Monday, 11 February 2019

Meal Planning Monday 2019 Week 7

I've got laryngitis at the moment so we had to cancel the visit to my parents last week and plans for this week are a bit up in the air until I get my voice back! So I am going to plan meals as if we were going to be at home every day but hopefully we will get to visit my parents at some point.

Monday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S peanut butter sandwich and apple slices with cinnamon
Lunch for us hotdogs
Dinner for baby S butterbean and veg stew followed by quark and fruit
Dinner for us fish pie for me, chicken wrapped in bacon for him

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S crumpet and soft cheese
Lunch for us soup and bread
Dinner for baby S lentil, coconut milk, butternut squash and chicken curry based on this recipe
Dinner for us rest of fish pie for me, sausages for him

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S cereal with milk
Lunch for baby S cheddar and butterbean bites with bits of finger food
Lunch for us just me as my husband is out - I'll probably have a sandwich
Dinner for baby S homemade risotto from the freezer
Dinner for us chicken goujons and prawns in breadcrumbs and chips

Thursday Valentine's day
Breakfast for baby S cereal with milk
Lunch for baby S  baked beans and toast
Lunch for us full English with heart shaped toast if I can be bothered
Dinner for baby S something from the freezer (I've got lots of batch cooked meals for her)
Dinner for us TBA

Friday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S  puff pastry with tomato puree and cheese
Lunch for us puff pastry with tomato puree and cheese
Dinner for baby S something from the freezer
Dinner for us pasta and meatballs I didn't do last week

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S at a birthday party
Lunch for us at a birthday party
Dinner for baby S something from the freezer
Dinner for us  sole with new potatoes for me, chicken mini fillets for him

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S cereal
Lunch for baby S pitta bread, cucumber, her favourite finger foods
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Dinner for baby S sole with potato and sweetcorn
Dinner for us chicken mini roast

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Why Iberian ham deserves a place on the British dining table

How much do you know about Iberian ham? I have to admit I was a little hazy - I knew it from restaurants and deli counters as a wafer thin type of cured ham from Spain but that was about it.

In fact it's the pigs that are Iberian. They have dark skin and look black rather than pink, with long slender hind legs. They live in freedom and graze on acorns in certain parts of Spain, which apparently gives the meat a unique taste.

It's quite interesting reading about the process to produce the ham from salting to washing, then the pieces are left for up to three month for the salt to permeate. The really unique bit is the way the hams are cured - hung up and exposed to the natural climate conditions for 18-24 months and after that aged in a cellar for at least another 12 months (usually 18). The secret of curing is passed down in families from generation to generation.

It's also part of the famed Mediterranean diet - Iberian ham is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, protein, zinc and vitamins B1, B3 and B12, according to the information leaflet I received.

I was sent some Iberian ham by Ibeham, a project promoted by the Denomination of Origin Guijuelo (Spain). There are plenty of recipes on their site suggesting how to enjoy the ham but I wanted something fairly pure and simple, so tried it on a piece of fresh bread with some mozzarella and a little olive oil.

The slices are so wafer thin they are almost transparent, separated in the packet by pieces of plastic so you can peel the ham off. Each slice has a ribbon of fat which dissolved on the tongue and the taste and texture were both top notch. There are a lot of recipes you can use this in but I just want to savour the flavour by itself!

If you can get hold of some proper Iberian ham - and you don't have to go to specialist shops, Waitrose has some - then I highly recommend it as a little bit of luxury if you're just having a sandwich, or a platter for guests if you are entertaining.


Thanks to Ibeham for the ham to review

 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Review: Thomas Fudge's flatbreads

This time of year I love a bowl of warming soup for lunch with something on the side. Ordinary bread is good but it’s nice to have something a little bit different especially if you are going for a plainer soup like my husband who only ever wants tomato. I used to make my own bread sometimes but the bread maker machine has made way for the steriliser and the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine!

So I was pleased to come across these flatbreads from Thomas Fudge's's - they come in two delicious flavours, chickpea & sesame and cheddar & shallot. 

They are thin and crispy like crackers, so they are better dunked into a thick soup like tomato rather than a thin watery soup. You can also spread soft cheese, houmous or whatever you like on them, or use them in a dip - I’m planning to put these out with some dips at my daughter’s birthday party (for the adults). They also make biscuits for cheese and some flapjacks and Florentines which look very tempting!

 
They also look like quite a premium product both with the packaging and the flatbreads themselves - the chickpea & sesame flavour has linseed, pumpkin and sesame seeds which you can see a lot of on top. The 140g boxes  are only £1.89 and go a long way so I think these are particularly good if you are entertaining.

 
 
Thanks to Thomas Fudge's for sending the flatbreads to review - all opinions are my own.


