Wednesday 28 February 2018

Wednesday, 28-02-18

Good morning.

It worked.  I'm saying no more but, oh, the relief!  :-)

What else worked was what I did with the tuna/cottage cheese.
I had about 120g of drained tuna (flakes, not chunks or steaks) and I topped that up to 200g with 0% cottage cheese and mixed it together.  I then added a bit of salt and pepper, about 10 mls of balti curry paste (allowed) and 10g of mango chutney (not really allowed but tough and from Aldi so not dreadfully costly).  A shake of lemon juice and I mixed it all together and had it with salad veg.  It was filling but the tuna was much nicer, not dry and it was flavoursome.  I shall do that again.

Today's plans
B:  muesli, natural yogurt and a bit of stevia
L:  chicken and chickpea soup (recipe here)
D:  sardine temptation (adapted from something on a River Cottage programme), broccoli, fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
The chicken, stock and chickpeas for the soup
Bit of cheese for the sardine dish

The frugal factor
The muesli was a gift
The chicken is leftovers with stock from a boiled up carcass.  I'm nearly out now and it's proven so useful, I might buy a chicken, roast it and freeze the lot in portions to replenish my supplies.
Sardines in cans are not expensive.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Two beauties

Still warm and fragrant, these look lovely!  I'm delighted.

I just used my usual recipe
500g flour
1 heaped tsp instant yeast (the kind for breadmakers)
1 tsp each of salt and sugar
a splash of veg oil
350mls warm water.

Bung it all together, mix and knead (very therapeutic), then pop in an oiled bowl, covered with cling film, to rise.  I give it all the time it needs to double in amount.
Then knock it back, shape it as you want, cover and let it prove before baking for 35 mins.  I turn my oven to the hottest it will go and when the loaves go in I turn it down to 180 (fan).

I was pleased with the rise as it's 100% wholemeal.  It doesn't feel solid or 'heavy'.

Later on I will slice them and freeze them, all but what I need for dinner tonight.  Can't wait (but will have to).

Tuesday, 27-02-18


After my dithering yesterday I ended up frying the tuna and it was really nice with the salad and chips.

What I did was slice the steak into two 'slices'.  I sprayed oil and added salt and pepper on each slice, just one side.  I heated a non stick pan to very hot (a griddle pan would have been better but I don't have one) and then added the tuna, seasoned side down, turning after a minute.  It did very quickly, was just cooked through (thank you for the tips there) and I really liked it with some lemon juice sprinkled over.  It was 'meaty' and very tasty and the lemon juice finished it off nicely.

I'm going to make some bread this morning.  I have bread in the freezer but this bread will be 100% wholemeal.  I think I need the roughage!  :-)  Also, when I went shopping yesterday, I bought some chewing gum.  Now, having been brought up by a mum who detested gum chewing, I don't really get the stuff but it says on the packet 'excessive consumption may produce laxative effects'.  I can hope, can't I!

Today's plans
B:  porridge with fruit yogurt
L:  tuna and cottage cheese (I'm hoping the cottage cheese will take the dryness of the tinned tuna away), mixed salad
D:  One portion of baked beans on two slices of wholemeal toast (no butter), 6 mini tomatoes, either grated low fat cheddar cheese on the beans or a fruit yogurt for afters, depending on how I feel.
Ss:  two apples

From the freezer
I think the only thing will be the cheese which I froze last week in single portions

The frugal factor
Porridge.  :-)
The tuna is a cheap can that I've had for ages.  Time for it to go.
The beans will be savers and the bread will be home made
Very simple meals today but I'm quite looking forward to them, all the same.

I wonder what spices would go with cottage cheese and tuna.  Maybe a bit of curry paste?  Coronation turkey (vaguely sort of)?  I shall have to ponder.

Monday 26 February 2018

Monday, 26-02-18

Good morning.  Cold, innit?  :-)

Today's plans.
B:  muesli with natural yogurt and a bit of stevia
L:  spicy lentil soup
D:  tuna steak, SW chips, salad; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
Just the tuna steak.

The frugal factor
As always, the muesli was a gift so free for me.
Lentils are a great way to keep things frugal and the last time I bought a bag it was on BOGOF so I did!
To balance that, the tuna steak is NOT cheap, but it does fit in with the current regime and it could be worse.  Would you believe I have never cooked tuna?

And - er - bit bunged up again.  < sigh >  Another reason for adapting this diet as soon as I can.  Never had this problem before.

I had a question from 'Anonymous' about rice in a post several days ago.  Just to say I've answered it under the actual post as a reply.  :-)

I have to have my gallbladder out and have been put on a short term 'liver shrinking diet' by Dr C.  So, for the next three or four weeks, my plans/food intake need to:
conform to the rules of the diet
be frugal
use up stuff from freezer and cupboard

Sunday 25 February 2018

After the op

(Darn it, I meant to post the following in here and mistakenly posted in in my other blog instead.  It just shows I shouldn't do these things in a rush!  I'll leave it there because I've already had a response, but copy and paste it here as well.  Really sorry if you've opened it twice.)

Sooze asked:

" Do you still need to follow any kind of eating guidelines after the op?"

Good question.

Assuming the op goes well and achieves what it is supposed to achieve, I won't need to go so low fat and I won't need to stick with the liver shrinking diet which is purely a pre-op thing.

However, since November I have lost masses of weight but there's still more to go, plenty more. I'd be daft to go back to my old ways, wouldn't I? Despite the regular pain, I'm feeling so much better in myself, fitter, more comfortable, both mentally and physically.

However, the regime I am currently following won't wing it. For a start, it is designed to be a short term, pre-op thing with specific, medical outcomes which is why I am a bit worried when I have to change anything. The info I have specifically states that it is not a diet that provides all the essential vitamins and minerals that my body needs so I'm taking a multivitamin and mineral tablet every day. I'd like to stop that.

It's too restrictive and rigid.  There's enough food to stop me feeling hungry but the way it is organised doesn't work that well.

I can't have protein or fruit for breakfast so no boiled egg and no fruit with my porridge as the two portions of fruit are for snacks.
I can have two protein portions for lunch but no carb. so I could have boiled eggs (two per portion) but to toasty soldiers to dunk. And it is not fun to try and force down two portions of tuna without the addition of some mayo! (fats are strictly limited)
Dinner is better but only one small portion of veg isn't great.

It isn't as frugal as I would like either with a lot of lean meat and fish.  As I have most stuff already in the freezer, I'm not spending more but I would be if things were different.

And don't start me off again on the limited veg!  :-)

I have a backlog of recipes to try and, while I don't want to go the WW2 rations route that some of my bloggy friends are taking, I really want to try some of their recipes.  It's frustrating!

However . . . I've had precious little gallbladder pain since I started on it and it's keeping on the straight and narrow.  And the weight is still coming off.

So - after the op, I think I might continue with a much less restrictive form of this diet which is what I was doing after I had the first attack until recently.  Less protein, more veg, less rigidity as to what to have and when.  I'll stick with low fat but with flexibility.  And if the weight stops falling off, I can always go back on it as a short term thing.  It's not, hopefully, a need but it certainly is a sensible thing to do.

Of course, there is always the chance that the op doesn't sort out the pain in which case I'm stuck with low fat and bouts of ouching for ever.
But I'm not thinking of that!  :-)

Sunday, 25-02-18

Good morning!
I ended up a bit down on the food yesterday - not enough diary as I really didn't have room for the yogurt after dinner.  Hope I do better today.
And talking of today, here's the plans - nothing special really.

B:  porridge with half a pot of fruit yogurt
L:  two boiled eggs, chicken salad
D:  lamb steak, roasties or mash, cabbage (probably); the other half of the yogurt
Ss:  two apples

From the freezer
the lamb steak

The frugal factor
Adding a fruit yogurt to the porridge has made it a bit dearer but it's still not bad at all.
The chicken for the salad is the other half of the chicken breast I cooked yesterday - it very obligingly weighed just over 200g raw so that has worked out well.
And someone else is funding these meals so, if fact, it is the most frugal ever.

However, I am going to review the plan for next week's meals as I need to put in more pulses.  This weekend is very meat heavy and it all feels too much - I like meat but not in such enormous quantities.
I was going to knock together a sort of veggieburger last week but didn't get round to it so that will be perfect for this week, won't it?

I'm not doing a Frugal Fings post this week but it should be back next Friday!  :-)

Saturday 24 February 2018

Saturday, 24-02-18

Good morning!
I managed absolutely fine without my lunch yesterday and was ready for my dinner later on!  It was off that while Alex sat enjoying his brunch (which was really a full English), I sat enjoying my apple and wasn't the least bit tempted by what was on his plate.  I wouldn't say that will always be so - I dearly love bacon, etc - but it helped yesterday.  And that apple was a very tasty one.  :-)

Today's plans are as follows:
B:  30g muesli, milk, natural yogurt and a bit of stevia (that's one dairy portion and one carb portion)
L:  tuna salad - plain tuna makes 2 protein portions and the salad will be big enough for two veg portions
D:  chicken (one protein), probably sprouts (one veg), roasties made with spray oil (two carbs) and then a yogurt (one dairy)
Ss:  two apples (the permitted two fruit portions)

I won't bang on about 'portions' every time I do my menu for the day but I did today just to show you how it all goes together. 

From the freezer
The chicken
The tuna has been in my cupboard for ages so it's about time it was used up.

The frugal factor
Well - given that I'm not paying for much of it today, that's frugal!  :-)
The tuna is tinned and was part of a multi buy special so is quite good value

And I was 3 lbs down yesterday!

Friday 23 February 2018

Friday, 23-02-18

Good morning.

Now I'm getting into the swing of this liver shrinking diet and things are starting to flow more, I'm realising the difference a little bit more protein makes.  Yes, I am missing my veg but I'm not feeling hungry and I really thought I would.  If anything, I'm feeling as if I've eaten too much.  Yesterday I couldn't manage two boiled eggs AND the soup for lunch so had the soup at about 3:30 which then meant I had no room for my apples.  Not sure what I do about that really but there are worse problems to have, aren't there.

The plans for today are . . .
B:  porridge with half of a fruit yogurt (then I don't need the stevia)
L:  This is where it gets complicated.  I have my grandson (home from uni) coming over for brunch mid morning.  Obviously, I can't have a brunch but I can have an apple.  But also I won't be able to have my lunch at lunch time for a different reason so might have to just miss it out for once and have my second apple whan I can eat later on.  If I have lunch then, I won't have room for dinner and I don't want to risk another 'attack' by stuffing myself.
Not great but . . .
D:  baked cod, SW chips, side salad, the other half of the yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer:
The cod
For grandson - bacon, sausage, bread

The frugal factor.
Not a lot once Alex gets going!
Splitting the yogurt will work well and it makes the best of the dairy portion.
I don't count missing lunch as being frugal, so it doesn't count!

Just one of those days where things just have to be managed the best I can.

I have to have my gallbladder out and have been put on a short term 'liver shrinking diet' by Dr C.  So, for the next three or four weeks, my plans/food intake need to:
conform to the rules of the diet
be frugal
use up stuff from freezer and cupboard

Thursday 22 February 2018

Thursday, 22-02-18

Good morning.

No photo today because I forgot to take one but dinner was jolly tasty.
I had 100g of cooked chicken from the day before.  I sizzled a bit of onion, red pepper and mushroom in a bit of spray oil, then added the chicken and about ten 'baby spinach' leaves and while that was all cooking, boiled some tagliatelle - too much, must've weighted wrong - and when that was all cooked I added some light soft cheese with garlic and herbs to the chicken and veg mixture plus a few tbsp of pasta water before adding half of the drained tagliatelle and a bit of Maldon salt.   It was so nice and made plenty!

I've had to change the weekend meal planning so I set to and planned from this Friday up to next Friday so no excuses.

And after feeling a bit 'bunged up' and, remembering that the instructions on the diet said constipation might be a problem, I bought some fibogel, as recommended, this morning whereupon, when I got home, things magically 'unbunged' themselves.  Oh, well, maybe it will come in useful at some point!
(apologies if it's TMI)

On to today - I have a portion of tagliatelle to use up (about two carb portions)!  So . . .

B:  porridge with natural yogurt and a bit of stevia
L:  lentil soup and two boiled eggs.
D:  was going to be a veggie burger but I think now I will make a sort of bolognaise with 100g mince and an assortment of veg plus the left over tagliatelle.  Then a fruit yogurt
Ss:  two apples

From the freezer
the mince for the bolognaise

The frugal factor
Now I'm not adding fruit to my porridge, it's more frugal than ever.
Lentils are great value and eggs is eggs (as the saying goes)
I'm using leftovers for dinner and the mince is strictly measured out.  Just a shame I can't add lentils and oats to the mix but there you go!

Weigh day tomorrow.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Wednesday, 21-02-18

Good morning.
Well, yesterday's lunch might have lacked 'coherence' but it was OK and jolly filling!  I do like a nice boiled egg!

 I did rice to go with the potato and chickpea curry.  I'm allowed such a small amount, I wouldn't have bothered, if Beth hadn't been round for dinner.  I cooked loads and now, as well as what we had for dinner, I now have six pots of double portion rice (I'm allowed two carb portions for dinner but yesterday there was one portion already in the curry), quickly cooled and straight in the freezer.  That will save me time and trouble another day.

The curry was OK.  I did add a bit more veg but it was spinach and I don't think that's going to sabotage anything much and I tossed in a small amount of lentils to make a flavoursome and thicker sauce.  It could have done with a good dollop of mango chutney, some coconut milk and more veg but there you go, it was OK so I'm more fortunate than nine tenths of the world's population (I think that's right) in having hot, nourishing food and enough of it so I won't whinge too much.

Today's plans are:
B:  30g muesli with milk and natural yogurt.  I like this and it is plenty
L:  I'm going round to a friends and she's doing tuna and salad.  That should work OK.
D:  I'm still doing pasta bake but instead of mince, I'm using chicken because I (deliberately) cooked more than was needed yesterday.  Instead of the grated cheese, I will use some soft cheese as the dairy portion. That's nice with pasta.  So the chicken is the one portion of protein, a bit of onion, pepper and mushroom is the veg portion, the cheese with a splash of the pasta water is the dairy portion and pasta is the double carb.  Again, I might also throw in just a few spinach leaves which should make no difference to the effects of this diet.
Ss:  apple and orange

From the freezer
Just the chicken - and I got that out yesterday.

The frugal factor
The muesli is a gift - my dad keeps me supplied as he gets a delicious (and expensive) kind online and orders more to keep the postage cost down - that's his excuse, bless him.
I'm not paying for lunch but, of course, I will take over some flowers and something nice as a thank you so no frugality there
The pasta bake will be reasonable.  If it was a chickpea bake it would be even better, but it isn't!  Pasta is cheap, there's precious little veg involved and the cheese will be Savers.

Getting there!!!

I have to have my gallbladder out and have been put on a short term 'liver shrinking diet' by Dr C.  So, for the next three or four weeks, my plans/food intake need to:
conform to the rules of the diet
be frugal
use up stuff from freezer and cupboard

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Recipe: 'Slimming World' chips

I call them 'SW chips' because I found the recipe on the SW site and it's a recipe they recommend their members use for chips.
Chipping a small to medium potato makes it seem to go a long way, I have found.

Basically it's . . .
chip the potatoes
smear oil over them
bake them at about 200C (fan) until done.

I do a bit more than that.  Apologies if it sounds fussy, it's not really, it's dead easy.  Best to make them when you have the oven on for something else as well or you could use a halogen oven if you wanted.  I don't know how it would work in one of those fryer machines as I don't have one.

spray oil
a suitable potato - I tend to use Maris Piper
(spicy seasoning, if you want.  I do for wedges but not for chips*)

What I do.
Well before I need them, I chip the potatoes and put them into cold water.  Sometimes I peel the potato, sometimes not, if depends on the skin and how I feel but, if you don't, give the skin a good scrub.  Cover the bowl and pop into the fridge until needed.
I do this because it is surprising how much starch comes out of the potato.  It's not essential, it's just what I do.

When I want to start cooking them, I turn the oven on to 200C, take them out of the cold water and pop them into a pan of boiling, salted water a few at a time so the water stays boiling, then let them boil for three minutes.  I drain them and let them steam dry which takes no time at all.

I use parchment on a baking tray as it saves on washing up.  Frugal with time or maybe just being lazy!  I use spray oil which is 1 cal a squirt.  I spray the parchment with five squirts and spread it over with my hands.  Then I put on the chips, spread apart, spray on some more oil and just smoothing it all over, again with your hands.
Pop the tray into the oven.

After about 20 mins, I check and turn them over.  By now they will have started browning and will be soft.  (If I'm baking fish in a foil parcel, this is when I pop it on the tray too).
I give them another ten minutes and they should be brown, crunchy and ready to enjoy with a little salt sprinkled over.  If you want them browner, give them another five minutes but watch them!

*If you want wedges, cut them accordingly and make up a spicy mix - something like garlic granules, cumin, coriander, cayenne, etc - there's loads of ideas on Google - and sprinkle it all over after spraying before popping the tray in the oven.

Tuesday, 20-02-18

Good morning.  Here we are at the start of another day.

Yesterday's dinner was delicious although I realised afterwards that I had planned broccoli and had salad.  However, that's the sort of thing that really doesn't matter.

I used a bit of the leftover salad dressing to bake the salmon in and it was super-delicious and I do love Slimming World chips - hardly any oil (I use spray oil) but they still come out all crisp and crunchy.

And I really didn't have room for the planned dessert so I will have the rhubarb with some porridge (instead of muesli) today.

On to today.
B:  porridge (30g) with natural yogurt (60g) and stewed rhubarb (about 70g), sweetened with a bit of stevia
L:  2 boiled eggs, 100g baked chicken, 90g carrot sticks - a bit of a mish mash really and some toasty soldiers would have been nice but never mind!  Usually I wouldn't have the chicken either, the eggs would be enough!  Fortunately, my freezer is reasonably loaded with chicken as it's a favourite.
D:  I had forgotten that Beth is coming round for dinner so I shall change my plans and make a chickpea and potato curry with basmati rice (Beth is vegetarian) with a yogurt for dessert.
Ss:  apple and orange

From the freezer
the rhubarb
the chicken
the chickpeas
the mirepoix for the curry

The frugal factor:
Better than the last couple of days as dinner will be much more frugal - the chickpeas were dried. soaked, cooked and frozen.
Porridge is always a frugal option and the rhubarb was from the allotment last summer.
Boiled eggs would be fine but the chicken knocks it off target a bit.  Never mind.  Carrots are always reasonably priced, whether in season or not.

So that's today - fingers crossed.

Monday 19 February 2018

Monday, 19-02-18

Good morning.

Yesterday's lunch was delicious but not enough (for the diet - it was more than enough for me!) - it was two veg portions and one protein portions but it should have been two.  I think these lunches are going to be harder to get through than dinners because of all the protein!  I concocted a dressing and it was all delicious.

The dressing was:
Half tbsp dijon mustard (I might use half and half with grain mustard next time)
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Half tbsp toasted sesame oil (I have small bottles of different kinds of oil on my shelf and hardly ever use them!)

1 pinch of salt
I just threw them all in a little pot, put on the lid and gave it a good shake.  The rest is in the fridge and I shall have to use it up, diet or not!  It's far too delicious to throw away.  
Just don't tell Dr C.

The plan for the week is complete but, of course, it will change, it's not tablets of stone.  However, I'm happy with it for now and I don't have to buy anything more in which is satisfying.

So today's plans are:
B:  porridge with natural yogurt and a bit of sweetener
L:  chicken and lentil soup - it will be like the chicken and chickpea soup but with lentils instead of chickpeas - and not nearly as many either!
D:  baked salmon, SW chips and broccoli, natural yogurt with rhubarb
S:  apple (I have used the other fruit portion as rhubarb for dessert)

From the freezer
chopped tomatoes
Quite good today!

The frugal fractor
I'm just finishing off the last of the bought yogurt today by making my own again.  The amount of dairy I am expected to have means I will get through quite a lot because I only have milk in the morning, usually, unless I have an afternoon cuppa which is hardly ever.
The chicken is leftovers from the last roast chicken I had, as is the stock.
The salmon is just the right amount thanks to the nice girl behind the fish counter.  It was also cheaper than the pre-packed salmon.
The rhubarb is from the allotment last year, prepped and frozen.

Fingers crossed!

I have to have my gallbladder out and have been put on a short term 'liver shrinking diet' by Dr C.  So, for the next three or four weeks, my plans/food intake need to:
conform to the rules of the diet
be frugal
use up stuff from freezer and cupboard

Sunday 18 February 2018

Five Frugal Fings

It's a bit late this week because I was away between the last post and Thursday so haven't really been frugal.
Since then, the medical diet instructions have arrived, so I have been focusing on two things: preparing for it and dealing with fridge stuff that I can't have but which won't keep.

1.  I've grated a good half a block of Cathedral cheddar (my favourite).  I know this keeps a long time but I have had it a long time and when I looked this morning there was a little bit of mould starting.  I sorted that out, grated the rest and it is now in the freezer.  It's always a useful thing to have in there anyway and, when grated, you can just spoon out what you need each time without any of those little bits that fall off the block and which somehow find their way into your mouth!  In this case waste definitely equals waist!

2.  Ditto parsnips.  They are too starchy for the next three weeks so I've peeled the one I had left, cut it into smaller bits, blanched them, floured them and open frozen them before bagging them.  OK, so it's just eight bits but that's one of the vegetables for two meals so I'm not rejecting that!

3. I was very grateful on Satrurday morning to the nice young lady who was so patient with me at the fish counter while I asked her to weigh bits of fish so I could get as close as possible to the 100gs that I am allowed to have.  I really didn't want to cut bits off and now I don't have to!

4.  And I was also very pleased to see that today is 25% off Tu clothing.  As some of my clothes are now starting to fall off me (I put on a skirt the other day and it promptly fell down again!), I'm looking for a bit of cheap stuff to tide me over the next few months.  I got some pjs, a hoodie and a shirt and am really pleased.  Still clothes related, I had a session of trying on older clothes that had shrunk < cough > and I'll be in some of them in a couple of weeks, I think.  I'm so glad I didn't chuck them now.

5.  And finally, a letter arrived, telling me how much my pension has gone up by.  It's not huge but every little helps and the extra will go straight into the old savings every four weeks.  It mounts up over time and then, when something unexpected breaks or happens, it's not a crisis.

What are your frugals at the moment?

Sunday, 18-02-18

Good morning!

This was yesterday's dinner.  It's a 'lunch' on my diet - two protein portions and two veg portions, more or less.  Blimey!
I managed the veg but could only get down half the steak before feeling very full - so half went into the fridge and I shall have it today, sliced thin, maybe with a honey and grain mustard dressing (which is definitely NOT on the diet) and another salad.
It was a lovely steak though.  I could have had half with a smaller salad and a fair old number of slimming world fries, with a yogurt for dessert and that would have made a dinner - one protein, one veg, two carbs and one dairy.
Looks like I won't be starving, that's for sure.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with natural yogurt
L:  something with that beef - I will thin slice it a la Jamie Oliver and knock together a simple salad.  If it was tomorrow I'd have to think of more protein but it isn't so I don't!  Might have a yogurt afterwards.
D:  I see I have some roast lamb in the freezer so I might have that with roasties and - let's be bad - TWO veg portions (sprouts and carrots).  Ooooh-er!

From the freezer
The steak was from the freezer yesterday
The lamb
The roasties (I had some prepped for Christmas and there's just a few left - must do some more as they are such useful things to have around)

The frugal factor
Good old porridge!
The steak is left over from yesterday
The lamb is hardly cheap but is what's left from a joint I had ages ago.

I think I'm reasonably well prepared for tomorrow now but wait until the 'why can't I have that' resistant feelings click in!  :-)

I have to have my gallbladder out and have been put on a short term 'liver shrinking diet' by Dr C.  So, for the next three or four weeks, my plans/food intake needs to:
conform to the rules of the diet
be frugal
use up stuff from freezer and cupboard

Breakfasts . . .

. . . all sorted.

Little pots with either 30g muesli or 30g oats for porridge.  A little goes a long way with both cereals and it's not far off what I was having anyway.  I might divert a bit of the fruit allowance breakfast-wards and I am splitting the breakfast dairy portion between milk and natural yogurt (100mls milk and 75g yogurt).  More than enough for me.

I'm glad I keep and re-use little pots!

Saturday 17 February 2018

Recipe: chicken and chickpea soup

I have to go on a liver shrinking diet prior to having a gallbladder op.  It's restrictive and I'm trying to create recipes that are still frugal, mostly use what I already have in and fit the criteria for the diet.
This is a lunch recipe and lunch is supposed to be two portions of protein and two of veg (no carbs).

In the freezer, I had chicken in stock, saved from the fag end of a roast with the stock made from boiling the carcass; it was very good stock.

Ingredients for one portion
50g cooked chicken, roughly shredded
some good chicken stock
15g each onion, celery and carrot, finely chopped
30g cooked chickpeas
seasonings (I just added salt, but pepper and herbs, especially fresh herbs, would be nice)

Into a saucepan place the stock, the vegetables and the chickpeas.  Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until the veg is all soft.  Add boiling water if necessary.

When the veg is soft, taste and adjust seasoning.  Add a bit of chicken stock powder, if you want to.  Finally, add the shredded chicken, bring back to a simmer and serve.

You could zizz it but I don't see why really, it's one of those soups where chunks work well.

I used one portion of protein (half chicken, half chickpeas) and one portion of veg.  I sort of counted the stock as the second protein portion.
Next time, I might add more veg - because I can.
Just a shame about the crusty bread!

And after it's all over, I will also add a little bit of cubed potato or a bit of rice too but actually it was delicious just as it was.  Filling, warming, fat free, frugal, just great!  A good 'un and, with more chicken and stock in the freezer, it will appear on my daily plans again.

Saturday, 17-02-18

Morning, everyone.

This was yesterday's dinner and I can have it on the diet.  The fish looks a bit ragged but it was very tasty and the herbs were from the garden!  Not much flavour yet but it was nice to use them and once the warmer weather starts, they will grow like crazy again.

Today's plans
B:  porridge with fruit and natural yogurt
L:  chicken and veg soup
D:  sirloin steak with a nice salad, fruit yogurt
Ss:  apple and orange

From the freezer:
The fruit for the porridge
The chicken for the soup
The steak.

The frugal factor
The chicken is part of the remnants of a roast chicken with some of the stock I got by boiling up the carcass
The steak is not cheap but I have it already and it would be most un-frugal to not use it.  This is where using what you have plays its part.
And porridge is always a great value breakfast.

Nearly forgot:  I now have six pots of low fat cheese, finely grated and in the freezer to add to the other supplies.  I'm having difficulty remembering it is classified as dairy - I've always thought of it as protein.  Not that I've ever troubled the shop for low fat cheese but it's on The List (and it is only three or four weeks)!

I've had a few ideas (not really original in any way) for dishes I can put together and on yesterday's River Cottage programme (about fish), he did a sardine recipe that should work for me - and even better, I have all the ingredients already).

Recipe: lentil and veg soup

I'm putting together some recipes that I can use while on the pre op diet.

Ingredients to serve 1
45g mirepoix (mixed chopped onion, carrot and celery)
50g chopped tomatoes/passata
half a vegetable stock pot (or use cube or powder - I used what I had)
20g red lentils
250mls water
small pinch each or ground cumin, ground coriander and roasted garam masala (just use what you have)

about 50 mls milk
No salt needed because of the stock

Put all the ingredients apart from the milk in a pan, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until everything is soft, adding more water if needed.  Zizz till smooth.  Add the milk and reheat to just under boiling.
Serve and enjoy!

Friday 16 February 2018

Recipe: pancakes

So, so easy, aren't they?

I used Jamie's 'One' recipe.  One egg, one cup of flour *, same of milk (plus I added some water), pinch of salt.
Whisk it all together, cover and chill before pancaking.

(* Jamie says SR flour - I used plain because I wanted flat pancakes)

With that I got nine proper pancakes and one smaller one with the dregs.

What I did was re-heat a portion of savoury mince (and veg), shared it between three pancakes and rolled them up, popped them in a small dish, sprinkled finely grated cheddar over them and popped them in the oven for ten minutes or so.  Dead easy and delicious with a bowl of salad.

The other seven are now individually wrapped and in the freezer.  I may have more before the end of the weekend!


In preparation for this shrinking diet < spit > I've been shopping and spent what feels like a fortune in comparison to the last several months but never mind, I actually have cash left over from holiday so I've used that.

This is what I always do when I have these challenges.  I Get Ready!

So far I have added to the freezer:
several 45g pots of chopped tomatoes
five 100g portions of beef mince
two 100g portions of salmon (fortunately, the piece I bought was 200g so it's now in two)
several 45g pots of mirepoix - chopped onion, carrot and celery, the starter for all my soups and most of my casseroles

So I'm adding to the freezer at the moment, not taking from it.

Friday, 16-02-18

. . . and back to the frugal factor again, thankfully.  Apologies for the next nine paragraphs - please feel free to skip them if you want - I won't be offended.

When I got home, while there was no letter on the doorstep informing me of my op date (shame), there was a copy of the letter sent to my GP that says it should be in March (Dr C ** told me mid-March) and a copy of the 'liver shrinking diet prior to laparoscopic surgery'.

My gosh, it's a bit strict.  The hardest bit for me is the lack of vegetables.  I am only allowed three veg portions a day and two fruit.  One veg portion is 45g cooked veg such as broccoli, carrots, etc (using common sense, that won't include starchy veg) or a 'cereal bowl portion of salad' and fruit is as expected although no mention of bananas for the same reason.  The fruit is meant to be for snacks but it may not be as I don't always have snacks.

There's no mention of herbs, spices, stocks, etc, so I will - but sensibly.  Ditto spray oil and stevia.

It doesn't say whether the rice/pasta portions are cooked or raw but I think I might assume raw, looking at the amounts for other carb items, but, thankfully, the protein group does include pulses and I am assuming they are cooked portions.

And it recommends taking a daily multivitamin and mineral tablet which really goes against the grain and shows that it's not a healthy way to eat.

On the other hand, I should be able to keep frugal.  I can see my way through it.  It includes yogurt as a daily portion (three cheers) and I have some stevia sweetener in so will use that when a bit of sweetness is needed.  I should be able to sub two of my small home made slices of bread for one of their portions and I shall just have to convince myself that I like cottage cheese because a dairy portion is 200gs-worth which is a lot.
And if I don't lose weight, it will be a very odd thing!

Well, I will be a Good Girl (more or less) and Do As I Am Told but I am very thankful that it is just for three weeks and I am so going to miss my vegetables.  It's so strict, maybe it will sort out the twinges I keep getting too.
I bet it was written by someone who doesn't cook!

And until I get the firm date, I am assuming mid-March so will start this monstrosity on Monday.  Eeeek!

OK, back to today with apologies for the rant and the long post.  Here's my plans.
B:  porridge with fruit and natural yogurt
L:  home made soup and a slice of bread to dunk
D:  baked fish (herbs, lemon juice, baked in foil), slimming world chips, broccoli
Ss:  apple, orange

From the freezer:
the fish - pollack, so not an expensive fish

The frugal factor:
Well, seeing as any stuffing myself before Monday will be totally counter productive in all ways, portions continue to be small which makes for frugality.
The soup will be just for one and I'll try and fit it into the parameters for the lunch requirements (which says no carbs but allows pulses!) and the bread is home made

** Dr C is Dr Charalampopoulos and I am NOT typing that out every time!

Thursday 15 February 2018

Thursday: almost The Frugal Factor again

Morning, everyone.  Nearly back to normal again now.

B:  Yesterday I had egg on a slice of toast and some fruit salad (apple, orange, pineapple and grapes, all fresh) plus apple juice and coffee.  Ever so much nicer than the other choices and much more comfortable for me.  I think it will the same today too but I am so looking forward to my breakfast porridge tomorrow.
L:  Yesterday was fresh fruit and a 0% fat natural yogurt (not eaten at breakfast but once you've taken it . . . that's my excuse) and if I'm home today I'll probably knock together some carrot and lentil soup
D:  Yesterday I had mushroom soup which was really very nice.  I make a nice mushroom soup myself and could tell there wasn't much (if any) cream in this soup which suited me just fine.  Today I plan to have savoury mince pancakes (the proper, rolled up kind, not the Findus kind) because I missed pancake day, side salad, natural yogurt and fruit.

From the freezer
The savoury mince

The frugal factor
Everything after breakfast - the mince has plenty of lentils, oats and veg to bulk it out and the pancakes will be made with a one egg batter with the ones I don't use frozen singly for other times.

I may need to do a little bit of food shopping for fresh things - I'm longing for some fresh vegetables again. 
This time away has shown me quite how much I appreciate the food choices I'm able to make for myself and how much difference they have made to my well-being over the last months.  It was nice not to have to do the clearing up, etc, but when it's just one I don't make a lot of mess anyway.  I'm just looking forward to being at home again. 

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Wednesday: still Not The Frugal Factor

Well, I was proper paid for m gluttony yesterday and it just goes to show that three and a bit months of needing to be careful with what I eat in both amount and type has paid dividends.  Not exactly fully blown gallbladder stuff but not far off and a blow out used to be fun.  Now it isn't!  Three cheers!  Seriously, three cheers. I am glad: I have learnt a lesson.

B:  Well, I'm booked in so will go down but will stick to the light stuff.  Actually, the full English yesterday was better than in the anticipation than the eating anyway; the bacon and sausage were tasteless and the nicest thing was the egg.  So today maybe an egg on toast with fruit on the side.  Something like that anyway.
L:  Yesterday I fell for a cheese scone at Anglesea Abbey.  It was very tasty - the NT do nice cheese scones - but I didn't need it and it didn't help, so today I will buy a coffee (to get a seat out of the cold as there's no way I will want to picnic) and have some fruit.
D:  Well, we will see, but I suspect it will be just soup.  I don't think I can face another main course!
Ss:   What???   Aaaarrrggghhh!

Having a really nice time but looking forward to getting back to normal again with the frugal food.

The snowdrops were very pretty.

I totally missed pancake day yesterday so I think that when I get home I will have savoury pancakes for dinner.  One egg makes a whole load of batter so I'll make that all up and freeze some for nice, fruity breakfasts.

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Tuesday: Not The Frugal Factor

Morning, everyone.

