We all like a little luxury, a nice meal or fashionable clothes. When we go to a posh restaurant, what is it we are actually paying for? We pay not just for food but for an experience. We can create our own ‘experience’ for a lot less. (more…)
If you’re on a low income it is actually easier to double your standard of living than if you’re on a higher income. First you need to do a little bookkeeping and identify your sources of income and what you spend it on. (more…)
I still haven’t bought any Christmas presents, but I’m looking out for suitable gifts. Many prices will go up closer to Christmas, so you can save money by getting your presents early. One idea is to buy a few smaller gifts and put them in a gift bag. You can get the gift bags from Poundland. (more…)
The autumn starts in a few days in Britain and so we have to think about saving money through autumn and winter. Food that is suitable for colder weather like soups and stews can save money because they require cheaper cuts of meat or even no meat at all. (more…)
How can we save money at Christmas? It’s an expensive time of year, with Christmas gifts and celebrations to buy for. We can add value to our gifts by wrapping them well and making them look good. (more…)
There are lots of places to go for a picnic where I live in England. This park is a good place, because they have tables with benches. Notice the litter bin on the left too. Use it! You don’t need a picnic basket, but they are useful if there is a few of you. You can make the picnic simple or go for caviar and champagne.
I read about a Lord this week who tried to live on a pound a day for food. He tried to do it for five days. That isn’t too difficult if you’re healthy and can eat anything. It’s only five days.
You don’t really need more food when it’s cold, but you need different foods to help you to keep warm. If money is short, what can you give your family to eat that’s frugal and will help keep out the cold? I have a few ideas…
To cook frugally you have to understand a little about food and cooking. Staple foods are foods that we tend to have with every meal. They are carbohydrate rich and cheap. Staples are bread, potatoes and rice. To a lesser extent dairy products can be viewed as staple food, because milk can be important in your diet.
I’ve made this soup a couple of times and it’s a thin soup that you can dip toasted bread into and has a unique flavour. It is very frugal when the celery is in season and doesn’t need much chicken. (more…)
There are few calories in fibre and so high fibre foods are healthy and will help in a weight loss diet. Water has no calories and will help give you a feeling of being full. Fruit and vegetables have a lot of fibre and a high water content. I cooked the chicken and celery soup in the picture yesterday and it was both high fibre, packed full of vitamins and contained a lot of water. It also tasted yummy! (more…)
Most fruit and vegetables are high in fibre and vitamins and relatively low in calories. There is about 50 Kcal in a large apple, but 100 kcal in a large banana of the same weight (about 100 grams). There is more fibre weight for weight in the apple and less sugar. The same weight of grapes (100 grams) would have around 60 Kcal. The grapes contain more fructose (fruit sugar). Vegetables to choose are leafy vegetables rather than root vegetables. A baked potato is around 110 Kcal compared to only 15 kcal for the same weight of cabbage (100g). Mashed potato comes in slightly less than baked potato. (more…)
Many people think a seafood diet is; see food, eat it! Most seafood is quite low in calories and so useful in a calorie controlled diet. Seafood can be expensive though. Those prawns were expensive and so I used a few and added some pink salmon. I have no idea why pink salmon is half the price of red salmon but it is. It all tastes the same to me! There is just under half a tin of salmon on my salad and that would be about 100 kcal. Add a few chips to the meal and it would be about 250 kcal. It would be fairly easy to keep to 1000 kcal a day, eating meals like that. (more…)
The stir fry I cooked for dinner has around 250 to 300 calories and so quite good. Counting calories can be confusing because the calorie is a unit of energy. The kilocalorie or kcal is a thousand calories and this has been adopted for diets and expressed as the Calorie with a big C! This is confusing and many foods are now marked with kcal to tell you how many calories they contain. I checked how many calories were in my morning biscuits, 250 kcal; that’s nearly as much as a meal! In fact if I do a salad with a can of sardines, it works out to around 250 kcal and that includes the oven chips! (more…)
10,000 years ago, our ancestors ate mostly roots and berries, but also eggs. Not chicken eggs like us but the eggs of water birds like ducks. There was no farming and many of the foods we eat today came later from overseas. Chickens from Asia; turkeys, potatoes and beans from the Americas. We find eggs easy to digest because our bodies are designed to eat them. We haven’t changed physically very much in the last 10,000 years. Some foods that we eat would be impossible to eat if they weren’t cooked. Many allergies and other problems with food appear to be the result of ‘modern’ foods. Dairy foods in particular seem to create problems and many people have allergies. (more…)
250 calorie – stir fry
I cooked stir fry this week and if you’re trying to lose weight that might seem like a meal that is too fattening. I actually did too much rice again and the size of portions is important. If we have a takeaway Chinese meal we tend to have extras and large portions. I cooked the boiled rice and use about a cup full to a cup full of water and so half that rice is actually water! The pork I used was very lean diced pork. I used a whole chopped onion that was fried with the pork in as little oil as possible in a non stick wok. Then I added even more fibre at the end by adding peas. Most of the flavour came from the dash of soya sauce and the sprinkling of 5 spice. The whole meal came to around 250 calories and although it might not look much served up in a rice bowl; it was filling and I even had a little fruit for desert. (more…)
I had to stick to a strict diet for decades for health reasons. The trick is to make it a permanent thing, a lifestyle choice. It’s a mistake to lust after foods that are bad for you. I’ve used a picture of one of my salads again this week. I have fewer chips on this one. It’s packed full of vitamins and fibre. It’s low fat, fairly low in carbohydrates and above all, it tasted good. I also tried to make it look nice, I could have tried harder! Mixing hot and cold food is a good idea and if you want to lose weight fast, add more lettuce and cut the chips a little. This meal is less than 250 calories and that should be your target for main meals like lunch and dinner. It’s not a good idea to eat less than 1,000 calories a day; everyone can lose weight on 1,000 calories a day. You might want a little snack between meals though and so it’s a good idea to aim for 250 – 300 calories per main meal. (more…)
A perfect body or world peace?
On television the other night someone said that in a survey women were asked to choose between bringing about world peace or having a perfect body. Over 40% said they would choose a perfect body! This doesn’t really surprise me, I am constantly amused by the lengths women will go to in an attempt to look good. I saw a woman on television the same night, with thick makeup and false eyelashes that looked as long as the draught excluder on my kitchen door. She was heavier than me and at least 10 inches shorter. Does she really think all that crap on her face makes her look any better, when she has a body like a beached whale? (more…)
I think it was Mrs Beeton who said the cheapest meal was a piece of toast between two pieces of bread that were spread with butter. I don’t see the point, just have a couple of rounds of toast, spread with whatever.
If you’re really desperate crumble a Bovril cube into a soup bowl and fill up with boiling water then dip your toast into that. You can also grow herbs on a windowsill, then chop herbs like basil into your saucepan, add a Bovril cube and simmer for 5 minutes to make a soup to dip your toast in. If you have a onion lurking in the fridge, chop it as small as possible, fry it in a little oil, add herbs, salt, your Bovril cube and water, then after the onion is soft, simmer for 30 minutes for a nourishing soup. (more…)
Herbs and spices
I made a chicken stew over the weekend and put in extra herbs for flavour. This can reduce the cost, because you don’t need so much chicken and is particularly good if you’re using a more expensive meat. I used 2 chicken legs and cooked those in water until I was able to remove the bones easily. I added lots of veggies that included swede, carrots and onion that were in a stew pack, then added seasoning. The herbs gave it a great flavour and I used 1/2 a teaspoon of oregano, sage, thyme, basic and herb d’ Provence. I got all the dried herbs for about 50p a jar from Aldi and Lidl. The basil was in fact fresh and made a difference this week. I made 1.5 litres for less than 2 pounds and it was not only frugal but yummy! You can cut the meat down even more if you add vegetable protein in the form of pulses. Try a cup full dried split peas but soak them overnight first. If you are adding split peas the amount of chicken can be halved. You can also add a chicken stock cube for extra flavour. You can also add an extra onion for even more flavour.
Grow your own
It seems a little early for thinking about growing your own in the garden, but you can at least prepare and plan. I have seen seeds for growing salad and root vegetables on offer for just 39p a packet at Aldi and Poundland have offers too. Getting our 5 portions of fruit and veg a day is getting more expensive. We can look for the bargains, the carrots are just 39p a kilo at Aldi this weekend and ideal for winter soups, stews and casseroles. They are still worth growing though! (more…)
For this stir fry, I cooked the chicken in sunflower oil until it became white, then added thinly sliced red onion and the cooked rice and cooked for a few minutes. Then add the peas, soya sauce and 5 spice. It was exotic, tasty and didn’t cost much! There are lots of other meals using staple foods like rice, bread and potatoes. (more…)