Sunday, 29 April 2012

Here comes the rain again...

Appropriate song for today

No chance of getting in the garden again today. Well I could if I were one of these obsessed gardeners who will go out in any kind of weather to garden but, I'm not! Only time I go out in this weather is to take the dog and I've already ventured out this morning  for walk No1, two more to go.

So, what to do today. Think it shall be a little sewing and a bit of fridge tidying for my big shop tomorrow. A little ironing and a visit to Argos for a pair of curtains for daughters bedroom. That should keep me busy for a while on this wet and miserable day.

Let me show you project No3  I have finished.

It's a simple felt decoration for hanging on a Christmas tree or around the house. My youngest daughter loves it and wants me to make one for her newly decorated bedroom. So my grandaughters shall be getting a handmade cushion and one of these in their Christmas presents this year. Going to make some for other members of the family to pop in with their gifts too. Must get the third raindeer cushion finished today for my grandaughter that's been lurking in my laptop bag since I took it to work with me Friday night with the intention of finishing it but didn't.

What are you doing on this wet and windy day?

Friday, 27 April 2012

Still making do

Well I'm still plodding along using what I have in my freezer and cupboards. Wednesday I made them a stirfry with a small portion of pork I found in the freezer and with a packet of noodles from my cupboard. Yesterday I made Fishfingers (had in freezer), homemade chips and peas ( had in freezer). Ate this with homemade bread and butter. Tonight's delights shall be a quiche. I had plenty of eggs and cheese in so made some pastry and filled the quiche with eggs, cheese and a few mushrooms I had in the fridge. In the freezer I had some ends of the gammon joints I cook for sandwiches so these were chopped into the quiche too. This will be served with jacket potatoes and homemade coleslaw.

Got a little well done on the pastry but was just right inside.

Needed something for my lunch today so had a look what I had in for soup making. I gathered together these ingredients to make a nice soup for a miserable day like today.

 So, in a pan I added a chopped onion, 500g chopped carrots, 100g lentils, 1tsp harissa spice, 1 stock cube dissolved in 1 litre of water.  When all cooked I whizzed it with a food blender and seasoned to taste with salt & pepper. End result was

 a comforting bowl of spicy carrot and lentil soup. Went down well with some homemade wholegrain bread mmmm.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chicken for 3 for 99p

Yesterday I didn't buy very much a little meat and some fruit, veg and milk to tied us over the week until payday. I bought these two chicken quarters in Aldi yesterday they were only 99p.

I skinned them then added them to the slowcooker with some homemade chicken stock, half an onion, two small carrots and some salt & pepper and then let them cook all afternoon. The meat was stripped off the bone and the carrot & onion were whizzed into the stock and thickened to make a gravy. I got plenty of meat to feed my three. I served the chicken with veggies, mash and Yorkshire puddings.

Yesterday evening I made a loaf of white and a loaf of whole grain bread.

  This morning I sliced them on my slicing machine and bagged them up.


These are stashed in the freezer. I prefer to take slices of  bread out of the freezer when needed so it stays fresh. I also bought 500g of minced beef in Aldi. This is on offer this week for £1.99 instead of the usual £2.49. I shall shortly be cooking this in the slow cooker for a meal tonight. Back to a pile of ironing I must go : (

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Project No 2

Got my second cushion finished tonight.

I made the second cushion larger as I felt the first one was too small if my grandaughter wanted to put her head on it. I also embroidered her name in a corner. The small one is for me and the larger one for my grandaughter. I don't have a sewing machine so all seams are hand stitched too. I'm amazed at how dainty I can sew and so neatly. I have nearly finished a third cushion for my other grandaughter.  Can't wait to get that finished then onto something different.

Had the grandaughters staying this weekend so little got done around the house or garden. Weather was awful again but me and grandaughter No1 still went for a good walk this afternoon in the pouring rain with the dog. We were armed with wellies and umbrellas but still came back soaked.

That's all for tonight. Off for an early night. Looking after grandchildren is exhausting : )

Night all x

Friday, 20 April 2012

Bloody hell!

They're at it again. Changing things in blogland. I don't like change! Why change something that was perfectly okay? Makes me annoyed.

Onto what I was going to post about in the first place. Money is now tight in this household until we are paid next Friday. It's been a 5 week month and there have been things to payout this month we don't normally pay for like daughters short break with school. All my shopping money has now gone. I have everything in for meals up to Sunday. Come Monday I need to stretch what's in the cupboards and freezer to try and make something eatable for the coming week. Don't think I have any meat in the freezer except one portion of liver which only daughter No 2 likes. Just remembered I had a few ends of gammon which I can rustle something up with. I need to get creative and have a very small shop next week.

