Saturday, 11 February 2012

Snugglesome Saturday

Hello there!!  Thank you to everyone who visits my little blogeroo -you're all very welcome!!  I'd love to hear from you - so if you feel inclined to do so, leave me a little comment and a link to your blog.  I love discovering new ones.

Today has gone exactly as planned.  A little housey-work here, a little relaxing there.  Some daydreaming out of the window watching the birds foraging in the frost hardened garden.  Blimey it's been cold.  The temperature has refused to drag itself above freezing for most of the day.  Poor Man of mine is a night worker and he tells me that it was -7 in the warehouse last night. Brrr!!  Luckily he'd taken a couple of pies to heat up in the microwave at work so at least he was able to warm up his  inner central heating system slightly mid-way through the night!!  Last Friday the temp sank to -9 and the food he'd taken with him had frozen by the time he came to eat it! 

Diva Daughter and I had some snuggly time this morning.  She tends to stay at her boyfriend's house most evenings now and so any time we spend together is precious.  We sorted out 5 huge bin bags full of surplus clothes ranging from baby clothes to clothes that I'm shrinking out of.  A little shop has opened not far from here which apparently pays £5.00 per 10kilo bag.  We've dutifully weighed them all to make sure they fit the criteria and DD and her boyfriend will take them on Monday for us.  I could of course fill some of the ubiquitous charity bags which pile up on my door mat on a weekly basis but with respect I've given soooo much stuff to charity over the years - and times is hard.  At the very least the WF (wedding fund!) coffers will benefit from a few extra pounds. 

Me lovely bezzie mate popped for coffee this afternoon and we had a long over due catch up and a big cuddle after I'd shared my woes with her.  Her calm rationality as usual acted as a salve to my PMT-ing stressy-head and she's made me realise that I  probably haven't done anything wrong per se  - it's just that it seems this other friendship has simply run its course.  She's right of course (as usual). I need to build a bridge and get over it. Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened and other assorted  twee references.

The chooks were put to bed early this evening in anticipation of another cold evening, fortified with warm porridge and sweetcorn.  I'm hoping that it sticks to their ribs as well as it stuck to their beaks!!

I have to share this random recipe with you.  Now bear with me on this one because it sounds hideous!!  It's.... steady there.... Mushy Pea Curry!  Another concoction from those wonderful  Slimming World people!  I think every club member has their own way of tweaking this to their tastes, but mine is:  1 x tin baked beans, 1 x tin tomatoes, chopped fresh peppers, onions and mushrooms, 2  x tins mushy peas.  3 x Oxo 'Curry' cubes.(the ones in the delightfully retro box!!).   Simply dry fry the onions, peppers and mushrooms, then whack everything else in and simmer away for around 30 mins.  You can either leave this as it is or blend it to produce a lovely smooth curry sauce.  I was incredibly trepidatious when trying this but was intrigued as so many of our class members rave about it.  It's lovely!!   For the carnivores amongst you then chuck in some chopped up cooked chicken.  Now don't be turning yer noses up before you've given it a go!! I had this tonight with some syn free chips and it was really tasty and it makes loads!  Carnivore Man agreed - although he'd already eaten sausages just in case his meat levels dropped! hee hee..

I suppose if you were reaaaaaaaaallly childish and puerile (me) you could possibly cast aspersions that consuming such foodstuffs may result in nocturnal digestive rumblings. 

Well it's cold!  And times is hard. 

And we've no electric blanket.

Parp!

Pahahahahaah!!!

Hurting ...Healing ... Moving on

I'm a little out of sorts this evening. 

I've learned that no matter how good a friend someone is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while, and you have to forgive them for that...
~Anonymous~

So difficult to forgive though when you don't know why they've hurt you in the first place.

This weekend will be spent amongst my beautiful family and hopefully the dent in my equilibrium will heal as I throw myself into the usual household malarkey and count my blessings.

Turning to more positive things now.  We have booked our wedding venue! 

We have looked at a number of places including stately homes, chain hotels and barns and have been completely appalled by the ridiculous prices they charge.  Basic 'all in' packages initially look ok - but woe betide you if you have additional guests or require something out of the ordinary and an additional £50 - £70 per guest is required on top of what you're paying.  No thanks!!  We simply don't have £10,000 to spend on a wedding breakfast and even if we did - then we wouldn't!! (still with me?!! )

Neither of us 'do' church so our ceremony will be held in a Registry Office.  Unfortunately we can't book that until exactly 12 months before the date we need so that means waiting for a good few months before we can firm that up. 

We've found a lovely rural village hall not too far away from here which was only opened this time last year.  It's a lottery funded new build, very easy on the eye and the hire charges are within our extremely limited budget.

We're a little unconventional - as you regular readers will know(!) - and so we're thinking of hiring a vintage fish and chip van to cater for guests in the afternoon, and then a hog roast in the evening. So that's the plan in very basic terms - but by heck do we have some saving to do as we have zero capital right now.  Belts will have to be tightened to spine snapping proportions but we're confident that we can do it.  We're going to sell what we don't need, I shall have to really push my chocolate bouquets and frugal measures of an extreme nature shall have to be taken. 

Bring it on!!!

I've sold an old Blackberry and a bouquet today!!  The pot is £55 richer already. Long may the momentum continue!  It's a free listing weekend on Ebay - guess I know what I'll be doing then! 

Now then - who'll start the bidding for a loony 14 month old Collie?!  ;)

Have a wonderful weekend!!


Sunday, 5 February 2012

Snowy Sunday and Substantial Sustenance!

Hello lovely readers

I'm sulking because my week off has come to an end.   (insert grumbling, groaning, general gnashing of teeth and childish poutiness here).

Ok. Rant over.   Chin up there girl! **dabs eyes with tissue** Sniff.

Like most of the Country, the snow hit the Black Country hard late yesterday afternoon and settled quickly, giving a considerable coverage by 9pm.  This morning however was a different story.  The semi-thaw had set in and turned the snow into horrible grey slush. 



The field was already thawing by the time the Hooligan and I went for a wander.  He loved it last night and , like a small child, was very reluctant to come in!  He was chasing snowballs and snapping at snowflakes for ages, bless him.  He's not seen snow before as he'd only have been a tiny pup when we had the heavy snowfalls of 2010/11.

On these cold mornings us dieters need something warm and substantial inside us to set us up for the day! (keep it clean now!).   I've been hearing about these 'oaty yoghurt pancakes' for a while now on the various Slimming World forums/Facebook pages I waste time on   frequent.  They're very simple and very filling.  Simply empty a muller (or indeed any fat free yoghurt) (I used a vanilla one today) into a bowl, add 35g of porridge oats, give the mixture a good stir, and leave in the fridge overnight.  Next morning, you can either eat it straight from the frridge or heat this gently in the microwave for a nice smooth porridge ... or... even better -  beat an egg and add to the mixture.  Spray your frying pan with good old Fry Light, heat until you get a decent sizzle, then drop dessert spoon fulls of the mixture into the pan. 



Turn down the heat a little and cook the pancakes slowly.  After 2 - 3 mins, you should be able to flip the pancakes over to cook the other side without them breaking up (best to do this with a fish slice) then cook the other side for 2 - 3 mins or until they're golden brown and firm.  They'll resemble little American pancakes. 

Here's the finished article topped with fresh blueberries and a spoon of natural yoghurt.  Seriously yummy, filling for yer tummy and something I'll definitely be repeating tomorrow!

Happy face-filling! ;)

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Reluctant Hyacinth

BOING!!  BOING!!!   Come on girls - it's nearly Spring!! 

OI!  Cynth  - you're lagging behind!

Shurrup you daft Daffies - It's bloomin' freezin out there.  I'm not coming out yet so there!

Photograph of no relevance whatsoever but just wanted so show you my lovely ceramic nodding leaves which were a bargaintastic fiver from the Christmas Gift Fair at the NEC last year.  I wish I'd bought loads more now cos they look fab nodding gently on their springy necks above the flowers.

Good job I took these pics yesterday cos today everything is snow covered!  

Happy Saturday 
~oXo~
 



Friday, 3 February 2012

Marketing

Friday greetings fellow bloggers.

How cold is it where you are then?  It's been around minus 4 here for most of the day but we've also been blessed with the most beautifully crisp, blue skies and brilliant sunshine.  Thank goodness the chickens are now fully clothed again after their recent moult.  I did feel sorry for them running around looking bedraggled and bare necked.  I should have crocheted them some little chicken scarves shouldn't I?!  Haha - there's an image for you and a plan for next year!   Betty Chicken is back in lay now after her wintery rest and her crest is becoming the most beautiful bright red once again.  Hattie and Princess Leia are not laying again just yet and their crests remain a rather insipid pink colour, but as the light levels grow I'm sure it won't be long before we're a three eggs a day family again! 


Sorry for the chicken booty shot - they wouldn't keep their pecky heads still long enough for me to show you the difference in the colour of their crests. Tut! 

I took them some warm sweetcorn this afternoon for a little treat.  Spoilt rotten they are!  Their water was frozen solid again from this morning so their water feeder was topped up with hot water which would have cooled down within minutes in the sub zero temp.  They've shuffled off to bed now and i'll pop up shortly and lock them up for the evening. 


We had a chance to pop up to Brierley Hill, (a local Black Country market town which struggles to survive alongside the behemoth which is Merry Hill shopping centre situate less than half a mile away) today to do our shopping.  We decided to get all of our veggies from one of the little independent greengrocer's shops and came away laden with: 2 punnets of strawberries, a punnet of grapes, a bag of lychees (mmmmmmmm!!!), satsumas, Cox's apples, 2 punnets of blueberries, a sweetheart cabbage, two leeks, two little gem lettuce, 2 parsnips, 1 swede (breathe), 2 cucumbers, a pack of three peppers, 2 large heads of broccoli, 2 bunches of spring onions and a big lemon! - all for the princely sum of £13.40.  Not bad really eh and will do us for at least a week.  I do love having lots of lovely fresh produce in the house.

Here you go - looks wonderful doesn't it?  I can't wait to get into the allotment again - I'll be able to grow most of the above, weeds and weather permitting!

Incidentally, on a slimming forum I frequent, a poster on there was bemoaning the price of fresh fruit and veg.  Being on a limited budget (aren't we all these days?) as a single Mum with two small kids, she had rocked up to the till of her local supermarket with a punnet of strawberries and some grapes for their lunch boxes, the sum total of which was £3.48.  She simply couldn't afford it so had to put them back.  She then went next door to the Poundstretcher shop and picked up an 8 pack of crisps for just 50p.   Is it any wonder that there's an obesity epidemic when junk food is so cheap compared to fresh? No wonder she was cross.

Moving on.

From the indoor market we bought a good size piece of shin of beef - which makes the best stew ever incidentally - for approximately £3.00 - so we're all set up to get snowed in tomorrow now!!  Suits me Sir!  

We went for a wintery walk over the field with the hooligan this afternoon.   I wanted to photograph pussy willows and catkins and snowdrops - and couldn't find one of either of them!!!  How bloody rude is that?!  Just acres of dun fields and skeleton trees...

Also, I'm going to have a grumble about the farmer too cos he's ploughed all over the paths butting up to the fields which makes for flippin' dicey walking conditions, particularly when the ground is frozen so hard.  We really had to concentrate on where we were walking for fear of turning ankles.  This accompanied by being rendered semi blind by brilliant sunshine and hyper sensitive myopic eyes and being unable to readily see my feet due to being rather over-blessed in the boobage department - I was glad to get home I can tell you!!

Harvey thought it was hilarious.  I was not impressed.

Burger and chips for dinner this evening!  Good old fashioned dieting food yes?! Well.  Yes actually!!

I made the burgers with lean minced beef, red onion, garlic, a stock cube and a tablespoon of burger relish - all mixerated up in the mixery thingie (technical culinary term obvs.), then either mould burgers in your own fair hands if you prefer a more rustic look, or use one of those plastic burger presses to make them all  profesh and uniform looking.  Chill in the fridge for a while until needed.  The burgers.  Not you. 

Here's some I made earlier (tee hee!) using a very old plastic burger press which is probably insured against Viking raids.

Griddled burgers topped with a melty extra light Laughing Cow triangle each, salad and a couple of small tatoes cut into chips, par boiled, drained, sprayed with Frylight, sprinkled with paprika and baked in a high hoven(!) until crispy. 





Bloomin lovely, comfort food for a Friday evening and no synning involved.  As Man is off to work this evening there'll be no synning later either.  Tsk.


Have a wonderful evening!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Catching Up

Hello darlings.  Once again I must apologise for my lack of blog posting.  It's been pretty full on here with one thing or another and things only seem to have calmed down during the last couple of days.  I've also had a bit of a 'blockage' with my blogging mojo of late.  It's difficult isn't it when your days are so tied up with working full time that there is very little inspiration for anything of note to blog about  - I'm sure you don't really need to know just how boring my workadays are on a regular basis and that's how it's been.  Sleep, work, home, sleep!  Doesn't make for exciting reading does it?

In order to kick my blogging into a more regular event, I intend to feature more about my weight loss journey and share some recipes with you.  I can also share some wedding plans with you too!

Well - the weight loss is going ok.   I have a huge amount to lose but hopefully, as we're planning to get married in September 2013 I shall have plenty of time to kick myself into shape.  I'm doing the Slimming World plan as it's a plan that I've had success with in the past.  In 2006 I was about 5 stones heavier than I am now.  I've managed to keep that weight off, but needed to get myself back into the right frame of mind to begin the losing again.  I'm not really into the whole 'class' thing but to be honest I've been pleasantly surprised this time and find myself looking forward to each weekly session.  A four pound loss this week takes me to 1 stone 3 and a half pounds since two weeks before Xmas so I'm more than happy with that.  Slow and steady wins the race.

This was our lunch yesterday - zingy pan seared scallops over hot potato salad dressed with lime, chilli and coriander dressing.  Eye popping flavours and no 'syn' value at all.  This is a recipe I'll definitely be re-using from time to time! (not too often tho cos of the ridiculous price of bliddy scallops - these were a cheaper bag of frozen ones!!)  Sorry the pic is a bit blurry - it was taken on my phone.




Man and I have been off work this week, snaffling some 'us' time with some annual leave.  It's been blissful!  We went to a wedding fayre on Sunday and then on Tuesday we went out and about looking at venues.  We think we've decided.  More on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's a pic of my beautiful engagement ring!! Not that I'm biased or anything!! ;)



Imbolc Blessings to you all (albeit a little belated).  Isn't it wonderful that the nights are slooooowwly beginning to draw out.  These long dark nights do not agree with my equilibrium at all.  They make me sleepy and sluggish and I get irritated with my lack of motivation.  I've never been one to want to sleep all the time but just lately I hate getting out of bed and as soon as I get home I'm dreaming of falling back in to it!  I'm listening to my body and allowing myself some down time during this period in the hope that when the lighter nights arrive, I'm suitably refreshed to get out there and DO something!  As Imbolc celebrates the awakening of the land - I'm just hoping that I awaken too!

Love Love <3