Monday, 27 May 2013

Meal Planning Monday: 27 May

I can't believe we are almost in June! The weeks are whizzing by, 4thSister is becoming easier to care for and I am thinking about my new dishes again. Not feeling very inspired about what to introduce new next, to be honest, but this is why I dip into other people's menus for a nosey! I'm also struggling to concentrate on simple things, so remembering ideas I've had and things I've cooked is not happening. Cooking and baking is one of the activities keeping me going through the difficult post-partum time I'm having this time round - so therapeutic. I made rhubarb crumble and rhubarb crumble cake as we've had veg box rhubarb and another big load from my amazing friend Mary's allotment = such happiness!

Meat Free Monday ~ Pasta with courgettes and leeks in pesto sauce

Tuesday ~ Chinese Chicken (with pak choi, courgettes and spring onions from the veg box) 

Wednesday ~ Sausage, oven chips, beans, maybe egg (using up freezer stuff, end of the month!)

Thursday ~ Roast chicken salad

Fishy Friday ~ Frozen fish in batter, oven chips and mushy peas

Saturday ~ Wraps with chicken, cheese, guacamole, salsa & soured cream

Sunday ~ Gammon in Coca Cola from the freezer (leftovers served with new potatoes, cumberland sauce and other trimmings

Inspire and be inspired by other bloggers by visiting over at Mrs M's!

Catching up on the New Dishes

I've fallen woefully behind on the new dishes. So much so that I'm going to have to count new sweet, baked goods to get to 13 by the end of the June! I'll write about those separately but here are the last new dinners I tried - Nigella's cola baked gammon, and Abel & Cole's Aubergine Not-Meat Meatballs, along with 'Brinner' and a different way to cook lamb.


Braising it in Coca-Cola gave the gammon a moistness and an extra sweetness, I think, although I couldn't taste a huge amount of difference really from it being cooked in stock with a bay leaf, as usual. I think the texture was key, though, soft and moist, as I said and it was definitely yummy. I can't remember who mentioned it, but someone in the blogosphere has tried this with Lilt (pineapple/grapefruit carbonated drink) so I might do that next time, as we do like pineapple with our gammon!


Technically, Brinner isn't a dish per se, but so many people have been serving Breakfast for Dinner on their blogs that I decided to try it. First can I said it felt VERY weird! Although I guess it is basically a traditional English 'high tea'...but I served sausages, egg, beans, tomatoes and toast with hash browns, which gave it an American breakfast feel. So very yummy...but it freaked the kids out slightly to be having this sort of meal in the evening. Also, 3rdSister (my fussy eater) was unhappy as she's not keen on many of these foods - she requested a 'dippy' (soft boiled) or fried egg with hers next time, though, and we may try it again.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Again, not technically a new recipe as I'm sure I've done this in the slow cooker before. But I added a glass of wine, lamb stock, garlic, red onion and rosemary to the crockpot, and just stuck the lamb in on low for 8 hours, which I've never previously done without browning it. The result was fantastic - beautiful lamb that just fell succulently apart and tasted fantastic, and made a beautiful Sunday dinner. The only problem was that the rogan josh saag I made with the leftovers and was so overjoyed about consisted of beautifully disintegrated and soft pieces of lamb, which didn't curry in the traditional way, and tasted of a lamb dinner more than an Indian dish to my discerning husband. Next time, I'll use these types of leftovers in a shepherds pie (topped with leeks and cheese a la Delia, of course, and served with redcurrant jelly) as that texture would suit beautifully. I've often wanted to do cottage or shepherds pie like we used to do in the 20th century after a roast dinner, but don't have a mincer. Cooking slow cooked lamb in a sauce would work beautifully, I think (I'll keep you posted!)

Not Meat Meatballs

These weren't really a success, although I loved the idea. Again, it wasn't taste but texture that was key here. The taste was fine, although I really overdid the lemon juice - I could just eat plain grilled aubergine for days mind you and not complain. I think as well as it being much too lemony, the juice made the balls too wet, as I had to add extra breadcrumbs, and three of them still completely disintegrated.

My other problem was this recipe was its healthfulness - yes, made up of aubergine and onions but I fried these to begin with, in quite a lot of olive oil, and then the balls required shallow frying in oil until they were golden, and again, I could see a LOT of oil being soaked up. Mediterranean, yes, but I need to keep my fat content down due to gallstones and this isn't normally a way I would cook things. In the future I might grill the aubergine to lessen the amount of oil used, perhaps, although I am not planning to make these again...

....mainly because of the amount of faff involved in preparation & cooking. We didn't have them on the day I planned, as the day went mad and I didn't get any dinner cooking time. But I managed to make them for lunch one day last week to serve with leftover pesto pasta. And they were okay. Brown by the time I reheated them in the oven. I did miss them steeping in a tomato and basil sauce, like beef or pork meatballs - I would have loved to have lightly fried them and then finish them off in the slow cooker, but I know they would have fallen apart completely and not necessarily have cooked through properly. So, not a total disaster, but not something that will become part of our family repertoire. I will stick to aubergine parmigiana as a favourite from now on!

 My cakes have been much more successful - I'll post about them soon!

Leaving Home Without the Baby

Now, this isn't a post about how I left the house and forgot to take the baby, like my Great Aunty allegedly did with my little cousin when they went on holiday one time.

It's about the first time I left the house without my 8-week old baby, while she slept and FabDad was around to look after her.

It's been a long time in happening - I've been tending to 4thSister's needs pretty much exclusively, while he looks after the rest as much as he can!

I was hoping to take off for a run (well, a lollop) around the block but I've been full of cold, so that will have to wait. I did manage to pop to the local shop, however, for a quick impromptu 15 minute trip. (Emphasis on the word impromptu, mine.)

It felt weird - alien, like having a little bit of respite, wanting to hurry back, but appreciating the time free of responsibility. But that's not really the point.

I've been bitten a few times, out in the garden I think, by unidentifiable creatures. While FabDad was out I'd slathered a big white patch of Sudocrem on one side of my face where the latest bite was. When he saw me, he asked if I'd been applying suncream, as it understandably looked like I'd put something on and forgot to rub it in. I assured him I did it on purpose - after all, it wasn't like I was planning to leave the house anytime soon, right? Oops! You can get what's coming next!

This crazy mother whipped up her keys, phone and purse, popped to the shop, saw a few people who managed NOT to give me funny looks, and took a basket of bread, eggs, meat, wine and vodka pops to the counter. I mean, I'd probably have got away with it if I didn't have a load of booze at the checkout. (Which was gifts for people, I swear!) As it was, I probably looked like some bonkers alcoholic managing to make it out to the corner shop for supplies, forgetting I had a white splodge on half of my face in my drunkenness.

Rather than some new mother leaving the house without her baby for the first time.......sigh......

Monday, 20 May 2013

Meal Planning Monday: 20 May

I'd like to first start by recounting that yesterday I slow-cooked a very good value shoulder of lamb via Abel and Cole, in wine, stock, rosemary, onion and garlic for 8 hours on low, and it made a very good Sunday dinner! (I was in two minds as to not do the full trimmings, and serve new potatoes, homemade coleslaw and salad, as the weather was warm, but glad I stuck to the original plan.) And there is such a lot of lamb that tomorrow I will be doing a lamb rogan josh (& saag) which will make 2 meals, one to freeze, one to eat with this week. So I am very pleased with that one! Like the organic chicken that makes two meals and sandwiches, we pay extra for high animal welfare standards, but try to get as much bang for as buck as possible.

Speaking of animal welfare, it is currently National Vegetarian Week (and here I am banging on about lamb - sigh....) I did used to be vegetarian, vegan in fact, and now do ensure that the food we buy adheres to strict animal welfare standards (hence Abel and Cole as a supplier) but aside from a Meat Free Monday and a Fishy Friday, our meat consumption remains fairly high. If I'd been more on the ball I'd have implemented more veggie meals this it is, we're trying something new, Aubergine 'Meat'Balls - wish me luck!

