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Monday, 30 January 2012

Meal Planning Monday 30 January 2012

I have to say that I'm finding meal planning most helpful.  I'm not ending the week with lots of out of date foods and soggy salad/veg that needs using up.  My grocery bills also seem to have dropped a bit too, so I think I'll be continuing with this for some time.   

Here in Spain it is more normal to eat a big lunch than a dinner.  As my girlies have got used to this from being at school, I've continued at home.  It's certainly easier to prepare a cooked meal in the middle of the day during the summer months than it is in the heat of early evening.

My menus always seem to be a little samey too, not to the extent of it it's Monday it's bolognaise, but I do tend to repeat successes rather frequently.  So I'm hoping to try a few new meals out too.  I managed to stick quite well to last weeks menu and even managed to bake these - using up some soggy bananas I had - delicious and definitely on the do again list.

 Now this weeks we will probably be eating

Paprika Chicken
Nearly Lasagne
Sausage Pasta Bake

I am linking up with Mrs M, so clink on the linky and come and see what everyone else is cooking up

The €5 Shelf

You may or may not have seen my recent tweets about some drilling that was going on in my sitting room.  Following the recent decorating, the wall above the television was looking rather bare.

You can just about see it here

A piece of an old wooden gazebo, was chopped to length in the garden.

The original plank is pretty ropey as you can see

Sanded down with child labour :)

Another piece was cut into fancy bracket shapes

It was all varnished


The following day, once the varnish had dried, these insubstantial looking brackets were attached, along with some plates on the wall

And ta-da a new shelf for the sitting room for the grand total of €5 the cost of the hanging hooks and plates.  I'm so very pleased with how it's turned out.


Just need to sort out some suitable decorations for it now.  I'm starting to get there now, some new cushions are probably next up, just need to dust off the sewing machine.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


So, having decided to join in with At Home with Mrs M!'s Monday Meal Planning, I thought I'd better start blogging a few more recipes.  

Bolognaise sauce features heavily in our weekly dinners and this is how I make mine.  The original recipe was given to me by a friend of mine on a (very scruffy now) piece of paper.  Where it originated from I don't know.  Also, I never actually look at the recipe anymore and just sort of eyeball it!!!

I always get clean plates and requests for more from this sauce and I like the way it contains four different vegetables too, not that you'd know it by the taste.

700g Beef Mince (that's the size they sell in my local supermarket)
1 Large Onion
3 or 4 Carrots (depending on size)
3 or 4 Sticks of celery (ditto)
1 Chicken Stock Cube made up to about 250ml
100ml of Milk
Teaspoon of Nutmeg
1 big and 1 small tin of chopped tomatoes 
Glug of Olive Oil


Blitz in the food processor (or grate) the onion and soften in the oil.  Add to this blitzed (or grated) carrots and celery.  Cook on a low heat for about 10 mins. 
Whack the heat up and add the minced beef, stir it really well, until the beef is browned and it as all well and truly mixed in together.

With the heat still up high, add the stock and let it boil away, stirring regularly until the meat looks dry again.  Add the milk and nutmeg and do the same.  Once it looks quite dry, add the tins of tomato. and lower the heat until i
Lower the heat and leave it to simmer for two or three hours, stirring occasionally.  When all the juice from the tomatoes has been absorbed and you are left with something that looks like this.
Note, some bolognaise has been removed from here - it doesn't cook down that much!!!

We love this with pasta and Parmesan, made into lasagna or for anything that calls for a ragú sauce.  This makes enough for two or three meals for us, so I freeze in portions, any that is left over.  It is equally delicious defrosted, if not better.

I apologise for lack of plated up photos - we were starving!!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Meal Planning Monday 22 Jan 2012

 Well, so far so good and I managed to stick to last weeks plan pretty well, including making a surprise Lemon Pudding in the Slow Cooker.  The only thing that didn't get made was the Shepherds Pie, which should've been for Sunday, but a salad was requested instead.
Pork Stroganof (with the leftover loin)
Shepherds Pie
Taragon Chicken
BBQ Ribs 
I think that will do for next week, I'm obviously missing one meal, but am sure that there is something in the freezer that will do.

