I thought I would start today by letting you know that Judy, (our lovely rescue dog) has made a full recovery after her illness last week and she is back to her normal, cheeky ways.
We all absolutely love Judy to bits and I am so glad we didn’t give up on her like the previous three owners did. Though I have got to be honest, when our previous ‘dog behavourist’ told us she was untrainable last February, we were very close to giving up….she had so many problems e.g. barked all the time at home, barked and lunged at dogs, people, cars, bikes, lorries, washing machine, birds etc. etc.
Nearly a year later, she still has one or two things she doesn’t like, but she is getting so much better as time goes by, thanks to our wonderful dog trainer Steven Havers.
Curtains for my daughter:
I’m not sure if you remember a couple of months ago I decorated my youngest daughter’s bedroom. I struggled to find any ready made curtains that she liked, to finish off the bedroom. So in desparation I took her to a material shop and she found some fabric she liked, so I bought it promising to make her curtains after Christmas.
The curtain material and new furniture in her bedroom was a present for her birthday and Christmas, but because of this I was a bit concerned that she wasn’t going to have many presents to actually open on Christmas day. So during December, while she was at school I worked really hard to make the curtains so I could wrap them up for her to open on Christmas day.
She was very surprised when she unwrapped them and I must say I am very proud of them now they are up:
I also had a bit of material left so I managed to make a couple of cushions for her too, which I also wrapped up for her to open on Christmas day:
Over the Christmas holidays I decided it was time to catch up with one or two jobs that I had been putting off…..
I started by clearing our loft and it was amazing how much rubbish we had up there. I have since sold one or two bits on ebay and given away some other things…..but most of it was thrown away. But the attic looks better now.
I also went through my bills folder…..again there was a lot in there that I didn’t need to keep. Myself and Mr Thrift looked at every bill we pay to see if we could possibly reduce it….unfortunately we are quite ‘bill savvy’ so we didn’t manage to make any savings, but it’s good to check every so often.
Over the Christmas period myself and Mr Thrift surprisingly managed to buy lots of ‘whoopsies’ ….for some reason we seemed to be in the supermarket when they reduced their produce to ridicuously low prices. So over Christmas I froze whatever I could and my freezers were bursting:
The last photo shows the ready cooked beetroot that was reduced. My dad sometimes buys this and pickles it, but as I already have pickled beetroot in my pantry I decided to cut it up and freeze it on a tray. When it was frozen I put it in a bag and this way it is easy to take a few slices out at a time to defrost for sandwiches.
I also used the reduced parsnips and Chicken drumsticks in a chicken and parsnip stew which I cooked in my slow cooker. By cooking it in the slow cooker you find that the chicken ‘falls off’ the bones easily and tastes so moist:
Chicken and Parsnip Stew:
6-8 chicken drumsticks or thighs
2 onions peeled and roughly chopped
4 -6 medium parsnips peeled and chopped into chunks
Hot Chicken stock to cover
Put all the ingredients into a slow cooker making sure the hot stock covers the ingredients.
Cook on ‘low’ for approximately 8 hours
Serve with vegetables of your choice:
This week at home I decided to use up the mixed fruit that I had left over in my pantry. I decided to make a fruit loaf (which I absolutely love). It’s really easy to make in a bread maker and I used my bread slicer to cut it into nice thin slices. This loaf freezes well so you can take a couple of slices out to defrost when required:
A Fruit Loaf Recipe:
1 teaspoon of Fast Action Dried Yeast
400g Strong White Flour
2 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
75g margarine or butter
½ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
300g Mixed Dried Fruit
Add all the above ingredients into a breadmaker EXCEPT the mixed fruit.
Set your breadmaker to a ‘Basic bake loaf’ with raisens and add the mixed fruit when the breadmaker tells you too (that is approx. 47 mins after the start in mine but you will need to refer to your own manual).
In the garden this week:
This week in the garden I dug up my parsnips. This is the first time I have grown a crop in this area so I wasn’t sure what they would be like….but they weren’t too bad (though most of them were a lot smaller than the ones I used to grow at the allotment -probably due to the condition of my soil):
Unfortunately some of the parsnips suffered from parsnip canker:
“Parsnip Canker is a fungus that causes orange, brown, purple or black coloured rot, which usually starts at the top of the root.
I have read that the fungus is caused by drought, over-rich soil or damage to the crown, BUT I have also read that it is worse in wet, pooly drained soils as well”
As you can see in my photo above, if the canker isn’t too bad the parsnip under the skin is usually fine to cook and eat.
To avoid canker:
- Rotate your crops
- Don’t manure your soil before growing parsnips
- Improve your drainage
- Grow resistant varieties such as ‘Albion’or Hollow Crown
As I had too many parsnips to eat in one go, I peeled and chopped them and then froze them on a tray (without blanching them). When they were frozen I took them off the tray and bagged them up.
When I next cook a Sunday lunch I will roast them from frozen.
Finally this week I brought my seed potatoes. I chose my usual ‘Marfona’ which is a second early and ‘Desiree’ which is a red main crop potato. I also brought some ‘picasso’ to plant in my mother in laws garden, which are an early main crop.
All the potatoes are now ‘chitting’ in our bedroom…..very romantic!
That’s it for this week.
Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back next Friday as usual.
Have a good week!