Cooking for one with Cauli Rice


Cooking for one can sometimes seem like a chore - I mean, as much as I enjoy food, it's not quite so fun when you've made a good dish and then have no-one to share it with (or finish their leftovers).. And so with that, I like things of ease. I want quick food, food that's good for you, tasty, and doesn't take what feels like a lifetime to cook.

So when Cauli Rice got in touch about their flavoured packets, it's fair to say that my ears were listening (and my eyes were reading) even though I'll admit that cauliflower isn't my favourite vegetable - nope, not even when it's covered in cheese sauce still! Being a fan however of Uncle Bens and his rice packets (I'm the worlds worst at cooking rice.. Don't ask!), I was intrigued by these. Not only because they took 3 minutes in a microwave, but they were also gluten free. Double win.
And with that, I was challenged to create any recipe in the world that I fancied and using the Cauli Rice. I rustled up some vegetables in my cupboard and pulled out a soup for sauce ready to cook a concoction literally on the spot. I opted for the original for the first try, because there's nothing like sticking with the simple flavours sometimes. I call this, the last minute tagine, kinda...

1/2 Pepper
1/4 Courgette
1 Onion
1/4 Butternut Squash
A tin of tomato soup - I used a spicy lentil, and tomato soup. Yum!
1 Bag of Cauli Rice

In a frying pan, heat some oil and once heated fry off the onions and peppers together. Once fried, add in the courgette (I added in sweetcorn at the last minute too).
In another pan of boiling water, add your butternut squash and cook until soft - depending on how diced they are, this should take about ten minutes.
Lower the heat of your frying pan and mix in the tomato soup, adding paprika to flavour and salt and pepper. I'm also a fan of garlic salt, so tend to mix in a lot for extra flavour. Cheeky huh?!
When your butternut squash is cooked, drain off the water and add into the tagine mix leaving to cook for another ten minutes or so on a low heat. A few minutes before serving, pop your cauli rice bag into the microwave as instructed. Serve and finish off with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and some garlic yoghurt dip for extra taste.
Verdict. Considering I'm not the biggest fan of cauliflower, I particularly enjoyed the rice packet - the flavour was simple, but added with my last minute what-was-left-in-the-fridge-concoction, I think it worked perfectly together! The paprika in the tagine mix definitely stands out, so if you like your flavours, be sure to sprinkle in a lot!
And the best part, is that there's more left over for lunch tomorrow. I like leftovers.

A House I called Home


Today was a weird day. A hard day.
It was one that I'd almost had, but knew it would still be there and would happen one day.

Today I, we, handed over the keys to what once was home.
The home that was actually mine, ours. The place that we had put so much time, care and love into.
The place that started a new life, and stored memories. Saw laughter, saw tears, saw fun and games, saw arguments, saw frustration and most of all saw two people try to love.
But like certain things in life, they come to an end.
And this was one of them.

And although I knew it was coming, I knew it would happen, I guess I put it to the back of my head and made myself believe that it wasn't such a big deal. Because was it? It's only bricks and wallpaper (and lots of white paint) at the end of the day.. But then, it always felt so much more than that. So much more than just a house.
It was the place we really got to call home. Our home. And the home where we learned so much more in life, from wallpapering a room to changing a plug fuse. Where we welcomed everybody in with laughter filling the rooms and memories being treasured. Where we brought up our cats with love and affection and saw them grow from sweet kittens to big cats. Where we grew as adults, good human beings. The home that was pleasing on the eye, with white interior throughout and accents of grey and blush tones and the home that made us feel proud. A huge sense of pride for what we'd built. And I suppose, when you think back on these things, it does become almost harder to let go.
Because as humans, people, we treasure so much.
But something about this brings difference to whenever I've left somewhere else. Difference to how I felt when I left my family home of 23 years. I was sad, I didn't want my parents to sell even though it was for the right reasons. And packing up the family home and memories into boxes wasn't easy but within weeks, it became clear how easy it was to move on. The only home I'd ever known was just a memory. A fond memory, but a place that had easily been forgotten. I didn't feel sadness when I drove past it anymore, and I didn't feel the urge to move back in. I drove past it with a sense of warmth. There were good times there.
Yet, this place. Our place. It feels different to that.
I drive past it with sadness in my eyes. I think back to how I could have changed it, and whether it could have made us happier even though I knew in my heart, that not just a home could make us happy. I packed up those boxes with my stomach feeling tight wondering if I'd ever see this place again. And I left it with an empty feeling.
An empty feeling that I've never felt before.
It feels very different.

And even after walking out of that door nearly nine months ago, it doesn't get any easier.

I walked out of that door with my belongings in the van, and said goodbye as though it would be the last time. But deep down in my heart I knew it wasn't the last time, and maybe that was a coping mechanism. I had that small thing to hold onto, for comfort. There was still that last little connection holding us together even though we knew it wasn't right anymore.
It kept us going whilst dealing with heartbreak.
It brought us down whenever the house fell through.
It gave us sadness when we thought back on those times.
It made us feel warm knowing what once was.
And now? It brings reality.

The door to our house that once was, is time for new memories.
The door to our house that once was, is now someone else place to create love.
The door to our house that once was, is no more.

That finally, with the hardest and saddest feeling in our hearts and the courage in our minds, to close the chapter on this part of our lives together.
And move forward separately.

With no going back.

This is really it. This is to new beginnings.

Winter Warmer


I think it's fair to say that we've well and truly got Winter settling in.. I mean it's made it's arrival with it's wind and sudden change of temperature and I don't quite think it's going anywhere anytime soon either. So with the heating on, the curtains closed tightly and the kettle boiling, me and Runkle are preparing to hibernate under the covers most nights this week.
That's one good thing about the cold, Runkle likes to curl up underneath the duvet.
Although, I'm not quite so happy about being big spoon...
Boots are worn whatever the weather in my eyes, and there was always this tradition of buying a new pair each month. Most likely in the form of them being either black, brown or stone. This year however, I've made it my attempt to go back through my boots I currently own - and I'm giving them all some extra love. It's like having brand new shoes all over again! These ones are this months favourite.
Time seems to be going incredibly fast lately, and with leaving the house when it's dark and coming home to darkness is one of the not so great things about Winter. And with the confusion of it always being dark, I never leave the house without a watch. I've always been an Olivia Burton girl but Daniel Wellington may have just pulled it out of the bag with this beautiful tan strap watch,  and has certainly attracted some fair comments from family members asking to borrow it. I told them to shove off and get their own - and kindly offered them a 15% discount code (littlewinter15!) so I don't have to share with anyone.
Everywhere you turn in my house there are candles. Candles lit on the fireplace, tealights filling up the cupboards and various scents lurking in places you never knew existed is how it works in my house through Winter. And I'm fairly adamant that they DO give off heat and can warm up a room. With the help of a radiator. And the door closed. Oh and you've got to light about twenty in one room...
Thick and snuggly jumpers are the go to during those cold mornings. Nothing beats popping on your best winter knit (minus the cat hair...) and heading to work for a day of warmth and being extra comfortable. I like my knits to be big and slouchy but fitted on the sleeves to not let any heat out. Oh and preferably black - but this old green thing? I can't quite get rid of it just yet. It nearly, very nearly makes up for not being able to wear my duvet.

And throw in a scarf for good measure. Blanket scarves in particular.
The best creation ever.