Thursday, 31 March 2016

Day 91 - Last Day of Month Three

Banana Cake

Money Spent This Month - £40.61   Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £17.00
Money Spent in Total - £88.58
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £71.50
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £240.13
No Spend Days  25/31

Total Spent Cash/Vouchers/Coupons/Points   £160.08
Weekly Average £12.31
No Spend Days Cumulative - 76/91

Another month gone already, where is the time going to!!

Once again the spending has crept up a little bit more than I would have like it too.  Bread and milk have featured high on the things that I have bought regularly this month, as I have some bread flour in the cupboard I think for this coming month I will try to make more at home and buy less from the shops.  I can't do much about milk, but buying only one four pint bottle a week is pretty good.  We had some over from last weekend so it's been popped into the freezer ready for next weekend so that will save one weeks purchase.

My biggest learning curve this month - the knowledge that once the homegrown salad items kick in a little bit more, rather than being the trimmings to add to bought salad items we will save a fortune, because apart from the bread and milk my most regular purchases seem to be peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes all things that I grow in the polytunnel.

How am I feeling at the end of Month Three -  determined to use more vouchers next month and less cash.  I need to keep the cash in the tub and shop with my vouchers as I want to get the average weekly cash spend down.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Day 90 - Nuts

Next to the kettle we have a big tub of mixed nuts and dried fruit, it stops the need to have biscuits with your tea or coffee if you have a few nuts to nibble on while you wait for the kettle to boil and takes away the munchies much better and in a healthier way than a Mars bar would.

Yes, dried fruit is high in natural sugars but mixed with nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds it is pretty balanced out as a nibble.

The only thing that struck me the other day is I will soon run out of nuts and dried fruit in the cupboard and these are going to be expensive to replace.  I have the new voucher from Holland and Barrett but that is only for £2.75, I will have to buy during one of the 'Buy One Get One for a Penny', or 'Buy One Get One Free' sales ..... which thankfully run pretty much all the time.

But it will still be costly for a mass restock!!

Today is a No Spend Day

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Day 89 - Tinned Soup?

Tinned Soup as a title for a post ... I bet that made you think for a minute!!

No I don't buy tinned soup, I make my own but the other day after decanting the cooled soup into a jug to go in the fridge ready for the next couple of days lunches I thought I would see how much I get through each day.  I had just eaten a HUGE bowl full after coming in after a mornings planting in the polytunnel with a very grumbly tummy.

Copying my portion into another bowl it turned out that I had just consumed 400ml.  SO I have just been on to check out vegetable soups you can use that link to see the page I ended up on which told me that a tin of soup is 400g which is pretty much the same as 400ml.  So I would have consumed a full tin all to myself.

I then went onto the Tesco page that let me see what the ingredients were in this soup:  


Water, Tomatoes (24%), Carrots, Potatoes, Pasta Tubes (Water, Durum Wheat Semolina), Peas, Onions, Swede, Modified Cornflour, Sugar, Haricot Beans, Vegetable Oil, Wheat Flour, Cornflour, Salt, Yeast Extracts, Herb Extracts, Flavouring, Vegetables: 28%
Not too bad, but looking closer not brilliant, I don't see the need for modified cornflour, wheat flour, more cornflour or vegetable oil, and I'm guessing the pasta is there to fill out space where more vegetables would have fitted and raised the cost of manufacture.  And on the can it implies that there are two servings per can. ( Information for this product here.)
I think I'll stick to the homemade stuff  .... it's more filling as you get bigger portions, less calories (if you're interested in this), can be more varied, there are vegetable trimmings for the chickens to have a treat, you can get a weeks worth of soup for around the price of one shop bought can and there's no tin can to rinse out and clog up the recycling bin.
As my children would have said 'Winner, winner, chicken dinner'  ;-)
Today is a No Spend Day

Monday, 28 March 2016

Day 88 - The Chocolate Has Left the House

We didn't buy each other Easter Eggs this year, we both shouldn't eat chocolate ... but we occasionally do ... naughty I know!!  But we were bought a rather large Toblerone as a gift and we got stuck in with the relish only those that rarely eat the luscious brown stuff do when it is put in front of them at the time of year when it seems everyone is eating chocolate.

