Is Blogging for Me?

I had been really enthusiastic about blogging since I started back again in October but recently my blog posts have had hardly any views which is rather disheartening and discouraging!

I didn’t start this blog to be popular – believe me that couldn’t ever happen to me! I have never experienced popularity! It’s just nice to know people are interested and do like to read my content. It’s hard to not keep looking over the statistics!

I spent a while writing my February 2021 Review and packed it full of different things I had been doing including photos, thoughts and goals for this month. I am very appreciative to those who did read it so thank you. I was a little disappointed to see my views statistics dwindling!

I’m not sure where it is going wrong! I use tags, I have quite a few followers now but perhaps virtually I am just the same as I am in reality. I am quite a shy person and not very good socially! I have no social life and that’s not because of covid! I love my family and enjoy being a wife and Mum. I keep in regular contact with the wider family which is great. But generally the only people in my social circle are family.

I had other blog posts planned – one about toy storage sacks I have been making and one about the seeds I have been sowing and growing. I also have other ideas. However I am unsure whether to post them as I just seem to be losing an audience!!

Perhaps this is a sign to take a break from blogging? And maybe come up with ways to improve my content and connect better with people? Is my blog too random!? Who knows! I shall ponder on these thoughts.

I don’t want to see this as a negative. I am just going to see this as a challenge and look at it as a means to improve and better myself but also as a chance to step back and reflect on what I want from my blog. Anyway, here’s a shout out to all those who do follow, read and like my blog. I really do appreciate it. You can read my post of gratitude here…Thank You

Thanks for reading and any words of advice, or any thoughts would be great!

Katie

Healthy Lunchbox Treats

My 3 year old daughter has just started going to nursery 3 days a week and takes a packed lunch.

I am quite excited by this as it means I get to come up with different lunch ideas for her!

So, I have lots of ideas in my head but for just getting started this week I kept it simple with soft cheese sandwiches and used a sandwich cutter to make them into dolphin and whale shapes. Using shaped cutters really make things fun for young children. One day this week I cut some small pieces of cheese with a little heart shaped cutter. My daughter was amazed and wondered how I had made the cheese heart shaped!

I make sure my daughter has fruit and vegetables in her lunch. On Monday this week she had tomatoes, a piece of fresh fruit and a box of raisins. On Tuesday she had tomatoes, a banana and a jelly that I made up from jelly cubes and set berries in. I made it up in individual tubs for her so she has one left for tomorrow! The jelly was a big hit and she was excited by that.

I had mentioned to my daughter about making mini quiches for her to have in her packed lunch, so that was this morning’s baking project! We made pastry and cut into circles and placed in a muffin tin and baked. For the filling we chose to use grated carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes. I used thyme to add flavour and made up a basic two egg and milk mixture and poured this into the veg filled pastries. I added cheese on the top. I had some mixture left over so I poured this into some silicon cake cases and added tomatoes and cheese to make a couple of crustless quiches. We had these for our lunch today and my son loved the crustless quiche!

I have to say the mini quiches are a little rustic looking but it’s home cooking. I’m not aiming for perfection – I just want to make tasty and healthy food for my family.

So in tomorrow’s lunch box I will be packing a mini quiche, some slices of salad veg, a fruity jelly and a piece of fresh fruit.

I look forward to coming up with different ideas for new and exciting lunches.

What do you like to put in your packed lunches?

Katie

Roasted Vegetables in Yorkshire Pudding

As a family our meat consumption is quite low. We often have meat free weeks which we all really enjoy.

We like to eat Toad in the Hole which is sausages in Yorkshire pudding. I wanted to make a vegetable variation of this without using meat free sausages. Personally I am not a fan of meat alternatives and would rather eat vegetables and pulses instead of something that is trying to be like meat.

I decided I would roast some vegetables and then top them with Yorkshire pudding batter for a tasty dinner. So, here’s how I made it..

My ingredients were;

For the roasted veg*

– 1 large parsnip
– 1 quarter of butternut squash
– 1 sweet potato
– 1 tsp dried thyme
-1 tbsp oil

For the Yorkshire pudding batter

– 3 eggs
– 4 tbsp plain flour
– a pinch of salt
– 2 tbsp water
– milk
– vegetable fat

1.Peel and chop the veg into large chunks and mix with oil and thyme in a large baking tray with deep sides.

2. Roast the veg for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius, turning once half way through.

3. For the batter, crack the eggs into a jug and whisk, then add the flour and keep whisking until it’s smooth. Add the water and then add a little milk at a time until it is the consistency of double cream.

