Thursday, 18 December 2014

Stilton filled chicken wrapped in bacon

Hello Dear Reader,

We've been so tired that we've just got by on baked potatoes or soup out of the freezer. I love this simple recipe and in the past, when we've managed somehow to just get the two of us together at Christmas, this has been a version of what I would cook for Christmas lunch.

Simply, slice open a chicken breast and lay a slice of Stilton cheese inside. You could use any blue cheese as the creamy saltiness is a brilliant combination with simple chicken.

Then, wrap the bacon around the chicken breast tucking underneath. Pop into a preheated oven on 180 for 20 - 35 minutes. 

Salad was goes really well with this. I sliced an advocado for each of us, one red pepper and two ice gem lettuce. This certainly isn't cheap but as all we've eaten is baked potatoes and veggie soup all week, then it's offset by our previous cheap meals.

Don't worry that the Stilton will melt, use a spatula to scrape it off the pan and pop it under the chicken, you will scoop it up with the chicken when you cut it.

Serve on top of a bed of salad. I made this for DB's birthday supper yesterday and it makes a perfect celebratory meal.

Cost? A lot as I used FR chicken but the cheese, bacon and salad was reasonable. Plus, he only has one birthday a year and he had a fancy supper instead of a present.

Over to you Dear Reader, anyone from foreign climes unfamiliar with Stilton? If you do eat it, then please share what you cook it with. It goes brilliantly with pears and walnuts in a salad if you don't eat meat.

It's the last day of the winter term tomorrow so I'm all yours for two weeks. I'm certainly looking forward to meeting up with friends from Down Thomas, Peverell, Dartmoor, Newbury and of course right here in Liskeard. I'll be catching up with family and just having time to sew and relax.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

One teacher to another

My dearest colleague,

You went to work today and so did I.

We both work with children.

Neither you or I do this for the money.

I, and my immediate colleagues, took children to the cinema and had Christmas lunch.

You went to work, as I did for the benefit of young people.

You did all you could but died I front of your children.  

I went safely home and so did the children I teach.

Neither you or many of your children will ever go home again.

My heart aches for the loss of innocent lives.

We are both teachers and I've never met you.

God bless my darling.

Monday, 15 December 2014

What is life like without debt or credit?

Hello Dear Reader,

We became debt free in 2011 and have stayed that way ever since. We've not used a credit card since 2009 and we've just learned to live beneath our means. As Mr Micawber would say "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure £19 and 9 shillings, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure £20, result misery"

So, how is our life a bit different from other people. We certainly spend and have what we need but it's always done with some planning and budgeting. We know what we will spend on Birthdays, Christmas, holidays and anything else that we buy. We save up for everything we need. 

Neither DB or I have expensive work do's. His work doesn't have one at all and mine, which I'm going to, is £4. I think we can work those two costs into the budget. Previously, we've both turned down the £25 a head Christmas, end of term celebrations as just beyond our budgets. It's often difficult to say no, or do something different around our peers. 

It's somewhat easy for us now, we don't really do a conventional consumerist Christmas and haven't done so for years. It's a lovely time off, a few homemade treats (isn't everyone looking forward to a mince pie?) and time for each other and our nearest and dearest.

What though if you are new to this? What was it like when it was new to us? Well, there's no easy way to say this but it was really hard. We said no to everything when we were in debt and paying off debts. Now, we say no to anything that we personally feel is a waste of our own money. People used to challenge us, saying we could afford something and we used to kindly explain that we were paying off debts, or saving up for something important and were being careful with what we did with our incomes. 

It's certainly easier now, these are hard times for everyone and we're no longer the thrifty minority but part of the growing majority of people for whom every pound has to do the work of a fiver! Maybe us frugals led the way? Who knows?

Life now is very different. The fire is lit, we can afford plenty of firewood. The freezer and pantry is stocked. The bank accounts are managed to work for us and we regularly pay in savings for: our holiday in France next year, long term saving fund for a new roof and medium term savings for a new boiler. It's all in the plan. What's the same? We don't eat out more than on the most rarest of occasions (we had fish and chips in Looe in the summer and again in the autumn when we visited Whitby) I still shop the sales, charity shops and look out for household items in the freeads and ebay. If we continue to be careful then we will continue to be solvent. 

We used to be skint and now we're comfortable.

Our past did not define us.

Life without debt or credit is now our normal.

Froogs xxxxxx