Spicy chickpea stew

Hello Dear Reader,

We’ve had meat two days in a row so tonight’s supper is a hearty veggie stew with chunky chick peas and it’s vegan as well.

I rummaged around the bottom of the fridge and back of the larder and also added some mixed frozen veggies from out of the freezer. I also added a heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika and cumin, a stock pot and some black pepper to give it flavour

I chopped my veggies and fried them in frylight until softened.

I added the stockpot, spice and tinned tomatoes, half a mug of red lentils and a mug of boiling water (helps it cook quickly) and allowed it to simmer for 15 minutes until all the veggies were soft but not mushy.

I served DB’s with basmati rice – half a cup of rice and three cups of water with a sprinkle of salt and I just had extra vegetables. We are not lovers of hot spicy food but you could add plenty of chilli if you like it.

This’ll be great for our lunches and it’ll reheat well and some will be frozen.

Totally free food in terms of slimming world and it’s even vegan and a proper hearty belly full. 

It’s also cheap, used up what we had and was delicious.

I’ll make this again!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx


Eat your greens 

Hello Dear Reader,

I love green leafy vegetables and they’re really cheap in season And they have more vitamin C than oranges. I bought all my groceries this week from Aldi including a tiny beef roasting joint that I stopped from shrinking by slow cooking it with some water, salt and pepper in the slow cooker. My fork shows how tiny our meat was.

It just melted when it was cooked and it didn’t shrink and stayed really moist which was important as it wasn’t cheap. We’ll just have a veg based meal tomorrow to offset the cost.

I used some of the beef stock when I mashed the potatoes, especially as we ate far too much butter in Brittany! This was really nice  and surprisingly creamy.

As we’re trying to keep our carbs low we’re not eating a lot of spuds so we’re filling up on greens. It’s a good job we really like them. I wonder, wherever you are, what the ‘greens’ in your country? 

I added some GF bisto granules to a mug full of stock and made some gravy. 

This is end of week one and I think we’ve done ok and we’re definitely eating more healthily, doesn’t seem hard and we’re enjoying it. 

I’ll keep you posted.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

One of the joys of autumn 

Hello Dear Reader,

There is something wonderful about coming home to a gently simmering slow cooker. Before we left for work this morning I added:

2 chicken breasts (I buy frozen chicken as it’s cheaper)

2 leeks cut into slices

1 tin of plum tomatoes 

4 large sliced carrots 

2 large potatoes, halved 

1 stock cube and a mug of water.

Sprinkle of gf gravy granules when I got in from work. I set the slow cooker on low and let it cook gently for twelve hours. 

We ate ours with kale and green beans which is another reason for loving autumn food. I’m a great fan of our slow cooker and use it for a huge amount of winter dishes of soups, casseroles, stews and slow roasts. 

The other great thing about a pile of green beans and kale taking up half our plates is that it fills us up very cheaply and healthily and goes really well with any kind of stew. It also fits in well with the slimming world plan of plenty of speed food. The whole plate is mainly veggies with just a bit of chicken. We over did it a bit over the summer and lots of veggies are the answer.

There’ll be plenty more like this as the cooler weather has returned.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Sitting by firelight tonight

Hello Dear Reader,

Over the last couple of days we’ve split and stacked one plum tree and one eucalyptus tree. One’s a sappy wood that needed seasoning for two years and fruit wood is a really good hard wood for fires. The wood has been stored by our shed and this year we’re burning it along with pallets and an old picnic table. By the time we’re finished our wood store will be full. We’ll also order some wood and pay for it. The great thing about wood heating is the prepayment. Whilst we’re keeping warm, we know it’s all paid for.

We use a hydraulic log splitter that does all the work for us. It has paid for itself over and over and it saves our shoulders and the windows if a log flies off when struck with an axe. 

It might seem a lot of work but it’s an economy we prefer to make the effort for.

It does mean that I have quite a scruffy garden as the wood takes up a lot of space and it’s pretty to us but not every one would agree.

