Meal Planning Monday 7.10.13

Last week was a week of in and out and dashing about which meant meal preparation was tricky.   A lot of the meals were either pre-prepared or quick to cook so I could just pop them into the oven or bung a few ingredients in the slow cooker.

Sunday was the exception.   For the second week in a row we had a roast dinner.   I always make sure we have lots of veggies as I don’t eat meat, and this week we even had a home cooked pudding.

apple crumbleThe Craftyguidelets made a gluten free apple crumble.   It tasted delicious with a big dollop of custard.

This is what we have planned for this week:

Monday    Macaroni cheese

Tuesday    Ham egg and chips

Wednesday    Freezer dive

Thursday    Cider braised pork chops

Friday    Fish pie

Saturday    Take away or freezer dive

Sunday    I’m out all day.   Do I get Mr CG to cook a roast on his own whilst looking after the Craftyguidelets?

Linking with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday link party.   What have you got cooking this week?

Meal Planning Monday 30.9.13

Mr Craftyguider escaped to the supermarket with the Craftyguidelets on Sunday.   He’s normally allowed out midweek with a list for the top-up shop and to stock up on his gluten free supplies.   However, Sunday’s trip was unscripted and he came back with two boxes of premix cupcake kits.

I don’t like buying these kits for three main reasons:   a) they probably contain all sorts of unnatural bits and pieces, b) I want my girls to be able to add butter, flour and eggs and produce tasty cakeage, and c) they contain gluten so Mr CG can’t help us eat them which means my diet goes for a burton for another week.   However, Mr CG and the Craftyguidelets did have fun making them, and they do know that cake normally comes from ingredients and not a packet.

Barbie and Dora kit cakesTo go with the beautifully decorated cakes, we will be eating:

Monday   Beef stroganoff with rice

Tuesday   Ham, egg and chips

Wednesday   Cottage pie

Thursday   Creamy pesto chicken with pasta

Friday   Oven baked salmon

Saturday   Freezer dive

Sunday   Roast

Linking with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.   I’m off to drool at other people’s menus.   Join me?

Meal Planning Monday

Meal Planning Monday 23.9.13

Last week’s menu had it’s successes and failures.   Last minute changes to my afternoon schedules meant that the ratatouille had to be made in the slow cooker and turned out a bit soggy.   However the chicken cordon bleu went down very well with the family and I’ve been asked to add it to the list of regular meals.

I love making vegetable goulash.   The smell of smoked paprika is divine, and look at all these lovely colours together.

vegetable goulashI’ve also been busy on the baking front.   Rather than make a loaf of bread, I chose to make some rolls from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake book.   I’m so pleased how they came out, although I’m yet to try one and they went straight into the freezer.

Paul Hollywood crusty dinner rollsI’ve also been baking with the kids.   Eldest Craftyguidelet saw a truffle recipe in her Moshi Monsters magazine which contained biscuits.   As Mr Craftyguider is gluten intolerant, I chose a truffle recipe from the Eat Yourself Thin book instead, and we coated them with the hundreds and thousands that were in the magazine, with some gluten free sugar strands for Mr CG.   I don’t think chocolate and honey mixed with coffee is ever going to make me thin though, so I might leave the family to munch through these.

Moshi trufflesWe also made the Millionaires Shortbread recipe from my favourite gluten free baking book, Cake Angels.   The Craftyguidelets rechristened it Minionaires shortbread due to their obsession with all things Despicable Me.

minionaires gluten free shortbread


This week is a bit on the busy side so the menu will be fairly simple.

Monday: Ham, egg and chips

Tuesday: Bolognaise

Wednesday: Fish pie

Thursday: Something in the slow cooker

Friday: Vegetable pasta

Saturday: Pizza

Sunday: Roast something!

Linking with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.   Have a look to see what everyone else is cooking up this week.

Meal Planning Monday

Where is my…?

I find planning a week’s meals really helpful.   It makes things so much easier when I’m taking the girls swimming after school and I only have 20 minutes to put a meal together when we get home.   Also, it stops last minute dashes to the shops for emergency supplies (and are you like me and always come out of the shop with much more than was on your list in the first place?).

I’ve blogged before about my meal planning organisers from Organised Mum.   The pad hangs on a nail in the kitchen, and whenever I run out of something mid-week, it’s always there to quickly jot down on the shopping list part.

photo (96)

Now I’m sure I bought a few to stash away when they had a sale, or to save on postage.   However, can I find them?   Not anywhere.   But what I have discovered has made me think that I need a sort out.   Here is just a selection.

