Saturday, 30 April 2016

Day 121 - Banana Icecream


Banana ice-cream  must be the simplest recipe ever!!

Ingredients
Bananas

Method
Freeze your bananas in chunks overnight.
Whizz them up in a food processor until it looks like ice-cream.
Put into a freezer box and eat with whatever you would normally have ice-cream with or just on its own.

Strangest thing - it doesn't taste very banana-y at all !!

You can get all creative and add some extras if you want to, I added a splash of Vanilla Extract to this batch, I think chocolate chips might be nice or some crushed nuts, even if the fancy takes you some crushed Maltesers or Crunchie bars.

This fills all my ice-cream cravings, as I am finding ice-cream is the one thing that blocks my sinuses more than anything else with dairy in it ... except milk!!

Today is a No Spend Day


Friday, 29 April 2016

Day 120 - Shoes


During this  'A Year Without Clothes, Books and Housekeeping Money' something else that is also included is shoes.  Even when this little catalogue of Hotter shoes, my favourite sort, fell on to the doormat yesterday I wasn't tempted ..... not in the slightest!!

I read through it, admired some of the shoes, even thought to myself  if I was buying shoes I would buy these and these and these ..... and then took it outside and put it straight into the paper recycling box.

I have plenty of pairs of footwear, enough boots, winter shoes and a couple of pairs that are summery enough not to be even tempted to purchase more.  It's quite a good feeling to be losing that 'wanting' mentality.

Today is a No Spend Day - not even on shoes!!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Day 119 - Free Seeds


More free seeds landed through the letterbox the other day ... attached to the June edition of Kitchen Garden magazine.  

Unfortunately, although the seeds have been stashed in the seed box the magazine will have to wait to be read.  I'm only just about to start reading the April edition having only just finished reading the March one.  It doesn't matter that I'm so far behind though as with the weather being so unpredictable and so very cold at night it's more like March anyway!!

These free seeds are going to be so important to us this year and in future years, because I have enough seeds to feed us for at least two or three more years after this one.  One packet of lettuce seeds, and this one contains 300, saves you so much money.  A single lettuce can cost on average 50p so in this one packet I have potentially £150 worth of lettuces.  The cucumber packet contains 15 seeds, which is potentially 15 cucumber plants which on average will give you around 20 cucumbers, so if we also price them at 50p to buy, is also a potential saving of £150 over the course of the next few summers.

Free seeds = Free food ... not to be sneezed at.

Today is a No Spend Day

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Days 117 and 118 - Weekend Away



Money Spent Today - £7  Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £173.68
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £99.25
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £155.03

Ooops I missed a post .... but not the end of the world considering we have been away for four days enjoying life in a different Welsh cottage.  A holiday chosen and paid for last year before this Challenge began.

We were really good over our weekend away and took all the food we ate at the cottage away with us.  Eggs, bacon, bread for toast along with butter and jam for breakfasts, salad and accompaniments for evening meals, snacks and nibbles to take with us for trips out.  We did treat ourselves to coffees and one meal while we were out and about but this came from our holiday fund which consisted of our birthday monies from my lovely Mum and our £25 little lottery win a couple of months back ... which we stood behind a picture on the mantlepiece and resolutely saved for our holiday.

On our return though we did need some supplies, so we called in the local shop for some bacon and some bread.  A sliced brown loaf, and a treat in the form of a French stick.  It's done us for two meals up to now, a little nibble while waiting for tea to cook when we got home, and today a third of it lightly toasted and then smeared with garlic butter and oven roasted to dunk in a bowl of homemade sop for lunch.

It's nice to go away and it's also nice to get home and back to normal.

Day 117 = Shopping
Day 118 = A No Spend Day

Monday, 25 April 2016

Day 116 - Shopping


Money Spent Today - £23.44   Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £166.68
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £99.25
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £162.03

It had to be done!!

We were almost out of tea bags and coffee, so I checked mysupermarket.com and saw (as someone commented on this blog last week ... thank you) that Tesco had a £4 a jar offer on Nescafe.  When I got there I spotted they also had a half price offer on large boxes of Typhoo, one of Lovely Hubby's favourite brands so I stocked up on these too.

It seemed a HUGE amount of money to be handing over, but hopefully this little stockpile should last us quite a while ... it will be interesting to see just how long it does last!!


Just cash spent today --- no vouchers left for Tesco  :-(

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Day 115 - Sunday Lunch


Do you sit down to a traditional Sunday Lunch?