Tonight's meal was something using up leftover chicken. I'm sure everyone is fed up of what I usually make with leftover chicken so I thought I'd try something different. I rooted around in the freezer and found about 60g sliced chorizo that had been in there since last year.

 I found a pot of portioned tinned sweetcorn and some frozen peas. I found garlic in the fridge with a pepper & an onion. A tin of tomatoes from the store cupboard and ground cumin and smoked paprika from my spice rack.

 I chopped only half the onion and pepper because the meal was only for daughter No3 and Hubby tonight. I fried these in a drop of olive oil to soften them the added the chopped chorizo, garlic and half teaspoon each of cumin and paprika. Cooked this for about 8 minutes to release the fat from the chorizo.

To this I then added half the tinned tomatoes, peas, sweetcorn and about quarter pint of my homemade chicken stock. Brought this to the boil then thickened with a tablespoon of flour mixed with a little water to make a paste. Seasoned and then I added a squeeze of lime juice. Finally, add the cooked leftover chicken. Cooked until piping hot and served with boiled rice.

I did think daughter No 3 would leave the meal because of the chorizo and paprika in the meal (she hates spicy food, wimp) but she said it was actually nice and Hubby enjoyed it too, result.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Just a quick one

I was asked a few days ago by Angela to review this book I borrowed from the library.

The book is called Christmas crafting in no time by Clare Young. I would recommend anyone who was thinking of buying the book to borrow it from the library first to make sure it's a book you would use often. I found a lot of the paper crafts quite basic but they would be nice crafts to do with children but not something I would want to do from the book.

It's a lovely photographed book on lovely quality paper. The contents are sectioned into, decorations, cards and gift wrap, cooking for Christmas,  gifts,  and table decorations.   A few things that jumped out at me to make are the stockings on the front cover and this embroidered throw.

Thought that might be a nice gift for my mother-in-law for Christmas.
I also fancy making this embossed foil heart decoration. It's made with modelling clay.

And finally I may make this snowflake garland.

Overall a nice book which you can get at Amazon for £10.16  but I'll just keep borrowing it from the library until I've made the things I want.

A warm welcome to my new followers x

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Pottering about

Enjoyed my day today pottering around the house getting jobs done. After taking Sherlock for his morning walk I checked in on the on-line banking then put a large chicken in the slowcooker,

then tackled a pile of this : (

Made a big pan of leek & potato soup for my lunches for the week, yum.

Then I made a big pan of chopped carrots ( I buy a 12.5kg bag of pony carrots for £1.50) and cauliflower leaves for Sherlocks meals. I top his dried food with plenty of veg to fill him up because as with all labradors, he's greedy! 

Yesterday I boiled, then honey roasted  a gammon. Today I got out my electric slicer and sliced the gammon, portioned into bags and froze for lunches.

Then I took Sherlock for a lovely walk across the rape fields. They are not fully in bloom at the moment but nearly there. Still lovely to walk by on a sunny day.

Earlier I made some shortcrust pastry. With the scraps of ham from the slicing I did earlier, I mixed them with some leftover chicken into a sauce I made with onion, mushrooms, chicken stock, flour, parsley and milk. This filling was placed into pastry  to make pasties for lunches. I cooked three whilst I had the oven on for the Yorkshire puddings. The remainder I open froze and then bagged for another day. 

I still have a large amount of chicken leftover from our evening meal which will be used later in the week for a main meal.
An enjoyable productive day.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Back to using it,

my library that is. This morning I thought I would go into the local town to the market and the library before I went to do my shop in Aldi. I have a passion for cookery books so had a good rummage among the shelves and chose these,

Hopefully find a few new ideas for daughter No3 to have for lunch. She hates lunches so I shall give her the book to look through and write down anything which grabs her : )

I also got this one to get more ideas for homemade Christmas gifts.

I also got this cookery book.

I have only read the introduction so far whilst eating my lunch but what an inspirational woman Sally Bee is. She had 3 heart attacks in one week at the age of 36. It was found that she had a rare heart condition and was not expected to live but she is still here and lives her life as healthy as she can to hopefully prolong her life. I hope to get a lot of inspiration from her recipes to better our health because I know I could do better than I am at the moment.

So I intend to get back into using my library on a regular basis. I tried to scan the books to take them out and the machine kept telling me I could not take the books and to go to the desk. It's been so long since I last went to the library  my card needed updating. We all really should use our libraries more  or we could end up loosing them.

