Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - July 31

Kitchen remodelling is going well.  I have an oven and a hob.  Therefore I am happy !

Monday: Steak Casserole with Pie Topper
Tuesday: Prawn Stir Fry
Wednesday: Spaghetti Bolognaise
Thursday: Jacket Potatoes with Beans, Cheese and Salad
Friday: Chilli con Carne (left overs from last week)
Saturday lunch: Part Baked Baguettes with ham and cheese
Saturday dinner: Bacon Pasta
Sunday lunch: Picnic snacks
Sunday dinner: Chicken in a Tomato Smoked Paprika Sauce and Rice

Delicious Banana Muffins

I made these muffins whilst my Steak Casserole with Pie Topper was cooking.  I had 5 bananas in the fruit bowl that were rather brown and would no way survive mine or hubbies journey to work.  So I quickly googled banana muffin recipe and this was the first search result.

Delicious Banana Muffins can be found on the allrecipes.co.uk and had some fabulous reviews and I agree with a lot of them.  They were so easy to make and came out really well. The recipe calls for 3 but I used 5 bananas and its soooo bananary!

I will definiately be making these again !

Steak Casserole with a Pie Topper

Our dinner for tonight was a mixture between a pie and a casserole. My mum gave me this idea once when she visited and we couldn't find my pie oven dishes.

This tends to serve 2 large portions people, if I had to feed more I would bulk it out with more vegetables to save money.

I start by sweating 2 chopped red onions and 2 crushed gloves of garlic in by large Le Creuset Casserole Dish .  Meanwhile I coat the chopped casserole steak in seasoned flour whilst occassionally stiring the onions.  Next I add about 6 peeled and chopped carrots and 5 diced new potatoes. I give it a good stir and then add about an inch of stock and let it thicken up then goes in about half a bottle of wine (a full bottle if its got to go further).  

We are currently going through our stock of red bergerac bought back from a holiday in France. I simmer for about 10 mins, season and add 3 bay leaves.  I always make a mental note of how many I put in as I like to take them out before I serve. Lid goes on and it goes in the oven for about 90 mins stirring once to check the level of liquid. 

Towards the end of the cooking crank up the heat and I get the pastry ready. Much to my mothers disapproval I use Jus Rol pre made puff pastry and cut the block in half and the other half in the freezer.  This portion then gets cut in half again, rolled out into a rectangle and put on a baking tray and in the oven for about 20 mintues. I try and time it all to finish at the same time including the cabbage which I steam for about 5 minutes.

To serve I pour the casserole onto the plate, add the cabbage and then just place the pastry on top.  This means I never have to deal with soggy pastry - huge favourite in our family.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

My name is Lara and I'm addicted to......

Home magazines! I can't walk past WHSmiths or go to the supermarket without looking at home magazines. I subscribe to the Ideal Home mag and regularly buy Your Home and Style at Home. These are my 3 favourite home magazines as their features are more within my budget but I can't help check out the other mags or make sure I have the latest issue. I fold down corners of things I'm interested in and constantly pick up an old couple for ideas. Currently with the kitchen renovation I've been reading ok'd and new mags every day! Have had so many ideas! What are you addicted to?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Reasons 2b Cheerful

For this weeks Reasons 2b Cheers I Edition I think most who know me will know what my first and only choice will be.....

Yes thats it my son - I hereby dedicate this post to him.

3 hours old
6 months old
23 months old

27 months old

Dust Dust and more Dust

The kitchen remodelling is well under way and I'm loving it so far. I love my new units, my new powerful hob, my new sink, my new tap.....but I'm not loving the dust. Its getting everywhere including up the stairs and into my sons room. I have truly given up housework ! I dust bedrooms once a month and did toddler penguin's 2 weeks ago. It is shocking now and looks like I haven't cleaned since we moved in January !

