Thursday, 31 March 2011


Blimey, what a windy day it's been. The wind was so strong here we had dirt blowing off the fields making it very difficult to see when I was out with the dog walking. Had to turn away from the fields and walk where there was a bit of a wind break from hedges and trees.

When the youngest daughter came home from school she went up to her bedroom and came straight back downstairs demanding to know who had opened her bedroom window. Told her I had earlier this morning. Her bedroom was covered in black dust from the wind blowing dirt in from the fields. The cloth she wiped her room over with was filthy. I could not believe how much muck had blown in on the wind. Glad I didn't have any washng on the line today, it would have been filthy.  Did you have these super strong winds today?

On my menu plan tonight, tea was to be pork with veg and mash but I just did not fancy mash (don't even like mash really) or steamed veg so I changed things a little. I did steam vegetables but mixed them with a cheese sauce and topped with breadcrumbs I made from a few crusts and mixed into them some grated cheese. I baked this in the oven for 20 minutes. They had pork with a sage and onion crumb with it and I had a salmon fillet I found in the freezer. It was really nice and tasty.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Can I just sleep please?

Sorry no post yesterday. I had such a manic day did not even get time to switch computer on. Did my voluntary work, quickly made tea then a 50 minute drive to a course I had to do at work then straight into a 9 hour night shift. Once home walked dog then took daughter No2 to college and finally to bed this morning at 9.20am. Was like a zombie, couldn't wait for my bed so here I am a lot more human like.

 For tea today I made Greek beef stifado with Greek potatoes. They really enjoyed it. The recipe used shallots but I did not have any so used a bit of extra onion.


1kg lean beef, cubed
500g shallot onions, peeled
1 large onion, chopped
2tbs tomato puree
1/2 nutmeg crushed ( I used 1tsp ground nutmeg)
1tsp mixed spice
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
1 Large juicy tomato, chopped
1 glass red wine
small glass of olive oil
2tbs red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Put beef , onions, garlic and oil in a large pan and cook on a high heat for about 5 minutes.

Add wine and vinegar and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients. Cook on a low heat for a couple of hours or until beef is tender. I transfered mine into the slow cooker and left it for about 6 hours.


4 Large clean potatoes
Juice of a lemon
4 cloves garlic, minced
small glass olive oil
small glass water

Cut potatoes into wedges and place in a deep roasting tray.

Cover potatoes with remaining ingredients and stir so all potatoes are coated.

Place in oven at 200C and cook for about 1hour turning occasionally.

We finished off our tea with a dessert our youngest daughter made at school.

Lemon meringue pie, her first attempt at making one. It came out rather well and we all enjoyed a slice.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Mushroom update 3

Thought I'd give you an update on the mushrooms progress.

Well we have another good batch growing. These should be ready to harvest at the weekend. The only problem I have found with these mushroom kits is the yield is all at once then I am waiting weeks for the next lot to grow. I think mushroom kits would be best done with two kits at once then you would not be waiting so long in between harvests. The kit does not tell you to keep topping up with a little water. I found it slows their growth if it starts to dry out. I just trickle a little water over the surface when it's feeling a little dry.

Being on the subject of fungi, just passed these beauties on my walk with the dog.

They were growing on a large pile of horse manure outside some stables. Now I would never pick any mushrooms I came across because I have not got a clue what's poisonous and what's not but it got me thinking. I would love to go on a mushroom picking course which teaches you the good from the bad of the fungi world. Well, one day will have to look into that and see how much these courses cost.   

Earlier in the year I started a pot of salad leaves which I have been growing in the conservatory.

 They are a mix of different leaves and you just cut off what you need and they keep growing back. We have been eating these for a few weeks now.

Had some tonight with a jacket potato, coleslaw and an omelet. 

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Menu Week 28/03/11

MONDAY - Roast chicken, jacket potatoes, homemade coleslaw, salad and homemade bread

TUESDAY - Spaghetti bolognese and homemade garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Greek stifado & Greek potatoes

THURSDAY - Pork steaks, vegetables, mash, yorkshire puddings and apple sauce

FRIDAY - Mince & onion pie with potatoes and veg

SATURDAY - Chorizo Hash & fried egg

SUNDAY - Leftover chicken in a sauce, Roast potatoes, stuffing balls and vegetables

Well you will have noticed the lack of meals filled in on my menu plan. Not been very organised this week so will hopefully have the rest of my meals sorted tomorrow. I went shopping Saturday because the plasterer will be here Monday which is my normal shopping day. I normally menu plan on Sunday but was out a lot of the day at our granddaughter's 3rd birthday party so no menu plan got done. So, I'm sat here too tired to think about menu planning and just want to go to bed.

