Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Teachers thank you card.

I needed to make several teachers thank you cards for Kai's pre-school teachers. I kept to a standard style for each card, square white base card, green textured card background with a pink sheet with green dots on top.

On top of this I put a little verse I had printed off with a green border, each card had a different verse ...

"Kind words from a teacher can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are endless"

"To teach is to touch a life forever"

"It is not so much what is poured into a student but what is planted by the teacher that really counts"

I finished off with a green flower & a pink button centre.

Inside I added a personal message for each teacher. I think if you feel happy with the way your childs been taught, if you feel the teachers done a good job, or gone above & beyond the call of duty then you should let them know, actually with any job I believe this. I basically trust these people with my sons life, and they are one of the biggest influences on him so a small gift & card is the least I can give them for being just brilliant.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A little extra for teacher.

I made a bookmark / keyring for Kai's teacher as a thank you for all her hardwork, support & kindness this school year.

I thought as a Pre-school teacher the jumping child pendant with a heart was perfect for her.

It is made from a strip of ribbon that can be placed within a book to keep her page, but is also long enough so if she isnt an avid reader she can use it as a keyring due to its large lobster clip end.

Finally I made a little backing card for it to slip on to give it a bit of proffessionalism
Tomorrow I'll is the last part of the "teachers" trilogy & I'll be showing you the cards I made for the teachers

Monday, 25 July 2011

A thank you gift for teacher.

I spotted some blackboard mugs in The Works & thought what a FAB idea for teachers.
Unfortunately I'd forgotten to buy wrapping paper :-( Then **ting!** I had an idea....
What wrapping paper could be more precious than paper decorated by Kai himself so I set him on a looooooong piece of paper with stamps & ink pad. It worked perfectly.

Tomorrow I'll show you the little extra pressie I made for the teacher that had Kai's group & therefore had the most to do with him, plus she is lovely :-)

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Fruity, cooling treats

It has been a GLORIOUSLY sunny day, & I think we could all do with a cooling treat.
Here, have a fruity ice lolly that Kai & I made.
We sliced up any soft fruit we had in ..... I'm sure you could use harder fruit such as apples & pears but I find ones that are softer such as strawberries, grapes & oranges are easier to eat in a lolly.
The fruit was popped into a lolly maker, followed by pure orange juice, then frozen. Tada, fruity ice lolly.

Want something a bit more grown up? Try freezing chunks of fruit & then using them instead of ice cubes
As they defrost, some of the fruit such as raspberries, release their juices flavouring your drink.
We tried it in OJ, but I'll be trying it again another time in lemonade.
You could also use it to teach your little ones about sinking & floating .... see the grapes at the bottom?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Summer Hols "To Do" list

Its that time again people, & the mood my lil mans been in lately I am kinda dreading how its going to go, so I am hoping being prepared will help a lot. I've been restocking the paint box, investing in foam shapes as well as picking up any extra bits & bobs I've spotted along the way.

This year, with Zack being older (12) & therefore a lot more independant my list has changed a little from last year & is focusing more on my 4 year old, Kai. Most of the activities Zack will still happily join in with if he's around, even if its "just to help Kai" ;-) *wink wink* of course.

I think this year, as the list is so huge & we probably wont get round to doing it all, saturday I'll let you know what we've been upto & leave links to what others have been upto, & on Sunday I'll explain in more details some of the ideas on the list e.g such as a play dough recipe, or/& explain "fake photos"

Indoor play
-Read a book (eldest can read to youngest or you can read to them)
-Write a story (can be done with pictures like a comic strip)
-Salt Dough models
-Paint Salt Dough (when its been cooked)
-Bake biscuits/cake(s) & decorate
-Make a sock puppet
-Put on a play (maybe with sock puppets)
-Collage picture out of old mags/catalogues
-Decorate clothing/shoes
-Make a suncatcher from black card with tissue paper glued over the cut out holes.
-Make scratch pictures - use crayons on card then paint over with acrylic/poster paint. Leave to dry then scratch in picture
-Make beads from fimo/paper/straws - thread onto string for themselves or as presents.
-Finger print pictures
-Make bread (can create their own shapes with it)
-Make a jigsaw
-Face painting
-Decorate picture frames
-Colouring in pictures
-Pasta necklaces - paint, add glitter, leave to dry & then thread)
-Movie day - make popcorn together, draw the curtains & put on a movie
-Treasure hunt (with clues for Zack)
-Scrapbooking - make a holiday scrapbook
-Straws & tape construction
-Foam door hangers
-Egg cup caterpillar - the egg carton "cups" cut off, painted & threaded together to make a caterpillar
-Toilet paper binoculars
-Pressed flowers (takes 10 days according to Martha Stewart)
-Paint/crayon on pebbles
-Use hand/foot prints to make other pictures.
-Rainbow rice gardens
-Make a dream catcher
-Make pinwheels
-Make chalks
-Make a sun wheel

Outdoor play
-Paint using hands/feet (& normally the rest of them as well, good outside activity)
-Make bubble paint prints (washing up liquid in watered down paint, blow bubbles with straws then place paper on top)
-Plant some seeds
-Paddling pool
-Decorate plant pots
-Turn a jar into a vase - cover in polyfilla or similar, stick on gems, shells etc
-Paper mache mask &/or hot air balloon
-Potato printing
-Junk Modelling - stick together cereal boxes, tubes, bottles etc to make a "sculpture"
-Mini beast hunt - either see what bugs they can find & identify, or give them a list to find
-Scavanger hunt - give them a list of things to find & bring back
-Photo Scavanger Hunt – give a list of items/ideas to find & take photos of.
-Messy play—make gloop, shaving foam (paint)
-Teach old games e.g Hopscotch
-Chalk piccies on the paving slabs
-Make sand stepping stones
-10pin bowling
-Fake photos
-paint in a bag
-Temporary pebble play

Possible trips out (all depends on transport & cash flow)
-Ice Skating
-Cinema—kids club
-Ironbridge Gorge Museums
-The Wrekin
-Pizza Hut
-Blackberry picking
-Apple scrumping
-Visit Family
-Go to the Park
-Fly a kite
-Feed the Ducks
-Welly Walk - go for a walk after the rain in wellies & old clothes to jump in the mud & puddles.
-Mapped walk—Z can make a route to follow or we can follow an already set route
-Photo walk - the kids get to take their own photos, so you get a kids eye view
I would love it if you could get involved with my posts, if you've done a post on what your children have been upto please let me know in the comments section & I'll add it to next saturdays post.
If you find or write a tutorial/idea for something the kids could do during the hols, again, please let me know in the comments below & I'll add a link to it in next sundays post with recognition that you left the link.

Happy Holidays all, may it be fun & stress free

Friday, 22 July 2011

Rocking MY World Friday

So whats been rocking my world this week?
  • The Staff at Kai's (now ex) Nursery
    They have been so fab the whole time Kai has been there, & made us feel so welcome. Not only have they created an atmosphere that Kai has always been happy & comfortable to enter from day one, but also one that I could also join in. I dont think they actually realise what a difference the way they act to not only the children but to the parents can make a big impact. The staff dont know I'm agrophobic & have issues with mingling with people but because they are soooooo nice (especially Mrs Kelly & Mrs Walker, purely as they were more involved with Kai I had more to do with them), and made us feel so very very welcome I felt able to go on trips with the nursery, & later on attend fun activities within the nursery. Not only within the nursery but if I didnt feel comfortable with the nursery I'd never have been able to go that bit further to attend the FEAST bus.

    They held a lovely Graduation today for those leaving nursery, Kai absolutey refused to sing the goodbye song at the end - I dont think think he wanted it to be goodbye. I hope they all realise what a great job they do, how much we appreciate them & how they shall be missed.
  • Bargains
    As many of you know I love bargains & there are some really good ones out at the moment. I managed to get 3 trilbys, 2 black leather lookalike medium sized handbags from Claires for .. bom bom boooooooom £10!!! Original price £67
    I've also managed to pick up some goodies for the xmas hampers at great prices so hoping to have nice full hampers this year.
    On monday we recieved a letter from Zacks head of english saying that at the beginning of the school year they tested all kiddies on their reading & spelling skills. Since then he's progressed by a standard of 2 & a 1/2 years!
    But wait, wait, there is more!!!
    Today he came home with a certificate ... he previously took the "United Kingdom Junior Mathematical Challenge", which is taken by years 7 & 8 out of 3700 schools around the UK (years 8 & 9 in Ireland) - He not only got into the highest 13% score out of the children taking part this year (over 250'000) but also was the highest scoring in his school.  I jokingly told him I'm getting bored  of all these awards & he's going to make me bankrupt with them all, lol
  • Back to the Hair
    Zack wasnt too fussed at me attending his school events & being seen with me & my green/blue hair ... which I found a little confusing seeing his previous reaction.
    Turns out that I actually have cool hair! His mates actually like it, to the point where one of them actually wants to dye theirs the same colour, lol.
  • In the picture
    Kai's artwork is REALLY coming along, you can now see what a lot of the things he is drawing actually are, he's playing around more with colours & techniques. My latest favourite being...
So its not his finest penmanship but its me on a bus ... can you spot my hair, lol, I found it so funny how it was nearly all done in purple but he changed colour specifically for my curls.

So whats been positive in your lives this week? Join us over at Celtic House

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lemon Drizzle cake with a lemon curd & cream cheese filling.

You will need....

For the lemon drizzle
4 lemons, juice only
75g/2¾oz caster sugar

For the sponge
200g/7oz caster sugar
200g/7oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 lemons, zest only
3 free-range eggs, beaten
200g/7oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

For the filling
2 free-range egg yolks
75g/2¾oz caster sugar
50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
2 lemons, juice and zest
100g/3½oz cream cheese
Make the lemon drizzle, in a bowl, mix together the lemon juice and sugar until the mixture is well combined and the sugar has melted. Set aside.

Make the sponge cake, For the sponge, beat the sugar, butter and lemon zest in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.
Gradually add the eggs, whisking after each addition until the egg is completely mixed in before adding the next. Carefully fold in the flour using a metal spoon
Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and is cooked through.
As soon as the cake is cooked, remove it from the springform cake tin and prick the top all over. Pour over the lemon drizzle mixture to soak the sponge, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Make the filling, For the filling, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a pan over a low to medium heat until the sugar has melted.
Add the butter, lemon juice and zest, and continue to cook, whisking continuously, for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and is smooth and well combined. Set aside to cool completely.
Using a metal spoon, carefully fold the cream cheese into the cooled lemon curd mixture to create a marbled effect.
When the sponge has cooled, cut the cake in half horizontally to create two thinner cakes. Spread the lemon filling all over the lower half of the cake, then place the top half (the half that was pricked and soaked in the lemon drizzle) on top.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Yeehawwwww Cowboy!!!

Here's a scrapbook page I made to show off Kai in his cowboy outfit.
Each plank of wood you see has been cut out and stuck on  to give the shape of the saloon. I also add black & brown card to add more detail.
The letters "Saloon" are stuck onto the back of a tag I aged with a bit of black ink.
I added a circular journalling circle which reads....
"Kai's nursery class dressed up as Cowboys & Indians for red nose day" & then dated.
As it was only Kai that was important in the photo I cut him out & placed him in the scene I had created.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sending a Hug.

A dear friend of mine was/is having a hard time & I thought she could do with a hug, unfortunately she lives quite a distance away and I didnt think a cyber hug was enough.
So I sent her this

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Pasta Twist & Cheese

Recipe can be found HERE

This is what we made on week 2 on the FEAST bus. Its like a macaroni cheese bake, with a very cheesy topping. The recipe says use breadcrumbs but we used oats that gave it a slightly more nutty taste with more texture.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Summer Holiday Fun...

This time next week my sons will be on their summer holidays school for 6 weeks which is actually quite short compared to the last few summer hols; Its not short when it comes to a childs abilities to amuse themselves so, as many of my long time followers already know, I have a list of activities they can do to keep them busy & having fun. It also helps my sanity, bored kids = annoying kids!

Next saturday I'll share my list with you, and each saturday after that share what we've been upto. I'm sure, with Zack being 12 & spending more time with his friends he wont be in as many photos as last year, but you never know, his friends might want to join in some activities as well.

I'd love it if we could help each other & you guys could share some of your ideas for the summer hols in the comments as well.

To see Summer hols 2010 look HERE

Friday, 15 July 2011

Rocking MY World Friday

Can you believe its friday again! The weeks are busy at the moment & rather fun at times...

