Monday, 30 April 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 30/4/12

Last weeks frugal week went swimmingly, we didn't buy food at all and stuck to the plan to the letter. It is amazing what have no money can do! This week is payday week so we have a food shop scheduled to be delivered tonight.
I have avoided the usual temptation of going a but mad after payday and stuck to our usual budget of £40, but hopefully I have planned a lovely week of food to make up for last weeks frugality.

Meatball pasta al forno
we favour rigatoni, and much prefer oven baked pasta dishes.

Chicken Kievs and Potatoes
The potatoes will be either mashed, boiled or roasted, depending on what we fancy on the day.

Chicken and Pearl Barley Stew.
something we can help ourselves to easily as we are both home at different times.

Gammon Steaks with sweet potato mash and veg.
veg will be green beans and baby sweetcorn for me.

Chilli with brown rice.
we actually prefer the texture and flavour of brown rice

Homemade Pizzas.
So much cheaper and more delicious to make our own takeaway!

Toad in the Hole.
Our cheaper version of a Sunday dinner, will serve with mashed root veg, cabbage and gravy.

Breakfast will be bagels and coffee.

Lunches will be tinned soup, porridge & fruit, or leftovers.

I am quite excited by this meal plan, it is pretty much our top 7 meals of he moment.

Another method I use to help stick to the plan and communicate the plan to the whole house is writing it on the whiteboard in the kitchen. I picked up our whiteboard for £1.99 in Tesco!

I find that having the plan written in black and white on the kitchen wall helps everyone know what we are having when, it also helps remind me what needs to be taken out of the freezer and when.

As usual I have entered this meal plan into Mrs M's Linky.

Also for more fab meal planning tips check out this wonderful post from A Trifty Mrs.

I am tempted next week to go a little more into my shopping list and how I do our online shop to make it as cheap as possible, would this be something of interest?


Friday, 27 April 2012

Salted Caramel Shortbread

My last caramel shortbread post, for some unknown reason, is my most popular post to date. Don't get me wrong it was bloody delicious and I am glad people love it, but I have no idea why so many people have stumbled onto the post - obviously I am some sort of SEO savant.

So, seeing as people are obvious crazy for the caramel I decided to make some more, and put a slight spin on it.

Salted Caramel Shortbread!

The whole salted caramel thing has really taken off in the foodie/blog world this year. Ever since we saw Nigella dripping with the stuff on the cover for Stylist Magazine, we have fallen in love. Hard...


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Shirley Temple Cake

You may have seen on my previous Cake Club post that I made a Shirley Temple cake? I promised you a recipe, so here it is. (really really late but hopefully worth the wait?)

The Inspiration for this cake is the lovely mock-tail (non-alcoholic cocktail) known as the 'Shirley Temple', which according to Wikipedia was invented in Beverly Hills to give to the adorable child star, who was too young for a real cocktail. The ingredients vary from recipe to recipe but the main flavours are ginger ale, lime, and grenadine; usually served with a generous portion of maraschino cherries.

As usual I came up with the idea weeks and weeks before cake club but left my actual baking experimentation till the last minute, I was very lucky it worked so well, as it was a total experiment incorporating about 12 different recipes, smooshing them together and hoping they worked...


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Blog Camp UK 2012

This weekend I took my little blog-show on the road and headed to Blogcamp UK in Birmingham. It was an event organised by the lovely people at the tots and foodies100. I signed up to attend a few months back and have been quite excited to meet some fellow bloggers and be able to talk about things like SEO, stats, photography, reviews, social media etc... with people who are interested in the same things. As lovely as all my friends are I do sometimes think they might be getting sick of my constant wittering on about blogging and baking.

The great thing about this event for me was that is was completely free! Yes I know, I am a total cheap-skate, but the fact that I only had to pay for travel was a BIG tick in the plus column.

In true food blogger style I seem to have mainly taken photos of the food I ate on the day, and completely disregarded taking photos of people I met! So here is my run down of the day told through the medium of food;


Monday, 23 April 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 23/4/12

Last week went pretty much to plan, we were naughty one night and had a sneaky chip shop dinner, but apart from that we stuck to the plan and were organised.

