Category Archives: Food

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House!

Check out the gingerbread house the man and I made from scratch! pic.twitter.com/rvWF4EkxFQ

— Stacey Smith (@StaceInspire) December 29, 2013

We made this using Mary Berry’s Gingerbread House recipe just after Christmas. It took us ages but it was worth it. Our nephews had fun demolishing it.

Lovely Jubbly Jubilee party

Yesterday, on the 2nd of June I celebrated a very special lady with my family. My Nan!

My Nan rocks.

We decided a few months ago that we would have a Jubilee party for her 77th birthday as the two coincided. She has always been a fan of the Royals and I think that has rubbed off on her grandchildren too. I’m not going to get into a pros/cons of the Royals debate, Twitter has depressed me enough with all the joyless miseries. I enjoy British traditions and I think it made it an even better excuse to celebrate a memorable occasion. Oh and of course you may know me by now, I love a theme for my nails!

Jubilee Nails.

My friend Emma solved the what to wear problem by kindly lending me a dress which I spotted her in on Facebook. This is me in it with my two ‘little’ brothers Ricky and Joe. I love this picture so much.

Me and my brothers.

I made a Spotify playlist for the occasion with one song for every year from the last 60 years. We all love music in our family and having a sing song. My cousin Charlotte filmed everyone singing ‘Two Little Boys’. I can’t post it because it’s not on YouTube but it’s probably for the best, haha. My stepdad Tom made a big box covered in Union Jacks which we used as a DJ stand i.e. something to put the iPad and speakers on.

Jubilee party Spotify playlist

We didn’t want Nan to have to faff around so we all made something to bring, her only instructions were to make a trifle.

I made Jubilee Battenburg from this recipe from Wright Little Baker

Jubilee Battenburg cake

I also made some red velvet cupcakes with buttercream and some nifty icing Union Jacks , sorry Union FLAGS I got from Icing World.

Jubilee Cupcakes.

Man being a man wanted to make something meaty so he made BBQ pulled pork from the most recent Good Food magazine. Plenty of opportunity for pork pulling jokes.

Mom made a ton of this amazing warm potato salad with blue cheese. Nom nom. Quite jealous she got to make it into bubble and squeak today with the leftovers. Other foodie mentions, my  Uncle Steven’s marinated chicken, the spicy one was my fave, my cousin Emily’s sausage rolls and not forgetting my cousin Liz’s cheese and pineapple on sticks! A party isn’t a party without something on cocktail sticks!

Despite the weather not being perfect the rain stayed away for the afternoon. My Nan has a pretty massive garden so we put two gazebos up and got on with it. My Mom got too cold in the end and went and stole a blanket off Nan’s bed. She will thank me for posting this.

Mom keeping warm in the British weather.

My naughty cousins managed to get behind everyone without them noticing with flags. This is the moment they caught us.

Me and my man Ban. Naughty minxy cousins in the background!

Fran my brother’s girlfriend took all these ace photographs. We went to her exhibition on Friday night, you can see her website here.

We added candles (a ‘2’ and a ‘7’) to Nan’s trifle and sang her happy birthday. By then I was sporting my Mom’s hat and a leather jacket donated by Nan’s friend, even my hot blood gave in in the end!

This is a photo of the full rabble (Minus my Aunt and cousin who are on holiday).

Me (second right) and my family.
Photograph by Francesa Hancox

This says it all for me. God bless the Queen of our brilliant family.

Nan’s Facebook status. Yes she’s on Facebook!

Hope you had a lovely jubbly Jubilee too.

Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

What I ate today – Porky Sunday!

Porky Sunday!

Another post for the April writing challenge.

This one’s funny because it’s what non social media people think the only thing we post about it what we had for dinner. Well this actually is.

A hearty breakfast before a day of spring cleaning,  planting new veg and flowers in the garden and today’s couch to 5K run.

  • Bacon, hickory smoked sausages, beans, tomatoes, seeded brown bread

We ate breakfast quite late so I didn’t eat again until our dinner…

  • Roast pork, roast potatoes, Chantenay carrots, Broccoli, peas, gravy
  • Home made apple and blackberry crumble

I have two weeks left of my Couch to 5K programme and I pig a bit more at the weekends but I’m going to try to be good this week and not eat too much.

Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

Christmas 2011 and New Year

A round up of Christmas and New Year, mainly just to get me back in the blogging zone….

