Thursday, 30 June 2016

A Brief Glimpse



Hanging out the laundry, I head a rustle from the border, I thought it was a mouse, but instead it was one of the little creatures I've heard squeaking and peeping for the past little while, right there near my foot. It was there for a minute then a parent made a sound and off it went. 



Thursday, 16 June 2016

Pudding Boost!



I was so busy thinking about vegetables when I wrote the menu plan I totally overlooked some other things in the fridge. I was having a daydream at the charity shop yesterday when I remembered I had bought three V-pud from the market at the start of the month. So along with our quinoa one pot thing I could serve the mushroom stuffed with v-pud and topped with breadcrumbs. What a boost, especially for Dan who got soaked on the way home from work.

I cooked plenty of quinoa so I could enjoy a big bowl of it this lunchtime too. 


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Let's Play!

We went on location for the tinned food count this time round, OK we didn't go very far but we made the effort! Mum suggested she might like to play so I am sharing the next foodstuff for the tinned food count! Jump in if you like, it's just for fun - how many individual fruits do you think are in the tin and how much juice? 


Here's half of me, I don't know how Dan missed the other half, I'm standing on the Comedy Carpet in front of Blackpool Tower! The other people are cheerleaders rehearsing for a competition. Today's foodstuff is 


Lychees in light syrup! Hopefully a little easier to count than aduki beans. 

Also, does anyone have any good serving suggestions? I'd love to hear your ideas. I have never bought lychees before, I had a really nice drink last year when we were in Coventry, so I know I like the flavour. 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Squashed and Dried

Surprisingly we found ourselves without much veg at the start of this week. Enough salad, but not much in terms of proper veg, we just did a small milk and bunny veg shopping trip this weekend so weren't very sensible in our approach. I needed to do an emergency menu plan and some cooking as I didn't want to go to the shop. Luckily it was a bit chilly and damp yesterday which made things easier. 

I did have a few things to use up, the aduki beans from the Tinned Food Count and some squishy tomatoes that I roasted at the weekend. There was still one of the squash left from the other week which is a lifesaver. Then it was down to the dried foods to save the day - sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, chillies, and lentils.

Monday - aduki bean stew beans roast tomatoes, roast carrots, squash, dried mushrooms,  passata and spices, served with mash

Tuesday - pad thai with broccoli, carrots, pak choi (yes, we're stealing from the rabbits), peas, spring onions, dried mushrooms and roasted squash seeds

Wednesday - chilli tacos  carrots, onion, roast tomatoes, squash, red and speckled lentils, butterbeans, passata, sun dried tomatoes and spices

Wednesday - stuffed mushrooms with quinoa chestnut orzotto type thing mushrooms stuffed with herby breadcrumbs, orzotto made with quinoa, chestnuts, squash, roast carrots, miso  

Thursday - chilli tacos again *yum*

Friday - fava bean dhal with rice and socca

Saturday - burgers and potato skins with dips. 

There really will be no veg left by Saturday so we're off to Lancaster to see what the market has to offer. 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Feeling Inspired


A picture from my sketchbook. 

Reading has taken a back seat. I didn't finish any books at all in May, although I started about four. I have been enjoying Chavs and How How To Be A Woman but they're not quite different enough to keep me reading every night. So I have picked up my beach-inspired stitching.


 It's very pale, as you can see. 



During the Germany v Ukraine match last night I did some background texture


The thread colour was as close as I could get to the fabric colour. 


There is also lots of net, and beads. I couldn't resist adding a couple of beads as soon as I bought them even though they are really a finishing touch!


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Bean Counter



I know you are all on the edge of your seat. There were 753 beans and 114ml juice! Amazing. I have selected something larger for the Wales game!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Fun With Friends



The Euro 2016 football tournament starts this evening (England, Wales and Northern Ireland are all taking part), so we decided to run a sweepstake. We filmed the draw last night and live streamed it on Facebook, it was lots of fun. I made some decorations and wore a crown as befitted my role as Picker Of Names. It's been great, we have friends as distant as Missouri and Penang taking part too, and I confess a couple of friends who are taking it a little too seriously! My Mum was very happy as she has England.

As an extra bit of excitement, ahead of the England game we are running a Tinned Food Count. It's something we have shamelessly stolen from a message board. It consists of one tin of food, a jug, a sieve, someone who can count and people who can guess. All contestants have to guess is how many individual units of food are in the tin (by number, not weight) and for bonus points how much liquid was in the tin. What could be more fun? It's uncertain exactly how this brings good luck to the team, but I'm sure it helps. 

