Monday, April 23, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 17

My dad has just retired so from now on my parents can come up and visit during the week, not just weekends, which is handy now I'm on maternity leave! They are coming this week as it's my birthday on Sunday so I have several additional requirements when it comes to meal planning as we have other visitors at the weekend as well - some friends with their children - so I need to think of things everyone can eat!

Monday
Ready made pies - sweet potato and goat's cheese for me, chicken tikka for my husband

Tuesday
Tacos with potato wedges

Wednesday - my parents arriving just in time for lunch
Lunch - they usually like to have something like beans on toast in case they arrive later than expected
Dinner - chicken supreme. The classic recipe uses cream but we will be having enough of that tomorrow so I will do a healthier Slimming World version

Thursday - my parents here
Lunch -  ham and cheese pizza pinwheels based on this recipe
Dinner - spaghetti Bolognese (two versions- one vegetarian as I'll invite my mother-in-law over) followed by butterscotch pie for dessert

Friday
Lunch - out for a pre-birthday lunch
Dinner - either hotdogs or quiche and salad

Saturday - two friends plus a husband and two children are arriving in the afternoon to stay the weekend
Lunch - just us - either hotdogs or cheese on toast
Dinner - chicken enchiladas or takeaway pizza depending on whether there is time to cook, but I'd prefer to do the former!

Sunday
Lunch - pub lunch for my birthday
Dinner - probably something light after a big lunch - I'll have a fishcake and poached egg and my husband will probably have had a burger at lunchtime so I'll do him something like sausage and mash for dinner

Also still trying to decide what to do about a birthday cake... I could ask my husband to get me one (I commissioned one from a local baker for his birthday but I don't know if he has got enough time left to do that), or add one to the supermarket order, or make one myself!

Link up your meal plan here:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sticky Ginger and Apple Flapjacks


When I was a child I remember my mum and sister making some flapjacks that were so sticky, we were picking bits of kitchen towel off them as we ate - they had been kept in a Tupperware dish lined with kitchen paper and were almost oozing with golden syrup.

I love sticky, soft flapjack, but not that soft - they need to hold together and be slightly chewy at the edges but soft and buttery in the middle. This recipe offers just that.

These were made in preparation of my sister and her partner coming to visit to meet their new niece, and even though I only made them the day before, about half the pan had been eaten before they even arrived!

The recipe is based on one from Good Housekeeping's The Baking Book; I halved the quantities but also added grated apple for extra flavour as I had a few apples that needed using up. The result was absolutely delicious and the texture was perfect.

Here's what I did:
You need:

175g butter or marg (I used Stork)
135g caster sugar
120g golden syrup
225g rolled oats
1 tsp ground ginger
2 apples, peeled and grated

Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and line a square cake tin.

Heat the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over a gentle heat until melted. Stir in the rolled oats, ginger and apple until combined.

Spoon into the cake tin and press down gently to spread the mixture out and flatten it. Bake for 30 minutes until the edges have turned golden brown and slightly crispy; the middle will still be soft and sticky.



 
 I'm sharing this with Only Crumbs Remain
 and CookBlogShare.
Only Crumbs Remain Hijacked By Twins
 


Monday, April 16, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 16

Friday, April 13, 2018

Oriental Dress Birthday Card

 
I loved Arthur Golden's book Memoirs of a Geisha which I read many years ago, so it was a nice throwback when I saw it had been chosen as the theme for the Library Challenge, which is for crafters who love books.

I had a pack of both outline stickers and die cuts I bought years ago that I never really knew what to do with, in the shape of Oriental dresses and fans. They are quite detailed and large so take up most of a typical card and I was never really sure how to make the most of them.

They seemed just right for this particular card challenge so I decided to make a very quick and simple card using one of the colourful cardboard die cuts. I used a pre-printed card blank which creates quite a busy pattern with the die cut, but the colours and flower shapes are complementary at the same time.

I finished the card with a pink 'special day' sticker.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Car, Map and Signpost Birthday Card



 
I treated myself to the latest issue of Creative Stamping and indulged myself in making a few cards one day while the baby was asleep. There was a large A4 sheet of clear stamps as the free cover gift that had a travel and transport theme - handy to make cards for men.
 
#
I decided to make a version of the card featured on the front cover of the magazine with a few differences. First I stamped the road map rubber stamp multiple times over a white square card blank - you can only tell the pattern repeats if you look closely!
 
Then I cut a border to go around three sides from an old envelope I'd received in the post and kept. Next I used the car stamp and the signpost stamp on red card and cut around them and stuck them onto the card. I stamped the top part of the signpost again so I could cut out two of the arms and use a small adhesive pad to raise them from the card.
 

I used the 'enjoy your birthday' sentiment stamps as on the card on the magazine cover, and mounted them on red card so the colours brought the whole card together. I like this card but unfortunately after making it I can't find the car stamp anywhere - that's the problem with clear stamps!

I'm sharing this with Cardz 4 Guyz where the theme is travel or transport and Craft Stamper where anything goes as long as you use a stamp, Moo Mania where the theme is masculine and Challenge Up Your Life where the theme is vehicles.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 15

Only a day late which isn't bad given my five week old baby is taking up most of my time at the moment!

Monday
lasagne that I batch cooked and froze for me, spicy chicken for my husband

Tuesday
fish cake for me, sausage and mash for him

Wednesday
Cajun chicken and potato wedges

Thursday
chicken cacciatore from my batch cooking in the freezer for me, cheese omelette and chips for him

Friday
chicken goujons for him, scampi for me

Saturday - my sister and her partner visiting (postponed from two weeks ago as their daughter was ill)
lunch - chicken enchiladas
dinner - frozen pizza after our guests leave

Sunday
lunch - either bacon sandwich or pancakes or breakfast burritos depending on what we fancy
dinner - I'd like to do a roast but that would mean buying some meat by Sunday!

Link up your own meal plan here:

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Under the Weather Get Well Card

 
I adored this SugarPea Designs 'whatever the weather' set of clear stamps when I saw it in a card making magazine and put it on my Christmas list - but I hadn't actually used it yet!

That was rectified this weekend when I made a few different cards using the set. The first was this 'get well soon' card - I never have generic cards like this in my folder as I tend to concentrate instead on making cards for upcoming birthdays and special occasions, but it's good to have a few other cards ready as you never know when you will need them.

I took a cream card blank and started by cutting a border from a piece of patterned paper. The paper had different coloured stripes so by cutting a thin piece along the length, I was able to get a little of each stripe, which made for a colourful border pattern.

The other decorations are all from the stamp set - first I positioned the cloud and the raindrops together (they are separate stamps) and stamped them twice at the top, then stamped two umbrellas at the bottom. The stamp set has two umbrella designs, one a block colour and the other spotted; I stamped one in blue and one in pink. The umbrella handle is a separate stamp with a gap in the top that fits over the coloured part, so by using a clear acrylic block you can position it exactly to go either side of the pink and blue parts.

Finally the sentiment which I really like - the typeface is really nice and I'm always looking for sentiment stamps that feature an actual phrase rather than just a word or a straightforward 'get well soon'. This is quite a simple card but I really like the way it has turned out.

I'm sharing this with Crafty Addicts where the theme is April showers, Trimmies Craft Challenge which has 'get well soon' as the topic, and The Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers where 'U is for umbrella', though the sentiment isn't exactly snarky so I hope this counts!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 14

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter Egg Cheesecake

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Easy Easter Decorated Biscuits

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Easy Easter Rice Krispie Cakes

Last Easter I did loads of baking and card making and the year before and the year before I made an elaborate anti-gravity Mini Egg cake which I was really proud of (it tasted great too) - here's a quick pic:

This year however I will have a four-week old baby at Easter so I definitely won't be doing anything like that! In fact it's my husband's birthday and I make him a showstopper chocolate cake every year but I knew I wouldn't have time to do anything remotely time consuming and there was a chance I wouldn't even get time to bake a basic sponge cake, so I've enlisted the help of a local lady who runs a baking business and for the first time ever am actually buying a birthday cake rather than making it - which is a bit of a shame but needs must, and I'm sure it will taste great.
 