Christmas Food

I made cupcakes, peppermint creams and ginger biscuits. This year it was my family’s turn to have us but we cooked Christmas din dins this year to give my Mom and Stepdad a break. It was great. I prepared a lot of the veg the day before. We made turkey with lemon and sage butter with streaky bacon and Topside of Beef. I made Delia Smith’s bread sauce which turned out well. For pud we bought a Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Christmas pud and Ban made a chocolate and raspberry ganache tart inspired by the one Michel Roux Jr did on Masterchef.

Presents

We had some very helpful monetary donations from various family members which we have put towards a new fridge freezer and wallpaper for our living room. Not usually one for branded products I seem to have developed a longing for all things Joseph Joseph. We now have the indexed chopping boards , Preparation  bowls set and Fold flat grater. I love the bright colours.

My River Cottage Everyday cookbook will keep us in new recipes for a while and there’s enough Thornton’s Continental left in the house to delay Slimming World for another week. Still on a kitchen theme my brother bought us a pestle and mortar which we’ve been after for a while and I’ve had an addition to my collection of Letraset Promarkers.

People

Ban’s brother Richard lives in Chicago and he came over for a week over the Christmas period. We spent Christmas Day and evening with my family (see Games below) and Boxing Day with his Mom and Dad, brothers and two nephews Sam and Tom who had a crazy amount of presents as always. My favourite was the Harry Potter night bus. I REALLY want some Harry Potter LEGO.

Games

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without games. On Christmas Day we played Rapidough and had a good singalong to traditional songs like Tenacious D  Tribute, haha! On Boxing Day we played Top Gear board game with our nephews and then the more grown up Cranium which is quite hard. On New Year’s Eve my little cousin Becky bought her new games Pass The Bomb and LOGO’s to play. At our friends new year party we played Dance Central. I’m more of a head banger than a dancer but it was a laugh. Just imagine me trying to dance to MC Hammer and Britney Spears. Thankfully it’s not on YouTube yet.

Oh and before I forget….Skyrim! I bought it for Ban hoping he’d like it but I’ve been sucked into it too. Awesome.

TV

Doctor Who

A nice heartwarming episode and for a change I didn’t have to hide behind a cushion.

Eastenders

Pat’s dead! David Wicks came back though. Bonus.

Sherlock

Clever and brilliant. Best thing on TV.

Erm.. anyway that’s about it for now. I’ve written something at least.

Happy New Year everybody!

Stace x

Veggie week seven day challenge

After being inspired by Hugh on his River Cottage Veg programme we decided to try and go veggie for a whole week. We often eat meat free meals anyway but we set ourselves the challenge to see if we could do it. (We had to overdose on fillet steak on Saturday night before we commenced though!)

These are the meals we had.

Sunday – Butternut and sage risotto

Monday – Roast vegetable couscous with feta cheese

A Stacey throw together special. Roast peppers, onions and tomatoes, make cous cous with a nice stock (I use Knorr veg stockpot), mix it all together, crumble feta on the top (in my case 4 syns worth). Job done.

Tuesday – Sweet potato and spinach dhal

Wednesday – Veggie sausage casserole

I cooked leeks, carrots, butterbeans, a squirt of tomato puree, smoke paprika and veg stock on the hob while the Cauldron Lincolnshire sausage were in the oven. When they were done I cut them into bite size pieces and mixed it all together before serving. I quite enjoyed the Cauldron sausages, peppery and herby and I didn’t really feel pork deprived. *Insert your own joke here!!*

Thursday – Spinach & Mushroom Lasagne

Just my usual recipe, I used fresh spinach, dried wholewheat lasagne and made a mushroom sauce with some Light Philadelphia. Virtuously resisted having garlic bread with it too.

Friday – Hot-crumbed baby mozzarella, beetroot and potato salad recipe

This was niiiice. I’m not much of a salad muncher preferring hot food but you can’t go wrong with hot melty cheese.  As usual I got a bit excited with the chilli flakes but it did great for my winter sniffs.

Saturday – Veggie burgers

These were much tastier that I imagined they would be, I could’ve eaten the mix on its own. Next time I won’t use honey though as I prefer a more savoury taste. So filling I ate them on their own with no buns.
All in all we did well. A couple of bacon cravings but it’s definitely made me realise we could eat even more meals without meat.  Let me know of your own favourite veggie recipes.

Happy eating.