It's something we tend not to do, usually because we have a leisurely breakfast on a Sunday, something with eggs and toast and a couple of cups of coffee.  Reading or chatting as we take our time to eat.  Once this is done we clear up and then get stuck in to the jobs of the day, breaking once for a cuppa and perhaps a homemade biscuit or scone, and then it's back to work until teatime.

So Sunday Lunch as an 'event' just doesn't happen.  I can't say that it bothers me I like our more suits us style and when we do sit down to a roast dinner whether it's a veggie one like the top picture, 

Image result for sunday lunch

... or a more traditional looking one for Lovely Hubby, we really do enjoy it.

My favourite part of any roast dinner is the stuffing balls, I always make far more than I actually need to just for sandwiches and sneaky nibbles the next day ... and I've never been able to better Paxo, luckily I still have a jar full in the cupboard, bought when it was on offer way before Christmas.

Today is a No Spend Day

(Both photos taken from Google Images.)

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Day 114 - One Egg = One Meal


One of our hens is determined to lay the biggest eggs ever.

The egg next to this whopper is what is sold in the supermarkets as a 'large' egg ... I don't know what they would call this huge double yolker!!


Anyway just one egg and one large round of toast made a very tasty ... and very filling ... breakfast for me this morning.

Today is a No Spend Day

Friday, 22 April 2016

Day 113 - Wants and Needs


I need to really concentrate on wants versus needs so much more this year.  I keep slipping and spending what little money I have on things that really I could manage without.

We have all sorts of things in the freezer that could so easily take the place of the things I am buying.  Luckily I have more fresh stuff coming on in the polytunnel now and  that will soon stop me from having to buy salad stuff.

I'm starting to wonder if I could go a whole month without buying anything except milk ... it would do my budget the world of good.

Maybe a No Spend May could be on the cards!!

Today is a No Spend Day

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Day 112 - Marmalade


This is the marmalade from the other day now with its labels attached.  It looks so much better once labelled up and stacked in the cupboard, and it's delicious.  I was talking on this blog about selling some of our jams and marmalades at a car boot sale ... but now I'm having second thoughts.

Jam will last for years, indeed we are still eating some that was made in 2012 and it's delicious, and of course while we have our huge jam and marmalade stash to eat our way through I can use any  fruits grown this year or next in other ways, possibly ways that use less sugar as that would be an expensive thing to have to buy lots of this year.


Today is a No Spend Day

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Day 111 - Question



I had this comment yesterday ....

*** *** ***
The lemon marmalade looks wonderful!
I believe you've said this challenge is to get an idea of your costs when your DH leaves his weekday job. But I'm wondering if you will get fewer food vouchers as you continue to limit your spending and how that will impact your budget in the future. Will you buy other necessary items at Tesco and M&S to continue to earn vouchers? This is interesting to me because here in the U.S. you really can't earn vouchers or cash-back from grocery stores (at least in my area) but some money can be earned shopping at drugstores and the big thing here is credit card rewards.
Good luck! To me it looks like you are doing great.
*** *** ***

So I thought that rather than leaving a long winded reply to it and no doubt be asked it again in the future I would give my answer a short post all of it's own.

Yes, Barbara has got in right ... this year is all about testing the waters for our future spending needs.  We want to be as self sufficient as possible, to not be in any way extravagant in our lifestyle and pare right back to comfortably simple levels our whole way of living.  This obviously means we won't be shopping that often, in fact we would like to get to a stage where we would shop once a month for staples ... bread, flour, rice, pasta, tea, coffee etc. and the rest of the time be reliant on our own fruits, vegetables, eggs and meat products for Lovely Hubby.
So this year is about starting the process off whilst also monitoring via this blog the purchases that we do make.  My 'Shopping' posts with the photos of the purchases I am currently making will stand us in good stead as pictorial proof of what we buy regularly, and hopefully will be a useful resource.
Obviously at the moment I do not need to buy rice or pasta as we have lots in store, but I have almost run out of tea and coffee and have completely run out of ordinary plain flour, although I have been using up stores of my rice flour in baking instead.  So soon we will start to have pictorial proof of our usage of dried goods as well as fresh ones.
Barbara raised a very good point about the vouchers.  We currently get virtually all of these because we use our Tesco and M&S cards for either fuel purchases or larger non food items, such as building supplies or new henhouses.   So really our 'food vouchers' are in fact the same as your 'credit card rewards' as these are what we get back for using our credit cards outside of the food shops that we then spend the vouchers in.  
We get very few points for food purchases and thus next year the level of our points will most likely plummet as we will also not be spending on the larger items that we have already purchased to set up our lifestyle, and the voucher 'windfalls' will almost dry up.  We are very aware of this but are allowing ourselves the luxury of using them this year to boost the housekeeping coffers whilst we pay off our mortgage, which is vital if we want to have a hope in hells chance of self sufficiency.

