Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Do You Boo-Boo?

I thought I'd start by writing about something different today so I don't get bogged down with all this frugal stuff.

If you realise what the title means then you have probably either watched - or studiously avoided watching - the TLC programme 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' about the little American girl who enters pageants and her crazy family.

Putting aside the whole rights and wrongs of these pageants (personally I hate seeing kids sexualised like this, wearing make-up and skimpy outfits, but that's just me), and focusing on the family themselves...Well, yes, they are what you'd typically think of as rednecks, and yes, the mother has had 4 kids all by different fathers and some of those fathers are in jail (although she's also had longer-term relationships including one of 5 years and her latest of 9 years with Honey's dad, who she recently committed to in a televised ceremony), and yes, they are loud, in-your-face, overweight and their diet is appalling and I would hate to live next door to them, but I love them in a kind of voyeuristic can't-look-away-from-the-train-wreck sort of way.

I really enjoy this programme when generally I loathe these kinds of shows, especially the American ones. Having watched 2 series now, (series 3 starts tonight,Tuesday 4th Feb, at 9pm on TLC) for all their loud-mouthed bad manners they seem to genuinely care about each other, have lots of fun in the process and they don't seem to give a damn what other people think of them. Mama June is a woman after my own heart with her whole extreme couponing thing (wish we could make those kind of savings over here) and has an impressive stash of toilet paper.

An outing for them might include skip-diving at the local dump, a trip to the redneck games, mud-bogging or playing bingo. They have a lot of fun and laugh a lot. They also do quite a bit for their community, putting on a Christmas Lights display in their backyard in November/December and hosting Christmas in July to collect food and toys for needy families. Mama June sees this as repayment for the help she received when she was in need.

In truth, I would much rather watch this family than the Kardashains. I am definitely not attracted to the lives of the super rich and famous; give me a down to Earth, poor as a church mouse family every day. This is also true of my Second World War Home Front interest; I am much more intrigued by how an ordinary housewife managed her rations than reading about how the lady at the big house was inconvenienced by the arrival of evacuees. That's probably why Downton Abbey has never really appealed to me, and when I used to watch Upstairs Dowstairs years ago it was the servants' lives I was more intersted in.

Having said all that about Honey Boo Boo's over-the-top, irreverant family, at the other end of the spectrum, I also enjoy watching The Duggars on 19 Kids and Counting.

The Duggars are the antithesis of the Honey Boo Boo clan being a massive fundamentalist Christian family with set family values that include a no kissing (let alone no sex) rule before the wedding.  Having 5 children myself I've always been interested in how others manage their large families and have followed the Duggars since they were 14 Kids and Counting. I prefer their earlier programmes, though, as the later ones are more set up for the show with them visiting all kinds of places including trips to the UK and the Holy Land. I would rather watch them in their own home, coping with the everyday problems of of such a large family, like laundry and shopping, than galivanting about all over the place. I have some of their shows on DVD (and also the first series of Honey Boo Boo) and watch them whenever I get fed up with my daily routine. There was also a British series featuring several big families that I wish was available on dvd, although it was on the i-player a while back and I could probably watch it online.

It's strange that I enjoy these kind of reality shows but hate others. I have never watched Big Brother; I turn over the second The Only Way Is Essex or Chelsea or any such-like shows come on; and I don't enjoy talent shows or game shows (except Eggheads), or chat shows like Jerry Springer or Jeremy Kyle. I'm also not a soap fan, although years ago I followed East Enders and Neighbours I haven't watched either in over 20 years and have never seen Corrie or Emmerdale except for an occasional episode when visiting relatives (their choice of viewing not mine). But then I'm a mass of contradictions because I love Judge Judy and could sit and watch all day. 

I do enjoy Doctor Who, Sherlock and Midsomer Murders, but mostly have trouble following the plot in a lot of crime series and dramas, probably because I'm always doing something else like knitting, sewing or surfing the net at the same time. My other guilty pleasure viewing is True Blood; I love me a good-looking vampire and because it's such fantasy the blood and gore doesn't bother me whereas I can't watch anything else too gory these days even though I loved horror films when I was younger.

My real favourites are the antiques and collectors programmes, particularly Bargain Hunt, Antiques Road Trip (not the Roadshow), Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and, to a lesser degree, Flog It and Dickenson's Real Deal. I'm also partial to some of the home improvement shows like Homes Under the Hammer and, when I'm in a dreaming-of-the-future kind of mood, A Place in the Sun Home and Away. I also love the Great British Bake Off and enjoyed the Sewing Bee.

So, what are your viewing preferences? Are there any shows you love or hate? Any you feel embarrased about enjoying?

Back to frugality and today's Use-It-Up dinner was Practically Pork and Butternut Squash Casserole. 
Why Practically Pork? Because the only pork in it was the scraps in the leftover gravy/sauce from last week's pork and spiced rice meal. In fact, this meal used up several odds and ends that I found when cleaning out the fridge and freezer. You could use any leftovers you have; chicken gravy would work well. 

This is what went into mine:-

about 1/2 pint leftover gravy/sauce from the pork casserole
small amount of baked bean sauce leftover from DS1's dinner last night
4 squishy cherry tomatoes
1/2 onion leftover from DH's toasted salad sandwiches
1/2 large butternut squash (Aldi - 69p so 35p for half)
large parsnip (yellow stickered pack at 35p so approx 10p for this one)
Tin of Chick Peas (Approved Foods from ages ago, approx 35p...could use any white beans you have, even tinned baked beans) 
1/5 th catering tin of carrots (AF 99p so about 20p)
tsp of ground cumin and pinch of chilli flakes (approx 5p)

Just chop everything, mix it all together in the slowcooker, add a little extra liquid if desired, and leave on either high or low until the raw veg is soft, not too soft or the butternut squash will just go to mush. 

I just ate the casserole, but the boys had it with some yellow-stickered granary rolls that I found when I cleared out the freezer and which I refreshed for a few seconds in the microwave. They added an extra 15p.

Total cost of the whole meal = Approx £1.20
Per serving (3 servings) = 40p

I know the cost would have been much more if cooking from scratch without using leftovers, but that's the whole point. By not chucking out those little odds and ends and combining them to make another tasty meal I've not only made this dinner for very little cost but also, in a way, reduced the cost of the original meals made with these items since nothing of them was wasted. Does that make sense? It does to me. 

Lastly my weight loss result today was...1 lb off. I was pleased with that since I haven't been all that good this week.


  1. I have watched some of the programmes you have written about. My youngest says she wishes she was a Duggar. She would die in a few minutes. I prefer to watch food programmes which are lethal to my health I am quite sure.

    1. I enjoy some of the food programmes, the Great British Bake Off and the Hairy Bikers (who we saw live at the beginning of last year). Like you, they make me want to go bake and eat all manner of yummy things.

  2. I can't tell you how much I love the Duggars! Michelle is my hero! I don't get to see it now because we cut down our TV package and lost that channel x

    1. I love the Duggars and have followed them for quite a few years. I wish I'd discovered them when my kids were younger because I surely would have instigated some of Michelle's child rearing tactics, especially around getting the kids to do regular chores. We did actually home school our 3 oldest for varying amounts of time, having learned about the legalities of it through Education Otherwise, but DH was mostly unemployed or working from home at the time and it was really hard work doing it on my own when he got a full time job...plus I lacked confidence that I was doing it adequately. I sometimes wish we'd stuck with it and also given the youngest 2 the same opportunity, but its too late now. I still love watching the Duggars and would miss it if we had to cut our package but luckily I just renegotiated with Virgin Media and got a discount otherwise we were going Freeview.