New year new me?

Well we had a wonderful Christmas and new year, I hope you did too, but one of my most favourite things is the start of a new year, the blank page, the pristine sheet of fallen snow before anyone walks across it.

With a new year comes new years resolutions, please do not groan because I understand you either dislike new years resolutions with a passion or you are just sick and tired of hearing about them by now am I right?

If you are like me and love goals or maybe need goals for motivation then read on….

goals book by: Migoals
goals book by: Migoals

I have a little secret to confess… I did not meet any of my goals from last year! not a single one and in some cases (like blogging regularly) I was way off.

So this year I thought lets make it a little different, not so strict so I came up with:

1. Cook through my cookbooks, I don’t have a huge amount of cookbooks but I do have a few and I never really use them so this year my goal is to work through them one recipe at a time. This means we will branch out from our comfort zone and try new things and may find we like some things that just don’t sound that appealing, I mean who likes the thought of cream of artichoke soup? but hey it may be amazing I just don’t know yet. There will be no set date to finish a book, I may not even finish one book but hopefully we will find new dishes we love so there will be an achievement.

2. Be more organised, this is on my list near enough every year in one form or another, for the last few years it has been to remember peoples birthdays well this has never happened! I have trouble even remembering which date my husbands birthday is on- is it the 23rd or 24th? It is in January by the way so I am about to find out.

SO how could I make this goal of being more organised more achievable? well I am ditching trying to remember birthdays and have bought myself a diary and I can be quite organised I have a weekly meal plan and before baby number two it used to be a monthly meal plan! If I can do that I can surely shape up in other areas too so this year my goal is a cleaning rota, I am going to try and stick to it but have a 5 day rota so anything that gets missed I will do at the weekend. I have also popped it up on the fridge so I am reminded of what I need to do at least 4 times a day, no excuses right?

3. Last but not least to be more conscious  of my sugar intake. I am addicted to chocolate and can’t seem to give it up entirely but last year I cut out sugar in tea and then cut out sugar in coffee. So this year I want to do better with breakfast… See I am a snacker so I figure a more filling breakfast will help keep me full until lunch time. I have started with porridge sometimes I have a little fruit and sometimes not. we will see how I go.

I have other goals, many little goals because that is how I work best, todays goals was one load of washing, helping my son write his thank you cards and modernising my blog a little, all of which I have achieved, I know some people may call it a to do list but where is the achievement when the list is complete? completing a goal is much more of an accomplishment right? plus does a to do list ever end?

A little bit of baking

Well I may not have been up to much crafting recently but I have been cooking and I was very chuffed with my most recent effort at baking, not only did it taste good it also looked good AND I was able to do quite a bit with my three year old son

He could mix (we did get sugar everywhere mind) and he could also scatter the sugar mixture and the blueberries and there is nothing like licking the spoon, unfortunatley you have to give the spoon up when you have children otherwise they wrestle you for it and they always win 😉

blueberry cake photo 12

Again from the Goodfood magazine, I think I should get commission from them right?!

I am going to try it with peaches next time as I think they would make it that bit sweeter.

I did also try to make a pea and potato curry (again from the goodfood magazine, don’t all groan at once) but I have to say this was the first recipe that turned out just awful – sorry goodfood if you are reading this which I am pretty sure you are not but this recipe was all wrong, too many potatoes, cooking time was way off and my sauce curdled. I did learn a lesson though:

If you are not sure on something go on line find the recipe and read the comments

I unfortunately did this too late, hey we did eat it but this is one I would not attempt again but you can not win them all can you.

I had also cooked this

soup

 

But for the life of me I can not remember what it was! Babybrain maybe.

Jam

I have wanted to try my hand at jam making for quite some time but have never seemed to get round to it so what better time to start then when you have a brand new bouncing boy at the ripe old age of two weeks old? all I can say is a lack of sleep seems to suit me….

As my first attempt at Jam was a success I am so chuffed I am thinking of making more once I have run out of the current batch. I again went to my trusty magazine stash of the good food magazine and found this recipe http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipe/peach-melba-jam

peach melba jam

jam

The reviews on the website said the jam was runny but I found that whilst it was not firm it was just a little soft set and once I had opened a jar and put it in the fridge it was firm. I do however agree that I had to simmer it for much more then the five minutes (for me it was around the 15 minute mark)

jam on toast

 Is it wrong to want breakfast for dinner?

Is there such a thing as a healthy cookie?

I have a sweet tooth I do try to be good but who can resist the call of chocolate?

Add to the sweet tooth the fact that I enjoy baking and it all equates to very little willpower

So last week when the baking bug bit me I tried to look for a healthier option. I found an oat and raisin cookie recipe…. ok I may be fooling myself but surely a cookie with fruit in it is classed as healthy right???

My little helper was there to… well help! considering he is 3 I was impressed with his concentration skills he was in charge of the bowl and spoon and did a superb job his new favourite sentence is “I am the helper, I am good at helping” lets hope he is still saying that in ten years time.

mmm
mmm

photo 1

I have been doing a little sewing I promise it is not all about my stomach! although my family would be forgiven for thinking it is.

A little bit of cooking

I may not have been doing much crafting but as soon as I got my appetite back I made up for lost time and hit the cook books / magazines. Here are my efforts in pictures, you may have read here before but I really do need to improve on the quality of my pictures! (Yes I said it again, I may even act upon it one day 😉 )

 

Mmm
Mmm

photo 3photo photo 2

The best by far was the cake, I am always hit and miss when it comes to cake we have a very old oven that cooks more on one side then the other but this one turned out just right. Note the cutting mat under the cake, so I have been doing a little crafting but mainly cutting so there is not much to show yet.

 

Christmas food

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you all had a lovely couple of days and are now getting ready for the new year.

We have been cooking and baking a lot over the last few days but it has been a relaxing happy sort of cooking not the pressure is on type of cooking. It was a quiet Christmas my husband was at work but my mum came up for a few days and did most of the cooking which freed me up to make desserts.

On Christmas day I made brownie fudge pie :

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1759646/brownie-fudge-pie

From the start this was a bit of a disaster I started to cook the pastry when I realised I had put in way too much butter as I had read the amount for the filling when weighing out the ingredients for the pastry so I had to start again. The mistakes did not stop there I somehow missed out the dark chocolate completely and did not even realise until the next day! Even after all that the dessert was nice if a little too sweet however the dark chocolate may have balanced it out. I normally stick to easy recipes but I would say this dessert was a little more effort due to making the pastry, I would attempt to make it again though as it was enjoyable and could be improved on IF I remember to use all the ingredients next time (No alcohol was consumed while making this dessert all mistakes were my own :-))

The next day I got my Nigella on and cooked her ham in coca cola:

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/ham-in-coca-cola-171

I made this last year and loved it and this year was no exception. Well worth the effort.

My other Nigella recipe of the day was chocolate pear pudding:

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/chocolate-pear-pudding-102

This was such a simple dessert all you do is throw all the ingredients in a bowl and make it into a batter, pour over the pears and stick it in the oven and it tastes so good. This one would be good to make with kids, my son loves to weigh things out so this would suit him perfectly.

No pictures I am afraid, we was too busy eating to get out a camera or phone!

What did you cook/bake over Christmas?

Birthday cake anyone?

My son turned three a couple of weeks ago and all he had asked for was cake, so that is exactly what he got (as well as a few presents, I wanted him to have something to open after all!)

ohhh argh
ohhh argh

I was lucky enough to have help from my nieces otherwise it would have looked a complete mess, lets just say cake decorating is not my forte.

But he loved it anyway especially the treasure chest filled with sweets

There be treasure
There be treasure

Our holiday in Scotland was just what we all needed with plenty of fresh air and lots of family time

a little walk
a little walk
refreshing views
refreshing views

I did complete a couple of projects and even managed to start a few more but I leave you today with my favourite moment of the holiday

My son had a party a couple of days before his Birthday so on the day when he woke up I asked him:

“Do you know what day it is son?”

“No Mummy”

“Well today is your Birthday!”

“Oh not again!”

“But you get presents and more cake”

“No I don’t want it”!

Oh dear, sooo not his mothers son, if someone had told me there was more cake and presents I would be jumping out of that bed as quickly as possible 🙂

On holiday

We are visiting family in Scotland and let me tell you this is a well needed break!

I have been doing little things just look at this rather yummy looking soup (if I do say so myself)…

Homemade soup
Homemade soup

The soup is butternut squash and apple and is by far my favourite soup of all time (so far)

Another thing I have done recently is buy some new dinnerware. I previously had dark blue which was very nice but after four years I was ready for a change and that included a change in colour as the plates sometimes made food look slightly dull, am I sounding slightly crazy here or have you also noticed that white plates and bowls make food look more inviting?

Don't you just love a white bowl?!
Don’t you just love a white bowl?!

The journey up to Scotland is quite draining as we travel up to the western isles but we were all on quite good form I think, probably from the excitement

At the airport
At the airport

We had all been feeling quite poorly from one thing or another so we really felt like we needed this break. On a positive note I am now feeling much better and hope to do some crafty things while on holiday so watch this space

Oh and here is one rather cute picture for the road…

two very adorable cats
two very adorable cats

 

Baking treats

We are rocking the baking right now in our house.

We may also need to go on a diet at this rate 😉

This was soooo easy to make, another good food recipe.

chocolate Mmmmm
chocolate Mmmmm

There was a slight down side to this recipe (what on earth could be wrong when the main ingredient is chocolate?! I hear you say) My son loved it but even just a small square sent him hyper 😦

He loves fruit so next time I am thinking of going with the traditional cherries or maybe some toasted coconut or maybe some peanuts and reducing the chocolate content OR maybe just maybe I should go in search of a completely different recipe and maybe something that is slightly more healthy!

Baking with my little boy

Well on Tuesday I asked my little guy what he would like to do today and his reply was: BAKING (it is in capitals because it was stated quite emphatically)

So being an avid reader of the good food magazine, I dug through some issues and found a recipe for white chocolate and peanut butter cookies. My toddler eats everything, I know lucky right! He does not have an allergy to nuts either, double bonus because I love peanut butter.

Thankfully the cookies turned out much better then my last attempt at sewing 🙂

At 2 years and 9 months the little one is really into baking now and can listen to instructions, unfortunately I took no photos until they were all baked and ready to eat, I did however get a picture before they were all eaten.

Yum
Yum

photo copy

 

I don’t know if you noticed but I tried to improve on my photo. I really wanted to use a white plate but it turns out I do not own any type of white plate so maybe I need to go shopping for some props! My husband will be glad that it is not more fabric shopping for once! I think…