Sunday, 8 January 2012

Late to the Party – or how I do my best

I have had such a lovely and productive weekend.
Sunday evening quickly arrives again though doesn’t it?
I have really tried to curb my spending since the new year and the only sale items I bought was a new slow cooker as my last one was made back in the early 90s and I was getting pretty worried about leaving it on when I was not home.   I had been eyeing up the Tesco model but at nearly £30 could really justify it since I had one that worked well. However when I went in the other day it was reduced to £12 so I grabbed it and the old one went on freecycle and was picked up a day later.
This week I did had a wander around a House of Fraser sale and discovered some tins half price for baking and since the Great British Bake off has a lot to answer for I grabbed them both which came in at £7 for the two – they are really good quality too. So that means I have a proper bread loaf tin for the next foray into bread making. Plus a square tin will come in useful for the brownies I like to make.
I also grabbed some Christmas cards for next year, which meant I got all my cards sorted for under £4. Not to bad considering I am sending about 40 or so currently.
So under £20 for a bit of sale shopping I hope is acceptable and will not break the bank for this month.
Slow cooking really is the most delicious way of making your food and tenderisers meat like no other. Cheap cuts after sitting in the slow cooker for a good few hours just melt in your mouth.
Remember those drumsticks I bought the other day? Well here are four of them. I defrosted them about 12 o’clock today and them browned them for a a minute or two on each side in a pan before putting them inside the slow cooker with a real hotpotch of ingredients. I rarely follow a recipe unless looking to impress visitors and generally just chuck in store cupboard contents.
Today I added an onion, and the rest of some large mushrooms I had intended to stuff, a tin of chopped tomatoes, some sweetcorn then a teaspoon of chilli powder half a packet of barbeque seasoning I had open, some garlic and a stock cube. It looked a little watery later, so some thickening granules were added. Not rocket science but it really tasted delicious for dinner and should do me for at least three meals.
So these two photos ultimately turned into this...
Which nicely leads me on to a menu plan – to budget most wisely it seems to me that organising what I am going to eat for the week  makes me get the most out of my money and what I have in stock without buying anything unneccesary.
For breakfast I have sultana bran this week which should last me until at least Friday morning, though I will have to buy extra milk.
Dinner – Chicken Drumstick casserole with rice (I got this rice free with a Sun token from their Friday freebie)
Lunch – ratatouille on toast (ratatouille home made and currently frozen in the freezer)
Dinner – Chicken Drumstick casserole with either the left over rice or some of the potatoes left from the cheap bag bought on the 27th Dec – they still look fine
Lunch – ratatouille on toast
Dinner – The frozen tuna fishcakes I made last week – this will finish them off . Plus I will not be getting home until later and I they will be ready in jiffy once I walk through the door
Lunch – Cheese on Toast I still have some babybel in the fridge.
Dinner – 2 findus crispy pancakes I found hiding in the freezer yesterday along peas and probably a jacket potato
Lunch – cheese on toast
Dinner – mackerel with peas and mashed potatoes
Lunch - cheese on toast
Dinner - eating with sister
Eating with sister.
I have got so much done over this weekend, I finally tackled the ironing mountain that has been building up since Christmas, since it was getting pretty irritating having all these weekend walkers turning up to my door wanting to scale it as part of the 6 peaks challenge. And turned this….

Into this in an hour and a half.
I also cleaned out the fridge and looked through the kitchen supplies, I only needed to throw an old banana that was nearly walking its way to the kitchen bin.
I cleaned W Towers too, so really the only jobs left are to turn these Christmas Cards

 into tags for next year and sort out the paper work for the last 2 months that needs to be either shredded or filed. It is a job I really loathe so I cannot see it being tackled until next weekend as I am out every night this week.
All in all apart from buying The Chap and I a takeout at the weekend and filling up the car, I really feel that I have not done too badly this weekend spending unnecessary cash.
As an aside, giving away my old slow cooker on Freecycle was a new experience for me. I only joined about a month ago and already was gifted a grow your mushroom kit which I am really looking forward to getting started on. It was nice too, to give something away. I had so many responses and I am so glad that it has been gifted to a person who will use it . It is not thrown away or given to a charity shop as I do wonder whether those establishments would have wanted it.
Freecycle around where I live seems to be very successful, and it is lovely to receive the messages, now I feel a bit more confident about using the process I am hoping to clear out some clutter from my home.
Everyone out there has probably been using it for years, but I am always late to the party and only joined Facebook in the summer after vowing never to join its ranks. It is fun, though I never want to get to the point of using Facebook to stay in contact. I am a bit old fashioned and like to speak to my friends pretty regularly or at least personally email them.
The Chap and I went to the cinema last night too using some vouchers he got for Christmas which also pretty much covered the popcorn and drinks there. Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol. It was really good fun and with some very amusing moments courtesy of Simon Pegg. However there were one or two scenes which made me feel sick as I am not one for heights. Great Saturday night date movie. We both enjoyed it, though the conversation home did centre on Ethan Hunt’s car…
Frugally yours

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I really love reading all comments. So please tell me what you think. Abigail