Monday, 1 August 2011
Wordle is a nifty little website. You give it a selection of text or a URL and it produces a word cloud of all the words used. Some of their colour schemes are a little boring, so I customised mine, just because I like bright pastels!
I like how "trying" appears to be my most used word. It certainly says a lot. I *am* always trying, I just rarely succeed....
Monday, 4 July 2011
2. "keep stale dry bread in a metal tin, taking care"
3. avocado lime cheesecake
4. banana loaf recipe
5. beckerovka home
6. color beckerovka
7. confessions of a hypochondriac
8. feline coconut milk drinking
9. plodding personality
10. pomegranate and teeth
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Yesterday I discovered Xanthan Gum. I read quiet a lot of healthy eating type blogs and everyone swears by this stuff for making smoothies nice and thick.
My first experiment didn't go so well because I hadn't realised quite how little you need!!! I put two teaspoons in and it completely clogged the blender and made a rather oddly tasting inedible lump.
Smoothie number 2 with about a quarter of a teaspoon was much nicer!!!!
Into the blender I put
Some milk (regular moo milk)
two handfuls of spinach
1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum
1 teaspoon smooth whole peanut butter
1 teaspoon Nutella
squirt of almond flavouring
6 ice cubes
if I'd had more soft fruit I'd have put it in there but our strawberry crop is still growing and I'd eaten the only ripe raspberries on the bush already!!!
This photo is one I made quite a while ago. I completely forgot to take a photo of the new and improved version until I'd finished the lot!!!!!
The funniest thing about Xanthan Gum is trying to wash it off a spoon. As soon as you get water near it, it turns into slime (which if you're strange like me is quite fun to play with!), but you just can't wash it off easily! I've left the spoon to soak. I'm not sure my sister-in-law is going to have been very impressed to find it in the washing up bowl!!
Monday, 20 June 2011
I've made a few changes to the recipe each time I've made it (adding cinnamon, cocoa and random other bits and pieces and using muffin tins instead of a loaf tin) but yesterday I decided to use half the recommended amount of butter and substitute the other half for coconut oil. In hindsite I should have warmed the oil up a little because at room temperature it's solid and not very easy to work with so I actually ended up chopping it up into little pieces as I'd already started mixing the wet ingredients.
Anyway, the result was fantastic!! You can't actually taste the coconut (until next time when I add some dessicated coconut to the mix) but it has a completely different texture, almost chewy, which I really, really like.
Next time I'm going to add some dessicated coconut and possibly (though I'm not sure about this), some crushed pineapple and make a totally tropical loaf :)
Friday, 17 June 2011
But to be honest, after many years of trying to be someone else, I've rather lost track of who I am. Even now, I look at myself and think "who do I want to be?". I'm 35 years old, I'm not a kid any more. I'm married and on the verges of starting my own family and yet I still feel I have no idea who I actually am......
I'm sure this can't just be a "me" thing. I'm sure other people must try to be something they're not a lot of the time.
There are a couple of people on my bloglist who *do* inspire me and I *do* want to be very like them. They're both a little older than me and despite their ups and downs, they're both strong women living their lives the best way they know how and keeping to their own priorities despite what the media throws at us all.
Goodness, that sounds quite silly and gushy really, but all I'm trying to say is... oh piffle, I'm not sure what I'm actually trying to say, I'm just saying it.
Edited to add: Sometimes I get sidetracked and recently when I've been trying to write a blog entry, I just end up on such a tangent that I don't know how I go there (in my head) or how to get back. Often, it's just easier to let the words fall out of my mouth and see what happens.
Sunday, 12 June 2011
A and I are trying to be good and watch the pennies. It's no secret that in the past I've had a serious shopping problem. I used to buy things I didn't need on an alarmingly regular basis because I thought they'd make me feel better or because if I only had "that jumper" or "that skirt" or read "that book", I would automatically become a better person. The sort of person I would like to be.
I've realised (very slowly I'll admit) that the things you own don't make you the person you are and won't make you the person you want to be. It's got to come from inside and that's just something that you can't buy.
