Saturday, 31 March 2012

Hormones. What all ready?

At the moment everything is quiet and the Hormone Monster hasn't come out to play but I guess that is because it is 10:30pm so it is sleeping.
When the Monster awakens from its slumber it is hard to work out who might actually survive, if you can squeeze under the table with the cowering brother and the poor little cat then you might be alright. The only other hope is the bright morning sun will either blind it or subdue it in some way.
The Hormone Monster definitely doesn't do mornings but it will not lay in bed and read or listen to music, it has to get up and chase you around until you slump to the floor with your head in your hands and beg it to go away even for 5 minutes so that you can regain what little strength that you have left, regroup and start the running battle again.
The Hormone Monster doesn't understand the word NO and will certainly not be able to function without every electrical appliance being on at the same time this includes every light and radio even if it is bright outside. I think it sucks the energy from the appliances so that it can shout and scream louder then yesterday.
The Hormone Monster doesn't like water or brushing its teeth either. The mention of turning the shower on only results in screams so high pitched that the neighbourhood dogs start running to my door. Give the Monster a dinner that contains vegetables and you are asking for trouble, if it were chicken nuggets and chips with loads of tomato sauce then dinnertime would be a peaceful affair.
But I refuse to give into the Hormone Monster and as long as I can snatch my 5 minutes of recharge time then I will survive.
We have given the Hormone Monster a name its name is Ellie who was born a beautiful little girl on the 20th October 11 years ago and although we love her to pieces we will fight the Hormone Monster until it gives us back our beautiful girl, which from what I am told by others might not be until she leaves home.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Such along time xx

Why did I think I would be any better at keeping up with this blog then I was with my last one. I get all excited thinking about all the things I could be telling you all and then by the time I even think about it again I am snuggled down under my 3 duvets dreading the nightly dash to the loo that I know will happen. Yes I did say 3 duvets as it is so cold in our mouldy dank flat that on really cold morning we have ice on the inside of the bedroom windows which of course delights the children as they scrape it off and try throwing it at each other pretending its snowballs. Of course during the summer this flat is the best place to be, both warm and welcoming and one look out the window at the glorious green space and the beach just behind it we could be on holiday. We are so lucky during those few short months to be in such a beautiful location. We go out on to the green for a picnic and the children can run about as free as the wind that tussles through their hair, and only a quick run across the road to the toilet or to make a nice cup of tea or to grab the bottle opener. During the winter it is totally different. We have beautiful high ceilings (although during the winter a hard job to heat) which make the rooms feel rather large and airy.

Us down here right on the south coast have been very lucky this year (or unlucky if you are a child) and had no snow but bitterly cold. We could have had many a nice stroll along the prom or played football on the green like we do during the summer but no the weather drives us indoors and makes us close the curtains and all snuggle under our duvets (roaring log fire is in our imagination) with nice steaming mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows melting slowly on top.
Why is it that when we are as lucky as we are in this country we take it for granted. I never imagined sitting here in a flat with my two wonderful children sleeping soundly next door, the sound of waves hitting the shingle and the salty smell of the sea in my nose but here I am and if this isn't the most brilliant place to be then maybe I am never going to find my Nevada. xx

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Netbook October

This month has been an expensive month for the Power household. Ellie went to camp and had a brilliant time but it cost money and as we all know money is tight, then it was Ellie's birthday and at the grand old age of 11 she needed (yes needed) a net book, as somebody at school decided that it was a good idea to put year 6's homework on line. We don't have a computer at home and really didn't think that we needed one as we had the office and we can go up there but honestly is the office the best place to take the children when we have had a hard day at work and just want to go home, so our only option was to get her a netbook and join the revolution of home computing.
Neither me nor Mr P know anything about netbooks so which one is best? Who can we ask to find out? Then it hit me I have a nephew who is 21 and must know a thing or two about computers and what we would need (sorry what Ellie would need). So off I went in search of said nephew. I had never before realised how hard nephews are to track down, was he in the pub? Nope as he doesn't drink. Was he at work? Nope as he hasn't got a job. Was he in his bedroom? Nope although I only stood outside his room and knocked as I was to scared to go in. Eventually I found him at Grandma's house eating all her homemade biscuits.(See where I get it from now). He looked at me and took in my request then said "get whichever one you like it doesn't matter much and she doesn't need it to loads" Thanks for the advice nephew dearest. Next step was to order it on line and go to that lovely shop Argos to pick it up £189.99 later we are now the proud owners of a purple msi wind netbook and hopefully one happy little girl.
Ellie was away at camp for her birthday (sob snivel sob) such a strange day, no excited little girl waking me up by jumping on my bed screaming "its my birthday" while I tried to pretend that I didn't know. No bouncy child running around ordering her traditional bacon sandwich to be made now before she opens her pressies. Crickey I missed her. On the Friday when we picked her up she threw herself into my arms dropping her suitcase on the ground and squeezed me so hard I thought she might break me, she even gave Lewis a big hug which shocked us all. Once we got home she ripped her pressies open laid on the floor and started playing with her netbook, now if its not under her nose she panics that it is lost and when it is under her nose all we get is grunts of acknowledgements that she has heard us and might see fit to do as asked. Can't wait till Tuesday when the Netbook laws are passed in this house.
That's all for now
See you soon
Jo xx

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Great British Bake Off

I think I am addicted. What to I hear you cry. Baking, watching baking programs and baking cookbooks. I have settled down every Tuesday evening for the last 8 weeks and watched Great British Bake off and just wanted to be there (although I don't think my baking is up to scratch yet) I have routed for and wanted to cry with Jo Wheatley. She has been amazing all the way through and all though she didn't get it right every time she was amazing. Her passion for baking just shone out of her, the obvious joy that baking brings to her life is seen in every bake she took part in. The idea of Limoncello and White Chocolate Croquembouche was brilliant and although it did collapse looked lovely.
The strangest thing is on Tuesday this week my hubby asked me to make a Victoria sponge and I kept thinking about making them small so that I didn't over fill the big one which is a bad habit of mine. Jo made small Victoria sponges for the final of GBBO and know I am going to do the same, although mine will not look anything like Jo's as hers were light and fluffy and just made to make your mouth water.
All the contestants where amazing but for me Jo outshone them all and deserved to win.

I have been baking this week, I have decided to work on scones as normally when I bake them they come out like little biscuits. I never get a rise out of them, until now that is and my mum gave me her recipe for scones. So last night I made (with Ellie's help) cheese and Bacon Scones that were light and very tasty. Below is the recipe.

2 Cups of plain flour
1/4 cup of oil
1 egg
4 tsps Baking powder
pinch of Salt
2 cups of strong cheese
1 cup of chopped and cooked Bacon
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Heat oven to 180Fan /gas mark 6/200 electric
In a bowl mix together the flour and the baking powder. Put the 1/4 cup of oil into the 1 cup and add the egg top up to 1 cup with milk. Mix the cheese and Cayenne Pepper with the flour then add the wet ingredients mix well. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and gently press out with your hand cut out using a number 5 cutter and place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Enjoy with butter and a nice cup of tea.

Please let me know if you make these and what you thought of the Great British Bake off and who you wanted to win.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Baking Update

Well after my baking session the other day there is nothing left not even stale crumbs.
I made my little pies which where Chicken, leek, Sweetcorn and Peas and tasted divine and such a nice change for our lunchboxes although Ellie refused to even try them (such a fussy child). I have just realised that I didn't take any pictures of any of this stuff

cut in half so that you can see what its like will remember to do that next time.

I also made a Raspberry Ripple cup cake which was meant to be a proper big cake but I didn't have the right tins or enough time to do so. This recipe was out of my BBC Good Food Magazine and they had taken it from Edd Kimber and his new recipe book The Boy Who Bakes. He won the Great British Bake Off 2010 with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. I liked baking this cake as it was not the normal way I would bake a cake, you had to whisk the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes nothing unusual there but then add the egg yolks and then add the flour and then add the whisked egg whites. The end result of the cake was moist and so light and fluffy just perfect for the frosting which was another thing I hadn't made before. It started with making a syrup of sugar and water and adding it slowly to beaten egg whites then adding a very large amount of butter to the egg whites once they had returned to room temperature and as it was white chocolate and raspberry ripple you mix the chocolate into one half of the mix and add raspberry jam (seedless) into the other half. Unfortunately my icing skills need some work and this didn't come out looking as good
as Edd Kimbers did.
I am not a hundred percent sure I liked the icing as it tasted abit like marge even though it was made out of butter and white chocolate but I think it was the white chocolate that gave it this taste.
Then I went on to bake these little beauties which are Cheese muffins they were lovely. Although half the cheese is grated and half the cheese is cut into cubes i cut my cheese into big
cubes that left huge great big holes in the muffins so late in the week I made some more this time adding ham to the mix as well (I always add double the amount of cheese that the recipe says as I like things to be very cheesy and find that even if I use a strong cheese
it doesn't taste cheesy enough for me). I also cut the cheese into smaller cubes and eliminated the huge holes in the muffins. The children took these to school in their lunchboxes twice last week and have demanded that I make more of them very very soon.
I also made these which are banana and peanut butter muffins. I was in such a rush to make these that I used banana's that weren't over ripe and the peanut butter was meant to be crunchy but I thought the children would notice that so used smooth peanut butter instead. They were a disaster and tasted of nothing although they were quite filling as they had oats in them but you really do need to use over ripe banana's. I don't think it makes much difference to the mix if you use crunch or smooth pb its just a textural thing. I think I will make banana cupcakes next time and put peanut butter icing on them and see what that is like as I really like the idea of banana and peanut butter although I wouldn't eat it in a sandwich. Will have to let you know how it works out the next time I make it which should be soon as I have some bananas turning brown as we speak.