I was starting to miss baking though especially at Easter so I decided I could just about manage making some rice krispie cakes. I used to love them as a child, and still make them every once in a while now! You can make them look like little nests with the addition of a few mini eggs but I used some Easter marshmallows from Lidl, in the shapes of chicks and rabbits. They are a bit big for the 'nests' perhaps but never mind!

Here's a quick and easy recipe that is fun for children to join in and make with you - just be careful when melting the chocolate.


Makes about a dozen Rice Krispie cakes depending on size
100g Rice Krispies
60g butter, chopped into small pieces
3 tbsp. golden syrup
100g milk chocolate

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a bain marie then stir in the chopped butter until melted. Stir in the golden syrup.

Place the Rice Krispies in a large bowl and pour over the chocolate mixture, stirring gently until all the cereal is coated.

Spoon into paper cakes cases and leave to set - they will set at room temperature but you can also put in the fridge.

Decorate with mini eggs or marshmallows or anything you like - or eat them as they are.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 13

Now my daughter is three weeks old I feel I've got into the swing of things a bit - we have a good routine at home, even if it takes a while - after her morning feed which can be any time around 7 or 8am, and a bit of time spent cuddling after, I'm then expressing with a pump, getting up, tidying the house and restocking the nappy drawer, changing the sheets in the moses basket (that is, whichever one she isn't in - we have one upstairs and one downstairs), feeding the cat and making sure she doesn't feel neglected... by the time I've done all that it's about midday!

So far I've only gone out for a short walk around the block or where we have had appointments at clinics and so on - I had a caesarean after a lengthy induction process failed, and was advised not to overdo it - last week the health visitor told me not to get the bus into the town centre as I was planning as she thought it was too much too soon.

But this week I'm determined we will go out, even if it is just to pick up the form we need to register the mini-moo at the doctor (well, our surname is Cowe, so what else would her nickname be?!) and then stop at the bakery on the way home. I'm also hopefully going to meet one of the girls from my NCT class for coffee.

I'm still a bit nervous about how long we can go out before she needs feeding or changing or just randomly starts crying - but we've been very lucky and S seems a very easy, content baby at the moment, during the day at least (nights sometimes are a different matter!).

I'm also much more back into a proper routine with meals, though my husband has had to wait a while when he gets home from work as S has tended to need feeding just when I was about to start cooking! I'm also still doing what I consider easy meals but starting a bit of 'proper cooking' as well.

Monday
Lunch salad - cooked chicken, lettuce, grated carrot, potato salad and cheese
Dinner tuna pasta bake ready meal for me, beef grillsteak and mash for him

Tuesday
Lunch salad - cooked chicken, lettuce, grated carrot, potato salad and cheese
Dinner burger and chips

Wednesday
Lunch pasta and sauce
Dinner homemade chicken curry from my batch cooking for me, garlic and herb chicken kiev for him

Thursday
Lunch tuna sandwich
Dinner lemon chicken (with jar of sauce) with rice

Friday
Lunch tuna sandwich
Dinner homemade lasagne from my batch cooking for me, sausage roll and beans for him

Saturday My sister and her partner are visiting to meet their niece for the first time
Lunch chicken enchiladas I can prepare easily in advance and put in the oven
Dinner Think they will have left before dinner time. It's my husband's birthday tomorrow and he suggested recently that as we wanted to watch The Founder movie - which is the story of McDonald's - that we get a McDonald's delivered by Uber Eats while we watch it, and tonight after our guests leave might be a good time.

Sunday- Easter Sunday and my husband's birthday
Lunch I'll assume for now my husband would like a bacon sandwich as it's his favourite, but will check nearer the time
Dinner Takeaway with my husband's family for his birthday

Link up your own meal plan here:

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Spring Butterflies Birthday Card

I had a sudden urge to do some more card making not long before my baby was due, but as I wasn't going to have the time/ energy/ ability to lift heavy boxes and keep bending down, I decided to indulge myself but only use things that were easily accessible from my craft stash, either at the front of the cupboard or not needing any special equipment or effort! It was a good opportunity to use up some of my stash, for example these die-cut butterflies I bought from ebay absolutely ages ago.

