Sunday, 27 March 2011

What's Cooking This Week?

Last week I tried to write this post and I lost it twice, possibly even three times. I'm afraid I lost my rag so we're just going to have to skip a week!

I tried two new recipes this week

One Pot Roast Pork with Fennel and Potatoes: Really yummy. I used pork steaks because we prefer them to chops. They didn't dry out, a lot of people reviewing the recipe said chops did. Also I didn't have sundried tomato paste so I used ketchup: still good. And I added green beans when I put the pork in. I would lilke to try different combinations of ingredients now. It isn't that quick (pork steaks took 20-25 mins to cook) but it is easy and yummy.

Chicken with Mushrooms and Rice: I made this up myself. I've recently discovered creamed mushrooms in a little tin from Tesco. It's magic stuff, practically a sauce on its on, in a tin, for 54p! It's really only enough for 2, perfect for us. I also added mushrooms, onions, garlic and a little white wine. I always use pouches of microwave rice, so quick and I stock up on them when they're on offer.

This week

This week I return to work (only one day this week, building up to three in a few weeks time) so to be honest the menu is straightforward, tried and tested

Steak sandwiches

Roast chicken

Sausage casserole

Smoked Haddock chowder

Pork with apples: I'm going to make double of the last three and freeze them to make life easier in the coming weeks

Pasta Primevara: This for my first day back, such an easy, fast recipe I found a few weeks ago Honey mustard chicken pot with parsnips: My one new recipe of the week as should have time to devote to it on a Friday evening when PJ comes home early

I'm looking forward to telling you about my Mother's Day menu next week. Have found some delicious treats for my guests!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Lunch Bags

I told you there were more bags to come!

The one on the left in a lovely pink ditsy flower print is mine. The one on the right with a great fruits tile print is for Bambino to take her lunch to my parents house. They are looking after her on the days that I work. Hers is circular because I make and freeze her lunches in little circular pots. I made the 'pattern' up myself.

My bag is based on the boxy bag tutorial I also used to make my pencil case it has a pink spotty oil cloth lining and a clasp fashioned out of a colourful hair elastic and and a button! Bambino's bag is lined with cow print oil cloth.

Now to fill the freezer with the delicious treats they will carry!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

What's Cooking This Week?

This week I've tried a couple of new dishes

Beef in ale with horseradish dumplings Yummy Sunday alternative to roast. Dumplings need a little longer in the oven next time. I liked another user's tip about adding parsnips and may expand on that.

French Onion Soup We had this on pancake day to leave plenty of room for dessert! Unfortunately didn't have any beef stock so I used lamb. I think it probably does need beef.

Honey, mustard & creme fraiche baked chicken I think this is going to become a family favourite because it's so easy, you just shove it in the oven for 40 mins. Next time I think I'll add more veggies. Tinned potatoes were a fine, cheaper, quicker alternative to 'the real thing'.

I'm obviously turning into a sad 'housewife' because I am very excited about the new freezer we have bought (all part of the return to work plan). I can now plan ahead much more and batch freeze stuff for us and for bambino to save time. This week I'm planning to make Chilli Con Carne, Spaghetti Bolognase and some mini Cottage Pies for Bambino.

This week's new recipes

Easy oven frittata Monday nights PJ plays football so I have to have a meal which I can shove in the oven and forget about for 45mins while I bath bambino and give her her bottle. If it's a one pot including veggies so much the better.

Braised butter beans with tomato I love the butter beans you sometimes find alongside marinated olives so I thought I'd give this a go and team it with some chicken breasts, stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. I may even freeze some.

Spaghetti Puttanesca I know this is a very easy dish but I've never cooked it. I want to add lots of quick cook recipes to my repertoire for when I'm back a work. I hope to have at least one night a week where I'm cooking for less than half an hour.

Yummy scrummy. Quite hungry now. May have to start lunch (soup & sandwiches)

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Stylish Work Accessories

To ease the pain of returning to work I have made myself some pretty bits, a notebook cover and a pencil case.

The notebook cover slips over a cheap hardback notebook so I could use it on another book once this one is full. It has a closing tab with a magnetic clasp and a piece of pink elastic to hold my pen. There's also a couple of pockets on the inside of the cover to stash loose bits of paper or business cards. I looked at a lot of tutorials for covering a notebook but I didn't follow any particular one, just combined the bits that I knew I would use.

For the pencil case I followed this tutorial which I've used a few times to make make up bags for family and friends but this is the first pencil case. Most of the bags I've made I've lined with a piece of oil cloth which makes them hold their shape better and gives them a waterproof lining. For the pencil case I had a scrap of green polka dot oil cloth left over from making my bambino's nappy change mat.

I sprayed both items with a protective guard spray, meant for shoes, in the hope that they won't get too grubby when chucked in the bottom of my bag. And I'm not done making bags yet...

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


I keep thinking "I must blog" but failing to come up with a topic. I am continuing to prepare for work. Feeling vastly happier about my wardrobe as I managed to re sell the disaster dress and have bought a few more successful ones. I will post pics when I feel I am done (the day before I go back to work!)

Our new freezer arrived today - a huge part of my return to work plan. Now I can set about cooking and freezing to save time when I am tired after a day in the office.