31/07/2014

Thankful Thursday | 14

written by Laura.
I'm really sorry I missed last weeks, I was recovering from my brothers 18th Birthday! 18! The time really does fly by but oh well, I guess we have all the time in the world. So, I'm just gonna get on with it.

This week I am thankful for:
14 - being able to talk to my Pamp (that's my grandfather by the way). I obviously can't make it down the stairs and he can't make it up so we have to make do with a few words and a kiss on the cheek at the end if his Tuesday visits. But, as I went to my brothers birthday dinner (or should I say dragged myself) we got to chat all evening. Being permanently bed bound, this was a huge feat but it was made completely worth it for that small pleasure. I'm so lucky to have lovely grandparents.


27/07/2014

Bake of the week! Pizza!

Who doesn't love pizza? I mean, you could have anything under the sun piled high on top of that perfect doughy base. And, pizza's great for Vegans too, you don't necessarily need cheese or meats to make an awesome pizza. Lately, we've been going back to our perfect recipes over and over again for special days watching a new movie. So, we thought we'd share our recipes, one gluten free and one not to suit everyone's needs.

First, here's our Gluten Free Pizza Base by Minimalist Baker which Laura has been loving (she even prefers it to non gluten free bases!). This base is super easy to make as you need no proving, kneading or anything fancy like that. Basically, this is what a 'rustic' pizza looks like and you won't expect it to taste so damn good. Laura normally tops hers with a few sundried tomatoes, some pesto and courgette slithers. But in the picture above she's changed it to pineapple, tuna (Laura's diet post coming soon) and sweetcorn. Delish.

Now, a more traditional Italian mamma's pizza that everyone will want more and more of. Of course, this is my favourite pizza base and it's well tried and tested so we know you won't be disappointed. We got this recipe from the Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course book, which is great for any budding chefs. So, we're going to share this recipe with you.

Gordon Ramsay's Pan Pizza (serves 2)

Ingredients:
1x 7g sachet dried yeast
1/2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
250g strong bread flour
1/2 tbsp fine sea salt
160ml warm water
  • Mix together the yeast, sugar and warm water in a bowl and set aside for a few minutes.
  • Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add salt and then make a well in the center. Add the oil into the well, followed by the yeast mix.
  • With a wooden spoon bring the flour into the well from the sides and mix until a dough forms. Then hand knead on a floured work surface for 10 minutes until smooth.
  • Put the dough into a clean mixing bowl and cover, leave for an hour and doubled in size.
  • Punch the dough once to release air then knead to push out any left over air bubbles.
  • Half the dough and set one half aside.
  • Roll the dough out to the size of one of your frying pans. Oil the chosen pan and put on the hob over a medium heat. Preheat the grill to a high heat.
  • Press the pizza dough into the pan and start to add your toppings. Let the pizza cook ove the hob until the bottom is crisped to your liking.
  • Put the pan pizza under the preheated grill and let your toppings cook.
  • When your pizza top is done perfectly for you, take it out and serve. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
  • Stuff your face.

21/07/2014

2 Weeks Notice: an M.E. special.

written by Laura.
I don't really like to say how bad I'm feeling (my default answer is 'I'm alright') but lately I've had to due to my health. Lately, I just seem to be getting worse and worse. I've been doing a lot of mindfulness and just listening to music or my audio books but it doesn't seem to be helping much. You'd think after being completely bed bound for 2 years I'd be getting used to it but it's still tough to be ill even if its your permanent state. Also, living in a house with the noisest people in the world doesn't help but hopefully we'll be in our own little place! I don't really what to say or how to deal with it and I'm finding it so hard that I can barely talk to Michael all day but I know he doesn't mind. Anyway, sorry for the moan, but if I'm absent its because of this. So, I thought I'd make this post an M.E. special seeing as in can't do many M.E. focused posts at the moment. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did.

  • First, I'd love to share Faye's post on being okay with not being okay as it had a huge effect on me (maybe in the form of a tear or two). Faye is the sweetest person and I find it so unfair that all the Spoonies I've spoken with usually are, bad things should happen to bad people! So, when I read this post it really upset me that Faye had had such a crap time as we all know how bad the sad days can be. But, Faye got it sorted in her head and has given the best advice which I totally agree with.
  • Anyone with M.E. will know how bad it can really get and as someone who is bedbound 24/7 I think it's important to share what life is really like for a sufferer. So, I was really pleased to see Anna's post on Severe M.E. Day and an appeal to go along with it. I don't know how to explain it properly (brain fog) so please go take a look yourself, it's important we don't get forgotten about.
  • Hayley-Eszti has some amazing posts on her blog so please have a look. Anyway, I'm focusing on one today and it's very interesting and exciting for us wheelchair users. Wheelchairs for mannequins. What more do I need to say? 
  • Following on with the wheelchair theme; I've mentioned Sally before on the blog for her twist on a fashion blog. Yep, fashion in a wheelchair. Before I found Sally had searched high and low for just that but got nowhere so I really appreciate her blog. But, even the uber stylish have lows so I loved her post (written by her Mum) on fashion on poorly days.
  • This next post wasn't written by someone with M.E. but I think it could be very relevant to us Spoonies. I'm pretty sure most of you would have read something to do with Anna from Vivianna does Makeup. She's awesome. She's recently written a post on an acupressure mat which really intrigued me. I know that acupuncture has helped some sufferers of M.E. and Fibromyalgia but not all of us can afford the treatment or make it anywhere to have it done so this mat sounded like a good starting point.
  • The lovely Meg from Meg Says, a great blog for girly girls with M.E. (she always looks gorgeous and my little sister would love her) recently did an interview for a post on One Girl and The Sea about all things M.E. It's a great read so grab a cuppa and click away.