I obviously felt yucky as a consequence, but in the way of waste not want not I decided to turn the last four triangles into something a little bit more digestible than it's pure form.

So I melted it, added a couple of spoonfuls of Sunflower seeds, a couple of spoonfuls of Pumpkin seeds and a lot of Puffed Brown Rice, mixed it all together and turned it into a flat slab of well sunflowery, pumpkiny, puffed riced chocolate.  Between us we ate it over the course of yesterday, the last of it with some ice cream for supper.

The chocolate has now left the house ..... phew!!

Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Day 87 - Pasta Al Forno

The simplest of food is what I like the best.  The other night I made us a big dish of Pasta Al Forno, which is simply pasta that is then baked in the oven.

Just a big pan of pasta boiled for the length of time it tells you on the packet minus a minute or so, you definitely do not want soggy pasta so a little more al dente is good.

A minute or so before it is cooked drop some frozen peas into the pan to cook along with the pasta, then drain everything and put back into the pan.  Tip in a jar or two of tomato based sauce and give it all a good stir, then pour this mixture into an oven proof dish.  Dot over the top of the pasta little slices of Feta cheese, spoonfuls of Pesto, (or sliced up cubes if you do as I do and freeze your pesto in ice-cube trays) add a good sprinkle of Parmesan or any hard cheese and put in a medium oven for 20-25 minutes or until everything is piping hot.

The top has a lovely slightly crusty texture and as you dig in the pasta underneath is lusciously smothered in sauce and so very, very tasty.

Simple and tasty .... my sort of food ... it was so tasty I forgot to take a photograph of the finished dish .... I'll have to make it again so I can get a picture   ;-)

Today is a No Spend Day.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Day 86 - Putting Away the Shopping

I am finding so many advantages to NOT shopping for huge amounts of food, one of which is putting away the shopping

Doing a big weekly shop used to mean struggling with a full boot, and occasionally a back seat or a passenger foot-well filled with shopping bags ... I drive a Fiat 500 not the biggest car in the world!!

  Now it's one bag in the boot, occasionally two if I've been buying dog or cat food which is not included in our Challenge, easy to put in and easy to get out.

I used to dread, well not exactly dread, but most definitely not like trying to find room for things in my already pretty full cupboards ... which led me to ask myself "why did I shop out of habit when I already had food in the cupboards?"  I guess my answer was because I fell for the supermarkets clever pushing of BOGOFs and 'bargains you just can't miss' and the pretty ingrained habit of thinking I should be shopping at least once a week ... just too many times.

Doing this Challenge has made me kind of psycho-analyse this and many other things, and that's something I really like to do.  To work out the whys and wherefores of things I think and things I do and make better, more logical and useful decisions for the future.

The photo of the fish fillets that I bought the other day, individually wrapped then placed in a big box which fitted easily and immediately into the chest freezer with no freezer 'Tetris' needed to be played summed up a big step forward for me.

One that I really, really like.

Today is a No Spend Day

Friday, 25 March 2016

Day 85 - Shopping for Easter Weekend

Money Spent Today - £23.23  Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £88.58
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £71.50
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £240.13

I went out for some frozen peas and ice cream and it seems I ended shopping for the weekend ... the Easter Weekend.  I did that fatal thing of going out for food shopping feeling a little bit peckish, by the time I got there I was very peckish and was really fancying a fish bun.  So I bought frozen peas, ice cream and buns and fish and bacon and reduced price meat .... and ended up spending £23.23 in cash ... not even a voucher or coupon to cushion the blow!!

