Friday, 28 February 2014

Day 28 of Extremely Frugal February - Pizzas and Cannelloni

It's the Final Day of February! We Got Triple Nominated!

First of all, some exciting news! Our frugal blog has received three nominations into the 'MAD Awards this year - isn't that great? If you would like to nominate, the web address for this blog is and you can vote for us either via the badge on the right hand side of this page or else by going to and nominating from there. We have been nominated into categories for BEST THRIFTY BLOG as well as BLOG OF THE YEAR and MOST INNOVATIVE BLOG, but I'm not quite sure how that happened. :)

Now look away if you are easily offended by weird food concoctions and past BBE dates!

Cheap bread and roll mix - 99p for 3.5kg
Last night was a late one - we met up with neighbours and went walking in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis after seeing the alerts for sufficient solar activity to bring it this far south. We stayed out until about 1am and saw nothing. I was so disappointed, having convinced myself that we would catch a tiny glimmer. It just didn't reach our corner of Scotland, despite being reported as far south as Essex. I did spot four meteors/shooting stars streaking overhead, though, and the sky was amazing with the millions of stars on display.

By way of compensation, my Approved Food* order arrived today, all £15.01 of it! 400 bread rolls' worth of mix for £3.96, so that's less than a penny per roll and enough to see us to the end of the year. Bit disappointed in the quality of the potatoes but I have my seed potatoes at the ready to start chitting (sprouting prior to planting) them soon. With luck, we'll be eating home grown by summer.

Now for some really extreme frugaling!

When opening the orders, they are always strapped with the nylon braided tapes. I have used these in the past to make streamers to hang in the garden as bird scarers but I thought I would try a bit of weaving. Seems to work, so I won't be throwing any more in the bin - I'm sure there are plenty of other things that can be made from them.

I used up the remaining 4 mini-naan breads from the open pack with another tin of tomatoes, herbs, pepper and a single portion of cheese for each of us - I had my usual pickle with mine.

Last night's chilli con-coction was too much for two people and H doesn't really like chilli, so I can't serve it 2 nights in a row. I went rummaging again and came up with a plan - but now the leftover chilli and rice has turned into another 6 meals! Look away now if you don't like to see the 'before' version of frugal meals...

Mixing the rice and chilli concoction with sage & onion stuffing
I mixed a cheap pack of stuffing with last night's leftover chilli and added the rice into this, as well.  I haven't a clue how this is going to turn out but I do have a vague idea of how I expect it to taste.

Filling the Cannelloni tubes with the mix 
I've less than half a box of the cannelloni tubes left but after filling the 11 of them, I still have some of the chilli mix left to use - I spy cabbage!

Filling in the gaps to use excess mix
 I peeled off a large cabbage leaf, split it and wrapped this around the remainder of the chilli concoction mix - haven't made stuffed cabbage in a while! The last scoop of mix got packed into the corner of my dish.

Frugal version of cannelloni - Frugalloni
I poured the jar of tomato and herb sauce over the filled pasta tubes and used half of the 25p tin of cheese chopped over the top. The other half has been wrapped in tin foil and put in the fridge for later use. This is my largest lasagne baking dish, which usually provides enough for 6. Everything was crossed in the hope this tasted OK.

Looks OK to me! Tasted lovely!
Baked the dish in the mini oven for about an hour and then gave it a quick blast under the grill to bubble the cheese. It tastes excellent to me, even H was quite impressed with it! We followed our Frugalloni meal with a bowl of 10p strawberry instant whip - not the healthiest option, but there has to be some vitamin and calcium content in milk dessert, hasn't there?

This living on £4,000 for the year is still fun! I have been doing this for years and, as all the debts slowly disappeared and savings began to build, I stuck with it to enable me to build up more savings. This year is no different and it's certainly no easier, what with the price of electricity, coal and fresh produce forever increasing in price. Hopefully there will be a point at which the garden has been sufficiently reclaimed and redeveloped to provide all the fruit and vegetables needed by the household but, until then, most foodstuff needs to be bought. Spending during February has been kept to an absolute minimum, although there were still a few pounds spent on non-essentials.

My £4,000 is for absolutely everything relating to the household except Council Tax, as I have no control over the price of that - it is compulsory and costs just shy of £1,000 for the year. We don't pay the waste water part, as there's no drainage system where we live, but we do have mains water here, so that chare is included in your Council Tax if you live in Scotland. Extremely frugal February has seen the following spends:

Groceries: £36.39
Electricity: NIL - I topped the pre-payment meter right up to last us all winter
Coal: £70 for 5 bags
Other: £6.32 + £7.52 in vouchers for coffee filters, firelighters and some thermal mugs.
Telephone & Internet: £15.79 (line rental paid in advance for 12 months)
Deliveries: £10.50
House Insurance: £145.78 (buildings & contents for 12 months)
Donations: £5.00 to a very brave friend who is doing a charity abseil down the Forth Bridge in May. (See here for details)

Total cash spends for February £289.78

Monthly average budget is £333.33, so I am about 13% under this month, despite a couple of big spends. I haven't ventured further than neighbours' houses other than our late-night walking expedition in search of the Northern Lights.

Tomorrow is day 1 of 'Making it in March'. It's about making absolutely anything except debt - food, gardens, clothes, gifts, recycled goods, savings, money, changes, amends... almost anything goes, you decide! You can join us free in this forum (registration is free). Before anything else, I still need to sew my blanket together!

NYK, Frugaldom

*Friend referral link.


  1. As usual, well done NYK! It's been a brilliant month and I have loved following along. ~ Pru

    1. Thank you! I hope I can keep up the blogging momentum for March, too! It should be an interestingly frugal month, if nothing else. :)

  2. I love the idea of "Making it in March" and thought I might join in if that's okay? I've read your blog for a while, but rarely comment on any blogs, mostly just lurk in the background. I really like your friendly style and it makes me smile!

    1. Feel free to join us, KatieJane, just pop a post onto the thread on the Frugal Forums so you can keep up with what everyone is making and feel free to jump in anytime to share your progress or photos. :)

  3. Making it in March sounds really interesting. I'm looking forward to reading about it. A really frugal month for you in February. You did brilliantly.

    1. Thanks, I feel OK about February even if it does seem to have flown past! :) March is an exciting month - it's like everything here comes back to life, so I'm planning on making many things and also making much more effort. :)

  4. give yourself a pat on the back from me. We are going mattress shopping today as we have had ours for over 15 years, and the dip in the middle is getting deeper, and deeper!!

    1. Thank you, Gill! Hope your mattress shopping goes well, I'm really happy with my mew one I bought last year - it makes such a difference if you have back problems. I managed to give away the old one, so it didn't go to waste or get binned. :)

  5. Congrats on the MADs nominations. You certainly show how to live the frugal life successfully and with buckets full of energy & enthusiasm!

    My March plans are centred around planning, preparing and making so I've written a reminder to myself to pop over to your forums. I haven't been over there much recently, which is silly, as you seem to have a great bunch of people there.

    1. I'm not expecting many votes, Sara, I'm still not convinced my blog should even be there. Yes, I am a mum, but my kids are now in their mid 20's and I have 2 grandkids! LOL Good luck with your nominations, too! :)

      Forums are there almost 24/7, so you know you are welcome anytime.


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