Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Menu Monday on Tuesday ... Again!!


I almost got my menu written down in time ... but at least it was done in time for the meals to be eaten.  It's not written in stone, so I can and do adapt it to how I feel or what I'm fancying the most.  But I am being good at using up the bits that need using up first and that is the main thing.  The main idea behind writing out the menu plan is to keep me on track and stop me from using things up in the wrong date order.

I would like to try to make this a totally No Spend Week if I can and this way I will be able to have a big restocking of the almost empty fruit and vegetables drawers in the fridge with my January leftover cash, which should stop me having to dip into February's money too early in the month.

Although I wanted to try the Mini Potato Pizzas that I showed on Saturday's post I knew I had to use up the last of the Mediterranean style veggies that I had cooked up last week first.  I had been dipping into them all through last week and they were starting to look a little sad, and no one wants sad veggies  πŸ˜„

The first meal with them was simply the veggies and some cous cous, which I had soaked in vegetable stock for added flavour.  A nice simple but very tasty meal.

I also had two lunches of quesadillas.

Again keeping things simple with just some of the vegetables with cheese and hummus.  These two lunches also made use of the last four wraps which were starting to get really brittle in the freezer, I'm determined to waste nothing.

The second one had a slice of Quorn Smokey Bacon torn into pieces added to it for even more flavour, it was very tasty.  I think a quesadilla is one of my favourite lunches at the moment, so quick to make, they make good use of leftovers from the bottom of the fridge and they are relatively healthy.

And then finally last week I had a pasta bake, using up one of the tubs of homemade pasta sauce from the freezer, a good handful of cheese and a few spoonfuls of the veggies.  All simply added to the pan of dry pasta with some additional water and cooked in the oven for around half an hour.

Pasta is always extra tasty cooked this way rather than cooking it separately first, as doing it this way it absorbs the tomato sauce instead of absorbing cooking water and you get a much richer tasting dish.

So as you can see on the menu in the first photo I had an action replay of this last night after taking another pot of sauce out of the freezer and thawing it slowly ready to go with the last of the vegetables.  

Sue xx

Monday, 24 January 2022

Birthday Happy


Making a birthday cake before you've even had your breakfast is a new one to me.  But as I got up at 5.30 am and the birthday boy was coming at about 11am it seemed prudent to set to and get it in the oven before starting on my coffee and toast.

This was the first time baking a cake in my new oven and I was slightly wary.  

I needn't have been as it turned out beautifully.  This oven does get to and hold a good temperature, and having the glass door panel is a breeze after using an Aga for so many years and not having a scooby doo what was happening behind the cast iron door.

I kept it simple a thin layer of jam and a smear of butter icing in the middle and then a thicker layer of icing on top and a recycled ribbon around the edge to add a bit of colour and we were good to go.  Now when I put the Happy Birthday candles into the cake in person this seemed like the right way round ... seeing it on the photo makes me realise that what my brother said was right.

It does read Birthday Happy!!

He didn't want us to light the candles as he didn't want to blow them out ... Covid and all that, not that he has it, he was just being super careful ... SO I can use them again and have the debate all over again about which way round to place the HAPPY and the BIRTHDAY  πŸ˜„

In my defence when you held the cake at eye level it DID read the right way round.

Sue xx

Sunday, 23 January 2022

Making Chickpea Tuna


There are lots of 'Chickpea Tuna' recipes if you use your search engine or read other blogs, some of them using seaweed to enhance a fishy taste and others using a variety of different ingredients.  For me I have settled on my favourites and now I tend to stick to this recipe every time I make it.

One tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

One small red onion (or white or Spring)

One and a half sticks of celery (there are 3 halves in this photo)

Garlic (1 clove, minced or garlic powder or flakes)

Whizz all those ingredients together as rough or as smooth as you like it, and then transfer to a bowl and stir in lemon juice, mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste.

Use whatever you need straight away and then transfer the rest into a container for the fridge.  It keeps well for up to a week, although to be honest once I have it there it never lasts that long.

I had my first portion on half a toasted sourdough baguette for my lunch with a couple of salady bits on the side.

Very tasty, and remarkably filling thanks to all the protein in the chickpeas.

I've had a couple of enquiries about my KitchenAid Food Processor recently so I thought I would just share this link to Amazon where you can read all about it.  Although I think I bought mine from Lakeland when they had them in stock.  I have to say it's the BEST food processor that I have ever had, a real game changer.  

Ken, the Kenwood mixer with the food processor attachment that I used for many years, now lives with Alan, who has more space both on his worktops and in his cupboards than me.  And I do have permission to borrow it back or just use it in situ if I ever need to.  He was the most perfect bread mixing mixer and might be needed if I get back to making my own bread, which might be a thing later this year as my money dwindles.  😁

Sue xx

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Mini Potato Pizzas


I find myself always on the look out for new recipes, especially budget ones that use some of my favourite simple foods, and those foods which I virtually always have in stock.

I came across this the other day and although I've thought of a way I can do it to suit me better*, it gave me the idea and that made it worth watching.  I may have watched a few more videos too, but what better thing to do than sit on the sofa drinking coffee and watching someone else cook on a freezing cold day.

There's so many food recipes and ideas online these days, there is really no excuse to stay stuck in a rut, unless you really, really want to.  πŸ˜€

*Simply make some mashed potato (or use leftover mash) add a spoonful of flour to it to improve the firmness and make it hold together a bit better, and then press out little circle shapes on a non-stick liner.

Sue xx

Friday, 21 January 2022

Running Wild in the Aisles ...


Well not exactly running wild in the aisles but shopping twice in one week seemed excessive to my now finely tuned mindset.  This time I went mad and spent a whole 66p ... and five pounds worth of my Nectar points.

The shopping trip was necessary because I had thought that I had enough sugar in the cupboard to be able to make caster sugar to make the cake and enough to also whizz up a bit more to make some icing sugar ... but I didn't.   But instead of buying sugar of any description I decided to buy some ready made buttercream icing.

  Before anyone jumps on my case about the cost comparisons I will just say that I am having a pretty bad week this week and standing to complete everything is just out of the question.  And there is actually very little that I use sugar for, if I need some for visitors I have the little sachets that I pick up from cafΓ©s when Alan has a drink but I rarely use it at home, so buying a kilo bag would have been a bit pointless.

I also had used the last slice of bread from the freezer the day before, at first I thought I would just do without, but that one slice of bread each morning before I take my tablet has become a real habit.  I took one slice out to have once I had made a cup of coffee and then loosened the rest and put the loaf straight into the freezer.  

So I now have 16 slices of bread and two crusts, enough for over two weeks breakfast toasts.  I don't like eating toasted crusts so I usually use them either for breadcrumbs, Poor Man's Parmesan or they get torn into chunky croutons and dried out in the oven.  Oh and I chose this particular loaf as it was until six months ago my favourite bread and it was on offer at £1.25, a similar price to the Ancient Grains loaf that I have been having instead of it from Aldi which is beautiful toasted.

My receipt for posterity, much clearer and easier to understand than the Booths one.

And the self-serve till spewed out a coupon for me, 100 extra points if I buy a vegan chocolate bar ... oh it knows me so well ... but I won't be using it and it has gone straight into the recycling bin to quash any temptation.

Sue xx

Thursday, 20 January 2022

The Last Mince Pie


Christmas is well and truly over ... I have just eaten the last mince pie!!

Until this year I have never really liked mince pies, but all the ones I have bought or had given to me this year have been delicious.  I wonder if it's because this years helpings were all vegan, but I can't see it making that much difference to be honest.  But anyway it seems that now I am a mince pie convert. πŸ˜€

 I do have a jar of mincemeat in the cupboard and a roll of pastry in the fridge so who knows I might make some for myself, or maybe they would be more special if I wait until this years Christmas season after all  the jar has a September date on it and it has brandy added so that would preserve it even more.  With my jar of Christmas Chutney in the cupboard as well it seems that I have the start of my Christmas shopping ... which might be very helpful if I've run out of housekeeping money by then.

There how many times did I just type the word Christmas in January!!

Lunch yesterday was the last portion of the homemade soup from last week.  The little garlic bread that I had with it was a huge disappointment.  It was a yellow sticker special offer from Booths sometime last year, a box with two in it and I'd already had one and really not enjoyed it, but by then I had already frozen this other one.  I had been debating throwing it away but in the mindset of waste nothing I thought it would be passible dunked in soup ... wrong!!

It was one of these.

I mean they look so tasty, it's a good example of try it once and then never again.

I finally got my 2021 roundup from my Sainsbury's shopping the other day and not to boast or anything  PP, Small Treasures, it would seem that I am the Number One buyer of Baby Bio Drip Feeders.  So I see your 4th place in the Tinned Pear league and raise you 1st in Baby Bios  😁

Oh and I was happy to see 398 portions of my fruit and veg came from good old Sainsbugs.

Sue xx

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

First Shopping of the Year =16p

Did I need to go shopping, not really if you are looking at the food I have in BUT  (yes it's a BIG but 😁)  I had the £10 voucher for Booths in my purse along with my January money and it was due to run out this week, and with such a low budget for this year I was not about to let that happen. 

And I have just this moment realised that the two vouchers I have were added to the grand total in the workings out for the year, so I do in fact have to take £10 in cash out of my purse for this months housekeeping money.

So the photo is quite clear and you can see exactly what I bought with my ten pounds.  I wanted to get a couple of things that were needed ... the apples and bread rolls, and one very necessary thing to pick up was a birthday card for my brother who is another year older on Saturday and is bringing my Mum to visit Lavender Lodge for the very first time on his birthday, hence me buying some eggs.  

Although I don't usually eat eggs I am more than happy to make his birthday cake in the style that he loved when he was a much smaller boy, and yes I will even have a small slice to celebrate the happy day before sending him on his way with all the leftovers.

Don't the apples look lovely compared to those poor wrinkly things I used up the other day.  I nearly bought a pack of six for £3, they were gorgeous looking apples and they were already in my trolley before eagle-eyed Alan spotted these being sold loose at just 30p each.  So I quickly swapped over and thought that four of these whoppers would be more than enough for now.

But I had done my trolley contents calculations on the pack of six so I needed to buy something else to get as close to the £10 voucher value as possible as you can't get change from these vouchers.  So I decided on the shelf-stable milk, this is not my usual brand but this was on special offer and comes highly recommended, and the houmous ... that looks so wrong to me I usually spell it hummus but seemingly houmous is the original British way of spelling it although the American hummus is usually used now ... wow who knew, not me for sure!!

The Booths receipt is a very complicated layout due to how they put the offers at the top and then everything else below.  I figured it out in the end though and have folded it so that you haven't got all the waffle on show and so that it fits to stick it into my Challenge Diary for posterity.

So my first spend of 2022 was a massive 16p ... even the cashier was impressed. πŸ˜€

Sue xx