Category: Budgeting

Peanut Butter & Jelly Overnight Oats

Budgeting, Recipes September 9, 2018

I like breakfast to be effortless, hence why I set up my coffee maker the night before so all I have to do is wait for the sound of the coffee pot chortle as my alarm call. These are so easy to make and you just stick them in the fridge before you go to bed, meaning no preparation is required when you’re still in semi-slumber mode. I usually don’t serve these up to my kids, at least not without a chorus of “I want something else,” but at least I’ve eliminated the preparation of one breakfast in the morning. These can be eaten cold or shoved in the microwave to heat them up. You can make them look pretty by making them in a mason jar, but I don’t own practical kitchen equipment like that because I’d rather spend my money on candles and dresses, apparently.

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Oats

1 Cup of Milk (any you like)

1 tbsp Jam (strawberry or raspberry)

1 tbsp Peanut butter

Chia Seeds/nuts

Method:

Add one cup of oats to a bowl. Cover with whatever milk you like. I usually just cover them as I don’t like runny porridge, but you can add more if you want a different consistency. Top with one tbsp of peanut butter and one tbsp of jam. Sprinkle some chia seeds on top or some peanuts/cashew nuts/walnuts.

Refrigerate overnight and eat 🙂 You could also eliminate the jam and make a variation using chocolate chips with peanut butter and add cocoa powder to the milk and oats.

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Banana & White Chocolate Mini Muffins

Budgeting, Kids, Recipes August 22, 2018

This recipe is really cheap and a good way to use up leftover bananas. It is also a good baking activity for child involvement without compromising adult sanity 🙂 I won’t eat bananas once they have the first sign of a freckle, so I might have gone overboard with the number of bananas in the recipe. They were a hit with my kids; they kept trying to sneak their hands into the tub when I wasn’t looking (even though they’d already had three each.)

Ingredients

3 Bananas (I used 4 but mine taste more like banana than muffin now.)

1/4 cup of milk

1/2 cup of oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups of flour

1 heaped tsp of baking powder

1/2 cup of sugar

A handful of white chocolate chips/chunks of white chocolate

 

Method

Mash bananas in a large bowl with a potato masher. Add all wet ingredients and combine with a wooden spoon. Add dry ingredients, mix well, add chocolate and spoon into greased muffin tins/bun cases. Warning: this recipe made 26 mini muffins. That’s a lot of mini muffins, unless you’re me and always have room for snacks. You can improvise with the chocolate. I had no white chocolate so used part of an Easter egg I withheld from my kids and forgot about. They looked a bit annoyed and showed some vague signs of recognition, but they forgave me when I let them lick the bowl. Enjoy 🙂

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe

Baking, Recipes June 14, 2018

My kids asked me to make banana bread this week. I’m convinced they only offer to help so they can lick the bowl and wreck the kitchen with my permission. I decided to sneak some chocolate into the recipe to spare my sanity during the flour explosion clear-up afterwards. My kids keep asking for a second slice of this, so I guess it must be alright.

Ingredients

4 bananas (this might sound excessive but they make it extra-moist)

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup veg oil

1tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 3/4 Cups flour

1tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda

Handful of milk chocolate chunks (or in my case, halved chocolate buttons)

Method:

Preheat oven to 160 c

Mash bananas with a potato masher.

Whisk in the oil, milk, vanilla, eggs and sugar. I find whisking by hand works best. Don’t be too thorough – leave some banana chunks if you like.

Mix in flour and baking soda. Add chocolate at the end and stir in so it is dispersed evenly. Put mixture in a greased loaf tin.

Bake for about 40 mins in the middle of the oven. Add a layer of foil halfway through cooking so the outside doesn’t become over-crisp.

 

 

Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

Super Easy Sweet Potato Soup

budget recipes, Recipes June 14, 2018

I never use the term “super” but for the sake of sibilance, I’m using it today. So if you think I’ve had a personality transplant, fear not. I made this soup today and it worked out pretty well. It was one of those days where you’re down to three items in the fridge and you either have to improvise or go outside. I chose the former. I usually come up with recipes I like when that happens; maybe I should use that as an excuse to avoid the dreaded weekly food shop and accompanying trolley tantrums.

Ingredients:

5 small sweet potatoes (fewer if using larger sized ones)

1 litre chicken stock

1/2 tsp lazy ginger/ small piece grated ginger (it gives warmth without overpowering the soup)

Pinch of salt

Small handful of Coriander

Method:

Peel and chip sweet potatoes into fine slices/cubes. Add boiled water and salt, (and ginger if using fresh) bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer to stop sweet potato froth 🙂 Crumble in a chicken stock cube. Cook for 15-20 mins. (Add ginger at this stage if using from a jar.) Add coriander. Blend using a hand blender. Taste to make sure it’s ok before giving it to people and stuff.

