Thursday, 14 December 2017

Recipe: a marinade for chicken drumsticks and how to not waste it!

Ingredients:
bit of garlic puree
some honey
some Dijon mustard
some lemon juice
some soy sauce
some cinnamon
All stuff I had in.
(sorry, I didn't measure - anyway, it depends how many you are cooking for)

Method.
Mix the lot together and stir well until it's all amalgamated, more or less.

Place the chicken drumsticks in an ovenproof dish and pour over the marinade.  Cover and leave to marinate for at least two hours, longer, if possible.

Cover with foil and pop into the oven at about 200 fan.

Bake for about 20 to 25 mins until chicken is more or less cooked
Then remove the foil, baste the chicken and replace in the oven for about ten minutes so the chicken browns a bit and the marinade thickens.

Serve.

I didn't use the marinade as a sauce and overnight it had 'jellified' in the dish.  I tasted it and it was delicious so I spooned it out and am going to use it on my steak this evening.  I know it's meat-fusion but it will go really well, I can tell.  No waste = frugal!

Thursday, 14-12-17

Yesterday went fine - stuck to the food plans and didn't wander off into paths of iniquity!

Today's plans
B:  muesli, fruit and yogurt
S:  orange
L:  beans on toast (again)
S:  apple
D:  flat iron steak, small baked potato, salad


From the freezer
The flat iron steak
I'm having beans again to avoid putting them in the freezer
Bread for the toast


The frugal factor
The muesli was a gift
The beans are Savers and the bread is home made
The steak may not be frugal but when I bought it, it had just been featured on 'Eat Well for Less and was less that half the price of sirloin.  It isn't now, not now it's been 'discovered'.  Also, It's using up what I have which is another element of frugality




I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.
Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Wednesday, 13-12-17

Hi!
When I wrote yesterday's entry I had totally forgotten that I was round at a friend's for lunch which turned out to be a fully blown meal.  Absolutely delicious and filled me up for the rest of the day, so yesterday turned out to be very frugal! 
Fortunately, I hadn't taken the dinner out of the freezer.

Today's plans
B:  porridge with fruit (strawberries and blueberries) and yogurt
S:  orange
L:  beans on toast
S:  apple
D:  chicken drumsticks with salad and a few SW chips; yogurt

I want to find some sort of marinade for the chicken.  I'm thinking honey, mustard, citrus and spice of some kind, all of which I have in.

Today is likely to be a bit more expensive than usual as I am going to do the first Christmas shop.


From the freezer:
Strawberries and blueberries
I seem to have a startling number of frozen chicken drumsticks so this will reduce them by two
The bread for the toast

I might prep more chips than I need to the par boiled stage and then open freeze them, just to make life a bit easier.  More in the freezer, I know, but it will be useful and I have plenty of spuds..


The frugal factor:
The oats for the porridge - such great value.
The beans are savers ones and the bread is home made.
Chicken drumsticks are not all that costly.
I got a bag of wonky peppers (all red and yellow, no greens) so pepper will feature significantly in the salad.





I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.
Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Tuesday, 12-12-17

Good morning!  It was an easier food day yesterday except for changing my mind about what to have for dinner.  I'm glad I did - it worked!

Here's today's plans

B:  muesli with the rest of the stewed rhubarb and strawberries (which is absolutely delicious) and natural yogurt
S:  orange
L:  beans on toast
S:  apple
D:  vegetable curry and rice, yogurt


From the freezer
The bread for toast
the vegetable curry and the rice


The frugal factor
As before, the muesli was a gift and the breakfast fruit was from allotment and garden.
The beans are savers and I add a shot of brown sauce or ketchup (I do for more expensive beans as well, it's not because they are cheaper).
The bread is home made and great value, not to mention tasting scrummy.
The curry was a frugal make when I was doing Pound a Day.

Today is one of those days that help to balance the more expensive days.  Yesterday wasn't bad either.




I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.
Fingers crossed!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Recipe: mince stuffed pepper

This was a doddle.  I'm sure there are much more complicated versions but this will do for me, every time.


What to do.

Some time in the past make a batch of savoury mince and freeze it in single portions, OK?

Defrost one of the portions.
Cut a pepper in half longways: even better if it's a wonky pepper (cheap).  Carefully cut out the stalk, the seeds and the white membrane.  Place both halves in a small oven proof dish.
Spoon half of the mince into one half pepper and the rest in the other half.
Pop into a 180C oven and bake for about 20 mins.  While it's baking, finely grate some cheese.  I used not-Parmesan (savers 'hard Italian cheese').
Take the peppers out of the oven (see the trendy 'charred veg' look), sprinkle over the cheese and pop it back to bake for another ten minutes or so.

Serve with a salad (or chips!)




Monday, 11-12-17

Well, the snow yesterday played havoc with my catering plans.  My guests didn't come (ungritted roads, skating rink-like conditions, etc) so I had a lot of prepped food to deal with.

