Thursday 31 May 2018

Thursday, 31-05-18

Good morning.

Yesterday's dinner didn't quite end up as intended.  You know how you start something and then it develops a mind of its own and ends up as something quite different?  Well - that!  I'm glad it did because it was absolutely delicious and I've posted about it as a separate entry.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with natural yogurt and some fruit - a few blueberries and I believe I have a couple more strawberries in the garden too!  Woo hoo!
L:  ham salad.  Nice and simple.
D:  salmon, more salad, sweet potato chips (home made); fruit yogurt
S:  apple
E:  aqua, swimming and allotment

From the freezer:
Just the salmon.  Yesterday I said nothing but I was wrong, the chickpeas came from the freezer.

The frugal factor
Strawberries from the garden  Older plants and plants from runners so they don't cost me very much and actually, even the originals were gifts.  All they need is a bit of TLC now and again in the form of feed and anti slug stuff and they just keep giving and giving, firstly as fruit and then, in the autumn, in the firm of hundreds of baby plants send out on runners.  They really are great survivors.
Salad isn't shockingly expensive at the moment and when it's just for one you don't need much of anything.  I tend to use leaves (little gem at the moment), cucumber, cauliflower, carrot, pepper, radishes, tomatoes, etc, all cut into bite sized bits and mixed up.  I make my own coleslaw as, quite apart from the better value side of things, it's so much nicer.  Just cabbage, carrot, mayo and a few dried cranberries and occasionally I add a bit of curry paste.
The salmon, of course, isn't cheap, but it is a very healthy choice, delicious simply wrapped in foil and baked for 15 mins, so I don't mind paying a bit extra now and again.
You can buy frozen sweet potato fried now, it's quite a 'thing', but they're so very easy to make from scratch and much more frugal so that's what I do.
And finally, the yogurt is home made.  Not quite as frugal as it used to be now I have a maker that can filter off some of the whey to make a thicker yogurt, but much cheaper than the equivalent in the shop and, again, so much nicer.

However did I find time to teach?  :-)

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Recipe: chorizo, chick pea and sweet potato bake

This started off as one thing and finished as quite a different thing so I am claiming it!  :-)

Ingredients to serve one
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
one smallish onion, peeled and cut into wedges
50g drained chickpeas
about 1/3 of a loop of chorizo, skin removed and cut into semi-circles
10 mls olive oil
20 mls lemon juice
a squeeze of garlic puree
a good pinch each of cumin, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne
half a tsp dried parsley
1/3 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into chunks.
six or seven mini tomatoes, halved
15g dried cranberries
salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to 180C
Place the oil, lemon juice, spices, garlic and parsley in a small bowl and mix well.
Put the sweet potato, onion, red pepper, chorizo and tomato in a poly bag, pour over the oil spice mixture and squidge it about until everything is covered.  Tip it all into a roasting dish and season with salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven for about 20 mins, then add the chickpeas and cranberries, mix them in well and bake for another ten minutes or so until the sweet potato is soft.
Serve immediately.

It's maybe a bit dry but not too dry and it's delicious.  Come the summer I will use garden tomatoes and more of them; that should give some sauce.

Wednesday, 30-05-18

Good morning!  Yesterday went well and we loved the mini frittatas I made except that they stuck in the muffin tin.  I might go and look for a silicon 'tin' because the frittatas were delicious and one large egg, 30g cheddar and a bit of filling (onion, etc) will make enough for a meal for me with some salad or veg on the side, so pretty frugal.

The First Strawberry was gorgeously, juicily delicious.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli, natural yogurt and sweetener
L:  one mini frittata leftover from yesterday, a bit of ham to fill the gaps, salad (also leftover)
D:  chickpea and chorizo bake (a new recipe - I'll let you know; fruit yogurt)
Ss:  apples x 2
E:  early morning swimming; allotment should the weather permit.

From the freezer
nothing - oh, dear, must do better than this

The frugal factor.
There's quite a lot of leftovers today which is great.  Dinner doesn't seem too costly either although I will let you know.  I have to get a sweet potato but have already got the chorizo (great value from Aldi) and the rest is spices which I already have and a bit of veg.  It sounds delicious.

I've never bought peppers in a jar before but yesterday, while trawling around a pound shop looking for something else, I saw large jars of peppers for under £1 so I thought I'd give it a go.  There must be at least five peppers in the jar, all ready for cooking with and tasty as well.  Great value - you can't get five red fresh peppers for that price round here and I use peppers in a lot of dishes.  Proper frugal!

I'm loving my new yogurt maker and especially loving the mesh filter that makes thicker, almost Greek style yogurt.  However, I have been puzzled about what to do with the whey: I know it can be used in bread and scones but I'm not eating much bread at the moment and scones are a bit of a no-no.  However, I have picked up that you can use the whey, very much diluted, on acid loving plants and, as I have two blueberry plants, I thought I'd give that a go.  Right now, watering them is not an issue but in the hot dry days it is more problematic so this sounds a good way (geddit?) to go!  I gather you can also use it on strawberries and tomatoes too.
Any comments, please?

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Tuesday, 29-05-18

Good morning!

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with natural yogurt and a few blueberries
L:  chicken salad
D:  frittata type thingy with salad.  Weather permitting, I am hoping to take it down the allotment and we can have is as a picnic while doing some evening gardening.  I might make some of those mini-frittatas in a cupcake tin - I've wanted to have a go at them for ages.   Fruit salad or fresh fruit, whichever I think is easier when I get it together.
Ss:  apple x 2 and, fanfare of trumpets, My First Strawberry!  In other words there's one ripe berry in the strawberry patch which I will enjoy at some point today!
E:  Aqua and allotment wprk

From the freezer
Just the chicken.

The frugal factor
The chicken is from one I roasted a while ago, stripped of meat and froze in portions
Frittata is a good way to get rid of bits and bobs - mine will have a few chickpeas in as well as onion and mushroom and some sundried peppers I have in a jar from Aldi - pretty good value, that jar was.

After a weekend away, it is going to be hard to get back into the swing of things again so wish me luck!

Monday 28 May 2018

Monday, 28-05-18

Good morning.

After a weekend off (and away), it's back on track again today and here's my food plans.
B:  muesli (30g) with natural yogurt (2 tbsp home made and scrummy) and sweetener
L:  tuna salad (just a mix of salad veg I have available, with tuna on top plus a small dollop of mayo or salad cream)
D:  pasta bolognaise (small portion pasta, probably 30g dry weight), broccoli; fruit yogurt (a mix of frozen fruit and blueberries with my yogurt on top)
Ss:  apples x 2
Exercise:  (I've decided to declare this too)  allotment work

From the freezer:
The bolognaise, part of a batch cook that was frozen in single portions and which was bulked out with oats and lentils as well as veg that needed using up.  It's delicious!

The frugal factor:
My lovely dad has given me two packs of lovely posh muesli so, once I have finished my home made mix (also lovely) ,I'll be back on that again!
The tuna was on special and pretty cheap, as tuna goes.
As said above, the mince was stretched with frugal additions that make it more tasty as well as better value.

Have a great bank holiday.

Friday 25 May 2018

Friday, 25-05-18

Good morning.

Google seems to want me to tell you about my data policy.  As far as I am aware, I don't collect and use any data about my readers.  Google does and they have their own policy now regarding that which, presumably, conforms to the new EU laws regarding collection of data.  They say they have posted a notice about it on here about it, not that I can see it but maybe you can!
(hope that's what they meant, I am confused).

Today's meal plans:
B:  muesli with natural yogurt
L:  probably cold meat and salad
D:  salmon, new potatoes, peas; fruit salad and yogurt
S:  apple

The weight has stayed the same this week - boooooo.

Nothing from the freezer and it will be frugal because, although I am cooking, etc, I'm not paying!

I may not be posting for a couple of days now but will be back on Monday.  Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Thursday, 24-05-18

Good morning:

Today's plans:
B:  something different for a change.  Bacon medallions with 'fried' (minimal fat) tomatoes and mushrooms
L:  mushroom omelette, side salad
D:  chicken with gravy, broccoli and carrots; fruit yogurt
S:  apple

From the freezer:
The bacon medallions, a bit of gravy and the chicken thigh

The frugal factor:
It's a sort of middly day.  I saw the medallions on Morrisons, they weren't dreadfully expensive and I rather fancied some for a change as I haven't had bacon for months and months.  Lunch is using up stuff that needs to be used up.  The chicken is thigh and is about 60p (free range) while the broccoli is the last of a head (and I shall make soup with the stalk).

I'm pleased with the gravy.  I saved some bones and skin, etc, from previous meals and boiled it all up with a bay leaf and some thyme (both from the garden) which gave me a lovely stock which I thickened with a few thickening granules.  I had some left over so froze it for another day.

When I cook the chicken, I might pop another medallion on top before popping it in the oven - it should make for a lovely flavour.  I will keep the skin and the bones for future gravy/stock too!

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Wednesday, 23-05-18

Good morning.

The meal out yesterday evening was lovely, I didn't have dessert, just black coffee and a free refill, so came home feeling smugly full up!

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with natural yogurt
L:  tuna 'pate' with celery and carrot batons
D:  I'm afraid I am out again.  A lovely lady is moving on from school into a different job and it's her farewell meal.I was asked if I'd like to go and I definitely would.  I've been 'good' and selected something from their under 600 calories range so fingers crossed that's accurate.  What was really nice is that it would likely have been my choice anyway!
Ss:  as yesterday, trying for nothing but ifi have to, it will be an apple.

From the freezer
Nothing - again!

The frugal facter
er . . . nope!  There's a time in everyone's life, etc.

I'm very much looking forward to it all.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Tuesday, 22-5-18

Good morning

Today's food plans
B:  porridge with natural yogurt
L:  feta and tuna salad
D:  girls' meal out at The Hare.  Ther do 'smaller plate' meals which are still generous and I rather fancy the 'smaller superfoods salad'.  Diet pepsi/water all the way too and by the time I have finished the salad, I won't have room for dessert!  It's easier to resist when others are there too, I find.  And it's a swimming day so I will earn any extra calories beforehand!
Ss:  trying for none but if I do, it will be an apple.

From the freezer
Nothing today

The frugal factor
With a meal out, frugal comes nowhere near but the Hare's small plate meals are more than ample enough and better value.
The enjoyment is not in stuffing myself, it's in having a great chinwag with good friends.

Monday 21 May 2018

Monday, 21-05-18

Good morning!

We're into the last third of the month.  Time is flying!
After a disastrous Saturday, yesterday went much better as far as food is concerned and I managed an hour's fairly vigorous (for me anyway) swimming followed by a couple of hours of allotment work so I think I have more or less made amends for Saturday.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli (30g) with fruit ( a few blueberries and a few raspberries) and yogurt (2 tbsp)
L:  one poached egg on a toasted crumpet
D:  beef pancake cannelloni (a sort of bolognaise-y mince thing and the pancakes are quite small), side salad (just lettuce and tomato as I'm getting short of salad veg), potato salad (two new potatoes left over from yesterday with a bit of mayo and chives from the garden); fruit yogurt
Ss:  piece of fruit x 2
No swimming today, there isn't really time, but I hope to get some more forking and weeding done down the allotment.

From the freezer:
The crumpet, the bolognaise mix, the pancakes (2) and some grated cheese.
A good day today but I just hope I can find the crumpet without getting frostbitten!

The frugal factor
The muesli isn't cheap but not outrageously expensive as it's home made, as is the yogurt.
The mince is leftovers from a family meal.
The pancakes are also home made.
Home made-mostly-anything is going to be cheaper than its bought equivalent and portions are small and measured out so today's meals are comparatively frugal.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Sunday, 20-05-18

Good morning!

Not a great day yesterday!  My will power obviously wasn't enough, neither for the party, not, later on, back at home.  I cooked the nice healthy chicken leg and didn't eat it so guess what I'm having today!!  For lunch and then for dinner!

B:  muesli with fruit and natural yogurt
L:  chicken drumstick, salad, coleslaw
D:  chicken thigh, new potatoes, broccoli; yogurt and fruit
Ss:  apples x 2   I've found building in extra snacks on swimming days doesn't work for mke, it makes me want more, so I shall increase portions in real meals instead.  So today's muesli will be 35g instead of 30g, and so on

From the freezer:
None today

The frugal factor:
As yesterday's really - I'm pretending yesterday didn't happen.

I need good vibes today - will power and lack of hunger vibes, please.  I'm feeling very disappointed with myself which isn't helping one bit.
Onward and downward!

Saturday 19 May 2018

Saturday, 19-05-18

Good morning.

Today's food plans:
B:  porridge, natural yogurt and fruit
L:  tuna and feta salad pitta
D:  roast chicken leg, new potatoes, broccoli; fruit yogurt
Ss:  fruit x 2

From the freezer.
Pitta bread and a chicken leg

The frugal factor
The chicken is very old but I had it labelled and very frugal so could've been a YS.  It's not kind chicken, I'm still using up previously bought chicken.
The new potatoes were a gift.
The pitta was YS, not that pitta is that expensive anyway.
I shall only be using part of the tuna, the rest is for lunch tomorrow.
The feta is Savers and is called Greek cheese or something similar!

Friday 18 May 2018

Friday, 18-05-18

Hello, everyone.

The 'curried chicken salad' was lovely and surprisingly filling so I have posted about it separately.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit and natural yogurt
L:  crustless quiche and salad
D:  steak (still ploughing through the supplies of steak in the freezer), SW chips, coleslaw; fruit and yogurt
Ss:  apples x 2; 30g feta with some mini tomatoes (a swimming day)

From the freezer:
20g cheese for the quiche
Some flat iron steak

The frugal factor:
Steak isn't cheap but flat iron steak is one of the less expensive steaks - at least, it was when I bought this steak, it may have gone up since then.
The rest really isn't too bad at all.

Edited to add - 2lbs off this week - phew!

Thursday 17 May 2018

Recipe: Delia's curried chicken salad

aka coronation chicken.

I reduced everything down to 1 serving, subbed a bit and left out a bit.

This is what I did.

100g cooked chicken (chicken thigh)
1/2 tsp curry paste (chicken tikka masala is what I had in)
7g flaked almonds which I toasted in a pan
15ml mayo (the lowest of the low variety)
10mls natural yogurt
1/2 tsp mango chutney (the smooth bits)
7g sultanas
7g dried apricot, sliced
salt and pepper

Shredded lettuce to serve the chicken on

No spring onions (don't have any) and certainly no leaf coriander (nasty stuff). 

Add all the ingredients apart from the chicken and almonds in a bowl and mix well.  Add the chicken and mix together gently..
Serve on a bed of shredded lettuce and sprinkle the almonds over.

Yummeroony and very light and summery too.  Yet another to keep!

Recipe: chicken with lemon and courgette couscous

This is the recipe I used, taken from the wonderful BBC Good Food site.

However, I made changes in order to use what I already had.

I reduced everything to a quarter of the given amount to serve one.

I used courgettes that I froze last year and just chopped them into little bits - easier to do frozen than thawed!

I used chicken thighs - three of them because I needed cooked chicken for the next day as well - and baked them with some lemon juice, salt and pepper.  When cooked, I stripped off all the meat and kept the skin, bones and 'bits' to boil up for stock.  Waste not, want not!

I used spray oil to brown the courgette bits.

Then I made the couscous which I mixed with chicken stock powder before adding the boiling water and some bottled lemon juice.

Finally, I mixed the chicken with the couscous mixture and added a bit more lemon juice, pinging it for a short time to get it back to piping hot.  It was very tasty with some broccoli on the side.  I forgot to take a photo though!  Sorry.

Another one to go on the 'make again' list!

Photo borrowed from the BBC site - mine didn't look like this at all, of course!

Thursday, 17-05-18

Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday's chicken with lemon and courgette couscous was delicious so I will post about it separately with a link to the recipe and comments on what I did.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with natural yogurt (all home made which doesn't necessarily make the food any better but it makes me feel good!)
L:  hummus (left over from the family meal) with carrot batons
D:  curried chicken salad.  This is a Delia recipe and I'll let you know!
Ss:  fruit x 3 (swimming day)

From the freezer
The hummus, which I froze about a week ago as it was leftovers
The chicken (thighs)

Into the freezer:
I'm out of chicken thighs so I bought and froze some more - I use them so much. 
I was going to make some wraps for summery lunches but when I was in Morrisons, they had pittas well reduced so I bought a couple of packs, wrapped them all individually and froze them.
Sometimes you just have to, don't you?

