Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Porridge Roulette

As I play this every morning, I wondered if anyone else out there does.

The rules. 
Take one sachet oats so simple ( other brands are available ).
Mix in the right amount of milk
Pop it in the pinger/dinger ( depending on the make of microwave ).
You are free for a minute to pop the kettle on etc.
Ping/Ding. ( depending on make of microwave ).
Quick stir
And here the fun commences
Set the timer for one minute 30
What will happen first?
Will the pinger ping/ding?
Will the porridge boil over?
Will your nerves stand the tension?
Eyes flick back and forth from timer to glass door - molten lava begins to erupt from within.
Hand reaches for the door.
Tension builds
YES!! I win! I held out till the end!

Please be careful if you play this game. You might get your fingers burnt.

No, actually you do get burnt fingers, because angry hot boiling over porridge meets skin melting temperatures.

And it pisses you off because you've less porridge to eat and a load of mess to clean up. Bonus is, less porridge = less calories! and the microwave gets cleaned!

What danger games do you play in your kitchen?

Monday, 28 October 2013

Half Term day one.

  1. Dentist - a new NHS one; because the lovely sweet surgery I've been with since I grew two pickle stabbers ( as my nanna used to call 'em ) has gone Denplan private. It's too much money. My new dentist practice isn't as homely, but Justin, with his beard net on was very nice. My teeth are in good shape ( I knew that ) and I need a filling ( I also knew that - an old filling fell out! ). So I am booked in in November for that afternoon's delight. 
  2. I met my friend in town, who cheerfully reminded me that the butcher who caused her mouth and face to swell alarmingly, was also a bearded gentleman, by the name of Justin. He was also, coincidentally, a dentist. She was having a crown fit. Not a filling.......
  3.  Gulp.
  4. We spent £30 on lovely crafty, glittery things for Night Owls. A few more board games and jigsaws and finished off in her friend's lovely little coffee shop. I had a red berry tea. I chuffing love red berry tea. 
  5. I pegged out my non tumbles to dry on the line in the tail end of the storm that battered Britain last night - or did it? Twitter kept me highly amused over this! 
  6. I'd treated myself to a M&S  skinny lemon muffin moussey dessert thing and had it after lunch. NOM. 
  7. Did some phoning that I'd been putting off til half term.
  8. Went to mums. Then bought some whoopsed bargains at the co op including some  beef, chicken and a cauliflower. The cauliflower is going to be turned into rice. Jamie Oliver did it. If he can I can! 
  9. Got changed and squirted bathroom cleaner in the bathroom. Left to do its job and sat down with you! 
  10. Post this post and go a scrubbing! Sausage, Mash n beans for tea here.
See you tomorrow! 


Friday, 25 October 2013

Owling around #1

Hello folks,
I feel like I will be posting lots of Night Owls stuff for a while, until the newness wears off! Lots of  children ( and other adults ) have commented how it's much better now!! I have two colleagues. One is fantastic - same wavelength as me and she feels she can now do the stuff she's wanted to for aaaaages!
This week, we've made fun Halloween themed activity booklets, worked on Pom Pom spiders and made witches fingers from bread dough and a flaked almond for the nail!
Last night, we made these.

How cute! I found the idea on the old tube of you! The kids  owlets  were suitably impressed with the results and we have decided that these will now be our signature bake for  future fundraising events!
So easy!
You need
A fairy cake ( we bought ready made due to time )
Two Oreo cookies ( we used mini ones as the cup cakes were small ones )
Three smarties
And some buttercream. ( we used a tube of ready made - only 97p from Asda )

Here's how we did it...

Twist your Oreos apart ( but don't lick it!! ), and the halves  with the cream on get glued with a splodge of buttercream halfway on the cake. One of the remaining tops gets cut in half to make the ears. The other top is for the cook! ( NOM ) . Those half cuts get glued in place for the ears. Smarties are glued on for the eyes and stuck in sideways for the beak! Done. Simple but so effective!!

I've my eye out now for owl themed crafts! Watch this space. Already have felt owls for sewing in the pipeline!