Meat Free Monday - Aubergine Meatballs served with tomato and basil sauce and spaghetti

Tuesday - Lamb Rogan Saag Josh with brown basmati rice, plain & peshwari naan

Wednesday - Chicken and chips (unless I'm inspired to do a different chicken dish - it's going to be a long week of sewing for the Dance Show so I don't anticipate having any creative juices, perhaps you other meal planners will inspire me!)

Thursday - Chicken Salad

Friday - Fish in tomato and basil sauce served with fries (a Jools Oliver recipe I've used for years)

Saturday - Early pizza tea before the show

Sunday - Probably takeaway on the way back from the Dance Show (for those of you who think you have deja vu, yes I got mixed up last week and initially posted that it was the Dance Show Weekend then - but it's not till this week - thankfully, due to the amount of costume alterations I need to get sorted!)

Head on over to Mrs M's for more menus and inspiration today....

Saturday, 18 May 2013

A Pentecost preamble

The problem with awesome thing about my making a concerted effort to open up the channels of communication with God is that once it kickstarts, things start to happen at a scarily exponential rate. Combined with other efforts I'm making to reboot my lifestyle, prayer and other simple measures are already making my life more spirit filled. I feel God's nurture, even if I haven't let Jesus take me by the hand.

We celebrate Pentecost tomorrow.

Before I had any inkling of God's ministry for me, and taking 1st and 2ndSister to the Family Service on a Sunday morning was generally more struggle than spiritual, I set off for church with them in hand-picked outfits of red and yellow leggings. I don't think I even knew it was the Pentecost celebration, let alone what Pentecost was; I certainly had no idea of the significance of red and yellow symbolising the tongues of fire, and was astounded when we were handed red and yellow ribbons to wave during hymn singing, which matched the children's outfits visually, and (metaphorically) echoed their holy dancing in the aisle!

2008: Me & 1stSister age 3 in her red and yellow clobber
 (& apple, which I'm not reading symbolism into!)

The spirit was with me that day, breathing through my children. The church was filled with holiness, and I came away more fulfilled and refreshed than any other family service before (and possibly since!). I realised that I could take away so much even when trying to supervise little ones - God was there, if only I let Him be.

Tomorrow we celebrate Pentecost again, and I've now got 3rd and 4thSister, aged 2 and a half and 7 weeks, to add into the mix. It isn't a family service, but I'll be with the two littlest in Sunday School, before taking all four to find a pew in church large enough to house us, source service and hymn books, and join in the full service prior to going up to the altar to receive the Eucharist and/or a blessing. Seriously? Re-entering church with the largest family there generally fills me with panic and dread. And this is with children who know church, generally behave and follow the service and appreciate what Holy Communion is. I often think I am crazy putting myself through this, and research easier options (for example last week, I left two children at home with their father, and enjoyed the entire full church service with my babe in arms before 2ndSister came for communion.)

But it's Pentecost. And on Pentecost anything can happen.

It's no coincidence that WordLive posted the passage from the book of Joel that I read today, about people becoming spirit-filled:
And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. (Joel 2:28.)
But I feel it's a God-incidence (although I despise that term!) that everything is coming together at a time when I need it most, and the passage went on to inspire me to blog.

Because I missed something out of my reboot Quick Takes yesterday - writing. The spirit inspires me to write, and when I write, I journey (further) with God, and it all makes sense.

What I actually sat down to blog about today, before all the preamble, was how much I loved the Joel passage. Did I mention how much I like the Old Testament in general? There are treasures to be found within, although it can seem scary. Today my thoughts have been lingering over the following:
Even on my servant, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:29) (My emphasis.)
Because, and I know it's a 'historico-cultural' thingy, but I have huge issues with Paul's attitude to women and the early church. And the word from Joel reminded me that God is inclusive. And I need to feel this inclusion right now, as I struggle in this earthly existence, and need regular holy inspiration.

