Thursday, 30 June 2011

Guess What

Guess what I've been up to today with a

pile of this...

and a pile of this

Have you guessed?

So as you can see I've had a jolly day washing 3 changes of bedding and a basketful of clothing. Thought it was going to be a glorious day for washing but oh no, mother nature had other ideas. The skies opened after the first load was on the line only 20 minutes. So, I dashed outside and do what I always do when it rains. Put up an umbrella. A rather large umbrella.

I always stick the umbrella over the washing if it looks like rain. It still dries but takes a bit longer. Luckily the rain stopped after about an hour and stayed dry for the rest of the day. I do have a dryer but it is very rearly used even in the winter because it is so expensive to run. In winter clothes are draped over an airer and left to dry in the dining room. A day of washing and ironing was as exciting as it gets for me today. Hope you had a more interesting day than me today.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Food costs

Hi all, I just dropped into the Frugal Down Under blog and she was commenting today on her grocery bill  I was really surprised at the amount of food she purchased for the amount of money she paid. I converted the Australian dollars into British sterling and her $137.51 bill was £90.39 in our currency. Now I know we all moan about food prices but I don't think I will moan as much after discovering how much some countries pay.

I'm lucky where I live because we have a free range egg farm a few miles away and I buy all my eggs there each week. They have a honesty box in a shed where all the eggs are laid out on a table and you drop your cash in the honesty box on leaving. They sell their eggs very cheaply, a dozen is £1.50 but they also sell eggs which they call seconds because they are too big or too small or the shell may be a bit bumpy. Who they supply to don't want these so these are sold at 1 dozen for £1.00! This is great for me because I do a lot of baking so it makes for cheap bakes and a meal can always be rustled up with a few eggs.

So tonight's meal was egg based and a veggie meal. We had SAVOURY TOMATOES served on potato cakes with mushroom and thyme. The potato cakes were made with leftover mash from yesterdays meal and I mixed an egg yolk into them and seasoned so they were dirt cheap to make. The mushrooms were cooked in olive oil and a knob of butter with garlic and thyme and seasoned well. The savoury tomatoes are simply scooped out beef tomatoes cooked for 10 minutes in the oven then season the shells and drop in an egg yolk. Whisk up the egg whites until stiff, season and add a handful of cheese of your choice and fold in. fill the tomatoes with this mixture and return to the oven for 10 minutes. 

We had 2 potato cakes each and when you cut into the tomato the yolk is still lovely and runny so the potato cake soaks all that up.

Right must dash time to go to work. Bye

Monday, 27 June 2011

Menu Week 27/06/11

We ended up having a BBQ yesterday instead of the planned roast dinner. The weather was so hot a BBQ was more fitting so the pork shall be eaten today. We made a cheesecake for after our meal yesterday which was lovely.

Very rich and indulgent. I made a raspberry coulis which I poured on top of the strawberries. Delish!

MONDAY - Roast pork loin, mashed potatoes, yorkshire puddings, sage & onion stuffing and vegetables

TUESDAY - Savoury Tomatoes served on oven baked potato cakes with mushroom & thyme

WEDNESDAY - Beef & Ale casserole with mashed potatoes and greens

THURSDAY - Mushroom Tofu loaf served with tomatoey beans & mushrooms and greens

FRIDAY - Turkey nuggets, mash and beans

SATURDAY -Homemade pizza, wedges and homemade coleslaw

SUNDAY - Roast chicken, jacket potatoes, corn on the cob and coleslaw

Our first meal this week, roast pork loin dinner. We ate this outside on a very hot and humid evening.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Bargain Buys

Hi all, had the usual busy Friday volunteering at the charity shop. I got a bargain too for £3.30. It's a Next signature top with the new label still attached with the price tag of £35.00! 

Well, I could not pass a bargain like that now, could I? I've tried it on and it fits lovely and will go great with my white linen trouser. Really pleased with that buy. I also bought a DVD of Evita. This is one of my favourite films. It's years since I've watched it.

This DVD was brand new too. It still had it's cellophane and security strip on. I bought this for £1.50.
I called into a charity shop a few doors down from the one I work in because I saw a beautiful cake stand when I passed this morning. I asked the girl in the shop if I could have a look at it. It turned out to be a plate which when turned over had a couple of cracks through it. So that got left in the shop.

Anyone bought any great bargains today.
Bye for now

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Junk Drawer

Come on, admit it, how many of you out there own a junk drawer? Bet nearly everyone who's reading this will admit to owning one. Me included. This is my junk drawer AFTER I took out 2 mobile phones and five! phone chargers.

The mobile phones will be taken to the charity shop I volunteer in tomorrow. We have free post envelopes that can be used to send old mobiles away to be reused or recycled. The five chargers were taken Tuesday to Sainsburys. They have a scheme on at the moment which lasts until the end of August where you can drop off old chargers in store for recycling. I have transferred all the junk I want to keep into my new kitchen drawer using old margarine tubs to compartment the drawer for different things and make it a lot easier to find things.


Voila, one tidy junk drawer. It feels great decluttering something that is such a mess. I recycled lots, paper, plastic, phones and chargers. I also got rid of a bag of junk and rehomed things to their proper place like tools to the garage and paper hole puncher to the office. It always seems like a big task, but to be honest I think it took me about half an hour. Now, anyone mess up my junk drawer and there will be trouble!

For our meal tonight we had creamy pesto chicken. I was going to do boiled new potatoes but had none in so made sauteed  potatoes instead which they all loved. The creamy pesto chicken is made by mixing half a jar of red pesto with half a tub of mascarpone cheese. I then split chicken breasts and stuff the creamy pesto mix inside then coat the fillets in breadcrumbs and then roast in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

 We had these with steamed peas and roasted cherry tomatoes. I will use the rest of the mascarpone cheese tomorrow in a tuna tomato sauce to use on pasta. 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Menu Week 20/06/11

MONDAY - Chicken, lemon & courgette pasta with homemade garlic bread

TUESDAY - Mince & onion pie, roast potatoes and vegetables

WEDNESDAY - Sausage, egg, chips and beans

THURSDAY - Creamy pesto chicken, peas, roasted tomatoes & potatoes

FRIDAY - Creamy tuna mascarpone pasta with homemade garlic bread

SATURDAY - Chicken/tofu fajitas

SUNDAY - Roast dinner

Gosh, feel drained. What have I been doing you may ask. Searching out new car insurance! I used a comparison site who brought up plenty of quotes but then when you choose one and delve deeper, more questions to answer and the quote changes.What a chore this is. I got some quotes and went to my current insurer and told them I would be leaving them if they could not better their quote. They couldn't better it so I'm leaving them.

Anyway, I have now found another company to insure with and have saved myself £135.83. It's a pain changing insurances but it's worth it when you end up saving cash. So that's that done for another year. Think I need to walk the dog now to clear the head. Back later.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all dads out there. We are all having a relaxing day just lazing around and just enjoying doing nothing. We are watching movies and catching up on blogs and hubby is doing a little weeding in the garden. It's been a miserable wet morning but the day is gradually getting better. I'm still getting over a horrible cold and to top it off I have a cold sore on my lip now, great!  Hope you all are having an enjoyable Sunday. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Stinking Cold

I've got a horrible stinking cold and I'm fed up with it. My sinus's hurt and my nose is dripping like a tap. I'll have a nose like Rudolf if I keep blowing my nose much more.

So I'm sat here in bed with a couple of paracetamol and a stash of tissues. I have been taking some sinus relief tablets earlier today but have ran out of them now. Tomorrow I plan to visit Wilkinsons to stock up on some more medication. I always look in Wilkinsons first before buying at a chemist because they are so much cheaper. I get their own brand paracetamol for about 20p and their own brand sinus tablets which are a lot cheaper than the chemist. I suffer with cold sores and their own brand cold sore cream works great. I checked the ingredients on the packet with a very well know cold sore cream and they have exactly the same ingredients in them. The well know brand cost four times as much as the unbranded one. You basically are paying for the brand name and I refuse to spend that amount on a product just for the name.

So a short post today because I'm feeling yucky. Shall read a few blogs and got to sleep soon.
Night all.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

More Bargain Buys

Got a few more bargains in the charity shop yesterday. One of my bargains was a pair of new linen trousers, they even had the labels still on them.

It's amazing how many clothes are sent to charity shops that have not even been worn and still have labels attached. I also bought two summer vests.

Lets hope the summer sun returns so I can get some wear out of them.

