Sausage & Bean Casserole

Thought I would post one of the recipes from my latest cookbook “Midweek Meals Made Easy” which is available to download from Amazon. Here is the link Amazon.co.uk book link.  A big thank you to all those people who have already bought it, and sent me a message of thanks for helping them with their food dilemmas!

sausange and bean casserole
Wholesome, hearty and delicious this sausage casserole is filling and fairly quick to make. I’ve used up other ingredients in this dish too on occasions, such as mushrooms and peppers

Ingredients

8 Pork sausages
3 Carrots cut into chunks
2 Tbsp oil
1 Large onion sliced
400 g chopped tomatoes
1 small can of drained butterbeans or cannellini beans (I once forgot them from my shopping list and so used baked beans … it tasted just fine!)
350 ml of vegetable stock
1tsp paprika or ½ tsp of chilli powder (if you have small children you can leave this out)
Salt & pepper
Optional – 1 bay leaf

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

In a heavy based casserole pan add the oil and the sausages and begin to fry gently. Turn frequently to ensure they are golden all over. This should take around 8 minutes. Remove the sausages and place to one side.

Add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Then add the garlic, carrots, tomatoes, beans, stock and paprika/chilli powder if using. If you have the optional bay leaf then add that also. Mix well and then add the sausages. Place the lid on the casserole and cook for around 45 minutes, checking every now and again.

The sauce should be thick. If it is still too liquid, then cook for a little bit longer, this time on the stove top with the lid off. If however throughout cooking it looks as if there is not enough liquid, then add a little extra hot water from a kettle.

Check for seasoning and add any salt and pepper.

Serve with some crusty bread or mashed potato is nice.

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Everyone has to start somewhere!

Why is it, that other people think that when you start something, you should have overnight success?  I touch upon this in my book ‘Yes You Can” Amazon Book Link where people often will not start a new pursuit, hobby, dream or goal, because they are worried that they will be a failure and look stupid in front of others.

This outlook is a major issue, that is holding many people back from being everything they can be.  Wherever I can and are able, I will do my best to encourage others to dismiss the scoffers, mockers and Debbie Downers, who will do everything within their power to halt you in your life journey.  As humans I think we need to have new challenges, and have goals to aspire to,  I read with interest about the young man Markus Persson, who created the highly successful ‘Minecraft’ game, which my youngest son has loved from the moment it was released.  Markus went on to become successful and is reputed to be worth in the region of $2.5bn and yet he writes quite sad tweets… he appears lonely and bored with his lifestyle.  I believe that it is not wealth that is causing his sad outlook, but that he has succeeded in a dream that he always wanted, and now he needs a new challenge in his life.  Personally if I was him, I would be looking for a philanthropic avenue, where I could make a real difference and continue to see that charity or cause grow.  It is not money that gives you satisfaction (although it is nice if you have it) but personal achievement that still challenges you.  A game achievement is great, but once it is achieved you either need to go and work on another game, or find something else.  A goal such as helping the desperate and needy will always be a challenge.  There will always be people who struggle, and so to bring a little happiness into their life is probably the most satisfying.  I have read of many people who have put their wealth and connections to good use.  Markus bless his Swedish cotton socks, may not find much to be philanthropic over whilst sat on a yacht with celebs in Ibiza.  Take him to somewhere like Haiti, and he may just realise that he can have new challenges that will make him grow as a person.

yes you can

So when someone queries your new-found goal, or tries to discourage you before you have even started, just answer them ‘everyone has to start somewhere’, and know that it is not just reaching and being the top of your game that is important, but the journey getting there.  You need to enjoy the development of progression, whether that be fast or slow.  Being a writer is a hard slog at times, but I have every belief that with God and my determination, I will get there someday.  And when I have achieved or are well under way with what I set out to do, then I have already stored in my heart a number of new goals to help others.  I would like that to be now, who wouldn’t?  However, I am going to enjoy my little life adventure and keep pressing on.

If you are sat there now, wondering and pondering if you should pursue you dreams, then I encourage you to start.  As I have said, ‘everyone has to start somewhere’ and also know, that even if it turns out that your dream was not really right for you, then take it positively as a life experience that you have gleaned something valuable from.  Then go and try new things, never stop learning, never stop trying and most importantly never stop growing as a person, no matter how old you think you are.

My book is available to give you more motivational pointers below, is only 99p and wont break the bank!

Amazon.co.uk link

Amazon.com link

Midweek Meals Made Easy

Well folks it is finally here, my new cookery book ‘Midweek Meals Made Easy’ which is a collection of my recipes that I have been cooking for my family, friends and on TV for years.  It was hard to whittle it down to my final selection, but be assured there are my other books in the pipeline, one of which I am working on now, and should be released at the beginning of November.  It is a project that is really exciting me!

midweek meals cover

It is available on Amazon all over the world.  Here are the links for Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk

Midweek Meals Made Easy – Amazon.co.uk link

Midweek Meals Made Easy – Amazon.com link

It is a downloadable book and works on most devices, although it works best and in sync properly with kindle devices.  It is always a nightmare getting it to work on all devices, especially when it includes photographs.There are so many different electronic devices it is mind-blowing!

