Saturday 31 March 2018

Saturday, 31-03-18

Good morning!

The salmon yesterday was jolly tasty and I enjoyed it.  The chips were McCains (have I spelled that right?) and while they were OK, quite nice, I missed my home made ones which have more 'substance' to them.
I do the salmon by getting some foil, squeezing over some lemon juice from a bottle plus a bit of seasoning, wrapping it up in the foil and baking or steaming it (depending on what else I'm cooking) for between ten and fifteen minutes - that's all it takes.  It ends up soft and flavoursome.

Today's food:
B:  porridge with yogurt
L:  beans on toast
D:  ham salad; yogurt
Ss:  fruit x 2

It's a funny old day today and I'm having to jiggle my meals around a bit which I'm not supposed to do, I believe, but once in a while won't hurt.  I've mixed up my lunch and my dinner and then separated it out differently.

From the freezer:
Nothing.  Must plan more freezer stuff next week.

The frugal factor:
Well - I'm not paying for any of it so very frugal!  But, if I was, it would be a good day, cost wise, the most expensive item being the ham.

Friday 30 March 2018

Friday, 30-03-18

Good morning.

Weigh in news: 2 lbs off this week.  Nearly three, in fact, but as I measure in whole pounds, not quite enough!  I'm now just 2lbs off hitting the target Dr C set me of losing 10% of body weight, my BMI has gone shooting down and all in all, it's looking much more positive that it was six months ago.

Today's plans (with a portion check):
B:  muesli and yogurt (1 protein, 1 dairy)
L:  boiled eggs and carrot batons (1 protein - too little, 2 veg)
D:  salmon, chips and salad; fruit yogurt (1 protein - may be a bit more depending on fish size, 2 carbs, 1 veg, 1 dairy)
Ss:  apples (2 fruit)
Yup - spot on as the possible extra protein for dinner will balance having less at lunch.  Sometimes that just cannot be helped.

From the freezer:
Nothing today.  Shame.

The frugal factor:
The salmon is the only expensive thing and may take the overall cost above £2.00, the rest is all moderate or low cost.

The sardine on toast think was nice.
I popped a can of sardines in sauce (Savers) into my mini-zizzer with a bit of mayo, some horseradish, a good shake of lemon juice, some salt and 10g finely grated low fat cheddar and I zizzed and zizzed it into a nearly smooth paste.  Spread on wholemeal toast, sprinkled with the other 10g of cheese (to make one dairy portion) and then browned under the grill, it was absolutely delicious and filling as well as being very good for me.  I didn't remember to take a photo until I'd eaten it all, unfortunately!
I didn't need all the sardine mixture so I've popped the rest in a little pot and it will go in the freezer in hopes that it freezes OK.

What are your frugal food plans for today?

Five Frugal Fings

1.  When I retired, I got a lump sum which I decided to save rather than splash out on ephemeral 'treats' such as a world tour or a posh new wardrobe of clothes or . . . whatever.  Some of it went into Funding Circle (peer to peer lending) but recently FC stopped allowing lenders to manage their own lending so I'm gradually withdrawing the money as it comes back to me.  Last weekend I withdrew some, added some to my current ISA and opened a new ISA too (Dad manages it and he is all for diversification - spreading it around).  I know it's maybe a wonky way to talk about being frugal but one of my aims is to make the best of what I have got and it fits that bill.  It's long term savings so won't be touched in the next while unless for a dire emergency and it's certainly a comfort to know it's there.
I'm useless with that sort of mathematical thinking so I'm very grateful that my dad manages the funds.
Now I need to make better use of my current excess income rather than just letting it sit in short term savings.  One step at a time though!

2.  I've started prepping the garden for this year's food.  It'll be the usual - strawberries and runner beans, plus I'm really hoping that the blueberry and the tayberry will bear fruit this summer too.  With the former in mind, I ordered a small fruit cage that's just the right size to be able to pop over the blueberry planters as blueberries are most attractive to birds and I don't want them to get my harvest.  I'm also umming and ahing about a gooseberry bush - I wonder if they like planters!
I got going in the garden yesterday and sorted out the strawberry bed, including dealing with all the runners.  Usually I just ditch them but this year I dug them up/clipped them off and potted some. 

I've worked out that I've potted up around 44 little plants.
Now, even if only half actually survive, I have enough not only to plug any gaps in my own bed but also to start a decent strawberry bed down the allotment.  After all, you can never have too many strawberries, can you?

3.  I've continued to use leftovers or even leftovers of leftovers!  They do develop flavour overnight, definitely, and it's such a satisfying feeling to know it's been used rather than thrown away.  I also concocted a very nice stuffing recipe (nothing unusual, but tasty) which I will use again.  And I baked some more bread.  I used to bake bread every weekend but just recently I haven't been eating nearly so much.  I love baking bread so it's a sort of investment in the soul as well as financially saving.

4. Sara from Frugal in the Corner did a post about refreshing your home and she said: 'It doesn't have to cost anything or for you spend precious money on things.'
She's right and I've been investing my time in my home (and garden) this week by freshening up rooms, sorting out piles of stuff that I was too lazy to put away and generally making everything look more welcoming and friendly.  All it costs me was time and a bit of effort - a good investment, I reckon.

5.  This isn't really me being frugal but I was so pleased.  I've had to go down a size in tights and had two boxes of the bigger size unopened.  Except that I didn't, one box is the smaller size which I must have bought by mistake.  So, with five pairs in a box, I have plenty to keep me going now before I need to buy any more, three cheers.

What are your Frugal Fings this week?

Thursday 29 March 2018

Thursday, 29-03-18

Good morning, everyone.

The salmon pasta yesterday was really very tasty; another one to do again, definitely. 
It's cold today so I've changed a few things on my plan to make it a bit more warming.

B:  muesli and yogurt
L:  chicken, chickpea and veg soup
D:  cheesy sardines on toast, tomatoes (probably fried with spray oil); fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer:
The cooked chicken in stock, chickpeas and some chopped tomatoes for the soup
The bread for dinner

The frugal factor:
More or less all of it.  The muesli is gifted, the yogurt is home made, the chicken is from one of those Tesco special offers, the chopped tomatoes for the soup are from a savers can, the chickpeas are home soaked and cooked from dried, the bread is home made and sardines are a good, frugal choice.

Writing all of this down really helps me to be organised.  For example, once I have finished this entry or even before I've finished it and while it is still in my mind, I pop out the the freezer with a tray, if needed, get everything I need for the day and leave it in the kitchen to thaw.  It does save time later on and means I have everything there so no excuses!

Thanks so much for helping me by reading and commenting.  It really does make a big difference to my motivation!

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Recipe: non packet stuffing

When I make stuffing, generally I have a packet in and I just jazz it up with some chopped ham or bacon and some extra herbs.  I was at my parents and they didn't have any in.
So I made this - and it was so simple and so scrummy I'm sharing it as a separate post so I can find it again easily.

Ingredients - amounts are to own taste and how much you want really.
some nice sausage meat (or you could strip the skin off a sausage or two)
fresh breadcrumbs (I zizzed some up from frozen - dead easy)
some finely chopped onion, softened in butter
a bit of garlic puree
some salt and pepper
dried mixed herbs (or herbs of choice)

Bung everything in a bowl and squidge it all together - I used my hands, it was much the easiest way.

