Sunday

On Sunday the sun was shining and it was a really beautiful morning. We had a family walk along the seafront which was lovely.

My husband made our Sunday lunch, it was a delicious meal of Toad in the Hole (sausages in Yorkshire pudding), roast potatoes and lots of veg. My husband also likes to cook so so spent time playing with the children whilst he prepared today’s lunch.

After lunch we had quite a restful afternoon of watching films, reading, sewing and playing.

Shopping List Game!

My current sewing project is a cross stitch towel kit. The kit was given to me a few years ago and actually belonged to my late Grandma. She had completed the cross stitch design on one of the hand towels but the other hadn’t been started. Now I am taking the time to focus on craft activities I decided I would make a start on this. The cross stitch kit is dated 1996 which is the year after I was born! I think at 25 years old it’s about time it was completed! The pattern is really pretty and my Grandma did a brilliant job. Hopefully I can do as good a job and in the near future will have two matching towels.

I also made time to do some baking with my daughter. She received a Gruffalo recipe book for Christmas so we decided we would make something out of there. We baked some Gingerbread mice. I have to say they look quite cute! I made some adjustments to the recipe by using almonds for ears instead of peanuts. These gave the mice nice big ears! They were very tasty too!

Hope you all had a good weekend,

Katie

A Sunny Walk and Focaccia Bread

I have made it this year’s goal to get out for a walk every day. This may not seem like a difficult task but in the past I have struggled with motivation so I want to make a habit out of getting outside for fresh air and excercise.

It tends to be the winter that is more of an issue for me but I have been out every day this week and feel much better for it. I want to make sure that my children see the importance of getting regular excercise.

We moved at the end of October and now live on the South coast. The scenery is beautiful which is a real incentive to get out for a walk. The beach is just a short walk over the road which is really ideal.

I have taken some lovely photos of the beach and look forward to seeing the sea each day. It was particularly sunny yesterday and it’s always amazing to see the sun glistening on the sea.

After a 50 minute walk we arrived home and got straight to work on making a focaccia bread dough. I decided to make focaccia as earlier in the week my daughter helped me make pizza dough and was making holes in the dough with her fingers. I said to her that she would enjoy making focaccia as that has lots of little holes in it.

So, that’s how we got on to making focaccia. I followed a basic dough recipe and then when it was time to bake (after we had put holes into the dough) I topped it with parsley, chopped garlic and oil. The bread turned out really well and was delicious with our dinner. My 3 year old daughter was very impressed with her focaccia bread!

Sticky Buns and a Walk in the Rain

I didn’t do any baking over the festive period so have been keen to get back to it!

I really enjoy making sticky buns, so I found a recipe that I had and adapted it to the ingredients I had in. The dough was flavoured with mixed spice and clementine zest. For the filling I used butter, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, grated apple and sultanas.

Once the dough had been rolled out, filled, rolled and cut into buns I went out for a walk with my two children. I didn’t realise it was raining until we stepped outside. My daughter was pleased as she got to use her new umbrella. We like to walk towards the seafront and have started playing a guessing game of whether we think the sea will be calm or rough. Today it was calm. We had a short walk as it was cold and rainy, but good to get out for fresh air and excercise.

When I got back I put the buns in the oven to bake. When baked I glazed with cranberry sauce. Myself, my husband and my daughter didn’t wait too long before eating one! They are best eaten fresh!

Crafts and Cake

Today I managed to make a few more decorations for the tree. I saw the idea in a magazine for wool wrapped Christmas shapes – I thought it was a great idea as all I needed was some yarn and some card! I drew my own shapes on card that was waiting to be recycled, I cut them out and then just wrapped the yarn around until I was happy with them. I strung on some loops and hung them on the tree!

I really enjoy making decorative crafts. Shop bought decorations can be expensive it’s great to know you can make some at home using things you already have. As you know from previous posts, my craft supply is limited and I am just trying to make what I can from it! I like being surrounded by handmade items and I really hope to do more arts and crafting in the new year.

This afternoon I made a bundt cake. I found a recipe for a mixed spice and honey cake and decided I would use my bundt tin to bake it in. I really like mixed spice especially at this time of year. The cake baked really well and I glazed it with cinnamon icing for extra flavour! I know it’s not a very exciting cake to look at and looks quite small too but it tastes delicious and I prefer quality over quantity!

Hope you’ve had a good Monday
Katie

Sunday Treats

Today was a lovely relaxing day spent at home. I started the day by making blueberry pancakes for breakfast which were enjoyed by all the family. I topped the pancakes with honey and bananas.

Later this morning I made a batch of lemon muffins with my daughter. These were really light and fluffy with a lovely flavour.

I really enjoy being able to cook and bake, making lovely things for all the family to eat.

I hope you have all had a restful Sunday.

This Week So Far

In The Kitchen

I set out a meal plan for the week, so far I have cooked Chicken Noodle Soup, Steak Pie and Tomato and Pepper Pasta Bake. I really enjoying cooking and providing homemade meals for my family.

On Sunday we baked some lemon cookies which were really tasty and then yesterday we made Christmas cake muffins which are delicious, just like mini versions of Christmas cake (without the marzipan or icing)

I also made a quick soup for lunch this week, this was just made using what I had in the fridge. The soup was potato, sweet potato and swede. A great way to get in a vegetable portion at lunchtime! Those vegetables worked together well and gave the soup a great texture.

Out and About

We haven’t been out a lot this week, as I sit here writing this it is pouring with rain and blustery. The weather has been cold and dull. We had one sunny day so managed to get out for a little walk along the seafront which was lovely for getting a bit of fresh air.

Crafts

I haven’t done much crafting at all this week but did make this Christmas cracker from a recycled tea box! I am quite happy with how it looks! It is a favourite tea of my husband’s. I think it will look good on the tree.

Schedules and Planning

I began making lists and plans earlier in the week but still need to finalise schedules and routines. I have nearly finished writing my Christmas cards and I am also writing a Christmas letter to hopefully email to family. (I would have printed these to put in the cards but it saves on paper and ink to just email). The Christmas letter will just be a little bit about us as a family and what we have been doing this year.

I spend most of my time playing and caring children. This afternoon we are watching a Christmas film whilst the weather is so dreary.

Hope you have all been having a good week

Tuesday’s Bakes

I still like to do baking at least once a week. I much prefer having homemade treats at home than shop bought cakes that are full of sugar and all sorts of ingredients!

I am wanting to make more savoury snacks just to add variety to what we eat and also to make my husband’s lunch boxes more exciting!

Today, with the help of my daughter, I baked a lemon drizzle tray bake and cheese and herb muffins. The lemon drizzle is light and fluffy and will need eating up quickly before it dries out! The muffins have a real savoury flavour, I added black pepper and a pinch of curry powder to make them really flavourful. I have frozen some of these so they are available for later on as we won’t eat all 12 before they dry out.

I am hoping to get into bread making again as I really enjoyed having fresh homemade breads. Hopefully there will be more posts to come on what has been baking in my kitchen!

I know my baking may not be aesthetically pleasing, I go for the homemade rustic approach! As long as it tastes good I am happy!

How I Spent this Weekend

I had a lovely walk with my family on the South Downs on Saturday. It was nice getting some fresh air and enjoying the scenery. We were pleased we got out yesterday as the weather has been bad today with strong winds and heavy rain. I can’t wait to see the Downs at different times of the year, it will be so picturesque covered in snow and in the Summer it will be a perfect place for a picnic and will be lovely to see the sun shining down on the sea.

On Saturday night I cooked a mackerel for dinner. My husband bought it in the reduced section from Tesco knowing we would be able to make a meal from it. I seasoned the mackerel and added some garlic and rosemary and fried it in a pan until golden and cooked through. I served it with a mixture of quinoa and couscous with peas and sweetcorn and broccoli on the side. The dinner was delicious and both children enjoyed it too so a definite winner.

I still had plenty of parsnips from the Morrisons food box and have a recipe for parsnip and clementine muffins that is in the Lidl Christmas food guide this year. I had all the ingredients (used satsumas instead of clementines) so I thought I would give these a go. The result was delicious tasting muffins that I will definitely be making again.

Tonight I made pizza for dinner using a recipe for a quick pizza dough. This is a dough that is made with baking powder instead of yeast for a dough that is ready to bake as soon as it is made. I like this as it is quick and doesn’t have to be planned in advance. I topped the pizza with lots of veggies and salami – a nice tasty weekend dinner.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, watching some films and playing with the children. We also made a den for my daughter this morning and had pretend tea and biscuits!

Hope you have all had a good weekend.

A Cake to Celebrate

My daughter has just turned 3. I like to make a special cake to celebrate birthdays so I asked her what she would like. She was very specific – a mango cake (I had never made a mango cake before so don’t know where that idea came from). It had to be decorated with marshmallows and chocolate.

Think I was quite lucky this year really as I didn’t have to make anything too challenging!

I found a recipe online for a mango cake which used blended mango as an ingredient inside the cake. The cake was very moist however the flavour from the mango was very subtle.

I topped the cake with chocolate buttercream which was made with dairy free spread and I used dark chocolate to give it a lovely chocolatey flavour. I used a mixture of icing sugar and royal icing sugar which gave the buttercream a firmer set.

To decorate, I used white marshmallows around the outside of the cake and used pink marshmallows to create a number 3. Then I made a few flowers out of the marshmallows just to add a little more decoration.

Under The Sea Themed Birthday Party

My daughter recently turned one and we had an ‘under the sea’ birthday party for her. This party was lots of fun and I am going to share with you how we decorated the house and what food we served.

I wanted to make this party visually appealing so that there was lots to look at and to make the theme come to life.

We had lots of decorations hanging from the ceiling including shiny coils with fish characters on and we also hung string across the rooms and draped with pieces of crepe paper to create seaweed, coral and sea.

We also decorated the lamp shade to make it look like a large jellyfish hanging from the ceiling!

I made some salt dough fish characters and painted them, these were used to decorate windows.

For the table, I bought a set of mermaid tableware which included tablecloths, napkins, cups, plates, bowls, party hats and party blowers. It also came with bunting which we hung up in the rooms.

I made some shaker bottles for the children to play with. These had water that was coloured blue in them with glitter and seashells.

I made up simple party bags for the children. Each child had two small tubes of bubbles and a party blower. The under ones got a fish soft toy and the older children got two packets of under the sea themed stickers. Each guest also took home some birthday cake.

For the food, everything we made fitted to the theme. We had fish shaped pizza, sea creature shaped potato, sweet potato and butternut squash chips and a coral reef vegetable tray.

The pizza dough was all homemade and covered with a variety of colourful toppings. The recipe for this pizza was from one of my old recipe books that is based on Bible stories.

For the chips, we bought some metal cutters in the shape of a seahorse, shell and starfish. Once the vegetables were cut they were then coated in a little oil and baked. These were cut the night before and left in water.

I found the coral reef idea online but made it up using different vegetables to those I had seen to create my own version of a vegetable coral reef.

For dessert we had blue jelly with fruit shaped fish in, a turtle watermelon with fruit salad and banana dolphins. We also had fish shaped biscuits.

The birthday cake was a turtle on the sand. This was a madeira cake decorated with buttercream and fondant icing.

I hope you have enjoyed looking through the photos of the party food and decorations and hope that I have provided you with some inspiration to throw your own ‘under the sea’ party!