Tuesday, August 07, 2012

1 month in

So, it's been about a month now and we still have food in the freezer. This lasted really well and mostly worked ok. Some dishes weren't really to our taste, so we wont make them again, some turned out perfect and will make it back on to a future list.
I definitely saved loads of money and haven't been near the big supermarket since I last did the big shop. I just go to the local place to buy milk and bread. That's all we needed.
Now it's coming to the end of the pre-cooked meals, we are starting to run out of a couple of things. Grated cheese, cat food, bacon and some spices. Not bad at all.

Next week it will be shopping and cooking again. By then the freezer will be empty. So in total my investment of £138 lasted me 6 weeks. That works out as £3.28/day, laundry powder and cat food included. Can't complain. And we haven't thrown any food away (apart from a bit of rice or pasta where we cooked too much). I am actually looking forward to next month's session.

Now we just need summer to start and I will be happy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nom Nom Nom

I apologize for the lack of pictures about the cooking part, but I was exhausted. I did it all in one day and due to a small cooker and lack of cooking pots, I pretty much had to do one dish at a time, so I needed 11 hrs. And that's just cooking dinner. I know some people also make breakfast things and lunch snacks on top, I can only say "wow"! But my freezer would be too small for that anyway, I just about managed to get it all in.

Things I have learned:
1) one can never have enough plasters
2) do not freeze in plastic bags - I have no idea how some of you manage to get these flat, mine are round, and they get stuck in the freezer and I had to defrost a whole drawer the other day, just to get one dish out.
3) I have to buy freezer boxes / containers - annoyingly they usually come as a set, and I only need 2 of the sizes. I already have 2 sets and I really don't need the large and small containers. I might try take-away containers and freeze single portions. This would also be easier for when my daughter has a friend over for dinner
4) Freezer cooking finally helps with my portion control - I have none. But as I only defrost one bag, there is a limited amount of food I can eat. So I finally stick to sensible portions and so far, so good. I have been left a bit hungry some days, so I will go down to the market tomorrow and see if I can get some salad bits.
5) It is lovely to come home from work and find that child has "cooked" dinner, ready on the table. I have put some simple instructions on the fridge what to do with each meal (I didn't want to have to write it on each bag) and we now have home-made dinner every night!

I am loving this and I am already thinking about things to make next month.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The shopping is done

Here comes the chaos - the shopping is done and I really struggled to get the meats and dairy things into the fridge. But the first couple of things have already been added to the freezer - yay, it feels nice to know, I can eat these in a couple of weeks now, rather than having to eat them immediately before they go off.

Total shopping costs for everything (and the couple of bits that jumped into my trolley and the bits that I had forgotten to add to the list): £132.83 - that's not bad at all for the amount of food there is, especially meat bits and the fact that this also includes my laundry powder, cat food and some kitchen cleaning sprays and even 2 bottles of wine - don't worry, not for drinking, they are for cooking. That stuff is related to paint stripper...

The calm before the storm

Here is what my kitchen looks like before the mayhem starts - just cleaned it (well I did a tidy round, there doesn't seem much point in doing a deep clean before I start cooking).

Oh, did I tell you, that I have a tiny kitchen? Hardly any storage, but less to clean....

Here is the new freezer - all clean and empty

And here is my kitchen, all tidy

I am back!!!

I am back....it took a long while and sadly I have to say, that I am still smoking, although it is down to 10 cigarettes a day. I just can't seem to kick the habit.

I have started to sort out my life and my house and everything is falling into place and I love being so much more organized. I always knew it would be a time saver, but I just never had the energy to tackle it all, so now I am making small steps, one corner after another until it is all done. My bin-men have put me on the "most hated list", as my bin is always overflowing at the moment, while I de-clutter. There is just so much stuff that has been moved from house to house and never used. I guess I could give it to charity, but a lot of it is broken or of no use to anyone any more, so in the bin it goes. 

My biggest investment was a new freezer. I haven't had one since moving into this house 3 years ago, there isn't really any room for one and I had to put it in the dining room, where it doesn't look too great. But I am tired of cooking every day. I run out of ideas and shopping and cooking after a 12-hour-shift is just not very pleasant. Brain goes to mush and we end up eating pasta or chilli every other night, as I don't have to use my brain for cooking or shopping. And then there is the dishes to do.... So I decided to spend my birthday money (thanks dad!!) on a new freezer and a month's worth of food in one go. And tomorrow I will cook. 

This will be my first OAMC (once a month cooking) post, but I am hoping more people in the UK might get interested in this style of cooking and we can start some kind of recipe exchange. Most of the recipes I find online for OAMC or Freezer Cooking are US based, which is a pain in the neck, as they use ingredients we can't get or packet sizes which leave me completely stumped. (A stick of Butter anyone?) and I also don't like measuring in cups. It's just plain weird. (If you also cook a lot of american recipes, Ikea has a set of US measuring cups in metal which are perfect)

Now a lot of stuff I read online about OAMC is the cost saving. I didn't think it would be much, as we don't have coupons in the UK (I love that show about the coupon hoarders in the US and it always leaves me jealous) and the likes of Costco and Makro aren't really much cheaper than the supermarkets in the UK, just handy for buying bulk, as Tesco and Asda refuse to sell large amounts to individual shoppers. But I was surprised to see how much it adds up to. Normally I go shopping for 4 days worth of food, so it doesn't make sense to drive around 3 different supermarkets (4 if I include Lidl) just to save a couple of pennies on a can of chopped tomatoes. I hit them in rotation and figured it evens out that way - one gets kind of used to what is on special deal when and where. But making a shopping list for a whole month, it is shocking, how much can be saved and it is well worth it driving around and going to several different places and how much those 20p here and there add up. For example chopped tomatoes in a tin. 

I will need 8000g of tinned tomatoes for all the cooking I am going to do (scary amount, isn't it) - I figured that one out by counting the cans and it came to this amount (20cans of 400g). Yikes!!
But what I normally do, is empty them into a liquidizer and turn them into Passata. I assumed that was cheaper. Not so.... 

1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g) = £0.31 -> total price £6.20
1 pack of Passata (500g) = £0.29 -> total price £4.64

Before checking packet sizes, I never realized that Passata was packed in 500g packs and works out a LOT cheaper. And once recipe needs 2 packs of Passata as well, so I will be buying a total of 18 packs. 

Tesco Price for 18 packs of Passata - £5.22
Asda Price for 18 packs of Passata - £15.36!!

That was a shocker!! It doesn't work out a lot per meal, but over a month/year the savings are immense. So I am going to go to Marko, Asda and Tesco. The bulk will be bought at Tesco, as I will get 5p off a litre of fuel if I spend over £50 and so I am saving again. I think this freezer will pay for itself in 2 months at this rate! Once I am more used to the whole thing, I will add Lidl and Iceland to the list, but they are both a bit out of my way so I keep it simple for my first try of this. The total of my shopping bill should come to £133.76 (I love online shopping lists), but that includes next month's chicken breasts as well, as they are on BOGOF at Makro and it also includes washing powder (currently on half price at Tesco) and Cat Food for a month. We will see how it goes. 

This post is getting a bit long, so I will post photos and progress reports in a separate entry. 
Wish me luck - I am off to hit the shops (did you know, that I hate shopping? It's my definition of hell!!)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ok, nothing quite so dramatic – but I decided to give up smoking. Actually that’s wrong. I decided to stop smoking. I have been reading the Easyway Book and I am trying to convince myself that I am not giving up anything, as cigarettes do not give me anything, and therefore I am merely stopping to smoke.

Cravings have been bearable today, although I have a severe case of the munchies and am starting to feel slightly sick now from eating too much. I have found that drinking ice cold water helps quite a bit when my lungs get confused and wonder where the next tar coating is coming from. I have felt dizzy a couple of times as well today, similar to breathing too hard when blowing up a balloon. I guess my body is just not used to all this oxygen.

I do catch myself on planning my next cigarette before I realize that I no longer smoke. That is quite annoying. But it’s to be expected, habits just need to be broken and formed into something else. I am also slightly fidgety and find it difficult to concentrate.

It’s only day one, and I am already whingeing for England!! Early night tonight me thinks…

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I have AAADD Disorder



Thank goodness there's a name for this disorder.

Somehow I feel better even though I have it!!

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A..D.D. -

Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests:

I decide to water my garden.

As I turn on the hose in the driveway,

I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage,

I notice mail on the porch table that

I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table,

put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,

and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back

on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think,

since I'm going to be near the mailbox

when I take out the garbage anyway,

I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table,

and see that there is only one check left..

My extra checks are in my desk in the study,

so I go inside the house to my desk where

I find the can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks,

but first I need to push the Pepsi aside

so that I don't accidentally knock it over.

The Pepsi is getting warm,

and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,

a vase of flowers on the counter

catches my eye--they need water.

I put the Pepsi on the counter and

discover my reading glasses that

I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk,

but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter,

fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.

Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,

I'll be looking for

the remote,

but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table,

so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,

but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers,

but quite a bit of it spills on the floor..

So, I set the remote back on the table,

get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to

remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

the car isn't washed

the bills aren't paid

there is a warm can of

Pepsi sitting on the counter

the flowers don't have enough water,

there is still only 1 check in my check book,

I can't find the remote,

I can't find my glasses,

and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,

I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day,

and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem,

and I'll try to get some help for it,

but first I'll check my e-mail.....

Do me a favour.

Forward this message to everyone you know,

because I don't remember who the heck I've sent it


Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!!

Sunday, November 07, 2010


I am just trying to see if this new function works the way it should. Hopefully I can soon write to this blog from anywhere and I won’t be absent for so long again.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Well, long time no posting, but a least one of my plans has come into action and OH has left the building. He moved out in September. I did feel bad as I threw him out a week before his birthday, but there would have always been a reason for "not right now", so I just stuck to my guns. He has been back a couple of times, actually only just left after staying with us for 3 days, but it's getting less and less and I still like having him around in small doses and sober.
Now it is time to sort out my business. I did take the job I was talking about, so we have a little bit more money coming in, although not too much, as all my benefits were cut instead. Can't win in this country. Due to that, I will really really have to make this soap business work. I have been planning lots and lots of things and need to revamp my whole line-up and I want to change the way my stall looks as well. And I need to sit down and do some serious business planning, like proper on paper, so I can't keep changing my mind. Like about the fairs. I wasn't going to do markets and fairs any more, as they aren't really worth it, but I had so many invitations on the back of fairs I have done and they have become better and bigger (and more expensive) as well, so I decided I give them another year and see what happens. It is just difficult to fit them into my work schedule as I work 4 weekends in a row and then have 4 weekends off, so I cannot do any regular markets and I think to really make these work, I need to have regular market stalls. I am now mainly doing one-off events.
Next year I want to start doing home-spa-parties and corporate tables, as I am also off during the week a lot.
Well a lot of planning ahead of me and streamlining my offerings, then it's all go.
The postcard above is our goal this year (my darling daughter really is a big help)