I received a large packet of different coloured die-cut butterfly shapes and had used them before but there were a lot left. The colours made me think of spring so I decided to make a clean and simple (CAS) card for a friend with a birthday in March, letting the butterflies take centre stage.

The way I've arranged them makes me think of a whole swarm of butterflies taking flight en masse - and the card didn't really need anything else other than a 'happy birthday' sentiment.

I'm sharing this with Cuttlebug Mania, a challenge to use die cuts where the theme this time is spring, and the Sparkles Forum Challenge where 'spring is in the air'.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sugar-free Flourless Chocolate Brownies for a Gestational Diabetes-Friendly Dessert

Monday, March 19, 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 12

I've been trying to sort out what meals we are eating this week for about three days now....  every time I start I have to stop then I don't have time to go back to it! As you may have seen from my recent post on the best thing I've ever made I've had my hands rather full lately! I don't know whether I will get back into properly meal planning for a bit but I've just done an online shop and bought a bunch of easy to cook meals - and realised a lot of them go out of date on the same day so I do need to decide what to eat when and which ones to freeze! So for ease I'm going to put it into a meal plan format and see how I get on with sticking to it!


Monday
Lunch prawn mayo sandwich (I bought a tub of ready made filling!) followed by fresh watermelon
Dinner chicken tagliatelle ready meal for me, chicken and bacon pie with mashed potato for him

Tuesday
Lunch prawn mayo sandwich and watermelon
Dinner chicken cacciatore from my batch cooking stash for me, hunter's chicken ready meal for him

Wednesday
Lunch chicken and chorizo soup (ready made again!)
Dinner spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread

Thursday
Lunch chicken and chorizo soup
Dinner garlic and herb chicken fillets and chips

Friday
Lunch with my parents- they will have just driven up and usually want something like beans on toast for their lunch as it's quick
Dinner  ready-made chicken pie from Waitrose and mashed potatoes which my mum can help with

Saturday my husband has to work today and might be back late so I need a dinner where he can eat later if he needs to - a good excuse to have something he doesn't like! Roast lamb is traditional at Easter and something I really enjoy but my husband doesn't eat lamb so I never do it as a roast. Easter Sunday is actually his birthday so he definitely won't want it then! So I'm going to take advantage of him being out and other people being here, to do a roast lamb dinner, and to use up an apple strudel I have in the freezer that is far too big for one person, but my husband doesn't like apple either!
Lunch tuna melt or ham and cheese bagels
Dinner roast lamb followed by apple strudel

Sunday
Lunch fresh pasta with garlic bread
Dinner pulled pork in bread rolls with chips  (cheating with a ready made one!)

Link up your own meal plan here -

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The best thing I’ve ever made

Since this is a blog about things I’ve made I thought I’d share what is undoubtedly the best thing I’ve ever made- though I can’t take all the credit as it was 50% my husband’s work too:

Introducing our beautiful daughter Sophie Elizabeth:


I almost can't believe how much I adore this little girl already - she's two weeks old today and my husband has gone back to work today for the first time after his paternity leave finished. I've spent today feeding, cuddling, changing (several) nappies, sterilising bottles, expressing milk, and generally attending to her every need - it felt something of an achievement today that I also managed to get dressed, eat breakfast and lunch, sign up to the childcare voucher scheme and add her to my medical insurance plan and write a birthday card to a friend - and now a blog post as well! Still, it's a far cry from my busy 'previous life' working in communications at an investment bank - though I'm loving every minute of being Sophie's mum, even when she does one of 'those' nappies!

So regular readers should expect lower frequency of blog posts from now on, though I do have plenty of recipes I want to share from when I had gestational diabetes during pregnancy and a few other things I made a while ago - I can't see myself doing any baking any time soon, and even the dinners I'm making at the moment are either frozen food (things with chips), ready meals or from the batch cooking I did while I was pregnant!

I do intend to continue this blog and it will probably take on a more child-oriented stance but I also plan to continue my normal sort of posts.... when I can find the time!