Friday, 30 October 2015

A lazy day, lovely

Yesterday was shopping day, I did not need much and neither did Maggie. We whizzed round Tesco for a handful of things, I wanted a bag of toffee for the crispie cakes, I will be in Cardigan in a weeks time, Cauliflowers were 69p and I found a huge one. I also picked up a bag of mixed peppers reduced to less than half price, now sliced and frozen, and a bag of loose bananas for 30p Kg, a carrot cake has been made ( and sampled).
Then on to Lidl where I spent the grand total of £11.13, and that included 2 weeks supply of cat food for my visitor cat.
All I will need before next Thursday will be a top up of veg, maybe, and some milk.

I had a nothing day apart from a little stacking,

This is just over half of my patches waiting to be sewn together, maybe later.

This morning I did a little carving.

I used the flesh to make a curry, ready for next week, and have this ready to go out tomorrow. I rubbed a little spice mix into the mouth to make it look a bit more menacing.
I also made a batch of pasta sauce for the freezer, I had some veg that needed using.
I will post both recipes on my Random Recipes in the side bar, that will be after a cuppa.

I have a load of washing on the line, it is a reasonable day, and hope to get it ironed later.
There may be a little sewing, there will be some crochet, I had a day off yesterday and indulged in surfing my way around the world.
I almost caught up with blog reading and comments, I am happy with that. I found some new recipes and some new places to pop in on a regular basis.
All in all it was a good day.
Now for that cuppa.

                    TTFN                                                Pam

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Stitching not sleeping, and a give away.

There are times when I am ecstatic to be able to happily function on just a few hours sleep most nights.
 The piles of paired charms has reached epic proportions and I now have 382 pairs and a good pile of singles. This will enable me to be as happy with the distribution in the last block as the first.

My next step is to press these open and then pair them up and sew 4 patch blocks. 
I am going to decide on backing and binding once I have made the 4 patches into 16 patch blocks, I may use the quilt as you go method of joining these.
On the crochet front I have finished the Lipstick red squares and started on Aster blue.

I had a little trip out yesterday afternoon, Maggie rang to see if I could take her out to look at a bungalow, just the other side of Ammanford. So off we went to meet the owner and have a good nosey round. It is just about perfect for Maggie, there are a few easily resolved issues with steps in the garden. Nothing that a few sessions removing moss and scrubbing algae will not resolve, and 2 that need repairing or replacing.  The owner will be letting her know as soon as he decides which of the prospective tenants he chooses.
I will be embarking on a Bamboo cane cutting session before she moves,  part of her present garden is a veritable forest of the stuff.
If she does get this place I am going to buy her a couple of fruit trees as a house warming gift. 
We have our normal shopping trip today, I only need to buy a chicken, butter, milk and bread flour. I did a top up fruit and veg shop on Tuesday.
My meal plan was completely changed round this week, my fault entirely, I had a fancy for coleslaw. Possibly fuelled by spotting small red and white cabbages in Lidl. I prepped all the veg and put into zip lock bags and just dressed what I wanted each day, I have had it with jacket potato and cold ham, smashed roasties and smoked sausage and with impossible quiche. Tonight I will have a beef casserole from the freezer in a Yorkshire pudding with some Cavalo Nero from the garden.

This is next weeks plan
Sunday, Roast Chicken
Monday, Spicy Vegetable  Pasta Bake.
Tuesday, Chicken and vegetable pie.
Wednesday, Sausage and Bean Hot Pot.
Thursday, Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry and rice
Friday, Fish Pie with carrots and Kale.
Saturday, Pulled Beef, warm rolls and coleslaw.

I have a Bloggers get together on the horizon, in Newcastle Emlyn, 4 of us plan to meet up. I must not look at fabric, I want to find a cross stitch project that I can enjoy.
On the subject of fabric, as I have been cutting my charm squares I have generated an alarming amount of strips and rectangles of fabric. Even though I have made several scrappy projects this year, including 3 quilts, they are beginning to take over.
If anyone out there would like to try a scrappy sewing project I will happily send off enough scraps to make a baby quilt or a pair of cushion covers. If this will be your first bit of patchwork I could include wadding, lining and backing fabric as well. Just drop a comment in and tell me what you would like to make, and if there is a colour group preference. Or even a colour phobia.
All my followers are welcome to this give away, I may even manage to find a book to add to the fun.
Now it is time for tea, the rain is spattering gently against the windows so I will be dashing away with the smoothing iron shortly. Once Ben has been out for a paddle of course.

               TTFN                                                      Pam

PS.  Do not forget about the RAK for the new year, all you need to enter is to be a follower and have a blog to enable you to carry it forward. If enough peeps try for this I may make 2 up.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Stitching up a storm

Morning all, it is a bit damp and drizzly here but no worries, I am happy to sit and sew or crochet. In the unlikely event that I get bored I have some new cake recipes thanks to Bovey Belle over at codlinsandcream 2, such a bad girl, she published no fewer than 4 delicious looking cake recipes and 1 for mincemeat. Note to self, buy some cream and make some custard. Mincemeat pie and custard oh yum.

