Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Revisiting Those Resolutions

I've not been too well again; had a horrible sick headache since yesterday afternoon so I was in bed by 8.30 last night and didn't get up until nearly 8 this morning. I did get to my slimming club and wished I hadn't bothered since I put 1 1/2 lb on (I didn't expect it to be that much even though I've not been that good this week). I didn't stop for the meeting, it was very busy and I couldn't stand the noise. I've done a few bits around the house - laundry, dinner in the slow cooker, vacuuming, cleaned the cooker top etc. - but I'm still feeling a bit yuk and the headache hasn't quite gone although it is better than it was. To tell the truth, I've not felt completely well ever since I had that sickness bug a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, enough moaning. Firstly, there's a few folks I've noticed that are now following that I haven't welcomed, so hello to Sara @ A Frugal Wife, Flourgirl, and Lisamaywalters.

Since its getting close to the end of the month I thought I'd look back and see how I've been doing on those pesky resolutions. Well, I've not exactly stuck to them. Food wise I have used up quite a few bits from my stockpile, but I'm afraid I've been tempted by some offers and added to it as well. A £5 off on a £40 spend voucher for Aldi saw me stocking up again on loo paper, sausages, baked beans, coffee, frozen chips and the like. I've also succumbed to some yellow stickered goodies from time to time...how could I bypass all those raspberries at 55p for a huge punnet?

We've had some unexpected expenditure, a new vacuum cleaner and, as the reset disc wouldn't work properly on my laptop, we'll need a new printer sometime soon. We also bought jeans and work trousers for DH and I needed jeans too since my continuing weight loss has left me with virtually no clothes that really fit. But...I have mostly kept to my resolve to only spend what was necessary and I've gotten some good deals and only shopped the charity shops for things we've needed. My jeans were £3.99 from the PDSA shop and DH's work trousers were £5.50 from the British Heart Foundation shop. 2 pairs of jeans for DH cost just £4 each in Store21's sale, and the vacuum cleaner was half price in the Argos sale. I've managed to avoid being seduced into ordering any more from Approved Foods until I've used up most of what I already have.

We have treated ourselves to the occasional coffee out, but Weatherspoons had a sale too and our usual refillable filter coffees were only 79p each for most of January. I've cancelled all my magazine subscriptions as I already have masses of mags that I've only glanced through. I haven't bought any fabric, wool or books all month and I'm using wool I've had for ages to make a pair of socks. I even bypassed some wool and fabric that I was tempted by in the AgeUK shop yesterday morning. I'm planning on having a blitz on my fabric stash too and making a load of bags, possibly to try and sell or as gifts. Oh, I tell a lie, I've just remembered I bought the pattern for the socks, but hopefully that will pay for itself by the time I've knitted a pair for everyone and used up my mountain of wool. I can see everyone getting a homemade bag filled with other homemade goodies this Xmas.

I've already made a start on preparations for Xmas 2014 buying reduced priced cards in the Barnados shop sale, and this year I've started collecting Morrisons savings stamps and hope to have enough saved up by the summer to pay for all the Christmas food. In past years I've put the money in a savings account but with interest rates so low and with the temptation to use it for other things the stamps seem just as good an option. Besides, Morrisons is the supermarket I tend to use most for my food shopping when I can't get something in Aldi.

Of course, we did have one piece of amazing luck with DH's tax refund that will mostly be used towards out 30th anniversary holiday, and if he remains at the college, either as a supply teacher or full time if he gets the job he applied for, then we can really get stuck into overpaying the mortgage and I can start saving again as I like to keep at least 1 (preferably 2) month's bill money put by to cover the holidays periods when he doesn't get paid, or in case he goes for a few weeks without a contract.

My other good intentions were to lose the last stone to get to my healthy weight and I'm still working on that; its a bit up and down but the general trend is downwards and I know I'll get there sometime this year. I was also going to try and stick to a menu plan and that's not worked too well as things keep popping up to throw me off track. But, as I said, I have been using up some of my stockpile and this week I'm hoping to do an inventory and work out a load of meals to make from what I have in. I may have to throw a few bits out since I have things like bread mixes dated from 2011. They may still be perfectly okay, but I think it might be time to get rid of anything more than 2 years out of date just to be on the safe side.

So, a bit mixed on the New Year's Resolutions front, but I've not done too badly. How about you? Almost one month in to 2014 how are you doing?

Tonight's dinner was Beany Mince a la Hairy Bikers' Mums' Know Best recipe book. Except I substituted quorn mince for the beef mince, doubled the quantities and did most of the cooking in my slow cooker. It was served with a potato hash made with leftover mash and veg from the fridge and a fried onion mixed in before being browned in a frying pan.

The Beany Mince contains:-

500g pack Quorn Mince (£1.49 on offer in Morrisons)
2 cans Aldi Baked Beans (24p each = 48p)
1 onion, chopped - (10p)
1/3 pack of Chantenay carrots, diced (49p for the pack in Aldi - so about 16p)
2 potatoes, diced (20p)
Dash soy sauce, dregs rinsed from bottle of tomato sauce, black pepper, tsp mixed herbs (approx 20p)
Squirts of frylight or tablespoon of oil (5p)

Total cost approx -  £2.68 
Per serving (easily serves 6) = 45p

Fry the veg and quorn mince for a few minutes, add the other ingredients and about 1/4 pint water. bring to the boil and either cook covered until the veg is tender or transfer to the slow cooker on low all day or high for about 4 hours.

Potato and veg hash


Leftover mashed potatoes (0p)
Leftover cooked mixed veg (0p)
1 onion, diced and fried until soft (10p)
Black Pepper, mixed herbs, flavourings to taste (10p)
Tbsp oil (5p)

Total = 25p
Per serving (6 servings) = 4p

Fry the onion until soft. Mash the onion, potato and veg together with whatever flavourings you prefer. Fry in hot oil either as one big hash or drop lumps into the pan. Turn over when bottom is browned. If making one big hash I use 2 frying pans and flip the hash from one to the other to turn it over.

Total for whole meal per serving (6 servings) = 49p

With DD3 and BF moving out of Saturday, after the weekend I will mostly only be catering for 3 of us, but will probably still cook for 6 and divide into 2 meals either freezing one or remaking it into something else for later the same week. I'm sure though that it will take a bit of getting used to cooking for less people when I've been used to feeding a crowd for the past 25-30 years. I'll view it as a new challenge and see how far I can make the food stretch.


  1. Oh Helen, would you like to adopt me, I think that your dinner looks amazing.. have you thought about selling your socks?

  2. Thank you for the compliment, but I'm sorry to turn you down, Pam. My kids are moving out and I'm not interviewing for replacements right now. I'm quite looking forward to things being a bit quieter around here once DD and BF are gone. Certainly looking forward to doing less laundry! As for selling the socks...well, I haven't finished my first pair yet, although from what I've already done it looks like they'll turn out fine. I might end up trying to sell some, after all, I've had a couple of orders for bags from DD2 for her to give to friends as pressies and everyone who's received a bag has been thrilled by them. I always get amazed that anyone likes the things I make enough to pay for them, but I've successfully sold miniature bears (some through local shops) and personalised cards in the past, and the scarves and bags I've made as pressies have been much admired by people. The trouble is Dover isn't a wealthy area so I'd either have to sell online (which I haven't had much success with) or try selling in somewhere like Canterbury or Deal which are more arts and crafts minded and where people are more likely to pay for a hand crafted item. I must admit to being the type of person who goes around a craft fair without buying because, as much as I admire items, mostly I think I can make them myself. Maybe if I make enough pairs throughout the year I could try selling some once the weather starts to turn cold again next autumn.

  3. Sorry to hear you've not been well again, hope you feel better soon. I'm like you at craft fairs, look but think I could make that myself! Can't wait to see the picture of your first pair of socks x

    1. Feeling much better today, thank you. I'm getting there with the socks, but the headache meant I couldn;t concentrate to knit yesterday. I'm hoping to sit down and do some whilst watching TV this evening.