I've also just had a reflexology treatment by my good friend/colleague and not only did she pick up the normal tensions in my shoulders but she along noticed congestion in my lungs from feeling my toes. Reflexolgy is quite amazing but its disturbing to know that my toes are showing that my lungs are congested. Must be all the dust ! Well with this hot weather I made the mistake of bringing the fan down from the bedroom and putting it in the kitchen so I could start filling up the cupboards and proof dust went everywhere ! All into the playroom to cover toddler penguin's toys in more dust !

I've decided to just concentrate on keeping the bathrooms clean, making sure the bedding is changed weekly and to use the time spent on housework to restock the freezer with bulk meals and to play more with my son ! The heat however isn't helping !

Monday, 23 July 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - July 23

We're into the second week of having our kitchen refurbished and I think we might just be all pasta'd out !  Me had shop bought microwaveable meals last week after work (luckily toddler penguin had been fed well at the childminders) and hubbie and I weren't impressed!

It is very hard to meal plan when you don't know what state your kitchen will be in or what you are going to fancy.  We have been making using of the toaster, kettle and camping stove along with a visit from my mum and her homemade chilli and curry.

Yesterday my stepdad got the hob and oven connected so this weeks meals are looking more exciting that last weeks toast and pasta !

Monday: Take away with my mum and step dad
Tuesday: Salmon Risotto - recipe to follow as its a household fave
Wednesday: Chilli and Rice
Thursday: Pasta Parcels in a tomato sauce - unused from last weeks shop
Friday: Prawn Stir Fry
Saturday lunch: pub lunch somewhere up north !
Saturday dinner: Pitta Pizza's
Sunday lunch: Holiday
Sunday dinner: Roasted Chicken with Salami and Courgettes served with new potatoes and brocilli

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Reasons 2b Cheerful

Since opening my eyes to the blogging world I've seen a few of these posts on people's blogs but never really understood where they come from or how they work...I'm still learning.  This evening I noticed that I appeared in the Blog Hop list on Mummy from the Heart's blog.

So looking past earlier's sad news and following on from the H Edition these are my Reasons 2b Cheerful....

Husband - My hubbie is my world !  He is my soul mate and my best friend.  He knows me better than I know myself sometimes and will do anything for me.  He is a amazing when I'm pregnant allowing me to slob on the sofa - like I am doing now - and he always puts the toilet seat down !

Holidays - I've just spent a week in the Lake District and next month we are off to Germany for a wedding.  We don't have holidays like we used to pre kids but we still make sure we enjoy them.  After all we work to live and holidays are always something to look forward to !

Haberdashery - Fabrics make me happy !  I don't sew as much as I'd like since moving house but if I want to take up a project then I'm in heaven when searching for fabrics !  Emma's Fabric Studio is like a museum for me !

Henry the Hoover - do I get double points for using two H's in a sentence????  Henry makes everything clean!  If I leave Henry out after hoovering my son will happily spend about an hour playing with him and pretending to hoover.  We have a blue Henry and he is like part of the family !

Sad news

A very very very close friend on the family sadly passed away this morning.  I can not describe how I'm feeling but utterly devastated.  Brenda was like an auntie to me and sometimes like a mummy.  She was my mums best friend and l hope she is now in peace.  

Brenda holding toddler penguin when he was 4 days old

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


I'm not a fan of this word.  A year ago I got put in a position where I was nearly made redundant but one of my closest friends at work ended up leaving and it was devastating.  Then a week later about 5 more close colleagues across the company left.  It was the worst month ever.  No handover periods, no one knowing what was going on and then our company was taken over last October.

Roll on nine months and I have been told that I will "potentially" be made redundant next Friday.  I work part time and 4 of us have been given the chance to apply for another job.  But this job is full time and we will lose some benefits.  Including our paid travel.  Well I don't want to work full time and actually can't afford to go to work unless my travel is paid for as my salary is eaten up by childcare costs.  I do not have a problem with the high childcare this as I think its been great for toddler penguin to go to a childminders 3 days a week.  He has benefitted really well and he loves it there.  Now sadly being made redundant means I can no longer send him there and he is going to lose his toddler friends.

I guess redundancy doesn't just affect you but it affects your whole family.  I will know a lot more next week but I need to start thinking about what to do.  I am after all 6 months pregnant - not sure anyone would employ me for a few months!

I think my papa penguin needs to get a pay rise so I can become a full time stay at home mum....be nice if I could be a lady that lunches too !

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - July 16

I can not bear to publish this weeks meal plan because it is too mortifying !

This week we shall be living on micro meals, toast and stuff we can cook on a camping stove as we are having a new kitchen fitted.  We have resorted to filling the kettle up from the outside tap and are washing up in the bath....fun times but can't wait for the finish results !

Friday, 6 July 2012

Fifty shades of Green ?

So Green is my favourite colour.

That is actually not relevant to this post at all but I just wanted to share !

So I'm going to see what the fuss is and start reading it.  Watch this space !

I'm off to the Lake District tomorrow with my besties, their hubbies and their kids !

Fingers crossed it doesn't rain too much !

Follow the yellow brick road

Bit late for this post but I've been singing "we're off to see the wizard" in my head all week following a trip to the London Palladium last weekend.

Myself and my fab friend got a deal on Dress Circle tickets for Sunday's matinee performance and not only was it a trip down memory lane but it was also a fantastic show !

When I was 9 years old my school auditioned to be part of the choir in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat held at the London Palladium and we got through.  We did approx 150 performances, firstly doing Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday's matinee and evening then swapping to Thursdays, Fridays. Saturdays matinee and evening.  It was a once in a life time experience and I loved every minute of it.  We attended school for half the week.  Did homework on the coach and in our dressing rooms at weekends.  We were evening let into Hamleys one evening - just us - had the place to ourselves and it was amazing !

So roll on 21 years and I'm back in the London Palladium, having seen maybe 3 shows there since and it is definiately smaller than I remember but still very grand with lots of history.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wizard of Oz.  We had Sophie Evans as Dorothy who came second in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Over the Rainbow search and who also was my favourite to win.  Our seats were quite good, nice view of everything but it is always nice to be closer. The stage design was really good and they used the turn table prob which I remember sitting on and going round the stage in Joseph.

I think Toto deserves his own paragraph of praise !  What an adorable little dog and soooo well behanved !  Fantastic actor of a dog and I think they should give him an award !

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Weekly Meal Plan - July 2nd

Monday lunch: Beans and Cheese on Toast
Monday dinner: Risotto with salmon and peri peri
Tuesday dinner: Pork Stir Fry with Hoi Sin Sauce
Wednesday lunch: Sandwiches
Wednesday dinner: Jacket Potatoes with Bacon, Beans and Cheese
Thursday dinner: Chilli con Carne
Friday dinner: Homemade Pizza's
Saturday lunch: pub lunch somewhere up north !
Saturday dinner: Holiday - Jambalaya !
Sunday lunch: Holiday
Sunday dinner: Holiday !


I've never been one for routines until having a baby. When toddler penguin was 6 weeks old I started the Baby Whisperer's 3 hourly EASY routine and it was a life saver!

I'm a firm believer of bed time routines.  Winding down from 6pm.  Bath at 630pm.  Teeth and bed at 7pm (he no longer has an interest in milk at night).  Maybe 730pm at weekends.  I like toddler penguin to know whats expected of him every evening and it works very well for us as a family.  I also like having my evenings to myself / with papa penguin.

So if you are wondering why I have a picture of my son's feet its because I have a new evening routine.  We tend to start getting ready for bed from about 930pm.  That involves a quick tidy of the lounge, glasses and mugs in the dishwasher, quick wipe down of the kitchen (I like to wake up to a clean kitchen), lock up then we head upstairs.  Generally its pj's on, wash face, brush teeth and have a last minute wee before checking on toddler penguin and removing all the toys from his bed.  Now recently I've been  doing a 5 minute lower calf stretch using the stairs because in my second trimester I've been suffering with severe lower leg and toe cramps in the night.  I've been waking papa penguin up clutching my leg or foot screaming out in pain.  The leg stretches have helped so much.  

You should be glad I didn't post a picture of my feet ! I only have 9 toenails !