This week is going to be a very frugal week in my house, the last week before pay-day, in the month before I start my new job and am going to be about £150 out of pocket.
This month has been a pricey one with some unforeseen vet bills and what not, so there is no usual weekly shop planned, we are just going to try and eat out of the freezer and cupboards. I will be popping to the shops to grab bread, milk and cat food, but apart from essentials I'm going to have to get creative.

This is the thing that I love about meal planning, I know exactly what is in the house so can built meals around what we have rather than spending £40 on things we may not need. The meals may not be gourmet or particularly creative but they are cheap and cheerful, what more do we need?

Marinated chicken thighs and legs with boiled potatoes and sweetcorn.
I will be marinating the chicken in a BBQ marinade

Beef stew
Made up of diced beef, root veg, potato and beef stock

Sort yourself out night.
left over beef stew probably

Lasagne or bolognese pasta bake.
I always make a large amount so we can have leftovers for lunch the next day

Freezer meal, probably chicken kievs, potato waffles or something similar.

Lunches will be tinned soup, porridge & fruit, or leftovers.

N.B sort yourself out night is a night when we both are in at different times so we make our own meals.

My week of no spending last week went really well! Apart from my £15 bus pass I didn't buy anything from Monday-Friday. I would usually buy the odd bottle of water, maybe a sandwich at lunch, a coffee here and there... It all adds up.

I also sold a few bits and bobs on ebay this week too and made a lovely £41.36, although ebay are keeping it for up to 21 days as I am new to the whole ebay thing. *shakes fist at ebay*
I may have caught the ebay bug though, it is quite addictive and profitable. I have suitcases full of old clothes, shoes and bags that I never use so I think a good clearout is in order.

Do you do anything to raise money or supplement your income? Feel free to share below...

Also I was thinking of posting some of my recipes for frugal meals along with a cost per person, is this something people would be interested in or should I stick to what I know; cake?

As always I have submitted my meal plan to Mrs M's linky.


Friday, 20 April 2012

Banana, white chocolate and almond muffins.

Ok so I am going to admit something that will sound unusual considering the title of this post but; I don't like bananas. Let me explain, Peeling a fresh yellow banana and biting into it makes me want to gag. The texture, the smell, the stringy bits... Just gross.

However, I do like banana flavoured things and bananas cooked in things. When I buy bananas I spend a full week planning potential banana flavoured treats as I impatiently wait for them to turn all sad and brown. I really wish you could buy gross brown bananas for a huge discount somewhere, maybe my local market will cut me a deal?

I also read this week that Scarlet Johansson's super power is muffin baking! She told E! online that "I can make blueberry, banana chocolate chip…it's like a superpower, just more fattening, I guess." She doesn't really look like she eats many muffins but it did make me feel quite "Hollywood" while baking these badboys...


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A Trumpers Tea Party.

It is well documented that I have a slight obsessive love of good tea. I drink around 6 cups of tea a day and love nothing more than sitting down with a good brew to relax. Although, I am ashamed to admit I have never given much thought to loose leaf tea. To me loose leaf always seemed a bit faffy and I thought you needed a special teapot and bags of patience; neither of which I posses.

Boy was I wrong.

I was contacted on twitter by a company called Trumpers Tea, they had seen my review of Victory tea and wanted to know if I'd like to give their loose tea a go. I jumped at the chance to try something new and broaden my tea horizons...


Monday, 16 April 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 16/4/2012

As it was a bank holiday last monday I was in complete holiday mode and didn't do a meal plan for the week. By Wednesday the familiar feeling for dread accompanied the question of "what's for dinner?". I also had nothing planned for my lunches so ended up spending on bland shop bought sandwiches, which I hate doing.

This week I was more prepared. I had my meals planned and my online shop sorted by Wednesday, ready for the Sunday morning delivery.

So here is this weeks meal plan;

Meal out at a local restaurant (happy hour special with our Grand National winnings)
Meal out cancelled due to boyfriends bad back. Will have to rethink, possibly jacket potatoes and salad.

Salmon fish cakes with boiled potatoes and veg

Sort yourself out night.

Smoked sausage pasta al forno.

Chilli or lasagne (depending on mood)

This weeks shop came to £41 (which included a few cleaning products and toiletries)

sort yourself out night is a night when we both are in at different times so we make our own meals, boyfriend normally goes for a toastie and I rustle up some veggie pasta or stir fry.

