Monday, 28 February 2011

Back to our routine

well kids back at school and college today so back to a routine. I do like it when the kids are off. Not having to make pack ups or bake cakes for pack ups and no rushing around in the morning but it is nice when they go back and I can get organised again. So this morning I dropped daughter No2 at college then headed to Aldi and Tesco to do my shop. In budget again so pleased at no overspend.

Tomorrow I'm making a veggie pasta bake and wanted some peppers to roast. I bought some value range peppers in Tesco for only £1.05 and they were big peppers and one was huge!

Only needed to use two for roasting so will save the other for pizzas on Saturday. I roasted the peppers with onions, garlic cloves some leftover butternut squash and a courgette and rosemary from the garden with a glug of olive oil and a grinding of black pepper.

I roasted for about 50 minutes then popped them in a container to cool for tea tomorrow.
When in Tesco today I found a packet of reduced chicken wing for £1.20 so bought them to make some Jamie Oliver chicken wing gravy. I saw him once make this on TV and tried it at christmas and the gang really loved it.

On a tray place chopped carrots. Split a couple of onions, leave skins on. About six cloves of garlic, left whole.  I threw on the tops of some leeks and some rosemary.

 Add the chicken wings and a glug of olive oil and some black pepper. I cooked this in the oven with the roasted veg. After about an hour tip everything into a very large pan. I added 3 large spoons of plain flour then mashed everything up with a potato masher. Pour on plenty of boiling water and keep mashing. Let this simmer for an hour or so and keep giving it a mash.
You will end up with a pan of mush and bones. Place a sieve over a clean pan and keep pouring some of the mixture into the sieve and mash it through the sieve with the potato masher then discard whats left in your sieve. You will be left with some tasty gravy which you can add extra chicken juices to from a roast chicken. I freeze this in portions and just take out on the morning we will be needing it.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Menu Week 28/02/11

MONDAY - Italian meatloaf, roast potatoes, veg and gravy

TUESDAY - Veggie pasta bake with home made garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Carribean salmon with rice and green beans

THURSDAY - Roast chicken, jacket spuds, homemade coleslaw, salad and homemade baguette

FRIDAY - Pork & rice one pot

SATURDAY - homemade pizza & garlic bread, wedges & homemade coleslaw

SUNDAY - Chicken, bacon & leek pie, roasties, peas, carrots & broccoli. Profiteroles

Friday, 25 February 2011

Creeping up again!

On Thursday I drove by a petrol station I pass all the time and noticed the price had crept up by 1p to £129.9 for petrol! Mentioned this to hubby who thought it might be a good idea to fill my car up when I visit the parents in Leeds Friday as he thought prices may start to rise more soon. Petrol is a penny or two cheaper in Leeds than the area we live in. This is because here, there are no large supermarket petrol stations,and there are not many petrol stations around the rural areas so they keep the price at the higher end.

So on my travels to Leeds I stopped off in Tescos petrol station whos petrol was priced at £127.9. Filled my tank and spent £58.40. Used my little voucher to get 5p off a litre which brought the cost down to £56.15.  I saved £2.25 using the voucher which isn't much but I'd rather have the £2.25 in my purse than in Tescos profits.

Do you remember some time back when petrol went to £1.00 a litre? We were all horrified that petrol could cost so much. Little did we know what was to come!!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Mums Taxi!

Well it's half term from school and college and to be honest I feel like a taxi service to daughter No2. We live in a village which only has a bus every hour and has no bus after 6.00pm and no service on a  Sunday as of next month due to council cuts. I feel sorry for the kids because they cannot afford taxis and to go to anything social it requires transport around here which either means public transport or parents ferrying them around. We then end up with mum & dad having no social life to keep the offspring happy. Got to find a happy medium here somewhere.

Pancake day early

Youngest daughter wanted pancakes for breakfast today. They usually like these on a Sunday morning but it's half term, have plenty of time, so we made them this morning.

PANCAKES (enough for 6 large ones)

100g plain flour
pinch salt
1 egg
300ml milk

Put flour in a bowl with the pinch of salt.
Add the egg with a little milk and whisk.
Keep whisking milk in a little at a time until all milk used and batter is smooth.
Add a little drizzle of oil to a hot frying pan then add enough batter to cover the pan thinly.
Turn pancake over after a few minutes and cook other side.

Banana and golden syrup is daughter No3 choice and chocolate spread is daughter No2 choice.


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

On the hunt

Spent days last week on the hunt for fresh sage leaves. On  it said both Tesco and Sainsburys had fresh sage for sale. Checked both stores and no sage. Tried other stores and still no sage to be seen so today I visited Wilkinson and bought my own sage growing kit and I shall no longer need the supermarket to supply me with my herbs. I bought a clematis I wanted to cover some pipes on a wall and three packets of seeds which were on 3 for 2 offer.

The sage kit worked out cheaper to buy than buying a packet of seeds. I know I would have had more sage seeds in the packet than in the kit but I would have never used a whole packet of sage seeds.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Stayed on track again

It's the last week of shopping for this month and I've done it again. I stayed on track with my grocery spend. Just got a small amount left in my shopping purse to get some eggs from the farm later in the week and I need to buy some tofu in Sainsburys tomorrow because Tesco did not have any when I did my shop today.

A simple tea tonight of pasta with tomato sauce and some fried bacon bits tossed through the sauce. I'm having some canned tuna mixed through mine.


2 Red onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, finley chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 400g tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree or red pesto
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

 Heat olive oil in a large pan . Add onion and garlic, saute for a few minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree or pesto, sugar, salt, oregano and a  grating of black pepper.
Once boiling reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes.
Blend to a smooth sauce.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Menu Week 21/02/11

MONDAY - Pasta with tuna/bacon tomato sauce, cheese and home made garlic bread

TUESDAY - Chicken & mushroom in sauce over vegetable rice (using leftover cooked chicken from freezer)

WEDNESDAY - Home made Chicken kiev, peas and wedges (chicken breasts in freezer)

THURSDAY - Leftover Mince & onion pie, roasties and vegetables (pie in freezer)

FRIDAY - Chicken casserole and mash (casserole in freezer)

SATURDAY - Chicken/tofu fajitas with cheese

SUNDAY - Roast pork loin, roasties, yorkshire puddings, roasted root vegetables and cabbage

Can you tell I'm clearing the freezer out?  

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The aftermath

Well it's Saturday lunchtime and we have just waved good-bye to the last of our daughters friends . We continued birthday celebrations yesterday evening with a trip to Xscape at Castleford to do sledging for her birthday treat. Now this is not cheap but your only thirteen once.

Birthday girls in pink
A good time was had by all. Would like to have joined in myself, it looked fun but cold. They came off frozen and very wet. Birthday celebrations continued back home with food and then a chocolate fountain and a birthday cake finishing with a sleepover.

Went to Aldi yesterday to buy one of their weekly offers which was a mushroom growing kit for £3.99

The box says should get 2-3 crops so I'm going to grow them and weigh the mushrooms when I pick them and see if it works out cheaper to grow my own rather than buy in the supermarket. I will do a search on the internet for mushroom kits and grow my own if it works out cheaper. Will let you know how I get along with them in a few weeks time.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Happy Birthday

                                                            HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVA!

My youngest is now a teenager, how time flies. Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Spring is a coming

Had a mooch around the garden when I  got back from my walk with the dog. I wanted to see what was growing and I wanted to pick some rosemary for dinner tonight. I checked on my rhubarb and saw a little pink shoot popping out of the mud.

The apple tree has buds growing and the strawberry plants seem to be okay after the harsh winter. Bulbs are growing nicely, just need to make time to get out and tidy the garden now. I did manage to fill my garden recycle bin yesterday tidying round the front garden so will try and do some work in the garden again next Monday.

I wanted the rosemary to make   Lemon & Rosemary Pork Steaks with crushed carrots & garlic new potatoes.
I marinated the pork steaks in lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary and freshly grated black pepper. I marinated a portion of tofu in this marinate for myself.

 I marinated these for an hour then pan fried on both sides to give them some colour.

I place these on a tray with a slice of apple, cover with foil and bake in a low oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. I did them on fan oven 140.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Use it, don't bin it

I like to use up any scrap of food rather than waste it. Food is too expensive to throw away leftovers and I just can't bear waste so I freeze any thing from cheese sauce to leftover pie. Cheese sauce freezes well and when I have enough small pots to combine together we use it up. Had some mashed potato in the fridge and a half tin of baked beans so made a nice lunch with these leftovers. I mixed grated cheese with the mash and shaped into patties and dusted with flour. I fried these in a little oil and butter until golden brown.

The baked beans were just reheated and served on the patties with a small grating of extra cheese and a small dollop of brown sauce. This was real comfort food, really tasty too.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Menu Week 14/02/11

MONDAY - Omelette, wedges and salad

TUESDAY - Bolognese sauce, pasta, cheese and home made garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Roasted butternut squash, sausages, potatoes & sage with cabbage

THURSDAY - pork steaks with crushed carrots and garlic potatoes

FRIDAY - Pizza and chips

SATURDAY - Home made curry, rice, onion bhajis and naan

SUNDAY - Roast chicken, yorkshire puddings, vegetables and roast potatoes

Today we had for dinner mince & onion pie which came out quite well. I also made a chocolate orange loaf.

I used the recipe from this blog  and the loaf came out lovely and moist. I will portion this loaf then freeze for the girls to take to school/college for lunch.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Chicken & bacon in sauce, Cheap Meal

When I did my shopping earlier in the week I needed some pancetta for the meatloaf I was making. Instead of buying pancetta I bought a packet of bacon bits at a cost of 75p for 500g. I split the bag into four portions and frozen them. A portion was used in the meatloaf  Tuesday and I used a portion today to make


1 Onion, chopped
knob butter
1 tbsp oil
100g bacon bits
3 tbsp plain flour
400mls chicken stock
400mls milk
400g cooked leftover chicken
2 tsp dried parsley
salt & pepper


Basmati rice
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
pinch salt
carrot, diced & cooked
peas, cooked

Fry the onion in the oil and butter for 5 minutes.
Add the bacon bits and cook for a further 5 minutes.
In a bowl add the flour and mix in the milk.
Add the chicken stock to the onion & bacon and bring to the boil.
Add the milk & flour mix and stir continually until thickened.
Add the cooked chicken, parsley and seasoning.
Cook for 10 minutes or until piping hot.
Serve with vegetable rice.

