Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A Woman Can Always Change Her Mind

After Slimming World yesterday morning (stayed the same at 1lb under my target weight), I spent most of yesterday afternoon helping DS1 with one of the 3 forms he needs to fill out to apply for his autism assessment. Last evening I sorted through 15 years worth of his school reports, special educational needs statements, speech therapy reports etc. etc. to find evidence to support his application. And for most of today I've been trying to decide which of them to send, and then spent hours photocopying pages and pages on our slow home copier. In between all that I've done a dark load of laundry, changed the cats' litter trays and disinfected everything, vacuumed through downstairs, emptied the bins and put the recycling out for collection tomorrow and made 3 days worth of dinners.

Talking of much for this week's menu plan. I was browsing through my Hairy Biker's Mums Know Best cook books last night and of course wanted to make half the recipes in there, so I decided to ring the changes on this week's dinners. We'd already had the corned beef/tinned ham, chips and beans last night instead of later in the week because I couldn't be bothered making the sausage plait yesterday after all that sorting of paperwork. 

Before bedtime last night I took a 750g pack of value minced beef and 500g pack of puff pastry from the freezer to make a mince and onion plate pie. But, being me, I knew I could stretch it to more than one meal. The beef was browned in my large slowcooker and drained of fat before being divided into 2 portions into my 2 slowcookers. One portion had onion, garlic, frozen peppers, mushrooms and carrots sticks added to it, plus leftover sauce from Sunday's meatballs to make a pasta sauce. The other portion had onion, frozen diced carrots and swede, some leftover veg soup, a couple of beef stock cubes and some mixed herbs added to make the base of the minced beef pie. I then divided the puff pastry in two, half to top the pie and the other half to make 4 small sausage plaits using vege sausage mix.

So, tonight's dinner was the minced beef pie with the filling from the slow cooker, topped with puff pastry and cooked in the halogen oven. I served it with microwaved frozen cauli and green beans, and frozen mashed potatoes. It's the first time I've used frozen mash and it was lovely. I bought mine for 69p for 650g from Aldi and it easily did 4 portions. With the cost of fresh potatoes and considering what gets lost in peelings plus the cost of cooking I think it was pretty good value and so easy to prepare.

Tomorrow will be a sandwich night, except we're having some fancy crackers instead of bread and reduced fat Brussels Pate from Aldi (crackers approx £1 and pate on offer at 49p). 

Friday we'll have the individual sausage plaits with spicy potato wedges and salad. I cooked the plaits in the halogen, browing the bottoms first before turning them right way up to ensure the pastry was cooked on all sides.

Saturday will be a pasta bake using the slow cooker sauce, topped with some grated cheddar and browned off in the halogen. 

The weather was cold and bright today after yesterday's massive snowflakes that thankfully didn't settle with the ground so wet already, but I only managed a quick trip down the road to Aldi once I'd finished with the photocopying. I'm hoping it will be dry tomorrow so I can get out for a decent walk even if it's only in to town for a wander around the shops...although I only have about £4.60 left of this week's £50 and I need to buy the crackers and pate with some of that. I am doing well, though, and have only overspent on one week by just over £1.

Oh, and to put a dent in my budgeting plans, DH got a tax demand for £580 in today's post dating back to when he was supply teaching. He was actually paying though the agency for a firm to manage his tax and national insurance contributions but they obviously didn't do a very good job of it. We'll probably take a chunk of savings and pay it off rather than have them deduct it monthly from his salary. Thank goodness we're in a postion to do that and aren't having to face an extra £50 a month deduction from salary that we can't afford. It must be terrible when something like that happens to someone already just scraping by.

I hope you all have a good night and the weather isn't too terrible where you are. Love and hugs, Helen xx


  1. Cold here but no snow!
    Ouch to the tax demand!

  2. What a productive day! My grandson was diagnosed with high functioning autism last week. He is just 4. The supporting paperwork is immense. The tax demand is annoying. I am supply teaching at the moment but not with an agency so I'm hoping the county coucil will sort out the tax :/