Thank you for your support, kind messages and likes.  It is people like you who have spurred me on to write and I never take such support lightly or for granted.

Emily x

Dealing With Negative People In A Positive Way!

Bit of a different post from me today, but one I still feel will be beneficial to the emotional health of many people.  I hear a certain question quite a lot from folk as to how I stay so positive, and I have to say that the answer for me is pretty clear.  Quite simply, I like to switch off negative things.  Now that may seem a rather flippant statement to make, but I gave up a long time ago worrying unnecessarily about situations, what people thought, or getting sucked into negative things that added not one jot of value to my life.  Now that is not to say I do not care, but more that I became choosy as to what I allowed into my life and who and what I surrounded myself with.

People in particular can be a major force in dragging you down.  This does not just apply to friends and work colleagues, but even in some instances your family.  You would think that your family would be the one safe and happy source that would give you never ending support for your ventures, and with your life in general, but you would be wrong.  For most people, this notion of family support would be true, but not for everybody.  I know many an individual who has been told that, ‘they will never amount to anything’ or be told whilst trying to attain something ‘it will probably never amount to anything, so don’t get your hopes up’. These negative folk are like human bulldozers, ready to reduce dreams and hopes inside you to rubble.  That is… if you let them.  The big question you find yourself left with, is why do they do it? Why do family, friends and work associates feel the need to be so negative over everything?

One big cause is jealousy, and take it from me there are people within families, workplaces, friendships and groups who are jealous of each other.  Jealousy is a disease and those that suffer from it, are the first people I will always remove myself away from.  I have no time for their negative or bitter vibes, nor do I want to hear anything that comes from their mouth because it is usually loaded… and not with anything positive or worthwhile I might add.  How do I work them out?  Well for me, I can sense it.  I always listen to what someone says, but that does not mean that I will act upon what they say or advise.  If after being surrounded by them, my wonderful Holy Spirit discernment gives me cause for concern, then I will back off from them, and even in some cases disassociate myself from them.  Of course, everybody gets a few chances, and I always try to rub off some of my positive energy upon them, but sometimes negative people only enjoy feeding off negativity, it see,s that positive, motivational and joyful vibes have no place in their life.  These are people who enjoy dragging others down, love to watch people fall and yes, surprisingly, can even try to engineer another persons downfall.  In basic terms, they can be monsters to be around.

Another cause, can be their own personal love for despair, misery and woe.  Believe it or not, but some folk love a bit of drama and play out their lives as if it was one of those horrific soap operas, which for the record, I loathe beyond words.  The problem is, I think they are so absorbed into depression and sadness that they think it is normal.  When this happens, their own self-esteem, confidence plus any dream they once may have had, shatters into pieces.

Then you have the other cause which I am all too aware of, and that is the influence of another.  Just as an example, this is where say another family member possibly has a grudge or grievance against you and another family member would not go against their misguided loyalty to this person, so as a consequence they will also be against you.  These people I truly pity, because they have lost their own voice and control, being clearly manipulated by another.

dreamstime_xs_24928894

If any of this is ringing true for you either at home, in the workplace or in your social circle, then first of all you need to work on techniques to block out either what has been said or done.  It was hard for me to learn this at first, but now I have taught myself to switch my ears and eyes on and off, pretty much like a child does when you are telling it off.  Like a sponge, I will absorb what I want to take in and ring out what I don’t.  When someone tries to bring you down, hates on you, or is negative in any way for your hopes and aspirations, I want you to imagine that they are like a rubbish TV show.  Take control of the remote and move to a better channel, and physically think that you have pressed the ‘mute’ button.  Get rid of their words, take them off the screen, off your eyes and mind and start clearing your heart of the junk they are attempting to pollute you with.  Also forgive them for what they may say or do.  You may not forget easy, but forgive because when you do, you are the one who is then in control.  By closing down the situation and moving on with your life, you stop bitterness and resentment kicking in.  In other words, you end up being happier, quicker thus allowing yourself to be motivated to carry on with your dreams and ambitions.

Parsnip, Carrot & Ginger Soup

I love this warming soup on these Autumn days.  It’s not only filling and nutritious but tasty and inexpensive too,  You can knock it up in next to no time, so why not have a go at one of my families favourite dishes that I cook.

parsnip and carrot

Ingredients

2 Medium Parsnips, peeled and chopped
Depending on size 1-2 medium sized carrots peeled and chopped
1 large onion chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
1″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 pint of chicken stock, or if vegetarian or vegan use vegetable stock
1 tbsp of butter or if vegan use a substitute
Ground black pepper
1 – 2 tbsp of creme fraiche – if vegan you can leave it out.

In a large heavy based saucepan melt the butter.  Then add the parsnips, carrot, onion, garlic and ginger and stir for a couple of minutes.  Add the stock and a grinding of pepper.  Simmer with a lid on for about 25 minutes until the vegetables are soft.  Place into a liquidiser or hand blend the soup.  If the soup is a little too thick for your liking, then just add a little extra hot water from a kettle.

You can eat the soup as it is, or swirl in some creme fraiche.