bloglovin

As most people are aware, Google Reader is saying ta ta to us all on July 1st. I have always used Google Reader and love it’s simplicity. I also do not like change. Not with this kinda stuff anyway! So I have been playing around with a few different ways to keep up with the blogs I love and so far nothing has grabbed me. 

Today on A Pretty Penny, Keira posted about Bloglovin. I figured it was worth a shot as I still had not found my fit. 5 minutes in and I am loving it. I love love love the sidebar that shows how many unread posts I have for each blog. I don’t know about you, but I like to read one blog at a time, and save my favourites for last. All the other places I have tried made it a jumbled mess. Ugh.

 

 

See? Nice and simple. If you are still looking for a place to import your Google Reader blogs to, try Bloglovin! It may be the perfect fit for you too. And if you would like to follow my blog through Bloglovin, just follow the link below!

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Now I doubt I will even notice Google Reader is gone. 

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for the love of jars

I have a love for all receptacles. Jars, boxes, and containers of any kind really. I am fairly positive I get this from my mom. I save jars and it is a small problem really. Recently, I was at a cupcake bar with a friend, where I preceded to limit my cupcake order from 4 to only 2. Surprising. I then read the menu wrong and thought they had flavored green tea water, so I ordered that thinking awesome! She then asked what flavor I wanted and I looked at her like she was speaking Latin  What flavor? Uh, green tea? I ended up going with pomegranate and elder flower and as it was presented to me, my eyes got all big and bright because there were in these awesome bottles! Immediately I said to my friend to make sure she doesn’t finish it all so we can take the bottles with us. How gracious of her to know how I am and just nod along with my scheme. Now they have been soaked and scrubbed and I have two cute little bottles I can use as bud vases. Although, I would love to find two spouts and use them for oil and vinegar. I have issues.

Fortunately, I am married to a man who knows my issues and keeps his eyes peeled for any containers that I would appreciate. So when we found ourselves in TK Maxx the other day he presented me with a gorgeous teal jar and my heart skipped a beat. Then I found an awesome square one! It was like a jar fest just for Eileen. When I decided that was enough, I turned the corner and there sat another tall glorious jar and I knew she was coming home with me too. Want to know what was even better? They were all marked down to £3 each. Holla!

The moment we got home we scraped the stickers off and gave them a good scrub. As they were drying I told Alex I wanted to take the doors off of the cupboard above the cooker one day and fill my jars with flour and whatnots. Next thing I know Alex was taking the doors off the cupboard. And the fun began!

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Hello messy. I find that I use more spices when they are not hidden away and I really miss the spice rack I had in our old flat. Eventually I would like to get new containers for my spices too but we are doing baby steps here. Buying 30 teeny tiny jars would probably make rainbows shoot out of my ears. So I emptied the mess, cleaned the cupboard, cut 3 pieces of wood to fit the right side, attempted to sand them and got a few splinters, figured I would paint them anyway when I did the cabinets so gave up, made little steps inside for my spices to be layered, filled my jars, and enjoyed this space of beauty. Ahhhhh.

 

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I think I  may deal with the holes from the hinges but I am not sure what would bother me more. White filled holes, or just holes? I am nowhere near painting the cabinets so I will see what bugs me more until then. Oh and look what else I got!!

 

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Oh my goodness does that just make you giddy? I have been wanting a nicer jar for my utensils and really wanted a le creuset one but uh hello, expensive! I saw one a few weeks ago marked down to £20 but it was pale pink. I did stand and think about it but decided no. It wasn’t what I wanted so I let it go. Then Alex found this one! It had a lid which I will keep safe in case I ever want to use it for something else but guess what? It was marked down to £10! No hesitation here. This was the moment I told Alex to go get a trolley while I stood by my jars like a protective momma.

 

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It is the little things peeps. My walls may still look like Freddy Kruger used to live here, but here in this little area, I smile. Every time I have walked in the kitchen I have paused. We have spent so much time doing repair work it is so nice to finally be putting in little touches that make it our home.  And that little jar holding my baking powder? An old coffee jar I couldn’t part with. See? Issues.

