Wednesday 28 February 2018

Snow Days!

Like much of Britain we've got snowy weather.  Most schools in Scotland were closed today and tomorrow, including mine! 😎  See that wee red bit?  That's where I live!  Public transport was cancelled at lunchtime.  Businesses were closing early.  Police advice was go home and stay there.  It's rather serious.  The motorway between Stirling and Glasgow was closed many times today due to accidents.

OH is in Italy for work this week.  He's due to fly home tomorrow but the airports are closed which means planes and crew are all in the wrong places.  I really don't think he'll be home until Friday.

This was the view from my window at lunch time.

The view from the back door.  You can just see Penny's red comb in the middle of the photo, she's on her perch shouting loudly at me!  🐔 Between the snow showers I went out and swept a bit of ground for her to peck.

Apparently people have been panic buying in the supermarkets!  Luckily I'm prepared with food, water and heat if anything goes off (in my old house we lost power every single time it snowed!!)

Since it's the last day of February I've added up my supermarket spend for the month.  I've spent £153.36 so I'm rather pleased.  However, my fridge and freezer are very empty.  Once the weather calms down I'll need to do a big shop!

Sunday 25 February 2018

Same old same old

All of a sudden it's Sunday again.  My life is extremely dull, boring and repetitive at the moment with nothing of interest to blog about.  I get up, go to work, come home, eat, collapse on the sofa, eat some more and go to bed.  If OH is around he'll drag me to the gym on a Tuesday and Thursday.  He's been working out of town a lot lately so I'm feeling very unfit.  He's currently in Italy for work.  It's still too cold/dark to go out a run after work (plus I'm not motivated enough!!) On a positive note I am finally starting to feel much better after the flu episode.

Progress on the flat buying front is trundling along, the legal bits are doing their thing.  DS is beginning to get excited.  I'm less excited about clearing out his old flat!!  He's a hoarder who keeps everything 'just in case.' *sighs*

I was playing around on FB and found an app that airbrushed your profile photo.  I wish I looked like this all the time!!

Saturday 17 February 2018

House prices

This house has just come up for sale at the bottom of my street.  It's the same style as mine except they have 2 floor length windows in the living room.

This is mine when I bought it 4 years ago.  You can see how similar they are on the outside.  The layouts are slightly different on the inside.  Mine has more rooms as it's been extended.

That house is offers over £53,000 more than I paid for mine 4 years ago!!!!! 😄😄😄

Apparently house prices in my area have shot up recently. This means when I come to sell I'll have more money in my pension pot.  I am very relieved!

Thursday 15 February 2018

'Free' Food

Today I had to go into town to do flat buying paperwork.  So I took my wee bags of coins to the bank to pay them into my account.  I had £14 in 1p, 2p and 5p bags.  The bank only takes whole pounds of one type of coin but I still have about £4 in mixed coins to use in the self service checkout at Sainsbury's. (Anyone else do that??)  Plus I had a £5 reward voucher for M&S thanks to using their credit card.  I hardly use it anymore so getting even a £5 voucher is good going!!

So I 'spent' my money on 1kg of chicken thighs, 2 packs of tomatoes, 2 packs of beetroot, 2 packs of courgettes and 2 tubs of stock powder.  £19 exactly!!

I chopped up some of the courgettes and tomatoes with peppers, onions and garlic and roasted them for about an hour.  I added some chopped beetroot at the end as it was already cooked.

I added a splash of balsamic vinegar and had a bowlful for my lunch.  Very tasty indeed!  There's loads left for another meal.

I split the chicken thighs into 2 large casseroles and marinaded one with lemon juice, black pepper and honey.  I put some of my fajita spice mix on the other one.  I left both to marinade for an hour then baked them in the oven.

 While they were baking I made some healthy (ish) coleslaw.

There were 21 pieces of chicken so I had 3 with some coleslaw for my tea.  Lovely!

I'm counting it as 'free' food as the £14 was just loose change that's been lying around for a while and the M&S voucher is a reward.  I've shredded /chopped up all the chicken and portioned it for another 6 generous meals (3 thighs per serving).  And I still have a pack of tomatoes, a pack of beetroot and 2 courgettes to use in something else 😎  The 2 tins of stock powder are for my storecupboard.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Going bananas

Hooray!  I'm on half term holiday 😁 I survived 2 staff development days and now I have 3 whole days to rest/catch up on my life.  I rescued some bananas from the bin (!) at work.  They were leftover from last week's healthy tuck shop but wouldn't get used this week as there's no kids in school.  So I said I'd have them!!