Monday, 4 February 2019

Meal Planning Monday 2019 Week 6

I didn't manage to do a meal plan last week as I had very little time and had to just wing it when it came to meals... which isn't that easy when you are trying to prepare healthy nutritious food for a baby, finish feeding her and realise you need to get your own dinner on and have no idea what you are going to cook! My mum is out of hospital and has been for over a week now, and is doing really well; we are going to see her and my dad this week.

Monday
Breakfast for baby S Porridge with red berries
Lunch for baby S Chicken, potato waffles, veg
Lunch for us sausage sandwich
Dinner for baby S  pork with butternut squash and broccoli
Dinner for us steak and chips

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch for baby S banana pancakes
Lunch for us  pancakes
Dinner for baby S jar of baby food I opened yesterday that she didn't want followed by sugar free jelly
Dinner for us sole with lemon and parsley sauce for me, chicken chargrills for him 

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S quark with fruit or possibly just milk depending on when we leave
Lunch for baby S finger food of cheese, pitta, cucumber etc followed by malt loaf
Lunch for us with my parents
Dinner for baby S sole with veg followed by a fruit pot
Dinner for us McDonalds which I know my husband has been wanting for a while, as we will have had a long drive

Thursday
Breakfast for baby S quark with fruit
Lunch for baby S cheese toastie followed by malt loaf
Lunch for us cheese and ham toasties
Dinner for baby S homemade risotto
Dinner for us  sausage casserole 

Friday
Breakfast for baby S crumpet with Marmite
Lunch for baby S sausage casserole
Lunch for us soup and bread
Dinner for baby S something homemade from the freezer
Dinner for us burger and chips

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S crumpets with soft cheese
Lunch for us crumpets and hot cross buns
Dinner for baby S pasta and meatballs with garlic bread
Dinner for us pasta and meatballs with garlic bread

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S pitta, cheese etc
Lunch for us sausage and egg muffins
Dinner for baby S something homemade from the freezer
Dinner for us TBA

Sunday, 27 January 2019

A Unique Valentine's Day Gift - Engraved Silver Marmite Lid



What do you get for the man who has everything? OK not everything, but if there's something my husband decides he wants, one click of a button and it turns up the next day from Amazon Prime. It takes a lot of thought at birthday and Christmas to come up with something he will like but hasn't already bought himself, and I try hard to find slightly quirky or unusual gifts from independent retailers or online gift companies (one stocking filler I got him this year was a doorstop for his 'man cave' (study) carved with the word 'hodor').

Game of Thrones is all very well but not the most romantic inspiration when it comes to Valentine's day (I don't even watch the show but can tell most relationships on it have met a nasty end). Marmite may also not seem the most romantic of gifts - until you think of the famous advertising strapline: 'Marmite - you either love it or hate it'. Believe it or not, that advert was devised in the mid 90s, and has lasted so long that it's become a metaphor for anything people have strong feelings towards.

People who love Marmite, love Marmite. It is a sign of true love for them to say they love you more than they love Marmite!

So what better way to say I love you this Valentine's day than with a jar of Marmite? Well how about this: a personalised engraved silver Marmite lid that is a beautiful keepsake, and actually fits on top of your jar of Marmite so you can either keep it in the larder or on your bedside table (the engraved lid that is, not the Marmite - unless you really love it).

There are a few different places that sell engraved Marmite lids but this one from The Engravers Guild has a beautiful design of a cupid and hearts and the words 'I love you even more than Marmite' along with the recipient's name. You could even get your own name as a keepsake for yourself!

Made of solid 925 sterling sliver in a UK silversmiths, the lid fits a standard 250g jar of Marmite. The engraving is done with a diamond-tipped machine cutter so it will last a lifetime making this a really lovely keepsake for your valentine. This one, the sterling 925 silver, retails at £79 including the cost of the engraving and a gift box.

The Engravers Guild has some other options as well including a Brexit/Remainer version, a plain silver lid (£59.95) which you could have engraved with a message for a birthday or Christening or anything else, or one finished with 9 carat gold for £140 if you want to treat your love to something even more lavish.


I love the way it has turned out - you can see more of the details on the lid in this close up photo above.
Standard delivery is 3-5 working days but they also offer a next day service if you've left it a bit late - and the lid is of course delivered with a jar of Marmite!

Thanks to The Engravers Guild of London which offers a range of personalised gifts for the complimentary engraved Marmite lid. All opinions are my own and this is not a paid-for post though I was sent an engraved lid free of charge.

 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Baby Hand Print Get Well Card - A little bird told me you're not feeling so chirpy


My mum has been in hospital for nearly four weeks after being suddenly struck by a serious illness but she is recovering really well and will hopefully be back home soon - a huge relief for all of us.
 
I live a couple of hours away so in between visits I’ve sent her a few things in the post, including a get well card that I made in haste and forgot to take a photo of.
 