  • I spent a lovely morning at Kai's nursery last friday morning making a collage.
  • Kai makes me giggle at times with his clothes. He's very independent when it comes to choosing what he wants to wear outside of nursery, hes definately defining his own style, & I think may even have a future career in fashion design! It was a rather hot day & he decided it was too hot for his t-shirt so instead he came up with a lovely off the shoulder crop top....
....out of a pair of boxers!!!!!
  • We went to Zacks parents conference (we always called it parents evening but suppose they had to change that as its now held in the day) & when it came to what he can improve on his tutor just didnt know what to put, she is so happy with him (as are we). I did come up with a few points I thought he needed to work on which she agreed with but on the whole he is doing amazingly well, to the point that in Maths he's actually working at a GCSE grade C level, for a year 7 I think that is AMAZING.
  • Cooking - I am so enjoying cooking again, sometimes I get into a slump where I'm repeating the same meals & really am fed up with cooking anything. With the help of the FEAST bus I have re found my passion. It truely is a shame that this week was my last lesson on it :-( but I have learnt some invaluable tricks.
  • Kai went round to a friends house for the first time this week, we both had a lovely, relaxed time
  • Finally, being with my partner for 9 years & 1 day (today). Ryan & I are in many ways total opposites but this makes us the perfect team, we complete each other. I think it was the greeks who believed that humans were once creatures with 4 arms, 4 legs, 2 heads etc. To make these creatures so they werent so strong & powerful one of the gods (or maybe even a goddess) ripped them in two, scattering them across the world. These creatures, now human, spent their lives looking for their "other half" because only then could they be completely whole, can they be at their strongest & most powerful. This is how it is with Ryan & myself, together we are whole. I am the calm to his hot temper, he is the confidence to my lack of,  He is the yang to my yin, etc etc etc, we even each other out and become balanced. We've had our ups & downs like all couples but after these 9 years I think we're stronger than ever.
If you wish to join us with our friday postive posts & let us know whats Rocking YOUR world friday then pop on over to Celtic House & link up.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Homemade Fishfingers

I've been noticing that more & more companies are using potatoe starch in the batters/bread crumb covering on fish fingers & after watching children making them on cbeebies I decided to try making my own.

I defrosted some white fish fillets & roughly sliced into fingers. I then dipped these in flour I'd mixed with a little bit of pepper earlier.
Next was a dip into whisked egg before covering in breadcrumbs
I placed the fishfingers onto a baking tray & popped into the oven at 180C until they turned golden.

Sooooooo easy to make I should have done it years ago.
The texture was lovely & the fish taste so much fresher & stronger than usual.
The breadcrumb topping however was a bit bland (though the lemon I squeezed onto them was lovely), so next time I'm going to try adding Parmasan to the breadcrumbs, or maybe lemon zest & chopped parsley to add more flavour.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Rice Krispie Squares

I make these as a quick snack or pud, & they always disappear very quickly.
You will need....

  • 50g butter

  • 200g white marshmallows

  • 150g crisped rice cereal

  • Melt butter (or marg) in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until melted & well blended. Cook for a further 2mins, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
    Add cereal & mix until fully covered
    Using a wet spoon or geaseproof paper press mixture firmly & evenly into a buttered tin (I always line mine with greaseprook paper for ease). Cut into squares when cool.

    Tips & alternative versions
    While the krispie squares are setting film the saucepan with boiling water to make it easy to clean.
    Add raisins, cherries, choc chips or other ingredients with the rice cereal to make slightly different krispie squares.

    Tuesday, 12 July 2011

    Strawberry Cupcakes - my new summer fav.

    With Strawberries so cheap this summer these cupcakes are a definate must try & have become a favourite of mine.
    You will need...
    • 120g sugar
    • 55g unsalted butter
    • 1 large egg
    • 180ml natural yogurt
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 170g self-raising flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced
    • 60g butter, softened
    • 60g cream cheese
    • 200g icing sugar, sifted
    • Fresh strawberries to garnish

    Cream the sugar & unsalted butter until light & fluffy.
    Add egg, yogurt & 1tsp vanilla extract, stirring until smooth & well blended.
    Sift in flour, baking powder, salt & baking powder & mix.
    Fold in the strawberries
    Spoon the mixture into about 12 cupcakes & bake at 180C for about 20-25 mins
    To make the frosting cream together the softened butter & cream cheese until creamy.
    Gradually add the icing sugar, then the remaining vanilla extract.
    When the cupcakes are cool add the frosting & garnish with a strawberry (I used wild strawberries from my garden)

    Monday, 11 July 2011

    Pasta Sauce

    I tried using the homemade tomato sauce as a pasta sauce as it was
    It was rather bland, & definately needed a stronger flavour added so I tried Salami & Mushroom, mmmmmmmm, so much nicer (& rather spicey)
    Shall be trying it with sweetcorn & Tuna next.

