Saturday, 25 February 2017

Schar Gluten Free Pizza Base

Being gluten free I have to admit that I miss pizza, these days also being vegan that would be a
cheese free pizza but still I do miss it.   I have tried various things to satisfy this including many gluten free bread products, it is never the same. We visited Zizis the restaurant because I read they did an amazing GF vegan pizza, it wasn't, but it was wafer thin, overpriced with practically zero topping on it.  Did I mention how I hate to be ripped off and we don't even go out that often.

So when I saw these Schar pizza bases I was excited, I love the Schar bread and although it is expensive I will pay the extra for this as I am so limited in what I can have and their bread has quinoa, linseed goodness and tastes super.  We brought the bases home today and I piled on all my lovely toppings, fried red onions, cherry tomatoes, sauce, garlic mushrooms, Italian herbs and vegan cheese. 
Now these bases were two for three pounds so again not cheap for a bit of bread but I had high hopes.

When it came out of the oven I cut it up and sat down to tuck in.  Well, dry powdery bread just like every other  gluten free product I tend to try, I was disappointed to say the least.  The loaf I buy by this make is so good I expected too much I think.  You see I had resigned myself a while ago to the fact that bread based meals are a thing of the past.  On the occasion I have some it is beans or tomatoes on the Schar toast so this moistens the bread.  I would not recommend buying this product but their loaves are good if pricey.

The best and closest I have come to enjoying something resembling a pizza is when I used a wrap as a base and just topped that with lots of veg.   The reason that may have worked better is that a wrap is so thin so you don't experience the dry floury texture of a thicker dough.

If anyone has tried anything better I would love to hear about it.  I am usually pretty good at improvising with the GF, vegan foods but sometimes on a Saturday you just want to come home and have a pizza like everyone else!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Decluttering

Today I have had another bit of a clear out, I was looking for a particular top this morning and thought I needed a little sort through.  Many things have just been moved along and put together.  For example summer dresses that I want but don't need yet.  I know many people take all of their seasonal stuff out altogether and rotate but I am not going through that every season.  There is also the fact that some items can span seasons with a top under and thick tights.

There  was also a few items that needed a bit of care.  A dress with a belt loop hanging off, a nice next t-shirt that has always been too baggy, jeans that can turn into shorts and a levi jacket that has always bothered me because the shoulders hang over.  So this little pile has been brought down for action, first up was the levi jacket, I marked where the shoulder should sit by laying another little jacket on top that fits me well.  There was quite a lot of unpicking involved due to all the top stitching.

I have had it years but it is such a lovely soft cord, maybe it will get more wear in the summer now the shoulders are better fitting.

I removed thirteen items of clothing that have not been worn over the past year and that I can't see me wearing again. In truth some of them should have gone with the last lot that went to the charity shop but I don't find this easy as I am not quick to buy new.  There is a little bit of me thinking I might need that so I have to be ruthless with myself.

There were also two books on the pile, a shirt of my husbands (I had permission!) and a fleece one of the boys had outgrown. I have not been far in way of walking due to mad weather yesterday and todays business, just the usual places.   I have begun to do the reupholster job on some seating and curtains for a colleague of my husband, it is for a small caravan. The curtains are finished but she needs more fabric as by the look of it she just guessed and there was no where near enough for all the seating.  So more on that next week.

Quite a few people have gone on their travels, we have done this at February half term in the past but after cold weekends in Amsterdam, Paris, Lego land and Loch Lomond we decided to give this one a miss.  Unless you are following the year round sun it can be a bit chilly and with three dogs now our holidays involve a lot of being outside.

Whatever you have been up to this week I hope you have had a good time, I know a lot of you not working in education will have had a regular week but maybe you managed a day off with the children.


Monday, 20 February 2017

So Much Space

I have been thinking recently about how we view and use our space or more to the point about how I do.  After talking to my husband about putting in another bathroom downstairs we decided against it, the reason being that we manage with the one and we have done so for all this time so is there really a need?  I know there are probably a few wondering how they would do without their second or third bathrooms but it really is just a matter of what you are used to and how you use things.

My sons are now teenagers, the oldest is working and three of us like to shower in the morning and the youngest likes to do so in the evening.  I am first up and out, oldest son goes in straight after me closely followed by the youngest to wash and do his teeth and my husband goes in after that.  It works, we have the occasional shout of hurry up but mostly it is a good system.

