Friday 31 August 2018

Friday, 31-08-18

Good morning.

Weigh in info - I lost 4lbs this week.  I'm not quite sure, the amount I've been eating but I won't argue with their scales.  I'm so pleased.

Today's food plans.
B:  oat pancakes with fruit and yogurt (because I didn't have them yesterday and they really need eating.  Info as Wednesday.

L:  cheese on toast with tomatoes on the side
The toast is what I have left from some sliced stuff I was gifted (but it's fine toasted).  The cheese is my healthy extra A and one slice of the bread is my healthy extra B.  If I have another slice, I will syn it.

D:  salmon, new potatoes, runner beans; fruit salad and yogurt
It's all free food which is great.  I will probably have a bit of white wine as the rest of my syns.  I've been good with syns this week so can spare a few.

I won't be posting for a few days but I will be back on Monday to catch up.

Thursday 30 August 2018

More about Slimming World

I was going to add this to today's food post but I accidentally (oh, OK, carelessly) posted it yesterday so this is a separate post.

I've mentioned the free food and the healthy extras.
The other part of the plan is those syns.
Now, the book they give you goes on about it being short for synergy, blah, blah, blah, but I can tell you that I am old enough to remember when they were called 'sins' and they were exactly that - bad food!
Then it became unpopular to think of food as good or bad, it was all about balance so SW cunningly changed the name to syns and said it was short for synergy - yeah, sure.  And that's one reason why I dislike the name really.

The book says that synergy is when things work together to produce a result that is greater than the sum of the individual parts so syns work with free food and healthy extras to make the SW system 'the most effective plan ever!' (their words)

Anyway - what are Syns?  They are all the other foods and drinks in the world that aren't free foods or healthy extras.
All these have Syn points and I am expected to have between five and fifteen syns each day.  So when I want a bit of extra cheese on a dish, I can have it and syn it.  The lower fat Cathedral cheddar that I quite like is 4 syns for 25g, for example, and (opening the book at random) a cod steak in breadcrumbs is 8 1/2 syns.
So theoretically, you could have anything in the world and syn it.  As long as it is (for me) between 5 and 15 syns, it's OK.  If you're heavier, you have more syns and if you are male you have more too. 

So there you go.  That's syns (shudder) for you!

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Thursday, 30-08-18

Good morning!

Yesterday the pancakes turned out very tasty although the mix was runny.  I think it was because the yogurt I used was very runny (not sure why, it doesn't usually turn out like that) and it could be that I used too much.  The recipe said a Mullerlight so I looked that up and used the equivalent amount which was, I think, a mistake.  Perhaps zizzing the oats would help too.  Despite these issues, the results were really delicious and very filling, the mix made 8 pancakes for two people but three was enough for me.
So no recipe yet; I have to modify it.  Here's the photo though (you can see the runny yogurt).

Today's food plans:
B:  oat pancakes, fruit and natural yogurt
As yesterday.
Nice and frugal!

L:  I will probably make some more tomato soup as I have a friend round and it is really very tasty.  I'll use a can of chopped tomatoes and some garden tomatoes and if there's any left, I will freeze it for another time.  It's a very frugal recipe, under 20p per serving, assuming it makes more than two portions and I think it will.
The soup is SW free, the milk I add will be part of my healthy extra A and the croutons will be 4 syns.

D:  pepsi max chicken and runner beans
The other half of what I made last week - SW free.

Weigh in tonight - gulp!

Wednesday, 29-08-18

Good morning.

Breakfast yesterday was so, so good - I haven't had a cooked breakfast for many a long day.  It was tasty and filling and scrummy.  I decided not to do egg and I'm glad.  There was plenty without egg.

Today's plans
B:  oat pancakes with fruit and natural yogurt
You make the pancakes a bit like overnight oats, soak the oats in yogurt overnight, then next day add the other stuff.. The recipe is on the excellent (apart from the huge advert overload) Pinch of Nom site.
I shall use my own natural yogurt rather than an expensive fruit yogurt so it's pretty frugal.
SW info: free with oats as part of healthy extra B

L:  Tuna dip with vegetable batons, apple
I mix the tuna with cottage cheese and extra light mayo plus some seasonings.  I have a feeling it will make way too much for me but if it does, no problem, that is tomorrow or Friday's lunch sorted.
SW all free (apart from the mayo which will be two syns) and plenty of speed food.

D:  garlic mushroom risotto, side salad.
A new one so I will let you know.  It is supposed to be syn free as long as one uses a healthy extra A for the pecorino - or, in my case, cheaper not-parmesan!

More about Slimming World - healthy extras
These can be confusing so I'll try to explain.

Healthy extras that things that SW think really must be included in your healthy daily diet so they make them compulsory.  It's just about all the measuring/weighing you have to do (apart from syns).
There are two kinds, healthy extra A and healthy extra B

Healthy extra A
These are mainly dairy foods that help you to 'maintain a healthy intake of calcium, they include various milks including cows', goats', lactose free or almond.  You're given a specific amount for each type so you can have 175mls of whole milk or a litre of unsweetened calcium-enriched plain almond drink.
It also includes cheese and again, you are given different amounts depending on what cheese it is.
Finally, it includes measured dairy products such as Dairylea cheese wedges or Babybels.
You are expected to have one portion of healthy extra A every day and in reality you can split the portions so, for example, half a portion of milk and half a portion of grated cheese (which is what I have done sometimes this week) makes one healthy extra A
Any more and it has to be synned.  I'm having extra cheese tonight so will be working out its syn value.

Healthy extra B
These are 'foods that are a good source of fibre or contain other nutrients for a healthy balanced diet.  There's a very comprehensive list of items that include some cereals, some breads, crispbreads, bars, dried fruit, canned fruit and cooked fruit, soups, nuts and seeds.  If it ain't on the list it is not a healthy extra B and must be synned (still hate that name).
You are expected to have one healthy extra B each day and, again, they could be split.  If you have more, it must be synned.

