Monday 27 July 2015

Supermarket treats

I was in Perth today as OH's car was in the garage and I had to drop him off.  I took the opportunity to visit the large Tesco as my Stirling one doesn't have their range of World foods or their Free From range of foods.  I knew I was going to get gram flour and coconut milk powder (can't get these anywhere here for some reason) but I also picked up a large bag of cornmeal for the same price as a wee packet in Sainsbury's and a 400g pack of rice noodles for the same price as a 200g.  This is where my homework pays off as I know the cost of the basics in my local supermarkets.

I picked up a copy of this magazine as it looked like it had a few good recipes.  I've had a quick glance and it looks promising.  At £5.99 it was extravagant but hopefully it's worth it.

I also treated myself to a tiramisu style dessert.  It was nice but full of sugar.  Might regret it later!

Sunday 26 July 2015

Orange chicken

I tried a new recipe in my slow cooker.  I found this Orange Chicken recipe on Pinterest using marmalade as the base.  I have a glut of my whisky marmalade in the store cupboard so in the spirit of using up what's in there, I gave it a go.  I also used some of the frozen chicken pieces.
Orange Chicken
7 chicken pieces (I didn't even defrost them)
3/4 cup of marmalade
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons Tamari soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Quickly brown the chicken pieces and add them to the slow cooker with a splash of water.  Combine the other ingredients and add.  Cook on High for 2-3 hours (less if not frozen I guess)
It was very sticky and had a slight BBQ flavour.  The 7 pieces fed 3 of us with stir fried rice and veggies.

I quickly popped into Sainsbury's this afternoon after gym with OH (he needed milk and cat food but ended up with 2 full bags of shopping AND realised he'd forgotten the cat food!!!)  I got a kilo of mince with a yellow sticker and also had a coupon for £1.06.  So only paid £3.43.  It's currently bubbling away as a batch of bolognaise sauce for the freezer.

And look who's been stealing my raspberries!!! I know grey squirrels are the scourge of our native red ones but he was so cute despite being caught in the act :-)

Friday 24 July 2015

Cheese, please!

My gorgeous OH knows the way to my heart!  Returning from a trip down south he stopped at Tebay Services where they have a lovely food hall and got me some lovely sheep's cheeses.  And balsamic pickled onions!  Yum!!!

Simple pleasures :-)

Thursday 23 July 2015

More cooking from the store cupboard

I found 2 wee jars of Thai curry paste recently when I was de cluttering my store cupboard.  I must have bought them in Lidl when they were on a special deal ages ago as I don't remember actually buying them!  I've always got coconut milk and there was some fish sauce lurking in there with some palm sugar in the fridge.

ETA the beer is a GF one my lovely mum bought me.  Rather nice but v expensive!!

I fried some onions and peppers (from the freezer) and added the curry paste.  I added the coconut milk, a splash of fish sauce and a dollop of palm sugar.  I let it simmer for 20 mins while I cooked some rice.

I found some cooked chicken thighs in the freezer so defrosted them and added some to the sauce.  I served it over brown rice.  Twas rather tasty and not too shabby for a store cupboard dinner!
My 3 chickens are still alive (PHEW!!) although they're rather shy and keep hiding from me.  Early days though :-)

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Here come the girls...

Finally, I've got my chickens!!! :-)

I have wanted chickens for years and years, now I have them.  In the middle of a city, in a garden with no grass but lots of greenery.  Lol!!  I am sooo happy :-)

They're 17 weeks old and all hybrids.  Starting on the left, Penny Black (a Magpie), in the middle Ginger Snap (a Blacktail) and at the back on the right Merida (a Bluebelle).  I've a lot to learn but have friends locally who keep chickens so any problems will be dealt with quickly.  I got them home in one piece, they're eating, drinking, scratching around and going in and out the coop.  I'll keep them in the run for a week until they get used to me and their new environment then I'll let them free range in the garden.  I've got a week to chicken proof some areas!
So far so good :-)

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Less stuff

I'll never be a minimalist but it's true the less stuff I have the less space I actually need.  Since I moved in I've been convinced that I need to shelve the 2 cupboards in the downstairs bedroom (effectively the guest bedroom) so I could store my stuff more easily.  But if I get rid of the stuff, I don't need the shelves built and save myself some money.  Simples! 

I'm still working my way through the freezer and store cupboard, using up bits n pieces to make meals.  Last night's meal was a hit.  Rice and broccoli covered with some soft goat's cheese mixed with a little veg stock and covered with grated goat's cheese and breadcrumbs.  It was then grilled until crispy. I've always got rice in the cupboard and broccoli in the freezer.  I used up the last spoonful of soft cheese and the last tiny piece of hard goat's cheese.  I have a GF white loaf in the freezer that I don't like the taste of but mixed with cheese as breadcrumbs is actually ok.  It's too expensive to throw out so will be doing that trick again until it's used up!
I saw these in Sainsbury's the other day and bought them to see what they were like.  2.5kg of frozen chicken pieces.  Drumsticks, legs, thighs and wings, all British chicken for £4.  I'm going keep a note of how many meals I can make from them.

Monday 20 July 2015

Week 3 plans

The weather here in Scotland has been pretty atrocious.  We get one good day and everyone thinks summer is here at last.  Then we get monsoon weather.  This pic is from The Open at St Andrews at the weekend.  Rain actually stopped play and for only the second time in history the final round is being played today on a Monday.  The Teenager left bright and early for an unexpected day out with his dad.  Suspect he may get wet!!

