Monday, 28 July 2014

Menu Planning Monday 8

Good evening once more,

Gosh, despite the rough week last week, with ill-health still rampaging through the house; it has gone by really fast, and here we are at Monday night again! But this Monday night is a good Monday - both children are well, both are generally sleeping through again, and everyone is good! Yay! Long may this last!

This is the sight that greeted me on the stairs the other day...

I then proceeded to carry on up the stairs, to be greeted with this:
It was a laugh or cry moment... but at least I knew he was starting to feel better!

So, a quick synopsis from last week:

Monday 21st July - Gluten-free Fish Fingers with homemade chippies, and fresh veggies.

Went ok - kids aren't big fish eaters, and they were both still under the weather (in the end Button basically didn't eat all week). But hubby liked them, so will probably try them again when everyone is feeling better, and see how the little people respond that time!

Tuesday 22nd July - Roast chicken with little roasties, and fresh veggies.

'lil M ate the chicken well, but Button didn't eat anything. However, us adults enjoyed the dinner and hubby appreciated some of the leftovers for lunch!

Wednesday 23rd July - Chicken Fried Rice, with the leftovers. If you have't tried this recipe, you've got to - seriously, the best fried rice EVER!
Then the carcass will become homemade stock, if you want to know the easiest way to make chicken stock in the crockpot, check out the recipe found at Don't Waste The Crumbs. I highly recommend it!

Again - this is something that we have all enjoyed in the past, but with two unwell kiddies it wasn't the hit it previously has been! Again, hubby and I enjoyed it though!

Thursday 24th July - Slow Cooker Osso Bucco

This was swapped for Satay Meatballs, as I didn't have the time for the prep in  the morning! Once more dinner was not really eaten with much gusto, except by hubby and me. A pattern beginning to form here I see!

Friday 25th July - And we're back to pizza night again.

Kids did have some of this, and seemed more 'alive' to enjoy it that night... 

Saturday 26th July - Satay Meatballs with Noodles

Swapped with the Occo Busso from Thursday - as I had already defrosted the meat for this, I popped it into the slow cooker on Friday and cooked it then. However, I think I had over-cooked it, and my darling daughter took one mouthful and told me that dinner tasted like 'pooh'! Her father didn't stand for that, but that was pretty much the beginning of the end of that dinner for both kids.

Sunday 27th July - Fish Cakes with homemade chippies 
Well Nourished They make a claim on this that even the 'fish fussy' will like these fish cakes, so it'll be interesting to see how the kiddies respond! And here is the link to the homemade hot chips I am going to try that night!

Never got as far as the homemade chippies, everyone had veggies instead. This was very disappointing - the website says that even the 'fish fussy' will like these, but not in our house! All you could taste was the uncooked onion and garlic, none of the lemon came through and even the fish itself was fairly tasteless. Dipped in Sweet Chilli Sauce was the saving grace for me. Not sure if I'll attempt this again or not, and IF I do, I'd be making a few changes in order for it to suit my family.

Now for this coming weeks menu:

Monday 28th July = Shepherds Pie

Tuesday 29th July = Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Sausages

Wednesday 30th July = Corned Beef with Mustard Sauce

Thursday 31st July = Mama's Meatloaf with BBQ Sauce

Friday 1st August = Pizza, with corned beef

Saturday 2nd August = Mini Meatloaves

Sunday 3rd August = Homemade Baked Beans with Egg

This is all subject to being shifted around over the next fortnight, as I have just gone in and planned according to the meat I have in my freezer (how I have got a whole weeks worth of spare meat in there is anyone's guess)! As I finish my menu plans for the next ten days before going shopping, there will be chicken / fish / stews all included, and they may well be interjected into this weeks menu so there is more variety!

Button finally starting to feel better, and eating again - yay!

We have done a whole heap of baking over this past week as well - keeping little fingers and little minds busy, but will share that in another post some other day!

The best part of baking with Mummy, is licking the bowl afterwards!

Hope you have a great week planned, meals or not!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Menu Planning Monday 7

Good evening,

Well it has been a week from bad-health-hell around here :-(! Poor Button has been sick for two weeks now, first a cold which was then followed by the flu. Hubby brought the flu home from work, we thought he'd just picked up the kids cold - but he has got worse and worse, and then Button started crashing with high fevers (for 3 days and 2 nights - got a bit scary there for a while). She finally started to come right late yesterday, and while she is still not well; we are finally starting to catch glimpses of our little girl again (and not the Drama Queen she turns into when sick)!

From this on Saturday

To this late Sunday

To this Monday afternoon... 
Put herself to sleep watching TV, so cute when they're asleep!

Yep, it's been a LONG weekend... now just watching 'lil M, as he wasn't himself today; but hoping it's 'just' teething!

Anyway - enough about us, lets get on with the menu!

So, a quick synopsis from last week:

Monday 14th July = Wraps with mince and cheese 
I tried a crepe-like wrap from Petite Kitchen this time, not a huge success in terms of holding together, however everyone liked it and even 'lil M ate the 'pancakes', even if he didn't touch the mince!

Tuesday 15th July = Devilled Sausages and mash
Always a hit with 3 out of 4 of us; 'lil M did his usual 'yuck'! But Button, hubby and I all loved it! Only problem is, hubby's tummy didn't like it this time - we have having more issues with his eating at the moment; so like the 'lil M issue, that will be another post for another day!

Wednesday 16th July = Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
This one didn't seem to come out like the photo, or so I thought - however, when I looked back, it actually did look similar! Again, 3 out of 4 of us enjoyed this, Button has an issue with texture, and anything that is remotely chewy in her mind gets spat out! Despite the meat being soft and yummy, she wouldn't eat it - but she did like the flavour, and devoured all the vegetables.

Thursday 17th July = Honey Sesame Chicken Stirfry
This was a HUGE hit, even 'lil M ate some of it! Everyone loved it... yay!

Friday 18th July = Vegetable and Lentil Soup
Hahaha - silly Mummy, Friday night is PIZZA night! What a thing to forget; so we did not have the soup, we had pizza - which was a big success, and despite Button beginning to get the flu, she ate like a pro that night. So I decided to swap that to Saturday night, and make the fish fingers on Monday.

Saturday 19th July = GF Fish Fingers 
Tonight was not a night to try a new recipe out on the family, everyone was under the weather and had very little sleep! So we gave the kids sausages, eggs and mashed potato - hubby cooked, as I was feeling just a bit exhausted! Both kids ate reasonably well, but come Sunday Button stopped eating pretty much...

Sunday 20th July = Lemon and Thyme Pasta
Button stopped eating today - we think it is all the medicine she has been having; she has a VERY sensitive tummy, and generally she never needs more than 1-2 doses of pamol per cold, which is fine. But the poor girl has been sucking back pamol and ibrofen, due to the high fevers; and it is starting to take it's toll. So we made her a simple dinner of sausage and tuna (her request, strange child), and while she didn't eat much of that, she finished off with some of my homemade *Orange Choc-Chop Ice Cream with Banana Base. So she had enough food in her to sleep through for the first time since Thursday, ahhhh - bliss! Hubby and I LOVED it as always, and had leftovers for lunch today!

* Separate post to come on this, and my homemade gluten-free muesli bar!

So - onto this week now:

Monday 21st July - Gluten-free Fish Fingers with homemade chippies, and fresh veggies.

Tuesday 22nd July - Roast chicken with little roasties, and fresh veggies.

Wednesday 23rd July - Chicken Fried Rice, with the leftovers. If you have't tried this recipe, you've got to - seriously, the best fried rice EVER!
Then the carcass will become homemade stock, if you want to know the easiest way to make chicken stock in the crockpot, check out the recipe found at Don't Waste The Crumbs. I highly recommend it!

Thursday 24th July - Slow Cooker Osso Bucco

Friday 25th July - And we're back to pizza night again.

Saturday 26th July - Satay Meatballs with Noodles

Sunday 27th July - Fish Cakes with homemade chippies 
Well Nourished They make a claim on this that even the 'fish fussy' will like these fish cakes, so it'll be interesting to see how the kiddies respond! And here is the link to the homemade hot chips I am going to try that night!

So that is this week in meals, I hope you all had a more relaxing week last week than we did... and I hope your cooking was a success!

I am still hoping to get on here more regularly, and post a little more than just menu's... but until the flu has finished it's rounds and we're feeling a little more sane, and a little more refreshed - things are going to be minimal again!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Menu Planning Monday 6

Ohhhh - so you say it's Tuesday? Did I miss a day somewhere, maybe - I think!?! These days it feels like I miss entire weeks sometimes; time just seems to move faster and faster, and I am getting slower and slower!

So - synopsis from last week:

Monday 7th July - Old Fashioned Fish Pie

This was well loved last time - but this time we had unexpected guests arrive right on dinner time and the kids were far to excited to eat! So they went to bed on porridge or cornflakes, and Mummy and Daddy enjoyed it later!

Tuesday 8th July - Pasta with sausage and roast pumpkin

* Tasteless, and disappointing... 

Wednesday 9th July - Lamb Briyani

* Tasteless and disappointing...

Thursday 10th July - Spaghetti with herby meatballs with primavera sauce

Swapped this for Chicken Cacciatore - we were getting sick of tasteless mince recipes; and this had been tasty and liked by all last time; so I chose to swap. Unfortunately, as irony has it - the kids disliked it this time, and it seemed a bit tasteless again.

Friday 11th July - Pizza

We had one pizza between us, plus sausages and hot chips at the request of Button - went down well, both kids ate a bit of everything.

Saturday 12th July - Chicken Cacciatore

Decided to do Lemon Infused Meatballs with pasta instead, an old favourite - rather than take the chance of another meal disliked.

Sunday 13th July - Panfried Fish with Curried Coconut Dressing

The sauce for this fish is lovely - but silly me mixed the fish and sauce in with some rice noodles, and once more it became tasteless! Only reason I know it was lovely, is because I had a chance to taste test before mixing!

* Hubby said, when I mentioned how tasteless everything was this past week and how disappointed I was - that the chances are I didn't follow the recipe 100%! Initially I was a bit put-out that he blamed me, rather than the recipes; as they'd all come from the same book, I was convinced it wasn't me. However, on second thought - I suspect he was right!!! The above meal case-in-point... I can't remember what I did with the other meals, I'd need to look through the recipes again, but suffice to say I am sure Destitute Gourmet was not to blame, I have cooked many of her recipes with great success in the past! 

However, I decided it was time for a change this week - so here is the new menu for this week:

Monday 14th July = Wraps with mince and cheese (I tried a crepe-like wrap from Petite Kitchen this time, not a huge success in terms of holding together, however everyone liked it and even 'lil M ate the 'pancakes', even if he didn't touch the mince)!

Tuesday 15th July = Devilled Sausages and mash

Wednesday 16th July = Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

Thursday 17th July = Honey Sesame Chicken Stirfry

Friday 18th July = Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Saturday 19th July = GF Fish Fingers 

Sunday 20th July = Lemon and Thyme Pasta

So there you have it, hopefully some of these recipes have more success than last weeks did!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Something A Little Bit Different...

Back here I promised you all something a little bit different to Menu Plans; as that is pretty much all you have seen for a few weeks now! And as much as I love them for me, and the ability they have of taking the stress out of the 'end-of-the-day-itis' we all are feeling by then, it is totally boring seeing only that week after week, even by my minimal standards!

So I have been wondering where to start - which blog post should I begin with, to try and drag you all back! 

I have decided to start with the drama, car drama that is! Anyone who has been reading this for any length of time, may well remember my post from August last year 'The Day That Never Was'; talking about our car literally dying on the side of the road as I was doing the Preschool Drop-Off with the children. That was the beginning of two weeks stuck at home with no transport... urghhhh!

Unfortunately that has not been the only day like this - four more times since April this year we have had the same sort of thing happen again... a different reason, but the same results - stuck at home, with no transport and having to cancel everything we had planned. Because of where we chose to live, there is no public transport out our way, and thus not even anyway of getting Button to Preschool. We were LITERALLY stuck at home each time...

The last time this happened it was just me and 'lil M in the car, and there was steam gushing out from under the bonnet - all very dramatic. I had to ring hubby at work to come rescue us (we were only 5km away from home, but it was a cold, windy day and I had a very tired and hungry two year old who wasn't dressed for the occasion), and upon getting home I also had to ring Preschool and beg them to arrange transport home for her, as hubby had to go straight back to work. Thankfully they are a fantastic bunch of teachers, and were more than happy to help us out.

The car stuck on the side of the road, 5 kms from home.

But I think the thing that gets under my skin the most about this particular situation, is that I sat there in the car for 45 minutes with a child, and not one single person stopped to ask if anything was wrong, despite having the emergency lights on, and it being very clear things were not good. The Postie went past just as I stopped - there was huge mountains of steam (which at that point I was scared it was smoke) coming out of the bonnet, I was very obviously scared and crying, and she just kept cycling by. Across the road from me, which you can see in the photo, was a building site - there were a number of builders working on it, I could see them and they could see me; a couple of them even got into their van and drove past me - not a soul stopped to ask me if everything was okay. It still really annoys me, as you can tell - I am a female with a small child, I am seriously NOT scary... I just needed help, and a little bit of reassurance. 

But, if nothing else, it does make me wonder how many people I have driven past on the side of the road, who could have used some kind words and reassurance, if nothing else, and yet I have pretended not to see them, or justified it due to children in the car.

Ahem - okay, off my soapbox!

Anyway; that was the final straw for me, and I told hubby I was not going to drive that car again, as four out of five times, I had been in the car alone with the kids when these things have happened. It has not been fun, and it was getting scary.

I rang our church to ask them to put a notice up on Sunday asking if anyone had a spare car we could borrow for a couple of weeks. It got missed, and by this stage it was starting to feel like everything was against me - as it was always me and the kids who lost out on transport. However, it was discussed in the church office and a lovely lady did come forward to offer her nieces car for a fortnight, while she was away on holiday (with her permission of course).

We were SO grateful, and on the Friday hubby took the day off work, for my sanity's sake, and we went and picked up the car. Here it is parked up at our place:

And there it stayed for almost the entire two weeks we were allowed to use it for... I am not sure what was going on, but something seemed out to get me, as we'd driven it for less than 30km's and the same thing started happening to it! It overheated, and was undrivable; which meant my sanity flew away faster than I had ever imagined possible, as I contemplated another week stuck at home.

Throughout this time we had arranged a loan, and hubby had been car-hunting (something he hates doing)! We found a little car we liked, but it was straight off the boat and still required a few tests and cleaning. On the Tuesday hubby got the call to say it would be ready from Wednesday, and yay for us - he took that Wednesday afternoon off work, and was able to go pick it up.

So Thursday and Friday the week before last, were VERY busy, as I played catch up on some of the thwarted plans, and then the weekend hit, and the latest round of ill-health!

So as luck would have it - this has been the first week, like in forever, that I have had a reliable car to drive around in, and we have been stuck at home 4 out of 5 days due to sick children *sigh*!

Life is ironic, isn't it!?!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Menu Planning Monday 5

So - I'm back into the grove again; the two year old is sleeping slightly better, so I am feeling slightly saner! At least I was, but we lost an hour this evening (for the loveliest of reasons - unexpected visit from friends), and I am still catching up on myself. However, the kids have both eaten and are now asleep; so I am feeling slightly more relaxed!