I hope I have answered your query Barbara, thank you for your comment it was good for me to get all this down, sometimes seeing plans in the written word, in black and white is, extremely helpful in setting it even better in my mind.

Today is a No Spend Day

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Day 110 - The Realisation .....


After three posts showing and discussing the purchases of the last three days the realisation suddenly hit me that I have spent more than a third of the available cash in this the first third of the year long Challenge ... I need to cut back and I need to cut back now!!

If anything I need to get ahead, yes it's true that soon we will be eating even more out of the polytunnel and this will hopefully stretch the funds really well, but I am very aware that as the stocks run lower in the cupboards and freezer of the staple supplies that we regularly eat or drink I am going to need as much of the cash to be left in the kitty as possible to replace them later in the year.

This week I need to re-stock coffee and tea bags for a start ... and coffee doesn't come cheap even if I do only drink instant Nescafe.  We don't intend to down-grade to supermarkets own, I have tried them on numerous occasions and always return to my favourite so this is what we need to budget for.  After all this year is not about us suffering it is all about us seeing just what money we can live on and live in a way that suits us for the long term.

Luckily Lovely Hubby's tea drinking is much cheaper, he likes most of the supermarket own brands of tea bags, which usually come in at well under a pound for eighty teabags.

The photo is the lemon marmalade I made the other day, happily waiting in the sunshine to be labelled.  I found a bag and a half of jam sugar and a tin of 'MaMade' in the cupboard so put the two together  :-)

Today is a No Spend Day

Monday, 18 April 2016

Day 109 - Even MORE Shopping


Money Spent Today - £1.89   Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £143.24
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £99.25
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £185.47

I had to go back to the shops whilst I was in Llandudno today for a couple of basics.  Just milk and some squirty cream, which we find cheaper than ice cream to have with our homemade pies and crumbles.

Not a bad spend but it means I have shopped three times in three days!!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Day 108 - The Nutty Shop


Money Spent Today - £38.42   Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £2.75
Money Spent in Total - £141.35
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £99.25
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £187.36

You don't get a lot for your money when you buy nuts ..... but these will last us for ages and I was determined to stock up while the 'Buy One Get One Half Price' sale was on and of course I had my coupon, although it's amount of just £2.75 was a pittance to knock off my final total.

The '9 Bars' were bought as a handy snack to take out in the car when we go away for our weekend to the holiday cottage.  Far better to buy these while they were on offer at 'Buy One, Get One for 1p' than it would be to buy a snack at a cafe or motorway services.

The cheeses were bought as part of my foray into different dairy free foods, I've had the Garlic and Herb one before but not the 'original'.  I do feel much better after eating these than the 'real' dairy version, and while we are away Lovely Hubby will be having cheese and crackers for an evening snack, so now I can join him  :-)


I got a coupon for a free 1kg of Salted Nuts with any purchase .... I may go and buy something really small and cheap to get my nuts  ;-)

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Day 107 - The 70p M&S Shop



Money Spent Today - 70p   Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £25.00
Money Spent in Total - £102.93
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £96.50
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £225.78

I didn't go out with a fixed spend in mind, for once I relaxed into my shopping and bought what I fancied.  I also didn't add up as I went around as I usually do when I am trying to stay within the boundaries of a fixed amount coupon.  I knew I had lots of coupons and I knew the salad drawer and the fruit and vegetable drawer of the fridge were just about empty.  So basically I knew that whatever I bought we did actually need.

I like my shopping trolley when it's full of all the colours of the rainbow and I like it better when I get it home and top up the fridge and I know that all that goodness is there for me to eat.  It's a much more satisfying shop when it's full of goodness and vitality, and not one that contains packets and tins ... although of course we do eat some of these as well.

There were two treats tucked into this shop, a tub of ready made pasta and cheese salad for my lunch.  I knew I would be hungry once I got home and buying this meant that I would not be tempted to either buy a chocolate bar to eat on the way home, or grab something equally bitty and unsatisfying as soon as I got home.  My ploy worked, and I sat down with  my salad and a cup of coffee as soon as I had photographed and put away all my purchases, and I really enjoyed a lunch that for once had been made for me by someone else.

The other treat was a box of Viennese Whirls ... Lovely Hubby's not so secret weakness, and the M&S version are second only to the ones you can buy in the Bodnant Farm shop.  If he's at home he's always tempted to eat two and that means if I don't eat the other two they will mysteriously vanish!!  My plan on purchasing them was to take us one each to the cinema tonight to have alongside our bottles of water ..... we are saving an absolute fortune taking our own nibbles and drinks in with us, and as we usually go at around teatime it would be tempting to buy something when we got there if we didn't go ready prepared.


Cash Spent 70p    Vouchers Spent £25

Friday, 15 April 2016

Day 106 - Heading out to Shop


I definitely need to go shopping tomorrow, the fridge is bare and although there is lots of food in the freezer, the cupboards and some eatables in the polytunnel I am craving a fresh salad ... and we need some milk for the weekend.

I am heading off to good old M&S for some posh nosh .... well I have vouchers for there so not much cash will have to change hands and it's the cash that I am determined to hang onto.  I like shopping for food in Marks and Spencers although our local one is a bit crowded as it's pretty small in the food department, lots of choice just not a lot of space between the aisles.  There's much more room upstairs in the clothing department, but I won't be heading  up there .... way too much temptation!!

I'll try to be good ..... honest  ;-)

Today is a No Spend Day ..... but tomorrow won't be!!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Day 105 - Books - Take One Veg


I'm not missing not buying books too much at the moment ... well as long as I try and keep out of Waterstones and dash past the bookshelves when I have to visit a supermarket that is  :-/

The last time we were in Waterstones ... Lovely Hubby took me for a coffee after we had been to the opticians ... I found myself running my hands over the books on the tables and almost drooling in the cookbook section that is handily and temptingly at the top of the stairs on the way to the coffee shop area!!


I have just fininshed reading this book, Take One Veg written by Georgina Fuggle and as you can see from the little post-its adorning the pages I think it is a keeper.


For me it's not so much of a recipe book as a brilliant book full of ideas, and I like that.  Most of the recipes can be adapted to suit what you have in store or what you prefer to eat.  For instance I neither like nor grow asparagus, but I would make this tart with Chard stems in its place and it would be just as delicious.

Today is a No Spend Day

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Day 104 - Comparisons


Time for a comparison photograph I think.  

This is the cupboard that I see the most difference in out of all the cupboards.  Although I am sure that if I were to tidy the others I would see a difference in them too.


It looked like this back at the start of the Challenge.  

The main thing that is missing is my little stockpile decaf Nescafe ..... I need to see which supermarket has this on special offer at the moment and have a  bit of a restock as I'm down to half a jar.  Also obviously missing are the bags of rice that were in here, these are now in the storage jar that is on the shelves above the worktop as we ate our way through the contents of that.  Having things on the shelves means that they are handy for use,  nice on the eye and give me inspiration when I don't know what to cook for tea.

For those eagle eyed readers amongst you ... there are now more ready made quiche bases on the top shelf in the top photo than there are in the bottom photo,  these have been moved from the larder unit to join the ones that were already there.  Having space in the cupboards is giving me the opportunity to clean and re-jig them all to try and make the kitchen storage more logical ... and as you can see I have now managed to fit my big bag of Penne pasta onto the top shelf.

Today is a No Spend Day.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Day 103 - Old Mother Hubbard


As you can see the fridge emptying is going well  :-)

The bottom drawers, which I thought I had photos of  (it turned out I had used my camera without it's memory card ... doh!!), contain just a third of bag each of red and brown onions, a handful of cherry tomatoes, a few salad leaves, one carrot and two radishes all from the polytunnel.

It doesn't bother me in the slightest that there is little in there at the moment I can see quite a few meal combinations just from what we have in there if used alongside the things we have in the cupboards.

There is obviously the makings of a salad, any number of egg dishes, cheese and onion sandwiches or quiches .... and there is the contents of that box on the bottom shelf, my tea for tonight I think .... a rice salad made with the last of the choppy salad from last weeks lunches.  And very nice it was too for my lunches during the week.  

This week it has gone chilly and I am once again back to a big panful of soup which is bubbling away in the Aga as I type, filling the house with the most lovely vegetable aroma.

Today is a No Spend Day 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Day 102 - Emptying the Fridge


It's been my mission for the last week to eat from the contents of the fridge, especially the things that were at or beyond their Best Before dates.  These cheeses were a case in point, their dates were up at the start of February but there was absolutely nothing wrong with either of them.  If you think of cheeses sat maturing on shelves in cold stores for years to develop flavour, it makes you realise that it is possible to use your senses, and your common sense to determine whether some foods are safe to eat even if they are officially 'out of date'.


