Save Money ~ Cook it Yourself!

As most of you know, Chef P and I are avid fans of getting things…on sale…cheap…for a bargain…in the reduced to clear section….well, you get the picture.

Most nights on his way home, Chef P stops at the store to get various items that I may request him to get which also gives him a chance to check out the reduced to clear section (RTC).  Usually by the time he gets there, the produce items have been lowered in price to a pretty good bargain.  He’s gotten packs of fresh herbs for 10p, a pack of chestnut mushrooms for 26p, leeks for 30p, etc.

It really makes me wonder why more people don’t shop this way; they could save money and still eat in a healthy way.  Yes, the items are on their last sale date, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used a day or two later.

I decided to make a chicken stir fry for dinner so pulled out a couple of chicken boobs from the freezer this morning.  Unfortunately, the chicken was not an RTC item, but it was still reasonably priced.  I checked the fridge to see what we had in the way of veggies and pulled out a few items: Chestnut Mushrooms, Fresh Coriander, Spring Onions, Chinese Leaf, Baby Cabbage and Choi Sum (a Chinese spinach).  With the exception of the spring onions, all of these items were purchased from RTC.  I decided to keep track of what it cost to make dinner for the two of us.

I cut up all the veggies and the chicken along with some garlic, fresh ginger (another RTC item) and a chili pepper.  I also made a sauce using a mixture of fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and sugar and corn flour to thicken.

The veggies cost a grand total of £1.32

The chicken cost a grand total of £2.00

I estimated the garlic/ginger/chili at a total of £0.12

The sauce ingredients and cornflour, again an estimate of about £0.30

This brings the total of dinner to £3.77, not including the rice, which I estimate at about 10p as we bought a 10kg/22lbs. bag on the RTC and that was only £5.45.


We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to bring you this update…

Chef P has just arrived home with a bag of goodies from the RTC.  Let’s see what he got:

4 peaches @ .55p (originally £2.47)

2 mangoes @ .32p (originally £1.50)

2 bags sugar snap peas @ .25p ea. (originally £1.00)

1/2 swede (1kg!) @ .25p (originally £0.86)

1 container low fat lemon & coriander hummus @ .30p (originally £1.00)

So instead of paying £7.83, he paid £1.98…how could you possibly go wrong??

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program…..

So we’re eating a Chinese meal full of healthy veggies and chicken, no MSG and no added salt, other than what’s in the soy sauce, etc.  When you order a take away/take out, you have no idea what’s in there.  It’s probably loaded with MSG and salt and who knows what else.

So think twice before you pick up that phone to order out.

♥ Terri  ♥♥


Miscellany and Mustard


Sigh…I seem to have writer’s block today.  What can I talk about?  What would you like to read about?  What I did today since getting up at 5:00 am?  Probably not, but it’s a start.  Got up, made the bed…removed laundry from the clothes rack, folded and came down to the kitchen and had my Berocca.  I put dishes away from last night and gave the kitties a bit more dry food. (borrrring)

It was raining and blowing a gale out there this morning!  Cleaned out the litter boxes (always a fun job!)  Got hubby’s lunch out of the fridge and packed up his bag and put it by the front door…made sure his phones and keys and work badge were all together. (Oh, how exciting)

Made a cuppa tea…hubby left for work.  Went up to shower and dress and was back down in the kitchen by 6:30 am.  Had a little bit or ironing to do; about 3 shirts and several dish towels.  Some of you may remember my post a while back about me and my ironing and know that I give myself more work than necessary by ironing the ‘glass drying’ tea towels and also the bed sheets. (yawn)

I caught up on reading the papers (and a catalog or two!) and then it was getting near time to feed the kitties; I knew because they were all circling like sharks in the kitchen!  Whoever said cats can’t tell time was lying! (are you still with me?)

I fed the sharks…I mean cats, and then fed myself some breakfast…some scrambled egg with lowfat cheese in a whole wheat pita. (I think I’ve got something now!)

I didn’t get to finish making the mustard yesterday so got down to doing that.  Making your own mustard is really easy and once you get the basics down, you can try adding different ingredients for a variety of flavors.  For those who want to try making your own mustard, here’s the one I did today… (yay, a recipe!)

