Every day is a beautiful day if you walk on the sunny side of the street

Every day is a beautiful day if you walk on the sunny side of the street
Summer days will surely return.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Using what I have

In this, my year of "less", I am very aware of what I spend and what I waste.

I am trying to make more than one meal from our food ; a bit like "Ready Steady Cook" when the people brought in a bag of shopping and the TV chefs made more than one dish from the ingredients. So say, I am using a pepper I chop some of it and put it in a tub of chopped peppers that  I have in the freezer.

When I make chilli con carne I add even more  beans and veg than usual and then freeze some - even if it's only enough to be used as a ciabatta pizza topping. Or I split the mince and by adding more veg I can make a bolognese sauce and a cottage pie for the freezer. One pack of mince can be stretched to four meals for 2. One pack of chicken breasts can make 2 meals for 2. The freezer helps to stop the boredom of having the same meat day after day. Though I doubt we would be that bored!

When I carved the lamb on  Sunday I served just the well sliced stuff and the chunkier end bits I put in the fridge. And that became last night's lamb and spinach curry. I used stuff I already had in....

 onion, garlic, squirt of easy ginger, one red chilli, balti paste, tin tomatoes, teaspoon of sugar,  lamb, frozen spinach - served with naan that I found reduced as it was the last "display date" day. I also had salad with mine.

I have also started to freeze stuff instead of storing it in the fridge.

Last week I bought a fresh stew veg pack - onion, swede, parsnip, carrots. There are usually too many carrots in these packs so I chopped and froze some on their own - they will be used later in a beef bourguignon. I chopped the rest of the veg and froze them altogether for a stew. I think fresh and then frozen is nicer than a pre frozen stew pack which tends to have tough bits and badly peeled bits.

I had the chilli in the freezer - where I shop they are sold cheaply but in a four pack so I just freeze them.

By freezing on day of purchase I am no longer finding unused  wilted veg at the end of the week! Or worst still finding stuff too far over to actually use.

I am shopping just one day a week for groceries.

I do not feel at all restricted by planning so carefully.  I actually feel free as there is no waste to feel guilty about.

I am enjoying reading this book....

and her blog.... http://suddenlunch.blogspot.co.uk/

I am also reading this ...

It is an updated edition - I had the original £4 a day. I think the recipes in here are even better than the old version.

I love my library & make the most of it.

Our menu for the rest of the week....

Turkey, sausage wrapped in bacon, stuffing, Hairy Bikers' bubble & squeak, pickles
Morroccan soup
Chicken stew & dumplings
Tuna coriander and lime fish cake, homemade oven chips, peas & broccoli
Chicken red Thai curry
Chilli beef noodles

I am averaging just under £40 a week shopping for 2 of us- I know I could get it lower but I think this is the lowest I'll be going as I like the meat we eat to be very lean and we do eat lots of veg and fruit which can be a bit pricey. I am also trying a gluten free diet at the moment which can be expensive too.

I love cooking :)


“The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.” 
― Julia Child


  1. We are doing so many of the same things!

  2. Isn't it a grand feeling to have things in the freezer, ready to use in meal preparation, or as a whole meal. I tend to cook large amounts and put several meals in the freezer, besides eating what I cooked for the next two days. When I keep a variety of meals in the freezer we can rotate and not eat the same thing day after day, but I was able to cook it all at one time - saves electricity (my kitchen stove is electric) and time.

    I have two questions - the words "mince" and "swede" - I'm a little lost with those two. Here mince usually refers to mince meat pie - which anymore rarely actually has meat in it, but is more raisins, apples and spices - but Swede - I'm completely lost there.

    1. Hi JoAnn - thanks for commenting :) I think Canadians call Swede rutabaga ??? Anyway that is what google told me :)
      and by mince I mean ground beef - I think!!
      I have an electric oven too. Well for convenience I started using the slow cooker more and have been amazed that the energy company have reduced our direct debit payment - it has made such a difference.