Labels – how did they fare?

MyNameTags.ie iron on labels in action

I like to be positive. It distresses me to be negative. I don’t always manage it but I do try. It’s one thing I learnt from a manager who was forever rocking in from the current training course and trying out the latest lesson on us. Mostly this habit drove me mad but one day this manager asked me to talk up the positives of a certain issue and it really can change your perspective.

So I’m very happy to be writing this post as it won’t require much positive visualisation. I have a good review of a product: YAY! I swore this time last year that I would report on my experience of MyNametags.ie product because I have a whole swath of crappy “iron-on” labels in my sewing kit. Mind you I was raving about MyNametags to my sister-in-law and my mother piped up something along the lines of “A needle and thread always kept my labels on.” Well after ironing on 35 labels, I’m pretty damn glad I didn’t have to sew them all on.

So what do I think is so good about these particular labels? They stay on. Simple. The iron on labels did not shrivel or fade. No matter if they are sewn on to shirts, polo shirts, trousers or jumpers they held on like limpets. Everything gets washed at 40 degrees and ironed at cotton and they hung on like an enraged terrier.

MyNameTags.ie iron on labels in action
MyNameTags.ie iron on labels in action

I ordered a pack of 75 iron on labels and 75 stick on labels – classic style. The package arrived promptly with clear instructions. As mentioned above I used them on cotton, polycotton and wool and whatever the ties are made from and no sticking issues on any of them. Since then not one single label has come unstuck and all remain legible.

The stick on stickers are very handy and as I got our family name with both myself and Himself’s phone numbers included, all of us can use them. The stick on labels are also excellent although I cannot give them an absolute no holds barred rave review as one or two, while remaining stuck firmly in place, did completely fade. However bear in mind that these are stuck on lunchboxes that get turfed into the dishwasher or hot washing up sink willy nilly. I also can’t swear to the conditions in which they were stuck. They stayed on pencils, markers and mathematical set equipment.

I suppose the one and only issue I might have is that the labels and stickers are a little on the small side but I can also see the logic of this too. If they were any bigger they probably wouldn’t work for the pens and pencils. I might try their newer colour labels in three colours to make it easier to sort uniforms because with Nipper 3.0 starting in September this is only going to get more tiresome.

And our score for this year? 1 pair of tracksuit bottoms lost. I’m actually still cross when I think about this. Nipper 1.0 arrives home from swimming in a pair of tracksuit bottoms that are at least two sizes too small and obviously not the brand new ones I had so carefully labelled not two months previously. The other parent had not marked their tracksuit in any way. I contacted all the parents in his class via email to ask everyone to check: nothing. I asked a couple of parents in the class below who do swimming at the same time but didn’t get a huge amount of traction there. What bugs me about this is that there is a parent out there who is so disengaged that they didn’t notice that their child arrived home in brand new tracksuit bottoms two sizes bigger than the pair they went out in. I can only presume that these same parents haven’t laundered the trousers since because, based on my experience, there is no way to get that label off short of excising it with a scissors! Of course, I like an eejit, promptly went into the office to hand over the tracksuit that didn’t belong to us presuming it would only be a matter of time before the other parent did the same. The upshot of that was that Nipper 1.0 had to wear non-regulation tracksuit for the rest of the year because I was damned if I was forking out more cash!

If you have our carefully labelled tracksuit bottoms you can still return them. The harsh judgement is done: can it get much worse than me calling you a negligent parent on my mammy blog?

The Circle of Life (Weekly menu)

