August-in-a-blog-post …

… or something that attempts to sum up what’s happened in my month!

My August got overtaken with illness. Yup, it’s me that’s ill. It’s a long-term thing – been around for too long and not going away anytime in the near future. Some days are better than others and August has been a collection of mostly bad days. Life has been a struggle and finding the energy for the every-day essentials has been flakey, so my blog has sort of slipped …

I wanted to tell you because my blog and the blogging community I’ve found online has become very important to me. I love sharing my photos and life with whoever is reading these pages and getting to “meet” some of you fellow-bloggers and share my passions with you has been an amazing experience! Even though I have not been commenting on your blogs, I’ve been keeping in touch with what is going on in your lives, praying for you when you’ve had tough times and loving all the photos, recipes and fun! So I guess it’s my turn to ask for the prayers and/or thoughts. Not something that comes easily to me, but even though I don’t post as regularly as I want to, I’m not giving up!

Here are a few other things that happened in August …

I cooked a fish meal for the first time! I baked salmon in foil parcels with a sauce of chilli, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and oyster sauce, and lots of spring onion, red pepper and fresh coriander (cilantro). I served it with rice and green vegetables and it seemed to be a success! 🙂

One of L’s cousins got married in a country manor house in Shropshire! The staircase used for the bride’s entrance was amazing! They handed out homemade dried-rose confetti and had a beautifully done afternoon tea for the first part of the reception! The couple was obviously happy, despite it pouring with rain most of the day and the bride’s vintage-style lace dress was pretty. There were some photos of L and I taken, but my father-in-law still has these! 😉

My youngest sister had her 21st birthday!! Eeeek! Makes me feel old … 😉 I had a lot of fun planning and creating a special gift for her. T has quite a number of pen-friends and writing letters and keeping in touch with them is important to her. I found a Jane Austen-style writing desk which I painted with her favourite flower – daisys! I also covered a box with old stamps from around the world (I love Ebay! 😛 ) and filled it with notepaper and cards. My other two sisters had informed me that T was very set on having cards with 21 on them … so the card, some of the wrapping paper and a key-ring made sure she wouldn’t forget how old she was turning!! 😉 My sisters and I have had this tradition of giving each other number badges for big birthdays and this year I got to buy the badge – I’ve been assured it will be pinned on her bag for a while! 🙂

Just this past week we had some good friends of ours round for supper. E and S got married just 7 months after L and I did and L and E had lived in the same houses for 6 years and have been in a prayer-triplet together with another guy for nearly as long … so yeah, they go way back. They have had us round for dinner twice and we really wanted to have them round to our house – once we could find a date that worked for both couples, that is! 😉

I kind of went a bit over-board on the cooking front … not at all common for  me 😉 I like to cook something which is ready ahead of time and just needs putting in the oven, so I baked Chicken, Leek and Cider Pie. It comes from this amazing pie recipe book that my sisters gave me for my birthday last year. I decided to replace the whole chicken and homemade stock with chicken pieces and chicken stock cubes and made a classic mistake – the recipe called for a chicken weighing 1.5kg so, of course, I bought 1.5kg of thigh fillets … let’s just say that not counting in the weight difference for a whole chicken made a massive quantity of filling! 😉

Apart from that little slip-up, everyone seemed to enjoy the individual pies, sweet potato wedges and vegetables. For pudding we had lemon-curd biscuits, fresh fruit and homemade ice-cream. I’d been wanting to have a go at making my own ice-cream in ages and I found this recipe that just need me to whip up condensed milk, double cream and vanilla, then put it in the freezer and forget about it … until pudding time! 🙂 So simple!

A few weeks ago L surprised me with this gorgeous bouquet of flowers – he knows how to make me smile! 😀

I hope to be writing again soon!

What has happened in your August?

The other side of my cooking life

I read amazing food blogs and remember my Mum’s dedication to cooking home-cooked food from scratch.

I feel overwhelmed by the expectations I put on myself to prepare every meal from the bare bones up. I feel overwhelmed by the other people who seem able to do that.

I wouldn’t want one of you reading my blog and feeling guilty about your own cooking, so I decided to share tonight’s supper with you!

Meal deal of ready-prepared vegetables, stir-in sauce and straight-to-wok noodles.

A (reduced – of course! 😉 ) pack of beef strips.

Beef stir-fry.

Just as healthy and additive-free as it would have been if I’d done all the work.

No sin!

I’m so grateful to my Mum and my Grandma for passing onto me a love for cooking and for teaching me the skills to cook mostly whatever I set my mind too – or at least where to go to find out how to do it! 😛

I don’t plan on loosing that.

What I do plan on losing is my self-imposed expectation that anything which is not prepared from the most scratched scratch that I can find, every single meal, is a sin! And definitely before we have kids! 😉

Oh, and my hubby still thought it was delicious, so what’s the problem?!

I hope you’re not too shocked at this little peek into the other side of my cooking life!! 😉