Tuesday 29 August 2017

Woodburner saga

Well, the excitement of getting my woodburner installed has well and truly worn off.  This is what it looks like at the moment.  I have to wait a few more weeks before the next stage.  Removing the stone fireplace and knocking out a larger opening created a huge mess of dust throughout the whole house 😞 I did get an apology for the mess but that doesn't undo it.  A larger area of the walls will need replastered than originally thought.

Then I found out my chimney failed the smoke test so it needs to be lined (this is a legal requirement)  at an extra cost of £775 😢 So the original verbal quote of around £2000 has gradually crept up and now stands at just over £4000.  That's just for the woodburner.  I need a new carpet and obviously will need to repaint.  I have savings that were earmarked for other projects that will need to wait until next year.

Ah well, everything will work out in the end.  I hope.

Sunday 20 August 2017

Back to work prep

Spicy seafood pasta

I go back to work tomorrow, it's been a quick summer!!  But I'm ready and looking forward to the challenge of a smaller class with fewer behaviour issues.  Last week I tried to plan ahead and get myself organised to hit the ground running.  I've been trying out a few new healthy recipes as I need to get back on the weight loss.

Baked tofu with rice noodles and veggies

Thanks to my ankle injury I've not been exercising as much and eating/snacking more cos I've been on holiday.  It's much improved so I can increase my exercise levels again.

Sugar free jelly and fruit 

So I'm starting back on the WeightWatchers plan tomorrow *sighs* I've counted out 20 weeks until the Christmas holiday and have a target of 10kg (22lbs or 1 and 1/2 stone) *double sigh*  I've been batch cooking and have filled my freezer with meals with the SmartPoints (SP) calculated.  I've worked out that I fall down on not having a plan so have spent time on making a plan.

I made a batch of curry paste so I can whip up a quick healthy curry with chicken and veggies.  Ideas for using the paste can be found on my old blog HERE.  Each of these portions is 1 SP.

I bought some WeightWatchers grated cheese (I've been trying very small amounts of cheddar and haven't had a reaction) and portioned it into 1 SP amounts.  I can add it to flavour pasta, warps or potatoes

I made a healthy lasagne with turkey mince, tons of veg and GF pasta with this white sauce and divided it into 4 portions. I made a fajita mix of chicken and veggies ready to add to wraps.  I made soup and a portion of chicken and rice to stir fry.  All frozen, labelled and SP counted.

I made a batch of pancakes for snacks/breakfasts 😋 

I bought a box of miso soup sachets.  Low in calories/SP but high in protein so perfect for break time or after school meetings to keep me from snacking.

I've written out my meals and snacks for the week along with my exercise plan (click to enlarge).  I'm hoping this will motivate me to stay on track!!

In other news work on installing my woodburner starts this week 😁 In preparation I've cleared my living room and saved the wooden mantlepiece from the fireplace (to re use elsewhere!)  I'm really excited as I've saved and waited for nearly 4 years to decorate my living room.  I'm aiming to be finished for Christmas.  This includes painting, making curtains (you can see the fabric in the white sauce link!!) fitting a new carpet and repurposing some furniture.  I'm going to be busy!

Sunday 13 August 2017

Courgette, chestnut and stuffing bake

Tonight's meal was a use it up affair.  I'm trying to cut down on my consumption of meat so I've been looking at veggie alternatives.  I had a packet of GF stuffing mix that my lovely mum picked up in Morrisons.

Packet stuffing can be dry so I had a look in the store cupboard and fridge to see what I could add and came up with chestnuts for protein and courgette to add moisture.

I got these reduced chestnuts in Dobbies food hall a wee while ago. I chopped them roughly and added them with grated courgette to the stuffing mix.  I gave it all a good mix and threw it in the oven for half an hour.

It was crispy on the surface and moist in the middle.  I had it with my bargain beans and potatoes from the garden.  It was delicious!

Here's Emma my daft lab at the end of a long walk!! 💓

Friday 11 August 2017

Productive garden

My wee garden is producing small amounts of fruit and vegetables.  My apples are nearly ready.  My 4 pots of Charlotte potatoes yielded a few meals.  I've picked handfuls of blueberries, blackcurrants and raspberries.  My pea pods are big and fat but the peas inside are small. Nothing in any quantity big enough to freeze or preserve. Ah well.

I have 18 tomato plants in the polytunnel with no flowers therefore no chance of tomatoes.  I'm going to pull them all out and maybe replant with something else edible.  Any suggestions??

You can see in this photo that the plastic is degrading between the green lines.   I'm seriously considering taking it down.  Maybe putting some raised beds in it's place.  Dunno.

We've celebrated a few family birthdays recently.  My 'wee' sister was 50, OH's daughter was 21, my niece will be 18 next week and OH's son will be 16. This photo was celebrating the 21st birthday.  I had a lovely meal from a gluten free menu but I did suffer with some digestive issues for a few days after.  Sometimes it's just not worth the pain of eating out 😔

Sunday 6 August 2017


For the last 18 months I have been saving for a woodburner, technically a multi fuel burner as I want to burn more than wood.  Tomorrow I've got someone coming to do a smoke test on my chimney to see if I need a chimney liner.  I hope I don't (my neighbour didn't need one) as it will add to the final cost.  Then I'm going ahead to get one fitted!! 😎

I haven't made a final choice of stove but it'll be a contemporary style like these ones.

I'm going to get my 80s style stone fireplace removed, the gap in the wall will be plastered and it will be free standing on a slate/stone hearth.  The pipe will be fitted from the back rather than the top so I can boil a kettle etc on the top in the event of a power cut and all the heat from the stove will go into the room.

I had a woodburner in my previous house and I really miss it.  But over the last 8 years the cost of buying and installing one has tripled!!! However, my research suggests it will save me money on my energy bills (over a long period I suspect!) and could add 5% to the value of my house if/when I sell it.

In addition to the cost of installing the stove I'll be painting the room, fitting a new carpet and finally getting round to making my curtains (I've had the fabric for nearly 4 years!!) Busy few months ahead!

Friday 4 August 2017

Home grown meal

My first complete zero miles meal this year.  Home grown potatoes, peas, lettuces, carrots and white turnips with this week's single egg from lone chicken Penny.  I have to confess I'm feeling very disillusioned with my garden this year.  The constant wet weather interspersed with mini heatwaves has caused lots of things to run to seed instead of producing vegetables.  And yet my tomatoes in the polytunnel haven't even flowered yet!

I need to have a long hard think about how I'm going forward with my plans.