On the plus side I've been getting on with my list and so far the kitchen, dining hall, upstairs bathroom and living room are completely de cluttered :-) Yesterday was OH's birthday and it was lovely to be able to just serve a meal for 7 people without the hassle and stress of tidying up just for the event.  The dogs are loving having me around.  Emma especially likes to follow me from room to room then when she's had enough she lies in her spot with her chin on the windowsill and watches the world go by.  Sometimes she woofs at passing dogs or growls at any cat who dares to pass through our garden.
So this week's target (can't believe I'm at week 3 already!!) is to de clutter the downstairs bedroom, make curtains for the living room and put the final coat of paint on my kitchen cupboard doors.  And if the rain stops long enough, a spot of garden tidying!

Slow and steady wins the race!

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Week 2 randomness

My mood's been a bit up and down this last week.  I've been doing loads of decluttering and getting pretty annoyed with myself for letting my home and garden get into such a disorganised mess.  And then I get really annoyed with myself for putting so much time and effort into a job where it's clearly not appreciated *sighs* Funny how rejection stirs up old stuff you thought you'd dealt with and spills into your day to day life *sighs again* I came across this quote which helps.
"As I look back on my life, I realise that every time I thought I was being rejected, I was actually being redirected to something better." Steve Maraboli

So I've been doing some relaxing by knitting!  I've added another 20 wee squares to my sock yarn leftovers blanket and I'm really enjoying watching it grow.
I just happened to be in Homebase yesterday and saw lots of bargains.  I wasn't looking for light shades but at that price I bought 3!  I still have bare bulbs in some rooms so the white shades will go in any room.

My dining hall is one of those rooms!  Notice the broken coving in the background.  One day I came home from work and found it had fallen clean off the wall.  I have a long list of annoying wee jobs like that.

Lovely fresh fruit and veg from the garden although I had to fight the weeds to get to them.
Ok, moan over. Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Week 1 - day 3

Despite The Teenager being a lifelong vegetarian I've never made a meatless bolognaise sauce.  That got remedied tonight with some store cupboard and freezer items.  The green lentils were a tad out of date (!) but dried stuff lasts for ages (and technically Lea and Perrins isn't veggie but he tolerates it in some stuff)
Cooked down into a lovely sauce
I had some on GF pasta
Then sprinkled some goats cheese on the top.  Really, really tasty! :-)
Slow progress on the list but I'm getting there:
  • Make doctor, dentist and optician appointments for me
  • Phone chicken person to arrange collection
  • Book driving lesson for The Teenager
  • Store cupboard and freezer inventory
  • 1 hour of weeding and tidying back garden daily
  • Deep clean both bathrooms
  • Supermarket basics shopping
  • Get sewing machine serviced
  • Take dress to alterations place
Today I spent a whole afternoon cleaning and tidying my eldest DS's flat.  He has ME so finds it difficult to cope with normal house stuff.  Boy, do I ache now!  The Teenager and I had to carry a king size mattress and divan base down 3 flights of stairs to get uplifted by the council.
It's still rather wet here so not had a decent spell of weather to spend in the garden but have been doing wee bits and pieces.  My neighbour is away on holiday so I can use his brown bin to get rid of some garden stuff next week. 

Monday 6 July 2015

Week 1 - day 1

So day 1 started off with having to deal with massive stains on my bedroom curtains!  Yesterday morning I opened all my bedroom windows as it was such a lovely morning.  And then forgot all about them being open all day including during the very heavy rain storms!! The water soaked through the old wooden windowsills and then stained my curtains.  It looked like someone had thrown several cups of tea over them.  I scrubbed the stains with warm water and liquid soap then put them in the washing machine.  And crossed my fingers!  Luckily they came out okay.  I've still to rehang them but they look like they haven't shrunk much.  PHEW!!
The Teenager helped me in the garden for a while removing weeds and generally tidying up.  I'm aiming to spend an hour a day on this boring but necessary stuff.
In addition to normal housework/dog walking/gym tasks, this week's to do list consists of
  • Make doctor, dentist and optician appointments for me
  • Phone chicken person to arrange collection
  • Book driving lesson for The Teenager
  • Store cupboard and freezer inventory
  • 1 hour of weeding and tidying back garden daily
  • Deep clean both bathrooms
  • Supermarket basics shopping
  • Get sewing machine serviced
  • Take dress to alterations place
I'm taking my time to deep clean the bathrooms as last summer I tried to do it all at once and put my back out.  Lesson learned!

I did a full stocktake of my cupboards and freezers.  There's a lot of good food in there! And I only threw out 2 packs of tofu that were waaaay out of date so rather pleased with myself.  This month we're eating from what's already in the kitchen so I planned a small basics shop.  Of course I can't pass on a good yellow sticker and picked up some reduced salmon fillets.  Getting my omega quota in ;-)
I baked them in a whisky marinade I got when we went away at Easter and served them on corn couscous and some frozen mixed veg.  Twas very nice!  Frugal gourmet grub at its best.
Making phone calls is tomorrow's priority.

Sunday 5 July 2015

Refreshed, relaxed and ready

I think I've just had one of the best holidays I've ever had!  Northern Ireland is a beautiful part of the world.  The above photo was taken at sunset at Ballintoy Harbour aka Pyke Harbour if you're a Game of Thrones fan ;-) We spent a lot of time there, it was just so lovely especially once all the other people left!

In just 7 short days I sea kayaked, cycled, walked, scrambled round ruined castles and ancient stones, crossed a scary rope bridge, swam in the sea and jumped off rocks into deep rocky pools of icy sea water. We ate GF fish suppers, drank cider and tasted Irish whiskey (very different to Scotch whisky) And laughed lots :-)

So now I'm ready to get my life sorted out.  I've got 6 weeks until I go back to work.  My list is ready and The Teenager has been warned it all starts tomorrow!