It's always surprising to see how much food you have when it's usually out of sight behind a door isn't it ... and I've only done two of the drawers up to now. I have a lovely amount of vegetables in the drawers, enough to keep me healthy for a good few weeks. Now all I need to do is combine them with the things in the food cupboard and I should have lots of lovely meals at no extra cost to me.
Which is a good thing as we have been talking about our retirement plans over the last week or so, and Alan has finally handed in his necessary 18 months notice, ready for his actual retirement date of April 2025.
As I am not due to retire until May of 2026 (providing they don't move the goalposts yet again), I would like to actually retire from the day job at the same time as Alan, closing the company down and finally being free. To be able to do this I need to have a dedicated savings pot of one whole years basic salary, this way I will be able to continue to draw on that for the final year before my State Pension kicks in.
So being able to save money seems even more important just now ... time to sort out the last drawer of the freezer then!!
The Aldi white chocolate is delicious and although the ingredients list is long I will still be eating it occasionally, perhaps just a little bit more occasionally than I have been recently. 😄
Overall I have found that virtually all the Deliciously Ella products that I have in my cupboards have been in amongst the best foods and treats ingredients-wise. Take this chocolate as an example, just four ingredients in the chocolate and all of them very recognisable ... and it's tasty chocolate too!
What I will be doing from now on is keeping the NOVA scale in mind when I'm shopping and eating and just trying my best to cut back a bit on the foods that are in the Ultra Processed Foods category. I doubt I would ever be as close to the 80 natural/20 UPF aim that I would like but I will be a lot more mindful for sure.
Now it's time to relax with a book that is a lot lighter reading.
How about a few before and afters:
And here it is again just before we left for home.
The fridge freezer and washing machine are now both in place and working perfectly, there is some food in the cupboards as well as the cutlery and crockery to be able to eat at the flat.
Sunday morning just before we left and the curtains are up and looking lovely, everywhere is clean and tidy and our temporary 'toaster box coffee table' is still in use.
And it would appear that Suky is still supervising goings on!
And two days later with an actual bed, the curtains hung and a new lampshade.
At the moment it just contains the lawnmower, some cushions ready for when we find a sofa, and a new cat litter tray for Ginger, who will be travelling with us whenever we go for more than one night.
And talking of lawnmowers ... once the batteries on our new lawnmower had charged Alan cut the grass, watched over intently by Mavis. The dogs had obviously decided between them that Suky was to supervise the inside jobs and Mavis the outside ones.
And for those of you who like to see actual footage I did a Before and After in video format too, just two very short little clips of live action.
So it was a very successful weekend, the drive home was a bit of an experience with all the heavy rain and standing water on the motorway, but we managed it safely and now we will be seeing if we can source some more of the things we need for the flat from Facebook Marketplace and perhaps charity shops. We aren't buying much just the basics to make it comfortable and easy to use for us and my sons.
If you have any questions I will answer them in the comments of this post.
A couple of days later it was used as big blobs dotted all through a cheese, onion and tomato quiche.
I love using it this way as it adds a real depth of flavour to the whole quiche, it works well dotted onto a pizza too, whether it be a homemade one or a store bought one and it's something that I do regularly.
And finally I finished it off on another bowl of penne pasta, which I don't seem to have taken a photo of. Four days to get one little jar out of my cupboard. It will be Christmas before my cupboard is empty at this rate!!
This was it in the central section of this bed just over a month ago, by last night it was twice as tall as it was in this photo, and although it never actually flowered the greenery was starting to go yellow.
It was time to see what we had!!
There was a grand total of 3lb 2oz, which is not bad at all for what I think was two little potatoes left in the soil from last year ... and no work, other than a bit of watering from me. 😀
... I could not resist putting the four teeny, tiny potatoes that were too small to cook into a pot of soil.
It will be interesting to see if we get anything from them ... but hey,. waste not want not. 😉
Oh, and I forgot to mention that while my potatoes were cooking Alan came in with our first little cucumber, he wanted to have half with his tea, so I cut it in two and he went off with his portion. I ate mine straight away while the potatoes bubbled on the stove. It was very tasty, but it just didn't last long enough to get it's photo taken!
Any year when I am able to, I sign up for and take part in the Ration Challenge, and my family, friends and wonderful readers usually support me every step of the way. It's a brilliant way of us all coming together and doing something really positive and helping some very deserving people in the process.
This year there is no Ration Challenge here in the UK, some real diehards signed up and took part in the Australian version, but I thought a year off would suit me better. I am not always comfortable asking for sponsorship, and I really do believe that occasionally there can be simply too much begging for money especially online.
But when I get a comment like the one I got the other day from regular reader Alison, AKA Fat Dormouse asking for help for a charity that I knew absolutely nothing about, but one that also help refugees in a completely different way, I knew I would have to let my readers know about it to.
Rather than copy and pasting Alison's blog post I will share this LINK to take you directly to her blog entry which describes everything so much better than I could even begin too. It also contains the links that you can donate through and helps you learn so much more about how this charity works.
I am sharing this today, as a generous individual has offered to double all the donations made over the course of this weekend up to a total of $10,000. I'm off to donate right now, please could you give a small donation?
Sometimes it's good to raise money to feed people, sometimes it's good to raise money to enable them to contact their loved ones ... and feed their souls.
These days I make my own sandwich fillers, and I have done for a long time.
Experimenting with leftovers and a dash of mayonnaise is pretty much guaranteed to make a sandwich filler that is tasty, quick and much better for you than a jar of shelf stable long life 35% vegetable mush.
I tend to use a couple of tablespoons of my choppy salads when I have some in the fridge, it's easy, quick and very tasty. Chopping the already chopped up salad veggies a little bit smaller and adding just salt, pepper and a squeeze of mayonnaise ... either bought or homemade ... and this time I added some dairy free cheese that I had ready grated in the fridge. Within minutes I had a fresh tasting and relatively healthy lunch.
If I had to eat some of the jarred stuff I think I would load the sandwich up with lots of crunchy lettuce and cucumber and try not to think of wallpaper paste while I ate my lunch.
What is your absolute favourite sandwich filler?
We seem to have spent the weekend and this morning giving all our money away, well that what it feels like. Paying for the repainting and re-carpeting of the flat, then equipping it with the basics has not been cheap, but it is all worthwhile.
While we are using it we will have all the things that we need there for a comfortable time, and when we do come to sell it in the future it will be ready for showing.
We have ordered the bed and the fridge/freezer and they are on standby ready to be delivered. Alan decided to buy himself a new television, so we will take his old one to the flat when we go, along with my old Freeview box and the spare DVD player we have.