Well my pasta salad I made the other day all got eaten and it was lovely so today I made a different salad.

I had a bowl of spaghetti  left from our meal last night so I chopped this up then mixed with a tin of mixed beans. I roasted the peppers and finely sliced them and added them with half a finely chopped onion. I flaked a packet of peppered mackerel fillets and squeezed over the juice of a lemon. I added some parsley and also added some chopped cherry tomatoes and gave it all a good mix.

Lunch  and my pack up for work sorted for a few more days.

Going to drop daughter No3 at college to have her hair dyed by her sister now. She's going in to model for daughter No2 who's doing a hairdressing course. She's rather excited as it's the first time she's had a colour on her hair ( she's only having a semi-permanent colour)  so bye for now.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Menu Week 13/06/11

MONDAY - Starter-Wensleydale mushrooms. Omelet, jacket potatoes & beans
ME - No starter. Same meal

TUESDAY -Meatballs and spaghetti with homemade garlic bread
ME -Tuna tomato sauce & spaghetti

WEDNESDAY - Salmon en croute, New potatoes, peas & carrots
ME - Same

THURSDAY - Sausage, mash, vegetables and onion gravy
 ME - Veggies sausages, boiled potatoes, vegetables and onion gravy

FRIDAY - Leftover chicken & bacon in a sauce over vegetable rice
ME - Lentil & vegetable curry with rice

SATURDAY - Chicken curry and rice with naan bread
ME - lentil & vegetable curry and rice

SUNDAY - Roast Dinner

 Today I made a large bowl of pasta salad to have for my lunches through the week and for anyone else who fancies some.
I boiled some pasta and added half a packet of green beans. When cooked I added a drained tin of tuna, olives, cherry tomatoes, red onion and some peppers and marrow I roasted earlier. This was all combined with some dried oregano and a good drizzle of fat free dressing and then finished with quartered boiled eggs. It was a nice change from sandwiches for my lunch. The cost was £2.38 for the whole bowl full so I think that's very cheap because I will get about 5-6 servings from this bowl full.   

I used up some more leftovers from the freezer today to make a starter my lot love, Wensleydale mushrooms.

To make these I used some bacon bits I had already in the freezer and I used the Wensleydale cheese that was leftover from the party at the beginning of May. The family always enjoy these little pots of cheesy mushrooms.The recipe was from this site

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Absolutely Shattered!

I'm a volunteer at a charity shop two half days a week. Tonight we had a charity fashion show to raise cash for the charity and I helped out. I arrived at the venue at 4.00pm to help get everything set up. I was to dress two of the models and they had five changes of clothes with accessories. There were twelve models, six dressers, a lady doing make-up and hair, raffle ticket seller, tea makers, door person taking tickets and numerous more people all coming together to make it happen and all of us volunteers. We had such a lot of fun. It was very exciting and the models were very nervous but did not let the nerves get the better of them and they did a great job.

This was some of the jewellery we had for sale. The table was very long and was filled. We had lots and lots of shoes and bags too.

We had 9 rails of clothes to sell. Thankfully when I'm at the shop tomorrow I will have finished before all the rails get returned to our shop at lunch time. Don't fancy having to sort through that lot. We broke off for sandwiches at 5.30pm and these were provided free so that was my meal for the evening. Everything went really well and we had a good turnout.We all cleared everything up afterwards and finally left at 10.00pm shattered! This is the first fashion show we have done and can't wait to do the next one.

Going to bed now. I'm very tired. Bye

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Frugal Hair Colour

I got up this afternoon at 1.30pm after working a night shift and seem to have been on the go since. It's lovely to finally sit and chill. It is 8.30pm and I am just sitting down to eat my evening meal.

I'm having my meal on my lap, on my own and enjoying it. Hubby is out at an Italian restaurant tonight. His boss takes all the staff out on treats now and again to thank them for their hard work and for a bit of team building. Hubby will be having a 3 course meal and a couple of drinks all paid for by the boss. Daughter No3 cooked her tea earlier because we were all out. Daughter No2 ate a sandwich in her room after late night at college as she does not like stir fry.