Anyhow I am still popping the fat pink pills and so far (touch wood, turn round thrice and spit) they are doing the trick, all being well I will be off to Neath later on. Shaw,s the drapers have a branch there and I want to have a look at their DK cotton yarn.

I had a productive day yesterday, no good slummocking around feeling sorry for myself, that butters no parsnips. Strange saying!
I am glad of it as abandoning the mental arithmetic I found a calculator and I need 378 pairs of charm squares for the 2 quilts.

I have this many done, each little stack has 10 pairs so I have 210 pairs. Over half way so not too shabby. I decided not to press them open until I have the full amount, it is easier to keep count that way and they take up much less space.

These are my remaining charms, no where near enough. But, I have pulled a few more fabric from the stash, they have been freshly pressed and will be cut later today.

6 more warm colours, for now, once I have cut these I will pair them with my remaining cool charms and when they run out I will cut these, plus a few more that I dug out a little while ago.

I pulled these 3, yesterday afternoon, and got them pressed ready to cut but decided that enough was enough and retired to the sofa and my granny squares.

I finished off the 4 remaining lilac and made a good start on a glorious red, Lipstick, 5 of those are done and I will do the other 8 tonight. I sat and watched the first few episodes of season 5 of Haven. When it was on the first time I managed to miss it, possibly work got in the way. It is quite silly but as chewing gum for the brain it works for me.

My Banana plant has opened another new leaf, at this rate it will have to stand on the floor by this time next year. The growth rate has slowed down a little, possibly due to light levels and shorter days. The orchid that it stands next to is thriving, I think they are in a symbiotic relationship, the Banana insists on draping a leaf over the orchids stem. 

Now it is high time that the kettle went on for my second cuppa, I seem to be lagging somewhat this morning.

                       TTFN                                                     Pam

Monday, 26 October 2015

Whir, bzzz, clunk.

That was the sound of another body part suddenly seizing up. I have been busy, crochet and sewing and then a trip to Cardigan to deliver the play tent. A Big Success. Junior and Kaitlyn were soon armed with cushions, quilts and books and settled down for the long haul, the question as to sleeping possibilities was raised.

I have 2 more colours to add to the granny pile,

3 more of the lilac, it is a bit pinker in real life, needed I will do those later.

I have been sewing up a storm, these charms have been segregated into warm and cool, I need around 300 of each.

I have started to sew into pairs, then they will become 4 patches and so on.

I have 50. only another 250 to go. They are destined to become quilts for 2 sisters, they need to be similar but not identical. The main difference will be the binding and backing, I hope that will be enough to escape any sibling rivalry. The girls may be adults but grown up they are not.

This single quilt top will be on the frame later, I had hoped to do it today, fingers crossed for tomorrow. It will be a fast job as it is only 50" by 72".

This top you have seen before, it now has a wide border, bringing it to 84" by 96", it too will hopefully be basted before the week is out. I will pin baste on the frame and as it is Beast #2 I will quilt it on the Horn cabinet.

My shoulder and neck flare up went as fast as it came, that heated shawl thingy is fabulous, but my driving on Saturday left me with a full on Sciatica flare up that evening.
Real tears were shed, in copious amounts, I began to worry about the risk of flooding.
My heavy duty meds were duly choked down, I hate taking pills, and as usual I was comatose within an hour. I slept like the dead for 12 hours and took a less powerful version on Sunday, more tears but not as many and for less time. Today I am just taking Ibuprofen 400 mg and keeping my (metaphorical) fingers crossed that they will suffice.
 I am so pleased that I record Strictly, I am rooting for Carol but I fear she will not last the course. One or two of the "Non Dancers" are very very talented, almost beyond a professional level.
I managed to watch The Doctor, also recorded, now it may be that my drug fuelled mind was as fault but I found it pedestrian and very weak. I am not a Peter Capaldi fan but was quite getting used to him being different to the last few, dare I say Dishy Doctors. Now I am back on the fence again.

I am off to count charm squares, I am so thankful that a while ago I was driven to cut through a chunk of the stash. Most of which was converted to charms.

                TTFN                                                    Pam

Friday, 23 October 2015

R A K, ooh, lovely Friday Surprise

I popped into Pontardawe yesterday to pick up a few things from Lidl. Upon my return I found a card from the postie, a parcel was waiting for me in Ammanford. A puzzled bit of head scratching and chin rubbing, nope, nothing, no idea what it could be, forget about it till tomorrow.
Today dawned, wet, grey, d u l l. Made and drunk tea, drunk some more, shower, dry hair get body suitably covered. Ben demanded his walk, then breakfast, drunk more tea, finally woke up completely.

