Tuesday, 25 June 2013

I keep on trying.... In and out of the Cuban Filofax

I'm still mad busy with applications. No interviews, no chances. I am not doing well at getting full time work. But I keep trying.

I'm back in my favourite Matt Malden. I have been through Mr Chameleon and Antonio my red hot Chilli Cuban,

 but I always keep coming back to Matt. I keep on trying, but he is the One.
 And I did give Antonio a good go; he is set up beautifully.

 Here is the eye candy to prove.

 Look at the washi tape;

 look at the top tabs,

 just look



*sigh* Perhaps if I had full time work and a larger bag everyday I would........ but A5 is just too big for day to day use. I keep on trying. I keep on trying.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Slipping Through my Fingers....

I think I posted this song before, but I can't remember was it here or on Facebook. Never mind. It stands repetition.

My youngest baby has gone to PGL for 4 nights. Yes, she will be fine. Yes, I will be fine. Think I'm deaf but feel fine. She looked so happy going off, how could I be sad? And she has Piggy so she won't be afraid at night. Time is always slipping through my fingers.

Speaking of slipping through my fingers, I have to point you to BBC iplayer and the wonderful Book of the Week this week, The Reason I Jump. Written by a 13 year old autistic boy it is just such an insight into a condition that creates isolation even as the child seeks to be part. Listen to the last few minutes as he explains in his own words why he jumps. Heart breaking. Wonderful. Inspirational. All three at once.

Meal Planning Monday

My my the weeks fly by. Princess is away for the week, so all meals are only for 4.

Mon; Macaroni Cheese. Or it might just be spaghetti and a sauce. Lazy, lazy.
Tues; Sausage roast. Or toad in the hole. Princess doesn't like toad in the hole.
Wed; Chicken thighs with mini roastini. In homage to Nigella (poor lady; give her a break and let her figure out what to do without badgering her) that means fried gnocchi.
Thurs; Pork kebabs with homemade barbecue sauce. OK that's tomato ketchup and some sugar, in translation. Wimbledon's on, it's got to be quick and easy!
Fri; Burgers and chips for the kids, probably salmon risotto for us!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Meal Planning Monday

My my how time flies! It doesn't seem a week since my last weekly meal plan. Barely seven days?
I have more applications to do; more online torments to undergo. I want to learn how to design free printables (and some I can charge for) for Childminders. Ho hum.

But Monday it is, and here is the list for the week.

Monday; Tuna Pasta. From Apples for Jam, one of my favourite cook books. I loved it enough to review it on Amazon and I keep it just to look at the pictures and dream of having a recipe book that captures a childs' eye view so well.
Tuesday; Sausages with Cheese pie, well, mash with a toasted cheese topping. An idea from the hairy Bikers. Love them.
Wednesday; Spicy Bean pot with baked potato. A warm but not rampaging hot chilli.
Thursday; Moroccan Chicken with rice. A St Delia classic. She made hers with lemons; I use rather less citric fruit.
Friday; For the kids; Meatball marinara sub with chips, homemade not from Subway. The Co-op make nice meatballs or I may make fresh. For us, either rib eye steak (a favourite Friday treat) or sweet chilli salmon steak with mash and broccoli.
Saturday; Meal at my Mother's
Sunday; A lunch time birthday party means we can have cheese on toast. If I'm feeling fancy, I may fiddle and make Welsh rarebit. Love it.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Afternoon tea..... How civilised! But what recipe did I use????

I have a confession to make; sometimes I am a hopeless baker. I don't mean I can't, I mean I will try a recipe and love it, but forget which recipe I used.

 Take the tea loaf here. I know it didn't use tea, I know it had spices in and took about 40 min to cook, and I know my daughter loved it because it had no raisins in..... but I forgot to mark it down, or put it in my recipe box. Bad Mummy.

 It will have to live in our memory as a lovely and unique experience. Until I find it again. And I will, I promise. One day.

Post Script; I knew I had it somewhere! It was in my recipe box, just not in the right place. You can find it here on my recipe blog.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

I know something you don't know....

I know what these cotton granny squares are going to become.....

Any ideas?

Putting my beads on display....

I have a load of necklaces, bracelets, earrings etc like any other woman I suppose, and a daughter who has taken to beading like a duck to water. My cases were full, my drawers packed with beads and I couldn't see clearly what I had and what I wanted to wear.
This state of affairs was obviously unacceptable, so I sought an answer.

This is the doppleganger for my noticeboard... I'm thinking of vamping up this one as well!
In the study we had a blue noticeboard. It was functional, but ugly, and the dark blue wouldn't match my bedroom either as it is or as I hope for it to be after decorating. Revamping seemed like a good idea.

The frame surprised me, as it had been sealed around the board. No easy manoeuvre like changing a picture here then. I took the frame apart and got to work
I am not left handed, so I needed my right hand to take the photo!

My staple gun is a new purchase. I have some upholstery in mind, soon, but covering the board was a good starter project. I kept the fabric taut using push pins and stapled the corners carefully.

Wrapping tape holds the spare fabric close to the board.

Ta daa! Ready to use.
Another couple of staples fixed the frame back in place and the fun part could start. I used black push pins to give me versatile hooks and a useful make up bag for bracelets. My earrings are stuck through lacy doilies made by an ancestor who was a prolific crocheter (not my ancestor, but my husband's) and secured with heart warming red ladybird pins.

The push pins hold most stuff well. See the doilies for the earrings?
Now I can see my jewellery collection, it's easy and quick to choose and because it is in a small, dark corner the board isn't 'in your face', but quite discreet. I'm happy that I did it and, best of all, it was free to do with bits and bobs from around the house!

Right next to the wardrobe, too, so coordination is easy.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Making meal planning easier for me!

I have always loved recipes and collecting them, which is funny because I probably only cook a limited set of recipes 80% of the time. Capture methods  have varied from an envelope on a shelf to a proper scrapbook courtesy of my Mum years ago, but I like having the recipes I use most easily available. My first married kitchen notebook was just that, a notebook, but the lack of flexibility....!!!

My Mother's Day gift a good few years ago was a file, from Paperchase (when Borders was still my Happy Place) with dividers for starters, fish, meat, vegetables, baking and desserts. The binder was a convenient A5 size, three holes and quite useful since new recipes could be added and subtracted. I really enjoyed it, and used it for several years, but a binder is only thin and the amount I collect and catalogue meant that it was getting full.

Every section had an index, but no numerical system
so no easy way to find a recipe!

Recipes fitted very nicely on one side of a page;
the down side was that one sheet would have two recipes.

I recorded where the recipes came from using initials.
This is from Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course 
Roll on to another Mother's day. Very often my Mother's day presents are cook books or something to do with the house. I can't decide if this is foolish or not?
And W H Smiths photo album. Apt, with the cupcakes on. It takes 6 by 4 index cards, and holds lots and lots and lots.

This box is still full of recipes from magazines. I tend now
to use it as a capture space for things I hope to use.
 I set up essentially the same system I use now in the box; index card recipes, handwritten, one to a card, and catalogued in various ways.

The lid is attached so I could never lose it.
 But it was pink, well, pink with cupcakes. It was cute, but ceci n'est pas moi... not absolutely me.
 Enter the photo box. Again, it fits 6 by 4 index cards, so all I needed to do was transfer my collection over.
 I set up the dividers in a way that suits me.  If you look below you can see the dividers are way more specific than the file had space for. Starters, Main meals divided by main ingredient, baking and celebration meals.

 A recipe is written on a card, titled and numbered. Main meals are all M something, and then filed behind the main ingredient divider. For example, the slow roasted marmalade pork is catalogued as M92 on the main list at the start of the section but sits (numerically) behind the Pork divider.

 The end of the recipe has the name of the cook and/or book that it comes from. If I can copy every recipe I like out of a book then I can get rid of the book, either sell or donate as a charitable contribution. There are books I like too much to get rid of but for example, Tana Ramsey had a few good recipes (and a decent quote) but I wasn't desperate to see her book take up shelf space. So I copied and filed and passed on.
 Menu planning is even easier because every recipe has a mini shopping list next to it on my menu planning cards. I have these both here in my cookery box and in my Filofax Home File (still a work in progress) and I use them when planning the month's meals and writing the weekly shopping list on a Saturday.

Finally, the week's plans get written in my Filofax with the number next to it if I need the recipe. Easy or often used recipes need no number, like my bolognese sauce that I know off by heart.

I've used this system for about 18 years now, 10 in box form. I'm glad to use it. It is organised, adaptable, and can be set up very easily with just a box and recipe cards. I like handwriting the recipes, purely because I love the Nigella episode where she shows her mother's and grandmother's notebooks. The idea that in 40 years time my grandchildren will be looking at my slow roast chicken with garlic, or my Delia's carbonara and laughing at the things we used to make appeals to me. My daughter (arbiter of all things culinary) loves it and wants her own. Indeed, when my children move out or marry this may well be the way I mark their passing; by giving them a recipe box of their own. But, technology moves on and I am looking for another, perhaps better way to save the recipes I like. Pinterest? Google Drive? My own blog? I'm not sure. And I don't want to go all digital. I don't do all digital planning( Filofax, anyone?) and I think even if I begin a virtual recipe collection I will still want to record some (the best only, perhaps?) by hand, just to preserve the gentle art of recipe writing.

Meal planning Monday

I have read  At Home with Mrs M's Meal Planning Mondays for ages now and always meant to join in. I always plan my meals for the week because I send Mr K out shopping, so it helps to be organised. And today is the day (procrastination, did I hear you say? You betcha! I have applications to do, so I'm trying to find something to do. Anything will do. Don't worry, I'm going back to my fevered computer work in a minute) so here goes;

Mon; Meatballs and spaghetti, with a tomato sauce

Tues; Sausage bake with red peppers and rataouille served with rice
Wed; Breaded chicken using chicken thighs served with baked potatoes and sweet potatoes
Thurs; Fish served with roast potato cubes and a pepper tomato mush
Fri; Homemade pizza for the children, risotto con funghi e parma for us. Nice glass of cider to wash it down with.
Sat; Probably tea at my parents.
Sun; I fancy marmalade pork as made by Jamie. May have to downscale if a child offers to make tea for me.

And relax......

They are back at school. I am back in my house and tutta sola again.
As I look around my living room (quite clean),

 Kitchen (very clean; this was my half term project)

and the Family room (unfit for human habitation) I can smile for the days when having the three of them off would have meant games, toys, models and crafts spread all over the house. Nowadays the lads sleep til 11 am or later if possible, while the waking hours are spent either in their bedrooms or revising or playing on the computer. So this morning I can carry on with the job hunt secure in the knowledge that I don't have a couple of hours worth of clearing and cleaning to do.

 I may feel slightly lonely later, but at the moment I am happy to have my space again. And relax.