Press the resulting 'stuff' into an oven proof dish.  I sprayed it over with spray oil.
Bake at about 180-ish for half an hour or more, depending on how much you have.  It goes nice and brown on the top.

There's loads of variations.
You could vary the herbs/spices used.  You could add some chopped nuts.  You could add some dried fruit; cranberries would be nice.  You could vary the type of sausage meat.  You could wrap it in bacon like pigs in blankets.  I'm sure you could think of more.

Wednesday, 28-03-18

Good morning!

I went to Sainsburys yesterday, specifically to try their next size down tights and, guess what, they fit!  No more Norah Batty ankles, thank goodness.  I shall take my two older, unopened boxes of tights to the charity shop.
As they had 25% off all clothes, I had a look round and got a few things in smaller sizes, all of which I shall use a lot so I don't consider I have wasted anything.  In fact, I was quite pleased as I don't have many clothes in smaller sizes and will need some.

After that confession, here's today's menu:
B:  porridge and yogurt
L:  cheg and salad
D:  salmon spaghetti; yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer:
some grated low fat cheese for the cheg
A piece of salmon

The frugal factor:
Porridge - can't be beat!
Cheg (with two eggs) is not expensive and the salad will be very simple.  Nothing fancy or expensive.
The piece of salmon is not cheap but the rest of the dish will be.

I shall enjoy my meals today - I hope you enjoy yours too.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Recipe: bread

I was looking back and I don't think I have recently posted about my usual bread recipe so here goes.

Ingredients to make one 1lb loaf (I usually double it)
250g strong flour.  It can be white, wholemeal, half and half - your choice)
half tsp each of instant yeast (for breadmakers), sugar and salt
A glug of veg oil
Water:  all wholemeal - 175mls; all white - 160mls; half and half - 165/170mls

Bung it all in a bowl and mix it well.  ip it out and knead it well until it has formed a good, stretchy dough.
Pop it in an oiled bowl, cover with a shower hat or clingfilm and leave in a draft free place until it has doubled in amount.
Get your baking tin ready.  I use (and re-use) liners.

Knock the dough back, shape it and pop it in your tin.  cover the tin with oiled clungfilm or an easy-leave sheet and leave to almost double in amount again.

When it's nearly there, turn the oven to the hottest it will go.

When it have proved, pop the tin into the oven, immediately turn the heat down to 180C and bake for about 30 mins.  When it is cooked, a tap on the bottom of the loaf will sound hollow.

Turn it out of the tin and cool it on a baking rack.  Don't wrap it until it's completely cold or it will go soggy.

And that's it!  Easy.  You need to be around but most of the time you can get other stuff done.  You don't need to hang around watching it.

And it makes the house smell better than the most expensive room spray!

I slice mine and bag it loosely before popping into the freezer so I can take out just what I need.  No need to throw away or have stale bread.

Tuesday, 27-03-18

Good morning!

Today's plans:
B:  muesli and natural yogurt
L:  chicken salad
D:  cheese on toast (I will have low fat cheddar and only 20g of it, that being a portion!); carrot batons; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer:
Some chicken for the chicken salad - I will reserve the stock and add it to tomorrow's dinner
Not the bread this time as I'm in the middle of making a couple of wholemeal loaves as I'm right out and I want/need to have wholemeal at the moment rather than white.

The frugal factor:
The muesli is a gift and the yogurt is home made
The chicken is from a special offer last week in Tesco.
The bread is home made so not only cheap, also very tasty!

Monday 26 March 2018

Monday, 26-03-18


Yesterday's sort of roast dinner turned out very nice, especially that 'stuffing'.  There was a little bit of sausage meat in Mum and Dad's freezer so I mixed that with some freshly zizzed breadcrumbs some finely chopped onion, softened in the microwave, some dried mixed herbs (no sage, you see) and some salt and pepper, baked it in the oven and it was delicious.  If you don't have sausage meat, just take the skin off one sausage which would be the most expensive part of the whole thing.  You could also ring the changes with herbs and seasonings and I like a few dried cranberries in my stuffing too.
I only had a little bit to taste because it's not the sort of thing I am supposed to have but it was delicious so I will definitely make it again.  If the sausage meat hadn't been frozen before using, it would freeze well too.
It didn't all get eaten at the meal and Dad spent the evening finishing it off in little nibbles.  Had I been at home, I'd have frozen it!
I bet it would also be nice mixed with some pulses and shaped into a burger.

Today's food:
B:  porridge with yogurt
L:  as I ended up having tuna salad yesterday, I will have the boiled eggs and carrot batons today.  Knitter Knatter Club has finished now so lunchtimes should be a whole lot easier on Mondays.
D:  turkey hotpot, left over from Saturday; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer:
Nothing from my freezer but the hotpot was frozen on Saturday evening in my parents' freezer.

The frugal factor:
Porridge is the most frugal cereal you can get and the yogurt is home made.
Eggs are great value too and carrots are cheap.
Dinner is leftovers mostly.
Definitely under £2.00 a day. probably under £1.50 seeing as the Christmas turkey (from which the hotpot was made) was a gift.
So quite a good day, price-wise.

Sunday 25 March 2018

Sunday, 25-03-18

Good morning!

As expected, the turkey casserole was delicious yesterday.  We don't call it that in the family, we call it hotpot, even though it isn't really as it doesn't have the potato topping, and it has always been a huge favourite.  There's always something very satisfying about turkey hotpot  several months after Christmas, a sense of dining well and being thrifty at the same time.  I made enough for six jolly good portions - that's just how it turned out - each portion a full meal with meat, potatoes, vegetables and gravy.  We had three portions, I will leave two portions behind for my parents which is very appropriate as they bought the turkey in the first place and the last portion is for Monday's dinner!  Nice one.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli and yogurt
L:  boiled eggs and carrot batons
D:  roast chicken dinner - chicken, roasties, carrots and sprouts with a few of the trimmings.  Stuffing too, but not for me!  Then fruit yogurt.

From the freezer:
The chicken and sausage meat for the stuffing

The frugal factor:
Apart from the fact that I am not paying for today's food, none of it will be terribly expensive.  One good sized chicken breast will be enough for the three of us and I will bake it in foil with herbs and lemon juice before slicing it thinly.  My dad is having baby haggis with his (haggis droppings, I call them) and I shall make a bit of stuffing with onion, sausage meat, sage and breadcrumbs, unless I can find a packet stuffing in their pantry.
I will do the roasties like SW chips; par boiled and then roasted in spray oil.  It works so well.

Saturday 24 March 2018

Saturday, 24-03-18

Good morning!  We're 3/4 of the way through March, incredible as it sounds.  Where's the time going?

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with natural yogurt and stevioa
L:  ham and salad
D:  turkey casserole; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apple and orange

From the freezer:
The turkey and the stock are both from the freezer

The frugal factor
Porridge, obviously, and home made natural yogurt so that's pretty frugal too as well as being delicious.
The turkey and the stock are both Christmas dinner leftovers from a turkey that was a gift.  I bought a stew pack as that's better than getting all the bits individually - I stood there in the shop and worked it all out as it isn't always.  There will be some to freeze too which will be OK as it will have been well boiled up!

