Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Day 236 - Spending Wisely

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

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

It's always worth checking.

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

Monday, 22 August 2016

Day 235 - A Free Drink

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

And it was totally free!

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

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

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

Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Day 234 - Leftover Potatoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today is a No Spend Day

Saturday, 20 August 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 19 August 2016

Day 232 - Potatoes

(Pictures from Google Images.)

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

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

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

Potatoes will be cooked every which way.

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

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Day 231 - Massive Fail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today is a No Spend Day

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Day 230 - A Daily Harvest

The reason I'm not shopping very much at the moment, I've only shopped once up to now this month and it's already the 17th, was brought home to me yesterday morning.  

I tend to do all my chores early in the morning while it's still nice and cool, things like cleaning out the henhouse, a bit of daily weeding so I can add the weeds to the compost bin along with the chicken house waste, watering anything that's looking thirsty etc.  

Then I go round the Veggie Patch and the tunnels and pick anything that looks like it should be picked.  If you regularly pick from your beans, peas, courgette and tomato plants it encourages the plant to produce more and that's what we really need.  I don't do a big pick just enough to use that day and the next and occasionally some excess to freeze but it soon adds up.  This photo is of yesterday's early pickings and includes the three eggs that were already in the henhouse by 9am.

The blueberries were open frozen and have now been added to the huge tub we have in the freezer, the plants have been very prolific this year, they obviously love it in the net tunnel.  The tomatoes are in a little dish by the kettle and get snacked on during the day, any left at teatime get added to my meal, along with other things that I have harvested over the course of the day.

So it explains to me why I've not needed to shop much, and it's really helping documenting all this on this blog, so we can plan the extras that will always need purchasing, things like rice, pasta and flour which along with the harvests make up the rest of our meals.

Today is a No Spend Day

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Day 229 - Simple Suppers

On these hot, busy Summer days it sometimes means that I have little appetite for a cooked evening meal when I come back into the house, and I'm often to be found rummaging through the freezer for a bread roll or two. There are only a couple of rolls left now so I think need to get baking again.  It's about time my bread making skills were put back to good use instead of buying so much bread.

Last night I used the last of my Falafels and added salad from the polytunnel and a good splodge of homemade mayonnaise, a simple and cooling Summer's day supper eaten at my desk while catching up on emails and blog comments in the cool of the office.

Tomorrow I think I'll make a loaf or two ... or maybe even some more bread rolls, I've never been able to master really soft rolls though so I think I'll do a bit of reading around my cookbooks for a good recipe.

Today is a No Spend Day

Monday, 15 August 2016

Day 228 - This Week's Soup

This week's soup for my lunches is Potato and Leek.

I had lots of partially slug damaged potatoes so I cut out all the good bits and made something from them ... waste not want not and all that.  I've sprinkled a good few slug pellets on the remaining potato beds and it seems to be having the desired effect, lots of little bodies and slimy trails, so hopefully the next batch that I dig up should not be as affected - fingers crossed.

I'm also into fried eggs on toast for breakfast at the moment, quick, simple and very, very tasty.  
All this plate is lacking is a smiley face  :-)

Today is a No Spend Day

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Day 227 - My 8p Tesco Shop

Money Spent Today - 8p 
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent - £14.00
Money Spent in Total - £318.96
Vouchers/Coupons/Points Spent in Total - £239.25
Money left in Housekeeping Fund - £9.75

After a whole thirteen days of not shopping I decided to had to venture out and have a mooch around the shops.  Lethally I did it on an empty stomach .... and we all know what that can lead to ...and instead of just buying the sparkling water that I went for I bought this little lot.

It's not the end of the world although ALL my Tesco vouchers have now been spent.  While I was there I noticed that the tissues I like best were reduced to half price, £1 a pack instead of the usual £2, so I decided to use my manufacturer's coupon and stock up with three boxes.  So £6 worth of tissues for a big fat zero spend.

I bought the 'seasoning/cook in the bag' sachets for chicken as they were reduced from £1 each to just 25p and we have a big bag of chicken portions in the freezer that would benefit from a more unusual flavour for a change.

The Falafels were just an empty stomach thing, I had them on a couple of buns when I got home with some salad from the polytunnel.

I lost the receipt, so I did this from memory and from prices on the packs when I got home, I had to  check the jam sugar price on the mysupermarket site as I wasn't sure, but I did have it right.  I don't know where the receipt went I'm usually so careful with it these days.  I guess I'm out of practice after not shopping for nearly two weeks ... well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it  ;-)