The frugal factor
Lunch is leftovers frozen last week
I'm using a chicken thigh (thighs are less money for more flavour) and I cooked it yesterday with the chicken for dinner to save on oven heat.

The only flip side is that the weight has stopped dropping off and I'm getting worried.  Ho hum!

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Wednesday, 16-05-18

Good morning!

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit yogurt
L:  mini omelette (bit of mushroom, bit of red pepper, garden herbs, one egg, bit of spray oil, one mini-pan) and side salad.
D:  Chicken with lemon and courgette couscous (new recipe, fingers crossed), broccoli; fruit (probably stewed plums as I have some in the freezer) and natural yogurt
Ss:  apples x 2; there will be more as it's a swimming and allotment day but not sure what yet.

From the freezer:
The chicken
Some of last year's courgettes which I sliced and froze
Some plums to stew
I'm just wondering if I have some broccoli in the freezer too - must investigate!

The frugal factor:
Not an expensive day today.  The chicken is medium cost but more or less everything else is reasonably frugal and I'm using um old freezer food and some of last year's harvest.  The plums were a gift.
The yogurt is in the yogurt maker as I type and the fruit yogurt for the porridge was yellow sticker.

Have a lovely frugal day!

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Recipe: home made muesli

(edited because I added other things)

My lovely dad is buying me some more muesli that he and I both love.  He gets it from a mail order company and I won't be seeing him for a few weeks by which time I will have run out of the little bit I have left here at home.

Rather than buy some, I thought I would take a look in my cupboards and see what I already have that I can use to make some of my own.
This is what I found and used.

3/4 cup each oats and malted wheat flakes
20g almonds, chopped
20g chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp linseeds
15g pumpkin seeds
15g sunflower seeds
30g dried cranberries
5 dried apricots, chopped
30g sultanas
20g dried, sweetened mango, chopped
20g banana chips, broken into smaller bits
1 tbsp desiccated coconut

Place in a container or bowl and mix well.  Store in an airtight container

It tastes really good.  And I can make it as posh as I like really by what I add.  Not cheap, I am sure, although I haven't been able to cost it out as it's all things I already had in.   However, that makes it  frugal in that I am making the best use of what I already have.

Tuesday, 15-05-18

Good morning.  Fingers crossed for another lovely day today.

Yesterday's lunch was delicious.  An omelette made in my diddy pan with spray oil, one egg, one mushroom and some chives from the garden plus a bit of seasoning.  Lovely and light with the finger salad - the red pepper was gifted which was lovely.

Dinner was pretty good too.  The flatbread tasted better than it looked and was made with flour, yogurt, salt and pepper.

Today's food plans:
B:  muesli (30g) with fruit and some yogurt
L:  tomato and lentil soup
D:  chicken tikka, SW chips, salad, fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples x 2, 15g walnuts, banana (it's a swimming AND allotment day)

From the freezer
The soup
Chicken for the tikka

The frugal factor.
It's a medium day today because of the chicken.  The rest is very frugal apart from the muesli and I haven't the foggiest how much that cost (there will be a separate post about it).

Monday 14 May 2018

Monday, 14-05-18

Good morning!

After a slightly self indulgent weekend, life moves on and I'm pulling the strings tight again.  Back to weighing portions and imposed frugality.  It's harder to be frugal when you are cooking for others as well as for yourself, when it's not an ongoing thing and you're at their home, not at yours, and I am looking forward to simple things again.

So, here's today's plans - it may not be what's on my planning sheet because I left that at home, but that really doesn't matter.

B:  porridge, fruit and natural yogurt
L:  I have eggs to use up so I'll make a simple mushroom omelette in my diddy little pan and have it with salad
D:  kidney bean and veg curry, maybe some rice (I'll see how hungry I feel) or I might make a quick flatbread; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apples x 2

From the freezer
If I have a bit of grated cheese on my omelette, that will be from the freezer.
The curry.

The frugal factor
I'm pleased with today's plans.  None of it is extravagant, it's all tasty and the health factor is pretty high too.  The most expensive items are the apples!

Last week I treated myself.
I almost always make my own yogurt, just buying it now and again to refresh the starter.  I've always used a simple yogurt maker that I bought in Lakeland, not an Easiyo (you have to use sachets of powder and they are expensive) but one where you add life milk and some of the last batch of yogurt, turn it on, leave it for 12 plus hours and, hey presto, lovely yogurt!
I discovered that they have stopped stocking that machine and have an upgraded model that is easier to use and more versatile.  For a start, it turns itself off when the time is up and also it has a straining gadget that means you can make thicker, Greek-style yogurt and, if you leave it straining for longer, a soft cheese.
So last week I indulged.  I made my first batch with it, strained it for about an hour and am absolutely delighted with the results.
It only cost a few pounds more than the original one cost several years ago and is far better in design.  It's a bit Tardis like - bigger on the inside but not on the outside, than the previous model.  The old one paid for itself very quickly as I eat a lot of yogurt and I know this one will too as it's no flash in the pan gadget but one I will continue to use regularly every week.
The only flip side is that the instructions go all round the houses describing how you have to scald the milk and let it cool to 42 degrees before starting the yogurt off but don't seem to mention that you can use long life and give it extra time to warm up in the machine!  So, so simple.
This is it.

Sunday 13 May 2018

Sunday, 13-05-18

Good morning.
Today's plans
B:  muesli, yogurt and fruit
L:  not sure - maybe beans on toast
D:  salmon, new potatoes and salad
Ss:  apples x 2

From the freezer
The bread for the toast
The salmon

The frugal factor
As yesterday, I'm not actually providing any of the above, just preparing and cooking it.  So free!

Saturday 12 May 2018

Saturday, 12-05-18

Good morning.

The savoury cheesy crumble worked a treat and it all got polished off in a jiffy, as did the peas and cabbage that accompanied it.  I made a nice gravy by straining off some of the sauce from the mince and adding all sorts of seasonings - soy sauce, Lea and Perrins, stock, marmite - lots of thing to make it really savoury.
I haven't been able to have peas since February (too starchy) so I really enjoyed my small spoonful.

Today's plans:
B:  porridge, fruit and yogurt
L:  cheese and crackers, salad (not a lot of cheese though)
D:  The chicken, chorizo and rice leftovers, runner beans; melon
Ss:  apples x 2

From the freezer
The leftovers - as it was chicken and rice, it was frozen straight away and I will re-heat it very carefully and very well.
I'm having crackers, but there will also be bread on offer and that's from the freezer.
Runner beans (last year's crop)

The Frugal Factor
Well, as it's not my freezer, not my larder, it's all a bit academic this weekend.
The chicken dish is leftovers, Porridge is great value and the yogurt is home made.  Cheese is not cheap but I won't be having all that much.

I was a bit naughty yesterday evening and had a small vodka and diet coke.  I haven't had alcohol since February and it was very nice but I was pleased to note that it didn't make me want more, nor did it lead to nibbling later on.
Amazing self control (for me, that is)!  Long may it continue. 

Friday 11 May 2018

Recipe: chicken, chorizo and rice one pot.

I made this yesterday.
It says 'serves four'  Never believe it!  It served seven yesterday (admittedly with other things on offer as well) and there's enough leftovers to serve three more (small portions) with veg on the side.  The only things I changed were to use ten chicken thighs and to add some green olives (as they needed using)

Here's the link.

I can recommend it!

Friday, 11-05-18

Good morning!

It was a lovely family meal yesterday evening and I managed to resist some temptation (although I did rather overdose on the grapes!).
There are, of course, leftovers, but manageable leftovers which will be appearing on food plans for the weekend!
I'll post about the chicken, chorizo and rice dish separately because it was really lovely and I shall do it again, definitely!

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with fruit and yogurt
L:  tuna salad (the salad is leftovers - just enough for one left, most convenient!
D:  savoury cheese crumble with peas and cabbage; fruit salad.  The crumble is some of the bolognaise leftovers of which there was quite a lot but as I made loads on purpose to make the best of the oven, I'm pleased.

From the freezer.
Nothing today.  In fact, stuff is going INTO the freezer.  Several portions of savoury mince and one portion of savoury rice.  That'll help in the next few weeks!

The frugal factor:
Well - you know - leftovers!  Lovely leftovers that save time.  Not money, of course, because they've been paid for anyway.

Thursday 10 May 2018

Thursday, 10-05-18

Good morning!

My plans:
B:  porridge with pineapple and yogurt
L:  boiled egg and toast fingers
D:  we're having a family meal together at mine.  I've made bolognaise and veggie bolognaise, chicken, chorizo and rice one-pot and will cook some pasta, make some garlic bread and knock together a simple salad.  Beth's bringing a birthday cake as four of us have recently or will soon have birthdays and I'm providing fruit platter.  No alcohol as most folk will be driving but I have home made rhubarb and St Clements cordials, some fruit juice and we will have water a-plenty!

From the freezer:
The bread for the toast
I had packs of pork and beef mince in the freezer so used them for the bolognaise.
I dug out several one portion packs of veggie bolognaise and will thaw and thoroughly reheat them
I'm using some thawed part baked baguettes to make the garlic bread.

The frugal facter
No!  Just no!  Not today.
I made loads of bolognaise so there will be some to refreeze in single portions.  This is perfectly safe as it's been well cooked after thawing.   Any leftovers Beth will be able to take with her.  Any leftovers from the rice/chicken/chorizo thingy will be used over the next few days.

I don't think I shall show a weight loss tomorrow!   :-)

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Recipe: salmon, cranberry and couscous parcel

I found this on the excellent BBC Good Food site.

I made one portion.
It's quite calorific so I made a few changes.
I cut out the butter entirely.
I used 40g couscous, not 60.
I didn't make the sauce.
The salmon was just a small piece of 100g

I also subbed a bit - walnuts for pine nuts.

I don't have basil and am not all that fond of it anyway so just missed it out.

It was so delicious and there was plenty.

Photo taken from the Good Food site, link above.

Recipe: Mediterranean stuffed peppers

This is the recipe I used.

I followed it pretty much as it is as far as the method is concerned but did sub some things to match what I had in.

The peppers were 'wonky' ones, so smaller.  It was still plenty and I have couscous left over for lunch today so win-win.
I used walnuts rather than pine nuts
I used green rather than black olives
I used shredded mint instead of basil as I'm not that fond of basil so don't have it in
I also added some well chopped onion, red pepper and mushroom which I cooked in some spray olive oil first.

And, sadly, this is the only photo I remembered to take as in the evening it looked and smelled so good that Beth and I just dived in without me remembering about photos.

Very tasty and very adaptable.  A keeper.

Wednesday, 09-05-18


The Mediterranean couscous was lovely so I will do a separate post about uit.

Today is a non-swimming, loadsa cooking day in preparation for a family meal here tomorrow evening.  Summoning as much will-power as I can possibly muster to avoid too many nibbles and picks.

