…how I spend most days with a million and one things to write about, and when I get 5 minutes to write them down my head empties and all I can think to write about is a single solitary “bugger.”
There’s been a big gap between meal plan posts because discovering Oliver has issues with dairy left me feeling a bit lost and “what do I cook now?!”. I don’t know why, most of the foods I cook are either dairy-free or have ingredients that can be substituted with ‘fake’ milks like oat or almond. I even made a dairy free fish pie last week!
Anyway, after 2 bad budgeting months because of one thing and another and the lack of meal plan mojo, I’m back on the saddle to bring in May on as small a budget as possible (not least because it’s Oliver’s birthday at the end of the month). I’ve just spent the last of the money in my purse (£17.68) on a half price chicken, reduced bacon, reduced spicy sausage, value carrots/apples/bananas/tomatoes/cucumber, bread etc and I’m going to try and get that to spread over the next two weeks. Should be FINE :)
- Tues 30th – veggie soup (root canal day, don’t want anything too tough!)
- Weds 1st – roast chicken & homemade chips
- Thurs 2nd – baked potatoes & salad/baked beans
- Fri 3rd – pizza night!
- Sat 4th – spicy sausage ‘stew’ & rice
- Sun 5th – leek & potato soup
- Mon 6th – chicken & bacon pasta
As usual each meal will be served with at least one portion of veg (except the soups which contain it!) and leftovers will be lunch the next day. Should have enough chicken, bacon & veg leftover to come up with some more meal next week. Nom nom nom.
Further to my last dairy free post, where you’ll remember I moaned that everything contains dairy, I set about creating a meal plan for the week (having seriously lost my mojo with the whole planning thing since going dairy free) and hit a bit of a stumbling block when I realised that both of my usual pizza dough recipes contain milk. I’ve not yet figured out if it’s safe to replace milk with water in most recipes or indeed which of the fake milks are stable enough for baking – I can’t help but feel it’s easier to just avoid the typical dairy things altogether.
Anyway, pizza. We have homemade pizza most weeks so had a bit of a googley for a new recipe and found a good one that is so easy — ridiculously simple — I made Karl make it. Look at his hairy hands:
This one is for you if you want dairy free pizza (we’ll get to the dilemma of the toppings shortly) or if you don’t know how to make pizza dough. Of course in hindsight it’s a basic bread recipe and I’ve not the foggiest why I’ve not done similar before given that I make bread fairly frequently. Mega props to Elaine from Mortgage Free in Three for her idea of using a terracotta plant pot saucer as a bread / pizza stone – mine was cooked to perfection.
While on the bakingmad site I found a bunch of other recipes for kids including a pretzel one which I’m thinking of making with Izz as she loves helping me and I love pretzels. Win win. (I really should post some of the baking adventures we get up to.)
Anyway, back to the pizza: the big issue was not the pizza dough but the toppings. How on earth do you make something worthy of being called a pizza without the cheese? General twitter consensus was that this is a futile task but I’m up for the challenge. Ended up with very thinly sliced potatoes, courgettes and a drizzle of olive oil; I am sure I read this suggestion on a food blog somewhere. It was fairly pants as pizzas go. Topping suggestions on a postcard…
If you’re a super duper smartypants you may remember that I recently alluded to some things happening here that would hopefully be the catalyst for a positive change in my daily routine. Yes indeedy, as of Monday (yesterday) Karl started working part time: that is, 8am-1pm in his existing job.
You can read the various “why”s over in Karl’s entry but in short the theory is that this gives me all morning to dedicate to the kiddos, and then from about 1:30pm-4:30pm of an afternoon to give to my work while Karl wrangles the monsters. This means I can get more done in the day, which means I should be able to actually have evenings to myself instead of eyes glued to the laptop.
We’re on day 2 of the new hours and already I think it’s working. I mean, I’m still working in the evening because I have so much to do and I’m desperately trying to get a couple of jobs knocked on the head (btw, never work with Drupal) but I’m not switching my laptop on until the afternoon which means my stress levels have plummeted. Instead of darting out of the room to try and cram a few minutes work in every 5 minutes (which inevitably leads to interruption from the kids which means I then get pissy) I can give them my full attention. AND, even though I’m “only” dedicating a small block of time to work instead of the whole day, I’m actually clocking up more time working overall. Case in point: yesterday I managed nearly 4.5 productive hours instead of my usual 2-if-I’m-lucky. (If you work 8 hour days in an office with hot coffee, sod you.)
Financially we will be worse off in the short term I imagine, but only while I get to grips with getting more work in and billed – at which point my hourly rate should more than make up the difference in working hours.
I just hope that this is a permanent change and not just fluke, because I have been so stressed lately I’ve come close to jacking the whole bloody lot in and going back out to work. Cross your fingers, eh?
In Wales this weekend – don’t miss me too much :)