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

Children’s Toys – Wooden Toys and Plastic Toys (A Review)

My two children have plenty of toys between them and have quite a variety. I have always been a lover of wooden toys but also have plastic toys too that I really like.

I wanted to outline the advantages and disadvantages of both types of toy as I believe each type has their own positive and negative points. There are also so many types of toys out there and many can be beneficial to children’s development in different ways.

Wooden Toys – Advantages

– These toys have a traditional look about them. To me they look more appealing and natural to play with.

-They are less likely to break. Wooden toys are often a higher quality and make for better toys. For example, my daughter has wooden based musical instruments that create better sounds than plastic versions. Because wood is solid, it doesn’t get so damaged if trodden on or dropped so appears more robust.

– Wooden toys are better for the environment as they can be recycled at waste recycling centres and also could be refreshed by sanding down and repainting and passed on for other children to enjoy. The production of wooden toys is less harmful and a lot of wooden toys are made from ethically sourced wood. They are also less likely to be packaged in plastic.

– Some wooden toys last a long time due to the nature of them being able to be sanded down and repainted, as mentioned above. Also they are more robust and less brittle.

– Wooden toys don’t require batteries so there is no risk of battery leakage or a toy no longer working and being discarded.

Wooden Toys Disadvantages –

– They can be susceptible to mould and mould damage. Unfortunately if where you live has some damp problems/excess moisture this can get into the toys and cause them to go mouldy. This obviously becomes unsafe for children.

– They are not so easy to clean – as I mention in the point above, if they are damp and not dried properly they could get mouldy.

– Children do put toys in their mouths and if the wooden toys are a softer wood then teeth marks can be made in the wood. Also the paint can come off and the wooden toys can chip and splinter which could be dangerous. They can appear to look a little tatty with the paint starts to come off.

– Wooden toys are generally more expensive due to the production and craftsmanship of them.

Plastic Toys – Advantages

– Plastic toys are more readily available and often cheaper to buy. I am sure for a lot of parents money can be tight sometimes but we still want to give our children great gifts. Often plastic toys are the cheaper option.

– Some plastic toys last a long time. I use the word some as this really depends on the type of plastic and how well it is made. I will use Playmobil as an example here – especially the 1.2.3 versions. My parents still have Playmobil from when I was a child (I am 25) and my children play with them now when we visit. However some plastic toys such as plastic balls for ball pools are made of thin material and can become squashed and perforated easily.

– Some plastic toys can be battery operated meaning they can make music and light up and other various functions. Some people like toys that do this as it can stimulate senses in young children.

– Non battery plastic toys are easy to clean as they are fine to get wet and will dry easily without the toy being damaged.

Plastic Toys – Disadvantages

– They break easily. This again depends on the type of plastic. The very cheap often very shiny or thin plastic items could easily be trodden on and squashed or snap. Brittle and broken plastic could be dangerous.

– A lot of plastic toys don’t last long and are not recyclable and do not break down so end up sitting in landfill.

-The production of plastic toys can be harmful to the environment, giving of harmful emissions.

– Plastic toys do not appear timeless – they can fade over time and toys with paper stickers on don’t age well – the stickers start to peel off and could be ripped or pulled off.

As I mentioned at the start of this review, I have both types of toys and with plastic it does really depend on the quality of the plastic to how good the toy is. I am wanting to be more environmentally friendly and I am aware of the environmental advantages of wooden toys however unfortunately a lot of my wooden toys have chipped or been susceptible to mould. So I am very happy with having a good mix as both types of toy have their plus points!

I have discovered that there are a range of toys available made from recycled plastic which is a really great idea. My son has a couple of toys like this and they are really tactile and don’t have the shiny look that I’m not keen on in plastic toys. This is definitely a great option for those who prefer plastic toys but want to be more environmentally friendly.

My 3 year old daughter’s favourite toys are her Playmobil (plastic) and her play food and kitchen (wooden). My 11 month old son enjoys his car garage and Playmobil 1.2.3 best at the moment (both plastic). A lot of wooden toys are more suited to 3 years plus but my son does have some wooden cars, puzzles, shape sorter and a train! I conclude that there really are great toys available made from both wood and plastic.

I appreciate that I have not covered every advantage and disadvantage and I could go on and on with different reasons. Please feel free to add your thoughts. I would love to know whether you have a preference of wooden or plastic toys

If you have read to the end of this well done and thank you for reading!

Katie

Sunday Morning Baking

This morning I did some baking inspired by my daughter. She had seen something on the telly where they made strawberry shortcake and wanted to eat some herself. This isn’t something I had made before but knew I had some strawberries in the freezer and a can of squirty cream in the fridge ready for pancake day!

I found a recipe online and made a few little tweaks to it. It made a very wet dough but I didn’t add any more flour as I didn’t want to ruin the texture. I put plenty of flour on the worktop and rolling pin and rolled out ready to cut. I decided to use heart shaped cutters because it’s Valentine’s Day so why not!?

I carefully lifted the heart shaped shortcakes onto baking trays, sprinkled a little milk and sugar on them and baked for 15 minutes until risen and golden. The recipe made quite a lot so I have wrapped some up and frozen them ready for a treat another day.

For the strawberries, I got some out early this morning and defrosted them. I then cut into quarters and mixed in a table spoon of sugar and set aside.

When it was time to assemble the shortcakes I cut them in half and laced a large spoonful of strawberries on the bottom half. I then squirted on the cream and placed the top half of shortcake on top.

These were a great after lunch treat and very light. The strawberries were the perfect addition the the fluffy shortcakes.

For another fun bake I made some spinach and cheese muffins with my daughter. These were from one of her recipe books. They were supposed to be decorated to look like faces so we gave it a good attempt! The muffins were really tasty and full of flavour. Another great lunchtime food.

Hope you had a great Sunday
Katie

Marriage

My husband and I have been married for exactly 4 and a half years. It is also National Marriage Week and Valentine’s Day is on Sunday so I thought this would be a fitting time to share this post.

I am so blessed to have a loving and caring husband. We met in 2011 and have been together ever since. We are each others one and only partner and I feel so lucky to have found the one at such an early point in my life. I was just 16 when we met and married at 21. We now have two lovely children together and have great plans for the future.

When we lived in our first house together we attended a lovely church. The vicar there held a special service about marriage which we were invited to and we were asked to share some thoughts on marriage. At this point we had been married for just 6 months. I decided I would write a poem for the special service and thought I would share this with you that I wrote 4 years ago….

Marriage is sharing our life together
A union, a bond to last forever
It is providing for one another
And taking care of each other
Feelings of joy and happiness
Looking forward to a wedded life of bliss
There will be times of sadness in our life
But we will support each other as man and wife
Marriage is loving each other every day
And knowing that those feelings won’t go away
We have rather a traditional way of life,
He goes to work and I am a housewife
We support each other in our roles
And together we try to achieve our goals
Our marriage is blessed by God above Who gives us everlasting love

Things may have changed a little since I wrote this poem, I am still a housewife but also a stay at home Mum however I do plan to find work once my children are in school. I feel that I need to be able to support financially especially with costs ever rising! However, what hasn’t changed is our love and support for each other.

Thanks for reading,

Katie

This Week’s Happenings

This week has been quite productive and I have been busy doing different activities – including cooking which I have made posts about this week. Here are some of the other things I have been doing this week.

Sowing and Growing –

I have been keeping a close eye on my seeds that I sowed last Friday. Over the last few days several of the tomato seeds have germinated, resulting in little seedlings that are growing quite quickly. There doesn’t seem to be anything happening with the aubergine or chilli seeds but it has only been seven days and it may be that it’s not quite warm enough even with the clear lid. I may have to move them to a sunnier spot – although keeping them out of reach of little hands may be an issue!! They are currently on the worktop under the boiler but the kitchen doesn’t really get a lot of sunlight.

I am also planning to grow some microgreens indoors and have been saving my used butter tubs to grow these in. I was inspired by an article in the November issue of the Kitchen Garden magazine and have decided I will give it a go. I have plenty of different seeds to try.

Sewing –

My cross stitch towel project is coming on well. I had hoped to have it finished by the end of March but with the progress I am making it should be finished well before then.

Crafts –

We didn’t get much further with Valentine’s themed crafts, my daughter lost interest and I couldn’t come up with many good craft ideas. I think I shall purchase a children’s craft book to give me lots of inspiration and ideas.

My daughter however is interested in the Easter story. It is her favourite Bible story and she can’t wait until Easter! Whilst there are plenty of Nativity play sets available, there just aren’t Easter story play sets (I guess this is to do with the theme of death). My daughter suggested we make a tomb ourselves and my husband came up with the idea of making it out of Papier mache. So, that was today’s craft project – we have made up a tomb and stone for the entrance and they are sat drying waiting to be painted.

Walks –

I have still kept up with my daily walks, although some days the walks have been short due to the very cold weather. We have had walks in the snow and ice and also sunny walks. I took some lovely photos of the sun shining through the clouds onto the sea.

Hope you had a great week.

Katie