Sunday, 26 January 2020

The One Hundred Books Challenge

I'm Challenging Myself to read ONE HUNDRED books during 2020 … and remembering to list them on here  🙂

February =


A slow start and very 'into detail'.  The whole book is about them deciding to buy and then finding their new place, not actually doing anything to it!!   6/10


Some good recipes, worth keeping  7/10


January Total = 8 Books


A beautiful book, but not my sort of recipes.  The reminiscences are lovely to read but very personally family orientated to the writer.   Leaving - 6/10


Not the book I was expecting at all, I don't even remember buying this!! 
Leaving - 5/10


Re-read this to decide if I wanted to keep it - I don't.  It's a good book but too simplistic for me and too many meat recipes.   Leaving -6/10


A good book, gorgeous photos of the dishes, but not totally sure that I'll keep this one as there are only four definite recipes that I would make.  Holding on to it until I make up my mind, as I do have the rest of their books.     Keeping (for now)   6/10


A good book, very thought provoking    Gifted - 8/10


Brilliant - keeping  8/10


A really good read -  but leaving -  8/10


Brilliant - keeping   9/10


Saturday, 25 January 2020

Challenge One - The One Hundred Books Challenge

The first Challenge I'm setting myself this year is a year long one and it is to read one hundred books over the course of this year. 

 I seem to have gone from loving books and reading all the time to being much more intermittent with my reading.  Just recently, like so many other people I've been picking up my phone more and more and of course this has meant that sometimes I simply fill my time with social media, playing games and well basically … just not reading books.

Now I have decided that I simply want to bring my love of reading books back to the forefront of my mind.  Hopefully giving myself the Challenge of reading a minimum of two books a week should help to do this.

To start me off and to inspire me I have just been around the house counting the books that we own.  The ones on bookshelves, the ones on ledges and the ones stacked by the side of the bed ... all of them.

The grand total of physical books in this house is 362.

I also have my tablet which holds all the books that I used to have on a Kindle.  There's around 200 on there,  or maybe more now as I tend to pick up any Kindle freebies that I spot on Amazon that sound interesting.

I have some books at the Van which will have to be added into the main total, I'm guessing around 25-30, we'll see when we get back there next month, but I'm thinking that this will still bring our total number of already owned physical books to just under 400, which is a big improvement on the 619 that I counted up to in 2015.

Over the years books have come in, both new and second-hand, and some have gone out again to car boot sales and charity shops and the number we own has fluctuated up and down, but then last year we decided to start slimming down the collection properly in our bid for a simpler life and it's nice to see that we seem to be on target to reducing the number we own.

Ideally I would like to own just one hundred books … but I doubt that would ever happen.  Perhaps I can get to one hundred fiction and non-fiction (biographies etc) and then another one hundred cook books … now that might be achievable!!

Anyway thanks to my counting of books I now know that this bookshelf will easily hold one hundred books, and as this is one of the few pieces of furniture that we intend keeping once we sell our house it's good to know that if I can downsize all the non-cookbooks to one just hundred, they will all fit comfortably on the shelves of this unit and we will have the cupboard for storage of other things.  My cookbooks I hope will in future all be able to fit in my kitchen!

I will be listing all the books that I have read and am currently reading, on the post that published just before this one and that is the post that can be linked to from the link on the right-hand sidebar, under My Challenges 2020  so you will be able to follow my progress throughout the year.

Better go, I have some reading to do.

I started this last night as my bedtime reading ... it's good.  I'm also loving their television series on Sunday mornings 'Living on the Veg'.  How nice to see a good vegan cooking show on television. 🙂

Sue xx

Friday, 10 January 2020

Happy New Year

Late … but better late than never.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, and that you are looking forward to this New Year and new decade with hope and renewed vigour and energy.  

