Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The slow cooker does it again

We've had a slow cooker in the Crafty Blueberry household for several years and have made good use of it, but it was so big that it had to live in the cellar as it wouldn't fit in the kitchen, and was really too large for making meals for two.  A couple of weeks ago we bought this small, basic slow cooker from Wilkinsons for £8 and it's just right for making meals for one or two people.  It's also small enough to fit in our tiny kitchen, and because it's out on the worktop all the time we use it more.

The latest slow cooker concoction was pigs cheeks braised in cider, which I made by tweaking this recipe.


It turned out a little too sweet because of the apples and the caramalised onions, s when I make it again I'll use a cooking apple as it will be a bit more tart, and dryer cider.  The pig cheeks were AMAZING and so cheap.  Rich, full of flavour and incredibly tender. My only concern is that trendy chefs will hijack them ,then the prices will bump up; go try them while they're cheap!

We're going on a self-catering holiday in Wales soon and will actually be bringing our little slow cooker away with us.  I don't make a habit of travelling with my household appliances but I reckon it will be lovely to come home after a day out knowing that all we have to do in terms of meal preparation is open a bottle of wine...that's frugal cooking at it's best.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Why I left...and why I'm back

There's a whole load of articles on the internet saying why, if you take a break from blogging, you shouldn't come back with a post drawing attention to it.  Well sod the internet; I want to write about it because it's part of my journey, which is what blogging's all about.

I last blogged here in April before shifting my whole blog to a new one (Destination Nutshell).  I blogged there for a couple of months but havn't done anything there since June.  I've always enjoyed blogging, albeit sporadically at times, but I felt a strong need for change.  Part of this was due to being able to craft a lot less than I used to because of hand pains; when your blog's mainly about making stuff this puts a spanner in the works!  This had an unexpected benefit though; when I wasn't able to distract myself with crafty stuff any more I started working on things that I'd been putting off.  Number one is career change, and since early Summer I've been working through a 'Free Range Human' course by Marianne Cantwell.  It's transformed how I think about making a living, and if it hadn't been for parking my interest in all things Crafty Blueberry I would have been too absorbed to even go looking for anything like it in the first place.  I won't go into detail here as it's a big subject for another time, but if you're the kind of person who wants to get out of your boring job and do what makes you come alive, get over to that website right now.

That's why I went away from my blog:  What brought me back here today?  Well mainly it was because I missed having somewhere to record all the little things that make me happy, like a pile of colourful granny squares, a batch of home brew bubbling away or an unexpected gorgeous view on the walk to work.  It occurred to me that more than anything else this blog has been for me; there are many posts here that will never be read by anyone else, but I love having a record of all the things that have made me happy, especially when times have been at their hardest.

Another factor was that I've started a new blog over on Wordpress called Mind Body Network as part of a project I've started during my Free Range Human course.  I've built up a Twitter account for it, set the blog up and started posting...but something's been missing.  I woke up this morning and it hit me like a big ball of obviousness:  Mind Body Network is what I need for writing about Reiki, nutrition, coaching and all the other things I hope to build into my career.  I need Crafty Blueberry for all the other stuff that makes me me but that I don't necessarily want to link in to how I make a living.  

Both blogs are important to me and of course there's no hard line between them;  the point of the career I'm working on building is to blur the line between work and play, not score it in deeper!  But when I look at my priorities I realise that it's very important for me to keep on loving the small things and recording the small but precious experiences that make life living.