I have a massive pile of party ware.   There is a potted history of all the themes we’ve had at parties over the 6 years of eldest Craftyguidelet’s life so far.   Each year we buy more than we need as plates come in tens, cups in 25s and spoons in 100s.   Youngest will start having parties next year.   Will it matter that the cups and plates don’t match?

I have a very old frozen dessert maker.   I think the bowl was thrown out years ago, and it was useless anyway.   Is it worth keeping?

I have lots of saved biscuit and sweet tins.   I also have at least 5 bought cake tins.   I can dream of having that amount of cake, but I think the reality is that one or two tins could be enough.

I’ve got some fat trapper liners for the grill.   They need to be used on a grill which you use with the door open.   I haven’t had one of those for at least 5 years, if not more.

I have a couple of cans of oven cleaner, but my oven is self cleaning.

I’ve got a perfectly respectable amount of mugs and tea cups.   Do I really need all the corporate/Easter egg/novelty ones?

This is just the tip of the iceberg.   I could go on but I’ve probably lost most of my readers already.   Thanks for sticking by me if you’ve got this far!   I am an expert in squeezing things into cupboards.   As long as I can get stuff in, I’ve been blinkered to the problem.   My kitchen is organised but I think it needs a good sort out and an action plan.

1. Do I need/use it?   The donated wine glasses that I used for candles that didn’t sell could go to the charity shop.

2. Could it be stored somewhere else?   Time to store all the rice together so it gets used up rather than just reaching for the microwavable sachets all the time.

3. I need to make a list of what I do have so I know that I’ve got 3 deep 8″ cake pans and don’t need to buy any more.   Or is it 5…?

4. Before buying a new packet of something, do I really need it yet?   On average we use 7 dishwasher tablets a week.   Am I going to get through 20 this week or can I wait?

5. Are all the things I use regularly to hand?   Equally, are all the things the Craftyguidelets use at their height?

6. Do more cleaning!

7. Use up all the bits and pieces I have.   I also need to educate husband that he needs to stick to the shopping list I give him and not to buy the new cleaning products he spots on his way round that do the same job as all the ones we have already.

8. Think twice before adding the latest Lakeland gadget to my stash.   Sushi seemed a great idea a few years ago.   Number of times I’ve used the kit?   Zero.

9. Use the gadgets I’ve got.   The family love the homemade burgers I make in the burger press (Lakeland purchase!) but I hardly ever make them.

10. If I buy something for a reason, use it.   Time and time again I have a great idea to make butternut squash soup.   The squash gets stored in the cupboard for months before I get round to it.   My eldest was even weaned on a butternut squash I’d bought before she was born!   Therefore it was at least 6-7 months old when it was pureed.

Now will someone tell me where my meal planners are pretty quickly or I’m going to miss the cut off for my shopping order tonight!

Meal Planning Monday 16.9.13

Finally I’ve managed to have the time to sit down, plan a week’s menu, AND blog about it!

Whenever I plan a menu, I normally spread out on the sofa with a pile of recipe books, my laptop with my Ocado order on it, and my diary.   The diary is very important as it points out what the family is doing each evening.   Mr Craftyguider’s board meetings mean he’ll be back late so I can plan in a meal containing gluten, onions, spices but no meat for me and the Craftyguidelets.   Swimming means that I have 20 minutes to get a meal on the table.   When my mother-in-law comes round to babysit while I help with Rainbows, I need to have something that I can prepare and leave for Mr Craftyguider to sort when he gets in from work.

This week, we will be eating:

Monday – tuna pasta bake with sweetcorn

Tuesday – gammon, egg and chips

Wednesday – tuna steak and ratatouille

Thursday – spaghetti bolognaise (meat and quorn versions)

Friday – chicken cordon bleu (and a quorn version)

Saturday – vegetable goulash

Sunday – sausages

Linking with Mrs M’s meal planning Monday.   Pop over and get some inspiration for your meal plan this week.

Meal Planning Monday 29.7.13

After a week’s break because of holidays, I’m back pondering our meals for the week ahead.   I’ve been spoilt by not having to plan meals, cook meals and wash up after them for a week at Centerparcs.   The only catering I was responsible for was the morning porridge and the duck food.

IMG_3342Having used up all the perishable foods, I sent husband off with the Craftyguidelets and a huge shopping list to do a scan and shop.   They did well, so our plan for the week ahead is as follows:

Monday: tuna pasta bake with sweetcorn

Tuesday: ham, egg and chips

Wednesday: salad

Thursday: spaghetti bolognaise (and quorn bolognaise)

Friday: freezer dive

Saturday and Sunday: winging it!

Keeping it simple this week as the Craftyguidelets have a full on summer holiday planned for me.

Linking up as always with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday.

