31 August 2011

The Gallery - Animals

"E"'s best friend has had guinea pigs now for a couple of months so we regularly get the request, "Can I get a guinea pig?"
We are not planning on any pets for a while and when we do get something it will probably be something useful, like chickens. So for now "E" will have to make do with visits to her friend's house to get her guinea pig fix!


30 August 2011

Recipe Shed - Mince: Lamb Pasticcio

Finally I have linked up to Reluctant Housedad's Recipe Shed!
Today I had a pack of lamb mince in the fridge and no idea what to do with it so I tweeted for some help. I had loads of responses so thanks to all but the one that really caught my eye was for Lamb Pasticcio. I had never heard of it so I Googled to find out what it was and how to make it and off I went. (Thank you to @cherrymum 1972 by the way x )

I had to play around with a couple of online recipes, due to some missing ingredients, so here is my take on....

Lamb Pasticcio

You will need:
1 onion - chopped
500g lamb mince
2 tsps dried oregano
400g tin/box chopped tomatoes
350g macaroni

knob of butter
1+ tbsp plain flour
200ml milk
100g cheddar cheese

And here's what you need to do:
Heat up the oil and fry the onion and lamb mince.
Drain off the fat and add oregano, chopped tomatoes and half a tin of water.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Cook 350g of macaroni (I guess any type of pasta would do)

Make a cheesy sauce by melting the butter and whisking in the flour and milk. Stir until smooth then add an egg and grated cheddar cheese.
To make it more authentic Greek Feta should be used but I didn't have any!

In an ovenproof dish put half the macaroni, then the mince, then the rest of the macaroni and finally the cheese sauce with some extra grated cheese thrown on top.

Bake at about 160c fan for about 40 minutes.

Eat and enjoy!!
                                                                 Recipe Shed

28 August 2011

Listography - Seasonal Survival Tactics

Kate is enjoying the last days of summer having a break in sunny Wales so this week Alexander Residence http://aresidence.co.uk is hosting the Listography linky.

The theme this week is Seasonal Survival Tactics - what do we do to make the transition from Summer to Autumn a smooth one?

Here are my 5 tips:

1. Wardrobe preparation.

Never underestimate the English weather and never think that the children will fit into last year's autumn/winter coat. Every year I get caught out by a sudden dip in temperature and the daughter wanting to wear more than her jumper for the walk to school.
So my advice is: buy them a warm, hooded coat NOW!

2. Bedtime preparation.

My two have had 5 weeks of later bedtimes that have rolled into lazy mornings, snuggling with me in bed watching cbeebies, eating biscuits and having breakfast at 10.30! They will be in for a shock this Friday when I will be manically shouting at them to get up and dressed now for a 7.30 breakfast.
So I will be bringing bedtimes forward this week in the hope they will be waking a bit earlier and the shock will be easier for them to bear!

3. Pay attention to the calendar.

My August page of my calendar has looked pretty empty as we have chilled out and gone with the flow this summer. I need to look over the page to September as I cannot remember what days we need to go to ballet, gym & swimming, let alone what time their classes have changed to!
So look ahead and get planning!

4. Stock up on pastry.

Mmmmmmm autumn food! Berries, pumpkins, squashes.......PIE! I admit to being a rubbish pastry maker so often resort to buying ready made pastry that is so easy to roll out, blind bake and fill with allsorts of delights. Autumn brings the darker and chillier evenings where pie and mash really hits the spot.
So put pastry on the shopping list!

5. Check the wine rack.
This goes hand in hand with the above pies. At the moment I enjoy nothing more than relaxing in the evening with a nice cold pear cider but as the weather changes so does my drinking requirements. Don't get me wrong I am never going to turn down a cider if offered but on those chilly dark nights a warming glass of red wine is what we need. Goes well with pie and mash too.
So check out the wine aisle and grab some bottles now!

I do hope that some of the above will be of use if you find the change in seasons a bit of a pain to deal with! x  x

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday


26 August 2011

Day Zero Project - Start Date Sept 5th

Whilst catching up on blogs, and discovering new ones, I came across a post from @midlifesinglem at http://midlifesinglemum.blogspot.com about the Day Zero Project. Basically it is a list you create over time of 101 things you would like to achieve or aim to do in 1001 days (2.75 years).