All restored back to normal now, menu plan completed.

Got a pan of "bottom of the fridge" soup made this afternoon. Made some rough puff pastry and used this to make a batch of cheese, onion & potato pasties for the girls lunches.

Two are in containers for lunch tomorrow and the rest are going in the freezer.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Slight Blip

Had another day at the charity shop I volunteer at. Got another top to add to my collection to try to build up my wardrobe.

This one cost me £2.20. I remember last year around this time stashing away clothes I bought in the charity shop in a size 12. Then each week as I lost weight I would try them on to see if they would fit. Was great when I could fit into them all and I ended up with a good summer wardrobe at very little cost. Will keep trying my existing wardrobe on each week until I can get them all to fit again.

Not doing too bad today with the healthy eating. had a little blip when I got rather stressed at the state of the house after work had been done on it today. So I succumbed to a couple of biccies. Well, maybe four! Then I had tea at mum and dads and had a vegetable pie that mum had made that was lovely and tasty but not low in calories! I am on- call at home tonight, so if I don't get called out I shall be able to sleep so will have all of tomorrow to do stuff like make some more no fat soup for the weeks lunches instead of spending the day sleeping.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Back to healthy eating

With the weather being so beautiful all this week I was searching through my wardrobe Monday looking for something cooler to wear than my winter jumpers. This is when the realisation hits you. oh no! Nothing fits anymore! Last week I tried to diet but just had no motivation to stick to it.Then along comes the sun giving me a kick up the bum I needed to get motivated. I've really stuck to it this week.

I got a bargain Monday in Tesco, yellow stickered mangos, reduced to 45p.

So, my healthy breakfast was cereal and mango which was lovely.

This was my lunch. Home made "bottom of the fridge spicy veg soup" and rice cakes with cream cheese, tomato and olives. Eaten in the garden. Lovely!

Bottom of the fridge spicy veg soup

400g can tomatoes
800ml stock
1tbsp garam masala
1tsp chilli powder
Any veg from fridge (I used onion, celery, carrot, green bean and baby sweetcorn)

Whizz can of tomatoes to a puree and place in a pan.
Add stock, spice and vegetables.
Cook until tender.

Had a productive day in the garden. Got my compost dug into the veg patch. Planted up loads of strawberry plants that had grown from the runners last year. Re potted up some chilli plants and some sage. Sowed some runner beans,   green beans, marigolds and some petunias.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Spoilt again

How long can this gorgeous weather keep going. We are being spoilt so early in the year. Think it's to change here Friday so I shall have some time in the garden tomorrow before we go back to cloudy miserable days.

Took Sherlock for a walk this afternoon and it was so warm. He was running around but I took a break

under a tree and sat on a log relaxing for five minutes. It was so warm and I was just enjoying the peace and quiet. Saw my first Tortoiseshell butterfly of the year. Tried to take a picture but I pressed the close button by mistake and it flew off. Me and gadgets!

Look at the colour of Sherlocks paws after he had a paddle in a very muddy puddle. Glad he didn't roll in it!

Can't delay it any longer, got to go and iron or noone will have ironed shirts for work or school tomorrow.

See you soon

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Bargain buys

Another fabulous day. Got two loads of washing out to dry. Getting a little shaded now the sun is moving round. Love to dry outside rather than have is draped over the airer in the dining room. Only got to iron this lot now! That can be tomorrows job.

Went to do my voluntary job today and with it being a lovely warm day struggled trying to find something to wear that I would not be too hot in. Having such a good clear out a while back and putting on some weight I just could not find anything to wear. This has made me determined to stick to my diet I started yesterday and loose some weight.

 I checked the rails today at work and got a couple of tops to wear. This black River Island top cost £3.10 and is in perfect condition.

I found this pretty Next blouse for £3.30 and this is also in perfect condition. So these are my bargain buys for today. I also put a dress and a skirt away to try another day.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Sunny Day, Sad Day

What a fabulous sunny day we have had here. Hope it shone where ever you are. I did not get much time to enjoy it though. Hubby took the day off for us to put the order in for the new kitchen and to get some more work done on it. After two hours in the showroom we finally got it all sorted and it should be here in 4-5 weeks.

The electrician rang just after we got back from the showroom and he's coming Friday. Plasterer called round this afternoon too and he will be here for two days next week so all's falling into place nicely.

So sad last night to discover why Frugal Queen deleted her blog. She was a blog I followed every day and I know a lot of you who read my blog followed her too. Fostermummy's blog gives a little info on the reasons Frugal Queen deleted her blog and you can read it here So sad one person can make someone so upset that they feel they can't go on with their blog. You will be missed Frugal Queen by myself and many others. I hope one day you feel you can return to blogging when the time is right.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Menu Week 21/03/11

MONDAY - Sausage, mash and beans

TUESDAY - Chicken and bacon in sauce over vegetable rice

WEDNESDAY -Chicken stir fry & noodles

THURSDAY - Quiche, Jacket potatoes,salad and home made coleslaw

FRIDAY - At parents

SATURDAY -Curry, rice & naan bread

SUNDAY - Out - grandaughters birthday party

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Super Moon Night

It's super moon night! Are you going to view. Well it should be at its best the time I usually take the dog for his walk so I shall get dressed today (usually have a pajama day because I worked a night shift last night) and take the dog myself  so I can view the sky. Shall take my camera and see if I can get a decent picture.

Well no picture of the moon, it was too cloudy and when it did emerge from the clouds I was rather disappointed. It looked no different to normal.  

Friday, 18 March 2011

Decluttering week 1

These are the things I gathered after a bit of a clear out when transferring cupboard contents to the utility cupboards. There is a jumper and bag and a few school shirts too. I am going to take a bag of things each week to  the charity shop I volunteer in and rid our home of unwanted and unused items. The wine glasses are too large, you can nearly fit half a bottle of wine in them so never get used anymore and are just cluttering a cupboard. My daughters wardrobe and drawers shall be sorted through this weekend so that will be my bag for next week.

Spent the afternoon giving the house a tidy then went in the garden. Mowed the front and back lawns, their first cut of the year. Amazing how much tidier a garden looks with cut lawns. Had a good tidy around and pulled out a rather sad looking lavender bush which I will replace with a new bush because I love the smell and it attracts lots of bees.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Leftovers lunch

Sorry not blogged for a few days, you know how it is. People to see, places to go. Before you know it days have passed and you wonder where have all the days gone.

Looked in the fridge today to see what I could muster up for lunch. Had some leftover mash from the fish pie last night and a bit of veggie bolognese from Tuesdays tea. Was inspired by Gregg Wallace on Great British Food Revival on BBC2 last night to make gnocchi with the leftover mash.

I mixed the mash with some plain flour and made long sausage shapes which I cut into about 1inch pieces then did the traditional gnocchi marks with a fork.

I popped them into a pan of salted boiling water and let them do their thing. Gregg said on the TV programme they would float when ready which they did. I drained them and had them with the leftover bolognese and a sprinkle of cheese.

So this is my lunch today using leftovers from the fridge. Will sit at the computer eating this whilst I write my blog. It was very filling, could not manage it all so the bit that's left will be given to the birds.

Sherlock my lazy dog
My dog Sherlock is never far away when foods about so wondered where he was whilst I was eating my lunch. I found him sprawled in a sunny spot catching a few rays. What a life. He'd easily devour my leftover gnocchi but sorry Sherlock you need to loose a few pounds so out to the birds it's going.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Menu Week 14/03/11

MONDAY - Omelet, salad and jacket potatoes

TUESDAY - Spaghetti bolognese and home made garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Fish pie, peas, green beans and carrots

THURSDAY - Turkey Jambalaya

FRIDAY - Salmon fishcakes, wedges, peas or salad

SATURDAY - Chicken/ Tofu fajitas

SUNDAY - Roast chicken, potatoes, yorkshire puddings, stuffing and vegetables

 We've had a busy day stripping out the kitchen completely and removing all the tiles.

A very messy  dusty job. The hard bits done now, next job is to get the electrician in and the plasterer. Now I have no hob for cooking on so it was out with the camping stove, gas bottle refilled and voila! my new hob.
I cooked a Sunday roast today in my temporary kitchen with my camping stove and I had no problems. A bit less space but managed fine. I still have my electric oven so could roast the pork and potatoes and make yorkshire puddings. Brings back memories of camping last summer using my stove.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

First Harvest

Today I harvested my first mushrooms. I have had a couple in an omellet for lunch today. The others are in the fridge until I decide what to make with them.

I worked it out that I need to grow 1.5kg of mushrooms to break even for the initial cost of the kit. That's a heck of a lot of mushrooms it's got to produce. I shall weigh them and jot down on the box the weight of hearvested mushrooms. These five weighed 146g and I should have more to harvest tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Shroves Tuesday

Have you had pancakes today? I made a big pile of pancakes yesterday because I am too busy today doing my voluntary job. All I needed to do today was make a filling and reheat. First we had stuffed pancakes. I made a filling by sauteing onion and garlic until soft then add spinach until wilted. To this I added a tub of ricotta cheese,  grated parmesan cheese and some cooked bacon bits. I placed a spoonful onto each pancake and folded into a triangle. These were placed into an ovenproof dish and topped with grated cheese. I covered with foil and placed in oven for 25 minutes. These were served with a tomato sauce I made and a salad.

For dessert we had pancakes with lemon and sugar. Daughter No2 had chocolate spread on hers.
Right, time to go. Off to do my night shift now. Bye for now.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Mushroom update 2

Well the little chappies are doing really well. Just four days since my last picture and they just  keep growing. Could be picking by next week. Only thing not sure about is watering them. Surely they will start to dry out  but the instructions don't mention anything about topping them up with water so not sure what to do. Think I'll have to have a google on growing mushrooms tomorrow and see if I can find any info on it.

Went shopping in Aldi today and noticed they still had a few mushroom kits. Wish I'd bought another now to put away for when this one finishes. Will call in next time I pass a grab one if there are any left. Will keep you updated on the little chappies progress.

So pleased with the weather at the moment. I actually went dog walking with only a fleece on today, it was so warm. Yesterday was just as warm and I stupidly went dog walking with my big winter weatherproof coat and ended up stripping the thing off because I was so hot. I think I can finally say, SPRING IS HERE!

Bye for now : )

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Menu Week 07/03/11

MONDAY - Mushroom mozzarella risotto cakes and salad

TUESDAY - Veggie stuffed pancakes followed by sweet pancakes

WEDNESDAY - Portuguese braised beef, mash and greens

THURSDAY - Tuna pasta, cheese and home made garlic bread

FRIDAY - Sausages, yorkshire puddings, mash, veg and onion gravy

SATURDAY - Beef burgers, wedges, coleslaw and onion rings (all home made)

SUNDAY - Pork loin roast, apple sauce, yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and vegetables

Well the work has started on the kitchen. I spent a long time today transferring all the contents of my cupboards into my utility room. Trying to fit everything in was a squeeze and I had a good clear out. This is the old kitchen we inherited when we bought the house (snazzy tiles eh haha)

old kitchen
Utility room
Utility room

Utility room

Got some of the units dismantled and some tiles off but broke off to go and look at a few kitchen shops. This will be a long project as hubby is doing the work himself. We need to dig our two ring camping stove out of the garage so I can cook on that when the old hob gets ripped out. The old hob is still in place to use this week and the oven will be moved on top of the washing machine in the utility.  So I'm taking up residence in my little windowless utility for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Productive day

Checked on my mushroom kit today to see if anything was happening and look!

I got baby mushrooms growing! Hope they don't take ages to get to full size. The sage I planted last week has also started to grow so I put the pot in the conservatory to get a bit more light. Had an afternoon in the garden yesterday giving it a good tidy. Filled the garden waste bin but that got emptied this morning so can get on with filling it some more. I need to concentrate on digging over the veg patch and getting some weeding done next.

Had a productive baking day today.
Made a batch of hot cross buns, fruit scones, cheese scones, pizza bases, a baguette and a pesto baguette. Also made the coleslaw for tea and the pizza base sauce which I'll put in the fridge for Saturday. Inbetween baking got 3 loads of washing done, stripped and remade a bed, walked dog for an hour and did a bit of ironing and vacced. Phew! wipes brow, flops in chair shattered to write blog. It's now 5.10pm and I will be off again soon to start making tea.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Another cheap tea

 March 1st already! Why does time  seem to pass so quickly? Everybody I speak to makes a comment on how time flies. Before we know it we'll be celebrating Christmas again!
                                                                                                                                                             With the veg I roasted yesterday I  made my veggie bake today. It turned out to be quite a cheap meal. I costed up all the ingredients I used and it worked out at 5 portions @  73p per portion.

 Cost and calories were kept down by making my cheese sauce with no butter. Just whisk milk into flour and cook stirring continually until thick then add the cheese.