I feel Rotten

I’ve been so proud of myself. While friends and colleagues having been getting the awfulness that has been going around I have been healthy. Well Thursday it came crashing down.

I awoke feeling less than stellar with a terrible headache, sore throat and upset tummy. Yesterday I added chills and joint pain to the list. That’s how I broke my no-spend plan.

Today I attempted to broaden my dietary limits from tea, toast and popsicles with less than stellar results. It seems I still need soft foods. I’m too ill to cook and, as ML is working this weekend, I don’t want to add to his list.

This is where I’m grateful to Pinterest. As I was searching for no-cook food that required minimal work I came across baby purees. My parents kindly offered to do a grocery run so I asked them to pick up a few fruits so I can make some healthy purees.

It was interesting to see the simple, nutritious meals the mommy-bloggers are feeding their children. I was struck once again, by how we can overcomplicate food.

I don’t intend to make purees a meal once I can digest properly again but I’m thinking some of them will make great work snacks while helping me get my fruit and vegetable servings up.

Do you have flu-busting tips?

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Zero Waste Drink

I still have 6 tangerines from my shopping last week. Unfortunately, I have lost 3 so I’m determined to do something with them this weekend.

I had thought of making tangerine muffins or preserves but I’m quife tired today and I have made 3 things already.

I decided to take another look at what I can do with tangerines. I found an extremely easy recipe: a tangerine martini!

This beverage used up 4 tangerines and is quite a treat!

Keeping Strong and Not Fearing the Pantry

I decided, with ML’s help, to stay out of the grocery this weekend. When I began speaking of feeling overwhelmed by the idea of meal planning he took me through a tour of our pantry. We still have a lot of ingredients.

A taco kit led us to think of making vegetarian tacos. I found a recipe with a chickpea filling, which means I’m now using the 2 tins of chickpeas, sweet peppers, spring mix and the avocados.

The cupboard is a bit emptier. Since our kitchen is going offline in a month this is a good thing. The less food we have in the cupboards and fridge means we have less to find new homes for during the reno.

I am learning that I have a fear of empty cupboards.  Part of it is not wanting to pay retail for something I could have gotten on sale. A fear of missing out on good deals. another that I like options. I enjoy knowing that I can get inspiration from the jars, tins, boxes and bags that reside in the pantry.

ML and I have come a long way. I don’t think I give either of us enough credit when it comes to managing our pantry. I’ve spent January giving our diets a good shake and we have embraced the changes and kept each other motivated.

I’m off to try my hand at vegan mayo.

How’s your day going?

Less Meat but…

I’m trying to spend less, eat healthier and be good to the environment so adding more meatless meals is definitely a good idea! However, I’m also paying attention to what I eat.

To that end I’ve continued using MyFitnessPal to track caloric intake as well as the nutritional value of my meals. It turns out that, even when I eat meat, I struggle to achieve my protein goals.

This has led me to plan meals around the nutritional value of ingredients. This was tonight’s dinner:

96EBFBAB-D79F-45B1-B4B6-31E45035CEB4.jpegIt’s a simple 1 egg omelet with cheese, mushrooms and mixed salad greens. It even meets my ration goals! Well with a bit of finessing, I’ve adjusted my egg ration to 12-18 per month rather than 1 fresh per week and a tin (12 powdered) per month.

I’m currently researching my nutritional needs as I have noticed that I’m consistently not eating enough protein, calcium and iron.

As I continue to grow in my eating habits I’ll share my discoveries as I’m determined to eat well on a budget.

Do you have these struggles or have you found a way to consistently balance your diet?

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?

 

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

 

Cooking already

I had worried that I would feel a bit overwhelmed with the idea of cooking things that require dicing rather than can opening. I  hadn’t expected it to set in so soon.

Luckily for me the Oslo meal exists. While I’m gung-ho about rationing, I do have items in the fridge and pantry that are more in line with black market cookery.  As the first rule of frugality is to not waste I’ve livened up my salad with chunks of Brie rather than a slight  grating of cheese.

I made a light dressing from equal parts oil and rice vinegar with a spoonful of dry  mustard.

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It’s a surprisingly filling lunch and I’m glad that I found a salad cheat sheet to help me through my salad endeavors.

 

See the source image
build a salad by picking a base, adding extra greenery, a pop of colour, crunch, healthy extras, protein and a dressing

 

I suspect this is going to be my lunch for the next little bit as I purchased a large tub of salad greens.

I can’t do multiple salads per day so I’m going to use the lamb broth to make a vegetable stew.

I made bread!

I’ve been texting that little note and repeating it joyously to myself for the last few hours. I made bread! And good bread too.

It’s been a secret shame of mine that I never conquered bread. To be fair I only had two failed attempts before throwing in the towel and turning to biscuit making.

I don’t handle failure well and it’s even worse when the advice was,”It’s not bread making weather.” Followed by technical details that made bread making seem like a complicated science experiment.

After reading the wartime recipe numerous times, I decided to take the plunge. I have fond memories of bread making from my childhood which range from coming home to freshly baked loaves or delicately shaped rolls to getting to punch the dough.

My brother, who is a superb bread maker, walked me through some of the finer points and kept me from despair when my dough felt more like superb slime than the makings of a good sandwich.

His tips were:

  • You can’t over knead during the first phase
  • Dont be afraid to use flour until it feels right
  • Knead lots
  • Give it time to rise

I really did play with my dough, I squished and treated it like flubber for ten minutes before really loading it with flour and kneading it for another 15. I left it alone for a good hour and a half before coming to punch it. Kneaded only another 5 minutes with a minor dose of flour before putting it in lightly greased pans to sit for 30 minutes.

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All my problems with bread have come down to time. I’ve always wanted to finish what I start as soon as possible. Bread is a waiting game.

This recipe calls for less waiting than some and definitely appealed to me. I like that I really can walk away. I’m hoping this becomes a weekly tradition as two loaves of bread would be awesome and the kneading, pinching and creating are fantastic ways to calm my mind.

Do you have any favourite bread recipes?