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Monday, March 14, 2016

My week according to food #1

If you read my new year post then you may remember one of my goals was to be more intentional about planning our meals. Since the new year I've been meaning to occasionally share our weekly meal plan - so often when it comes to planning meals, I leave it to the last minute so am always on the lookout for inspiration. During those times I wish I could just be given a meal plan for the week (and maybe a shopping fairy who'll get my food and put it all away for me...and, while I'm at it, why not a cooking fairy and washing up fairy too?). Anyway, in case I'm not alone in having these annoying moments of total mind blanks, I thought I'd share our meal plan (and my opinion of the meals) for the week. Shopping fairy services not included ;)

I think you tend to either be a recipe follower or you don't. Some people just can't seem to stick to a recipe no matter how hard they try...I am not one of those people! I love trying new recipes and find it really relaxing just following the instructions. I mean, I can throw a meal together with various bits we have in the house, but, for me, the enjoyable part of cooking is finding and following new recipes. Plus, if you follow the recipe then you can always shift the blame if the meals turns out to be horrible :)

Inspiration for the week:

- Good Housekeeping Cook's Collection
- GoodFood magazine March 2016
- The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen (although I didn't end up using the recipe from here!)
- BBC Goodfood website
- Pinch of Yum

SO this is what this week's plan looks like:


Meal - Chicken roast dinner
Verdict - What's not to love about a roast dinner?!


Meal - Chicken, leek and mushroom pie  from BBC good food (uses up left over chicken from the roast.)

Verdict - This has been my go-to pie recipe for the last few's simple but so delicious. The flavour is improved massively if you can make the filling up in advance and leave it to cool before making up the pie. I'll often add a pinch of dried herbs to up the flavour further (dried thyme goes well).


Meal - Vegetable lasagne (I was going to use  the recipe from Erin Alderson's The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen but I'm going to contradict what I said up above because I ended up just making it up!)

Verdict - This was so delicious! I used a plain white sauce instead of ricotta and made up a tomato sauce with tinned tomatoes, red onion, balsamic vinegar, basil and a pinch of sugar. I layered these with roasted courgette, aubergine, pepper, onion and mushroom. It's a keeper for us!


Meal - Crockpot carnitas with sweet potato chips, salsa and coleslaw (recipe from Pinch of Yum)

Verdict - The best pulled pork and best slow cooker recipe I've tried to date! I often find both pulled pork and slow cooker meals disappointing (pulled pork often just seems to taste of...pork and slow cooker meals seem to turn out bland). But this had a really great flavour! I don't have a broiler so just popped in the oven for a little while (well I actually forgot about it and left it in too long!) but I'm thinking I won't bother with that next time.


Meal - Cod and spinach yellow curry (from March edition of Good Food magazine, although we used haddock)

Verdict - This was great for Jess because it was really mild. It's flavour was nice but a bit subtle for our liking. I would definitely recommend it though for those who are firmly on the mild side of curry :)

Friday - We ate out ;)


Meal - Herb crusted cod with warm new potato salad and greens (Cod recipe from Good Housekeeping Cook's Collection)

Verdict - A delicious classic dish and is easy to make in advance.

Now having shared my wonderful week of home cooking I'm off to buy a pizza for tonight, having forgotten to get the meat out to defrost for tonight (and I'm sticking to that excuse!).

Have a great week!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Minimal-sew bunting...

I whipped out my sewing machine for the first time in ages to make some bunting for Jess' birthday. She had no idea but I enjoyed making a little effort to decorate...especially since she had a meltdown when she saw the balloons being blown up (she was scared for all of a day and now loves them).

Bunting was my first project when I bought my sewing machine 6 years ago. I made some double sided bunting for my niece's bedroom. I would have loved to do the same again but I'm learning to be realistic about how much can be achieved during naptimes so I settled for single sided bunting...the bonus was that I got to use the pinking shears that Santa gave to me at Christmas :) another bonus was that it was all completed within a couple of days.

The only sewing I did was to sew the bunting into the bias binding and then to create loops at the end of the binding. Both the fabric and bias binding was from The Homemakery . I initially bought the fabric to make a quilt but since I'm still cutting out squares for a different quilt I figured that, by using it for the bunting, it wouldn't sit sadly in the back of my cupboard for years ;)

I love The Homemakery and could easily spend far more money than I should! I've bought a few fabric bundles from there, I had a quick look and couldn't find this particular bundle (and have no recollection of it's name, sorry!) but there are plenty of other beautiful fabrics on there!

To make this bunting all you need is fabric, sewing machine, bias binding, pinking shears, pins, ruler and fabric pen. Cut out the bunting to your desired size (don't forget you'll lose some height from the triangle when you insert it into the bias binding). Secure the bunting into the bias binding with pins and sew along slowly, making sure each triangle is completely enclosed by the binding. Then just fold the ends of the binding over and sew to secure.

I probably didn't even need to explain how I made it as it is such a simple diy. I'm not a massive bunting person (despite having just written a post on it) but I think I'll be using it to brighten up our dumping ground conservatory. Now to just replace the carpet, find chairs (actually find all furniture for it) and restore my old toy box that is in there...but hey, at least it looks pretty!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
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