~~Sweet Spicy German Mustard~~

2/3 C mustard seeds (black or white or a mix)

1/2 C dry mustard powder

1 C cold water

2 C cider vinegar

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 C brown sugar

2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp each: ground allspice, turmeric, tarragon

4 tsp honey

Combine the mustard seeds, mustard powder and water in a small glass or ceramic bowl.  Cover and set in fridge overnight.

Next day: combine vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, tarragon and turmeric in a small pan.  Heat gently and simmer uncovered 10-15 minutes until reduced by half.

Add to mustard seed mix and blend with an electric hand blender.  The seeds will not break up but you do want to mix thoroughly enough to blitz the garlic.

Pour mixture into a double boiler over slowly simmering water.  Cook until thick, about 15-20 minutes stirring often.  Add honey and stir.

Pour into small sterilized glass jars and seal.  This will keep refrigerated for several years.

Cook’s Note:  It won’t taste very good right now; very sharp and tangy.  Keep it in the cupboard for 3-4 weeks before eating to allow the flavors to mellow and blend.

I then cleaned up the dishes and made myself some lunch.  A thrown-together Oriental type soupcabbage, mushrooms, spring onions, garlic, ginger and any leftover cooked meat you might have (I had duck).  Shrimp work well too.  Throw it all into a pot, (if using the shrimp, add with the noodles) add some boiling water (to cover) along with a bit of sesame oil.  Bring to the boil for about 5-10 minutes then throw in some Oriental noodles.  I used buckwheat noodles and cooked for an additional 5 minutes.  Put a packet of miso soup paste in your bowl.  When the soup is done, pour into the bowl, mix and eat.  You don’t add the miso paste to the pot because boiling it reduces its health properties.

While I was cooking up lunch I turned on the laptop and started checking emails and blog stats, etc.  Sat down and ate my soup while on the computer.  Had a chat with the MIL as she called to check in. (oh no, not again)

While still pondering on what to write about, I cleaned up the lunch dishes, came back here and sat down and started typing…about what, I don’t know!

I have also just eaten the last of the banana muffins and so now will have to figure out what to make in place of them.  P brought home some raspberries yesterday from the reduced to clear section so I’ll need to do something with them really quick before they go off.  Maybe I’ll make raspberry muffins tomorrow!

Until then, y’all have a good day now!

Friday Food Couples – Broccoli & Sesame Oil


BROCCOLI is a member of the cabbage family and has ancient beginnings, dating back to Roman times.  It has been shown to aid many conditions and packs a more powerful nutrient punch than any other veggie.

It contains high levels of vitamin C, it’s full of fiber and has detoxifying properties to help to cleanse the liver.  It is rich in iron and helps to treat anemia.  It also contains calcium and magnesium which are both vital for bone health.

Broccoli contains several chemical compounds including vitamin A; beta-carotene, known to inhibit the activation of cancer cells.  As broccoli can increase vitamin A in the body, it also helps to improve various skin conditions and is also packed with B-vitamins.

Zinc enhances mental alertness, vitamin B5 helps the body to metabolize fats into energy and folic acid encourages the production of serotonin, a mood-lifting chemical in the brain.



Tiny SESAME SEEDS can add both taste and essential nutrients to a variety of sweet and savory dishes.  They are also a brilliant non-dairy bone-builder as they are a fantastic source of calcium.

Sesame seeds have a nutty flavor and are slightly crunchy in texture to eat. The seeds can be made into a number of products, such as sesame oil which is highly resistant to rancidity and tahini, a sesame seed paste, or they can simply be scattered over stir fries, salads or pasta.

Rich in zinc and vitamin E, they are powerful immunity boosters. They also contain a host of B-vitamins to support the nervous system and to help the body to cope with stress, as well as selenium to stave off wrinkles and keep the skin looking young.  The seeds and oil are both rich in calcium and magnesium.

The seeds (a good source of vegetarian protein) are packed with omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and hair; while the oil contains omega-9 fatty acids to benefit the heart  by reducing cholesterol levels.


3 tbsp nut oil

1 tbsp sesame seeds

thumb sized piece of root ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 broccoli head, broken into small florets

3 carrots, peeled and cut into long thin slices

1/2 cabbage, cored and shredded

sesame oil, for drizzling

In a wok, heat the nut oil and sesame seeds until the seeds start to toast.

Add the ginger and garlic, cook for 30 seconds then add the vegetables.

Combine well, turn down the heat to low and fry for a further 5-10 minutes.

Serve with a drizzle of sesame oil.