4. Add vegetable fat or more oil to the vegetables and turn the oven up to 230 degrees Celsius.

5. Once the fat is melted and hot pour on the Yorkshire pudding batter and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until it is browned and well risen.

And there you have it, Roasted Vegetables in Yorkshire Pudding. I chose to serve mine with boiled new potatoes, steamed Brussels sprouts and gravy.

* I used parsnip, butternut squash and sweet potato but all sorts of vegetables could be used. Roasted pepper would taste great, swede could be used and even garlic cloves would taste good roasted. Choose your favourite vegetables.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Let me know if you tried this!

Katie

February 2021 Review

February has been a good month for me. A I have achieved and discovered lots of different things. So, what has been going on in February? I shall break this down into categories…

Blogging
February has been a great month for me in the blogosphere! I have written quite a lot of posts this month and achieved my best ever views, best monthly views and got over 200 followers. I really enjoy blogging and like to post about a range of different things, especially food!

Health and Wellbeing
This month I had a bit of an epiphany about my self care. I decided that I wanted to start getting fit and being more active and also to take care of my physical appearance. I just want to look after myself all round to make me feel happier, more confident, fit and energised… You can read about my health and wellbeing post here.. 3 Things I am Doing for my Self Care and Well Being.

For the last week I have been practising yoga at least once a day for 15 minutes at a time. It has been really relaxing and feels great to use muscles that don’t normally get used!

I also bought myself some new make up and have started to wear it daily just to give myself a confidence boost.

Sowing and Growing
I started off some tomato, chilli pepper and aubergine seeds at the beginning of the month. Lots of them germinated which is great but I have managed to get them jumbled up when moving into bigger pots so I have no idea which seedlings are which! Ahh well! It will be a surprise to see what fruits they grow!! I sowed two types of tomato and two types of chilli so it will be a while before I figure out which types they are!

I didn’t have any plant pots so I have been inventive with my recycling. A lot of my seedlings needed potting on into bigger pots so I have been using tin cans, butter tubs and other various plastics that would have otherwise been put in the recycling bin.

Walks
February has seen two extremes of weather. At the beginning of the month we had a very cold spell and had a little flurry of snow. This week has been a lot milder with beautiful clear blue skies and sunshine. I have been out for a walk every day this month and have taken some lovely photos of forests, the beach and the harbour. I even managed to spot some seals which was lovely to see.

Crafts
The cross stitch towel project isn’t far off from being finished so hopefully by the end of March it will be done.

With my daughter I have been doing paper mache to make the Easter story scenes. We have made a tomb and stone and the hill and crosses. We are in the process of getting them painted.

Bible App
I have been following reading plans on the app and have been reading daily. I have almost completed The Essential 100 plan which covers 50 passages from the Old and New Testaments each. It’s really great to get an insight to the whole Bible.

Family Life
My 3 year old daughter started nursery for the first time this week and will be going 3 days a week as of March. This is a really exciting time for her and she absolutely loved her first day at nursery. I will be sending her with a packed lunch so looking forward to creating healthy lunches for her. My nearly 1 year old son has started to take his first couple of steps so it won’t be too long before he is properly walking!

As a family we have also been enjoying spending time outdoors by going out on walks together. It’s

Food
We have eaten lots of great meals, soups and cakes this month and I am really pleased with my home cooking achievements. I love cooking and being able to make tasty meals for my family.

Plans for March
I am hoping for another great month!

I have more seeds to be sowing and hope to take good care of my seedlings to establish strong plants.

I would like to complete my cross stitch and perhaps start on some different sewing projects using the sewing machine.

I want to continue with my daily yoga and will hopefully start to feel more fit and energised from it. Also I want to focus on healthy eating and make sure I drink plenty of water each day.

I shall have a little more spare time with my daughter being at nursery 15 hours a week so I will be able to have Mummy and Son time and also focus on housework routines and perhaps be able to plan better.

My son turns 1 in March so I am planning on a little birthday tea just for the four of us.

And finally, I hope to keep on with blogging and improve my blogging skills, entertain and maybe even inspire you with my blog content. As always there will be cooking and baking and hopefully some new and exciting things!

Thanks for reading all this,

Hope you had a great February and I wish you a happy March!

Katie

What We’ve Been Eating This Week

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know that I do like to blog about food! Good food makes me happy and I love to cook and provide food for my family.

So, what have we been eating this week?

I made a couple of blog posts mentioning the pressure cooker chicken, after I made the pie(,Chicken and Mushroom Pie ) I still had some meat left so decided to make a pasta bake. Alongside the chicken I added courgettes and yellow peppers. I added a tin of tomatoes and some frozen spinach and lots of dried basil and oregano. I stirred in a little soft cheese for creaminess and poured into an oven proof dish. I grated on lots of cheddar and baked until golden.