This is the second get well card I made, or rather that my ten month old daughter made. We go to a class occasionally called ‘Baby Picasso’ that is basically hand and foot painting with some messy play as well. There is a theme each week and we have the opportunity to make one picture or card or other item (before Christmas for instance we did tree decorations) using hand prints and one using foot prints.
 
It gets quite messy - you have to put paint on your baby’s hand or foot and then stop them wiping it on themselves or you before you are able to get them to place it flat on a piece of paper! Then the other details and embellishments are added by the parent, as this particular class is for pre-walkers so the babies are too young to do it themselves.
 
The theme this week was birds, and my little girl made a picture of two robins sitting on branches with handprints in paint.
 
I decided to turn it into a card so when we got home I glued the picture onto a blank card and had a think about a suitable sentiment. The phrase ‘a little bird told me’ sprang to mind straight away then the rest followed and seemed perfect for a get well card - ‘you’re not feeling so chirpy’!  I wrote the sentiments on the computer and stuck them on the front of the card and inside printed ‘get well soon’.
 
I gave my mum the card when I went to visit a couple of days later addressed to granny from my daughter - she really liked it and hopefully it helped cheer her up a little bit!
 
I'm sharing this with the following craft blog challenges: The Male Room - nature (this card would work for a man easily!)
Paper Funday - anything goes
Everybody art challenge - anything goes
Unicorn challenge - things with wings
Heart 2 Heart challenges - creative cards
 
 
 

Meal Planning Monday 2019 Week 4

My mum is still in hospital (this is her 4th week) but she is recovering really well and I think pretty close to being allowed to go home, which is brilliant. I don't really know when I'm going to visit her in advance at the moment as it depends on when she is going home, what help she and my dad will need, and if I get any more job interviews - everything is quite up in the air at the moment really!

I've been winging it so far this week but had an online shop last night and realised if I don't plan meals, food will sit in the fridge until its use by date and I won't get around to cooking it. I also wanted to make some more meals for baby S though I seem to be running out of freezer space with all the little plastic tubs we've got in there now!

So right now it's nearly 10pm and I've got two pans of veg cooking to make some baby meals - this is the first time I've been able to stop all day!

Monday
I went to see my mum in hospital and we had something easy from the freezer for dinner when I got back, I can't even remember what it was!

Tuesday
We had hunter's chicken (ready made) with potato croquettes

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S - porridge with banana
Lunch for baby S - crumpet with soft cheese
Lunch for us - hot dogs
Dinner for baby S - pasta with tomato sauce, veg and chicken followed by half a fruit pot
Dinner for us - burger and chips - not good when you consider what we had for lunch, this is why I need to plan - the planning starts here!

Thursday
Breakfast for baby S - porridge with fruit if time, just milk otherwise, as we have to go out shortly after 10
Lunch for baby S rest of veg and chicken from yesterday mixed into pasta with a cheese sauce and a tiny bit of bacon for her to try
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Dinner for baby S Cod with butternut squash, leek, potato and kale (veg mix cooked in advance and batch frozen) followed by apple and plum crumble
Dinner for us  roast chicken - it's not Sunday but why not, since neither of us is in work at the moment!

Friday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit - I did try her with Cheerios but she found them a bit difficult to manage so it's back to porridge for the moment
Lunch for baby S - chicken pieces with roasted veg from yesterday (finger food)
Lunch for us - cheese and ham toasties
Dinner for baby S - chicken with mixed veg from freezer followed by rest of apple and plum crumble
Dinner for us - chicken curry

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S crumpet
Lunch for baby S banana egg-free pancakes
Lunch for us  pancakes
Dinner for baby S - moussaka
Dinner for us - slow cooked gammon in apple juice

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit or toast as we may be at my MIL's
Lunch for baby S finger food of pitta with fish paste, cucumber, cheese and any interesting fruit or veg I find at my MIL's!
Lunch for us If we are still at my MIL's, probably a bacon sandwich
Dinner for baby S - gammon from yesterday with veg
Dinner for us sausage casserole

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Meal Planning Monday 2019 Week 3

This is the first meal plan I've managed to do so far this year as 2019 didn't start off as expected - my mum was rushed into hospital on December 30th and spent a week in intensive care, most of that unconscious. Thankfully she is now awake and on the mend on a ward where she will be for a couple more weeks; I've been to visit several times already but then had a cold so was asked to stay away while her immune system is still weak. And with a job interview for myself and a meeting with a recruiter for my husband this week I'm not sure if I will be able to visit more than once this week (the hospital is a 2.5 hour journey away at least but last time it took me 4 hours to get back) and I've got a 10 month old baby at home to look after as well. So for the moment I'm planning to visit on Monday and then maybe later in the week again or at the beginning of the week after.