The tinned commodity chosen for the first count has not been made public yet, but I can sensationally reveal to you that it is 


aduki beans! You get no prize for guessing what we're having for tea tomorrow! I am also Counter In Chief so have to count every single bean in that tin, never let it be said that I have too much time on my hands. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

On The Beach


I decided to vary my walk to the charity shop yesterday and went straight down the road and onto the beach vis the dunes, instead of walking through the town. There are lots of flowers, bees and butterflies on the dunes at the minute, with the promise of more to come. This gorgeous one really jumped out at me. 

Another sunny day meant a day full of happy customers, including me who splurged yet again on a dress and two cardigans. They're hanging out to dry at the minute so I'll take a proper picture at some point when I wear them. The dress is another skater style, BNWT, original price £39.99, shop price £7.99. Here's a sneak preview. 


I used contactless payment for the first time which of course was very exciting! If Father doesn't say it looks like a curtain then hats will be eaten.  

Forgot to say at the end of last month that another £8 went into savings as the window cleaner didn't come.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Ice Cream Sunday


Every time Dan cycles to work he pays himself £2, this money goes into a savings jar to be used for unspecified things. It was another hot sunny day yesterday and we fancied some ice cream, but we thought about the heat and we thought about all the people so shopped at home first. 

I know I am a million years behind everyone else with this, I put it down to leaving Pinterest years ago, we did that frozen banana ice cream thing. I know I say this all the time, but I can't believe we haven't done it before. We had three over ripe bananas in the freezer so Dan sliced them up and I whizzed them in the food processor with a little bit of vanilla extract. It took a little while as our food processor isn't the most powerful, but after a few minutes the consistency changed and it became creamy. We returned it to the freezer for a bit. 

Dan then decided he wanted a sauce to go with it so he made a toffee sauce from some dates and some nut milk, blitzed them together then heated it to boiling in a pan and simmered it for a bit. I think he used this recipe, but left out the chocolate. The sprinkles were left over from my charity bake off disaster. Oh my, it was delicious!


I was able to add the cost of some ice cream to the savings tin, and we avoided the crowds. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Help Please!


This plant exists in the plant jumble at the bottom of the garden. I've spoken about this area before, we still haven't done anything with it. 

Does anyone know what it is?

Here's a picture of the leaves



Any and all suggestions welcomed. 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Healthy Appetite



I was very happy this week to be in the position to write a long and detailed list, there are few things more exciting to me. Today the list became action and we went off to Lancaster to do some shopping. It's a tiered shopping system we go to the cheap places, then if we can't get what we want we go to the next cheapest place and so on, it works for us - because I like long and detailed lists. 

Yesterday I ventured out with my shopping trolley to Home Bargains to buy tinned beans and chickpeas as I didn't want to carry them round today, it was nice to get out although it was a little tricky to carry a basket, the trolley and grab stuff from the shelves at the same time!

After some birthday gift power shopping we start our food shopping circuit in TKMaxx as they sometimes have things for us. Today we struck lucky and snapped up some hemp oil for two pounds less than we would have paid at the health food shop. Out of there into the street market (Lancaster's market hall is about to become a Primark). First stop, vegetables. 



We paid £8.30 for this haul, there's a kilo of tomatoes there £1, I love the yellow ones but we don't buy them very often as they're expensive, 60p each for the squash (600g each), £1.20 for two avocados, some mushrooms tucked in at the back etc. I'm sensing ratatouille may be on the menu tomorrow. 

We finished up at the health food shop where I was exceptionally well behaved and didn't buy any chocolate at all, just some boring things like soap and toilet paper. Yes, we've finally used up the soap I made last year, it's lasted really well, I'm impressed. 

All of which meant that on our way back to the car we had enough money left for a little Saturday treat from Filberts



My favourite cinnamon rolls!

Friday, 3 June 2016

Freebie and Bargain of the Week

What a busy week! The weather is gorgeous here and the town has been packed with visitors which means the charity shop has been exceptionally busy. I was on my own front of house on Wednesday and I didn't stop all afternoon, it was great!


When my parents came to visit last week they gave me some plants. A mahonia and a bright green thing I don't know the name of for in our shade bed, plus some hostas to pad out the shade bed. The hostas came in these two shallow pots. They didn't want the pots back and they are exactly what I needed/wanted for the former lawn area. I've taken a few small bits of various alpines and relocated them to the pots, just the job.

We've also been on the lookout for something to hold our prepared salad so it's easy to grab and go. We do have storage containers but the more we're cooking for the freezer the less we have floating around. I spent £3 on this nice divided Pyrex dish from a charity shop this week 



I tend to chop enough salad for three days at a time, so this is the ideal size for us, plus we can use it for other things when we're eating less salad later in the year. 


The town council newsletter arrived yesterday so I've been able to pencil in a few free events to keep us entertained later in the summer - club day/carnival, the kite festival and the centenary celebration for our local park. If the weather's good it should be a great summer!