Saturday 30 June 2018

Saturday. 30-06-18

Good morning.

I'm not paying for today's food,  so choice is not my responsibility except to prepare and this is what I'm having.

B:  30g muesli with leftover fruit salad and some natural yogurt - the gorgeously thick yogurt I made by mistake and which I ought to make more often as it is lovely!  Either that or strain it for longer so it makes a soft cheese.
L:  probably a salad
D:  roast chicken, roasties, probably fresh picked broad beans from Dad's garden; rhubarb and strawberry crumble.
Ss:  apples

The most expensive thing is the chicken.  It's free range and not huge but it should provide five or six portions plus the stock after boiling the carcass so it's not as bad as it could have been!
The crumble is all home made with fruit from garden/allotment.
If I make a stuffing, I will use a savers packet stuffing and mix it with meat from one sausage for extra flavour.  I'll see what's on the pantry shelf!

The nicest thing is that it might all look like hard work but it's more or less prep it, bung it in and leave it.  Just right for a hot day.

Friday 29 June 2018

Friday, 29-06-18

Good morning.
A bit of a blip yesterday evening but it could have been loads worse so I'm not fussing (much).

Today's plans
B:  overnight oats with blueberries
L:  not sure yet - something from the freezer
D:  salmon, new potatoes, salad; fruit salad and yogurt

 From the freezer
Lunch, whatever it is, and the salmon

The frugal factor
Oats are great for frugality as well as filling power and blueberries aren't shockingly expensive at the moment.
Dinner is someone else's responsibility.  I'm just cooking it.  The height of frugality

Ooops!  I made yogurt yesterday, set it to drain and thicken a bit and forgot about it until later.  Now I have the most delicious, thickened, creamy yogurt but less of it than I expected.  No problems, I shall enjoy it very much and set the timer next time.

A photo of the frittata I made last Sunday (I forgot I'd taken one).

Thursday 28 June 2018

Recipe: mixed fruit and banana iced dessert

This was posted in 'Slimming on a Shoestring', a companion group to 'Pound a Day' which inspired this blog in the first place.  It's not an original idea; I think I have mentioned it before, but it is truly delicious and so easy.  Myt thanks to the original poster for reminding me - if you read this blog, you know who you are.

What you need.
Some frozen fruit - what you fancy but one MUST be banana.  I used cherries, plums, strawberries, mango and banana, all of which I have in bags in the freezer.  The banana was some manky YS ones that I peeled, sliced and immediately froze.
Something to sweeten - I used a tiny amount of stevia but it was hardly needed really.  You could use sugar, honey, maple syrup - anything like that.

You also need a good zizzer, more than a hand held stick which isn't really strong enough

Put the frozen fruit in the blender and zizz until it goes 'creamy' (that's the banana working).  It takes longer than you expect but you can see when it gets to that point very easily.  Taste and sweeten if necessary and zizz any sweetener in.

Spoon into a freezer-proof container and freeze.  It sets rock hard so take out about half an hour before you want to scoop!

This worked really well so I made some more with mango, pineapple and banana and scooped it into some ice lolly moulds (with some difficulty because it's still semi-frozen and had to be pushed down) before freezing it.  Lo and behold, healthy, fruit packed ice lollies with no added rubbish!

If you use a value bag of frozen mixed fruit it's more frugal, of course, and I can't pretend the ice lollies are cheaper than the cheap ones you can get, but they're so much better for you.
Also, if you don't have banana, you can use yogurt to 'cream it up'.  Or cream, of course, but that defeats the purpose.  Maybe a good way to use up leftover cream, if there is such a thing.  :-)

(photo coming later if I ever remember!)

Thursday, 28-06-18

Good morning.

Another good day yesterday, only spoilt by munching some walnuts in the evening.  It could have been a lot worse so no complaints.

The west country gratin was absolutely delicious.  Maybe chilling it for a day developed the flavours, I don't know, but that, with almost the last of last year's runner beans, was a dinner to die for.  Well, nearly, anyway!  Another one for the 'make quite often' list!

I've rather taken to the nutritional yeast (shame about the uninspiring name); it really does add a certain something to the flavour.  Not exactly 'cheese' but something close. 

Today's plans:
B:  overnight toffee oats with natural yogurt and blueberries (just eaten and it was delicious - overnight oats is porridge without the messy saucepan really)
L:  Alex is home from uni and coming for lunch.  I will do fish and chips for him which will deal with the 'bad' buy from earlier in the week and I will have mini frittatas with salad.  Al doesn't like eggs so no problems!
D:  foil baked chicken, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, salad leaves; frozen fruit dessert
S:  apples x 2
E:  aqua

From the freezer:
The fish and chips that Al is having for lunch and the chicken and dessert (will post separately about this) for dinner.

The frugal factor
For once, breakfast is not so frugal because I used half a mullerlight toffee yogurt to make the oats, plus bought blueberries.  Ever so tasty though.
The frittatas will use up some 'fridge rubble' before the weekend plus eggs that really do need using soon.
The salads will be very simple.  Some leaves from a pot of living lettuce (great value), cucumber, tomato and some wonky pepper.
Even the fish and chips is sort of frugal because I'm using what I have in but not eating it myself because the items are higher calorie and not great for me.  Fine for a hungry young man though.

Feeling more optimistic again now.  Maybe things are on the move again.  Maybe . . .

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Wednesday, 27-06-18

Good morning.

Maybe yesterday's little strop (stamping round, slamming things about and being lucky not to break anything) did some good, who knows.  I've lost my way a bit since there's now no unpleasant physical reminders that I've overdone it, I think, and I need to deal with this.

Back to the drawing board, I think, and certainly no weighing until Friday as it was getting obsessive and counter productive.
Fortunately, yesterday was fine, no cravings, no over-eating, a huge relief.  One day at a time . . .

Today's plans
B:  overnight oats with strawberries, yogurt and sweetener
L:  tuna salad
D:  the west country gratin I made yesterday and posted about separately; rhubarb and yogurt
S:  apples x 2
E:  early morning swimming

From the freezer

The frugal factor
Oat based breakfasts tend to be great value.
Mary Berry said that the gratin is designed to be a low cost recipe and I can see how one could cut the cost more.  It's a useful addition to my repertoire.

After reading up about it, I bought a pot of nutritional yeast.  It's supposed to be good for you and some say it can replace the cheese flavour in some dishes.  I don't know about that but it is not unpleasant, a bit of a flavour enhancer, giving a savoury depth to the things I have used it on so far.  I sprinkled it on my baked beans last night and, while it didn't look great, it did something to the overall flavour.
Does anyone have info or ideas for recipes they use this in?

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Recipe: Mary Berry's West Country gratin

I was very angry at myself for letting things slip so much yesterday and stomped into the kitchen where I found the potato and carrot I had started to prepare for yesterday's dinner (and popped in the fridge, fortunately, as it had been so hot).  I thought 'I'm not wasting those' and set to to make the recipe anyway to chill and have tomorrow evening.  I can't have it this evening as I have a vegetarian eating with me and it's not vegetarian.

Anyway, I banged around. still in a right temper and what came out was really delicious so I'm sharing the link and what I changed - and I'm calming down now!

Here's the link.

I reduced the quantities down because I wanted a portion for one.

I missed out the butter because I was using some chorizo I have to use up as well as some bacon bits so I dry fried the chorizo until the oil came out and then added the leeks and bacon.

Instead of using flour to thicken, I added the apple juice, heated to simmering, then used thickening granules (which is basically potato flour) and added the milk last.

I added a bit of marigold bouillon powder.

That's as far as I got.  It's now cooling and I will cover and chill before reheating in the microwave, spraying with oil and grilling as per the last sentence in the recipe.

It's very, very tasty!  Good old Mary.

Tuesday, 26-06-18

Good morning!

I'll start by owning up that yesterday was a disaster from start to finish.  The healthy eating and the frugality flew right out of the window and I MUST get it all back again.   I can't undo all the good work over the last eight months or so.  Oh, dear.

The best that can be said was that the craving for fish and chips ended in buying some 'good' frozen chips and some frozen plaice because I couldn't face the heat in the chip shop.  That means it was more frugal and I have some left for another nice meal (and it was very nice) another time.

Now I have to stick to it today.  I will try to stay out of the kitchen.
B:  muesli with yogurt
L:  the last of the frittata with salad
D:  something really simple like beans on toast; watermelon

WIsh me luck!

Monday 25 June 2018

Monday, 25-06-18

Morning.  :-)

In the end, yesterday, instead of making mini frittatas, I made a big one.  Beth and I had some each and Beth had a bit more and there are two slices left.  That sorts lunch out today and tomorrow without any more effort than it takes to make a salad.  Suits me!
It had lots of yellow (wonky) pepper, some courgette from last year's allotment, the remains of a jar of sundried tomatoes and roasted pepper (just a bit in each jar), a mushroom and some chickpeas and the egg had some soft cheese zizzed in as well as grated cheddar, seasonings, chives and thyme.  It was ever so tasty and gave five good portions!

Today's food plans
B:  toast with peanut butter - I know, I know, but I've already had it so, for the sake of honesty, here it is, recorded!  It was supposed to be muesli!
L:  frittata and salad
D:  I might try a Mary Berry recipe called West Country Gratin which she says is frugal (her idea of frugal anyway) - I will need to buy a leek and a small carton of apple juice but I have all the other ingredients in which is good.  Watch this space.
S:  apples x 2

From the freezer:
Bread for the toast
bacon bits

The frugal factor
Home made toast (the bread, I mean!) and savers peanut butter
Lunch is mostly leftovers
The gratin uses bits and bobs mostly - I might use up a bit of chorizo as well as the bacon bits and will search the freezer to see if I have any frozen leek - I don't think I do but you never know!