A rather grand title for a weekly menu blog post but I think anyone who knows me will agree that this week we certainly saw the full cycle of life. As the menu below covers we went to a christening on Saturday afternoon. The first rite of passage for our newest grandniece. No I’m not that old: Himself is the very youngest of seven. We had a delightful time, meeting all the niece’s in-laws and Nipper 3.0 made friends with EVERYONE! We sang, we ate (by jeebus did we eat!), we chatted and we went home happy.
We felt happy that we had represented Himself’s family well. Unfortunately, it was difficult for the others to make the journey and this is a family who’ll party at the drop of a hat. Himself’s mother, who has been unwell for some time, had become gradually worse over the previous few weeks . Bad news arrived in the small hours of the morning and the worst news was shared by one of  his sisters just after 7am. So forgive me if this menu has holes or is less detailed than others.
So farewell Úna Meyler: you will be missed. You have left a wonderful legacy of music, laughter and good financial sense. What more could a woman ask for?
Saturday
Carrot and thyme and star anise soup – I heard a snippet of an interview on the radio where this recipe was mentioned so I had to try my own version. Glorious.
I also baked these choc chip “cupcakes” but I adapted the recipe to Irish measurements and tastes and will post again. I baked ham and cheese muffins for lunchboxes as well. Boy was I glad I did.
Christening
Sunday
Nipper 1.0’s tortilla feast – I can’t remember what we actually had…
Roast – what’s good value? Or maybe steak? – these were my instructions for the shopping. I bought a cut of pork (I can’t remember which) that I roasted most perfectly. So perfectly I nearly cried that Himself wasn’t there to join us. I was feeling pretty teary to be fair. Oh the crackling was devilish good.
Monday
I grabbed a beef stew, bolognese sauce, pear and ginger compote and crumble topping from the freezer before we headed “down Home” as Himself would say. There was, of course, stacks of beautiful food from neighbours and family in the house but it was only later when we landed at Himself’s brother’s place for the night that we felt like eating. This was delicious mixed with slow cooked rice and my sister in law’s signature garlic potatoes. I threw the compote and crumble in a pie dish and left it for dessert the following evening as we were all too whacked for anything else.
Tuesday
A sad day gladdened by one of Úna’s favourite things: warm sunshine. I know we ate when we got back to Dublin but I have no idea what we had.
Wednesday
Delicious sweet and sour pork from our Edmond’s cookery book, a present from a Kiwi friend that is another go-to basic recipe book.
Thursday
Ham and cheese muffins in the car en route to classes.
Stew – well the stew had gone south so I made mash which I used to top shepherd’s pie filling taken from the freezer the night before which we shared with my Dad who really had eaten already. Who can resist Shepherd’s pie? Big learning for me since school began again is that Thursday’s are freezer day as afterschool classes don’t finish til 5 so it can be 5.30 before we all get home, exhausted, to homework.
Friday
Pizza
To bake:
Ham & cheese muffins
Oaty cookies – these are a revelation which I will share with you shortly when I have converted the recipe to metric. I am now making at least one huge batch a week.

Chickpeas with Black Pudding in garlic and parsley

As mentioned previously we are not long back from a 2 week break in Casteldeffels near Barcelona. I was in Barcelona for the first time last Sepetember and was absolutely entranced by this fabulous city that really has something for everyone. I arrived on my own last September and met friends there, the first of whom introduced me to Pimientos del Padron which are delicious, wee green peppers, roasted and sprinkled liberally with salt. The perfect accompaniment to a few glasses of beer. If anyone has a line on where I can buy weenchy green peppers in Dublin please share.

The same friend was recently on a trip that included two nights with us in Dublin. Ever the perfect guest, KS presented me with a lovely book entitled Real Tapas by Fiona Dunlop which while it includes some traditional enough recipes is self-confessedly beholden to the nueva cocina movement. So with guests arriving for lunch we decided to try out this recipe with its intriguing use of that Irish breakfast staple, black pudding.

Himself rustled this up so hopefully he might add any comments below about changes he made. It was delicious but definitely not an everyday dish!

  • Olive Oil
  • Half a large onion, thinly slice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 25g sultanas, soaked in hot water for 15 mins, drained.
  • 10g pine nuts
  • 150g black pudding, fried and coarsely chopped
  • 1 x 400g cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Put sultanas in a heatproof bowl and cover in hot water and soak for 15 minutes.
Slice black pudding, fry til cooked and crumble.

Heat olive oil in a solid frying pan over a low heat. Sauté onion until it is tender then add garlic, parsley, sultanas and pine nuts.

Finally add cooked and crumbled black pudding and chickpeas to heat through, stirring all the time.

Serve in a warm dish with a dash of olive oil.

Enjoy!

Menu for Week commencing 17/08/2013

Saturday

Moroccan Lamb Burgers with Rice and Bean salad.

 

Sunday

Lunch: We’re expecting a family of guests this week so want to make something that has been tested on kids (hence the skewers) and something new that reminds of our holidays (hence the tapas from a new book from my friend who was visiting from Barcelona.)
Chicken and cherry tomato skewers with couscous and Broccoli and Avocado salad and Chickpea & black pudding tapa.

All going to plan I will rustle up some Wellington Squares for the sweet toothed among us. Apparently we currently have so much condensed milk in the cupboard at the moment that Himself tells me “It’s like the war.” I’ll post this winner of a recipe which I found years ago online but can no longer find.  If I have time I might make a crumble for the grown ups to use up the blackberries I picked in the wild, brambly part of our garden.

French Peasant Soup
French Peasant Soup

Dinner: A cup of French peasant soup (made Saturday) for tea for anyone who is still hungry after lunch. (No actual peasants are hurt (except maybe their feelings) in  the making of this soup.) You’ll note from the pic that I have also added potato and carrot to this soup. I love me a bit of potato in a stewy soup like this.

