Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Day 5 of Making it in March - Hot Dogs and How to Make a #Frugal Bean Sprouter #MIIM

Day 5 of 31 - Spuds, Tin Cans, Sprouters and Hot Dogs!

Lemon & mango drizzle cake
Here goes for day 5 of my 'Making it in March' challenge.

The day began early, as I didn't want to miss the coalman when he was driving along the lane. The coal bunker was almost empty, so best filling it up in the hope that it does us through to spring. 5 x 50kg bags costs £70 and we get through about 10kg each day the fire is lit. Price wise, there isn't much difference between coal and logs, except the coal, in this house, also heats 5 radiators and the water, not just one room.

I made the most of the extra 'morning time' and baked the remaining cookie dough (mango, apricot, fig, pistachio & almond) then baked a lemon drizzle cake, but added in some of the mango pulp to try and use that up, too.


Seed potatoes 'chitting' in egg cartons
The above are my 2014 indulgence of the year, so far - heritage seed potatoes! On the left are the Shetland Blacks that arrived a couple of weeks ago and on the right are my Salad Blues, which arrived a couple of days ago. They are sitting in cardboard egg boxes to allow them to 'chit'. ('Chitting' is the gardeners' term for letting them start to sprout.) The Shetland Black is a dark-skinned potato with white flesh that carries a blue/purple ring around it. The Salad Blue, which isn't really a salad potato, is my favourite of all time, both for growing and eating. These stay deep purple throughout cooking, so you can get some very colourful and interesting mash!
The potato peelings I kept
Last month, during my 'Extremely Frugal February' challenge, we had a fabulous time stretching the pennies as far as they would go. It was a month of finding out just how extreme we could be in our quest for moneysaving and zero waste, so even the potato peelings were being saved. (Link to post)

Planting the sprouted potato skin

My potato peelings are normally treated as organic waste and added to the compost, fed to the garden poultry (potato peelings need to be cooked first), added to the wormery or used to bank the fire at night. But I wanted to show you that from one potato can come many, so I picked out the best sprouted piece of peel and it has now been planted into a tub on the patio. With care and luck, this piece of peel that would otherwise have been discarded has the potential to produce over 1kg of potatoes.


Making tin can planters safe
I do love my tin cans - I'm collecting them all for a specific summer project but keep dipping into them for other things! Before you make anything from them, make sure all the sharp edges have been flattened.

Don't forget to add drainage holes in the bottom of the tins
I managed to fit a dozen tin cans onto an old baking tray. I'm using a piece of non-slip rubber mesh underneath so there's no water-logging.

Ready for planting
Remember the damp pea and bean seeds that I washed and soaked to try and save them? I have now filled each of these tins with compost and vermiculite and added a row each of the runner beans, dwarf beans and peas. We'll soon know if they are still 'alive'.
Wrapped wallpaper around them to prevent spills
After wrapping some old wallpaper around all the tins, I sat the tray on the windowsill and have topped it with the glass out of the broken picture frame. (You know the one - I used part of it to make the apex roof for the cat's den yesterday.)


Mung Beans
Frugal living means making the most of anything we can make or grow for ourselves. Mung beans are great for sprouting and adding into salads and stir fries and let's face it - frugalers love their home grown salads and their 'leftovers' stir fries. But how do we sprout mung beans without a fancy, extravagant sprouter?

Homemade frugal sprouter

Get a clean jar with a screw cap metal lid, a hammer and an awl. You don't even need the hammer, as most jar lids are now thin enough to pierce with minimal force. Now punch a whole load of holes in the lid - do this on top of thick card or a folded towel to avoid scoring or puncturing floors or worktops. Now give everything a final rinse.

Hey presto! A homemade sprouter

Place a couple of handfuls of mung beans in the jar and rinse them several times with water. Take the lid off to add the water, screw it back on again to drain the water back out of the jar.

Easy drainer
I'm leaving my mung beans to soak for 24 hours before giving them a final rinse. I'll follow up this post with progress as and when I see anything happening in the jar, which is now on a shelf in my kitchen.


99p bread mix and cheap hot dogs

Now before anyone starts commenting about the unhealthy aspects of this snack, hold your typing fingers still and let me explain - this was an inexpensive and fun experiment and if we were having it as a proper meal, I would normally serve this with onions, cheese and tomato and/or plenty of salad stuff. Today, however, lunch was just a hot dog with tomato ketchup. Cost = less than 5p per person! Worth a shilling for the novelty factor alone!

Knead and prove your dough
Bit of cheating going on here as I am using the 99p per 3.5kg bread roll mix I got from Approved Food*, so it's a simple case of 'just add water', mix, knead, rest, knead, rest, split into finger roll size, wrap around a cheap hot dog, leave to prove for 20 minutes then bake for about 20 minutes.


I did take a full set of progress photos but to be perfectly blunt, I fear some may have found them obscene! So here is the finished article.

Use smaller pieces of dough for legs and ears
Bake the rolls with the hot dogs inside them - I used the cheap tinned hot dogs, I think they were 5 tins for £1 from Approved Food when I bought them!

Hot dog rolls
I made only two 'hot dogs in hot dogs', one for each of us here in Frugaldom. I got some very curious looks when I presented 'the dog' on a plate at lunchtime today, that's for sure! We'll need to eat the other rolls tomorrow lunchtime to use up the rest of the hotdogs, too!

Now I am retiring to bed with a cup of tea and planning out my next phase of rag rugging!

NYK, Frugaldom

References and acknowledgements

* Friend referral link - thank you for my £1 commission earned this week. :)


  1. Those hot dogs are very inventive, and I'm sure they were warming and satisfying as a snack lunch!

    1. Very tasty and very creative. Hat's off to whoever invented them. :)

  2. You have been busy. Great idea for your planters and you hotdog idea is genius.

    X x

    1. My house is turning into a tin can alley! The link to where I got the hot dog idea is at end of the post, it was shared on Facebook and Twitter accounts. :)

  3. I thought that hot dog idea looked familiar but couldn't remember where I had seen it. You are being very creative. I am wondering what you are going to do with all the tin cans?

    1. I'll just call it eco art for now. :)

  4. Those hot dog rolls are brilliant! The cake also looks wonderful, I think I will make this for our next coffee morning.

    1. The cake was just too tempting - hence the reason the end is always sliced off before I remember to take a photo! Is it just me or does everyone love the end slice of drizzle cake while it's still slightly warm and oh, so juicy! :)


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