Today's plans:
B:  lavish, all I can manage with a bit taken extra away for lunch too (that's the frugal bit) - After all, it's already paid for so it would be daft not to really.
L:  see above and I also have some apples I brought with me
D:  I'm so bad at making decisions!  I guess it depends how I feel when the time comes.  From what I noticed yesterday, the portions in the restaurant are not ridiculously huge, thank goodness.  They're not small, don't get me wrong, but I hate how the 'normal' sized portions fall off the fairly large plates in the eating houses round my way.  Such a waste, whether one eats it all or not.  Yesterday I left the burger bun completely and couldn't finish the rest but I certainly didn't leave half the plateful!

Today's jolly is to Anglesea Abbey and Lode Mill (National Trust so it won't cost me any more).  I might just take a little drive around the country lanes too - follow my nose and let the sat nav bring me back again .

Nothing from the freezer today!

Monday 12 February 2018

Monday later on

I've arrived, unpacked, settled in, got connected, worked out how to turn on the subtitles on the telly (hard of hearing = subtitles essential) dug out my jar of instant (more essential) and am drooling over the evening menu!  Decisions, decisions!

There's some awfully nice things on offer and after months of frugality, I'm spoilt for choice.  Do I have a pizza, a chicken and bacon melt, a chicken katsu curry, a mixed bean salad - or how about a brie, bacon and cranberry burger.
Or will the gallstone protest?

Oh, dear!

Monday, 12-02-18

Good morning. 
It's all change here for a few days as I spend some of my saved cash on a short break away.  My house sitter friend is settled comfortably in my home and I will be journeying up the north of Cambridge city for a few days in a Premier Inn (really pushing the boat out here) and visits, I hope, to Wimpole Hall and Anglesea Abbey.

I know people knock Premier Inns but I find them warm and comfortable and are, if  chosen carefully, not as atrociously expensive as many other places.  I've booked my breakfasts there which I'm hoping will keep me going through the day before deciding what/where to eat come the evening.

So the old daily plans are not going to be around for a few days but here's today's.
B:  porridge, stewed apple from last night and natural yogurt.
L:  probably soup and an apple
D:  who knows?

Nothing from the freezer and frugality won't really apply for a while.  However, I have my sum of money that should give me a pleasant time and it's all been saved in advance so what I don't spend will go back into the general funds for the future.

And when I get home, I should know when my operation is scheduled and will be looking to start the 'liver shrinking' diet for three weeks beforehand which will Good luck to  me another little challenge.

Good luck to my bloggy friends who are starting their WW2 rationing challenge this week.  I'm really looking forward to reading how it all goes and picking up some interesting and frugal recipes along the way.

Sunday 11 February 2018

Sunday, 11-02-18

Good morning.

Today's plans are:
B:  porridge with marmalade and yogurt
L:  toast and something
D:  savoury mince crumble, cabbage, carrots
Ss:  apple and orange

From the freezer:
The mince to make the crumble base

The frugal factor
All of it really, apart from the mince and that will be significantly bulked out with oats, lentils and veg so it will go much further as well as tasting delicious!

Saturday 10 February 2018

Saturday, 10-02-18

Good morning.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit and yogurt
L:  scrambled egg on toast
D:  not sure yet

The most frugal of days as I'm not providing the food, just preparing it.  :-)

Friday 9 February 2018

Five Frugal Fings

1.  After sorting out and bagging up the coins in my coin jar and my pound jar, I banked £75 this week with a few more bags still to bank as I wasn't sure how they would react in the bank so didn't want to push it too much!  That's a nice bit of extra money for something that I hardly notice doing and certainly don't miss - popping my loose change and pound coins into a tin now and again.

2.  I then went and spent some on nice, hard backed notebooks.  I love notebooks.  No, I didn't need them but they were post Christmas 80% off sale items and will make nice pressies (if I can bear to give them away).

3.  I wandered into a 'health food' shop the other day and spotted the sort of BOGOF I go for - two bags of lentils for the price of one.  You don't see BOGOFs much nowadays but they used to be on the most unhealthy things or on foods that had a pretty limited life span so, really, it wasn't always as much of a bargain as it seemed.  Lentils last for ever though and I get through quite a lot, one way and another.  Also, I was nearly out and they were on my list for the next supermarket shop so win-win!

4.  As mentioned last week, I'm knitting a present for a very special little lady, using some of my considerable stash of yarn.  The doll is finished and now I'm having fun with clothes.  By the time I've finished, she will have a very complete wardrobe and should be a lovely gift that cost little but my time and effort.

5.  I'm really pleased that I'm keeping the freezer audi updated.  Yes, it means regular editing and the occasional reprinting but it has made knowing what I've actually got in there very, very simple indeed and many's the time I'd have been sorely tempted to buy something or get a takeaway, had it not been so easy to know what was already available.
Locating items isn't quite as easy so the next step will be to invest in some of those nice supermarket bags - the cuboid shaped, 'woven' kind - and start sorting things out a bit more.  I'm thinking one for fish, one for ready meals (mostly home made), a couple for veg (I have a lot|), one for joints, etc. With their flat bases, they should slot into the chest freezer really well and make things much easier to find, not to mention more organised and just neater. My aim is to stop risking frostbite every time I look for something in there.

What have you done this week that's frugal?

Friday, 09-02-18

Good morning!
Today was weigh-day.  Three pounds off this week which makes up for maintaining a fortnight ago.

My prime motivation for being food-frugal is to make the very most of my hard earned resources but I am delighted that a side effect is losing weight too, much needed and much appreciated.  Since November and the Attack of the Gallstones, I've had to be pretty careful with what I eat anyway.

I now know I will be having an operation around mid March/early April and the consultant said he'd like me to lose 10% of body weight.  Now I'm a great believer in aiming for a safe and steady 2 lbs a week and 10% is a lot more than that so a bit of an unreachable target but I'll go for it and do my best and 3 lbs is a good start.

Three weeks before the op I have to go on a 'liver shrinking diet' - I've looked it up (as you do) and it's basically a low protein, low fat Atkins!  Very low calorie (800 to 1000 a day - eeeek) but the content is very similar to what I eat anyway so I reckon it won't be impossible, not short(ish) term and with an aim in mind.  I'll probably lose weight more then but some will come back on again afterwards.
Wish me luck.

Today's plans:
B: porridge with jam and natural yogurt
L:  toast and marmite, probably
D:  shepherds pie made with lamb I froze ages ago, left over from a Sunday joint, vegetables, fruit salad and yogurt
Ss:  apple and orange

From the freezer:
bread for the toast
lamb for the shepherds pie

The frugal factor:
The porridge, jam and yogurt are all home-made
The lamb was not cheap but I'm using up frozen leftovers with added veg

Thursday 8 February 2018

Banana recipes

Following on from the last post when I mentioned buying and freezing YS bananas, here's a lovely collection of ripe banana recipes on a reputable site.

You often see pancake recipes where the banana replaces some of the flour but the one I like is where the banana replaces the egg, thus making them much more frugal.  The first bit is the actual pancake.

And here's the link to the banana bread I always make.  It has never failed me, not once.

Thursday, 08-02-18

Good morning.  It's jolly cold out there and I've adapted my plan to match.

