Turning 40….

old lady

Ok, so I’m turning 40 in a couple of months, I get very excited about my birthday, ask anyone who knows me. I’m not one of these people who doesn’t like telling people how old I am, it really doesn’t bother me.

I wake up earlier than the kids on Christmas Day and I celebrate my birthdays for about 4 weeks, I’m an excitable person, what can I say?

It doesn’t sit well with Beardy, who needs his sleep and I’m waking him up at 5.30am on Christmas morning asking him why the kids aren’t up yet, he doesn’t like it, I get a ‘uhh, shut up!’¬†and other words that I pretend I don’t hear, whatever it is it’s not usually accompanied with an ‘I love you’ or ‘darling’ at the end. We are like chalk and cheese in that respect (I would definitely be the cheese). So I lie there, like a plank, staring up at the ceiling waiting for one of them to come in and jump on me…….I’m sure it’ll get better, I’ll wind them up more on Christmas Eve this year ūüėȬ†.

Anyway, enough blabbing, so, my Birthday –¬†everyone has starting saying to me ‘oh, you wait, everything changes when you’re 40, you’ll start feeling all the aches and pains, you’ll put on weight, you’ll be tired, you’ll forget stuff’…wait, what? I’m going to be 40 not 400! Seriously, does this really happen? This can’t really be true can it? Am I going to wake up on the morning of my birthday and not be able to get out of bed from all the aches and pains that have¬†plagued me during the night? The weight thing goes without saying, it’s easier to put on weight when you get older, that happens anyway, I might need to stop eating my body weight in cheese,¬†that will be tricky and there could be some consoling needed there¬†but I will try. The tiredness and¬†forgetting stuff, well that’s happened ever since Bear was born really, I am a professional forgetter already, I can deal with that.

I feel like, from what everyone has told me, I should be more prepared (and clearly so do a lot of other people¬†as I seem to be getting loads of emails lately about planning my funeral!!! – what’s that all about?) So, in preparation for my impending death,¬†I’ve decided I’m going to make a bucket list,¬†¬†I probably won’t end up doing all of them, but I’m going to try my hardest!!! Any recommendations gratefully received!

So far….

  • Parachute Jump
  • Swim with Dolphins
  • White water raft down the Colorado River
  • Learn how to play Fifa on the PS4 (sorry Beardy but you need to help with this one!)
  • Go to an ice hotel
  • See the Northern Lights
  • ‘do’ VEGAS!
  • Go to a Baseball or American Football game
  • Eat seafood at Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco
  • Fire a gun
  • Write a book
  • One day, live by the sea
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Top Tip – Chicken Nuggets

nuggets nuggets1

I know my Best Friend won’t mind me sharing this with the world – she gave me a top tip the other day which I hadn’t heard before and¬†we tried it tonight!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets/Dippers/Goujons 

Cut up your chicken breasts into strips or chunks. Dip them in your seasoned egg mixture and then into a bowl of crushed up cornflakes!!!! Pure genius – makes total sense and much less messy than double dipping. Now my finger nails won’t get clogged up with eggy flour and breadcrumb mixture! Yay! And delicious to boot. ūüôā

Easy Cheesy Mushrooms on Toast

cheesy mushrooms

It’s all about simple, quick dinners this week. Beardy has abandoned me for a week on a business trip, so I’m cooking for one and really can’t be bothered with anything that’s going to take longer than about 10 minutes…and yes! Shocker! I actually remembered to take a photo!!!

After Beardy, Bear and Boo, Cheese is my next big love (if you’re a follower you’ll know this already), then comes Mushrooms, so what better than a plate of Cheesy Mushrooms on Toast! Not very interesting you might think, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. No measurements, no messing, no mucking Рjust chucking! Hmmm, might make that my new motto.

Ingredients

  • Pack of mushrooms (I like to break them up with my fingers¬†rather than cut with a knife as like mouthfuls of rustic chunkiness)
  • Butter
  • Handful of cheddar cheese
  • Couple of slices of brie (I had this left over so chucked it in)
  • Half a ball of mozzarella, torn up
  • Half a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
  • Lots of black pepper

Method

Basically, fry off the mushrooms in a bit of butter for a few minutes and then chuck everything else in until you have a big gooey cheesy mess of loveliness (did I mention I love cheese?), pop on top of your toast/bagel/muffin and enjoy! Job done. Yummy in my Tummy.

