Saturday, 31 May 2014

Comparison Pictures - May

 
January at the start of the Challenge
 
 
Last Week of May
 
Day  151
 
Money Spent Today - £0   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £146.55  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £206.36
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £4.45
 
I finally got round to photographing the kitchen cupboards, after a quick tidy up of course ;-)
 
 
January
 
 
May
 
They are not looking as empty as you would expect because I have also been rationalising them.  Now there is no food kept out on the worktops and food from other cupboards has been added to these when there has been space to store 'like with like'.
 
I am, however, for the first time in a long while pleased with how things are looking and as the contents of all the cupboards goes slowly down it feels as though a huge weight is being lifted off my shoulders.  I am definitely going to go down to a minimal stockpile of just the things we eat on a regular basis.
 
No more buying 'just in case'.
 
Back tomorrow with the final comparison pictures.
 
Sue xx


Friday, 30 May 2014

Spending in the Break

 

Day  150
 
Money Spent Today - £1.09   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £15
Money Spent in Total - £146.55  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £206.36
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £3.45
 
I started sorting out the cupboards yesterday and then lost the will to live halfway through, so I took myself off into town to have a mooch around the shops, of course one thing led to another and I ended up in M&S.
 
So I shopped for the weekend, slightly early but there you are it's done and out of the way, and we have enough little bits and bobs of fresh stuff to add to what's already in the fridge, and as you can see for once there were a few little bargains to be had.  Once I had bought the reduced price leaves my eyes alighted on the Cheesy Coleslaw and I simply could not resist!!
 

Sorry for the strange lighting on the top two photos but my camera was on the wrong setting and I've lost the receipt so I can't re-take the shot.
 
 
Back on the normal setting now for a picture of my lunch, well you have to sample the freshly bought wares don't you :-)
 
Sue xx
 


Thursday, 29 May 2014

My Google Images

 
Day  149
 
Money Spent Today - £0   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £145.46  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £191.36
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £3.54
 
Sorry for the blurry pictures, they are my pictures but picked up from Google Images.  I was at a loss as to what picture to put up on here today, so I Googled 'Food Cupboards' for some inspiration outside of my own photos.
 
And what did I find ... yep ... my photos.
 
 
Believe it or not these were 'before' and 'after' pictures of one of my food cupboards in April last year.  To my mind now there's not much difference between the two, slightly neater yes but still uncomfortably full.
 
I feel as though I have been on a loop for years and now it's time to jump off.  The supplies have gone down in the cupboards since I started this Challenge and there were so many things that we have eaten that I will not be buying again.  Also lots things that we don't eat on a regular basis, so why have I felt the need to have them in just in case.  In future if we fancy something slightly out of the ordinary I will buy it when we need it and enjoy it and I will not rush out immediately after eating it and get some more in ready for next time.
 
I'm thinking of compiling a list of our favourite meals and seeing just how few things we really do need to hold in a stockpile on a rotating and regular basis.
 
One thing for sure this Challenge is re-educating a lot of my thinking on food, and hopefully in a good way.

Before I do anything else today I am going to have a look in the main food cupboard and after a quick tidy I will take a photo to show myself (and you) just how far things have come since the last comparison photos.
 
Sue xx

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Cheesy, Cheesy Cheesy

 
Day  148
 
Money Spent Today - £4  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £145.46  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £191.36
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £2.54
 
Oooh .... I'm down again to £2.54 in my purse.  I don't like it when the money drops below £5, so I really do have to stop shopping ... and I mean it really STOP shopping for a while and let the money build up again.
 
But I couldn't resist the offer of some of our favourite cream cheese for just £1 a tub.  So these little tubs should last us a while .... and it gives me something to dip my celery in :-)
 
Sue xx

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

End of the Salad Challenge

 
 Day  147
 
Money Spent Today - £0  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £141.46  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £191.36
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £5.54
 
As I said at the end of the last post on Saturday we had a meal of Mediterranean Veggies, with Cous Cous and Salmon, sorry I completely forgot to take a photo, and that should have been the end of the Courgettes which were the last surviving vegetables from the initial contents of the salad drawer when this 'Challenge within a Challenge' started.
 
But ..... as you can see from the picture above there were leftovers!!
 
 
So yesterday I made a quiche, by chopping them up a bit smaller and adding a few cubes of Feta from the freezer , a couple of our eggs and pouring the whole lot into a ready made pastry case and finishing off with a sprinkle of Parmesan style cheese and grated Cheddar.  It was delicious!!
 
We had a third each with some of the fresh salad things ought at the end of last week and Lovely Hubby had some slices of ham with his.
 
And that left one third .... so that will be my tea tonight.
 
 
I'm amazed at how well this little lot lasted me and how many meals I managed to get out of it.  No wonder my food supplies are going down so slowly if this lot can last me well over a week.
 
I started the Salad Challenge on Friday 16th and over the course of the eleven days that the Salad has lasted me I have made -
 
2 Celery Snacks
1 Plain Choppy Salad
2 portions Cheese on Toast with the Tomatoes on top
Plain Coleslaw
6 portions of Choppy Salad and Leaves either on Buns or Bread
4 portions of Pasta Salad
2 portions Nutty Cheesy Coleslaw
2 portions of Mediterranean Veggies
3 portions of Quiche.
 
So a grand total of 23 different meals that contained either one or more of the salad items from the above picture.
 
Once I have eaten my slice of quiche today there is nothing left of this salad, and the drawer in the fridge is now simply home to the last few bits of this weekend salad shopping.   BUT ......I still have the bunch of Celery and the four Leeks I bought way back on the 7th May ....  now what should I do with them?
 
Sue xx


Monday, 26 May 2014

Nutty, Cheesy Coleslaw


Day  146
 
Money Spent Today - £0  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £141.46  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £191.36
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £4.54
 
We're almost to the end of the Salad Challenge now.
 
Last night for tea we had the two potatoes I bought last week and used the last one of the two carrots I bought at the same time to add to the final bit of the Iceberg Lettuce from the Salad Challenge drawer in the fridge, along with some nuts and some of the now thawed out Cheddar cheese I found tucked in the freezer drawer.
 
It was a tea made from 'lasts' and 'bits' but it was delicious and very filling.
 
 
In fact I think my portion sizes were a little too generous, especially after I added the full pack of beetroot, but it did stop us nibbling for the rest of the night as we watched television.
 
 
 
All that is left now of all these salady bits that started me off on the Salad Challenge in the first place are the two Courgettes.  They are about to be eaten in tonight's tea using some the weekends purchases to make our favourite meal ...
 
... Mediterranean Veggies, with Cous Cous and Salmon
 
Sue xx


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Pasta Salad


Day  145
 
Money Spent Today - £0  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £141.46  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £191.36
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £3.54
 
With the final third of the chopped salad box I decided to cook some brown pasta twists and turn it into a big tub of pasta salad.  With a dollop of mayo it actually made four meals.  Two for me, one for my son who visited this week, and this the last portion, for Lovely Hubby when he got back from work on Thursday.
 
It still tasted lovely and fresh and shows how well salad keeps even if it has been chopped up if it is kept nicely chilled in a lidded container in the fridge.
 
Sue xx

Saturday, 24 May 2014

More Vouchers and Weekend Shopping

 
Day  144
 
Money Spent Today - £8.56  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £15.30
Money Spent in Total - £141.46  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £191.36
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £2.54
 
Our Tesco vouchers dropped through the letter box yesterday so I decided I would use them to buy our fresh foods for this week and also a couple of treats for the weekend.  I didn't mean to spend quite as much as I did but I think spending a total of £8.56 for a Bank Holiday weekends shopping is totally permissible and I do have a little left in my purse.
 
So we have treats of a couple of cheesy garlic breads, some English strawberries, which came with a free tub of cream, a bar of chocolate and two sliced loaves because as well as having a 40p off coupon they were 'buy one for £1.50 or 2 for £2', so again in a way it means I have another loaf of my favourite bread for just 10p!!  So one has been stashed straight in the freezer and the other has already been dipped into to make our lunch.
 
 
I had a total of £13.50 of cash coupons and £1.80 of coupons off things I purchase on a regular basis. Don't you just hate that 'big brother' feeling when you see that they monitor and know about everything you buy every time you shop there, I know I do.  I threw away the 35 extra points coupon after taking this photograph as I didn't really need speciality cheese.
 
 
And I had to knock the price of the indigestion tablets off this receipt as medicines don't come out of the Challenge budget.
 
 
And I have these two left over.  I made a mistake and picked up the wrong Lurpak product (the only one not included in the offer) so I got the checkout operator to cancel it and I will use this voucher and the second allowable use of the milk voucher next time I am in there shopping.
 
Sue xx
 
 


Friday, 23 May 2014

Yay ..... Vouchers

 
Day  143
 
Money Spent Today - £0   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £132.90  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £176.06
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £10.10
 
Yay!!  My latest lot of M&S vouchers have arrived to bulk out my food shopping capability.
 
A total of £58 worth of potential food, plus a couple of coupons to help towards next quarters total.  Now I guess to some folk that would all be gone on one weeks shop but looking at them the way I do now, I see five weeks of fresh food shopping to add to my storecupboard and freezer staples.
 
I seem to have developed a completely different mind set over this last few months.
 
 
And yes .... I returned to my love of chopped salad buns with a bit of grated cheese for lunch yesterday, in fact it was the last of the grated Red Leicester cheese that I used up.  I do have a small tub of grated Cheddar cheese in the freezer and a larger one of Parmesan style cheese but supplies are now getting low.  Perhaps one of the M&S shops will have to include a block of cheese.
 
Can you tell I almost forgot to take a photo of lunch before I ate it  :-)
 
Sue xx

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Live Below the Line Leftovers

 
Day  142
 
Money Spent Today - £0   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £132.90  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £176.06
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £9.10
 
It may not look like the prettiest plate full of food, but this was delicious :-)
 
Homemade coleslaw using half of my Iceberg Lettuce , one of the carrots and one finely sliced white onion and a couple of tablespoons of the Mayo I had left over from Live Below the Line week, along with two pieces of homemade cheesy garlic bread.
 
It got me thinking while I was using the Mayo, even though I only had five pounds to spend on food for the week I still ended it with some food left in my cupboard ....
 
 
... not a lot admittedly ....

 
... but some.
 
What if that had been my Challenge for this year, ..... to move forward every five days (or seven days) only having access to what I had previously built in my storecupboard from the initial five days and not as I have done it with cupboards and freezers full of food.
 
It would have been a lot more challenging for sure, and maybe even more interesting.  I wonder what I would have bought the second week? 
 
Thinking very quickly as I type, I think it would have been a bag of value pasta, some bananas a couple of tins of tomatoes and a bag of onions.  I think what I would aim to do each week would be to buy at least one quantity of things that wouldn't run out.  So that by the end of the second week I would then have had rice, pasta and onions in store and the following week I could have added something else.  A storecupboard would quickly build even on that limited amount for one person.
 
A challenge worth thinking about for sure!!
 
Sue xx

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Comfort Food

 
Day  141
 
Money Spent Today - £0   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £132.90  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £176.06
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £8.10
 
 
As for using up the salad I realise that this is a pretty poor show, but at least the last two tomatoes weren't wasted, slice up they did a portion each of this for us :-)
 
It's strange that sometimes I simply crave something that isn't fresh, isn't salady or vegetably and is simply what I guess you would call comfort food.  Easy to cook, easy to eat and very, very tasty.
 
At least my comfort food is no longer a full bar of Dairy Milk as it used to be many moons ago.
 
Sue xx

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

.....And Again

 
Day  140
 
Money Spent Today - £0   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £132.90  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £176.06
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £7.10
 
One more day, one more salad sandwich.  The only difference is that this time I used slices of bread rather than buns.  I have four little tomatoes left, but I resisted the urge to add them to the plate for some reason.
 
Maybe they'll come in handy for tomorrow.
 
Sue xx

Monday, 19 May 2014

Repetition.

 
Day  139
 
Money Spent Today - £0   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £132.90  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £176.06
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £6.10
 
What I have noticed recently and it's become so pronounced while I'm doing this Salad Challenge is that I like eating the same foods over and over again.



I think this is the third time I have turned some of my salad from the chopped salad box into a sandwich spread by chopping it smaller and adding some grated cheese and mayo.  Although to be different this time I added the chopped tomato to the mix instead of just popping a couple of tomatoes on my plate.
 
To be honest it made it a bit wetter, so I won't be doing that again .....
 

 
..... if of course I have this for lunch yet again ... which the odds are stacked very highly in favour of :-)
 
Sue xx
 
 
 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Water and Veg

 
 
Day  138
 
Money Spent Today - £1.24   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £1.46
Money Spent in Total - £132.90  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £176.06
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £5.10
 
I had a £1.46 'price beater' voucher to use up in Tesco so I decided to go and pick up some more water, there is a couple of bottles left in the cupboard but I was in a shopping mood and what better to cure that than a quick browse around the store but purchasing only what I needed.
 
I was very strict, and the only other purchases were the two potatoes and two carrots. So it's jacket potatoes and some homemade coleslaw using one of the carrots, an onion and the Iceberg Lettuce from the Salad Challenge for our tea tonight.
 
Sue xx
 


Saturday, 17 May 2014

Salad Challenge and Lemon Slices

 
Day  137
 
Money Spent Today - £0   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £131.66  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £174.60
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £5.34
 
Last nights tea, one of the fish fillets with a few large spoonfuls of the chopped salad, look how the little bits of cucumber are in a line at the bottom of the plate ..... not arranged especially for the photo honest, I just noticed it when I put the photo on here.
 
Very tasty it was too, and as you can see I am still making good use of my frozen lemon slices from last week.  One a day is all I need to keep my sparkling water tasting gorgeous.  The glass just goes straight back in the fridge after each drink.
 
Sue xx

Friday, 16 May 2014

Shopping and Salad Challenge

 
Day  136
 
Money Spent Today - £8.31   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £131.66  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £174.60
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £4.34
 
I went shopping for some milk ..... and bought this little lot .... Ooops!!
 
Still it's not all bad, Lovely Hubby wanted some more Salted Peanuts, the little pizza has been thrown in the freezer for a quick supper sometime, it will be added too by the way not just eaten as it is.  I use these as an already loaded with flavour pizza base when I get them cheap, topping them with sliced onion and more cheese or some sliced sausage and more cheese if it's for LH.
 
We needed some more Lime Cordial to flavour the sparkling water, it's much cheaper than buying ready flavoured waters and you can choose how strong to have the drink, LH likes his strong and tangy while I like mine with just a hint of flavour so this way it suits us both.
 
I couldn't resist the shortbread and at just £1 a box it's a nice treat to have in the biscuit tin.
 
 
My salady challenge started well with some of the chopped salad being mixed with a dollop of mayo and a couple of spoons of grated Red Leicester and piled onto buns with some of the rocket and lettuce and a couple of tomatoes on the side.
 
 
I was hungry and surprised myself by being able to eat both of these buns.
 
Sue xx
 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Salad Challenge

 
Day  135
 
Money Spent Today - £0   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £123.35  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £174.60
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £10.65
 
Putting the new purchases in the fridge made me realise how much of last weeks salad stuff I still had in the drawer and it got me thinking maybe I'm not eating my fresh purchases as quickly as I should.
 
  After all fresh stuff should be just that fresh!!
 
So I've set myself a mini challenge - to eat all of this as soon as possible.  At least one meal of each day has to contain lots of these things.  Of course other things can be added to them but by the end of the week I would really like to see the salad drawer containing just the other pack of beetroot I still have and the full bunch of celery bought last week. 
 
The half bunch of celery that was chopped up into the salad box and a few stalks of which are in the little jug were actually purchased on 5th April and written about HERESo this shows I'm not eating things as fresh as they could be, although saying that it was still in lovely condition, only one stalk had gone a little yellow.
 
In the box of chopped salad are:
 
2 Orange Peppers
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
4 stalks of Celery
2 white onions
1 Cucumber
 
.... and as you can see I also have :
 
1 Iceberg Lettuce
2 Courgettes
1 bag of Rocket Leaves
2/3 of a pack of Tomatoes
1 pack of cooked Beetroot
6 little stalks of Celery
 
Now how long will it take me to eat these up, how many meals will I get out of them and what will I be able to think up to do with them all that has lots of variety.
 
Another Challenge within a Challenge.
 
Sue xx
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Produce Market

 
Day  134
 
Money Spent Today - £2   Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent - £0
Money Spent in Total - £123.35  Vouchers/Points/Credits Spent in Total - £174.60
Emergency £5 Spent on Butter
Money left in purse  - £10.65
 
We called to the local regular Produce Market in Llanrwst the other day and I was tempted to buy these, a lovely big bag of fresh Rocket leaves and a couple of Courgettes.  I had nothing specific in mind for them, I just really liked the look of the wonderful fruits and veggies on a chaps stall and wanted to support him.
 
 I also bought a lovely chunk of Victoria sandwich but that was bought out of my spends rather than the Challenge money as a treat for Lovely Hubby and me with a bottle of wine my spends also coughed up for :-)
 
 I'll try and make an effort to go back next month, I've pencilled it into my diary so I remember as it's on the second Friday of every month.  Sometimes it's nice to support the producers rather than lining the pockets of the big boys.
 
Sue xx