Monday, 15 July 2013

The £2 House Keeping Challenge - Nearing the End ?

This was the shopping bought for this week, it's looking very different from usual, there's no fresh fruit and veg for a start, that's mostly because we have our own growing now and most meals start with a mooch around the Veggie Patch seeing what's ready to be picked.
 There's lots of water because the smaller bottles were on offer for once and Lovely Hubby loves these.   The normal price is 49p for the large and 45p for the small, so I tend to buy a large and decant it into a small for travelling purposes, it's almost two for the price of one that way, but at the end of last week the small ones were 25p each so it was worth stocking up with small bottles for future decanting purposes.
There's a few 'cheats', ready rolled pastry and ready made quiches, because I have something in mind ..... she says mysteriously :-)
There are two large tubs of cream, that's because we have been enjoying some creamy Alfredo Sauces and pasta with our own homegrown Courgettes (with a bit of bacon added for Lovely Hubby) ....
... so much so we've used up all the spaghetti and the jar is now holding the last of the pasta twists instead.
Yes, things are starting to run out and not all are being replaced, we are starting to make do with what we have, thinking things through and making changes.  This is where is getting more exciting for me, meals are that much more satisfying if you've had to think 'outside the packet'.
For instance we've ran out of all the lovely big jars of Mayonnaise that I bought while it was on offer in Winter ...
... it was no problem as I had all the ingredients.

So I made my own.
Yes, it tastes slightly different, it tastes fresh and vibrant and can be altered to suit what we are eating.  If we want it garlicky I just add half a teaspoon of lazy garlic to a big dollop of it, if we want it 'hot' I add a few chilli flakes and leave it to sit for a while for the flavours to infuse slightly. 
I used to do it the traditional way put all the ingredients in the food processor except the oil and then drizzle the oil in slowly drop by drop and then in a steady stream and then I found an even easier way.
 I picked up this quickest of quick recipes from Elaine over at Mortgage Free in Three.
1 Whole Egg
half teaspoon of salt
half teaspoon of dry mustard
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
250 mls of Light Olive Oil
Put ALL ingredients into a jug.
Whizz with a stick blender for 10 seconds.
Put into a nice clean jar.

Yes, it's that simple.
As you can see I tinkered with the ingredients slightly, I didn't have any lemons or dry mustard, my eggs were small so I used two, and it still all worked out fine and miraculously changed from a pile of things in the bottom of the jug to a jam jar sized amount of lovely fresh Mayonnaise.
Give it a go you'll be amazed.
(I've decided to put a Recipe page at the top of the Blog and try and gather together some of the recipes I put on here as a few of you have been emailing me and asking for them, I hope it helps.)
*** *** ***
I put 'Nearing the End ?' in the title today because there is just £26 left in the £2 House Keeping Tin, and I'm wondering how long I can keep this going.  I have a little build up of Nectar points again, so that should help but it's not a lot of cash left to spend.  Although with all this hot weather we have been eating less and mostly from the Veggie Patch so things do seem to have lasted. 
Something that has amazed me is how little we have eaten from the food cupboard, the one that holds the tins and packets.  There's not a lot of change in there even after all this time.  We must have used some things because all the jars of Pasta Sauce that I made recently are now sitting comfortably in there.  But it's really astounded me how it has remained so seemingly static for so long.  It does make me feel we have to completely re assess our food purchasing habits at the end of this Challenge.
We seem to eat predominantly fresh foods and dried foods from the jars, rice, pasta etc, rather than many tins or packets.  What I may find helps me is having to use the things up in the cupboard as the funds run out, then I might discover a new love of them or it might simply re-affirm that we don't want to eat that way.
Back tomorrow with some lovely pictures of where we were over the weekend, we had a fantastic day out on Saturday and as it was so hot we decided to drop the dogs off at the kennels on the way so it turned into a lovely leisurely weekend.
Sue xx


  1. Just out of interest, why do you buy bottled water? Is your tap water nasty tasting or something?

    I love home made mayo as well. Yours looks yum.

    1. In a word YES!

      The water here is very hard and tastes pretty yuk!! We do filter all the water we use for drinking even the water we put in the kettle for boiling otherwise the kettle furs up after two boilings. I buy supermarkets own value Sparkling water for me at 17p a bottle but LH prefers something with a bit of flavour so I buy whatever flavoured is on offer for him. He drinks cordial diluted with the filtered tap water most of the time but for travelling he prefers the flavoured sparkling kind, so it's good to stock up when it's on offer.

      Occasionally the water in the bathroom tap tastes ok'ish, usually after running it for quite a while and then I will drink a glassful, but as we are metered I wouldn't dream of running the tap for a few minutes JUST to get a reasonably tasting drink.