Off to the P O and got my parcel, delightfully wrapped in brown paper, cue Julie cavorting round the mountains while warbling, hopped into car and ripped off paper with excitement. 

Ooh look what I found ( the photos had to wait till I got back home)

Printer paper....? ! ? who sent me printer paper......
Takes lid off as excitement gives way to curiosity and squeal.... excitement is back.

A lovely card in autumnal colours and what treasure is peeping out, Yorkshire flavour crisps!... Oops, Cheese and Caramelised onion crisps, MADE in Yorkshire. Note to self, calm down and read the labels.

Nestling at the back, chocolate cookies, oh, choc chunks in and more choc on the outside  mmmmmmm. Want one now, no no no must wait and keep looking.

Wool from my favourite source, 2 balls! and in new to me colours, lush. Must think about these, perhaps a ball of a deep orange, and/or some dark red will make something very Autumnish for me.

Just look, brain fodder to help me think. What do you mean, only hot chocolate. There is no such thing as Only hot chocolate, it is sublime, moreish, yummy and definitely counts as brain fodder. 

On the other hand they could be relished while indulging in a read, this is the first in a series of books. I like that, I can enjoy this and then look for the rest in the series. Who am I kidding, I will be looking later today.
And last but not least a little treat for Ben, I will have to open these before the cookies. 
All this from Jo Through the Keyhole, I had not exactly forgotten about it, just shunted it into a corner for future reference. 
A Random Act of Kindness, a  Round Robin type of thing if you like.
Now, I would love to carry this RAK forward, if anyone would like a gift from me, tailored to you then drop a comment. All that is required is to be willing to pass it forward to somebody else and have a blog to publish it.
 I will pop all names into something hattish and draw one out.

 In the interest of sanity I will not send a gift off until after you know when. There is plenty of gift choosing to do without putting another on the agenda.
I will however put the winner's name up and then indulge in a little bit of snooping, stalking and in depth studying. All in the interest of putting a gift together as personal to the winner as mine was to me.

Now be warned, I opened my parcel in the car and totally addled my brains, I bought the wrong fitting light bulbs, some Ch******s goodies that I did not intend to and completely forgot about the bag of potatoes that I need. I did manage to pick a sack up on the way home though. I will have to change the light bulbs tomorrow, on the way to Cardigan.
The moral of the tale is only open parcels at home, preferably while sitting down.

I am off to Cardigan tomorrow, in Lidl yesterday I found an indoor tent which is perfect for kaitlyn and Junior. I may even attempt a visit to Crosspatch to look for a beginners cross stitch project.

             TTFN                                                  Pam

PS Thank you for all the comments yesterday, after some more research I am going to Lakeland for my mincer. Mainly because of their reputation and the returns policy, not to mention that I can drive there easily compared to the hassle and cost of retuning some thing via the post.

PPS. I am not about to eat my way through 25Kg of potatoes, some will be going with me tomorrow.

PPSS. I am willing to post overseas, so this RAK is open to my blogging International followers.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Advice needed please.

I have decided to buy an electric mincer, and if it will stuff sausage skins all the better. My hand mincer has given stirling service over many years but has died the death. The new models are smaller and lighter and do not look up to much. 
The problem is what one to buy, there are so many out there, ranging from £30 to £500, and very few up to date reviews. Do any of you lovely peeps have one? Do you get lots of use for it? would you recommend it?
I am not looking for a "cheap and cheerful" or something to work 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. 
I have used my processor but the results were not as good as my mincer, plus that machine is now very old, it has done twice the years and probably 10 times the work load that it was designed to do.
I have told you in the past that I have good knives but the only thing I want to be mincing with a knife is garlic.
Today my shoulder/neck thing has flared up so I will be having a ding dinner, the beany burgers will be moved to tomorrow.
I have figured out which food dehydrator to buy, and will be looking for a vacuum sealer to use in tandem with it. The mincer will just about finish my kitchen gadget replacement program.
The crochet is forging ahead and I have sewing lined up for a day or three. Cross Stitch is still on the agenda, on a back burner for a while though. 
I did stop in Newcastle Emlyn last Saturday, I also found Crosspatch and had a quick look see. I was so mesmerised by the quilting goodies that I completely forgot about cross stitch, hey ho.
I may well look on the net for "an idiots guide to..."
I spotted another couple of crafty looking shops but time was pressing so I looked down and scurried past.

I picked up a pack of cooking bacon from Lidl, I was very picky and looked for a bag of thin rashers, once decanted and wrapped I had enough for 2 bacon rolls for 7 days. If I made the rolls myself I estimate that £3.00 would give a weeks breakfast for 2 people, including a dollop of sauce. Not that I would want a bacon roll every day, I like my porridge and muesli too much.

I cooked one of my 50p pumpkins and got almost 1 kilo of flesh from it. I put that in a pot with the rest of my roast veg from Sunday, added the left over mashed sweet potato and a pint of my chicken stock. Brought to boil and then simmered for 15 minutes, blitzed with the stick blender it just needed a splash of milk to give me a pan full of wonderful soup, now I will be having a bowl of that every lunch time.

On that note it is time for a cuppa.

      TTFN                                                                   Pam

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

It has been lovely and sunny here, yesterday became a full on washing on the line and garden day. Lots of tidying done, the rest of my bulbs in and 2 planters full of well rooted strawberry runners. They were as big as the parent plants and should fruit next year.

I now have 6 stacks of granny squares, and have started making the bigger squares but am not convinced that they are in the best colour choice. I aim to make a few then lay some out and see what I think then. If it is a no I will use them in something else.

I am not rushing to make these, a few in the evening once my bum collides with the sofa. I did have a night off as the driving to Cardigan put strain on my shoulder, Ben took full advantage and sprawled across my lap.

I prepped up a big tray of veg to roast on Sunday, ready for the veg tart for Monday.  I decided to add parsnip to the mix and will be using half a pack of ready cooked chestnuts.
 I should have made this yesterday but happened upon 2 bags of mushroom stir fry mix for 10p a pack, I also had some beef strips in the freezer that I snapped up a while ago, 350 g for £1. A dollop of my plum and chilli jelly and a glug of fig balsamic turned them into a feast for 3.

Once roasted there was enough for more than 1 meal so half of it will be used in the chilli and rice that I have planned, I will just add a little of my chilli sauce to keep enough heat.

There is rain forecast for tomorrow, I have been asked to go into Swansea, if it does rain I will go as far as my sewing room.
I see that the pundits are telling us to be ready for over 30 days of hard weather and snow, so we will get floods or a heat wave then.
I will have no issues if it does turn cold, my pantry, cupboards and freezers are and will be full. I will buy some dried milk and a few extra bags of flour and so on.
I would quite like to see some snow, it is years since I saw more than a couple of inches.
Now I am going to drink my tea before it gets cold and then take Ben out before I start to think about rolling puff pastry out.

                   TTFN                                                  Pam

Sunday, 18 October 2015

More from Mr Tesco and a ramble.

I went into Tesco on the off chance of finding some good strong cheddar and came out grinning widely. I picked up 4 blocks of serious;y strong cheddar for a total of £4.28, they had been marked down from a total of  £17.12, there was 1 days life on them. They are grated and frozen and stashed away, as I was down to my last box in the freezer I am a happy bunny. That lot will last for well over a month, possibly as many as 3 depending what I decide to cook. I very rarely keep block cheddar in the fridge, I like it far too much and can slice off 1/4 lb and eat it while wandering round. Having it grated saves time and mess as well, I use my box grater or if I buy a huge amount the processor.

I have seen several blog posts showing wonderful loaves of bread that require no kneading and no second rising. They all look crispy crusted and golden brown, and believe me if I could I would reach in for a slice or 3. BUT the one thing that they all have in common is loads of yeast. I make 2 large loaves of bread using half wholemeal and half white flour and 7gs dried yeast, it may take a while to prove but that just increases the flavour. Once cooked and cooled I slice and then freeze, I have cut my bread consumption right back and still have a loaf from the last bake over 2 weeks ago.

This is because I now have muesli or porridge for breakfast. Lunch is often left overs or soup or maybe crackers and cheese. I can not say that it is shifting any weight but I do not get the bloated feeling now. I have made several versions of Impossible Quiche and use gram flour in that. Slowly wheat is going from my diet (apart from cake!), I will see how long it lasts.

I am debating over buying cans of cooked pulses or packets of dried to be soaked and cooked. I have used dried and cooked a whole packet at a time in the slow cooker and then when cold freezing in portions. This takes a lot of my freezer space up as I like a variety of pulses to hand. It is less to do with cost than space and convenience, I am undecided, any ideas/suggestions?

My trip to Cardigan went well, James and Cerys were thrilled to get The Beast and I took Owl covered hot water bottles for Junior and Kaitlyn. The baby clothes were inspected by Junior, who pronounced them to be Cool and Kaitlyn who just shrugged her shoulders. She wants a girl and she wants it NOW. Luckily James and Cerys loved them.
I did notice how further into Autumn Ceredigion appears, the leaves are fast turning yellow, gold, orange and red. It was so marked in some places that I felt that it looked like Canada.
No photos though, I left the camera at home and my ancient phone does not connect to the laptop.
My "ding" chilli and rice dinner was most welcome last night and I followed it with a slice of whole orange cake and a cuppa about an hour later. 
That cake is so light and the flavour seems to have deepened, will be making that again for sure.
Ben wolfed his dinner down and then snored all night.

I have been busy this morning, doing the Fridge Bottom thing and prepping veg for meals during the week. I have downloaded some cute weekly meal planner sheets (so unessential but so cute) from and will use them for the fridge door, must prettier to look at than a sheet of lined paper. I will write in pencil and then erase and use again a few times, so not completely frivolous, then of course the back will make shopping lists.

Now it is time to get Ben out for a walk, bath for him later.

                 TTFN                                                         Pam

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Cake, Cake, glorious cake.

My day started well and then quickly went belly up. I woke to clear skies and pale sunlight, whizzed through the shower, had muesli and took Ben out, we were back by 9.00. I had to be on the ball as Maggie needed to go to the P.O., I picked her up on the dot of 10.00. She stood in a queue for 20 minutes, only to be told that she could not do the banking transaction there.
Off we went to Pontardawe, along with most of the valley population. The road was clogged with traffic, and there were very few parking spaces to be had.
Banking done Maggie needed to pop into Lidl for a few items, and yes, it too was heaving. 

Shopping done we were in the car and on the way home when just outside the town we came across a Police officer putting out a Road Closed Accident sign. The road would not be open for at least an hour and probably 2.
Not to worry, we turned around and came home by the scenic route via the little villages and Ystalafera.
Our 10 minute trip had turned into a mini adventure of 90 minutes. The village was very quiet for 2 hours till the road opened again.

My plans had gone out the window so to soothe my soul I baked.

I had already made the base mix for dinners Fish cakes, that is on the recipe blog.
I had recently found a couple of new blogs to follow and on one of them saw a recipe for whole orange cake. I will share it next time I bake as I want to add some more flavour.

Here they are, 40 minutes in the mini oven they made the whole house smell of warm orange as they cooked and then cooled.

As soon as the orange cakes came out 2 of Mum's Apple cakes went in, these had mixed spice and a handful of mixed dried fruit added.

After dinner my guests washed up while I sat and crocheted granny squares, I have made a start on the 5th colour. 
We were all quite full so no pudding was needed, lucky as I had not planned one.
After an  hour the kettle went on for tea and an orange cake was broached, the texture was lovely but I felt that it was not orangey enough. I will add extra zest next time I make it.

I have to get a wriggle on now and get myself off to Cardigan.

          TTFN                                                      Pam

Friday, 16 October 2015

Meal Planning to save time and money

Well just look at me, all sorted in the kitchen (and a start made on the bathroom) 
I will be having an easy ride for a few weeks, very little shopping and a lot less cooking.
My meal plans have been drawn up for a month and almost half of them will be "ding dinners" with some fresh veg. 
I made a start on the new regime last night, I had a serving of beef casserole and a tub with cooked cabbage and mashed carrot and swede in the freezer. So I whipped up a batch of batter, made a tray Yorkshire pudding and got 2 plates like this out of it.

I used 2 eggs, 4oz Pl flour and between 1/4 and 1/2 pint of milk and water. It took 20 minutes in the mini oven and was delicious. Ben had the leftovers this morning.

Next weeks is this,

Sunday, Roast Lamb, a small joint that was less than half price in my local shop, with roast potatoes, cauli cheese (from the freezer) and carrots.
While the oven is on I will roast a tray of ready diced veg from the freezer for Monday
Monday, Roast veg and chestnut tart, I will slice some fresh spinach from the garden and scatter over the tart as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Tuesday, Ready cooked pork shank in mushroom sauce from the freezer, bought half price in Lidl, with potatoes and steamed veg
Wednesday, Chilli and rice from the freezer.
Thursday, Kidney bean and carrot patties with home made coleslaw and flat bread.
Friday, Honey and Mustard chicken with potato wedges and sweetcorn and peas.
Saturday, Home made Pizza, topped with left over chicken, smoked sausage from the freezer and peppers. The base sauce will be from the freezer as well.
All that I need to buy is a chicken, I will use 1 breast for this, I will be frozen as will the thighs and drumsticks.
 The body carcase will go into the slow cooker with some chopped onion, carrot, celery sticks and fresh herbs from the garden. I will drain it off and freeze the stock, any scraps of meat and gristle will find their way into Ben's dish.
 Tomorrow I am off to Cardigan to see James, Cerys and the littlies, I have a tower of things that I have gathered for them and need the space. I will be having a look in Aldi to compare stock and prices to Lidl, I will not be buying anything, my cupboards are full.
My crochet is ticking along, the forth colour of granny squares is almost completed and the bag of yarn is still beside me. 

I have made a batch of crispie cakes to take with me tomorrow. It is very simple, very moreish and very loaded with calories so an occasional treat.

Take a large pan and put in, 4 oz butter, 4 oz marshmallows and 
4 oz hard toffees. Melt over a low heat and stir frequently.