Anyone else love jars like I do? Or has any other odd loves? Have you added anything small to your house that made it feel more like home? I would love to hear what you guys love! Happy weekend! 🙂

weekly menu 2

Is anybody else super annoyed that all the good tv shows are ending? Omg we must have had 5 shows that have wrapped up for the summer, and I am feeling so sad and lost without them! We don’t watch a lot of tv through the week, but we record a few shows which we look forward to watching on our Friday night date nights, which basically consists of pyjamas the moment the girls are in bed, a bottle of wine, and all of our shows. Super fancy. Grey’s Anatomy finished a few weeks ago and I am still freaking out over the last episode. I thought I was going to pass out watching it! At one point I was holding my face, and my breath, when Alex told me to calm down. Oh man, I don’t know if I can handle the wait until it comes back! Then we had to watch the end of Blue Bloods, Revenge (oh my word!!! What in the H was that for a season finale? I can’t take it. Alex had a moment of excitement the other night when he thought we had Revenge. Then he remembered it is over. It was a sad moment.), and The Following. I know there have been more, but I just cannot focus. Now we are waiting for Game of Thrones to end this week (what the what happened last week? I gasped out loud more than once.), Modern Family, and The Middle. I hate summer. Boo. But, we have started watching Hannibal. Anyone else? Or better yet anyone else have an idea what is going on?!? It is so crazy and freakishly confusing. We are loving it! Only Hannibal can make eating people look so delectable and civilized.

So weekly menu 2 (no people eating involved here). I love to cook. A lot. But like everyone, I have weeks where I just do not want to feed all these people. This was one of those weeks. I have been feeling tired, lazy, and just not very creative so our menu is full of quick and easy meals to make things a little easier on this momma. I do our shopping on a Thursday which is why our menu runs from Thursday-Wednesday.

Thursday: Fish sandwiches with coleslaw. Birdseye just came out with fish burgers, which are really yummy. We had them on a bun with mayo, lettuce, and a cheese slice ala McDonalds. I also make my coleslaw. Shred up cabbage, carrots, and onion. Make your dressing using 1/4c light mayo, 2tbs vinegar (i like apple cider vinegar for this), a squeeze of lemon, 2tsp of sugar, salt and pepper to taste. The key is to use your hands to squeeze the coleslaw as you mix. This helps to release the juices and really get the flavour going. I suggest making this first so it has time to sit in the fridge and get all yummy.

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Friday: Nothing! The girls went to stay at Papa’s as we had an engagement party to go to. Awesome.

Saturday: pizza. Yep, just the frozen kind. As I said, we went to a party the night before. Enough said.

Sunday: turkey meatballs with spaghetti. I make my meatballs just like the turkey meatloaf. Just add some basil, oregano, and italian seasoning to the mix. Shape into balls and drop into your sauce to cook. My sauce was super easy. Sauté some onions in olive oil, add garlic, and my secret is a spoon full of caramelised onion chutney. The sweetness helps with the tartness of tinned tomatoes so there is no need to add sugar. Dump in 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, season with basil, oregano, italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Thin out with a little chicken broth as needed. As mine bubbled away for over an hour, I added a bit of broth twice. Just to make sure it didn’t end up to thick.

Monday: roasted chicken thighs with mashed potatoes. I just coated my chicken with olive oil and used the left over seasoning from my chicken kebabs. Then I covered with foil and baked for 45 min. Take the foil off and cook a further 15 min to crisp up the skin. Have you seen the new stir in Philadelphia sauces? They are on sale for £1 right now and I had bought the garlic and herb one to try with fish. I used a little in my mashed potatoes though, and oh my that was a good idea.

Tuesday: ravioli and salad. Finally Tesco carries frozen ravioli. In the states it is common place to get it frozen, and it tastes amazing. I find all other ravioli to mushy and or slimy. Not good. But this? Oh this is amazing. It is four cheese ravioli, cooks in 3 minutes, and it has the perfect texture you would expect from well cooked pasta. Dump on some sauce and call it a meal. It is also only £2 and one bag is more than enough for us as it is very filling. I paired this with a salad and used our new favourite dressing. This stuff is amazing. We have made two batches and I need to make a third. The vinegar is just enough for my tastes (as I usually like it quite strong) and the girls also love it! Score. Please try it! I used an old jar to make mine for easy shaking and storing in my fridge. Also I just used whatever mustard we had to hand which was Coleman’s american style mustard. Very close to a dijon with a hint of spice.

