Friday 29 April 2022

Wedding Weekend

It's all rather hectic here as we're preparing for my eldest son's wedding this weekend.  My middle son is home from Australia for a few weeks.  My youngest son and his GF get their new house today.  He had a collision in his car last night, luckily just pulling out from a junction but there's a lot of damage to his car.  Photo doesn't do it justice but it's undriveable.  Everyone was thankfully ok.  And at my doctor's check up this week I've discovered on top of everything I have high blood pressure! 

I'm soooo looking forward to some normality returning next week!!  Wedding photos soon 👰💕

Monday 18 April 2022

Easter Monday


It was such a lovely morning, cold but sunny.  So I went to the plot.  Only the second time this year but there were a few things I had to do.  I was thrilled to see some blossom on my old apple tree.  This is my 3rd season on this plot and it's never flowered before.  The previous plot holder told me it hadn't produced apples for years so I've pruned it hard twice and it seems to be paying off.  Fingers crossed it's perked up and will grow some apples this year 🤞🍎

My main job was to get some potatoes planted.  It's traditional to plant your earlies during the Easter weekend.  Just made it!!  These are the early variety Casablanca, harvested when new and small 😋  I have some maincrop Cara to plant in the coming weeks.  I weeded and dug this long trench by going slowly and taking a few breaks.  But I did it!!  At the same time I chatted to my neighbour about his upcoming retirement.  I told him I was very jealous!!  He was asking me what my plans were for the plot this year and I told him it was simply grow as much food as I can!!

I earthed them up and fingers crossed they survive any frosty nights we might still get.  I harvested some leeks and onions.  They'd been left in the ground over Winter as I wasn't able to tidy up the plot in October. 

They're already chopped up and in the freezer!  As you can see I use the whole leek, not just the white bit.  Brilliant in soup but also a good sub for onion in some dishes.

My bruised knuckle is slowly healing (it got bashed by an apple corer, don't ask!!) 🙄 Luckily it's not my writing hand so shouldn't affect work.  Schools are back tomorrow (Tuesday) here.  I'm working 2 half days and 2 full days this week as I'm still on my phased return.  Genuinely no idea how I'll get on as I still get breathless and a bit tired.  I can't believe this is the last term with my wee kiddos.  There will be lots of outdoor learning with planting stuff and finding mini beasts 🌱🐌🐛🕷  It's highly likely we'll get our "Special Visitors" to inspect us this term but heyho, bring it on.  I'm not going to stress about it, that's way above my pay grade!!  If I'm doing it all wrong after 30+ years then they can show me what to do.  Or I'll just retire 😉

Wednesday 13 April 2022

Empty fridge, full(er) freezer


I've really been making an effort to use, freeze or preserve all the fresh food I have.  This is my fridge this afternoon.  There's a full unopened pot of soya yoghurt, a couple of opened cheeses, butter and spread, various relishes/chutney, a tube of tomato puree, a filled mini roll (courtesy of my son's Magic Bag from M&S) and some poached pears.

I had some pears that were hard for aaaages then overnight started to turn mushy at the top 🙄  I poached them in a simple syrup flavoured with cardamom as I didn't have any cinnamon sticks.  Actually very tasty! 

I made apple and plum chutney, using up the apples from the Dobbies/Sainsbury's bag.  They were very sour!  The plums were in the bottom of my freezer from last year.  Recipe loosely based on this one HERE  I also finished making the bread and butter pickles.

I'd say my freezer is about 2/3 full.  There's a lot of food in there I need to get used up as I want to defrost it before the summer.  I noticed today my rhubarb is growing well in the garden so I'll need to start harvesting it soon.  I think I still have 1 box left in the freezer so I must use it soon!!

It's been a productive day using up stuff! 😋

Tuesday 12 April 2022

More Too Good to Go and using up stuff


Oh dear, this Too Good to Go app is addictive!!  To be fair I was pre warned! 😂 My son's GF and I got a Magic Bag each from the above place.  It was £3.99 a bag (box of Timbits and box of 6 doughnuts per bag.)  Apparently these doughnuts (sorry - donuts!) cost £2.29 to £3.69!!! EACH!!! 😲😲😲 And the box of 20 Timbits is £8.99.  So sad person that I am, I looked up what each individual donut cost and think we each got at least £25 worth of food for £3.99.  I know they do bundle deals etc but really, my flabber is well and truly ghasted!!  And tbh, they just taste ok!!  My son and his GF are raving about them so I'm guessing it's a generation thing 🙄

I researched freezing doughnuts and they do freeze.  Cream/custard filled ones tend to split apparently (although they taste ok) so I picked 3 glazed ones and froze them.  I gave my son my box of Timbits to take to work to share and I'm giving my other son and his fiance the rest.  It was fun stalking the app to get a bag and then standing outside the drive thru at 11.30pm to collect it.  But I'll not be doing this particular one again unless I have an event or something where they would be a good value for money dessert.

I did secure an M&S bag yesterday but they cancelled it as they had no food to give away.  They do refund you quickly.  I'm getting another Dobbies/Sainsbury's one tonight.

Edited to say I cancelled this bag as I realised I didn't really need it.  You can cancel up to 2 hours before the collection time.  Within 5 mins I had my money refunded.  When I checked the app again my bag had already been snapped up so I hope someone else gets the benefit of a lovely bag of stuff.