When I got home and added the new items to the freezer inventory I noticed with some  lots of dismay that we already had lamb, beef chunks and even bacon!!

Oh well, it's done now ... and I did enjoy my fish bun for lunch ;-)

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Day 84 - Old Apples

I knew I had some apples in the fruit drawer of the fridge .... but I didn't realise how long they had been there.  

If I had I might have been charging them rent!!

They were still totally edible, if a little bit soft around the edges.  I added a couple to my breakfast Nutriblasts this week and the others I chopped up gave to the chickens .... I've gone right off fruit at the moment and we already have lots of jars of apple and a whole stash of apple and blackberry crumble bases in the freezer so they were not really needed.  And of course once the pack was open I doubt they would have kept much longer, even if I wanted them to!!

Today is a No Spend Day

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Day 83 - Coupons

Just when I had got rid of the coupon for Holland and Barrett from my purse I came home yesterday to find another one had landed on my doormat.

The nuts and things I bought before Christmas means that it's worth even more than the last coupon I had.  Now it's tucked into my purse and will stay there in until I can think of something else we need from there, luckily they have a good three month date to use them in.

Today is a No Spend Day

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Day 82 - Toiletries

This year is about saving in every department of the housekeeping and that includes the toiletries that we use.  I had a good stock of these hand creams in the bathroom cupboard, although I think this is the last one.  I bought them last year when they were reduced to a bargain price and stashed them all for future use.

I couldn't get any more to squeeze out so I did my usual trick of cutting the tube in half .... and was completely shocked at how much cream was still in there!!  Imagine if I was the sort of person that threw the tube in the bin when no more would come out, I would have wasted almost a third of the total product.

Well it's chopped in half now and will give us both enough hand cream to last until the weekend.

Just in case it lasts a bit longer than that the top half is now being used as a top to stop the cream from drying out.

Today is a No Spend Day 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Day 81 - Shortbread Biscuits

I really was craving something sweet over the weekend so I decided to make up a quick batch of Shortbread Biscuits.  These are my one downfall, I don't eat cake, I very rarely eat sweets, just the odd bag of liquorice ... but I do love shortbread.

Here's the recipe I use, it's very simple.

Shortbread Biscuits

200g Plain Flour
200g Softened Butter
50g Golden Caster Sugar
I whizz up normal sugar in my food processor or Nutribullet (with the grinding blade)

Whizz the flour and butter in your food processor.
Add the sugar whizz a bit more.
Tip the mixture into a lined 22cm cake or tart tin and press down with your fingers or the back of a spoon.  Persevere this can take a while.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until pale golden brown in a medium heat oven, I use the simmering oven of the Aga.
While still warm prick with a fork, cut into wedges and dredge with some more sugar.
Leave in the tin until completely cold.

Try not to eat all at once ;-)

Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Day 80 - Another Day, Another Shop

Money Spent Today - £0  Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £2.50
Money Spent in Total - £65.35
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £71.50
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £263.36

We were in Llandudno yesterday and walked past the Holland and Barrett shop and it reminded me that I had a coupon in my purse that was about to expire.  Now it might only have been for £2.50 but to my mind that was worth having so we called in to see what we could get.

At first I didn't know what to buy but when my eyes alighted on the porridge oats on the 'Buy One Get One Half Price' stand I thought well I know I'm about to run out of these, one more batch of homemade flapjacks and they will be all gone .... so that answered my dilemma.

My voucher was for £2.50 and my shopping came to £2.47 .... but I'll not quibble about losing 3p just this once  ;-)

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Day 79 - Shopping

Money Spent Today - £5.54  Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £10
Money Spent in Total - £65.35
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £69.00
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £263.36

I bought a bit more shopping this week than I have for a while.  I had my last Tesco voucher  to spend and it was for £10, as you don't get any change I thought I might as well get stocked up with onions and water even though I had not quite run out of these yet.