These little nuggets of chocolateness are called Chocolate Kisses and are a childhood favourite of mine and thankfully my children adore them as well. Now I have to be honest here and say I didn't bake these Ellie (10) baked them whilst we were trying to work on her maths so she doubled the recipe and even piped them onto a baking sheet to go into the oven. They have a very short and crumbly texture and simply melt in your mouth. Ellie made 36 of them so we had 18 biscuits in total by Monday morning there were only 4 left which went into the children's Lunchboxes and in their word were very yummy.

That's all for now Thanks for coming by and having a look leave me a comment and I will get back to you.
Love Jo xx

Friday, 16 September 2011

Baking Time

After the best summer holidays ever and losing a friend during the summer (stupidly rowed over how we felt about the summer holidays) we have now returned to normality, if you can call it that.  We have had hundreds of letters home already and this is only the second week back, none of them begging for money but it wont be long lol.  We have received letters regarding Ellie (who's 10) moving up to secondary school (sorry it will never be high school to me) which has me scared beyond belief, how can that little baby I brought home wrapped up in a white blanket wearing a Winnie the Pooh fleecy all in one be ready to go to the next stage in her life.
Therefore I have decided to bake my blues away and come up with some interesting cakes, biscuits, pies and lunchbox things this weekend just so that she knows that no matter what home is where mummy loves her the best.  OK I didn't say this was going to be a sloppy post but I am feeling that being a mummy is slowly crawling away and soon I shall just be a mum and I don't like that as I feel they might not need me like they have done for the last 10 years.  I am not a mum who doesn't want her children to grow up but them growing up must mean that I am getting old and old I do not feel or want to be.  Cake is the only answer to this I feel as if  I stay the size I am then the extra weight I carry can pad out those wrinkles.
 So the great bake is on for this weekend I am going to make Banana and Peanut Butter muffins, a Raspberry Ripple Cake, Chicken and Sweetcorn mini pies so that the children can take them to school for lunch and my mums Chocolate kisses which are light and crumbly and resemble something along the lines of Viennese biscuits that are sandwiched together with a vanilla butter cream and are so yummy that they never last very long in our house.
I will bring you pictures of the great bake and any recipes that I think are any good to you next week, but in the mean time what is your favorite way to banish the blues and what is your favorite things to bake.

That's all for now see you all soon
Love Jo xx

Monday, 18 July 2011

Oh What A Month

Well its been a really busy month this month, weight loss isn't going well as we have had a few reasons to celebrate so I have put on about 6lbs in the last month never mind I am sure I can get rid of it again maybe I should give up eating for the summer holidays. OK reality check it really doesn't matter but I have a problem with food and that is I like it and find that I get stuck in a rut then panic because I don't want to eat the same food every week. I am a bit of a cook and like trying out new recipes and making cakes and biscuits for my family so I have been struggling a bit. This last week I was really good all week and then along came the weekend and Ellie had a ballet show on Friday, 2 on Saturday and another 1 on Sunday so eating went out the window as I was a helper and usher at every show. On Friday I had a fried egg sandwich for tea (quick and easy) Saturday morning knowing I was going to be at the venue for 8 to 9 hours I went out for breakfast then at 10pm we came home and had a Chinese (Beef curry and egg fried rice YUMMY) on Sunday we had bacon and mushroom sandwiches then went out for tea and instead of having a jacket potato or a salad I had lamb chops and chips. Well that's another couple of pounds on then never mind I will manage to lose it again but maybe not till September.

We have also had a birth in the family my brother in law and his girlfriend had a baby boy on Tuesday the 5Th July called Dominic Jayden he is very sweet as all new babies are and I even got a couple of cuddles and didn't feel broody. There was a moment of jealousy with Lewis as he isn't the baby of the family anymore but when we went to visit them at home he was a very proud big cousin. Ellie was a little scared of holding him but uncle D and C helped her and she was fine in the end just very excited.

Mr P and I have also celebrated our 10Th wedding anniversary although celebrated might be the wrong word. We went out on the 7Th July just the two of us as my parents had the children over night. We went to a lovely restaurant called Mussel Row in Pei r Road Littlehampton and had a fabulous meal which was rather romantic. Then on the Sunday we had family round at my mums house to celebrate my dads Th birthday and our wedding anniversary but it turned into a bit of a nightmare as Mr P went missing and then got a call out for work. By the time he had finished eating he had to go and do the job (1 very cross wife) he dropped me and the children at home where I proceeded to sulk like a child. When he got back from the job I had got myself so angry that I probably could have killed him so not a good day really lots of shouting from me and lots of appologising from him but we are still married and hope that the next 10 years are just better than the first 10 have been.
Thanks for dropping by
Love Jo xx