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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Large Family Feeding- Sticking to a budget

Long time since am posted on food budgets, and now food prices on the rise it is time to share again!
Here are some tips for feeding a family for less.
1) Always plan meals a week ahead. (Doesn't have to be 100% rigid.)
2) Don't go to the same supermarket every week.
3) Do have a realistic budget in mind of what you can afford.
4) Do use leftovers.
5) Do make use of coupons, and often shops online will send money off vouchers. I have sometimes got as much as £20 off.
6) Register for price alerts on My Supermarket, to get your favourites for half price.
7) Don't waste money on snack food, it isn't necessary, in fact in the seventies when I was growing up I never had snacks. Too expensive! If you were hungry you had toast, fruit, or a sandwich.
8) Look out for the three for £10 meats.

Firstly, I look at my meal plan, which is different every month. I try to plan no more than 4 red meat meals in a week, and then maybe one veggie meal. The rest is fish, or chicken.
Two free range chickens from Aldi cost under £12 and feed our family of 12 for two days. The second day I make a stew, and that uses vegetables that might otherwise go off.
A couple of packets of pasatta will do for lasagne, bolognaise, chilli, etc, and cost fraction of the price. For the white sauce just heat some milk, and in jug mix cornflour and milk- add when heated, and you have white sauce.
A pressure cooker will cook casserole meat, so you can have tender in 30 minutes for curry, or whatever.

Keep stuff simple. I find sophisticated costs much more. You can make mash in different forms eg for diabetics with sweet potato, for more interest add cheese, or just add carrot, and swede. Brown rice is versatile and you only need around 40g dried per person. Don't make mistake of making too much rice, as it is dangerous to reheat for leftovers!

With breakfast cereals, I buy the cheapest packet porridge, and put in tub. I buy the 3 for £3 mixes, and the shop generic weetabix. You can save big by not buying brands! I only buy brands when half price.

Bread is the basics range, or middle range. Morrisons do wholemeal for 48p a loaf, and it is good.Tesco, and Sainsbury for around 60p.

We only drink tea, green tea, coffee and water. Ready done drinks are empty calories. No fruit juices, as they are not healthy.

Cheese and dairy is the basics range, and the Asda cheddar mature cheese is really good.

Waitrose toilet rolls are superb. I buy the Essential Waitrose and get 20% off with My Waitrose offers.

We don't buy snack food. We do buy biscuits, and these are the non branded as a rule. If the children are hungry they have toast, or a sandwich. This might contain cheese, paste, jam, or fish. Crisps are once a week, and never branded. Aldi does good multipack crisps.

Dessert might be a slice of Vienetta (bought on offer) a donut, a cookie, piece of cake, greek yoghurt, chocolate bar. Rarely branded. Morrisons do a great generic version of Mars bars. They call them Apollo. Also cheaper to bake your own. We make home made birthday cake, pancakes, scones etc.

The market is sometimes the best place for fruit and veg. It really depends on the time of year. Look out for Barnes Stores as they sell outdated brands for a quarter of the price.

If you shop at Morrisons or Ocado online you get 'flash sales', and it is worth signing in daily when you have an order to see what changes! I have got half price organic fruit and veg boxes, steaks, chicken, and loads of other good stuff, and unlike the supermarket the date is still good.

Above all, the most important thing when planning food, and buying is that you are getting plenty of protein in, you don't need massive carb quantities. A wholemeal pack of spaghetti serves all 12 of us. Try adding lentils, quinoa, beans etc for extra protein. Best fast food ever- free range eggs!
I make my own wedges with potatoes, which I buy from the farm by the sack. (last long and a fraction of washed potato price) Just stir in rapeseed oil and bake in oven. I do a sweet potato one for the diabetic.

Frozen food is cheaper than fresh, and doesn't go off. Meat can be cheaper, too.

Toiletries are all paraben free, eco, and SLS free. I wait for offers and stock up. I recently got Method washing liquid at Tesco for £4 and that does 39 washes. Don't need conditioner with that as it smells too good!
Faith in nature shampoo. I wait for offers, and recently got half price at the Ocado half price sale. (An immense benefit of having an Ocado delivery pass! My only splurge. )
Also, if you get groceries online most will have a £1 slot, and Sainsbury delivers for free if you spend over £100 after 2:pm Monday to Thursday.

Finally, if you are wanting, or needing to trim your weekly spend watch for unnecessary items. You would be surprised! Also, what do you waste? We have a zero waste policy here. Remember a best before date can be ignored.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

My Election Ditty inspired by Dr Seuss

I do not trust this Corbyn bloke,
I think his party quite a joke.
Some things sound rather good,
but do you really think he could?

He promises blings, dings, and things,
I wonder even that we'll have wings.
Golden taps, and all of that...
but, oh really, it's a trap.

He has a friend, she cannot add,
which frankly I find rather sad,
and if you last year voted Brexit,
trust me he most surely will not exit.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Diabetes and Smart Eating

A couple of weeks ago my husband was hospitalised with DKA, which is where the body develops ketones in the blood from undiagnosed diabetes.It is type 2 and unusual to have such symptoms, but it seems it was complicated and accelerated by pneumonia. Scary time, as he could have actually died. I guess the key signs were craving sweet drinks, foods. He had turned into a sugar gremlin. Then, when he started to feel unwell, sleeping all the time, then violent vomiting I just rang 999; Apparently, saving his life.
A few weeks on, and his sugars are almost back to normal.He has lost two stone in a month. I have learned a lot of things already, and will share them here.
I have discovered Gullon Spanish biscuits, sugar free from Poundland. The wafer ones are delicious, and I can eat them.
Oppo Icecream bought at Ocado. This is sweetened with Stevia, and apparently yum.
Blackcurrant no added sugar jam-Tesco. Stabilised with sorbitol.
Chocolate sweetened with stevia- available everywhere.
Just be aware too much can send you to the toilet!!
We had little advice and of course the food the hospital as giving:orange juice, jam puddings??????
I would say these are our go to foods:
Sweet potatoes, mash made with swede and cauliflower added.
Low carb bread (half veggy flour), brown sour dough, wholegrain.
Brown basmati rice, quinoa, porridge.
What we have done is reduced the carbs at dinner, and also swapped for smarter alternatives as mentioned.Snacks are limited to really low, or no sugar foods, or maybe toast, or nuts.
The thing is, we do not need all those carbs in the diet, and we found cutting out sugar not enough, as the refined carbs convert quickly to sugar. Key here is low carb diet. I haven't quite worked out eating out, but dried chips are a no, unless just a few, and no battered fish!
I am still on a learning curve, and will share recipes soon. A really nice drink is hot chocolate made with almond unsweetened milk, and cocoa powder, sweetened with xylitol.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Feed Twelve for Under a Fiver (budget meal of the week)

Looking for budget meals? I think these meatballs from Waitrose offer exceptional value this week.

They are normally £3.40 a pack, but with the five for £7 offer, it works out only £1.40 each.

To feed Twelve, you will need two packs, or more, a large bottle of essential Waitrose pasatta(88p) onions, garlic, and some basil.
I fry them first until browned, then put in pot with the pasatta, onions, and spices and cook for fifteen minutes or so.
I served with wholemeal spaghetti. This is cheapest at the moment and Asda, or Morrison's.(2 for £1)
The meatballs are also available at Ocado.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Easy Quick Meal Ideas

Hadn't realised it has been so long since posting! However, been really ill with flu, and cooking has not been on my mind, surviving has! Having said that, it is important to eat as well as you can, that is why I am sad that some families just don't seem to have time to cook, so they find it easier to go to McDonald's, or pizza hut and eat there instead. I think they just think that meals are too time consuming and complicated! I am going to list a few of my quick, less fuss meal ideas here, these are easy, and take 20 minutes to cook, and just little preparation.
Stir Fry
This is so versatile, all you need is some beef strips, bean sprouts, a pack of mixed Chinese veg, a stir fry sauce, and some noodles. I use the whole-wheat noodles nests.
The beef fries in ten minutes, and then while you are doing that heat the noodles in boiling water, until it is used up.Stir fry the veg for five minutes or so, add the stir fry sauce to meat when browned,and hey presto!

Spaghetti Bolognaise-serves 4-6
Just heat a 500g pack of mince, add garlic, basil, and bit of pepper and fry with onions, and peppers (frozen) Add a jar of pasatta, and heat for 20 minutes. Spaghetti cooks in about ten!

Again, heat up 500g mince with onions, peppers and add a can of kidney beans. Add garlic, and a packet of chilli spice. Also a jar of pasatta. Cook for. 20 minutes. Rice cooks in 20 just use 50 g per person.

Some other ideas just for quick throw in the oven meals: quiche, rice and salad,
Fish in batter and chips,
Pizza, beans, and chips.

Using a slow cooker is a great idea if you haven't got time in evening, as all the ingredients can just be thrown in and heated all day. Much easier if you know you are going to be out/ busy, or just have people coming home at different times like we do!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

A New Year: Our Most Important Priority

I was recently reading, and came across something thought provoking; the general gist was this; if we don't commit ourselves to God through Bible study, prayer, doing God's will etc, then we will not reflect God, we will reflect whatever else it is we have committed to in this life, and it will be worthless, and damaging! As Christians our goal is to be perfect as He is perfect Col1:28- to be conformed to the image of Christ.

This definitely rings true, and now is a good time as any to put priority on Bible reading, as it is the start of the year, and there are many Bible in a Year plans available. I am doing one where you read from a different portion each day; The Law, Prophets, History, Gospels, etc. Last year I did the Chronological plan which was quite interesting and insightful, seeing where everything fitted in historically. If you don't feel you have the time to read that much in a day, then there are 2 year Bible plans.

It really is important to read the 'whole counsel' of God, not just bits of it; it is really tempting to just pick and choose from portions. I have found reading the whole Bible to be a blessing, and yes, even Leviticus! Amazing what you can glean from EVEN Leviticus.

I am using the Reformation Study Bible from Ligonier this year, to aid me in my study, as they brought out a NKJV last year, (yay!) Though I would have preferred the KJV. I have a lovely journalling Bible which I put all my Bible notes, and notes from sermons, and Bible studies I listen to. There is such a wealth of material out there to help, not to mention Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole, which is available free online, or at a very small price on Kindle. I love Warren Wiersbe's commentaries, too, and sometimes you can get these free, or discounted on Kindle.

I have found it is better to do my reading at, or after breakfast, as later on and my day just gets too busy. If you want a Bible that is great for devotional, reading to the kids etc, then I would recommend the Reformation Heritage Study Bible (Joel Beeke)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Favourite Books of 2016

Always on the look out for new authors to read, and for the children to read. Quite disappointed at some of the secular book offerings, as they are in my opinion unreadable; having either way too much bad language, or just the general worldly themes, and acceptance of values that are completely alien to me! I like to be encouraged, entertained,educated or challenged in a book.
My favourite genre is suspense. Secular author I have discovered in the last year is Mary Higgins Clark. Her novels do not contain bad language, or unnecessary embellishments!

For Christian suspense I have been discovering more of Dee Henderson's books, but also other authors I hadn't read, such as Barbara Ellen Brink, Patricia Bradley, Dani Pettrey, and a new male author Creston Mapes.

For something a bit different; The James Rubart Trilogy. Hard to say where it fits, but definitely a message with the books, and an intriguing one at that. Definitely in the fantasy realm.

For humour, it has to be Gervase Phinn! I really enjoy the style of his writing, and humorous without resorting to the profane. I have been reading the School Inspector fiction series, and am on the last but one book.

Life stories: The Yorkshire Shepherdess, and The Vow, also The story of Martin Luther as told by Jim Cromarty.

Secular: Lesley Thomson's Detective's daughter books. Though, there is some language in, it is rare. I found the books rather different to what I had read, and definitely a twist. I guess you could say they fit in with Murder Mystery. I also rediscovered Agatha Christie's books, and will be reading more.

Devotional: Flavel on a variety of themes, John Mcarthur, and Spurgeon. I don't think you can ever tire of Spurgeon! Also, a must check this out is Francine River's new Earth Psalms Devotional- stunning pictures, and lots of ideas for reflection!

Feel Good and Seasonal: Debbie Macomber; fairly corny, but can be uplifting! Also, a nice Christmas one I enjoyed was A Miracle at Macy's by Hulsman.

Found a new horsey author for the girls this year; Mary Gervaise. The books are from the 1950's but colourful description with good use of language, and enjoyable story lines. Not easy to find stuff the girls like that actually isn't full of boyfriend's, and wordly themes!

Any book recommendations gladly taken. Please comment! This year I am doing the Virtual Theology Reading Challenge. I have to select a book from each section. Will post on what I have chosen, soon.