The sausages were a yellow stickered buy, I had found two packs of ready made mash in the freezer when I did my stocktake and I thought an easy meal of 'Bangers and Mash' could be on the cards to use one of them, and the little scotch egg type things will make a lovely nibble for Lovely Hubby with the last of his beer, while he has a Six Nations watching afternoon and evening today. 

Yep .... I have the reciept this time  :-)

Spent Today - £5.54 cash and £10 Tesco Voucher

Friday, 18 March 2016

Day 78 - Wrapping Food

Wrapping food well is the best way to make it last as long as possible.  

If you store things in the fridge things will dry out more quickly if they are not wrapped properly, and in the freezer things will develop 'freezer burn' if they are not tightly and sometimes doubly wrapped.

If homegrown things, such as these two carrots and the turnip are only going to be in the fridge for a few hours or overnight then I will just pop them into a polythene bag, this just traps a bit of moisture with them.

I have tried many methods of salad storage over the years but the one I stick with now is to wrap any opened salad food tightly excluding any air and in the case of salad or vegetable leaves of any description once ashed and spun in the salad spinner I wrap them first in paper kitchen roll before placing them in a 'Stayfresh' or other type of bag.  The kitchen paper takes the moisture from the vegetable and feeds it back when it is needed.  The exception to this is cucumber which I keep in it's original packaging where possible (except for home grown ones of course) and then add a layer of cling film, making sure the cut end is tightly covered.

Recently whenever I have mentioned doing this I have been advised that celery is best kept in tinfoil rather than the kitchen paper and 'Stayfresh' bag method that I use, so I gave it a shot with my last bunch of celery to see if it made a difference.  I found it to be equally successful in helping the celery stay as fresh as when it was opened for quite a few weeks.  So in future I may vary from method to method.

And of course if you are careful with the foil you can smooth it out and use it for something else once all the celery has been used up, just as I have been using my Stayfresh bags for years now.  Simply washed, rinsed and left to air dry they are as good now as when I opened the original packet about five years ago!!

Today is a No Spend Day

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Day 77 - Pesto Salmon Pasta

A simple but oh so tasty tea for one.

1 Salmon Fillet
4 Pesto Cubes
1 Tbs Parmesan Style Cheese
A handful of Spinach Leaves - shredded

Spread one of the defrosted pesto cubes on the salmon fillet, wrap in foil and cook in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes.  

While this cooks drop the pasta into a pan of boiling salted water and cook for the recommended time on the pack, five minutes before the end of the cooking time drop in the spinach.

When the pasta is cooked drain quickly, do not be worried about draining too well ... a little bit of trapped water in the pasta will make the sauce delicious.  Tip back into the pan and stir in the remaining pesto cubes and half of the cheese.

Flake the now cooked salmon into the pasta or simply serve on the top, sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan.


Today is a No Spend Day

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Day 76 - Luxury on a Budget

This living cheaply lark is not all about deprivation and doing without, as this mornings breakfast highlighted only too well.

Rummaging in the freezer last night for a couple of Pesto cubes to add to a pasta dish, I came across a packet of yellow stickered smoked salmon flakes ..... I literally said 'oooh'.  I got them out to defrost in the fridge overnight and just couldn't resist adding half of them to this mornings scrambled eggs, very tasty ... and much more filling than it looks on the plate .

There are other ways that we are eating extremely well even though the money spending has been seriously curtailed.  Most notably is the luscious bowls of soups we have been having on a regular basis and the big bowls of stew, vegetable for me and with added meat for Lovely Hubby.  Even the added meat doesn't have to break the bank.  A couple of browned sausages or half of a yellow-stickered bargain steak (the other half added to a homemade pasty the next day) is enough to add a meaty kick to a tasty stew packed with homegrown vegetables.  

A single beefburger reinvented as meatballs, browned and then added to some homemade tomato sauce and poured over a bowl of pasta turns what might be quite bland into a dish meaty enough for my man.  

At the moment we still have lots of our freezer stash and my priority is to use it carefully, sensibly and with the tastiest possible results.  No doubt later in the year it may be harder when the stash is diminished but there are still ways and means of stretching what we have by shopping carefully and growing what we need to plug the gaps.

And I have still got over £78 worth of Nectar points ..... I am thinking of these as a way to re-stock with some of the more expensive items as they get used up.  Meat, coffee, cheese etc .... but even then it will be the yellow stickered section of the supermarket that I visit first.

Today is No Spend Day

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Day 75 - Planning

One of the secrets to living on less can be pretty boring once you realise you have to do it, but it's a necessary evil and I do find that once I sit down with my pen or pencil and a sheet of two of scrap paper it actually gets a lot more interesting.

Of course I'm talking about planning.

There's lots of planning to do for me at this time of the year, there's the seeds to be planted, where to put them before and after germination, their final growing place and most importantly of all how many I should plant in each sowing.  I much prefer the actual 'doing' of the task rather than the planning of the task, but it is much easier to 'do' if you know exactly what you are doing.

In the house the planning is all about shopping, or not shopping ... by using up what we have and using it wisely.  For example I am really trying to use things in date order and using things now that we might not fancy eating when the weather is warmer, for example we have frozen pots of stew and thick Winter soups that I really don't want to find on a hot Summers day when something else would be much more appreciated to go alongside homegrown salads and Summer vegetables.

So every now and then I knuckle down make a big mug of coffee and scribble on the back of previously used printed paper .... waste not want not, and once my plans are made any excess paper gets scrunched up and is used to start the fire.

Today is a No Spend Day - a planned one  ;-)

Monday, 14 March 2016

Day 74 - Shopping

Money Spent Today - £5.73  Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £59.81
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £59.00
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £268.90

After yesterdays post highlighting my 'no spend week' I bet you just knew that today's would be about spending .... ;-)

Yep, I had to shop, not a dire need but just a few bits we were missing.  Unfortunately, once again I forgot to keep the receipt .... or rather I can't find it anywhere!!

So from memory (and a quick peek on  -

Bread Rolls - two for £1
Tomatoes - £1
Salted Peanuts - (2  x 48p) - 96p
Hairspray £2
Bananas - 48p
Salt - 29p

It's much easier when I have the receipt, as we have started saying ' that'll learn me' .... don't you sometimes just love bad English  ;-)

No vouchers were spent during the course of this shopping as my last remaining Tesco voucher is a £10 one and they don't give you change from vouchers .... shucks!!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Day 73 - A No Spend Week

Today marks the end of my first No Spend Week :-)

No cash has left my tightly sealed purse since Saturday 5th March ... the photo has nothing whatsoever to do with this but I just love this little array of jugs and the Rosemary cuttings that they contained last Summer.

Time for me to do some more cuttings I think as the Rosemary plant that has over-wintered in the tin bath is looking very sorry for itself at the base of the plant but pretty healthy at the ends.  So a lot of  pruning coming up and then there will be lots of lovely baby Rosemarys to take the place of the one large one.

 Rosemary cutting are so simple, just cut off the ends of some branches, strip the leaves from the bottom couple of inches and stand in water, change the water every couple of days watching out for the roots developing as you do.  Once there are lots of roots pot in some compost and keep in a warm place for a while.  Free plants are good.

Today is a No Spend Day
Today marks the end of a No Spend Week

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Day 72 - Soup and Wraps

A simple lunch rustled up from things already in the fridge.

The soup is the whizzed up second half of the Vegetable Stew from the other day, and the wraps contain some Protein Salad mixed with sliced cucumber and chopped onion.  There's something very refreshing about a wrap made with a lettuce leaf instead of bread.  

It's still filling .... but not stodgily so.

Today is a No Spend Day.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Day 71 - No Waste

The best way to save money is not to spend.  It sounds so simple and IT IS!!

