today after many days of crap.I had an horrendous night last night taking a bank nurse out on our rounds around Leeds last night. She asked if I would drive which I said no problem. After an horrendously busy night I arrived back at base 45 minutes after my night shift had finished. Then to have another hours drive back home. I had not eaten in over10 hours and I was fit to burst because my shift had been so busy I had not been able to empty my bladder in over 10 hours! We had not had a break in over 10 hours and they wonder why the NHS is not working! No wonder I want to get out of the NHS!

After calling the kids to inform them I wouldn't be back before they left for school/college I had a long drive before I arrived home. On arriving home the dog needed taking out and feeding before I could contemplate having any sleep.Slept crap because the electricity cut off for a moment in our village ( a regular occurrence in our village) ended in me being woken at 12.30 in the day with the alarms ringing in the village and our alarm beeping in the house because our electricity had been turned off. So end of my moan and on to other stuff.

Bought these lovely squashes when I nipped into Morrisons the other day. They were only 50p each and I knew exactly what to make with them. The lady at the checkout said they were too pretty to eat.
I cut one in half and scooped out the seeds. In the cavity I grated a clove of garlic, added a knob of butter and seasoned well. One half I added some sage and the other half I added some chopped rosemary. Both herbs were from the garden. I baked these until tender, the smell in the kitchen was lovely. When cooked I scooped out the pulp and mixed with some feta cheese and returned to the oven for 10 minutes. A lovely autumnal meal.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Me and my cold

Hi all,

Thanks for all the views today. There has been a good turn out today!

 I managed to survive work last night. I drew the short straw and had to drive all night around the streets of Leeds doing visits to patients and dealing with all the call outs.  We had a visit at 5.30am on the other side of Leeds and my partner looked at me and said she would drive to the visit. She said my eyes looked so sore and I looked dreadful. Our boss said we might as well both go in our separate cars to the visit then go home after as we were quite quiet. Bless her! I drove to the last patients home, did our work then home on the motorway for the 40 minute drive home. I don't know how I got home this morning! I was on the verge of falling asleep at the wheel on  numerous occasions it was scary! I think I felt this way with feeling so run down with my cold and my sore eyes. I finally arrived home in total darkness and took the dog for a walk. Fed the dog  and finally fell into bed just before 7.00am shattered. I always eat some breakfast before I go to bed, it helps me sleep longer. Today I could not face food and flopped in bed and slept for a staggering 10 hours! I never normally sleep this long  after a night shift but I needed it today.

We had homemade pizzas tonight and I wanted to take a picture for my blog but with rushing around and getting everyone to help with the preparation for our meal I forgot to get some pictures. I will one day get some pictures of our pizzas for my blog. I normally love my homemade pizzas but to tell you the truth I had trouble enjoying it tonight because I could not taste it with having my cold.  Hopefully tomorrow I will be back to normal. See you then. Thanks for reading, your all a great bunch of followers.

Karen x