Of course we couldn't eat two full 'parmesan' style cheeses in a few days so I did my usual trick of grating them ready for freezing.  Unfortunately the fine grating disc on my food processor  that I used to use for Parmesan broke a couple of years ago so I've found my own way round the problem.  I grate it on the next size up grating disc in the main food processor and then tip the gratings into my mini food processor .....


... which then crumbs up all the gratings to a small enough size for sprinkling on the many dishes we use this sort of cheese for.


Packaged in a resealable tub with the rind, which I use to add flavour to soups and stews, and then labelled, the tub now resides in the freezer and there is even less food left in the fridge.

Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Day 101 - Shopping


Money Spent Today - £13.65   Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £102.23
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £71.50
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £226.48

We called to Tesco on the way back from this weeks trip to the cinema to pick up some basic shopping.  We mostly needed sparkling water and bread, and also some toothpaste.  We bought six packs while we were there as it was on offer at just £1.25 a tube, good value for the brand we both prefer.

The Almond milk was also on offer at just £1 a carton so I bought two.  I've been enjoying porridge most mornings recently as the oats that we bought with the Holland and Barrett voucher are absolutely delicious, we'll be back for some more when they go back to buy one get one free, they are so much better than the supermarket cheap oats that we had been using.  Some things it really is worth spending money on.


I had no coupons for Tesco as I have used them all up, so sadly it was just cash that left my purse this week.  I think I need to get any of the fresh stuff we need from M&S for the next few weeks to use up some of the coupons I have for there

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Day 100 - One Hundred Day Musings


Well here I am Day 100 of my year long Challenge.

It's funny but 'milestone' days seem to get me thinking about things that little bit more and this week I got to thinking what I've found hard about the Challenge - not shopping, and what I've found easy about the Challenge - finding meals amongst the ridiculously large amount of food we still have in stock.

And put the two together and it's easy to see that for a long time I've been holding stocks of food but shopping weekly for the food that we actually do eat.  For example making vast amount of jars of jam with our homegrown produce ... but rarely getting round to eating it.  Batch cooking for future meals when there is food available to choose from already in the freezer.

And that is what this year is all about, working out what we need, how much we need of it and what excesses develop naturally.  I already have it in the back of my mind that I might sell off some of the extra jars of jam that I made at the end of last year at the first car boot sale we do this year, and use the money to buy things that we are actually using up more quickly and can't make ourselves ... jars of coffee for example.

I have to remember that there are only the two of us and the occasional weekend visitor, and I do only need to cater in quantities for two, I am not feeding the five thousand ... although my freezer tells a different tale   ;-)

Today is a No Spend Day

Friday, 8 April 2016

Day 99 - Choppy Salad Box


Well look at that, my choppy salad for the week came out at exactly 1kg!!

Haha .... no it didn't it was just under .... but the neat freak in me made me get out and chop another stick of celery until the numbers rounded up nicely  ;-)


Lunch one - two salad buns.  

Cut the choppy salad up a little bit smaller, add a spoonful or two of cheese and one of mayo and put in a bun with some lettuce ..... very filling.

Today is a No Spend Day


Thursday, 7 April 2016

Day 98 - No Soup Week


I'm all souped out ..... so I thought with the weather being that little bit nicer instead of a big pan of soup for my midday lunches I would do myself a big box of choppy salad this week.  So this little lot and a few more sticks of celery got chopped up.


And became this.

They were not the freshest veggies I have ever seen and looking back through the blog it's because they were bought on 19th March ..... what can I say .... oops!!


While I was in chopping mode I did an extra onion and separated out a bit of each of the peppers to make a vegetable biryani for my tea tonight.  I like to get ahead, and why get the chopping board and knife dirty twice, much less washing up to do it all together,

Today is a No Spend Day.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Day 97 - Re-use


As well as not spending I am also making every effort to re-use things that can be reused in any way.  After trying the trick of wrapping celery in foil rather than my usual method of damp kitchen paper and a Stayfresh bag to keep it fresh in the fridge for as long as possible and finding out that in fact my preferred way is the best way I didn't want to just throw away the fol that I had used.


So it was wiped clean and smoothed out.  I tore it a bit in the smoothing process so it's not quite as big as it should be,  this is now folded and in the drawer waiting for when I next need a piece of tinfoil.

