Meal Planning Monday (1st February 2016)

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So I am a little late with this but what a day! Lets just say I had a LOT of work to do, redecorating two bedrooms, have a child off sick and a new kitten in the house and leave it at that shall we?

Moving on.

All this chaos meant I had to do a very easy meal plan – especially considering I am out of the house no less than four evenings this week. Do you remember those days before you had children and you could just come from work, kick off your shoes and eat a plate of pasta in front of Emmerdale? I miss those days.

This is how my meal plan looks;

Monday: Salmon encroute with green beans and herby baby potatoes
Tuesday: Gammon, egg, chips and pineapple (GET IN!)
Wednesday: Pizza (with a fried egg on it, this is my new thing)
Thursday: Going out – kids at grandmas for tea, we’ll probably get a McDonalds :/)
Friday: Going out – everyone else having macaroni cheese
Saturday: Going out – everyone else having fish and chips (made at home)
Sunday: Cottage pie

Chaos huh.

Thursday we’re off to see Sarah Millican – that’s after a school meeting and a school sporting event, hence to McDonalds which will probably be post-show as there’ll be no time. Friday I am on a girls night out – we’ll be drinking lots and sharing deli platters and Saturday I am staying at a friends which normally results in a buffet of cheese.

Next week I am going to do a lot of cooking to make-up for it!

What is on your meal plan this week?

If you’re new… If you’re here because you’ve just stumbled across my blog today on Facebook or Twitter and you want to join in with Meal Planning Monday then jump right in – the more the merrier! The idea is simple – just write a blog post about your meal plans for the week and share by adding it to the Linky Tool widget below my signature. If you don’t have a blog it’s not a problem, just leave a comment telling us what you are eating.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #mealplanningmonday on Twitter and I’ll Retweet as many as I can!

Thanks everyone! I’m still catching up on commenting….I’ll get there eventually!

Look forward to catching up with you and your blogs this week!

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Spicy Mongolian Beef

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Now THIS is a slow cooker recipe I can get on board with. Aside from slicing the beef, it’s a chuck-it-in-the-crockpot totally faff-free recipe, and it’s delicious to boot!

I’m having a complete love affair with beef at the moment, especially in the slow cooker. Delicious melt-in-your-mouth beef. The original recipe calls for ‘skirt’ which I guess you can only really get at a butchers? I’ve certainly never seen it labelled as such in Morrisons but I’m not that fussy and when it comes to recipes like this, I’ll use whatever is on offer. In this case, I used braising steak because it was bargainous and it was perfect. In another situation, I might use rump steak, I think anything goes!

The flavour of this was amazing and while I have called it “spicy” the chilli flakes really just added a nice little kick. I only used a tsp as my family aren’t keen on spice but if you prefer things hotter, fill your boots! Alternatively, it will do no harm to just leave the chilli out altogether.

This recipe serves 2-3. I’m sure it’s meant to serve more, but, you know.

Spicy Mongolian Beef 

Ingredients

600g beef steak (approx weight, cut to suit!)
30g cornflour
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
150ml soy sauce
150ml water
150g brown sugar
1tsp chilli flakes
90g grated carrots
Sliced spring onions 

Method
Cut the beef steak into thin strips and coat well with the cornflour. You can either do this in a ziplock bag or simply place in a bowl and mix well.

Put the olive oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, chilli flakes and grated carrots into the slow cooker. Stir ingredients to mix.  Add the sliced beef to the slow cooker and stir again until completely coated in the sauce.

Cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

And then eat!

I served this with steamed white rice and sliced spring onions to garnish. Oh and a pile of Thai crackers on the side.

Yums!

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Review: Jump! Parent Planner

2016 PARENT PLANNER

I don’t think I’ve ever made a secret of the fact that I love planners and notebooks and all kinds of stationery. Oh and lists, I flipping well love a list. I have a really fetish for all things organisational so when I was asked by Lynn Schreiber, found of Jump! Mag if I’d like to receive a copy of the Jump! Parent Planner I didn’t have to think twice. Of course I did!

The Jump! Parent Planner has been designed by Lynn to be a practical tool for busy parents and as I am most definitely one of those I was very keen to see it for myself.

The first step in the Parent Planner is goal setting – this is something that is so essential in life but something I am rubbish at. I once read that people are more likely to realise their goals if they write them down. The planner encourages you to think about what your goals are and make a plan as to how you are going to achieve them. 

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I am currently juggling parenting, school, activities, working nearly full-time, doing freelance work and of course, blogging, all at the same time so planning ahead is absolutely crucial for me. The Parent Planner’s handy Monthly Routine pages are a month overview, meaning you can see at a glance what is in store for the month – including any nasty payments you might have to make! There’s also room to jot down your goal for the month, appointments etc. 

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After the monthly routine, the pages break down into weeks for a more detailed view of what is coming up. As a meal planner what I love about this is the space to write in what’s for dinner!  I meal plan every week but I only keep the list on my blog so it’s handy to have a little box for that in the planner. There are also spaces to write down your top priorities for the week as well as recording any achievements and memories – a really sweet idea I think.

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The planner doesn’t just have to be used for family life, it’s very adaptable and it would make a great blogging planner too! There’s extra plain pages at the back which is really handy when you’re an incessant lister like myself – it means you can have everything in one place.

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I have only recently started using the Parent Planner but I am already quite attached to it.  I’ve tried similar a product in the past though it was a lot more pricey and also a lot more bulky, not great for using on the go. This is a slim A5 size which fits perfectly into my handbag or laptop bag, making it easy for me to carry around.

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*cough* Ahem. Still working on that one, but it’s going in the right direction…

I hope Lynn produces another one for 2017, this could become indispensable to me!

To find out more about Jump Books and the Parent Planner visit the website by clicking here.

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Meal Planning Monday (25th January 2016)

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Morning!

Slightly later than I had intended to post but what a busy weekend. We are mid-way through redecorating my daughters bedroom at the moment and I am now tasked with ‘dressing’ it and putting all her stuff back as we’d moved it out into boxes. This is not as easy as it sounds. We haven’t decorated her room in maybe 7 years and there is 7 years of clutter, Kinder Egg toys, party bay fillers, cuddly toys etc to go through. She’ll have a fit when she moves back in and sees all the stuff I have got rid of! It will be much more grown up though and we’ve put a desk and dressing table in for her so it will be much more organised, she’ll love it. I might share some pics next week!

All this activity meant that when it came to doing my grocery shop last night, meal planning was a bit rushed. Still, it’s not a bad week with a few new recipes in there. I’m not here one night as I have a work thing in London and Mr M is not here another as HE has a work thing in London. Shame they weren’t the same evening! Here is the plan.

Monday: Greek Chicken Gyros 

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

Wednesday: Pizzas

Thursday: Spaghetti Bolognese

Friday: Chicken and Chorizo stew

Saturday: Honey Lemon Chicken with Singapore Noodles

Sunday: Pork Chops with Brandy Sauce

What is on your meal plan this week?

If you’re new… If you’re here because you’ve just stumbled across my blog today on Facebook or Twitter and you want to join in with Meal Planning Monday then jump right in – the more the merrier! The idea is simple – just write a blog post about your meal plans for the week and share by adding it to the Linky Tool widget below my signature. If you don’t have a blog it’s not a problem, just leave a comment telling us what you are eating.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #mealplanningmonday on Twitter and I’ll Retweet as many as I can!

Thanks everyone! I’m really behind on all my commenting this week – not only on here but also in response to other blog posts. Maybe once I’ve worn myself out with work and DIY this evening I’ll settle with my laptop and do some blog reading!

Look forward to catching up with you and your blogs this week!

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Slow Cooker Chilli

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Let me start by saying in terms of taste this was awesome, in terms of slow-cooker-related-ease it was pants. Okay, it needed some prep not masses but the very point of slow cookers to me is that they are faff-free. I like bung-it-all-in the crockpot and leave it to do it’s thang type of recipes, not ones I have to actually cook first. What’s the point? Well I guess the point is that slow cooking it all day really lets all the flavours meld together and it WAS worth it as this was damn delicious but you know, I like to whinge.

So moan over – this chilli was very satisfying, with just a small amount of kick. If you like your chilli hot (and I do, but Mr M and my daughter don’t) then add an extra tbsp of chilli powder or stir through some chopped jalapenos at the end.I actually replaced the garlic and chilli with Knorr Flavourpots that I had kicking around from a previous blog challenge – I still love these pots!

What I love about chilli is how well it keeps – you can freeze this recipe no problem – so next time I am going to make a double batch and get a few dinners in the freezer for those nights when I am too busy to think about anything else!

This recipe serves 4.

Slow Cooker Chilli

Ingredients

2tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp hot chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
500g lean beef mince
1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
400g tin chopped tomatoes
200g passata (use the ones with chilli with you want extra spice)
400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed

To serve;

Red Leicester cheese, grated
3-4 spring onions, sliced
Soured cream

Method

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and pepper and cook until softened which will take about 6-7 minutes.

Add the garlic, chilli powder, and cumin to the pain and stir to coat the vegetables.  Cook for around a minute until fragrant,

Add the minced beef to the pan along with the salt and cook until browned. 

Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the chopped tomatoes, passata and kidney beans and stir well to combine.

Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 6 hours on high.

If you are using the jalapenos, stir this in at the end right before serving.

I dished this up on a bed of white rice, topped with the grated cheese, spring onions and soured cream – surrounded by an abundance of tortilla chips.

A really hit for the whole family!

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