I intend to have . . .
B:  porridge, fruit and natural yogurt
L:  carrot and lentil soup, toast for dipping
D:  home made fish fingers, slimming world chips, side salad; banana ice cream
Ss:  apple, orange (I always plan these in but often only have one of them, mid afternoon, when  I know dinner will be later)

From the freezer
Fruit for the porridge
Bread for the toast and for the breadcrumbs
Fish for the fingers and bananas for the ice cream - yesterday I bought some YS bananas that were great value and then all went into the freezer, chopped.  I have to admit, I was thinking specifically of banana ice cream.

The frugal factor
Oats are so cheap, I can splash out a bit of fruit and still feel frugal
I have carrots to use up so soup will fit the bill nicely.
The fish is pollock so great value and the salad stuff has to be used up today or tomorrow.
The bananas were so, so cheap and almost totally sound.  Less than 8p each!
I know some people throw away the loaf ends.  I never do.  Apart from the fact that I like them (nice and chewy), they make great breadcrumbs .
I was in town yesterday and wandered into a 'health food' shop which isn't terribly expensive, surprisingly.  They had bags of lentils on BOGOF so I did as it worked out much better value than buying two in Morrisons.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Wednesday, 07-02-18

Good morning.  Snow ahoy but not much so it shouldn't cause any problems.

Today's frugal plans:
B:  muesli, fruit and natural yogurt
L:  tomato soup (the last of this week's make), toast to dunk
D:  vegetable curry (I might toss in some extra chick peas), shredded cabbage, plums and custard
Ss:  apple, orange

The frugal factor:
The muesli was a gift, the fruit is tinned and savers and the yogurt is home made
The soup was made with a B&N can of chopped tomatoes and made three portions, each about 15p while the bread is home made
I bought half a white cabbage to make coleslaw and it really does go a long way, doesn't it?  The lack of meat makes the curry very reasonable, the plums were from a friend's tree, frozen, and I shall make just a small amount of custard using the microwave (dead easy)

From the freezer
The plums, the bread, the curry and the chickpeas.  Not bad today.

The eggless 'sponge' I made yesterday was really nice.  Not a sponge but still nice, so I posted about it.

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 requiring an operation in the near future, 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 - and frugal.  Always frugal!

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Recipe: Eggless yogurt cake/fruit sponge pudding

I'm on a mission to find a recipe for a cakey topping for fruit (like Eve's pudding) that I can just make a small amount of.
A one egg sponge makes enough for four portions and self control is weak where cake is concerned!.

I found this recipe

I reduced it down to a tenth (which was easier than you'd think), followed the instructions apart from greasing the baking dish and dusting with icing sugar and I put some stewed plums (and syrup) in the bottom before piling on the batter.  I won't go into any details as all the info is through the link.

Using the syrup as well as the halved and stewed plums made a lovely, sticky, toffee-ish sauce around the side.

It wasn't a soft sponge, more like a cross between a sponge and a scone, but, you know what?  It was very tasty and one to do again.  Dead easy too, being an all in one, beat the hell out of it batter.

Tuesday, 06-02-18

Good morning, everyone.
Yesterday started off a bit chaotic as I overslept and, as a result, everything got out of sync, but it settled after a while, I rethought my food plans, reposted, and all was well.

Here's today's plans.
B:  porridge, strawberry foam (aka the 'scum' from the last jam session), natural yogurt
L:  tomato soup that I made yesterday in a hurry (and jolly good it was too)
D:  chicken casserole with peppers (a Rosemary Conley recipe using stuff I have in the freezer), mash, sponge pudding*
Ss:  apple, orange

From the freezer
Chicken pieces and cooking bacon
The fruit for the pudding

The frugal factor
Breakfast as always!
The soup was made from a can of chopped tomatoes, bit of onion, bit of carrot, bit of celery, stock, water, garlic puree, tomato puree and milk, it made three of my portions and is very delicious.
The chicken was from the market, very reasonable.  The peppers are from a bag of wonkies and I shall use apple juice (which I already have), not wine or cider.
Passata, frozen last summer from garden produce
Rhubarb and strawberries for the sponge are from garden and allotment.

* I am trying out some eggless sponge recipes as a one egg sponge makes far too much for just one portion.  Wish me luck!

Monday 5 February 2018

Recipe: pineapple pudding

Dead easy, very simple, I am sure it could be jazzed up.

Ingredients:  to serve 4
Some pineapple from a tin (or fresh) - there's a savers range of pineapple.

For the top
one egg (weigh the egg in its shell)
same weight of stork, butter or cheaper equivalent, sugar and SR flour
some flavouring, if you want.  I used some vanilla sugar.
(bring all ingredients up to room temp)

Preheat the oven to 190C

Cut up the pineapple and put in the bottom of an appropriately sized oven proof dish (high sided - a pyrex dish would be fine).  No need to grease the sides.

Using a hand held whisk (because it's easier and the amounts are small), cream the sugar and fat, then add the egg and flour and mix well.
Spoon the cake batter on top of the pineapple and bake for around 30 to 35 mins until done.  Cover the top with some parchment or foil if it seems to be browning too much.

Serve with a good dollop of Birds Custard.   Bliss!

(and it would work with lots of other fruit too or you could make it in little cake cases for tea)

Monday, 05-02-18

Good morning!
Yesterday's plans changed - it was soup for lunch.
The chicken casserole was gorgeous and went down a treat!

Today's plans:
B:  porridge, marmalade and natural yogurt
L:  bits and bobs soup
D:  Not entirely sure yet - I'll get back on this one!
Ss:  apple, orange

From the freezer:
Whatever dinner is will be freezer based.

The frugal factor:
Oats are cheap, jam is home made
The soup will be frugal - lots of bits and bobs from the fridge
Dinner will be too - whatever it is!

Sorry to be so vague - I've slept in and don't have all that much time right now.

Later on
It's all change.  This is really what I'm having
B:  fruit yogurt and apple
L:  a rather tasty home made tomato soup - yum!
D:  spag bol with a side salad
Ss:  grapes, apple

Sunday 4 February 2018

Recipe: simple chicken casserole

I used to make this a lot.  It's very good.

1 slice of bacon or bacon trimmings/cooking bacon
half an onion, peeled and sliced
bit of oil (spray oil is fine)
some red pepper (I often seem to have half wrapped and waiting in the fridge), sliced
other appropriate veg to taste - e.g. mushroom, baby corn, peas, etc - sliced/peeled as necessary
one chicken breast, skinned and boned and sliced or chunked (this does three people who don't want to load their plate with meat) - or two chicken thighs
chopped tomatoes
tomato puree
garlic puree
bit of chicken stock powder (or veg powder)
seasonings to taste - smoked paprika is nice
salt and pepper to taste.

Dry fry the bacon until the fat runs.  Add a bit of stray oil if necessary.
Add the onion and slow fry, adding a splash of water, then add the red pepper.
When they are soft, remove from the pan, turn up the heat, add the chicken with a bit more stpay oil if needed and zizzle it until it's coloured all over (doesn't take long).  Then add the paprika (if using) and sizzle it briefly.
Put the onion, etc, back in, add the tomatoes, purees, other veg, stock powder and seasonings.  Bring to a simmer and taste, adjusting seasonings if needed (leave the salt to the end).
Cover and simmer to reduce it a bit until the liquid it how you want it.  Then taste again and adjust seasonings.
Serve with whatever you fancy!
(you can use cooked chicken but add it nearer the end)


Good morning.
Yesterday's plans changed.  Lunch was beans on toast and dinner was fish, potato waffle and peas.  It was just as frugal though.  😊

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with fruit and natural yogurt
L:  probably toast with marmite or pate or it might be soup.
D:  chicken casserole - there's half a can of chopped tomatoes, half an onion, half a red pepper, a few cooked peas and one slice of bacon in the fridge (not my fridge) - plus some creamed parsnips and some potato, followed by pineapple and cream (no cream for me)
Ss:  apple, grapes

From the freezer.
The chicken
Maybe a few chick peas

The frugal factor
Apart from the obvious one, same as yesterday . . .
the chicken casserole will use up lots of leftover bits and bobs from the fridge and is a long standing favourite with my family.  I might pop in a few chickpeas as well, for added flavour and texture. 

Saturday 3 February 2018

Saturday, 03-02-18

Morning, everyone.

Today's food plans
B:  porridge, fruit and yogurt
L:  soup
D:  probably something chicken-y with vegetables and potato waffle
Ss:  apple and orange

Nothing from my freezer today.

The frugal factor
Totally all as I'm not paying for/providing any of it!

Friday 2 February 2018

Friday, 2-12-18

Good morning, everyone.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with jam and natural yogurt
L:  Not sure, probably toast and pate with an apple
D:  beef casserole, mash and veg
Ss:  apple, orange

From the freezer:
The beef casserole - several portions too, as I'm cooking for others as well as for myself.
Bread for the toast.

The frugal factor:
Porridge for breakfast is always a great choice and the jam and yogurt are both home made (and cheaper, which is not always so, of course, just usually)
While beef is not the most frugal of meats, this was some YS beef that I was lucky to get hold of, casseroled long and slow and then frozen in portions.  It's good flavoured meat and should go down a real treat!

And a bonus!  Over January I have lost 10 lbs!  That does include losing the post-Christmas gain, of course, but even so, I'm well pleased.  It shows me yet again that I can be healthy and eat properly without spending a shedload of cash in the process.

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 - and frugal.

Five Frugal Fings

It's Friday so time for my ponderings!

1.  Leftovers provided the inspiration for some tasty meals.  It's too easy to throw out leftovers.  Even the council makes it easy by providing biodegradable bags and weekly collections, assuring us that it will be recycled into compost.  That's great, much better than just going into landfills, but it is still pennies in the bin.  A delicious sausage and roasted veg pie was inspired by some left over pizza sauce (and by Sue) and I've managed to use some frozen leftovers from months past as well.
2.  This is more spending to save in the longer term.  I've not had very good luck with my secateurs as they have all disintegrated on me recently.  They were the cheapest I could find (aren't they generally expensive?) so this week I gulped and spent four times as much on what looks like a really strong and powerful pair.  Fingers crossed.
I road tested them on my terribly overgrown rosemary bush yesterday and was very impressed so it's a good start to what, I hope, will be a long and happy relationship!
3.  I'm still slowly ploughing my way through the embarrassingly large stash of stuff in the freezer and slowly, gradually, spaces are appearing while the money not spent mounts up, first in the bank account and then in the savings account.  I shifted another lot over yesterday while doing my end of month reckoning.
4.  I'm using my stash of yarn to knit a dolly (adapting a Jean Greenhowe pattern) for a very special little girl.  As I already had the yarn and the pattern, it's frugal in more than one way - I'm using up what I already have and saving cash on what will be a lovely gift.  Knitting away while watching telly makes me feel I am not wasting my time in the evenings too.
5.  I made the most of a couple of fine days this week and got the washing dried outdoors.  It was lovely to see the sheets billowing out on the line and they now smell so fresh, it's lovely.  Better than using the tumbler!

How have you been frugal this week?

Thursday 1 February 2018

Thursday, 01-02-18

Good morning.
After yesterday's little blow-out, I am back on the straight and narrow again today!

B:  muesli, fruit (the last of the tinned fruit I opened this week) and natural yogurt
L:  roasted red pepper and tomato soup (sounds posh but is dead easy!)
D:  Savoury mince with shredded cabbage (sounds plain but the mince is delicious!)
Ss:  apple, grapes

From the freezer:
the mince

The frugal factor
The muesli was a gift, the yogurt is home-made and the fruit was from the savers range
The pepper is from a bag of wonkies and the tomatoes are from last year's crop
The mince was bulked out with extra veg, oats and lentils

And I must do the meal planning for next week!

Recipe: Sausage and roasted veg pie

Thank you, Sue.

This would work really well with leftovers - just change what you put in it.  It made enough for two but I confess I was really piggy and ate the lot - and enjoyed every mouthful!

It takes a bit of time so worth planning in something else as well to make best use of the oven heat, although, if you're using leftover veg, it will be a lot quicker.


For the base:
two sausages, skinned, or the equivalent amount of sausage meat

For the middle
quarter of an onion, peeled and cut into wedges
three baby corn cut into chunks
quarter of a red pepper, cut into chunks
two mushrooms, quartered
1tsp oil
sprinkle of salt and a grinding of black pepper

and a sauce made of passata, garlic puree, tomato puree, tomato ketchup and a pinch of herbs (I used dried mixed herbs)

For the top
cooked or semi cooked potato, cut into slices
spray oil
a bit of grated cheese (the stronger, the better)

1.  Roast the veg:  turn on the oven to about 160 (fan), throw the veg into a roasting dish, add the oil and the seasoning and mix it all well together, bung it all in the oven and roast it for about 40 mins, turning it now and again.  It should get a little bit charred at the edges.
Then add the tomato sauce but don't drown the veg, just coat them and add a bit more for sauce.
Pop it all back in the oven and give it another ten minutes or so.
Then turn the oven up to about 170/180

2.  Push the sausage meat into the bottom of an oiled ovenproof dish.  Slice the potato and season just a little bit.
(I used a bag of four small, blanched potato chunks I found in the freezer when searching for the sausage meat, defrosted them and thinly sliced them)

3.  When the veg is done, tip the lot over the sausage base and spread smooth.  Then lay over the potato, trying to cover the veg but if there isn't quite enough, it's not a problem.  If the potato is cooked, sprinkle over the cheese.  If not, see below.

4.  Place the dish on a baking tray (in case of drips) and bake in the oven for about 30 mins until the sausage meat is cooked (it will be), the potatoes are soft and the cheese is bubbling.
However, if your potatoes were not fully cooked before you added them, spray them with a bit of oil, bake for 30 mins, then sprinkle the cheese on and give it another 15 mins.

There are so many variations to this I won't even start to go through them.  Suffice it to say, this is another that will reappear in my plans only next time I will be less piggy, make it in individual dishes and have some nice veg as well - sprouts would be lovely.  But I DID enjoy it!