The best way not to spend is to make good use, very good use of everything you have, whether this is food, clothes, books or other possessions, and that is what is at the forefront of my mind for the duration of this year ... and beyond.

So, with this in mind I am using every part of the vegetables I pick, in this case the stalks were chopped to go in the soup that the leaves were added to later ...

... and I'm reading the books on my bookshelves in preference to buying new ones or going to the library.  

I'm also wearing my clothes until they are unwearable ..... a T shirt developed serious holes yesterday after I caught it on something.  The fabric was that thin it couldn't be mended and would have been pretty useless even as a duster (of which I have lots) so it went on the fire last night.  It burned really well and gave us ten minutes of good heat .... useful right until the end.

Today is a No Spend Day

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Day 70 - Simple Veggie Stew

I love a simple Vegetable Stew .... and I mean simple!!

Half a bag of homemade Veg Hash 
(which is finely chopped onion, celery and carrot, packed in bags and frozen ready for use
1 sweet potato and 1 'normal' potato, both chopped  
a teaspoon or two of bouillon powder
1 tsp turmeric
black pepper

Bring to the boil and then simmer until the potatoes are nice and soft.

Eat and enjoy half of the Veggie Stew as it is, maybe with a hunk of crusty bread to mop up the lovely juices, and then whizz up the other half with a stick blender for a delicious bowl of soup the next day.

Today is another No Spend Day

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Day 69 - Protein Salad and Pasta

Katie asked by email if I would put the protein salad recipe up on here as she had trouble opening the photo to make it bigger.  Here it is -

Protein Salad
450g Chicken, Salmon or Tuna OR 8 hard boiled Eggs
(3 cans 150-200g of drained, canned salmon or tuna is about right)
4 tbs of a creamy base, such as the Mayo recipe from yesterday
1 or 2 tbs of lemon juice, fresh or bottled
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
any additional ingredients you fancy
(although I prefer to add these to individual portions when I am making each meal)

Chop up or flake your protein ingredient, stir in the mayo and then add all the other ingredients and mix well.  Store in the fridge.  This will keep well for up to a week.

Be aware you need quite a small portion it is very filling!!

I had my final portion from my first batch of protein salad last night with the last of my brown pasta from the jar on the shelf.  Although this meal is totally outside the remit of the Whole30 from where the protein salad recipe came from it was absolutely delicious, and as I tipped the cooked pasta into the bowl the salad had been stored in all week to eat it ....  it meant I had hardly any washing up to do.

 I have now topped up the jar with some of this large bag of pasta, and I am recording it on here so I can see how long this lasts me  :-)

Today s a No Spend Day

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Day 68 - Homemade Mayo

I might not strictly be doing the Whole30 after last weekends blip, but I AM and will continue to eat along the basic principles.  The first thing I made when I was preparing for the Whole30 was the mayonnaise.  I love mayo and usually use it a lot instead of butter if I make myself a sandwich.

My mayo recipe is so simple -


1 whole, very fresh Egg
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Mustard powder
1 or 2 tbs Lemon juice
250mls approx.  of Light Olive Oil

Put ALL the ingredients into a jug.
Whizz with a stick blender for about 10 seconds.
Put into a nice clean jar.

And it keeps in the fridge for weeks, and at least until the use by date on your eggs, although mine never lasts that.  So much fresher tasting than the jars of commercial mayo .... of which I still have a few in the cupboard.

I also prepared some of this Protein Salad and it is delicious.  

I used three tins of Red Salmon to make mine, very luxurious and very, very tasty.  I've still got some left in the fridge, I've had it on salads, jacket potatoes and in lettuce 'wraps', and even the odd spoonful just on it's own  .... yummy and very filling.

Today is a No Spend Day

Monday, 7 March 2016

Day 67 - Sugar

Infographic found on Facebook

Sugar in all it's many incarnations and called by it's many names is still sugar and it's something we, meaning me and Lovely Hubby are trying to avoid, not not just trying to avoid but should avoid.