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Recipe: home made pork sausage

I found this recipe here - scroll down to the bottom for the recipe.

Of course, I adapted. 
There was 500g of pork mince in the pack so that's what I used.
I seasoned with some garlic, mixed dried herbs, mustard powder, salt and pepper
I zizzed the mixture up in Thermione (my thermomix) to break down the mince.

It made ten sausages, one of which I had for breakfast and it was delicious.  Very meaty, quite solid and really good.  A bit dry, perhaps, but I had brown sauce with it and that helped.  No greasy after taste which I dislike so much and it tasted as good as it smelled.
The rest are in the freezer, still wrapped in their cling film coating.

When I've finished them, I need to experiment with flavours.
Pork and apple, leek and cheese, spicy chilli, sage and onion, pork and pineapple sounds weird but might be very tasty . . .
Or different minces - I wonder if I could spice up turkey mince or mix beef and pork mince.

Next time, I will certainly add some minced onion.

SW info - free!

The mince (under 5% fat minced pork) was £2.25 from Sainsbury's, the additions were minimal, so each sausage cost under 23p which is really great value.

Recipe: macaroni cheese bake

I found this recipe here:

Here's the YouTube clip.

I'll reproduce what I did as I changed the proportions a bit out of necessity. It uses a healthy extra A and 2 syns (for the extra cheese).

Ingredients to make a huge portion for one (made two for me)
70g macaroni
light spray oil
a small onion, finely chopped
a squidge of garlic puree
1/4 red pepper in brine (from a jar - I reckon fresh would be OK too), finely chopped
1/4 courgette, grated
100mls vegetable stock
1tbsp tomato puree
50g low fat cottage cheese
1/4 tsp dried mustard
1 egg, lightly beaten
60g grated cheddar which is 20g  (1/2 healthy extra A) plus 40g (4 syns)

Preheat oven to 180 C (fan), gas 6

Cook the macaroni, then drain well and set aside in a bowl

Meanwhile, spray a frying pan, add the onion, pepper and courgette and good gently until soft, adding the garlic towards the end.  Then add to the macaroni.

In a jug, put the stock, tomato puree, cottage cheese, mustard and egg.  Whisk until smooth (I used my stick blender).  Tip into the bowl with the other ingredients, add 3/4 of the grated cheese and mix really well.  Season to taste and mix again.

Transfer to an appropriate oven proof dish that has been sprayed with oil.  Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake for 15 to 20 mins until set and golden on top.

Serve with speed veg.

Tuesday, 28-08-18

Good morning.

This very simple almost ad hoc tomato soup I made yesterday was so delicious, made better by the toasted croutons.  So simple to make - I just cut a slice of bread into cubes, turned the oven on to the temperature I would use to heat plates, put the cubes of bread on a parchment covered baking sheet and left them in until all try and crunchy.  No oil.  Some seasoning would be nice and I will use some next time.
And I have a bit of soup left so that will do as a snack tomorrow - it's not enough for a meal.
SW: 4 syns for the croutons

The cheese thing was surprisingly good.  I really enjoyed it but one portion (as in the photo) was way, way too much so I guess I will find out if it freezes well.   It certainly wasn't a sauce, it sort of set but it was cheesy enough and the texture was fine; I think it should be a 'bake' - macaroni cheese bake.  Next time I will add veg - broccoli or cauliflower, for example.
SW:  3/4 of  healthy extra A, 4 syns for extra cheese

When I was in Sainsburys, I saw some very lean pork mince so I got some to make some home made sausages.  500g made ten sausages, nine for the freezer and one for my breakfast.  Free on SW, of course  ;-).  I'll post about them IF it's good enough.  I tried a little bit (cooked) to check seasonings and it was tasty but we will see.
If it works, there are endless flavour possibilities!
SW:  free

Today's plans:
B:  I'm having a 'cooked breakfast' today:  scrambled egg, bacon medallions, that sausage, tomatoes and mushrooms plus a slice of toast (which was going to be for lunch but as it is a healthy extra, I must have it.
Not really frugal but actually not terribly expensive either and bound to be extremely filling.
SW:  mostly free with some speed food and a healthy extra B

L:  I was going to have boiled eggs and toasty soldiers until I remembered that I'm out with grandson for a 'nice, healthy walk', aka a stroll around Hylands gardens.  That being so, I will load up with fruit and Alex can have a snack from the little shop.  I might be lavish and get a coffee for myself.
So that's 'free' on SW.

D:  cheesy jacket potato and salad, side salad
I have some quite small 'old' potatoes that will bake without any trouble and even with cheese and a salad, it's another frugal meal.
SW:  Mostly free food while the cheese is my healthy extra A today - 40g of reduced fat cheddar is quite sufficient for a nice cheesy flavour.  I've counted three tbsp of very light mayo as syns as I dearly love it mashed with cheesy potato as well as on salads.

Ss:  Apple, tomatoes, strawberries

SW info:  speed food
More or less quoting from the book they gave me, speed foods are those free foods that are very low in calories.  So basically most fruit and veg are a Very Good Thing - as if we didn't already know.
You are recommended to have at least a third of the plate with speed foods at most meals.  So my breakfast with the tomatoes and the  mushroom is fine, as is dinner with the salad.  Lunch is a bit snatched but that's life.

Just sound sense really - this eating plan is certainly good on getting your f&v.

Monday 27 August 2018

Monday, 27-08-18

Good morning!

Yesterday's eating was tasty and filling.  I could get used to this except that I feel I am eating so much, I have this uneasy feeling that I really can't be losing weight.  I guess Thursday's weigh in will show the truth of that one.

I made enough balti for two portions so that's now in the freezer for another time.  I'm glad - it was delicious.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli with milk, natural yogurt and fruit
The muesli is still the free stuff, gifted from my parents.  The fruit is leftover from what I got for the fruit salad last Friday.  The yogurt is home made although it came out really runny when I made it yesterday which is odd.  Ah well, can't waste it and pouring yogurt is a thing anyway..
SW:  the yogurt is free, the fruit is 'speed', the milk is part of my healthy extra A and the muesli is my healthy extra B

L:  tomato soup with toasted croutons
I had some chopped tomato left over yesterday so I shall make tomato soup and add a few garden grown tomatoes for extra flavour.
SW:  the soup is free (and inexpensive too), the toast will be four syns.

D:  macaroni cheese with broccoli and runner beans
This is a macaroni cheese with extra veg.  The sauce is one I haven't made before - I have to whisk together stock, tomato puree, cottage cheese, egg and mustard together plus extra cheese that I am using, pour it over the macaroni/veg mixture and bake it.  I'm not convinced, it sounds more like a savoury custard really; I'll let you know!
Most pasta/vegetarian dishes are great value and this is no exception.
SW:  all free apart from the cheese which is partly healthy extra A and partly syn.

Ss:  fruit and tomatoes

Assuming the dinner works out OK, it should be another delicious and frugal day

A bit about SW 'free' foods - just skip this if you're not interested.
Free foods are not, as it sounds at first reading, free from calories (I wish), they are foods that you can eat freely without 'counting' them.  There's no need to weigh them (unless necessary for a recipe, of course).
They include most fruit, all vegetables including potatoes, fish including oily fish, lean meat and poultry, vegetable proteins, some dairy, eggs, rice, pasta and grains, beans, peas and lentils plus most seasonings, herbs and spices, tea, coffee, etc, (milk from allowance) . . .
It's very wide ranging and, for me, the danger is that I thought is would be easy to over-eat, but in reality it is very filling and the expectation is that at least a third of the meal is 'speed' free foods, basically most veg and fruit.

Not having the weigh and measure certainly makes life easier.  So when I say something is 'free' that's what I mean now.  It's gastronomic, not economic!

Sunday 26 August 2018

Sunday, 26-08-18

Good morning.
The bbq sauce was OK, not the best I've ever made but the best with no real sugar or honey added!  The turkey burgers were significantly improved by a dollop of it and I'm glad I have more of it in the freezer.
Actually the burgers weren't terrible and they certainly weren't dry!  Because of the courgettes, they were somewhat damp inside which was rather strange but next time I will use grated carrot rather than courgette.  That might be better.

The cheesy chips were lovely though.  I shall have to make sure I can 'afford' it again soon.

In a couple of comments people said they'd appreciate info about how the food fits into the SW system so I will do so - please say if it's boring though.  I know what I can be like when I get going!

Today's food.
B:  overnight oats with fruit and natural yogurt
The last portion of the three I made on Thursday.  I do love overnight oats! 
Quite frugal as the fruit is leftover fruit salad from Friday night and I have four yellow raspberries from the garden - so delicious.
The fruit is SW 'free' as is the yogurt while the milk and the oats are healthy extras.

L:  a couple of bacon medallions and some 'fried' tomato on 1/2 slice toast
I had planned frittata but right now I don't fancy it so I've changed my planning.  I fried some tomatoes in spray oil yesterday for dinner but the salmon, chips and runners were more than enough and I was totally full up!  I didn't even have room for an apple later on in the evening.  I'd planned to use cheese on the frittatas as my other half of the healthy extra so maybe I could sprinkle it over the tomatoes on toast as one is supposed to have the healthy extras - the As are for calcium and the Bs are for fibre.
The wholemeal toast will be 'synned' (I'll explain about them and about healthy extras another time).

D:  chicken balti and runner beans
The runner beans are slowing up considerably now and I won't be able to rely on them for much longer.  Very sad as it hasn't been a great crop this year so I've not been able to freeze much for the winter.
I shall load up the curry with plenty of veg including some baby corn and courgette from the allotment.  Delicious stuff.
The dinner will be all 'free' food (another SW term)

Ss:  We have apples from the allotment.  At last they are ready and they show that by coming off easily in your hand.  Not so the pears yet but give them time.  I also have plenty of tomatoes.

In fact I need to process the tomatoes today - winter passata, here we come!

Saturday 25 August 2018

Recipe: almost syn free spicy bbq sauce

I found the base recipe on the Slimming World site.  I rebelled against using the 3 tbsp sweetener it demanded (six if you double it as I did because the passata was a 500g pack) and it had a certain blandness that sent me to the cupboard and fridge for extra ingredients.  The result is really rather tasty although a good dollop of honey and/or brown sugar would have been better. 
Can't have it all, can we?

Also I gave both stages need a lot longer than it says but maybe that's just me.

Here's the original; recipe: 

On the turkey burgers with a salad and some light salad cream.  Total 3 1/2 syns (a bit of flour for the burgers and the salad cream

Ingredients to make quite a lot.
spray oil (I use rapeseed)
2 onions, very finely chopped
1 tsp mild chilli powder (or to taste)
a good squidge of garlic puree
500g passata
1 tbsp sweetener (I use stevia)
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp Marigold stock powder
salt and pepper to taste

(It looks a long list but it's all cupboard ingredients)

Put the chopped onions into a pan and spray well with Light cooking oil.  Mix.  Heat, cover and allow to simmer, then steam for ages until the onions are well soft.  Add the garlic and the chilli powder, turn the heat up and fry for a few minutes, stirring so it doesn't stick.

Then add all the other ingredients, mix well, bring to a boil and allow to simmer gently, uncovered, until it's reduced a bit and feel a bit 'gloopy' - how thick to make it is up to you really.  Taste now and again and adjust as required.

You could have it like that with the onion still in bits but I cooled it and zizzed it with my stick blender.  It was really nice.

SW info:
Apart from the ketchup, the ingredients for the sauce are all 'free'.  The ketchup is one syn but seeing as it makes ten portions of around 100mls, quite enough for me, I am going to ignore that.
I expect it will freeze well, I see no reason why it shouldn't.

Saturday, 25-08-18

Good morning.
First day of SW went OK.  It was nothing all that different really except that having so carefully planned I didn't want the effort to be wasted by eating (or drinking) anything out of line.  I couldn't manage all the frittata at lunch time but I was glad of it when I get home from swimming, very glad indeed.

B: overnight oats
As yesterday, ever frugal and flavoursome and there's a bit of the fresh fruit salad left over from yesterday to have with it.
I am cheating a bit with the yogurt - it is supposed to be 0% fat and it isn't because the long life milk I have in the cupboard is not skimmed.  I'm not wasting it so will have to continue being cheaty until it's used up.  Given that I have so little milk anyway, I bet it makes little or no difference.

L:  turkey burgers with bbq sauce, side salad
Both these are new ones on me.  The burgers use grated courgette and the sauce uses passata and spicy stuff.  I will post the recipes if they work.  Turkey mince is pretty good value and can be very lean so the 'danger' is that these burgers will be dry, hence the sauce to go with it.  We will see!

D:  baked salmon, runner beans, fried tomatoes (using spray oil), SW cheesy chips
I've had this before, of course.  Nothing startling about it apart from the cheese on the chips.  I have some 'healthy extra B' (the calcium part of it all) to use so it's a sort of legitimate treat.  I have discovered that Cathedral reduced fat cheddar is quite acceptable, not the taste and texture abomination the other kinds are. 
The salmon is not frugal - I'm calling it my Saturday evening treat.  A lot better than a takeaway anyway.

Ss:  fruit, tomatoes, might have a carrot to crunch too - I quite fancy a carrot, thinking about it.

I'm loading up the freezer a bit again.  I have grated the cheese - grated cheese freezes quite well and will break into 'grates' easily once frozen so doesn't stick in a limp.  The burger recipe that said it makes four burgers actually made seven using my burger press so they'd better be nice!  I bought some happy chicken breasts which have been wrapped separately and frozen - that will go fairly quickly, looking at my plans for the week.  Finally, the bbq sauce I make will be too much for one meal so the rest will be portioned out and frozen too.

On reflection, the £2 ceiling for the day's eating had better be glass, not brick, because I can see that there will be times when I crash through it.  Like today!  I suppose that even if it becomes £3 a day, that's still only £21 a week and under £100 for the whole month. 
Oh, well, it'd better work, that's all I can say!

Friday 24 August 2018

Friday, 24-08-18

Good morning!
Today's news is that I have bitten the bullet and joined Slimming World.  I'm not sure how that will marry happily with frugality but I will do my darndest so fingers crossed.
I'm not about to start going on about Healthy Extras, Syns (how I dislike that term) and so on in these daily posts - I reckon if you're doing SW, you will be able to identify them and if not it won't mean anything anyway but I will in recipe posts, where relevant.  You Have Been Warned.

To the plans today are:
B:  overnight oats with fruit and natural yogurt
I have another three portions (well, two now) in the fridge so that's breakfast sorted for the next few days.  Some of the fruit is five yellow raspberries that were ripe on my canes this morning and three blueberries ditto and they are so, so delicious.

L:  frittata and salad
Fridge rubble being used here and the salad is still garden produce or freebie stuff from last weekend at my parents'.

D:  tuna pitta pizza and more salad.  I do love salad!  Then fruit salad.
Nothing particularly frugal here but nothing terribly costly either.  Grandson is staying over and asked for pizza, garlic bread and salad, then fruit salad.  I will have my own sort of pizza, no garlic bread and just a bit of fruit salad.  That will work fine.

Thursday 23 August 2018

Thursday, 23-8-18

Good morning!.
I always feel rich on the 23rd of each month because that's when my teacher's pension lands in my account.  Not to be touched before the start of the new month, of course, but it's there and waiting.  I then spend some time estimating how much I need for the rest of this month and moving any leftover into savings.  Sometimes it is only a bit but it all mounts up over time.
Works for me!

I was given six beautiful cooking apples yesterday so need to decide what to do with them.  I will prep, blanch and freeze most of them, I suspect, but I love stewed cinnamon apple folded into natural yogurt so that can be a weekend treat and I might try the SW crumble topping which sounds an abomination with low fat spread, oats and artificial sweetener but I'm prepared to give it a go.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli, fruit and natural yogurt
After a spell on overnight oats, I rather fancied a change today so it is back to the freebie muesli.  I will cut up an allotment apple to have on it and sprinkle the yogurt with a little bit of stevia.  Yum!

L:  not sure as grandson and I are going to Hylands Park for a few hours.  Maybe I will take a couple of apples and treat myself to a coffee whilst there.  Al will have something from the cafe.

D:  pepsi max chicken, runner beans
While digging in the freezer for something, I found a portion of not-kind-chicken.  I thought I'd used it all up but obviously not.  I'm not wasting it though and as I've heard good things about this recipe, I thought I would give it a go.  The ingredients list looks a bit daunting but I have everything in so it's just a question of finding it all!  I'll let you know.

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Wednesday, 22-08-18

Good morning!
Beth and I came back from the allotment yesterday with another bagful of goodies so I really MUST get freezing them today or they will go off before I can eat them all.

Today's plans
B:  overnight oats with fruit and natural yogurt.
I must make some more yogurt today - I'm running out.

L:  no idea as I'm going round a friend's
The ultimate frugal.  I shall take a courgette and some tomatoes with me as a thank you.

D:  fish and chips, runner beans. fried (in spray oil) tomatoes
The fish is oven bake, the chips are slimming world chips and the runners and tomatoes are from the garden.  The free lunch makes up for the fish so it should balance out pretty frugally all round.

Ss:  fruit, tomatoes
Even the fruit is home grown today - apples and a plum plus two raspberries!

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Tuesday, 21-08-18

Good morning.
I really enjoyed my nosh yesterday.  Somehow, curry is tastier after a freezing and thawing; the flavour develops, I guess.  As always, the fish finger pitta was perfect, especially after a good swim.  And the three autumn raspberries were sweet and juicy and I can't wait for the next batch (but will have to!)

Today's plans
B:  overnight oats with the last of the pears and some natural yogurt
Frugal, filling, tasty, good for me.  What more could I want?

L:  beans on toast
The bread is some that Beth gave me because it was out of date.  The beans are Morrisons own and I will have about a third of the can - more than enough for a lunch.  The rest can go into the freezer in two portions.  I don't put spread on the bread but I might add a bit of finely grated low fat cheddar (because I can).

D:  Jack Monroe's carrot, cumin and kidney bean burger, salad, potato salad
I really fancy these burgers.  They are flavoursome and healthy, easy to make and freeze well.  Perfect.  Here's the link to the recipe.
 I have a lot of potatoes at the moment (from the allotment) so potato salad is perfect.  I'll also add some chopped chives from the garden.  And the salad will be more or less free, a mixture of gift and growth - lettuce, red pepper, cucumber, tomatoes!

Ss:  fruit, tomatoes

I've been thinking quite carefully about my next steps.  I feel it's all a bit aimless right now and has been since the gallbladder problems were sorted out.  I seem to have lost that drive and determination and need a change of focus.  I haven't quite decided so I won't say any more until I have.

Watch this space, as they say.

Monday 20 August 2018

Monday, 20-08-18

Good morning.
Back on the wagon today with plenty of home grown veg to help me along which is nice.  Yesterday's spicy tomato sauce was indeed spicy but very delicious.  I shall do it again but maybe use a little less chilli.  I've nearly used up the home grown ones I froze a couple of years ago so maybe, next year, I should get another plant.

Today's plans:
B:  overnight oats, fruit and natural yogurt
The fruit includes three autumn raspberries, the first of the season and I'll have some pear halves that seem to have survived my few days away quite nicely!

L:  fish finger salad pitta with a side salad
I came home loaded with lettuce, cucumber and red pepper from Mum and Dad and have thousands of tomatoes (OK, maybe a little fewer) so this will be a remarkably frugal (and healthy) lunch.

D:  chicken curry, runner beans and rice
The curry and rice are from the freezer while the runners are, as always, from the garden.  A tasty and healthy dinner (I hope)

Ss:  apple and tomatoes

I'm really reaping the benefits of the hard work in garden and allotment earlier this year.  Every meal today includes something and I must start freezing some as there's more than I can use fresh.

Sunday 19 August 2018

Sunday, 19-08-18

Good afternoon!

A bit late but here's today's 'plans'

B:  overnight oats with natural yogurt and blueberries
The last of a three portion batch so I must get some more ready.  It's a very refreshing breakfast being well chilled.  And frugal.

L:  nuts and apple
A split meal.  The nuts I had at my parents and the apple was from the allotment and I picked it on the way home.  Really delicious and the others will soon be ready.

D:  chicken and pasta in a spicy tomato sauce
I should have had this on Wednesday but didn't for very good reasons so bunged it in the freezer.  Packed with veg, some from garden and allotment, I'm looking forward to it very much indeed.

Ss:  fruit x 2

Back to normal tomorrow.  And now I must deal with the vegetables I have just picked.  That'll keep me out of trouble for an hour or so.

Thursday 16 August 2018

Thursday, 16-08-18

Just to let you know I won't be posting for a few days but should be back on Sunday.

Take care and be good!!!

Wednesday 15 August 2018


Good morning!
Yesterday's food mostly went well.  I had a few baked beans and a bit of mash left over so I whisked the mash into the eggs for the frittata and rinsed the beans and added them to the veg and it all worked well.  A bit of mash is nice in a frittata, I have discovered!
The only slightly not good thing was that I totally forgot to have breakfast.  I had something scheduled for 8:30 so decided to have breakfast after that but it just went out of my mind.  I couldn't have been all that peckish, could I?

Today's food
B:  what I should have had yesterday - overnight oats, pear and yogurt
Healthy and frugal!

L:  home made tomato soup and a bit of left over frittata
I have loads of tomatoes from the garden now so using some of them to make a delicious soup sounds not only frugal but also absolutely delicious.  The frittata is left over from yesterday and ought to be eaten.

D:  chicken pasta in a spicy tomato sauce, runner beans
It's a tomato-ey day today, isn't it?  This uses tinned chopped tomatoes, the chillies are from the freezer, grown a while ago, loadsa veg (courgette and baby corn) from the allotment and the chicken is already cooked and frozen in stock so the stock will go in the sauce.  The runners are garden grown.

We went to the allotment yesterday and came back with a stack of veg and a bit of fruit, Beth and I) which we divvied up.  Delicious!

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Tuesday, 14-08-18

Good morning!

Yesterday's courgette fritters were most successful, even though really they were more like courgette pancakes really.  I've posted the recipe separately and will so that one again, with proper sweet chilli sauce next time!
(Bad me, having to throw away nearly a whole bottle.  It shows how much I don't use it)

Today's plans
B:  as yesterday, overnight oats, tinned pear and yogurt
Half a pear is quite enough to flavour the oats, especially with a bit of the juice.  With seven halves in the tin, it makes breakfast pretty good value.

L:  Alex is over for his bangers and mash today.  No way I want bangers and mash in the middle of the day so I shall have beans on toast, the toast being YS granary, frozen after purchase.

D:  Beth is over so we will have vegetable frittata and runner beans.  Luvverly!