I had some of the slow roast lamb (which was absolutely delicious) and my son turned up, bless him, to see if I needed anything so he had a plateful as well.  The rest is now in the freezer in single portions - at least I can now make proper shepherd's pie.  The beany mixture is also in the freezer as is the rhubarb and strawberry crumble.  I'm sure I can use them over the Christmas period.

I had peeled all the potatoes I had so I par-boiled them, dried them out and they are now open freezing for use on Christmas day.

So my slowly emptying freezer took a bit of a battering but nothing, absolutely nothing was wasted unless you count me eating far more roast lamb than was good for me.

Moving on, today's plans are:
B:  porridge with fruit (some of the stewed rhubarb and strawberries) and yogurt
S:  orange
L:  roasted butternut squash and butterbean soup
S:  apple
D:  savoury mince, pasta**; yogurt


From the freezer
The soup
The savoury mince

The frugal factor
The fruit for the porridge was from allotments and garden
The soup is home made from home grown or cooked ingredients
The mince is a small portion and packed with healthy bulkers - oats, lentils and chopped veg - to make it go further and because it's absolutely delicious!


** Edited later.  I've changed my mind.  I have some 'wonky' peppers so I am going to use the mince to make stuffed peppers instead and have a salad on the side.



And another edit.  I am so glad I changed my dinner plan because the stuffed pepper was delicious!







I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.
Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Recipe: banana bread

This is a lovely, simple recipe that produces sheer deliciousness.

I found it on the blog of the now late Shirley Goode (remember her on Pebble Mill, decades ago?).  The recipe was in the comments which now seem to have disappeared so I feel OK about posting it here.


Ingredients: (with apologies for the old fashioned imperial measurements)
3 oz margarine (I suppose butter would do too)
3 oz caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium banana, peeled
5 oz SR flour
half tsp cinnamon
half tsp allspice
a pinch of salt

Whisk together the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla and banana.  Then fold in the flour, spices and salt.
Bake in a suitably sized loaf tin (the above amount works well with a 1lb loaf tin) at 180C for about 40 to 45 mins - until it's done really so check with a skewer!  I used a paper liner so there was no sticking at all.

Let it cool before slicing and serve either plain or with butter.
That's it!



I adapted it for making in my Thermomix:

Place the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla and banana in the bowl and zizz at speed 5-6 for about 10 seconds or so, until it is a batter.

Add the flour, spices and salt and reverse mix at speed 2-3 until the flour in incorporated.  You might need to push down the sides with the spatula.

Bake as above.

There's lots of variations: you could add chocolate or I think some crystallised, chopped ginger would go well, for example.  But it's really lovely just as it comes, very easy, very simple.  Also pretty frugal.  I used value flour and it rose fine.



Sunday, 10-12-17

It felt so good after sorting out the chest freezer, so much more in control, that yesterday I went out and sorted the front opening one too.  It wasn't a mess, does need defrosting but not urgently and now I know what's in there too.  Great.
It didn't take so long and I didn't get so cold.


Here's today's plans and I have guests for Sunday dinner
B:  muesli, fruit and yogurt
S:  orange
D:  roast lamb (and a mixed bean casserole for one of my guests), roasties, sprouts, green beans; then rhubarb and strawberry crumble with custard
T:  beans on toast


From the freezer
The lamb
For the vegetarian casserole, pulses, passata, mixed peppers
Green beans (garden produce)
Rhubarb and strawberries (allotment and garden produce)
Bread for the toast
. . . so quite good from that perspective

However, into the freezer (ooops)
Two sliced 1lb loaves (home made)
I found two manky bananas and, to avoid throwing them away, I made banana loaf.  It's very easy, pretty fool proof and delicious and I will post the recipe
Two portions of roasted butternut squash and butterbean soup which I will use up during the coming week

The frugal factor
Breakfast and tea are OK but lunch is the opposite in terms of cost.  However, I am using what I have in and haven't had to buy anything extra so that works.
I avoided throwing away two bananas and now have banana bread for Christmas teas.   Nice!  I love it when you start with something that seems only fit for the bin and end up with sheer deliciousness.



I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.
Fingers crossed!




Saturday, 9 December 2017

Saturday, 9-12-17

Now that I have a defrosted freezer (cheers) and a comprehensive list of what is now in there plus more or less where it is too (top, bottom, left, right), I hope I will be able to use it in a more organised way!  Certainly I will be fulfilling the first point in my post, 'What do I mean by frugal', which said:

"I mean making the very best of what I already have and not buying food for the sake of buying food - and that includes yellow sticker food.  If I don't need it, it is a waste of cash, whether it costs £10 or 10p"

It was definitely worth getting absolutely frozen for, even if it did take several hours, hot coffee, hot soup and the fan heater to feel properly warm again.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli, fruit and yogurt
S:  orange
L:  roasted butternut squash and butter bean soup
S:  apple
D:  savoury mince with butterbeans, mixed veg; stewed apple and raspberries with yogurt

From the freezer:
savoury mince with butterbeans
mixed veg
stewed apple and raspberries

The frugal factor:
The muesli was a gift (thanks, Dad)
The soup is home made (here's the recipe), made from garden/allotment produce
The butter beans have brought down the cost of the mince mixture considerably.