Remove from heat and add 5 oz crispie cereal.

Press into an ungreased tin, I use the back of a spoon, and leave till cold. Cut into squares or fingers and store in a tin.
I use a plastic box and put baking paper between the layers. 
It is a bit sticky, sweet and crunchy and altogether yummy.
I got the butter from Tesco, their Welsh butter is less than 90p and makes 2 batches with a little over. The rest came from Lidl, enough for 3 batches and cereal left over. They were all on offer a few weeks ago and were under £3 so 3 batches for less than £4. Acceptable in my book, I 'fess up to making a batch for myself, to share out of course, otherwise I would eat it non stop till it was gone.

That,s all for now.

         TTFN                                                         Pam

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Terrific Thursday

I managed to finish the massive cupboard sort out yesterday, every single one has been emptied and washed, dried and all shelves are lined. I used some old C. paper so they are bright and cheerful. I even made an inventory of the contents and then on the shopping run have filled in the gaps and topped up the levels.
Today it is the freezers turn, I have been merrily stashing things away and now have little idea what is where. This leads to a waste of time hunting and the chance of food wasted as I can not squeeze it in to the chaotic drawers and cavity.
I have got my thermal gloves ready, some sturdy shopping bags and paper and pen to hand. Once done I strongly suspect that I will have quite a lot of empty space, I know that there are at least 12 plastic boxes waiting to be emptied into bags.
I found a new blog, My Abundant Life, a couple of days ago and from that found the Cheapskates in Australia. Good reading and surprisingly much of it translates to the UK. I downloaded some inventory sheets for pantry, fridge, freezer and am using them now. I will be modifying them to my needs, we are all different, but they are fine right now.
It has spurred me on to meal plan for a month at a time. Many of the things that I use I stock up when on offer so I can work them into the plan and make the most of the saving.
I do not keep a huge stockpile of food as I have been shopping weekly, once Maggie moves I am thinking of making that fortnightly. I am in Neath every week so can do any perishable top ups then.
I will be thinking on it as I bring order out of chaos this afternoon.
My Red Thai veg curry last night was delish, it is on the recipe blog, and I cooked enough rice to freeze complete meals. These will be enjoyed with relish.
What makes it terrific? The sun is shining, my kitchen looks and feels so good and another long overdue job is about to be crossed off the list.

No photo,s today, too busy to take any.

                TTFN                                                   Pam

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Wednesday Work Out

Dinner last night was great, there was loads of Apple Crisp and nobody had room for seconds (3 portions in the freezer).

I am ready for the winter as far as leisure time goes. Now I am getting the stocks in order. I have started stripping out the cupboards, cleaning shelves, lining and then re stacking and writing an inventory. While I am in the mood I will be doing the fridges and freezers, and oh deep joy I may as well do the crockery and utensil cupboards and drawers. Then there will be the pots and pans, baking tins. Cutting to the chase I am going through every nook and cranny. I hope to jettison some unused equipment, the CS will benefit. Then there will be a "fill the shelves" shop. I know that I am set with meat and fish and the preserve shelves are groaning. I will also be looking at cleaning and laundry stocks and the bathroom stuff will be checked as well.

Wish me joy, I am not a lover of this type of housework. I do have a freezer contents list but it is a mess of crossing out and adding on, I am thinking of a laminated list. Or maybe a blackboard?

Now I am back to the cupboards.

                       TTFN                                             Pam

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

A Hint of Chilly Days Ahead

Today dawned bright and distinctly cold, that ear nipping, nose and cheek reddening, finger tingling kind of cold. Very fresh, my Grandfather would have said.
Ben did not care, he insisted on a good long walk, and despite my hat I was a bit chilly when we got back. note to self, must get gloves out of hibernation.
Ben has a few coats for walking, all of them rain proof. I think it may be time to make him a couple of warm coats that are a bit lighter for him for this kind of day....Watch this space.
I have a new building in the garden, a motel for the visitor cat. She/he has been to check it out and pronounced it "basic but acceptable" I had to add a fleece blanket for comfort and warmth. The motel will be turned to face the wall, this will keep the rain and wind out but still give her enough space to escape easily if she/he feels threatened.

I have moved the garden umbrella into the corner, if we get very hard rain it will open up and offer another layer of protection.

My shoulders are recovering well from all the pushing and shoving, I have done a little crochet, another pile of granny squares is completed, I will pick the next colour at random later. All I have to do is reach over the sofa arm and scrabble in the bag.

I had an unexpected run into Swansea yesterday, well Morriston really, to taxi Mr Muscle from the hospital, he managed to get a lift in and went with nothing in his pocket but his phone. Traffic on the  west bound M4 was nose to tail and running at 16 mph, lovely. On the return there was hardly a car to be seen, I suspect aliens.

This threw my plans into disarray and I seemed to have chased my tail for the rest of the day to achieve nothing.
Today has been better, the Motel is sited, the washing and ironing is done, dinner is prepped ready for the oven, pork ribs in a barbecue sauce with jacket potato and peas and sweetcorn. There is also a massive apple and cinnamon crisp, enough for 4 with seconds (fingers crossed)

So far tomorrow is looking to be a free day, Thursday brings another trip to Swansea. My cake loving friends over the road have to take their mobility car for it's MOT, A does not drive and C is not too well at the moment. I am their named driver for emergencies so I will be doing the honours.

I have decided on a border for the next quilt and plan to get it cut and sewn on tomorrow, it needs sorting as it is on the gift list.

By the way, thank you all for the comments on the Beast, it is earmarked for James and Cerys. I do have some small gifts for them as well so they may get the beast early, they may as well have a full winters warmth from it.

Ben is due for a bath, so I better toddle off in search of towels.

                       TTFN                                                    Pam

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Big Beast is Beaten.

Woo Hoo, the binding is stitched down and The Beast is folded and ready to go under the Tree. One down, two to go. Then there is another in blocks that needs sewing into a flimsy.

It is 80" by 90" and covers the bed with a nice amount hanging at sides and bottom. I love it and see another in my future, probably in January, maybe with a limited colour palette.
Dawn was curious about my planned reading for the inclement days ahead. This is the first line of entertainment, there will be knitting, crochet and sewing as well. Not forgetting the rag rug project that has been on a back burner for ages, it is not forgotten.

Some light hearted biographies, a bit of farming history (fluffed up for the telly)  A few detective novels, Jeanine McMullen's trilogy to enjoy again and a few random books plucked from boxes under the bed.

Some music to yarn along to and a bit of Gavin and Stacey, I like a chuckle as much as the next person. 

As you can see I have quite sophisticated tastes :-)

Some old favourites, I know that most of these appear on various channels at odd times, but I like to watch them as and when I feel like it. Plus I will not pay extortionate fees to watch telly.
I have added another shelf full since taking the photos,  all just as highbrow, Kangaroo Jack, The Marigold Hotel duo, some Dolly Parton and Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium and White Ch******s and It's a Wonderful Life are ready to go.

Today has been fairly busy, sewing, ironing, sewing, sorting through the boxes under the bed and did I mention sewing.
I wanted real comfort food tonight so bring on Toad in the Hole, mashed carrot and swede, cabbage and onion gravy. Y U M.

No picture, too hungry anyway you all know what it looks like.

There is a sausage for Ben, he will have it tomorrow.

Now it is time for a brew and some hooky.

            TTFN                                                     Pam

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Thank you Mr Tesco

I did my normal run into Pontardawe last night and to kill the hour I took myself off to tesco, a slow mooch round in the warm.

I found some tomatoes reduced to 20 p per pack and scooped them up. Packs of 3 peppers and some button mushrooms all reduced by 90%. Cue a light bulb moment.

This morning I prepped these,

3 trays of small plum toms and 1 of larger vine toms. 3 small red onions peeled, 3 red peppers, all just chopped up roughly, 8 large cloves garlic, peeled and left whole.
I cut some Thyme, Oregano and Lemon Thyme from the garden and pulled the leaves off and scattered over. Then a generous drizzle of rapeseed oil and a stir round. Into a 200 c oven for 40 minutes, then turn heat off and leave for around 30 minutes.

They should be cooked and soft but still holding their shape, into a bowl and blitz.

I took this down quite fine, you can see the tomato seeds, I could have pushed this through a sieve but do not mind some texture. Like wise I do not waste time skinning hot house tomatoes and peppers, the skins are very thin and disappear.

Scraped into 6 freezer containers, each pot has over 200 g of purree. Once frozen I will decant, wrap each block and then pack into a freezer bag. Saves space and means that I do not have hundreds of plastic boxes.

I was not tempted to buy the cakes and cookies that were reduced, I had an amazing dinner before going out and was not interested.
The recipe and pics will be on the recipe blog shortly.

I have finished quilting the big beast and am halfway through tying and sewing the thread ends in...a tedious job but one that I am compelled to do.

More washing on the line at least the forecast is good for the next few days.

Back to the beast then.

                     TTFN                                                 Pam.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Friday Again!

This week has flown by but I managed to get most of my to do list crossed off.
I collected enough conkers to spider proof the house and give some to friends.

The compost heaps have been dealt with, the good stuff is on the raised beds and the rest has been "fluffed up" and re-stacked with plenty of scrunched up newspaper. This adds air to the mix and helps with the decomposition, I did have some farmyard manure to add in as well, every little helps.

My bookcase, next to the end of the sofa that I habitually curl up on, has a pile of 20 or so books ready for when i feel the need to read. My crochet and bag of yarn is there and my plastic box of EPP hexies, fabric scraps and needle, thread, thimble and beeswax is to hand also. Dark nights, bring them on.

