Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 18: Mac 'n Cheese

I'm too tired to write this blog post really but I'm going to do it anyway. I blame JD, he's been forcing me to play Hasbro family games on the Xbox! Woo Sorry :D

This week's sandwich is macaroni cheese in a sandwich. I'm not sure what I think about this. I love mac n cheese but I've learnt that that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be great in a sandwich. So let's try it and see.

Ingredients: Sour dough bread, cheese, milk, ham, flour, macaroni and butter.

Make up macaroni cheese as you usually would. Boil the macaroni while making a cheese sauce of the butter, flour, milk and cheese. We added a bit of gammon to ours as we didn't have any ham.

Cut the sour dough bread and fill with mac n cheese. Melt some butter in a frying pan and put the sandwiches in the pan. The instructions said to put another pan on top to keep it pressed down.

I must admit they make quite good looking sandwiches.

 I always seem to make too much macaroni cheese when I make it so we ate the surplus not in the sandwiches too :)

The fried bread around the moist macaroni cheese was a nice taste. The sauce soaked into the bread though which made the sandwich a bit on the dry side. Macaroni cheese is nice enough in a sandwich but I prefer it in a bowl on it's own. One of the best things about this recipe was having gammon in the macaroni, it was fantastic and the salty flavour went great with the creamy cheese sauce.

Ratings: JD - 2/5 Emma 3/5

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 17: Fish Finger Sandwich

The book calls it a Fish Stick sandwich which seems a very joyless name for fish fingers and would deprive kids everywhere of asking how there are fish fingers but fish don't have hands! The recipe in our sandwich book said to use mayonnaise instead of butter. But we rebelled and made 3 different sandwiches. One with mayo and lettuce as it suggests, one with just butter and one with tomato sauce.

Ingredients: Fish fingers, bread, butter, mayo and lettuc plus whatever sauce you prefer.

It also helps if you have a skull handy to hold the sandwich book open at the recipe :D

 Here are all three sandwiches being compiled. The best thing about a fish finger sandwich is the way the fish fingers fit perfectly on the bread.

 I feel quite strongly that the sandwich should be cut so each fish finger is cut. I was hovering around JD when he cut them in case he looked like he was going to cut them the other way. He didn't though. ^_^

Fish finger sandwiches are great. The butter all melts and you get the feeling of defiantly eating a food a different way than you're meant to. They're all soft and comforting to eat. JD on the other hand was almost appalled by the sandwich and said fish sticks in America are a lot different. He said these ones were too mushy. It's not a sandwich I'd usually eat but I felt quite nostalgic eating them today.

Ratings: JD - 1/5 Emma - 3/5

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Nidderdale Walk Nightmare!

Well not quite a nightmare but not the idyllic family time together I'd previously imagined it might be either. I know this must breach some kind of online code where everyone pretends to be happy and having the time of their life all the time. Sometimes it seems like hardly anyone complains on Facebook and just post all the great or positive things that happens to them. I'm guilty of it myself.

I've already posted twice on Facebook about how lovely the walk was with not a mention of the hell we endured doing it :D

For a start Erin didn't want to do the walk at all. I wanted us to all do it together though so I encouraged (persuaded/cajoled/bribed) her into doing it but in hindsight it would've been best to let her decide for herself that she didn't want to. I just sometimes get a picture in my head of how a family trip will be and assume everyone will enjoy whatever we're doing as much as I know I will. I thought maybe she'd enjoy it once we got there. It's been hard for me as the kids have gotten older to relinquish the control of being a Mum and to let them make their own choices. I'm trying to change though because I want them to be independent and know how to make good decisions themselves.

Secondly, I underestimated how hot it was going to be that day. We all got varying degrees of sunburn and not wearing a hat led to me getting sunstroke. Later that night I had the worst headache I've ever had which left me sobbing while JD held an ice pack on my head. 

During the walk Erin got a blister so she took off her shoes to walk in her socks which was fine for a while whilst we walked on grass but then we turned onto a stony path which got Erin upset as the stones hurt her feet and left me feeling quite frustrated that she wouldn't put her shoes back on. I gave her my socks for extra padding but still she wouldn't wear them. Argh!

Leigh over-reacted to every fly that flew near her. During our picnic she kept leaping up and running off because various insects were around us. But then later found a caterpillar on her leg and we had to wait while she found something suitable in the backpack to keep it in as a pet. Argh!

 JD was a paragon of patience during all this whose only flaw all day was to punch Leigh too hard while they were play-fighting which made her cry and go off in a teenagery sulk. They're friends again now though so all is well.

It was hard to feel too bad with all the beautiful views around us though and we had a good time singing songs and joking about during some of the walk. We also had a picnic that included chocolate biscuits which stopped me getting in a mood :D

I've been forced to use pictures of the walk where we look happy because really who takes pictures when things are a bit shit, haha! I should've taken pictures of the crap parts because they're part of life too and when you look back at photos you get a weirdly skewed view of your life.

It makes me feel curious how many other people hold back from posting when things aren't that great. I wish people would post and say. It'd make me feel better, honestly. :)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 16: Baked Bean Toastie

This one seems like a winner. We love baked beans. Probably an unconventional choice for a hot day but nevermind. :D

Ingredients: baked beans, bread, grated cheese.

Heat up the beans and cook to them to your usual consistency preference. I like beans quite thick and stodgy.

Butter up some bread and put it in a frying pan butter side down. Load up the bread with beans.

Add in some grated cheese. We were a bit short on cheese after having a snack of pizza toast yesterday. :( Butter up two more slices of bread and press down onto the beans.

 Fry on both sides until as brown as you like. Cut in half and you've got yourself a toastie.

The book said a baked bean toastie was only second in hotness to the sun so be careful if you make one.

This sandwich was really disappointing. I love baked beans and toasties but together they just don't do it for me. It was a really bland taste for a toastie. Maybe it was our slight lack of cheese that was the problem. Either way, I won't be making one again! It boggles my mind really, baked beans ON toast is delicious and one of my favourite light meals. Introduce a second piece of toast on top and the magic is ruined O_o

Ratings: JD - 2/5 Emma - 1/5

Friday, May 16, 2014

SAT stress - a mild rant!

This week Erin has been doing her SATs (Statutory Assessment Tests). They have these tests in Year 6 to determine a child's level of education so they can place them in the right set when they move up to High School. It also shows local authorities how well the school is performing based on the children's scores.

Her primary school sent home the usual letter about the kids getting enough sleep and having a good breakfast etc etc so they can be in a peak test-performing state. So we made sure Erin got to bed at a reasonable time and got up early to make a big cooked nutritous breakfast each day to set her up for the SATs.

As the week progressed I saw friends on Facebook saying how stressed their kids were about the SATs and Erin would be saying she was worried about the tests because she hadn't done any revising.

SATs don't seem to be anything to get stressed over to us. They're not like GCSEs where you have to reach a certain level to be recognised as proficient in a subject. You can't FAIL these tests. It's just an indication of how much you know.

We've explained to Erin how really SATs should be more stressful for her school/ teachers as they're the ones being tested on their ability to teach these subjects. She should try her best to do well to show what she knows but after that it's not worth worrying how she did or comparing herself to other students.

I don't know how much her school has been pushing her class to work towards SATs but I do know they've been working on practice papers for months now as well as after school sessions to work on certain subjects. I understand that the school wants to do well and wants the children to do well but it does induce a stressful feeling that I feel is a bit unnecessary.

Anyway whinge over! SATs are finished now and Erin seems to have got through them without too much stress. I feel annoyed about GCSEs as well, since Leigh is doing some of those this week, but that's for another post so you've got something to look forward to. ;)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 15: Ice Cream Sandwich & Last Month

The Sandwich book were using has a section of sweet sandwiches (I'm not looking forward to the rose petal sandwich :() so this week we decided to try one of them. Unsurprisingly the kids were interested in trying the Saturday Sandwich this week (part timers!) so it was a family affair. Also, thanks to my wonderful husband I've got a new camera to take the pictures with. ^_^

Ingredients: cookies, ice cream

Sandwich some ice cream between two cookies. The book also says you can add any sauces or sprinkles you like. We used treacle since it's all we had in the cupboard. It's sometimes a bit bleak just before shopping day!

They were really good. I've never had ice cream between cookies before and it was a lot nicer than I expected. We chose soft chewy cookies which made them easy to eat. The ice cream started to get a bit sloppy after the first few sandwiches though and made a drippy mess (especially under Leigh's sandwich). It was a nice treat I can see us having again.

Ratings: JD - 3/5 Emma - 3/5 Leigh - 4/5 Erin - 4.5/5

Last month we tried to work on spending more one-on-one time with the kids. With us moving house it was difficult to keep it up all month due to packing and house-hunting. But towards the start of the month it was great. JD and I took turns setting a 'date' with each of the kids to do something fun. Leigh took advantage of this opportunity to get me to go clothes shopping with her in Harrogate (I'm not a fan of shopping). JD and Erin played video games and visited KFC. Me and Erin had a spa session and gave each other makeovers and pedicures. Also Leigh and I shared music by taking it in turns to choose music videos on Youtube to watch. JD and Leigh went for a walk

Finding time to spend individual time with each of the kids is tricky most of the time (sorry for the overuse of the word 'time' in this sentence). We spend a lot of time as a family but one-on-one time has to be scheduled to make it work. It's something I'd like us to carry on with though as the kids do each have different interests. Having all of our attention seems to be something they enjoy.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 14: Rou Jia Mo

This is another one from the Street Eats section, this time a Chinese sandwich filled with spiced pork. Sounds great!

Ingredients: pork belly, ginger, spring onion, star anise, cassia bark, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, green pepper, chilli oil and English muffins.

Put all the ingredients in the pan (except the muffins and green pepper). Simmer for 2 hours! Our new kitchen has an electric hob so it took us a while to figure out which number would produce a simmer. Electric isn't quite as responsive as gas. We got it though and it simmered  away smelling delicious.

 When the meat is ready toast the muffins. Pile the meat onto the muffins and add some thinly sliced green pepper.

These sandwiches were great. Toasted muffins are great on their own but filled with delicious aromatic pork they're even better. We simmered ours a bit too vigorously and didn't really have much of a sauce left but apart from that it was easy to make and well worth the effort of hovering about your kitchen checking on the simmering for an hour or two :D

JD enjoyed simmering the tree bark and now I feel like I'll have to keep an eye on him so he doesn't try put random tree bark in all our foods!

Ratings: JD - 3/5 Emma - 4/5
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