I need to do another freezer audit.  Just one part at a time, I think, because of the heat.  I just don't know exactly what I have in there any more.  Wish me luck!

Later edit:  I was pleased to get apple juice in the savers range, three cartons for 40p so that was good.  Sadly, I had to buy a pack of leeks so I guess that means I will soon have leeks in the freezer!

Sunday 24 June 2018

Sunday, 24-06-18

Good morning.

Today's frugal food plans:
B:  30g museli,  splash of milk and natural yogurt
L:  mini frittatas (with chickpeas, peppers and mushrooms), salad, coleslaw
D:  bean curry; watermelon slices
S:  apples x 2
E:  swimming am, allotment pm

From the freezer
Just the chickpeas and the cheese for the frittatas today but by eating another portion of bean curry I won't need to freeze it.

The frugal factor:
The muesli is a gift and the yogurt is home made.
The coleslaw is also home made.
It's a vegetarian day today which tends to be much more frugal than a meat day.  The pulses were all cooked at home from dried, which is cheaper although more time consuming than opening a tin.
The watermelons are now up to £2 but still great value and give me eight good portions.

I've posted the bean curry recipe separately as it ended up different to the Jack Monroe recipe I had intended to use.  It is very tasty and very frugal, making three good portions (could have stretched to four but I was hungry) of healthy deliciousness.

Recipe: bean curry

I was going to follow Jack Monroe's peach and chickpea curry recipe but, as usual, totally changed it.

This is what I used.
cooked pinto beans (the bag was at the top of the freezer and the chickpeas were further down!)
onion, peeled and chopped
yellow pepper (I bought a bag of yellow wonkies yesterday so have loads to use)
courgette (last year's produce, frozen)
handful of lentils (just because)
savers mandarin pieces (I thought I had a tin of peaches but I didn't)
marigold vegetarian stock powder (marigold)
a can of chopped tomatoes

garlic puree
shredded ginger
chilli puree
curry powder
coconut milk powder
salt and pepper

I softened the veg in oil, then added the seasonings (garlic, ginger, chilli, curry powder, salt and pepper) and cooked them out.
Then the chopped tomatoes and half a can of water plus the marigold stock powder.
Once it was simmering, I added the beans, the lentils and the coconut milk powder, stirred well, covered and simmered until the lentils were cooked.

Just before serving, I brought it back to the boil and added the mandarin bits.
It was very tasty and I shall have some more tonight and there's some for the freezer as well.

(To avoid any waste, the juice I drained off the mandarins will be use in my overnight oats!)

Saturday 23 June 2018

Saturday, 23-06-18

Good morning.
The sun is shining and there's a gentle breeze moving the branches.  It's very lovely!
Yesterday's meals were also very lovely.  I posted about lunch and I cooked the fish for dinner by simply spraying the smoked basa with a little oil and adding some lemon juice before wrapping and baking.  So tasty!

Today's meal plans:
B:  strawberry overnight oats
L:  chicken tikka, salad
D:  peach and chickpeas curry - a Jack Monroe recipe:
      then maybe home made banana ice cream as I have a bag of frozen banana that ought to be used up or watermelon slices
S:  apples x 2
E:  allotment

From the freezer
Maybe fruit for breakfast, if the fresh strawberries don't play
Chicken for the tikka
Chickpeas for the curry

The frugal factor:
The muesli cost me nothing and I might have a few strawberries left,I haven't looked yet.
Jack says the curry costs 22p.  It may be more now but it is undoubtedly good value.  I may or may not cook some rice to go with it but rice isn't going to up the cost much.
The chicken for the tikka is the most expensive but I still have a bit of not-kind chicken to use up so I will use that, given that it has to be used or chucked and I'm not doing the latter.  I'm using some tinned tikka mix that I found at the back of a cupboard.  It still smells fine so should be OK.
The bananas were from a bag of over-ripe bananas on YS, bought a while ago that I peeled and froze.  I shall zizz them with some lemon juice, a bit of natural yogurt and, if needed, some sweetener (but I doubt that last will be required).

Friday 22 June 2018

This was gorgeous

 . . . so good that I can't wait until tomorrow morning to talk about it.

I used the last beanburger that I made here . . .
. . . and I MUST make some more, just because mmmmmmmmm

The salad is just leaves, cucumber and tomato (and they're improving in flavour now the season is almost here), the coleslaw is cabbage, carrot, a few dried cranberries and a bit of lighter than light mayo and the chutney is an apple and cranberry chutney I made years ago which just keeps improving in flavour the older it gets.

The burger is out of shape because it is soft and when I put it on the plate, it bent to the shape.  :-)

Lovely lunch and filling too.

Recipe: strawberry overnight oats

This is lovely at the moment as I'm able to use the garden strawberries and the foam from the strawberry jam I made, but it can be adapted.

30g oats
60g milk
60g natural yogurt
1 tsp jam foam (or use jam itself)

Pop all these into a container the evening before, mix well, cover and pop in the fridge overnight.

fresh strawberries
another dollop of natural yogurt

The next morning, spoon out the thickened oats, add the fruit and yogurt and enjoy.

Once the strawberries are over, I shall use sweetener and other fruit, maybe frozen fruit or what's available and reasonably priced in the shop.
Grated apple and cinnamon might be nice!

Friday, 22-06-18

Good morning!

For a few months each year my two main pensions land in my account at roughly the same time which feels jolly nice, even though I know perfectly well that  it actually makes absolutely no difference whatsoever to the ongoing finances.  I've always organised it so that each month's money was paid in the month before, just like my end of month salary used to be, so when it is paid in doesn't matter as it's used the following month anyway.  :-)

Today's food plans
B:  strawberry overnight oats (this was so delicious yesterday morning that I'm having it again today)
L:  chickpea burger, coleslaw, salad
D:  foil baked fish (probably a bit of smoked basa I have in the freezer), SW chips, salad; the last lot of watermelon (might get some more, it was lovely)
S:  apples x 2
E:  hopefully, allotment work today.

From the freezer
I think there will be enough strawberries left in the garden but, if not, I have some frozen ones which I will use.
the chickpea burger
the piece of fish

The frugal factor
breakfast almost always is pretty frugal and this one is no exception
the chickpea burger is home made, as is the coleslaw
basa is an economical fish
So, all in all, pretty good value.

I continue to eat as much home made/cooked food as I possibly can, appreciating that now I am retired, I have the time and energy.  Most of my meals don't take long to make but they do require effort and after a day's hard work with an evening of marking, assessment and planning ahead of me, that used to be the last straw.
I know I have earned my retirement but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate its benefits - I definitely do; every single day I'm thankful for it.

Thursday 21 June 2018

Thursday, 21-06-18

Good morning.

The strawberry jam went well, it set with no trouble and now I not only have nine pots of deliciousness, I also have a container of 'foam' - the 'scum' that needs to be spooned off and which I refuse to throw away because it tastes so good and to discard it would be such a waste!  Foam goes so well with yogurt or in porridge or rice pudding, etc.

When I made the fruity couscous for the salmon meal yesterday, rather than make just one portion of couscous, I used up the rest of the bag (which was half of what the recipe required).  Even so, I got seven of my portions out of it, six of which are now in the freezer, which showed me how large the portions actually are if you follow the recipe (which is supposed to be for six). 
Not only is this a keeper as far as salmon is concerned, I think it will be nice with cooked chicken added or tuna or . . . well, lots of things really.

Today's plans
B:  overnight oats with strawberry foam and garden strawberries
L:  tuna pate with carrot and celery batons
D:  tuna pitta pizza, salad; watermelon
S:  apples x 2
E:  swimming and aqua

From the freezer
one pitta bread
20g finely grated cheddar

The frugal factor
Most of it really
The oats will be oats (obviously), milk, some home made yogurt, the foam that would otherwise be thrown out and a few garden strawberries  I will use 30g oats which is what I use when I make porridge.
The tuna was a special offer and I shall only use one tin for the whole day.
The pitta was YS and the cheese was on special

I'm working hard to get my portions under control after the holiday for both health and frugal reasons.  Tuesday was hard work, yesterday was a bit easier so fingers crossed for today!  I do wish I wasn't such an emotional eater at times.  How do you manage it?

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Wednesday, 20-06-18

Good morning.
Food went really well yesterday.  I did what Sooze suggested for lunch and had the child's jacket potato half, no butter, with tuna and mayo and it was a perfect portion.  Really delicious.  In the evening, I swapped the yogurt for some watermelon, delicious water melon and it was so refreshing after a hot, humid day.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli (30g), splash of milk, a few strawberries, natural yogurt (60mls)
L:  cheg (2 eggs, 20g grated cheese, bit of mayo), side salad
D:  salmon couscous parcel, salad; water melon
S:  apples x 2

From the freezer:
grated cheese for the cheg
piece of salmon

The frugal factor:
the muesli is gifted (thanks, Dad!)
the strawberries are garden picked (just the muesli berries, not the berries for the jam - see below)
the cheese was on special
eggs are great for both frugality and healthy eating
salmon isn't frugal but it IS nutritious and works with the healthy plan while the rest of the adapted menu is good value
I've not mentioned it before but the apples are from a big bag of smaller apples that came to around 12p per apple - so pretty good!

I came home from the PYO farm yesterday with some lovely strawberries and first thing today it is strawberry jam making.  It makes the house smell absolutely wonderful.  I was going to have an early morning swim but the jam comes first!

