Thursday, November 06, 2014

Frugal Friday Update - on Thursday ;)

The idea was to post a weekly update each Friday on how my week of frugal-ness is going. However, tomorrow I have a guest blogger popping over to visit you here at Under An English Sky and she has something interesting to share with us. So Frugal Friday is coming one day early :)

So far the housekeeping budget is on track. I started the month by doing a big shop last week Friday at all the various stores I mentioned in my 'Lets Talk...' post. I spent £120 on stocking up on dry goods, tins and meat that should see us through most of the month. I set aside the milkman's money, £30, I then split the remaining £250 into my four zipper pouches, one for each week of November. Each week got £62.50. 

Now I had already cut my grocery budget by £100 before I started this experiment, so I am having to change my ways in order to make it all work. What I have discovered is that my own worst enemy is 'habit'. Here's what I mean. On Friday this week we are making our way across the Pennines to Manchester for the girls fortnightly art lesson. This week the class is going to a museum and have to take a packed lunch with them. My FIRST thought was, 'I must remember to pick up rolls and various packed lunch treats for the girls'

My very next thought was, '! You are trying to be frugal remember? Lets look what you can whip up with what you have at home already.'

Pizza Muffins
So here's the packed lunch menu for Friday, all ingredients found right on my own pantry and refrigerator shelves. {Recipes at the bottom of the post}

Chicken and salad wraps (soft tortillas)
Pizza muffins (baked today)
Sticky fruit bars (baked today)
Fruit (Choice of plums, satsumas or an apple)

Sticky Fruit Bars
Amazing what you can produce with ingredients already right under your nose! And to be fair, this little menu is far more exciting than quickly thrown together ham and cheese bread rolls! So no spend out of the weekly allowance here :)

Moving on ... The Crock Pot has been put to work this week. I started off making Mac & Cheese which was so delicious! It's been family rated as 'make this again.' On Sunday the roast chicken carcass was popped into the Crock Pot along with spices, herbs, onions and root veg to make a yummy stock which will be added to soups and used to make gravy's over the winter.

I've also used my Crock Pot to make soup's. Below was a delicious Carrot and Coriander soup that I popped into the Crock Pot just as we were heading out on a home ed outing yesterday morning. I knew that by the time we got home around lunch time that we would all be hungry and ready to eat. By popping all the makings of a soup into the CP before we left I knew we would not be tempted to fork out some of our weekly budget on convenience food. There is enough soup left over for today's lunch - instead of bread served alongside I will serve some of those pizza muffins instead.

My weekly allowance has now reached it's end and week 2's zipper pouch will be 'cracked' open tomorrow for the forthcoming week.

 Not only have I managed to stay within my weekly budget this week, but I have also managed a few 'treats' out of the money. 

* Donuts after church on Sunday (we always do this)
* A cup of Hot Chocolate at the coffee shop while waiting for my girls while they had their sewing lesson
* Popcorn and a drink each at the film fest we attended yesterday.

So here's what I have learned this week and therefore can recommend as 
my weekly frugal tips.

* It does pay to shop around. I only had to go to Tesco once this week to buy razor blades that I could not find anywhere else. I was sure to only put that into my basket!

*Aldi and Lidl have great quality fresh food significantly cheaper than the big superstores.

* Crock Pot cooking can work to your advantage saving you both time and money. (Electricity cost and convenience food costs)

* Baking once a week is an excellent way to keep your shelves (and freezer as I double up) stocked with healthy treats at a fraction of the cost and so that your family don't feel like they are sacrificing.

I'll leave the tips there for now, don't want to use them all up in my first follow up post lol.

Now for those recipes:

Sticky Fruit Bars (makes 12 - 15)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 25 - 30 minutes
Oven temp. : 180 deg. C

170 ml (160 g) butter or margarine
100 ml honey or golden syrup
235 ml (200 g) sugar
500 ml (220 g) rolled oats
200 ml (110 g) cake flour
100 ml (45 g) chopped peanuts (I used walnuts as that was what I had)
100 ml (75 g) raisins
250 ml (190 g) mixed dried fruit, chopped
30 ml sunflower seeds

1. Melt the butter and honey together in a pan over a low heat. Add the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat. Allow the mixture to bubble for three minutes, while stirring.

2. Mix the remaining ingredients together and stir in the warm mixture. Press into a 22 X 22 cm baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool, then cut into bars.

Pizza Muffins (makes 12 big ones or 24 small)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes
Oven Temp: 200 deg. C.

515 mil (280 g) cake flour
15 ml baking powder
3 ml salt
3 spring onions (I used a normal onion as that was what I had)
250 ml (50 g) grated Cheddar Cheese
10 ml dried origanum
5 ml dried basil
2 extra-large eggs
100 ml sunflower oil
250 ml milk
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
slices of salami or ham (optional)

1. Stir the flour, baking powder and 3 ml salt together. Add the spring onions, cheese and herbs

2. Whisk the eggs, oil and milk together, Add to the dry ingredients, along with the chopped tomato. Mix gently until just combined.

3. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. 

Serve the muffins plain or, once they have cooled, cut them open, spread with butter and fill with a slice of salami or ham.

Crock Pot Carrot and Coriander Soup.

2 good sized potatoes, cut into medium size chunks
6 - 8 large carrots, skinned and cut into medium size chunks.
2 Chicken stock cubes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Coriander (to be added later)
A dash of cream (to be added later)

1. Place the potatoes and carrots into the crock pot. Crumble the two stock cubes over the vegetables, season with salt and pepper. Generously cover the vegetables with hot water from the kettle.

2. Set the crock pot on high and allow to cook for 3 - 4 hours. ( I cooked mine for about 3.5 hours and it was find)

3. Once cooked, turn the Crock Pot off and blend soup with a hand blender. Add cream and coriander to the soup.

4. Serve with freshly home made bread or pizza muffins :)

Have a blessed day everyone ...


  1. I loved reading this post, full of good ideas and motivation. I'm off to check my pantry and see what I have :)

  2. Thank you-I need to use my crock pot for soups so this recipe is useful.

  3. Great post! We use Aldi with occasional trip to another shop for gluten free flour.

    In addition to a crock pot I also have a Remoska which is a table top Czech oven. The heating element is in the lid, so you only heat the pan base, it does a great job at roasting a chicken. A halogen oven is good too, Aldi has these on offer too!

    Will have to have a go at your recipes!

    San xx

  4. I followed the link from pumpkin sunrise, and the timing is great for me as I start to get back into our family routine after moving. Thanks for the prompt!

  5. I love your frugal living. I have so much in my pantry and freezer that I really need to use instead of going and buying something else. Time to look for recipes for what I already have.

  6. You are doing great! I am going to make some treats for the week later, I need to go and do my shop but I don't want to buy pre packed cereal bars. Thanks for the tips. xx


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