Saturday, 20 January 2018

Saturday, 20-01-18

Good morning!  The weekend has arrived and I'm not just cooking for myself (and generally not paying either) but frugality still impacts on some meals while generally I try not to be daft with what I prepare.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit and yogurt
L:  toast with pate or marmite, apple
D:  < takes deep breath >  roast turkey, pigs in blankets, stuffing, roasties, roasted parsnips, sprouts, gravy, cranberry sauce followed by fruit salad.
S:  orange

From the freezer
The turkey and the stuffing

The frugal factor
Breakfast and lunch as usual  :-)
Dinner isn't as bad as it looks.  The turkey is part of a large breast that was bought for Christmas and cut into two.  The stuffing is leftover from Christmas, the veg are already in the fridge and it's one chipolata per person (making two pigs).  The cranberry sauce is left over from Christmas and was made from cranberries that had been in the freezer for longer than I care to mention.  It could be a lot worse - glamming it up as a Christmas roast dinner makes it look less frugal than it really is; because there's so many elements, each is a pretty small helping.

I think we will all enjoy it!

Friday, 19 January 2018

Deja vu?

This has just made me laugh.  I posted it on Facebook on Jan 19th, 2013. 

I have milk.
I have cheese.
I have so much meat in the freezer, you wouldn't believe.
I have veg and potatoes.
I have a cupboard full of tins and packets.
I have plenty of bread flour and yeast.
I have plenty of loo roll, etc.
So why on *earth* do I think, when I hear we might be getting heavy snow tomorrow, that I HAVE to go and stock up in Morrisons?????
Fighting it! 

I wonder if I'd feel the same today.
Do you?

Friday, 10-01-18

Last night's dinner - and very nice it was too!  I dipped the sweet potato chips into the chorizo and bean stew and mmmmmmmmm.  The recipes for both are in separate posts.

Good morning.  After yesterday's deliciousness, today's menu is less certain.
B:  muesli, cherries and yogurt
L:  probably toast and marmite or pate, maybe a yogurt
D:  really not sure yet.
Ss:  apple and orange or maybe banana

From the freezer:
The cherries
Bread for the toast
Probably whatever meat I decide to have and maybe the veg as well.

The frugal factor
The muesli is a gift (and I have another bag waiting when I finish this one - good old Dad!).
The cherries are frozen so, while not exactly cheap, are better than fresh ones
The bread is home made and comes to about 1p per slice.
The banana is from Aldi.

How's it going for you?  What's your favourite frugal meal?

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Five Frugal Fings

Here we go again.  A recap on five ways in which I have been (or have tried to be) frugal this week.

(thought I'd go pretty with my divider this week!)
1.  I'm on a longer term mission to use up all the old stuff in my freezer and this week I really feel I'm getting somewhere again after the Christmas/New Year blip.  Spaces are appearing as little pots and packets get taken out and used up and, apart from fresh stuff, I've not needed to shop much at all, the bank balance reflecting that rather nicely.  There's a long way to go still but that's OK, more cash into the old savings at the end of each month when I do my bigger reckoning.
2.  I mentioned about the electricity credit and the significant reduction in my monthly payments until July and, as I know it will go up again then, I've been looking to find ways of saving a bit more.  One thing I am really bad at is turning off lights so I have been making an effort to remember to switch off as I leave each room.  There's plenty of room for improvement - I've just got up to turn off the landing light and the light in the other half of this room - but, as the saying goes, every little helps.
3.  At the moment I'm having to make car journeys quite often.  It's only about seventy five minutes each way but petrol costs mount up so I've been thinking I ought to walk more locally instead of taking the car.  Now that my weight is slowly going down, my bad ankle isn't hurting so much (surprise, surprise) so I ought to be able to walk further without limping.  I could walk to Morrisons instead of driving unless I know there will be heavy bags.
I'll be honest and say that I haven't really started this.  Walking isn't a favoured thing because my ankle hurts so much afterwards, but I must hunt for some motivation.  If you have any, please send it over.  Thanks!
4.  I haven't thrown away any leftovers all week!    They've all been used up next day.  On the other hand, I have just had to throw away a yogurt that was hidden behind other things and which was too old for comfort so that's not good at all.  There's always room for improvement, isn't there?
5.  This weeks meal planning shows two fish based dinners and one vegetarian dinner which isn't bad.  I'd really like to aim for two fish and two vegetarian but I'm getting there, slowly.  Lunches have been mostly home made soups which are always very frugal and breakfasts have been porridge (dead cheap, even with added fruit) or muesli, which was a gift.  Everything has been made from scratch and has been low fat so I'm really rather pleased with the way this week has gone.
Here's to frugality!

Recipe: spicy sweet potato chips

one sensible sized sweet potato (i.e. Not Too Big!)
half tsp smoked paprika
quarter tsp salt
quarter tsp garlic granules
freshly milled black pepper
pinch each of cumin and cayenne
spray oil

Heat the oven to 220C
Scrub or peel the sweet potato and cut into chips.
Place them in a small poly bag and add all the seasonings/spices.  Scrunch them around in the bag so that all the spices are evenly coating the chips.
Place baking parchment on an oven tray and spray with oil.  Lay out the chips and spray the tops.
Pop in the oven and bake for about fifteen minutes, turn them over and bake again until done and just charring at the edges.

Eat immediately.  They were very nice indeed.

Note to self.  If taking a photo, make sure everything is straight!

Recipe: Repost of chorizo and bean stew
(I've checked the link and it still works)

Above is the inspiration for this, taken from the helpful'Eat Well For Less' site.  I really enjoyed those programmes, even if I did get a bit 'frustrated' with the participants at time!  I've taken the recipe and 'shoestringed' it to match what I have available.

It makes enough for six which is  27p per portion (rounded up) which is brilliantly frugal.  However, these prices only relate to what I had in my cupboard at this moment in time and will vary according to brand, supermarket and price hikes of which, sadly, there are rather a lot right now.

1 tbsp veg oil* - 2p
72g chorizo, sliced lengthways and each half then sliced thinly (I had some left over which needed using up, hence the odd amount (and it was YS)- 70g-100g would be fine, just adjust the cost) - 65p
some onion, roughly chopped (I had half to use up plus one small 'wonky' one) - 3p
100g cooking bacon, chopped - 10p
a squeeze of garlic puree - 3p
1 chicken stock cube - 3p
1 can chopped tomatoes plus half the can of water - 25p
20g drained sundried tomato, chopped (an optional extra but I love the flavour they impart) - 14p
2/3 tin baked beans, rinsed (I had this in the fridge to use up but a whole can would be fine.  I washed and drained them because I didn't want the baked bean sauce taste) - 18p
45g chopped mushrooms - 9p
some dried parsley
some tomato puree - 8p
seasonings, if needed
Total: £1.60

(*I missed a trick here as I have some sundried tomato oil to use up - must remember that as it's 'free' - I costed the drained weight only.  Don't ever throw this away, it is packed with sunshine flavour.)

Gently saute the onion and chorizo in the oil until the oil runs from the chorizo and everything is a lovely orange shade.  Add the cooking bacon, and continue frying it gently for about five mins, stirring now and again.  Add the garlic puree and cook for another minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes and extra water, the stock cube, the sundried tomato and the rinsed beans with a little grating of black pepper.  Mix well, bring to a boil, cover, turn down the heat and allow it to simmer, covered, for about half an hour, stirring it now and again to stop any sticking.
Then add the mushroom, parsley and tomato puree, stir well, increase the heat a little and let it bubble, uncovered, so that the mixture thickens a bit, stirring now and again.

Taste, adjust seasonings if necessary (I didn't need to) and it's finished.  Eat with pasta, rice or , maybe, mash. or use as a filling for cannelloni or even on top of a pizza base.  You could do lots of things with it.

I shared it into 6 portions which are, as I type, cooling ready for freezing.  Very flavoursome and very frugal.   When you reduce the overall size of your portions, as I have done, you want every mouthful to be a real burst of flavour and this certainly fits the bill in that respect!

Thursday, 18-1-18

Good morning, everyone.

Today's frugal food plans:
B:  porridge with tinned fruit and natural yogurt
L:  pea soup, yogurt
D:  chorizo and bean stew, sweet potato fried, side salad
Ss:  apple, orange

From the freezer:
The pea soup and I might also get some frozen peas to garnish.
The chorizo and bean stew.

The frugal fractor:
Porridge!  And the fruit is tinned and is from the Saver's range.
The pea soup was very inexpensive to make from dried peas, some veg and some stock
I made the stew several months ago now when I was doing pound a day but I remember that the chorizo was a yellow sticker purchase and the beans (pulses) were home soaked and cooked.  I made a batch and froze it in single portions.
The sweet potatoes were a bag of five for £1.00 which seemed very good value.  I'll have to look up how to make the fries but I am assuming it is more or less the same as making SW chips.
The salad is from Aldi Super Six veg and the last bit of red pepper from a bag of Wonky peppers.

(As an aside, yesterday's savoury mince for the pasta bolognaise was made a while ago and frozen and didn't taste half as flavoursome as the mixture I made at the weekend with the roasted mince.  It was nice but . . . )