Friday, 25 November 2011

We are sailing....

I am really psyched it is Friday. Tonight after work I am heading to Hull with a friend in order to board the over-night ferry to Bruges.

Tomorrow we sight-see, eat and shop and then back on the ferry to come home over-night.

I am looking forward to visiting Bruges as I have never been before and I'm in good company so we should have a giggle.


I'd ordered a new across the body bag to take but there was a little delay on it. Luckily it turned up yesterday so I get to glam it up on board :)

Love Debenhams and their 40% off.

Thought I would share some items from my grocery shop this week. I sneaked in some items that I have been looking to try.



I was so excited when I saw this on the supermarket website. You know I love pumpkin?! Well it is only surpassed by all things gingerbread. I love the little running man :)


Sweet chilli pistachio's - for Xmas of course....


Mmm, grapefruit with vodka and ice...........


I'm all for extra fiber in my morning cereal


Back to some more current eats. Yesterday I had some sushi and edamame as a little snack during the day.



This morning I tested the gingerbread oats - warming and filling, just what I needed.


So I am all packed and ready to go after work on my little jolly:



Have a great weekend. Catch ya Sunday with a trip round-up :)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

My day in pictures

Today was a treat day.
Facial, eyebrow threading (ouch) and manicure - all thanks to a Groupon.
So it was York with breakfast, coffee, lunch.... all my favourite things.


I love York and I love a day in York shared with one of my best friends Margaret. She's one of the greatest friends you could ever wish to have. Such a kind heart.
So lets have a shy picture of her. She'll kill me. Gotta love those Irish genes :) Check out the glass o wine..... she'll tell ya it was a spritzer......


Bruges at the weekend with another good friend. Boy I get around.
I am really looking forward to it, the ferry, food, brisk walks and hot chocolate; it's gonna be an experience.
I'll make sure I take my camera ;)

xx

Monday, 21 November 2011

Blink and you miss me

Another weekend gone and I've been missing again!
Busy times at Cookie towers. Please forgive me.

Firstly let me update you on Herman. He has been fed and grown well. Bubbling nicely.


Tonight he was separated into 4,  three are to be given away, the forth portion I baked with apple, sultanas, coconut, and some other goodies thrown in. It smells fantastic and doesn't look bad either. Mahoosive though. I think I'll have to freeze some. 


I forgot to mention my Rawr delivery. It came on Tuesday. Looks good and I have sampled the Christmas flavour.
Having never eaten raw chocolate before I wasn't sure what to expect.
The flavour was good - but then dark chocolate is my favourite. I found it a little grainy though. Not unpleasant, just a different texture.
They are beautifully wrapped and I think my intended recipient will like trying them.



Over the weekend we went to see the new Twilight film, ate out at a Thai restaurant, drank too much wine and ate at Bella Italia


Now I need to catch some zzzz, been a busy day and just done a double session at the gym so am totally ready for my head to hit the pillow.

Night!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Beating the clock

Busy couple of days at Cookie towers. It feels like I have been racing around yet I don't feel like I've been really productive!

I did manage some decent breakfasts


This mornings creation was particularly good. Carrot cake inspired porridge. Now I did see this on a blog last week and I can't for the life of me find it now. If anyone can help I'd be really grateful so I can link the post back.


For my version I put 28g porridge oats (this one had raisins and some other dried fruits in it) 1 scan bran (extra fiber) 1 grated carrot, 1 cup of just boiled water and some mixed spice.
I nuked it for 4 minutes and then added 1 tsp honey. It was mighty delicious, filling and warming. Just what I needed this dreary Thursday .

I managed to whip up a quick onion soup before the gym last night. It was ready in about 30 minutes and it is really sweet and delicious. I managed to slice my finger on the mandolin though - oooh man it stung.

After Jump FX and Pump FX at the gym I headed home in the chilly dark night looking forward to some carbs.

Pasta bolognese on a bed of cut-price spinach (25p - bargain!) it made the bowl look huge. I like a bit of eye trickery.

I topped my pasta fest with some reduced fat cheese and prepared to slip into my carb-coma for the evening.  The husband went with a delicious pizza which he'd had his eye on so all in all a win-win for us both on the food front.

I gave myself an extra 20 minute snooze-time this morning - big mistake. This left me with 30 minutes to get ready, make 2 pack-ups, prep the slow cooker and head out the door.

Amazingly though (and thanks to my soup effort the night before) I got the pack-ups sorted in extra quick time which left me with plenty to tackle the root veggies for my stew.

Into the mix this morning went swede, carrot, butternut squash, local stewing beef, red onion, oregano, pearl barley and 1 knorr stock pot.