Another meal we enjoyed this week was a risotto with adzuki beans and spinach in. I served this with garlic bread made from slices of cornbread topped with a mixture of garlic puree, butter and dried oregano.

Tonight we ate oat and chickpea balls in a tomato and basil sauce with pasta and greens. A definite comfort food winner…..Oat and Chickpea Balls

I also made pesto pizzas this week which I wrote a separate blog post about… Pesto Pizzas

I have been having more salads at lunch time and made a crunchy salad wrap for one lunch which was really tasty. Today I baked a broccoli, green bean and pesto quiche topped with feta. This was an excellent lunch time meal. I made a basic shortcrust pastry and baked, then I spread green pesto on top. The filling was made of cooked broccoli and green beans topped with an egg and milk mixture. I then added crumbled feta and baked until set.

This week my only baking has been cinnamon, sultana and apple muffins. These are full of flavour and low in sugar so great for all the family.

I have been having more soya milk in my breakfasts and also used it in the muffins just to slightly reduce my dairy consumption. I also made a smoothie which myself and my children enjoyed…. It was made from one banana, a large handful of frozen berries, vanilla soya yoghurt and soya milk. A very tasty and refreshing mid morning snack!

So that’s what we have been eating this week! Hope you have had a great week.

Katie

Pesto Pizzas

We eat homemade pizzas regularly but I do like to make them differently just for variety in our meals

Last night I chose to make the pizza bases from a scone mixture. I used flour, baking powder, butter and milk to make into a scone dough, I also added dried basil for extra flavour. I chose to make individual pizzas so rolled out the dough into 4 pizza bases and baked for 5 minutes just to stop the bases going soggy when putting on the toppings.

I topped the scone pizza bases with a large teaspoon of green pesto and then added a variety of chopped vegetables. I got quite creative with my pizza and made a pretty pattern with the vegetables!! Last of all I topped the pizzas with feta. I have found that feta and pesto is a really delicious combination.

Pizzas can be topped with anything you like , they are so versatile! I chose to use courgettes, mushrooms, peppers, cauliflower and sweetcorn on these pizzas.

Here are the baked pizzas, I served them with sweet potato chips.

Happy Pizza Making!

Katie

Sun, Sea and Seals!

I had a really lovely walk today in the beautiful sunshine and wanted to share some photos that I took today.

It’s amazing how a clear blue sky and beautiful sun can really lift your mood.

I walked to harbour with my two children – my daughter on her scooter and my son in the pushchair. I knew the harbour would look especially inviting in the sun. To my surprise, I saw seals swimming in the inlet to the harbour. They kept bobbing their heads out of the water, it was really amazing to see. I really enjoy nature and wildlife so it’s really great to see animals in their natural habitats.

I do wish I had a better camera though to capture the seals, I am afraid these are the best that I could do!… The colour of the sea is lush though!

We stayed a long while looking out for the seals and just taking in the glorious weather and surroundings. The sea view was stunning to look at. I am always in awe of the natural world.

Today has been a really great day for me, very positive and mood lifting. I hope you enjoy looking at these photos!

Katie

Chicken and Mushroom Pie

Tonight I made a chicken and mushroom pie for dinner, using the chicken I cooked yesterday in the pressure cooker…

My family really enjoy pie – especially the homemade pastry! I made a shortcrust pastry using flour, baking spread, lard and and an egg yolk and binded this together with water. This then chilled in the fridge whilst I made the filling.

I saved the stock from the pressure cooker yesterday and used this for the sauce, the stock was very flavourful and it was great to be able to use this instead of a stock cube which is what I would normally use.

So, for my pie filling I added celery, carrots, chicken and mushrooms into the pan, added the stock and peas and let simmer a little while. I seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme.

To make the sauce thicker and creamier, I made a small amount of white sauce and poured this into the pie filling.

I rolled out the pastry and lined my heart shaped pie dish, poured in the filling and topped with more pastry. This cooked for half an hour. Unfortunately I didn’t have any pastry left over to make a cute little chicken this time!!

I served it with broccoli and Brussel sprouts as I didn’t want the dinner to be too heavy and there are plenty of carbohydrates in the pie!

Hope you had a great Sunday dinner,

Katie

What’s Been Cooking This Week?

So this week has been a little more chilled and laid back. My husband has been off work this week so has been sharing some of the cooking. I also haven’t taken as many photo’s as I normally do so you’ll have to use your imagination a little!

So I shall begin with what I have been cooking…

At the beginning of the week I made a spaghetti and homemade meatball meal. This was really yummy and the sauce was made up of finely chopped vegetables mixed with tomatoes and herbs.

