Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Food for Thought

As of Monday 2nd March Mr MC&W will be starting a new job in London Town, for some reason I always want to sing the "Windy City" song from Calamity Jane when I think of the new job, now you can all sing it in your head or google what I am talking about.

We have been lucky for the last 3 years he has only worked five miles away from our home. But Mr MC&W was head hunted, after a lot and I mean a lot of talking (and a few bottls of wine) about short term losses and long term goals we decided to go for it. With two young children one who is Autistic and a Type 1 Diabetic there was a lot to consider.

With this all in mind I know that I am going to have to reconsider how I cook. We need food that can either sit in the oven for an hour while I put the boys to bed and if the trains are running late will not ruin or that I can put in the slow cooker in the morning or something that can be made in twenty mins that I can pre prepare veggies for etc.

Step one is to research slow cooker recipes. I have a love hate affair with my slow cooker as I was discussing a while ago on twitter. Everything I cook tastes kind of the same and I have had some hilarious disasters do not mention slow cooker lasagna or soup I should say.

Step two to look at recipes in a different way, can I prepare before hand and cook quickly later on. Can I freeze it and make batches. I know that it takes me ages cutting veggies up so pre preparing will aid the speed of a twenty min meal.

Step three love my freezer this will be in two ways. One will be batch cooking, I have never really done this other than when our first was born and I had some time. Such as batch cooking of Bologniase sauce and freeze as it can be used in a huge variety of meals. Again I will read recipes and think can I freeze this or part of this. I have some test fish cakes in the freezer to see how they come out then I can pop them in the oven while I prepare the rest of the meal.

The second part of love my freezer is to freeze things I use all the time and need in handfuls such as onions, garlic, peppers, boxes of mashed pots if I can just grab what I need a handful of I am, sure its going to make everything simpler.

So here we go my next meal plan I am sure will be just salad and jacket potatoes......

The Dad Network

Monday, 23 February 2015

Meal Plan Monday 23rd Febuary 2015

Wow it's Monday again and as always my meal plan is late, it been done for days on a scrap of paper in pencil that I can hardly read.....

Monday - Omelettes and Chips for everyone

Tuesday - Caribbean Peanut Chicken in the slow cooker. The boys will have Carbonara

Wednesday - Bacon, Mushroom and Potato Gratin. The boys will have a simple Potato Bake with carrots and peas on the side.

Thursday - Mushroom and Courgette Lasagna. The boys will have cheesy pasta

Friday - A Chinese in a box for the parents the boys will have Fish, Chips and Peas

 Saturday - Spag Bol for everyone

 Sunday - Roast Gammon with all the veggies.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Well, Well, Well and Digging

Its half term this week, this means the front is near impossible to do as the boys get bored in the front garden and drive area, so I have moved over to the the back garden to do a spot of tidying up.

This is our well, it's 50ft deep and when we brought the house it had a fake wishing well surrounding it and a few old wooden planks. As you can imagine that rather filled us with horror, luckily at that point our eldest was only 8 months old and we had a little time. We got a wonderful company out who made this cast iron topper and fitted it for us.

I must admit the other half would like a feature made of the well however I hate things like that, if it was to be it would have to be brick and not cute. I would rather do it with a toughened glass top and some lighting so it's modern.

But these dreams I can come back to another day, today was about digging. I have already done a lot of work on this area last summer and I was thrilled that my hard work had started to pay off and the weeds were really coming out easily.

As you can see the well has a concrete lip which is a pain as it sits high, the weds are so awful here I have decided I am just going to remove the soil and either replace with top soil or leave the concrete lip or buy some spangly new top soil.

I have a mission to go and buy me some manure, I need it for the front border and this one so I am considering a bulk buy as our soil is clay and needs a lot of work.

My next though is planting, I think maybe some bedding plants for this year or something to provide colour as I think about the planting moving forward.

Monday, 16 February 2015

D Day

I very rarely post about special needs and type 1, I found that I needed the garden and food writing to concentrate the mind away from day to day life. Today though was a big day in our household and something I felt I needed to write a short blog about it as it may help someone else come to terms with hearing the diagnosis.

We were officially told our eldest OB was on the Autistic Spectrum, most parents of children who are autistic know deep down this is the case, however when a doctor sits you down after doing all the tests and tells you it's different. You know whatbthey are going to say, it's not changed anything, he is still the same child, but inside your fighting back the tears of something you knew deep down was coming.

I am sat here with a large glass of wine trying to get my head around everything and how we feel. It is a combination of relief, we have the diagnosis, I was not going mad imagining that something was just different about his development. But also he now has that label what does that mean in the long term?

It has in fact reignited our fight for our little man, we want him to have a successful life, to be happy and independent. We are damn sure we are going to do everything we can do to help him find his path in life.

So here we go again, to fight the battles and make sure that all the relevant parties are coming together to do what's right for our man. We have discovered he has a love of numbers and learns in his own way so let's celebrate that and move forwards and upwards......

The Dad Network

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Friday, 13 February 2015

Meal Plan Monday 16th February 2015

Can not believe its half term already, we have some simple but as ever tasty meals this week and for once the boys are having similar meals to us.

