Sunday, 7 February 2016

Meal Planning Monday

This week I'm doing something different with our meal plan. Writing it on Sunday for starters! But also I'm using Danni Martin, of Hungry Healthy Happy's new book of the same name as inspiration for our week's dinners. This isn't a sponsored post and I bought the book myself, I just fancied planning our week using a different inspiration and thought that was a good way to start.

Breakfasts: I made a highly experimental carrot cake porridge last week. As you can see it's not up on the blog yet and still needs some tweaking. Hopefully it'll be here next week - if I improve it.

Lunches: I didn't make soup last week, and ended up eating lots of sandwiches, so this week I have a pot of butternut squash soup on the planner. I'll roast the BNS with some red onions and garlic tomorrow morning before blitzing with some chicken stock and chilli.


Monday - Leftover chickpea curry, with brown basmati rice and roti. This is my recipe, and the post has been half written since the first week of January - this makes a lovely supper dish and I will blog it soon.

Tuesday - Sausage casserole with roasted garlic mashed potato from Hungry Healthy Happy and veggies. I'll adapt the mashed potato to be dairy free, and will be using Heck sausages for the casserole as we know they're dairy free.

Wednesday - Leftovers of casserole with baked potatoes and veggies

Thursday - Spaghetti bolognaise from Hungry Healthy Happy - sadly not with courgetti as we don't have a spiraliser (I've been meaning to splash out on one but just not around to it) but with pasta, and over broccoli for me as a comprimise

Friday - Leftover bolognaise on baked potatoes

Saturday - Chicken Tikka masala from Hungry Healthy Happy - but adapted to be dairy free, instead of yoghurt using coconut milk with brown rice.

Sunday - Roast chicken - we haven't had a roast since Christmas, and I could do with an easier week next week with leftovers as the basis.

I've got no baking planned this week as I'm trying to keep my snacking to speed foods (Slimming world jargon for  fruit and veggies) and resist temptation to eat all the cake!

As always I'm linking up with At home with Mrs M and Organising Junkie so be sure to head on over and see what the other planners are up to.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Meal Planning Monday

I forgot to link up again? I am the worst blogger ever. I'm sat here this morning with a shocking hair cut and colour, streaming cold and completely sleep deprived. Harry's napping and I should be cleaning the kitchen, but I thought I'd try in vain to get something up on the blog this morning, as during his nap this afternoon I'm hoping to have my hair sorted.

Last week both Harry and I came down with a rotten cold, M was working away and all in all it was a bit of a rubbishy week. That said, I took inspiration from Nelly's post and booked said disastrous haircut for yesterday afternoon so I had some me-time. I don't think I really understood the value of that prior to having Harry. Even so, I miss him terribly, even during those short hours away, but there's just something so validating and restful about a couple of hours being Penny, not just Mama. Not that I believe any of us are 'just' Mama, but hopefully you know what I mean.

Food - meal plans. That's what this post is supposed to be about!

Breakfasts - I had weetabix all last week and I'm bored already, so back to porridge it is. I'm feeling a bit frumpy and lethargic so I'm hoping that'll help - although the oats do have the side effect of being lactogenic, so Harry will think it's Christmas this week.

Lunches - last week I made Parsnip and apple soup, which I'd hoped to blog, but it needs some more tweaking. This week, I think I'll do Spiced root vegetable soup using up the carrots and swede which are currently languishing, unloved in the veg drawer - it's a yummy, warming and syn free concoction that is super easy and Harry likes it too. Although he loved the Parsnip and apple a lot!

Suppers - we did our weekly Aldi shop this weekend, and the offers had changed. Although I was so sad not to be able to find any of the cloth nappies in our branch, I really wanted to give them a shot.

Monday: Leftover tomato pasta that I made last night as a base for meatballs. M is working late, so he'll grab something en route.

Tuesday: Chilli con carne with a big dose of super speedy veggies in the slow cooker. I didn't get around to making this last week, so popped the mince in the freezer. I'll prep a 'dump-it-in bag' tonight, so even if we have another night of no sleep, I'm good to go in the morning. We'll have it with rice.

Wednesday: Leftover chilli with broccoli for me, and in a burrito for M

Thursday: Ham in coca cola with Slimming world chips and an egg for M.

Friday: Leftover ham, sweet potato wedges and veggies

This weekend's a bit fluid as we need to pop and see family so I think I'll see how we go. Right, I'm off to link up with Mrs M and Organising Junkie too in a bid to be a bit more with it this week. Now, where's my coffee...

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Living LAGOM with Ikea and our New Year's Resolutions

You might remember this post from before Christmas when I introduced the LiveLAGOM project I’m going to be working on for the next 6 months with Ikea. 

The first stage of the project was to identify some resolutions that we could work on over the coming months. I don’t really ‘do’ New Year’s resolutions as I can’t abide the thought of giving something up when the year is at it’s most miserable and grey however, these resolutions are all about positive changes, not denying myself. 

We have a few resolutions as we’ll be working on a couple of different areas around the home.

Energy management – we’re quite good at keeping the central heating down low and only on when necessary and monitor our use closely. However, we have massive windows, and as you can see from the pictures below, despite linings on our curtains, lose a fair amount of heat. 

Before Christmas, M borrowed an infrared camera to find out what was actually going on with those windows of ours: Here are his thoughts:


The greatest heat loss appears to be through the metal window frames, rather than the double glazing itself. The front door curtain wasn’t drawn while I was taking these pictures, so there's a large amount of energy loss through the front door area.

At the back of the house there is a large amount of energy being lost through the kitchen door and the bathroom window. We're going to be installing some Ikea blinds in both these rooms to try and minimise this. 

Waste management – we need to ensure that we’re recycling more and minimising our food waste. Which is tricky with a toddler who will eat you out of house and home where sweet potatoes are concerned one week, yet look at them like they've been poisoned the next. My regular meal plans help us stay on track, but I do need to be better at using our leftovers, I'm a terrible one for letting things languish in the fridge, unloved. 

I think that’s the crux of the whole project isn't it – we, like so many people could do better. Be more LAGOM. And that’s what we’re focussing on. Doing better. Like many of our friends, money is tight, we have our little toddler running around and we need to make sure we’re not wasting what we don’t have. We’ve made lots of changes in the last year to ensure we really are working hard to keep everything nice and low, and need to remain focussed. I’m hoping that our extension leads with off switches, thermal curtain linings, blinds, and recycling bins all keep us heading in the right direction.

So, I’ve got the paint out to give the bits of the kitchen that aren’t ‘sunshine yellow’ a freshen up before we put the new lights up, I’ve started decluttering with gusto, and we’ve even begun an early spring clean. Can you call it a Spring clean if it’s still the winter? Our list of things to do around the house this year is HUGE but we’re hoping to continue to work on it, making it our family home.

Because for us, that’s what this is about making our home a family home. Not a work in progress, not a project, a family home. That’s comfy and cosy. That’s welcoming. That doesn’t cost us so much to run we worry. Because you don’t want to spend your precious time as a family worrying because there's not enough. And that's the flip side of LAGOM isn't it, not too much, not too little. Just enough. I feel like I should sign off with Mama Bear. 


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