I blanched and froze the mini carrots from the last bag.  I think these will be added to a slow cooker stew at some point.

I made mango and apple chutney with the 2 mangoes and 4 of the apples.  It's a bit sticky but tastes blooming lovely! 😋  I loosely followed this recipe HERE The apples didn't break down because they were eating ones and not for cooking really so I blended the mixture a bit.  I think that's why it's a bit more sticky.

And I've started a batch of bread and butter pickles as I had a cucumber lurking in the fridge.  Recipe HERE  They'll sit overnight in the salt then I'll pickle them tomorrow.

I'm tired now as I've spent all morning trying to use up what I've got.  Time for lunch now and a wee rest I think 😊

Sunday 10 April 2022

Too Good to Go


I recently signed up to the Too Good to Go app and this afternoon I finally got a bag from my local Dobbies that has a Sainsbury's food hall.  I was really surprised at the quality of the produce.

My Magic Bag cost me £3.99 and contained:

  • 6 apples
  • 2 mangoes
  • sweet and sour sauce
  • baby carrots 
  • 200g smoky cheese
  • 6 premium eggs
  • lemon and lime posset (a posh pudding)
  • coleslaw

Full price would have been £12.70, the reduced price would have been £6.78.  So for £3.99 I have the makings of several meals, snacks and maybe some preserves.  I'll keep a note of what I make for a future blog as a bargain is only a bargain if you actually use it!   

I've made a few local businesses my 'favourites' so I can keep an eye on their future bags. You have to be quick to get some bags!!   I have a local butcher and a greengrocer as well as some well known high street chains on my list.

Since I was in a frugal money saving/use it up kinda mood this morning, I raided the fridge to use up some leftovers.  And to make room for my incoming Magic Bag! 

I had some cooked rice left over from Friday night that had to be used today.  I made a rice crust quiche.  Recipe HERE.   I mixed the eggs (from Tuppence!) with some sad looking spring onions, a handful of frozen sweetcorn and grated in the end of a piece of grana padano cheese.

I filled up the oven with a bag of sweet potatoes that were lurking.  I cut some into wedges and seasoned them with my home made fajita seasoning.  It makes me so happy to see a full oven!  My house guests haven't quite mastered the art of making full use of it when it's on.  I'm sure they'll learn quickly though when they're paying their own electricity bill! 😱😂

Lunch today was some quiche and a few wedges.  Tonight's meal was the same but with added coleslaw and the posh pudding!! 😋

I'm now entering the second week of the Easter break and I 'think' I'm finally getting my mojo back!  I've actually made plans to get and about but my main tasks are garden and plot preparations 🌱🌼 

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Rainbow colours


I spent yesterday and today sorting out some paperwork.  Actually, quite a lot of paperwork!!  The 2 boxes on the right were full plus a few trays and baskets.  I filled 3 black bags of shredded documents! 😲  I'll add some to my compost and use the rest to make paper bricks for the woodburner. 

Throughout my 24 years of married life,  my ex took care of all the paperwork.  I've mentioned before he was an accountant by trade.  He firmly believed in keeping EVERYTHING for 7 years "just in case it was needed."  It's a habit I sort of continued but totally without a system.  I even have an office sized metal filing cabinet!!  It was ridiculous and it was starting to bother me.  So I made a start on clearing out my own paperwork and some of my sons' paperwork I had lurking.

I've reduced it all to just 4 box files in lovely rainbow colours.  In fact, I'm going to order a blue and a purple/violet box to complete the set! 🌈 If I have to have something boring and practical it might as well be pretty!

The box files will sit in the bottom of my living room bookcase which has books sorted by colour (the red, orange and violet ones are just out of sight.)  My (empty!) gin bottle collection is also rainbow themed.  I have been gifted a red bottle but will have to wait until it's owner has finished the gin!! 🍸

Monday 4 April 2022

Filling the freezer and wedding outfit!


I'm still finding tubs of frozen fruit in the depths of my deep freezer!!  I keep trying to use up stuff I find in there but end up making stuff to put back in!! 😂  It is encouraging though when I thought last summer I wasn't growing enough to make the effort of growing it worthwhile.  Just putting a wee amount in the freezer regularly adds up.

I made a batch of sheet pancakes with some mixed berries and raspberries.  They were sliced into squares and frozen straightaway.  They reheat beautifully in the microwave 😋

I made a huge vegetable lasagne yesterday and a game casserole today.  I've started eating meat again.  Only a small amount and only if I know it's ethically/sustainably sourced.  Eating meat is expensive so a little every now and again should be enough to keep my diet healthy.  Everything was portioned up and labelled to go in the freezer.  

It's now only 1 month until my eldest son gets married 👰  I've had my outfit since last summer.  I tried it on in January and it still fitted.  I tried it on again last weekend to alter the length and I couldn't even get it up over my hips.  Being ill and inactive for a few months has made me gain weight.  I panicked, thinking I need to get a new outfit.  I hadn't budgeted for it and was really grumpy about the whole thing.  I ordered a new (similar) outfit in a bigger size and hung it up next to the original.  Something didn't look right.

Somehow I had tried on the original outfit with part of the fixed belt at the back instead of the front.  No wonder I couldn't get the blooming thing on!!!  Tried it on and still fits!

D'oh!!! 🤦