Humble food that can make a difference

Hello Dear Reader,

If you ever think food isn’t important then think of those who don’t have any. Food is rooted at the centre of our culture and how we cook, and what we eat says a lot about who we are. I had this moment of depth last night, over a glass of wine watching the Twitter feed from the MADs in London. As ever, it was an honour to be a finalist in Best Thrifty and Best Food blog. The wonderful Ricky at Skint Dad  won best thrifty blog. Please pop over, take a look and say Froogs sent you xxx The food bloggers are an accomplished lot: A Mummy too, which is a proper grown up foodies blogger. Her recipe index is comprehensive and a great go to site for families with children, not only to feed but to involve in cooking. I love the complexity of the Bento boxes, and the competitive edge too of Eat Amazing. What a lucky lot her children are and what a creative mum she is. Gourmet Mum has a lively approach to getting her family to eat healthily and her recipes are fresh and easy to follow and always beautifully lit and photographed. Finally the lovely Crazy Kitchen, who makes the home cooks among us look like we’re just not trying. Her food is as professional as her slick and professional website. Her recipes are easy to find and even easier to follow. Please drop by to their websites and say hello. 

Then there’s Frugal Queen. My photos are poorly lit, I use a £60 camera covered in cheese sauce and without superfast (not round these parts until the end of 2015), I often have washed up, had a shower and got ready for bed before the photos have uploaded. My recipes are simple home cooking and they are certainly nothing fancy. With that in mind, I’m immensely grateful that you read, that you follow, that you chat to me on Facebook, that you tweet and retweet and I’m incredibly humbled by the emails you send me. Every day, over the site receives over 11,000 page views and each month over 37,000 unique visitors log in and read. 

I don’t always write about food but is is so important.

It changes lives and cements families. So many of my memories about my family are about the food my mum fed me. We didn’t have much and in some cases, we didn’t have enough but we never went hungry. Food was always plain, never shop bought, always homemade, filled us up and did us good. She was and is an incredibly good cook and then and now that food is not just delicious but nurturing and comforting. We take it for granted, but there are families out there who don’t like to, can’t or won’t cook for each other and generations of people are growing up without the skills to eat well. That’s ok if you have money, someone else can cook it for you, either Mr Marks or Mr Spencer can make your meals for you, even Mr Morrisons can add to your table. That being the case, where’s the heart and where’s the love in the making of that meal?

Here’s my simple recipe for Veggie Lasagne – serves 6.

Pre- heat the oven to 160C.

3 stalks of celery finely diced
2 onions finely diced
2 large courgettes cut into cubes
1 tin of sliced mushroom – or five fresh ones, diced.
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 heaped teaspoon of chopped garlic
1 heaped teaspoon of mixed herbs
salt and pepper
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons of oil

You can add any vegetables to this, what ever is in season so long as it chopped small enough to sit easily between the layers. I  made a large lasagne for everyone else and a small gluten free one for me. Don’t worry, I didn’t eat all of it in one meal.

  • Fry the ingredients above for 10 minutes, stirring continuously.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and seasoning.
  • Bring to boil and then simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.

Make the cheese sauce.

3 heaped tablespoons of corn flour
50g of butter
3/4 litre of milk
salt and pepper to season
100g of grated mature cheddar

  • In a sauce pan, heat the butter
  • Stir in the flour until it forms a ball
  • Add the milk and cheese
  • Stir over a medium heat, continuously until thickened.
  • Remove and leave to stand.

Assemble the lasagne

  • In an oven proof baking dish or casserole or pie dish.

  • Pour some oil into the bottom

  • Place sheets of lasagne to cover. I don’t pre-cook. I make my sauce quite wet so the lasagne can soak this up, softening whilst cooking.

  • Next layer of vegetable sauce

  • Next a layer of lasagne.

  • Now sause

  • Then lasagne

  • Finish with a liberal pouring of the cheese sauce. You could sprinkle some cheese on top. We ate ours with lettuce, grated cheese and some chopped red pepper. 