I am totally thankful for the slow cooker today, I had another busy night ahead as I bought a couple of tickets to a Breast Cancer fashion evening at M&Co in our local town.


I took my mum and we enjoyed watching the fashion and partook (but didn't win) in the raffle I might have also had a little glass of rose - to be sociable you understand.
While I liked a lot of the clothes, I tried on a few tops but nothing really jumped out at me so I decided to save some pennies.

Mind you, I had spent a fortune beforehand at a local school's Xmas fair. There were lots of lovely gifts on offer as well as delicious cakes. 



Did you spot a cake missing?! The husband decided to taste test a blue one :) they got the thumbs up. A lovely girl in our village has started making them under 'Cake-a-doodle-do' such a great name.
The cakes above were 6 for £5, so I thought I would take some to work tomorrow - if I can keep the husband off them.
I also came home with some delicious betroot chutney and a couple of gifts for Xmas too, it was a lovely way to spend an hour.
 
I think I just about beat the clock today, but it was tight :)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Christmas secrets

Wah!
I got my secret santa victim person through yesterday from Laura at  http://www.keepinghealthygettingstylish.com/ 

I am so excited :) But shhhhhhhhh, I must remember its a secret......
I'll have to get my thinking cap on as I've not got that much to go on with my Santa nominee. But I hope to capture some elements and send off a nice surprise.

Secret santa is not something that we have at my work so I was keen to participate in this one. It will be interesting to see what people get for each other given that the majority of us will never have actually met. 

I always considered myself easy to buy for but I was shocked when someone said that they struggled what to get me. Let's face it, anything food, shower or candle related and ya can't really go wrong. 

Having said that I always have to make  my husband a list of ideas come Christmas time - no listy = no pressie. You learn from experience with my other half :)
I blame it on a man thing. Whereas I pick up on things he mentions through the year, anything I happen to comment on goes in one ear and out the other :)

I enjoy sourcing unusual presents that people perhaps might not have stumbled on themselves. Such as the Rawr chocolate and Teapigs that I found through some of the lovely UK blogs out there.
Plus I can't deny that it gives me chance to try them myself too....... best to try before I give as gifts just in case it's not suitable.... ahem.

On the trying theme, this year I decided to try out a recipe for some plum vodka that I spotted in a supermarket magazine.
Tonight I had to remove the muslin with the stones in as it's been over 6 weeks so (of course)I had a little quality control sample.



(Doesn't that plum look like a bottom in the jar there!! Bum vodka - yummy)

Considering I was a little dubious about how it would actually taste I was totally won over. It's not as sweet as sloe gin but it has that kind of unusual flavour. It really smacks of Winter time and Christmas and is a great warmer of the old chesticles.

I anticipate trouble in parting with this when the times comes... hic.....

Today its been a double at the gym - Spinning which should have been followed by Pump FX. Unfortunately once I got to the pump room it was already heaving. I picked a spot next to hubbie but it really was tight in there so I decided to give up my spot and I headed downstairs to do Zumba.

Man, Zumba after spinning is a leg experience that's for sure but it was really good to change it up. I was a dripping, exhausted mess by 8.30pm and ready for home, shower and tea.
Seeing as we had pasta last night and the left overs for lunch today I thought I'd better not go for another pasta-based meal but give the husband some 'real food' - meat and potatoes.

I took some sausages out of the freezer this morning along with some of dad's runner beans and served them up with baked beans and mushrooms. There should have been eggs on the menu too but I'd forgotten to get any, oopsies.  

Still, comfort on a plate.



I've had a nettle and peppermint tea since I got in and the husband has just poured me a G'n'T with ice and a slice.

What a perfect way to finish up Monday :)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

All or nothing

Sunday nearly over :( which means another day at work looms. Yeesh. Never mind, lets not dwell on that bit.

Today was relatively lazy with a bit of Zumba spice thrown in over lunchtime.

I started proceedings this morning with a fruit, yogurt and cereal combo.

Strawberries, banana, Greek yogurt, spice, pumpkin jam and a packet of Bear granola.

Plus a couple of black coffees while watching a film in bed - I love Sunday's.

Much as I love lazing about I decided to don the workout gear and head out to a local Zumba class. Man was it sweaty.... mmmm, we love it :)

As the post suggests, I can be an all or nothing type of person. Take working out for example, I am a go for it, sweat-fest kinda girl. I don't see the point in going if the whole time you are worried about how your make up looks - you know the ones I mean in the gym ;)

Don't get me wrong, when I was younger I would be the one who was worried about what other people thought - was my bum wobbling too much? is my mascara down by my chin....... Now I really don't mind if people look at me and think 'what is she on!' I've come a long way since the chubby shy girl I was in my teens.

Now I'm up at the front (mainly 'cos the eyesight is not so cracking) and I don't give a hoot what people behind think to my wobble. 
Course my bum wobbles (as does quite a few other bits) but I don't have time to check you out so I assume we are all in it together - who really cares?

That being said I am having a bit of trouble at the moment. Sweat related.
My workout clothes seem to have this odour..... nice.

Now always wash our work out gear straight away, I use liquid, vanish and fabric conditioner and I wash at 40 degrees. But lately once I start working out I get this whiff of what can only be described as a sour kind of smell. Yuck.

I wondered if anyone out there has the same trouble or a special washing method?
I replace my work out stuff often but the stuff I have at the moment is not very old. I've washed today's at 60 to see if that makes a difference.........

Back on the theme of all or nothing I have taken the element of last night's tea that I adored and kicked it up a notch:


A large pan of mushrooms cooked down to deliciousness in order to make a blue cheese mushroom macaroni paired with some grilled buffalo chicken and salad. 



I used my favourite salad dressing - just really good balsamic vinegar with some salt and pepper.



Holy moley.  

Having not eaten a mushroom in ages I have gone through 3 punnets in as many days.

That's me, all or nothing in every area :)

Make sure to get some Sunday Zzzzz's in, Monday's waiting.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Full to the brim

Lots of food pictures seem to be gathering on my camera so it seems only fitting that I share them.

First, rewind to last night. Following a schweddy double session at the gym I was once again saved by the slow cooker on returning home.

In a bid to empty the freezer a bit I rooted around on Wednesday night and came out with pheasant breasts and some low fat sausages. Come Friday morning I used the sausage meat to make little meatballs, put these along with the pheasant, some chopped potatoes and stock.

Eight hours and added sprouts later.....



This morning I had a 'To Do' list in my mind as long as your arm. After a pit-stop at work I headed into town to strike a few things off the list. While out I saw a beautiful bunch of autumnal flowers that just had my name on and for £3 I snapped them up.

I stopped by the cheese shop for a little bit of blue to make some soup. As usual I also managed to find a few other goodies.


An award winning 'Barncliffe' brie - I have visions of this being baked with some garlic slivers and perhaps some raw veggie dunkage this week.
I couldn't resist the sound of the Thyme Oatmeal biscuits either.

While there I also picked up some olives and the Jervlaux blue cheese I originally went in for.


I spotted some coffee on the shelf that I just had to try. I'm still working through the Eggnog but waiting in the wings is this baby.



Seeing as I'd not eaten any breakfast (naughty) I made sure to make a pit stop and get a jacket with beans and a side salad with lots of goodies - peppers, tomatoes, beetroot and cucumber to name a few.



Such a good idea as I was starving by the time I got in. I added some reduced fat cheese for all-out deliciousness.

This afternoon I tackled the bathroom, did the ironing and wrapped a load of Xmas presents. Least it's a start and I now know what is left to buy.

I was treating hubbie to a nice tea and I think he liked it.

Fillet steak (local and delicious), roasted butternut squash, roasted sprouts, chips, green beans and a divine mushroom dish.


For the mushrooms I sliced some chestnut mushrooms and cooked down in a pan with a little water, garlic and salt. Once all the juice was about cooked off I then added a little but of the blue cheese and stirred until melted. I finished it off with some thyme leaves.

OMG - this was the star of the tea. I could serve it up with pasta and be in heaven.


Now it's time for a little vino and some Merlin :)



Happy Saturday x

Meet Herman

No, not Herman Munster.

A curious bag was waiting on the worktop for me when I got home on Thursday.
One of the ladies that works with my husband had sent me a little gift.

Now I am all for gifts in any form but this was a strange one, even for me.

Inside the bag was a tub of what looked like batter and acompanying it was an A4 letter with instructions on how to look after 'Herman' by way of a day-by-day guide of what should be done.

Firstly 'Herman' (what a name) had to be poured into a bowl and covered loosely with cling film and left out of the fridge.


Hmmm. I admit, it looks odd.

Basically I have to nurture this for 9 days, some days you just stir and others you feed with flour, sugar and milk.

On day 10 you separate the mixture into 4. Give three away to friends with the instructions and the fourth you keep to make a Friendship Cake.

I think this is such a sweet idea.
I'll let you know how me and Herman get on. I'll be doing my best to look after him and then send my Herman babies onto more lovely ladies for nurtring.

For now here is my well worn and copied care sheet:


Wish me and above all, Herman luck :)