Monday, 1 September 2014

No spend/Low Spend September




Hello Dear Reader,

Normally, I have a 'Stoptober' where I have a no spend month in October. That's going to be impossible this year as i have major purchases in that month. Instead, I've joined Sue's challenge over at Our New life in the Country to have a no spend/low spend September. This means, we'll have as many no spend days as possible and keep our spending as low as possible. We have to pay to get to work, for some food but really that will have to be that for this month. I'm having a woodstove installed at the end of October and I also have the winter's wood to pay for. Then, as the calender comes around it's Christmas and we need to have some money aside for that too. I keep a good stock of food in the house and for the next three weeks we'll be eating down our supplies. Nothing fancy for us this month, just hearty basics to keep us going.We are then going onto a £20 week budget for the rest of September.

WB Mon 1/9/14
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Sun



Mon
Poached egg and grilled bacon
Fruit/yog/salad/sandwich
Chorizo fried rice with plenty of veggies
Tue
Toast and jam
Fruit/yog/salad/sandwich
Spiced pork with lemon pasta with peas
Wed
porridge
Fruit/yog/salad/sandwich
Veggie pasta bake and salad
Thur
Rice cereal
Fruit/yog/salad/sandwich
Baked potatoes with baked beans and grated cheese
Fri
Poached egg and bacon
Fruit/yog/salad/sandwich
Haddock, chips and peas
Sat
Poached egg and grilled bacon
Soup/Bread
Sticky Chinese style pork with vegetables

WB Mon 7/9/14
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Sun
Poached egg and grilled bacon
Roast chicken thighs, roast pots, veggies and gravy
Sandwich and fuit
Mon
Rice cereal
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Ding cuisine – Roast dinner
Tue
Porridge
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Cauliflower cheese and crusty bread
Wed
toast
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Fish Provencal – Pollock steamed and served with a tomato sauce, mashed potato and veggies.
Thur
porridge
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Venison meat balls, gravy, veggies and small baked potato
Fri
cereal
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Pollock and parsley fishcakes with green beans and carrots. Tinned fruit and custard
Sat
Poached egg and grilled bacon
Roast Autumn vegetables with feta
Cottage pie and veggies





















WB Mon 
14/9/14
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Sun
Poached egg and grilled bacon
Lamb chump chops, roast potatoes, veggies gravy, fruit pudding and custard
Sardines on toast
Mon
Rice cereal
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Ding cuisine – roast dinner
Tue
toast
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Fish pie and veggies
Wed
porridge
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Meat balls in tomato and veggie sauce with pasta
Thur
toast
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Veggie fritters with rice salad
Fri
Rice cereal
Fruit/yog/sandwich/salad
Sticky pork and chips with veggies
Sat
Poached egg and grilled bacon
Homemade pasties
Haddock, chips and peas

My menu planning is interchangeable, meaning I will have anything off the plan if we fancy it and just change the days around. I might want a roast dinner on a weekday evening and just soup on Sunday, that's OK. Having a rough plan means I can budget effectively over the next few weeks. It also means I'm not tempted to go shopping and buy anything else but to make do with what I already have. 

Anyone with school age children will have just broken the bank buying bus passes for the school term (September - December) and everything they need for the school term. Half term is at the end of October which gives families seven school weeks before they are home again. As a teacher, that means I have seven weeks where I can really rein in any spending as I don't have time for anything but work in 'term time'. It also means I need to be organised but food budgets as it makes it easier for us to have meals prepared in advance.

Over to you Dear Reader, who else is going to join in with the No Spend/Low Spend September? Let's batten down the frugal hatches and really see what we can save this month. Think of each week that you don't buy groceries as money in the bank to help offset other winter expenses. Who's with me?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sunday Lunch at Thrift Cottage


Hello Dear Reader,

I really should have tidied before I took these photos but hey! I promised you a look. Here's the 'front room'. The stove has been disconnected ready to sell and the carpet will be replaced with something less red when we can afford it. The arm chairs came with us but all the other bits and pieces of furniture have been bought from ebay and none in this room cost more than £10 per items. The curtains came from a charity shop for £10 and we've had the mirror for years. The pictures came from a car boot sale and the accessories on the shelves came from charity shops.


Here's the other side of the room. For those of you outside the UK, you may be surprised how small our houses are, my house is of average size and isn't considered to be small. It's perfect for us. And yes, I did create the window seat just so my dogs sunbathe there.


Next, my dining room. The table and chairs are all second hand and bought from a local house clearance seller. The table was £35 and the chairs were £10 each. I already had the pictures, mirror and accessories.

Here's the view from the hallway door. I made the blinds and the curtains. The silk flowers were from Trago at 89p each, expensive but they will last for years. The table is laid because we had friends over for lunch today. It was a simple roast lunch of beef, potatoes and vegetables. I slow cooked a cheap but tasty joint of silverside and it came out really well.


When it's just Dearly Beloved and myself, we never eat a pudding. One ultimate Brittish pudding is Sticky Toffee Pudding. We made this for friends who came with their family today. We had a great time making plans for our trip to Carnac in Brittany next year when they hope to join us. 

To make this you will need:

55g of butter
170g of soft brown sugar
2 free range eggs
200g of SR flour
200g of dates
290ml of boiling water
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Chop the dates and place in a saucepan with the boiling water - bring to the boil and then simmer for two minutes until it's a sticky soup like texture. Add the vanilla extra.
In a bowl, beat all the other ingredients together and then add the date mixture.
Pour into a greased casserole dish and then bake in a bain marie (shallow dish full of water) at 180 for 45 minutes to 60 minutes. It should have a moist sticky texture.

For the toffee sauce
200ml of double cream
150g of butter
175g of soft brown sugar
 a tiny pinch of salt

Place the ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Serve with the sticky toffee pudding. The pinch of salt gives the toffee sauce a hint of salted caramel and it's really delicious.


Serve in big bowls and you can add custard if you want or even some ice cream. I made this as I had two hungry teenagers at my table and any of you with children will know they can not refuse sticky toffee pudding. It's a belt buster but well worth it once in a while.

If you didn't read yesterday, take a look at the Dairy Diary giveaway. You will need to read the terms and conditions and leave a comment on yesterday's post. As for today, who else loves Sticky Toffee pudding, is it just  British thing or is this loved globally? Another thing, what do you like to make when you want to make something to treat your friends?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx