Friday, August 18, 2017

Breakfast Muffins


This recipe is based on BBC Good Food Breakfast Muffins. Due to limited ingredients, there were are number of substitutions. This is the recipe I actually made.

Ingredients
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 large eggs
150ml pot yogurt
50ml oil
100g apple sauce 
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g SR flour (Dove Farm Gluten-Free)
50g rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
2 Tsp  sugar
1½ tsp cinnamon
2 Tsp mixed seeds, plus extra for sprinkling.

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Place 12 muffin cases in a muffin tin.

In a large jug, mix the mashed banana, eggs, yogurt, oil, apple sauce, and vanilla. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, oats, seeds and seeds. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix briefly until you have a smooth batter – don’t over mix as this will make the muffins heavy. 

Divide the batter between the cases. Sprinkle the muffins with the extra oats and the seeds. 

Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and well risen, and a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. 

Notes
As the yogurt and apple sauce available to me were both sweetened, and I don't like honey, I decided to use 2 Tsp of sugar in the muffins.  The flour and oats used are both gluten-free.  

Ooh my! These are good. So moist, tender and tasty.  It was a little weird having a mild hint of strawberry through it. I think next time I will use either a plain yogurt, or add fruit of that matches the flavour of the yogurt. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cakes and Desserts for Breakfast?!


I am totally bemused and puzzled by American breakfast foods. What's with all of the sugar first thing in the morning?!

This morning, I fancied making something different, and decided to try a Cinnamon Roll Muffin recipe from 'Cooking Light'. I should have stopped on my first read through of the recipe. It didn't feel right. And, there was nothing 'light' about these muffins. They were dry and heavy, and absolutely laden with sugar. A recipe is not 'made light' by eliminating the fat and replacing it with sugar!

It's far better to have a wonderfully tasty muffin or cake once in a while than boring dull, heavy, dry travesties every day. This gets to the root of a what a treat is. It's not an every day item. It's something that wonderful sinful, lush and delicious, full of the 'eat occasionally' ingredients.

The one part of the recipe I did like was the cinnamon centre. I'll take that bit of the recipe and use it with one for tried and true muffins.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lemon Chicken


This recipe is from Confessions of a Fit Foodie. The quantities have been changed into metric, and salt removed. Each person can then add salt to their own taste.

Ingredients
20g butter
1 Tsp oil
4 boneless chicken breasts
120g flour (I use Dove Farm Gluten-free flour)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pepper
120ml lemon juice
1 Tsp lemon zest
120ml chicken stock
1 lemon, sliced

Method
Mix together the flour, garlic powder, and pepper. Lightly coat each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour. Shake off excess.

Over a medium heat, melt the butter and mix in the oil. Brown the chicken on each side, and cook for 3 minutes on either side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and chicken stock. Return the chicken to the pan and top with lemon zest. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. The sauce should thicken a bit. Top with lemon slices and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Notes
This is excellent!  We all enjoyed it and wish to add it into our regular menu. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Grey Wrist Warmers


Company: Regia
Yarn: Black and Blue Color
Composition: 75% wool, 25% polyamide
Colour:  8841
Dyelot: 20369
Pattern: as detailed below
Needles: 2.5mm
Amount used: ~30g

When my wrists get cold they become very sore. Wrist warmers are a wonderful way to prevent soreness.

Cast on 56 stitches. Join. Work in 2x2 rib for 20 rounds.

Week 33: Kids' Closets


Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #33: Kids' Closets
Tuesday: Declutter kids' closet hanging clothes
Wednesday: Declutter kids' closet shelves and drawers
Thursday: Declutter kids' closet floor
Friday: Declutter kids' bedroom dresser
Saturday: Continue to declutter kids' clothes
Sunday: Declutter hangers

This is here for completeness. My children are fully grown.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cheddar and Chive Scones


Ingredients
225g SR flour (I used Dove Farm Gluten-Free)
50g butter
15g chives
100g Cheddar cheese
1 egg
milk 
1Tsp wholegrain mustard

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 220.

Rub the butter into the flour. Snip the chives into the bowl and grate the cheese. Break the egg into a jug, beat it and then top up to the 150ml mark with milk. Add the wholegrain mustard.

Mix the milk/egg mixture into the flour. If you are using wheat flour, roll out and cut into 9 scones. Place onto a greased baking sheet. If you are using gluten-free flour, spoon out into a buttered a muffin tray. Bake for about 10 -12 minutes.

Notes
A tasty addition would be little chunks of bacon. These should be cooked and cooled before adding to the mixture.

A serving suggestion is to split the scone, and add salmon and cream cheese.

Bored! (not really)


I was watching a Vsauce video on youtube about being bored. Michael (the presenter) mentioned the Boredom Proneness Scale. It took the test and it concluded "You have a 0% chance of being bored out of your skull."

This sounds about right to me. The only times I can remember being bored are when I am recovering from illness. There is a feeling of 'I want to do something, anything, but I don't have enough brain power to work out what I could do." Occasionally, I can think of activities, but I don't have the strength, patience, or brain power to carry them out. I now have a little file on my computer desktop entitled 'Open when bored'. It has a number of ideas for beating boredom. I really do need constructive outlets, otherwise I am a danger to myself and others.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sweetcorn and Potato Chowder Thought


I tried to make the chowder as written, but didn't have several ingredients. Instead of nutmeg, cumin and sage, I used a little ginger, mixed herbs and garlic. This gave a good taste, but I'll add the specified ingredients to the shopping list.

My one reservation with the recipe is that the chowder is too thin. I like my soups good and thick, packed with veggies and full of flavour. To thicken it a bit more I added some frozen mashed potato. Next time, I'll blitz about a third of the soup just before the sweetcorn is added.

----

Second day soup is so much better! This will have been helped by adding the nutmeg and cumin seeds. I did buy sage, but I forgot to add it. We'll see what it's like when all of the ingredients are used.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sweetcorn and Potato Chowder


This recipe is from Barbara Cousins' website.

Ingredients
2 Tsp oil
2 large onions, diced
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried sage
2 bay leaves
900g potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
1.75 L stock
2 Tsp gluten free flour
550 ml unsweetened dairy free milk
650g sweetcorn
salt and pepper

Method
Heat the oil in a saucepan and sweat the onion until it begins to soften.

Add the herbs, spices and potatoes and sweat for another 2 minutes, then add the stock and bring the mixture to the boil. Simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked but still holding their shape.

Mix the flour and milk. Add to the pan along with the sweetcorn. Bring to the boil, stirring regularly and simmer for 2 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Healthier Eating - the Veggie Edit


For a while now I've been wanting to eat more vegetarian and vegan foods. My problem has been as I can't eat gluten-stuff and chillies. Eggs need to be cooked into food. Cake is fine; quiche isn't. Dairy has to be used sparingly. I am not a fan of olives, mushrooms or avocados. This has rather limited my choices.

But, look!  There's a recipe book for veggie stuff that takes this into consideration! Some of the recipes are vegan, some use dairy substitutes. I'm looking forward to some experimentation.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookies


The recipe is from The Happy Coeliac. There was salt in the original recipe, but I have removed it.

Ingredients
115g butter (room temp)
75g soft brown sugar
75g sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g Dove Farm Gluten Free plain flour
1/2 tsp sodium bicarbonate
100g chocolate (either cut into small chunks, or chocolate chips)


Method
Preheat the oven to 190C.

Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour and sodium bicarbonate. Mix well.  Stir in the chocolate chunks or chip.

Place spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 

Notes
There was no sodium bicarbonate in the house, so I used SR flour instead of plain plus bicarb. 

My cookie sheets are old, and cheap. When they are hot they buckle a little. This caused the cooking cookie dough to run into the centre and make a mega-monster cookie. If the cookie had been smaller, there would have been more slightly crispy edgy stuff, more chewy bits, and a whole lot less goo. Tasty goo.

Impatience was also a factor in creating tasty goo. The second batch cooked far better than the first, as they cooked at the correct temperature. One of the cookies managed to remain separate from the mega-monster cookie. It was really lovely. More cookies like that one would be great! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bedroom Cleaning


The utter joys of a decluttered room are the room is so incredibly easy to keep tidy, and it's a breeze to clean.

This is my current cleaning list for the bedroom. The weekly list takes about 15-20 minutes.

Weekly:
  • strip bed
  • washing bed linens
  • make bed with fresh linens
  • change towels
  • sweep floor (sweep under bed as far as the brush will allow)
  • wipe door and light switch
  • dust/polish the wardrobe, bedside tables, shelves, blanket box and mirror

Monthly:
  • pull bed out and sweep underneath
  • steam mop floor
  • wash windows

Bi-annually:
  • wash curtains
  • vacuum lamp shade
  • vacuum picture rail
  • vacuum top of wardrobe

Monday, August 7, 2017

Lemon Sauce


Ingredients
2 cups of stock
1 lemon 
lemon juice
fresh lemon juice
3/4 cups of sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Method
In saucepan bring stock to a boil. Zest the lemon and add to the stock. Ream the lemon and make it up to 1/2 cup. Add juice and sugar. Bring to the boil.

Blend together cornstarch and cold water and stir into the lemon sauce. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently and adjust seasoning to taste.

Notes
This sauce is very similar to the one from the Chinese restaurant we to eat at. They have new chefs and can't quite grasp the gluten-free thing. Next time, I'll make velveted chicken and serve it with boiled rice, lemon sauce and stir fried vegetables. 

I used a chicken Stock Pot and made it up to 2 cup with boiling water. 

This produced enough sauce for two meals. Half of the sauce has been stored in the fridge.

Week 32: Back to School


Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #32: Back To School Organization
Tuesday: Create place to lay out week's clothing
Wednesday: Declutter backpacks/school bags
Thursday: Declutter/organize school supplies
Friday: Clear space for kids to do homework
Saturday: Create lunch packing station, and declutter lunch containers
Sunday: Declutter and organize kids' school papers

My children have grown, and there is no more school.

Week 31: Shoes

Monday: Read Organized Home Challenge #31: Shoes
Tuesday: Declutter dress and casual shoes
Wednesday: Declutter kids shoes
Thursday: Declutter boots of all types
Friday: Declutter and organize shoes by the entryway
Saturday: Declutter hats and caps
Sunday: Declutter kids' dress up clothes

I totally and utterly forgot to post the daily challenges last Monday. We have already completed all of the challenges, but for the sake of completeness, I've included them.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Outlander in an Parallel Dimension

I've been watching "Outlander". It's been causing a little bump in my normally very soft Scottish accent.

However, the number of inaccuracies is causing me quite a few problems. It's things like the accents, the music, the history, the geography, and a few other things too. But anyway, I have decided the story is set in a parallel dimension, not ours. This allows for all sorts of inaccuracies and re-writings for history. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Polishing Old Gems

Whilst my house was in a state of chaos and clutter, all I could think of was a new house, well designed and clutter-free.  And now that half of my current house is clutter-free, I'm looking at this house with new eyes. I'm seeing what can be done here to make a more beautiful house, and better place to live. Some of the rooms have been untouched since we moved in 10 years ago.

The kitchen was one of the first rooms to be decluttered. Since the arrival of the new fridge, I'll looking at it with new eyes. The leaner and more pared back the kitchen becomes, the more I like it.

The plan is to break down the kitchen make-over into many simple, easily contained projects. This will hopefully enable the kitchen never to look a mess.
  • wash the front wall
  • paint the front wall white
  • add a clock to the front wall
  • remove the plate and mug rack
  • wash the back wall
  • paint the back wall white
  • erect open shelves for mugs, glasses and plates
  • remove glasses cabinet
  • remove wire hanging mesh on side wall
  • wash side wall
  • paint side wall
  • put up magnetic knife strip
  • put up utensil bar and hooks
Then things get a smidge bigger in scale. The white and exposed wood is to be painted with gloss, and the cabinet doors and drawers to be painted dark brown (Java gel stain). The last step will be to put down new flooring.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Braised Cabbage

Ingredients 
1 Tsp butter 
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced 
1 eating apple, halved, cored, and sliced 
1/2 red cabbage, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced 
1/2 cup water 
2 Tsp cider vinegar 
pepper 
cinnamon 

Method 
Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot. Cook the onion until it starts to soften (about 4-6 minutes). Stir in red cabbage and and apple. Season with pepper and cinnamon. Add vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until cabbage is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 

This can be stored in the fridge and re-heated.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Socks for Me


Company: Regia
Yarn: Black and Blue Color
Composition: 75% wool, 25% polyamide
Colour:  8841
Dyelot: 20369
Pattern: my standard sock pattern
Needles: 2.5mm
Amount used: ~55g

Cast on 60 sts, join. Work 20 rounds in 2x2 rib, then switch to stocking stitch for 30 rounds.

Knit 15 sts, then turn the work. Slip the first stitch and purl the next 29. Turn. Work another 28 rows in stocking stitch, slipping the first stitch of each row. These 30 stitches form the heel flap.

To turn the heel, slip 1, k16, ssk, k1, turn. S1, p5, p2tog, p1, turn. (S1, k to 1st before gap, ssk, k1, turn. S1, p to 1st before gap, p2tog, p1.) Repeat the section in brackets until there are 18 sts. Turn, s1, k17.

Pick up 15sts from the side of the heel flap. Place stitch marker. Knit 30 stitches. Place stitch marker. Pick up 15sts from the other side of the heel flap. 

Shaping the gusset: Knit to 3sts before stitch marker, work k2tog, k1, move stitch marker from left needle to right, knit 30st, move stitch marker, k1, ssk, knit to end of round. The next round is knit. Repeat these two rounds until there are 60sts on the needles again.

Knit until the sock reaches the crease at the base of the big toe. The start shaping the toe of the sock. Knit to 3sts before stitch marker, work ssk, k1, k1, ssk, knit to 3st before stitch marker, ssk, k1, k1, k2tog, knit to end of round. The next round is knit. Repeat these two rounds until there are 28 stitches left. Graft toe. Weave in ends.

The socks were finished on the 13th of August.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Python


My first steps, or perhaps slithers, have been taken back into coding. Apart from dabbling in a little HTML, I have written no code in years. I saw MIT had a free first year university course in computing and decided to look into it. The language used is Python, and so, I'm starting to learn Python.

One of the interesting things I have found is it only recognises 'True' and 'False' as Boolean values. The capitalisation is most important. This means I can write:

FALSE = True
TRUE = False

The syntax is correct. The static semantics is correct, as it the semantics. The only problem with it is that it's a daft thing for a programmer to do. It's the sort of thing that can land people in programming doo-doo.

I'm also not enamoured by white space being part of the syntax. It whiffs to much of FORTRAN77 which is not a free-format language. However, FORTRAN77 is not case-sensitive, so X is the same variable as x. Must test this out fully in Python!

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Testing has been completed. X and x are not the same thing. Also, 'True' is not a reserved word. 

    True = False
    variable = True
    print (variable)
    print (True)

This results in:

    False
    False

This is a very strange language, and you really need to keep your eye on it!