Must dash now, because I'm working at Early Birds too this morning!! ( the before school breakfast club) - thank goodness it's half term! Roll on 5:29pm!

Twit twoooooo xx

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Hairdressing should be left to hairdressers.

For Night Owls, I decided we'd have a
"Who's whoooooooooooo' ( geddit?) gallery.
We took head and shoulders portraits of us all, and then traced over our features. The tracing will be photocopied and coloured in. Ta daaah!

Anyway, I took one look at my photo and decided that as I was looking most yeti like, a fringe trim was in order. Or bangs, if you are one of my US readers!

I do need to go see the lovely girl who has cut my hair most excellently for years but work etc tends to GET IN THE WAY OF ME DOING WHAT I LIKE WHEN I LIKE!

So, I've done it before. I combed my fringe straight. I cut. Admittedly a bit more than perhaps I should. I stood back. It needed a touch more off the left. I stood back. It needed a touch more now, off the right. I stood back. Now the middle was wonky. I stood back. I needed to STEP AWAY FROM THE SCISSORS.


Here is the extend of my fringe. it's that short my brain is freezing without eating ice cream!
I suppose it really does bring out my eyes now.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Baked Bean!

Today I have mostly been nurturing a big panful of baked beans on the go.
My HG got a man's cook book. The fantastic Tom Kerridge's pub food cook book was bought from Asda for a bargain £8! 
I followed the recipe to the letter. The beans are beautiful! However, I do think there was a lot of fat in it so next time I make them, I will adapt it!
Basically, you fry good smoked streaky bacon till crispy. Add chopped onions and garlic til soft. Add tinned tomatoes, tomato purée , red wine vinegar, soft brown sugar and water, plus your pre soaked overnight then boiled til tender white haricot beans and simmer for about 2 hours.

 The link is here for the amounts etc found easily on google!

The calorie count for the recipe above works out at around 2805 cals for the panful . The yield was a whopping 2100g! Tom says it serves 4-6!!!
I think he is even more generous than I am in dishing up!
I had a decent 150g portion for 200calories! Then went back for seconds! 

I will make these again but will not use extra oil, and maybe use a maple cure bacon instead of the streaky. I'll let you know how I get on!

This weekend I spent a fab few hours with my family. Harry was round at my mums with everyone else. When I came through the door the way he ran to me for a cuddle saying "Hullo Hanty Rachull" sounding genuinely thrilled to see me!
He is just utterly scrummy. When I asked if he wanted to go for a walk, he took my hand and wanted to go right there and then. Even though he had no shoes or socks on! His sister came along too. He held our hand and as we said 'Step' at the kerbs we managed to cross the roads with no trips or falls.  I wish you could hear his infectious laughter at the sheer joy of running up and over the speed bumps! Madeleine secured sweeties for herself and her brothers and Harry got breadsticks. (He loves them ) .
We'd been home about ten minutes, before he asked to go back to the shop!! Squirming his little hand into mine and saying 'Pweeze Hanty Rachull PWEEEEZE! I tell you what, if it hadn't have been tipping it down, I'd have taken him too!! I'm apparently Hanty Pushover where my nephews and nieces are concerned! 
Could you resist this face? 
He has THE most darling cute voice and his speech and vocabulary is amazing! He is back to Birmingham at the end of November. Lisa was hoping for a half term slot so I could go too, but not this time! Let's just hope it's another clear visit.

Right now I am laughing my socks off at The Middle. I love The Hecks. I can relate to Frankie a LOT!
That's yer lot for now! Enjoy the beans if you make em!!

Ps I tweeted Tom Kerridge, no reply as yet....but I'm ok as I'm still basking in the glow of being tweeted by Nigel Slater AND Nigella Lawson in the SAME WEEK!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Square Eyes

My current love is just one word. I loved it at first sight.

It's absolutely genius or bonkers. I adore it. It's Gogglebox. It's a TV programme. It's us, watching people, watching the telly! They mostly watch the programmes I do and they mostly have the same reactions I do!

I love ALL the peoples on my telly watching telly! The posh couple who get sloshed. The grumpy old bloke and his long suffering wife on matching hideous chairs in Liverpool. Sandra and Sandi, long time best friends who make me laugh with their double act, the two boys who watch with their dad, the families with the teens, the couple in Brighton, the pair who watch in bed and the couple with their grown up son. They are SO FUNNY. I've cried with these people, laughed with these people and urged my friends to share in the joy of watching this!!

The posh husband made me laugh so hard when talking about Lady Mary's arms getting shorter that I now cannot watch Downton without the giggles!

Gogglebox, please stay on my telly box forever!!

My mum told me I'd get square eyes if I watched too much telly!
It has yet to happen!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Fabulous Flapjackery!

After last week's post - I tweeted a photo of my Flapjacks and my food hero Nigel Slater tweeted me back with the words of the title!

This is about the 6th time we've tweeted, so now I'm thinking I'm fully qualified to declare me and Nigel as close personal friends!!!

I love him. I love his food. I love his books. I love his voice. He is the only chef ont telly who can make my mouth actually water when he cooks. His voice as he describes the food is hypnotic. The way he unwraps his food from greasproof paper is hypnotic. The way he chips a carrot is hypnotic. The way he plucks herbs from his garden is hypnotic. The way he stirs cream into a sauce is hypnotic. Are you sensing the effect that this amazingly talented man has on me?!

So when he takes the time to interact with us mere lesser mortals, you can understand my giddiness!

Anyway, today's flapjack was made to the same recipe as last week, but it's not as chewy as I baked it for five minutes longer. I also made a batch of plain oat flapjack for the fussy teenage son, but if did cover it with a whole bar of real CDM!

Oh and good news too! I won the lottery. No begging letters please. It was just the 3 numbers. First time in four years! What will I spend my winnings on? The next few lottery tickets of course!!

A lovely end to my lovely Saturday!

Simply Saturday

Hi everyone, and a special thank you to those who made suggestions for my little nest of Owls. All have been taken aboard!

It's 3:30pm. So far today I've pegged out, sorted out, walked up town, got lots of nice things from town to do nice things....
Stocking fillers
Ham shank bargain £2 ( ham n chips, pea n ham soup and possibly baked eggs with any scraps of ham )
New buttons ( to up cycle a big chunky cardi gifted to me )
Bargain basket wool ( always comes in handy! )
Pies from the farmers' market  ( keeping the local economy afloat )
A shiny new file from the clearance corner to re sort my collection of recipes.
Good bacon from the bacon stall as the HG has a yearning to make Tom Kerridge's real baked beans. Thing is, we needed smoked streaky bacon in one 200g lump. Which we got - but the recipe then says chop it up finely!! Surely sliced would have done too???? Guess it's what I would call
"Man Cooking"

Currently 3:34pm and I'm
Watching The Middle with another cup of tea, then I'm off to do some baking, for the week's lunch boxes. I also need to search  for the dried haricot beans the HG requires, and I'm SURE I've some dried peas for my ham shank!!

I'll be back later with pictures of my efforts.

The title of my post? I love Saturdays. Simple!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Night owling.

The title of this post refers to my third job at work. Night Owls is the name of the paid for after school child care provision.
It runs from 3.20 to 5.29 pm ( summat to do with Ofsted regs I think - ie when the school gets a visit, they cannot judge us .)
It's my favourite time of my working day! The children are from all the classes and I love how I can be a little more relaxed and a lot more sociable.
Since I started, I've overheard a few saying how much better Night Owls is now!  ( I do have to say here, I AM bloody good at my job! )
So far, we've made a harvest sheaf of wheat and mice from the salt dough we made, we've baked cakes for the Macmillan coffee morning, we've chilled and watched the new DVDs I brought. We've made pom poms. We've transformed the old wooden table tennis bats into double sided puppets.
Planned activities coming up include Halloween owl cakes, Christmas decorating, parties and playing with the new toys I'm ordering with my colleague.

I'm asking for help here. Even though I'm brimming to overflowing with ideas, I always need more. The children are between five and eleven years old, though I'd say the average age is eightish for  the majority. It has to be pretty cheap and be maneagable for groups up to 40 at a time! Over to you!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Mini baked doughnuts

How do one and all. It's been a gloriously Autumnal sunny Sunday.

I am blogging this whilst listening to XFactor USA, I do have a penchant for old Mr C! And the hairs have just stood up on the back of my arms as this gorgeous American lass, who's Mama was murdered,  ( the sob factor - admittedly more awful than the norm ) just sang Whitney's I will always love you. She was OUTSTANDING! I nearly gave her a standing ovation myself, here in my own living room. She's called Ashleigh and ee by gum that lass can sing!

I digress.  I've spent a few spidery ( YUK ) hours in the garden getting it ready to go to bed for the winter. I just need a new roll of fleece to tuck my herbs in. The last of the tomatoes were brought in. They've been plentiful and delicious.

I've started a new knitting project. My friend, who I met in hospital is having a baby girl in a few weeks. Now normally I disapprove of finding out what a bambino is before the day - but having found this darling wool in my favourite wool shop in Newcastle whilst visiting my daughter the weekend after we took her back to Uni......she broke her arm and needed an operation...... Anyway I'm glad I know she's going to be a she! The finished article is going to be a sweet little Bolero cardigan and I have the cutest button too to finish it off!

I have been baking too. I bought myself a new baking tin. Mini baked doughnuts. Here's how they turned out! I really loved making them. They took no time at all and I worked them out at 65 calories each sans le toppings. The melted chocolate was far easier to use than the icing - which I flavoured with lemon juice. I think I will definitely be making these for the next school cake sale. 

I finished off the weekend with a winner winner chicken dinner , roasties, yorkshires, the works! And my first fresh Brussels Sprouts of the season! I loves em! 

How about you? To sprout or. Not to sprout?! 

Bye for now x 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Find Fostermummy aka FrugalMummy appeal!

I need your help lovely readers. My best blogging buddy has really awful techy news. Her blog VANISHED. Anyway she has started up a brand spanking new blog which makes my heart happy. If you were a previous follower you can find her here. http://www.frugalmummy.blogspot.co.uk
 This is what she said on the matter .... 

"Well, I came home tonight and logged on all ready (cuppa in hand) to tell you about my day,  give you some frugal ideas for Christmas, and show you my latest makings and bakings when... this* popped up, and told me that unless I paid money, I couldn't access my blog "my beautiful life" aka the fostermummy blog that I have  been writing for four years now.  I can't click to add things nor read back over what I have previously written for you. "

*The thing that popped up was a GoDaddy thing.

But don't worry because she's here>>>>>  http://www.frugalmummy.blogspot.co.uk

Go click and say hello. Also, if you were following her old blog, please spread the word around.

Thanks xx

Long time no blog!

The return to school has been one of those hit the ground running and stick a broom up one's arse whilst one's as it kinda returns! We have a new Head. She is fabulous. A real positive breath of fresh air. Change is good. I'm also working three jobs having taken on the paid for after school club job too! I absolutely ADORE this bit of my day! But I don't get home now til 5.45pm so I have been meal planning, making teas the night before and trying to get organized! So far it's going well ... But I am tired! 
On Sunday I made
One batch of brownies,
Two tins of flapjacks,
Three doner Kebabs, (Hairy Dieters bk 2)
Four portions chicken tikka,
FIVE loaves of bread
Six sheek kebabs ( left over lamb mince from Doners )
Eight home made chicken goujons ( using my frugally blitzed stale loaf! ) 
And a partridge in a pear tree. 

One of the above did not actually get made!! 

The flapjacks were declared 
I used Mornflake's Notoriously Nutty.
 It has apple and coconut in it too. I used half a block of proper welsh butter, a giant splodge of golden syrup and some demarara sugar. I baked it in an 8inch sq tin for about 25 minutes. It's fudge, gooey, nutty and gorgeous and I worked out it's 225 cals a piece. And nuts are healthy! 
 The chocolate brownies were declared a success too! 
Especially the warm ones from the oven with ice cream for pudding!! 
I also finished a pair of mittens to match a little bobble hat for a special little Arthur up int Lakes! Will post it tomorrow! 
Well I start at 8am today so best get a wriggling!! 
What's been keeping you busy?