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Saturday, 26 May 2018

Food shopping - questions and answers

Hello. A couple of questions have come up on the Yellow Sticker shopping post. I have answered them, but I will also copy and paste them into this new post. From time to time the same questions are asked, how do you eat all the food before it goes off, and when is the best time to go to the supermarket. 
This is the breakfast I ate yesterday. Usual bran flakes and seeds and nuts mix in the mini chopper. Topped with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, soya milk, and a spoon of Greek style yogurt. 
Breakfast this morning. Same in the bottom of the bowl, with strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, kiwi fruit, and melon.  Some of my fresh fruit will be frozen, I will check it today.

Right, the questions......

Margaret asks....
Hello, Ilona. Wonderful bargains there. However, a lot of those items have a short shelf-life, such as strawberries, houmous, etc, and yet you say that means no more shopping for a week or two. Do you freeze things such as houmous? (I've not tried that, by the way.) I know we can extend Use By dates a little, using common sense, and Best Before dates are often a nonsense, but I do wonder how you can eat all this before it's gorn orf, as they say. 
Margaret P

My reply......
Hi. I check the food in the fridge two or three times a day, and eat things in the order they are going to go off. Soft fruits first, prepared vegetables before whole vegetables. I usually manage to get through it without freezing, but if I find I can't I will freeze, or cook into stews then freeze. 

Bread goes in the freezer. I don't freeze houmous because it is ok up to a week later, maybe even longer.

My meals from now on will be only from the yellow stickers in the fridge. I won't be using tins, packets, or frozen. Priority is to eat what needs eating first, that will be salads, fruit, steamed prepared vegetables. I am strict with that, there is no, what do I fancy today. Looking at my list, I will eat mushrooms every day, either raw in salads, or cooked with egg on toast. I will eat houmous with every meal, salads and steamed veg, and on sandwiches. Hard root vegetables will be eaten last because they last longer. 

A lot of my cooked meals are just steamed veg, I will have six different ones on my plate. 

When all the yellow stickers have gone I eat from the cupboards and freezer for a week or so, until I feel like shopping in Tesco. Then the whole cycle begins again.

And Margaret's reply to me.....
Thank you, Ilona, for such a detailed account of how you eat, and I agree with you - eat what you have that will go off first, not what you fancy today. It's good and if its nourishing and well cooked, it will be tasty regardless of what it is. Yes, we will eat the same things a couple of days running to finish something rather than wasting it. 
All good wishes,
Margaret P


Jane asks........
Hi Ilona
I never know what time to go to get the best bargains. I’m either too early with just 20 p off or too late and there’s nothing left! How do you judge it?
Thanks
Jane

My reply......
Hi Jane. It's always the luck of the draw. One day they might have over stocked and have loads of reductions, other days they might have nothing because it has all sold at normal price. I always get to the store for 7pm because I know that is the time the third ticket is due to go on. They might have done it early if they had a staff member to do it, so I find there is not much left. Or the staff might be too busy to deal with it and are late with the stickering, in that case I have to wait. 

I like the 75% off (3rd sticker) but others may be happy with 50% off so that might not leave much left. I might not get exactly what I want, so I am flexible with my eating and will try most things except meat and fish, as an alternative. It pays not to be too fussy. 

I use Tesco because it is the nearest store to me. Asda always has plenty of reductions in the evening but the store is too far out to take a chance on there being anything I want. 

I suggest you ask the staff at your store what times do they mark down, on the departments where you want to buy, fruit and veg, or meat, or chiller/dairy cabinet, or bakery. Get to know the exact locations so you can go there first when you enter the store. Most stores have dedicated shelves or trollies where the reductions are all together. 

It's a case of getting to know your store, making yourself known to the staff, chatting to them, and it's a good idea to dress down, casual or even scruffy clothes are best. Other shoppers get a bit huffy if a well dressed person scoops up the reductions ahead of them. Look as though you need to buy cheap food. 

Yellow sticker shopping is a habit, I used to go once every ten days, now I leave it 2 - 3 weeks. I get some things in Aldi which are cheaper there. Also shop in discount stores, but then I have to time to do that. It's a trade off between time and money. Invest time in seeking out the bargains and you will save money. Or go to work to earn more money to pay for the food at normal prices because you haven't got time to check different shops. 


Copy and pasting will save me time, and as this is not a forum other people might be asking the same two questions but won't go back to the previous post. Feel free to reply with any of your fantastic food reductions you have found. What time did you go shopping, where can you find your best bargains? How do you use up all the food you buy before it goes off? Time to share your foodie tips. 
It's a Bank Holiday weekend, enjoy yourself whatever you are doing. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip 

Friday, 25 May 2018

A dip into the archives.

Hello. A new comment has just come in, it's on an old post from December 2009. Thank you Helle for that. Every time I add a new post the older ones get pushed further into the archives. They can all be found by using the list on the sidebar, there are 3425 published posts at the moment.

It's a shame that some of them are buried. There is a lot of waffle in there, I know, but I am chuffed that some of it is still giving food for thought even years later. I like to think my blog is a magazine, you pick bits out here and there, have a read of this and that, ignore what you are not interested in.

The title of the post which Helle commented on is 'Beauty is only . . . . '. There was a gap between the first comments in 2009, one added in 2010, more in 2014 and 2015, and now again in 2018. You can read what Helle has said by clicking on the link, and feel free to add more comments if you haven't seen it before.