We went last week when it was bank holiday Monday to the market in the local town and I got some good deals on fruit and veg so returned today to see what bargains I could get on the veg stall. I got 2 punnets of strawberries, 2 large punnets of seedless grapes, large cauliflower and 2lb of Jersey Royals all for £4.10 which I was really pleased with. I have found a market stall that sells embroidery threads, felt and ribbon at a fraction of the cost in the shops. So I shall be making a regular trip to that stall when in need of materials. There was a fab bakers stall with  breads and cakes but steered clear of that one. A big down fall of mine is bread and have been limiting myself on the amount I now consume .

Do you use your local market? What are your favourite market stalls?


MONDAY - Hot & Spicy pork steaks, Jersey royals, peas and sauteed mushrooms

TUESDAY - Roast chicken, Yorkshire puddings, veg  and mash

WEDNESDAY - Homemade fishcakes, wedges, peas and sweetcorn

THURSDAY - Leftover roast chicken cooked in some type of sauce & rice

FRIDAY - pork loin steaks, roast spuds, veg and gravy

SATURDAY - Chilli con carne and rice

SUNDAY - Homemade pizza, chips and homemade coleslaw

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Project No 1 completed

Well I finally got the little Christmas cushion stuffed tonight and finished. I think it's so cute.

I'm nearly finished on one which I have made larger for one of the grandaughters. I'm also halfway through another one for the other grandaughter.  The girls will love them. Not doing too bad on the homemade Christmas gifts. I've really enjoyed making them and have got quite into doing applique and blanket stitching. When I've finish the two remaining cushions I have another project I want to make. It's felt decorations which can be hung on a tree or hung anywhere really, so more about those soon.

Had a lazy morning today. Then we took daughter No3 to a bed shop to tryout mattresses. She had fun laying on all the beds testing them all out for the comfiest. She did like a mattress that cost £340 for a single! Told her that was way too expensive and after a bit more rolling around on mattresses she found another which was at a more reasonable price. Free delivery too. When we returned I made a late lunch/early dinner of Toad in the hole with mash and lots of veg.

Finishing off my evening with my sewing. Wish I had remembered about going to the boot sale this morning. I'm on the lookout for a shabby chic bedside table for daughter No3's bedroom. Thought a boot sale might have one but I shall have to wait another week. Keep looking on e-bay but the prices they want just because shabby chic is in fashion is ridiculous. 

Hope you all have had an enjoyable Sunday.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

where to begin......

I've not been on for a while and when I do return, I like to see first what my friends in blog land have been up to first before I post. I read this post on Scarlets blog here and it all just came in a flood to me.
If you have followed my blog from the beginning you will know I set up this blog because my mum knew my old blog address from my eldest daughter. I could not stand the thought of my mum tracing my blog and reading about my life so I started this new blog. I don't let any of my family know details of this and never want them to know it. It's my space and I don't want to share it with anyone but my blogger friends. I know my Hubby could look into my computer background tomorrow and find out every page I've visited and what my blog is called but he  respects my privacy and will not search through my computer for info even though he is a computer genius.

Scarlets post brought back everything about my family I want to forget. I thought I had severed a lot of ties with my mum, then; yesterday evening before I was due to do my night shift my dad rang. This is the first time he has rang me in nearly a year. Don't get me wrong, I love my dad and keep in touch with him as much as I can through text but I will not phone him on his house phone because mum will give him a 100 and 1  questions on why I had called him. I don't call him on his mobile because of the same thing. Dads got to do what my mum says.

When dad phoned last night his tone of voice was very strange, not his usual self. I knew something was not right. After a nice chat (come to think of it, a very strained chat for dad) He said 'What I rang for Karen was....'  The call ended on me in tears and by the sounds of it, Dad was nearly in tears. All this accumulated because my mum had asked him to ring me about some personal money matters. Years ago , mum asked me to take out an ISA in my name with her money because she had used up her ISA allowance for that year and she had extra cash she wanted to invest. Dad rang to say mum wanted me to cash her ISA in and return the money. Do you know, I was gob smacked. It all boiled down to her not trusting me with her ISA. She thought because we had disowned each other I would try to steal her money! Won't tell you what I told my dad to tell her!

I came off that phone call in tears to Hubby. He just told me to put it all behind me, cash the policy in and be done with her. It just shows what a horrible cow she is. I have never in my life thought of taking their ISA and spending it on us. It just confirms I made the right decision to sever my ties with my mother!!!!

So sorry to vent my problems on you lovely people. But, I know a lot of you are going through the same situation as me.

Promise, back to a brighter post tomorrow xxxxxxx

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Slimming down nicely

Welcome to my new follower Jan.

