Friday, 11 April 2014

Affordable Luxury

This is a blog about frugal food and how it can still be delicious, but I have to admit that both MadDad and I have a few things that we refuse to scrimp on.  These are our affordably luxurys.

MadDad has a thing for coffee.  Not any coffee, but good coffee.  He is one of those people that would rather drink water than bad coffee and often does.

We actually scrimp and save on other products and I cook from scratch so that we can afford to buy him quality coffee.  

Image from Love Chic Living

We have a coffee machine and really appreciate that it makes good quality coffee great and also really reasonable in fact it makes it around 30p per cup, which is a huge saving on a flat white which is the man of the house usual choice at a coffee shop.

Caffe Cagliari now make coffee capsules which are Nespresso machine compatible and only cost £2.99 for 10 capsules and even better you can buy Caffe Cagliari online

Their coffee is the result of more than 100 years of family knowledge and tradition and their espresso has been certified by the Italian Espresso National Institute (I.N.E.I.), which protects and promotes Italian Espresso.

So I have shared with you MadDad's affordable luxurywhat is yours?

Come back later in the week to learn about mine. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Once in a life time

·       Do you ever dream of doing something different?  Do you wish that you had the
Finances to start a new business or Project, but you just do not have the cash up front.

As the wife of an accountant I know that loans are not always evil things and at the right time and place they can be a wonderful way of freeing up capital and money to do something that is time precious or sensitive.

Everyday loans asked me to share my once in a lifetime dream with you.

So if money was no object, what would I like to do?  My boys are growing up so fast, if MadDad and I didn’t have the ties that we do and the family commitments here in the North East of England we would love to take a year out and take the boys on a once in a lifetime trip.

I used to read Victoria’s tales of their trip on it’s a small world and imagine doing something similar with my boys.

We would love to hire a campervan and drive across the States. To experience New England in the Fall, to be cowboys and learn to lasso and sit by the campfire looking at the stars in the sky.

We would like to visit the Great Wall of China and Japan. We would love to see Manchu Pitchu and experience the vastness of the Australian Outback.

We want to go on a safari, to see Niagara Falls, the Great Barrier Reef and the Statue of Liberty.

We want to ride white water rapids, go hiking and skiing. We want to learn how to water ski and so much more.

I would love to experience all the cuisine of the world whilst my boys are young enough not to be concerned about what they eat.

And I want to do all of this as a family.  To eat it all up, experience it all and share it with the people that mean the most to me.

So that is my dream, what is yours?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Win a Pie Party to Celebrate Pie Week

I love a good pie and was recently introduced to Higgidy and have to say I was really impressed with them and to help you celebrate British Pie Week (3rd-9th March),they are hosting a Pie Party and you're invited!

All you need to do is enter below for a chance to win a Higgidy Pie Party. What better excuse to get some friends round to share a home-cooked meal, and celebrate the most hotly anticipated week of the year?

Higgidy believe there is nothing better than homemade, which is why they freshly bake their pies by hand every day, and fill them with delicious ingredients just like you would use in your kitchen at home.
Each party pack contains everything you need to make your home pie-themed for the event including party hats, balloons, place cards, and of course, enough meat and vegetarian pies for 12 to enjoy for dinner (or lunch if you’d prefer).

How to enter:

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Family Friendly Chick Pea Curry

People that know me (Jen), know that I refuse to cook two different types of meals for my family.  The boys eat what we eat and have since I started weaning Mini.  Initially this meant that I had to ensure that I didnt cook with salt and other salt rich foods, but it has also meant that my boys are not particularly picky eaters and have no issue with eating new foods.

This week I am taking The Tefal Fresh Week Challenge (You can take the pledge for next week here) and when I say this fab Family friendly chick pea curry on my friend Louise's Blog, I knew it would be a hit.  Louise is one of my health hero's and she runs Panacea Holistic Health and Beauty.

I am sharing this recipe with Louise's blessing.  We substituted the spinach with kale as it is what we had in the garden, but it would be delicious with any seasonal greens:

So over to Louise

The term ‘healthy eating’ means many different things to so many people. Low fat, low carb, low GI, low calorie, gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, grain free, the list goes on. For me, unless you have a dietary intolerance, or allergy, healthy eating is all about doing more of the good things, and less of the bad, in a word it’s ‘moderation’.
I don’t believe that healthy eating is the preserve of adults alone. I have two small boys, aged 2 and 4 who eat the same food as me, and we eat at the same time. Meals and mealtimes are shared in our house, to be savoured and enjoyed.
My boys have been enjoying this recipe for a while. When they were very little I used to mash it down and they loved it. Now they have it straight out of the pan and it doesn’t ‘touch the sides’ making me a very happy, worry free mummy.
Here is what you will need to serve two adults and two small children, but I often double it up. It’s great for lunch the next day or even mixed with rice as a cold ‘salad’. It freezes too.
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tin full fat coconut milk (I freeze the other half for next time)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 good tsp curry powder, or 1/2 tsp cumin and turmeric
5/6 blocks frozen spinach
A word about the ingredients, I use frozen spinach for convenience but fresh works just as well, just make sure you cram in as much as you can as it will disappear as soon as it has wilted down. For the garlic, ginger and chilli, if you don’t use it often, or are short of time, Sainsburys do them frozen into teaspoon sized cubes for a time and cost effective alternative. I use a korma powder for my little ones’ sensitive palates but you could use something more fiery and increase the chilli too. More generally, buy the best quality ingredients you can afford.
1. Heat some oil (I use coconut oil) in a pan over a medium heat and add the onion. A couple of minutes later add the garlic, ginger and chilli, stirring occasionally until soft.
2. Add the chickpeas and 1/3rd tin of water and simmer for a couple of minutes.
3. Add the curry powder, chopped tomatoes, and coconut milk, bring to the boil and then simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 mins or until the sauce has reduced to thick, tomatoey, creamy gorgeousness.
4. Add the spinach and continue to simmer until the spinach blocks have broken down. They will release extra moisture, but if it gets too thick you can add a little water here.
5. Serve with brown basmati rice, and a dollop of natural yoghurt if you like.
On a little ‘healthy eating technical point’ I serve it with brown rice as it’s the only rice we eat, but in this case the brown rice provides the amino acids missing from chickpeas to provide a complete protein source; this wouldn’t be the case with white rice. I also love that it is a meat free meal, which is good for our digestion, good for our pockets and good for the environment too. Oh and it has lots of fibre, and good fats, and of course spinach…need I say more?!
As well as the ‘feel good factor’ of knowing that my family have eaten a healthy meal it always leaves me feeling fully satisfied and somehow ‘lighter’ for having eaten a clean, wholesome meal.
Give it a try, ‘vegetarian’ food has never been so tasty!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

This weeks Menu Plan

I really must get back to sharing my menu plan online.  It is something I do each week now without thinking about it and it really keeps us in check.

Monday - Left over roast beef, yorkshire puddings and bubble and squeak.
Tuesday = Beef pie (using leftovers) chips and beans
Wednesday - Hotdogs and Noodles (football practice)
Thursday - Leek quiche, chips and peas
Friday - Fish, chips and Mushy peas
Saturday - Sandwiches at lunch and then homemade pizza for dinner
Sunday - Roast chicken lunch and crumpets for tea

Can you tell that my FIL dropped off a fresh bag of spuds!

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