B:  muesli with yogurt and fruit salad (leftovers from yesterday evening's meal with Beth)
L:  more leftovers - the last of the Mediterranean couscous with some salad veg
D:  salmon, cranberry and couscous parcels, salad, yogurt and fruit
Ss:  fruit x 2

From the freezer
small piece of salmon

The frugal factor
Leftover day.  I don't usually have leftovers, cooking for one as I usually do, but yesterday I did.
apart from the salmon (which is a small piece), all the rest is bits and pieces that I already have in and none of it too costly.

I'm also making (for tomorrow)
chicken and chorizo rice pot
bolognaise or maybe it will be chilli, we will see
vegetarian chilli
garlic bread

plus some loaves of bread for my parents.

Busy day!

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Tuesday, 08-05-18

Good morning!

Yesterday was a challenge!  It was busy and active what with swimming, ironing and then some energetic allotment work in the afternoon and when I got home after allotment (confession time) I remembered some leftover  biscuits that I had bought for when my friends came over last week (YS because of a battered packet - I wasn't that unthrifty really).  Somehow, I had eaten four - FOUR, eeeeek - before coming to my senses and committing the cardinal sin of throwing the rest in the bin and covering them with rubbish so I couldn't fish them out again.  The semi-sweet side is that there have been no repercussions from my innards, the flip is that I now have to start exercising some good, old fashioned self-control again.  Wish me luck.

I don't think (I hope, anyway) it caused too much damage really, given that the 'real' food was pretty good and I did two lots of exercise, but I will have to beware as the swimming is ongoing and it's now very much allotment season!

Today's food plans:
B:  muesli with pineapple and yogurt
L:  more tomato and lentil soup
D:  Mediterranean stuffed peppers (a BBC Good Food recipe - I will let you know), salad, fruit salad
Ss:  fruit x 3 (swimming day)

From the freezer
Just the soup today plus a few frozen chopped peppers for the pepper stuffing

The frugal factor
The muesli is a rapidly diminishing resource now.  I wonder if it would be cheaper to make my own - must investigate.
The pineapple is savers tinned
The soup is home made from garden grown tomatoes
The peppers are wonky ones, couscous isn't expensive and the rest of the ingredients I already have or am adapting to match what I already have (e.g. walnuts instead of pine nuts, green olives instead of black ones)

It's quite a busy day so I'm hoping there won't be too much time to think of eating any extras!

Monday 7 May 2018

Monday, 07-05-18

Morning, everyone.

I picked some mint from the garden to go with my lamb yesterday.   Finely chopped it, then added balsamic vinegar, a bit of salt and pepper and a little bit of honey.  It was delicious!

Today's plans (with a bit more detail today):
B:  Porridge (3g), fruit (canned savers pineapple, 1/5 of a can) and yogurt (about 60 mls)
L:  tomato and lentil soup - one portion
D:  cheesy sardines on toast (2 slices, no butter!), tomatoes and carrots (both raw); fruit yogurt
Ss:  (swimming day)  fruit x 3, 15g walnuts

From the freezer:
The soup (made last week)
The bread for toast

The frugal factor
Quite a low price day today with nothing costing all that much.  Makes up for other days!
Porridge is always great value, the fruit is Savers (not that it's all that cheap nowadays) and the yogurt is home made (1 litre long life skimmed, 49p).
The soup was made with tomatoes frozen from last year's crop.
Sardines are cheap and I only have 30g of cheese at a time; I've learned that 30g is plenty.
The fruit is normal price but not the expensive fruit and the walnuts are from a big bag from a health shop and were remarkably good value.  They need using up so may feature in the following weeks rather more.

Sunday 6 May 2018

Recipe: fruity frozen dessert

You can use any frozen fruit you fancy for this although some may be more suitable than others.  It does have to be frozen hard.

frozen fruit (I used strawberries and blueberries)
natural yogurt
a dash of elderflower cordial or similar - lime cordial might be nice
a bit of honey or other sweetener if wanted
a few mint leaves

If you are using fresh fruit, it needs to go in the freezer several hours before so it is frozen solid.  Cut any large fruit into smaller chunks.

Put the fruit, cordial, a couple of mint leaves and yogurt into a zizzer and blend until it is semi smooth and semi frozen, like a soft sorbet.
Taste and add something to sweeten, if wanted.  I didn't.

Serve immediately, garnished with mint leaves  Very delicious and refreshing.

Sunday, 06-05-18

Good morning.

Dinner yesterday was tasty.  I made a marinade for the drumsticks that consisted more or less of lemon marmalade, zest and juice, grain mustard, garlic, balsamic vinegar, lea and perrins and seasoning.  Tasty!

Today's food plans
B:  muesli, fruit and natural yogurt
L:  poached egg on a crumpet
D:  Lamb chop, new potatoes, runner beans, mint sauce (home made now the mint is coming up well); strawberries, blueberries and yogurt (might turn this into a yogurt ice cream by freezing the fruit and then zizzing together with the yogurt and a bit of honey)

Ss:  fruit x 2

From the freezer
the crumpet
the lamb chop
the runner beans

The frugal factor
Breakfast and lunch are pretty frugal, especially as the muesli is a gift
The lamb is not particularly cheap but it's from a bag of random chops, not dreadfully expensive, that I've had for ages.  Heaven alone knows what sort of a life the animal had; I will use up what I've got and then pay more when I want lamb in future.  We have a farm shop the other side of town which I know does 'ethical' meat, so I will investigate that when the time comes.  The new pots are dear but the runner beans balance that by being last year's garden produce.

No swimming today so no extra calories.

Saturday 5 May 2018

Saturday, 05-05-18

Good morning.

