Monday, 12 January 2015

Meal Planning Monday - 12th January

Cute picture of Zoe, just because...

I started back with the meal plan last week, which went well for 3 days, then I had a take away or 2 out of tiredness and not wanting to cook. With this in mind I have decided to make extra of meals and freeze portions, to make sure I have options on hand for those tired/lazy nights.

Without further ado, on with the show!

Breakfast for me will either be porridge, toast or fruit, and lunch will be either leftovers, pasta or soup.

Homemade soup and crusty bread (2 x portions for the freezer)

Tuna pasta bake (leftovers for lunches)

Toad in the hole with mashed potato and carrots. (leftover for lunches)

Gammon steak with homemade wedges and a fried egg.

Cottage pie (2 x portions for the freezer)

Quite a simple winter warming meal plan, with meals that can be prepared in stages throughout the day, as the baby has been a bit clingy and grumpy over the weekend, although I am hoping that doesn't continue.

I have linked my plan with Mrs M's linky, which has lots of great plans and recipes for inspiration!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Leftover Roast Chicken Pie.

Part of my 2015 plan of action was to be more frugal and meal plan. This is one of my favourite frugal recipes, and is a really simple way to use leftover roast chicken and veggies. We tend to have a roast chicken dinner on a Sunday evening, so this is the ideal Monday night meal.

I always have butter and flour in my kitchen so whipping up a simple shortcrust takes 10 minutes.

This is the perfect recipe to do in stages throughout the day, inbetween feeding the baby, nappy changes, cuddles etc...

It is really adaptable too, you can throw in any veggies you have to use up, I usually just go with carrots, turnip and peas as those are the veggies we like, but I have also tried leeks, onions, sweetcorn and butternut squash.

I am not going to share my shortcrust recipe again, as I have blogged it many times before, click on the link if you need the pastry recipe, but any shortcrust will do, even shop bought.

print recipe
Leftover Roast Chicken Pie
  • 60g Butter
  • 60g Flour
  • 1 pint Chicken Stock
  • Leftover Roast Chicken, shreaded
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 1/4 Turnip, diced
  • a handful or two Peas
  • A pinch Salt, pepper, mustard poweder (to taste)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan or skillet.Once melted add the flour, and stir until it comes together into a clump/paste, cook off for 3-5 minutes.Add chicken stock a bit at a time and stir to incorporate. It will look a little lumpy at first but keep stirring and adding until fully incorporated into a nice smooth sauce.Add the diced carrot and turnip to the stock and cook on a gentle simmer for 10 minutes until the veggies are tender.Once the vegetables are tender add the shreaded roast chicken and peas.Take the filling off the heat and cool, ready for assembling the pie.

This pie lasts us one evening meal and lunch the next day, it is one of our favourite meals. It may not be the healthiest but its one of the few meals with vegetables that Paul will eat, so I chalk it up to a win!

I'd love to see any frugal, family friendly recipes you love, feel free to share them below!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

One Month in the World.

One Month in the world, where on earth has that time gone?!

In the last 4 weeks Zoe has gone from a squashy little newborn to a slightly bigger squashy little 4 week old. She is starting to hold her head up on her own, she is making different facial expressions (although no smiles yet), and she is getting so much bigger! She no longer fits into her newborn sleepsuits! (WAH!).

I am looking forward to seeing her grow and develop, but I also want her to be this small and wonderful forever. I'm planning on doing one of these posts every month for her first year, I think it will be a lovely little record of her development. Seeing how quick this first month has gone has made me realise that its going to be very easy to forget the little things, so these "In the World" posts will act as a reminder for how far Zoe has come and how much she has grown each month.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Newborn essentials.

The second you announce your pregnancy you get inundated with advice from anyone and everyone, everyone has their tips and tricks for coping with a newborn, and while each baby is different, I loved reading everyones experiences and enjoyed figuring out what worked for Zoe.

I bought a lot of things people recommended, and to be honest alot of it didn't work for us, but it helped to have options and things to try. So, with this in mind I thought I would share what worked for us.

1. Moses basket and rocking stand - Cribs, cots, baskets, co-sleeping... Oh my! So many options. A lot of Mums I spoke to told me their babies hated moses baskets, so I was worried we would be wasting our money, but I wanted something that could go next to our bed to make middle of the night feeds easier and keep her close by. Cribs and things are pretty pricey and not as easy to move around, we carry the moses basket downstairs through the day.
luckily she absolutely loves it and at this very moment is fast asleep next to me in her basket. I opted for the rocking stand, despite lots of people telling me their baby hated it, or they became reliant on being rocked etc... Zoe liked being rocked but isn't dependant on it to fall asleep, plus it looks really nice.

2. Munchkin Pour and Strain Whales - Zoe loves a bath, we have started having one every night as it really chills her out at her fussiest time of day and I find she tends to fall asleep after a bath. The first couple of baths we struggled to hold her and wash her, so when we were bought these whales they were a godsend. They act like little shower heads, so we can easily rinse her hair and wash her little body. I can't wait until she is old enough to play with them too.

3. Sleeping Bags - When we first brought Zoe home we were using blankets in the moses basket as she was too small for the sleeping bags I had bought. She never liked the blankets and kicked them off constantly. Since we started using the sleeping bags she is much easier to settle after a night feed, as I keep her in the bag to feed, so there is no loss of warmth when she goes back to her basket. An absolute lifesaver for getting back to sleep quickly (her and me).

4. Nursing Pillow - We are breastfeeding Zoe on demand. So some days I spend hours with a baby attached to my boob. After a while this can take its toll on your back. I have found my nursing pillow a necessity, it makes the whole experience much more comfortable for both of us. If you plan on breastfeeding for any length of time, its worth the investment.

5. Lansinoh - The most recommended product by a mile, every single mum I met when pregnant mentioned this dream cream and now I am one of them. The benefit of this product is that it is safe for baby to feed when using it. My over-used nips are eternally grateful for this little purple tube.

6. H&M Nursing Vests - Finding fashionable and affordable nursing clothes is a challenge, so I am eternally grateful to H&M for their Mama range. Their vests are great, they have the clips for easy access and come in a nice range of colours and patterns. If anyone has any other nursing clothing recommendations, please shout!

7. Dolce Gusto Latte - A no brainer for any sleep deprived parents, a lovely latte in the morning helps wake me up and feel human.

8. Muslins - Puke, milky dribbles, leaky boobs... Motherhood is glamorous! I always have a muslin to hand wherever I am.

9. Sleepsuits - Repeat after me... Integral scratch mits. Seriously, why don't all newborn sleepsuits have this? I have 7-8 sleepsuits with integral mits, and 35 without, guess which ones Zoe lives in? Newborn fingernails are sharp little suckers and separate mittens will fall off approximately 65,000 times a day.

10. Benefit They're Real - I have not even thought about make-up since Zoe was born, I am lucky if I get a shower and can blowdry my hair! But sometimes you need a little something to make you feel like you made an effort. This mascara is a winner for me, lovely long thick lashes and a dash of lip gloss = One glamorous mamma.

So there you have it, my top 10 things to help you cope with those first 4-6 weeks of motherhood. There is one more item I wanted to add but I decided to dedicate an entire post to it, as its something I love using and I want to really harp on about it. So there is something for you to look forward to...

Hope you are enjoying these baby posts, as always, I love to hear your opinions and comments below.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

2015; a plan of action.

I hate new years resolutions, don't get my wrong, the idea of setting goals and making plans is a positive one, but the term resolutions is just so synonymous with failure and not quite achieving things that it is just depressing.
So with this in mind I am deciding on a plan of action, things I WILL achieve in 2015.

Save, save save - in 2014 I finally managed to get myself completely debt free and start saving, so I want 2015 to be the year I get some real savings behind me. It is going to be a bit of a challenge as for most of the year I'll be receiving only statutory maternity pay, which brings me to my next plan of action...

Frugal is my middle name - meal planning, bargain hunting, less waste. I want to get organised, plan meals, keep costs low, sell on ebay... I want to keep my expenditure to a minimum and get frugal to help me save, save, save!

Healthy mummy, happy mummy - No, I am not setting weight loss goals or making myself miserable on a fad diet, I want to eat better as I am breastfeeding and all the good things I eat get to Zoe through my milk, I want to keep fit and active, get out of the house, meet other mummys, go to classes; a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body.

Feed my creativity - I am a creative person, I love to design, create, bake, sew, craft etc... I want to feed my creativity more in 2015. I want to get in the kitchen and bake again, get back into illustration, get sewing some bits and bobs for Zoe, knit, learn to crochet.

Blog more - I sorely neglected my blog during 2014, with the pregnancy and newborn it just didn't take any sort of priority. In 2015 I want to blog more, not just about food, but more family posts, more creative posts. I want my little corner of the interwebs to be a reflection of me, without worrying about what others think or how it will be received.

So there you have it, now I have written them down I feel very positive about being able to follow this action plan. Have you set yourself some goals for 2015? I'd love to hear how you feel about resolutions.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year!

It's been a while huh? I hope you can forgive me for my radio silence, I was busy growing and birthing a tiny human. In the early hours of Monday 8th December we welcomed a gorgeous little bundle into the world and became a family of three. Baby Zoe Jean was plonked into my tired arms and our whole world changed.

We have spent the last three weeks getting used to life as parents and basically staring at Zoe while she sleeps. It is so weird that this thing that was in my tummy for so long is here, but also it feels like she has never not been here. Weird.

2014 has been the best year, its the year we became a family and for that I will always look back on it as one of the best years ever! That being said I can already tell that 2015 is going to be even better. I can't wait to see baby Zoe grow and develop, smile, sit up, crawl, giggle...

I am sure you can understand that I haven't baked or cooked much recently, so recipe posts are not in the pipeline However, a few parenting/family posts are coming soon. I wanted to share my birth story, the products which have been lifesavers and those I wish I hadn't wasted my money on, and a few other bits and bobs.

So, I hope you all had a wonderful 2014, and wishing you all a very happy 2015.

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