Tag: frugalliving

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.

 

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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 🙂

 

 

Frugal Family Things: Card-Makimg with Kids

Frugal Family Things: Card-Making with Kids

Activities For Children, Living a Frugal Life March 1, 2018

I always thought of card-making as an expensive hobby, since there is such a vast range of materials and if you choose to buy fifty unusual stampers for £1 each, it quickly mounts up to a hefty total. My mum used to be incredibly generous with her supplies, trusting us with her hot glue guns and showing us how to emboss, but we were probably well past the age of considering craft materials edible (which my younger child isn’t; she particularly enjoys the taste of play doh, crayons and paper.)

I really love seeing my kids doing something creative instead of staring at a screen, but without the creativity creating stress for me. This is one of those activities where you provide the materials but aren’t required to supervise their every move.

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Here are a few tips to make card-making kid-friendly:

  • Buy materials in the poundshop. They have an amazing range of craft materials and it doesn’t matter if your kids tear them to shreds. We bought cards, envelopes, decorative paper, lots of stickers, ribbons and glue dots for just over £5.
  • Get lots of stickers. I don’t know why, but with my kids stickers become the central focus of any craft activity.
  • Make coffee, because with their hands happily occupied yours will finally be free to enjoy a cup.
  • Let it be an activity for them to experiment instead of having a fixed outcome in mind. I find that my kids hate directed crafting; they just want to do their own thing without someone bossing or over-instructing.
  • Use glue dots or a glue stick instead of liquid glue if you want a quick clean-up afterwards. Wipeable tablecloths are a good idea too.
  • Give them people to make cards for (this makes the activity last longer.) For example, my kids made thank you cards and birthday cards for friends. They enjoyed adding personalised pictures that they associate with each person. You could also do a fictional version of this activity using their favourite characters.
  • If they go off on a tangent and end up not doing anything remotely related to card-making, let them. The point is to let them come up with their own ideas, not drive yourself crazy.