Waste not Want not  :-)

Today is a No Spend Day

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Day 96 - Well Stocked Tin


After a weekend away helping Lovely Hubby clean his old weekday digs ready for handing back the keys, and visiting his new place of weekday rest I came back home armed with rather a lot of sachets of assorted freebies to add to my little tin of delights.

It was a weekend of mostly eating and drinking out.  I took some supplies from home but needs must and we had a few meals out and lots of takeaway coffees.  So while it was all legal and above board to do so I helped myself to a few extra sauces, sweeteners and some sachets of salt and pepper.  Not to any excessive level just the amount I would have taken if I had been putting them on my meals which in most cases I was not.


Now we have a good little, or rather large actually, stash of things that will come in very handy for our soon to come holiday weekend in a little cottage in St Davids.  Much better than taking lots of bottles of stuff from home ... I like to travel light.

Today is a No Spend Day

Monday, 4 April 2016

Day 95 - Things


I have this saying in a little box on the sidebar over on my other Blog.  

It reminds me every time that blog loads up that 'things' just aren't that important.  It keeps me grounded, and during this year of not spending, of tightening our belts while we save every penny that we can, that we really don't need things.

In fact we already own too many things, and with Car Boot Sale season shortly upon us we will be once again sorting through what we have, jettisoning what we don't really need, and streamlining our lives just a little bit more.

Turning over my magazine and seeing this on the back cover the other day just made me smile, so I took a photograph to remind me ... of a sunny morning, a smile and my favourite saying  :-)

Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Day 94 - Store Cupboard Necessities


There is nothing like bland food to make you feel as though you are eating poorly, and to make you fed up with your meals, that's why for me it is always important to keep a stock of store cupboard basics, which to me are real necessities.

The obvious ones are salt and pepper, and stock cubes or bouillon powder can turn a pan of water into a pan of soup so easily, with little else added if you have little else available.  My other must haves are a jar of Mixed Herbs (blogged about HERE), some tomato puree, chilli flakes, curry powder and garlic in one form or another.  At the moment I have a tub of garlic granules and a tube of garlic puree as well as the fresh garlic that is still hanging behind the kitchen door ... vampires beware!!

With this little arsenal at your fingertips you can add big flavours to the most simple of foods and play at making the same foods taste completely different in different meals.

Something I love to do if we fancy baked beans with a meal is to jazz them up a bit, by gently frying half a chopped onion with a teaspoon or two of curry powder, and sometimes I add a squirt of garlic puree too, it changes the flavour instantly and this is also a good way to improve supermarket own brand or Basics beans.

If you are starting from scratch it can seem a lot of an outlay to acquire all these little bits and pieces for your store cupboard, but if purchased over a few weeks you would not notice the cost too much and once you have them they will not all run out at the same time and will last you for ages.

Today is a No Spend Day

and in fact this has been...

a No Spend Week


Saturday, 2 April 2016

Day 93 - Mix Your Own Soup Mix


I used to buy packs of Soup Mix from any of the big supermarkets or from Approved Foods when it was on offer, and indeed I would again if there was a good offer on it.  But one day when my jar was almost empty I had a good look at what was actually in the mix ... and discovered I had virtually everything it contained in the jars on my shelves already.

So I made myself a mix.


Oats, lentils (a mix of colours), split peas and barley are what I usually use.  You just have to make sure that the things you mix together do not need soaking overnight and then rapid boiling, such as kidney beans ... if these weren't cooked properly you could make yourself seriously ill.  All you need to do if you want to add something like this is deal with them separately when you come to make your soup.

You can turn this into a simple soup on it's own by just cooking it in a pan full of stock, or do as I do and add a handful of this mix to bulk out your vegetables or bottom of the fridge offerings.

It makes for a tasty and cheap pan full of soup for weekday lunches.

Today is a No Spend Day

Friday, 1 April 2016

Day 92 - I Shopped Til I Dropped

Image result for lots of tesco carrier bags full of food

Well this Challenge finally got to me - big style.

I went to Tesco for some bread and milk and just went mad.  I filled the trolley with all the foods  that I fancied caring not a jot that I might have them at home already.  By the time I got to the checkout the trolley was full and I packed it all back into the trolley and handed over my credit card to pay for the lot.

I chucked the receipt in the bin while I was there and didn't even look at what it had all cost me.  It was a good shopping trip ..... and Lovely Hubby's face when I got home was a picture.

'What have you done'  he said, 'had a bit of fun' I answered.


Image result for shop til you drop


Today is a HUGE Shopping Day
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And it is also the first of April  ;-)

Happy April Fool's Day