Sunday, 27 October 2013
Two fun and thrifty things I want to share with you that I found on the internet this weekend. The first is potato cakes which I made using a simple recipe from Scarlet Rosita's blog. I used gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour and they were spot on. I made 12 so we had some covered in butter for breakfast on Saturday and the rest with poached eggs on top with mushrooms and shallots for lunch today. They were so easy to make and a good use of the last few potatoes in the bag.
The second thing is a tutorial for turning a pillowcase into a reusable shopping bag from Grow Mama's blog. I read through it for an idea of what I needed to do then got an old (and boring) pillowcase out of the linen cupboard to have a go. Here it is with fabric pen lines marking out a rough pattern:
After cutting, pinning and hand sewing I had this:
If folds up small so will fit easily in my handbag, and I'm going to make a pouch to fold it into using the spare fabric.
If this experimental pillowcase-bag copes well with shopping I'm going to make more using some of the many pillowcases that turn up in charity shops. Hey, and I'll even measure out a proper pattern and everything rather than winding it! I saw loads of pillowcases in great fabrics for 50p each yesterday and I'm kicking myself for not buying them! I'm always a fan of things which are unique, thrifty and good for the environment at the same time. All that and it was fun to make.
Sunday, 20 October 2013
Today's big batch o' soup is parsnip and chickpea, which I made up as I went along based on what I had in the cupboard as I wanted to make use of the very cheap parsnips in Aldi at the moment. I never noticed before how sweet and earthy parsnips smell. Such an unpromising looking vegetable but so fragrant. Here's my recipe for a sweet, creamy, subtly flavoured soup that's easy to make and cheap whilst parsnips are in season. This makes 6 hearty portions served on it's own but you could stretch it to 8 or 9 if you served it with bread.
5 large parsnips, chopped into small pieces
400g can of chickpeas (240g when drained)
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tbs garam masala spice
1 tsp garlic power/garlic salt
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil on a medium heat and fry the garam masala and crushed garlic for 30 seconds then add the chopped onion, cover and soften on a low heat for 5 minutes.
Stir in the drained chickpeas and chopped parsnips and stir to coat with the spice and oil. Pour in the stock and season with as much black pepper as you like. Simmer for 15 mins or until the parsnips are soft.
Turn off and leave to cool for 15 minutes then blend in batches. Stir through a bit of cream if you fancy it and you're done.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
I've collected information about Seasonal Affective Disorder, blogged about it, ordered a new light box (a wearable visor infact). Now that Britain's seen the first cold weather and dull mornings of the year I can see that it's time to make my personal plan. This includes planning...
...what habits I need to put in place (exercises etc)
...how I can streamline my morning routine
...any changes I could do with making to how and what I eat
...specific events to look forward to through Winter
...how to take pressure off myself as my energy dips
...new cold weather clothes and shoes or repairs to existing ones
Fortunately I LOVE making lists! I've been a list maker all my life, and my first response to a challenge is to make a list. So off I go to merrily write things down in an orderly fashion before moving on to the delight of ticking them off when they're done.
So Winter, let the game begin.
Monday, 7 October 2013
I've had a busy evening in the kitchen making soup, butchering a turkey leg (yep) and making my cleanser and toner for the next few weeks. Then cleaning up after myself after making some vinegar based surface cleaner! I've flopped down to watch TV and knit soon, tired out but satisfied. It's not been exactly non-stop glamour but after a stressful day stuck at a desk it's good to get hands-on stuff done, and I feel calm and relaxed. I have five meals (10 portions) worth of turkey, nine portions of soup, surface cleaner cleanser and toner so I feel productive and worthy of the hot chocolate I'm rewarding myself with.
Wishing you a good evening, whatever that may mean for you.
Monday, 30 September 2013
|Cauldron of carrot and coriander|
At the weekend I cooked a large batch of carrot and coriander soup which has become my favourite soup. Here's my recipe, based on a recipe from the New Covent Garden Soup Company with some changes. The added lentils make the soup thicker when it's blended up.
Makes 4 - 6 portions, 50p per portion approx.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
550g carrots, chopped
75g red lentils, well rinsed
750mls vegetable or chicken stock
A pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic over a low heat with the lid on until the onion is soft. Add the lentils and mix in so they're covered in oil. Add the carrots, stock and nutmeg and stir well. Simmer for 20 minutes until the carrots are soft (they might need a little longer). Add the coriander then puree the soup in a blender.
When I cook this I triple the quantities and freeze it in portions. I get about eight portions out of the tripled recipe.
Sunday, 29 September 2013
We visited Rodley Nature Reserve today and enjoyed the open space, sunshine, late flowers, and the trees covered in fruits and seeds. This nature reserve is on ex-industrial land which is now a lush, varied habitat for a wildlife. There's a small visitors centre run by volunteers selling hot drinks and cakes and it's a get away in the middle of houses and businesses, net to a canal and river.
Chances are that wherever you live you're not far from a nature reserve, you might just not know it as they're often hidden away, but there are 1500 nature reserves in the UK. They're good spaces to get close to nature and are a free place for a stress-free day out, especially if you go armed with a picnic. If you go to Natural England you can search by county to find your nearest one.
Saturday, 28 September 2013
(Disclaimer: I’m not in any way an expert in diet, exercise, mental health or health in general. All my advice on SAD is based on my own experience of it and on information I’ve picked up on the way. If you believe you’re suffering from SAD or any other health condition your first port of call should be with your doctor to rule out the possibility underlying illness.)
So far this week I've written posts on:
Beating SAD 2013
Seeing the light
A cunning plan
Food to lift your mood
Fit not fatigued
In this final post I'm including other ways to boost your well being through Winter that don't fit into the other categories.
- Gratitude: Make a list of your favourite things. Listing the good things in your life that you're grateful for shifts your focus from lack to abundance. Every year around October time I sit down and make a list in my journal of things I enjoy about Winter and things I'm looking forward to, for example:
- Playing in the snow
- Crisp air
- Having a hot drink under a blanket at the end of the day
- Drinking coffee in bed at the weekend whilst rain hammers down
- Making Christmas gifts
- Visiting my friend at the other end of the country
- Fairy lights in trees
- Satsuma season!
If you've got any tips, information or resources that help you cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder I'd love to hear about them. I hope these posts have given you a better understanding of how you can help yourself to have a happier Winter season.