All I will do is soften the onions, add the rest of the veg (carrot, parsnip and swede plus some sweet potato), saute that, add the stock (and maybe more water and a stock cube) and herbs and simmer it all until the veg is soft, then add the chunks of turkey and give them ten or fifteen minutes, stirring carefully so they don't break up.  That's about it.  Rustic and tasty!

Answer to a question.

Yesterday, in Comments, Tricia asked . . .
I’m greatly admiring your weight loss but am wondering if you ever eat chocolate or cake or biscuits? (All my downfall!) If not is it because you don’t indulge anyway?

I started answering as a reply but it got a bit long (you know how I can rabbit on at times) so here it is, as a post instead. Feel free to fall asleep . . . :-)

Hi, Tricia.
As it happens, I don't at the moment, for two - no, three - main reasons.

The first is that at the moment it would not be wise, medically. Cakes and biscuits are high fat and would likely set off my gall bladder and - ouch! Not nice at all. So I've been more or less off higher fat foods since the beginning of November when I was admitted to hospital with what was initially thought to be cardiac problems but which turned out to be gallstones. That's when the weight started falling off.
I just don't buy them at all. It's no use getting stuff 'in case of visitors' - we all know that once it's in the trolley, it's as good as eaten - by us!

The second is that I'm on a pre-op restricted eating regime called the liver shrinking diet. It's pretty strict about how much of each food group I am allowed to have and when. I'm afraid cakes and biscuits (and wine - sob) don't even get a look in! I know I whinged a lot about it at first but I've got used to it now and it seems to be suiting me.

The third is that over the years my downfall wasn't sweet, it was savoury. Cakes and biscuits are nice, don't get me wrong, but really not my craving. Crisps, on the other hand, or cheese . . . and I can't have crisps and not a lot of cheese either and the cheese I do have is low fat; not the same at all, so that is controlled too.

How I will manage once the health restrictions are lifted (after the operation is done and dusted), I really don't know because this is all a very new experience for me. I have been very fortunate really all my adult life as far as health is concerned. Hopefully, I won't go mad and binge on all those things I am not allowed to have at the moment. I know my appetite is smaller than it was but I also know that that can reverse very easily.

I think one of the motivations of sorting out all my clothes, apart from lack of space and general tidying up, was to get rid of everything that is now too big for me so I can't go back, so to speak.

Hopefully I have learnt some lessons and can continue to lose weight as I work towards frugality. I want to continue on a similar pathway with more flexibility - so low fat but not no fat, lowish carbs and sensible amounts of other food groups. Will it work? Ask me in the autumn! :-)

So - tips.
Oh, that's hard because we're all individuals and have our own battles to fight. Of course, I wouldn't recommend being ill but, undoubtedly, it has been the biggest factor in all this.

Know thine enemy, as the saying goes, and stay away from him! Is it possible to just not have cakes, etc, in the house so you can't indulge? Sugar does have addictive qualities and causes certain reactions in the body that may create cravings so the more you have the more you want.

Out of necessity, I use stevia sweetener but not an awful lot, and I love my daily apples with their natural sweetness and crunch. I have low or no fat yogurt and the fruit versions are artificially sweetened which also helps when I 'need' something sweet.

I plan my meals on a weekly basis and that helps both the eating and the finances. At the moment I'm into weekly rewards for sticking to it and not wandering off the track and that is treating myself to bunches of daffodils which are plentiful and inexpensive and sit there in the case reminding me. I'll find something else once they go but it won't be food!

And finally, I have made myself accountable through this blog and also on Facebook. Having declared what I intend to cook/eat, I'm in honour bound to stick to it really! Works for me and if it helps others too, that's great.

Stay in touch and all the best with it all. Fingers crossed for us both.

Friday 23 March 2018

Five Frugal Fings

First of all, I have just replied to some of the comments from last week's post.  Sorry I didn't do it before.  :-)

1.  I've had some leftover bits this week.  Baked beans and the like.  I used to either eat them or, most usually, chuck them out.  It's a shame that smaller cans are
a)  much more expensive per 100g and
b)  not usually available in the frugal ranges
Anyway, I now have several little pots of bits and bobs so next week I will have to plan bits and bobs meals that will fit in with my diet rules.  Not that easy but, with some thought, I'm sure I can do it. 

2.  The ongoing saga of my clothes.  I haven't lost much weight over this last week.  Just a pound but not to be sniffed at so I'm not.  However, I have lost inches and I know that because three skirts that were just a bit too tight for comfort last Friday fitted beautifully just now.  One is a bog standard Matalan skirt but the other two are molto expensivo lined posh skirts that originally cost a shocking amount but had been huguely reduced at Boundary Mill.  They both still had their labels on so that's how I know.  I will wear them now because I guess it won't be long before they are too large and will be dropping off.   I'm so pleased about them.

3.  A very long time ago, I knitted two jumpers; one is a genuine Aran pattern and yarn and the other is a Guernsey style knitted in chunky.  I made them as an incentive but it obviously didn't work!!
They are still too small but - big but - I can now get them on.  They're too tight and those styles are meant to be loose anyway but they're on the 'keep checking' pile and next winter they will be just perfect.

All that not eating up the leftovers is frugal in more than one way, isn't it?

4.  I'm planning to have my bedroom redone at some point in the next two years.  That WON'T be frugal in the sense that it will be expensive but I'm doing it the right way - gathering info, ordering brochures, taking my time, talking to people and all the time I am saving, saving, saving.  No credit for me, thank you, interest free or not.  By the time I'm ready to commit, I will have the money ready (although it will need to include some of my saved 'lump sum').  Once done it will add a bit of value to the house and a lot of value to my life as there will be much more storage and I can organise things so much better.  It will be good.

5.  Lovely weather = drying clothes and bedding outside.  They dry well, iron much more easily and snell of sunshine.  I'm so glad we're heading for the washing on the line season and to see them out there lifts my spirits. 

What are your Frugal Fings this week?

Friday, 23-03-18

Good morning.

One pound off this week.  Yay!

Today's plans:
B:  muesli and yogurt
L:  beef casserole and broccoli
D:  fish, SW chips and a side salad; yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
The casserole and the fish (cod, I think)

The frugal factor:
The fish is a dear as fish ever is but the rest isn't all that bad.  The casserole was made with YS skirt, the muesli is a gift and the rest is reasonably OK. 

Have a lovely, frugal day!

Thursday 22 March 2018

Thursday, 22-03-18

Good morning.

Today's plans
B:  porridge and yogurt
L:  savoury mince with added veg
D:  scrambled eggs on toast, fruit yogurt (and I shall have some carrot batons later on in the evening)
Ss:  apples

It's a bit awkward today because a friend and I are off to see a show in town (our town, not London) and then J will be coming back to mine for a drink and some nibbles.  Obviously, I can't have 'nibbles' at the moment (and I'm OK with that) so I am being very bad (!) and having an extra carrot, cut into batons as well as saving my two apples.
Actually, looking at my plans, some of the carrot will be the veg I haven't planned in for dinner, so maybe  it will be just a bit bad.  :-)

From the freezer:
Bread for the toast for dinner.
The savoury mince and maybe some runner beans.

The frugal factor
All of it really.  It won't be an expensive day at all.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Wednesday, 21-03-18

Good morning.

Is there anything more comforting than good old beans on toast?  I produced that last night when Beth (daughter) and Alex (grandson, currently home from uni) were round and they both wolfed it down with great satisfaction, as did I!  They had grated cheddar on top but I was good and desisted.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with stevia
L:  cheg and salad
D:  cheesy tuna on toast, 6 or 7 cherry tomatoes
Ss:  apples

Now and again I like to check that I'm still on target as far as portions are concerned.  It's all too easy to let things slide a bit without realising.
So . . .
B:  porridge - 1 carb and a bit of dairy (I make it half milk and half water)
L:  eggs - 1 protein; cheese - 1 protein (cheese can count either as dairy or cheese); salad - 2 veg; assorted seasonings (allowed)
D:  tuna- 1 protein; toast - 2 carbs; cheese - 1 dairy; tomatoes- 1 veg
Ss:  2 fruits
Yup, that's OK!

From the freezer
The cheese - low fat cheddar that has been finely grated.  It seems ro go such a long way when grated like that.
Bread for the toast

The frugal factor
The most expensive item will be the tinned tuna.  The rest is all very reasonable and easy to make too.  I can get it all done first thing, apart from any actual cooking, saving time later on when things are a bit busier.  It's good to be frugal with other resources too, including time.

In what other ways are you frugal?

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Tuesday, 20-03-18


Remember I said I was making lists of all the lunches and dinners I'm having on this liver shrinking diet?  Generally, I have no problems with dinners, I have loads of ideas, but lunches, with no carbs allowed, are a different matter.  That's where this list has come into its own recently.
I'm so glad I started making it.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with natural yogurt and stevia
L:  chicken tikka (yum) and a green salad
D:  beans on toast, fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
The chicken for the tikka and the bread (home made) for the toast.

The frugal factor:
The chicken is the most expensive part of today's meals and even that's not outrageously dear.  I must remember to get it out soon and put it in the marinade.

Perhaps it was because it was so cold again over the weekend, but I felt quite hungry, the first time that's happened since this eating regime started.  Thankfully, yesterday was much, much better again.  I think the sunshine and resulting feelings of wellbeing made a big difference.

Monday 19 March 2018

Monday, 19-03=18

Good morning, fellow frugallers - or do I mean frugalistas?  Whatever!

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit yogurt
L:  lunches on Monday are tricky.  I shall do what works and have one apple before I go to school and one when I get home and miss 'proper' lunch.  At least it is less rather than more and I'm so busy I don't feel hungry.
D:  Diane's bean and pasta soup; fruit yogurt
No snacks because they are lunch today

From the freezer.
One portion of mirepoix and some chicken stock for the soup.  I think that's it really.
I will use some tinned mixed beans that have been in the cupboard for ages.  That sort of counts too.

The frugal factor
It's all pretty frugal really being a Meatless Monday (except for the stock for the soup which will be chicken stock).  It makes up for yesterday which was rather un-frugal.

Saturday 17 March 2018

Sunday, 18-03-18

Good morning!

Yesterday was a hungry day for some reason.  Maybe it was the cold and the snow.  Anyway, it was all a bit of a struggle but I managed it, just.

Today's food
B:  muesli with natural yogurt
L:  steak and salad (splashing out a bit in the cold, snowy weather)
D:  beef casserole, mash and broccoli; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
The steak (which has been in there for a long time so really needs to be used - my excuse!) and the beef casserole which is another portion from that batch I made with the skirt that was reduced in Tesco, again, ages ago.

The frugal factor
Let's face it, apart from breakfast, it isn't really.  I can't even claim that the steak was YS or reduced because it wasn't.  Let's call it a splash out day!

I posted this (more or less) next in my other blog but I think it ought to go here too because of all the encouragement I have received.  No comments about it, please.  Thanks.

It's funny, this blogging things, isn't it?  The chances of ever meeting those whose blogs you read and follow are minimal but, over the days, weeks, comments and replies, you feel a liking, you engage with them, in a way you empathise.  There's definitely a friendly relationship going on there.  I'm sure some of you will know exactly what I mean.

And then it stops. 

Now someone else has stopped blogging.  I don't know why and I'm certainly not nosey enough to ask around; that's her business and I am sure there are clear and important reason, but there's a great sense of loss in me at the moment.  S, whatever the reason, thanks for your generosity in sharing your home and life, for all the advice, info, accounts, recipes, photos and everything else that made your blog such a delight to read each day. 

Be happy.  Have a good life.

Saturday, 17-03-18

Good morning!

I have discovered that the Jack-burgers are very tasty with a dollop of cottage cheese added to the mix!

Today's plans:
B:  porridge, natural yogurt and a bit of stevia
L:  the last two chicken thighs from yesterday with either a salad or some cooked veg (runner beans or green beans), seeing as it is bleak and snowy outside.
D:  baked salmon, small salad or cooked veg, SW chips or maybe I will cut the potato into circles rather than chip shapes today; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples, if I can get to the shops,  as I am right out.

From the freezer:
The runners and/or green beans
The salmon - and if I decide to have hot veg in the evening too, it will be the other from runners or green beans.

The frugal factor:
Porridge.  It's a muesli day really but it is bleak and snowy out there and I decided on comfort over style!
Chicken thighs may be delicious but they are also very reasonably priced, especially if you buy then with skin and bone still on.
If I go for the cooked veg (and I am pretty sure I will) they are both last year's garden/allotment produce.

Where I found the chicken thigh recipe, there's also quite a lot of other tasty looking thigh recipes so I'll trawl through and see what else I can add to my repertoire, I think.  I'm a bit pushed for lunch ideas so it might be a very useful thing to do.

Friday 16 March 2018

Recipe: Chinese style orange marmalade chicken

I made this for lunch today as I had a dear friend over.

I used orange marmalade instead of lemon (because I had no lemon marmalade), I used garlic puree and just lemon juice, not zest, I had six chicken thighs and  garlic puree and I didn't use spring onions or broccoli.  No oil as I reckoned enough fat would come out of the chicken.  Oh, and I didn't really measure anything.
Apart from that, I followed the recipe!

I didn't eat the skin (it's now chopped up for the birds) and had no sauce (it wasn't necessary).

It was absolutely deeee-licious.

J had two, I had two, we both had salad and I did a jacket potato for J.
I now have two left for tomorrow's lunch.  Hoorah!

I tipped the sauce into a jug, will skim off all the fat and there's a sauce for another time or maybe a dressing for a salad.  If we hadn't nibbled the meat off the bones, I would have boiled them up for a bit of stock, but we did, so I didn't!

Not quite according to the eating regime but not all that far off.  And that flavour . . .

Photo tomorrow after lunch (if I remember).

Five Frugal Fings

Here we go . . .

