Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Spending too much on food? Not anymore!

Managing a budget is never easy – especially not when you’ve got hungry mouths to feed. The cost of living has grown drastically since the recession with even basic items such as groceries costing more than ever before. In fact, they’ve risen so much that even political Ed Miliband was recently found guilty of underestimating his own family food bill by claiming they probably spent just £80 a week – if only!   

For those of you who, like me, enjoy cooking frugal feasts then you’ll know that it is possible to live on less … but maybe not quite as little as Miliband would like to think! That said, mummy blogger Anneliese Giggins learnt how to survive on just £20 a week so maybe there’s hope for us yet! Here are some of the best money saving food tips Anneliese taught us.

Taste the difference – only sometimes

First things first, if you want to slash your food bill then you need to stop investing in those brand name products and switch to supermarket own products. You’ll rarely taste the difference and a little experimentation and trial and error will help you learn where you can afford to change down and where you’d rather stick with the brand you know and love.

Freeze it!

Kids are known for being human waste disposal units capable of polishing off meals three times their size but sometimes you’ll still manage to cook too much for your brood. In these instances, get wise and freeze the extra for later. You can find disposable foil containers or plastic pots to store everything in at bargain shops and you’ll have a quick and convenient meal option on those nights when time just seems to run away with you!

Embrace versatility

Certain foodstuffs are more versatile than others and you’d be amazed at how many different dishes you can get out of a few simple ingredients – after all, variety is the spice of life and living frugally doesn’t mean being boring.

Pasta, hummus and rice are all staple ingredients of a number of dishes and are the sort of thing you should keep a good supply off in the house. You can make your own sauces with simple (and cheap) ingredients like chopped tomatoes, onion and a little seasoning and you can always serve up pasta salads or wraps with hummus as fun lunchtime alternatives to get even more bang for your buck.

Buy as you go

Buying in bulk can save you vital money but it’s not always the most practical option. Unless the goods you are buying have a long shelf life – such as sugar, pasta, rice, etc – then you’re better off buying what you need and topping up as you go. After all, buying two massive bags of carrots in one hit might save you a few pennies in the short-term but it’ll all be for nothing if you end up throwing half of the food away because it’s gone off!

In many ways, this element of cutting food costs is similar to that of buying a home. When buying a property you need to do your research and balance short-term gains against long-term implications to make the best decision. Sometimes, the house you see immediately available isn’t actually the best option in the long-run and you’d be better off waiting for another opportunity. This is exactly what you need to do when buying food – tomorrow’s bag of potatoes might just prove better than today’s!

It’s important you consult reputable resources to help you with your decisions too though. For food buys, that means reading real-life accounts of mums battling the bread line while for property purchases and bigger financial commitments it can mean turning to documents such as this McCarthy and Stone Guide to Buying.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Satisfying foods: hash browns

Everyone needs comfort food. If you are coping with trouble at work or with a friend, you need solace. Food can give you an answer but that doesn’t mean you should throw all thoughts of health out of your head.

The time it takes you to chop up vegetables and prepare your recipe will sooth your spirit and there are plenty of healthy and satisfying foods that can help provide a little comfort in difficult times.

Hash browns are good news

If you are looking for the ideal comfort food then McCain hash browns may provide the solution – click here to find out more. Kids and grown-ups all need a cheery nutritional hug from time to time and you can transform the most boring meal into a culinary delight with additions like hash browns.

A simple poached egg can be transformed into a dish of fulfilling excellence with the addition of some fried mushrooms and herbs before being placed on top of a hash brown but that’s just one idea…

Interesting recipes

Anyone who has kids will understand how difficult it is to please them. If you go to your local supermarket you will get lots of ideas and inspiration. You can just stir fry some vegetables in a wok and add some ginger, garlic and soy sauce to this mixture to create a tasty meal to be served with hash browns.

What are hash browns?

Anyone who has read American literature about the Deep South will understand the importance of hash browns. Essentially, this is peasant food that has been glorified, in common with most of the American pioneer experience.

People had to make do with the vegetables that were to hand, and they survived as a result of their cooking skills. You can find out how to make the perfect hash browns using a how to cook guide like the one from the Guardian. After you have cooked your hash browns, grab some spuds, some onions and some oil and get cooking it cannot be easier.

From the “latkes” of Jewish Eastern Europe to the “potatos bravas” of Spain, the humble potato is elevated to new heights and oven-ready options are ideal for those who want to embrace these taste sensations but don’t have the time make them from scratch.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Menu Plan -- The Mini turns eight week

I am not going to be about from Thursday Lunch time this week.  So in this menu plan I have made sure that the food is easy and adaptable for MadDad from Thursday evening onwards.

Monday - Mini at Beavers, so he needs to eat early

Fish cakes with minted pea middles, salad and new potatoes

Tuesday - Mini turns eight


Wednesday - Maxi at Football practice at 5pm

Homemade pizza with ham and pineapple

Thursday - Me away

Udon noodles with chicken style quorn pieces, peppers and sauce

Friday - Me away

Fish, chips and Peas (We are currently really enjoying Youngs lightly coated)

Saturday - Football tournament

Lunch - picnic style
Dinner - sausage, egg, chips and beans


Lunch - Quiche, salad and new potatoes
Dinner - Roast Chicken Dinner

I have made sure we have enough fruit  and salad in for snacking and also lots of yogurts for after dinner too

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Frugaliscious Thumbs Up - Suckies

My boys know their yogurt.  It is one of their favorite foods, always has been and even at nine and nearly eight it is what they go hunting in the fridge for.

We were sent some suckies 100g yogurt pouches to review and they didn't last two days! 

The ingredients (which make mum happy)

  • NO colours
  • NO artificial flavourings
  • NO artificial preservatives
  • NO GM ingredients
  • Only contains sugars from fruit
  • Made with whole milk goodness
  • Gluten free, Vegetarian
  • NO pips or bits allowed!
These are great as you can freeze them and pop them in to a lunchbox and they will keep everything cold and be defrosted for lunch time.  

I had to go and buy more for the boys lunches during their football practice (as they have school lunch).

Friday, 13 June 2014

England v Italy - A food Showdown [Infographic]

The World Cup is upon us. In case you didn't notice all of the England flags in the street, the endless TV coverage and the above average noise coming from the neighbours over the last week, now you know why. Even if you didn't watch the opening ceremony, there's still time to get into the World Cup spirit.

England play their first game tomorrow evening against Italy. Are you ready for it? If not, I know something that will help. To kick off England's World Cup campaign, Delimano, a specialist in Italian ceramic cookware, thought it would be a good idea to put England and Italy in a cuisine showdown. Who will come out on top? Which nation has the better cuisine? Will their respective countries' cooking skills reflect on the pitch? Follow the recipes below and decide for yourself: 

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