 

 

How to cook when you don’t want to go to the shops

Tips for when you’re too Sick, Tired or Broke to do a Food Shop

Budgeting, Food April 17, 2018

I’ve spent the last week with the flu and food shopping has seemed like an unachievable task. Here are a few ways to improvise with what you have and avoid going to the shops.

Use your Slow Cooker

Slow coolers are great for sickness because they require minimal effort on your part and you can throw in random ingredients and it somehow turns out edible! Use up vegetables you have lying around in casseroles and stews. You can make vegetarian versions if you have no meat in the house. I made a veggie chilli in mine with what I had left. If you season it well and add extras like chocolate and chilli flakes and coriander it won’t taste bland.

Make Minestrone

Soups are good in general for using up what you already have. I find I always have the ingredients to make minestrone, if nothing else. I always have tinned tomatoes, pasta and tinned or frozen veg even if I don’t have fresh veg. You can put anything you want in it: carrots, courgettes, peas or beans, corn, etc.

Top things with cheese

I find that even a dish made from simple ingredients tastes better with cheese on top. You can mix some into a rice dish or pasta to make it more substantial too. If you roast or fry vegetables and mix it with rice/pasta, oil and cheese it tastes surprisingly good for how little effort is involved.

Improvise with breakfast

If you don’t have essentials like bread or milk there are ways round it that don’t involve trailing yourself to the shops. Make porridge with water and liven it up by adding some butter and sugar/peanut butter/Nutella/honey and raisins, etc. Use old bananas to make banana bread for a breakfast treat. Make omelettes using whatever fillings you have on hand. Make your own cereal bars using oats, peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, Rice Krispies or cornflakes, golden syrup, seeds, etc.

Add sauces and crispy toppings

Macaroni cheese is a good staple when you’re running out of food. You can also omit the cheese and make a plain white sauce. Use it over chicken or just with vegetables. Top with breadcrumbs, crackers or crisps and bake in the oven. This is a good way to use up stale ingredients too, as they will crisp up again in the oven.

Change your idea of what counts as a meal

A meal is something that fills you and that hopefully tastes good. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, or always contain certain ingredients, or have three courses. Sometimes my kids appreciate the simple things best, like a peanut butter sandwich, or hotdogs, or tinned soup. You don’t have to put pressure on yourself to follow a meal plan formula when you don’t feel like it.

 

Kids Smoothie Cups Recipe

Smoothie Cups For Kids (and Adults) Recipe

Activities For Kids, Budgeting, Recipes April 11, 2018

This isn’t really a proper recipe, but I thought I’d share it since it went down as well with my kids as ice cream, without the hyperactive results. I was looking for easy ways to entertain kids today since I’m sick and these took two minutes to make and eating them kept them entertained for a long time 🙂 they’re like a cross between a smoothie and frozen yogurt.

Ingredients

1 frozen banana (just peel and shove in the freezer and add straight to blender)

1 handful frozen strawberries

a few blueberries

2 tbsps Greek yogurt

300ml whole milk (or any milk you like)

a large squeeze of honey

1 tsp chia seeds

Method

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until you have achieved your desired consistency.  Give it to them in little cups with spoons, party cups or add an umbrella if you want to make them for a party 🙂

I got all of the ingredients in Lidl. They have lots of frozen berries which are great for smoothies 🙂

Cheap and Cheerful Pizza Sauce (40p)

Recipes March 1, 2018

A lot of people seem to buy jars of pre-made pizza sauce, which admittedly is probably less effort, but probably costs more and doesn’t taste as good. This sauce is so easy to make and goes particularly well with this pizza dough recipe: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pizza-dough-recipe-1921714

This is the best pizza dough recipe I have found. It tastes as good as takeaway pizza and you can let the dough rise in the fridge overnight if you want to make it the day before. It also freezes really well.

Here is the recipe for sauce (I am hoping all of these measurements are accurate since I typically just throw things at a pot.)

Ingredients:

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 clove of garlic

1 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp rosemary

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp oil

Throw all ingredients in a pot (apart from the oil) and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until all the flavours have combined.

Take it off the heat and stir in the oil, transfer to a blender and puree as smoothly as you like. I usually do mine in a smoothie maker and it comes out really smooth and a very vibrant colour, but you can use a blender, hand blender or if you have neither, just mash it really well 🙂 This usually makes enough sauce to top three 10 inch pizzas. (You can double the recipe to make a larger quantity.) The sauce also freezes well (just drain off any excess liquid when it defrosts before putting it on the pizza.)

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For a really quick pizza use this on pittas, grilled muffins, bagels or make pizza toast for kids 🙂