Meal Planning Monday



Meal Planning Monday 15.7.13

The last week of term.   I can’t believe how quickly a whole year has gone.   One little girl is moving to full day school in Reception and the other will be in Year 2.   Am I that old? (Don’t answer that!)

I haven’t been participating in Meal Planning Monday for a few weeks as life has been so hectic with all those end-of-year concerts, meetings for next class teachers, planning for the summer, and life in general.   But as I have a few minutes this morning, and I need to plan meals for this week anyway, I’ve allowed myself a bit of a break to blog.

My main source of inspiration this week will probably come from these two books.



The Craftyguidelets are making cards and gifts for the teachers as usual, and this year with 9 people including teachers, teaching assistants, a nursery nurse and a trainee to include, we are going with some baking action.   There will be a theme with the baking, but that’s another blog post.   With a ‘mocktails and cake’ picnic to prepare for the Guides as well, I think I need to check what supplies I have in the cupboard!

Unfortunately I cannot am not allowed to live on cake alone, so this is what I am planning for the week ahead.

Monday: grilled salmon and veg

Tuesday: jacket potatoes and salad

Wednesday: macaroni cheese

Thursday: ham, egg and chips

Friday: freezer dive

Saturday: BBQ if it’s nice, grill if it’s not

Sunday: cottage pie

Linking up as usual to the wonderful Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday blog.

Meal Planning Monday 17.6.13

I love crumpets so this week’s challenge was making my own from scratch.   I’d bought the crumpet rings some time ago and had my recipe ready.   The only problem was finding the 1.5 hours it takes to prepare them plus the 10 minutes per batch to cook them (and the eating time!).   Getting up that early before breakfast is a challenge in itself without trying to master a new technique as well, but I managed it, the batter was right first time, and the Craftyguidelets loved them.    They were fluffy, not rubbery, and I knew exactly what went in them.


The recipe was the one from the first Great British Bake Off book which said it would make 8.   I used the rings from Lakeland and managed to make 14 plus the trial one using the batter.   Perhaps my crumpet rings are smaller than Paul Hollywood’s.

The big success of last week’s menu was lasagne in the slow cooker.   I think I would still make it in the oven ordinarily, but on the days when I’m out just before dinner, it’s a handy recipe to bring out.

This week I want to concentrate on healthy eating and having a decent lunch.   I’m snacking too much, and even though it is mainly on fruit, I’m also munching my way through rice krispies and soya milk like a pregnant woman with unstoppable cravings.   So I don’t look like a pregnant woman with unstoppable cravings, a proper lunch is a necessity.

Monday: fish pie

Tuesday: vegetable goulash

Wednesday: navarin of lamb

Thursday: chicken and sage hotpot

Friday: pasta and tomato sauce

Saturday: takeaway

Sunday: roast (or BBQ depending on the weather)

As usual, I am linking to Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday blog and hoping to get some inspiration for next week from some of the other bloggers.

Meal Planning Monday 10.6.13

Last week’s menu was a bit hit and miss in it’s success.   Monday’s chicken and ham pie went well apart from the gluten free pastry.

I’ve never had success making my own gluten free pastry so I tried the Dietary Specials ready made pastry and I think the picture of the uncooked pie tells the story.   It just wouldn’t roll out properly, it had to be patched together, and just crumbled into nothing when I served the pie.   I think this is more a characteristic of the pastry being gluten free than the brand.   I was told the pie tasted good so I guess that’s the main thing.

Definitely a hit were my (full of gluten) scones which I blogged about here.

This week I’m carrying on trying something new (Thursday) as well as the old favourites (Wednesday) and meals for husband to cook (Tuesday).

Monday: Cottage pie

Tuesday: Ham, egg and chips

Wednesday: Tuna pasta bake

Thursday: Ratatouille Vegetable Lasagne

Friday: Sausages

Saturday: Take away

Sunday: Father’s Day surprise!

Linking to Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday blog.   Enjoy the other tasty blogs while you are there.

Very Best Scones

It’s been a while since I did any baking, but I bought some clotted cream on my last shopping trip which of course makes scone baking compulsory.   Added to that, the recipe I chose asked for 450g of self raising flour, and that’s exactly what I had left in my cupboard to the gram.


I used Mary Berry’s Very Best Scones recipe from her Baking Bible and banned the Craftguidelets from the mixing process so it didn’t get overworked.   Added to the very best recipe, I had what I consider to be the very best clotted cream and the very best strawberry jam.


Eldest Craftyguidelet was allowed to eggwash the tops of the scones with strict instructions to just do the tops, and I watched them like a hawk in the oven.   Not perfectly formed but still smelling lovely.


And then the eating.   As it says in the Rodda’s vital information, the jam goes on first and then the cream.



And yes, it was gorgeous.   And so was it’s twin brother!