The end result are very cosy and adds to our very happy home.

As it felt autumnal this evening, we lit the fire and it was lovely to be warm. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Vintage China cabinet refurb

Hello Dear Reader,

Our cottage was built in 1911 and has the original built in cupboards in the dining room either side of the fire. The storage is a real bonus and where I keep my china . The shelves were covered in 1960s wall paper and it was in need of a cheap refresh.

We bought a large PVC table cloth from a budget store for £3.99 and cut it to fit each shelf.

I painted the inside of the cupboard with white paint. Everything at home is painted white.

Above is the shelf before with very tatty paper and the new covering.

The bottom cupboard is for ‘dog stuff’ and that had a tidy up too. In the spirit of make do. And mend, I think that was a successful refurb and now my vintage china has a much more suitable home. 

Some household improvements are really quick and easy. As always, we looked for an affordable way to keep our home nice.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Slimming world pasties

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve seen these all over the internet and I thought I’d have a go. Here’s what I put inside:

2 leek, sliced.

One large  courgette, cut into small chunks

1 large red pepper, diced.

Spray of frylight and cook for ten fifteen minutes.

8 rasher of lean bacon, remove any fat and diced

100g of tomato paste

Plenty of black pepper.

One laughing cow light triangle per pasty 

1 beaten large egg – use this to seal the pasty and glaze it

I cooked it until everything as well cooked.

I used gluten free wraps bit expensive at 50p each!

Eight slices of lean bacon at £2.

Asda free range eggs at £1.50

I covered the wrap with beaten egg, added the filling and popped a cheese triangle inside.

Sealing it was a nightmare, DB suggested I sewed it together with spaghetti ! I kept pressing the edges with a fork. Preheat the oven to 180.

I brushed them generously with beaten egg and baked them for twenty minutes.

It was totally delicious! I calorie counted and each pasty was under 250 calories! 

Our neighbours gave us the runner beans and the corn was in the reduced section at Asda.

If you don’t need to eat gluten free, then you can buy 6 wraps for 75p! It’s a quick low calorie supper and twice as delicious when you get to the cheese in the middle. To make this veggies, you could grill some quorn sausages and dice them and add them.

There’ll be more slimming world recipes as we get back into healthy eating after an indulgent summer.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

We’ve come a long way together

Hello Dear Reader,

In 2015, we came to Brittany for a late summer break and to look for a house. Our search criteria was simple- on mains drainage, structurally sound and it had to be cheap! We found our house that hadn’t been lived in since the 1980s and no one had even visited since 1998. We wanted not only a holiday home but somewhere we could retire to in ten years time. We also wanted to be able to share it with friends and some have already made the most of it whilst we’re not there. It took a lot of scrubbing, elbow grease, drying out, warming up and plenty of paint but we now have a habitable home from home.

If you know my blog, you’ll know we’ve been on quite a journey to get here and we know we’ve got quite a way to go. We’ve made some brilliant friends here and two in particular who have shared their skills and expertise to advise us with renovations. They know who they are and how much we think of them. I can not even begin to thank them for their kindness.

These are not my flowers but I couldn’t resist taking a photo of them. We’ve done plenty of relaxing, coffee drinking, chatting, garden snoozing, walking and reading. There’s been a good balance of hard work and good fun. Dear flower owners, we’ll see you at Christmas xxcc

We love Huelgoat forest and get into it for frequent walks and had the chance to share it with visiting friends from Cornwall and share our little town. I bang on about the place but it really is a special place to us.

Like the flowers, the harp isn’t mine either! I think the musician had gone for lunch.

As we have people staying in the house in the cooler months, we had logs delivered to keep them warm and now have a great local contact and supplier of split, seasoned and very dry wood. We’re also grateful to the local support we’ve received in finding our way to local services and suppliers. Contacts are really useful in a local community where you find what and who you need by word of mouth. Whenever I’ve asked neighbours about trees, wood, chimneys or stones, they’ve popped inside and come back with a name and number jotted on the back of an old shopping list. 

DB has been amazing and is a one man marvel and keeps learning new skills and is building a lovely home for us and visitors. He builds and I paint and tend the garden. He studies, researches and reads and then builds when he’s not a builder. I’m still in awe.

Almost every evening, we walked around the lake and had some wonderful sunsets. We meander back through the square and up the hill. That hill! It must be doing me good…..mustn’t it?

We also had the joy of discovering some great cycling routes and we’ll bring our bikes over at Christmas. I can just imagine being wrapped up warm and riding along the tow path with frosty grass. I should work for the tourist board but you really should visit Brittany if you like cycling as there are hundreds of miles of trails where you’ll never see a car.

Today, we’ve scrubbed and packed the house away until we come back for Christmas. We’ll be back in Cornwall tomorrow night and it’ll be great to catch up with family again.

We still pinch ourselves that we’ve come this far and we have such a fabulous life. Thinking back to 2009 and the predicament we had to dig ourselves out of, we’ll definitely raise a glass to where we are now. 

Until we’re back at Thrift Cottage,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Snagging a renovation project

Hello Dear Reader,

After three days of going out, we just wanted a pottering about at home day and getting jobs done. The undergrowth behind the house has had a chop. It only just keeps it under control but we try.

We use the hedge trimmer to cut the brambles to the ground. We leave until last thing as the bees and butterflies liked the flowers and the birds like the berries.

Weweeded and tidied the side of the house and have been to the dècheterie and we’ll go again tomorrow.

The big laundry bag that you can see is full of kindling I picked up from the forest floor. I have some more bits of tidying to do yet. In the future we will put a thick layer of gravel at the back of our house So it doesn’t keep sprouting weeds. Next year, we’ll paint the house so that’s on our saving plan.

Our son has been round to thrift cottage at home and cut the grass for us. I’m at that stage where I’m looking forward to getting home and back to everyday life.

Here, I’ve put another two coats of stain on the stairs, more white paint on the walls and wood work and washed and dried the sofa covers. All of these bits and bobs give me the feeling of finishing up for the summer before we put the house to bed for a few months.

It’s been fun, we’ve accomplished a lot and the house is beginning to feel more homely every time we visit.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Guerlesquin in Brittany

Hello Dear Reader,

Guerlesquin is an ancient market town some fifteen miles from Huelgoat. It was weirdly deserted, maybe it was its half day closing as not only was nothing open but it was almost deserted. We didn’t mind and spent about an hour just discovering the place for ourselves.

If this was the UK it would have been English Heritaged and National Trusted up the the eyeballs but other than a few signs giving historical information, there was nothing.. it’s just a small market town and people live there and do stuff without a hint of commercialism.

The old town hall was once a gaol and the big house nearby with red windows was the executioner’s house. You don’t get one of those every where!

This is inside what was the town hall. No entrance fee. No one on the door. Just go in.

Isn’t great.

The open spaces, like most French towns are immaculate and a lovely place to just sit.

Above is the old Market hall, it was a corn exchange in its day. Now, it’s a usable public space. It wasn’t open so this photo was taken through the window.

Flowers lined the streets.

Fountain or public well which was once one of the locals sources of clean water.

The outside of the building that was once the town hall.

Homes and houses.

If you’re ever in Brittany and passing through or near by then it’s well worth a stop off. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Brest to Nantes canal at Carhaix 

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m typing this after lunch, laid in the shade in the garden. It’s quite warm today and I’m pleased to be doing very little.

This morning, we were up early and went to the nearby section of the Nantes to Brest canal which is seven miles from our house. We have planned to go for quite a while and it was so pretty. The tow paths are popular with cyclists and we saw plenty which were laden with camping equipment and some were towing trailers with everything they needed. We didn’t walk for long. We walked for about an hour and as it reached 11 am it started to get much hotter. We’ll comeback and walk it when it’s cooler. 

Enjoy the photographs as we snooze in the garden.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx