Garden Goals for 2017

It’s so nice to finally have a garden to have Garden Goals for.

We had a little yard at our old house that we spent a lot of time making lovely (read about that here), but now that we have the extra room we’re thinking about how to make our outside space into an extra room of our house.

Garden Goals for 2017
Our old yard was small but perfect formed…

We spend a lot of time outside when the weather is good enough as the toddler is an explorer to say the least… couple that with the new slide and the Wendy House and you can imagine how hard it is for us to keep her indoors when it’s minus 3 degrees.

But with the beginnings of spring’s new tulips and daffodils poking out of the soil it’s nearly time to let her loose in the sandpit once one – and it is time to start thinking about what we’re going to plant int the coming weeks: what flowers we love and what parts of our home and garden we want to make a feature out of. Read more

My kitchen and I are waiting for pay day… Carrot and Beetroot Chunky Soup

I love winter. And the fact that autumn is here and winter is just around the corner makes me giddy with anticipation.
There are three things that I love most about winter…
The Clothes
Deep colours and textures. Thick knits and riding boots. Ooh and don’t get me started on the coats and hats *insert slight swoon here*. 
At the tender of age of 21 25 29, my mum STILL buys me an advent calendar. I love nothing better than the family service at Church on Christmas eve, then heading home to watch Father Christmas and the Snowman. Christmas day is always full to the brim with love and laughter. And ‘twixmas’ (the week between Christmas and New Year) is just one big snuggle-fest. Cup of tea in front of the telly with the fire roaring away, the room lit by the Christmas tree lights. Bliss! 
The Food
I love stodge! There, I said it. 
I think that carbohydrates are wonderful, be it in the form of roast potatoes, mash, breads, pies, dumplings, cakes… I’m not fussy. During the winter, I tend not to pay too much attention to what I eat. I look after myself the whole year through, so I feel I am entitled to a little comfort eating when the weather turns cold. 
Soup with CroΓ»tons anyone? *Inset bigger swoon here*. 
I have just returned to work from a ten month stint of maternity leave, and as you will know if you read my blog, money is super-dooper tight at the moment. 
The weather is getting cold. I have actually resorted to using both the central heating and the tumble dryer… 
The cold weather called for something comforting, warming and cheap for tea. I had a wonder around the garden to see what I could spot…
Lots of lovely little carrots…
Some slightly bigger lovely little carrots…. 
An abundance of baby beetroot…
A million green tomatoes!… but not the berries… Don’t think you can eat those…
This calls for a concoction soup!… It’s a bit out there… but trust me…
Warming Carrot and Beetroot soup with home made croutons… My three favourite S’es. Sweet, salty and stodgy!
You will need: (serves four hungry people)
Carrots – either 2 large or 10 small – FREE from the garden
2 Baby beetroot – FREE from the garden
1 Onion – FREE from the garden
Butter – 20 p for two generous knobs
Veg or chicken stock – 8 p for one stock cube with water (I usually throw in a kettle full of water)
2 pieces of bread (white / brown / wholemeal will work – best results from bread slightly past its best) – around 12 p for both pieces
Total cost: 40 p! 10 p per person.
What to do: 
Wash all the veggies, and peel the beetroot and onions. You can peel the carrots if you like but it doesn’t make a difference.
Chop all the veggies – the smaller you chop them, the quicker the soup will cook. Best left chunky if using a slow cooker.
Fry the onions in a saucepan using the butter until soft then throw in the carrots and beetroot. Stir until all of the vegetables are coated in butter and sizzling slightly.
Crumble in the stock cube and add a kettle full of boiling water. Bring back to the boil. Turn the heat down once bubbling, pop the lid on and leave to simmer until all of he ingredients are soft.
Meanwhile, cut the crusts off the bread and cut into cubes. Melt a little more butter in a frying pan and add the cubed bread. Let the bread sizzle and toss occasionally until golden.
After around 15 minutes of simmering, the soup should be soft enough to whiz up with a hand blender and serve.
Make it as smooth or as chunky as you like and don’t forget to throw in a handful of your home made croutons.
Best serves in your favourite bowl, piping hot! 
Season to taste – I like a good amount of pepper in my soup!
Seconds anyone? 
Tasty and good for you – fantastic combination.
This is a scrummy home made soup, especially considering the price tag! I know not everyone has veggies readily available in their garden, but when March comes around, think on.
If money is tight I would encourage you to set a little aside for planting a few root vegetables or fruit plants. Seeds cost next to nothing these days… you can even get seeds and plants in the POUND SHOP!
We have six garden boxes full of all kinds of easy to grow veggies for those weeks when we really can’t afford to shop and the fridge is bare! Just look at the warming meals you can throw together with minimal money and effort.
What do you grow??
Thanks so much for reading,