You are Visitor No.
Last year I was lucky enough to be able to make many jars of blackcurrant jam with the bountiful berries harvested from the bushes in my sister’s garden. Unfortunately, as my sister no longer lives at that house, my blackcurrant picking this summer was not to be. Not to be thwarted, I have been keeping my eyes open for berries growing wild. I have my eyes on a vacant lot with loads of blackberry bushes which I am hoping will bear loads of fruit, as blackberry is my favourite jam of all!
Last night, on my way to work, I spotted a tangle of wild raspberry bushes and decided to pick some on my way home. Unfortunately, it was quite dark and I had to pick what I could without being able to see much. I planned to make jam using them along with the pears and plums I had in the fridge.
Sadly, on seeing the raspberries in the light, they were pretty rank and couldn’t be used. Not to be deterred, I pressed ahead and made pear and plum jam (sans raspberries) instead. I was a little worried it wouldn’t set properly, as I don’t add pectin, instead relying on the pectin naturally present in the fruit.
Fortunately, the jam did set and although it’s a little sweet for my personal tastes (it could do with being just a touch more tart), it’s pretty tasty. As you can see from the photo, I got just shy of four jars filled. I look forward to trying some on a slice of toast, or perhaps a home-made scone!
Ever wondered what to do with that leftover roast chicken? Sick of sandwiches? Why not try this delicious recipe for a change…
Chicken, Spinach and Soft Cheese Stuffed Cannelloni with Tomato Sauce
Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
OK, so it doesn’t look very appetizing, but I promise it tastes good!
Stuffed Cannelloni Ingredients:
This nutritional information is based on the brands I used (Asda smart price passata and tinned tomatoes, Asda cannelloni tubes and tomato puree, Kraft Philadelphia Extra Light soft cheese). Using different brands may well result in different nutritional values.
I made this up in individual portions so I could freeze it (pre-cooking stage) and just defrost and pop it in the oven whenever I fancy some cannelloni. I allowed three cannelloni tubes per serving because the Asda ones are quite small. As you can see, I didn’t mention any cheese sprinkled on top, because I like to leave them without it in case I don’t have enough of my allowances left for the day to have that. It’s lovely with a sprinkling of cheddar melted on top, or even just a sprinkling of parmasan when you serve it. It’s great served with a green salad or some garlic bread, or just alone as a light meal.
We had a bunch of bananas that were getting a little over-ripe, so I was hunting for recipe ideas to use them up. I had a big smoothie for breakfast, but that only used one of them, so Xander and I experimented in the kitchen and came up with a lovely moist banana bread recipe that is surprisingly low in fat and calories.
Makes 1 small loaf yielding 12 slices
These values are based on the brands I used (Asda Smart Price flour, honey and eggs, and Lurpack Lightest). If you use different brands, your nutritional values may differ slightly. The values offered here are merely a rough guide for you.
I think this would also be really good if sultanas/raisins were added, but you’d have to adjust the values for that.
A lovely moist banana bread that doesn’t really need anything on it! The honey lends an indulgent slight stickiness that is just gorgeous, and the banana flavour is light rather than overpowering. Just enough spice to give it a little extra flavour. Xan and I both enjoyed this and Xan LOVED mashing the bananas and stirring everything up.
I enjoyed mine with a glass of skimmed milk and I’ll be taking a couple of slices in to work with me this evening so my colleagues can try it out too!
Xander is really getting into making things in the kitchen, so when he begged me to make some cakes with him this afternoon, I couldn’t say no, and we headed through to experiment and make up a new recipe. Here’s what we came up with…
Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate On Top
Makes 6 cupcakes
These values are based on the products I used (Asda reduced fat peanut butter; Asda Smart Price eggs and flour; Asda chocolate buttons), so if you use different brands, the values may differ slightly, but as a rough guideline, this will give you an idea.
These only have a very slightly peanut buttery taste, but the banana wasn’t so overpowering as to completely cover it – it was a very tasty combination. There was just enough chocolate on top to make it feel indulgent but without it being too much. Xander certainly enjoyed his! We had a lovely time making them together too!
You know how I’m terrified of spiders? And you know how I’m determined not to pass that phobia on to Xander? Well, there was a spider in the bath last week. I told Xander that he was just having a little wander around and then Daddy would rescue him when he got home. Xander then asked, “Why don’t YOU just rescue Insy Winsy, Mummy?”
So I got a piece of card and a plastic pot, and I guided that spider on to the card, trapped him with the pot, and released him on the veranda wall so he could “go home”.
Xander seemed impressed. He told me, “That was very kind of you, Mummy. Now Insy Winsy can go home to HIS Mummy and not be lost any more!”
Granted, the spider was only the size of my thumb nail, but this is a MAJOR step for me. My heart is beating so fast as I type this that it feels like it could burst as I was so scared. But I kept that smile on my face the whole time (thank Gods I’m a good actor!).
That day I was the bravest Mummy in the world, and my little boy doesn’t even know it!
This morning I had to remove yet another (significantly larger, this time!*) Insy Winsy from our bath. I did it without hesitation and without visibly wigging out. This, however, is not the reason I feel proud. No, the reason I feel so proud is that I’ve just realised it’s become so commonplace that I forgot to even mention it to Dale today. (Mental high-five to self!)
* By “significantly larger” I mean if was one of those where the body is about the size of the tip of my thumb and THEN there are the long legs. Not quite a fill-your-palm spider, but heading that way!
I’m proud of myself.
Today I Am Awesome!
Of course, that’s not to say that if another shows up and Dale is home, I won’t make HIM deal with it – they still make me feel sick with fear inside I’m just getting better at hiding that from Xan!