Saturday, 2 January 2016

Create - Use it up January

Happy New Year everyone!  Did you have a good one?  For the first time in many years I was in a pub on Hogmanay (just for a wee while) then we watched the fireworks over Stirling Castle.  And it was the first time I saw the New Year in with OH (and 3 of our kids) as we normally spend it in our own houses. Twas rather lovely and low key :-) Luckily my dogs don't bother with the sound of fireworks, they're pretty chilled about most things.  That's Emma in her favourite spot.  Half in, half out the kitchen so she doesn't miss anything!

I've long given up making resolutions but this year I'm making a conscious effort to be more creative.  My lovely friend (of the purple teapot gift) who visited last month asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks.  "Where's your craft room?" I had to admit that most of my craft stuff is still in boxes from the move and as yet I don't have a dedicated area to craft.  But that's changing!

OH pulled out some bags and boxes from my under the stairs cupboard.  Stuff I've not needed and not used in 2 years so it's safe to say it can all go.  I'm going to invest in some stacking boxes and keep my craft materials and sewing machines in that cupboard.  This means I can easily pull them out and use my lovely big dining table as my crafting area. Yeay!!  Creating a space to create makes me happy already.

So I'm making January the month to 'use it up'.  Use up my craft materials and use up the odd bits and bobs in my freezer and storecupboard.

I used up some chestnuts that have been lurking in the cupboard for nearly a year to make chestnut soup as seen on Thrifty Lesley's blog 
Very nice with a slice of home made GF bread
I had a glut of eggs to use up and some leftover rice so I made a rice crust quiche with Waitrose's Essentials Feta which is made with sheep and goat milk (not all fetas are!!)

I added grated courgette (squeezed in kitchen paper first to remove water) to the rice crust.  You need 2 cups of cooked rice, 1 beaten egg and a dash of soy sauce.  Mix well and press into a pie tin/dish to make the pie shell.  Bake for 10 mins (until egg is set) then make quiche as usual.  I've been making these for years as the rice crust is healthier than a pastry crust.  Also happens to be GF!

I had loads of lemons that were beginning to turn so I sliced and froze them ready for adding to drinks or for making lemon tea.

I scored some reduced free range chicken thighs in Sainsbury's yesterday.  I had run out of a few things so popped in hoping to get some great bargains but sadly very little was reduced.  I'll maybe try again in a day or 2 as I can usually get some good festive food reduced. 

I wanted to cook them so I could have some ready to eat meals in the freezer instead of raw meat so I made a simple chicken curry with the thighs for tea and froze 2 portions for later.  Sorry no pics of the meal as I ate it before I remembered! 

Simple chicken curry

8 free range chicken thighs
1 carton Basics chopped tomatoes
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 heaped tsp garam masala
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger (I didn't have any fresh ginger or I would have used that)
1/2 tsp salt
50g creamed coconut
oil for frying

Fry off the thighs until they have some colour and set aside.
In the same pan, gently fry onions for a few mins then add garlic and dry spices.  Fry gently for 2 mins then add tomatoes and salt. Stir and add chicken back into the pan.  Add enough water to cover the chicken. Stir again.  Cover and simmer for about 30 mins, stirring occasionally.  Add the creamed coconut and stir until melted.  Add more water if it's too thick and serve over boiled rice.

It's that simple!

I just use whatever spices I have to hand.  I have made it with just curry powder and nothing else.  You can use cream or yoghurt instead of the creamed coconut. I was just using what I had in the cupboard. Always turns out ok.

I'm rather pleased with my efforts so far to use up what I've already got.  Now onto some serious meal planning for the coming week.


  1. Soup looks good, it's one of my favourites 😋
    My brother is coeliac so I shall have to look at more of your recipes when he next comes for a visit

  2. Lovely to see you getting back to creating :) - look forward to seeing what you make. Like your lemon slice will copy that one :)

  3. What a great idea, making a craft cupboard, hope you get back to creating, I did the same with using food up last year after christmas and 5 of us ate for nearly 2 weeks using up food in the house before I had to do a major shop, it was great to clear out cupboards, fridge and freezer and saved money too :)


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