This meal planning malarkey has really got me in a frugal mood recently. I am determined to get myself on a better financial footing in the next year. To stop burying my head and pay off some student debt and get myself firmly in the black. I'm not in that much debt really but would love to be able to start saving and being able to afford things like holidays and new clothes.

So, if you have any tips on how you save money or make money, please share below. It can be food related or otherwise.


As always I have submitted my meal plan to Mrs M's linky.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Sunday Lunch - Easter Bunny Pie

At a recent farmers market in Newcastle I impulse bought some diced rabbit to try and it has been sat in my freezer for weeks waiting for me to decide what to make with it. I have never even eaten rabbit let alone cooked with it so I was a little scared of getting it all wrong.

I posted on Kitchen Bitching asking for help, I turned to twitter for advice and spoke to all my foodie friends to see what they would do with it. I got some wonderful advice and ideas but in the end I just decided to go for it and stop worrying so much.

As it was Easter last weekend I decided it would be morbidly cute to make a rabbit pie (or Easter bunny pie), and I have to say it was delicious, and the perfect revenge for not receiving any Easter Eggs this year. *pout* ...


Friday, 13 April 2012

Hot Cross Buns

Another first for me this Easter was Hot Cross Buns, I have never made them myself before and I was pretty excited to give them a go. Lots of much more organised bloggers had posted their buns weeks earlier, I'd been drooling all over my keyboard for weeks!

Special mention to Karen and Roswen for their drool inducing buns (Oo-er)

I tried baking my first batch of buns the weekend before Easter but the curse of the BBC recipe site struck again and they were awful! hard on the outside, raw int he middle, heavy and generally inedible. I was gutted, what a waste of flour! ...


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Mini Egg Brownies

Brownies are one of those things that I can never seem to get right. Either they are too cake-y and dry or far too wet or gooey, I've never been able to find that perfect fudgey middle ground; until now.

I put out a plea on twitter for everyone's favourite brownie recipe and I got an overwhelming response and a lot of recipes to try, but a lot of people raved about Nigella's brownie recipe from the Domestic Goddess book. I don't actually own this book but my sister does so as she was coming over for a day of baking I asked her to bring it with her. After a quick flick through it is going on my cookbook wishlist for sure! So many yummy things!

Not only was this recipe remarkably simple, it was bloody delicious and so adaptable! ...


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Happy Easter and a Hedgehog Traybake

Hedgehog is something which takes me right back to childhood. I remember my Auntie Hilary and Granny used to come up north to visit and bring homemade caramel shortbread and hedgehog.
So this weekend when my sister was over for a super fun day of baking we decided to revive this childhood classic. We didn't have the original recipe to hand so we sort of made it up as we went...


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

I met Mary Berry!

I had a rather exciting week last week which started with going to the Living North show at Gosforth Racecourse. I had heard of the Living North show but never really thought of it as a foodie event, but boy was I wrong. A few weeks ago on twitter I saw the lovely Lauren talking about going to see Mary Berry and knew instantly that I HAD to get tickets.

As a fan of the Great British Bake Off and baking in general I really couldn't pass up the chance of seeing/meeting the queen of cakes herself, and actually watching her bake something! To say I was excited would be the understatement of the century....


Monday, 2 April 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 2nd April

I have had a couple of weeks off meal planning and I have definitely missed it. These last two weeks have reaffirmed my love for meal planning and made me realise how vital it is. I haven't done a big supermarket shop for those two weeks, instead nipping to the shop almost every day for little bits, and spending far too much money on take-away.

I am drawing a line under the last two weeks and moving on, getting back on track, and both my purse and waistline are grateful for the relief.

Monday: Turkey escalopes, boiled new potatoes, fried mushrooms

Tuesday: Beef Chilli tacos with brown rice

Wednesday: Homemade macaroni cheese/ tuna pasta (after Zumba)

Thursday: Chicken Kiev with garlic mash and veg

Friday: Rabbit pie (Good Friday)

Weekend: as it is a 4 day weekend I will be doing a fair bit of baking, pretty excited!

This weeks online shop came to £45 including delivery, as I hadn't done a big shop for a while we were pretty low on basics, so this includes stocking up on baking essentials and spices, pasta, rice etc...

Feels good to be back in control!

As always I have included this post in Mrs M's linky.

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