Eton Mess, three different versions.

Eton Mess is an amazing Summer treat. Simple and tasty, it can be made from scratch with a bit of elbow grease and a few hours spare, or put together from store-bought ingredients. You can take it up a notch with great additions such as Cranachan for the cream or flavoured meringues, or you can cut the calories with yoghurt and more fresh fruit. Here are three versions to try out for your next picnic or pudding!

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Decadent Version.

This is closest to the one we made, except, being alco-free as I am right now, we skipped the whiskey/Baileys/brandy.

Ingredients.

  • 500g strawberries
  • 4 egg whites
  • 300ml double cream
  • 215g plain sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • a shot of whiskey, Irish cream or brandy
  • a few drops of vanilla extract

Utensils.

  • chopping board and knife
  • two mixing bowls
  • baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • whisk (use a hand whisk for a good arm workout!]
  • a bowl for assembly

Recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 110C.
  2. In one bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are fluffy and stand in floppy or firm peaks.
  3. Add 115g of the white sugar slowly and steadily, a tablespoon at a time. Keep whisking a bit in between.
  4. Add the icing sugar a quarter at a time. Keep whisking in between.
  5. Whisk until a batter forms.
  6. Put on the baking tray and in the oven. Set a timer for 1h 30min to 2h.
  7. In the next bowl, start whisking the double cream with the last 100g of white sugar.
  8. Once thick, add the alcohol and vanilla and whisk until thick again.
  9. Thinly slice the strawberries.
  10. Wait until ther meringues are golden brown, remove from oven.
  11. In the bowl, layer meringue, cream and strawberries.

Low-cal Version.

Delicious and very low calorie compared to the usual one!

Ingredients.

  • 800g strawberries
  • 2 egg whites
  • 20og greek yoghurt sweetened with honey
  • 170g icing sugar

Utensils.

  • chopping board and knife
  • one mixing bowl
  • baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • whisk (use a hand whisk for a good arm workout!]
  • a bowl for assembly

Recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 110C.
  2. In one bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are fluffy and stand in floppy or firm peaks.
  3. Add the icing sugar a quarter at a time. Keep whisking in between.
  4. Whisk until a batter forms.
  5. Put on the baking tray and in the oven. Set a timer for 1h 30min to 2h.
  6. Thinly slice the strawberries.
  7. Wait until ther meringues are golden brown, remove from oven.
  8. In the bowl, layer yoghurt and strawberries.
  9. Sprinkle meringue on top.

Store-bought Version.

A quicker and simpler way of getting things done.

Ingredients.

  • 500g strawberries
  • 3 meringues
  • 300ml cream or yoghurt

Utensils.

  • chopping board and knife
  • a bowl for assembly

Recipe.

  1. Slice the straberries.
  2. Layer or mix strawberries and cream or yoghurt in a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle meringue on top.

And that’s how to make three different types of sweetly Summery Eton Mess!

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What’s your favourite Summer pudding?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.
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Picnic and BBQ Recipes I.

Here are some great picnic and BBQ friendly recipes for the upcoming Summer weather!

Lamb in marinade.

Ingredients:

(Serves 4.]

4x 100g/3.5oz lamb steaks

2tbsp garlic paste or crushed garlic

1tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Utensils:

a grill or BBQ

Recipe:

Mix the garlic, oil, salt and pepper together.

Put 1/8 of the mix on one side of each steak.

Put the lamb on to cook, seasoning facing the heat.

Add another 1/8 of the seasoning to the other half and cook the other half until cooked through.

Beans in sauce.

Ingredients:

(Serves 4.]

200g/7oz cherry tomatoes

200g/7oz bell peppers

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

steak seasoning

ras el hanout

400g/14oz tin butter beans

400g/14oz tin black eyed beans

Utensils:

chopping board and knife

pot and stirring spoon

blender

Recipe:

Peel and chop the onions and garlic.

Chop the peppers and tomatoes.

Place in a pan on a medium heat until all soft.

Blend with the seasoning.

Drain the beans.

Stir the beans in.

Serve hot or cold.

Princess chocolate cake.

Ingredients:

(Serves 8.]

400g/14oz flour and raising agent

100g/3.5 dark chocolate

55g/2oz cocoa powder

50g/1.7oz sugar

2 eggs

200ml milk

50g/1.7oz yoghurt

icing, toppings, whatever you fancy, mine was princessy because I wanted something cutesy

Utensils:

mixing bowl

greased or nonstick baking tray

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 160C/320F.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Incorporate the yeast and mix thoroughly.

Crumble the chocolate and mix it in.

Mash in the eggs and yoghurt.

Quickly incorporate the milk and transfer the mix to your pan.

Bake at 160C/320F until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to fully cool before decorating.

And there are three nice recipes for some Summer fun!

What do you fancy cooking this Summer?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

10 Things To Do Quick Before School Starts.

Summer really flies by, doesn’t it!

Only a memory ago we were having fun on our first day at the beach and now we’re almost back at school. And as a teacher I sympathize with the parents and children who are leaving a Summer of fun for the boring reality of work and school. So here are ten things to get done quickly whilst there’s still time!

1: Go for a last picnic.

Make some sandwiches, some salads and some baked goods. Grab some fruit and veggies. Buy a few bags of sweeties. Throw it all into a hamper with a cloth, some plates and cutlery and some toys and get outside to make a day of it before the sun goes into hiding!

2: Get those assignments done!

Go through all your children’s papers and find every assignment, email teachers asking them to confirm and make sure everything is done.

3: Go swimming as a family.

Once the routine of school and work is back to normal, you may not be able to go swimming together for several months. Make a point of finding a place that’s outdoors and sunny if you can and all go for a swim. Maybe it’s a lake, the sea, a pool or the river. Just try and have a great time.

4: Plan some school outfits.

Especially if the children don’t wear uniform. If they do, then we need to get them a new one because they’re bound to have grown. But if they don’t there’s no reason not to go and find or make them some cute or practical new clothes for school.

5: Stock up on stationary.

Get everything. Seriously. Stop by your local dollar or pound store and buy the essentials, plus five or six cool items, like themed notebooks, glitter pens, swiss army pens, reward stickers, everything.

6: Spend all day at the zoo.

Try and spend all day at the zoo. Get some tickets, some change for lunch and drive down to the nearest zoo. Make a point of staying as long as anyone wants at each enclosure, seeing every show and animal and taking pictures of everything, even the upsets and bruises.

7: Do something you’ve never done before.

Never been to a fair or a circus? Why not go? Never went camping? Maybe just one day won’t hurt. Try and get a brand new experience in right before school.

8: Make a Summer album.

Take a good look at all the photos you have from the Summer and print out everyone’s favourites. Then, get a scrapbook and assemble them. My favourite idea is one or two pages for each place or activity, including the tickets and any stickers or postcards you bought whilst there.

9: Start a homework club.

If any of your little ones is really struggling with homework or isn’t sure about starting at a new school, send an email to the PTA asking whether you can start a homework club, or start a private one for your neighbourhood.

10: Spend the weekend away.

As long as you’re back with 12 hours to get tidied up and send the kids to bed, then why not spend a couple of days in a cabin or a hotel somewhere completely different? It won’t cost much for one night so close to school time and it ends the holidays on a high note.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What would you like to cram in before the holidays are over?

Belated WWW.

Sorry it’s so late. Just getting back into the swing of things and working around a new puppy, improved nutrition for when we’re TTC (around February or March, wish us luck!), new students and loads of writing, I’ve not had much time for recipes or fitness posts.

However I have completed my Beginner Homemaker book and got the timetable mostly in order, so regular recipe and fitness updates can return.

Recipe 1: My best pie crust.

Between a music festival and lots of jam to get through before berry season, I’ve been making many pies and I think I have worked out my best crust recipe yet.

Ingredients:

Makes enough for over one pie, so freeze or make snacks with the rest.

-2 cups plain flour

-3 eggs

-150g butter

-5tbsp sugar

-1tsp salt

Utensils:

-mixing bowl

-fork

Recipe:

1: Mash the eggs, salt and flour together.

2: Fold in the butter and sugar.

3: Knead until uniformly yellow. Fold in half, stretch and fold again at least 10 times.

4: Place in the fridge.

5: Bring to room temperature before halving the dough. When you roll it, roll it out nice and flat.

Recipe 2: Chicken pan stew.

Another new staple, can be mixed up with different seasonings but really makes for a wholesome and tasty dish on its own.

Ingredients:

Serves 4-6.

-6 deboned chicken thighs

-200g bacon

-2 onions

-2 carrots

-400g pureed tomato

-400g presoaked lentils

-400-800g presoaked butter or cannellini beans

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Chop the carrots and onions finely.

2: Place in a pan with tomato and lentils and bring to a boil.

3: Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and add the chicken and beans. Let both rest on top.

4: Turn the chicken once cooked on one side.

5: Once both sides of chicken are cooked, lightly salt and pepper.

FitFriday, something Roman numerals, I need a blog accountabuddy.

Because I have seriously neglected my on-the-day posts again. Boo. 😦 Sorry.

Fitness updates:

I have kept off the fat and water weight I wanted to, but with the rising temperatures exercise has been a drag, so I’ve got lazy. Jon, as my personal trainer, is going to “sort that out”, apparently, so it seems I’m in fro some harsh workouts.

Besides that not much has changed. I’m eating corn again without issue, but the reintroduction may not be forever as Jon is allergic to it and I shouldn’t eat too many carbs anyway.

We’ve restarted work on the garden, have worked out a new plan for babymaking and have a puppy soon to arrive, so all is looking well. Which means I can afford to sit around in my almost-retro housewife dress, drinking coffee and working on books.

There's no such thing as gratuitous pictures of retro dresses. Or of this retro dress, anyway. I love this dress.

There’s no such thing as gratuitous pictures of retro dresses. Or of this retro dress, anyway. I love this dress.

At least until I remember the dusting that needs doing…

How have you been coping with your fitness goals this Summer?

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

How To… prepare a makeup kit.

This post is the last in my “housekeeper’s kits” series. Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V and Part VI at these links.

Ending on something a little lighter for my seventh and final kit: makeup. Again, another one for the girls, but also an idea for a gift!

1: The Bag.

Most people’s makeup bags are too big with too few compartments or too small. Instead, look for something about the size of a pressure cooker pot, a 2l jug or an xBox360, with two or three compartments to it. This should be enough. If you’re an avid collector of makeup, try and keep various kits this size rather than one larger one, as it will keep everything more organized.

2: The Basics.

These are your minimalist makeup products. The two, three or four things you absolutely won’t go without. Keep them all together in a small section or their own pouch.

My basics:

-brown eyeliner

-black mascara

-concealer

-tinted lip gloss

3: The Specials.

These are things you actually use, but not all that often. Fancy dress, dressing fancy or to swap with your basics when you fancy a change. Anything you don’t use daily can be considered here. Anything you don’t use weekly absolutely belongs here. Keep them organized in a larger section of your bag where they can be accessed easily but kept away from your regular use items.

For specials, I would suggest an assortment of makeup with a bias towards makeup that enhances your best asset, all in good colours for you.

-eyeshadow collection in at least 5 colours that look good on you

-a couple of lipsticks that look bold and attractive against your skin

-blushes and countouring in your colours

-something unbelievably sparkly

4: The Applicators and Tools.

The stuff you use to put the makeup on and get your face neatened up. There are thousands of reasons to keep them separate from your main makeup, but the primary one is hygiene. These tools will be in contact with your face every day until they are replaced. You need to keep them clean, keep clean tools away from makeup and not let them come in contact with face cleaning equipment, unless you want to damage brushes or get deep pore cleanser in your eye through your lash curler!

I haven’t had a need for much more than this, but I’m not into heavy makeup most of the time. Add a special applicator for every item you wear regularly!

-large brush for coverage

-smaller brush for bursts of colour

-fan brush for eyeshadow control

-thin applicator for eyeshadow control

-sponges for dabbing and blurring

-lash curlers

-tweezers

-small scissors

5: The Cleaning.

And when you need to make a few corrections or get everything off, these come in handy. These occupy the main area of your bag, seeing as they’re large and best kept handy. You will also want to keep tools for cleaning your brushes and applicators.

6: The Nails.

Nail-care materials are often spread around the house, but it’s worthwhile to keep a set in your makeup bag that never strays from there.

-clippers

-scissors

-nail files

-fake nails and glue

-nail polishes

-nail polish remover

-nail moisturizer

7: The Travel Bag.

Something you can grab and throw your favourite makeup into. You’d take your whole kit with you if you were going somewhere for a week or more, but this is more for an evening or a couple of days.

It needs to have two main compartments: day and night. Maybe a third for interchangeable items. Each will have a makeup combination that covers all the sorts of makeup you wear, but only for one set. So an example would be:

Day: deep beige eye shadow, tinted lip gloss, brown eyeliner.

Night: dark green shiny eyeshadow, red lipstick, darker eyeliner.

Both: concealer, mascara, wipes.

And that is how I would put together a makeup kit!

I’m open to any further suggestions for kits to make and will, if asked nicely, put together some visuals of the kits I use, what’s in them and how to pack them for easy everyday use.

So go ahead and tell me about everyday situations, emergencies or clutter that you really think need a kit. 🙂

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

FitFriday XXVII, FatFriday XIV. Oranges, oranges, omega oils.

Dairy still low to none, but I’ve been craving citrus fruit so I’ve eaten myself into a couple of ulcers. Diet been generally quite good but sugar is going up so I’ll need to work on that. Workouts are going down proportionate to sugar going up, so I need to work on that too.

Been keeping the garden in order and going on more walks lately, though, so I’ve had that.

The best thing I ate all week was probably a hellmince stew.

The worst thing I ate all week, at least in health terms, was unfrozen blueberry ice cream.

Been a bit lazier due to lethargy, but seem to be fighting it just fine. Will need to recalibrate carbs and see how I do.

How has your week been, in health and fitness terms?