Pancakes… yum

So I know Pancake Tuesday isn’t until next week – but for pretty much all of February my kids request pancakes, on a pretty much daily basis.

I have two types of pancakes I make, one is the little round “American Style” pancakes, and then these, the bigger thinner ones.

I found this recipe on the Delia Smith website and it makes perfect pancakes, always!

For our family of two adults and three kids, and whoever happens to be here, I always make a triple batch. It also keeps in the fridge for a few days.

Ingredients (for the triple batch):

  • 330g plain flour
  • big pinch of salt
  • 600ml milk and 225ml water
  • 6 eggs
  • a big spoon of butter (over 50g)

On her website, she has the proper method outlined for mixing this. I just throw the first four ingredients into a bowl and whizz up with a hand food mixer. Then on the pancake pan I melt the butter and pour a small bit into the batter, but most into a bowl to use on the pan between each pancake. So they all get the buttery goodness!

I also think that my pancake pan and ladle are big parts of the success of the pancakes. I bought the flat pan in lidl about 2 years ago, to replace the one I had bought years before that. It was definitely less than 20euro and it came with a ladle. I was in a fancy pants pots and pans shop at the weekend and saw a pancake pan on sale for 65euro. My pan is perfect so keep an eye out for when they come into your local Lidl!

When it comes to frying the pancakes, rub the melted butter (on a piece of kitchen roll) onto the hot pan, pour on a ladle full of pancake (depending on how thick you like them – experiment!!) and roll it around to cover the pan fully. When the edges start to curl up off the pan, it means the bottom of the pan is starting to cook. After another minute, turn the pancake and cook the second side too.

Depending on who the pancake is for and what they want on it, I sometimes put a bit of butter on the cooked side of the pancake after I turn it, and when its melted I’ll put a spoon of sugar on while still on the pan so it melts into the butter a bit. Yum! And then the lemon when it comes off the pan.

The kids love golden syrup or chocolate spread (my homemade one, so at least it feels healthier!). I’ve tried savoury pancakes but they don’t go down very well here. If you’ve any ideas for easy toppings that could become family favourites, please let me know! 🙂

 

Taco Fries

Tonights dinner is one of our favourite here in this house. Homemade Taco Fries.

I love making homemade fries, and often used to use the deep fat fryer. Then in January I finally splashed out on a Tefal Actifry, after lusting after one for about 2 years! And I love it. I use it at least once or twice a week. It does take a good bit longer to cook the chips – but just means we have to be more organised!

The Taco spice mix is a blend that I found when doing Slimming World. I love the fact that Slimming World teaches people to cook from scratch using herbs and spices. I have always done most things from scratch but I used to use a taco spice mix that I bought. Now I always use this recipe.

What I did a few weeks ago was to mix a larger quantity – same proportions but just about 10 times as much so that I could have the spices premixed to make the prep even quicker. I now have that sitting up on my shelf in a jar and can just use a few spoons of that (to taste) when cooking the taco mince.

  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne chilli powser
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sweetner (I use sugar because I hate artificial sweetner)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

I add the spice mix into the mince, and vegetable that are already cooked, along with two tins of tomatoes, and leave simmer for about 20 minutes. I use onions, garlic, peppers, celery (finely chopped) and mushrooms. You could add as much vegetables in here as you wanted. I am also going to try this with lentils and red kidney beans as a vegetarian version.

And then for serving we use a shop bought taco sauce and grated cheese.

Each of us in the house has a different way they want their taco fries served. I am traditional with the fries, mince, cheese, taco sauce. The hubby likes his taco sauce and mince mixed together first, and then put on his chips and doesn’t mind whether there’s any cheese or not. The boy is mince, then fries, cheese, taco sauce. Miss Q likes her mince topped with cheese and taco sauce on one side and fries on the other. And Little Miss Z likes her chips on a plate with some taco sauce to dip in – no mince or cheese!

Positivity winning over worry?

I sit here on the cusp, on the edge. On the edge of potentially my whole life changing. Everything falling apart around me. It is such a scary horrible place to be.

I am one of the very very lucky ones who has not lost anybody that I love.

This week threatens to change that. My aunt is going for a repeat brain surgery and as she is unhealthier now than originally, all the risks of the surgery are increased. And then later in the week we will find out if my 20yr old step-son has cancer or not. But we’ve been lead to believe that he most likely does.

And then there’s other family members with varying degrees of conditions and illnesses, that could escalate and become serious very quickly.

I also suffer from anxiety, and the worry of life has often overwhelmed me. And that could have been when there was no “real” worry.

My response is positivity, “attempted positivity” – I try not to allow the worries and fears to win, I try to fight them with positivity. Of course I am an overthinker, so every single worst case scenario goes through my head. But I try to give an outward, almost fake, positive response and attitude. And not allow the worrying thoughts to take over.

I am not “fake”, my mind often does automatically jump to positive alternatives or best case scenarios, often to the annoyance of friends who just want me to sympathise with them and their bad days! And I don’t just bottle everything up. I had a full evening and night of “tears and fears” where I was a complete emotional mess and let the worries out and cried my eyes out. And then the next day, I shook it off and put back on my positive attitude.Which possibly is burying my worries behind it, but it usually works. It gets me through the situations, which this week is what I need to do.

Lentil Curry

As part of our recent discussions into healthy eating and after watching the Forks Over Knives documentary a few weeks ago, we decided we would try to add some vegetarian meals into our diets.

About two weeks ago I decided to try a lentil curry because I had lentils, so I stuck it into Google and found a recipe I liked the look off. It was this one here from  Simple Vegan Blog

A really easy recipe to put together. I had all the ingredients. Simple. Well, it didn’t turn out well. And I found out why.

So on the evening I was making it, I was busy and rushing and grabbed down my jar of lentils…

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See them there – top left!

And popped them in water to cook. Now I didn’t have enough water in the pot and they boiled almost dry – so for a week I blamed the failure of the recipe on that. Because in my curry the lentils were hard and chalky, and not tasty at all.

It was only the other day I was digging around at the back of another shelf of jars – when I found the real reason my lentil curry didn’t work out. Can you see now why?

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Yep – my lentils weren’t lentils. They were split yellow peas. And because I was only paying half attention, I thought yes that’s them and threw them in. I found it very amusing when I realised, and had a good laugh at myself!

So now that I’d worked out the reason, I decided I wanted to try the lentil curry again. But this time I knew my kids wouldn’t humour me and eat it – because they’d already tried it and didn’t like it – so I decided to go a slight different route. Instead tonight I made a “Vegetable Curry” – I added extra onion and finely chopped celery and a yellow pepper to the curry mix and that camouflaged the lentils a bit. And they ate it. While they didn’t wolf it down and ask for more, they did clear their plates without complaint. So that’s a win in my books.

I’ve got to say that the mix of spices in this curry recipe are lovely, really very tasty, and very easy to have all the ingredients on hand. I have frozen portions of coconut milk in my freezer so I just throw a portion into the pot and it defrosts while its cooking. Definitely worth trying it out.

 

Happy Valentines Day!

I was woken (well, I waited in bed because I heard what was going on!) with a lovely beautiful breakfast in bed brought by my wonderful three children. The hubby was long gone to work, so it was all them (in particular the 10yr old Miss Q). They had make cards this morning for me too.

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It was a lovely start to the day. Hopefully a sign of more wonderful things to come. 🙂

I had strawberry laces put into their lunch boxes as a surprise with a little note and cut out hearts. Which I know Miss Q will appreciate, but not so sure that the Boy will!

And I am doing a roast chicken dinner for the hubby for later – on a Tuesday – as a special treat. And have some yummy after school snacks for the kids. We’re spoiling ourselves and each other. So all in all looks like a lovely day.

I’ve seen a lot of posts today about loving yourself, and I think that is so important, and partly why this year I am putting more effort into special details for the kids. I saw this article about helping children to start loving themselves and I think that we will be making some Valentines Cards for ourselves after school as well.

Happy Valentines Day to everyone.

Monday Morning Motivation?

I think I’m looking for the Monday Morning Motivation, as opposed to stating that I have already found it!

I am sitting here in the sitting room, in my pyjamas looking around at a complete mess and knowing I have so much to do. I’ve a nasty cough and cold and I feel miserable and have zero motivation. But the other half emptied my car (the spare storage room haha) into the sitting room yesterday morning before we went off on a family day trip and I have to deal with that.

I’ve had my coffee, and just put little miss baba Z up to bed for a nap, so I really have no excuse. But I just cannot move. And I am worried if I go into the kitchen (which also needs to be cleaned) I will eat (more) brownies and chocolate biscuit cake… they’re leftover from a birthday at the weekend and I’ve already eaten them for breakfast. So delicious! But I’m supposed to be all motivated and healthy eating so really can’t eat any more.

Anyone got any tips to get yourself out of a motivation slump? I have so many tabs open on my phone with all sorts of great advice and ideas on how to get motivated but can’t actually put any of them into practice this morning!