Sunday, 16 April 2017

Happy Easter

Easter is a lovely celebration, for many, a family time that, like so many festivals centres around food: Hot cross buns, fish on Good Friday, roast lamb on Easter Sunday. For our family the centrepiece is always the Simnel cake - fruit soaked in a generous splosh of Amaretto, a low temperature and relatively brief bake making for a light, and beautifully almondy bake. I'm sure others would challenge this but I really don't miss the butter, and as the egg is baked it's perfect for us. As always we use Vitalite, Pure or Flora Freedom for baking.

I've not changed my recipe up at all from last year, I'm not reblogging the recipe, but here are some pictures of this year's effort.

Happy Easter everyone

Monday, 13 March 2017

Meal Planning Monday: 13th March

It's FRIDAY and I'm Meal Planning. I know! Who knew I could ever be this organised? Blog wise anyway - if you know me in real life, you'll be familiar with my Planners, calendars, and lists: colour-coded, monochrome, stickered... all the lists.

This week's meal plan is another fairly standard week - M has been poorly this week (I confess, to my shame I'm not the world's most sympathetic nurse), so I'm hoping he feels better but aside from that it's business as usual.

Breakfasts have been a mixture of crumpets and shreddies (well Aldi's own brand which are lovely) with a banana. As an aside, is anyone actually managing 10 portions of fruit and veg a day? I am struggling.

Lunches - I'm feel a bit tired of sandwiches, so am planning on making a batch of carrot, chilli and lentil soup.

Suppers -

Saturday: Gammon, egg, Slimming World chips and peas

Sunday: Chicken & winter veg casserole, possibly with herby dumplings

Monday: Leftover casserole with baked potatoes

Tuesday: Vegan Shepherd's pie

Wednesday: Leftover Shepherd's pie

Thursday: Parsnip pasta

Friday: Emergency pizza night

No baking planned, although I'm thinking of a Dairy free hot cross bun pudding as that'd be lovely in packed lunch boxes next week - based on this recipe, but using Flora freedom spread and Oatly. So that's planned now, isn't it!

What're you up to this week? Anything exciting? Inspiring? Why not let me know in the comments below

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Rosacea and me: Skincare

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes (amongst other symptoms) it's characteristic redness or flushing. For me, it appeared following pregnancy and rapidly spread from a patch the size of a two pound coin, until it covered most of both cheeks. Initially I just looked episodically rosy but as it's progressed I now look permanently flushed with very sensitised skin.

Today's post, whilst seemingly utterly out of place on a blog that primarily concerns itself with food, has come about in response to a couple of emails I received this week. I mentioned on my Self-care on Sunday post that I'm trying to remember to put on sunscreen before I go out each day as it's supposed to help prevent the rosacea get any worse.

I've actually bitten the bullet and gone to see the GP today about it as I've got to the stage when (to the shame of my vain self) I now feel like I need to wear makeup to face the day. The doctor was great, and after my grovelling apologies at being so vain, supportively helped me to find something to try. We're going to try Azelaic acid to start with as my other meds prevent me from taking oral antibiotics.

 However, on to the theme of this post and skin care - over recent months I've pared back my skincare to a really soothing, calming routine. Previously a Caroline Hirons devotee, I've actually nixed most of her recommendations, recognising that they were, in fact agitating my redness. Here follows my favourite products that seem to be keeping my skin soft whilst treating it incredibly gently.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Dermo cleanser - this is so lovely to use, I very gently smooth it over my skin, taking care not to rub or agitate it and then with a soft, warm flannel, rinse it off. Having said I've moved away from much of Caroline's advice I do still double cleanse to remove the sunscreen I'm trying to remember to use each day.

La Roche Posay Seroznic - I have a slightly doubtful relationship with this zinc and thermal water spray, I find it soothing and like the feeling of it on my skin - and from what I've read, hylauronic acid serums and creams work better on damp skin so it should help my next step work better - but I'm never sure it's doing anything - could it be a case of the Emperor's New Clothes?

