Death by Chocolate Cake!!!

Yesterday we had our antenatal friends over for some dinner, they are vegetarian so Ollie & I looked forward to being a bit creative with what we cooked for them. Ollie concentrated on the main (bean enchiladas) and i made the dessert.

So off we popped to the shops… It has gone bitterly cold down in the South West, we made sure Rowan was well wrapped up…

The dessert i decided on was from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Everyday Cookbook – Easy Chocolate Cake!

The ingredients is heart attack inducing but as long as we only eat it once in a while it will be fine!

First i had to melt the chocolate and butter together (i totally cheated and did this in the microwave)…

Meanwhile, in my trusted Kenwood Chef i mixed the egg yolks, castor & soft brown sugar…

In a separate bowl i whisked up the egg whites until i could make firm peaks…

I added the chocolate to the egg/sugar mixture – this was done gradually to prevent the egg from curdling…

The egg white was folded in…

Followed by the flour & almond…

The finished product… a yummy gooey cake, topped with channel Island thick cream! (as if there wasn’t enough calories!)

The bean enchilada was a total success too, i will recreate soon as my husband made it and i haven’t a clue what he did! We had leftovers today with fries & salad – delicious!

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Roasted Butternut Squash & Lentil Curry!

Tonight i made an epic easy curry but thought i would share with you a little bit of my day first!

I spent parts of my day doing this…

I think Rowan is having a growth spurt and has wanted feeding a lot today, he also hardly had any naps which wasn’t like him and has been a bit niggly – he is now sleeping well however and is tucked up in his bed beside me – phew!!

It’s tough being a mommy you know? You have to look at an adorable face like this all day!…

After a slow morning, Rowan and I met friends for lunch – we went to a local coffee shop called Thyme

This was my third visit, i previously went when i was pregnant and really enjoyed their fresh sandwiches, but today their small homity pie took my fancy…

and it didn’t disappoint! The pastry was light and fluffy, the inside of the pie was moist with large chunks of potato and just enough garlic not to offend! I enjoyed the small side salad too – i washed this down with a lovely fair trade cup of tea.

After lunch i said goodbye to my friends and then walked around town trying to get Rowan to go to sleep – he didn’t! He was quite happy taking in all his surroundings and looking cute at every mature lady that said hello to him! I had a quick look around Holland and Barrat and bought some whole green lentils for my curry and some reduced Rice Dream milk – it goes out of date on next Tuesday but i will use it all in my green smoothies before then.

I then ventured over the road to the local health store called Ganesha – i prefer it to H&B as it has more variety and brands. I treated myself to some Faith in Nature Face Polish

Exfoliating Face & Body Polish refines your skin’s surface by removing dead skin cells, whilst gently polishing and leaving the skin feeling smooth, soft and revitalised. Contains Blackcurrant exfoliant and Organic Calendula, which has restorative and soothing properties.

Exfoliating Face & Body Polish

Since all my lovely pregnancy hormones have gone my skin has gone back to being dull and spotty (and my hair fine and greasy boo hoo!) so thought this polish may be what i am looking for! I’m trying to cut down on the chemicals i put on my skin as a recent report found that 40 women who had breast cancer had parabens found inside all of their tumours!! Read about it here. I will do a review in a week on this product so i can give it time to work (hopefully).

What i also like about Ganesha is the staff are so knowledgeable and are so happy to help with any queries, i asked the lady today if she could recommend a tea for myself to aid breastfeeding – i realised i am drinking ALOT of tea and coffee in the day and am worried that the caffeine is getting transferred to Rowan – the lady straight away suggested Fennel tea but also went on their database to check for other herbs and teas. I love fennel so bought a box…

I have just consumed my first cup whilst typing up this post, it was delicious! I love the liquorice taste!