    Sunday, 10 July 2011

    School FEAST Bus

    On 20th October 2010 Telford & Wrekin Council launched the FEAST (Food Skills And Excellence Training) Bus. With £85'000 raised from grants the bus was converted into a state-of-the-art mobile kitchen with a seating area .... I'd happily have a kitchen like it!

    The idea behind the bus was to train school cooks so our children could be offered healthy, tasty, fresh meals at lunchtimes but this is not all it provides. The FEAST bus offers a place to teach cooking where there is a lack of space or cooking apparatus. It is used to teach parents (such as myself) to cook healthy meals, snacks and desserts as well as teaching children and teens cooking skills. Only this week I was taught how to portion off a raw chicken. We removed the wings, legs & breast meat, leaving barely any on the bones which was then used to create a stock. With 2 whole chicken costing as little as £7, the breast meat off 1 chicken alone would have cost us more than £5 by itself.

    This is the outside of the FEAST bus (well, durrrrr, obviously!)
    We start with washing our hands & putting our aprons on (lovely denim ones) before getting the ingredients out - all of which are supplied for us as part of the course. We get chopping, mixing & cooking, following the recipe while being guided by Debbie, our teacher, & taught some fab tricks of the trade. Deb adapts the recipes & course to suit the group she has & their level of ability.
    After each stage we take it in turns to wash up, dry & clean the table, work surfaces etc.
    If theres time we all sit round for a cuppa & a natter while food finishes off cooking.
    We finish by choosing as a group what we want to make the following week. Its nice to have this bit of freedom. As a group we normally pick a savory dish & a sweet dish - something for Tea & Pud to follow ;-)

    Inside the bus ...
    Having finished our cooking Debbie wraps up the chicken stock ready to use next week, and Sam takes a lil break. Here you can see the table we use to chop, mix etc & generally get all prep done. Deb (at the front) is standing in front of one of the posh hobs - they only stay on if theres a pan on it, so turn off as soon as you lift the pan off.
    Thank you to Deb & Sam for not minding having their photos taken :-)

    Behind Deb is the oven. The bin is normally slipped away but is easy to move round as it has been in the photo to easily pop in a boiled chicken carcass. There are 3 pairs of hobs spread around the kitchen area, plenty of cupboards for storage, a fridge & a sink with runing water
    To get a better look at the bus when it was brand spanking new follow THIS link.

    So far we have learnt to make:- Pizza from scratch, cheesy pasta twists, apple flapjacks, banana flapjacks, chicken curry, carrot & oat fruit muffins & strawberry muffins all in 3 lessons. Next week we're making minestrone soup & fruit pie. Its not only about the recipes though, its the skills we get while making them such as portioning off a chicken, how to seed a Pepper with barely any waste, how to make a sauce from a rue, etc.

    If you get a chance to do a course on the FEAST bus I would thoroughly recommend it, it has been an immensly enjoyable course, teaching me skills I can not only use myself but pass onto my children & other people.

    The FEAST bus will be at Telford's CultureFest 2011 cooking up some pizza for you to try, & you get the chance to make some bread - pop along for a nosey & to join in.

    If your interested in having a go on the FEAST bus then you can contact Debbie Hayfield on:
    01952 380964, or email (she's lovely so dont feel nervous contacting her)

    Within Telford the courses are free, but it can also be hired for a fee outside this area as well.

    Saturday, 9 July 2011

    Pizza from scratch

    The first meal we made on the FEAST bus was PIZZA!! totally from scratch!!! Though we havent been given the recipe folder yet I did find a similar recipe for the base so we could make it at home.
    This one

    500g flour
    7g sachets yeast
    1/2 tsp golden sugar
    2tbsp oil
    325ml lukewarm water
    Homemade tomato sauce (HERE)
    cheese & anything else you want on top.