    2. Ah. I did think you must have pretty horrible tap water to be buying it.
      Ours is lovely, we are on a borehole - but I remember the stuff in Worcester was disgusting even after filtering.

  2. I'd love to know what you have in mind for the quiches etc? ;)

  3. What a fabulously easy way to make home made mayo. I shall be giving that a try.

    1. I had my doubts the first time I tried it but it's brilliant.

  4. Hi Sue, I have been following your blog for a while now and thought i would say hello and tell you how much i enjoy your updates, we are thinking of a change to a bit more of a simpler life and would love to move out to the country, we live on Surrey/Berks/Hants boarders and as you must know country living around here is not cheap! Im looking forward to news about your new home, sounds like exciting times for you.
    Well once again really enjoy your blog!
    Kind Regards

    1. Thank you very much for your lovely comment.

      No living round here is most definitely NOT cheap, which is why our house search had to be in 'price friendly' areas not just necessarily where we would choose to live. We are very lucky in that where we have found our new house is both affordable and absolutely beautiful.

      Although we have always found that no matter where we have lived there have been lots of really lovely people. We always throw ourselves into the local way of life and try to join in with things going on and we are usually welcomed after a while once when folk get used to our wild and wacky ways of course :-)

  5. I'm pleased you have decide to 'round up' your recipes, it will be brilliant.
    Jean x

    1. I hope so, now I just have to remember to add to the page :-)

  6. I'm mightily impressed with this £2 challenge. I know I wouldn't have lasted this long!
    Nothing beats homemade mayo :o)
    Rose H

    1. I'm surprised myself we've lasted this long, and we wouldn't have without deciding to sell off some of our foodstuffs, including the Chocolate Muffins at the car boot sales.

  7. Living in Australia where we have plenty of sunshine and heat we all have our rain water tanks out here in the country. I think a lot of the townsfolk do too. We always have plenty of rain water .I was urprised you dont have them. Would be interested to know why not. Glad you are rounding up the great recipes..

    1. We DO have water butts at every available downpipe, but they are now all empty after being used for the chickens and to water the Veggie Patch.

      In the UK there are at the moment less places with huge rainwater catching tanks as we have traditionally never needed them on a regular basis, we have lots of rain in this country. Things do seem to be changing though, and more and more self sufficiency lifestyle followers are having tanks built into their properties. Something we fully intend doing once we have a place of our own. It would not have been financially viable to do this in our rented properties.

  8. Wow - this really is living frugally - I admire your stickability - I would have caved in after a few weeks.

    1. We have done well, it helped of course having two freezers full to bursting at the start :-)

  9. I remember thinking when you first started out with the challenge that I'd be impressed if you made it last six months (just seemed such a tiny amount of money, lol) - yet here you are, gone well past that point and still going - so yes, I am seriously impressed :) I really enjoyed reading all the updates on the challenge, and helped me to concentrate on reducing my own food spends further.

    1. It has made me really think before purchasing anything, which can only be a good thing for future expenditure.

      I wonder how long this last little dribble of money will last - not long I fear with what we have in mind in the coming weeks.

  10. You have done really well to keep going for as long as you have, but even if the challenge had only lasted a couple of months it would save quite a bit of money. I am interested that you decant the fizzy water into smaller bottles, as I found than if I do this it tends to lose its fizz really quickly. I have to admit that I have been able to buy 500ml bottles in Lidl for 99p, so have been buying that until very recently when I found the Tesco 2ltr bottle on offer at 17p so no contest (however, now they are charging 24p). I am glad you are able to eat so much from your own garden, I have not been able to do this for a few years, but have a fairly reasonable greengrocer a few miles away who often sell fruit and veg for reasonable prices when it is past its best.

  11. It does lose it's fizz a bit quicker if you decant, but we only decant when we need a bottle to take in the car with us and as it gets drunk on the journey doesn't have time to really get flat.

    Gosh I would NEVER pay 99p for 500mls, I thought I was extreme in buying the odd bottle of the flavoured stuff for 49p, but I do like to change the small bottles every couple of weeks as they get weaker after constant use and I've read that the plastic is not good to be used over and over. So I buy when the small ones are on offer and only use them as a current one goes out of use.

    Make good use of your greengrocer they are a dying breed now and are few and far between these days, lucky you to have one nearby.

    1. Sorry, I did not write that fully - the Lidl water is 99p for 6 bottles of 500ml not 99p each! I do like the small bottles but as it is so hot at present they do not last long enough. We are very lucky here as we have a few 'old fashioned' shops in Wells which is under four miles away.

  12. I remember my mum making her own mayo, it just doesn't compare to the shop bought ones. I've yet to try and make my own myself, it's so much more convenient sometyimes to buy a jar of the stuff.


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