The garden strawberries are coming to an end so now I'm really looking forward to the tomato picking months.  I love picking my breakfast and half an hour later it's being eaten!  Quite apart from the deliciousness, it makes me feel so good.  Sun ripened and warmed tomatoes are wonderful.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Tuesday, 19-06-218

Good morning!
Well, I took a deep breath, exhaled again (no extras inside me for this) and stepped on the scales . . . and . . . spit, spit, spit!  Eight pounds on!  Hopefully, some of that will disappear pretty quickly and anyway, any other option is not acceptable so it's onward and downward as I jump back on the wagon!
(It was a lovely holiday so no real regrets)

Today's plans, interrupted by strawberry picking and lunch out with a friend - unfortunate timing but Real Life goes on.
B:  muesli, strawberries, natural yogurt and a splash of milk.
L:  no idea . . . I've looked at the lunch menu and none of it is frugal or particularly healthy but that's just tough.  Here's a link to it - what do you think?
D:  Beth and Alex are round for dinner so I shall get some savoury mince out of the freezer for me and Alex and some bean mix for Beth.  That. with new potatoes and runner beans, should make a good first course without too much hassle   If I do dessert, it will be strawberries and yogurt or maybe fresh fruit yogurt ice (zizzed frozen fruit with natural yogurt and a bit of sweetener).  It all depends how many strawberries I pick
S:  apple

From the freezer.
Several portions of savoury mince (Alex will manage two portions!) and one of bean mix.
Two bags runner beans
Perhaps some frozen fruit

The frugal factor
Taking the lunch out of the equation (and I will try to be good), it's not such a bad day.
The muesli is gifted and the yogurt home made while the strawberries are from the garden
The savoury mince and the bean mix are both leftovers from the last family meal I gave and are both bulked out with lentils, oats and veg, the potatoes really do need using up and the runner beans are from last year's crop.  The dessert will be more expensive but nice!

I shall be making strawberry jam with the berries tomorrow.  Naughty but lovely and makes great gifts.

Monday 18 June 2018

Monday, 18-06-18

Good morning!
Here we are, back again after my holiday.  Everything took a battering last week and I shall do three weeks back on the liver shrinking diet because my liver certainly needs a re-shrink!  No regrets, I've had a good time, but must lose the weight I gained and then press on again.  I really CAN'T go back now, not after coming all this way.
It's a bit of a complicated week but I will do what I can, when I can.

So here's the plan for today
B:  muesli (30g) with natural yogurt (about 40 mls)
L:  Mini frittatas (2 eggs and some onion and pepper filling plus 20g finely grated cheddar) with side salad
D:  chicken (leftovers from a roast - 100g), SW chips (not many!), side salad; strawberries and natural yogurt

From the freezer:
Just the chicken.  It is in stock so maybe I will make a soup with the stock tomorrow.

The frugal factor:
The muesli is free (gifted) and the yogurt is home made.
The frittatas are not specifically frugal but are not expensive.  Eggs are a great frugal food and the cheese was reduced.  I will grab a few veg from Mum and Dad before leaving after breakfast and have some leftover salad veg (yes, I did manage to have salad last week!!) to finish off.
The chicken is leftovers and I will have to hack at the potatoes to get some chips as they will be sprouting by now.
Beth tells me that there are still strawberries in the garden and she didn't pick yesterday so there should be some for dinner

However, I will need to go shopping either today or tomorrow as supplies of fresh stuff are minimal!

Monday 11 June 2018

Darn it!

I've left my power cable at home so won't be posting this week, sorry.  Back on Saturday.

Monday, 11-06-18

Good morning.

Holiday starts today at around midday - before, if you count the journey.  I have all my meals planned and prepared but I am totally sure that extras will creep in and, as I said in a reply to a comment, both frugality and healthy eating will maybe take a hammering this week.  Never mind - I intend to enjoy myself.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli. fruit and natural yogurt
L:  ham sandwich, fruit (eaten on the shore of the lake, I hope)
D:  salmon couscous parcel, side salad, fruit
S:  apples (maybe)

No freezer or frugal comments this week and I am just hoping the kitchen is reasonably equipped.  Fingers crossed.

Sunday 10 June 2018

Sunday, 10-06-18

Good morning.  Sorry about yesterday.  There just wasn't time early and, when I got to my parents', there was other stuff to do.

Today's plans
B:  muesli, strawberries (I brought some of my garden produce here for us to enjoy) and natural yogurt.
L:  no idea
D:  cottage pie with cheesy crumble topping, cabbage; fruit salad

Looking forward to my holiday tomorrow.  It's nice to know that I will feel well this time.  The plan is to swim in the morning and have walks around in the afternoon but you know what they say about plans so we will just have to wait and see.

Friday 8 June 2018

Bits and bobs salad

I'm trying to use up some bits and bobs and this is what I made.  It was jolly tasty.

some couscous, soaked in boiling water with some chicken stock powder added
ham, chopped into chunks
carrot, peeled and chopped into chunks
one radish, cut into eight
some cauliflower florets
some mini tomatoes, halved
a scattering of walnut pieces and dried cranberries
a slick of celery, sliced
the fag ends of the bottle of balsamic syrup.  Must get some more, it's very nice

Put everything in a bowl, mix well and devour!

Friday, 08-06-18

Good morning.

The chicken pitta pizza yesterday was really lovely.  Rarely will I bother with a proper pizza base any more.  I'm amazed at how good the half and half ketchup and tomato puree sauce tastes, especially with chopped fresh oregano sprinkled over and you can pile on whatever toppings you fancy - great for odds and ends at the end of the week and it finished off the last of the chicken very nicely indeed!  Sadly, I forgot to take a photo!  Sorry.

Today's plans:
B:  bacon and tomatoes
L:  ham salad of some sort
D:  cottage pie with cheesy couscous topping. runner beans; fruit and natural yogurt
S:  apple
E:  dashing around getting ready for going away and getting the house ready for my lovely house sitter friend.

From the freezer:
cooked mince, grated cheese

The frugal factor
Well, the chicken and the ham cost me together under £10.  They have formed the basis of fourteen meals (good portions too) so that's not so shabby really.  As a 'side product' I also have seven little pots of really good chicken stock in the freezer, ready for soup, gravy or whatever.
I'm finishing stuff off today so things like the salad will be quite random and I may be adding extra bits to the mince before making the cottage pie.

The weight has stayed the same this week (boo) and goodness knows what will happen over this coming week but never mind, I will be back on the wagon again when I get home.

Thursday 7 June 2018

Recipe: minty chicken and strawberry salad

Ingredients for one
25g couscous, made up, seasoned and cooled
about half a chicken breast, cooked and sliced into chunks
Some strawberries, halved, if necessary
a few pieces of walnuts
salad leaves
red pepper, chopped
celery, sliced
fresh mint, shredded plus a bit to garnish
balsamic syrup (or dressing but syrup goes so well with the chicken and strawberries)
bit of salt and pepper

Mix the mint and walnuts with the couscous.  Mix in a bit of the balsamic syrup
Arrange the salad leaves, red pepper and celery around the outside of a bowl or plate
Pile the couscous in the middle.
arrange the chicken and strawberries over the top and drizzle over more balsamic syrup.  Add a bit of better and sea salt and garnish with a bit of mint.
Eat and enjoy.

Thursday, 07-06-18

Good morning.

I've been very good and have worked out my eating plan for next week.  It is a little more relaxed than usual as befits a self catering holiday.

Breakfasts will all be muesli, fruit and yogurt.  Lunches will all be rolls with filling and some fruit.  Dinners will vary.
Monday:  salmon couscous parcel
Tuesday:  chicken in a cheesy sauce with pasta
Wednesday:  steak, SW chips
Thursday:  chicken curry
They will all have salad as a side, except for the curry and there may be a bit of alcohol involved too.  Well, it IS a holiday!

Once I worked that out, I got all the necessary ingredients ready for Monday and Thursday's meals (herbs, etc) and popped them in little pots so they are now all ready and in two bags, one for each meal, all organised, and I have noted what fresh things I need and will get them on Monday.
So I think that's all sorted, more or less.

Now for today's food.
B:  muesli, fruit and natural yogurt
L: chicken and ham salad
D:  chicken pitta pizza
S:  apple

I've come back to edit because I initially said nothing from the freezer but that's not true, the pitta bread and the grated cheese are from the freezer.

The frugal factor:
All of it.  The leftovers are nearly all used up now and it's been great - I ought to do that again from time to time and look for new recipes to use.  A bit like Jamie Oliver, in fact!

Sooze - the couscous thing was good.  I used spray oil instead of drizzling oil over and it worked fine.  Thanks very much for the idea.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Wednesday, 06-06-18

Good morning.

After doing some allotment work, I broke both the diet and the budget by taking Beth down to the Hare for a meal and very nice it was too.  Back on track today though.

Today's plans:
B:  ham and scrambled egg
L:  chicken salad pitta
D:  Chicken couscous crumble (thanks, Sooze), runner beans; strawberries and natural yogurt
S:  apple

From the freezer:
runner beans

The frugal factor
Still working through the roast leftovers and the runner beans and strawberries are garden produce.

If the chicken crumble works, I'll let you know.   :-)

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Tuesday, 05-06-18

Good morning

The dinner yesterday wasn't an outstanding success and won't be repeated although the basic meaty, tomato mix was nice and there was some left over for today - so leftovers of leftovers!

Today's plans:
B:  porridge, berries and natural yogurt
L:  leftover stew (some ham and chicken in a tomato-ey, vegetable sauce)
D:  chicken and ham salad (and cheg salad for Beth, who is eating here)
S:  apple
E:  swimming and aqua

From the freezer:
Nothing because I'm using up leftovers

The frugal factor
Breakfast - even though there were only two berries to pick this morning, we need the sun back again - is cheap.
The rest is more or less leftovers.  The meat content certainly is.  So far it has provided six good portions and there's plenty more to come.  I think it has to be curry tomorrow!

Sooze - I haven't been able to find anything about the Hairy Bikers using couscous as a topping.  Please, could you point me in the right direction?  Many thanks.

Monday 4 June 2018

Monday, 04-06-18

Good morning!

After yesterday's roast dinner, I now have chicken and ham for my meals this week.  I have ideas but if you have any, please do share them!  I'm always happy to try new recipes.

Here's today's plans:
B:  the same - muesli, strawberries and natural yogurt
L:  chicken and ham salad, coleslaw
D:  chicken, ham and courgette layer bake, perhaps a side salad depending on how much the bake makes; garden strawberries and yogurt
S:  apple
E:  more allotment work

From the freezer.
The courgettes, last years that I sliced and froze.  They need using up as we are planting this year's ones in the allotment on Tuesday and they don't take long to get going!

The frugal factor:
Breakfast is very frugal indeed, only the yogurt costs me anything really.
Because most of the rest is leftovers, it's all very reasonable today and, in fact, all week.  I've already made four meals from the meat and there's plenty left.  No complaints!

The bake is a made up, far from original but I am not consulting any recipe books.  If it works, I'll let you know!  If not, I'll suffer in silence.  :-)

Sunday 3 June 2018

Recipe: all day breakfast pitta pizza

Really you can add anything suitable to this but because I used 'breakfast' stuff, that's what I have called it.

The photo is terrible but never mind.

What I used:
one small pitta (which were YS), cut in half 'butterfly' style so that it opens up
ketchup and tomato puree for the sauce
oregano (I used fresh from the garden)
finely sliced onion, softened in a bit of spray oil
sliced pepper (I used a bit of a roasted red pepper from a jar)
one mushroom, sliced
about an inch of a chorizo ring, skin off and sliced into thin pennies
two bacon medallions, any fat cut off, cut into strips
1 egg
some mozzarella 'pulls' (I used a Savers mozzarella and have more than half left for another day - can you freeze mozzarella, I wonder?)
black pepper

Pre heat oven to 180C

Place some cooking parchment on a baking tray - really important so it doesn't stick

Mix the ketchup, tomato puree and oregano together and spread thinly on the cut side of each pitta half.  Go right to the edges.
On one half, put half the softened onion, half the pepper, the chorizo pennies and the slices of bacon, leaving a bit of bacon for the other half.  Then add some shreds of mozzarella.
On the other half, put the rest of the onion and pepper, then place the mushroom slices all round the outside, topped with the rest of the bacon in places, and the mozzarella (to stop the egg white from leaking too much).  In the middle, crack the egg.
Over both, grind some black pepper and finish off with a few sprays of fry light type oil.
Pop in the oven and bake for around 20 mins until the egg is cooked and the cheese has melted.

Sprinkle some sea salt over the egg and serve straight away.

It made loads and I was stuffed afterwards.  Very, very tasty and I shall use the same method to make other pizzas too.  A great way to use up bits and bobs.

Later edit:  I made this again using leftover roast chicken to go with onion, red pepper, mushroom and sun dried tomato with grated cheddar over the top and it was absolutely lovely.

Sunday, 03-06-18

Good morning

Today is a bit different in that I have a friend over all day and Beth is coming round for lunch.  I decided to buy a chicken (free range) to roast and when I was in Morrisons, they had some nice hams so I bought a small one.  I will roast them both and have them with roasties and veg.  There will be loads left over so my meals for the week will be based around the leftovers, one way or another.  You get loads from a chicken, especially if you use the carcass too and having ham that way is loads more frugal than buying slices. 
Unless some of it gets chucked because it's too old, of course - which is one reason why I plan!

Today's food plans:
B:  muesli with garden strawberries (eight of them this morning) and natural yogurt
L:  dinner really - roast ham and chicken, roasties, sweetcorn and broccoli
D:  chicken and ham salad
S:  apple
E:  none today - a complete day off and I need it as I'm feeling very weary

Nothing from the freezer today

The frugal factor
Breakfast - very!
Lunch isn't cheap at first glance but I think that over the week (and maybe beyond) it will end up very good value

Saturday 2 June 2018

Recipe: steak with red wine sauce

OK, this is not a frugal recipe, not with steak.  However, the sauce was lovely and I reckon it would be good with meatballs or a burger without a bun too. 
Anyway, sometimes frugallers want a treat and this was a real treat!

Ingredients for one
the steak (or whatever)
oil, salt, pepper
some onion, finely chopped (could also use mushroom, pepper, etc)
bit of red wine (I got one of those mini bottles and drank the rest!)
bit of balsamic vinegar
about 1/4 stock cube (if you're making enough for one, more for more)
good pinch of mustard powder
a tsp redcurrant jelly (I bet you could use something like marmalade instead)
I also used a few thickening granules but that's not necessarily needed, it depends how runny you want it.

Cook the steak the usual way by heating up the pan, oiling and seasoning the steak on both sides and when the pan is really hot, cooking for four minutes on each side or until it is how you like it.  Pop the steak on a plate and keep it warm.

Reduce the heat under the pan.  There may be enough fat from the meat but if not, add a little more oil.  Fry the onion until it's soft and golden. stirring well so that all the meaty bits get mixed in.  Then add the wine, the balsamic vinegar, the stock cube and the mustard and stir well until it boils.  Then add the jelly and stir while it blends in.    Let it reduce down a bit and add the granules if you want it thicker.  Taste and season as needed.

Then you can either pop the steak back in the pan so the sauce covers it all over, or you can put the sauce in a jug and pour it over the steak at the table.
Either way it is lovely!

Now I am wondering if one could use red wine vinegar instead of the real deal.  I'll just have to try it and see, maybe with a burger or something.

Saturday, 02-06-18

Good morning.

Yesterday's plans all changed because of timings, etc.  I ended up not having the frittatas for lunch because I was allotmenteering over that time and also because the silicone muffin tins I had ordered hadn't arrived and, as it took me a good ten minutes or so of scrubbing to clean the metal tin after the last lot I made, I wasn't going to use them again.  They were delivered a few hours later.
So when I came back I had an apple and a banana instead which was perfect for the hot weather - and it was hot, desperately hot, down the allotment.  Mad dogs and Englishwomen!

The red wine sauce turned out really well so I will post about it separately.  A shame the whole thing, steak plus sauce, is neither frugal nor low calorie but I will just have to keep it for the occasional treat!  I wonder if I could use red wine vinegar instead of the proper stuff . . .

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with strawberries and yogurt
L:  mini frittatas with salad
D:  all-day breakfast pitta pizza; strawberries and yogurt
S:  apple
E:  allotment

From the freezer
pitta bread

The frugal factor
Breakfast suddenly becomes very frugal, even though it looks posh.  Suddenly, the strawberries have started ripening; I've just been out and picked five and there will be more ready this evening.  I've finished the muesli I made and am now on to the gifted muesli again.  It's not really the weather for porridge.
Frittatas are great value and you can pop in any old left over stuff you have.  I have a bit of ham, a manky mushroom, some olives and a bit of pepper plus about a quarter of an onion and I think I will crumble in a bit of savers 'feta' instead of cheddar.
The pitta pizza is an idea that I am adapting from a magazine  - I'll let you know but really it's just a bit of this, that and the other, very like the frittatas in that respect.

Morrisons had a bag of small sweet potatoes, each one being a perfect size for one person, so sweet potatoes will figure quite a lot in my plans for the coming week!  Better look up some recipes.  So will chicken and ham but I'll tell you about that tomorrow!

Friday 1 June 2018

Friday, 01-06-18

Morning!  Welcome to June.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli, natural yogurt and fruit (blueberries and strawberries)
L:  mini-frittatas, salad
D:  it was going to be a family meal out at the Hare but we've had to cancel that so I think I will dig out a bit more steak from the freezer and practise making a red wine sauce to go with it (*see below for reason).  With it I will have sweet potato fries and some salad.  I guess I won't have room for dessert.
S: apple
E:  allotment

From the freezer
Chicken thigh

The frugal factor
Forget it!!!   :-D
To be fair, I will still be pretty frugal with calories, just not with the pennies today but It would have been a lot more eating out.

Weigh day today and, thank goodness, it is two pounds off which is a relief.
I know things have been 'moving' because I've had to go down to the next size in jeans.  The one pair I can still wear is a bit loose but fine with a belt but the other pair is now in the Sally Army collection box and the very old pair now won't stay up so they're out the door too..  So pleased.
Also I tried on a pair of trousers the size below that and I could get them on and done up.  I wouldn't go out in them yet but, while the weight might not be shifting much, the inches certainly are.
It's been four pounds off this month which is a big slow down but it's still an average of a pound a week and I've recovered from an operation, had a change in medication known to cause fluid retention and started regular exercising so I guess that's not too shabby.
(me trying to convince and encourage myself)

*It's father's day in a couple of weeks.  My Dad is hard to buy gifts for as he has all he needs and gets anything he wants (which is hardly ever really) so I thought I would cook him a nice meal and he has asked for sirloin steak with a red wine sauce, some nice mash and vegetables.
Mum can't cook any more as she isn't well and he misses red meat but isn't confident with cooking more than the basics, which is fair enough.
So better look up some recipes as I've never made a red wine sauce before!