There's no new Challenge as yet but I have some ideas that I'm jotting in my notebook and if any of my regular readers have ideas that you think might make for a good week or month long Challenge, that others would be interested in reading about, I would be interested to see your ideas.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Challenge Eight - The £19.25 One Shop Challenge

I used the last of the lettuce from the Challenge this afternoon in my lunchtime sandwich.  It just made me think of the Challenge and what, if anything, I had left now a week after finishing.

Since the Challenge ended I have used up the last of the vegan mayo, made soup out of the onion and the peelings that were stashed in the freezer.  I have 4 Weetabix left in the jar and half of the tub of dairy free spread, which will be used up later as I intend to make some scones and biscuits with some flour I found in the cupboard during my tidy up ready to leave the Van for the Winter.

The pasta sauce and penne pasta is now all gone after a few lovely tomatoey meals and that is it.  This week I've spent my evenings watching Christmassy cooking shows on television and getting myself into a festive mood, I especially like the old Jamie Oliver Christmas shows, as long as I avert my eyes while he stuffs turkeys.  

 I have so many plans whizzing round my head for next year that I am just sitting back and letting them develop.  If one morphs itself into a proper Challenge you will be the first to know.

I'm signing off from this blog now for 2019, with lots of good wishes being sent your way for a very Happy Christmas and a lovely happy and healthy New Year.  

Thank you so much for reading along and commenting during the eight Challenges of 2019, they will remain on the sidebar along with the three Challenges I did during 2018 just in case anyone wants a bit of a readathon on a cold Winters day.

All the very best.  🎄 🎅

Sue xx

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Challenge Eight - The £19.25 One Shop Challenge - Bonus Day and End of Challenge Round Up

Breakfast - Weetabix and the last of the Almond Milk

Dinner - Final portions of Hummus and Seeded Crackers

Not long after my dinner I started making my tea, a simple vegetable stew with the exact same ingredients as the Potato Soup.

Tea - Vegetable Stew

It was deliciously herby and as you can see I strained out a few of the vegetables because I have a packet of ready made pastry in the fridge and they will be the basis of a nice Vegetable Pasty for tomorrows tea.

Five a Day = 4

And that's it Challenge Eight is over.

End of Challenge Round Up

It's been a good Challenge, I like to think I did reasonably well.  The food was varied and healthy and I just about averaged out my Five a Day. So ... what's left. 

 On the shelf I have:

 most of the porridge oats
10 Weetabix
4 portions of penne pasta

In the fridge I have:

1 portion of lettuce
1 red onion
most of the dairy free spread
3 potions of tomato pasta sauce
a tub of cooked vegetables from the stew
(they were still cooling down when this photo was taken)

In the freezer I have:

4 sausages
bag of vegetable scraps and peelings

So I guess I could easily get another days eating out of that if I were to have porridge for breakfast (I make mine with water) soup made with the last onion and the vegetable scraps for lunch and had pasta, sausages, and sauce for tea. 

The meals have been quite varied considering the limited ingredients.

Over the eight days I have had:

2 Weetabix and almond milk, with a small glass of orange juice x 4
Weetabix with 1/3 tin of Sliced Peaches x 2
Porridge with Peaches and a small glass of orange juice 
Toast and coffee

Two bananas

Chickpea Tuna Sandwiches
Bangers, Mash and Baked Beans
Pasta Bake with Garlicky Breadcrumbs
Herby Carrot Soup and Toast
Jacket Potato with spread and Homemade Coleslaw
Hummus and Salad Sandwiches
Spicy Tomato Soup
Jacket Potato with spread, Salad Tomato and Baked Beans with Red Onion
Chickpea Tuna and Lettuce Sandwich 
Potato Soup
Celery Sticks and Hummus
A Salady Picky Bowl
Potato Soup with chunky bread croutons

It's a Challenge I've enjoyed doing, but I am glad that it's over now and I can have a rummage in the near empty fridge and decide what to have for my next meal.  I have a feeling that tomorrows breakfast will still be Weetabix though ... now that I can open a new carton of almond milk  :-)

Thanks for reading along and for all your wonderful comments.

