Good mornings, just feast your eyes on our gingerbread cookies. We had so much fun making them and well, doing various taste tasting and licking of fingers. It’s been a busy few months and what better way to get back into blogging than to say HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
I was very impressed by the ginger biscuit recipe I found on allrecipes.co.uk I had all the ingredients which is a must when baking with the kids.
175g light brown soft sugar, 4 tablespoons golden syrup, 1 medium egg – mix into breadcrumb mixture
Roll, cut and bake for bout 12 mins
It was such an easy recipe to follow, especially as the kids lost interest in less than 5 minutes (after pestering me to make cookies for ages) I had a quiet hour in the kitchen baking batches as the mixture made 5 trays of cookies – maybe I have small trays – and then wandered in little hands and open mouths as the warm ginger scent wandered through the house.
After a clean up, biscuit and milk I then had a little help making the icing and decorating the biscuits, with surprisingly little mess!
Have you been baking or making crafts this Halloween?
If I were to be a tart I think I’d like to be a custard tart all full of flavour with a bit of crunch, not a patisserie tart which is beautiful to behold but generally lacks depth of flavour. Oh now I’ve made myself hungry……
Anyway….. apparently often switching a current account makes you a bank account tart and as I change my bank account at least every 18 months I am now, officially, a tart!
Why do I switch my accounts? Because I make money for a few minutes work (£100 this year and my friend made it too) and ensure that I get the best interest rates available. For the next 12 months I’m guaranteed 3% up to £2500 with a regular saver at 5%. In the now those are pretty good rates as the base rate is at 0.5% for a little while longer at least. Can’t quite believe I’m saying this but..gone are the days when 5% interest was a standard…god I feel old all of a sudden!
Switching accounts is so easy online that I’m always taken back when people don’t want to take advantage of introductory offers. Hubby is a prime example; he’s been with the same bank since a teen and has no interest at all in changing. For him the convenience of knowing the system and having the app on his phone trumps any cashback or interest earnt, after all he has yours truly to scramble around for decent interest rates.
Money Saving Expert recently did a poll to find out how often their readers switch accounts and – seeing as it’s a site where you’d think money savvy people go – the results show that the majority of people just don’t switch!
Now loyalty is a wonderful thing but not to companies ok? Companies exist to make money. Banks wants your money, hell they’ll even pay you to switch accounts! The trick appears to be able to take advantage of introductory offers is to read those pesky T&C’s, to have a good credit rating and not to get suckered into the wonderful products golden handcuffs.
What’s your reason for not switching current accounts?
P.S. Because I’m a tart, naturally, I have experienced the current accounts of eight different banks thus far. You know what? There’s only one that I wouldn’t go back to so that’s a pretty good record for the switching service and the banks themselves imo.
One of my favorite simple meals is roast chicken. Put it with salad, fresh bread and I’m in heaven. Roast potatoes and stuffing..drool…it’s soo good!
Hubby and I can easily eat a whole bird in one sitting and the kids love the drumsticks* but with meat being the most expensive part of most meals we’ve learnt to stre—-tch our roast over a few meals.
Did you know that some people call it rubber chicken because they focus on getting every last tasty nutritious morsel from the bird, even the bones? I’ve always stripped the carcass bare of meat, urgh, and while I’m not keen on chicken under my nails it’s worth it every time. Not least because I then get to nibble on the tastiest bits – tip: it’s the oysters every time.
This week I went all out with a full roast complete with stuffing as I had a hankering for a chicken stuffing sandwich. Stuffing is a great way to bulk up a meal and I added some cranberries I found in the cupboard for a touch of sweetness. Lots of veg and gravy with the juicy chicken – tip: roast the bird upside down for the first half an hour to keep those lovely juices in the chicken breast so they don’t dry up.
A family of four – fed.
Then the next day I got to have my chicken stuffing sandwich with a drizzle of gravy – if you haven’t tried it you should. I’m pretty sure the office was in awe with my amazing sandwich.
Me – fed.
As the roast dinner was such a hit the first time hubby and I had it once more and again I made work jealous. I promise that it was much prettier (though just as tasty) the first time round.
Two adults – fed
Last but not least I boiled up the chicken carcass to make a quick stock for noodle soup. Not a slow cook for a concentrated stock but a quick boil for an hour with plenty of seasoning. A few grated bendy carrots and celery tops snuck in to use up a few bits in the fridge. Today I chose garlic, ginger and soy for flavouring which always goes down well.
A family of four – fed.
Have you been counting? That’s eleven individual meals I made with one chicken as the star. How do you stre—tch your meals?
*It’s a sign of our love that we let the kids have them!
I ran out of my perfume this morning and when I went to hunt for another I found…nothing, nothing, NOTHING…eek!