Ss:  fruit v 2

I have another confession to make.  I bought some Tesco peanut butter, tried it yesterday and it was extremely nasty.  So I chucked it.  Again, bad me, but I wasn't to know, having not tried that kind before.  Morrisons savers peanut butter is much nicer and cheaper too, but I wanted smooth and they don't do smooth in the Savers range.
I think that maybe it is one of those times where getting a more expensive brand is making better use of my money.
You live and learn.

Monday 13 August 2018

Recipe: courgette fritters

I got this from the BBC site, here.

I halved the amount and made a few additions so here we go.

Ingredients to serve 1 for a good lunch
25g plain flour
1 egg
25 mls milk
pinch salt
black pepper
1 tsp nutritional yeast
half a courgette, grated

spray oil

The recipe said sweet chilli dipping sauce but when I dug mine out it was older than even I cared to try so in the bin it went, sadly, and the shopping list has an addition.
So I knocked together quite a nice spicy sauce with . . .
equal amounts of ketchup, brown sauce and tomato puree
bit of salt and pepper
bit of garlic puree and chilli puree
bit of lemon juice
bit of honey
splash of Lea and Perrins

Beat together the flour, egg and link into a batter.  Add the rest of the fritter ingredients and mix well

Heat a pan, add the oil and fry the fritters in spoonfuls, turning half way.  Keep warm while you do the next batch.  It made nine small fritters.

Mix the dip ingredients together.

And that's it.  It was jolly nice and there's more sauce left over for another time.
And I forgot to take a photo, sorry.

Monday, 13-08-18

Good morning.

Here's today's frugal food plans
B:  Overnight oats with fruit and natural yogurt
Frugal as always, I'm not sure what fruit to use but it will be either frozen or canned.

L:  courgette fritters with sweet chilli dipping sauce.
I'll post the recipe separately if it's nice.  It's not an expensive dish as the courgette is allotment grown!

D:  tuna pasta bake
I had planned to have this on Saturday but it didn't happen so I shall have it tonight instead.

Ss:  fruit x 2

So it's quite a frugal day without any flavour sacrifices today which is good.

Sunday 12 August 2018

Sunday, 12-08-18

Good morning!

Today's plans are
B:  oat galettes and fried tomatoes
The tomatoes are home grown and to fry them I first of all remove the skins by pouring over boiling water and leaving them for about 20 seconds after which the skins just slip off.  I spray a pan, add the tomatoes, spray the tomatoes and let them sizzle.  It works well for minimal fat.

L:  fish finger salad pitta
As described in an earlier post.  Scrummy!  Pitta and fish fingers are from the freezer.

D:  Keralan chicken curry
This is a curry kit that I've had for ages and which really does need using.  I shall add extra veg and the chicken and some of the veg will be from the freezer as well as from garden/allotment (runners and courgettes)

Ss:  fruit x 2

I was round a friend's house  and she had two thirds of a better quality sliced loaf that she was going to chuck because it was past date.  The bread looked and felt perfectly fresh but I couldn't persuade her to keep it so I brought it home and popped it in the freezer and it will do me for toasties, etc.

Saturday 11 August 2018

Saturday, 11-08-18

Good morning!
Yesterday's lunch turned out to be tomato soup because we did get to Hyde Hall.  Real tomato soup, proper 'home made', not cream of out of a tim.  It was delicious!

Today's plans:
B:  porridge with fruit and yogurt. 
It's chilly this morning and I really fancy some hot porridge.  Very frugal, of course, as well as being healthy.

L:  No idea as I'm round at Beth's.

D:  tuna pasta bake, side salad.
I shall use tinned tuna and probably make enough for two so I can freeze one portion for another time.  I have veggie bits and bobs to use up including some from the freezer, plus courgette and so on, so it will be a veg rich pasta bake.  Nice and healthy.

Ss:  fruit x 2 
They had some nice nectarines in Morrisons the other day, not too expensive and they are just starting to ripen and go juicy.  I do love nectarines.

So nothing lavish today but it should be tasty.

Friday 10 August 2018

Friday, 10-08-18

Good morning!

Well, yesterday ended up a bit of a washout as it rained all day.  No complaints, it was gorgeously cool, my grass was greening up almost as I watched and I didn't need to water the allotment.  All good things.

Another good thing is that I made a frittata for lunch as we didn't get to Hyde Hall so that used up some courgette and some tomatoes (in the side salad).  See the new banner photo.

And here's dinner.  Using runner beans certainly makes for a colourful meal.

Today's plans
B:  oat galette with natural yogurt and prunes.
Well - I had plums yesterday!  I suddenly really fancied prunes, I was doing a small essential shop yesterday and Morrisons had three bags of ready to eats for £3.00 which seemed very good value.  They certainly won't be wasted as I can use them for snacks too.

L:  It might be Hyde Hall, in which case it will be soup but if we don't go, Alex has asked for bangers and mash so I'll probably open a tin of beans and have beans on toast as I really don't fancy a big meal midday.

D:  A treat.  Steak with runner beans, roasted tomatoes and SW chips.

Ss:  2 pieces of fruit

Must plan next week's meals today!

A nice, non-food frugal thing.  I take part in the YouGov surveys for which I get points.  When they total 5,000 points (which takes quite a while) I exchange them for £50 the latest of which will be landing in my bank account soon when it will be shifted sideways into savings for holiday spending in October.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Thursday, 09-08-18

Good morning.
Yesterday's food was tasty!  I found a leek and potato soup in the freezer but I do seem to have more or less worked through my stock of soup so I can tick off part of my freezer challenge at last.  Mind you, I'm getting to the point where I can't eat all my tomatoes each day so that means making more soup and passata for the winter months - lovely.

Today's healthy food plans
B:  Oat galettes with plums (out of the freezer) and natural yogurt
The plums were a gift last year.  I halved and de-stoned them and then open-froze them.  There's not a lot left but they ought to be used at some point soon.  I will use Stevia to sweeten them, if needed.
The yogurt is home made and the galettes are more of what I made yesterday.
So both healthy and frugal.

L:  ?
Ah - well, Alex and I are off to Hyde Hall today (weather permitting) so we will be having lunch in the cafe there.  I will try and make it as healthy as possible but it won't be frugal!

D:  chickpea curry with runner beans
It's the other half of the peach and chickpea curry I made last week and the runners are from the garden.  Should be delicious and, to make up for lunch, very frugal.

S:  apples x 2

Another tasty day today although I have courgettes and potatoes stockpiling as well as runner beans and tomatoes so I need to plan them in sometimes soon - like tomorrow.  Must look up courgette fritters!

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Recipe - oat galettes

I make these quite small and get eight or nice out of this amount.  You can make them whatever size you want though.

1 egg
1.5 tbsp yogurt (I used natural but if you're making sweetened ones, you could use a fruit yogurt)
1.5 tbsp oatbran (not porridge oats), heaped tbsps, not flat
pinch salt and bit of pepper OR some sweetener

spray oil - I used the buttery flavour type for these.

Thermione is too big for this quantity which is quite a small amount so I used my stick blender and the container that came with it.

Crack the egg into the bowl and give it a good zizz until is it light and foamy.
Then add the yogurt and the bran plus any seasonings and zizz again.

Heat up a non stick pan and spray in a bit of oil.  Add in spoonfuls to make the size you want - the mixture will be quite thick.  Cook it on one side, then carefully flip it over and cook on the other side.  Then add more - stir the container each time as the bran sinks to the bottom.

Eat straight away or cool, wrap and freeze.  They keep, wrapped, in the fridge for about five days.

I really enjoyed breakfast today - three galettes and some fried tomatoes.

Edited to say I forgot to give accreditation.  It is a Dukan diet recipe, not one I made up.  It's all over the internet though so I don't think I've broken any rules describing it here.

Wednesday, 08-08-18

Good morning.

Those tomatoes yesterday were simply delicious!  Unfortunately, they weren't very sustaining and I would usually have them with either some protein (bacon or a poached egg) or with carbs (toast, crumpet).
I'm trying to have something oaty for breakfast each day and am gradually increasing the number of things I can make or have.  At the moment there is:
overnight oats
baked oats (although I rarely have this)

Today I want to make some oat galettes.  I'll make them neutral in flavour for sweet or savoury and they should be filling as they include oatbran, egg and natural yogurt.  I'll post the recipe separately.
Must research other oat based breakfasts.  Any ideas, please?

Today's eating plans:
B:  oat galette with fried tomatoes
Tomatoes are from the garden - they are ripening fast now.  I picked them yesterday early morning and by 11:30 there were five more to pick.  No complaints!

L:  soup from the freezer - I still have some to use up from way back.
It may seem a bit odd to have soup when it has been so hot but it's there, made and needs using up and it is cooler today.

D:  pitta pizza, side salad
I have chorizo, pepper, onion and mushroom to put on the pizza so I think it will be very satisfying as well as frugal.  The pitta is from a pack of YS ones, wrapped and frozen several weeks ago now and the cheese was also bought a while ago on offer, finely grated and frozen.  I know grating cheese is no big deal but it is nice to get it all done at the same time and have it ready for when needed - a sort of time frugality!
I'm trying not to go shopping apart from the absolute essentials (such as milk) so gravel food is the way to go and pizza certainly does use up some bits and bobs. 
The salad will consist of lettuce, cucumber and tomato, the latter two being garden grown.

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Tuesday, 07-08-18

Good morning!

Today is the day!  There's one every year.  It's the day I go out, pick my tomatoes and fry them for breakfast for the first time that year.
I have enough tomatoes so today is fried tomato day!

Here's the day's plans:
B:  guess what - fried tomatoes.  Not oats! 
Maybe, another day, I will make oat pancakes to have with my fried tomatoes but, just for today, it's purely tomatoes and a bit of olive oil.

L:  hummus, carrot batons, simple salad
The hummus was very YS so great value as well as being absolutely delicious and the salad will be cos lettuce (bought), tomatoes (garden) and cucumber (dad's garden - thanks, Dad).

D:  salmon, new potatoes, runner beans
Even the salmon wasn't too dear - Morrisons seems to be plugging it rather right now.  The other is fresh grown.

S:  fruit x 2.  In about a month it will be apples from our little allotment trees, I hope.

A wonderful time of year when the hard work comes to fruition (literally) and each plate is a flavour explosion of freshness.  Lovely!

Monday 6 August 2018

Monday, 06-08-18

Good morning.

Today's plans:
B:  muesli, natural yogurt
The muesli is still a gift.  I have 30g at a time and that means that a bag lasts and lasts.  The muesli is bought for the simple reason that I have been away and forgot to take my yogurt with me so needed to buy some, darn it!  Ah, well, it won't be wasted and I suppose the base for the next batch of home made can be 'refreshed'.
Back to overnight oats tomorrow,

L:  Some kind of omelette and tomatoes
Nothing fancy, just plain old omelette - egg and something, might just be herbs from the garden.  I could make it sound really posh.  Omelette aux fines herbes.  How's that for a scratch lunch that will also be satisfyingly frugal - two eggs and a bit of oil and seasoning!

D:  chicken with runner beans and new potatoes
I have cooked chicken in the freezer, I am pretty sure.  The runners will be picked from the garden and the potatoes dug from the allotment.  There might be enough ripe tomatoes to roast some as well.  That would be nice.  Not an exciting dinner but the flavours will be great!  Also pretty frugal because of the home grown veg not coming into their own.

While away. I made lasagne for my hosts and I.  I haven't had lasagne for ages, years probably, so I rather enjoyed it.  It's a simple enough recipe but takes quite a while to make so I never really do it just for one.  It's not the healthiest dish on the planet either but just occasionally, like last night, it is most enjoyable.

Friday 3 August 2018

What are overnight oats?

I just got asked this and here's what I do.  There are other methods but this is mine.

I use ordinary oats, the kind you use to make porridge.

I weigh out 100g and put them in a jar.
Then I add some milk and some yogurt and mix it in.  It can be just milk, just yogurt, it can be fruit juice instead.  I happen to like milk and yogurt.  I'm afraid I don't weigh the liquid out but you need enough to cover the oats really.

Then I pop on the lid and into the fridge it goes to sit overnight.

And that's it!

Come the morning I spoon out about a third of the now lovely, creamy, soft oats and I add something to sweeten (stevia, fruit, honey . . .) and more yogurt.
Oh, it's lovely!

It keeps in the fridge for about five days, maybe longer but it never needs to last longer than that in my house.

If you Google 'overnight oats recipe' there are loads of ideas out there.   Here's a link to the ever-fantastic BBC Good Food site.

Friday, 03-08-18

Good morning.
After the gourmet delights of the fish finger pitta, things are back to normal today.

B:  overnight oats with natural yogurt and honey
The last of this current batch of soaked oats and I fancied a bit of proper sweetener with it!  The honey in the cupboard is so old it has crystallised and I know that when I pop it in the microwave, the container will distort.  I will decant it into a glass jar and maybe get honey in glass jars from now on.  That kind tends to cost more but I use so little that it hardly matters.  Reducing plastic is perhaps more important.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could take your own jar and get the shop to fill it for you.  Morrisons has started

L:  just a salad, I think, with whatever I can scramble together.  A fridge rubble salad!

D:  salmon with peas and new potatoes
Not that cheap (the salmon on its own is over £2) but as I*'m not paying, it's the most frugal meal of the day.  The potatoes will be from the allotment.

One other frugally fing, not food related, is that I got round to sorting out my loose change jar this week and was able to make a deposit of £30 in the bank.  Not bad for something that I hardly miss and which stops my purse getting too heavy.

I probably won't be posting tomorrow or Sunday but I'll be back Monday.

Thursday 2 August 2018

Recipe (!): Fish finger salad pitta

Oh, this was so good.  So simple but so good.

What you need:
1 pitta bread
four fish fingers
three leaves of cos lettuce (or equivalent in salad leaves)
tomato, sliced (one to four depending on size)

Pop the fish fingers in the oven to bake as per the instructions.
While they are cooking, cut right round the pitta and open out.  Spread a little mayo over the inside of both pieces.
Lay the leaves along one side.
When the fish fingers are cooked, lay them on top of the lettuce/leaves, add the sliced tomato and top with the other pitta half (season if you want - I didn;t as fish fingers and mayo are already seasoned).
Eat straight away!

Thursday, 02-08-18

Good morning.

B:  overnight oats (again) with some blueberries and natural yogurt
Always healthy, frugal and delicious

L:  fish finger and salad pitta
I know it sounds weird but this is what I will do.  Split a pitta in half and smear a little mayo on the inside.  Then place on some fish fingers (oven baked, no added oil), some lettuce and some tomatoes.  Pop on the top and enjoy!  Easy.
The fish fingers were on special at Morrisons (only one box left so I was lucky), the pitta is YS, bought and frozen a few weeks ago and the tomatoes are from the garden.  Oh, and the mayo is home made.  All very healthy too, apart from the mayo!

D:  frittata with a side salad and some new potatoes
I shall use allotment mange tout and courgettes for the frittata plus a wonky onion and a bit of red pepper and chorizo (maybe) and there's enough garden tomatoes to have some in the side salad.  Two eggs and 30g grated cheddar should be enough as I won't make a big frittata. The potatoes will be allotment grown too.

I'm looking forward to today's meals.  They should be tasty.

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Wednesday, 01-08-18

Good morning.

A bit of general frugality first.
As yesterday was the last day of the month, I spent some time going over the month's finances and found I was able to move a sum sideways, despite a heavier-than-usual spending month.  That was good because I do need to save for my next holiday (spending money, that is).

There's a good deal of satisfaction at living within my means as well as thankfulness and appreciation.  I do enjoy making the most of what I have and that includes my meals.  Being frugal in that way means that I can afford and enjoy enjoy the occasional meal out without feeling too extravagant but it also means that when a friend does a charity thing, I can support, when someone needs a helping hand, I can help and each time I pop a bit away it is a bit more investment in my future or for my inheritance.  I'm old enough to think of these things now (as opposed to 'ought to be' thinking of them).

Also last month, some lending was paid back so I was able to drop it into my ISA for longer term investment.

So this month of August I intend to spend very little on non-essentials apart from a few visits out and the occasional lunch with grandson Alex who is home from university.

Today's food plans:

B:  overnight oats with yogurt and peach slices and I think there will be a few blueberries from the garden too
I'm hooked on OO at the moment.  It's a great start to the day and keeps me going until lunchtime and oats are such great value as well as being so good for one!

L:  one of those 'occasional' times when Alex and I are out together so it will be something from the M&S cafe, I think.

D:  fish and chips, side salad
I had this sudden 'need' (ha ha!) to buy some fish in batter and some fish fingers yesterday when in Morrisons.  I looked at the labels carefully and the calories really aren't too bad as long as I oven bake the fish (which I will).  They're not outrageously expensive either which surprised me a bit.  I suppose Morrisons is quite good as far as prices go.  I quite fancy a fish finger butty for lunch at some point in the near future.
The chips will be home made to the SW recipe and I will have enough garden grown tomatoes for the salad so good news all round!
I might even be lavish and make some more mayo - I love a bit of mayo to dunk my chips in!

S:  I have apples and nectarines and will have a max of two pieces.

So that's today sorted out!