Monday we have yet another paediatrician apt so there is no way i am going to want to think about food

Monday - Freezer Meal and I mean Freezer will be Crispy Chicken with Mash and a salad we will all have the same

Tuesday - Pea and Tuna Fishcakes I am using the Madhouse Cookbook for this one from the fab Jo Pratt

Wednesday - Homemade Veggie Pastry's - a made up meal but should be tasty if this works will write it up

Thursday - Broccoli, Mushroom and Parmesan Gnocchi again from Madhouse cookbook by Joao pratt

Friday - Posh Sausages and Onions in baguettes the boys will have fish and chips with peas

Saturday - Tacos the boys will have this but no too spicy

Sunday - Roast Chicken

Monday, 9 February 2015

Something has changed

I have been pottering in the garden for a week or so now, today was the first day I did not run back into the house with numb fingers and toes. In fact it was just lovely outside, the sun was shinning and there was some warmth on my back.

I have achieved quite lot bearing in mind I have very limited time, as you can see a lot of ivy has been sorted out and taken down, the bin area has been swept and tidied up. I have come to a conclusion I am not going to be planting the tiny border and I will put down a mulch or gravel to tidy up then get some pots so that we can keep the interest year round. If we just had a tiny little border with ivy roots I think it would be mess.


The mess of a tiny border now sorted out ready to put down gravel or mulch

I have uncovered two on the wall planters, there is a third but I am trying to decide if just to keep the ivy there and have the two but then these things look much better in odd numbers. So I have a feeling there will be more ivy removed.

The planter with tree included, this is now removed and ready for some pretty flowers

Now I can get to the point of what's changed, whilst wondering round the garden center trying to keep on eye on the youngest and look at some plants to go into the planters we have already, I realised I was not just looking at the plants with almost a blank mind. I was looking at the plants and thinking what colours would work, which plant would work in which planter. This may to some seem a very odd realisation but it's the first time I have ever done this. I do not think I have ever really looked at plants before, with the thought that would look good there or wow that planted with that will just look amazing. I would just wonder round picking things up and quickly putting them down, almost as if I were scared of having a go, what if I get it wrong.

I am off in a couple of days to buy the compost and some plants for the two wall planters and two small planters by the front door and for once some real thought is going into it. Let's hope I can make it look nice and if not I do mind as I am having a go.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Meal Plan Monday 9th February 2015

It's a busy week in the Mud Cakes and Wine household and the meals may have to be moved about a bit as Mr MCW is out but not sure when and shock horror I am out with my girls as we call ourselves the "Autism Massive" as all our boys are on the spectrum

Monday - Baked Mushroom Risotto the boys will be having a Tomato Risotto

Tuesday - We will be having Prawn Laska style dish the boys will be having cheesy pasta

Wednesday - Mango chicken from BBC Good food
the boys will have homemade breaded chicken, mash and peas

Thursday - All the boys will be having Jacket Potatoes and I am out having pizza

Friday - Chili with All the sides you would ever want I am going to try the boys on this as well

Saturday - A meal for everyone from the wonderful people at cook 

Sunday - It's the FIL birthday, everyone is round to us MIL providing buffet food and lots of drinks 

Love this two nights noooooo cooking 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Baking..... the new chapter

I used to do quite a lot of baking, mainly cakes. Then came along baby number one followed 17 short months later baby number two, baking as you can imagine got rather neglected. I know some amazing mummy's manage to cook and look after two young children, I was not one of them.  My sister is the most amazing cake, biscuit and rocky road maker even with two young children.

Then just under a year ago type 1 diabetes entered our life and I was so scared of sending OB levels high with the amount of cake mixture he eats I cut back on baking even more.

I have made a few cakes over the last few months, but let me tell you about a couple of typical disasters I have had. Our oven in the new house is not flat so all my cakes turn out higher one side than the other, to be honest if they rise at all. I have had Victoria Sponge cakes that look like thin plates and do not get me started on where I go wrong with scones, no matter what I try they still do not rise.

So to amuse you all even more than just flowing my interesting gardening techniques, I am going to try and start baking again and will be sharing this with you. I am fed up of buying expensive boring cakes so think it's time I gave it another go.

I hope in a few days time to start a few posts and you can all share in my what I am sure will be baking disasters, I promise I will post pictures and be very honest.

 It is going to be a good job I can laugh at myself.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Meal Plan Monday 2nd February 2015

Some very easy meals yes I am talking straight from the freezer to the oven and some new ones to try out.

Monday - Sausages, Potatoes, red onions all roasted with a lovely honey and Wholegrain mustard dressing served with spinach. The boys will be having hidden veg tomato sauce with pasta

Tuesday - Thai Chickpea and Mushroom Curry from Women's Weekly The Complete Book of Slow Cooking One Pot and Soups. The boys will be having Chicken Nuggets, Mash and Broccoli

Wednesday - Caribbean Style Chicken from Women's Weekly The Complete Book of Slow Cooking One Pot and Soups. I will be doing this with quorn. The boys will be having Carbonara with peas

Thursday - Jackets with Tuna Mayo for Mr MCW and they boys and I will be having Beans and Cheese

Friday - We are trying out Birdseye Piri-Piri chicken I will serve this with rice and large salad. The boys will have Fish Fingers, Chips and Peas

Saturday - I forgot last week Mr MCW was going out so we are going to have our homemade burgers, topped with blue cheese. The boys will have a Spag Bol.

Sunday - Roast Duck Breast with all the trimmings