Stace

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My October Recipes

Here are some of the recipes we cooked in October. Click on the links for the recipes if you fancy trying them too. : )

Sticky Toffee Apple cake 

This was on the cover of the Good Food Magazine which I subscribe to. I ended up having to cook it for a lot longer than was specified but it turned out OK in the end. The toffee sauce was naughty. More naughty because the supermarket didn’t have any small bags of toffees so I ended up having to buy a £5.00 tub of assorted Thornton’s toffee and fudge. What a shame that was! : ) I can’t find a link at the moment so I’ve linked to a baking blog I found called Cakes from Kim which helpfully has the recipe for you.

Ginger Stars 

This was just a quickie. I used stem ginger as well as ground ginger and made double. They still didn’t last long!  I had some dark chocolate in the cupboard so I dipped some of them in that and let it set for a while in the fridge.

Soul Soothing Chicken Soup

Last weekend I wasn’t feeling too good with a bad shoulder so I made some stock from the chicken we had the night before and made this nice soup.

Butternut Squash Pie

A pie, with no meat! Butternut loves a good roasting and afterwards we put a nice blanket of pastry around it before scoffing it down with some peas.

Risotto with Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s current River Cottage is all about Veg. Even though we’re not veggie I do like to try vegetarian recipes and it’s good to get more veg towards 5 a day. There have been quite a few great recipes  in the episodes of the series already so far. I cooked this as I am a bit of a risotto queen. I used my Stepdad Tom’s lovely homegrown tomatoes and the mozarella was a nice change from parmesan.

Honey Roast Ribs with Star Anise

Another Nigel Slater recipe. I had to make do with smaller supermarket ribs but even so these were sticky and rather lovely.

Aubergine and Green Bean Curry

This was one from River Cottage Veg on Sunday night. It required making a paste from scratch which always makes for a better curry. As always I didn’t really pay much attention to quantities and amended the recipe as it was only for the two of us. I’ve been a bit off aubergine lately so this restored my faith. I prob won’t use quite as much passata next time as it made it a little sweet but with a nan bread it was dunky and delicious.

Nom nom.

Happy scoffing readers.

Stace x

Follow me @StaceInspire

Dartboard Birthday Cake

It was my brother’s birthday at the end of May and he’s been big into playing darts lately so me and Ban decided to make him a cake.

Bear in mind although since I got over my egg phobia I’ve baked a lot more cakes we’ve never done much actual decorating.

So off we trundled to Icing World on the Warwick Road in Acock’s Green where the helpful ladies behind the counter told us which icing we should buy. We didn’t have a recipe or design as such, just an idea in our heads about how we were going to do it.

We made three separate cakes so we could have  the red, green and cream colours of the dartboard when it was cut and spread each layer with cream and raspberry jam. Quite pleased with the result considering we’re novice cake decorators!! My brother and family enjoyed it too.

 

 

Inspired to get fit and healthy – Week Four

Week Four Monday 28th June 2010

…and so week four begins.

1) Exercise more – I have run. Like Forrest Gump. I’ve ran to see Mom and Tom and my in laws and round the block. I am trying to see how far I can go without stopping to walk. On Saturday when JB got home we went to have a walk around the lake at Coton Park near Kingsbury Water Park which was really nice despite being bitten to buggery.

On Sunday JB was at work so rather that sitting in bed watching Something for the Weekend  I got up and ran to see Mom and Tom. At 9 in the morning!  On a Sunday! My brother Joe was in bed (fair enough for an 18 year old) but my brother Rick had come round too as he is cycling more and was going for a ride. Me, Mom, Tom and Rick walked to Elmdon Park and then Rick went off for a bike ride. We walked all around the top of the park and did two miles. Not bad considering it was the hottest day of the year. Unfortunately the cross on the back of my Sport’s bra gave me stupid tan lines. I’m hoping to up my running and maybe think about doing another more structured sport too when I’m fitter.

2) Eat Healthier – I’m doing well on this one. I don’t really feel like I’m depriving myself and it’s good not to feel bloated from gorging myself. If anything some days I am not eating enough points because I am eating a lot of fruit and veg. I soon remedy that with a Curly Wurly and some milk though.

3) Lose weight – I have lost another 2lbs so I have lost a total of 5lb in three weeks. Not bad. Another 1lb next week and I’ll have reached my 5% goal.

My goals for the coming week are to keep at it with the running, Wii Fit when I am too tired and continue to walk rather than drive whenever possible.

Run Forrest Run.

Stace x

Seven foods that makes Weight Watchers easier

As you may know from previous posts I am watching what I eat by using the Weight Watchers Points system. Before any of you that know me start grumbling, yes I know I’m not fat but I want to literally watch what I eat a bit more closely. I am nearing the end of week three and I do feel much better for it. I am allowed 18 points a day so here are the foods that I think have helped me in times of wanting to eat naughty things.

1) Curly Wurly – 2 points.

Not a massive chocoholic usually, I love all food equally (I try not to discriminate you see! ) although I have found that now I’m eating healthily during the day I do fancy something sweet in the evening.

2) Weight Watchers Malt Loaf – 1 point

Usually when I get home from work I need a snack and this is great. Bit of Flora Light and it sorts me out until dinner time.

3) Turkey Slices – 1/2 point bargain

Good protein and lovely with Marmite on Brown Bread

4) No Sugar Squash – Free

I never drink enough and struggle with getting excited about water so squash is good. (Don’t buy that shocking Volvic lemon and lime water though. I did yesterday and worked out too late that it was 1 1/2 points and full of sugar. Volvic Fail.

5) Lovely fruit and vegetables! – A lot of veg especially are 0 points and fruit is good for sugar levels and tend to be low in points too. It’s not really soup weather but I made a nice butternut squash soup on Friday for 0 points. Stir Fries are always a winner.

6) Chocolate Mini Milk – 1/2 Point! Amazing.

7) Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles – 1 Point each.

I love waffles anyway, good for a snack or a light lunch and of course with some Marmite too!

How interesting was that!? Haha. You read it 😛

Happy Sunday people, apart from the unmentionable match of course. : (

Stace x

Inspired to get fit and healthy – Week Three

Week Three Monday 21st June

Week two complete. Mostly positive.

1) Exercise more – I have exercised everyday. On Thursday I finally got the courage up to run a bit rather than just walk. It was fun! I can’t go far yet obv but I’m deffo going to try to build up. I was more self conscious to start with which is unlike me but then I figured out it was mainly because I have two things on my front which maybe need more control. So on Friday I went to Brum and bought myself a Sport’s bra. Fancy me having a Sport’s bra! Crazy shit. I can now bounce all over the place and yet not bounce. Which I did, literally, around the bedroom when I tried it on.

As running was such fun, on Saturday I went to see my Uncle Steven who runs marathons. He kindly let me borrow his super fandangly heart rate monitor and all the software that goes with it. I have Long QT syndrome so I wanted to make sure I won’t push myself too hard. It’s the nuts! It transfers all the data on the watch to your laptop and then puts it all in lovely graphs to chart your progress. Technology! Still blows my tiny mind.

With my ever increasing motivation I went to the shop for proper runners. My cousin Vikki came with me (she runs like the wind for fun) and a lovely man made me go on a treadmill. I am not a fan of treadmills. If I go at the gym I walk on an incline but NEVER run or let go. However it was very clever because after I had embarassed myself he then had a video of the back of my legs which made the situation much better of course. Anyway, there was a point to all of it and he showed me the running shoes that would be best to support my dodgy ankles, my dodgy knees and my manly calf muscles. Despite part of them being pink I chose these.

..

Mizuno Wave Inspire 6

They are called Inspire too, surely meant to be then.

The next day with my new gear I worked out that running round the block is 0.8 miles so I ran until I got knackered, walked and then ran again. When I got home I had a rest and uploaded the info and then wanted to do it again, so I did.

Apparently you should have a rest  day so I am going to try and run on alternate days. My first goal is to be able to run a mile without stopping. Not sure how long this will take but I’m just going to see how I go.

2) Eat Healthier – Sunday to Tuesday JB’s brother was over from America so that meant every night was eating out. Sunday Roast dinner at my in laws, Monday curry house, Tuesday pub. I kept to counting my points though and although the curry house was the hardest I felt better for not pigging out. I am so enjoying and cherishing my food more now. Everything tastes so much better and my belly isn’t so bloaty all the time. That may be more to do with less cow’s milk. When I want some milk now I have goat’s milk which is supposedly better for you.

3) Lose weight – Well after all that I lost 0lbs at all in week two. With all that exercise as well. Ho hum. I was a bit pissed off at first but I must keep on and remember my focus is health and fitness, not turning into a stick.

My goals for this week are to run and try and beat my times round the block and to my family home and back. I need to drink more fluids as well. I’m not a big water drinker but I know I should try.

Thanks for reading my blog if you did. If you didn’t then don’t worry about it. : )

The same weight Stace with new found leg and arse muscles x

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