Wednesday: oven baked fish with new potatoes. We love basa fish from Tesco. You get four large white fish fillets and it is usually on deal 2 for £6 which is a great deal for good fish. It does not taste fishy at all, and it also has a more meaty texture which I prefer in a fish. Usually I would just squeeze over a lemon and bake, then serve with salsa on top and rice on the side. But, today is quite chilly and rainy so I want it a little more comforting. As I mentioned I got the new Philadelphia stir in sauce in garlic and herb. I am going to squeeze a lemon over my fish, bake for 10-15 minutes, add the garlic and herb sauce, and then bake a further 10-15 minutes. Just boil some potatoes, toss in a little butter and steam some broccoli. Sorted.

What are you guys eating this week? Trying any new recipes or enjoying any old favourites? I would love to hear any new ideas!

life

Sometimes life just gets away from me. Nothing really needs to be happening but the days just blur into one. I hate the go go go days where you don’t even sit down for a minute and yet you feel as though you have accomplished nothing. Yeah. I have had a few of those days. We have been having amazing weather here in these parts. I am talking 60’s and sunny, which is unheard of really! So everyone I know has dropped everything to be outside. We have all morphed into vegetables and I have loved it. I even retreated to my garden one afternoon with an iced coffee and a blanket. For that precious hour I pretended I was on a beach with a cocktail. Then my burning shoulders brought me back to reality. But oh that hour was bliss. It was the first time I have laid out in my very own yard. Kinda huge!

We spent all weekend outside too. Sunday we tackled the jaggy nettle jungle at the end of our garden. Fun times. I stayed clear of the whole situation because my skin is so sensitive you could look at me and I would break out in hives. I would probably self destruct if I touched a nettle. So Alex saved the day, and his wife, and he got it all dug up. Then I sprinkled baking soda over the entire area. I had read somewhere that baking soda is a good weed killer if you don’t want to use chemicals. The only issue is it kills everything, supposedly.  However, we are planning on putting our shed where the nettles were so I am not to concerned about being a grass killer, over there anyway. I will let you know if it works! I wish everything grew as fast as nettles do. It was crazy!

*side note about the nettles. A lot of people told me to eat them. Even Alex suggested nettle soup. Apparently it tastes like spinach and boiling it takes the sting away. Call me crazy, but anything that makes people bust out a rash and hives does not exactly make me want to consume it. No. I am all for eating what you grow, but no. If they grow back, and anyone is an avid nettle consumer, then you are welcome to come take them away!

Then we finally dug up the rest of our garden bed and planted all of our seeds. I am anxious and impatient to see if anything grows. We do have spinach, peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli sprouting. We also have a few strawberries starting! I am squinting at my garden everyday in hopes that something grew overnight. I don’t think I bought magic beans. So slow! Grow already!

Oh, I am going to start Zumba tonight. Even typing that I chuckled. I tried it once and my abs hurt so bad, but not from working out. It was from laughing my booty off! I was not blessed with coordination, or much grace. So Zumba and me are interesting together to say the least. I know it will be a good laugh though, and that is the only workout that I am always game for. The amusing kind.

House projects have come to a stop. We have been doing a bit of painting here and there, but I am sure we all know how horrible painting ceilings are so no need to share the misery. We are getting the kitchen and bathroom plastered in a few days (so excited!) so I cannot wait to bust out some paint on the new walls!

I have a few recipe posts coming up for you guys too. A few of you had asked questions about my whole menu planning process. So, I thought I will do a post once a week with our menu plan and link up to any recipes that we use and love. And if it is my recipe then I will do my best to document the process and post the recipe. Shaking hungry hands does not a good picture make. Be warned!

What have you guys been up to? Enjoying time outside? Or trying a new recipe? Or a new hilarious ‘workout’? I would love to hear what you have been up to!