Superdrug Simply Pure hydrating serum - this thin lotion soaks immediately into my skin and feels really plumping. It was discontinued for a while, but has since reappeared, is a complete bargain and is regularly on offer which is when I take advantage and stock up.

Face Theory Relaxing night cream - I actually use this during the day. I have the unscented version (as much as I love products packed with soothingly scented essential oils, I just can't tolerate them) and it's a great occlusive sealing in that hylauronic acid and softening my skin.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 - this is my emergency cream - at the moment I'm using it nightly as it's thick, comforting texture is helping my angry red face no end. I'm hoping that when I get over this latest flare up, or when the prescription starts working, I'll be able to just use the Face Theory, but in the interim this is great.

Elta MD Broad Spectrum SPF 46 - My current self care challenge being to remember to apply this daily as sun damage does seem to make the red and soreness worse.

 It's no accident that there are three La Roche Posay products as my much loved Boots frequently has them on 3 for 2 offers. The Face Theory and the Elta are probably my most expensive products.

If you have Rosacea or similarly sensitised skin what are your go-to products?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Meal Planning Monday on Tuesday: 7th March

Yes, I know. I know! Oddly enough I wrote the meal plan on Friday, but completely blanked on actually blogging it until today. 

Another busy week, with the sun making an appearance to brighten our days (if not yet warming us up). 

In a shocking change to proceedings I actually don't have sausage hotpot on the meal plan this week - thanks to the lovely root veg selection of Aldi's Super 6 this week, it's been replaced by another comforting favourite: Super slow roast brisket. 

Breakfasts - I keep sayng I'm going to have porridge and then having crumpets and marmite instead. So this week I'm beng upfront and planning to have crumpets in the hope that in a typically contrary fashion, I'll have porridge.

Lunches - it's been a ham sandwich kind of time these last few weeks, but I'm going to try to get around to defrosting a lovely carrot soup I made and froze recently. 


Monday: My cheat's Pasta puttanesca

Tuesday: Leftover brisket cottage pie

Wednesday: Leftover leftovers

Thursday: Gammon, slimming world chips, peas and sweetcorn

Friday: Was gong to be Emergency pizza night, but I've just noticed that I picked up a pizza that's gone out of date already. I must remember to wear my glasses when I go shopping. 

Saturday: I have a piece of Christmas gammon nestled in the freezer so I think I'll defrost that for a ham in coca cola. 

Sunday: Leftover gammon. Hurrah! 

As always that's our week, what does yours look like? If you're in need of some inspiration, why not pop on over to some of our meal planners? 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Self care on Sundays, my plan for the week ahead

I can't remember when I first heard of the idea of self-care, I know I've been thinking about it for a few years now, and do my best to carve out small parts of my week where I can give myself a little breathing space in whatever way, space or form that might take.

I've spoken on the blog before about mental health, and love the fact that self-care focuses on improving or maintaining one's mental wellbeing. It's not going to be right for everyone, and 20 minutes of fresh air a day isn't going to help someone who's in crisis. But, caught at and thought of at the right time, it could help someone stay well, or even feel stronger. 

Each week I'm going to try to think about 7 self care activities I can put in place over the week ahead. Some things might pop up every week, others from time to time and others again could be a one off.

  1. Use my planner to plan my week as an overview, and my daily spread to do the detail.
  2. Find some time to crochet each day, even if only 15 minutes.
  3. Be grateful, whether that is expressed through prayer, or simply noting down what I'm grateful for in my journal I find that the intention behind being thankful and conscious of blessings both big and small is a really positive way of reminding myself of the good things.
  4. Fresh air - even when the weather is foul, try to get outside for a walk with my partner in crime for 20 minutes.
  5. Switch off - after 8pm get rid of the technology. It's so tempting to respond to every notification, but it's important that M and I get time together.
  6. Sunscreen. I have wildly sensitive skin, and rosacea so remembering to apply this every day will do me the world of good.
  7. Sing! I've recently discovered Encore radio - dedicated to musicals - and singing along to showtunes in the kitchen is pretty much guaranteed to make me smile.
That's my 7 for this week. Why not add yours in the comments below?

Monday, 27 February 2017

Meal Planning Monday: 27th February

How on earth did that come around so soon? Last week's meal plan was a bit of a disaster, the meat we bought from Aldi was (despite being well in date)off, disgustingly so - as was, randomly a butternut squash. Necessity being the mother of invention; the Squash and Spring green curry ended up being Sweet potato and Spring green curry, and Shepherdess pie (a vegan Shepherd's pie) made it's first ever appearance. Both were warmly received and will definitely be reappearing on the meal plan and (if I can ever work out how to make a brown meal even vaguely attractive in a photo) on the blog.

My attention was caught last week by recommendations that you should aim for 10 portions of fruit and veg a day. Even I feel a bit daunted by that, but am going to make a real effort to see how many portions I can realistically - bearing in mind our budget - a day. Once more I shall bemoan the fact that the staff in our local Asda are convinced their wonky veg boxes don't exist and be grateful for Aldi's Super 6.

This week then... As normal a week as it ever gets here in the Pantry. Of course it's Shrove Tuesday this week so we'll be flipping our pancakes this week. However, Pancake day, as always, is a Guides night so I'll be pancaking with them. Harry is convinced he loves pancakes, asking for them often, but when made, rarely goes near them, so we'll see.

Breakfasts: Porridge for me, topped with banana

Lunches: Tomato soup


Monday - Sausage casserole, with steamed Spring Greens. I keep making this and find it impossple to photograph. I may just put the recipe up instead.

Tuesday - Leftovers with extra veggies agan.

Wednesday - Pasta and meatballs, using my hidden veg tomato sauce

Thursday - Leftovers baked with cheese on top

Friday - Freezer surprise

Saturday - Gammon, egg, chips and veggies

Sunday - All hail the fact that next week's Super 6 at Aldi means I can justify my Super slow roast brisket

I've got no baking planned for the first half of the week as we did bake some blueberry muffins and an Apricot and cherry banana bread over the weekend. Both decidedly light on blueberries and apricots due to my helper.

As always, do pop around our Meal Planning Monday blog hop in case you're in need of some inspiration!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Still here, and still Meal Planning: Monday 20th February 2017

I promise that meal plans have still been happening in the Pantry, It's just since Christmas, between coughs, colds, infections and now Hand, food & mouth I don't think we've had a week where all of us have been healthy at the same point in time. It's ghastly, I do feel like all we need is a holiday, some sunshine and some proper family time. Pipe dreams though.

Breakfasts: I made porridge over the weekend, of late I've been starting the day with crumpets and marmite, and really enjoyed something that felt a bit healthier, so will be attempting to continue with that. I say healthier, it was topped with a hefty spoon of dark, soft brown sugar

Lunches: I've completely fallen off the soup wagon, but have been enjoying pilaffs, noodles and other quick and easy lunches.


Monday - Leftover sausage casserole, with brocolli

Tuesday - Butternut squash and spring green curry with rice

Wednesday - Leftover curry with roti

Thursday -Emergency pizza

Friday - Breakfast for dinner

Saturday - Gammon, egg, Slimming world chips, peas and sweetcorn

Sunday - Tomato pasta bake

I was going to say no baking this week as I've fabulous birthday cake to eat up, but then I remembered that mean I need to bring cake to bible study on Friday, I suspect I'll make my Apricot and Cherry banana bread as it's dairy free so the children at creche can have some too.

Have a good week - it's back to our normal routine after half term for us, so toddler groups aplenty.

As always, I'm joining up with Meal Planning Monday - do be sure to have a look at what everyone else is up to:


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