Sugar doesn't agree with me at the best of times, but luckily I don't have a sweet tooth and apart from a real craving every now and then ... I don't know where this comes from ... I rarely have added sugar in my day to day diet.  True I make a batch of flapjacks every now and then, and will consume them on a regular basis until they are all gone, luckily without an urge to refill the tin when it's empty, but these days there are no biscuits in the biscuit tin and no cakes waiting to be consumed anywhere in house, I really don't like cake at all ... yep, I'm strange that way.

Lovely Hubby has a far more important reason for avoiding sugar and that's because he is a Type 2 diabetic.  But, and this is where our problem lies, he has a killer sweet tooth.  So he struggles much more than me.  My current challenge is to wean him off all things sugary while not making him feel too deprived.  When he gets deprived he finds it oh so easy to go in the garage to pay for his petrol and come out with two Snickers bars, which will be gone in the blink of an eye.  This has led to a recent rise in his blood sugar readings and a realisation on both our parts that we have to be a lot stricter if he wants to remain off medication.

So I am currently helping him to fight his cravings, which unfortunately on Saturday at the cinema meant eating half a bag of Minstrels so he wouldn't eat the lot .... hence my Whole30 is out of the window!!  The things we do for love :-/

Today is a No Spend Day .... especially on sweet things :-)

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Day 66 - Wonky Veg

The supermarkets are all in their own way trying to jump on the 'look aren't we good we sell 'wonky veg' and don't cause the farmers lots of grief ' bandwagon.  Well it's all very good but about 15 years too late in my opinion.  Think of the millions of tons of vegetables that have been destroyed, ploughed back into fields or left to rot because they didn't meet the supermarkets stringent criteria before.

There has never been anything wrong with wonky veg in my eyes, I've bought it in the past from Farmers Markets and from market stalls whenever it has been available.  And potatoes and carrots still with their covering of soil last longer than the scrubbed clean variety as lots of us know.

Most of my vegetables, harvested straight from the Veggie Patch or the polytunnel are wonky veg, in the photo above I guess only the second from the top carrot would have made the supermarket grade as a 'good' carrot .... yet they all taste exactly the same - delicious!!

I'm all for wonky veg ... but homegrown wonky veg is even better  :-)

Today is a No Spend Day

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Day 65 - Something for the Weekend

Money Spent Today - £2.50  Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £54.08
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £59.00
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £274.63

After my shop for the few fresh bits we needed during the week, there was nothing we needed for the weekend except for some milk and bread for Lovely Hubby ... so that was all I bought.

It's strange walking into the supermarket, simply picking up a couple of things ..... but then wandering straight back out again without 'browsing'.  Less browsing means less temptation and if I really want to lower the average weekly spend I do not need any temptation put in my path, the supermarkets do such a good job with their special offers and tempting displays .... but I'm getting even better at resisting  :-)

I forgot to keep the receipt  :-(

Bread £1.50
Milk £1

Friday, 4 March 2016

Day 64 - Re-organising the Freezers

At the weekend we had a homemade crumble from the freezer for dessert .....

... as you can see  from this photo we have quite a stack of them in the small freezer, on this shelf and the one below it.  The tin foil dishes are simply filled with chopped homegrown apples and blackberries right up to the top and then lidded and labelled.  When we want a crumble I take off the top and add a layer of crumble, which I store separately in the tubs on top.  Doing it this way means you get lots of fruit but there is still just enough room on the top of the foil tray once the little edges are folded up when you remove the lid.  

And if you want a pie or cobbler you can simply add a pastry or scone topping to it, or of course you can just tip out the fruit and use it in something completely different.  It's nice not to limit your options.

It was while doing this and taking the photograph that I realised we don't eat crumble that often and yet here they all were taking up the most useful shelf of the small kitchen freezer, so I set to and  inventoried the contents of this freezer ... and then rearranged the contents of both freezers to be more user friendly.  Of course this meant updating my whole inventory which thanks to it being saved on the computer was not too time consuming to do.

Now the plan is to regularly move into the smaller freezer all the things that will be used up first and start to get into the habit of using the chest freezer for long term storage, which is the plan for it when it's moved into the workshop.

Today is a No Spend Day

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Day 63 - Shopping

Money Spent Today - £3.61  Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £4.50
Money Spent in Total - £51.58
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £59.00
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £277.13

I was quite pleased actually when I went through the 'can have and can't have' list for my month long diet plan that is The Whole30 and found that the only thing I needed to buy was some clarified butter or Ghee.  

I couldn't see any clarified butter in the supermarket, I'm sure I've seen it there before, so I bought a tin of ghee to start me off but I think I will make a batch of clarified butter for myself when this is nearly at an end.   I noticed Tescos own brand of unsalted butter was only 85p a pack so next time I'm there I will buy some of that and have a go.

The other things I bought highlights how much money we save when I grow our own, so high on the list for growing this year will be potatoes, cucumbers and peppers.  Out of these peppers were the only thing I struggled with last year ... so I must do better this year  :-)

Spent Today  £3.61 Cash and £4.50 in Tesco vouchers.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Day 62 - Last Day of Month Two

Money Spent This Month - £31.35   Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £24.50
Money Spent in Total - £47.97
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £54.50
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £280.74
No Spend Days  25/29

Total Spent Cash/Vouchers/Coupons/Points   £102.47
Weekly Average £8.20
No Spend Days Cumulative - 51/60

I should have done this post the other day but completely forgot - oops.  

I've had The Whole30 on my mind and have been busy menu planning and setting up the fridge with lots of suitable foods so I wouldn't be caught hungry and tempted to stray from the straight and narrow on this month long diet plan.  Luckily almost all the foods I needed were in the house although I did have to make one purchase which I was about to post about today but will now appear tomorrow due to this post having to be squeezed in - I'm nothing if not organised ;-)

So how has this second month gone?  Well I think it went really well, I finally got round to making some homemade bread, I made lots of soup ... a panful each week in fact which kept lunchtime costs right down.  We won £25 on the National Lottery on our last monthly purchase of tickets from last year and this went into our holiday fund.  Lots more coupons arrived from both Tesco and M&S a total of £46.50 worth in fact, which will help to keep us going.

The freezer was filled to capacity it's since been inventoried and since the blog post about finally getting round to doing the inventory I have also done one for the small freezer, added the two together and reorganised the contents of both freezers so that day to day foods are now in the kitchen freezer and not tucked away in the chest freezer.

My biggest learning curve this month was - do not take your husband shopping - we spent more money on that one trip to the Farm Shop than on any other during the Challenge to date.

How am I feeling at the end of Month Two - determined to watch our weekly average spend, we need it to stay as low as possible if we want to see this year out.

Today is a No Spend Day

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Day 61 - Who Ate All the Pies?

Don't panic I haven't abandoned my Whole 30 already, I just thought I would show you what we ate over the weekend.  I really wanted to get as much temptation out of the fridge as I could before starting on my 30 day health reset so it was imperative to eat the cheese that was in the fridge and use up the sheet of ready made pastry that I had defrosted.

I just put the two together for me with the addition of half a chopped red onion and a sprinkling of  frozen peas.  Lovely Hubby's pies were 'Breakfast Pies'.  Simply some leftover sausages and bacon.  I put the dry ingredients into the pastry cases and then poured beaten egg in to fill all the gaps.  Turning Lovely Hubby's pies into egg, bacon and sausage .... proper breakfast in a pie.

A close up of one of my pies :-)

The little bit of leftover pastry was used to make a quick cheese and onion pasty for my tea.  Now they are all gone .... and with them hopefully the temptation for me to cheat!!

Today is No Spend Day ..... and a No More Pies Day :-)