I'm wanting to get on with my arty heart thingy, it's not far off completion, so I'll leave it with you. It's raining so I'm indoors today. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Plenty of cheap food tonight.

Hello. I'm a bit late tonight, my fridge was empty so I did a yellow sticker shop at Tesco. There was a lot of waiting as the young man put the third and last sticker on. He had such a lot to get through, but he was very quick on the machine. I was in the shop for two hours, worth the wait though, with 75% off. It was all very friendly, not many people in the shop, and plenty for everyone. 
Down the other end of the shop they were putting  more reduced out into the chiller cabinet. I went to have a look to see what there was. Nothing much of interest to me, meat and convenience foods mainly. There was a bit of a scrum there as well, I went back to the fruit and veg where it was more sedate. 
So what did I get with 75% off. Broccoli florets 32p. Loose broccoli 4p. Potatoes 50p. Houmous x 4 @ 30p each. Baby sprouts 25p. Baby sweet corn 25p. Fruit salad 50p. Mushrooms x 2 @ 24p each. Chestnut mushrooms 25p. Blueberries x 2 @ 50p each. Tomatoes 38p. Raspberries 50p. Bananas 35p. Spinach 25p. Bag salad leaves x 2 @ 25p each. Strawberries 25p. Bananas 22p. Bread 40p. Green beans 21p. Seeded bread 2 @ 28p each. Blueberry muffins 28p. Sliced loaf 22p.

Other items I bought at normal price. Frozen vegetable patties 2 boxes @ £1 a box of six. Cat food £2.25. Mayonnaise 60p. Tartare sauce 55p. Butter £1.60p. Milkshakes 3 @ 50p each. Fresh milk 50p. Almond drink £1. Carton fruit juice 2 @ 65p each. Gloucester cheese £1.55. Soft cheese 50p. Leerdammer cheese £1. Eggs 89p. Chicken 78p.

I prefer shopping at night because I like to open the fridge door the next morning and see that it's full. Hooray, no more shopping for a week or two.

A bit tired now. Thank you for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Down tools and go for a walk.

Hello. After working on all three of my crafty projects this morning, then going outside and trimming the front hedge, I decided it was time for me to stop work and go for a walk in the countryside. Actually, I live in the countryside, it's on my doorstep, so I don't have far to go before I am leaving the houses behind. A walk to the park, then around the park, then back, is five miles. 
I set off along the path which passes the Bowls Club, then the Burial Ground, then the Allotments. It was about 4.30pm, a beautiful sunny afternoon. 
The footpath got narrower and narrower. On the left is a wood. Years ago this was used by gangs of youths who congregated there and did a lot of damage. To get round that problem it was all chopped down, flattened. It was sad to see it, but as expected Mother Nature has claimed it back and it is now full of healthy trees.


After the wood it opens out into large fields on both sides of the path. Unfortunately the path then disappears under long grass and weeds and I had to walk along the field edge. This is the other end of it as it comes out on the road. Can you see the footpath sign on the right hand side. I had to walk a little way along the hedge till I found a spot where I could get through to the road.

The grass verges at the entrance to the park looked very pretty with the wild flowers. Glad they haven't cut them down.

Easy to walk footpaths through the park. Suitable for disabled and kids with scooters.

The duck pond looked a bit stagnant, needs some rain to liven it up.


They have recently installed a new Go Ape attraction. It didn't look very exciting when there were no leaves on the trees, but now it is all green it's looking better. There is a new children's playground opening soon.

It is now ten to nine and I must go and water my flower beds and pots. It is supposed to be raining soon, so the weather man says, but I'd best water up in case it doesn't.

Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Crafty works in progress

Hello. One job leads to another these days. Just as I think I have completed something another idea pops into my head and I have to act on it. I thought the tree was finished, it has leaves on, but there is still something missing. It needs some birds. So this is the prototype, made out of vinyl, but how can I get it to sit on a branch? Problem solved, although it is sitting sideways and not as a normal real life bird would sit across the branch. Never mind, my birds are acrobats ;o) That seems to work, now I've got to make some more. 
Progress report on this project. The heart is slowly filling up with fabric covered bottle tops. I keep adding a few each day. Looking good so far.

Oh gawd, now I have started something else. Carol and Janet are doing this at Crafty Club so I thought I would have a go. Daub some splodges of paint of a piece of hessian sack cloth, and do blocks of running stitch in random sizes, using up oddments of fabric and wool. This is going to take a while, and will eventually become a wall hanging.

It is ongoing outside, preparing for the Open Gardens. The flower beds are looking pretty full, but I suspect I have got too many plants in them now. I am going to have to sort them out a bit, maybe trimming back the bushy ones to let the smaller ones get some more light. The cat shelter still needs a door on it, will have to do that.

Yesterday I called in to see Angela for a coffee. She got a fabulous bargain from the £1 charity shop. A very large set of curtains in a lovely heavy gold fabric, for £1. She was dead lucky there, grabbed them just as they were put out in the shop. She is going to use them to cover a chaise longue.

Today I shall go to the mobile library to take books back, and say hello to Stan. I have not been for about three weeks.

I won't be leaving any more painted stones about the village, all four of them have now disappeared. Maybe some mean person has nicked them, I don't know, it's a mystery.

Now I must get on, thank you for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip.