• Baking 10.06.2013 No Comments

    If you read my blog regularly you probably realise that I like to bake. I decided recently to join my daughter on a Disney Cupcake decorating course at Cherry Blossom Bakery

    This is a small bakery and tearoom in Macclesfield and we were greeted on our evening course with a lovely pot of tea. All the equipment was ready for us, the cupcakes were freshly baked and all the icing was ready coloured.

     

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    We were taken through each design step by step at our own pace and built the designs up gradually.

     

    It was lovely to make each little part of the design, none of which was particularly difficult, and then put it all together to create the Disney characters.

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    I especially liked the Daisy and Donald Duck.

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    It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours and come away with some new skills to practice, plus some lovely cakes to eat! In fact I enjoyed it so much I’ve booked on another course.

     

    I took my husband for tea and scones the following week and he loved it too. The big china pot of tea, the lovely old china cups, saucers and plates, the delicious scones and the bright and airy surroundings made this a lovely place to enjoy a quiet brew!

     

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  • Diet, Family 04.05.2013 2 Comments

    This is an entry for the BritMums/Special K “How I’ve changed Linky challenge.”

    I was sent a box of new recipe Special K to try. I used to eat Special K quite often, particularly the red berries version, but, preferring a wholegrain cereal, I haven’t had any for a while. The new recipe is a 3 grain recipe and contains wholewheat so it fills you up! No need for mid-morning nibbles! It is fortified with vitamins too but, most importantly, it tastes good. I enjoyed it with some skimmed milk and sliced strawberries and it really filled me up.

    Special K with strawberries

     

     

    Kellogg’s have changed the recipe for the first time since 1983 and this prompted the challenge to discover how I’ve changed since 1983.

    In 1983 I was working as a computer programmer and got engaged to my now husband. We bought our first house, a 3 bedroom semi, for ¬£32,000! We had to do a lot of work on the house and most of our money went on that but we could still eat out and enjoy ourselves. I was a vegetarian and eating out wasn’t always easy, “we could make you an omelette” was a phrase I heard often! This meant that Italian food was often our choice so I could get a cheese and tomato pizza! There was one supermarket on the way home from work which we could go to occasionally but otherwise we shopped at local shops; a busy greengrocer, a baker’s and a grocer’s. Check out the shoulder pads in this picture of me in 1983.

    Me with Dad in 1983

     

    Things have certainly changed for me in the last 30 years. I now have 4 children and a granddaughter, I work very part time as a primary teacher and have recently completed a foundation degree in e-communication, I still have the same husband though! Our house is now a much larger detached, although downsizing is on the horizon. I usually prefer to cook at home than eat out, but the choice and quality of vegetarian food has changed beyond recognition! I still enjoy the occasional pizza but now I can have goat’s cheese, artichokes and rocket on it. Shopping has changed beyond recognition too. There are several supermarkets to choose from but the local shops are pretty much all gone where I live. A farmer’s market is a real treat and online food shopping quite normal. This new photo is a much more casual one of me with my beautiful granddaughter.

     

     

    Me with granddaughter in 2013

     

     

    On the whole I think I prefer things now and I’m not too nostalgic about the way things were in 1983. I wouldn’t mind being the same weight though and I could certainly do without the creaky knees! Maybe Special K will help with that!

     

     

     

     

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  • Cooking 29.04.2013 No Comments

    I find it really easy to make a quick,healthy lunch with my Vitamix.

    Today, being Monday, the fridge was looking a bit sad but I wanted something warm and healthy for lunch so I decided to make some soup. I often use my Vitamix blender for soup and I’d already made a lovely green smoothie for my breakfast so I was in Vitamix mode!

    The great thing about the Vitamix is that there is very little preparation apart from washing the vegetables. Today I threw in enough water to cover the blades then added a carrot, a slice of red onion, 6 mini plum tomatoes, a slice of red pepper and a thin, peeled, slice of butternut squash. I also put in a grinding of black pepper, half an organic vegetable stock cube and a few stalks of thyme which was growing, handily, on the windowsill. I switched it on, took the speed up to 10 then onto high and let it run for 5 minutes. Once the steam was visible I switched off and added a handful of canned chickpeas then gave it another minute on high and poured it out. 10 minutes start to finish and I had a delicious, healthy soup.

    Next time I may add some celery and possibly a small wedge of cabbage. I love to experiment and I haven’t had a disaster yet!

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