Saturday
Lunch for us beans on toast (in a hurry to take baby S out to a play session)
Lunch for baby S crumpet with houmous
Dinner for us steak and chips
Dinner for baby S homemade risotto (in freezer)

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S cereal
Lunch for us sausage and egg muffins
Lunch for baby S pitta bread with houmous, peanut butter, cucumber sticks, cheese etc
Dinner for us spaghetti and meatballs
Dinner for baby S homemade beef casserole (in freezer) with extra veg

Monday
I'll be away visiting my mum in hospital
Breakfast for baby S porridge or toast, whichever my husband finds easiest
Lunch for us I will be out so whatever is easiest; my husband won't get much time looking after baby S by himself so I will leave him something ready made in the fridge
Lunch for baby S jar of baby food
Dinner for us not sure when I will be back (South Western Railway let me down last time) so something easy from the freezer
Dinner for baby S Depends when I am back but possibly another jar of baby food or something homemade from the freezer

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S cereal
Lunch for us just me today as my husband is meeting a friend for lunch - I think I will have a jacket potato with a  tuna filling that baby S can also eat
Lunch for baby S tuna pasta from this Annabel Karmel recipe
Dinner for us seabass in watercress sauce with veg and new potatoes for me,
Dinner for baby S chicken and butternut squash Annabel Karmel recipe

Wednesday
I'm in London at a job interview this morning (on top of everything else, I'm at risk of redundancy as my role I'm on maternity leave from doesn't exist any more) so my husband will be holding the fort for breakfast and lunch.
Breakfast for baby S porridge or toast
Lunch for him something ready made he can easily eat
Lunch for baby S something from a jar or the freezer that my husband can easily serve
Dinner for us rest of seabass for me (two portions frozen together) with lemon and garlic sauce; chicken breast with the same sauce for him
Dinner for baby S fish with butternut squash, kale and peas from this Annabel Karmel recipe

Thursday
Breakfast for baby S porridge, toast or cereal
Lunch for us mini pizzas
Lunch for baby S mini pizza
Dinner for us sausage casserole
Dinner for baby S homemade risotto from the freezer

Friday
Breakfast for baby S porridge, toast or cereal
Lunch for us just me I think today as my husband has a meeting with a recruiter - he is looking for a job as well - I'll have a sandwich
Lunch for baby S selection of finger food
Dinner for us chicken goujons with chips
Dinner for baby S something ready made to save time so we can tidy up before people come tomorrow

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge, toast or cereal
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Lunch for baby S pitta bread with tuna mayo and sweetcorn based on this Annabel Karmel recipe
Dinner for us having friends to stay - TBA
Dinner for baby S something ready made

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S porridge, toast or cereal
Lunch for us very excited today that I am having a proper 'dinner party' even though it's lunch time - you will be able to read more on the blog soon!
Lunch for baby S jar of baby food at her grandmother's house (with daddy as he's not coming to the 'dinner party' - it's just girls!)
Dinner for us  TBA
Dinner for baby S TBA

Monday, 17 December 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 51

I didn't do a meal plan last week, as I was really busy in the run-up to Christmas and also had some unexpected bad news to deal with. I realised just how much I rely on my meal plans - they do take a little bit of time but it's just once a week then for the rest of the week I just check back at what I was supposed to be making. Without a plan I really struggled and wasted time looking through the freezer trying to find something to cook. So this time I've managed to find time to do some planning!

In previous years I've done a lot of festive baking at this time of year and it's a shame I haven't really got time to do any this year. I would have thought that being on maternity leave I'd have more time than when I was at work, but my gorgeous nine month old is pretty all-consuming and when I'm not feeding, changing or playing with her, I'm trying to keep on top of housework and life chores. Maybe next year she will want to join in and bake something with me!

So here's this week's plan:

Monday
Breakfast for baby S: crumpet
Lunch for us: beans on toast as I have to go out to a playgroup at 1.15
Lunch for baby S: chicken and veg
Dinner for us: chicken goujons/ scampi and chips
Dinner for baby S: pouch of organic baby food that needs using by January, followed by baked apple

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S: porridge with fruit
Lunch for us: bacon sandwich
Lunch for baby S:  tuna and avocado on pitta bread
Dinner for us: orange glazed chicken for him and salmon for me with roast potatoes if time
Dinner for baby S: baby pasta with tomato and chicken

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S: toast
Lunch for us: hot dogs
Lunch for baby S: salmon from dinner yesterday followed by tangerine
Dinner for us: bbq pork loin steaks for me (using up freezer stash) and chicken for him, with croquette potatoes
Dinner for baby S: cod and sweetcorn chowder with apple crumble for dessert

Thursday
Breakfast for baby S: porridge with fruit
Lunch for us: pasta carbonara using packet sauce
Lunch for baby S:  pasta carbonara
Dinner for us: burger and French fries
Dinner for baby S: rest of cod and sweetcorn chowder

Friday
Breakfast for baby S: breakfast muffin
Lunch for us sandwiches
Lunch for baby S:  pitta bread, cucumber sticks, chicken pieces, followed by petit filous
Dinner for us: gammon steak and chips
Dinner for baby S: pouch of organic baby food that needs using by January

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S: fruity porridge
Lunch for us: mini pizza
Lunch for baby S:  mini pizza
Dinner for us: homemade fish pie for me (in the freezer), toad in the hole for him
Dinner for baby S: gammon, veg, mini potato waffle

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S: fruity porridge
Lunch for us: cheese on toast/ French toast combo
Lunch for baby S: cheese on toast/ French toast combo
Dinner for us: steak and chips
Dinner for baby S: pouch of baby food

And then tomorrow is Christmas eve! What are you doing for Christmas?

Monday, 3 December 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 49

I've not managed to get my daughter into any sort of proper routine at the moment which means that sometimes we miss a solid meal I'd planned as she is asleep and then she just has milk afterwards - I'm also finding she wakes up too late for a solid breakfast if I'm giving her lunch as well at the moment. So from now on I'm going to plan three meals a day, and hope that she eats at least two of them! I'm also going to start giving her a cooked meal like fish pie or risotto at lunch and finger food at dinner as when she goes to nursery she will have her main meal at lunchtime.

Monday
Breakfast for baby porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby  roast beef from Sunday
Lunch for us beans/ macaroni cheese on toast
Dinner for baby homemade risotto from the freezer. For dessert - baked apple
Dinner for us cottage cheese stuffed chicken based on this recipe

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby  yogurt with fruit
Lunch for baby baby pasta with some chicken from our dinner yesterday
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Dinner for baby not sure if we will be back in time (see below) so maybe some finger food
Dinner for us probably back late as baby S has an appointment at the allergy clinic so something easy from the freezer

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby  homemade breakfast muffins
Lunch for baby cheese on toast we didn't have last week
Lunch for us cheese on toast
Dinner for baby  something ready made to make it easy for my husband as I won't be home
Dinner for us I'm going into work this afternoon so something quick and easy for when I get back - pasta ready meal for me, something from the freezer for him

Thursday
Breakfast for baby  porridge or yogurt with fruit
Lunch for baby pitta bread pizza
Lunch for us pitta bread pizza
Dinner for baby cottage pie and green beans with petit filous for dessert
Dinner for us  Orange glazed salmon and mini roast potatoes for me that I didn't do last week, chicken for him

Friday
Breakfast for baby  homemade breakfast muffin
Lunch for baby salmon and potatoes from yesterday
Lunch for us sandwich with fresh bread
Dinner for baby spaghetti Bolognese using mince with baby food from a jar with poached pear for dessert
Dinner for us tuna pasta bake for me, chicken chargrills for him

Saturday
Breakfast for baby toast
Lunch for baby tuna pasta bake
Lunch for us  bacon sandwich again at my husband's request; I will have the rest of my pasta bake
Dinner for baby cod and sweetcorn chowder with apple crumble for dessert
Dinner for us beef and lamb chargrills with mashed potato or roast potato

Sunday
Breakfast for baby  toast or porridge
Lunch for baby  houmous and pitta with cheese and cucumber
Lunch for us breakfast burritos
Dinner for baby  cottage pie with petit filous for dessert
Dinner for us salmon en croute for me, chicken pie for him



Tuesday, 27 November 2018

How to make a Felt Christmas Stocking Advent Calendar


I'm really looking forward to my baby's first Christmas and thinking of all sorts of ways I can make it special. I wanted to have a handmade keepsake of some sort that would hopefully be in our family for years, and I hit upon the idea of an advent calendar - consisting of little stockings, each numbered 1 to 24, that I can fill with all sorts of things year after year.

Given that I haven't done any sewing in years and can't think of any time I've ever sewed for fun, I found this surprisingly easy to make. It was a little time consuming but only because I don't get a lot of free time as I have an eight month old baby, and would sew a couple of bits in the evening here and there, over the course of several weeks. If you have a sewing machine that would speed up the process as well.


The design is my own - I know there are plenty of advent calendars like this out there but I didn't copy any of them and just thought about how I wanted it to look:


To make them is very easy:
Cut out the stocking shapes from felt - you will need 48
Draw and cut out the numbers from 1 to 24
Sew the numbers onto what will be the front facing stockings first
Then sew on the ric rac edging onto the front facing stocking
Sew both parts of the stocking together along the edges
Attach the stockings  to some string with the pegs; you could also sew loops into the stockings instead if you want.

I'm really pleased with the way they turned out even though the stitching and numbers are slightly different on each; my husband says that just adds to the homemade effect and he thinks they will make a lovely Christmas keepsake.

