Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A cheap and easy recipe...toad in-the-hole

Hi everyone,

A quick post as I am concentrating hard on decluttering. You would be proud of my ruthlessness!

A quick and easy tea...

Toad in-the-hole

2 cups plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 cups milk
Pack of sausages
Little oil or dripping

Chop the sausages up and put in a roasting tin with a little oil. Bake at 200oC while you mix up the batter.

To make the batter...put the flour and salt in a bowl and add the eggs. Mix, adding the milk slowly.

Beat well and pour over the sausages.

Bake for approx 45 mins at 180oC (keep an eye on it) until fluffed up and crispy golden. 

We ate it with lots of veg and need for potatoes too.

In December I will be talking all things Christmas...homemade decorations, festive food, tasty treats and gift ideas. I love Christmas and hope you'll join me!

January has a lot of changes and I plan to share these with you too...really knuckling down and focusing on what's important. Lots of upcycling, recycling, more sorting, decorating and making everywhere look pretty (on a very small budget). 

I will be back before December if I cook something I think you'll like though!!

Thanks for reading

Mandy x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Is it just me?...

Hi everyone,

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that we are really not getting much for our money in the weekly shop? 

I have been thinking of changing supermarkets lately because of so many errors from asda with my online shop. But when I do a price comparison, asda comes up the cheapest! I really don't know what to do. 

Asda is the cheapest, but the prices continue to climb. I am not happy with how much we spend and end up removing items from my basket (online) to get my spending under control. It's not always food that's the problem, as we get all our toiletries, household stuff and washing powder etc in with the groceries. It's still too much to spend though and I'm looking at ways of cutting back so I can get some treats for Christmas time. This seems to be a constant battle. After Christmas I will be focusing on this heavily and will be changing the way I shop and cook. Meanwhile, I will be making sure we have a good Christmas without overspending. 

My Christmas preparations will begin over the next couple of weeks and I will be blogging my ideas. We (Daisy and I) will be baking, crafting for decorations and gifts. 

The declutter/sort out is still underway...some items are ready to be gifted, some bags have already gone to the charity shop and some have been thrown out or recycled. I have lots of recycling/upcycling projects planned and will share these if you're interested?? I also have some bits I will sell eventually.

I have been cooking from scratch and baking but don't always remember to photograph it! Please comment below if you are still interested in seeing my meal plans. I sometimes wonder if those types of blog post can get boring for you? Also, if I'm cooking meals like spag bol (today) and toad in the hole for example, do you want these recipes? I don't want to insult anybody by providing the basics, but we all cook a well known recipe slightly differently. 

January onwards will be frugal and I will be compiling a bank of cheap and tasty recipes to cook in the new year. A new year always inspires me to try harder. 

Back soon,

Mandy x

Monday, 3 November 2014

Cook twice?

Hi everyone,

No weekend blogging because I was suffering with a nasty headache on Saturday and yesterday was busy. Thank you for all the Halloween comments :)

As promised, the pasta bake recipe is below.

Recently I've been looking at ways to cut my food bill. We love food and we like to eat well...sometimes too many treats for me! However, things need to change a bit. I'm definitely not going on a diet (I will cheat after day three!) but I do intend to make some small changes to benefit us all. I have got very lazy lately, but baking the other day made me realise that I can fit this into my daily routine more often. As a result, I bought much less rubbish and treats and will attempt to make what we have been enjoying lately. I managed to reduce our shopping bill even though I bought baking supplies, so it just goes to show! 

Today I am going through my kitchen cupboards, fridge and freezers to see what we've got. I haven't meal planned for this week yet because I know we have plenty and I will 'shop' from my own stores! I bought lots of veg and hope to use the slow cooker as much as possible. Tonight we are having our roast (pork) and the rest of the week is undecided as yet! 

Something else I am trying is cooking once but eating twice. Sadly our microwave has died on us, but I can still do this. I cooked double the amount of mince we needed and made it into a tomato ragu style meat sauce (just mince, onion, herbs, Worcester sauce and passata.) the first day half was used for my pasta bake and the other half was stored in the fridge and turned into chilli the following day. It only took a few minutes to prepare and we didn't mind eating mince two days running. So here is my pasta bake recipe...

You will need:
Mince (I used beef)
Onion (finely chopped)
A sprinkle of herbs
A dash of Worcester sauce
A carton of passata
Pasta (anything you've got)
A white roux sauce (butter, flour, milk)
Grated cheese

I haven't given exact amounts because it is a throw in type of recipe that I made for my family. Just use the usual amounts of mince and pasta you need to feed your family (or do double for the following day like I did)


1). Brown the mince with the onion. Add the herbs and Worcester.

2). Simmer the mince with the passata while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

3). Put the pasta on to boil and cook until ready.

4). Make the white sauce by melting a little butter, stir in a tbsp of plain flour, then add the milk slowly until the sauce has thickened and is pourable. (I'm sure I don't need to tell you how to make a white sauce)!

5). Stir the drained pasta into the white sauce and pile into an oven dish.

6). Top with the meat sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.

7). Cover with foil and bake @180oC for 15mins. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 mins. 

8). Serve with salad and garlic bread or veg.

You could cheat by buying the white and tomato sauces if you like. 

Feel free to ask questions if this is too basic! 

It was lovely! Easy peasy!

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x