I still have to go through the seeds, I knew there were gaps and have had a delivery from The Real Seed co. I figure that seeds grown in Pembrokeshire would grow happily here.

The small quilt has had its binding sewn down and is wrapped ready for The Day.
The Big Beast of a quilt is almost half quilted, it is a chimera of Paddy McGinty's Goat and Delaney's Donkey. Stubborn, wilful and takes a lot of pushing and shoving to get it through the harp space.
It is not as bad as it sounds, it is just the biggest one that I have made and is heavy. I am sure that James and Cerys will love it though, they know that one is coming their way and are very happy.

I was in Neath on Monday and found this in Morrison's.

50 pence, bargain.
If they still have them next week I will be getting another.

This was my dinner on Wednesday, stuffed cabbage and jacket potato, the recipe is on my other blog if you fancy a look.

Thursday is my usual shopping day, I like to empty the fridge for dinner that night and this week it was "interesting".
I had 2 of the stuffed cabbage rolls with some sauce left, a dish of cooked runner beans, another of cooked shredded cabbage and some barbecue sauce (that I pulled from the freezer while looking for something and forgot to put back) and about 100 g raw minced beef (ditto the barbecue sauce)
I browned the mince with a little diced onion, added a splash of water, the barbecue sauce and a few cherry toms, brought this to simmer and cooked for 10 minutes or so. Chopped the 2 stuffed cabbage rolls and stirred into the mix along with the other veg, checked the seasoning and tipped it into a pyrex dish. I peeled, diced and cooked a sweet potato, mashed it up and spread over the top. 20 minutes in the oven and dinner for 2 from leftovers. Sounds iffy but tasted wonderful. 

Ben has had 2 walks and a bath today and is sprawled out on the sofa, I am off to spend a sweaty hour with the big beast.

                              TTFN                                       Pam

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Sewing in the rain, just sewing and knitting and crocheting in the rain.

Not really in the rain, indoors watching the rain cascade down the windows. To be truthful we have had some very hot and sunny spells, it was so hot in Neath yesterday afternoon that I had to take my sweater off and bundle it into my bag, I was so happy that I had a short sleeved tee shirt on.

Ben has had his quota of walks, mostly in the dry and sunny bits. I am completely up to date on the washing and ironing. I have no idea where it all comes from, perhaps I should write a laundry diary for a few weeks.

My preserves shelves are groaning with the weight although I do have some earmarked for gifts so the situation should ease.

This is going to take up my time for a few days, it is big and takes some wrangling, it will be a gift and I want to take my time. No unpicking.

I have been neglecting my Granny Squares, but this colour is now done with and I will start another tonight.

My new hat is finished and I have worn it. The yarn is Aran weight and is super cheap from Poundstretcher, £3.99 for 250gs. I can not remember why or when I bought it, certainly before I moved here.


I have become enamored of the colour combination and quite fancy knitting a cardigan or jumper. The colours are just subdued enough that they do not jump out and slap you in the face. I know that it washes well  as I used the same brand to make my previous hat and it has been washed 3 times.

I managed a bit of baking this morning, it is on the other blog, just click on the link in the side bar, I have delivered the pudding to my friends, they may have eaten it already.

The sun is shining now and the sky is a bright blue but it is not as hot as yesterday, plenty good enough for an extra walk though. I will drop in and have a little time with Maggie, I am hoping that she has heard about the flat that she wants.

         TTFN                                                       Pam

Monday, 5 October 2015

Wet Monday in Wales

The weather pundits were right for once, the rain came in during the morning and it has rained off and on ever since. I finished the ironing and did some sorting out in the sewing room.
I have almost finished the binding on a quilt and have another one pinned and ready to quilt, I just need to decide what colour thread to use.

This has been in the WIP pile for far too long. It is just 4 Churn Dash Blocks, I used a solid Turquoise, white and 2 prints from Savannah Bop. 

I have now used a third print from the collection for the binding, I have made it extra wide and put most of that to the back. I wanted to lift the solid orange backing.

Scrappy Trip around the World is now layered and pin basted, it is far too big to quilt on the frame, so will be quilted on the work station.

My second hat is done and I am working away on my crochet blanket.

I made a batch of green tomato chutney and had planned to make another batch, when I checked the greenhouse I found that the tomatoes were ripening fast.
No problem, I made red tomato chutney, used red onions and dark brown sugar and it looks good.

The combination of chutney simmering and curry cooking gently has filled the kitchen gloriously.

Dinner was a Cauliflower and Chick pea curry, the recipe is on my other blog.
All in all it has been a good day, tomorrow will be more of the same, no more chutney though, maybe a cake instead.

                    TTFN                                                    Pam