• Back to the old catering problem again. The menu planning is working a treat combined with online grocery shopping but the plan is tending to be a little repetitive. I have however discovered a new way to cut down on the cooking. Get someone else to do it! This may seem obvious and other people in my household do know how to cook but don’t often wish to share their talents with the rest of the residents. Daughter 3 and her boyfriend often cook for themselves but he now wants to learn more dishes, especially Italian, so I have provided ingredients, recipes and assistance where needed and this week he has produced spaghetti Bolognese and shepherd’s pie. Tonight he is making chicken and bacon tagliatelle and on Sunday plans an Italian style roast chicken. He is also pretty good at Thai Green curry! I will soon be redundant in the kitchen! Not yet though and last night’s macaroni cheese was wonderful, especially with the addition of my home grown cauliflower.
    Current favourite healthy snack is guacamole made with an avocado, large tablespoon of Philadelphia light, lime juice (or lemon if I’ve run out!) and a few Peppadew sweet peppers all whizzed together. Perfect for dipping freshly picked courgettes and carrots from the garden. Speaking of the garden, the sun is shining, previously mentioned cook/boyfriend is jet washing the patio (yes I’ve trained my girls well!) and my cup of tea and I might just wander out for a spot of light weeding.

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  • Do you dread that question? I do. The answer is often “I have no idea, what do you want?” The problem with this is that often what they want involves a trip to the supermarket. No longer. I have decided to revolutionise mealtimes. (Slight exaggeration but it makes me feel good!) I have worked out a 3 step strategy.

    Step 1 – Plan a menu in advance. This advice has been thrown at me over the years and I have chosen to ignore it but now I’ve tried it and, guess what? It works! I tried planning for a month at a time but this was too much. A week is ideal but even a few days ahead makes life simpler.

    Step 2 – Write a shopping list. I have returned to online grocery shopping after a long break and it really does save time. It saves arguments too. ”Sorry we can’t have that, I’ll order the ingredients for next week” puts paid to long discussions and extra shopping trips. This strategy saves money too as you can’t pick up extras as you walk around the supermarket.

    Step 3 – Be flexible. Sometimes I don’t have time to make what was planned or I put the shopping order off for a couple of days and improvise from the cupboard, sometimes the family bring extras for feeding and you use up ingredients planned for another day. I have discovered that this doesn’t matter. So long as everyone is fed and happy it is easy to get back on track.

    Ok. Lasagne and dough balls on the menu for tonight so I’d better get to work.

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