20/07/2014

Bake of the week! The Best 5min Crumble

Who doesn't love a bloody good crumble? I mean, come on, you can change the recipe in so many ways to create hundreds of different combinations and flavours. What more could you want? Although, we do hope you're not getting too fed up of the amount of crumbles we share on this here blog. They're just so easy to make on weeks where Laura needs extra looking after (i.e. every week lately). So, this week we've gone for a 5 minute microwave crumble that Laura loves for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The original idea came from this Crumble from the magnificent Averie Cooks (check her blog out, you'll be drooling for days) but we wanted to put our own little spin on it. Here's our Raspberry & Nectarine 5 Minute Cinnamon Crumble.

Laura said this was her favourite microwave crumble ever, and that's saying something, she is a crumble floozie after all. We think that a crumble is the perfect food for poorly days, you can make it healthier but it's still so easy to eat. Of course, it goes down better with a blob of ice cream (or 2). This is so easy to make too! I think it would be easy to make for M.E.'ers that are housebound and can prepare their own meals and if not, then you won't have to borrow a servant for long. A little note, we're making gluten and gluten free pizzas for the blog next weekend so be prepared to crave pizza.You want the recipe now?

Raspberry & Nectarine 5 Minute Cinnamon Crumble. (serves 1)

Bottom Ingredients: 
1 nectarine
a small handful of raspberries
1tsp sugar
1tsp water

Top Ingredients:
2 tsp butter
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp rolled oats
2 tsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon (or to your taste)
  • Chop the nectarine and put in a bowl with the raspberries, sugar and water. Then microwave for 30-45 seconds.
  • Whilst cooking, get another bowl and add all the topping ingredients. Then, mix together with the back of a fork until it kind of resembles lumpy breadcrumbs.
  • Take the fruit out of the microwave and spread the topping over the top of the fruit. Pop back in the microwave for 2 minutes and hey presto. 
  • Serve with ice cream.

17/07/2014

Thankful Thursday | 13

written by Laura.
I know I've missed a couple of these lately, my M.E. has got worse (again) and I've been trying to rest more. Although, this doesn't seem to be making much difference but I'll keep plodding on. Anyway, all this means that I need my Thankful Thursday's to appreciate the little pleasures in life.

This week I am thankful for:
13 - Michael having someone in his gaming world who understands us. I go to bed around 8 o'clock but obviously that's way too early for Michael so he stays up and plays his games with an online group of friends. Coincidentally, one of those friends is a woman with fibromyalgia who needs a carer so when I need to interrupt Michael they understand and he doesn't get bashed for serving the missus!

16/07/2014

Bye Bye Barley.

written by Laura.

If you follow us on instagram (if not, do. You'll see a lot of furry friends) you would have seen that our little dwarf lop rabbit went to bunny heaven. His name was Barley and he was perfect. So, in memory of the best bunny there ever was I thought I'd share with you some of the weird and wonderful things he did, prepare to be amazed!
  • My Pamp (grandfather) built Barley's hutch with a main bit with a cage front and a bed with a door but that wasn't how Barley used it. He decided that he wouldn't just wee/poop wherever he was like normal rabbits, instead he would use his bed as a toilet! So then he had a clean main section where he ate drank and slept. He never ever went to the toilet anywhere else. My bunny was a clever bunny.
  • Barley worked out a way to communicate with us too, which is weird as rabbits don't make a sound. So, most of you will probably know that rabbits stamp their feet when they're pissed off, and it can be bloody loud! But, Barley didn't stomp his feet to tell you he was angry, he'd stomp them over and over again until someone came to stroke him. He even worked out that if he stomped loud enough in the middle of the night he'd wake Mum up (her room was above/next to his hutch) and to make him stop she'd have to go give him a cuddle. Although, it wasn't so cute when he woke the neighbour up. The neighbour who had to get up for work at 4! My bunny was a very attention seeking bunny.
  • Barley never bit anyone. Ever. I don't know if any of you know this but male rabbits who haven't be neutered are very aggressive, yet not my Barley. He also had the biggest balls my vet had ever seen on a rabbit! Oo err. You could pick him up, give him cuddles and he was never bothered. He even liked to sniffle with our rottie Izzy! My bunny was a very loving bunny.
  • Barley also had a way of getting treats. When Mum gave Scamp (our family bichon frise) a carrot with his arthritis tablets in the morning Barley also wanted some. So, he worked out that if he climbed up the front of his hutch so Mum could see him through the kitchen window, and flutter his puppy-dog eyes then she would melt and give him carrot. He also knew that when Nan came to visit she would bring him veggies so he'd do it then too. This did lead to him putting on a little weight towards the end when he'd been the perfect weight his whole life! My bunny was a greedy bunny.
  • When Michael cleaned his hutch out, barley liked to sit in the corner where we put his hay when Michael was putting it in so he ended up buried under piles of the stuff. My bunny was a funny bunny.
    Now, I want to tell you about the last time i had a snuggle with my bunny. When Michael cleaned Barley's hutch out, he would bring him upstairs to have a hop around the bed and help relax me. This time, Michael had trouble even getting Barley up the stairs! We'd bought him a new carry case after his old one went walk-abouts, so Michael thought he'd test it out by putting Barley in it to bring upstairs. But, before Michael even put one foot on the stairs Barley figured out that if he pushed his body on the lid of the box that, along with the pressure of Michael carrying it by the top, he could get it open and leap out! He was definitely an escape artist in the making. So, eventually Michael got him onto the bed and left us to our cuddles. Have any of you have dogs? I'm sure that you know that they like to pull the duvet about until it's perfectly comfortable and suitable for themselves. Yup, Barley did this too. With his teeth. After he'd wrecked the duvet he decided to climb up to his little cushion cubby-hole (as in the above photo), got bored of that and decided to sit on my shoulder for a better vantage point! But, the best bit for me, was when he got down and decided to bury himself under my right hip to have a snuggle. He also gave Michael a few kisses (licks) when he came up to get him, which was extremely odd but also extremely cute. I personally think this was him saying bye because 2 days later he died. My bunny was a very loved bunny.

     p.s. Here's our first ever post about our animals.

    13/07/2014

    Bake of the week! Gooseberry & Orange Traybake

    Laura's Nan likes to bring us a bag full of gooseberries every summer so it's only fair that we put them to good use. So that's exactly what we did. So, Laura went on the hunt for a delicious goosberry filled recipe and come up with this.

    First, this isn't a gluten-free recipe, we're testing out how Laura's body copes with gluten for a bit. But don't worry, we'll still have lots of gluten-free recipes for you to gawp at. We never knew how well these two fruits worked together and next time we have an abundance of gooseberries, orange will be at the top of our list to match them with! Of course i changed the eggs in the recipe to flax eggs and it worked a treat. Really, just make it.


    07/07/2014

    2 Weeks Notice.

    written by Laura.
    I'm back. I'm so sorry, but i am starting to get back into blogging. It's just hard to find the energy to write posts, especially when lately i've been even worse than normal. It's so bloody frustrating! Luckily, i have a few low energy things to help me escape and relax, like finding wonderful things to share with you.

    • My first link is such a lovely one. One of my lovely M.E. blogger friends Hayley-Eszti (pronounced Es-zee-tee) has shared a beautiful post about how her little dog Barney came to her rescue during a seizure. If you only read one of my links, make it this one. You'll definitely be moved.
    • If you like all things beauty then you need to head over to XOVain, written by a big group of beauty-loving women with a myriad of tips that you just need to see. My pick of their posts this week is a post on 6 things readers taught them in acne awareness month which i found very interesting. I've been suffering from bad skin for the last couple of months due to being very low and this has given me a few new things to try.
    • Who doesn't love Disney? Who doesn't have wonderful childhood memories of watching their favourite Disney film over and over again? Who didn't go as far as to act out their favourite with their best friends? Yes, i did all of those. Which is why i am desperate to go to Disney world, but being a vegan, i'm a little worried about my options. This is where this post comes in, about all the places in Disney you can stuff your face full of [delicious] vegan food. Win.
    • If you're like me and go cray-cray over fruit and veg then you might find A Thrifty Mrs' post on what's in season in July very useful. It's always better to eat what's in season, they taste so much better and you're also doing your bit for the planet.
    •  I love getting emails from Peta, they post a lot of interesting things. I found this post on 19 common houseplants that can harm your pet especially interesting. I know that most animals are instinctive and wouldn't eat anything that would harm them but it's always better to be safe than sorry.
    • Lastly, i love Sophie's blog The Private Life Of a Girl for it's beautiful simplicity and great writing. Her post of useful links on marketing for bloggers really good. She cut through the BS and featured only the best links to help all us other bloggers out in finding the best advice.

    06/07/2014

    Bake of the week: Vegan & GF Cinnamon Rolls

    Hmmm... Sorry guys but this bake was not one of our favourites, which is probably down to our love of proper Cinnamon rolls. The recipe we used this time was Cara from Fork and Beans Best Gluten-free Vegan Cinnamon Rolls. We made these for Laura's Nans 70th birthday because when we made Vegan Cinnamon rolls last year she didn't stop going on about how good they looked. Unfortunately, Cinnamon rolls without gluten are not Cinnamon rolls (In our eyes anyway). It's not that the recipes bad it's just not for our family, although Laura made use of the leftovers by scraping out the Cinnamon!