1.  Although I have added more to the freezer than I have taken away, I've been attacking the pantry cupboard and there are now several spaces in there.  They will be filled because I have overflow tins in the garage, but never mind, I'm getting there.  I have quite a few jars of sauces to use up and must make the effort!

2.  One of the tins is (was) some Savers kidney beans which I used because I had run out of frozen ones.  They are OK and only 24p (I wrote the price on the lid) which shows how old they are as they are now 30p.  (More shockingly, their Savers tinned pineapple was 25p and it's now 46p).
It's about time I reorganised that cupboard, in fact.  Things have got out of place and it's harder to see what's there.

3.  Given that I've finished off all my kidney beans, one of the weekend jobs is to soak and cook another pack.  They are such a useful thing to have in store and so very cheap done this way.  Once cooked and cooled, I open freeze them before pouring into a poly bag so I can take a handful when needed.

4.  I've been frugal with my clothes space too.  I've sorted out all my clothes now and there's a pile of them waiting to go to the charity shop while more has gone to the Salvation Army clothes recycling point.  To replace them, I have clothes that got too small for me but which I can wear again.  I face the fact that I will have to buy new clothes before the end of the summer anyway, assuming I get down to my correct weight, but not yet.  That's so good because I like to make my clothes last and any I buy now won't do me for very long.

5.  This week, a number of meals have been of the cheap, comfort-food type - things on toast.  Generally, there tend to be great value, especially as the lovely wholemeal bread I use is home made, sliced before freezing and used just a few slices at a time so the rest stays fresh.  I read that an awful lot of bread is just wasted as it stales before it can be used so this works really well. The last time I had to throw any bread away was the end of January because I forgot I'd put some in the bread bin over Christmas because of having guests.  It didn't get used and there it stayed.  No way could I use it by then, of course, but I felt so guilty as I dropped it gingerly in the bin.

So there we go - my frugal fings for this week.  None of them are huge money savers but every bit counts, doesn't it?
What have you done that's frugal this week?

Friday, 16-3-18

Good morning.

Another 3lbs off this week - three cheers.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge and natural yogurt
L:  chicken salad
D:  Jackburger, salad and SW chips; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
I have a few frozen (home made) chips so I will use them up this evening.  Apart from that, nothing else. 

The frugal factor
Porridge, of course, and I have started making my own yogurt again which makes it under 50p for half a litre: cheaper than Morrisons Savers and many times nicer!
I opened a Savers can of kidney beans yesterday evening, an old can that cost 24p, so they will make the beanburgers very frugal.  I usually make a sort of Jack Monroe type burger that  we call 'Jackburgers'.

Here's the original recipe:
I have neither fresh parsley nor coriander but I do have a bit of spinach so might use that instead and I might also add a bit of cottage cheese that needs using up too..

Thursday 15 March 2018

Thursday, 15-03-18

Good morning!
The cheesy tuna was really tasty so I've posted about it separately.

At the start of this liver shrinking diet, you may remember, I popped lots of 30g portion of muesli or oats into little pots to store in the fridge.  Yesterday I finished the last one so I made up some more as it's been really convenient.  They should do me for a month or so, I should think.  It's amazing how long a bag of oats or a pack of muesli lasts for when you measure out your portions.

Today's food is:
B:  muesli, yogurt, bit of stevia
L:  2 boiled eggs, carrot batons
D:  savoury mince and rice, yogurt.  I might chilli up the mince and add some pulses - kidney beans if I can find any on the freezer and, if not, chickpeas because I'm low on protein for lunch.  I'm finding it quite hard to get through two portions of protein in the middle of the day.
Ss:  apples

From the freezer:
The mince (already made and frozen) and the rice - just a small portion.  Actually, yesterday I found a random pot of mash so I need to use that as well at some point soon.  Fish cakes, maybe?

The frugal factor:
Breakfast and lunch are both reasonably frugal, especially as the muesli was free (a gift and I've just started on the last bag)
 Rice rarely costs much unless you go for the very fancy stuff or the pre-cooked-in-a-sachet- to-microwave type.
The mince has been bulked out with all sorts of veg, lentils and oats which is why I haven't added any more veg to the meal.  I reckon there's enough in the frozen portion.

There's still so much in the freezer, I swear the food reproduces overnight!  It's a long, slow thing, using it all up, especially on a restrictive diet, but great for the not-spending now and in future months.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Recipe: cheesy tuna on toast

Ever so tasty!

Ingredients for one
100g drained tuna
30g finely sliced cheddar (I used low fat)
10mls mayo (I used supa-lite!)
5 mls Dijon mustard
pinch sea salt
grinding of pepper
2 small slices bread

Under a grill, toast one side of the bread very lightly and the other side as you would normally have it.
(If you're not on a rigid food regime, you could butter the lightly toasted side.  I didn't!)
Mix the tuna, 15g cheese, the mayo, mustard and seasoning together.  Spread it on the lightly toasted side of the two slices (I used my fingers as it kept sticking to the spoon and knife).
Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese.
Pop under the grill until the cheese starts to brown.

Eat while piping hot.

Wednesday, 14-03-18

Good morning!

Yesterday's beans on toast was so satisfying!  Beth finished hers, sat back with a sigh and said 'That really hit the spot!'.  She was right.  It was delicious.  I'm so glad that simple things can give so much pleasure.

One of the chickens is cooked.  I got four-sized portions of sliced meat and two good portions of 'bits' which will be great for soups and anything where chopped chicken is needed.  And they're all in good jelly stock with one extra portion of stock.  Each portion comes to about 45p-ish.  Excellent!

Yesterday's chicken salad - and very nice it was too, even if it does look like a dog's dinner!!

Today's plans
B:  porridge with yogurt
L:  cheg and carrot batons
D:  cheesy tuna on toast, salad, fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
some low fat grated cheddar
The bread for dinner

The frugal factor
None of it is all that expensive.  I'll only be using half the can of tuna (one portion) and one portion of cheese.  And it's another no meat day.

I'll report back on the tuna.  I have an idea in my head and I will have to see if it works or not.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Tuesday, 13-03-18

Good morning!

Yesterday's plans went a bit awry.  The main problem is that Monday is quite a cluttered day.  I have to be in school at 12:30 to help with Knitter Knatter Club and then I stay to help out in FS.  Then it's home but it's quickly followed by a bit of tutoring.  By the time that's all over, it is dinner time.  So there's no time for lunch unless it's really early and I'm not ready for lunch at 12:00.  I had an apple in the gap between nanny helping and tuition which was fine for me, OK for the calories but not right according to the diet sheet.
Still, I suppose it saves a bit of cash.

The bean and pasta soup, a recipe I got from my bloggy friend, Diane, was absolutely delicious and very filling too.  I shall make that again for sure.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli and natural yogurt
L:  chicken salad
D:  beans on toast, fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
Seeing as I am roasting one of the chickens today, it'll be more a case of 'in the freezer'.  The only thing that will come out is bread for the toast.

