being thrifty, fEAsting, hEAlth, healthy eating, meal planning, sEAsons, trEAsury

menu plan monday…

It is definitely that time of year when every magazine you look at has eye-catching headlines such as ‘Best Year ever’,  ‘Your time to shine’,  Make 2017 your year of change’  – I can never decide whether this is motivating or suggests that we are lacking a certain amount of satisfaction with our lives and are left wanting more or different.

The start of the New Year does seem to bring with it a desire to change many aspects of our life that we are disappointed with and of course we all begin with such good intentions but often by the time we are midway through February we have slipped back into our old habits and the resolutions we made become a distant memory.

If I were to make a list of all the things I would like to change it would be so long I wouldn’t have a hope of fulfilling them all this or any other year.  So then I start wondering why I want to change and I can only say to try to make my life feel better – less stressful – more as I imagine it could be – certainly happier, healthier, perhaps a little wealthier – plenty of me time, family time – a well run house, a glorious garden and even some room for creativity.  Of course I then have to wonder why on earth I am not already living this perfect life!

However, in my Economy mode I am whizzing straight past all the magazines with such appealing headlines – I already have a subscription to Country Living magazine (Xmas present) so for as long as I can hold out that is my lot.

This month I am concentrating on compiling Menu plans – mainly for our evening meal at present and then I will deal with my lunches later so I don’t make things too difficult for myself all at once.  I am aiming for low-cost, no waste, nutritional meals using seasonal fruit and veg as much as possible and also using up items from my store cupboard, fridge and freezer.  See the list here.

I have laminated my Good Food – Get 5-a-day every day chart of seasonal winter fruit and veg – this tells me all the British grown fruit and veg and also those items from further afield that are in season and therefore should not be too expensive.  Blueberries and Strawberries are not on the list so I will use up any frozen berries to go with my natural yoghurt for breakfast.

 

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My menu plan this week uses up a few items already in my stock cupboard but most of the veg I will have to buy fresh as I only have celery, carrots and onions left over together with some rather soft radish and a bit of dubious broccoli.

The sprouts, parsnip, leeks, cabbage and beetroot are all in season and British, the Sweet potato is also in season although not grown here.

The items not listed as seasonal are broccoli, green beans and mushrooms.

I am introducing 3 new recipes this week –

  • Vegetable Stew (substituting Sweet potato for the Butternut squash – this will also use up the remaining leek from the Stroganoff on Tuesday).
  • Spiced Chickpea bakes
  • Herby Brown Rice Salad

From my choice of fruit and veg I am told that I will be enhancing my Beta – carotene intake effective against viruses and bacteria, Vitamin C  for my immune system and phytochemical that help the digestive system.

I am looking forward to making the new recipes – if they pass the taste test then I will put them into my recipe binder – if not they will go straight in the bin so I am not keeping recipes that I will never make again.  Any modifications I will add notes to the recipe for next time.

I will be going shopping tomorrow night so will then know just how economical my shop is (or not!) in financial terms – bearing in mind the cold weather a warming Vegetable Stew sounds just right this week.

Have a good week.

 

 

 

 

homestEAding, sEAsons

Changing colours…

Car Park Vista

On my way through the car-park last night I noticed the leaves on the trees opposite are quickly starting to change colour now and there are tinges of gold and flame red appearing.  I have been so busy at work that I have not had the time to reflect the changes in my house.

Autumn Display

So this morning I thought I would gather a few things together in my Kitchen once I had given it my Friday clean up.  In the garden I found a few autumn berries for my tiny jam jar and surprise, surprise I noticed the Chives are in flower again…is this usual for this time of year?

Breakfast Tray

I took my little ‘Breakfast Tray’ out of the cupboard – it has everything I need for a leisurely weekend continental breakfast with my old silver teaspoon all polished and gleaming and a recent addition of the little butter knife given to me by a friend which says ‘You spread Joy’ on the blade…

Table Display

and Voila…my new table display for the weekend.  It will make breakfast time all the more enjoyable.

sEAsons

Walking in a winter wonderland…

January Snow

I know you might have seen enough of it but I love the snow… it is so magical and this is one of my favourite pictures taken before this weekends heavy snowfall.

Snow Patterns Grid

When I ventured out into the back garden it really was virgin snow and the soft powdery kind,  not even a cat had passed through and my footprints were the very first.  It seemed a shame to disturb it but I wanted to feed the birds and at the same time capture all the different patterns the snow had made, even the garden chairs that have got left out look inviting and the washing line, bottom left picture, is like a line of thick snow suspended in space.

Wheelie Bins

Even the wheelie bins are snuggled up close, they look as if they have their winter hats on!

crEAting, sEAsons, sketching

First day of November…

Now the clocks have changed and October has slipped by it feels as if we are really settling into winter.  Dark mornings and colder weather greet us each day, but how pleasant to sit in the evening by the warm  fireside with a candle or two flickering away in the background.  This is now the time for planning; getting prepared for the celebrations to come as Christmas is just around the corner.  This is what I wrote in my Art Journal from Celebrating the Year 2009.

November

 with its misty mornings and crisp starry nights. 

An inky black sky lit up by lamplight and stars and of course -fireworks.

 

Both the trees and ground are now bare once again as everything settles down for rest.  The leaves that have fallen from the trees crunch and rustle beneath us – as crisp as the air itself, making the acoustics for this month stand out from all the others.

 

Although November is remembered mostly for its traditional events of Bonfire Night and Remembrance Day my own memories will always be of the November day when my youngest daughter married in the village church in Masham, surrounded by family and friends in such a charming place.  The brilliant sunshine cutting through the sharp cold air giving a special quality to the autumn colours and the photos we took.  For us it was a day of celebration and joy from beginning to end.

“My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.”
–  Robert Frost, My November Guest

This is a really busy month for me, people and Craft Fairs to visit, lots of making and baking to do not to mention the shopping – I can’t wait to get started.  Have a great November I know I will.

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