Monthly Archives: January 2012

Meal Plan Monday – Week 2 (30th January 2012)

We had a good week last week, I attempted my own tomato sauce for the meatballs and it went down really well.  I did a big online shop for the next two weeks and hopefully we will stick to the plan again.

I have a new Slimming World cook book so we are testing a lot of them out this week.

This is what we are having this week:

Monday – 5 Spice Braised Pork

Tuesday – Roast Cod in Bacon

Wednesday – Winter Barley and Veg Casserole

Thursday – Rich Banger and Bean Stew

Friday – One Pot Chicken Cous Cous

Saturday – Meatballs and Chunky Veg Stew

Sunday – Slow Cooked Lamb Shanks

I will let you know how the experiments go.

Don’t forget to pop over to Mrs M’s blog to see the other meal plans.

February Guest Posts – Love

We are looking for Guest Posts for February and because its Valentines Day on the 14th the theme is Love!

We want to know who and what you Love. The post can be about your children, your partner, food, music, books. Whatever you love tell us about it.

We will be posting them throughout the whole month.

If you would like to submit a post then email

Cooking With Children – Cheese Scones

I love baking with my daughter. It’s a great way to keep her occupied and it can be lots of fun. The trick is to keep calm and expect a lot of mess!


Keep it simple, if you have too much to do they can get bored. I get everything weighed out and prepared before we start it makes life a lot easier.


Here is my recipe for Cheese Scones:



225g/8oz self raising flour

Pinch of salt

55g/2oz butter

25g/1oz mature cheddar cheese, grated

150ml/5fl oz milk



1. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet


2. Mix together the flour and salt and rub in the butter.


3. Stir in the cheese and then the milk to get a soft dough.


4. Turn on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly. Pat out to a round 2cm/¾in thick. Use a cutter of your choice, I have a flower shaped one and place on the baking sheet. Lightly knead together the rest of the dough and stamp out more scones to use it all up.


5. Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.


I wrap mine in grease proof paper to keep fresh and keep in an air tight container.

Meal Plan Monday – Week 1 (22nd January 2012)

I am a big believer in meal planning not only does it make your life so much easier but you save money to. All our meals are made from scratch.

Mrs M over at At Home With Mrs M hosts a weekly linky called Meal Plan Monday so I have decided to join in. 1) so I can share what we have and 2) to get some inspiration for meals.

This is what we are having this week:

Monday – Chicken and Bacon Hotpot (made with left over roast chicken)

Tuesday – Sausage & Root Veg Casserole

Wednesday – Meatballs and Spaghetti

Thursday – Turkey, Bacon & Thyme Hotpot

Friday – Beef & Ale Casserole

Saturday – Fish Cakes

Sunday – Mushroom Lasagne

Don’t forget to pop over to Mrs M’s blog to see the other meal plans.


Thrifty Tips – Love Your Leftovers

Thrifty Tips

An average family wastes £50 worth of food every month, that’s £600 a year! With a few simple changes to the way you shop and use your food you can stop waste and save money.

The trick is to plan, plan, and plan.

Plan your meals

Plan your shopping

Plan what you are going to do with your leftovers

Here are my top tips for using your leftovers:

Chicken – I often roast a chicken for dinner and once we have finished remove all the meat of the bones for at least one more meal. You’ll be surprised how much meat is on a chicken.

You can make:

Chicken and mushroom pasta

Chicken and pesto pasties

Chicken Pie (great if you also have left over veg)

Chicken Salad

Chicken Sandwiches

You can also use the carcass to make chicken stock.

Pasta – I always cook too much pasta, even if I weigh it there is too much. I pop the left over in the fridge and use it for lunch the next day. You can have it cold mix with some pesto or warm it in a tomato sauce.

Vegetables – Blitz up leftover cooked veg into a pasta sauce or add some stock and you have soup for lunch.

Stews, casseroles, mince etc – Have these for lunch the next day or portion up and freeze for those days when you just don’t feel like cooking.

What do you do with your leftovers?

Image: Ambro /

Craft Corner – Homemade Playdough

Craft Corner

This is one of my daughter’s favourite things to do. Making your own playdough is simple and cheap to do.


I got this recipe from our local playgroup. It makes a large amount so I have split into four and use different colours.


Get your child involved in making the dough as well as playing with it afterwards.



  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp cream of tartar
  • Food colourings
  • Optional extras – glitter, food flavourings.


To Make:

  • Mix the dry ingredients together.
  • Add the oil and food colouring to the water and mix.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix together with your hands to form a dough.


Once you have finished playing with the dough wrap in Clingfilm or place in a plastic bag to stop it drying out. If kept well the dough should last months.


You can also add glitter to the mix for some sparkle or food flavourings such as vanilla or strawberry which will give the dough a nice smell.


Image: Grant Cochrane /

Love Your Local….Library

One of my biggest luxuries is buying brand new books. If I am in the mood I can read a book in one day which can be an expensive habit. Joining my local library was the best thing I ever did, you’ll be surprised what services they have to offer:

  • Obviously you can take books out for free. I take a mixture of novels and practical books like recipe and craft books.
  • Free children’s events such a story or rhyme time.
  • Bookstart Bear Club – Some libraries have the Bookstart Bear Club which run story time but also have a passport for your children to collect stamps in. Each time they collect 6 they get a certificate.
  • Free internet. You can often book sessions to use their computers.
  • DVD hire. Its often cheaper to hire from the library then from other places. My local library charges 50p a week for children’s films.
  • Online renewal, which I love as I sometimes late, returning books.

My daughter has caught my love for the library and we can spend an hour reading and choosing books. Educational and free what more do you need.

Visit for details of your local services

Image: ponsuwan /