Today I did my voluntary job at the charity shop. I put aside a pair of shoes to try and a pair of jeans. Shoes were a little too tight around the toes so they went back and the jeans were a little too tight so they went back. So no money spent in the shop today. Our clothing budget is not getting spent at the moment and is building up nicely. I have got to the stage now where I don't want to waste money buying any clothes because I've got to the stage in my diet where I can notice a difference and just think is it going to be a waste of money buying clothing for them to be too big for me in 4 weeks time.
I had a lovely time yesterday evening trying on tops that had gotten too tight to wear before my diet. They all fit lovely now. It has extended my wardrobe a lot. I'm feeling the urge to have a really good clearout of my wardrobe now and rid myself of a lot of clutter that I no longer like or wear anymore.

Been searching for a holiday this evening and very disappointed at what we can get for our money. We save into a account every month for a holiday but it is not a great amount.I looked at a week abroad but the prices are quite expensive for only one week and when I checked them out on review sites they all turned out to be nasty cheap holiday hotels. To be honest I don't think I want to go abroad this year after looking at what we can get for our money, plus Hubby and I need to renew our passports so that's more expense so I looked up one of our favourite holidays here and shall speak to Hubby tomorrow and see if he thinks it's a good idea to go again. We have done PGL twice before but in France and had fantastic holidays each time. If we go again this year we shall try a British based one because the French option is out of our range this year because of the expense of getting there. If you ever want a holiday where your teenage kids will never moan they are bored and you want a fun packed holiday from the moment you arrive until you leave, I promise you a PGL holiday will fit the bill. And no, I do not work for them, I just love them.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

What's all this?!

Bloody hell, shock to the system with the weather this morning. Was not nice driving home on the motorway after a night shift on roads I could not even see the road markings on. Anyway, managed to get home in one piece then out with the dog wearing my gloves and scarf. After last weeks weather can you believe that? Gloves and a scarf! Only in Britain. Off to bed now and hope all the bloody stuffs gone when I get up.

Bye for now x

Monday, 2 April 2012

Menu Week 02/04/12

MONDAY - Sausage, bacon, egg, mushrooms, tomatoes and potato cakes
                     Me - Tuna and boiled egg salad with a jacket potato

TUESDAY - Creamy tuna tomato sauce on pasta with homemade garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Spinach & ricotta cannelloni, salad & homemade garlic bread

THURSDAY - Recipe here Spring Chicken in a pot
                        Me - Spring quorn fillets in a pot

FRIDAY - Pork, apple & sage burgers, chips and corn-on-the-cob
                 Me- Homemade Spicy bean burger, chips and corn-on-the-cob

SATURDAY - Turkey fajitas
                         Me - Tofu fajitas

SUNDAY - Roasted corn fed chicken, sausage & bacon wraps, sage & onion stuffing, roast
                    potatoes, vegetables and gravy
                   Black forest gateau (inspired by The Hairy Bikers programme I watched last
                  Recipe here Gregg's tangy lemon tart

Where does time go? Already April, it doesn't seem two minutes since we were celebrating New Year. I have been a bad blogger too. Not posted for a week. All I can say is life just got in the way of blogging.

Been kept busy with decorating, gardening, planting seeds and working. Sunday I took the cooked and prepared oxtail I told you all about last week, out of the freezer. I sauteed some mushrooms to add to it and managed to have enough filling to make a suet pudding. Had problems with it sticking to the basin and it looked a bit of a mess to take a picture to show you. Perhaps it might help if I grease the basin next time. Silly me. The verdict was, Hubby really enjoyed it, the girls were not keen. Think with the girls it was more a case of not liking the thought of eating a tail! Ah well, not everything I make is going to be a hit with them. So this weeks menu plan is based around the meat I have already in the freezer so my shop today was not a big shop. I only need to buy a large chicken, veg and cream later in the week for Easter Sunday.

Daughter No3 had an  appointment with the orthodontist today.  It was the first visit to see if she can have braces on the NHS. Good news is she can but, she's now on a waiting list to start the treatment. The waiting list is 9 - 12 months! We could have treatment quicker if we went private. No thanks, we'll wait. We've paid NI all our working lives and I want to get something back for paying into it all these years. We also had to travel 22 miles to the orthodontist in York because he is the nearest one to us. Our nearest town does not have one. So I was not pleased at having to used  44 miles of fuel when there's all this uncertainty over fuel shortages. I did drop in to Aldi on the way home as we were passing and did not want to waste fuel going tomorrow.

Anyway, enough moaning and to bed I must go.
Night all x