If you are a member of BritMums you can also join the Day Zero Project group http://britmums.com

I have begun my list on http://dayzeroproject.com and so far I have....

1. Get a valid passport
2. Go overseas - again
3. Lose a stone in weight
4. Learn to knit properly
5. Knit myself something nice
6. Buy a sewing machine
7. Make my own cushion covers
8. Bake some bread
9. Move house
10. Make my own ice cream
11. Car boot all the baby things in the loft
12. Decorate the hallway
13. Put new carpet in my bedroom
14. Run for 5 miles
15. Return to work

As you can see it is a work in progress and I intend to blog about it as I work through it!

My Fabulous Baker Boy - Chocolate Delights

Whoopie Pies!
I have found some great foodie blogs lately and have started to follow more foodie types on Twitter and I have noticed that 'Whoopie Pies' kept getting a mention. I had not heard of these before so I hit the magic Google button to discover what they are.

Historical note of interest: Amish women would use the cake leftovers to make pies similar to these to pack in their husband's and children's lunchboxes, when they found them they would shout "Whoopie!" - apparently!

Back to the baking - they ticked all the boxes: Do they look yummy? check Do I have the ingredients? sort of but check
Ok then let's give it a go!

Big sister "E" is still on holiday so she joins My Fabulous Baker Boy again to help, and no doubt lick the spoons!

The following comes from a mish mash of different recipes I found online, the sponge mix worked but I feel I could tweak the filling.

Collect all your ingredients:

100g/4oz stork or butter
50g/2oz caster sugar
50g/2oz soft brown sugar
2 eggs
4 tbsp cocoa powder
225g/5oz SR flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
120ml/4 fl oz milk

Put all of the above in a mixing bowl.......

....and MIX!

Dollop onto baking paper lined trays. I got 12 dollops from the above mixture and remember to space out!
Lick the spoons!

Bake for about 15 minutes, 170c fan oven

For the filling:

200g/8oz caster sugar
100g/4oz butter
100g/4oz melted marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together all of the above then spread over half of the bases.

And sandwich together and enjoy!

If you make some chocolate delights with the kiddies anytime soon then PLEASE do link up below!
Also if you want to grab My Fabulous Baker Boy button grabby thing I have refreshed the code to hopefully link to this post!!


25 August 2011

Listography - Last week

Firstly apologies: I have been away with the kiddies minus the laptop and have yet to learn how to blog fully on the go with my mobile, I find the whole photo uploading thing too complicated, so have only just started to play blogging catch up!
On Monday Kate set a Listography of what we did last week. Along with some others I am taking the easy route and will show my week in photo form.
Hope you like!

1. Not helping my diet at all - we made lots of cupcakes!

2. Some of us decided to make the most of the early evening sun and run around the garden in our pants!

3. We can't afford a new one so we made a car.

4. We visited the little cousins in Sileby.

5. And went paddling in the Peak Disrict.


24 August 2011

The Gallery

Last Friday was World Photography Day and we were asked to reach for our camera to capture something special for this week's Gallery. Now last Friday was a day of baking and tidying as I was taking the children away to see family. So the children had a day of free play at home occupying themselves. As a treat they were allowed to use the laptop to play cbeebies games. This shot of the youngest gives me mixed feelings. It makes me smile as he is getting on independently but also makes me sad as he is growing up too fast and is already mastering technology. It will be interesting to look at this image in years to come to see how outdated that laptop is!


21 August 2011

Seven Words

Describe your week in seven words then head over to www.doingitallforaleyna.blogspot.com to link up.

Here's mine:

Trying not to countdown the days left!

Silent Sunday


19 August 2011

My Fabulous Baker Boy - Cupcakes


Today my little baker boy has progressed from doing basic cupcakes to choosing something from the Primrose Bakery cookbook. This morning we snuggled up in bed and looked through this gorgeous book to see what we would all like. Both "E" and "A" eyed up the chocolate cupcakes and I quite fancied both the lemon and the Earl Grey cupcakes. A trip to Sainsburys was needed for a few crucial ingredients so we walked into town and got butter, some decent chocolate and a lemon! Somehow we also ended up with a cbeebies magazine, sometimes I am a pushover.