  • Place the casserole dish on a baking tray, in case of spillage and bake for thirty minutes. I usually take it out after 25 and leave on the side for fifteen minutes before serving. Other wise it’s just too hot to eat.

Simple, cheap and a really simple supper. It keeps well in the fridge and makes a great ding cuisine for another day. I write because I really believe that we can all eat well enough, even if we have a tiny budget, not a lot of time, or money and only a few skills. It’s great that there are foodie families out there, eating lovely food but it’s also great that families are creating bowls of soup, hearty stews of simple veggie lasagnes. I also want to save families money so they can save up for or keep their homes or make a small wage work really hard.

Thanks everyone for voting, for Parentdish and Kenwood for sponsoring and for Sally Whittle, without whom, the blog awards wouldn’t exist. Thanks so much.

Over to you Dear Reader, what difference does feeding your family well mean to you?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


A million thanks to every single one of you!!!!

Hello Dear Reader,

Thanks so much to everyone who nominated Frugal Queen for a blog award!!!

You’ve only gone and done it again!

Frugal Queen is in the final top five of :

Blog of the Year,

Best Thrifty Blog


Best Food Blog!!!

You are all utterly amazing.

 The blog awards have made such a difference. Because of the awards, I get to share the money saving message on Radio Cornwall. Because of the blog awards, I get to hold sewing workshops and teach more and more people how to sew. Because of the blog awards, I get to go out into the community and teach people to cook. It was being the holder of ‘Best Food Blog’ that helped Cornwall One Parent support get the funding so cookery workshops could be held and the participants would have the food to cook when they went home.(I receive no money for teaching the workshops) Winning those awards makes a difference to the very people I set out to support by writing it in the first place.

To keep that profile, I need your help yet again.

Click on the link below and vote for Frugal Queen as Best Thrifty Blog and Best Food Blog.

MAD Blog Awards 

Times are very hard for so many families, let’s keep spreading the frugal message that’s it’s perfectly OK to do the best with what you have and you have no need to get into debt. On the contrary, let’s keep promoting the low cost lifestyle.

Thanks again,

Keep voting and keep helping me to help others.

All my love and gratitude,

Froogs xxxx

p.s come back for sewing vlogs – tomorrow – how to thread a sewing machine xxxx

Please would you nominate me?

Hello Dear Reader,

The MAD Blog Awards have come round again. Winning Best Thrifty Blog in 2012 and Best Food Blog in 2013 changed my life. It enabled me to take ‘Frugal Queen’ to a wider audience. 

Changing my life to one where I live beneath my means, where I save more than I spend means I live without the stresses and strains that so many people have when they are trying to live up to the Jones. I’m more than happy to be a torch bearer for a thrifty life. I’m delighted that people are trying my low cost menus, that people are trying quilting and are making do and mending. I love to hear of your free days out, of entertaining your children at home and how you even holiday on a tiny budget. 

Not so long ago, in times of affluenza, everyone thought it was just so normal to run up debts just to have a ‘lifestyle. Everyone wanted more and more and mostly couldn’t afford it. 

I’m one of hundreds of thrifty bloggers. We share the message that there is a different way. 

We don’t need the new and shiny and hunt down alternatives at car boot sales. We don’t need processed or ready made and cook at home instead. We furtle around the bottom shelves in supermarkets for value brands and turn them into suppers where no one could guess the price.

We save money at every turn and build the best financial security we can for our families. 

Being a thrifty blogger and winning twice with the UK’s biggest mum and dad blogger awards has given me public exposure. I now share my advice on Radio Cornwall, have been interviewed by Radio 4 and now get to pay it forward. I share my quilting and sewing skills with readers and host sewing, bag making and quilting workshops. I give talks to local groups including Christians Against Poverty and have been invited to speak to the W.I . I will be hosting ten frugal food workshops for Cornwall One Parent Support and none of that would have been possible without exposure that being a MADS Blog Award winner brings. It changed my life and now, thanks to your support, I get to help others and pay it forward.

