Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Homemade Sliced Sausages

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It is so easy to make sausages when you opt for what we Scottish frugal living folks term square sliced (also known as Lorne) sausages, that we'd be daft not to try making our own frugal versions. Better still, you can add almost anything savoury into them to make them as nutritious or luxurious as you like!

At this time of year, British gardens aren't particularly productive but the frugal kitchen cupboards, fridges and freezers are, invariably, filled to the brim with what's been leftover from last year's budget and a festive period that seems to last for weeks. I have often made sliced sausage in the past to use up leftover turkey, bacon, pork or beef with stuffing, but I don't normally go out of my way to make sausages. Today, however, I decided that it was time to use up the last of some soy mince that had been lurking in the cupboard since buying 6 sachets of the stuff for £1! You'll can guess that this was quite some time ago. It was well past 'Best Before' date, but this means nothing much to frugalers, as we all know it's the 'Use By' dates we need to watch. "Best Before" dates are usually on very long shelf-life foodstuffs that can literally last for years. (Apart from fresh eggs.)

INGREDIENTS

See how to make frugal homemade sausages here (Photos, ingredients and instructions included.)

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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Oats with Everything

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Analysing the annual £4,000 challenge budget resulted in an attempt to cut meal costs to £5 per person per week during 2015. As we continue our quest for financial freedom and a healthy, happy lifestyle with time to enjoy interests outside of the work place, don't forget to spend time doing what you most enjoy. "Mould your career around your lifestyle and not your lifestyle around your career." What a great quote!

The final 8 apples collected from last year's windfalls. I had no space in the freezer for any more stewed fruit, so these had been wrapped in newspaper and stored in a cardboard box. As you can see, they had begun to wrinkle, so I rehydrated them a little before cooking them. Frugal rehydration simply means I soaked them in a basin of tap water for a few hours.

After a good swim, the apples were fine for peeling and stewing down with some sugar and sultanas. Then it was time for the crumble to get added: oats, flour, sugar and margarine. Yes, we do have a sweet tooth here and it doesn't help with the fight against the flab during winter. (Or summer, for that matter!) Continue reading…

Cheap and Nutritious Meals

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More than halfway through January and we are already looking ahead to see how we can save extra and do more during February. Time flies when you are enjoying yourself, especially when juggling a fresh, new budget. Meanwhile, we still have meals fit for a King, priced for paupers and easy enough that even the kids can make them - what could be better?

The new regime for 2015 involves slashing the grocery budget to an average of just £5 per person per week for all meals, so it is taking come creative thinking. The above soup no longer will have just a carrot grated and an onion chopped into it. Instead, it will have a portion of mixed vegetables served with every bowl to make it up to 2 portions of our 5-a-day in one meal.

We do have the advantage of a well stocked kitchen and the additional benefit of home-grown and freely foraged foodstuffs in the freezer, plus a full cupboard of preserves, all made from free fruit, but in order to reduce the overall average, I now need to focus carefully on both the nutritional values and the costs. I guess that's why we Scots love our oats - we can eat them with practically anything! So, after a hearty breakfast of porridge, sometimes with a handful of sultanas or berries to boost the '5-a-day', it's onwards towards soup-making for lunch.

At the moment, you can buy cooking bacon for 80p per 500g pack, so I recommend this for making your stock. Along with a 500g pack of split peas or lentils, plus a grated carrot and chopped onion, this combination can cook you up 3.5 litres of soup without a problem and leave enough stock for flavouring the meals you make with the resulting cooked bacon. I made the most of the current Asda offer for half price lentils and now have 10 kilos of them in stock, as they worked out cheaper than their split peas!

After slow cooking the 500g of bacon to make stock, this left about 350g of what looked like streaky bacon, so it was all chopped up and separated - lean meat in one tub, streaky bits in another. I salted the water, as the bacon isn't smoked. This is how I intend using the meat:

7 Main Meal Suggestions: Continued…

Friday, 16 January 2015

How to make cut flowers last longer

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Many people feel saddened to see their lovely cut flowers wither, wilt and die, making such a gift a little depressing when it ends up in the compost or, worse still, simply binned. So here's how to get the very most out of your cut flowers, no matter how cheap and cheerful they may be. Here's to frugal flowers.

Yesterday, I sorted out the flowers I got at Christmas, which are still going strong. The original small bouquet was bulked out with greenery foraged from the hedgerow around the garden and it all looked rather festive, especially with some red berries and gold-sprayed foliage among it.

There were 4 rose buds among freesia, carnations and gypsophila, so the rose buds have now been removed and are hanging heads down in the sitting room, allowing them to dry out for future use. Believe it or not, I still have roses I dried over 10 years ago and these make lovely additions to bowls of homemade pot pourri, as well as displayed in dried arrangements… Read more here

Oat and Sultana Energy Cookies Recipe

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Just because we are embarking on a super-duper new food budget regime does not mean that we need to cast out all our luxuries, so here’s how we are dealing with the £5 per person per week for all meals challenge.

Breakfast is nearly always porridge, as a 1kg bag, costing 75p, provides sufficient for 20 servings. But I prefer to think of it as 7 days for 2 people will use up 700g porridge oats, leaving 300g each week for baking or other recipes.

PORRIDGE
2 x 50g scoops of porridge oats
5 x 50g scoops of water
Sprinkle of salt
Cook in microwave on high for about 5 minutes (depending on wattage)
Serve with a little milk and 30g of sultanas
7 days for 2 people will use up 700g of a 1kg bag of porridge oats, leaving 300g for baking. Sultanas are one of our 5-a-day and a 30g serving per person per breakfast for two equates to just 420g sultanas, leaving 80g for baking. So here goes...

OAT & SULTANA ENERGY COOKIES
100g porridge oats
80g sultanas
200g SR flour
100g sugar
170g melted margarine

Mix all of the above into a soft dough.

Split into 24 pieces, roll into balls and flatten into round cookies,

Read more here …