But it is not just bathrooms though is it, we seem to be conditioned to believe we need more space when actually we probably spend most of our time in the same areas.  Of course if you have a larger family then you will need more space than a childless couple but sometimes it is about storing stuff.

While out walking yesterday we saw this property for sale and it is also yesterdays picture of the day.
Yes a church that you can live in.

Now I'm not sure if I like the idea, when we got home I looked at the pictures of the interior and as you could see from the outside the building is vast.  Inside while nicely done there is no sense of cosiness, it is just so big.  I would also imagine the upkeep on the exterior would be a money pit but someone will no doubt buy it because they are attracted to the amount of space it offers, which also needs to be heated, cleaned and lit.

We have talked about the possibility that we may move one day when we retire but if we do it would be more about the outlook and the location than the size of the property.  I watched a Ted talk by Graham Hill here where he show off his apartment designs, every item is multifunctional and you make the most of the space you have.  While I wouldn't want such a minimalist look the ideas are super and certainly give us something to think about in our ever expanding population.

So I think I will embrace my one bathroom and be grateful that my sons accept our little rota without complaint and also that I only have the one bathroom to clean.



Saturday, 18 February 2017

Sunny days

We have finally had a bit of sunshine this week so I managed to get  a couple of pictures without a grey sky, yesterday and today.  I went out early for dinner with friends last night so  I'm posting that picture now.


This was from a distance so hazy due to zooming in on a non powerful camera,  nice to see the horses in the fields.  There is a field nearby with alpacas so I may have to wander over and take a photo of them one day next week.

This one is from my walk today I was under the cover of trees so it appears darker than it was.

 Other than getting out with the dogs and doing the food shopping I've not been up to much today but I have decided that from this week I will be saving my receipts from my food shop.  Just to get a clearer idea over the course of a year and also because I am fed up of hearing how our food prices are going to go up so I thought I would monitor it myself.

I don't really buy anything in bulk, I wonder how much could be saved this way so I am going to look into that. I keep the food shop pretty reasonable but there is bound to be somewhere I can improve, I don't have a big freezer so it can't be too much frozen stuff but otherwise I'm curious.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Planning a Walk

I have just come back from my walk with the dogs and yet again I have had to carry three dog bags this time for about 2.6 miles before reaching a bin. Ridiculous! Of course I want to tidy up after my pets but  where have all the bins gone? Just about every time I go out I find this and it doesn't matter which route I take, unless I am passing through the park or by the school there are no bins.  The sad thing is in one particular area by the side of the road I saw dog bags on the floor as if people had given up after miles of walking. Obviously they should not be doing this but they have picked it up so my thinking is if there had been any bins around this wouldn't be happening.

The reason I know how far I walked before encountering a bin is this little website I found Plotaroute.com this is really handy because you just drag your route on the map and it tells you how far it is, you can estimate arrival times and so on.  Quite handy I think, I have found that two of my regular walks are just over three miles and thought they were a quick whip around as I walk quite fast.  It is good to know I am covering more ground than I realized and that when we do longer walks it is better still.
Here is my picture for the day, I had to put the dog bags down to take it but be assured I picked them up again and carted them around looking for the elusive bin.
I do hope it is not going to be thirty days of dreary skies although the light in this one is a little better.

There is hope for lighter days to come, there is something growing in this field, the daffodils are all coming up and it has been quite mild today so hopefully the days will be brighter.  I am finding everyone is in need of a rest and the dark days don't help.
 I have been watching an Icelandic drama called 'Case' it was good but a bit dark as most crime dramas are, I watched the last episode of the first series this week but they left it so there can be a second series.  I am finding the  book 'After You' a bit dull otherwise I would have finished it by now.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Peace and Joy

That title sounds a bit like Christmas doesn't it? Well don't worry we are not there yet, it's just that I read something earlier that really appealed to me.
'When you think everything is someone else's fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.' - The Dalai Lama
How wonderful, and it is basically taking responsibility, of course it doesn't mean illness or unavoidable accidents but the every day thoughts and actions that can tilt things this way or that.

My picture for today was an orchid that has just come into flower again that I keep in my kitchen...
Now orchid from what I read is lovely, beautiful and calm and the colour yellow, wholesome, honest and pure. I just thought the picture quite fit the quote although I already had the picture for the day.

I always think it is good to remember all the little things each day that bring you joy rather than all the things that wind you up, I am very grateful but some days it is hard not to grumble.  Considering the quote above I think I will pop it in my bag and look at it whenever I am feeling out of sorts.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Books and Keeping Track

At the end of the summer last year I began keeping a record of the books I read on the computer, I originally did this on good reads but after forgetting  a password last year and not being able to access my own record until I reset it I thought just who am I doing this for?  As it was for me I started a folder on the computer but then decided I wanted a paper version.  Now this may be to do with my love of books that I need an actual book to record them in, I don't know but I prefer it.

So I just bought a journal from ASDA, quite cheap and still kept up with the  file on my laptop but when I fill a page I print it and stick the entries in. I get a lot of books from the library and some I buy, the ones on my shelf are there as a reminder but the borrowed ones are not so this is a good prompt if I want to remember an author.

I just make a few notes for me, I can look back and think about whether a new release by a particular author is worth a look or not.  I am not aiming to write a detailed review just something to jog my memory.

Today after work I stopped off to take a picture, I didn't get the one I really wanted as there wasn't anywhere to pull over in rush hour safely.  I did get one though, here is todays picture.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Random thoughts

Well  after taking another photograph straight after work today I have decided I will have to start and stop on places on my way home or all my pictures will be in the same area. That said it is half term next week so I can get out in the day to take daylight pictures so that will be better.  I do quite like a bare tree though, there is something beautiful and earie about them.  So here is todays picture I am not going to title them as I can never think what to title my posts.

I have just started reading  After You by Jojo Moyes which is the sequel to Me Before You.  I have got through a few books this last few months and I have started a little journal to document what I have read as I often forget over time what an author was called unless I have  read a few by the same person.  This can be annoying and also as I have a lot from the library so it is good to look back on, I will share more on this tomorrow.

At the weekend I had a disastrous attempt at puff vegan GF pastry, well I say disastrous but I ate half of it so it can't have been that bad but it wasn't mouth watering soft puff pastry either!  I adapted a recipe I saw and I thought it was all going really well as I rolled it between the plastic sandwich bags and it didn't fall apart.  It also didn't rise or go golden and was quite firm, shame as I was so looking forward to it.  I just added my fancy garlic mushroom and nut filling and ate it anyway. Gluten free flour Grrrr.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Time

I listened to a really interesting Ted Talk this morning while I was doing the ironing about how we use and define time.  You can find it here Ted Talk.   What was really interesting about this particular talk was that the main idea was that we have plenty of time all of us no matter what we do for a living or what our family commitments are.  What saps our time as we see it is that we feel we are busy with things we don't enjoy or that we feel are not of our choosing.

The point of this talk was that we always choose how we spend our time, our jobs, families and our hobbies were all the result of choices we made and we can choose to make different choices.  So this was a very different approach to looking at time rather than trying to save minutes here and there.  I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to save minutes but if you choose to cut an activity you can possibly save hours. 

This was really interesting to me because there have been many times when certain  people have repeatedly said they were too busy to make plans or whatever, while I on the other hand have said yes even when over stretched or sometimes even feeling unwell.  So yes we can all choose what we commit our time to or not.  If you are really unhappy with your career maybe it is time to move on, if you hate your keep fit class don't go! Choose a different activity, switch off the T.V, stop whatever you don't enjoy.

A lot of what we do is just habit and the sad thing is we don't always make a habit of the things we love but only the mundane.  I have been reading lots of posts by bloggers who are taking up running, swimming or retraining, I have a colleague who has just joined a gym so she can do all the different classes.  Choosing to make time for these activities will determine whether or not they become  habit.

The reason I watched this particular Ted Talk today was as a result of a little habit I have set myself that combines a dull activity with one I enjoy. So far this year I have stuck with the habit of ironing on a Sunday morning. Rather than this being a chore it has become a slot of time that I enjoy because I place my tablet on the side with my little speaker, select a theme and listen to Ted Talks on that particular subject.  I am hearing new ideas every week and it feels like a good use of my time, I know a lot of people who say they never iron but I cannot get this concept, I have a husband who wears shirts and now a working son, plus many of my clothes do not come out the wash wrinkle free so how??  I might also add I don't use a tumble dryer as they waste energy, wear clothes out  and so on.

One habit I have decided to try for thirty days is to take a picture each day, this idea also came from a talk and it will be just point the camera and shoot.  So I apologise in advance for blurred, out of focus pictures I am just going to go with it for a month then decide after that amount of time if I want to spend more time improving .

Here is todays picture, dark all day with flurries of light snow.


Making a Bra

Well the last two afternoons have seen me kept busy trying to make a bra, not a floppy one but a structured one with bones.  Now rather than...