I decided, that as we were going to be making three different types of cupcake, we should halve the measurements given for each recipe. So glad I did as we managed to make 11 chocolate cupcakes, 5 lemon and 6 Earl Grey.

So, with some help from his big sister, The Fabulous Baker Boy and I set to work.

Big sister weighed out 60g of dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids):

And sensible grown up person - me - melted the chocolate slowly:

E then mixed 40g of butter and 90g of soft brown sugar.

To this we added one beaten egg yolk and the melted chocolate.

E mixed again:

We weighed out 90g of sifted plain flour and stirred in just under half a tsp of baking powder, just under half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt.

We measured out 125ml of semi-skimmed milk and mixed in half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

This was added to the mix in steps, one third flour, one third milk, one third flour.......etc, mixing well between each step until the flour mix and the milk was all added in!

A then attempted to whisk one egg white.......

..........which was then gently folded into the mix.

The mix was then spooned into cupcake cases about two-thirds full:

It was baked for about 20-25 minutes at 170c (fan) then decorated with yummy choccy buttercream:

Then my two fabulous bakers helped to clear up:

Now if you want to see how they should have looked or to get proper instructions get your hands on the fabby book, Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery!

School Holiday Alphabet Countdown L

The daughter is taking after me with her love of the little bricks.

Today is L and "E" went into the conservatory to photograph her......


18 August 2011

School Holiday Alphabet Countdown K

Oh no, I am so embarrassed, she wants to photograph the world's smallest room...........................

My compact & bijou kitchen!

My Twitter / Blog Journey....

.....or My crash course in social media and technology

The other evening I sat down feeling very proud of myself as I have had my blog up and running for just over three weeks, built up a following of 18 and had managed to bling it up a bit! Now, to lots of you bloggers out there that might sound like nothing but to me it is something rather huge - let me explain.

For a number of years I had a very basic PAYG mobile phone that allowed me to text and call and remain pretty anonymous. At the beginning of July I decided I wanted a phone that would allow me to text, call, snap the odd photo and check my Facebook account. So I went from this:

To this:    

Once I was used to the whizzy touch screen I got back in touch with Twitter.

I had set up an account back in March 2010 but never used it but now I had my whizzy new phone and instant Twitter access. Soon I was following likeminded individuals; mummy bloggers, daddy bloggers, the odd celebrity. I even managed to build up some followers too.

I soon stumbled across the world of blogs and I decided to have a go at making my own. Now, I am not at all computer savvy having been part of the generation that did not use computers in school or university. So I am self-taught but I am willing to, with the help of Google, find things I need to know and give things a go. I had noticed people were using blogspot.com, wordpress.com or had created their own host set up. I opted for blogspot, found www.blogger.com, and got started. I managed to follow the steps and set up my initial blog, but I wasn't happy. I wanted it to be pretty. I wanted it to be pink and turquoise. I wanted flowers and buttons. So I turned to Twitter for help. @violetposy suggested taking a look at www.shabbyblogs.com.

Wow! This was full of lovely vintage style backgrounds, buttons, headers, you name it they had it. I was in blog blinging heaven. They even had easy to follow tutorials to guide me through. I set to work and found the gorgeous background that you can see on my blog. I still don't quite get it but somehow I managed to copy and paste some HTML code thing into the right box in the right place and bingo I had my pretty blog! I even managed to add a 'blinkie', some header tabs and a linky with it's own grab button.

So, like I said before, compared to other blogs all that is pretty standard stuff. But for me it is an achievement of which I am proud. I am now looking for the next techie thing to bling up my blog even more! Any suggestions?!! x x x


17 August 2011

School Holiday Alphabet Countdown J

Goodness me that girl does not forget or give up. Today's letter is J which more importantly means 16 days till school is back on!!
"E" was influenced by her Jolly Phonics learning and really wanted to do j j j j j j j jelly. We looked in the cupboard but, oops no jelly. She showed remarkable calmness and didn't even attempt to throw a 5 year old wobbly over that. Instead she went looking and this what she found:



The Gallery - Black & White

I've been looking through the amazing black and white photos on this week's Gallery and especially love photos from people's pasts. For some reason I don't have any pictures of me from my childhood to look back on and that has made me more determined to take truckloads of photos of my two for everyone to remember.

