Cooking for lunch boxes

Hello Dear Reader,

I don’t think DB and I have ever bought our lunches, we always take our own lunch and coffee. If we didn’t we could easily spend £5 to £10 a day. At the lower end, saving £1000 a year, at the higher £2000. We work on one pound per person for main meals and fifty pence for breakfast. 

Loaf of homemade bread, cheddar and sundried tomatoes. Great with butter for DB’s breakfast with coffee.

I don’t think it’ll last long, DB loves homemade bread( no I can’t/don’t eat it)

Homity pie. Potatoes and parsley out of dad’s garden. 

Roll out and blind bake the pastry,

Add cooked chopped potatoes.- 500g

Bunch chopped parsley

1 large onion, finely chopped and sautéed in a little butter

150g of grated cheddar 

4 cloves of crushed garlic.

50ml milk

20g butter.

Combine the ingredients and pop into the pre baked crusts. 

Bake at 180 for twenty minutes

(No, I can’t eat these either)

Did you wonder what I did with the gammon hock once I cooked it? Half of it was chopped and went into the quiche along with cooked potatoes, another sautéed chopped onion , 100g grated cheddar, four beaten large free range eggs. Combine and add to a pre baked quiche case. 

( nope, can’t eat this either, yes it’s all for him and yes he’s spoilt)

That should keep DB in lunches for the week and save us money. Wrapped in foil, it’ll all last in the fridge for the week just ready for DB to grab and take to work. 

I’ve also cooked: roast lunch for today and tomorrow too and that’s stacked in the fridge too. I think that’s the week just about sorted.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx


Poundland pie?

   To get the best out of this blog, turn your ipad/tablet sideways/landscape. Thanks 

Hello Dear Reader,

I buy all sorts of odds and ends in Poundland and I spied the pie filling.

It has no gluten, it was just a quid so I gave it a go. 

Ok, I got a quid’s worth. I added a few cooked chopped potatoes, some salt and pepper as it was a bit bland. Made some gluten free pastry and made a pie for our supper.

The pastry cost 50p so about £1.60 in all and 40p a portion and not bad with a heap of buttery greens. We’ll eat the same again tomorrow with veggies under 80p a portion.

I don’t think Delia Smith would be impressed but it wasn’t bad as pies go. As I can’t eat gluten, I miss pies and pastries. This just hit the spot today. Poundland pie anyone?

Love Froogs xxxxx

It’s starting to smell funny!

Hello Dear Reader,

I went to take a pack of minced beef out of the freezer whilst putting milk back in the fridge. My stinky French cheese was starting to overpower the fridge and needed to use it up. I used Roquefort cheese which is a soft blue cheese that melts easily and has a strong flavour. It goes really well with spinach and it’s my favourite cheese next to Stilton. 

Here’s what I did with the stinky cheese.

I used

2 baked potatoes – 12 mins in the microwave.

3 bacon rashers, cut into lardons.

1 bag of spinach, washed and drained.

Blue cheese- as much or as little as you like.

Garlic granules

Knob of butter.

Bake or microwave the potatoes.

In a pan, cook the lardons until the fat renders down.

Add the spinach, a knob of butter and sprinkle if garlic powder or granules.

Crumble the blue cheese in readiness.
Wilt the spinach.

Cover the potatoes with the bacon and spinach and sprinkle with cheese.

Pop under a hot grill until the cheese has melted. Eat greedily!

The minced beef stayed in the freezer and the smell of cheese has gone from the fridge. 

The cheese really compliments the spinach and the bacon pops through every now and then. 

Here’s a thing, get checking in your fridge, check what needs using up, that’s threatening to wilt or expire and find something interesting to do with what ever you find. Let me know what you do, did or are going to do.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

I fancied a takeaway and a bottle of wine!

Hello Dear Reader,
It’s Friday night, the weather has turned cold and wet and we drove home in the pouring rain. When we’re tired and we’ve done a week’s work it’s easy to think we deserve some treat. Well, I haven’t done back to back twelve hour shifts in the hospital and by the way, all hail to our NHS staff who do just that! I haven’t spent ten days straight, fours hours on, four off on a trawler. I haven’t worked days shifts, night shifts, back shifts for our emergency services. I’ve done an everyday job and I’m far from needing a treat. I drove past Morrisons and didn’t bother with the wine, passed the Chinese and just went home.
I dug around the fridge and found, leftover squash and sweet potato from supper last night, the last of the eggs, some dried up mushrooms, spring onions that need their outer leaves removing and a chunk of cooking bacon.
The cooking bacon cuts down into great lardons and are a useful addition to almost everything. As DB says, everything is better with bacon, even a bacon sandwich is better with more bacon. 
It all got chopped up and cooked in a pan. When cooked, I added the end of a jar of sun dried tomatoes. 
Even the oil won’t go to waste. Add wine vinegar, a spoon of Dijon mustard, shake and we’ve got some salad dressing. It’ll keep in the fridge until we need it. 
Add the rest of the ingredients, a couple of beaten eggs and it went into a hot oven for fifteen minutes. 
Served with a tin of beans and a dollop of garlic mayo, both leftovers from our last French trip. 
Now, here’s my theory on what’s a treat. A treat is something you have on a special occasion and not each pay day, or after a week’s work as that’s a regular occurrence and to us, not a treat. I’ll save a takeaway for a birthday or anniversary and you know me, I’ll save the money too! 
Leftovers used up, money in the bank and we made do with a glass of orange squash. 
Feet up, watching catch up TV – Last Kingdom and an early night. 
Over to you, has the ‘entitlement culture’ led people into thinking that the slightest thing deserves a treat or that everyone deserves a treat whether they’ve done something to deserve it or not? 
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxxxxx


That was the week that went tits up!

Hello Dear Reader,
Mouldy carrots just about sums up my week. The menu plan was put on hold and the food is still here in some form or another, even if in a sad state. It was one of those weeks of being knackered from beginning to end. We ended up eat a variety of things on toast from scrambled eggs to beans, homemade oven chips with ham and eggs, a stray pack of chicken kievs that were in the freezer and some steamed fish with frozen veggies that I cooked in the steamer with the fish. 
So, to rescue the week, here’s the three meals I’ve cooked tonight.
I chopped a butternut squash, two leeks, two onions, four carrots which were fine once I peeled them and a red pepper that had gone soft but would be fine once cooked. I added a drop of oil and sautéed it for about ten minutes
I then added, one tsp paprika, one tsp of cumin, one tsp dried garlic, one veggie stock pot, one chilli stock pot. 
I added two tins of beans and two tins of tomato, brought it to the boil and then simmered it for 30 minutes. 

So, that’s supper for a couple of evenings. I’ll serve it with a dollop of natural yogurt and brown rice. 
I also made my version of fidget pie. Traditionally it’s made from pork, Bramley apples and leeks. To make mine. I layer, onions, leeks, cooking bacon and potatoes. I then top it with a cheese and mustard sauce.  In a pan, melt 20g of butter, then when melted blend in three heaped tablespoon of corn flour. Add 500 ml of skimmed milk and blend well. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously until it thickens. Finally add one heaped tablespoon of wholegrain mustard and 50g of finely grated cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. Add on top and then cook on a medium heat, 180 for 45 minutes. To freeze, just cover in foil and reheat, once defrosted by warming through for twenty minutes at 200, keep the foil on whilst reheating. 
Finally, I got round to making some fish cakes, I also used up something from my larder that has gone ‘out of date’, I really wish ‘best before dates’ had s use by date instead. I would safely use this for another year or so as the contents are in sealed plastic bags. I added a sachet of this to mashed potato. 
Manky packet, but fine inside. Normally, I would add lemon zest but I thought I would use this instead.
I added a teaspoon of butter, ground black pepper and a small tin of pink salmon that I stirred through.
To make my fish cake, I use my cookie cutter. 
I used a desert spoon to fill up the cookie cutter and then lifted it off.
I then freeze them on a flat tray, when they are completely frozen, I’ll keep them in a bag in the freezer. I’ll cook them from frozen by popping them in a hot oven and drizzling them with oil so they crisp on the outside.
Tomorrow, I’ll cook two bags of chicken thighs, something will be made for Sunday supper and I’ll make a casserole for later in the weeks.
Some weeks just go completely wrong, this was one of them! We had all sorts of chaos. I didn’t really get my breath back after a week away, I’ve only just caught up on the laundry and put the cases away. We  had carpets fitted, which meant we had most of the furniture piled up in different rooms, most of it in the dining room. We then had to get all the off cuts to the tip and we’re changing some furniture and had a local furniture bank come to collect it. I’ve bought some smaller furniture that fits our tiny cottage. I’ll show the budget reveal in a few weeks. 
We’re all back to normal now, we’re getting the house straight, the freezer is full of ready meals and I’ve got some clean and iron clothes.
Over to you, who else has had one of those weeks?
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxxx






Feed me quickly, without fuss!


Hello Dear Reader,

Quick recipe for stuffed mushrooms. More assembly than cooking. Perfect for when you can be bothered to cook and I can’t be bothered this weekend.

5 portobello mushrooms 
300g pack of feta 
1 chopped onion
1 beaten egg
1 pack ready cooked quinoa and brown rice
1 pack of chopped kale, steamed to your liking.
1 sliced of cheese for each mushroom – i used the sliced sandwich cheese
serve with salad

Combine the ingredients, top with cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with salad. Put your feet up, it’s been a long week and eat healthy yummy nosh that’ll nurture your soul too. I’m eating lots of easy assembly food at the moment as I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. We all get like this once in a while but hey, it’s cheaper than the takeaway!


I’m brain drained. I’m trawling eBay, free ads, freecycle and local auctions to furnish the French house. So far, I’ve gleaned…….small undercounter freezer, click clack sofa bed, double bed frame and so on. Everything will be wedged in the corner of my dining room, stacked up ready to take with us in December. We’ve hired the UK version of a U haul trailer which worked out cheaper than hiring a van. We’re buying here as we’ll take everything we can second hand and we’ll look out for second hand items when we’re out there too. 

We’ll be back there next Saturday staying in a bargain gite on the moors and we’re really looking forward to lots of walking, outdoors, vide grenier on Sunday in Morlaix and a womble around the local depot ventes in the local towns searching our necessities at bargain prices. I don’t pay much here and get everything second hand and I’m going to do the same here too, especially for kitchen items, small pieces of furniture and decorative items. 

I’m so distracted that this week will mainly be ‘on toast’, out of a tin or the freezer and will involve list making, packing and bidding on ebay.

Over to you Dear Reader, who else gets moments where you’d rather sit in a ditch than cook? We can pat ourselves on the back if we manage egg and chips as it’s cheaper than the chippy!

Until tomorrow,

Froogs xxxx

I love risotto

Hello Dear Reader,
Went off to meet a friend for a pot of tea and a chat at our local Waitrose today, handed over my loyalty card and had my free drink. I thought they stopped that so I really enjoyed it for free! There are things they sell there that I can’t buy in Lidl or Aldi such as wild rice and quinoa. As I have a loyalty card, I can pick the ten items I want with a discount and I’ve made the items I can’t buy elsewhere as my ‘favourites’. I could go to Tesco but that’s further away…..p.s other supermarkets and local stores are available. 
I’m also fond of a proper lunch, like the rest of us, I only get that at the weekends. I also like the time to slowly make a risotto. 
2 tbsp oil
1 cup of wild and whole grain rice
1 chicken stock cube and a litre of boiling water
1 cougette chopped
1 large red onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
2 low fat cheese triangles
1/2 salami or chorizo – optional, we’re cutting back on meat and just felt like some today. 
3 crushed cloves garlic 
Heat the oil
Add the onions, courgette, peppers – sweat for 5-10 minutes
Add the rice and stock
Stir for twenty five minutes, add more water if required.
Just before serving, add the cheese.
The go for a huge walk to burn off some of that heap of calories.
Over to you, does anyone else use a loyalty card to get some special offers?
Until tomorrow xx
Froogs xxx

Vegetable chilli and wild rice for 70p per portion

Hello Dear Reader,
I’m trying very hard to eat healthily, stick to a budget and not get bored to tears with what we’re eating.  Here’s today’s offering which we actually love and have as often as I can remember. It’s our veggie chilli.
Serves six portions
1 butternut squash – 69p Lidl – so are all the ingredients 
3 courgettes 69p
1 large onion 15p
2 green peppers 60p
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 jar of passata 45p
1 tin tomatoes 35p
4 garlic cloves – crushed
1 tin red kidney bean 35p
1 tablespoon of chilli powder
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
Bunch of coriander 29p
Salt and pepper to taste.
Half a pack of wild rice 50p – £4.20 including seasoning and oil – 70p per portion.
Add the oil to a pan and then add the onions, squash, pepper and courgettes fry for five minutes or until the squash have startedto soften. Just before serving, finely chop a bunch of coriander, including the stem and add three quarters of it.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, kidney beans and seasoning, bring to the boil and simmer for twenty minutes or until all the vegetables are as soft as you prefer. We are ours with brown and wild rice, 
Serve with a dollop of natural yogurt and sprinkle with chopped coriander.
I also boxed up two portions for our lunch tomorrow and we eat the same same again for supper. I could eat this very day and I love the nuttiness of the rice. 
I hope you enjoy the recipe 

Long distance renovations and a posh supper

Hello Dear Reader,
Thank goodness for the Internet! So far, I’ve organised double glazers, chimney sweep and wood burner fitter, tree surgeons and now electricians to bring the electrics ‘up to code’. As I’ve said before, I like to get things I don’t want to do, ‘over and done with’. I can’t re-wire, chop down trees or fit a working wood burner or windows. It’s a ‘trademark’ of ours when we buy a house to eradicate draughts so fit double glazing, keep the house warm on a budget with a ‘smokeless’ wood burner with clean burn instead of the puffing and smoky burner that’s there and ensure the place is safe so it can be rented to neutralise costs. We won’t be able to double glaze the front until we’ve got planning consent even though we’re replacing like with like. The back doors are inside porches and considered inside and we don’t need consent for anything inside. 
The pound euro exchange is in our favour and gives us a money saving advantage and we’ve been given figures of ‘worse case scenario’ which will be much lower when we get the written quotes when we visit in late October. Even with those quotes, we’re within budget. So, as you can imagine there’s not a lot of splashing out. It’s not quite beans and a jacket spud but not far off.
Dinner was: mashed sweet potato, steamed salmon, broccoli and leeks with a tomato sauce and sprinkle of finely grated cheddar. 
Sweet potatoes – just microwave and scoop out the flesh and mash. 
The leeks, went into the steamer first, ten minutes later add the broccoli, five minutes later add the salmon. 
Tomato sauce – finely chop two shallots and gently sauté in a teaspoon of sunflower oil, add a tin of tomatoes and cook for five minutes. Add one teaspoon of sugar and some basil, two tablespoons of vinegar, I used cider vinegar, then blend smooth. 
To serve arrange the leeks and broccoli and cover with the tomato sauce and pop the salmon on top. Sprinkle with a tiny amount of finely grated cheese and serve with about half a cup of mashed sweet potato. When we’re watching the cash and sticking to a budget we need to eat something lovely once in a while and push the boat out, even if it’s just to the mouth of the harbour!
Until tomorrow,
Lve Froogs xxxx

Prep saves me money and temptation

Hello Dear Reader,
Life is picking up a pace here, autumn is a busy time for everyone. We all have busy jobs, family life and hobbies. On Tuesdays, I get home, park the car and get straight to Slimming Club for five thirty. I get my day sorted the night before and tomorrow morning. In the morning, I’ll put a beef stew in the slow cooker for DB to eat when he gets home and for his and my lunch on Wednesday. Tonight, I’ve made my salads for tomorrow’s lunch and supper; the latter of which I eat at slimming club as I won’t get home until seven. If I didn’t eat at slimming club, I’d eat the Tarmac on the road whilst walking home! 
I’d gained 2lbs recently so I’ve redoubled my efforts to manage my eating since. Loads of veg, salads meat and fish and low carbs. As you can see, I still have carbs but I’m being careful. Lunch/ supper is 50g of half fat feta, quinoa and salsa with lettuce and carrots. About 250g for each meal, with skimmed milk throughout the day, 600 calories. Fat removed bacon and scrambled eggs take my daily intake up to around 1100 altogether. I should lose so weight…..what I’d gained would be nice!
A bit of time and effort means, after a busy day, a average 20 mile each way commute, slimming club and daily housework, the food stays on budget and there’s no temptation to turn to junk as I ‘didn’t have time’. It works for me and saves me time and money.
Over to you, share how you ‘stay on top of it all’ with full time work, family, commuting and everything else we all fit in.
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxxxxx