Friday, 29 April 2011

The Royal Wedding

Been watching The Royal Wedding all morning. I did think they made a beautiful couple and it was lovely to watch. I was watching all on my own because hubby and the girls had gone kayaking with their kayaking club on the river.

Glad I was on my own because I go a bit emotional watching the wedding. I was emotional because my eldest daughter had just text me whilst the wedding was on to say they were just going to board their plane for their flight to America. It got me upset that they were going to America to get married and I would not be able to see her get married. It's how they wanted to get married and I hope they have a lovely time. I will make sure I give them a lovely party next week when they return.

Will be glad when all the party is sorted because my frugal good intentions are a bit in the air at the moment. I can't buy my usual weekly shop and then put it in the freezer because there is no space in the freezer to fit anything else in. I think we may have a lot of things left over from the party so we shall be living on leftovers if that is the case.

We shall have a very busy week  next week with getting ready for the party. Lots of cleaning and lots more food prep to do after a big shop on Thursday. Windows to clean and garden to tidy and plant up a bit more.

Hope your all enjoying your bank holiday. Up to anything good this evening to celebrate the wedding? I'm not, I'm working. Bye for now.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Menu Week 25/04/11

MONDAY - Leftover chicken and bacon pie, roast potatoes and vegetables

TUESDAY - Pasta bolognese, cheese and homemade garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Sausage, egg, chips and beans

THURSDAY - Creamy pesto chicken, new potatoes, peas and roasted tomatoes

FRIDAY - At a friends BBQ

SATURDAY - Chicken/tofu fajitas

SUNDAY - Lasagne, salad, homemade garlic bread

Yesterday I got ready to to make tea. I got the onions sliced and put them in the frying pan to saute for my chicken and bacon pie. Disaster! the camping gas was empty (no hob at the moment due to having kitchen done) It was 4.30pm on a bank holiday Monday and no way of getting a refill. I had to make do with cooking our meal in a microwave and the oven.

So how to saute onions without a hob. I put the onions in a cake tin with the oil and butter and popped them in the oven. I kept giving them a stir and then I threw in some chopped bits of bacon and it all softened really well. Could not par-boil the potatoes for roasting so they went straight in the oven with a tray of carrots to roast. I made my sauce for the pie in the microwave which worked well. Now I have never cooked veg in the microwave so was not looking forward to broccoli cooked this way. I had visions of it being tough or rubbery but in fact it came out lovely and tender with a lovely bright green colour. I threw some frozen peas in with the broccoli near the end of cooking and was very pleased with the result. Pie was cooked in the oven and we ended up with a good meal.

Been this morning to get a refilled one of these. Managed without yesterday but don't want to do it again.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter
                                                                                                                                                                 Hope you all have had a lovely day. Had a different Easter Sunday to what we would usually do. We have had a day of working hard around the house instead of going for Easter lunch with family.  Hubby has been laying Kitchen floor tiles all day. Daughter No2 went to stay at her friends and won't be back until Monday. Daughter No3 has been out with friends all afternoon. I have done a mountain of ironing, gardening, dog walking and made lemon curd.

Homemade lemon curd

4oz unsalted butter
Zest & juice 4 unwaxed lemons
12oz sugar
6 well-beaten eggs

Melt butter then add zest and lemon juice.
Gradually stir in sugar until dissolved.
Very slowly add the eggs stirring continuously over a low heat for 10 minutes.
Sieve if you prefer then pour into sterilised jars.
Cool then store in refrigerator. Will keep for about 3 weeks.

I need some of the lemon curd to finish off my baked lemon cheesecake I have in the freezer for my party. So that's another job I can tick off my party preparation list.

We decided to have the BBQ today instead of tomorrow. I made myself some spicy tofu kebabs, veggie sausages and I made a load of vegetable kebabs. Hubby and daughter had homemade burgers a chicken drummer and some sausages. We had this with homemade coleslaw and bread all washed down with a cold can of cider, lovely.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Yearly Car Clean

How are you all enjoying this wonderful weather? I can't believe it's only April with the temperatures we are having. I went to work in the charity shop this morning. They were open even though it's a bank holiday. I said I would work this bank holiday but I am not going to work the bank holiday next Friday because I want to watch the Royal Wedding. I bought a top from the shop today but will return it next week because it's too big. I also bought a jigsaw book for £1.20 for when my grandaughter comes to stay.

I gave my car it's yearly clean today. I hate washing my car and I really do only clean it about once a year. I can't understand these people who spend hours cleaning their cars. It seems such a waste of time because it gets dirty again in no time. I made daughter No2 clean the inside of the car. She eats her breakfast in the car as I drive her to college and the car is full of crumbs because of her. It's a wonder I don't have mice.

So now I have a lovely sparkling clean car, but for how long? I bet when I go out in the morning a bird will have messed on my car. The birds around here seem to take great pleasure from bombarding my car, windows and clean washing on the line.

I got some weeding done this afternoon. I also planted some squash and courgette seeds. I got a couple of trays of bedding plants in Aldi yesterday so I potted a container up with some and the rest I planted into the garden. I want to get some spring onions sown tomorrow and shall look in my seed box for anything else I can sow.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Hiya, I'm still here

Sorry not posted for a few days. Just been so busy with life.

Tuesday the usual afternoon at the charity shop I volunteer in. I got a couple of bargains, two skirts for £3.00 each. The time of year has come when I have to bare my legs, oh no. My legs are pale  and I have a leg with a lot of broken veins which I acquired with my last two pregnancies. I slap on a little fake tan, only enough to give me a touch of colour not so I look like I've been Tangoed. I remember the days I used sunbeds on a regular bases in the early 80's and it makes me shudder now at the thought of it. I don't give a dam about having a glorious tan anymore. In my job I've nursed a young woman who eventually died because of skin cancer and it puts you off ever going near one of the things ever again. Deep down I do still worry about the damage I could have caused to my body and try to regularly check moles and freckles on my body for changes. Thankfully the craze to be constantly tanned does not seem to be an issue with the young these days. My older daughters happily go out pale and nobody gives a dam.

Today I have been covered in paint. I have painted from 9.30am until 5.30pm. I did not even take a lunch break, I quickly made a sandwich and ate in between painting.

The kitchen ceiling got two coats of paint and the rest of the kitchen got one coat. I shall give them a second coat over the weekend. I did undercoat on the woodwork after sanding down. I totally missed a glorious day but when jobs need to be done, they gotta be done!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Menu Week 18/04/11

MONDAY - Chicken/prawn risotto, tomato gratin and roasted garlic mushrooms

TUESDAY - Lasagne, salad and homemade garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - don't know yet

THURSDAY - Italian meatloaf, jacket potatoes, vegetables and gravy

FRIDAY - At parents for tea

SATURDAY -Homemade burgers, wedges, homemade coleslaw and homemade onion rings

SUNDAY - Homemade chicken & ham pie, roast potatoes, vegetables

I'm trying to use up a few things in the freezer to make room for food I make for the party I'm having soon. So tonight's tea will use up some chicken stock, cooked chicken and some prawns from the freezer and a lot of tomatoes from the fridge. Tomorrows meal of lasagne will use up a lot of small batches of bolognese and a small tub of chopped tomatoes and a baguette.

I made a trip to a larger Tesco today because my hubby saw an advert on the TV for whole salmons on offer. My local Tesco is only small and does not have a fish counter. When I arrived there were no salmons to be seen on the fish counter and I thought I was going to be disappointed. I asked the lady behind the fish counter if she had anymore whole salmons  and she told me she had, but had not gotten around to filling the counter with then yet. So I returned at the end of my shop and purchased this beauty
So I now have my gammon and a salmon for the party. They were both on offer because it's Easter. The salmon was down to £5.00 per Kg  and the salmon I bought cost £16.40. I got it cheaper though because I paid for it with some Tesco vouchers I got this weekend . I had vouchers to the value of £8.00 so the salmon cost me £8.40, bargain!

Had a nice lunch today using up some cottage cheese that had been sat in the fridge for a couple of weeks, oops. It smelt fine and I take no notice of dates on most food stuff. If it smells good, eat it. I have never poisoned myself or anyone else in the family with this way of checking food.

This was my lunch, cottage cheese on rice cakes with some Tesco value smoked salmon(87p for 120g) and cucumber and a cup of tea (trying to loose some weight, can you tell?). It was extra lovely because it was eaten in the garden in the lovely sunshine.

Our tea today was very tasty.

Got carried away with the breadcrumbs and ended up putting them on my garlic mushroom too just to use them up. They had chicken risotto and I made myself a prawn & pea risotto which was very tasty even if I do say so myself.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

What a great day!

What a great day I had yesterday on my vegetarian cooking course. I arrived at a lovely large house on a village green. Six of us were taken into the dining room for a cuppa with homemade biscuits and a chat about the course. We were then given a pack of recipes to look through. We were split into two groups of three and had to pick a starter, main and dessert to make together in our group. Hilary, our tutor was going to demonstrate a dessert. Both groups decided they were not pudding eaters so we all decided to make an extra savoury instead.

My group settled on  Starter - cheese & asparagus roulade
                                  Mains - Nut loaf & a Tomato sauce
                                               Tart tatin with red onion

The other group       Starter - Double baked cheese souffle
                                 Mains - Risotto with roasted butternut squash & garlic
                                              Mushroom Gougere

We had a demonstration of little nibbles we could make and we ate these whilst doing our cooking to keep us going. Then it was all hands on and getting stuck in to some cooking. We had a great time and it was lots of fun. We all got to know each other and all worked well as a team. We did not even have to do any washing up, Hilary and her staff did all this. Finally at about 2.15pm we had made everything and were ushered into the dining room to a lovely set table to eat our creations. Hilary and her staff served us and we had soft drinks and wine to enjoy with our meal.

This was the roulade we made. Half was left cold and the other half was sliced and topped with applewood cheese to be put in the oven to reheat just before serving. We also ate the double baked cheese souffles.

Sorry the pictures are not that good. We enjoyed a taste of all the mains with an accompanying salad. We then finished with the dessert and coffee. We chatted and had a lovely time over our meal and finally left at around 4.30pm. We were presented with a leaving gift of the recipe booklets, pen and a tea towel  of the cooking school and a doggie bag of any leftovers we fancied. I can tell you I left STUFFED!  I had a great day doing something just for ME. Don't think we make enough time for ourselves when we have families and busy lives. It's definitely a treat I would like to repeat again.

Have a good day

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Looking forward to my treat tomorrow

I'm really looking forward to my treat tomorrow. Last year I booked to go on a vegetarian cooking course for a day and that day is finally here. I'm going here  We will be making two three course meals and eating what we make at lunch time along with demonstrations of dishes and snacks. So I shall take my camera and if I get a moment  and remember I shall take a few pictures.

Today daughter No 3 made the shortbread using some of the ground rice I wanted to get rid of in my challenge. They came out very well but not many left to take a photo of after we all had a taster.


200g soft butter
85g sugar
60g ground rice
175g plain flour

Pre heat oven to 160C
Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy
Add flour and ground rice and form into a dough
Flour surface and roll dough out into a round
Place dough on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes
Remove from oven when cooked and cut into pieces and sprinkle with sugar

For tea tonight I made salmon fishcakes, homemade chips and homemade mushy peas.

Comfort stodge, yummy
The fish cakes are really easy to make, I mix mashed potato with a large tin of salmon (tin cost about £1.50) some lemon juice, a dollop of horseradish sauce and a dollop of mayo and some parsley. mix well then divide into 8. Coat with beaten egg then dip in fresh breadcrumbs ( I whizz a couple of crusts in the food processor). Fry in a little oil or bake in the oven on an oiled tray.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A frugal day

Only a short post. The internet connection is terrible where I am tonight and keeps disconnecting so I hope I get to do a short blog before I'm cut off.

Used up lots of odds and ends in the fridge today. I had a small dish off vegetables leftover from our fajitas a few days ago which I threw into the spagetti bolognese in the slowcooker. This was our tea tonight. I had a portion of creamy mascarpone sauce which was in the freezer from a meal we had last week. I had a small amount of coleslaw & salad leftover from tea last night and a half packet of crabsticks  which have been in the fridge since the end of last week.

These were all used up to make a nice tasty sandwich for my lunch. The dogs vegetables were low and I haven't time to go and buy a sack of pony carrots for him today so I boiled some old looking bits of veg to tied him over till I get a sack of carrots tomorrow.

Went to my voluntary job today and daughter No2 met me at the shop when I'd finished so she could get a lift home. She came out of the shop with a nice top and a pretty skirt which only cost us a few pounds. We then went to a shop to get her a dress she had seen in the White Rose Shopping Centre yesterday (did not have her size in the shop in Leeds). We found her size  and I was going to pay for it when daughter said," No mum, I'll pay for it and use my student  card to get  a discount. You pay me back later." So daughter saved me £3.00  which is not a great deal but it's better in my pocket than the shops profit.

Bye until tomorrow

Monday, 11 April 2011

Menu Week 11/04/11

MONDAY - Omelet, Jacket potato, salad and bread rolls. Semolina pudding with jam

TUESDAY - Spaghetti bolognese and home made garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Roast chicken, home made coleslaw, Jacket spuds & salad

THURSDAY - Home made salmon fishcakes, wedges, peas or beans

FRIDAY - Chicken in sauce over vegetable rice

SATURDAY - Home made pizza, wedges and home made coleslaw

SUNDAY - BBQ  salad & breads

To use up the items in my challenge over the week I am going to make -

Chestnut puree - USED, made the chocolate & chestnut Torte

Couscous - Making couscous patties to have with salad for lunches

Semolina - having semolina milk pudding with homemade jam for after tea tonight

Ground rice - using some in a shortbread recipe I found

Yellow split peas - making this  which I can freeze and have for lunch.

Shall now go to Aldi and buy what I can there whilst daughter No2 goes for an interview in the shop next door. Then home, dog walking then out again to the White Rose Shopping Centre to get the girls some essential items of clothing and footwear for school.   Not looking forward to visiting the shopping centre because it is the school holidays and it will be VERY busy because of this. So my plan is to be as quick as possible in the place, the girls may have other plans though! They could spend all day walking round these centres.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Poor Sherlock

Yesterday I slept until 4.30pm after my night shift oblivious to the goings on with my dog Sherlock. My hubby and daughter No3 had taken him for a walk by the lake with it being a lovely day. Sherlock went to the edge of the water attracted to some smell and ended up with a fishing hook lodged in his mouth. Hubby tried for some time to get it out but it was a hook with a couple of hooks on the end so could not release it. Poor Sherlock was getting very distressed and was in a lot of pain. A man walking his dogs stopped to see if he could help and ended up offering to drive hubby, daughter and Sherlock to a vet.

The vet shaved his legs to give him a sedative in one leg and an injection in the other leg to bring him round.  Hook removed and then an injection to stop any infection. Hubby had to ring his parents to come and collect them and to bring a cheque book because the vet would not take cards for payment! Poor Sherlock was wobbly on his legs for a lot of the day and kept letting us know he was in discomfort with the odd whimper now and again.

Sherlock's shaven legs

So today Sherlock is back to his normal self with just shaven legs to show for his ordeal. It turned out to be a rather expensive walk with the dog....£100! 

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Wedding Party Plans

Well the party I mentioned in a previous post is for daughter No1 and her partner. They sprung on us four weeks ago that they are to marry but it will be in Las Vegas! Just the two of them and the two grandchildren are going. We would have loved to have gone but sadly can't afford to so I decided to have a party for the family to celebrate them getting married. We shall be having this party in 4 weeks, the day after they return from America.

I shall be making all the food and we shall be having it at our house so I am planning on how to decorate the house too. I'm keeping it simple with a colour scheme of white. We have been searching for deals on alcohol and buying where there are good offers. On each visit to the supermarket I buy soft drinks that are on offer and I'm accumulating a nice collection of different drinks now. I am waiting for the supermarkets to have their offers on hams and salmon which they usually do for Easter. I want to buy a large gammon to roast and a half salmon to poach.

I have 3 desserts already made and in the freezer. They are a baked lemon cheesecake (I made this last Christmas and it's lovely). The chocolate & chestnut torte I made yesterday and today I made a mixed berry mousse cake. They all turned out great and just need finishing off with last minute decorations on the day. The torte I made yesterday was made with things I already had in the cupboard, all I had to buy was the double cream. The berry mousse cake was made with berries in the freezer and again I only needed to buy cream. So wedding party plans are going quite smoothly at the moment.

The girls finished school and college today so we shall have a busy time ahead. I want to take them to buy new shoes and some clothes. They seem to have outgrown everything. We need to have a blitz on their bedrooms and  there will be some entertainment required at some point. So a day trip somewhere or a visit to the cinema may be called for. We shall see.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Challenge, recipe 1 made

Well I completed the chestnut puree challenge. I made the torte today and it came out really well.

It made a very large dessert which is in the fridge to set for five hours then I shall wrap it well and freeze for my party.

Used some of the couscous from my challenge for tea tonight instead of rice that I had originally planned to use. Shall have a google to see what else can be made with it.

Off now to watch Superscrimpers: waste not want not on channel 4.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Challenge, recipe 1 found

Found my first recipe to use up the can of chestnut puree I am hosting a party in just over four weeks (more about that another day) so I am going to make this dessert and freeze it. The recipe states it can be frozen for 2 months. So onto the other four items now.

Dog walking beckons and have to go to my voluntary job shortly so shall return later if any bargains found at my shop.

Found these two baskets at the shop today. They were a bargain at 50p each.

They are in great condition and I shall put them away in the loft to us at Christmas for hampers I make.

Monday, 4 April 2011

My Cupboard challenge

I'm giving myself a challenge, to rid my cupboards of old items I've had hanging around for ages. I gave myself the challenge after reading Frugal Queens blog on how she's trying to use food from the store cupboard  instead of going shopping. So here are a few of the items I want to try and use up in next weeks menu plan.

In the jar I have semolina which has been in there a while so needs using up. I have a part used bag of ground rice. Can't remember why I bought it. Think I tried a milk pudding with it and I remember it being horrible. A packet of couscous which I bought last summer in France. It was a double packet of couscous cellophaned together. We only used one packet on holiday so I brought the other packet home with us (being one of  those people who hate to waste anything). Then we have the tin of chestnut puree. One of those impulse buys that you never use. Finally, half a bag of yellow split peas. I am going to google recipes this week and come up with some interesting ways to use these store cupboard ingredients. Will let you know what I find in my searches. What do you have lurking in the depths of your cupboards?

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Menu Week 04/04/11

MONDAY - Fish fingers, wedges, peas or beans

TUESDAY - Tuna & mascarpone sauce on pasta with homemade garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Pork in a sauce over rice

THURSDAY - Creamy Pesto Chicken, potatoes, roasted tomatoes and peas

FRIDAY - At parents for tea

SATURDAY - Chicken/Tofu Fajitas

SUNDAY - Toad in the hole, Roast potatoes, vegetables and onion gravy

                                           Happy Mother's Day to all you mums out there.

Not posted for a few days. Been very busy with having the grandchildren staying this weekend. It is the first time we have had both stay and it has been lovely but hard work. My daughter No1  is sleep deprived and was shattered as the 8 month old baby is terrible at sleeping. So I suffered a sleepless night, along with everyone else in the house except hubby who retreated to the downstairs computer room at the far end of the house. He's not daft is he? Daughter No1 rang today saying she slept solidly for 14 hours and felt a lot better for it. The things we go through for our kids.

So I have not had a relaxing Mother's Day, quite the opposite but an enjoyable one. Daughter No3 has been very helpful all day asking all the time if there is any thing she can do for me. Daughter No2 has done my hair for me (she's training to be a hairdresser) because she knows I hate doing my own hair and I find it really relaxing when she does it for me. I find it so relaxing I always start to nod off. Hope you all had an enjoyable day too. Until tomorrow, Bye.