Tuesday, 28 May 2013

They're all grown up now!

Hi everyone,

Yesterday my youngest daughter turned 18!

So now I don't have any 'children' left... they are all adults. That makes me feel old... but the youngest also produced our first grandchild, so I really am old!!!

The birthday girl visited us (and her baby) for about half an hour before heading back to her friends. We quickly passed her cards and presents, lit and blew out birthday cake candles, sang 'Happy Birthday' and ate a slice of chocolate cake. Not a 'normal' kind of birthday, very rushed, but it's what makes her happy... we are far too boring for her :((

Sorry, no frugal recipe today. I've got a huge amount of housework to do (after a busy weekend), so I'll try harder tomorrow.

Hope the weather's better where you are (it's pouring with rain here).

Mandy x

Friday, 24 May 2013

Frugal tea-time... Sausage and Bean Casserole

Hi everyone,

Last night we had sausage and bean casserole for tea:

Sausage and Bean Casserole

6 sausages (chopped into 3 pieces)
2x tins of baked beans
1tbsp worcester sauce
2tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp bbq sauce
1tbsp black treacle
black pepper

  1. Put sausages in casserole dish.
  2. Combine beans with the remaining ingredients and pour over sausages.
  3. Cover with foil and bake for 1hr at 180oC.
  4. Check on the casserole every 20mins and stir.
  5. I served it with mini jacket potatoes (new potatoes baked in the oven).
This makes a nice change from bangers and mash. It was plenty for three adults so would serve four. There isn't much sausage in there, but we are cutting down on our meat intake and the extra tin of beans makes up for it. One tin may be enough, but they could cook dry and start to stick to the dish while cooking.

I'm not normally on my laptop at the weekend, so I'll be back with another frugal recipe on Tuesday (my daughter is 18 on Monday, so I'll be a bit busy!)

Sorry about the lack of photos - I can't upload from my computer now :(

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Frugal tea-time... homemade fish pie

Hi everyone,

I've decided to write about my frugal meals and cooking. I don't seem to be getting many page views now, or comments, or followers :(
I suppose my posts are too boring and I talk about my life with Daisy too much for a thrifty blog, but this is me right now!

I am trying to move away from baby jars for Daisy, so have to put more thought into what we are having for tea each day. I need to be able to adapt it to suit a lactose intolerant 8 month old.

Last night we had fish pie. I always think a pie should have a pastry lid, but with fish? No thanks... I had this as child (made with tuna) and it made me feel sick! My fish pie has a potato lid. I thought I would share my recipe (if anyone out there is interested).

Fish Pie

pack of 4 frozen pollack blocks
pack of instant parsley sauce
frozen peas
half a small tub single cream
small bag of potatoes
knob of butter
black pepper
sprinkle of parsley

  1. Poach fish in water for 15 mins from frozen (that's what it said on the packet).
  2. Meanwhile, peel, chop and boil spuds.
  3. Remove fish from pan and flake into serving dish.
  4. Boil kettle and make up parsley sauce mix. Add to fish with most of the cream.
  5. Cook peas and add to fish.
  6. Drain and mash spuds with butter and remaining cream. Season.
  7. Pile on top of fish and spread with a fork. Sprinkle on parsley.
  8. Pop in the oven for 20 mins at 200 oC.
You could add grated cheese to the mash, but I didn't and it was lovely! This was a cheap and easy meal which made plenty for three adults and the baba.

I hope someone will take an interest!!!

Mandy x

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Thrifty reading

Hi everyone,

Just lately I've got back into reading in the evening. Daisy has a story and bottle, then in her cot by 7.30. I then sit on my bed and read while she sleeps. She will wake for a late feed and gets frightened if she can't see one of us, so I stay with her.

I have to have a book that I can get straight into, or I will lose interest fast. One set of books that I love are the Nella Last diaries. I read them all before, but decided to revisit them for an easy read that I could dip in and out of. I finished the first book last night and started the second. I whizz through these books as I'm interested!

So why are these thrifty?
I bought all three books second hand and paid very little for them and I'm reading them again. I have a massive pile of fiction books that I've had for years. They haven't been read before because I haven't made the time to read. This pile of books is thrifty reading because I don't need to buy any books for a long time now and it is free entertainment.

When I have read a book, if I really enjoyed it - I will keep it to read again at a later date and if it wasn't anything special - I will sell it on in at a carboot sale or donate it to a charity shop.

I'm looking forward to the next book this evening...

Mandy x

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Finding the time to blog in May...

I thought I'd better make time to blog before May is over!

I'm always busy (like everyone else is), but May seems to be flying by. Daisy is teething with teeth numbers 5 and 6 and struggling with them this time. 1-4 just popped out of her gums with no fuss, but she is suffering at the moment and needs lots of cuddles and something hard to bite!

We've seen the Health Visitor and Daisy is growing! She weighs 15lb 3oz and still under the 9th centile (which is small), but consistent, so everything is fine, thank God. Weaning is progressing and she had her first taste of scrambled egg for tea yesterday. She wasn't sure about the texture, so next time I will serve it with some blitzed tomatoes to make it more exciting for her. She now has weetabix for breakfast too. We are managing more and more family food and she will have an adjusted version with no salty gravy or dairy. She loves her soya yogurt and cream and has even got soya vanilla ice-cream!

We've been to a couple of carboot sales (will blog about all my purchases later) and we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. I've managed to get on top of the housework now and have an ever growing pile of things, stuff to get rid of. Most of these will be taken to a carboot (when I've got time) as I haven't bothered ebaying for a while. Having less stuff around the house has made it easier to clean, so when I do buy something, I think about it more - I don't want to fill the house up again! My daughter sold at a carboot this month, so I have four more things to add to my declutter challenge:

46.   green jacket
47.   book
48.   top
49.   child's book

There is still a lot of work to be done here and I'm waiting for a charity bag to come through the door, hopefully from the air ambulance because they take everything including bric-a-brac.

I've been keeping up with my home cooking a lot better (which is good news for Daisy), using my meat stash in the chest freezer. This is what I've used so far:

  • chicken - curry and Chinese (none left)
  • mince - spag bol x 3, cottage pie and lasagne (5 left)
  • sausages - with new potatoes, bangers and mash and a fry up (none left)
  • pork - not used yet (2 left)
  • beef - casserole (3 left)
  • lamb - not used yet (2 left)
  • bacon - fry up, quiche, pasta, sandwiches x 3 (2 left)

Other meals have been meat-free or made using meat that was already in the freezer and not part of my challenge. So far, I have made 16 meals from my meat stash and there are plenty more to come.

An area where I felt I was failing was my cake tins. I love having them full and on display (they are Emma Bridgewater hearts), but lately they've been tucked away in the cupboard. On Sunday Grampy took Daisy for a walk in her pram around the village and I managed to bake (I love it) some cakes. I made chocolate chip brownies, chocolate chip cookies, oat cookies, a victoria sandwich and two dozen fairy cakes. We have lacked in the homemade cake variety so much, that we have already made quite a dent in them! They are taken in packed lunches and I have some with my lunch. We also had chocolate brownies and ice-cream for pudding on Sunday.

That's it for now, hopefully be back soon...???

Mandy x