Monday, 26 January 2015

Budget eating for one

Hello. It's a bit of a mixed bag tonight I'm afraid. There comes a time when I have all sorts going through my head, so I just pick out a few random bits and pieces. People say things, I read things, and I think, oh must write something about that. So, in no particular order.......

Jayne asked for a recipe for garlic mushrooms. My easy way of making them. Mushrooms cut up if big, but small ones can be left whole. Cooked in a small pan in a splash of oil or a blob of butter/marg or both. If a bit dry add a splash of lemon juice, I have a bottle in my fridge. Or you can add a drop of water, or any old juice you happen to have around. I like them quite garlicky so I add a flat teaspoon of garlic powder, or you can use garlic paste. If you don't like a strong garlic taste you can reduce the amount or leave it out. Stir it in while the pan is still on the heat. Then I add some garlic flavour soft cheese spread. two teaspoons should do it. This costs about 45p -55p depending where you buy it. I always have some of this in the fridge because I like it on cream crackers.


Take it off the heat, stir it in, if there isn't enough sauce add a spoonful of plain yogurt. If you want it rich and creamy add a bit of grated cheese. Easypeasy.

Helen asked how many meals do I have a day, and what are they composed of. Thank you Helen for that question. I have three meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is either porridge or bran flakes. Sometimes with a banana and/or sultanas. I aim to have lunch any time between 12am and 2pm, depending what I am doing, and depending when my stomach is telling me to eat. Early lunch if I am feeling hungry, or a mid morning snack of a banana or yogurt if I am busy and not eating till 1pm. I like to have eggs three or four times a week for lunch, either scrambled, omelette, or boiled.  Sometimes on toast, or with mushrooms, or with beans or spaghetti. I will have a salad if I have any in. Lunch could also be noodles, pasta, or cous cous.

Dinner is mainly steamed fresh veg. If I run out I will substitute frozen veg, I have stopped buying tinned veg, frozen is more cost effective. I make soups, stews, and curries with whatever I have in. I like cheese grated on some of my meals. I don't have puddings because my meals fill me up. If I fancy something sweet, which could be at anytime not necessarily after a meal, I will have half a tin of rice pudding, or some tinned peaches with yogurt. I also put ground almonds into my yogurt to eat with fruit or on it's own. I don't eat much bread, but if I do it's wholemeal or seeded. I might have a cheese sandwich for lunch, or a piece of bread with lemon curd on it. I eat brown rice and wholemeal pasta.

When I go shopping for food I never take a list, I know in my head the main things I need. I always have in onions, bananas, cheese, yogurt, eggs, soya milk, bran flakes and porridge. I choose my fruit and veg by whatever I can get on a yellow sticker, if not much is available I try and buy in season, and look for the best prices. If swede is cheaper than potatoes then I have swede. If carrots are cheap I get some. I like to get broccoli, cauliflower, and sprouts, but if they are too expensive I will pass them by. If you go to the food gallery link at the top of the page, there are lots of pictures of my meals there.

I made some more peanut butter today, but instead of using the food processor I used the stick blender, to cut down on the washing up. I used a packet of ordinary salted peanuts and shook them around in a tea towel to get rid of some of the salt. The blender struggled a bit at first until they broke down a bit. Nothing added, just peanuts. I will keep this in the fridge and dip into it when I want some, won't bother transferring it to a smaller container, saves on washing up. I've been looking for cheap peanuts, but the human kind are more expensive than those you buy for the birds. I read the label on a packet of those, it says not for human consumption. Don't know why, they look like any other peanut. Must be different varieties.

I picket up this packet of maize cous cous when I was last in Tesco, reduced from £2 to 40p. A bargain I thought. Not had it before, don't know what it's like, worth a try.

 And here's the dinner I made tonight. The cous cous is buried in the middle of iceberg lettuce, grated carrot, chopped celery, and cooked beetroot out of a sealed packet, (not jar). The cous cous wasn't that nice, not like the regular stuff, no taste and gritty. I didn't eat it all, got fed up with all the chewing, so I will put it back in the pan tomorrow and cook it up some more with a little oil and garlic, maybe some cheese.

I've just realized, it's all food tonight, how boring, ha ha. There was something else to write about but I've run out of time, so I'll hold that over till tomorrow. I want to catch up with Last Tango now, so I'll say, Toodle pip.

PS. A bag is in the post for Aussie Cheryl, thanks for sending your address. One left for Primroses Attic. I'll hang on a bit longer, but if you don't respond soon, I'll draw another name out.

27 comments:

  1. Hi. Primroses Attic here. Just read your post so excited. Sent you an email with details.Sorry did not respond sooner. Love all your money saving tips.
    Rosezeeta.

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    1. Got it PA. Thanks. Bag in the post today.

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  2. Food is not boring! my readers love it when I talk about what I'm making. I used to be afraid they'd go away, all bored, but they don't! Anyway, if you have a coffee mill you can grind your own almonds. I do this, much cheaper than the price when you can find the ground almonds in the store, which you often can't. I love to make my own flours, because I do like bread and make all the breads I eat. I've made flours from barley (just did that today), split peas, chickpeas, walnuts, almonds, lentils, oats, all kinds of things. That way you can easily make a pancake or add it into bread and it's interesting and nutritious too.

    Just sayin!