The frugal factor
All of it really.  The chicken is great value, the muesli is a gift, the beans are savers and the bread is home made.
As for the yogurts, I really like Mullerlight.  Not the larger pots, the smaller ones that are 120g and just perfect for one portion of dairy according to the diet sheet.  They had them in Morrisons at £1 for a pack of four which is pretty good.  So I am stocked up for the next fortnight, more or less.

The chicken is thawed, I've just taken it out of the fridge to get to room temperature and in an hour I shall pop it into a slow-ish oven with some pepper, some bay leaves and a quartered lemon.  Once done, I will take off all the meat and boil the carcass, again long and slow (in my slow cooker which I don't use nearly as much as I should) until is is rich and flavoursome.  Once packed in 100g portions, it will replenish my freezer supplies!  I wonder how many portions I will get . . .

Monday 12 March 2018

Where do I get my recipes from?

Carol asked  'Where do you get your recipes/ideas from?'

Well - I freely own up to not being a cheffy cook.  I love watching the cheffy food programmes but prefer Nigel Slater or Our Delia to Michel Roux or Heston Bloomen-whotsit any day of the week!  I don't 'dress the plate' and I don't smear or foam or do any of those fancy, cheffy 'techniques' that people win Masterchef with!

In fact the nearest I get to being cheffy is that I am lucky enough to have a thermomix.  I LOVE my thermomix, just love it.  It, or rather, she gets used every day, sometimes several times.  I boil my eggs in her, steam my veg or rice, cook my pasta, make my soups, custard, sauces . . . and much more.

Anyway, to answer the question . . .

1.  I'm lucky enough to have been parented my a mum who cooked from scratch all the time and was happy to let me 'help' from a very young age.  I picked up a lot of basic stuff that way well before I needed to fend for myself.  Quite a lot of what I make is adapted from what Mum used to make - I owe her so much.

2.  Recipe books.  I have stacks but there are a few treasures among them.  I have an old Good Housekeeping compendium that has a story attached.  When I was at college, my mum used to drive and elderly gentleman to hospital every day so he could visit his very poorly wife.  After she died, he heard I was getting married so, as a sort of pass it on thing, he gave me his wife's old book as a wedding present.  It's the most precious book I own, for sentimental reasons, and surprisingly useful, for all it is so old.
Thank you, Google Images!

Another much used collection of books are my Delia Books.  I know she's considered a bit old hat nowadays and somewhat dogmatic, but her recipes really work and many can be frugallated!

I really love a little book I won in a Give away draw on Sue's blog.  It is very frustrating that I cannot use any of the recipes yet, being on this regime pre-gall bladder op, but as soon as it's all over . . .
It's a treasure chest of info, recipes and ideas, despite its small size.  A real treasure of a book.

What are your favourite cookery books?

(cont. in another post or this will be too long)

Monday. 12-03-18

Good morning

Today's plans:
B:  porridge, yogurt
L:  boiled eggs, carrot batons
D:  Diane's bean and pasta soup (which is more like a meal than a soup)
Ss:  apples

From the freezer:
Pulses and mixed peppers for the soup

The frugal factor
It's a Meatless Monday today so that more or less automatically makes it pretty frugal.  It'll be well under my daily limit today
The pulses were soaked and cooked at home, much better value than buying tins.
Porridge is a very frugal breakfast.
Eggs - great value!

Sunday 11 March 2018

Sunday. 11-3-18

Good morning.
Yesterday I broke my freezer vow.  I was shopping in Tesco for Mum and Dad and they have 'large' chickens for half price.  So I bought two, that being the maximum I was allowed.  They're in the freezer now but next week I shall cook them, etc, and re-freeze in stock and in single portions.  Such a useful thing to have to hand.
The freezer will just have to put up with it!

Today's food:
B:  muesli with natural yogurt and a bit of stevia
L:  ham and cottage cheese salad (how delightful!)
D:  pork casserole, sprouts, either orzo or mash, then a fruit yogurt.
Ss:  apple and orange

From the freezer:
Just the pork for the casserole

The frugal factor:
I'm not paying < smug grin >

Saturday 10 March 2018

Saturday, 10-03-18

Good morning!

The beef casserole I had last night was really lovely.  It was just a bog-standard recipe but the beef was skirt and it was cooked very long and slow before being frozen, all of which made for a great flavour and a melt in the mouth texture that's hard to beat.  I'm glad I have a few more portions in the freezer.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit yogurt
L:  cold meat (I'll see what looks lean in the shop) and salad
D:  fish, SW chips, salad
Ss:  apple, orange

I know I'm having an awful lot of 'chips' at the moment but, using spray oil, they are so low in fat and taste so good and I am allowed them so why not?

Nothing from the freezer today.

The frugal factor:
The biggie is that I'm not paying today!  :-)
Apart from that, really it is just breakfast that is nice and frugal.  The rest isn't outrageously dear but could be cheaper.  It'll all taste good though!

Friday 9 March 2018

Five Frugal Fings

1.  A few weeks ago I stayed in a Premier Inn for three nights and my towel was removed from my room as laundry by mistake.  It was a jumbo-big White Company towel so I reported it and got a night's stay refunded which was way more than the cost of the towel so I was well pleased.  I went into town on Wednesday intending to replace the towel and maybe get another one as well.  Much to my delight, not only were the towels greatly reduced, I was also allowed to use a £10 voucher I had so I treated myself to a room spray and the lot came just over a fiver more than I would have paid for one towel!  Brilliant.

2.  . . . and I still had a bit of money in hand, some of which I spent on a little white, ceramic single portion quiche dish for my crustless quiches.

3.  On the way home I resisted the very strong impulse to just 'pop in' to Hobbycraft.  That was a very frugal thing!  :-)

4.  I had a broccoli stalk so I made a rather nice soup using onion, celery, carrot, the stalk, some nice stock and a splash of milk.  It was easy and good, warming and filling!  Oh, and cheap!

5.  Just a little thing, I know, but we had some lovely sunshine at times this week and the sun shone through the big French windows so brightly that it warmed up the living room really well and the heating didn't click in at all.  Every bit helps.

(not my photo)

Friday, 09-03-18

Good morning.
Today's good news - 4 lbs off this week.  I might even meet Dr C's wish for me to try to lose 10% of body weight before the op at this rate and I never thought that would be possible. 

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with natural yogurt and milk
L:  chicken and veg soup
D:  beef stew, mash, veg
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
The chicken and mirepoix for the soup
The beef stew

The frugal actor
The stew was made from a lovely piece of skirt that I casseroled long and show with herbs and veg.  It's melt in the mouth and was on yellow sticker so very good value.
The chicken is the last I salvaged from a roast and froze with the stock from boiling up the carcass.

I've now finished my stocks of salmon and cooked chicken so next week I will dig into my money jar and replace them.   They're far too handy not to have and work so well in the liver shrinking regime.
For the cooked chicken, I will buy a whole chicken, roast it, take off all the meat and then boil the carcass for good stock.  That should provide me with a good few meals.  I think it's a disgrace, what they charge for a pack of pretty nondescript cooked chicken in the supermarkets.

Thursday 8 March 2018

Thursday, 08-03-18

Good morning.
Yesterday was an odd day for food, one way and another, and I know I didn't eat enough.  I was busy and there wasn't time really but I've survived and will try to do better today.

The chicken tikka was delicious.  I was surprised as it's such a simple recipe, so have added it as a separate post.  Even within such a restricted regime, I'm collecting quite a range of tasty recipes and meals, which is going to be helpful for the future as well as now.

The plans:
B:  Porridge with yogurt
L:  crustless quiche with green salad
D:  salmon, SW chips, salad
Ss:  apples

From the freezer:
The salmon, and then I've used up all my frozen salmon. 
A few peppers for the quiche
Low fat cheese for the quiche

The frugal factor
Apart from the salmon which is, admittedly, not cheap, the rest is pretty good really.  The cheese is a very small portion, eggs are great value for what you get and the salads are very simple.

Recipe: chicken tikka

This is very, very simple, not in the least 'authentic', one of the few actual recipes on the liver shrinking diet sheet I was given.  I made it yesterday and it was tasty, so here it is.

100g chicken in bite sized pieces
40mls natural yogurt
10mls tikka spice mix (or tandoori spice - which is what I used because I didn't have tikka spice mix)

Mix the yogurt and spice together.  Add the chicken, mix well, cover and leave to marinate.  I left it all day.

Preheat oven to 180C
Place on parchment on a baking sheet.  Place the chicken pieces on the parchment and spray with a little oil.   Bake for about 10 to 15 mins, until cooked through and starting to char.

Eat hot or cold on a bed of shredded lettuce with lemon juice and rice (and mango chutney).  For dinner I'd have it like that.  For lunch I'd skip the rice and have extra chicken.  The yogurt and spice would still be plenty.

No photo - I forgot, sorry!

The chicken isn't particularly frugal but neither is it overly expansive.  You could use boneless thigh meat instead, I should think; it still cooks very tender.  

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Wednesday, 07-03-18

Good morning!

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit yogurt
L:  tuna and cottage cheese salad
D:  chicken tikka with small portion of rice and side salad
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
Chicken for the tikka
Small portion of rice

The frugal factor
Porridge is always frugal
The chicken for the tikka is from some I got on special so half price.  I don't have much of that left now.

Today is not a particularly cheap day but there will be very little waste, if any.

I've changed my mind.  For lunch I have made a tuna and cottage cheese dip by zizzing the tuna and cottage cheese with some curry paste and a little bit of mango chutney and I shall have it with carrot batons.

If I were allowed, I'd try making lasagne 'tortilla' chips, something I saw on you tube last week.  You parboil sheets of lasagne, then cut it into triangles, add seasonings (e.g. paprika) and bake in the oven until crispy and crunchy. 

But I'm not, so I won't.  :-(

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Tuesday, 06-02-18

Well, yesterday turned out to be a bit of a washout because I woke with a tummy upset so didn't have breakfast and had a couple of slices of dry toast for lunch.
That stayed put so I had the fish and a few SW chips for dinner (which are totally non-greasy) and they were OK too, thankfully.  I think, maybe, too much chewing gum on Sunday!  Serves me right.
Feeling fine today and, funnily enough, not too desperately hungry either!

Today's plans:
B:  muesli, natural yogurt and a bit of stevia
L:  broccoli soup
D:  gardener's pie (like cottage pie but with pulses and veg), runner beans.  Beth's coming to dinner so it must be vegetarian friendly.
Ss:  apples
Too much veg today but I didn't have any yesterday so no worries.

From the freezer
Mirepoix for the soup
Mixed peppers and pulses for the gardener's pie
A couple of portions of cheese for the cheesy mash topping of the pie (made for two)

The frugal factor
Well, really, all of it is going to be pretty frugal today.
The muesli was a gift.
The soup is made from a broccoli stem now the florets have been eaten.
Using pulses instead of meat is a great way to go, especially when they have been cooked from dried after soaking.  Cheaper than canned and very convenient because I can get out just what I need.
And the runner beans are from the garden, picked, prepped and frozen.It won't be too long now until I can have them fresh again so I must use up last summer's harvest!

I seem to be getting very short of frozen red kidney beans.  Must do some more soon.

Monday 5 March 2018

Recipe: sardine, chilli and lemon spaghetti

I changed it, of course.  I used a bit of chopped tomato and the stalks from the lunchtime mushrooms, finely chopped and instead of pine nuts I use sunflower seeds.  To finish off, I had a bit of grated cheese left over from lunch so I sprinkled that over too.

It was really very tasty and filling.  A bit beige but that's the lighting!

Monday, 5-02-18

Good morning!

Yesterday's food was delicious so I've shared the recipes with you (or will be sharing) as separate recipe-posts.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit yogurt
L:  I have a broccoli stalk.  Stuff the diet, there's no way I am going to waste it so broccoli soup.  Might add some lentils to give it a bit of protein.  Just don't tell Dr C.
D:  baked cod, SW chips and salad (I love this meal!)
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
Mirepoix for the soup

The frugal factor
The porridge
The soup, using what I used to throw away
Cod isn't cheap but the chips are and the salad's really not too bad as it will be very simple.

Looking forward to today's food!

Sunday 4 March 2018

Recipe: very simple baked eggs

So simple and really delicious.

2 eggs
2 large mushrooms, cleaned and stalks removed (I kept them and used them for dinner)
20g good flavoured cheddar (I had to use low fat, unfortunately), very finely grated
a bit of oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to about 200 fan
Cover a baking sheet with parchment.

Spray or brush the top which becomes the bottom) of the mushrooms with oil and place them, bottom up, on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle a quarter of the grated cheese (really finely grated goes a long way) in each mushroom.  Crack an egg into each mushroom and then sprinkle over the rest of the cheese.  A small grinding of salt and pepper and then pop it in the oven for about 12 to 15 mins.

Serve with a green salad.

Delicious.  A lovely and filling lunch.

Sunday, 4-03-18

Good morning!

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with milk, natural yogurt and a bit of stevia
L:  baked eggs, small salad
D:  sardine, chili and lemon pasta, salad, fruit yogurt

The sardine pasta is this recipe.  I have a rather wizened lemon which I will attempt to rehydrate in water before grating the zest and I have lemon juice if the inside fails me.  I don't have pine nuts bit I do have sunflower seeds which I think are nicer!  And I have some garden grown chillis in the freezer.

For the baked eggs, I will use two large mushrooms which I bought yesterday, a few chopped sungold tomatoes from last year's crop and on the eggs I shall sprinkle half a portion of the low fat cheese which I am now getting used to.  Should be tasty!

From the freezer:
Tomatoes, one red chilli, low fat cheese

The frugal factor:
The muesli is a gift.
Sardines are a cheaper source or protein, as are eggs.
The pasta is some value spaghetti which is absolutely fine.

It's not a cheap day but neither is it an expensive day - it should come out at under £2.00.

Recipe: cheg

Cheg is really deviled eggs.  It's a childhood favourite and we siblings always called it cheg which is an amalgamation of 'cheese' and 'egg'.
It's dead easy and this is how I make them.

Ingredients (amounts to own need/taste)
hard boiled eggs
grated cheese
salt/pepper/mustard powder
mayo or salad cream
(chopped chives are also nice, but not when it means going out and digging in the snow to cut them!)