We celebrate Pentecost tomorrow.

Wikipedia told 2ndSister and I yesterday that in Italy, rose petals used to be dropped from the ceilings of churches to symbolise the tongues of fire. In France, trumpets used to be sounded to represent the noise of the wind/breath of the spirit. I see Pentecost in less showy terms. The spirit sneaks up on me when I least expect it (but should perhaps most expect it) - without noise or obviousness, but there nevertheless.

In our twice monthly Pram Service for under-5s we use a wonderful little book called 'Teddy Horsley and the Windy Day'. In it, Teddy sees the wind doing lots of things - blowing washing on the line, shaking leaves from trees, and so on - and he cannot see it, but he knows it is there. Later, he goes to church, and experiences the Holy Spirit - he cannot see it, but he knows it is there.

We celebrate Pentecost tomorrow, and we'll remember how the spirit descended on the disciples. It was a pretty visceral experience for them, and some people may have this jaw-dropping moment. I know taking my red and yellow littles to church was a profound moment in my spiritual journey, and that nothing may ever come close to the surprises of that day. But the spirit also becomes apparent in less visible ways that we just need to tune into, and be open to - whether it's in lifestyle changes, life-changing decisions, everyday routine life or how to help others. We just need to be ready, on Pentecost and every other day, to recognise the Spirit, and embrace her (it/him).....

(And all written without any mention of that stuff about Pentecost being the church's birthday too!)

Friday, 17 May 2013

7 Quick Takes: The Getting my Mojo Back Edition

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 217)

I don't know whether it's a hormonal or serotonin imbalance (or maybe both! as a friend suggested yesterday) but at 7 weeks post-partum I'm struggling more than I anticipated I would with life in general and it's time for a reboot. (Thank God I realised I need a reboot!) So here are seven hopefully very quick takes (especially for Delena) listing my commonsense masterplan:

1) See the Doctor

Despite being in tears at my 6-week postnatal check I protested I was OK and didn't need help. Duh. Thankfully Beth Woolsey helped me see the light. Even if I'm picking up by the time of the appointment, it's a safety net.

2) Pray

My prayer life needs a radical overhaul. Or something. I can't get back on track by myself. So I'm talking to God about it. Here's the longer version.

3) Exercise

3rdSister was ill so I missed my return to aquanatal exercise last week. It's on hiatus until June now. I find that depressing in itself. I need endorphins! Real life and online people keep inspiring me to try running again, despite my dodgy pelvis, and I'm going to try this weekend to take myself off for 15 minutes. (I laugh at myself for thinking I'll last this long!)

4) Food

I didn't have time or inclination to eat properly and got used to being hungry. Conversely I was enjoying buying seasonal ingredients and taking time to cook and bake. At least one of the sisters, usually the 4th, makes my eating family mealtimes difficult. But I've still got to eat well. And take a vitamin.

5) Music

I have lots of digital music on various hard disks and some on an Amazon cloud. We have a Google Nexus which my husband hooked up to the Sony speakers in the kitchen so now I need to transfer my favourite (up to) 20,000 songs to the Google Cloud and wa-hey! I'll be away. My hymns are already accessible. And Elaine Paige's musical theatre show on iPlayer.

6) Cuddles and reading

3rdSister being ill this week scuppered lots of plans and mini-plans but I've really enjoyed the cuddling in and reading. Turns out I need that time connecting as well as her. I've put some different picture books downstairs and hope to bring the kids bookcase in to the lounge so we can just hang, snuggle and read if the baby naps.

7) Talking

It's been easier, as Beth Mancuso also finds, to switch off from talking to people (especially my husband) in general, including about feelings, and retreat inwardly, into busyness, or into a piece of technology. I'm trying to talk more, and listen more, even though my concentration is poor and there are usually several different sensory inputs. Our usual times to do this, evenings and lunch dates, have been spoiled recently, but even if we can get ten minutes over a morning cuppa, it's helping.

Head over to Jen's for some slightly more cheerful Quick Takes!

KickStarting your Prayer Life

A mini-post about how I'm trying to get my prayer life back on track, which may help others and will certainly help me in the future!

My dedicated prayer life has been pretty sparse in recent months. Yes, I've been offering up enough arrow prayers to populate a cathedral, and I've leaned on God heavily during a tough pregnancy, labour and birth. But now 4thSister is nearly 2 months old, and things are a little easier but my concentration is still skewed, I've noticed that a) I could really do with rejuvenating my prayer life and b) all the things I used to use  to maintain regular prayer have fallen by the wayside. So, not so much by concerted effort but by slowly drifting into some changes, I'm trying to get things back on track. This is what I did:

I read something that inspired and helped me

We all read things that spur us on to 'goodness' or 'greatness'. The problem is, for mothers, that attaining the prayerfulness of many of the saints or even making space in the day for some spiritual alone-time can seem impossible and overwhelming. The other day I dipped into the Hallie-Lord edited volume for Catholic women 'Style, Sex and Substance' and was reminded by parts of chapters 2 and 3 that there are specific ways that busy people, particularly mothers, can incorporate prayer into their day. It's all about priorities - the most important of which, however unselfish we aim to be, has to be our selves. Over time I've also found Angela Ashwin's 'Patterns not Padlocks' Wyatt Kent's 'God's Whisper in a Mother's Chaos' useful.

I remembered how lighting a candle brings Jesus into the room

Maybe it's not the same for everyone, but simply taking out a candle and setting it on the table (or other surface if littles are around) reminds me that my busy, untidy kitchen space can be a place of worship. Aside from representing the Light of the World, candles can be soothing and peaceful in their own right. They can also be used to accompany prayerful or scriptural meditation if you do get 15 minutes while the baby is sleeping and the preschooler is otherwise occupied. (I feel compelled to add a health and safety warning - be careful with matches and do not leave a flame unattended, etc!) (Or drip wax all over your new birthday tablecloth the first day you use it....oops!)

I read my own thoughts and prayers from days gone by

When I had 3rdSister I was in the middle of my Lay Minister training, and tasked to write an assignment on how I pray. At the time, things were a little similar to how they are now, as I had a newborn and other children to look after - although I had an easier labour, birth and recovery and seemed to bounce back more quickly. Revisiting my essay on prayer now, however, reminds me of the different ways I have incorporated prayer time into motherhood, including the offering of, as Kate Wicker so beautifully put it in a post onetime, my life as a prayer.

I put on some music

This doesn't have to be a bunch of worship songs, although traditional hymns or classical holy music works for me. Try Gregorian chant, gospel, songs from the musicals, whatever makes you feel happy and holy. Music can lift our spirits and accompany us in the doldrums - it's a God-given thing to enhance our lives and we should use it! Having said this of course, silence can be golden and prayerful - but we don't get much silence in our house and music can drown out subdue the cacophony.

I bring back the PASTA prayer

Although my concentration span has dwindled desperately since this fourth child was conceived, getting back on track with an acronymic prayer really helps focus. My morning shower has tended to be rushed of late, but as Josephine is more able to be left happily kicking in the baby gym for five minutes, I can try and focus and run through: Praise, Ask, Sorry, Thanks, Amen in a brief, yet holy and effective way. Two minutes can set me up for the day with God. Just thanking Him for everything helps. Again, I have a CD of worship songs to play while I'm showering which can help me focus or, on a bad day, How Great Thou Art can take the place of a personal prayer. (I thank 3rdSister's godparents for introducing me to this prayer during an exceptional trying time in my life. We are visiting them for afternoon tea this weekend, yay!)

