Pancakes vs Crepes

Image result for pancakes and crepes

Sunday night, I made pancakes for the first time in ages! I  followed the recipe and everything turned out lovely. As the recipe only makes a dozen small pancakes  I decided to whip up a second batch to ensure we were covered for the week.

Small problem: I got distracted and cocky. I neither measured nor mixed properly. These errors turned my bstter into crepe batter. I adore crepes but I don’t make them as they’re more time consuming  than pancakes and mine never seem to turn out quite the way I want them.

I’m beginning to suspect I just never found the right recipe. If we’re being honest, I  still don’t have it as I doubt I can recreate the recipe my mind conjured. The 17 small crepes I made are perfection!

Have you had delicious kitchen errors?

Image from here

Advertisements

Preparing for a no-spend week

I’ve dabbled with the idea of a no-spend timeframes before and each time I’ve improved upon my last attempt. Each time, it’s been part of an experiment to ease myself into intentional spending and with the goal of paying off debt more quickly.

This time I have a very concrete goal as part of an uber-frugal month. With the kitchen renovation happening next month I’m definitely feeling the pressure to make sure that I’m not paying interest on it. As it stands right now, the only thing left to pay is the contractor.

ML and I are looking forward to receiving next month’s credit card bill to confirm the total and set out our own payment plan as we’re aware that the minimum payment plan is not designed to have us pay off the card within the 18 month time frame.

How does the kitchen relate to the no-spend week? My plan is that any money saved goes to the Kitchen Fund.

Grocery Success and Jan Week 2 Review

If you had told me that  I could go to Costco and spend less than $100 a few years ago I wouldn’t have believed it. Partly because it was a pretty horrendous experience and because I always seemed to find some ‘great deal’ I just couldn’t pass up.

This time I went armed with not only a list but one that had the grocery store prices on it. I left with the things I wanted, though I confess I didn’t know I wanted 2kg from frozen vegetables until faced with this much easier fix to purchasing a variety of fresh veg, for less than $25. Between the other 2 stores I spent less than $20. This resulted in my spending just over $40 on groceries.

My aim is to ignore the flyers next week and meal plan with what we have. I find I have a slight problem of purchasing things because they’re a good deal. We already had pasta and sauce but because both were $1 I purchased two more packages of each. If I stay out of the stores next week I’ll be saving $50.

Tonight I’m making spaghetti with lentil pasta sauce for lunches and dinner, pancakes for breakfast and bread because I’m loving it and it will be lovely for avocado sandwiches and potato rarebit.

In spite of overspending I came out only $8 worse for the wear. It looks like Bunny isn’t going to need anything else for the month so her money was rolled up into Eating Out as was my gas and grocery savings.

With my current plan to avoid the grocery next week, I’m hoping to have a no spend week. This means I’m going to have to ensure that I pack my lunch really well and provide myself with lots of snacks.

How’s your week ahead looking?

 

 

 

Menu Planning

I’m armed with a list but I also want to ensure I don’t over-purchase and end up being wasteful.

This week I’m thinking of making, along with needed ingredients:

  • Bread
  • Pancakes
  • sphaghetti – pasta, sauce, mushrooms and sweet peppers
  • Lord Woolton Pie with Mushroom gravy – mushrooms, root vegetables
  • Macaroni pie with green salad and bean salad  – cheese, salad fixings
  • Potato rarebit

Based on this list my vegetables are really looking like salad, mushrooms, sweet peppers and a few ground provisions.

How is your meal prepping going?

 

Here’s a Wrinkle

I had decided to have an Uber-frugal January, so I carefully planned all my expenses. However,as Robert Burns knew, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

To prepare for my spending this week I went to the restaurant’s website to calculate the amount I would spend. Two things went wrong:

  1. I made the rookie mistake of not calculating tax and tip
  2. the menu is outdated

My $50 expense turned into $80.

Both gas and Bunny are currently under budget so if I can lower my grocery spending this week I may be able to maintain my spending.

How’s your week going?

Groceries

This was the first weekend in ages I  didn’t go to the grocery store. The greatest reason for that was that I’m really trying to stick to my budget. It’s also the first time in forever that I was really willing to commit to items already in the house.

Saturday, I made bread. Sunday was a ham casserole that I added additional vegetables to and created a crumb topping. Today, most likely, I’ll make Lord Woolton Pie with mushroom gravy. This should see us through the week.

I’m looking ahead to next week and with the recent discovery of the sheer volume of vegetables and fruit Canadians were advised to eat I’m heading to Costco to see if I can get some variety while staying in my budget. While I adore potatoes, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms I am hoping that I’m able to extend my vegetable reach a bit more.

I’ve been rather stingy with my three apples so I’m hoping to find a good deal on fruit as well to add to my lunches.

With a budget of $50 but a goal of spending $30 I’m not quite sure if I’ll be able to get all the items on my list:

  • peanut butter
  • butter
  • fresh fruit
  • fresh vegetables
  • toilet paper

I may find myself going to the regular grocery store instead. I know that I’m definitely getting the peanut butter at Costco as no one can beat their price!

Down the Rabbit Hole

Once I get my teeth into something I tend to really commit to it. While I’ve been enjoying committing to Carolyn her blog made me curious about what the Canadian experience would have been.