Help me to keep ‘a different’ way of living in the media. If one family finds their way here and starts to get their family budget on track, pay down debts and live within or hopefully beneath their means, then all the begging for nominations and votes will be worth it. Here’s where I need your help.

Please click on the box below and nominate me in the thrifty and food sections. My blog is called  and you can just copy and paste that into the boxes as required. I know just asking for votes is totally shameless but your support has enabled me to spread the message that you do not need to live up to anyone else’s expectations and you certainly don’t have to live a life you can’t afford! 

Thanks so much and please nominate me.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

MAD Blog Awards

The MAD blog awards 2013

Hello Dear Reader,

The last twenty four hours have been a wonderful blur. I headed off on the train at lunch time courtesy of First Great Western  and enjoyed a few hours to sit and read and watch the countryside go by. I wizzed into the hotel to get changed to have my make done by Oriflame and who doesn’t enjoy a bit of pampering?

Then the publicity photograph and my dress courtesy of David Neiper – made in Derbyshire, how rare is it to get English made clothes anymore? I love this dress and the service from the company.

Now all I need is another posh event to wear this stunning dress!

Met up with some wonderful bloggers including the incredibly talented Mammasaurus. The wonderful Becky from Baby Budgeting who won best thrifty blog. 

We all schmoozed with the sponsors (these clothes and train tickets are not going to pay for themselves!) 

Of course, the brilliant Sally Whittle organiser of the blog awards, and Tots100 and Marylin whose wonderful blog Soft Thistle was a finalist in the Best Family Life Blog. 

Oh and here’s me receiving my award for Best Food Blog from Aime from Brabantia and Dr Ranj from BBC’s CBeebies. All of the parents of young children knew exactly who he was. He hosted the awards and made the entire evening really entertaining. 

These ladies were all brought to the stage because of their outstanding contributions to blogging.

I want you to try and visit all their wonderful blogs.

Alexander Residence because her videos are hysterical and THAT’S the way to raise money for charity. Penny works very hard on her blog and putting PRs in touch with other bloggers. She has a wealth of knowledge and is never too busy to share it.
Childcare is Fun because Fiona’s blog offers a free parenting advice service through which Fiona tirelessly answers dozens of queries a day. When she’s not blogging, Fiona organizes charity fun days for Save the Children, runs marathons for charity and is helping to organise a fundraising programme for baby Noah, who was born with Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus.
Dorky Mum because no cause is too small for Ruth to promote on her blog, and she always does it so eloquently. Ruth’s constant, unrelenting belief that change can and will happen is joyous, and her support of campaigns from Save the Children is deeply inspiring.
Downs Side Up has worked miracles for awareness of Down’s Syndrome in a very short time. Hayley has a gentle way of saying important things that help change perceptions, making us feel a part of her fight.
Edspire because in the face of terrible loss, Jennie has found the strength to support other families by raising awareness of SIDS and beginning to fundraise for charities that help families suffering the loss of a baby.  Beyond this, Jennie continues to be a fantastic mum to toddler twins, with inspiring crafts and fun activities.
Kate on Thin Ice because Kate is an understated force for change, quietly boosting the mojo of Mums via her blog and regular Twitter chats and parties, and regularly helping to raise awareness for charities online.
Mummy from the Heart because she goes out of her way to support and offer advice to new bloggers, on her blog, and through conversations on Facebook and Twitter. A busy Mum, Michelle isn’t afraid to step back from blogging to keep a healthy balance with her real life and family.
Not Even A because Kylie is an absolute rock for Mums in the premature baby community, generous with her time and advice. Kylie campaigns tirelessly for Bliss and baby charities to raise awareness of neo-natal care, and has inspired bloggers in the past year by overcoming huge adversity and still sharing support with other members of the community.
Patch of Puddles because Merry is helpful and supportive to so many in the blogging community, especially those who have lost babies.  When she isn’t home-educating her children and running a business, Merry works tirelessly with charity, bringing together bloggers to sponsor children with World Vision.
Thinly Spread because Christine is the parent we’d all like to be – intelligent, unflappable, and barely a hair out of place. But also because Christine balances blogging and blog activism perfectly, producing amazing words and gorgeous images into the bargain. She’s like the wise brown owl of the blogging world!

