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Three children *** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

Thank you….

  • sam Them strawberries look so vibrant and yum X #mmbc 22 May
  • Ali Duke I have about 4 knitting projects on the go at the moment, I do finish them, but it takes me a while lol. I love... 20 May
  • Craft Mother Especially if the weather is good. It is lovely. 20 May
  • Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) Being full of ideas is a useful skill even if it does mean that a lot of projects stay unfinished! I love your knitting –... 20 May
  • Angela Webster Sounds like a perfect day to me, you live in such a beautiful area. I bet you need no convincing to get out and about.... 20 May
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Sticky

in the kitchen

Organized

I’ll be honest. I go through stages of being organized and, without a doubt, September is the month of choice. Not surprising really, as the children go back to school, which gives me more time, and, just as crucial, it’s all about new. New teachers, new subjects, new interests. The word “new” litters every sentence they utter. I’m surrounded.

This September is no different, so I’m getting organized.

To start with I have been getting my weekday routine set up. I’ve started to follow a tidying and cleaning routine (again, she cries), so when I sit down to work, there are no nagging things to distract me.

Three weeks ago, I started following the Organised Mum Method (#teamTomm). Simple routine, with reminders on Instagram, and it’s working. I’m not someone that generally has a tidy house, but I am loving going into a room and finding it looking presentable. Really makes me smile. The family love it too. It only takes 15 minutes to do the usual daily tidy/cleaning and then 30 minutes a day to target one area, on rotation.

And no cleaning at the weekend. Let’s get real. You have got to love a system that gives you the weekend off.

More crafting time for me!

I also organized my eldest Teen’s desk. She can now sit there and study. Last couple of nights she’s done just that and seems happy with her progress. Success!

So will it stick, this new routine of mine? I know why I usually fail to keep my organization vibe going once September slips by. I set myself unrealistic targets. I feel the fail. Once that happens, it’s easy to let one day missed turn into a week, and then more, until it drizzles out completely. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

The penny has dropped that I must stop beating myself up about not crossing everything off my to-do list. Or lifting the same items from today’s list to tomorrow’s and then the next. It’s not about doing it all, but doing my best.

Lists are there to help me, not to rule me.

Now the wonderful thing about getting organized is that I have extra pockets of time to spend in different ways.  My week has not been all about cleaning or list making. No. It’s been about me having room and time to do the things I really love doing. More time to read, knit and spend time with my family.

Three wins from this week:

I tend to read while waiting in the car for one of my children, and also last thing at night. I’ve won myself some extra time this week and finished my book “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter“. It is slow, but captivating. Real struggles and emotional turmoil. Glad I read it. Now for the next. Any suggestions?

At the weekend, we went out as a family to the small, independent cinema in Wells to see  Jack Black in “The House with a Clock in Its Walls.” A fun film. Thank you, organized-me.

Also with my extra time and organization at its peak, I spent a happy time making chocolate cherry mice after school, with my middle teen. Partly helped by me working my lists and adding the ingredients to my shop last week. It is quick and everyone loves them. Unorganized-me hardly recognizes herself.

Dead easy to make.

Chocolate cherry mice

Ingredients:

small punnet of fresh cherries, preferably with stalks
100g dark chocolate
pack of Hershey Kisses (I found them in Waitrose)
handful of toasted almond flakes
cocktail sticks (if cherries are missing stalks)

How to make:

1. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave until it runny.
2. Unwrap enough Hershey Kisses, so you have one for every cherry.
3. Hold the cherry by the stalk (or cocktail stick) and dip it into the chocolate until the cherry is covered.
4. Push the flat end of the Kiss onto the cherry to make the head, and put the mouse on a plate.
5. Slip two almond flakes between the Kiss and the cherry, to make ears.
6. Leave to set.

Eat and enjoy. If these are to be kept a while, then store them in the fridge, but only for a few days. Not that I would know. These pesky mice were gone in two seconds flat.

I am so enjoying the extra time and space to do what I love to do. A little bit of organization and I can have that time. Joining in with #wotw with my word organized.

Turkey and Mango Sausage Rolls

One of my favourite light meals to make, over the Christmas holidays, is sausage and mango rolls. They can be made using just four ingredients. Quick and easy, plus great to snack on as we watch a movie. Everyone loves them and I can enjoy the film too, rather than being stuck in the kitchen. Making me a very happy person too. Win-win. Instant jig on the spot time.

Then a few weeks ago, I bought a pack of turkey sausages. Just to try out. I thought they might be an alternative for sausage meat, if I removed the skins. It worked. This might also work with chopped up, left-over turkey too. In just over a month, I’ll be so glad I thought of this idea. I’ll have enough turkey leftovers to make a dozen batches of these finger sized snacks.

In the meantime, I can use turkey sausagemeat. Want to know how I made turkey and mango sausage rolls?

Ingredients

A pack of puff pastry
8 turkey sausages removed from skins and cut up
3 to 4 heaped tablespoons of mango chutney to taste
1 to 2 heaped tablespoons of dried herbs

How to

1. Mix sausagemeat, mango and dried herbs together thoroughly in a bowl.

2. Roll out puff pastry into a rectangular shape. About 35 cm by 25cm and close to 3 to 5mm thick.

3. Split the pastry length-wise into three equal lengths, as shown above.

4. Split the meat mixture into thirds and arrange along the middle of each pastry strip, as a long sausage.

5. Brush water on the pastry either side of the meat mixture and bring the two long pastry sides up to cover the meat. Pinch the tops together and cut into bite size pieces. Brush the pastry with milk. Space them out on a big, lined tray. I use a re-usable Bake O Glide sheet.

(whoops! forgot to photograph the unbaked version until they were just disappearing into the Aga)

6. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 mins at 230 c, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove and pop the sausage rolls on to a serving dish. Aga note: I split the baking time between the third shelf  and the floor of the top oven in my 2-oven Aga. No soggy bottoms!

All done.

Note: I used a different brand of puff pastry than my usual and was not so happy with how it baked. Usually the rolls are a tad more greasy. This time they were much drier. Not sure if this is down to the turkey or pastry. I’m going to try again with the other pastry and see.

These sausage rolls are brilliant to serve in the evening of Christmas Day or during Boxing Day, when no one needs much more to eat. Add some cold meat, cheeses and salad, and people can help themselves buffet style. I’ve taken the pork sausage version to parties too. (Ahem.. might have made a bit more of an effort in the presentation of those ones….)

Anyway, these turned out yummy and I reckon will be brilliant to use up the left-over turkey, without being obviously left over turkey. They taste great straight from the oven or cooled down the next day. Although I prefer them warm. The mango sweetens and makes the rolls fruity. And morish. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Pumpkin Pie in the Aga

This is only the second pumpkin pie I have made. Ever. The last one was so long ago, that it was only as I tried to carry the over-filled pastry case to the Aga, that the memory came flooding back.

Funny how something can bring it all back.  This time it was the trail of spilt pie filling on the floor. Oh yes, then I remembered that next time I made it, I was going to add the filling once the pastry case was already in the oven. Might have avoided the burnt spilt effect around the edge.

Sigh

So a quick note to future self (and anyone else that might want to make pumpkin pie in an Aga):

Recipe – for a simple, but tasty pumpkin pie, I used this one (instructions are for a conventional oven). For the pastry case, I used my usual sweet pastry recipe. Rolled out, put in a greased pie dish and left to rest in the fridge, while I prepared the rest.

Ingredients – I used a pumpkin that was for cooking not carving (£1.20 from Sainsburys), which I de-seeded and sliced up. Then roasted on the floor of the roasting oven. Took about 30 minutes. Easy to scoop the flesh out of the skin.

Preparation notes – Mash the pumpkin flesh with a potato masher to make it into puree. Squeeze as much liquid out of the puree as humanly possible.  Next, I put all the pie filling ingredients in my Kitchen Aid bowl and mixed them thoroughly with the wire whisk.

Baking notes – I put the pie on the Continue reading

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