Sunday, 27 October 2013

Cheap Thrills: Potato Cakes and Pillowcases

Two fun and thrifty things I want to share with you that I found on the internet this weekend.  The first is potato cakes which I made using a simple recipe from Scarlet Rosita's blog.  I used gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour and they were spot on.  I made 12 so we had some covered in butter for breakfast on Saturday and the rest with poached eggs on top with mushrooms and shallots for lunch today.  They were so easy to make and a good use of the last few potatoes in the bag.

The second thing is a tutorial for turning a pillowcase into a reusable shopping bag from Grow Mama's blog.  I read through it for an idea of what I needed to do then got an old (and boring) pillowcase out of the linen cupboard to have a go.  Here it is with fabric pen lines marking out a rough pattern:

After cutting, pinning and hand sewing I had this:

If folds up small so will fit easily in my handbag, and I'm going to make a pouch to fold it into using the spare fabric.

If this experimental pillowcase-bag copes well with shopping I'm going to make more using some of the many pillowcases that turn up in charity shops.  Hey, and I'll even measure out a proper pattern and everything rather than winding it!  I saw loads of pillowcases in great fabrics for 50p each yesterday and I'm kicking myself for not buying them!  I'm always a fan of things which are unique, thrifty and good for the environment at the same time.  All that and it was fun to make.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sunday Soup; Parsnip and Chickpea

Today's big batch o' soup is parsnip and chickpea, which I made up as I went along based on what I had in the cupboard as I wanted to make use of the very cheap parsnips in Aldi at the moment.  I never noticed before how sweet and earthy parsnips smell.  Such an unpromising looking vegetable but so fragrant.  Here's my recipe for a sweet, creamy, subtly flavoured soup that's easy to make and cheap whilst parsnips are in season.  This makes 6 hearty portions served on it's own but you could stretch it to 8 or 9 if you served it with bread.

5 large parsnips, chopped into small pieces
400g can of chickpeas (240g when drained)
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tbs garam masala spice
1 tsp garlic power/garlic salt
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
Black pepper
Olive oil

In a large saucepan heat the olive oil on a medium heat and fry the garam masala and crushed garlic for 30 seconds then add the chopped onion, cover and soften on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Stir in the drained chickpeas and chopped parsnips and stir to coat with the spice and oil.  Pour in the stock and season with as much black pepper as you like.  Simmer for 15 mins or until the parsnips are soft.

Turn off and leave to cool for 15 minutes then blend in batches.  Stir through a bit of cream if you fancy it and you're done.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Let the game begin...

I've collected information about Seasonal Affective Disorder, blogged about it, ordered a new light box (a wearable visor infact).  Now that Britain's seen the first cold weather and dull mornings of the year I can see that it's time to make my personal plan.  This includes planning...

...what habits I need to put in place (exercises etc) I can streamline my morning routine
...any changes I could do with making to how and what I eat
...specific events to look forward to through Winter to take pressure off myself as my energy dips cold weather clothes and shoes or repairs to existing ones

Fortunately I LOVE making lists!  I've been a list maker all my life, and my first response to a challenge is to make a list.  So off I go to merrily write things down in an orderly fashion before moving on to the delight of ticking them off when they're done.

So Winter, let the game begin.

Monday, 7 October 2013

What a way to unwind

I've had a busy evening in the kitchen making soup, butchering a turkey leg (yep) and making my cleanser and toner for the next few weeks.  Then cleaning up after myself after making some vinegar based surface cleaner!  I've flopped down to watch TV and knit soon, tired out but satisfied.  It's not been exactly non-stop glamour but after a stressful day stuck at a desk it's good to get hands-on stuff done, and I feel calm and relaxed.  I have five meals (10 portions) worth of turkey, nine portions of soup, surface cleaner cleanser and toner so I feel productive and worthy of the hot chocolate I'm rewarding myself with.

Wishing you a good evening, whatever that may mean for you.