Guest Post @ Captain Capitalism. Stockpiles.

A huge thanks to @aaron_clarey for publishing my guest post on starting up a stockpile.

My first post back from the week off and it isn’t on my blog! 😛 Click here to read it.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

Egg Yolk Cake. + Rhubarb Egg Tart.

Two recipes, because we need something to do with all those egg whites after the yolks are used up in the cake! All of this is absolutely terrible for you, whatever diet you are or aren’t on.

Yolk Cake.

Ingredients.

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 200ml extra thick double cream
  • 300g mixed white and icing sugar
  • 300g flour and raising agents
  • a dash of vanilla

Utensils.

  • mixing bowl and whisk
  • greased or nonstick cake tin

Recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  2. Mix together the egg yolks, egg, sugar, cream and vanilla into a smooth paste is formed.
  3. Fold the flour in gently.
  4. Mix in any raising agents.
  5. Pour into the cake tin.
  6. Bake for 30min. A skewer should come out without residue, but still be sticky to touch.
  7. Leave to finish cooking in its own heat.
  8. Jon says that keeping it in a tupper is essential to preserving stickiness.

Rhubarb Tart.

Ingredients.

For the crust:

  • 150g flour
  • 100g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • cinnamon to taste

For the filling:

  • 8 egg whites
  • 300g rhubarb stems
  • 250ml double cream
  • 5tbsp sugar
  • 1tsp thin vanilla extract

Utensils.

  • 2 mixing bowls with forks
  • whisk
  • greased or nonstick tart tin

Recipe.

  1. Mix the pastry ingredients into a firm dough.
  2. Press into a cake tin and refrigerate until needed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  5. Fold in the cream and whisk some more.
  6. Stir in the sugar and vanilla.
  7. Clean and chop the rhubarb stems.
  8. Place in the tart base.
  9. Pour the egg mix on top, ensure even and flat distribution.
  10. Bake at 160C until firm, puffed up, a little brown on top but still jiggly.
  11. Leave to cool before slicing.

It was a way of using up a few eggs and some cream, I suppose. Probably also two of the most fattening dishes I ever make. Oh well. At least they’re cheap. 😛

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

The Garden Haul Comes In.

Interrupting the recipes for a quick update on the garden foods.

Well, we’re not quite there yet. Beans are not yet ripe, neither are tomatoes. Still got plenty of greens to harvest, as well as around 4/5 of the potatoes. The carrots and beets and turnips could do with another growth spurt too. But both in preparation for moving and because things ripen at different speeds, a load of stuff has already been coming in.

The raspberry bushes. Not actually “ours”. Wild-seeded.

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Raspberry, strawberry and blackcurrant jam prep.

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This year’s attempt at restocking the jam supplies. Got blackberry jam to make soon, then elderberry jam and apple sauce. Hopefully plum jams, but we don’t grow our own so that depends on overstock from neighbours.

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Just a little peek into the top of our bag of frozen blackberries. Pretty much every time I’ve gone out, I’ve been picking early blackberries and freezing them. The picture doesn’t show it well, but the bag has around 1.5-2L of blackberries in it. They will need rinsing from frozen, defrosting gently, adding to however many fresh ones I can gather as September advances, then stewing down for more jams!

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The very last batch of rhubarb. Probably going to be a tart, or maybe a sweet sauce for topping a flan. Now’s time to move the plant roots into pots, to move down to our new place, ready to plant out next Spring.

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Around 1/10 of the potatoes, because we ate half of this batch before I took a photo. Digging them up 1/5 at a time, starting with the shallow ones, to prevent parasites and rot from getting them first. They’re possibly the starchiest potatoes I have ever had. 😀

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And finally some of the greens we are growing. No pesticides, so a bit nibbled, but fine to eat.

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Here are some fresh greens, early beans and herbs being prepped for a stew.

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In short, the garden is serving us well this year.

Sadly my pea plants were not as robust as the beans, though, and produced only a handful of pods before succumbing to the sun during my week of absence. There’s always next year, though!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

5 Things You Can Make For A Baby.

I know, it’s been forever since I posted regularly. But there’s been a wedding, a load of jam to make and far too much baby stuff to catch up on. Should be back to blogging now though!

Anyways, here are five things I plan on making for our baby. None are truly bare essentials as in I could buy them at a store or DIY them some other way. But sewing saves money, reduces stress and keeps me from buying every cute thing I see. So if you’re going through the same acquisition urges, here are five things you can make, rather than buy, to save some money and spare your sanity.

1: A nappy bag.

Retail price: From the stats used in my WIP “Baby Budget Diary” book, the average nappy bag costs £50.

Materials cost: Nothing so far! I had almost everything I am using from ages ago and I am repurposing a lot of freebies.

I know I don’t need to make one. A sports bag can be grabbed for a couple of £ and the gods know it’s simpler. But every single penny I can save is a lifesaver when it comes to this new budget book project, and, to be honest, I kind of want a cute, personal nappy bag.

2: Sleep sacks.

Retail price: £20 a piece, total £120 for the first year. I’m gonna faint.

Materials cost: £3.50, and only that high because Jon and I fell in love with this Doctor Who print sheet fabric. Is Doctor Who gender-neutral? Yes, it is. Shhh…

If you want your Winter baby to be as warm as possible and sleep safely blanket-free, you will need sleep sacks. We actually bought a second hand one for £1.50, but usually they cost over £5 even second hand, and I’d rather make some nice, personal, robust ones that can be used by the babies to come.

3: Flannel wipes.

Retail price: From my Baby Budget Diary statistics, a year of disposable wipes costs £310.70 on average.

Materials cost: £0. Free felt and fleece!

Well worth making, for many reasons. Firstly, you have to use cotton and warm water on a baby anyway for the first few months. Secondly, it’s £310.70. Thirdly, all you need is to cut nice big squares of plush fabric, big enough to cover your hand, and probably around 50 of them. You can make them pretty as well and hem them, but the basic is cutting. I will likely be done in an afternoon when I sit down to do this. Couple of days if I decide to sew. Might even drag out the sewing machine!

4: Bibs and burp cloths.

Retail price: According to my Baby Budget Diary stats, £15 average for the first year.

Materials cost: £5 for the bits I’ll use.

I actually spent £20 total on all the fabric I bought this last month. But not all of it is for bibs and rags. Not all of it is even for the baby! Around £5 will go into bibs and rags. So it’s not cheap. But they’re easy to make. Great if you need stress relief. Probably not worth it if you don’t like sewing.

5: Stuffed toys.

Retail price: The average baby’s first Christmas costs £272. Assuming an even four way split between stuffed toys, rattles and travel toys, books and educational tech, that’s £68 on stuffed toys for year one.

Materials cost: Will probably use around £10 worth of fabric at the most.

Stuffed toys are awesome to make. They can be super-cute, you know they’re safe, they are completely personal to your child, you know how to fix them when they break… just win, win, win!

So there you have it, five things I will be making for my baby. I will try and make travel pillows, lactation pads and swaddling blankets as well, but they’re not quite as exciting to talk about.

What things do you like making for babies and kids in the family?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

5 Baby Essentials I May Do Without.

A post on r/BabyBumps got me thinking about all the things that we have around now for babies that we really didn’t use to use in the past. Some are great innovations. Expecting a baby and having a family history of clotting disorders makes you appreciate things like Vitamin K shots. But others seem… not so useful. So here are five “baby essentials” I can’t see myself using.

1: Bath thermometer.

I know the temperature needs to be right. But I also know how to use my elbow to check temperature. I’m sure a thermometer is more accurate, but I’m not sure the water needs to be exactly 37.50000C. Plus, if I really do panic we have a few waterproof thermometers in the med set that work just fine.

2: A full cot.

There is not a lot of space in the cottage. It’s not a small house, but we have a gym, a tutoring room, two pets and a lot of books. And I don’t think having one cot in one room in an old, cramped cottage with a dog running around will help in the long run. Baby will be in a moses basket, then I will move her/him onto a travel cot, with a decent mattress installed. That way baby can be with me when napping, watch me when I need to keep her/him confined and the cot can go away when we need floor space.

3: Baby bath.