This was the spaghetti and sauce before the meatballs were added.

I have also cooked a bean casserole served with rice, a simple chickpea cous cous and a vegetable pie served with potato and sweet potato mash – I kept the skins on for this and it gave it a really great texture and flavour.

I made a pizza one night this week, which all the family love and topped it with passata, green peppers, sweetcorn, mushrooms, broccoli and cheese. I served this with seasoned sweet potato chips. I used paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper.

Last night I did a roast chicken dinner, however I cooked the chicken in the pressure cooker. This made the chicken really moist and tasty and only took 30 minutes! I look forward to using the rest of the chicken and the tasty stock over the next few days.

We had pancakes on Shrove Tuesday which my husband prepared and had these with Nutella and bananas!

I made a quick cherry crumble dessert using tinned cherries and a crumble topping made from oats, flour, butter and cornflakes. It’s nice just to have some tinned fruit in the cupboards for a quick dessert, especially in the winter.

I haven’t done lots of baking this week but did make some oat cakes, inspired by a blog post I read from Katie B’s Pantry…. https://wp.me/scqsj2-oatcakes. These are really tasty, I didn’t have rosemary so used dried thyme instead. I really like the fact that they are made with wholemeal flour which adds plenty of flavour plus increases the fibre content. I also made a honey and lemon traybake cake. It isn’t much to look at but tastes good, especially with the honey and lemon juice topping.

I mentioned in my previous post about trying to eat more healthily so have been enjoying a lot more vegetables at lunch times and had this tasty tuna wrap which had lots of celery, cucumber, green pepper and tomatoes in.

For breakfast yesterday I made us all a cinnamon and sultana porridge, this was a really good breakfast to start the day. I topped it with sliced banana. I mixed about 70g of porridge oats with 2 teaspoons of dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and about 2 tablespoons of sultanas. I cooked this in a pan with 400ml of milk. This served a family of 4.

So, there’s a bit of an insight as to what we’ve been eating this week. Hope you’ve had some good food and a great week.

Katie

3 Things I am Doing for my Well Being and Self Care

As a busy stay at home Mum to a 3 year old and 11 month old it can be easy for me to neglect myself. I am always making sure my children have what they need and making sure I keep on top of housework. Obviously my children come first and I will always make sure that happens but I know how important it is for me to spend time on myself.

I know that I need to take better care of myself so that I feel better about myself on the inside and outside.

So, here are the 3 things I have started doing to take better care of myself;

Practising Yoga Every Day
I have always been interested in yoga but have struggled with self motivation and discipline to follow it through. I have started by doing a 15 minute regime every morning – I am currently following a video on YouTube. I hope to extend the time I spend on Yoga by perhaps doing a workout in the evening also.

Time is a little difficult for me and I have to admit that on several occasions I have had two small children climbing on top of me whilst trying to do downward facing dog!! This is why an evening workout might be beneficial. If I got up before my daughter to do yoga it would mean being awake at half 5! Perhaps to improve self discipline I should start getting up this early…

I hope to increase my fitness which in turn will make me feel better about myself. It also helps with practising mindfulness so it’s a great thing to do at the beginning of the day so I can start in a calm manner.

Eating More Healthily
I consider my diet to be quite good anyway however I have started to incorporate more vegetables and pulses into my diet and cut back a little on sugary foods and also reduce my dairy intake. Over the last few days I have been eating stir fried vegetables for lunch and trying to make sure I eat fruit with every breakfast. I have fruit with breakfast most mornings but want to make it an essential part of my breakfast.

Having a New Beauty Regime
This is where I need to improve a lot, in my personal opinion! I have never been one for wearing much make up and I have to admit that I did not really understand a lot of the beauty products on the market! However recently I have felt that I want to give myself a boost and increase my self esteem by spending a little time caring for my appearance. I have done a little research and had a bit of a splurge on beauty products which I am awaiting on in the post! I am looking forward to using these!

I am not only talking about the use of make up but also body lotions, hand creams and hair products. All of these can help to make one look and feel good.

I admit that from time to time I do suffer with low self esteem and self worth and I really want to fix this. I am only 25 and want to keep my mind and body young by looking after them. I really hope to become fit and in better shape from the yoga plus my daily walks. I hope that eating more healthily will add more vital nutrients into my diet and I will feel the benefit from this. I also hope that if I take more care of my appearance that it will increase my confidence.

Basically I want to be a better person all round and I am hoping that these steps help to improve different aspects of my life.

I realise that I have only touched briefly on each of these points. I could possibly go into more detail about each one and perhaps that’s something I could look into doing further on my blog.

Thanks for reading,

Katie