Meal Planning Monday – 29th February

MealPlanningSo what are you doing with your Leap day?   As the housework fairies don’t seem to be free, I’m in the normal Monday routine.   Oh well!

Now my house is getting organised as I’m halfway through my decluttering challenge, I am more concious of things that should be put away or used up.   Looking in the back of the baking cupboard, I’ve spotted a bag of dates and my chocolate bar kit that could be used up.   The Davina McCall sugar free cookbook will have to wait!   Although there is a lot more space in my freezer, there are still some items that need to be used up – frozen fruit will go into a Berry Fool, and sausages and frozen breadcrumbs are coming into play at the beginning of the week.   The fridge will also get a once over with the fresh veg drawer emptying a bit.

Monday: Sausage pasta in the slow cooker
Tuesday: Hairy Dieters’ Crispy Chicken
Wednesday: Salmon
Thursday: Vegetable goulash
Friday: Fish fingers

Meal Planning Monday – 22nd February

MealPlanningNo Meal Planning Monday post last week as I was having a bit of a blogging break.   I did have a meal plan though, and we had a freezer dive week.   As I’ve mentioned before, I store a lot of things in my freezer so I can batch cook meals and get longer shelf life from food.   Unfortunately this led to a lack of space for staples like bread and frozen veg, so a purge was in order.   We’ve feasted on pizza, fish, sausages, pie and all sorts of yumminess, so although my slimming world plan has gone to pot, I can now see what I’ve got in there.

This week we are going for something simple again.   After a calm half term, volunteering and mum cabs duties are ramping up again, and I need to get my organising back on track.

And to all my Guiding followers, a happy World Thinking Day to you all!

Monday: Vegetable Pasta Bake
Tuesday: Paprika Chicken/Vegetable Curry
Wednesday: Cottage Pie/Vegetarian Chilli
Thursday: Sausages
Friday: Beef and Vegetable Hot Pot/Quorn Bolognese
Saturday: Freezer Dive
Sunday: Use up whatever is hanging around in the fridge

Linking with At Home with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.   Pop by and see what everyone else is having this week to get some inspiration.

Meal Planning Monday – 8th February

MealPlanning (2)So far my Slimming World Challenge has been a bit up and down.   I try and limit myself to one bar of Green & Blacks 70% dark chocolate a week and normally fail, but this week I still have some of last week’s bar left.   I’ve also put more vegetables into the family’s diet and added a bit of variety to my lunch and dinner menus.

On the down side, I did eat a piece of chocolate birthday cake at Rainbows that was brought in by our resident Brownie, and it was the school quiz on Friday which meant a fish and chip supper.   Never mind.   On the whole I’ve been a good girl so hopefully I’ll see progress on Wednesday at my weigh in.   Last week I recorded a ½lb loss, but I was just starting to get into the swing of things, and it’s still a move in the right direction!

The menu was mainly a success.   The girls turned their noses up at the fish cakes though, even though they eat salmon and mash quite regularly.   They were made to eat their dinner, although Daddy helped eldest Craftyguidelet with the crispy outside of her fish cake.

This week our menu is as follows:

Monday: sausage and mash
Tuesday: salad
Wednesday: fish fingers/beef casserole from the freezer
Thursday: bolognese
Friday: tuna
Saturday and Sunday: making it up as I go along!   It worked last week to use up food we already have so there’s less going to waste.

Linking with At Home with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.   Pop by and see what everyone else is having this week to get some inspiration.

Meal Planning Monday – 1st February

MealPlanning (1)Wow!   January is over already and my new challenge is beginning.

I’ve been an online Slimming World member for some time now.   I say ‘member’ in the loosest terms as I pay to weigh myself every week and only vaguely think about what I’m eating.   Not only is it a waste of money, I’m not getting any thinner!   Time to knuckle down and count those syns.   The rest of the family can carry on eating normally but I’m going to try and get my act together.

Monday: egg/chicken salad (which came first? tee hee!)
Tuesday: veg bolo/mac n cheese
Wednesday: veg curry/gammon
Thursday: veg chilli/slow cooker sausage pasta
Friday: salmon fish cakes
Saturday: veg goulash
Sunday: see what’s left in the fridge and invent something!

Linking with At Home with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.   Pop by and see what everyone else is having this week to get some inspiration.

Meal Planning Monday – 25th January

MealPlanningI decided to concentrate on my lunches this week.   I go through phases of having the same things every day – baked potatoes with beans and cheese, cheese omelette with rice.   Other times I run so late I just grab a bowl of rice krispies with soya milk.   When I put my supermarket food order on, I concentrate on what to have for dinner and not what would be good for lunch.   I have now baked some baps, I have a variety of fruit and veg and I’m going to give it a go.

Monday: egg bap
Tuesday: frittata
Wednesday: jacket potato with beans
Thursday: cheese and pickle baguettes
Friday: soup

For dinner, I’ve got a lot of evenings where I can’t spend time cooking, so it’s lots of quick meals or ‘Here’s one I made earlier’ dishes.

Monday: cold roast beef and bubble and squeak
Tuesday: pork medallions and veg
Wednesday: salmon
Thursday: bolognese
Friday: baked potatoes and salad
Saturday: Mr CG and the Craftyguidelets are fending for themselves as I’m on a residential Guiding training
Sunday: sausages

Linking with At Home with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.   Pop by and see what everyone else is having this week to get some inspiration.

Meal Planning Monday – 18th January

MealPlanning (1)I was happy with my meal plan last week, apart from the fact that putting sausages on the menu only works when you have bought sausages to use.   Oops!

I’ve started a major house declutter and week one was the kitchen.   It has been complete chaos at times, but it is now clutter free.   All the stuff I don’t use is gone, leaving room for more things to go away.   This week I’ve started on the utility room and I’ve carried on being ruthless.   Soon I’ll be able to get the shopping brought through to the kitchen rather than getting it left in the hall because I’m too embarrassed for the Ocado driver to see the mess!

This week I have ordered sausages, so my menu is as follows:

Monday: pasta bolognese
Tuesday: cheesy sweetcorn baked potato and salad (a recipe from The Brownie Cookbook for eldest Craftyguidelet to prepare)
Wednesday: fajitas
Thursday: sausage pasta
Friday: salmon
Saturday: freezer dive
Sunday: roast dinner

As usual I am joining in with At Home with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.   Pop by and see what everyone else is having this week to get some inspiration.


Meal Planning Monday – 11th January

MealPlanningI love my freezer.   As well as the usual ice cream and frozen veg, I store as much as I can in there.   All my butter and any other multibuys go straight in so I can bulk buy when it’s on special offer.   I don’t eat much bread so when I bake a loaf, I slice it up to go straight into the freezer to use slice by slice so there’s no waste.   I also cook batches of vegetarian meals for me so I just need to defrost something for me and cook a meat version for everyone else.   Cheaper food, less waste and convenience – I’ll go for that!

It is important to freeze, defrost and reheat food safely so take care!

This week I’m batch making a vegetarian chilli to add to the bolognaise in the freezer.   If I can do one meal a week, it gives me a selection to pull out of the freezer.

Vegetarian Chilli – serves 6
225g dried white haricot beans
125g dried red kidney beans
1 tbsp oil
2 large onions, quartered and sliced
14oz tin chopped tomatoes
3-4 bay leaves
1 veggie stock cube made up into 850ml stock
2 red and 2 green peppers, cut into medium strips
chilli powder to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

  1. Soak the beans for 8-12 hours or overnight in plenty of cold water.
  2. Drain the beans and rinse really thoroughly.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions until they are just turning golden.
  4. Add beans, tomatoes, bay leaves and stock.
  5. Bring to the boil uncovered, and once boiling, boil rapidly for 10 minutes (very important when dealing with dried beans to kill toxins).
  6. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  7. Add peppers, garlic and chilli.
  8. Cook slowly for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove bay leaves and serve with rice.
    I have been freezing this in individual portions for years.   I just defrost a portion the night before in the fridge and microwave it until it is completely reheated throughout.

Our weekly meal plan is as follows:

Monday: Jacket potatoes and salad – should have had this last week, but after a day of cleaning and decluttering the kitchen, we had a celebratory takeaway pizza so we didn’t get it dirty again!
Tuesday: Veggie chilli/Chicken and Vegetable Stew
Wednesday: Creamy Haddock and Broccoli
Thursday: Vegetarian Goulash
Friday: Sausages
Saturday: Fish Pie
Sunday: Beef Hotpot/Veggie Bolognaise

Linking to At Home with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.   Pop by and see what everyone else is having this week to get some inspiration.

Meal Planning Monday – 4th January

MealPlanningOne of the things I want to get under control this year is my food shopping.  Dinners are always a balancing act in our house.   I don’t eat meat, and Mr CG is gluten (and onions, leeks, spices, garlic…) intolerant.   The Craftyguidelets, even though they have a bit of childhood fussiness, are probably the most normal eaters in our house.   I usually cook from scratch because of this.   Add to this my volunteering and the girls’ after school activities, planning what to cook for dinner, and having the time to cook it, is a juggling act.

I used to participate in At Home With Mrs M‘s Meal Planning Monday from time to time.   After a break, it’s back today (yay!), so it ties in with my need to get discipline back to plan my week’s meals.   This will hopefully lead to less food waste, healthier meals, fewer trips to the shops and a reduced spend.

Most of our Christmas leftovers are gone now, but I still seem to have some food to use up including a bit of veg, loads of apples, some sausages and a bit of cheese.   I also have a stash of frozen bits and pieces to use up, so this week’s menu is this:

Monday: sausage pasta in the slow cooker (and veg bolognaise from the freezer) – it’s my birthday so I don’t want too much hassle cooking!
Tuesday: salmon, mash and veg
Wednesday: freezer dive
Thursday: tuna pasta bake with sweetcorn (the girls’ favourite!)
Friday: gammon (and quorn burgers)
Saturday: salad and jacket potatoes with cold meat (and cheese)
Sunday: whatever my mum and dad are providing

The apples will go in muffins and I’m sure baked apples will make an appearance at some point.   See you next Monday!

If you have any great recipes or books to recommend, please fill my comments with suggestions!

Great British Bake Off – Patisserie and The Final

Great British Bake Off Victoria SpongeYes I know.   The Bake Off has finished and we all cried along with Nadiya when she won and gave that lovely speech.   Back at Craftguider Towers, I was really busy with my volunteering, followed by tonsillitis and a stinking cold and a back that went twang.  I’ve been waiting for a good time to do my soufflé for chocolate week, but there hasn’t been the time, so I’m summing up my patisserie efforts and the final traditional bake now before you all forget what a bake off is!Great British Bake Off eclairsI made choux pastry for the first time this year when I chose to make éclairs for my turn on the WI cake rota.   This stood me in good stead for my Religieuses that I made for the Great Girlguiding Anglia Bake Off.   Even though they didn’t win, they tasted delicious, but I still needed to perfect them.   Cue patisserie week on Bake Off and Religieuses à l’Ancienne.   Yes, those nuns were back, but this time they were Dalek shaped constructions.   Instead of the construction element, I spent my time perfecting my pastry, and I finally managed the crisp choux shells I needed.Great British Bake Off Victoria sponge sliceTo represent the traditional bake in the final, eldest Craftyguidelet wanted to make a gluten free Victoria sponge.   She roped in Mr CG to replace me, and used the Cake Angels recipe to make a nice sponge.Great British Bake Off Custard CreamsYoungest Craftyguidelet didn’t want to be left out and made some more gluten free custard creams from the Honeybuns cookbook.   My originals from biscuit week were mentioned in Homemaker Magazine in October as I used the cutters and stencil from a previous free gift.   I won’t let the fame go to my head!

I must make time for the soufflé so I can finally finish my bake along.   Ingredients bought so watch this space…

Have you been inspired by the Bake Off to create anything new?

Great British Bake Off – Victorian

Great British Bake Off Tennis Cake RecipeOK, I’m running a bit behind on my bake along.   Cast your minds back to Victorian week when the bakers were asked to make game pie, tennis cake and charlotte russe.   Selecting my bake for this week was quite easy.   Game pie was out as I’m a vegetarian, and there aren’t enough hours in my day to indulge myself to make a charlotte russe.Great British Bake Off Tennis Cake FruitI used Mary Berry’s recipe for tennis cake and started preparing the fruit.   Be warned.   You are in this for the long term!   It is a fairly simple recipe to follow, and I converted it to gluten free by substituting the flour and adding an extra egg.Great British Bake Off Tennis Cake FinishedThe resulting cake took slightly longer to bake than the 2 hours allotted in the recipe, even though I used a slightly larger tin than in the recipe.   This meant turning the oven up by 5 degrees for some of the cooking time and then turning the oven off after 2 hours and leaving the cake inside for an hour while I did the school run.   These hazards would add an extra challenge to the real life Bake Off!Great British Bake Off Tennis Cake SliceThe resulting cake was lovely and fruity and tasted delicious.   And I know I cheated by not doing the marzipan and icing.   It didn’t need it, and frankly I didn’t have the time to spend on it.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to think about my gravity defying nun…