Almost every site for second hand baby goods lists numerous baby baths “never used” or “used once”. Apparently everyone finds it easier to use a sink, or to just hop into a few inches of warm water with baby!

4: Maternity clothes.

Have you seen the prices?! Even the cheaper ones are in the £20 range, for something I will wear for 3 months and store for a year before I need it again.

I’m sticking with my usual strategy for general clothes: good charity shop buys. I have two dresses now that should fit me the whole way, and if I need any more I can just throw on a big dress and go out shopping again.

I struck lucky with bras and have found some sports bras that have no underwire, are soft and elastic and can be comfortably rolled up and down, even one boob at a time, so I might not need maternity bras either.

5: Disposable nappies.

Bit of a trick one here. I know I will probably use a few in the first days as I get the hang of having a baby. But I got what looks like hundreds of reusable nappies for free and in no way do I want to spend money on something I already got.

So those are five “essentials” I really don’t see the point of. What is your angle? Am I getting anything wrong? Is there anything else we can do without, in your experience? Would love to hear from other veteran mums and mums-to-be on the subject!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

I Tried To Make Chocolates (and it almost worked)!

So there are two recipes today: my own home minced meatballs and some chocolate filling that I used in my disastrous first attempt at chocolate making.

Meatballs rock, bacon meatballs rock more.

Having a mincer is awesome!

Ingredients for meatballs:

  • 500g pork
  • 200g bacon
  • 100g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • BBQ mix: 1tsp worcestire sauce, 1tsp soy sauce, 1tsp smoked paprika, chopped spring onions, 2tsp garlic paste, 1tsp salt, 1tbsp pepper

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 1.5tbsp garlic
  • 1tbsp basil
  • 1tsp mustard
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 400g tomato passata
  • 300g broad beans
  • 200g spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Utensils:

  • mincer
  • chopping board and knife
  • pan

Recipe:

  1. Put the meats through the mincer. Mix in the other meatball ingredients and rest.
  2. Roll your meatballs as you heat some butter in a pan.
  3. Pan fry the meatballs on all sides to seal them. Put aside as they seal.
  4. Add the basil, garlic, mustard and paprika to the butter and stir into a paste.
  5. Reintroduce the meatballs. Pour passata on top. Allow to simmer.
  6. When the meatballs are cooked through, add the beans and spinach, turn off the heat and cover. Leave to finish in its own heat.
  7. Serve over pasta, gnocchi or noodles.

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Filling for chocolates, or for angrily licking off the spoon when your chocolates fall apart.

A friend has taken a course in chocolate making and is great at it. I’ve been watching a bit from the sidelines and bought myself a chocolate mould the other day, to give it a go. So my first attempt at chocolates looked like this.

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The second attempt went a bit better.

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But the filling is DELICIOUS.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rhubarb
  • 1 cup mango
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar

Utensils:

  • chopping board and knife
  • pot and wooden spoon
  • blender

Recipe:

  1. Clean, peel and chop the rhubarb and mango. Put in the pot on a low heat
  2. Once softened through, add the white sugar, keep heating and stirring, as though you were making jam.
  3. Add the icing sugar slowly and stir in. Take off the heat and leave to rest.
  4. Blend everything together. There should not be many lumps left anyway.

I put this in some white chocolates with walnut and some dark chocolates with a bit of brazil in the centre. 😀

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

New Year. New Me? New Books!

Yeah, I know I missed the Christmas rush in pushing these on you poor, unsuspecting readers.

But I HAVE actually finished the two books I wanted to finish for 2015. And I HAVE published them.

So here is my first book.

On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

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Naturally all about money. From the basics to the crazy. For areas where I wasn’t sure (sizing down shirts??? MOT???) I asked friends and relatives. Everything else is me and my insane habit of never wanting to spend.

The second one?

The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide.

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For everyone who likes the idea of my sort of lifestyle, but doesn’t know how to go about it. Or for people who hate the idea of my lifestyle, but are stuck housewifing. Or for people who are single, clueless about cleaning and sick of living in filth. Just the bare-bones basics of keeping a house tidy.

Buy them, advertise them for me, send an email asking for a free copy if you know me, I don’t mind. 🙂

TTFN and Happy Reading!