I am linking up with Mrs M, so clink on the linky and come and see what everyone else is cooking up

Thursday, 19 January 2012

3 weeks of resolutions

and I'm trying hard with my organising.  Today I tackled The Post

Remember it from here?  Well, the good news is it all opened now, although it's not yet been filed.  The bad news is it wasn't just 3 or 4 months worth, there were some bills in there from 2010.  

Oh the shame.

The fly tipping and laundry have still not been totally addressed yet, and the jury is still out on the no smoking - but we are making progress.  If everyday was normal, then I think I'd be quite the Stepford Wife, but when you start to throw doctors/dentists/school appointments, bad nights sleep, the finishing touches that are needed to be done to the sitting room, translating call outs etc. into the mix, I need more hours in my days.

However, I am getting there and can feel a big bonfire coming up soon, especially when I start to tackle the depths of the filing cabinet.

So how are you all doing with your resolutions?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Window to the Soul

I decided to join in with The Gallery on Sticky Fingers today - subject Eyes

This is a picture of Girlie #1 taken about 2 years ago.  I still love it and keep meaning to print and frame it.  I'm sure it will happen one day.

Click on the linky below to see other entries and link up. 

Monday, 16 January 2012

Meal Planning Monday 15 Jan 2012

In my desire to be more organised, I've decided to try and plan my meals, so today I am linking up with Mrs M. This should work out well for me as Tuesday is my supermarket day, so I can plan today and shop tomorrow.  Hopefully then, I won't have so much food wasteage - not that it's really wasted here as most scraps go to either the chickens or the dogs - but you know what I mean.

(or meatballs to most of you)
Spaghetti Bolognaise
Paprika Pork with Yellow Rice
Lentil and Sausage Casserole
Shepherds Pie
Apple Roast Pork Loin 
Chicken and Brocoli Bake

Well, lets see how it goes 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The new coat

of paint was finished last weekend - hoorayJust look at the differenceMust admit that the new paint has got a shine, so the old ceiling looks a lot worse in the photo than it was in real life.

 Here are some pictures of the nearly completed room.  Painted and with most of the furniture put back in place.  It still needs ornamenting or dressing though, which bit by bit we are getting done.

You'd have thought I'd manage to close the loo door now wouldn't you.  Doh!!!

 You can see what awful light I have in my sitting room, so the photos are not what I'd like them to be!!!  Did you notice, I don't have any windows.  Only doors.

And now some before and afters, so that you can see the difference.

 I'm really please with how it's turned out.  It's brightened it right up, but doesn't feel cold.  I've gotten rid of the old kitchen light that was hanging in one end of the lounge, just need to find something to hang at the other end now.  

I'm liking it all a bit emptier and won't be returning all the books to the book case, nor all the pictures and vases etc we had dotted about.  I don't have a mantelpiece, which I quite miss for decorating at Christmas time, so am thinking of putting a big chunky shelf above the TV.  The world's biggest and ugliest desk is still in situ, but I also have a cunning plan for that too.  Would make life easier if I had a fat wallet, and could just go rushing off to buy these things at once, but as they are fond of saying around here poco a poco

Linking up to 

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

His and Hers Painting Guide

Well, in my 20+ years of home ownership, I have learnt something NEW.  Apparently there are two ways to go about painting or redecorating - who knew?!

I have always been of the camp - buy paint, move crap from room to be painted, and cover any big heavy crap furniture.

Apply paint and with a damp rag wipe away any bits of paint that that mistakenly attach themselves to plug outlets door frames etc.  This I am now informed is the wrong way.

The right way involves P.R.E.P.A.R.A.T.I.O.N.  It would appear, that to paint properly one has to prepare.  Hence I spent many hours of my life (that I will never get back) yesterday wrapping said outlets, door frames etc in masking tape.

I did try to explain that due to previous paint applications, this might not be the most time effective way of painting - but hey - you've got to pick your battles.

Previous Painting Effort - That escaped the Rag!!!

 Watch this space for the new colour reveal.