Right, now onto tonight dinner…

Roasted Butternut Squash & Lentil Coconut Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • half cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup whole green lentils
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp corriander
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin coconut milk

Instructions:

1. Drizzle the butternut squash and courgette with olive oil and sea salt and roast in the over (190c) for 40-45 minutes;

2. Prepare the sauce using the following ingredients;

In a pan heat a little oil and fry the onions on high for a few minutes so they start to soften. Next add the garlic and chilli and after 30 seconds turn the heat down low so the ingredients does not burn. Add the spices and tomato puree, also add 2 tbsp of water to help the spices infuse and not burn;

This creates a curry base and can be used for a multitude of dishes. I chose to add coconut milk to mine but you can add passata to make a tomato dish or stock for a soup etc

Next add the coconut milk & lentils and leave on a low heat until the veggies are roasted (approx 30 mins), stir regularly;

After 20 mins on the heat, add florets of broccoli so they have time to soften (you may want to add milk if the sauce is too thick). Once the butternut squash and courgette is roasted add this to the mixture also;

Stir the mixture gently as the roasted vegetables can be quite soft. In another pan, heat some oil and fry approx 3-4 mushrooms until they are browned.

Serve the curry with rice and the mushrooms sprinkled on top (& optional creme fraiche);

Delightful!

Night all!

Baby Massage

Today was mine & Rowan’s first baby massage class, now he is 3 months old and more alert i want to do a lot more activities with the little man,

but before i left the house this morning i had breakfast and one of these…

A luscious green smoothie! In the mix was;

  • 2 HUGE handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tsp Almond butter
  • 1 drop natural almond flavour
  • 8oz milk

It was divine! I could feel the goodness take over my body with every sip, i really do love green smoothies. I’m going to call this one Double Almond Green Smoothie!

After gulping my smoothie down i went up and woke sleepy head who i had put in my bed earlier in the morning for a snuggle…

I love the way he sleeps opened mouthed like me when he is in deep sleep!

We got ready and went to baby massage, the session started at 10:30am which is usually Rowan’s nap time but fortunately he was wide awake and raring to go!

The babies were laid out on a mat and towel, today’s session was working on the legs (each session over the next 5 weeks will work on a different body part) – the instructor gave us all a little bottle of organic sunflower oil which didn’t leave the skin greasy. Rowan loved it! I can’t wait to try it out on him later before bath time.

The session starts with getting mommy relaxed by simply breathing in and out a few times… a relaxed mommy means a relaxed baby. Mom then puts the oil in her hands and whilst rubbing the oil in the hands you have to ask the baby permission to massage them… i thought this was a little crazy when i heard her say it but actually when i asked Rowan if he would like a massage he beamed back at me… which i took as ‘yes’!

We then worked on the legs and moved onto the feet and finally the buttocks – Rowan chatted, smiled and laughed through most of the massage but tiredness overcame him and we ended the session like this!

 

I think that confirms that baby massage is relaxing he was out for the count!!

I really enjoyed the session and am looking forward to taking him again next week to work on the tummy. Rowan was actually so relaxed i even had time to take my car into the garage for its MOT and walk back into town with him and he didn’t wake once!

He has woke for a feed and is now back asleep! I hope he sleeps tonight!

Right I’m off to do a mad clean up of the living room/kitchen whilst he sleeps!

Learning to be thrifty…

Well i blogged earlier in the week about setting up a household budget as things are a little tighter now that i am on maternity leave and not on full pay, i have 3 budgets to worry about and after 1 week on this budget how have i done…

Budget 1 Food Shopping £50 per week –  as we were using up all leftovers from xmas and things in our stock cupboard i only spent £35 of the £50 budget, this means we have a bit more money for this weeks shop. Ollie went to Lidl today and did quite a big shop which only came to £44, leaving us with about £21 for fresh produce throughout the week – so all in all this budget is going very well!

Budget 2 Petrol £20 per week – the car already had half a tank of petrol and i stayed quite local with Rowan this week so i can carry this over for next weeks petrol budget.

Budget 3 My personal allowance of £20 per week – i did go out for coffee earlier in the week with one of my friends from antenatal class and it was her turn to get the coffees so i only spent £2 this week on the below GAP romper suit for Rowan, i got it in a local shop in Honiton where they sell 2nd hand ‘designer’ clothes – Bargain!!! I also enjoyed browsing the local library and took out a few books.

I’ve had a stinking cold for a couple of weeks so last week was quite a chill out week so my money went quite far as i did not leave the house too much.

As i was so good i treated Ollie and I to a coffee at our Local Boston Tea Party yesterday;

we met up with our antenatal friends – our babies were born on the same day and are gorgeous!!!

Here is Rowan and his *girl*friend Chloe, she is 1.5 hours older than him.

Rowan loves the Boston Tea Party!

I had my usual Boston Latte – it really is the best coffee for miles…

All the socialising got to Rowan, so he had nap time!

I really do love this little man!

When i got home that evening, I finally caught up with the new trend ‘Pinterest’ last night, i received my invitation and started pinning lots of photos from lots of random websites, i now see what all the appeal is about… i was on it until about 1am, hence not blogging yesterday – whoops!

Is anybody else loving Pinterest?

Which Blog Header?? Please Help!!

**Contented Corner needs your help!!**

So today i got better acquainted with GIMP, an image manipulation program that you can download free from the internet, it’s apparently very similar to photoshop but has the added bonus that it is free!

I decided to try and have a go at making headers for my blog & would really love to have your opinion on them – I’m not sure which one to choose from the following…

  1. Untitled
  2. header sample
  3.  sample 2 
  4. sample 3

I know they’re not going to win any awards but they’re a lot better than i have ever managed to put together on my blog before!

Anyway, back to my day – i woke up to the sound of the strongest wind and rain than i have ever heard in my house, my bedroom is in a converted loft so i was way up there in the weather! I felt so sorry for Ollie getting up for work, i would not have liked to have gone out there!

Because the bedroom was nice and cosy with the heavy rain noise outside, I’m sure it made Rowan sleep so soundly i actually managed to get a few things done off my Flylady net routines that i copied from the website – i felt like i had accomplished something during Ro’s nap time!

I also put a mini errand list together to help me through the day, the only things i didn’t achieve was the car MOT (can’t find the bloomin’ certificate!) and the getting some fresh air…

… because of this, torrential weather! Oh well, i looked on the bright side, i managed to get some house work done.

When Rowan woke up from his early morning sleep, i fed him and then fed myself. I really fancied granola with a splash of milk, greek yoghurt, maple syrup and almond butter, so that is exactly what i went for…

… when i said a splash i got a little distracted and drowned the granola, it’s good i like milk!

When Rowan had his mid morning nap i threw some veggies and beef in the slow cooker so we could have stew for dinner and i didn’t have to stand over a hot stove! In the mix;

  • Stewing beef
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 pints gravy and stock & 20 minutes before serving
  • red lentils to thicken
  • dumplings”

I quickly prepped lunch also as i heard Rowan start to stir, we are trying to use as much as we can in the fridge before we buy lots of veggies and lentils in next weeks shop. I had a sesame seed bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. I love smoked salmon and it was one of the things i most missed when i was pregnant, i’m making up for it now though!

I chomped the bagel down in time for Rowan’s next feed, we then had play time for a little while and then my chilled out little dude was tired again! I love how cute he is when he sleeps, he has to have his dummy and snuggle bum (blue comforter he is clutching on to)!!

When Ro gets into a deep sleep i know i can then put him down, i then treated myself to a Dr Stuart’s Tranquillity tea, i have been feeling really content today so the tea just added to this feeling! I love the taste of this one, i think it is the fennel that does it for me!

The stew this evening turned out perfect, the beef was exceptionally good (bought from Lidl) and just melted in the mouth.

I

I soon sent myself off to bed after dinner as i am suffering with a cough and cold – the worst part about it is as i am breastfeeding i can’t really take anything for it. I made myself some honey and lemon to drink whilst i’m in bed – not sure it will do anything but it might?

Well that’s another day in the world of motherhood over for me, my baby is 12 weeks old today and i can’t believe how quick it has gone and how much my boy changes each day – i kind of miss my bump and go all gooey when i hear someone is pregnant or i see a new born… please don’t tell me I’m feeling broody already!!!

Does anyone out there no of any other natural alternatives to cold/cough medication? I would really appreciate your help!

Budgets, Veggies and Housework!

The start of a new year always makes me want to get organised – there is no better feeling like a fresh start!

So today has been a day of planning… planning meals, planning budgets & planning a way i can manage my house! Since having Rowan my house is going to ruin, i just don’t seem to have any time to do anything! To be completely honest i wasn’t the best at housework before he arrived anyway, i guess i am a little lazy when it comes to that! But i want my house to be in order like a ‘well oiled ship!’ so i need to change my ways and what better time to start than at the start of a new year!

But first let me tell you about the lemon drizzle cake that i made yesterday to take to our little New Years Eve dinner – i love lemon drizzle cake and decided to make the one out of my River Cottage Everyday book;

 

Except Hugh calls it Lemon Trickle Cake! The recipe can be found on the River Cottage website of you can click the following link.

I didn’t take photos of every stage of the cake making process as time was a little against me but it was very easy to make, here is the finished product…

Once cooled the drizzle trickle crystallised and tasted sweet but tangy, the sponge was light as i whipped the mixture for a good 10 minutes and tasted almost creamy… delightful and refreshing as the main that our hosts made was a vegetable chilli.

Whilst the cake was cooling i actually had time to straighten my hair and put on a bit of make up… this used to be so easy but is a bit of a luxury now that i have Rowan… look how happy i get when this happens!

There was no point though because on the short 5 minute walk to our friends house the heavens opened and Ollie and I got soaked! Rowan was all cosy under his rain cover, i was tres jealous!

We have only known our friends that we spent NYE with for 4 months as we met at antenatal class, co-incidentally we went into labour on the same day and delivered our babies at the same hospital 1.5 hours apart! I will put photos of them on the blog soon but i want to ask their permission first! Will the father has been a vegetarian all his life so he whips up the most amazing vegetarian meals, so much flavour… no way will i ever think veggie food is bland! A couple of weeks ago he made us a veggie thai green curry and last night we had vegetable chilli – we did not miss the meat one bit. I had a teeny glass of Rose early in the evening and then a teeny glass of bubbly at midnight, i am breastfeeding Rowan so didn’t want to get him drunk!!

Saying that i think he parted too hard last night and after his 6:30am feed this morning i let him snuggle in bed with us…

 

… and boy did he sleep! Can you see his best friend that he is holding? That’s Snuggle Bum, you will see a lot of him on here as he doesn’t leave Rowan’s side!

Anyway back to getting organised, the hubby sat down and put together a budget for us to try and stick to as money is a little tight whilst i am on maternity leave, we are quite sensible with our money and did start saving lots when i found out i was pregnant but we really want to make the most of our money. I love budgets as i find them a bit of a challenge, it is also nice when after a couple of months you see your saving start to grow!

With that in mind i have a January Budget Challenge! to stick to, below are the 3 budgets i have to stick to or even better have some change at the end of the month!

  1. £20 a month for petrol (i currently stay quite local so this shouldn’t be too difficult!)
  2. £20 a week social money, this is for little treats like magazines, going for coffee, going swimming etc
  3. £50 a week for grocery shopping (food is getting so expensive this one will need some forward planning!)

Being presented with a grocery budget and after eating such amazing veggie food at our friends i dug out all my Vegetarian Cook books;

My husband (Ollie) and I are not planning on going vegetarian however over Christmas we had a lovely meal at my in-laws, my mother in law made a beef wellington and as we do not see each other that often she wanted to make it special and bought a good fillet of beef which cost £30!!! but oh boy could you tell, the meat melted in our mouths and had the most immense flavour. Ollie and I was chatting on the way home and we cringed at the quality of meat we have been eating compared to the lush filet we inhaled the night before & how much of our grocery bill goes towards said meat! We are no way in a position to be eating the best cuts of meat so why not leave out the naff meat we were buying and make glorious meals out of healthy, tasty vegetables and lentils instead? This will work out cheaper which means we will get more for our money on the budget (we hope)! I think we will still have a one or 2 meat meals a week but we’ll see…

Looking at the colourful recipes on each page of the veggie books was making my mouth water, oh how my body is calling out for fresh wholesome food – god damn you Quality Street i need you out of my house pronto! I can’t wait to put my new meal plan together for next week, this week is a ‘use up week’, which means eat everything up that is in the fridge first before spending more money on food!

So i’ve covered the budget planning/challenge, i’ve covered the grocery planning, finally i have been planning managing my house… and i think i may actually get somewhere with this with the help of a website called Fly Lady Net, i came across it today and it is amazing!

It asks whether your house is in CHAOS? (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)! Eh yeah – that sounds about right! This website gives you lots of routines and checklists to follow each day, I’m not sure if i will be able to follow all routines as i have a 3 month old baby that needs cuddling, feeding & playing with everyday but at least it will help me break down the house into small bite size chunks and i won’t feel so overwhelmed – I’ll let you know how i am getting on with all this next Sunday.

Oh yeah, i am also starting my 1st day of the new year with a stinking cold, i have streaming eyes, nose and i am losing my voice (which Ollie seems happy about)! I can’t dose up as i am breastfeeding so it was early to bed where i have been chilling with the little man, blogging and watching this…

 

Rowan’s light show is so relaxing!!

Night all xxx

2012….

image

2012 is going to have a tough job at topping 2011 for me as it was the year i became pregnant and gave birth to my first baby, my beautiful son Rowan…

rowan

He is amazing and i love being a mommy! But i am a person who loves having goals so thought i would make a note of a few and then see how many i can tick off in 6 months time! So here goes…

  • Complete the Turbo Jam fitness programme

I bought this DVD set about 2 years ago and can honestly say it has never even been put into my DVD player! In fact i have a number of fitness DVDs and as i am on maternity leave and there is a recession going on i will try and make use of them instead of paying for classes at the local gym that i can not afford at the moment. Who knows i may even get to try P90X which is currently gathering dust in my DVD cabinet if i get my fitness up enough.

  • Finally reach my weight goal of 140lbs!!

I was very pleased to be at my pre-pregnancy weight one week after giving birth however i was quite overweight for me when i got pregnant. Breastfeeding is helping lots and i obviously can not try any faddy diets whilst feeding Rowan so the only way i am going to get there is through exercise, very healthy eating and determination!

  • Eat healthy

With the weight loss goal, i really need to concentrate on what goes into my mouth, i currently am not eating the best as i am still establishing myself as a new mom, however Ro is almost 12 weeks old and i am wondering whether i am using this as an excuse! My body is craving fruit/veggies so i know i am lacking in goodness… i also need to remember what i consume inevidently ends up in Rowan so i need to be a lot more considerate to his growth and development also. Therefore i am going to try and blog about lots of nutritional recipes that i plan to try out!

  • Do something new with Rowan every month

Whilst on maternity leave i want to do as much as i can with Rowan before i have to go back to work (which i am dreading, dreading, dreading). I already have baby massage booked and waiting for confirmation on whether we are on the January or February course. I also plan to go swimming with the little fella and join more of the baby groups in my town to give Ro as much stimulus as he can muster at such a young age!!!

  • blog, blog and blog

I have been blogging on and off for about 2 years (more off than on) but i love the blog world and networking. I am going to make a conscious effort to blog more, i want to contact companies and ask to review their products and then blog about it… i want to share recipes… mommy experiences… health and fitness experiences and anything else i feel like blogging about! I want it to be interesting and varied so people actually want to read my blog!

  • Be content

There is nothing sweeter in life than the feeling of being content… it’s my favourite feeling hence the name of my blog. I want to reflect regularly on what is making me content… there is so much doom and gloom in the world at the moment i want to re-inject the ‘feel good factor’ into my life on a regular basis!

  • Become a millionaire…

This time next year I’ll be a millionaire *well i am an Only Fools and Horses fan and can dream can’t I?*