29 March 2011

What's for tea?

Hand's up anyone who hates having to decide what to do for tea every night? (Hand goes straight up in air). Yep me too. It's one of my pet hates, so this week I decided to make a menu and see if I can stick to it. So far so good but that will all change come tomorrow as John is away in France and Samuel wouldn't be caught dead eating chilli, which by the way he's never tasted but doesn't like!!!!

This little blackboard is something I made for a Scrapagogo challenge, before a weekend scrapping retreat a few years ago. it's the first time I've used it for anything kitcheny :0)

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

I've just finished this book and it was brilliant. I keeps you guessing till the very end (unless you're a super sleuth!!) I added it to my To Read list after Bernie said she was reading it. Thanks Bernie.

A lost child . . . On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her --but has disappeared without a trace. A terrible secret . . .

On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell Andrews learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she embarks upon a search for the truth that leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family. A mysterious inheritance . . .

On Nell's death, her granddaughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance. Cliff Cottage and its forgotten garden are notorious amongst the Cornish locals for the secrets they hold -- secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, a writer of dark Victorian fairytales. It is here that Cassandra will finally uncover the truth about the family, and solve the century-old mystery of a little girl lost.

27 March 2011

Me in a week

My sister Ruth made a Scrapbook layout recently of all she does in a week. Here's my version minus the Layout which I'm hoping to do in the first week of the Easter holidays....honest!!

From the top left - The ironing - Taking make up off and doing teeth at the end of a very long day - Going to work - Blogging - Changing the beds - A bit of fun on Red Nose Day - Catching a quick chapter while dinner cooks.

Nothing very exciting, in fact extremely mundane!!!

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:: Red Nose Day Black and White style ::

22 March 2011

What a difference a year makes

This post is back as it disappeared on me yesterday due to problems with Blogger!!!

It's been a year since the work started on the Fochabers bypass and things are moving well. It's not due to be finished until May 2012 but if they keep going as well as they have been it could be even sooner. No more lorries and tractors rumbling past my front door, although I have to say that after nearly 5 years in this house we hardly hear the noise any more.
:: February 2010 ::
:: May 2010 ::
:: March 2011 ::

Skinny Carrot Cake

I made 12 muffins out of this recipe on Sunday and last night there were none left!!

Skinny Carrot Cake
makes 16 good-sized slices /24 cupcakes/12 muffins

1 ½ cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. all-spice
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated carrots (I process mine in the food processor to make them less chunky)
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 tub low fat soft cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugars, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir well with a whisk. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, eggs and vanilla. Stir well. Add grated carrots and stir well. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.
Spoon batter in a greased 8"x3" round cake pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes for one large cake or less time if cup cakes and muffins. It is ready when it is firm to the touch in the centre and the sides start to pull away from the pan. Cool cake completely before turning out of the pan.

To make the frosting:
Beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Ice cake when cool and top with pecans.

21 March 2011

Problems with blogger

Is anyone else having Blogger problems? Mine won't work with Internet Explorer and will only work with Firefox at the moment.

It's playing merry hell with my posts etc. Hopefully it'll be back to normal soon.

20 March 2011

Delight's of my weekend

After reading Lucy's blog over at Attic 24 I thought I'd share some of my delights of the weekend. Not all of them will be that exciting to others but to me after a week of what can only be described as monotony they are a very welcome break.
:: Blue sky ::
After weeks of grey skies and rain it's nice to see blue skies and sunshine.
:: Peace and Quiet ::
Just me and the dog on a walk around the local "Estate". Not far from all the main road traffic but far enough to be nice and quiet.
:: Card making ::
An actual card!! Pretty basic and quick but at least I was in my craft room, crafting!!
:: Carrot Cakes ::
My attempt at making carrot cake. I Googled an easy low fat recipe but ended up with full fat topping!! These were for my friend Elaine who's birthday it was today. She was also the recipient of the above card :0):: Road Test ::
Well someone had to try them out. I couldn't take those to work untested now could I?:: Crochet 101 ::
Just some of the 95 Granny Squares I've made over the last year. Only 6 to go. Rubbish photo due to the time of day and not having much light in the living room.
:: Daffs ::
The only bit of colour in the garden which still resembles a bomb site after cutting all the ivy down. We still haven't been to the tip to get rid of all the branches!!

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:: Reflections ::

19 March 2011

Comic Relief 2011

Yesterday was Comic Relief 2011 or as it's better known.....Red Nose Day and as in the past it was "Do something funny for money".

Here we are, Elaine , Sharon and me all in red, sporting very fetching red streaks in our hair and wearing our red noses.

Elaine and Sharon also had on odd shoes and Elaine decided that as she didn't get to wear her Rudolph nose at Christmas she would wear that too. Here she is showing off her lovely outfit for the day.
On the table behind her is some of the £1000 raised by the pupils and staff at the school. This is our last Red Nose Day in this school as in next time we will be in our new school.