My daughter will be nearly ten months old at Christmas so won't understand advent calendars and I had considered just filling it with chocolates for us this year, but I saw a set of finger puppets on a site called Once Upon a Time that are designed for a baby's advent calendar, at a very reasonable price, so I ordered them back in September. They were supposed to be with me by early November but with only a few days to go until the start of December they still haven't arrived and the site owner hasn't responded to my messages, so I'm hoping they will still come in time - she has a few days yet!

Monday, 26 November 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 48

My husband is at home this week so I need to be a bit more creative with lunch ideas as I often just see what I can find in the fridge or cupboard when it's just me! On the plus side I should have a bit more time to make something for dinner or do some cooking for baby S with him to help look after her.

Monday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S tinned tuna mixed with avocado and pitta
Lunch for us full English breakfast as a treat as it's my husband's first day at home of what will be at least a few weeks
Dinner for us salmon en croute and veg for me, chicken pie for him I was going to do last week but didn't.


Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S cheerios
Lunch or dinner for baby S pitta with tuna and avocado followed by fruity rice pudding
Lunch for us jacket potato
Dinner for us fish in lemon sauce and hassleback potatoes for me from this recipe for me, chicken chargrills for him


Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S homemade breakfast muffin
Lunch or dinner for baby S cottage cheese and pea mash
Lunch for us  fishcake and poached egg for me, cheese omelette for him
Dinner for us  homemade schnitzel - pork for me, chicken for him


Thursday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S cheese on toast
Lunch for us cheese on toast
Dinner for us Orange glazed salmon and mini roast potatoes for me, chicken for him


Friday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch or dinner for baby S salmon, potatoes and veg from yesterday
Lunch for us sandwiches (can pick up fresh bread when we are out in the morning)
Dinner for us  burger and chips


Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S sweetcorn and cheese multigrain packet meal followed by fruit or rice pudding
Lunch for us  soup and bread
Dinner for us pulled pork rolls with BBQ sauce and potato wedges


Sunday
Breakfast for baby S cheerios
Lunch or dinner for baby S banana pancake
Lunch for us pancake with ham and cheese
Dinner for us roast beef

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 47

My little girl wasn't well last week - just a cough and cold but she was off her food and sleeping loads, so we went back to just milk rather than solids as she wasn't really up to sitting in a high chair eating a meal (she's only eight months so going back to milk is fine). Hopefully she will be back to her normal self this week!

Monday
Breakfast for baby S homemade carrot, courgette and apple muffin
Lunch for me sandwich
Lunch or dinner for baby S roast chicken, potato and vegetable from yesterday
Dinner for us chicken curry

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with blueberries
Lunch for me pitta bread with tuna
Lunch or dinner for baby S pitta bread with BabyLed Spread
Dinner for us spaghetti and meatballs I didn't do last week

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch for me jacket potato
Lunch or dinner for baby S swede and carrot mash with cod
Dinner for us salmon en croute and veg for me, chicken pie for him

Thursday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with banana
Lunch for me sandwich
Lunch or dinner for baby S chicken and veg risotto
Dinner for us fajitas (prawn for me) with potato wedges

Friday
Breakfast for baby S homemade muffin
Lunch for me tuna pasta
Lunch or dinner for baby S tuna pasta with cucumber and cherry tomatoes
Dinner for us beef grillsteak for him with croquette potatoes, lamb for me

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for us fresh pasta
Lunch or dinner for baby S cod and sweetcorn chowder from this recipe
Dinner for us something easy from the freezer as we need an early dinner before going to a 40th birthday party- maybe sausage and chips

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S Toast
Lunch for us With my family for my niece's birthday
Lunch or dinner for baby S If out, finger food; if home, pouch of pork and apple casserole
Dinner for us Frozen pizza

Monday, 12 November 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 46


Monday
Breakfast for baby S: toast
Lunch or dinner for baby S - carrot, sweetcorn and cheese meal from a packet - baby S wasn't feeling well so I wanted something simple and easy to eat, followed by blueberries
Dinner for us for me, rest of haddock gratin from freezer. For him: chicken chargrills

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S: yogurt with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S - cucumber, tomatoes, pitta bread, cheese
Dinner for us pork medallions in a mustard sauce for me, chicken pie for him


 
Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S: porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S - Swede and carrot mash with chicken 
Dinner for us  I’m at a charity quiz so will have dinner before my husband gets home - I fancy a pasta ready meal, he can then have a frozen pizza when he gets home
 
 Thursday
Breakfast for baby S: carrot and courgette cupcake based on this recipe
Lunch or dinner for baby S - pouch of ready made pork casserole
Dinner for us chicken and veg risotto for me, sausage and mash and a bit of risotto for him


 
Friday
Breakfast for baby S: porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S - chicken and veg risotto
Dinner for us spaghetti and meatballs
 
