monday things

1. I have been struggling with a cold for the last week and on Saturday I allowed myself to wallow in my own self pity. Nothing got done.

2. I bought my first cinnamon apple candle of the season! It is one of my favorite scents and makes me look forward to dark cozy nights cuddled on the sofa. Yes, I am one of those fall/winter loving people. I do not like summer, and I am glad to see it’s back side.

3. Yesterday, I made a pork roast with all the trimmings for our Sunday dinner. The roast was cooked low and slow and made my whole house smell like a holiday. I may have gotten all sappy/teary asking the kids what they wanted for Christmas and generally freaking everyone out.

4. I love love love apples with pork. I made some applesauce to go with our dinner yesterday too. I just chopped up some apples, tossed them in a pot with enough water to cover the bottom, sprinkled some mixed spice and cinnamon, then simmered until tender. I like my applesauce to be chunky so I usually mash it with my potato masher, leaving some nice chunks of apple in there. I use the left overs in my morning oatmeal (which I just scoffed). It is great because it helps cool down the oatmeal so the kids don’t have to wait to eat it. And it is super yummy.

5. I had to dig out my winter coat this morning. And wear my knee high wool socks. Brrrr. I love it.

6. I want need this hot fudge pudding cake in my life. Now.

7. TV talk now folks. Dexter. What to say, what to say. I love Dexter. It holds a place in my heart. But, what the what is going on this last season? I really expected more. I am a little disappointed to be honest. Boo.

8. Mad Men. Any fellow watchers? What is the fascination? I mean, we started watching it thinking ‘eh, lets watch an episode or two and see if we like it’. We are now into season 3, and we have no idea how we got here. It is so good! I couldn’t tell you why though. Just trying to explain it to someone makes it sound like the most boring show ever. There is something about it and we are hooked. GAH.

9. I really wanted to get this print from Etsy for the kitchen. She had a print with Julia Child’s quote, ‘people who love to eat are always the best people’. I pray she sells it again. It is on my officially nonofficial wish list.¬†

10. I bought paint!! Like, a colour! Go ahead, gasp and clap…I’ll wait. I am so excited to finally see walls that are not so clinical and white. We chose a soft grey which will go in the kitchen, bathroom, and living room. Eeeeek!

11. I am going to go light my apple candle and pretend it is a relaxing fall day while I fold mountains of laundry. Happy Monday all! ūüėČ

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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. Saut√© 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!

right now

I have seen a lot of people doing ‘right now’ posts. Basically talking about things they are doing right now. Maybe not all at once. That would be an extreme example of multitasking. So I thought I would share my right nows!

  • Reading: I LOVE to read. Although since we have moved I think I have read one book. All of my books are still in boxes awaiting the built in bookcase to be created for them. However, I am going to be rereading Accidental Hitman¬†that I read last year. I found this book so hilarious and it was such a fun and different read for me. I have not started to read it again though so I guess if I am honest about what I am reading right now it would be Kipper and Roly. Sara’s library book from school. Awesome.
  • Listening: I have a large range in my music tastes. It all depends on my mood really so I can enjoy country music, heavy metal, and dancey pop all in one day. However, one thing I love love love and am always in the mood for is the Joy The Baker Podcast. Joy the Baker runs a blog¬†about, you got it! Food! And her pal Tracy from Shutterbean¬†also has a blog about food. Their podcast is so so funny and it truly is like sitting with your best friends talking about random nothings. I download them and listen while I clean the kitchen or my favourite is to put in my headphones and listen while I do a project. Our hand painted wall in our old flat had quite a few wonkey lines because I was laughing so hard. Seriously, listen. So good.
  • Making: Dinner! On days that Emma has after school activities I like to get the dinner prepped during the day, if I can. We don’t get in until after 4 and then there is homework and blah blah, but we still want to eat around 5. So I just don’t have a lot of time to be cranking out a meal. Tonight we are having a cheesy potato and sausage bake. So I am cutting up potatoes and sausage and making my cheese sauce. Later I can just dump it all in the pan and bake. No effort required.
  • Feeling: Tired. My usual state. No matter how much sleep I get, it doesn’t matter. Sleep is my drug. I can never fall asleep during the day though. I am not a napper at all. Unless I am very ill, like verge of death ill, then I can conk out for a few Z’s.
  • Planning: My next project. No idea what that is yet! I am dying to get started on the living room, but also I am wanting to finish the hall so one area is finished before we start on another, and then I want to do our bedroom so we can have a space to relax and not have a million to do’s slapping us in the face. I am just waiting to wake up one day with an urge to take on one of the above. That’s how I roll.
  • Loving: I am loving quite a few things at the moment, but one thing I am in love with, cannot get enough of, are these dresses from H&M. OMG. They are sooooo comphy. I am wearing mine with leggings at the moment because there is still a chill in the air, but I love that I can dress it up with a nicer blazer and heels, or dress down with one of my denim jackets and flats. I can’t wait until a denim jacket and flip flops are all I need to pair them with. They don’t seem to have the colours I own online but I have one in a black and white stripe (which I am wearing as we speak/type/read) a teal one, and a reddy orange colour. And the price! I know I have already gotten my moneys worth anyway, and I am all for clothes that feel like pyjamas but still look cute. Maybe that is why I am always tired?
  • Eating: Well, as you know we are having the sausage potato bake for dinner. ¬†Me and Sara split some left over spaghetti for our lunch today followed by a dark chocolate digestive biscuit. Yes, just one. As it was the last one. Boo. But I have had nothing since. Think I may have a cup of tea before I go pick up Sara though!
  • Drinking: Mmmmmm a nice cup of tea. Plenty of milk and sugar. Like a mug full of love.