Thursday, 17 April 2014

Mucking up Meat free Monday

To be honest I'm not religious about sticking to meat free Monday - but I do try to ensure that we have a few days each week that are veggie - although M is a confirmed carnivore he's always been very open to veggie dishes and never complains (although occaisionally looks longingly at bacon). For me, meat free days are less to do with healthy eating - although that's terrific - and more to do with being thrifty. Like so many people we can't afford to eat meat daily, and even when we do eat meat dishes I bulk them out with veggies or lentils.

One of my go-to veggie dishes is courgetti spaghetti - I make it most often in the summer when courgettes are cheap and plentiful and if veggie friends come over my discovery of Sainsbury's Basics hard cheese as a substitute for parmesan means it is an appropriate option. Courgettes were discounted this week in the supermarket and as I'm trying to eat lots of veggies after a week of bread and ham in France my mind immediately jumped to courgetti spaghetti.

I started off as I usually do:

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Gran Luchito smoked chilli paste
3 big courgettes grated
100g parmesan grated

I sweated off the garlic, chilli and chilli paste and quickly stirred in the grated courgettes. So far so good.

And then, I got distracted and somehow chopped up half a chorizo and added that to the pan. Nope, no idea why - I wasn't even really thinking about what I was doing. So then I thought to hell with it and added about 10 cherry tomatoes (I didn't count them, just used everything we had).

At which point I looked into the pan and realised that I had, irrevocably screwed up Meat Free Monday. There was now no point in going on as usual so I decided to abandon my original plan, and cook everything down really slowly to make less of a fresh and light dish, and more of a soothing and hearty one.

After 15 minutes over a low heat, the courgettes had really started to cook down with the tomatoes and the paprika scent from the chorizo was lovely. At this point I added the parmesan, stirring the pan until it had melted. At this point I made the executive decision to omit the lemon and pine nuts as I didn't feel like either of these would add anything to the finished dish.

As this was a bit of an experiment, I instagrammed the whole process - if you don't follow me on there and don't mind pictures of nail polish, endless cups of tea and the odd recipe pictures, I'm http://instagram.com/penjy







As always this was stirred into wholewheat pasta, eaten from bowls on our knees as the lounge still *still* wasn't (note the tense) finished yet.

Have you or do you ever change up an old favourite and discover you enjoy it just as much if not more?

Monday, 31 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday: with love from the new Mrs R



After all those months of panicking, writing lists, budgetting for all we're worth we finally did it. At 3pm on the 22nd March M and I said "I do" and started the next step of our lives together. We had a lovely honeymoon in Carcassonne last week, and this week have returned to the daily grind of working, volunteering, cleaning, shopping, ironing (How much ironing?!) and, of course, blogging. It's not that much of a grind really - we're doing it together, and just occaisionally we remind each other that "we're married!"

I will blog a bit more about our day - but for now it's back to the usual (late) Meal plan for the week.

This week, we're both at home, and as busy as ever. I say that but it's my last night at Guides tomorrow before I step back as leader - I'll always be on hand as an extra pair of hands, but my time in charge is over and I'm thrilled to be handing over to someone as lovely and as capable as Hayley.

Breakfasts: I need to make some more yoghurt tonight to get back onto that wagon, but have been keeping going courtesy of bagels and peanut butter with a banana chopped up on top.

Lunches: Today I had a wonderful salad of feta, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, radish, and some seeds for crunch. Hopefully the week will herald more of the same although I finished the feta so it'll be my favourite chilli grilled halloumi instead.

Supper:

Monday - I accidentally de-veggied my courgetti spaghetti by adding chorizo to it, and cooking it down much slower with tomatoes.

Tuesday - I'm having pizza with the guides so M is having leftover courgetti and chorizo pasta

Wednesday - Chicken and spinach curry

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - we found a pizza in the freezer so that will be our quick and easy supper

Saturday & Sunday - I've not quite decided yet, but as next week's a busy one, something to set us both up for the week ahead.

So that's us - be sure to have a hop on over to At Home with Mrs M and see what everyone else is up to.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Harissa sauce - spicy goodness. Great with steak. Or chicken...

or chips... you get the picture?

I love harissa and go through phases of adding it to everything - roast chicken, fish, pretty much (aside from cereal) anything that stands still in the kitchen long enough. Sainsbury's make a damn fine harissa, well one that makes me happy enough. However the jar is damn near impossible to completely empty. Which had always been a pain in the proverbial until this weekend. I was griddling steak (and weeping quietly about having to cook it through) and thought that a sauce based on the harissa would be amazing.

2 teaspoons (ish) harissa
2 tablespoons yoghurt
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp Gran Luchito chilli honey

Mix these together (or if you're me add them all to the jar, screw the top back on and shake it) and use to dress whatever you like. It's spicy, sweet with a tang from the lemon and a really tasty accompaniment/ dip.  If you're me this is just enough for 2, but could so easily be doubled or made in even larger quantities if you're having people over.