I pay more attention to my scriptural reading

For several months now I've subscribed to WordLive's scripture feed on my blog reader. Whether at the personal computer or on my smartphone, during the busy morning I can ensure I'm exploring God's word, whether in-depth or a quick read-alound through the Bible verses. I can recommend the feed on so many levels - it includes a prepare and a respond element, to enable prayerful thinking about the scripture; the readings are fairly short in themselves, but enough to mean something; on a Sunday it's always one of the psalm that we read; you can follow them up with the Explore the Bible reflection which is usually fab, and the Deeper Bible Study if you have time, which usually includes an academic theological reference or two; and you can follow on Twitter and/or Facebook if this is a good way for you to go. There are other ways to read the Bible, but otherwise I don't think I'd be ploughing through Joel at the moment, nor considering it in a deeper and more prayerful way.

I investigate other available apps

I haven't had a smartphone that supports apps well for long, so I haven't explored what's out there. I used to set my phone alarm at noon daily to remind me to say the Lord's Prayer (embarrassing when my phone wouldn't stop screaming in the Chaplaincy at the hospital whilst I was off volunteering on the wards!) so if you don't have a smartphone perhaps this would work. I know there are apps now, however, that not only remind you to pray but provide the prayers. Karen Edmisten, a Catholic, recommends Divine, for example, which I will explore, and I know there are other denominational apps out there.

I pray with someone else

I have always prayed with my children to encourage their own spiritual life. But it strikes me that praying with them, with anyone, means I am also praying. Together, you can say a thank you prayer with someone every day. The Lord's Prayer before bedtime. A prayer of penitence on a Friday. A grace before meals that is truly meant. It all helps with a regular prayer life.

Routines, routines!

After 1stSister was born I discovered the FlyLady, whose systems I thank God for on a regular basis. She helped me not only instigate household routines but instilled in me the necessity of setting time apart for me to 'renew my spirit'. Although getting this from a church service remains few and far between, it relates to the points made by Hallie Lord and Karen Edmisten in Style, Sex & Substance: we really need to be strict in setting time apart to look after ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually, otherwise we are running on empty and will struggle to serve others.

I revisit 10,000 Gifts

Ann Voskamp's heart would probably break if she knew her gorgeous, poetic website with its amazing photographs seems to me to represent an idyllic life and as such I deleted it from my feed for some time because I struggle to face the beauty in others' lives when I'm suffering (I'm bitter and human, I guess!). I'm sure she revisits her own humanness and problems on at least a daily basis, but meanwhile I am SO GLAD she wrote a book, which works in its own right without the blog or her Facebook updates. Even though my copy resides with someone else, because you can download and print guides from her website too. Or simply write a list. of things you are thankful for. Yesterday mine came to me in a holy flash and I put two minutes aside to scribble: Family, Table, Family Meals, Tablecloth, Big Cooking Kitchen, Peace, Stocked Larder, Children, Pretty Cupboards-Buggy-Cardigan. These gifts help me rejoice in life! Retaining a list like this, whether separately or as part of a prayer journal, again allows me to revisit what inspires me and brings me closer to God.

I write in my prayer journal

I haven't written in my prayer journal since December 2012. There, I've said it. And you know what, it doesn't matter, because for God, He'll just start listening whenever I start again. I struggle to make this a regular thing, but having a pretty notebook to jot down my thanks, my intercessions and my penitence, makes it easier. Perhaps I have more time on a weekend morning, and can commit to making this a weekly thing. Again, I can look back and see how He is working in the lives of myself and others in amazing ways. And to see where I have been at certain times of my life - other periods of spiritual dryness, or what made me inspired. And yesterday, when I finally took time to sit and pray and journal, the printed quote on the pretty pages?:
Lord, help me to accept Your discipline when I need it. Correct and train me in righteousness.
Seems He wants to help me kickstart my regular prayer life, too, doesn't it :-)

