Recipe: Stuffed Peppers

Delicious stuffed peppers for dinner this evening.

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The peppers were baked for 30 minutes empty at 200°c.

While they were baking I sautéed two small onions, a small celery stick and one floret of cauliflower. Once cooked through I added a small handful each of Bulgur Wheat and giant (pearl) couscous, plus water and a vegetable stock cube, plus a small dab of harrissa paste.

I boiled all this for 15 minutes before adding a small handful of standard couscous. I left it to stand for around 5 mins, and then reboiled it quickly to get rid of the excess liquid.

The mix was then layered into the peppers with mature cheddar, grated mozzarella, and chickpeas, and put back into the oven for ten minutes, plus a couple of minutes under a hot grill just before serving to make the cheese bubble.

The surplus filling was baked alongside the peppers, and topped with exrra cheese.

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I am trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat, for budgetary purposes, but Mr J would have it at every meal if he could. As a result I have to try and make sure that our meat free meals are delicious and interesting, so that he doesn’t miss it. I think I succeeded with this one.

Chilli pie – using up leftovers.

We had this for dinner a few nights ago, but I forgot to post it.

After having Chilli and nachos one night I was left with a quantity of chilli left. It had already been frozen so couldn’t go back in, so needed to be used up. I turned it into Chilli Pie by heating it and putting it in a bowl, topping it with a layer of cheese, and then piping mashed potato on top of it. Time under the grill to brown the potato off, and it was ready.

I served it with some buttered green beans. Nice, simple, tasty and filling.

I would definitely make this again.

A quiet sort of a day after a busy week.

This has been rather a busy week. I haven’t yet hit my stride regarding making packed lunches and having easy dinners sorted for cooking after work. I will get there, just need to work on it.

For the next three weeks I’m working three days a week. I have some holiday I need to use up before the end of the calendar year, so I have Thursday and Friday off two weeks running. Then, the week after is Christmas so I have Tuesday and Wednesday off. I’ve also got another half a day available to take, so will have an afternoon off too.

I’m hoping to use some of the time to reorganise the freezers again, and do some cooking to use a few bits up. We are on a tighter budget at the moment, so I need to make what we have go as far as it can.

Thursday evening we went out to a local restaurant with the Rector, her husband, and the other churchwardens. It was the Rectors Christmas present to us, to thank us for our support through the year. Delicious food and good company. Unfortunately we had to come home a little sooner than planned as I was feeling a little ill. I had surgery a few years ago and just occasionally a meal doesn’t sit right.

Yesterday afternoon I was out with work on our Christmas do. We played darts at the pub in the afternoon, and then they went on for a meal while I came home. I didn’t want to be out late and away from Emily, plus it would have ended up costing too much.

Today has been a quiet one. We went to the supermarket for a small shop, with my parents, and then we have just been pottering doing a few jobs. Fresh covers on the bed, shopping out away, and Mr J has had a tidy up in the living room.

Dinner was gammon steaks with kalettes and some spicy baby jacket potatoes.

For dessert we are having mince pies with a pot of tea, while we watch A Christmas Carol, the Michael C Scott version from 1984.

Technological reliance.

*this post was written yesterday, but I wasn’t on WiFi so couldn’t post it… *

Days like today remind me just how much I rely on technology. There has been a problem with the O2 mobile phone network – calls work, texts sort of, and data not at all. That means my smart phone isn’t smart today. It will be fine when I get home and can connect via WiFi, but it won’t work while out and about.

I have a book app, but the only book actually downloaded is the Bible. The rest I’ve been reading online. I can’t do that today.

I have a couple of albums downloaded, but the rest are to be streamed. I can’t do that today.

I have games that I enjoy playing on my phone, but they all require a data connection. I can’t play them today.

Several times in conversation I’ve gone to look something up, check a date etc on Google. I can’t do that today.

When I get home I need to download more books and some more of my music. This lunch time has been very quiet, and I’ve missed not being able to access anything or message Mr J properly. We have text, but even that isn’t 100% today and he’s been waiting for a phone call from his work, so I haven’t wanted to call him and block his line in case they called.

I’m not sure how to reduce my reliance on technology, but think I need to start making small steps towards it. First step, buy a physical book occasionally.

In the meantime I’m going to make sure I do some downloading when I get home.

Tuesday 4th December 2018.

Can you believe my darling daughter is five months old today? I can’t. It is going so fast. Here she is with her fur-brother Bertie. Our other dog Alfie tends to ignore her as he is very old now. Mr J sent me this picture while I was at work, and I love it. Bertie doesn’t often sit still nicely but he loves his sister.

I seem to be settling into something of a routine for work now. Mornings aren’t proving too bad at the moment, helped by my Lumie Bodyclock alarm, which lights up gradually before the alarm goes off.

Mornings have been made much easier by the recent wardrobe clear out, as I don’t have to spend ages finding an outfit. That task is also made easier by the fact work have seriously relaxed the dress code while I’ve been off, but I intend to try and stick to the old one and look vaguely professional. Call me old fashioned but it is a bit off putting walking round the office and seeing lots of t-shirts around the place. I might wear jeans now on a very cold day, but with a smart blouse and cardigan. I’ll try to stick to trousers and skirts the rest of the time.

Speaking of cold days, here are a few pictures I took on the way to work this morning. It didn’t get above 3°c until I arrived at work just before 9am.

This is just a supermarket car park bollard, but doesn’t it look lovely all frosted up.

I was wrapped up nice and warm against the cold. This scarf is the size of a small blanket so it can be worn as a hood and wrapped round loads of times if required.

Breakfast was eaten at my desk this morning. I packed it up last night, ready. 100% Peanut butter on brown sourdough bread, followed by my homemade yoghurt with honey, almonds, and chia seeds.

I forgot to get a picture of lunch, but it was a cheese and tapenade sandwich in granary bread, and some cream of chicken soup.

The Book People (a book selling franchise) had a stall in the office at lunchtime, so I picked this up for DD. It is actually for ages 3+, but we can read it to her for a couple of years before we let her play with the figures.

Afternoon coffee with a bakewell slice, out in the break out area.

For dinner we had chilli which I had made previously and frozen. I served it with brown rice and nachos. I love nachos for a change, with lots of sour cream and cheese.

Dessert was this ridiculously indulgent hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows, cream, and Holly sprinkles because after all, tis the season. We drank these whilst watching White Christmas which is my favourite Christmas film of all time.

I also started work crocheting a mitten as my leather gloves leave me with painfully cold fingers. When I finish the pair I will put a picture on.

Food for the day

I had a bit of a disappointing breakfast and lunch, because I bought them at work.

For breakfast I had a slice of brown toast with one rasher of bacon and one sausage. Not bad, but not the best quality. It cost £1.30, plus 20p for some hot water to make a coffee. I won’t pay their prices for coffees, so have some decent quality coffee bags here ready.

Lunch was a ham and sliced egg sandwich on a brown roll, with mayo. I also had some spicy wedges. It just tree asted a bit blah and bland, and the wedges just had chilli flakes on. I was hoping for a spicy seasoning. It cost £2.80.

So, that’s £4.10 I wish I hadn’t spent. Never mind, lesson learned. Pack food up the night before for the next day. I was just too tired last night so it was a calculated risk. Tomorrow’s food is now in the fridge ready to take in the morning.

Dinner was just what I needed as the antidote to the bland and dissapointing food earlier on. Pesto roast chicken with a roast veg assortment. We had fennel, courgette, celery, tomato, red pepper and baby onions. The flavours were rich and the veg was perfectly tender with the edge of bite that it needed to stop it straying into mushy territory.

Everything was cooked at 200°c for around 50 minutes. The chicken is literally just a chicken breast with a spoonful of shop bought pesto spread on it before cooking in a roasting dish.

The veg was simply chopped into bite sized pieces and put into a roasting dish with a drizzle of oil. Towards the end I tipped the juice from the pesto chicken bowl into the veg bowl and stirred it around. This stopped the chicken being soggy and meant we didn’t lose any of the flavour.

For dessert we had a pot of Christmas blend coffee and the first of the seasons mince pies. I always try to wait until December before having them, even though they are available much earlier. I prefer to keep them to the month of Christmas, just as I won’t usually eat hot cross buns before Easter.

What food spells the start of the Christmas season for you?

The Christmas Pudding tea cosy

The Christmas tea cosy is now in use 🙂 I put it on the pot this morning, and Mr J used it this afternoon. Isn’t it lovely?

Mr J doesn’t often think to make himself a pot of tea or a proper coffee, so I was very pleased he did today. I made sure I had proper treats and tea/coffee breaks while I was off on maternity leave, so now it is his turn.