This morning I whipped up a batch of my pancakes for the freezer  (recipe HERE ) and tried a new banana bread recipe.  It was delicious and got OH's approval too!

Original Chickpea Flour Banana Bread recipe HERE

My version:

1 cup gram/chickpea flour
1/2 cup coconut flour (since I was given a bag by my lovely mum)
1 tsp mixed spice (I didn't have any cinnamon)
1/4 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp icing sugar (I didn't have any other sugar!)

2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cup ripe mashed bananas
2tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, mix everything else in another then add to the dry bowl.  Gently mix and put in loaf tin.  Bake for about 40 mins at Gas 4.  I didn't hear my timer beep, oops!  So it was in the oven about an oven, still tasted good despite the well done top!

Even though there's a little sugar in it next time I'll try it with some honey instead of sugar to make it healthier.

I still have 6 bananas left to use up so I can go bananas another day too!

Sunday 11 February 2018

Hurry up Spring!

Today was cold but sunny.  I took a wander round my garden and found some snowdrops, crocus and tulips popping up through the cold soil.  Spring is coming! I know it's still far too cold to start any gardening but it's nice to start thinking about it.

I checked one of my raised beds at the front and discovered some carrots I'd forgotten about.  They were perfectly lovely if a bit small. Variety Eskimo.

The carrot tops were lovely and green.  I got to thinking and remembered that I'd read somewhere they were edible.  A quick look on Pinterest revealed carrot top pesto and drying them to use in soups and salads like a herb.  So they're currently drying in the dehydrator. I'm going to try to dehydrate the carrots too.  They have to be sliced and steamed first.  I'll report back on their success (or not!)

On Saturday nights OH and his Teenogre come over for dinner.  I always try to make something special plus dessert.  Last night I tried Pineapple Poke Cake.  Recipe HERE  I'd never heard of a Poke cake so was intrigued.  It was delicious and so easy to make.  I subbed GF flour, added about 30g of ground almonds and used dairy free butter and milk but followed the recipe exactly.

I had too much mixture for my cake tin so filled some muffin cases too.

It was amazing with some Alpro 'cream.'  I even reheated some this morning for my breakfast (well it has all that pineapple so must count as 1 of my 5 a day 😉)

Saturday 10 February 2018

Judicious January

My plans for this year included saving as much money as I can which means getting my monthly living expenses down to a third of my take home salary.  Easiest way to do this is to cut my supermarket costs.  Every time I visited one last month I wrote on my kitchen whiteboard the amount spent and totaled it up at the end of the month.  The first large amount was a restock of my storecupboard as I'd lasted a month without a big shop.  The small amounts were when I popped into Lidl on my way home from work to get some fresh fruit and vegetables.

I'm mostly feeding myself and occasionally OH and his Teenogre but haven't yet worked out what a sensible average monthly spend should be.  The £186.20 includes food AND everything else like toilet paper, bin bags, toothpaste etc.  I really enjoy seeing how other bloggers cut their food costs by doing different challenges and admire how they work out what each meal costs.  I'm not at that stage (yet) so for now am happy to do a general supermarket tally.  Taking a look at my past supermarket totals, that's a huge improvement already!!

Throughout January I've been saving and drying my citrus peels to use as firelighters.  I think it was my friend Sarah who mentioned it (?)  Anyhoo I gave it a go and used them last night to light the woodburner, with mixed success!  They were rather sparky but smelled lovely 😊

Friday 9 February 2018

F words

Not only is it Friday but it's half term here!! 👍 I knew going going back to work after only a week off would be challenging but it's been absolutely exhausting.  Luckily management were so grateful I was there they weren't too concerned about the quality of teaching and learning taking place!!  My little cherubs are going to get a wee shock when we go back after the break 😉

Other stuff has been happening too but I've been too tired to blog about it (sorry!) Here's another F word - I have found a flat for eldest DS and we're buying it!!  It's a ground floor 2 bedroom flat right in the centre of town (bottom left corner of photo)  No hills for him to walk up or 3 flights of stairs.  It's in very good decorative condition so we won't need to do anything.

Only downside is the kitchenette is tiny!!   But he's not a great cook so that's not a problem.  That's an under the counter fridge/freezer (bottom right) so no room for his normal sized one.  But he's very close to a huge Tesco superstore so will be able to take advantage of yellow stickers.

The bathroom has recently been updated and is better than mine!!!

We get entry rather soon (end of March I think) so it's all happening very quickly.  This is the first property we actually viewed (after discounting lots by looking online) so we've been very lucky.  Fingers crossed it all goes ahead without a hitch!