Cut the shelled hard boiled eggs in half and scoop out the yolk.
Mash the yolk with the cheese, mayo and seasonings (you can add your own preferences, if you want)
Spoon the mixture back into the egg whites.
Serve with a salad.

Very tasty.

Saturday 3 March 2018

Five Frugal Fings

Not on Friday but that's OK, it doesn't have to be Friday except for the alliteration!

1. I popped into Morrisons on Monday to get a bit of fresh stuff but, apart from that, I haven't needed to go shopping for over a week and even then only for little things.  I am out of eggs now and milk is getting short, but the list I am making is really short even taking next week's needs into account.  Maybe I'll go shopping today, it all depends on the condition of the roads, but I won't spend much!

2.  I might be on a very strict eating regime right now, but there's enough shuffle space for me to use up leftovers (or maybe I am making that space for myself).  I'm rather pleased that I had hardly any food waste to put out for the bin-men this week.

3.  I've been searching around and have found some recipes that use tinned sardines.  Sardines are now only frugal, they are also extremely good for you and the contents of one of those little cans fits the requirements of my diet beautifully (if you drain off the extra oil).  I used one recipe this week and another one is planned in for next week.

4.  I'm still very slowly working through the contents of my freezer and food cupboard but there's still plenty, so much so that I've had absolutely no concerns about managing through the bad weather this week.  It amazes me how quickly you can hoard food and how slowly it gets used up but no complaints.  I am very fortunate and try not to take this for granted but to be grateful.  No point being frugal with thankfulness, is there?

5.  There was something I was going to say and I have forgotten it!  Never mind, I'll mention knitted doll instead.  I'm making her as a birthday present for a special little girl and I've been knitting little clothes using some of the stash of yarn in a cupboard.It's great fun making up the patterns and I know doll's clothes of this quality would cost a fortune so it is an all-round win.  With staying warm in mind, here's the latest acquisition to her wardrobe - a nice, fluffy jerkin.

What have you done that's frugal this week?

Saturday, 3-02-18

Good morning.

Yesterday's food was delicious, made all the better because I have a warm home again!
Lunch was cheg and salad - maybe an odd choice for such a wintry day but it was so tasty.

And then the cottage pie was an all-in-one thing that was tasty and filling - so filling that I only ate a bit more than half of it.  I'll have the rest this evening but with some extra veg.  It'll be nice.

Today's food:
B:  porridge and fruit yogurt
L:  chick pea curry - no rice (Beth is round and she will have rice with hers)
D:  I was going to make sardine, chili and lemon pasta (based on this recipe) but that can wait until Sunday so I can eat the other half of the cottage pie, broccoli; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer
Chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and mirepoix for the curry

The frugal factor
Porridge - as always
Pulses are a great frugal choice and I will use curry paste from a jar as it really does need using - can't waste it, can I?
The cottage pie is leftovers from yesterday - gotta love leftovers!

Friday 2 March 2018

Friday, 02-02-18

Good morning!

First of all - woo hoo.  Another three pounds gone, hopefully for ever.  Also, I needed a warm jumper yesterday so I tried on one that's in a pile of 'slim into' clothes and guess what - it fitted.  So pleased about that.

Lunch was simple and delicious.  I don't have omelette very often and this was filling.

I cheated a bit for yesterday's dinner.  When I went to the freezer to get out the day's required foods, I found a bean burger from a batch that I made a number of weeks ago, didn't use so wrapped and froze.  Well, I wasn't going to make new ones when there's one that needs using up, was I?
I'm sure it wasn't that far out really and it went well with the salad and the chips.  A nice dinner for a nasty, cold day.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli, natural yogurt and a bit of stevia
L:  2 hard boiled eggs, a portion of grated low fat cheese and salad.  I might also use a bit of a fat portion and add some lowest of the low mayo to make cheg.  I love cheg.
D:  Cottage pie with a cheesy mash (I saved some cheese from yesterday's lunch so will add that to the lunchtime cheese and split it between the two), fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples

From the freezer:
Just the mince, chopped tomatoes and mirepoix (a portion too much of veg but tough!)

The frugal factor:
The muesli is a gift
The rest isn't particularly frugal but it isn't particularly expensive either.

After today I will be out of eggs but don't feel inclined to brave the paths to the shop yes.  There's plenty of other food so I will manage.  I won't go short of milk as I have some long life milk - not quite the same but perfectly acceptable.

Thursday 1 March 2018

Thursday, 1-03-18

Good morning!

Firstly, the bread I made on Tuesday.  Yesterday, I took a photo of the inside when I sliced one up (for freezing) and look - lovely and light, not dense at all, despite being 100% wholemeal.

The sardine thing I had yesterday was lovely and here's the recipe (scroll down).
I've done a separate post on the recipe, here.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit yogurt (half a pot)
L:  2 egg omelette with onion, pepper and mushroom and a portion of low fat cheddar
D:  I'm having a go at making a bean burger with limited ingredients so fingers crossed.  I'll use a little bit of the lunchtime egg to bind it together.  If it doesn't work, I shall have it as a hash so nothing will be wasted.  Also salad and SW chips, then the other half of the fruit yogurt from this morning
Ss:  apples, as always (I often don't have room for these which is a shame)

From the freezer
The pulses for the burger (kidney beans, chick peas and butter beans)
The cheese
The pepper for the omelette

The frugal factor
Porridge - always frugal, always delicious and so, so good for you!
The pulses for the bean burger are all home soaked and cooked which makes them much better value than buying tins.  If they work and taste OK, I will post the recipe.
For what they are, eggs are a nice frugal option, even more so if you keep your own chickens (I don't!)

Even in this extremely cold weather (we had more snow yesterday) this diet is keeping me fed and satisfied so no complaints from me whatsoever.  With a bit more f & v and a bit more flexibility regarding when I have the portions, I shall continue with this happily.

Yesterday (or it might have been the day before) I sat in front of the screen and planned next week's meals and my mind went blank.  That was daft because there's plenty of choices, so I thought I would start a table listing the meals I have had so I can refer to it when the blankness descends.  I'll get going on it today and, hopefully, it will help.

Have a fantastically frugal day today!

Recipe: sardine temptation

I made this yesterday for dinner and it was very nice indeed so I'm sharing.

Here's the recipe (scroll down)
Of course, I changed a few things.  I used a minimum of oil, I used sardines in sauce because that's what I had in the cupboard.  I cooked the potatoes in the pan for longer than the recipe suggests, I added a bit of garlic puree and I sprinkled over a bit of cheese (left over from yesterday's portion) for the last ten minutes or so in the oven.
I think that next time I will mash up the sardines a bit and mix them with the potato matchsticks though.

It would have been even nicer with lashings of butter, cream instead of milk and plenty of cheese but I'm not complaining as it really was nice and also filling and I shall use the idea with other proteins.  Salmon would be tasty or chicken or ham.

And here's a clip of our Hugh making a more fattening version at River Cottage.  I also like the version of sardines on toast that he does first in this clip and will give that a go.  It'd be good sprinkled with cheese, briefly melted under the grill, wouldn't it?.