I wrote this Guide to KickStarting prayer because it's taken me almost 6 months to get my prayer life back on track. And in the future I can refer back to this Guide to help me. But I also want to post it in case it can help others, or generate further ideas. I am fully indebted to Hallie Lord and espeically Karen Edmisten whose chapter on the subject is more comprehensive, in-depth and better written that what I have produced here and is highly recommended.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Meal Planning Monday: 13th May (my birthday!) edition

My husband (aka FabDad) reminded me just now I hadn't posted my menu for the week. I told him I couldn't be bothered, but then remembered I had a gag of sorts I wanted to use and relented. It's my 38th birthday today and to celebrate I've been up half the night with poorly 3rdSister, as well as feeding 4thSister and dealing with 1stSister when she angrily got up for the loo. So I'm at home with 3rdSister rather than at my aquanatal class and out for lunch at my favourite Italian - but it's not too bad, thanks to me planning to have some birthday food in! Really I'm just a little more sleep deprived than usual...

Meat Free Monday: Filo, spinach & ricotta parcels with new potatoes and mediterraean veg were on the menu for tonight. FabDad and  I snaffled these for lunch as we missed out on Bella Mia. The kids will be served pizza/nuggets/fries later on (I have to say I don't get to appreciate many of the meals I line up for evenings, due to 4thSister needing bath/feed/bed around our dinnertime so she doesn't scream all night!)

Tuesday: Brinner. (Breakfast as Dinner.) So many people are posting this as a dish so tomorrow we are having egg, sausage, hash browns etc as a main course. If it's a success I can see this being one of my favourite dinners. And I may even do a Christmas version - I could call it Yule Brinner! (See what I did there?! That was the gag! Geddit? Yul Brynner? The guy from the King and I?)

Wednesday: Wraps with roasted chicken, guacamole, soured cream and salsa served with tortilla chips and melted cheese

Thursday: Chicken salad

Friday: The scampi and chips we never had last week, because 1stSister's godparent brought fish, chips & peas from the chippy round for lunch (I love 'em!)

Saturday: Quick pizzas, as we need to be at the theatre backstage for the Dance Show by 5.45pm

Sunday: Possibly McDonalds or something else quick, as there's a show performance at 3pm and all the family are watching the second half!

EDITED to add: actually, we're having pasta with asparagus in creamy sauce on Saturday & slow cooked lamb shoulder on Sunday - I jumped ahead a week! Seems I am so keyed up about the dance show I forgot we had a well-deserved weekend off. Didn't half panic FabDad when he read this post when it was first published!

Enjoy the other submissions at Mrs M's!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Meal Planning Monday: The Oh it's a Bank Holiday edition

Firstly - this Bank Holiday thing has thrown me! Coupled with a newly magical baby, who now puts herself to sleep when she's tired, letting me do all sorts of other things (including cooking!), the weekend has run away with me. Also, the weather has been warm, allowing for a trip to the park - although I steadfastly served roast beef, cauliflower cheese, new potatoes, roast potatoes and gravy. (Not, you may notice, horseradish, which I forgot about, and yorkshire puddings, of which there were only two. I also forgot the Spanish Chicken sauce last week but luckily FabDad popped to the shop. I fear there is no chance of me remembering to take photos of last week's meals at this rate!) Meanwhile, this is what we're having from now on:

Meat Free Monday: Butternut Squash Soup with crusty loaf and slabs of cheddar cheese

Tuesday: Beef Stroganoff (with yesterday's leftovers) served with rice, garlic bread and a cabbage which I have in the fridge (definitely an Eastern European dish then!)

Wednesday: Roast chicken and oven chips

Thursday: Roast chicken salad

Friday: Scampi and oven fries

Saturday: Pizza Hut delivery with chocolate ice cream - because it's 2ndSister's 7th birthday

Sunday: Smoked Mackerel Salad, whatever the weather's like, as 2nd & 3rdSister and I are in Dance Show Dress Rehearsal all afternoon.

Other plans include baking at least one cake, as I have eggs that need using, and lemons, and demolishing the ton of rhubarb that my friend Mary brought round from her allotment yesterday (yay!)