Boo – if you saw me now you’d be scared – I’m up since before the crack of dawn trying to get some work done before the children descend on me. They’ll all be flying high today. The butcher as usually is gone since the early hours but not without leaving a trail of destruction in his wake….

Yesterday in a last minute bid to embrace all that is Halloween I bought a few decorations with the kids. One is a fake mirror that is sensor operated and has a very scary skeleton reveal himself and say scary stuff as you pass. We hung it inside the front door and we were waiting with great excitement to see himself come home and jump out of his skin with fright. Of course, it was cheap, and the sensor didn’t work. You had to press a button to get it working.

So we pressed it when we passed and all we’re suitably scared. The butcher and I were the only two awake as he left this morning – and guess what. As he walked passed it, the sensor worked for the first time ever. It’s very loud. The front door closed and a few seconds later a tear stained Harriet peered around the door of the office. God love her. ‘I hate it Mammy, I hate it’. Ah Lord…it’s going to be a long day.

We’ve only two dressing up this year – two out of four. This makes me sad. Little indicators that they are growing up. Last year for book day, the three that are left in primary dressed up. They were all very excited. Our eldest boy who was in fifth class then dressed up as Asterisks. He’s a large, round and funny Viking type character and we had great crack putting the outfit together. So everyone was up early and got dressed up. We arrived at school and as soon as our son realised that little or no one was dressed up in his class he freaked out. He was very upset. I brought him home to change. He felt like a fool. I was gutted. I had been delighted with his excitement and I suppose maybe hanging on to the innocence a bit longer clouded my judgement and didn’t warn him that maybe his peers weren’t dressing up. But his excitement led me to believe they all were. I dropped him back to school in his uniform and drove away, tears rolling down my face. A little bit of innocence gone for him and a little bit of his confidence taken away.

So if the kids are dressing up. If there are clothes and fake cobwebs everywhere and you’re tripping over skeleton bones and the decorations. If there’s face paint smeared into the couch (aghhhhhhhh…) it’ll pass. And then they won’t want to dress up. My eldest isn’t dressing up this year. Won’t risk it.

I’ll stop now because I’ll blubber. Jemma has given me this fab recipe. Although the butchers wife tips says I haven’t tried it because I hadn’t at that point but since. I’ve actually made it twice or should I say the butcher stuck it on twice. That’s a big flashing light saying how say this is… His go to meal is Daddys’ famous toasted sandwiches. Try this, divine. We has it potatoes and carrots and with stir fried vegetables and rice Monday night.

Happy Halloween you all…. Enjoy it x

Sumptuous Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

Spice Rub
• 1 teaspoon paprika
• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 teaspoon garlic granules
• 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon thyme

Chicken
• 1 x Whole Chicken – approx. 1.6kg – 1.8kgs
• 1 x peeled onion, sliced into 3 x thick rings

Combine all of the spices together in a bowl and mix. Rub the chicken with 1 tbsp of soft butter to coat the surface of the chicken. This helps the spices to stick to the chicken but also creates a lovely brown skin by the end of the cooking time. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and rub them so as all of the surface of the chicken is covered in the mix. (You let this marinade overnight if you have time for extra flavour) Lay the onion slices on the bottom of the slow cooker, add 100mls of water and then place your chicken on top. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Then allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy!

Let’s Nutrify – Jemma’s Tip
So this is what will be cooking in my kitchen next Wednesday for a Halloween dinner. I’m already filled with dread at the thoughts of all of the sticky, sugary sweeties that my kiddo’s will collect after some “Trick or Treating”. So the secret is to get a hearty, protein rich dinner into them an hour or 2 before trick or treat time to prevent mega-sugar highs and lows (that and disposing of 9/10’s of their sweetie haul when they go to bed that night, but shhh! Don’t tell them that!). This fits the bill. I can pop this in the slow cooker around 9am and look forward to a scrumptious roast chicken dinner by 4pm. I often pop in some whole, peeled carrots and parsnip about 1-2 hours before the end of cooking time and that’s the veggies taken care of. Or you can serve with roast veggies and steamed baby potatoes.

Tips from the Butchers Wife
I’m really excited about the upcoming slow cooker recipes. Have I mentioned I LOVE MY SLOW COOKER – how has it come to this – I used to have a life. Honestly I did. But now I am busy…. Busy busy busy and anything that reduces the stress and feeds me well I love. My needs are simple. I would definitely marinate this the night before – take it out of the fridge in the morning and stick it on – haven’t tried this yet but Halloween is coming and I’ve a list of recipes to try. I must admit I’ve been rolling out the old reliables. So want a stock of new easy slow cooker recipes. I’ll let you know how I get on. Just a question for Jemma – by dispose of the junk do you mean eat them yourself. That’s how I interpret that – it’s for the good of the children after all!!