Dinner yesterday was very simple but tasty.  I softened a little bit of finely chopped onion, red pepper and mushroom in spray oil, added some garlic puree and some pepper, the contents of a diddy tin of lemon and pepper tuna, the grated zest of half a lemon and some lemon juice (from a bottle), then stirred in some cooked pasta and a bit of the pasta cooking water and sprinkled over s bit of shredded fresh mint.  It was so good!

Today's plans:
B:  porridge, fruit and yogurt
L:  souffle omelette, salad
D:  chicken drumsticks in a bbq sauce, SW chips, salad, fruit and yogurt
Ss:  fruit x 2, hard boiled eggs x 2 *

*  I'm having extra on swimming days as I get so hungry and that's not surprising given that I am burning around 400 extra calories (minimum) extra.  Must make sure I don't go bonkers with the fatty snacks though.  Actually, looking at it, I'm having a lot of eggs today.  I might change that.
I need ideas for quality snacks now!

From the freezer
The chicken drumsticks - I will have three, again to up those calories a bit.  I had such a hungry evening yesterday.

The frugal factor
The drums will cost a bit more than usual but the rest is all very reasonably priced, nothing lavish at all.  Tasty though!

Friday 4 May 2018

Recipe: strawberry, blueberry and rhubarb slushie

Do you remember slush puppies?  Are they still available, I'm not sure.  All those colourings and synthetic additions!

I saw Jamie making a slushie on the telly this morning using raspberries.  He suggested using elderflower cordial but I love strawberry and rhubarb together so I used some of my rhubarb cordial.  It would be gorgeous with added lemonmade or sparkling wine but I had neither so it was tap water!

Ingredients for two glasses
10 ice cubes (the kind you can buy in bags)
8 strawberries, tops cut off
15 blueberries
rhubarb cordial (or elderflower)
mint (optional but very good)
water for diluting (or lemonade, sparkling white, gin, vodka, etc)
You also need a good food processor/blender

Put the cubes, fruit, cordial and mint leaves in the blender
Zizz until the ice has reduced to a slush (it is very noisy)
Add some water and stir it in.

Serve with a sprig of mint for decoration.  Absolutely delicious and I will make it when my own strawberries are in.  You can use any soft fruit really - peaches, pineapple, raspberries, whatever you fancy.  It'd also be great with gin or vodka or whatever.
As Jamie says so often - so, so good (especially on a warm May afternoon).

Friday, 04-05-18


I weighed today as things have now settled after the op and in the last fortnight I have lost 7 lbs!  Blimey!  The yoyo-ing seems to have settled again and, hopefully, the regular exercise will also help.

Yesterday's lunch was delicious.  It's also be nice with some croutons, it'd be nice with chunks of tuna and black olives would lift the appearance  no end.  It was very satisfying after the morning's swim and aqua class.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli, fruit and natural yogurt
L:  poached egg on a crumpet
D:  lemon tuna pasta, side salad, fruit yogurt
Ss:  fruit x 2, 15g walnuts

From the freezer
Just the crumpet but the tuna and the nuts comes from store cupboard supplies.

The frugal factor
A lot better than yesterday. On the lower side today with a lot of home made stuff.  The tuna is the dearest thing - the little can of lemon pepper tuna was 60p.

What are you having today?

Five Frugal Fings

Hi!  With me being a bit out of action over the last fortnight, frugality has slowed down just a bit but there are a few things . . .

1.  After being reminded of Approved Foods on Cass' Frugal Family site, I popped over there to take a look.  I rarely find much there as most of it is processed food of one kind or another with loads of crisps, sweets, etc.  However, this time they had Hovis granary flour.  I love this but you never find it in the shops nowadays.  I like to make bread half and half wholemeal and granary.  It makes an absolutely delicious loaf.  I ordered loads and they are now in the freezer to prevent deterioration.  I had to order a few more bits and bobs to meet the minimum cost but nothing that wasn't frugal or wasn't what I already use.  Really pleased about that.

2.  Since I stopped the liver shrinking diet, I have been making good inroads into old stuff in the freezer again.  Thank goodness for freezers is what I say!  It may be old food but it's certainly not bad in any way whatsoever.  Properly wrapped, it lasts and lasts.  Such a useful tool for frugality.

3. I joined the gym.  Yes, I know that's expensive but if it keeps me going, improves my fitness, tones me up, lowers my blood pressure and contributes towards more weight loss, then it is a very good and purposeful way to use some of my savings - the 'making the best use of what I have' bit of being frugal and also an investment into my future health and well being.  I joined a gym that has a lovely swimming pool which I know I will use and it comes with free parking too.
And the nice thing is - the more I use it, the cheaper each session is.

4. Now I can eat more widely again, I've had fun searching the Internet for new ideas/recipes.  I found a nice page on the BBC Good Food site here.
There's a number of recipe I rather fancy trying out and I can see how I can frugalise them somewhat as well as celebrity chef's ideas of 'cheap' and 'frugal' differ somewhat from mine!

5.  Now that the weather has brightened up again, it's back to drying the clothes outside.  I love that, it reminds me every time that I am now at home to do this and to count my blessings and be grateful.  It makes ironing easier too so saving time.

What are your frugally fings this week?