I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.
Fingers crossed!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Recipe: Christmas baked oats

Ingredients for one
(this makes plenty for me; it's very filling)

20g oats
1 medium egg
half a pot mullerlight orange with chocolate sprinkles yogurt
pinch salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
orange and lemon zest
a heaped tsp mincemeat

Method
Heat the oven to about 170C

Mix all the ingredients together and stir well.
Pour the batter into an appropriate sized dish - I use an ovenproof round glass ramekin, a bit larger than the usual ones (Tescos, £1.50 and worth every penny).
Place on a baking tray in case of leakage.
Bake for around 40 mins until lovely and brown.
Tip or spoon out and serve straight away.

I poured the remaining half of the yogurt around it.  It's really delicious!

Not a great photo, sorry!

Next time I will also throw in a few dried cranberries too, for more colour as well as the Festive Flavour.

Friday, 8-12-17

Good morning.  I have a new super-frugal breakfast now as well as the porridge and that is some super-posh muesli that has very kindly been given to me.  It's splendid stuff, packed with nuts and fruit but with no added sugar.  It'll be nice to ring the changes and I'm sure it will help the cholesterol levels.

So - today's food plans
B:  Christmas baked oats - an experiment and rehearsal for The Day - with Christmas spices, mincemeat and orange zest.  I will let you know.
S:  orange
L:  roasted squash and butterbean soup
S:  apple
D: chicken goujons with SW chips and a side salad; yogurt


From the freezer:
Just the chicken. 
I'll have a better idea of what's in there once I have defrosted the thing.




The frugal factor:
The soup is very cheaply made with allotment produce and soaked and cooked butter beans.
Dinner isn't too expensive as there's not loads of anything.

However, the baked oats are not all that frugal what with the egg AND the yogurt!  Never mind, once a week won't break the bank.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Recipe: roasted butternut squash and butter bean soup

 . . . with hardly any added fat!


Ingredients to make three good portions (sorry, freezer)
one small (home grown) butternut squash or half of the ones you can buy in the shops
spray oil
some butter beans (see below), soaked and cooked
half a medium carrot, topped or tailed, washed and cut into chunks
two 'slices' of celery *
half a medium onion, peeled and chopped
one vegetable stock pot (or other stock of choice)
a good pinch of mixed herbs
a squidge of garlic puree
a squidge of chilli puree
some pepper
pinch of salt - not too much as you can always add more later

Method:
preheat the oven to about 170C
Cut the squash in half longways and then cut each piece in half longways again.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray each piece with oil, place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until the flesh is soft.  Take it out and let it cool a bit.  Then scrape out all the flesh and discard the rind.
The butter beans should be more or less the same amount as the squash by volume

In a pan place the squash, the beans, the carrot, celery and onion.  Add the stock pot, herbs, garlic, pepper, salt and chilli.  Top up to about 1 litre in total with water.

Cover, bring to a gentle boil and simmer until all the veg is soft.

Then either use a stick blender or another blender and zizz it all until it is very smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings as required.  If it is too thick you can add m ore water or, for a creamier taste, some milk.

*  I don't pull off ribs of celery and then chop the rib, I keep them attached and slice right across the top as many times as needed.  Much easier!

Thursday, 7-12-17

Good morning.
I'm hoping (weather permitted) to sort out my freezer today.  Everything out, audited, anything 'unsuitable' discarded (don't think there will be much), the freezer defrosted and everything back again.  Wish me luck.


B:  porridge with fruit and natural yogurt
S:  orange
L:  squash and butterbean soup
S:  apple
D:  beef stroganoff with runner beans, yogurt


From the freezer:
loads of ice!
beef
runner beans

The frugal factor
porridge - dead cheap, even with some fruit
the butternut squash is allotment produce
the runner beans are from the garden
the butter beans are soaked and cooked, not from a tin

however, to counter balance all of this, the beef is dead expensive but once in a while is OK - it's the other half of the steak I bought last week


Edited @ around 7:30
Ooops, I went to the microwave and found yesterday's soup inside.  After the meeting I popped it in to warm up, got stuck into some emailing and then went to bed, totally forgetting about it.  So that's lunch and the other can do me another day.




I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Wednesday, 6-12-17

Morning, everyone!
Yesterday turned out more frugal than I though - I forgot to have breakfast (really, I just forgot, not great but there you go) and the soup I made for lunch was enough to last two days as it's very, very filling.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge, fruit and yogurt
S: orange
L:  cottage pie, runner beans
S:  apple
D:   bacon and yellow split pea soup


From the freezer:
mince for cottage pie
runner beans
(I gather it's going to be a lot colder tomorrow so I might turn out my freezer, do an audit of what's in, deal with any impossibly fatty stuff and defrost the poor thing - that would help tremendously)


The frugal factor
The fruit for the porridge is a bit old and needs eating soon or it won't be fit to eat - no waste there!
As yesterday, the mince is pre-cooked and loaded with good things to bulk it out - oats, lentils and veg
The runner beans are from the garden this year
The soup is left over from yesterday, making it twice as frugal as I thought.  I'm still getting used to using yellow split peas which seem to be a great thickening agent as well as flavoursome.

Also I've bought some more yogurt and today I shall set my yogurt maker on again.  A litre of yogurt for the cost of some long life semi-skimmed and a few spoonfuls of the previous batch (in this case, some of the bought yogurt) and it tastes twice as nice for half the price!






I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Tuesday, 5-12-17

Another day, another menu.

Today I'm planning to have . . .
B:  Guess what.  Yes, that's right - porridge and fruit.  No yogurt as I'm out of it so it's on the shopping list.  Just a small pot as I really must start making my own again.
S:  apple or orange
L:  ham and split pea soup
S:  apple or orange
D:  spag (or pasta) bol


From the freezer:
Yesterday I got out a little pot of cooking bacon for the quiche but then Beth (daughter) came round so I doubled up amounts and skipped the bacon as she's vegetarian.  I'm using it today in the soup in lieu of ham stock, to give it a good hammy zing.
The cooked mince for the spag bol.


The frugal factor
Porridge as always - and I hope it's working wonders for my cholesterol as well as my bank balance
Split peas are as cheap as chips and the bacon also cost very little when I bought it YS quite a while ago.
The mince is packed with veg, oats and lentils which not only makes it extra tasty and full of goodness, they also bulk it out and make it a lot more frugal.  I always make my savoury mince like this (with variations, depending on what I have got in).
And I have some pasta that was given to me so the ultimate frugal!




I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.

Monday, 4-12-17

Good morning.  Here's my plans for today.
B:  porridge, fruit and natural yogurt
S:  orange or apple
L:  toast, soft cheese and marmite
S:  apple or orange
D:  crustless quiche, SW chips, nice side salad


From the freezer
The bread for toast
Cooking bacon for the quiche - I shall cut off all the visible fat so it will be OK


The frugal factor
Breakfast and lunch are both cheap meals, even with the added fruit.  Tomorrow I will perhaps splash out on baked oats as I have an idea for a recipe.
The quiche may not be super-frugal but it's loads cheaper than the ones you buy.  I don't add the low fat cheese in the recipe (tasteless stuff) but I do grate over just a little bit of value not-Parmesan which my gallbladder seems to tolerate. 
The cooking bacon is a great way to buy chopped bacon - really frugal and already half chopped for you.  If you choose carefully, there's not loads of fatty bits either.
Quiche is great for using up leftovers and little bits of stuff.

Here's the recipe I use as a basis, cutting down the amounts and adapting to what I have in.
http://www.slimmingworld.co.uk/recipes/bacon-and-mushroom-crustless-quiche.aspx





I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Sunday, 3-12-17

Good morning.  Here are today's quite ordinary plans . . .

B:  porridge with fruit and natural yogurt
S:  orange
L:  yellow split pea soup
S:  apple
D:  melon; chicken casserole with jacket potato, cabbage and carrots


From the freezer:
Just the chicken casserole today


The frugal factor
Breakfast and lunch are both very frugal.  The fruit is stewed apple and a few old strawberries left over from yesterday.
The chicken casserole is also leftovers to which I will add extra mushroom and yellow pepper and, maybe, some butter beans, I think.



I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Saturday, 2-12-17

Good morning.  Here's my plans for today.

B:  porridge with fruit and natural yogurt
S:  orange
L:  toast with soft cheese and marmite
S:  apple
D:  cottage pie with peas; fresh fruit salad with yogurt


From the freezer:
bread for the toast
the cooked mince for the cottage pie
peas (yesterday as they are leftovers)


The frugal factor
breakfast and lunch won't cost much at all
the mince for the cottage pie is bulked out with lentils and oats - very good for me as well as reducing the overall cost
I won't (can't) load the potato topping with butter and cheese as I used to: I might add some low fat soft cheese and maybe a bit of quark
the peas are leftovers from yesterday




I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.

Friday, 1 December 2017

What do I mean by frugal?

When I first started this particular blog, I called it 'My 30-30 Challenge' because I was aiming for a pound a day, to go with the Facebook group I help to admin, Feed Yourself for a Pound a Day.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/651859231575794/
(take a look - you might like to join and see what it's all about)

For several months I kept this going, managing to stay under a pound a day with the use of garden produce, savers brands, yellow stickers (not too much though) and making it myself.

However, after a few name changes and changes in 'style', Real Life got in the way, not financial but other stuff and then I developed (unrelated) health issues.  As well as that, I had a loaded freezer that I wasn't making inroads into in any great way because it would break the £1 bank.  THis was, obviously, rather silly!.

So, out of all that, The Frugal Factor was born.  I didn't want to move too far away from the roots of this blog but it's a bit more complicated now.

So - what do I mean by frugal?
  • I mean making the very best of what I already have and not buying food for the sake of buying food - and that includes yellow sticker food.  If I don't need it, it is a waste of cash, whether it costs £10 or 10p
  • I mean minimising waste.  Using leftovers creatively, cooking sensible portions, freezing things in single portions or free flow in bags - they all help to reduce waste.
  • I mean looking around for new ideas and recipes - making things from scratch, reading frugal blogs, contributing to running our frugal Facebook groups . . .
  • I mean keeping the two smaller meals vary low cost (usually).  Porridge costs pennies so I can add a bit of fruit and not feel I'm being too spendy.  Home made bread, home made soup, home made egg based meals - they're all great value and delicious too.
  • I mean cutting unnecessary snacks to an absolute minimum.  Yes, I know I plan two snacks a day but I would usually have them with a meal; now I have split them off from meals to have between times.  Better for my health at the moment as I find too much food at one go = ouch!  


What I don't mean.
  • I don't necessarily mean the cheapest.  For example, the cheapest sausages are high in fat and low in meat.  Not great.
  • I don't mean skimping and scraping.  Goodness knows, some do have to and it's hard, very hard, but I am fortunate enough not to need to.
  • I only count food in this blog, not other expenses.  However, I have found that by focusing on this element of my spending, I am automatically becoming much more careful in all other areas too which really can't be a bad thing.


Each day I roughly cost out my planned meals in my head and if it comes to between £1.50 and £2.00, I'm happy.  Even £2 is only £14 a week, around £60 a month and £730 for the whole year.  If I generally stick to that, then the occasions when I do go over will be more than balanced by the times when I go under.

So that's what I mean by frugal.
What do you think?




Friday, 1-12-17

Brrr - it's been a cold, damp night and it's bleak out there.  Not fun at all!  Stay warm, everyone.

I seem to have got into a pattern with my meals now.  Breakfast is almost always porridge based - mostly done the usual way with baked oats now and again and I want to try some overnight oats at some point.  Lunch is soup or the other sort of thing I might otherwise have for breakfast - toast with things on or something salad-y.  Dinner is where I try new recipes.

My frugal food plans for today are:
B:  porridge with a few blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup
S:  an orange
L:  toast with marmalade or marmite
S:  apple
D:  chicken in breadcrumbs, home made SW chips, veg of some sort


From the freezer
bread for the toast
the chicken is an off leftover one that's been knocking around in there for ages
the veg will be from the freezer


The frugal factor
porridge is always a cheap and wholesome breakfast
the toast and marmalade are both home made and cheaper than the equivalent bought
the veg will be frozen garden produce
the chips are much better value than shop bought and healthier too - I'm always amazed how many chips one can get from a very modestly sized spud




I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Recipe: orange baked oats

I found this on Pinch of Nom and adapted it.  I've already posted about it but have deleted that post in favour of this one.

First of all, the original is here (scroll down the bumph until you get to the actual recipe - I guess they have to make their money somehow).
http://pinchofnom.com/recipes/low-syn-orange-marmalade-baked-oats-slimming-world/ 
. . . and I am sure it is absolutely delicious.

But this is what I did
First of all, I halved it all.  For me 40g oats AND two eggs is just too much for breakfast on top of a pot of yogurt, not to mention unnecessarily expensive.


So I used:
20g oats
 a pot of Muller Light orange with chocolate sprinkles yogurt
about half a tsp stevia (but I'm not sure this is actually really needed
one egg
some orange or satsuma zest, finely grated
half tsp vanilla bean paste

Method:

Mix the oats, about half of the orange yogurt, the stevia, egg, zest and vanilla together in a bowl.  Then tip it into a suitably sized oven proof dish.  No need to oil the dish.
Bake at 180C for 40 to 50 mins.  It's not a hurry-breakfast. 

Run a knife round the baked oats and it should come out whole.  As I used a round dish, it came out looking a bit like a big muffin.
Tip the remaining yogurt around the oats and eat straight away.

It's delicious, warming and filling.  And healthy!
It's not cheap though, so one to have now and again.

Not a recipe: beefy drink

I had half a beef Stockpot left over from yesterday and I won't be using it in a meal today so, to avoid wasting it, I popped it in a mug and half filled the mug with boiling water.  A quick stir and it made a warming, beefy, savoury drink that was a lot nicer than I expected it to be.  A little drop of marmite added would have been tasty too.


Stockpots are dear, but otherwise it would have been wasted so it was a frugal thing to do and I'm sharing.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Thursday, 30-11-17

It's the last day of a most peculiar month, health wise, but the eating is well under control now and the finances look good, thanks to continued frugality which is really just a way of saying making the best of what I have.
I started the month feeling so poorly and I finish it feeling so much better there's no comparison.  Happy times.

After yesterday's blowout (which was delicious), here's today's back-to-normal plans:

B:  baked orange marmalade oats
S:  blueberries
L:  toast, soft cheese and marmite
S:  apple or orange
D:  chicken and veg pasta bake without the pasta.  I know that sounds odd but I have some beany veg mixture left over from Tuesday when my daughter couldn't come over for dinner, so I will cook some chicken and some bacon bits (with all the fat cut off) and add it to the beany veg stuff.  I know from experience that I need nothing else with it.


From the freezer:
bread for toast
chicken and bacon - the chicken was some I got from the market on special and I cut it unto chunks and froze it in single portions while the bacon was from a pack of cooking bacon, also frozen in single portions


The frugal factor
Even with the added egg, baked oats is great value and very filling
the toast is home made and I have soft cheese (low fat, of course) that I have to use up as I really don't wish to throw it away
dinner is made with leftovers and meat on special - a full tum for under 50p



I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.

Recipe: beef stroganoff from Pinch of Nom

Not my recipe, here's the link, below.  It's delicious, it's easy, it's quick and I am now totally stuffed after having it with 50g (raw weight) of basmati rice.



http://pinchofnom.com/recipes/low-syn-beef-stroganoff-slimming-world/

As always, scroll down past the ads for the recipe

Wednesday, 29-11-17

Good morning!

Yesterday I was NOT frugal.  It's nearly the end of the month and it's been a good month for not spending so I decided to finish it off is style and treat myself to some fruit.  Lavish, eh?

I went to Sainsbury's, which I find very expensive, but I wanted fromage frais and, frustratingly,  I hadn't found it anywhere else.  While I was there, I bought a few extras for Christmas - my daughter's vegetarian Higgedy Pie which she loves, the sausages and bacon to make the pigs in blankets (much better than buying them ready-made)  and some vegetarian stuffing mix.  I splashed out on some blueberries and in the frozen food areas I bought a bag of mixed strawberries and blueberries which will be great with my morning porridge.  As a one-off, I bought some steak too.  Planned but even so, bad me!

So - not cheap but the next bigger shop will be just before Christmas so I don't feel too bad.  I didn't waste any money on snacky, fatty stuff (like the crisps I love so much) because I can't eat them now.

Enough self-justification!  Here's today's plans.

B:  porridge with strawberries, blueberries and natural yogurt
S:  melon
D:  baked beans on toast
S:  blueberries
D:  beef stroganoff (a Slimming World/Pinch of Nom recipe and I'll report back on it later) and rice - definitely not frugal so it had better be worth it!


From the freezer:
strawberries and blueberries
bread for the toast


The frugal factor
even with the fruit, breakfast is still going to be pretty good value, less than 30p
the bread for the toast is home made and the beans are value beans with a shot of ketchup


Back to normal frugality tomorrow.




I'm trying to use up the multitude of stuff in the freezer.
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
I have gall bladder problems, high cholesterol and high blood pressure so am taking myself in hand with low fat, high fruit and veg, generally healthy meals but with plenty of flavour.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Tuesday, 28-11-17

After a good food day yesterday, here's today's plans.

B:  porridge, fruit and yogurt
S:  apple
L:  ham and split pea soup
S:  melon
D:  mixed bean and veg potato topped pie, sprouts, carrots


From the freezer:
chickpeas, butter beans and kidney beans plus mixed peppers, all for dinner
the soup was in the freezer yesterday and was enough for two portions
passata (for the bean and veg mix)


The frugal factor
breakfast and lunch are both very frugal meals
the mixed beans were all bought dried, soaked and cooked before freezing - so much more frugal than buying them in cans
the passata was made from garden produce





I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Recipe: lemon chicken goujons

Another super recipe from Pinch of Nom.  If you scroll past the adverts down to the recipe 'card', there's a useful little gizmo for getting the amounts for however many portions you want.

I didn't change much, just subbed dried herbs for the fresh parsley as I didn't have parsley.  It was delicious, well worth making.  Dead easy too.

Here's the link:
http://pinchofnom.com/recipes/syn-free-garlic-lemon-parsley-chicken-goujons-slimming-world/

And here's my not-wonderful photo.


Monday, 27-11-17

I was so pleased.  After a few days of quite considerable discomfort at times, yesterday was pain free all day and I didn't even take paracetamol before bedtime, even after a couple of roasties (Slimming World style so using minimal oil) for dinner.  Three cheers for a low fat diet.  Here's to the coming week.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit and yogurt
S:  apple
L:  ham and pea soup
S:  persimmon
D:  Not sure yet; I'll fill this in later.
Much later:  I had lemon chicken goujons, SW chips and a simple salad and it was so, so good.
(apologies for the naff photo)



The freezer challenge:
the ham and pea soup
chicken for the goujons
bread for the breadcrumbs for the goujons


The frugal factor
porridge - cheapest breakfast out and even fruit on it doesn't take it out of the frugal band.
home made ham and pea soup - I looked it up on My Supermarket and the cost of the yellow split peas at today's prices would be 5.5p for two portions, cheaper than I though.  I can see they are going to feature more in my plans at that price, maybe with cooking bacon as I won't always have ham stock to hand.





I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Sunday. 26-11-17

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with pineapple and natural yogurt
S:  apple
L:  toast and marmalade
S:  grapes
D:  slow cooked lamb leg steak, a few roasties (made the SW way!), carrots and peas, then fresh fruit salad and natural yogurt


The freezer challenge
bread for the toast
lamb steak


The frugal factor:
breakfast and lunch are both super-cheap, even with the tinned pineapple counted as I don't have much
The lamb steak wouldn't be frugal if it was my provision, but it isn't  :-)






I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Saturday, 25-11-17

Morning, all.

My plans for today are
B:  porridge with fruit and honey
S:  fruit
L:  toast with either marmalade or marmite
S:  raw nuts
D:  cottage pie, carrots; then stewed apple and custard

From the freezer
bread for toast
mince and assorted veg for the cottage pie
cheese for the potato mash topping (not for me though, sadly)


The frugal fractor
breakfast and lunch are both frugal options, all home made as well (apart from the marmite and honey!)
when I cook the mince, I always add red lentils, oats and plenty of veg; not only do they bulk it out and make it go a lot further, they also add great flavour and thicken the sauce

Thursday was more frugal than expected as my gallbladder was playing up and I ended up only having one meal, half of the fish pie.  However, I have discovered that missing meals is not a good idea in my situation so yesterday I made myself eat small and regular meals despite feeling less than great and I feel so much better again this morning.  Phew.
So now I have half a fish pie and two portions of ham and yellow split pea soup in the freezer which will make life easy next week.



I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Friday, 24-11-17

Today's plans
B:  porridge with fruit and yogurt
L:  toast and marmalade, fruit
D:  not sure yet, probably something chicken based


From the freezer:
bread for toast
chicken


The frugal factor
porridge
home made bread and marmalade
I'm not paying for the dinner food



I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Recipe: ham and split pea soup (no added oil/fat)

Warning - I got caught out on this one.  I thought split peas didn't need soaking but they do and I hadn't.  Instead, I zizzed the split peas to powder before starting to make the soup and it worked a treat.

Ingredients to make one big bowlful
bit of onion, chopped
a bit of celery, chopped
half a smallish carrot, washed and chopped
30g yellow split peas
150mls ham stock** and 150mls water
pepper (no salt, see below)
little bit of garlic puree
pinch dried mixed herbs

a splash of milk

Method

Either:
soak the yellow split peas in water for a day (and use less liquid in the soup)
or:
place the split peas in a blender type thing and zizz them until they are a flour consistency

Place everything except the milk in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until everything is cooked.
Zizz to required smoothness.  Taste and adjust seasoning if required.  Add a splashy of milk and serve piping hot.

**  I only had 150 mls of the stock left so made it up to 300 mls with water.  It was a flavoursome stock from boiling a ham earlier in the week.  No need for extra salt, even though the ham was unsmoked.
If you don't have ham stock, you can use any other stock; then it will be split pea, not ham and split pea soup.  Adjust seasonings accordingly.

In a Thermomix, zizz the peas until they are reduced to a flour consistency.

Add everything else but the milk and cook for 20 mins, 100C, speed 4.  Then zizz for about 20 seconds.  Add a splash of milk and reheat to 98C just before serving.
I don't have a soup maker but I guess the process would be very similar.


This makes a smooth, creamy textured soup that is very filling, nourishing, warming and delicious.   It is also a great use of leftover ham stock and is inexpensive to make.  You can be flexible with seasonings too - a bit of a spice kick would be nice.

Post script!
Edited to say that now it has cooled, it has set quite solid.  I could almost slice it!  I suspect that 50g of dried split peas (which is what I used) is too much and I have edited the ingredients to say 30g instead.

Thursday, 23-11-17

Everyone knows how to make oven chips so I won't reproduce the recipe but just to say the crustless quiche with a few oven chips and a simple salad was an absolutely delicious dinner last night.

Today's plans
B:  poached egg on toast (no butter)
S:  banana
L:  fish pie with potato/parsnip mash topping, side salad
S:  melon
D:  ham and split pea soup

I've swapped lunch and dinner round as Thursday evenings are always busy.

From the freezer
bread for the toast
fish
peas (for the fish pie)
(better than yesterday's freeezer efforts anyway)


The frugal factor
home made bread - always cheap and delicious too.
just one egg - one is plenty
the fish was YS fish - I'm almost at the end of the YS fish now, sadly
split peas are great value and the ham stock is like yesterday's - saved from boiling up an unsmoked joint on Monday.  I'll make the soup like yesterday's lentil soup but with the split peas instead of the lentils.


Update.  Lovely, scrummy, filling fish pie.  I could only manage half so the rest will be frozen after it's cooled.






I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Recipe: crustless quiche

Crustless quiche is really just what it says - quiche without the pastry crust
I found this one on the Slimming World site and because I'm not doing Slimming World (far too fussy and fancy) I felt no guilt about modifying it.
Here's the original:  http://www.slimmingworld.co.uk/recipes/bacon-and-mushroom-crustless-quiche.aspx

And here's what I did.
I cut out the bacon.  I reckon with cottage cheese and egg, that's plenty of protein.
I used onion, mushroom and baby corn for the filling because that's what I had.
I thirded the egg mixture because it was three eggs to serve two (awkward) so I used one egg, 50g cottage cheese and a bit of quark.
I didn't have parsley and I forgot the garlic, ooops.
I finely grated 20g of not-parmesan (vegetarian friendly, you see, so that's what I have in) and added it to the egg/cheese mixture. 

It's turned out really nice.  I made it this morning because I won't have time to faff around this evening so can either have it cold or just warm it up.
And 1/3 is plenty for one as you can see (apologies for the terrible photo though)!


(and my fingers are crossed that the cheese doesn't cause any painful reaction)

Recipe: ham and lentil soup (no added fat/oil)

This makes enough for one pretty hungry person and is very, very easy.

Ingredients
1/4 onion, chopped
a bit of celery (same amount as the onion), chopped
half a smallish carrot, washed and chopped
30g red lentils
300mls ham stock**
pepper (no salt, see below)
little bit of garlic puree
pinch dried mixed herbs

Method
Place everything in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until everything is cooked.
Zizz to required smoothness.  Taste and adjust seasoning if required.  Serve piping hot.


**  I had some ham stock from boiling a little ham on Monday.  As the ham was 'green', it wasn't too salty and the stock was just right.  If it's too salty, it will need diluting before use.
If you don't have ham stock, you can use any other stock; then it will be lentil, not ham and lentil soup.


In a Thermomix, put everything in the bowl and cook for 20 mins, 100C, speed 4.  Then zizz for about 20 seconds.  Reheat to 98 just before serving.

5-12-17
Edited to add that I used a bit of cooking bacon (all fat cut off) today instead of stock and it has come out beautifully.  I also added a bit of low fat soft cheese for added creaminess and it needed a bit of salt.  Gorgeous

Recipe: lemon chicken traybake

Here's the link
http://www.slimmingeats.com/blog/lemon-garlic-chicken-rice-traybake

The only things I changed were that I used skinless chicken thighs and I added extra veg - some mushrooms and some baby corn.
I was doubtful about the sprouts but they were lovely.
I found that there was too much rice for me and will reduce the amount next time.

It was delicious

Wednesday, 22-11-17

Yesterday's new recipes were very successful and I will definitely do both again.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with cinnamon and grated apple
S:  fruit
L:  lentil and ham soup
S:  fruit
D:  crustless quiche, salad, home made oven chips, yogurt


From the freezer
Nothing today which is Not Good
I need to get my act together with regard to the freezer challenge, don't I?


The frugal factor
Porridge - cheapo!  And the apple was a gift
The stock for the soup is the water that I boiled the ham in on Monday, which often gets thrown away
I have bits of onion, baby corn, pepper and mushroom that need using up so will add them to the quiche
I'll also be using some cottage cheese that needs using fairly soon in the quiche
The oven chips are very simple and frugal (and very low fat)




I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Tuesday, 21-11-17

Over the last week, I've been trawling the internet for low/no fat recipes and have found some treasures.  One of the is the oddly named 'Pinch of Nom' which I found after a friend joined me to the facebook group of the same name.  Today's breakfast comes from there and dinner from a Slimming World blog (so I have linked them) and it is all as low fat as I can make it after yesterday - maybe, in retrospect, having a roastie yesterday was not a very good idea!

Today's plans
B:  orange marmalade baked oats
S:  banana
L:  beans on toast
S:  grapes
D:  lemon garlic chicken rice traybake, followed by a yogurt


From the freezer
not a lot, just the bread for the toast


The frugal factor
home made marmalade
porridge = frugal as well as very healthy
savers baked beans and just a third of a can - I find that's plenty
home made bread
using chicken thighs instead of the chicken quarter of the recipe.  Cheaper - I checked.  Also more flavour!  Especially when on the bone!



I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Monday, 20-11-17

Today's frugal, low-fat menu is . . .
B:  porridge with fruit salad left over from yesterday
S:  apple
L:  roast ham, roasties, parsnips, sprouts (my grandson is round mine before going back to uni!)
S:  persimmon
D:  beans on toast (no butter)

The freezer challenge:
runner beans
peas
bread for toast

The frugal factor
porridge!
savers beans and home made bread
sadly, there won't be any leftover ham as grandson will be taking it all back with him!  On the other hand, it is a smaller joint and was very good value.


I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.




Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sunday, 19-11-17

Today's plans are . . .

B:  porridge with stewed apple and honey
S:  fruit
L:  toast and marmalade
S:  fruit
D:  steal and kidney (probably), potato, carrots, peas


The freezer challenge:
eating the stewed apple instead of freezing it
bread for the toast
steak and kidney
peas

The frugal factor
still not paying - can't beat that!



I have an overloaded freezer and have challenged myself to take out much more than I put in!
I want to make the most of my hard earned pension so am aiming for sensible frugality in my meal planning and making.
However, I have recently diagnosed gallbladder issues (with an op at some time in the future), high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.  Oh, and more than a few lbs to lose.  I like flavour but need to go very low fat.  
Is it possible?  No idea, but I'm giving it a good go and sharing the 'journey' in here.  Thanks for reading and any comments you would like to make are very welcome.