So I felt a bit stumped on what to do, then I started looking through my phone. Just a month ago I finally upgraded to a smartphone and was pretty impressed with the camera on it and took loads of shots using the different settings. I took a few in black and white as I think they make a picture........well just nicer somehow! Here is one of me and my boy that I took myself. I love the way he is filling the image and I also like the way the black and white has picked out my freckles! The image is not top quality but I just love it!


16 August 2011

School Holiday Alphabet Countdown I

Today we had a sticky, muggy weather day and "E"'s idea for today's post was a very cooling one.
She looked around the house and the next thing I know she is dragging a drawer out of the freezer to find her subject for her 'I' photo:

Ice Brrrrrr!


My Fabulous Baker Boy

My 3 year old, "A", absolutely loves to bake, which is a good thing as I like cake!
Today "E" had a friend to play so "A" decided to bake buns for the girls to then ice and decorate. I am very proud of my thoughtful boy and making the most of it as I know his love for his sister will soon come and go!
If you have never baked with your little one before here is a simple recipe to get you started:

Yummy Buns!
4oz Stork margarine
4oz caster sugar
4oz self raising flour
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla essence

Put all the ingredients into one bowl and mix, either by hand with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer.

Line a bun tray with  12 paper cases and spoon the mixture evenly into each case.

Help Mum with the washing up by licking the spoon:

Bake in a pre-heated oven 170c (fan oven) for about 16 minutes until lightly golden and spongey to touch.

4oz sieved icing sugar

Put the icing sugar in a bowl and add water a little bit at a time and mix until you get smooth icing that just slips off the spoon!

Find some decorations:

Now stand back, arm your children with a teaspoon and let them decorate!:

When you return you will find some delights like this:

But also this all over your lovely tablecloth:

But hey, the kids have had fun and made you some scrummy cakes so clean up, make a cuppa, sit down and tuck in and enjoy! x x


15 August 2011

School Holiday Alphabet Countdown H

We are slowly getting through the alphabet and the 5 year old's enthusiasm is still going strong!! Today's letter is H and this took some time. We don't have a hippo, horse or hamster. We couldn't find a hill or a hedgehog. So a while later "E" decided on her house - not our house but her house!

E's House

14 August 2011

Listography - Guilty Pleasures

Well KateTakes5 has set another revealing Listography this week. What are those guilty pleasures we have? Well here are my 5.

1. Homemade lasagne

Not that bad I know but I have to have an oversized helping and cannot leave a scrap on the plate, but then I sneak back in the kitchen nibble a bit more from the leftovers and HAVE to scrape out the really overdone bits from the edge of the lasagne dish. Yum!

2. Aiden from SATC

A good night on my own would involve lashings of lasagne and skipping through my SATC boxsets to watch all the Aiden episodes and then shouting at Carrie for being such a selfish skinny bitch for cheating on him and letting him go! He makes such lovely furniture as well! *sniff*

3. Men with beards
(or in a nutshell Ronnie Vannucci)

I have a huge - not so secret - crush on Ronnie Vannucci, especially with his beard. Don't know when or how this started, maybe it went hand in hand with husband having a beard - well a sort of beard.

4. Crap films

Basically films where I do not have to think - AT ALL. A good example being The Rock - I love that film!!

5. The Killers / Brandon Flowers (without the guyliner - sorry Kate!)

Yep, bit of a theme here. I think secretly I want to be a rock star WAG. Or a groupie would do. Nothing beats singing along to The Killers at high volume or chilling out to the rather beautiful Mr Flowers. Had a fab summer fulfilled some guilty pleasures by seeing The Killers at Hyde Park & Brandon Flowers at the Eden Sessions - ahhhhhhhhhhh and breathe!

So what are your guilty pleasures? Link up at KateTakes5 x x

© 76 sunflowers

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig