Saturday, 27 August 2016

Day 240 - Solving a Dilemma

There are lots of things that are outside the remit of the Challenge ... all non-foody things, as we already pretty much know how much we use and how often we purchase them.  Some of them come under the umbrella of our company and are purchased from the farm supplies shop.  But it doesn't mean to say that we don't use these items carefully and economically.

For instance washing powder ... we usually buy these tablets, which yes are a bit more expensive than buying huge boxes of washing powder but easier to store in the kitchen and simple to use.  We buy them in bulk ( a sleeve of four boxes at a time), and because we don't use them as directed on the packet, where it tells you to use two tablets per wash and thus only get 20 washes out of one box ...  each box lasts us for 40 washes.

I do around five washes a week so each box lasts us eight weeks.  It's knowing all this type of thing that will help us budget for all expenditure in the future.

Of course I do have a bit of a dilemma, instead of fabric conditioner I usually use vinegar in the final rinse.  It does exactly the same as fabric conditioner in that it neutralises any washing detergent that is left in the fabric of your wash and makes it come out soft, but it leaves your wash simply smelling clean and not perfumed.  

At first my dilemma was that it's a 'food' item, so when my current stash runs out should it be included in the food budget, but then I thought about it some more and decided that as I don't use vinegar in anything other than pickling things (nope ... I don't even have it on chips), I will buy vinegar for food use out of the food budget and keep the vinegar for fabric conditioning purposes out of the equation.

Today is a No Spend Day

Friday, 26 August 2016

Day 239 - Homegrown Food

I thought it is about time that I listed the home grown food that we are eating just for the record, as it is now the part of the year that we are in full production in the tunnels and out on the Veggie Patch.

I may have to come back and add to the list if I spot something that I have forgotten ... it's hard to mentally walk round the growing veggies when I'm sat at my desk  ;-)

Still growing and being picked/dug up regularly:
Spring Onions
French Beans
Broad Beans

Nasturtium  (leaves and flowers)
Apples (eating and cooking)

Things that are now harvested and stored in the house:
Dried Herbs

Things that have finished for this year:
Red/White/Black Currants

Still to come, but almost ready:
Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Today is a No Spend Day
... and this explains why I am not having to do much shopping at the moment!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Day 238 - Late to the Party

Our tea the other night.

Everything on our salady plates is now from the polytunnel and is completely homegrown, well except from the cheese ... and in the case of Lovely Hubby's plate the half a pack of pate.

I've not eaten grated raw beetroot before, I have no idea why ... I usually cook it in the oven and then cool it and slice it to add to salads, but this was a revelation.  Just topped, tailed and peeled, then grated into a bowl and I added half a sliced red onion, some podded peas and beans and gave it a good stir.  There was enough moisture in the grated beetroot for it not to need a dressing and it was absolutely delicious.

Gosh I feel as though I'm late to a party with this one, it's funny how you can so easily get into a routine way of doing things.  Now discovered it will be a regular on our salady menu ... well at least until we run out of beetroots  :-)

Today is a No Spend Day

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Day 237 - Stocked Up for the Rest of the Year

 Money Spent Today - £0
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £40.00
Money Spent in Total - £320.92
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £279.25
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £7.79

Well  that's us stocked up in coffee and butter hopefully until the end of the Challenge, and perhaps even beyond!!

I did exactly as I said I would and drove to Sainsbury's to do this bulk shop with some of our Nectar points and to use the coupon that would give me £2 worth of Nectar points to use next time I shop there.  It's astounding to realise that to get 400 Nectar points I would normally have had to spend £400 ... so it's well worth using these coupons when you get them.

Unfortunately, as you can see if you click on the photos (it makes them bigger) I totally forgot to hand in the coupon that would give me all these extra points.  I didn't realise until I went to get some petrol from the Sainsbury's garage and it was still there in my purse.  So I drove straight back round the roundabout and into Sainsbury's carpark and went over to the customer services desk...

... where the kind lady put them onto my card for me.

We still have one of these coupons but as I bought with Nectar points I couldn't use it, so Lovely Hubby can take this back with him to work next week and use it when he buys something from his local Sainsbury's.  

To quote a completely different supermarket ... every little helps!!  ;-)

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Day 236 - Spending Wisely

Lovely Hubby got this Sainsbury's coupon when he bought fuel last week, and for once it's one I can use.  I need to stock up on coffee and butter we are halfway down the last jar of Nescafe coffee and have just one pack of butter in the freezer to use after the one I have just thawed out.  So I went on to check the prices in the supermarkets.  

It turns out that the Nescafe decaf coffee that I drink is not on offer anywhere but the good news is that Lurpak, our favourite brand of butter (and the only one we eat) is on offer at Sainsbury's.

It's always worth checking.

Today is a No Spend Day 
... but now I'm off to the shop.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Day 235 - A Free Drink

Yesterday we had a most delicious drink, cooling and thirst quenching sat on the bench outside the house, on a hot, humid and for Lovely Hubby, hard working day.

And it was totally free!

Do you remember last month when I did the post about our favourite cake Rhubarb Upside Down Cake and one of the comments asked what I did with the drained juice from the cooked and cooled rhubarb.  Well usually I don't have more than a spoonful or two of liquid left over but yesterday when I made a cake with the rhubarb that I had cut for the Llanrwst Show I decided to add a little bit more water than usual.

When I drained the rhubarb over a bowl while it cooled and I made the cake batter, (for the recipe click on the link that is the cake name) I did have more rhubarb juice as planned.  So I split it between two glasses added a good handful of ice cubes as it was still quite warm, and topped it up with sparkling water.

Delicious, and you've got to love something for nothing haven't you ... especially when it's as tasty as that was.  Luckily there's more rhubarb left so I can do it all over again  :-)

Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Day 234 - Leftover Potatoes

Even though we have lots of potatoes I don't waste them if I cook too many, and when I had some over from my tea the other night I put them in a bowl in the fridge to give me inspiration for the next nights meal ... I like to have a starting point there for me.

I picked a few peas from the plants in the net tunnel, and realising that they were really not enough to bother cooking on their own and could so easily have disappeared as a snack on the way back to the house, I remembered my potatoes and decided to add the two together.

So with a tin of mackerel fillets from the cupboard ...

... an egg yolk for dipping purposes and some breadcrumbs from the freezer ...

... I turned my leftover potatoes into two pretty large fish cakes.
(One broke as I was breadcrumbing it, hence the funny shape.)

The funny shaped one for tea last night ... and the other is for tea tonight while Lovely Hubby has a steak from the freezer.  I think they will be served with some homemade spicy wedges ... a good use of some more of the potato stash.

Today is a No Spend Day

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Day 233 - Something for the Weekend .....

Money Spent Today - £1.96 
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £320.92
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £239.25
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £7.79

We needed some milk for the weekend.  It would have been ridiculous to drive all the way to Sainsburys or M&S and anyway would have meant buying something we did not even need just to get the value of the Nectar point allowance or to the full value of a M&S voucher ... so as I was passing Tesco I just went in there.  I decided to go mad and buy Lovely Hubby some salted peanuts as well, he loves them sprinkled on his salads.

Milk £1.00
Salted Peanuts 2 bags x 48p  = 96p

So my purchase was all cash and has reduced the money left in my purse to just £7.79.  It doesn't worry me, in fact it makes me smile.  This isn't a hair shirt type of challenge it is just a challenge to see how we manage, and one day pretty soon I guess the figure will go into the minus state and then keep on going down and down until the end of the year.

Don't fret though, even when we're in the negatives the Challenge will still carry on.  We need to know our eating habits through each of the four seasons of the year so we can continue to plan for the future and work out a realistic living budget to allow ourselves.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Day 232 - Potatoes

(Pictures from Google Images.)

From now on most of our meals will be served with, or will consist of potatoes!!

I have just dug up another few kilos of our 'Estima' potatoes from both the polytunnel, where they were in pots, and from the Veggie Patch where they were high on the hillside.  I needed five pretty similar potatoes for the Llanrwst Show on Saturday and got a bit carried away with my unearthing of them in my pursuit of matching spuds.  They will all need to be dug up soon though so no real harm done.

There are rather a lot of them though so it will be one potato, two potato, three potato four .... for the foreseeable future.

Potatoes will be cooked every which way.

Today is a No Spend Day 
... and I most certainly do not need to buy any potatoes  ;-)

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Day 231 - Massive Fail

I've read lots of recipes on line for ways to use Aquafaba, or bean water.  

It's simply the water from a can of beans, usually the recipes state they have used chickpea water.  It can be used to replace eggs in lots of recipes and there are myriads of photos of perfect looking meringues made with it on the internet.   So last time I was making a Quinoa, Chickpea and Potato Curry I drained the chickpeas over a bowl instead of the sink.

As suggested in the meringue recipe I started whisking the liquid up with my hand whisk, it was splashing everywhere, so I pulled off a large sheet of clingfilm and covered most of the dish with it, keeping it taut and away from the spinning whisks ... I bet you've guessed what happened next, my attention was diverted by something the dogs were up to and I took my eyes off what I was doing for a split second, long enough for the whisks to catch the clingfilm and tangle it up around themselves and in the process splatter half whisked bean and sugar water all over the kitchen.

You don't realise how many things you have on the worktops until you have to wipe everything down with a wet cloth.  But Suky loved licking the mixture off the front of the cupboards while I was wiping all the other surfaces first.

I tipped the remaining mixture into my freestanding Kenwood mixer and left it whisking away while I completed the kitchen clean up and then I went in the cupboard to get the Cream of Tartar needed for the recipe ... no Cream of Tartar anywhere ... bum!!

So I thought what's the next best thing ..... so I added instead the same amount of Baking Powder and continued whisking away.  The mixture instantly transformed and suddenly looked very meringue like and I happily dolloped it in eight large mounds on a lined baking tray and popped it into the bottom oven of the Aga.

I finished cleaning the kitchen and retired to the living room with a coffee, with the house gradually starting to smell very meringue-y and nice.  When the timer went off an hour later I couldn't wait to get to the oven and take out my nice crispy chewy and almost free meringues.  

When I opened the door I was greeted with a sticky puddle of aquafaba filling the whole of the baking tray ... my meringues has dissolved in the heat instead of setting  .... massive fail.  

I'll try again using Cream of Tartar next time ... because guess what I've just found in the basket I keep my spices in!!

Today is a No Spend Day