Friday 31 January 2014

Beef and Red Wine Casserole

Last week I was so ill with a migraine that I just couldn't bear to be on the computer so I didn't get to post my weekly recipe, I did cook something though.  I made a gorgeous beef and red wine casserole, just what the doctor ordered in this horrible weather!
You will need:
800g lean beef
4 garlic cloves
4 large carrots
3 large leeks
4 celery sticks
800ml beef stock
100ml red win
400g can of chopped tomatoes with herbs
1 bay leaf
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
Peel and crush the garlic, peel and chop the carrots in to large chunks, thickly slice the leeks and celery and cut the beef into bite-sized pieces.
Although the recipe said put all the ingredients into a casserole dish and put it in the over for 3 hours I decided against that and put it all in the slow cooker instead :)
And it was lovely, you can't see how lovely it was because after smelling it cooking all day I ate it before I took a photo of the finished product!

The leftovers went in the food processor and made a lovely soup ;)

I hope you enjoy this one if you give it a go.

Have a great weekend
Jo xx

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Twas The Night Before...

The monthly challenge for January over on UK Scrappers got us starting the year nice and gently, we simply had the prompt "Twas the night before..."

I knew I had the perfect photos and the perfect story.
Over 19 years ago I made the above stocking for Maddie, everything was made by hand and I was very proud of it.  Fast forward to Christmas 2012 when Alfie decided he wanted the chocolate from the bottom of the stocking and nothing was going to stop him getting it.  We ended up with a holey stocking and a ruined Christmas :(
This year Alfie made it up to Maddie by apologising with a stocking of his own :)
Maddie loved it because she had a keepsake and double presents!
And I think they both looked beautiful under the tree.

So job done for the challenge and another funny story in the album.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Monday 27 January 2014

Week Four

Another week has whizzed by and the last week of January has begun. It seems that Christmas has disappeared just as quickly as it arrived!

Here are the highlights of my week:
Alfie being a lazy boy as usual and watching TV while he taking up the whole sofa!
Maddie had a Snickers and the wrapper informed her that she'd won another one.
I did some work on Project Life 2013, I let myself get almost 30 weeks behind but have managed to get that down to 10 weeks behind now :)
Alfie enjoyed a tummy scratch.
I had such a bad migraine, I had to take the day off work which I hate doing :( It really through out the rest of the week for me and my eyes are still feeling the effect.
We had lots of dry, bright weather and some lovely sunsets.
I lost 2.5lbs at Slimming World and won the raffle!
Tried a new 'dirty' pudding, it wasn't very nice though :(
My best friend came over and she brought wine! I was truly thankful because I'd had a bit of a stressful day.
Goldie was poorly but my knight in shining, orange, armour came to fix her, yay!
I started preparing for Easter by trying out one of these, it was lush.
I ended the week snuggled on the sofa with Alfie doing some crochet while I watched Call the Midwife.

How was your week?

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Monday 20 January 2014

Week Three

It's almost hard to believe that we've just entered the 4th week of the year, time is a flying and I'm trying not to miss a moment.  Here's what I got up to last week.
I did some cooking and trying out of new recipes.
It was my birthday so I had a lovely Chinese at my mum's.  It was a great night with lots of laughs.
Maddie got me a lovely gift and insisted I take a picture of how beautifully wrapped it was :)
I was telling my friend on New Years Eve that I would miss my Christmas tree with the twinkly lights so she got me this beautiful light tree for my birthday, I LOVE it.
My Studio Calico kit turned up and Maddie wanted her picture taken with this stamp, it says Picture Perfect and she thinks she is!
Aww on Saturday morning Maddie got in bed with me for a cuddle, it's been a long time since that happened. 
I spent some time with this cheeky monkey, my niece Hells Bells (AKA Isabella)
I managed to get 5 weeks worth of Project Life 2013 done, only up to week 33 but still loving it.
Wow we had some gorgeous weather at the weekend, it felt like spring was already here!
These two had some lovely cuddles.

So all in all another great week, I hope yours went well too.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Friday 17 January 2014

Pea and Ham Soup

Another soup recipe this week but the weather is still awful here and a nice, warm bowl of soup is just what I need in my lunch break :)

I've made pea and ham soup before, it's a soup that I really love, but this recipe is the quickest, easiest and tastiest I've ever had!
You will need:
1 onion
1 medium potato
800ml vegetable stock
400g frozen peas
2 tbsp fresh tarragon
200g premium lean ham
Salt and pepper
Peel and finely chop the onion and potato, dice the ham and finely chop the tarragon.
Place the onion, potato, stock and peas in a large pan and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in the tarragon and use a blender to make the soup smooth.
Stir in the ham, bring back to the boil and season to taste.
And there you have it, quick and easy pea and ham soup with a really refreshing flavour that is free with Slimming World on the extra easy plan.

I hope you'll have a go at this recipe.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo x

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Double Trouble!

Last weekend saw me at the first crop of the year and I have to say I was very productive, well for me anyway!

I decided to have a crack at the weekly challenge over on UKScrappers and it was a great challenge to kick start my creativity for 2014.  We had to use this sketch:
We also had to include paints or misting and lots of journalling.  Here's what I came up with:
This is one of my favourite photos of Maddie and Alfie.  It was taken in 2010 and they were leaning on the gate saying goodbye to me as I went away for the very first weekend without them.
I can't say it was a fantastic weekend because I was so worried about the pair of them but I needn't have been because they were fine and had a great time!

How have you kick started your crafting for 2014?

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Monday 13 January 2014

Week Two Round Up

Well week two of the New Year has whizzed by!  Here are some of the highlights of my week:
I had the first full week back at work and it was good to get in to a routine again.
I tried another new recipe so I'm keeping on track with my New Year goals, yes I know it's early days but I do intend to keep this up.
The sun finally came out and  chased away the rain clouds that have been hanging about forever!
My little car, Goldie, reached a milestone!
I finally got brave enough to set up the Selphy printer my mum got me for Christmas, I love it and if you take a lot of pictures on your phone then you'll love it too :)
I managed to lose the 3.5lbs I gained over Christmas and I won the fruit and veg raffle :)
This week's dirty pudding was a Krispy Kreme doughnut, I can't remember the last time I had one and I enjoyed every bite.
You see that crumb on his nose? That's the evidence that he stole a sausage roll!  I couldn't tell him off though because it was the same day that one of our little doggie friends went to the Rainbow Bridge :(
I went to the first crop of the year and had a great time, I managed two layouts which I'll share on here soon.
And finally I had some lovely cuddles with Alfie, he fell asleep on my lap and I could barely hear the TV over his snoring!

I hope you had a great week.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo x

Friday 10 January 2014

Potato and Leak Soup

Another week, another recipe and yes it's soup again!  I think it's just what's needed for these cold, wet days we're having.  This weeks soup was potato and leek and it was delicious.
You will need:
1 large onion
2 bay leaves
1.2 litres of vegetable stock
700g potatoes
1 large leek
salt and pepper
150g fat free fromage frais
Finely chop the onion and leek and peel and dice the potatoes.
Place the onion and bay leaves in a pan with 150ml of stock and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes, leek and remaining stock to the pan and season well.  Bring to the boil before covering and letting it simmer for 25 minutes.
Discard the bay leaves and whizz the mixture up in the food processor.
Return to the pan, add the fromage frais and reheat gently.
Voila, a lovely thick soup that tastes great reheated and is free on Slimming World's Extra Easy plan.

These soups have really been helping me because I lost 3.5lbs this week which means I got rid of the little bit of weight I gained over Christmas and the New Year.

I hope the first full week of the New Year has gone well for you.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo x