Monday, 28 October 2013

Meal plan week beginning - 28/10

Here we go again, another week of using stuff up, kids are off school this week aswell.

breakfast- porridge with rasins
lunch- tomatoe and bean soup
dinner-ham hock, roasties cabbage and gravy

breakfast- porridge
lunch- tomatoe and bean soup

breakfast- toast with jam
lunch-tomatoe and bean soup
dinner- cheesy pasta and brocolli bake

breakfast- apple porridge
lunch- chicken sandwich
dinner-Halloween party at the inlaws

breakfast- scrambled egg on toast
lunch-cheese toasties
dinner- sticky bbq chicken with wedges

breakfast- pancakes
lunch-spagetti with tomatoe sauce, peas and sweetcorn
dinner-chips and fried egg

breakfast- porridge
lunch- Sunday dinner at the inlaws
dinner- beans on toast

My shopping list for this week is

3 x 2litre milk
plain flour
2 loaves of bread
vegetable oil

Hoping to spend less than £10, most of which is oil!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Getting ready for winter.

Yesterday I went and got new snow tires fitted and my car realigned, it's suppose to get very cold next week.

Few other things we will be doing/have done.
As I said in my 5 tips on how to light fire for less post we have stocked up on coal and logs

I have purchased 2 mini radiators for the kids room as we won't be using oil this year.

All curtains are lined and all external doors have curtains.

Big rug is down in the livingroom.

Cosy jammies have been purchased, normally we get the kids from primark but homebargains were cheaper this year.Mine were from primark.

New coats have been purchased for all those that needed them, I managed to find an old one that still fitted me and twins didn't need 1.

Blankets have been dug out for on beds and over the back of the sofa.

Electric blankets will be purchased for the kids very soon, we've been using ours for awhile now.

If you need them dig out or make draft excluders, we are very lucky we don't need any.

Tape up any gaps in windows (again we are very lucky we don't need this either)

Dig out last years, gloves/hats scarfs- I buy my gloves from poundland mostly as they do 2 for £1 in kids sizes, as they are magic gloves they fit me grand, I have some free ones i got with an eBay code for this year.

Start layering, vest tops under clothes, 2 pairs of socks, rights under jeans it all helps keep you cosy. My feet are my main problem so as soon as I come home i take my shoes off and put my slipper boots or fake uggs on.

Get dry shoes, nothing is worse than wet feet, it makes everything seem miserable. I got a new pair of boots last week from this site. I bought a lovely wooly poncho aswell and both cost me £14, I have several pairs of shoes from them but you would never guess they cost £5 and alot have tags on with much much higher prices .eBay is also really good for shoes, I don't even mean used ones. just watch they aren't coming from china/hongkong or they won't be here in time.

I bet none of your kids have wet feet but quite a few of you do, I have glued shoes myself before, now it's something I make sure i have money for.

if you take them keep a stock of cold and flu tablets...the sooner you take them the sooner they have a chance to work.

And lastly stock up on tea bags, coffee sugar and hot chocolate. warm drinks help warm you from the inside, I quite like warm custard aswell :)

I mentioned quite a few different shops in this post, none of this is advert that's where I find to be the best value for me.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Meal plan- week beginning 21/10

Hi all, gonna be a tight few weeks here, Went shopping today and spent £13.78 on

25kg of queens potatoes
2 bags of apples (21 in total)
punnet of pears (6)
bunch of bananas (7)
punnet of strawberries (I took the child with me and he insisted)

I will also need more milk later in the week.

Other than my milk I plan not to spend another single penny. If I stick to this my creditcard will be clear come Monday. So heres the food plans for this week.

breakfast-toast and jam
lunch-noodles with sweetcorn, soy sauce and a wee bit of cheese
dinner-one pot roast chicken dinner (come back tomorrow for this)

breakfast-apple porridge
lunch-soup and bread
dinner-tomatoe pasta bake

breakfast-beans on toast
lunch-baked potatoe
dinner-chicken stew (just like beef stew only leaner)

breakfast-pear porridge
lunch-potatoe and bacon soup (keep your eyes peeled for this recipe)
dinner-gnocchi in tomatoe sauce (find it here thrifty lesley i might use proper mash, I found a packet of instant in the cupboard but i might keep that for an emergency)

breakfast-toast and scrambled egg
lunch-potatoe and bacon soup
dinner-homemade pizza and wedges

lunch-potatoe and bacon soup
dinner-homemade battered chicken nuggets, onion rings and baked potatoes

breakfast-beans on toast (with a fried egg on top if there's any left)
lunch-Sunday dinner at the inlaws
dinner-sandwiches with whatever I can find in the fridge, we'll still be stuffed from dinner.

I will also be making

lesley's oaty bars if i have enough jam (i could stretch to buy a jar if it came to it)

pineapple sponge which is just this with 1/3 of a tin of pineapple in it.

And I will be giving slowcooker bread a go. however i think my yeast is done or else my house is too cold as my bread just isn't rising for me lately.

Lunches during the week are just for me, the kids have dinner in school, the youngest has a snack in school aswell and I send snacks with the older 2 of fruit and some sort of bread product, they aren't allowed sweet stuff or else i'd send a bun/muffin.

As you can see we won't starve this week :) and it won't even make a dint in our food. I will be back next week with a similar list I'm sure.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Leftover pie- pork and stuffing

Pies are awesome for dealing with leftovers. Using yesterdays pastry and the slowcooker pulled pork and stuffing I made a pie :)

Get everything out ready and pre-heat your oven to 180, remember your trying to keep the butter cold, and handle it as little as possible so have everything ready to go.

Cut your pastry in 2 (see still big lumps of butter)

Roll your pastry out to just bigger than your dish (or if yours has a big lip like mine a good bit bigger)

Now you need to add your pastry to your dish, now pastry is very fiddly and breaks easy, aslo your trying not to handle it too much, so fold it in half like this

Then fold it back over your rolling pin like this

Now you lift the rolling pin instead of the pastry.

cover the bowl, remember it's slightly sticky so if your pasrty is too small pinch and offcut from somewhere else and mush it into place.

Add your pork.
Add your stuffing

Add your veg, frozen is fine
Roll out your pastry for the top

Add your gravy (if you add it before it goes in the oven your pie base will be soggy)

Add your top

Brush the top with a beaten egg or milk (I usually just do milk), cut a small hole to let some steam out and put in the oven.

If your having your oven on long enough to cook a pie make the most of it. I added a whole packet of cooking bacon (for tomorrows dinner) and some baked potatoes

cook for 45mins at 180

Then serve, it's a very similar taste to those well known tinned pies, if you want it as fluffy and puffy as that use the whole recipe for the top and fold it and chill. a few more times.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Homemade puff pastry

Pastry really easy to make, you need the same amount of flour as fat and a pinch of salt. The key is don't handle it too much.

This is rough puff pastry, like the type you get on those tinned pies, The idea is that you use really cold everything and don't touch it too much, you leave lumps of butter and because it's cold when you cook it, it causes steam which means your pastry as little pockets of air causing all the layers.

You will need

Flour, you should use plain I didn't have any so it's abit of a fingers crossed hope it works ok situation. I ussed 250g
butter/lard. You can use half and half for this, I just used butter, I get this one on offer in lidl and stock up but you can use value lard and marge. Make sure it's freezing whatever you use.

Measure out your flour, add it to the blender, with a teaspoon of salt, cut your butter into cubes (while not handling it)

Add to the blender

At this point I hadn't touched my butter at all. Thats a jar of oil in the backround by the way and I'll be using it to show you how to make homemade onion rings next week) 

And now you discover your blenders broken, so you tip it all into a bowl instead. Nope is that only me? well if so you pulse it 3-5 times to break the butter up slightly, leave quite big chunks, then you pulse again while slowly adding water. IF like me that didn't work or you don't own a blender rub the butter in with your fingers, do it quickly and roughly remember you need to handle it as little as possible.

This is mine when it's finished as you can see still lots of big chunks of butter.

Now get a cup of really cold water, and a spoon. I used a full tea cup of water and it was probably slightly too much. 

Slowly add your water and fold it in with your spoon, when your pastry starts clumping together like this

Turn it out onto a floured work surface. and form into a square, do this quickly and touch it as little as possible.

As you can see still big chunks of butter. Roll your dough into a rectangle and flatten the edges.

Fold the top 1/3 of the way down 

Then bring the bottom up over to the top.

Put it in the fridge for atleast 30mins, then repeat. you do this 3 times. The picture above in my final one and as you can see there is still little lumps of butter.

Come back tomorrow to see what i made with it.

Oh and don't panic my blender just needed a new fuse.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

slowcooker bread and butter pudding

This is a use up your stale bread without turning the oven on recipe.

Butter your bread, cut into chunks.

Spray your slowcooker with frylight and grease with oil.

Add a layer of bread.

Sprinkle in a good handful of rasins.

Layer on more buttered bread.

At this point i decided to top with chocolate but i usually use rasins, this is just a half a beat up bar of value milk chocolate.

Pour in 2 pints of made up milk powder, turn on low for 2 hours. This doesn't need cooked it just needs helped along.

Serve with custard, I bought this when these were still 6p, I can't get them anymore so normally i use a tin.

I have no after photo I'm afraid and it's all now long gone since I made it on monday.

bread 1/2 loaf 25p
butter 10p
milk powder 20p
raisins (i use value mixed dried fruit) 5p
chocolate 15p
custard 6p/17p

total cost 92p

There was enough pudding here for 4 lots for the kids with another tin of custard, but someone may have dropped the leftovers out of the fridge :( the dogs enjoyed it aswell :)

Pulled pork, a midweek roast

Hi everyone sorry it's been awhile since I posted, I was dealing with sick kids then a sick me :(

I made this a few days ago but only getting round to popping it up now.

For pulled pork you will need

Pork loin or shoulder, I bought a whole pork loin in the butchers for £20 and cut it into 4 so £5 I only used 1/3 of it to feed us all tea so £1.66 however if you can't get this I recommend a tesco pork shoulder, this will set you back back £3 and will do 2 meals as pulled pork.
Oil (I used fry light) 5p
any spices you can lay your hands on (I used pepper, garlic salt, paprika and a wee bit of chilli) 10p

Total for meat £1.81

Add your pork to the showcooker spray with oil, sprinkle on seasonings and rub it in. Add about a cupful of water.

Cook on low for 6hours

after 5 1/2 hours prepare you trimmings we had stuffing I picked up reduced

It had 2 packets in it so my stuffing only cost me 8p and I only used half (watch this space for what i do with the rest) (value stuffing is grand i normally use it)

We had potatoes 40p
carrots 20p
cabbage 30p
gravy 20p
homemade yorkshire puddings 30p

Total cost of trimmings-  £1.48.

Wee tip for you if your cooking alot of veg do it all together, in the pot below I have potatoes and carrots in the pan and cabbage in the colander then the pan lid on top so I don't need 3 different rings.

Excuse the state of my cooker the pan boiled over.

Remove the pulled pork from the slowcooker, normally you let meat rest however it's better to pull it when it's near falling apart, so with 2 forks shred the pork (or you can just cut it up) put it back in the slowcooker and mix with the juices. (i did take a picture of this but now I can't find it)

This is my dinner the one at the top is hubbys, I try to avoid to many carbs in the evenings but I love stuffing and Yorkshires.Kids dinner was long gone before i could get a camera :)

If I was a good blogger I would have shown you how I made my Yorkshires but my ovens abit iffy and doesn't get quite hot enough so it wouldn't be the best demonstration. I will show you one day, when I move.

1/3 of the pork has went in the freezer, the other 1/3 is going in a pie today. You can use this in sandwiches and wraps aswell, add some passata, peppers and sweetcorn and homemade wraps (another thing added to my list to post) top with some cheese and your have burritos.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

It's world porridge day!

Anyone that's seen my grocery list will know I'm a huge fan of porridge, we all eat it. I make mine with full fat milk so not the healthiest or the cheapest but my porridge still only works out at 14p a bowl, you can do half water to cut costs and it's much healthier than other boxed cereals. I'm abit strange about breakfast those chocolate flavored cereals make my toes curl, why did anyone think giving a child chocolate for breakfast was a good idea?

Now I still have a very sickly boy and finally have a working drier so I'm quite busy today and I don't see the point in telling you all how to make porridge because most of you know how anyway. However i wanted to direct your attention to Mary's meals they provide porridge in schools in 3rd world country and are the brains behind world porridge day. you can find them on their site facebook or twitter.

Anyone that doesn't know how to make porridge here's A girl called Jacks express porridge
or Thrifty lesley posted a great jammy oat bars a few days ago that costs just 7p each!

How do you all like your porridge? I do mine in a pan either plain or with apple. I buy the cheap value porridge at 75p a kg and it lasts around a week, we eat it 3-4 days a week.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

5 tips on "How to light the fire for less."

It's getting cooler here and i had a sickly boy at home today, so my fires lit. I figured now is a good time to tell you all my tips for a cheaper fire.

1. If you can afford it get a stove, preferably with a back boiler. I have a wee pot belly stove it uses a fraction of the coal my open fire did , acts like a big radiator and you lose less heat up the chimney. This is a huge expense but if the house we decide on only has open fires (no fire at all is a dealbreaker for us) we will be putting a stove in.Basic ones will set you back £600 just for the stove, we will allow £1500 for any extra work needed.

2. Light your fire with paper if you have any. I don't buy papers so don't have any. So I shop around and buy fire lighters for £1 a box in my local filling station, it's a value brand but works fine and works out cheaper than if i had to buy even a cheap paper, but if you buy papers anyway save them all year.

3. Shop around for coal and be prepared to go cash and carry. I buy doubles which is just small lumps of coal a bag delivered will cost you £8 here. I buy mine for £4.30 a bag and they put it into the boot for me. Scrapyards seem to like selling it cheap here however sometimes trailers just out of towns do a good deal. Take the cost of fuel into account. I only pop in if I'm passing or have completely ran out and it's only 2mins away from my kids school but I still don't want to waste desil, I usually buy 5 bag to make it worth the trip.

4. Buy in bulk. Alot of places (including mine, pity I don't have room) do discount on bulk orders of coal, it may only be 10p a bag cheaper but over a year thats an extra bag of coal.My logs will be coming at the start of the week I get 1 tonne for £50 delivered. I'm still using the last few from the bag I got last year.

5. Keep your eye out for free wood and pallets. We don't use sticks in our fire we use cut up pallets, hubbys work has loads of them, more than we can use and will gladly give them away. If your passing somewhere and see a big pile of pallets go in and ask. Very few people will say no. Just be sure to ask first.Keep an eye on gumtree aswell people regularly off felled tree's for free.

One last tip if like me you have a stove with no back boiler, get yourself a whistling kettle or a camping kettle and keep it on top, then you have hot water for tea or washing the dishes, or even washing your face.This is on my shopping list this winter if i can find one cheap enough.

We will be trying to go this winter with no heating oil, we have ran out and when I worked the cost out for last year it was shocking when we used it very little and mainly used the fire anyway.So I leave you this this picture of my lovely cosy fire (which could do with being painted), I hope your all keeping warm and well.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Slowcooker ham shank and soup.

Hi everyone I grabbed a few ham shanks when I was at the butchers on Saturday, I can't get any local sadly so I have 2 more in the freezer. For the family that loves gammon this is a bargain and it's not as salty as gammon so doesn't take as long to cook if you decide to roast it, but It's lovely and tender if slowcookers....;ets face it i prefer everything slow cookered.

Ham shank-£1.35
Stock cube- 2p
carrots 10p
onions 10p
pepper 5p
Total cost £1.62

Add 2pints on water to your slowcooker, add diced carrots and onions and sprinkle in the stock cube, add the ham and grind some pepper on top (or sprinkle I prefer fresh ground and the wee grinders are only 89p) pop the lids on. I cooked on high for 1hr then low for 4hours, 3hrs at high would do or all day at low.

Normally i would say leave meat to rest before touching it, but it's best to do this when it's nearly falling apart, so get a fork and a knife, cut all the fat off (I say cut it pretty much falls off when you touch it and is now cooling for the dogs) then remove the meat, you can just pull this off with a fork.

This is a pasta bowl, it has just short of 265g of ham in it making it 50p per 100g which is a similar price of  value ham, this won't last as long as thinly sliced processed ham however it will be much nicer and healthier, And you get the added bonus of this.....

Soup :)

(yes i could have got more meat but this will flavor the soup nicely)

So the bones back in and the slowcookers still on and will remain on til I go to bed, when i will switch it off and in the morning skim the solid fat off. we will be around 6 bowls of soup from this, I may even add more water. This soup only cost 3 carrots, and onion and a stock cube :)

If you don't want soup and you budget can stretch to it i would cook this in cider then make a white sauce with the stock. Or you can just make normal gravy.

So quick recap

for £1.62 (plud half a bag of shredded cabbage at 50p so £2.12) I will get

A generous dinner for 2 served with half a bag of shredded  cabbage

6 portions of soup

Scraps and a bone for the dogs

MIcrowave sponge

I was reading Frugal Queen's blog the other day and she reminded me of microwave sponge this is something we used to make all the time.

It's so easy because it's the same weights so easy to remember and no looking for recipes and it's very cheap. So I've pinched to...sorry froggs

This is all you need (and a mixer which is out of shot and not so much the kettle my kitchen is very small and dark so there gives the best light so i take most of my pictures there)

Mines plain like froggs you can use lemon curd, or jam or golden surup
4oz of flour- 5p
sugar- 10p
2 eggs- 18p
total cost 48p

All prices are value

Basically  throw it all in a bowl and mix it together, being a lazy cook I measured everything into my mixing bowl on the scales and mixed it with a mixer so the only extra cleaning was the bowl I made it in a beaters. I did this including pictures for you lot in the time it took the kettle to boil for my cuppa, and it had done cooking before i'd even finished drinking it so really not having time or it will cause too much washing up is no excuse :)

Pop it in the microwave for 5mins then it will look like this and with all sponges a knife will come out clean if its properly cooked.

The kids had half of these with half a tin of value custard. so total cost per head is less than 11p. The kids might have the rest tomorrow or me and hubby might eat it later ;) it does look yummy