Now I walk to and from work averaging an hour total or at least 10,000 steps a day, I shower/bath daily, I use deodorant (although currently not my favourite brand) and I’m sure I don’t smell. However not having a quick spray of perfume in the morning is just odd, it’s such a part of my routine that I really missed it this morning. (and I did keep sniffing myself all day, work probably think that I’m acting odder than usual)
The whole idea of Make Do March is to do just that – to make do – and so I won’t be buying myself a new perfume. I do walk past seven shops selling fragrances on my way to/from work* and amongst the brightly coloured adverts and enticing proclamations of SALE! Up to 50% off! I noticed that not one of the perfumes supposedly on sale were under £25. A quick online search shows that I can buy bottles of branded perfume for under £15 although I’m sure that postage will bump up the price.
I did hit jackpot in work and found a cheap body spray in my locker and a mini perfume in my gym bag meaning that I’m not entirely out of fragrances. They come firmly under the need to use them up regime so that I’m not producing needless waste, am saving money and am decluttering my many, many items as I go. It’s a win-win all round as far as I can sniff see.
I’m going to make a deal with myself. If I can go without perfume for a month then I can go without for a while longer and for my birthday I’m going to ask for, you guessed it – perfume!
*Seven! I never counted them before and I don’t even walk through the main high street.
Fresh, warm, crunchy bread, doesn’t it just make your mouth water? That sound when the knifes cuts through and you slather it with butter, just to taste test it obviously. If it is as tasty as it looks, smells and sounds then I applaud you if you only eat the first slice… that’s some serious self-control you have right there!
But where there’s bread making there’s kneading and kneading is a skill that I don’t have or have the inclination at the present time to work at. In fact, the last time I tried to make bread by hand I got so sticky and there was so much flour involved it actually looked as though Dr Who had run through the kitchen in pursuit of a flour monster.
However I’ve recently found a no knead bread recipe which has become a firm favorite in the house. “Crunchy bread pleeeeease” ask the kids as it’s a dense, crunchy loaf that takes 5 minutes to make, an hour to prove and then…here’s the magic… 3 minutes in the microwave to cook!
It’s so easy! 1.tsp yeast dissolved into 150.g warm water plus 1.tsp salt and mix in 200.g bread flour. Either quick rise for an hour or overnight in the fridge and micro-zap for 3 minutes. I do like to crisp it up in the oven though and as I have silicone bowls I do all of this in them so the absolute minimum of faffing is required.
The philosophy Mend and Make Do may bring to mind wartime rationing but looking through my house there’s an awful lot of stuff that just isn’t getting used. Who needs 5 deodorants? Lasagna sheets dating back to 2011? Scales with no batteries? 7 jars of jam?*
We’ve started from ground zero in regards to savings this month which gives me the chills but one consistence throughout financial freedom/independence blogs is the need to live below your means. Hell, it’s just good sense but over the past few years I’ve taken my eye off the ball. Cooking good food from scratch, using things that you already have rather than buying more and fixing what you can is good for everyone and something I feel we’ve lost.
I’ve decided that the simplest way to start is to simply use up the easy stuff first, the low-hanging fruit I heard it referred to the other day. So far Hubby has been asked to drink the random herbal teas I found and to use up the bubble bath that we have which happens to be a pink sparkly wand! I’m working my way through the deodorants that Santa always pops in my stocking despite them not being the brand I actually use and researching what you can use cornmeal for apart from cornbread since there’s a large bag in the back of a kitchen cupboard.
Can we make do in March with what we have or will that must have item lead us astray?**
A Quick Catch Up
Yes I know we’re in the second week of March already and I’m just coming up for air. Seven birthdays in one week together with the unexpected amount of snow we had is sure to scramble anyone’s brain but add an energy sucking virus into the mix and I’ve been concentrating on simply putting one foot in front of the other. Feel free to sing ‘Just keep swimming’ with me if you like, or shout ‘I’ve lost my Mojo’ Austin Powers style if that’s more up your street.
I do feel like I achieved Domestic Goddess status in February though as I made my first successful lasagna, baked bread and even made my own butter! I have lots of half written food articles/posts/whatever-you-want-to-call-them to finish and publish when the old grey matter gets up to speed again.
*It’s bloody good jam though. Blackberry Jam made by Mum and Apple Jam made by my fair-self.
I was woken this morning to the sound of elephants with giggles outside my room. Then said elephants piled into my room with cuddles and cards and breakfast in bed. Coffee and a croissant with jam in bed…yummy…I almost got to eat it all myself.
It was really heart warming to see the excitement on the kid’s faces and the effort that they had put into the cards. This is the first year that they’ve really paid attention to Mother’s day.
There was even a bath run for me with personal attendants who washed me* and kept me entertained with discussions about Minecraft and endless rubber duckies to play with. Plus play-dough soap, which is awesome.
Hubby took advantage of a quiet moment and taught me how to make paper tulips which is slightly addictive when you figure it out and I can see that they are going to be my favorite thing to make for friends and family. My Mum thought they were delightful, hopefully as delightful as I found her Sunday roast!
I hope that everyone has had a good day.
P.S. Obviously I still had to clean the kitchen, wipe down the bathroom and arrange clean clothes for the week ahead. There was a cut finger, a muddy walk and at least two strops to deal with. It was all in all, a normal day with an remarkably nice start.
*Being washed was odd. I quite enjoyed the buckets of water thrown over me though.