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    1. Hi, I wondered if a coffee mill would do the job of grinding nuts. Didn't want to shell out £20 or more to buy one on the off chance it might work. Might get one now. Thanks.

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  3. Lots of lovely food ideas ! I'm definitely going to try to make some nut butter, I hope almonds will work just as well as peanuts.
    AussieCheryl : )

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  4. Hi, Ilona.I really like hearing about your food adventures and smart shopping methods and info.I always pass along your good ideas to people I know who are looking for ways to reduce spending too much on food while still making nutritious meals.We can't control prices on things but we can control what we buy and use,especially when they are set high, artificially.Food, gas, electricity and medications are always fluctuating.Big sigh,but still it's a good life.Bye for now, D.

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    1. Hi. Food is the one area where everyone can reduce their spending. We decide what we buy and how much we pay for it.

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  5. Hi Ilona I have to say your food always looks amazing. x

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  6. Food is not boring! Could you beat the peanuts with a rolling pin first to save killing your blender?

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    1. Hi. I suppose that would be one way of doing it. I haven't a rolling pin, maybe a bash with a house brick might have the same effect. The blender did get a bit warm.

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  7. I'll answer the peanut one. The 'birdy' peanuts are supposed to, or might carry a type of fungus disease on them, that's why theyr'e not fit for human consumption but are apparently OK (ish!) for birds, why that should be I don't know. However, they don't seem to give the same warning for 'birdy' sunflower hearts, so every so often I will raid my husband's birdseed bin for them. I do make sure I rinse them well and dry them off over the boiler before putting in jars, to be used in bread, or in cereal or whatever. Must say I nearly gagged at the peanut butter picture, I thought God, what on earth's that?....until you told me it was peanut butter, that's much better!

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    1. Thank you Sue, I thought someone might have an answer. I wondered if the 'not fit for humans' was there to discourage people buying it for their own use. Sorry the picture was a bit sickening. Pointing downward into a tall plastic pot and using a flash, is not the best of conditions for good photography.

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  8. Maize couscous?! Isn't that polenta? Well, I would have thought so, no wonder it was gritty, as polenta needs longer cooking than regular couscous. I cook polenta in water with a bit of milk and bouillon powder (or cube) and add a bit of cheese at the end. That's the Italian-Swiss way, anyway, where polenta was the staple food in the mountains.

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    1. Yes, you are right. It needs more cooking. I will put it back in the pan and get it back on the heat.

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  9. Garlic mushrooms sound like a very good dinner option ilona, one of those winter warmers you need this time of year.

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  10. Stir frozen spinach in as you are making scrambled eggs. Just discovered this and it's lovely!

    I like the peanut butter idea. Will give that a go!

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    1. Hi. I have never had frozen spinach, it looks very soggy to me. If I add fresh I only stir it in for a few seconds at the end of cooking, that way it does not go mushy.

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    2. Ilona, frozen spinach is fab tossed into a curry, or maybe into your garlic mushrooms too. I buy the spinach frozen into little blocks. You can defrost these in the microwave or just pop them in the pan to defrost. I often put spinach into other "saucy" meals that I cook as an extra veggie portion.

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  11. Great idea with the peanuts. Bought a pack of red-skinned peanuts for 30p from the reduced aisle in Asda a couple of weeks ago. I had just defrosted some turkey steaks and onion bhajis, and was wondering what I had to make up a curry sauce, but you've inspired me. Turkey Satay it is tonight!

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  12. great idea with the mushrooms and the garlic cheese spread, didn't think of that one. yes don't fancy frozen spinach and tried freezing sprouts myself and buying them frozen and I don't think they do well either, unless mashed in soup or whatever, much prefer fresh spouts. decided to stop buying tinned sweetcorn, bought a bag of frozen and it does just as well, seems to last longer and I don't have to chuck tins away. did decide to go back to online shops I used to do about one two a month, but have signed up for Tesco delivery saver 1/2 price for 12 months £30 which works out to be £2.50 a month for delivery anytime of the week, only once a day over £25. £2.50 probably for 4 deliveries for someone to pick pack and delivery to me at my door, quite pleased with that. (as long as everything comes) There are 4 of us so we do spend well over the £25 weekly. I can also put on and delete to my shop list as much as I want before putting my card in. Don't get the sticker bargains though sadly doing it this way. Last few times I went though there was either nothing there or loads of people fighting over things, or things that had gone off already. Ill see how it goes for a year anyway :) Julie T

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  13. Maize couscous.... interesting name. Here in the south (USA), we call 'em grits! :o)

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  14. Thank you for your answer Ilona. It's of great help. I can see that you are a person of strong will foodwise, as you can stay away from sugar, bread, biscuits and cake.
    I have to work on that a bit more.

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  15. I think a coffee mill would do a very good job of grinding the peanuts. My Mum has one that my Dad and I purchased for her in the early seventies on Christmas Eve (the blender came with it). She does not do any cooking now so I think that I may 'borrow" the blender and grinder. A very interesting post. Natalie



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  16. You are so kind to answer my question. I always copy any favourite recipe into my recipe book, I've just realised that about three quarters of my recipes are ones I have copied from your blog - I'll write this one down now too!

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  17. You make me hungry, and I forgot to eat lunch!

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  18. I think that soaking the peanuts overnight might help with breaking them down in a blender.

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  19. dont know if my comment went through so here it is again...I think the bird peanuts have a preservative sprayed on .

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