(also yum with some blue cheese in place of the mustard).

My Quote of the Day

I know I keep banging on about being kind to each other,¬†I tell it to the kids all the time, for all the good it does! I’m reading a follow up to one of my favourite books – Wonder, The Julian Chapter,¬†and although I’m not very far into it, one line in it triggered something in me and I’ve been thinking about it all day. Something I really strongly believe to be true and I wish I’d written myself.

There’s no rule book that tells you how to act in every given situation in life, you know? So what I always say is that it’s always better to err on the side of kindness. That’s the secret.¬†If you don’t know what to do, just be kind. You can’t go wrong.

How beautiful is that? I feel a little bit like a hippy (feel the love, man)¬†and I’m sure some people will go ‘oh for gods sake –¬†lame!’. I’m not preaching or anything, I just think it’s lovely and wanted to share.

Moussaka

good stuff

The picture¬†is nothing to do with Moussaka, I just liked it and pages generally look better with a picture¬†on! Note to self – remember to take photos of what you cook! Sorry!…again.

My Bestie asked me to put a recipe for Moussaka on here and not being one to want to disappoint here it is…..

Great for a family meal as we all love it, the kids tell me every time they see an aubergine that they hate aubergines;¬†when they ask me what the black bits are in¬†Moussaka and I tell them ‘aubergine’, they laugh at me, like they think I’m joking, because apparently they hate aubergine so it can’t be that. I’ve given up and now tell them they’re slugs, they seem to be ok with this?!

Ingredients

  • 2 Aubergines (or slugs – not really though, please don’t put slugs in your Moussaka!)
  • 500g Minced lamb
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp All Spice
  • dash of Worcester Sauce
  • glass of red wine (optional)
  • 2 tsp marmite (I know this sounds weird, but it works)
  • two handfuls of grated cheddar cheese
  • 150ml double cream

Method

  • Pop the oven on to 180 degrees
  • Slice the aubergines into 1cm slices and place on a baking tray, sprinkle with water and pop in the oven for 15 mins
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan fry off the lamb mince and drain off any fat
  • Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, worcester sauce, all spice, marmite and red wine to the mince and leave to simmer (sometimes I forget the red wine and still tastes good)
  • Season as preferred
  • Once the mince is done get out a baking dish and remove aubergines from the oven
  • Put one layer of mince on the bottom, covered by a layer of aubergine, on top of this put some grated cheese and drizzle half of the cream over the top of the cheese. Do the same again with another layer leaving the layer of aubergine on the top with cream first and lots of cheese on top of the cream.
  • Put in the oven until the cheese on top is brown and bubbling.

Nom Nom Nom.

Prawn & Chorizo Spanish Rice

prawn and chorizo

I based this recipe on one in my quick and easy Good Food book, which I love (and which the photo is of as I totally forgot to take a photo….again! Soz). All the recipes in there are, surprisingly, yep, quick and easy! They actually got the title right on this one.

So tonight, we had Prawn and Chorizo Rice. I thought it would be a hit as both love all the ingredients, alas Boo decides that tonight is the night she doesn’t like Prawns any more, if it didn’t have Prawns in it would have got 10 hundred out of 10 – Woop! (when will she get it??)…. and Bear pipes up that he doesn’t like the see through bits in it (onion) so we spent a while trying to pick these out, not ideal when you’ve ‘finely chopped’ them! So got a 7/10 from him, with the promise that he ‘would definitely¬†have it again if it didn’t have the see through bits in’. Lovely.

Ingredients

  • 200g Chorizo – sliced (obv get the actual sausage though rather than the ready sliced stuff, it’s much nicer)
  • King Prawns (however many you like) – I bought these already cooked so I just had to heat them through
  • Basmati Rice (150g)
  • 1 Onion – finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1/2 ltr chicken stock
  • handful of Parmesan
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • Butter

For the chef:
1 glass (or bottle…hic!) of red wine – it’s a Sunday, why the hell not!

Method

  • ¬†Put a knob of butter in a large pan and fry off the onion and garlic until soft
  • Add in the rice and coat in the juices
  • Add the glass of white wine and simmer for a few minutes
  • In another pan (small frying pan), add another knob of butter and fry off the chorizo for a minute or so.
  • Add into the rice about half¬†of the chicken stock and stir
  • Add the chorizo with all the juices into the pan
  • Pour¬†in the remainder¬†of the chicken stock
  • Keep stirring as if you’re doing a risotto, leaving to simmer for a minute or so and then a quick stir, keep going until the rice is almost done and add in the prawns at the last minute to heat through and season accordingly.
  • Stir¬†in the parmesan or just add on top to serve

I chose Basmati rice because it cooks quicker, this dish took me about 20 minutes, including prep, as the rice only took about 12 minutes to cook.

Obviously you could also do this as a Risotto, which I think would be even nicer but my kids aren’t overly keen on Risotto rice, they prefer the normal kind so hence my choice. If I was cooking this for me and Beardy I’d probably also put a bit of chilli in.

Original recipe from Good Food below. 
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/11640/spanish-rice-and-prawn-onepot

 

 

Kids Ruin Your Life…..

imageimage

…Of course this statement is completely untrue, they don’t ruin your life at all, the gorgeous little treasures they are, BUT they do ruin your brain.

I never wanted children when I was younger until my Sister had them. My Dad even told me I’d be a rubbish Mum! Thanks Dad! He was right though, back then I didn’t even like kids; we were standing in a queue once at Thorpe Park and a little girl was in front of us, hiding coyly behind her Mum and giggling, my Sister and Cousin were looking at her smiling and saying how cute she was,¬†she just irritated me; I had no time to be nice to children, I wanted to get on the ride (although come to think of it couldn’t have been that exciting if a 2 year old was queuing to get on???).

Anyway, now, I have turned into a proper Mum, I used to be really cool. I know I did. I can’t remember when exactly but I¬†was definitely one of the coolest people in the world.

I was listening to the radio today having a little bit of sing-along me time¬†(Uptown Funk), feeling cool again, when who should come on the radio but Grampy Rabbit! In my head I was willing myself to visualise Prince Vultan but I couldnt. Now, those of you with similar aged children to me, will know what I’m talking about…… obviously it was Brian Blessed, who was always known to me as Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon, always; nothing would ever make me think¬†of him as anything else….’Gordon’s ALIVE’ – that’s what used to pop into my head every time I saw or heard him, and a very fond childhood memory of¬†watching the film¬†with my Dad on a Sunday afternoon!¬†Now all that pops into my head is ‘I got¬†up this morning…..the sea was still there…..so was the skyyyyyy….the sea the sky, the sea the sky…..’ urgh….see what I mean, soooooo uncool.

So the legend¬†that once was Prince Vultan has broadened his acting career and¬†been engulfed¬†in a world of childrens character voices. Not only is he Grampy Rabbit from Peppa Pig, but once your children grow out of that, he then becomes Mr Enormomonster in Henry Hugglemonster. Worst thing for us parents is, some of these programmes are actually quite good, especially Peppa and Ben and Holly. I find my inner child gets excited about new episodes, it’s the snippet of¬†adult humour in them; God I so love the Desert Island episode when Grandpa Pig suggests they save the chocolate bar only to turn around and see that Grampy Rabbit has scoffed the lot and Grampy Rabbit making marks in the sand for every time he thinks about cheese – that would totally be me! Ahhh you’ve gotta love a bit of Peppa.¬†Again, not sure this is doing my cool status much good.

I find myself quite often singing songs from all sorts of kids programmes, Sofia the First, how annoying are the songs in that, but so unbelievably catchy that I sing them all the time, I think I’m singing them in my head but then I get to a crescendo and I can’t help but blurt something out…..it’s happened¬†at work before. What’s that song you’re singing? er….er…..I try to scramble around in my tiny cartoon infested brain trying to find¬†a cool song and all I can come up with is the theme tune to Doc McStuffins! Doc McStuffins for Gods sake! What is wrong with me? I don’t even LIKE the programme! She irritates the hell out of me! Either that or, in my desperation to find a proper song, I blurt out something¬†lame that I’ve heard on the kids playlist like Gangnam Style.

I have come to a couple of conclusions whilst writing this:

1. I need to get a life

2. er….there really isn’t a 2.

So, I’ve taken an executive decision –¬†I need to stop actually¬†watching¬†these programmes, until that happens I will not be cool, like, ever again. I’ll start tomorrow,¬†I’ve recorded¬†a new episode of Peppa.

Kids Chicken and Bacon Carbanana (Carbonara)

I say kids, because it’s super creamy and cheesy, in other words, unhealthy (and delicious), not that I ply my kids with unhealthy stuff you understand, they eat well and have a very balanced diet (she says after just posting a peanut butter cookie recipe!), but because of this I don’t mind spoiling them occasionally with something creamy and delicious, something I very rarely treat Beardy and myself to! If I mention the word ‘cream’ in a dinner to Beardy I get a disappointed look (we’re¬†trying to be ‘good’), thus forcing me to sneak away¬†and secretly hide in the fridge eating cheese and drinking cream, out of Beardys view, shhhh, he doesn’t need to know (if I get caught I’ll just say I’m nibbling a lettuce leaf – got it covered!) Saying all this, it still doesn’t stop him¬†‘making sure it tastes ok!’

So, if you’re a follower of my blog you’ll know I don’t like spending loads of time cooking for the kids. I love this recipe because it’s easy and quick. We got in late tonight and I had some chicken, bacon and double cream to use up and this is what popped into my head. They both love normal Carbonara (or Carbanana as they used to call it), so knew they’d like it, but there is always¬†something, no matter how small, left on the¬†plate, not tonight, oh no,¬†I almost didn’t need to wash their plates up they were so clean!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
  • 4 rashers of bacon, cut into small strips
  • 1 egg
  • Grated cheddar cheese, about a handful (I usually use Pecorino, but didn’t have any)
  • Double cream, say, half a cup
  • Pasta (I used Farfalle¬†but obviously you can use whatever you have)
  • Pasta cooking water

Method

Put the pasta on to boil. In the meantime, put a couple of glugs of oil in a large pan and fry off the¬†bacon until it’s crispy, set aside with the juices in a separate dish. Fry off the chicken until done, get rid of the fat. Chuck the bacon with¬†it’s juices and pasta back into the pan with the chicken and add half the cream. Crack the egg over the top of the mixture and mix in well, making sure you break the yolk (you can obviously mix up the egg before you put it in, but it just saves on washing up if you crack it straight in the pan). Season (I like to add lots of pepper). Add in the cheese and the rest of the cream until it becomes a thick creamy sauce. Then lastly add in a ladle or two of the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce up.

You can make this¬†slightly healthier by adding broccoli, which I would have done if I’d had more time but I didn’t, so I didn’t.

Bear and Boo polished this off in about 3 minutes, and I gave them quite big portions. Both gave it 10/10. Shame it’s so unhealthy!

 

 

Super Quick and Easy Chocolate Chunk and Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut cookies

This has got to be one of the quickest easiest recipes for cookies I’ve ever tried!

Ingredients

  • 250g of Chunky peanut butter
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Chocolate chunks

Method

Basically, chuck everything in together, mix well until a sticky dough consistency. Break off small  bits of dough and roll into small 1 inch sized balls. Place on a baking tray and pop in the oven at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes. I opened the oven half way through and splatted them down a bit with a pallet knife to get the little cracks in the top like proper homemade cookies. I like mine with a cup of tea but milk works equally well!

You can see in this picture that one got stolen before I even managed to get the camera to them, what can I say, we are a peanut butter loving house!

Hiccups Cure!

earlobes

I just have to share this! SO exciting!

I read somewhere about a hiccups cure, I can’t for the life of me remember where, but it basically said; get the hiccupee to have a drink and whilst they’re drinking stand behind them and tug down gently on their earlobes, I thought it sounded ¬†crazy but was intrigued and couldn’t wait for one of us to get them, today was that day, twice!

Boo started hiccupping right after dinner, I rushed to get her a drink, I couldn’t contain my excitement, stood behind her as she drank and tugged gently on her earlobes. ‘Have they stopped? Have they? Have they?’ I asked, I was like an excited child, we both waited, ‘yes mummy!’ we both grinned from ear to ear. About an hour later she got them again and we both ran to get a drink, ‘do it again Mummy!!!!’, so we did, and it worked – AGAIN! ¬†I was completely dumbfounded and still kinda am, I have no idea why this works?! ¬†Boo and I had a little celebratory dance around the room.¬†This is a blinking revelation and a definite MUST SHARE!!!!