I have loads of ideas for new Challenges, in fact my brain is buzzing with them recently, but I think I'll perhaps wait until the New Year ... perhaps!!

Sue xx

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Challenge Eight - The £19.25 One Shop Challenge - Day Seven

Breakfast 1 - Weetabix and the last of the Orange Juice

Breakfast 2 - Toast And Coffee

It was Sunday, a lazy start reading through my book and a two part-er for breakfast is sometimes just called for while you turn the pages of the latest recipe book you are reading through, it's a known fact that reading about or watching food being made gives you the nibbles 😁

Dinner - Potato Soup with chunky bread croutons.

Well I call them croutons but in reality I just tore up the crust of my loaf,  it was all that was left … Alan had pinched four slices of it to make himself some toast.  He now owes me four slices of his bread … bloody thief!!

Tea - A Salady Picky Bowl

See, it must be love … even after my naughty hubby pinching the last of my bread slices I shared my food with him at teatime.  I made a simple picky style bowl for us to sit and eat while watching the television.  Lots of lovely fresh salady things, the last of the Chickpea Tuna and a big dollop of hummus, with some sliced chicken added to Alan's bowl.

Five a Day = 5

The shelf and fridge is now looking decidedly bare, but there is food left, I was supposed to be making the Vegetable Stew for this night's tea but I didn't so my chopped veggies are still in their jug waiting.  So I am going to do another bonus day and see if I have enough for three good meals.  Back tomorrow to see if I manage it.

Sue xx

Monday, 25 November 2019

Challenge Eight - The £19.25 One Shop Challenge - Day Six

Breakfast - Weetabix with sliced Peaches and a glass of Orange Juice

A nice simple, leisurely Saturday breakfast after walking the dogs, then I set too to make my Potato  Soup for lunch.

Getting my ingredients out of the cupboard and fridge I realised that the exact same ingredients were needed for my Vegetable Stew the next day.  So I doubled up on everything, and had a peeling and chopping session.  As I only had three potatoes I decided to use one and a half in each of the meals.

The ingredients for the soup were added to the saucepan, no sautéing this time, I decided instead to just add herbs, seasoning and cold water to the pan bring it all to the boil and then leave simmering while I got on with other things.  

The other potato, carrot and celery were popped into a jug and covered with water to be stored in the fridge until they were needed.  I peeled the onion but didn't add it to the jug ... that will be chopped and sautéed when I make the stew.

Dinner - Celery Sticks and Hummus

While I was chopping I had the nibbles, as I usually do, no wonder I am never hungry after having a bit of a cookathon. So  I used the last couple of celery sticks to scoop up large amounts of hummus … mmm, possibly make favourite snack of all time!!  As I was then no longer hungry this was classed as my dinner 

Tea - Potato Soup

Ooh this was tasty and made enough for two bowls full, so again I'm tinkering with the menu and having the other half for my dinner tomorrow.


Simple Potato Soup

1.5 potatoes
1 carrot
1 onion
1 stick celery
dried mixed herbs

Chop the carrot, potato, celery and onion into reasonably small pieces, pour in enough water to just about cover the vegetables, add herbs and lightly season.  Bring to the boil and then simmer until everything is nice and soft, around 20 minutes is usually enough.

Take the pan off the heat and whizz with a stick blender to get the vegetables to the consistency that you like.  I missed a few little bits of carrot and potato but it was quite nice to occasionally get them on my spoon when I was eating the soup.  Finally season to taste and eat while still nice and warm.  If like me you find you have enough for another portion, leave this to cool in a jug or bowl and then put, covered into the fridge over night.

This also freezes exceptionally well, as do most homemade soups.

A very basic recipe, but I have been asked to say how I make even my most simple recipes, a pleasure … I hope this helps.

Five a Day = 6

Sue xx