Saturday
Breakfast for baby S: probably just milk as we need to head out early
Lunch for us - not sure where we will be for lunch as we are at baby S’s Waterbabies photo shoot just before midday
Lunch or dinner for baby S - tomato puree puff pastry twists, cucumber, cooked chicken breast
Dinner for us spicy chicken with potato wedges and Nutella pastry twist for dessert
Sunday
Lunch for all of us crumpets
Dinner for baby S - fish pie
Dinner for us roast chicken thighs with chicken breast for him and Yorkshire puddings

Monday, 5 November 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 45

Monday
Lunch for all three of us cheese on toast
Dinner for baby S: chicken casserole from my freezer stash
Dinner for us: pizza - I was going to make something else but the baby was crying and restless and I couldn't start cooking til 7.30 so frozen pizza it was!

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S:  chicken and sweet potato mash
Lunch for me: frittata (ready made) with two leftover hotdogs from the weekend
Dinner for us: fish pie for me, chicken pie for him


Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S: fish pie
Lunch for me: ham sandwich
Dinner for us: For me, broccoli and salmon bake from this recipe I meant to do last week but didn't; beef grillsteak for him


Thursday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S: cheesy pasta with broccoli I didn't do last week
Lunch for me: mini pizza (bought this before we ended up having pizza for dinner on Monday!)
Dinner for us: homemade turkey burger for me, beef burger for him

Friday
Breakfast for baby S Farley's rusk
Lunch or dinner for baby S: jar of 'my first bolognese' with minced turkey
Lunch for me: sandwich
Dinner for us: chicken/ prawn tacos

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S:  rest of jar of baby food mixed with mince and pasta
Lunch for me: soup and bread roll
Dinner for us: steak and chips

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch or dinner for baby S: cod mixed with sweet potato puree
Lunch for me: fresh pasta with garlic bread
Dinner for us: toad in the hole

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie to use your leftover pumpkin


I was determined to use up my pumpkins in cooking this year and not just throw them away so as well as this pumpkin and gnocchi gratin I made a pumpkin pie. I've made a pumpkin cheesecake (vegan) before, and this chocolate pumpkin cheesecake, but I've never made an actual pumpkin pie before.

I was spending the weekend with friends so a pie seemed like a nice thing to take; one friend is vegan so I needed to find a vegan recipe. I had a look online and ended up creating my own recipe based on this one from Yummy Mummy Kitchen, but using shop-bought shortcrust pastry, which is vegan, and using my fresh pumpkin rather than canned, coconut milk and cornflour to thicken, and brown sugar and golden syrup to sweeten it. The end result was a soft baked pie filling, almost the consistency of a baked cheesecake, which tasted delicious! It was very popular with my friends, vegan and non-vegan alike.

See below for the full recipe - I also want to mention here the vacuum seal food storage container from Ozeri that I used to transport and store my pie in. You get two large domed containers in the pack, and you simply close the valve at the top and push down to create a vaccum seal; when you want to open the container just open the valve. This keeps the food fresh and there's also a handy dial you turn to show which day you put the food in the container. They are fairly large to store but are a nice sturdy design and I like the fact that the lid is clear plastic so you can see what's inside, so this is also a nice way to serve food for instance when you are outside in the summer and want to keep the insects away!


 

It's currently available on the UK Amazon site but with fairly high shipping costs as it comes from the US, or you can find it on other Amazon sites which are cheaper to ship to the UK.

So here's how I made my pumpkin pie
Serves 10-12

Flesh from one large pumpkin, skin removed, chopped
500g shortcrust pastry block
The cream from the top of a 400ml tin of coconut milk plus some of the milk making up 200ml in total
150ml golden syrup
75g brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbsp. cornflour

Stew the chopped pumpkin in a pan of boiling water until softened then drain. Allow to cool then pulse in a food processor until you have a smooth puree.


Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out the pastry and use to line either a deep tart tin or a loose bottomed cake tin. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans and blind bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cook while you make the filling.



In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, coconut cream and milk, golden syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornflour and beat until smooth.

Pour into the pie crust and return to the oven for 45 minutes. If the top of the pie starts to brown too much, cover with foil.

 

Remove from the oven and leave to cool then chill overnight in the fridge - this should make the filling set.

I'm sharing this with Baking Crumbs hosted by Jo's Kitchen Larder and CookBlogShare hosted by EasyPeasyFoodie.
 

Thanks to Ozeri for the food storage containers to review.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Pumpkin and Gnocchi Gratin



Around eight million pumpkins are expected to be thrown away in the UK after Halloween this year - and according to this Guardian article, only a third of consumers will cook and eat any of them.

I didn't get around to carving a pumpkin this year but did buy two, for some photos with my little girl!

I then made use of them in various ways - soup, pie, and this pumpkin and gnocchi gratin. The recipe is from an old issue of Weightwatchers magazine; but I added bacon lardons as well (if you want it without, this makes a nice vegetarian dish). I also used more cheese and allowed more gnocchi per person.
This is really tasty - I'm not a huge fan of gnocchi as it's very doughy and needs more than just a tomato sauce, but it works wonderfully in this recipe - you could also substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash.

Serves 4
400g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
4 tbsp. chopped fresh sage - I used 4 tsp dried sage to keep the cost down
200g bacon lardons
low fat cooking spray (or oil if you are not following Weightwatchers)
500g gnocchi
250g tomato passata
5 tbsp. grated cheddar


Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with foil and spray with non stick spray or pour in a little oil. Roast the pumpkin, garlic, onion and sage, and sprinkle over some salt and pepper then toss in the oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the pumpkin has softened.

Meanwhile fry the bacon lardons in a frying pan.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling water according to the pack instructions - it only takes a few minutes.

Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and mash with a fork, discarding the skin. In a large ovenproof dish mix the garlic, pumpkin and onion, bacon lardons, gnocchi, then pour over the passata and gently mix in. Finally sprinkle over the cheese.

 
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes; serve with a green veg like broccoli or a salad and garlic bread.

A lovely winter warmer, and a good way to use up pumpkin so it isn't wasted.

 

 And here's my little pumpkin herself!
 


I'm sharing this with Cook Blog Share, hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Now the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, I'm thinking of cosy warming meals and making more use of the slow cooker.

I kept seeing recipes for hot chocolate made in the slow cooker on the internet and decided to have a go. Be warned - this is a very indulgent recipe and a little goes a long way, but it's really something that should just be an occasional treat - perhaps after an evening of trick or treating or coming back from watching the fireworks.

You need:
397g tin condensed milk
400ml semi-skimmed milk
250g Nutella or chocolate spread
4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
handful of marshmallows



Whisk the condensed milk, milk, chocolate spread and cocoa powder and pour into the slow cooker dish. Cook on low for 2 hours, adding the marshmallows for the last half an hour.

 
Once the slow cooker is switched off this will stay warm for a while - it's best served with a ladle and you can top your drinks with whipped cream or mini marshmallows but this was rich and sweet enough for me!

I used my new kitchen scales by Ozeri to weigh the ingredients - the Ozeri Touch II digital kitchen scale, which I like because it is so slimline, it takes up so much less space in my cupboard than other scales. It also comes in an attractive teal blue and is easy to wipe clean if you touch it with messy fingers! You can also choose whether you weigh in grams or ounces etc which is handy if you are following a recipe with measurements different to the ones you usually use and don't want to have to keep converting them!

I also enjoyed my hot chocolate in my llama mug, because that's how I roll.

Thanks to Ozeri for the scales to review, all opinions are my own.


 

 

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 44


Monday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S Leftover chicken with veg
Lunch for me pasta salad
Dinner for us Chicken and pesto pasta to use up chicken from yesterday

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S pancake
Lunch for baby S cheesy pasta with broccoli
Lunch for me sandwich or salad
Dinner for us salmon and broccoli bake from this recipe for me, sausage rolls for him

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S  jar of 'my first bolognese'  mixed with added minced turkey
Lunch for me ploughman's/ sandwich
Dinner for us tuna steak for me or if time rosemary chicken from this recipe https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8159/rosemary-chicken-with-tomato-sauce, chicken chargrills for him


Thursday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch for baby S rest of jar of baby food mixed with turkey
Lunch for me pumpkin soup
Dinner for us mince tacos

Friday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S fishfingers and peas
Lunch for me pumpkin soup
Dinner for us spaghetti Bolognese to use rest of mince

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch for baby S Lamb hotpot
Lunch for us cheese toasties
Dinner for us fish pie for me, chicken pie for him

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S pancake
Lunch for baby S fish pie
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Dinner for us Toad in the hole

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Ozeri Stone Earth Pan Review

One of my husband's favourite meals is steak and chips, which luckily is very easy to cook - all you need is an oven and a frying pan!

I have a couple of Ozeri frying pans which I really like, and was recently sent another one to review - the Ozeri Stone Earth Frying Pan. I got the 30cm size which is available from the French Amazon site (which delivers to the UK) here.

It's made of durable die-cast aluminium so I was expecting it to be heavier than it was but it's really comfortable to hold and easy to clean. It's called the 'stone' earth frying pan because the non-stick scratch-resistant coating is derived from stone. It also looks very stylish.

I have an induction hob so it heats pans really fast and you have to be careful not to overcook things sometimes. This frying pan heated really evenly and my steak - or rather my husband's steak as I was having something else - was cooked to perfection!


Thanks to Ozeri for the frying pan to review.