Cook the rice in a pan of cold water that just covers the rice adding the turmeric and salt.
When rice is boiling put a lid on the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Drain rice into a sieve and rinse with boiling water then mix in the vegetables.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

White Loaf

Had a day of bread making and ironing. The bread making I enjoyed, the ironing I  did not. Tescos own brand bread flour had been reduced to 50p a bag this week instead of the £1.58 it had been for weeks now so I stocked up.  I made a large white loaf

which I then sliced on my slicing machine.

I also made eight breadcakes.


500g strong white flour
11/2 tsp salt
11/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oil
7g sachet yeast
300ml warm water

I put all the ingredients into my breadmaker and have the machine do the kneading for me.                             I then let the dough rise for an hour then knock back the dough and shape into a loaf or breadcake shape.
I then let the dough rise again for about 30 minutes then cook.
I bake in a pre heated oven 200C fan oven  for 20-25 mins a loaf and 15 mins for the breadcakes.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Italian Meat Loaf

Today I'm trying a meatloaf recipe I found on the internet. Obviously I've changed some of the ingredients to cheaper ingredients to keep costs down.

50g Fresh breadcrumbs
4 tbsp finely grated parmesan
500g lean minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
100g pancetta, chopped ( I used bacon bits)
1 garlic clove, grated
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp tomato puree

Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
Reserve 2 tbsp each of the breadcrumbs and parmesan and set aside.
Place all remaining ingredients in a bowl.

Season well then get stuck in with your hands and give it a good mix.
Press mixture into a loaf tin and sprinkle with the reserved crumb mix.
Bake for 45 minutes in pre heated oven 190C/170Cfan/gas 5.

I'm cooking mine in the slowcooker. I've covered the loaf tin with baking parchment and secured it with string. This is then placed in the slowcooker on low with a litre of water in the slowcooker.

I shall leave this for 6 hours. When I return from work it should be a juicy succulent meatloaf.

 The meatloaf was a success with the family. They thought it was very tasty and want me to make it again. The pink bits in the loaf are bacon bits not under cooked meat just in case you thought that.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Menu Week 7/02/11

Monday - Vegetable fritters with poached egg

Tuesday - Italian meatloaf, jacket spud, veg and gravy

Wednesday - Chicken/Tofu Fajitas

Thursday - Chicken & Ham in sauce over vegetable rice

Friday - Chicken casserole & mash

Saturday - Sausage, chips and beans

Sunday - Mince & onion pie, Roast potatoes,veg and gravy

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Spicy Bean Burgers

Had a lovely walk with the dog down by the lake today. Was a bit nippy but was lovely in the sunshine. Can't wait for everything to start growing again, it all looks very miserable and bleak.

I was on the lookout for some signs of spring approaching to take a picture but nothing happening down by the lake yet. It was just lovely to have a bright day for once and enjoy the sunshine.

Today i made some Spicy Bean Burgers

1 onion, chopped
thumb size piece of ginger, grated
1clove garlic, grated
1 chilli, chopped
1 dsp curry paste
400g tin of any kind of beans, drained
2 slices of bread made into breadcrumbs
salt & pepper

Place the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli into a food processor and blitz.
Add curry paste, beans and egg and give a short blitz.
Add breadcrumbs and salt & pepper and give another short blitz.
Shape into 4 patties and place on a piece of greaseproof paper. At this stage can be open frozen then packed into a container to freeze for future use.
Bake on a tray in the oven on 200 fan oven or Gas 6 for about 15 minutes. 20-25 minutes if frozen.

They make a really nice tasty burger. I have mine in a burger bun with the usual accompaniments. These I made today are going in the freezer, one to be used for my tea Saturday.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Sleeping my life away

Been sleeping most of the day. Worked a night shift last night and usually get up at 1 - 1.30 pm to take the dog out for a walk. Poor dog had to wait until 2.30pm until I woke up today and could summons the energy to take dog out. Took the dog for  his walk and felt very lethargic when I returned , so went to sleep on the settee for a few hours until the dog started  nudging me with his nose to wake me up. A very uneventful day again but my children came home to me and my husband returned to me at the end of the day so I can count this as a good day.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Bad tomato

Not a very eventful day today. Been to do my voluntary work this afternoon at the charity shop and thought I'd bought a nice bargain top but will be returning it Friday because it's too see through. Need to build my wardrobe up a bit since I had the clear out. On my way home, dropped into Aldis to return some rotten tomatoes I bought yesterday. Food is too expensive at the moment to just not bother returning bad food. Five of the six tomatoes were going rotten and could not be seen until I opened the packet. They are very good at Aldi, exchanged the baddies for a new packet of fresh tomatoes.