Monday, 18 April 2011
My sister-in-law came back from New Zealand yesterday and bought back some lovely treats for us. Some bath salts with mud from Rotarua for me and some chocolates for A and I to share. My favourite of these chocolates was Pineapple Lumps which are little blocks of pineapple flavoured marshmallow covered in chcoolate.
The description for them is:
I have to say that despite being very dubious in the beginning, these little sweets are AMAZING!!!!
I do now have to see if can find a company in the UK who sell them... Mind you, looking at my finances today (and the fact that I don't get paid for a week and a half), I might be putting Pineapple Lumps on hold and trying to be as *good* as possible...
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
It's actually inpired me sompewhat. I've been married for seven months and on Lithium for six months and in that time I've put on a LOT of weight. Whether this gain is caused by the Lithium or just plain gluttony, I don't particularly care, I just want to shift a fair bit of it in a healthy way.
Now, here's the kicker. I HATE exercising!! I used to play badminton at least once a week for about two hours at a time but I've got lazy in my old age and now I actually get puffed walking up the stairs at work. I do go cycling once a week (or once a fortnight) and do on average 12-16 miles but in the grand scheme of things that's not really a lot. A and I had a plan of cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats but I chickened out pretty much immediately. I do however want to do *something*. Anyway, most of these bloggers that I read go running. My view was always "I don't run unless I'm being chased" but maybe these girls are onto something. Maybe running could be "my thing". I do need some trainers though, I haven't had a decent pair in years so that might cost quite a bit but I guess it would be worth it if I can make myself actually run (and to be honest, if I've bought them I'm more likely to do it).
And breakfast, I am going to HAVE to start eating breakfast. Normally I'm in so much of a rush in the morning that I run out of the house without eating anything an then just have a Nakd bar at about 10am but if I get into the habit it's got to be better for me. Heh, this could be the start of a new me :)
PS - the oat photo isn't mine, it's from Chocolate-Covered Katie
Saturday, 2 April 2011
M&E are in Palm Springs for three weeks and did tell me not to bother buying a card in advance because it was a silly waste of money!! I really appreciated that, made life just that bit easier...
Wish me luck with the not spending any money!!!
Edited to add: Yikes, they have a Cath Kidston shop at Bicester. This may well be fatal. Please have faith that I have enough strength just to look and not ruin all my hard work!!!
Friday, 1 April 2011
I'm currently working hard to be as frugal as I can be (those who know me will laugh and laugh at this because I used to have a terrible shopping habit and racked up a serious amount of debt). Having someone out there who is "doing that and wearing the (second hand) tshirt" is really handy. It makes me realise and remember that it IS possible to eat well on a budget and that it's not necessary to have the latest gadgets or latest fashions.
This doesn't mean of course that I'm well on the road to frugality, I'm still only really teetering on the pavement but you've got to think of the future and as it is, *things* just aren't getting any cheaper. Pretty much my whole disposable income (the money not set aside for bills/mortage/foods etc) goes on petrol at the moment.
I highly recommend you check Frugal Queen out, though she has posted recently that she might be closing her blog soon so catch her while you can...
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
6oz self-raising flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 ripe bananas (the riper the better)
2 oz butter/margarine
5 oz caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt
1. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
2. Mix (wooden spoon, whisk or blender..) bananas, egg, sugar, butter, vanilla essence and salt until smooth.
3. Add flour and bicarbonate of soda and combine.
4. Bake in a lined loaf tin for about 40 minutes at 190 deg Celsius (375 deg Fahrenheit).
My boss gave me this recipe from one of our helpline calls and I'll agree with the comment about it being easy. Also, not being a person who really likes bananas all that much (especially once they've gone speckly), this is perfect for using them up and it doesn't taste of nasty banana, just nice banana.
I will post a photo of my own banana bread (assuming I make it as far as picking up the camera without eating it all!)
Monday, 14 March 2011
By Caroline Marson
1.5 litres chicken stock
8 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
A handful of chopped parsley
In a large 3-litre saucepan, heat up the chicken stock and add the stale bread, salt and garlic.
Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the parsley and black pepper.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of cheese and a swirl of virgin olive oil.
The pots or chicken bricks need to be soaked for 15 minutes in water before use and when they are heated in the oven, steam will evaporate slowly during cooking, and the food inside will release and cook in its own juices.
Although this recipe is cooked for 2 hours, you can leave it to cook without any worry. Once everything is thrown into the pot, the top goes on and into the oven, giving you more time to do other things.
By Caroline Marson
6 large onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
A sprig of thyme Herbs
Ideal for seasoning pastas.
Soak the clay pot for 15 minutes and drain. Put the onions and garlic in the pot and dot with butter. Cover and place the clay pot in a cold oven. Set the oven at 200°C (400°F) mark 6. Cook, stirring once or twice, until onions are light brown, about 1 hour.
Sprinkle the onions with thyme. Pour in stock and wine. Cook, covered for 1 hour. Season to taste.
Near the end of the soups cooking time, toast the bread. Float the toasts in a single layer over the soup. Sprinkle with cheese. Increase the temperature of the oven to 230°C (450°F) mark 8. Cook the soup uncovered for 10 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Friday, 11 March 2011
Friday, 25 February 2011
Anyway, here you go for your viewing pleasure...
And here's a link to Alaska's mummy's YouTube page
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
I generally read or subscribe anonymously so people aren't going to know that I'm a regular reader (and very un-regular commenter) so it's sad that I'm missing out.
I understand of course, I know it's not nice to not know who is reading your most intimate thoughts but meh, I feel all left out.... Silly really.
Friday, 4 February 2011
I've been trawling around loads of foodie blogs lately to try and find some nice (and healthy) recipe ideas. No, I'm not going to try and go vegan again because I know how popular that move was last time I tried but I do want to try and cut doen the amount of animal products I eat. I don't know to be honest, I just want to be more healthy and so much I've read has pointed to the vegan (or at least vegetarian) diet but making the transition wouldn't be easy, especially with a husband at home who likes his meat (he is a fan of "rabbit food" too I might add, just not all the time).
Anyway, I've found two winter warmer recipes that I am dying to try...
Yotam Ottolenghi's herb soup recipe
5 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tbsp dried mint
500g baby spinach
25g parsley (whole, leaves and stalks)
25g coriander (whole, leaves and stalks)
1200ml vegetable stock
200g Greek yoghurt
10g fresh coriander leaves, chopped
10g fresh mint leaves, chopped
5g fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Salt and black pepper
Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for around five minutes, or until translucent and soft. Stir in the turmeric and nutmeg, fry for a couple of minutes, then add the dried mint, spinach, the whole parsley and coriander leaves and stalks, and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season, then blitz the soup with a liquidiser or stick blender until smooth.
When you're ready to serve, reheat the soup just to boiling point and pour the yoghurt into a bowl. Whisk a ladleful of hot soup into the yoghurt, stirring constantly, and repeat with a couple more ladles of hot soup, then tip the yoghurt mix into the soup and whisk in. Stir through the chopped herbs and crumble in the feta, reserving some leaves and cheese to garnish. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Pour into soup bowls, sprinkle over the herbs and feta, and finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry
1 butternut squash, 6-8 inches high, peeled and diced with seeds scooped out
200g spinach, washed and excess water squeezed out, chopped
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin coconut milk
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped. More if you like it very hot!
thumb size amount of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
A handful of chopped fresh coriander
Half a lemon
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp coriander seed
1/2 tbsp turmeric
8 black peppercorns
Grind the spices in a pestle & mortar.
Fry the onion until translucent over a medium heat in some oil (sunflower or groundnut are my choices).
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli for a minute or so.
Add the spices for a minute or so, you’ll start to smell them as they temper.
Add the butternut squash and coat in the ingredients in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes and coconut milk, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the squash is cooked and you can push a fork through it.
Drain the chickpeas and add to the sauce. Also add the spinach.
When the spinach is wilted and the chickpeas are warmed through, add the coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice. The lemon juice lifts the flavour nicely, taste as you go.
Salt to taste and serve with rice and/or flatbreads