Jennie’s blog at Edspire is all about her wonderful children, the struggles of tiny premature twins, the beautiful Matilda Mae and coping with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and the heart breaking loss of the beautiful Matilda-Mae. The winner ‘Mammy Woo’ dedicated her award to Jennie saying 

“I dedicated my award to Jenny and Matlida Mae, I hope this wasn’t overstepping the mark and I hope it didn’t come across as rude or thoughtless……She is Precious. She is an inspiration.”

Thanks for the support and the votes and I’ll be back planning menus and stoveside tomorrow.

Until then

Go read and enjoy a few blogs xxxxxxxxxxxx

Love Froogs xxxxx

MAD blog awards

Froogs at a posh awards ceremony in her dress from the Hospice Charity shop.

Hello Dear Readers,

In September last year, your votes secured me the ‘Best Thrifty Blog’ award at the Mum and Dad Blogger awards and I couldn’t have done it without you. If you feel inclined and you would like to, it would be lovely if you could nominate me for an award in this year’s competition. You can nominate me in one category or several, such as food:

Or blog writing, that’s if you think what I write is interesting and you come back for more?

In craft? for being a self taught quilter and now quilting teacher

or thrifty for the funny things I do, such as my obsession with collecting pallets for firewood.

It’s up to you, I would love to be nominated and need lots of nominations to go to the next round of voting. My best thrifty blog award took me to Radio Cornwall and it would be lovely to be able to get the message of money saving and living simply even further afield. You can vote from anywhere in the world and I would appreciate your support. 

Click, if you feel you want to, onto the link  and follow the screen instructions to nominate me. 

MAD Blog Awards

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments and delicious ideas for slow cookers and I’ve pinched a good few of them as they seems too good to forget.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogsxxxx 

MAD Blog awards

Hello Dear Reader,

As you know, I sit down, almost every day and have a chat with you. What’s so wonderful, is that you listen. 

You have been with me since the start of my journey and waved flags, written chalk messages on the road and ran alongside me on my journey to being debt free. When my cupboards have had nothing but beans and cous cous, you’ve sent me recipes. When I’ve been shut away at home with no money or energy to amuse myself, you’ve sent me wool and fabric. You’ve sent me your old duvets and sheets to use in my crafts. Your generosity and kindness has come from the four corners of the globe and I can honestly say I can feel the love and kindness that you share with me.

There have been times when I have literally been on the ‘beam end of my arse’ and in a place so dark and so lonely that you have honestly been the only person I could talk to. You listened without judgement as I rekindled my relationship with my daughter. You reminded me that things will be OK and will get better on the numerous occasions I had go in search of gutters and alleyways to find her and bring her home. Through comments and the oh so many emails of the difficulties you had been through with your teenage children that gave me blessed comfort to know things will get better. You have prayed with me and for me and I am ever indebted for your support and incredible kindness.

You’ve come on holiday with me and even to my wedding. Do you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Tomorrow, I will leave work and get the 15.00 train to Paddington and then make my way to Bloomsbury Street to the MAD Blog awards. I will be there tomorrow night because you nominated me and you voted for me. Please share the night with me. I will be tweeting and instagramming through the night. I don’t expect to win anything and I’m really looking forward to meeting all the other bloggers. I won’t let you down and don’t forget for one minute that you got me there. I’ve included the twitter link below and from 7.30 onwards, I will be sharing the evening live with you. 

Thanks again and I look forward to sharing the evening with you xxxxxxxx

Love Froogs xxxx

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