OK, we’re back on chicken again this week to use up the leftovers from our Sunday roast. Following on from my rubber chicken inspiration I want to try and stretch it to 5 meals this week (including the roast) and use the last scraps in some chicken burgers.
I’m starting Zumba tonight – my first post-baby exercise, so my body might go into shock! – so I need something light and easy. And my husband is working tomorrow night so that means a fish treat for me as he doesn’t eat it.
Monday: Chicken and rice salad (leftover from BBQ on Saturday)
Tuesday: Roast herby Salmon with couscous
Wednesday: Chicken curry
Thursday: Chicken and sausage casserole
Friday: Chicken burgers
Saturday: Posh sausage sandwiches
Sunday: Beef stew
As an aside, I discovered Carnation caramel this week – wow! I used it to make my mum a birthday banoffee pie and then finished off the tin by dipping digestives in it. Yum, yum. See why I need to start Zumba!!
Find more great meal plans over at Mrs M’s
My cat and dog are part of the family and have a pretty good life running around the farm. But looking after them soon adds up. Just like every aspect of life at Frugal Farmhouse, I am always looking for ways to give them the best for less. Here are my 5 top tips for pet owners on a budget:
Buy in bulk
Like most things, buying animal feed in bulk works out much cheaper. As long as you have somewhere to store the big sacks then it is definitely the best way to go. If you subscribe to a monthly order on Amazon you can save another few pounds. The good thing about this system is that you can cancel or postpone the order at anytime if you don’t need it yet.
Make a pig’s ear of it
Rather than buying dog treats from a pet store, go to a farm shop or butchers where they will often be selling off leftover bones or pig ears for a fraction of the price. Dogs love them, they last longer and are better for them.
Plastic bottle toys
The last toy we bought my puppy was touted as ‘long lasting’ and ‘invincible’. She ate through it in an hour! Her favourite toy now, which is much cheaper and hard wearing, is an empty plastic bottle. She will chuck it around the garden for hours and it costs nothing. Put a few dog treats inside and they will have even more fun trying to get them out.
Mix food with biscuits
For convenience we use the pouches of cat food – always bought in bulk – but they can work out expensive. So we buy some supermarket own cat biscuits and mix half and half with wet food to make it last much longer.
Insurance is one of those things that seems like an unnecessary expense until you need it. With the price of vet fees one accident can soon cost you thousands. Do your research as some policies only cover conditions for a year or up to a certain cost. Also, check the excess, whether pre-existing conditions are covered and be aware that as your pet ages the premiums will rise steeply.
OK, this recipe is a little late as I think I promised to post it a few weeks ago but the days seem to fly by with a 7 week old sucking away all my time!
I love a good one pot recipe and this is great to serve at the table with a green salad and a few chunks of bread.
500g beef mince
2tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground coriander
1 small red onion
2 garlic cloves
Small piece ginger
400 ml chicken stock
Mix beef and spices together and form into meatballs. Fry in generous glug of olive oil in heavy based dish.
Add onion, garlic and ginger and fry gently for 5 minutes.
Push meatballs to side and add rice. Pour in stock and passata, season, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve with coriander.
A lemon curd sandwich for breakfast. Curry sauce and rice for dinner. Skip the tea, meat or afternoon treat.
No, we haven’t gone all draconian here at Frugal Farmhouse, this is a typical meal plan for someone taking the #Belowtheline challenge. If you’ve been hanging round Twitter at all this week you will have seen a lot of posts about people eating for a £1 a day.
It is all part of a campaign by The Global Poverty Project to raise awareness of poverty and the realities of life for people living on low incomes.
Does #belowtheline help?
I would have liked to take part in the challenge but as I am breastfeeding it is not nutritionally sound. However, if I am honest, my main motive would have been more a personal challenge rather than anything else. I understand people live in poverty, I have met them, written about them and am a champion for their cause. But does this challenge actually help?
Pretending to be poor
Some people, like Philippa Willitts, over on the F Word, suggest that such initiatives don’t do much good. That they don’t give a real insight into people living in these situations and that we should just talk to them instead. I get her point. There is something a bit patronising about putting yourself in someone’s shoes for 5 days, knowing it is just temporary. But sadly the reality is, another personal story of living on the breadline won’t get people talking like this challenge will.
Shouting about poverty
All charities and good causes struggle to get the attention and support that they deserve. And all of them are constantly looking for ways to raise their profile, garner media coverage and increase donations. So, no, a group of mums living on £1 a day for 5 days is not the reality of living in poverty. They will go back to their weekly Ocado order and savour a nice glass of wine at the end of the week to congratulate themselves. However, if one more person makes a donation or understands a little more about the issues, then in my opinion it is a job well done.
Follow some #belowtheline participants here:
Our New Life In the Country
A Girl Called Jack
One Pound Per Day
Living a Slow and Simple Life
So this week I have 15 bananas to eat! They are left over from a BBQ and although I like them, they are not my favourite snack so want to find ways of using them up. Any leftovers I will cut up and freeze for using in smoothies or baking in the future.
Monday: Berry and banana breakfast smoothie
Tuesday: Jerk chicken with pineapple and banana salsa
Wednesday: Baked banana with golden syrup. Such a yummy, easy and cheap pudding. A version with cinnamon is included in the cookbook for the Live Below The Line challenge running this week.