    Sift the flour into a mixing bowl & make a well.
    Mix the yeast, sugar, oil into the water. Leave a few minutes before before pouring it into the well in the flour. Slowly draw in the flour while stirring until you have a lovely dough.
    Knead for a while before putting into a large floured bowl, put a bit of flour on top. cover with a damp cloth & leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour.

    Remove the dough & knead it again. This amount should make 2 large pizzas - if theres too much you can store it in the fridge or freezer.

    Cover a baking tray with baking paper. Add the dough on top & either stretch, push or use a rolling pin to get the pizza base into the height, size and shape you want .... remembering it will rise to double its height when cooked.

    I use a ladle to scoop a spoonful of tomato sauce & spread it out with the bottom of the spoon.
    This photo shows how much is too much to use, lol, it leaves the pizza a bit soggy. The next time I made it I put a thin layer which worked a lot better,
    Add your toppings - I got Kai to do this for me :-)
    Bake at 160C until it goes golden.


    Friday, 8 July 2011

    Rocking My World Friday

    Its Friday again, woohoo, so what Positive things has this week brought me?

    I'm sleeping soundly again, yay!!! I think if I'd gone much longer I'd probably have gone even more loopy than I am now.

    I had a day of crafting & it was glorious. I didnt get much done (2 cards, some rice krispie squares (recipe will be up wednesday) & strawberry cupcakes (recipe will be up tuesday)) but it was lovely to sit & play.

    Ryan bought me a bouquet of White Lillies (no, I'm not superstitious). Its the first time he's ever BOUGHT me flowers (we've been together near enough 9 years).

    Zack received an award at his school this week. For each subject a girl & boy are chosen from each year who have achieved the most in that subject. They also try & work it so theres no duplication either. Zack won his for Science. I am sooooooooo very proud of him and to be honest, happy that it was a subject other than Maths as this is the subject that he really excels in ... its nice for him to get high praise in other subjects as well.

    I was yet again on the FEAST bus this week & learnt not only how to make chicken curry from scratch, carrot & oat muffins & strawberry muffins but also how to portion off a raw chicken!!! I'm not squeamish around meat, as long as its been prepared for me (i.e no heads etc, very sorry to any vegetarians out there) then I'm ok to deal with it. We learnt how to remove the legs, wings & breast meat. It felt a real achievement to me, & works out so much cheaper than buying fillets.
    More about the FEAST bus on Sunday when I will tell you all about it with a few photos.

    As you will be seeing on my blog these coming weeks I've been baking loads of food from scratch & have been thoroughly enjoying it. I enjoy putting the effort into the food when my family show they appreciate it.

    So how has your week been? If you want to share or have a look at other peoples weeks pop on over to Celtic House.

    Thursday, 7 July 2011

    Chilli Con Carne

    You will need:-
    1 large onion
    1 red pepper - cubed
    1tsp hot chilli pepper or 1tbsp mild/medium (I actually use 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper instead as my lot dont like chilli)
    1tsp paprika
    1tsp ground cumin
    500g minced beef
    1/2 pt beef stock
    600ml homemade tomato sauce (see HERE)
    1/2 tsp dried Marjoram
    Salt & pepper
    tin Kidney beans
    tin baked beans

    add a splash of oil to the pan & cook the onions in it, on a low heat, until soft (about 5mins)
    Add the red pepper, chilli, paprika & cumin, stir. Cook for a further 5 mins stirring occassionally
    Add the mince & cook until brown before stirring in the stock, tomato sauce, marjoram, salt & pepper (to your own taste)
    Bring to the boil, stir, then simmer for 20mins stirring occassionally to make sure the bottom of the pan doesnt catch.
    Finally add both cans of beans & simmer for a further 10 mins.
    Taste to see if it needs any more seasoning, if it does then add it.
    Remove from the heat & leave for 10mins to allow flavours to infuse
    Personally I enjoy it most served on a plate of fluffy white rice.

    Wednesday, 6 July 2011

    Tomato Sauce with LOADS of hidden veg

    This is the first thing we made on the FEAST bus & is jam packed full of hidden veg, a tomato sauce that can be used on & in LOADS of things, so far I've used it on pizza, in chilli con carne & as a Pasta sauce, I'll be showing you these this week. I'm planning on using it in bolognaise, soup and anything else I'd normally put tinned tomatoes and tomato puree in.

    So on with the recipe.
    Get a tin of tomatoes (or 2), tomatoe puree & a stack of veg (any except Parsnips & Broccoli, we were told they drown out the other flavours)
    This time I used:-
    2 tins of tomatoes
    1 tube of tomato puree
    1/2 a tub of cherry tomatoes
    1/2 tub mushrooms
    3 courgettes
    3 peppers (1 of each colour)
    about 8 medium sized carrots
    garlic powder
    3 onions
    4 frozen balls of spinach (not shown in the photo)
    You can pretty much use anything though, I've some frozen sprouts that arent being used as they're not very nice so I'll add these next time. We're meant to eat fruit & veg of every colour of the rainbow to get a wide spread of vitamins & minerals, this recipe easily does that.

    Fry the onions with the garlic (powder, sauce or fresh garlic, its upto you) until soft
    Add the tinned tomatoes & tomato puree
    Chop the veg & add them to the pan
    Oooops, my pans a bit too full
    I swapped & added it all into my wok
    Simmer until softening.
    Blend the lot until as lumpy/smooth as you want.
    It does end up a bit redder than this photo shows

    I then divide it between my plastic chinese tubs (these can be bought in poundland, or just wash out the ones you have left after getting take away)
    This amount works out to be about 6 meals, it keeps in the fridge well & can also be frozen.

    Tomorrow I'll show you how I use this sauce to make Chilli Con Carne.

    CCW Challenge "For Teacher"

    Morning Folks, I've just dropped my lil man off for his 2nd visit in the class he'll be starting in September. Though he didnt want to go initially, once in he happily sat at the table full of dinosaur toys & kissed us goodbye. I did feel a bit teary to leave him but am unsure why.

    With only 2 & 1/2 weeks left at his nursery, where the staff have been lovely to both of us, its time to make them a card to show our appreciation, so what a perfect time for the "For Teacher" card challenge over at Creative Craft World Blog!!!

    Heres the one I did as Guest Designer this week at CCW

    I used the "Hoot Hooray" digi stamp from Whimsie Doodles (our kindly sponsor this week) - He originally comes holding a graduation certificate which I didnt think was quite age appropriate for nursery so I cut it out and added a book instead.

    Not only could you win a prize for entering the challenge but theres also a discount!! Go have a lookie-see HERE

    Tuesday, 5 July 2011

    A Sweeeeeeet Blog Award

    The lovely Carmen has decided I'm sweet ..... I knew those sugary things I eat were good for something

    So, the rules...
    "The rules are that I must share 7 things with you about myself and pass the award on to 8 other bloggers (who must then do the same)."

    Lets see, things I havent told you before that you might find a teeny bit interesting, ooo, hows about some sugary facts...
    1. I only eat porridge to enjoy the brown sugar on top.
    2. At school we'd sneak out at lunch to buy battered Mars Bars
    3. As a student I wouldnt eat or drink anything within the college building unless it was chocolate.
    4. My favourite chocolate is cadburys, I'd prefer that over any of the posh stuff.
    5. I love cocktails, the sweeter the better - but very rarely drink alcohol.
    6. Dr Pepper used to give me such a sugar/caffeine rush that I would appear almost drunk.
    7. I used to nik spoonfuls of demerara sugar out of my moms baking tub to eat .... I still enjoy eating it now

    So who to pass it on to....

    Fully fledged Noonie (Nanny Oonie) aka Chocolate orange - the reason is self explanitory, lol

    Ruth - Coz she always leaves the loveliest, sweetest of comments - & is generally a fab person.

    Mel - A fab fab fab blogger, always something interesting to read on there & is a lovely person as well - a bit of a nutty bar.

    Sarah - coz she's just the sweetiest person you could ever meet

    Hayley - She makes the yummiest cakes & biccies

    PB aka @purplebunny - a sweet gal to talk to on twitter

    Nicky - A talented crafter of mixed mediums ... which I'm sure will have included sweet wrappers at some point.

    So thats me done ....a perfect theme to go with the many food posts I am planning on writing ... thanks Carmen.


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