Samuel's school also did RND and had a come as you please day or dress up as a Superhero. At 14 he feels he's a little 'too old for dressing up' but not wanting to be left out if his mates were doing it he decided to go as Clark Kent. He was going to tell them he couldn't be Superman as his outfit was in the wash!!

When I asked him if anyone asked who was going as he said he didn't do it as when he got to school he couldn't remember Superman's real name!! Oh dear the youth of today.
All told Comic Relief raised a staggering £74.3 million last night and something in the region of £500 million in the last 25 years. All the money raised goes to helping people in the UK and Africa.

14 March 2011

Banana loaf

For as long as I can remember I have disliked bananas. They always look good in the shop and the green ones don't smell too bad but for some unknown, unexplained reason I just cannot bring myself to eat them.

So with that in mind I bought 4 green bananas to try last week and do you know what?.........................They are now a cake!!

No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't bring myself to taste one and so after a week of sitting there doing nothing they had turned yellow. The only thing left to do with them was to turn them into a banana loaf.

John has sampled it and says it's edible and coming from him that is praise indeed :0)

Here's a very simple recipe from studentrecipes.com

Banana Loaf

7oz plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1/2 level teaspoon bicarbonate soda
4oz caster sugar
2oz margarine
1 egg
a little milk
2 bananas (mashed)

Sieve the flour, bicarbonate soda and baking powder. Rub in the margarine and caster sugar. Add mashed bananas, beat in egg and milk and mix well. Grease a loaf tin and bake for 1 hour at 190c in the centre of the oven.

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Bramley Apples
Perfect for stewing

8 March 2011

Samuel's soup

After months of bringing home very, very basic cooking from his Home Economics class Samuel has finally brought home something edible and delicious. They are learning the art of soup making and so far he has produced .........

Spicy Bean and Pasta soup
and Cream of Tomato
He's also made Chinese Noodle soup, but don't tell him.....I left it in the flask and the next day when John went to take the lid off, the lid shot in the air, just missed the kitchen light and his eye and spun off along the kitchen floor!! It turns out that mushrooms ferment overnight and don't like being left in flasks!! I had to tell him it was lovely......................well it smelt lovely so that must count for something. Doesn't it?

7 March 2011

I can dream

In between the housework and blitzing the garden this weekend I had chance to look at the new Marks and Spencers catalogue and there are some absolutely, yummily, gorgeous things in there. Like these cushions. I love cushions but don't have enough sofa space to have them all.

I love all the different shades of reds that seem to be popular at the moment. Look at all that yumminess.
And this is MINE or at least it would be if I had the money. We've been looking for a new coffee table for months and haven't found one we liked. This is it........ but at £399.00 it will have to stay on the wish list.

Now I'm not bragging or anything but it looks like someone at M&S has stolen my idea for a sideboard/table!!
This is the one from the February magazine..........................
and this is mine I did when we decorated last October!!
Spooky huh?

6 March 2011

A sunny day

It's been lovely and sunny here most of the day and just the day to tidy up the garden. The pots are still full of last years dried out, spindly plants and the ivy has gone brown due to the heavy frost and snow we had last year.

While I was finishing off the ironing John went out and tidied the shed. I could hear something whirring away and thought he might be making the wooden tea-light holder he said he would make for me. No such luck. Instead he'd gotten out the electric saw and had started to chop down the ivy off the wall!!! All of it. The wall is now completely bare and the garden full of ivy roots, soil and leaves.
It will take about 5 runs to the tip to recycle that lot.
Gone was my hope of hanging out the bedding!!
Still amongst all the dead plants and muck there are signs of life. I found some Primulas hiding under some very brown leaves,

I have one miniature Daffodil that my MIL planted last time she was here
and my Bleeding Heart has spouted even with all the neglect it's had over the winter.

Isn't it amazing what is silently growing when you think everything has died?

5 March 2011

10 of 52

:: Apple House ::

This is the sign for one of the cottages from the Gordon Lennox Estate on the outskirts of the village. It always conjures up pictures of barns filled with apples and jars and jars of stewed apples on an old farmhouse table........or at least it does for me :0)

3 March 2011

World Book Day

Today, 3 March 2011 is World Book Day so what better way to enjoy it than to share the book I'm reading with you.

It's called "Home by Julie Myerson" and is a book my sister bought me many, many, many moons ago and I started to read but got sidetracked with something else and never finished.

Ever thought about all the people who lived in your house before you? Julie Myerson did, and set out to learn as much as she could about their fascinating lives. This is the biography of a house, the history of a home. It's an ordinary house, an ordinary home, and ordinary people have lived there for over a century. But start to explore who they were, what they believed in what they desired and they soon become as remarkable, as complicated and as fascinating as anyone.
What are you reading?