Thursday, 26 December 2013

2013 Challenge

Before I start I would like to wish everyone a Very Happy Christmas and a Great New Year.

Ok last blogging statistics were:

118 books used. 9 books to go. 20 days to go to the end of the challenge. 

This is a lovely huge sized book. Shamefully I have not really looked at it or used it before. I got it from a charity shop in Berwick. But I do know it will be coming off the shelf again and will not be neglected.

I love salmon and had a couple of pieces in the freezer - so this seemed a lovely way to use this book.

119 books used. 8 books to go.

I reckon I must have bought this book thinking it was a vegetarian cookbook, because it was not until I photographed it did it dawn on me that the title is "vegan" not "vegetarian"!

The carrot dip was rather nice, easy to prepare and came in very handy for me to share at our craft group Christmas bring and share supper. Also Mr P had to take some food out that night and he was able to take some - not that he ate any of it! Too many ingredients he does not like.
 120 books used. 7 books to go.

Think I got this book at work one day from one of those book clubs that come and leave a selection for you to peruse over when you have nothing to do. Then you go all week at the knees and succumb to a book!

What I like about this book is the way it stands up all on its own!

                                                121 books used. 6 books to go.

Just love the lay out of this book - sooooo attractive.

This recipe was a lovely alternative to using potatoes or rice etc.
                                               122 books used. 5 books to go.

Not sure when this book arrived on my shelf!
                                        123 books used. 4 books to go.

Love the way inside this book they have colour coded the recipes - has a green coloured food, brown coloured food etc. It explains all the health benefits to eating this range of food. Have used this book a few times. It came from a charity shop but I think rather deserves to be more readily available on the high street.

Now I decided on this recipe  for the craft group and they looked very unsure about eating frozen grapes but I think they were rather successful and shall be making them again tonight. They ALL got eaten.

                                       124 books used. 3 books to go.


Had to save this book for December for obvious reasons. Mr P bought it me as a Christmas presie last year - so this was the first time I could appropriately use it.

 Rather strange this year having just four of us for Christmas day and not masses(they are arriving Boxing Day). So what do I cook  before I do my big big Christmas dinner - then I saw a frozen goose in Aldi. Never eaten goose before and nor had the rest of us. So goose it was! With all the suggested trimmings. Mr P preferred the stuffing balls to the goose - have to say I was not far behind him.

                                                   125 books used. 2 books to go.

All hail St Nigella.

This book is truly amazing I have cooked soooooooo many recipes from here I couldn't possibly show you them all. But do not hesitate BUY this book - it is brilliant.

Also she has a timetable for cooking your Christmas dinner which is fantastic and works well. Also she says you need a glass of wine at one point which I think is compulsory to follow her guidelines to the "T"!
I love this cake but it has taken quite a few attempts to get it right and this is served with a rhubarb compote! So yummy.

 We now have a tradition of eating these on Christmas morning.

These too are a Christmas family favourite.

                                                  126 books used. 1 book to go.

Well have to say there is a good reason why this book got used last! I didn't know what to do from it! It has become so dated and just not the way I cook anymore. Years gone by when the children were small and time was at a premium I would use it. Especially using the microwave version of steamed puddings but now with just the two of us I have more time. So this book is being dismissed.

Eventually I found this recipe and persuaded Mr P that he would like a drinking chocolate - as I do not like milky drinks. He was very good and agreed.

I even managed to drag out a mug from the back of the cupboard - that maybe as old as the book!

                                               127 books used. 0 books to go!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! I have managed to accomplish my challenge - have to be honest and doubted at one time I was ever going to achieve it BUT I have to thank my very patient husband.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

"It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas"

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere I go.

But before I start showing you my Christmas - I must show you what one lady has made her daughter for Christmas. She has crocheted around 2000 squares!

It took four ladies to hold this blanket up! I just love the red that has been use to put these squares together - WELL DONE Mrs J.

I managed a sneaky cuddle with baby Rowan this week as his mummy and daddy paid a flying visit.

Now time for Christmas in my home. So many things to show you and so many memories.

Mistletoe up and the wreath I made out of some bits I got for free from the farm I went to get the tree from.

Some years ago Primark were selling off some decorations and I bought about three different variations of this theme - but I like him!

Cards are up, but I think we have a lot less this year. Not surprising with the cost of postage.

Decoration I made last year.

I love baskets and I love getting these huge cones out and my cranberry balls ( the one in the middle I had from a wedding in Switzerland, many years ago).

Tree bunting made by No 3, mad angel I made last year and the cross stitch picture was done back in the 1980/90's.

Finally a real tree is up and after two lots of lights we succeeded!

Below a decoration No 1 made last year.

Now for some of my favourite Christmas tree decorations.

This glass sphere reminds me of the time when life in Yorkshire was very difficult and Mr P was spending three months working at M & S. This was one of the decorations he bought at that time.

Our local hospice  Loros sold these cute nativity figures a couple of years ago. I think they are great and I wish they would do some more. But anyway there are a few of them and they take up pole position on my tree.

Love this tree made out of bark.

No 4 bought me this from the Leeds Christmas market many years ago. I love getting it out of its box and the lovely memories it brings back.

My dad seems to be buying a new decoration each year and this was the recent one. The tree almost looks real.

Below my lovely nativity scene made by my Swiss friend's mum.

Something again I made back in the 80's or 90's!

Not many windows left to open. Note I have been given a chocolate santa and snowman to eat, but I can't bear to do this yet!

Not many parcels left for Mr P to open.

True sign of Christmas - large bowl of clementines, Christmas music lying around and Saint Delia close by!

Of course not far behind is St Nigella - her rocky road cake! I know this will all be eaten - so yummy. A true sign that Christmas is on its way.

Finally my whacky cake! I'm rubbish at decorating cakes - so no apologies but my family are getting the usual snow scene! I love the washing line - I'm just a big kid really!

Time to leave you all to your preparations. PS it's easier to do your jobs with Christmas music blaring out!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Ooooops / ooooooopsie

Now this morning I posted the following statistics..

116 books used. 11 books to go. 20 days to go to the end of the challenge. 

BUT if you click on the  books link you'll see I have actually used 118 books!  Somewhere along the line I have forgotten to blog about two books!  Ooops sorry - but maybe somebody somewhere will find my missing two books!

Statistics should read

118 books used. 9 books to go. 20 days to go to the end of the challenge. 

Busy, Busy Bee

Golly the last week has flown by. I started the week with a cold that I probably got from Mr P - but I couldn't let it takeover my life as there was too much work to do. I did cancel the craft group as I did not think it would be very fair me spreading all my bugs onto them. So what have I been up to?

Obviously I went to work (full time). Monday I bought a Christmas tree from a farm.

Also at the farm they left a large sack of holly and Christmas tree bits to help yourself too! Mr P bought me some roses instead of chocolate for my advent calendar. He's such a sweetie. I love putting flowers in this coffee pot.

 Tuesday night busy making Christmas presents. Wednesday evening was choir. We started next years projects - should be an interesting concert, but more of that another time. Thursday took the Christmas tree back to the farm! Decided it was far too small! The farm were really good and let me get another tree! Thursday evening I finished dad's Christmas cake.

I always try to make his a grown up version of a snow effect - as I am rubbish at doing proper icing. Under the icing is masses of marzipan as dad adores it.

Friday was the works Christmas do at Mansah.  Here you get to eat all you like Indian food followed by a disco.

Saturday Mr P and I did some jobs in the morning  and then in the afternoon we went to Redditch to visit my father-in-law who had been admitted to hospital the previous night. At this stage not too sure what is going on but is being treated for an infection. So hopefully he will be on the mend soon and well enough to go away for Christmas. Then in the evening we were out with my dad and extended family for a meal. It was soo nice to see all especially my sister, hubby and grown up children. We don't often see each other so there is always lots to catch up on. Great night out and Mr P and I crawled into bed at 12:15 - very late for us!

Sunday up early in time to drive the minibus for church, played my flute for the service, drove the people home. Two whole hours at home and then out again!  This time out with some girls to Calke Abbey to hear Derby Bach Choir sing Handel's Messiah. By the time I got home I collapsed onto a comfy chair - tried to watch a Midsummer Murder with Mr P. I had to give up near the end because my eyes just could not stay open.

Also I have been trying to get through a few more cookbooks.

Golly this book is old.

As we had this mid week I opted for a gentler fondue rather than a really heavy one. Cannot remember when we last had a fondue. 

Note we had it in a Swiss pot!

I love the cover of this book but sadly this is all I really like. I struggled to find things to cook from this book. Hence we ended up doing the mash potato recipe with good old bangers (pork sausages).

Finally I managed another book Saturday morning.

This is another very old book, with some rather good recipes but they do require a lot of attention. Not quick easy recipes.

Opted for these biscuits. They had a good flavour but very crumbly.

So how near am I to my goal.......................................................

119 books used. 8 books to go. 14 days to go to the end of the challenge.