Thursday 3 May 2018

Recipe: new potato and feta salad

I made this because I bought some lovely Jersey royals the other day.  As usual, there are few quantities.  It's add and taste, add and taste.  Sorry!


for the dressing
some oil (I used toasted sesame oil), wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, grain mustard, honey, garlic puree, salt and pepper.
Place in a jar and shake well to combine.  Store in the fridge

New potatoes, cooked and cooled (I left the skins on)
toasted walnuts (I just toasted them in a small non stick pan for a few minutes)
a mixture of salad things - I used watercress, little gem lettuce, cucumber, red pepper and mini tomatoes
A few olives (halve them, if you like - I did)

Place the prepped salad veg in a bowl.  Cut the potatoes to bite sized chunks and add to the bowl.  crumble over the feta.  Add some of the dressing and mix well.  Sprinkle over the toasted nuts and the olives and enjoy!

Truly delicious with loads of different flavours and textures and the toasted walnuts were the finishing touch.
 Just the ticket when the sun is shining!

Thursday, 3-05-18


Second day frittata is very nice, I have discovered.  Usually I freeze leftover slices.
Pancake cannelloni is also delicious.
All in all, it was a good food day yesterday.

Even better, a couple of friends came round for coffee and they brought me some strawberries and some bananas.  So delicious.  So I changed dessert to strawberries and yogurt and very nice it was too.  Oh, it is lovely to be back on the f&v properly again.

Today's plans
B:  porridge with fruit and yogurt
L:  feta and jersey royal salad
D:  steak, SW chips, salad; fruit yogurt
Ss:  fruit x 2

From the freezer
Just the steak

The frugal factor:
I would say is it a medium-high day today.  The steak is more that I've had frozen for ages and, well, I just couldn't resist the Jersey royals.  They are in the shop for such a short time and they are lovely.  Sometimes it is OK to spend a bit more.
The lunch is just a made up thing but I bet someone else made it up first!  :-)

I have to make sure I'm eating enough on the days I go swimming.  On Tuesday I was extremely hungry by the evening.  I reckon I need another 200 calories, more or less; does that sound about right?

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Recipe: pancake cannelloni

Really simple, providing you have the required ingredients.

a portion of savoury mince/bolognaise type thing
two small pancakes
(mince and pancakes made a while a go and frozen in single portions)
30g finely grated cheddar

Preheat the oven to 180C fan.
Brush a small, rectangular, ovenproof dish with oil
Spread half the mince mixture over each pancake and roll them up.  Lift them carefully into the dish, tucking down the ends.
Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top.
Bake until the mince is bubbling and the cheese has browned.
Serve hot.

Very delicious.

Wednesday, 02-05-18


The frittata was lovely yesterday so I've posted separately about it.  I was happy that, with all the veg, it made enough for two so guess what I'm having today!

Which leads nicely on to today's plans.
B:  muesli with fruit and yogurt
L:  frittata and salad
D:  pancake canelloni (or it might be a two pancake stack!), coleslaw, salad; fruit yogurt
Ss:  piece of fruit x 2

From the freezer
The frittata would have gone INTO the freezer if I wasn't having it today.
Both the pancakes and the mince are from the freezer too. 
I'm also opening an old can of peaches for my breakfast fruit for the next several days so that's using up store cupboard stuff too..

The frugal factor:
The tin of peaches cost 33p (I wrote it on the tin) so that will hardly break the bank.
The frittata is leftovers (got to love leftovers)
The pancake thingy is a bit of an invention.  It may work, it may not but I think it will!  The mince is the turkey mince and the pancakes are home made.
Coleslaw is actually a great way to frugalise.  You don't need a lot of cabbage for one portion and I like to add carrot and a titchy bit of dried fruit, plus a little mayo, but it really doesn't amount to much, tastes great and goes well with loads of stuff.

I got some couscous yesterday.  I will google for ideas of how to use it but if anyone has a favourite recipe, please do share it.  Thanks.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Recipe: a simple frittata

Very tasty, very filling and very simple.
You do need a pan that you can put in the oven to make this as I did but, if not, you can use a small quiche dish or similar.

Ingredients to make two portions (I expected it to make one but it was plenty for two)
about 1 tsp veg oil
one small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
a third of a red pepper, diced
two mushrooms, peeled if necessary and sliced
some cooked potato, sliced
two large eggs
a splash of milk
a squidge of garlic puree
30g strong cheddar, finely grated
1/4 tsp mustard powder
chives, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 180C fan.

In the oven proof pan but on the hob, add the oil and soften the onion.  Add the red pepper and soften that, then add the mushroom and potato and gently heat, spreading it evenly across the pan.
In a bowl, add the egg, milk, garlic, pepper, mustard and chives and whisk well.  Then add 20g of the grated cheese and mix it in.
Pour the egg mixture over the veg in the pan and give it a little shake to spread evenly.  Sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
Pop it in the oven to cook through and brown.  It took me about 15 to 20 mins.
Slice into quarters and serve with a salad.

Apparently, the difference between a tortilla and a frittata is that the tortilla is cooked completely on the hob and is turned half way through while a frittata is finished off in the oven.  That's what Google said, anyway!


Good morning.

Dinner yesterday.  Not so beautifully displayed but it didn't half taste good and I have half of the coleslaw left for today!  I just added some chilli to the mince mixture and the white is a dollop of yogurt.
And I do love my lap tray!

Today's plans
B:  porridge with fruit and natural yogurt
L:  small frittata type thingy with coleslaw
D:  beans on toast; fruit yogurt
Ss:  apple and pear

From the freezer:
The fruit and also the bread for the toast.

The frugal factor
All of it really.  I shall use two eggs for the frittata plus a bit of potato that I cooked yesterday with the jacket potato, some onion, wonky pepper and mushroom, porridge is cheap, the fruit is garden produce and beans on toast are a great way to get a good meal and be frugal (and Beth, who is sharing it with me, loves beans on toast too)

If the frittata is nice enough, I will share what I did.  It won't be difficult at all.