Thursday: Bagel with banana and honey. I’ve been obsessed with this since seeing it on a bagel advert – advertising works!!
Friday: Sweet potato, banana and chickpea curry (based on this food.com recipe but substituting the pumpkin)
Saturday: Leon breakfast banana split with apple bircher
Sunday: My Banana bread recipe is great for using up any squishy bananas and lovely with an afternoon cup of tea.
This salad is so light and refreshing and a great way to pack in some vitamins. It is quite wet and sharp so is perfect with dry dishes like breaded pork or to cut through the fatiness as a BBQ side dish.
1 granny smith apple
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
½ tsp wholegrain mustard
Salt and pepper
Coarsely grate the carrot, apple and beetroot. Pat off some of the moisture with a paper towel.
Whisk together dressing ingredients and mix in. Sprinkle on sesame seeds.
My little baby is all grown up. He is one month old and I have had to reluctantly retire his newborn clothes, some of which he has barely worn. Next thing you know, he’ll be off to university!
People say ‘enjoy those early days as they go so fast’ and I’m beginning to see what they mean. On one hand I am eagerly awaiting the day he sleeps longer and feeds less, but at the same time mourning the loss of his wrinkly fingers and tiny toes.
Things I’ll miss:
- Stroking his tiny wrinkly fingers
- Being excited when he opens his eyes for more than 10 seconds
- Introducing him to friends and family
- Giving him his first bath
- Staring in amazement that we made him
- Dressing him in the outfits we bought for him after our scans
- Counting his age in days
But the wonderful thing is, I know there are plenty more firsts to look forward to. This first year is going to be full of wonderful new moments. I can’t wait for him to smile, gurgle and play, to see him roll over, sit up and walk. Oh, and sleep through the night!!
OK, this week I plan on getting around to posting some recipes again. The carrot, apple and beetroot salad is a really nutritious and yummy dish so I’ll share that one and if I’m feeling motivated then the Moroccan meatballs too. For the NCT BBQ I’m planning to do bananas cooked in foil with golden syrup, which you can do in the oven too and are a quick and delicious pud.
Monday: Burgers and sweet potato fries
Tuesday: Breaded pork with carrot, apple and beetroot salad
Wednesday: Cheesy turkey pasta
Thursday: Baked potatoes
Friday: Something frozen and easy: Pizza or Chicken Kievs
Saturday: Moroccan meatballs and rice
Sunday: BBQ with NCT girls
It’s 6.40am and James and I are sat in the kitchen trying to give his Daddy a bit of peace and quiet before he gets up for work. My wriggly, wiggly baby has been grunting away consistently for the last few hours keeping us all awake. He is now sleeping peacefully in his bouncy chair – baby not Daddy – so I thought I should make the most of being able to type with two hands.
James is 4 weeks tomorrow and we are slowly coming out of that time warp where it seems like forever and nothing all at once. We have had so much love from family and friends and have been spoilt with gifts and well wishes. Here are a few of my favourite gifts we have received:
Dallas Cowboys Hat
My DH is a massive American Football fan and one of his friends had this hat knitted to look like the helmet for his team, The Dallas Cowboys. It is such a thoughtful gift and, although it’s a bit big now I’m sure James will be wearing it every weekend when the season starts.
Lamaze high contrast soft book
I had just been looking at these online the day before one of DH’s work colleagues bought it for us. James is already interested in the black and white shapes and faces and it is great for putting up next to the changing table to distract him.
Our next door neighbour gave us this clay imprints kit and it was really special to get a record of his tiny fingers and toes as he has now already grown out of his newborn clothes and put on over 1lb last week!
I was all up for breastfeeding in public with a scarf slung casually over my shoulder, but actually that is much harder than it sounds and means you have to plan your outfits carefully. This bit of kit is really handy but is something I probably wouldn’t have invested in if someone hadn’t bought it for me.
We have also been given a range of gorgeous baby outfits from newborn all the way up to 18 months so James is going to be one well dressed boy. Thankyou everyone!
When baby James first entered this world I felt an overwhelming rush of joy and relief that he was safe and finally here.
But lying in the operating theatre, shaking uncontrollably from the drugs and with a man rummaging around inside my uterus, I didn’t have that instant surge of love that I expected.
He was soon whisked off with my husband while they patched me up and I don’t remember much about the rest of that night.
The next day I had tubes going in and out of me, was very weak and the midwife and my husband were doing most of the baby work. I felt very disconnected and when I learnt that one of my NCT friends had given birth to a baby girl called Isabelle I remember thinking ‘that should have been my baby’. I think I had secretly wanted a girl, who we would have named Isabella, and I felt a shameful pang of disappointment.
Later, when I was transferred to the ward and my husband had to leave I panicked that I wouldn’t know what to do with James, and could hardly look after myself at that point, let alone a baby. Yet it was when we were finally alone together that my maternal instinct kicked in. I looked down at this beautiful baby, who was so longed for, so perfect, and fell in love.
From that moment on, I knew I wouldn’t change him for the world. It may not have been instant, but the love I feel for my baby is instinctive, internal and I now know what being a mum means.