Monday, 17 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday: It's the final countdown



(Please add in your own do do do dos)

It's so nearly here... I feel like I should be skipping around like one of my Brownies after a packet of Haribo. In actual fact I'm sat on a birthing ball in my pyjamas yawning and it's not even 8pm. Oh dear, this is clearly old age.

I've deliberately planned an easy week food wise, we've still got things to do to finalise getting ready as well as the fact that I'd like to spring clean the house before people start arriving at the end of the week.

Baking wise I'm going to knock up a lemon drizzle cake on Thursday, which will hopefully keep us all going.

Breakfasts: Still on granola, yoghurt and fruit.

Lunches: sandwiches mainly. On Friday when people are visiting we're going to have sausages in french bread, with cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks and cucumber. 

Dinners:

Monday: Leftover roast chicken, cheesy stuffed baked potatoes, kale, and carrots

Tuesday: Chicken and mushroom risotto

Wednesday: Leftover chicken and mushroom risotto

Thursday: Pizza, homemade wedges and crudites

Friday: I'm being taken out for dinner by a dear friend Jo on Friday night. M is going out for Thai with his friends. 

Saturday: Well I hear there's some kind of buffet going on (not that I've agonised over it or anything). With wedding cake for pudding.

Sunday: Pizza - the takeaway kind. My feet will be up, and I will be delegating to Mr Domino

That's us. A very exciting week, a very easy meal plan. See you on the other side :-)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

What I wore Wednesday: attempt the first


I thought with the impending nuptials, house renovation and, of course, the bump I'd start to include a smattering of what I can only categorise as 'Lifestyle' posts. A good (and relatively easy) way into those being the blog hop/ linky post that provides you with a themed post.

It being a Wednesday, Transatlantic Blonde's What I wore Wednesday seemed a good and logical place to start. I always read Mostly Yummy Mummy's Wednesday post - mainly to lust after her shoes (I'm still obsessing over turquoise Saltwaters nearly a year after her post on the sunshine yellow ones). So I looked at what I was wearing, and the realisty of participating sank out of sight - much like my feet have done of late.

I'm 23 weeks pregnant. A significant weight loss in my first trimester has meant that despite a bump I'm not long out of my pre pregnancy clothes. But can I find anything I genuinely like as a day to day alternative? Can I hell! Today I'm sporting a pair of navy joggers (that annoyingly I managed to get paint on when carefully crawling along the skirting) a white modesty top and an oversized stripy sweater from Joules. Prior to pregnancy my tops and dresses as a rule were Pepperberry's finest and skirts and bottoms could come from wherever. Now, the focus has turned upside down - pretty much all maternity tops fit me and the rack of doom (shamelessly borrowed from Lilli) but can I find bottoms? Not a chance.

I have done some maternity shopping - a Boden sale threw up some leggings, a pretty mint Henley tunic top and a purple stripy top, a pair of maternity jeans and work trousers came from Next. But that's it. No really. Everything else is either being eeked out, stretched slightly or ignored.

So this is my call to arms really - if you're pregnant (or have been) and have an idea where one might buy some reasonably priced basics - coloured jeans, breton tops with a wide neck, comfy chinos - please let me know otherwise I'm going to scare off the baby by giving birth in a Guiding hoodie and pj bottoms. No, really.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Meal planning Monday

I have to say this week I'm writing this bathed in glorious sunshine, wearing pjs and drinking buckets of tea - this seems to make the whole process a bit more hopeful. We're on the final countdown to the wedding and although the logical part of my brain tells me we're really organised, the hormonal part tells me I should be in full blown panic mode.

A busyish week for us, although no Guides for me this week as I'm travelling back from a meeting on the South coast so don't think I'm going to make it in time. We're starting off with a roast today, although sadly it's not going to provide leftovers as the piece of beef I roasted yesterday is about a third of the size of normal. Just enough in fact to do 4 meals.

Breakfasts: I'm still firmly on the granola and knitted home made yoghurt bandwagon.

Lunches: Still no enthusiasm - so soup or a sarnie it is.

Dinners:

Sunday - leftover brisket with roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, veggies, yorkshire puds and gravy. Yum. 

Monday - I'm meeting one of my very best friends for an overdue catch up and squee over the upcoming nuptials. Food will be involved.

Tuesday - I've got some courgettes knocking around in the freezer so courgetti spaghetti is on the cards

Wednesday - Cottage pie with peas

Thursday - Leftover cottage pie

Friday - Homemade chicken kebabs - I use a variation on this recipe

Next weekend I think I'll do a roast chicken as I'm off in the run up to the wedding so it'll make for a nice straightforward week.

Have a good week - here's hoping this weather holds. What have you got on the meal plan?

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