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Monday, 31 July 2017

Saving Money

One sure way of saving money is to plan your meals, shopping and outgoings. Has anyone been watching that ITV program EAT, SHOP, SAVE.  Each week a family declare what they spend on food which is usually a jaw dropping amount.  One young couple with a toddler spent £50-£60 a week on takeaways alone and had consequently cancelled their wedding because they couldn't afford it. Does that surprise me........ermm NO!

I'm amazed how many people have no idea of their outgoings, food bills or household bills. Until you get to grips with your finances you cannot begin to save. When I saved over £25K in the two years prior to retirement I learnt so much and despite being better off now I still do all the things I did then. And as I'm on 4 month money saving exercise I will be tweaking my finances even more. 

Having re-acquainted myself with the contents of my freezer and store cupboards I  put together a shopping list.  I have been using Iceland so I get my £5 back for £30 (3 x £10) spend. I also admit to spending in Lidl on their 'weekend special offer', I got their  bargain spreadable butter  6x 79p. A few months back I picked up three of their laundry liquid for 89p a bottle. 
79p weekend bargain

With the garden producing so much fresh produce at the moment I am spending very little on vegetables.  After sorting the garden on Friday and Saturday I set a meal plan for the week. My batch cooking session produced 14 meals for 2 people: (home produce or foraged in red)

15 Turkey burgers(3x2meals):Turkey mince, lentils, stock cube,breadcrumbs, egg, onions, garlic, seasoning.
Chicken Supreme(2x2meals): Chicken, mushrooms, onions, garlic, celery, pepper, Sainsbury's mushroom sauce 89p, seasoning. 
Chicken curry (3x2meals): Chicken, curry paste, onions, garlic, courgettes, potatoes, tomato sauce, stock cube. 
Fish Pie(2x2:meals): Bassa, haddock, salmon and mackerel, finely sliced courgette, Sainsbury's dauphinoise sauce 89p, seasoning.
Bolognaise(1x2 meals): 5% steak mince, lentils, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, mushrooms, stock cube, seasoning.
Cottage Pie (2x2 meals): 5% steak mince, lentils, carrots, onion, mushroom, potatoes, celery, stock cube, gravy granules, seasoning, milk/butter. 
Tomato Sauce for Pizza (1x2 meals): tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato puree and seasoning. 

All the above meals will be served with home grown veg either: French green beans, mushrooms, runner beans, potatoes, sweet corn, beetroot, salad, cucumber courgette, kale and carrots.

Fish Pie 2 large (hubby) and 2 small (me)

Chicken curry & Chicken supreme

Chocolate, caramel shortcake.....YUM
It was a busy session but hubby helped out and we even got some baking done too.  We had a go at millionaire shortcake (Caramel shortbread), not the best of presentations but the taste is divine.  I have made lots of space in the freezer because I used lots and lots of bits and pieces up.  I know there will be meals to go back in but some will be left in the fridge.
More beans and courgettes, can you see the last mushroom
I foraged. A huge steak mushroom with bolognaise and cottage pies. 

Peeled, sliced and blanched ready
to be open frozen and bagged. 
I have also been busy blanching vegetables for the freezer as the runner beans are going crazy, every morning the plants are full of bees.  I must have picked at least 12lb so far and 5lb of French beans. Tonight we will have tortilla pizzas using my tomato sauce, ham, cheese and mushroom. It will be served with a beetroot salad.  A couple of 'meat free meals' each week help both the budget and our health.  These meals tend to be quiche, pizza,  risotto and vegetable/spinach pasta.

I have been very lucky to find a source of large field mushrooms over the last two weeks. Unfortunately the council mowed the grass verge where I found the biggest ones. It was almost an exact ring but I didn't have my phone to hand.  When I went back there was only a couple of broken ones left. Do you forage? Bye for now Tx 


  1. Hey Tanya, is they danpak spread any good? Does it taste nice? I would like to find an alternative to my OH's lurpak spreadable...

    1. It's definitely one of the better ones. We like salted butter and sometimes when it says slightly salted you can't taste it. But this is a spreadable salted butter. Lurpak is too bland for us. Personal taste 😁

  2. Goodness me! You've been very busy. I'm always a bit shocked by that tv programme too. I try to plan meals and save money where possible. Your meals look and sound delicious. X

    1. Ive always batch cooked in different degrees as I was a shift worker for so long. But it makes sense to use large pans, cut lots of veg, stack the dishwasher once and put the oven on once. I might have made enough time to get my sewing machine out!

  3. You inspire me. I haven't heard of the Iceland offer or the Lidl weekend one? xx

    1. Thanks Cheryl. If you have a Iceland Bonus Card and you spend 3 x £10 between certain dates they give you £5 back. They send you emails with their offers. Look for Lidl online leaflets ( leaflets) you can see ahead what their offers are going to be each week. Every weekend they have 4 things (1 is normally alcohol) that are greatly reduced in price. They had the luxury cereal a few week back and it was lovely. They also had 60 dishwasher tablets for £1.79 instead of £2.95.

  4. The only thing that is available to forage here are saskatoon berries, they are like blueberries but have a slight almond taste. Of course, here, you always run into the possibility of running into a bear who thinks the berries are all for him!! There are a couple of farms that sell them, that's the safer bet!

    1. Running into a bear! Yikes, wouldn't want to do that. I wish I knew more about foraging. I think I need to put a foraging book on my Christmas list.

  5. As the previous poster said the only fruit I can forage are saskatoons (whoops I can forage chokecherries as well). This year with the drought there is very little fruit on any bush.

    You have been a busy bee in the garden.

    God bless.

    1. Hi Jackie, We had had an amazingly warm spring and hot early summer followed by wet warm conditions. The blackberries are lovely, the best I've seen in years.

  6. i really likes your blog and You have shared the whole concept really well. and Very beautifully soulful read! thanks for sharing.


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