So here is a quick synopsis from last week (as you've only just read it, I will be brief):

Monday 30th June - 
Throw Together and Hope Cottage Pie

As usual - we enjoyed it, but the kids grizzled; think we did manage to convince Button to eat most of it this time though!

Tuesday 1st July - Roast Chicken (from supermarket, had in-laws for dinner and they brought the chicken), little roast veggies and fresh veggies. Followed by Jam Tarts!

In case you couldn't tell from my previous post - a roaring success, even 'lil M ate plenty of dinner (still turned up his little nose at the tart; but you can't win everything)!

Wednesday 2nd July - Chicken Fried Rice, from the left-over chicken the night before. 

This was a big improvement over my first attempt which turned out gluggy; and once more a FAVOURITE! My son ate an entire plateful, and hubby commented that if I can cook well enough that he will eat it - I should be on Master Chef *grin*! Not even remotely close to that kind of level, but I basked in the praise anyway!

Thursday 3rd July - Honey and Soy Chicken

Once more this went down well, just like the first time I made it (although I called it 'Honey and Lemon Chicken' in that post, instead of 'Honey and Soy')! Again, my son ate well - including the rice; two nights in a row, must be a miracle!

Friday 4th July - Pizza

Another good pizza and movie night - 'lil M ate 3 pieces, and Button ate all of hers as well as some of her Dad's! Must've been a good pizza!

Saturday 5th July - Simple Sausage Hotpot with caramalised onion. 

This was good, but not as tasty as I expected it to be! Button devoured it though, and had seconds - so wasn't all bad! Probably wouldn't bother with it again, for a 'simple' meal it took all the pots in my cupboard, and quite a lot of time to prepare - hubby wasn't impressed at the amount of dishes needing to be done!

Sunday 6th June - Mexican Meatloaf

REALLY, REALLY tasty - hubby and I loved it, and I would make it again. Button needed convincing, but she finished it in the end, 'lil M wouldn't even have a mouthful *grrrrr*! Cannot wait until he is a bit older, and we can start to be a little harder on him... just so you know, he doesn't get a second meal - but he does get porridge and milk with a little bit of fruit before bed, if he doesn't eat his dinner. We don't cater to him, but he is still too young to send to bed with no food (we have tried), as he wakes up hungry during the night; and his nights are bad enough as it is, without adding more fuel to the fire!

And the new week begins with:

Monday 7th July - Old Fashioned Fish Pie

Tuesday 8th July - Pasta with sausage and roast pumpkin

Wednesday 9th July - Lamb Briyani

Thursday 10th July - Spaghetti with herby meatballs with primavera sauce

Friday 11th July - Pizza

Saturday 12th July - Chicken Cacciatore

Sunday 13th July - Panfried Fish with Curried Coconut Dressing

I know - I am on a Destitute Gourmet roll; I have found a couple of her books are easy to cook, but also either offer substitutes, or are easy to use alternatives in. I have bought a couple of her books, and have one out of the library (which I WANT)! I am sure I will get sick of it soon, but for now I am going with it!

I haven't mentioned  yet that we have had to take Button right off dairy again, as she was starting to get a sore tummy once more; and we have also taken hubby right off dairy as well (which does make it easier for Button to cope), as he has also been getting a funny tummy again. Thankfully things have settled down since then, but while it makes it easier for Button - it makes it harder for me, as I have to avoid it completely in my cooking again now *sigh*! Thankfully I had a bit of practise when we took Button off it the first time, so it hasn't felt as daunting this time round. We have also bought a couple of different goats cheeses to use for them in meals - ouch on the pocket, but at least it means we can keep pizza on the menu!

I have been photographing my notes as I go, and revising it a bit each week (fine-tuning), and keeping all my receipts for each fortnight, so I can share my strategies and how much I spent in each category with you all one day; but there is a way to go before I really have a proper 'system' in place! However, I can safely say that I feel lost without my plan when I am running late; and life is a whole lot smoother when I know what I am cooking!

So - what is on your menu this week?