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Friday, January 25, 2013

Easy Oven Cooked Risotto

I thought I would share this recipe with you- it's great for those of us who like risotto but don't like stirring!

I have kept it alcohol free so it can be served to children and adults. I make it for my 7 month old daughter simply by substituting ordinary stock cubes for baby "low salt" stock cubes.

You can also adapt it by throwing in any bits of veg that happen to be in the fridge, for example spinach, aubergine, mushrooms etc.


Olive oil
300g Risotto Rice
500ml Vegetable Stock
400g Tin of chopped tomatoes
2 Red Peppers
1 Large a onion
3 Fresh Tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese to serve (optional)


1. Chop onion and peppers (use a food processor if you have one). Also chop fresh tomatoes if using.

2. Preheat oven to 180C. Heat oil in an oven proof pan on the hob.

3. Fry onions and peppers until soft, add rice, turn up the heat and fry for one minute.

4. Add tinned and fresh tomatoes along with 400ml of stock.

5. Season with black pepper, place lid on pan and cook in oven until the rice is soft (around 20 minutes)

6. Remove from oven, add remainder of the stock and stir. Serve in bowls topped with Parmesan if desired.

15 minute miracles!

It's hard work being busy.

This week I've been working a lot and still have the weekend to go. The 5.30am work-day wake up calls are really tiring me out.

Add this to all of the other things I have to do (cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, entertaining baby, yoga, seeing friends and brokering world peace...obviously!) and I am left feeling like there aren't enough hours in the day.

Clearly I am not alone, Grazia magazine printed my letter in response to their article about the guilt associated with the career vs. motherhood debate that is still rumbling on.

So, in the absence of a solution and still feeling like we need to do/have it all:

"What can you do in 15 minutes?"

Have a cup of tea and eat an entire packet of chocolate finger biscuits?

Read a magazine?

Today I have been putting the 15 minute theory to the test and seeing just how much difference it makes to my decluttering challenge.

For my first 15 minutes I decided to focus on the kitchen, I managed to empty the dishwasher and then put it on a hot wash with a cup of vinegar to give it a clean.

Then I emptied the out of date stuff from the fridge in preparation for the shopping delivery later, hung up the washing, put another load in and emptied the bin. Done!

Following a cup of tea and some cuddles with my daughter (who has a chest infection so is resting a lot!) I decided to embark on another 15 minutes. This time in my bedroom.

I managed to put all of the clothes away, dust everything, make the bed, clean the windows and file some paperwork.

The place looks so much tidier and although its not perfect I feel like I am a little more in control and that I have used my time wisely. Fifteen minutes seems like long enough to get things done without tiredness or boredom sneaking in.

I am now going to adopt the 15 minute habit into my life and see just what I can achieve. I would love to hear what you at home can do in 15 minutes!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Return of the de-clutterer

As you know I have been under the weather lately, in addition I have been working a lot so I have been pretty slow with sorting my house out.

Today we met with my daughters Great Aunt for Sunday lunch. I had a lovely roast beef and spent a lot of the afternoon feeling tired, we also came back with two large bags of Xmas gifts

After lunch I decided to get back on with the challenge and implement some of my plans- I now have a key rack which is saving time in the morning as I am not hunting for keys!

I also put some stuff on eBay and have a bag of clothes to go to charity tomorrow. We've also found some friends who want our baby changer so that will be going too!

I also needed some creative fun so I made a new baby card for my friend who had a daughter this week!

Even my shoes are organised- I cleaned and polished my boots and work shoes so now they look lovely and new- they'll be making their way to the shoe rack too so I don't trip over them.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Your blog has been very quiet...

Said my lovely partner yesterday (I didn't think he actually read it!)

"There's a good reason for that," I replied.


I have been ill (yet again!) but this time it's been so severe I ended up on a drip in the Accident and Emergency Department.

I'm not being sick anymore but I've lost nearly a stone and still have to watch what I am eating. I feel so totally drained which, at a time when I need to be on form at work, is really annoying.

I haven't forgotten about the challenge- please bear with me and I promise that normal service will be resumed!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kitchen chaos!

Today was a flurry of activity as I prepared for work next week.

I managed to batch cook some meals for my daughter, they are now all frozen so it will be easy to prepare something healthy for her when we get in at night.

There was even time to bake some cupcakes...

There was various paperwork to be done- but in my attempt to be more organised I filed it straight away (we will say nothing of the giant shredding pile!)

Next, it was the turn of the kitchen cupboards for a declutter. I knew this would be a big challenge as we are full to bursting with kitchen utensils. I have successfully cleared out 5 cupboards, washed the insides and got rid of anything we have too many of (glasses, pastry brushes, manky old baking trays etc!)

It's all boxed up, some of it can go to the charity shop, other bits I will freecycle or eBay.

Most importantly the fridge is cleared out ready for the online shop tomorrow...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Back to work blues...

The realisation hit me today that next week I am back at work. I feel so unprepared!

Nothing can prepare you for the guilt thr comes with knowing you are going back to work. I thought I would be looking forward to going back (and in many ways I am!) but my little one seems so tiny and it's scary to think I am leaving her all day.

In preparation, I have been trying to get her into a bed time routine which is easier said than done! The first night was really hard as she cried quite a bit but tonight she went to sleep after less than 5 minutes. I am here on the sofa eating biscuits in order to celebrate.

The decluttering is gathering pace, today we got rid of the Christmas tree and recycled a bag of clothes. My major target next week is to tackle my daughters room as it is a total mess! I have a day at home on my own so this seems like the ideal time!