Previously, I had tried to find books and information in the library about the Canada in World War II with limited success. Most materials dealt with incoming refugees or the experience of soldiers returning to home. None really focused on, what I can only assume they considered, the boring life at home.

Now that I’m really interested though I discovered a wealth of information at Wartime Canada. It really is eye opening how different rationing is with oceans between the UK and Canada.

So far my favourite piece of literature from the site is a pamphlet geared towards the Soldier’s family to help the household manager be successful. It’s a short read with 2 really intriguing bits of information: suggested weekly amounts of staple foods and the ideal distribution of the monthly income.

Pamphlet SWS
Rent 25% 7%*
Food 35% 11%
Clothing 15% 3%
Operating 15% 33%
Savings 10% 46%

*My housing cost is my contribution to keep our roof as ML pays the bulk of this. My list of all expenses gave me a great basis to figure out how I matched up against the suggested spending. As the SWS spending represents my budget for 2 adults and a Bunny and I suspect the Pamphlet includes children in its spending I think we’re doing well.

One thing that became clear was that Canadians weren’t as restricted as their UK counterparts in a lot of ways.

 

UK Ration Canadian Weekly List
Butter 2 oz .75 lbs
Cheese 2 oz .25 lbs
Milk 3 pints 4 pints
Eggs 1 3
Meat .5 lb 1.5 lbs
Bacon & Ham 4 oz
Margarine 4 oz
Cooking fat 4 oz
Sugar 8 oz
Tea 2 oz
Sweets 12 oz every 4 weeks
Potatoes 4 lbs
Fresh Vegetables 5 lbs
Dried Vegetables .25 lbs
Fresh Fruit 2 lbs
Dried Fruit .5 lbs
Bread 2 loaves
Flour and cereals 1 lb

I was surprised by the weights of the fruit and vegetables but it also made me realize that I skim much closer to the 5 of the recommended 5-10 servings of fruit and veg per day. So far, with the exception of bread and cheese, I’ve been significantly under the rationed amounts. While my caloric intake has been fine I think it’s time to up those vegetable numbers. That’s going to be my aim when I do my groceries this week.

Canadian Cookbooks that may be useful in my new journey include:

Housoldiers

How to eat well pt 1; Pt 2 (which is vegetarian so I’m very excited about), and Pt 3 (all about dessert)

Lunch Box for lunch ideas

100 hundred portion recipes which was made for the young people who found themselves in this strange new world without sufficient tools.

Gardening: Wartime Garden and Hometime Garden

 

Miscellaneous Spending

I had budgeted $10 per week for Miscellaneous spending even though I had recognized that I’m consistently over budget in that area. Well it’s going to be tight!

Last week alone I:

  • purchased bus tickets at $15
  • Bought a drink for a friend who I owe at least 5 drinks to $6

I’m now having to prepare myself to”

  •  purchase 2 library book $100
  • purchase a text book $100

My water bottle emptied in my purse. I have slight water damage on the text book that I borrowed from a colleague as well as a brand new book that the library has and an older, hard cover book.

While I know that I have the money in my ‘extra’ budget which is supposed to go to the kitchen fund it’s rather upsetting.

Instead of letting this colour my day I’m going to be grateful that I have the funds to cover these costs, that the pinch while unpleasant does not mean that I’m unable to achieve my goals or have to do without this month.

UPDATE: I met with my colleague who laughed at me and said, “Now it looks loved!” So it’s down to the library now.

January 2018: Week 1

Week one was a touch less successful in the details that I wanted but as I had over-budgeted for a couple of bills I came out $1 ahead!

I had set myself a budget of $10 for miscellaneous spending but ended up spending $20. The money went towards a strip of 5 bus tickets, of which I only used one, and a beverage for a colleague who had treated me prior to our holiday break. So I’m not feeling even a bit remorseful about it.

I’m also ecstatic that I kept my goal of staying out of the grocery this weekend. I spent some time considering my pantry this weekend and I’m going to use my lovely Costco membership to fill up on fruit and vegetables. The tough part is going to be keeping my eyes on the floor as I walk the length of the store to get to the good stuff.

I think knowing that I only want to spend $30 as the savings are going towards the kitchen will help me be much better behaved than I usually I am in the store.

How was your week?

Planning ahead for a Frugal Month

Last January I decided to join the uber-frugal month challenge with limited success. This year I’m trying again and I’ve used one of my previous successful measures to guide my task.

Here’s how I’ve assigned my spending:

Week 1 December 30-January 7 Groceries 30
Misc (fancy Starbucks for a friend ) 10
Week 2 January 8-14 Groceries 50
Eating out 50
Gas 40
Bunny 40
Misc 10
Week 3 January 15-21 Groceries 50
Misc 10
Week 4 January 22-28 Groceries 50
Misc 10
Week 5 January 29-Feb 4 Groceries 50
Misc 10
January Total 410
Anticipated Savings 150

I suspect that I can be even more frugal in regards to groceries and misc. spending, however, I don’t want to make myself feel too pinched as that always backfires. The Eating Out cost is dinner with a girlfriend that we had arranged in December.

The kitchen is looking as though it will be $10,000 more than originally anticipated we’re working on increasing our savings a great deal. With this very concrete goal I suspect that it’s going to be much easier to stick to the uber frugal month than it has been previously.