So, onto my frugal hair colour. It was a mess my hair colour which I do myself with a cheap hair colouring kit. Daughter No2 is at college doing hairdressing so she always needs models to practice on. I really needed my hair doing so she said she would colour it for me at college. I have been on other occasions for different treatments but this was my first colour. Anyone can go to a college  and be a model, you usually pay a few pounds for say a cut and dry and not much more for hair colouring. It's a great way to get cheap hair cuts and treatments. Tutors are always on hand watching and are there to give pupils advice if they need it. If a mistake was to happen or you were not happy with the finished result the tutors would rectify it for you. So here is my before picture -

with faded colour and lots of grey hairs. Sorry don't know how to turn the picture around.

Here's the after picture
I was very pleased with the colour. If I lift my hair there is no gray, when I colour it you can still see a lot of grey that I miss. Next time I my try a more adventurous colour, say something with a reddish tint to it. Really pleased with my free hair colour.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Menu Week 06/06/11

MONDAY - Fragrant pork & rice one-pot with freshly made bread
ME - Same but made with veggie sausages

TUESDAY - Roasted vegetable frittata, salad and wedges
ME - Same

WEDNESDAY - Prawn stir fry and noodles
ME - Same

THURSDAY - Spaghetti bolognese & homemade garlic bread
ME - Not home, helping at a fashion show, most probably a sandwich

FRIDAY - Italian meatloaf, roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy
ME - Bean loaf and same as above

SATURDAY -Homemade pizzas, homemade coleslaw & wedges
ME - Same

SUNDAY - BBQ (if weathers good) and salad

Spent some time this morning checking prices of everything I need on my shopping list on mysupermarket comparison site. Aldi did not have their super 6 on the web page when I was looking this morning so had to wait until I arrived there to see what was on offer this week. Did well with my shop this week, keeping in budget again. Got some peppers reduced which I wanted for tomorrows frittata and Wednesdays stir fry. I got 2 x bags (4 in a bag) for 85p a bag.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Peed off

Just a short post today. Nothing very exciting happening here this weekend. Hubby doing more DIY and I have not done anything to write about. I was just walking into the living room this evening when I noticed a cracked window.

We don't know how it happened but we think it could have been done by a lawn mower throwing up a stone. A neighbour opposite was mowing his lawn this evening with a powerful petrol mower and we think this could have thrown a stone over.

I said to claim on the house insurance but Hubby doesn't want to claim because he likes to shop around each year for cheaper insurance and he said it will only mean we pay a higher insurance premium if we claim. So we now have to find a replacement that is as cheap as possible. It makes it a more expensive job because the sealed units have plastic strips inside to give the impression of panelled windows. There's always something that happens that involves having to pay out money! so this little incident has peed us off tonight.

Hope you all had a good weekend. Bye for now.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Homemade Ravioli

What fantastic weather we have had today. I did put suncream on today but forgot the back of my neck and back so this evening I have a lobster looking back. Won't do that again. I spent the morning in the garden tidying the borders and putting in some annuals because I knew it would be too hot this afternoon for that job. The garden looks a lot better now but still need to do some more weeding and planting.

I spent some time this afternoon making pasta. It is a time consuming job but I find it very enjoyable and the taste is so much better than shop bought dried pasta and it's a lot lighter too. I wanted to use some roasted vegetables I had in the freezer and some cottage cheese I'd had in the fridge ages. On checking the cottage cheese this morning it had gone mouldy so that had to be binned. I did not want to go and buy anymore cottage cheese because the whole point of making the ravioli was to use up the cottage cheese. I decided to use some garlic and herb cream cheese I had in instead.

I chopped the roasted veg then added cream cheese and grated Parmesan. these were all mixed well. I made my pasta with 250g of 00 pasta flour, 3 eggs, 1tbsp olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt.

 I rolled this out with my pasta machine into long strips. I tried putting filling on the strips of pasta then placing another strip on top then cutting out with a round cutter.

I found I was getting too many air pockets so I cut out my rounds, wet the edges with water, filled with filling then popped a circle on top and sealed by pressing firmly around the edge.

I made as many as I could with the filling and let them dry on a t towel.

 I then made some tagliatelle with the remainder dough and dried it over wooden spoons resting on my cupboard handles.

I made a nice tomato sauce and some homemade garlic bread to have with it.

We had this al fresco because the evening was so lovely. It tasted really great. Everyone commented on how lovely it was the only trouble was it was very light and we all could have eaten a lot more!