Monday
Lunch: Pizza rolls – these are from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking which I got from my godmother. Not a book I would have picked myself but it has fast become a standby for me. There are some great, realistic family recipes in it.
Dinner: French peasant soup with Superquinn’s lovely brown bread. But really I have to crack this brown bread thing: if millions of Irish peasants could make it in a hovel in the howling wind and rain I should be able to make it! Mine always turns out rock hard on the outside and squishy on the inside 🙁 All advice welcomed in comments below.

Tuesday
Lunch: Tortellini with leftover pizza sauce from yesterday.

Salmon Alfredo getting shnarfed by Nipper 2.0
Salmon Alfredo getting shnarfed by Nipper 2.0

Dinner: Salmon Alfredo – I know pasta twice in one day. Hmmm. I love pasta and when I wonder about how much we eat Himself always says, “You’re a grown-up, you can eat as much pasta as you like.” I might switch the tortellini to another day so.

Wednesday
Picnic
Bean and chorizo stew (make Tuesday) – This is a receipe I found in a newspaper years ago (Saturday June 28 2003 to be precise; no idea which paper!) that we make fairly regularly. It’s absolutely delicious with new potatoes or crusty bread or indeed couscous. It’s a great summer recipe to use up your tomatoes if you are green fingered enough to grow them but also makes a hearty winter dish if you can brave the garden for a spring if the evergreen rosemary.

Thursday
Gnocchi w/ pesto
Nut roast with cheese and tomato layer – This was requested by Himself this week when I said we have too much meat in this week’s menu. I think he was trying to avoid me trying Aloo Gobi on the children and the fights cauliflower would produce. This recipe is infamous in my own family as I made it as a teenager and vegetarian. I had received the Cranks’ recipe book from my aunt in England as a Christmas present and was encouraged by my mother to prepare something. It wasn’t until my family were desperately trying to be polite and supportive about my efforts that I realised I had put in a tablespoon of yeast extract (read Marmite) instead of a teaspoon. Yech.

Friday
Picnic
Eat out after a trip to Makeshop as it is our last day of summer holidays for all as Nipper 3.0 starts in Naíónra (preschool) on Monday!

Saturday
Toasted sambos

 

[ ]Savoy cabbage
[ ] Strawberries/ raspberries
[ ] Lemon
[ ] Beetroot
[ ] Carrots
[ ] Low fat mature cheddar (Dubliner or Kilmeaden)
[ ] Tomatoes
[ ] Cherry tomatoes x 2
[ ] Bananas
[ ]Oranges
[ ] Apples
[ ] Peaches
[ ] Avocado
[ ] Smoked salmon
[ ] Ham
[ ] Bagels
[ ] Filled pasta
[ ] Milk
[ ]Tinned pineapple
[ ] Tinned beans
[ ] Raisins
[ ] Juice tropicana
[ ] Tinned tomatoes
[ ] Gnocchi
[ ] Brown pasta for macaroni
[X] Garlic mayo
[ ] Cat food
[ ] Cider/ white wine (We recently tried Stonewell Cider from Nohoval, Co. Cork, an area we are very familiar with and we are hooked!)

Rice and Bean Salad

On Saturday we decided to make a bit of space in our freezer by using up burger buns and lamb mince to make these simple and delicious lamb burgers. I didn’t have any harissa (I don’t think I’ve ever seen any for sale in our local supermarket…!) so we decided to use that Lebanese paste again. Made for a yummy condiment. I felt we needed something fresh to go with this (Himself and the Nippers ALWAYS try to convince me that deep fried gnocchi are the perfect accompaniment to burgers. Shudder. And yet also delicious.) We ended up eating late enough and we were starving so we needed something with a bit more substance.

I love rice with beans. I have often made this Caribbean Rice with Beans recipe but risotto style dishes have become a no-go for one of the nippers. You pick your battles! I like this one because as it’s not actually a risotto you don’t have to stir like a mad thing: you just leave it to cook away.

So I rustled up this salad leaving some of the rice to one side and serving it plain with carrot batons for the kids. I do rather love the combination of the colours in this salad. The rice was slightly warm which is very nice too. There would have been enough left over for our lunch the next day but as I mentioned we were starving.

Rice and Bean Salad (serves 4)

Lamb Burger with Rice and Bean salad
Lamb Burger with Rice and Bean salad
  • 2 cups uncooked Basmati rice cooked to your liking
  • 1 can of Red Kidney Beans, rinsed
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • A handful of baby spinach, shredded
  • 1 quarter large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons of your favourite vinaigrette (I make a bottle of Ballymaloe Vinagrette and larrup it on to a wide variety of salads but you could use this)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a delightful bowl and toss. Eat. Yum.