WWWhere have I been?

So, I’ve neglected my weekly update posts a bit… or a lot… or a very lot.

Where have I been?

Putting the SUPER into SUPERSlavisWife, of course!

Some of you may have noticed I have a vlog now. So that was being set up, the concepts were being worked out, the lighting and camera was being tested. Good fun.

I’ve thrown myself into work and setting up some new projects, so that now I am looking at £1000-1200 a month working on average only 4 hours a day, around 20 days a month.

I’ve also all but finished my book On A Budget and am working steadily at some other books, as well as working out release dates.

I’ve made a whole fridge full of preserves (well, half a fridge anyway), after last year’s lasted a full 12 months without problem. Crab-apple sauce (or “crapple sauce”), raspberry, elderberry, blackberry, sloe and plum jams, mixed jams and Autumn pie mix (pumpkin, apple, plum and spices) are now ready for Halloween and Christmas cooking and the remainder should last me the year!

And my weights are increasing apace as my figure further tones and shapes itself.

All in all, it’s paying off.

But now I have time to write recipes down again, so here’s the Wok! 😀

No pictures yet due to my poor timing of the post, but maybe I’ll add some of the cake and the fridge of preserves tomorrow. 🙂

Pork and vegetable stir fry.

Ingredients:

  • -1 deboned, degristled, skinned pork shoulder
  • -6 eggs
  • -200g dried turtle beans (presoaked)
  • -200g fresh garden peas
  • -100g runner beans or green beans
  • -2 onions
  • -2 bell peppers
  • -1tbsp ginger
  • -1tbsp tahina
  • -1tsp soy sauce

Utensils:

  • -chopping board and knife
  • -frying pan

Recipe:

  1. Chop up your pork. Roasting it first makes degristling and deboning easier!
  2. Roughly chop your onion, peppers and green beans.
  3. Roughly dice your onion. Pan fry with the peas, ginger and tahina.
  4. Add the pork, turtle beans and green beans. Cover and simmer.
  5. Add the soy sauce, diced red pepper and make a pocket for each egg.
  6. Cover and simmer until the eggs belong to go solid. Stir up and allow to finish cooking.

Jam cake.

Ingredients:

  • -500g jam of your choosing
  • -500g flour with raising agents
  • -200g dried fruit, chopped
  • -2 eggs

Ingredients for the topping:

  • -chocolate ganache icing (200g chocolate, 200g butter, 100g sugar, spices)
  • -chocolate toppings of choice

Utensils:

  • -mixing bowl and fork
  • -greased cake tin
  • -mixing bowl and spoon

Recipe:

  1. Mix the flour and jam together.
  2. Beat in the two eggs. You shouldn’t need more water.
  3. Fold in the dried fruit.
  4. Pour into the baking tin.
  5. Bake for around 1h at 130-160C.
  6. Once a fork comes out clean, leave to cool.
  7. Melt the ganache frosting and pour over the top.
  8. Affix the chocolate toppings.

We used plum jam, so Jon obviously wanted chocolate carrots as toppings. :p

Beef curry with veg and beans.

Ingredients:

  • -1kg minced beef
  • -350g dried turtle beans (presoaked)
  • -2-4 onions
  • -2 heads of garlic
  • -1 leek
  • -2 bell peppers
  • -1l of curry sauce (mix 1 cup of curry powder, tomato paste, salt and olive oil to taste, add water)

Utensils:

  • -chopping board and knife
  • -large pot

Recipe:

  1. Roughly chop all the vegetables.
  2. Place in a pot. Just cover with water and leave to simmer with the beans.
  3. Once the water has boiled down a bit, add the sauce.
  4. Once the sauce is hot, add the mince, stir in to cook through and leave to cool.

Also, a while back ASDGamer said he’d like to see a meal plan and some of the lower carb foods I have.

Disclaimer 1: I don’t plan recipes, I plan ingredients. For example, that particular week I was using the very last of last year’s jams as pie and cake mixes, we have a lot of chicken and I had set vegetables to use. But I get creative when it comes to seasoning!

Disclaimer 2: Whilst I generally eat low carb, only 1/3 or 2/3 meals are VLC. Jon’s diet is generally high carb with one or two low carb days a week. This is because our bodies, workloads and schedules are different, so I need to make meals and meal plans flexible.

Note 1: Unless mentioned, most complex dishes don’t have an extra carb source.

Note 2: All cakes, pies and breads are homemade by yours truly fitting the week’s ingredient plan, budget and dietary requirements. Sometimes they can be low-carb or no grain or low calorie or tiny portions. Basically, just because it’s baked doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy.

That said, here’s our meal breakdown from last week.

W 16 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: Porridge.

A: N/A.

Lunch

J: Sandwich and pie.

A: Chicken curry.

Dinner

Chicken curry.

T 17 09 2015

Breakfast

Eggy bread and sausages.

Lunch

J: Chicken curry and pie.

A: Salad with chili garlic sauce.

Dinners

J: Pizza, waffles and beans because change over day treat.

A: Chicken vegetable bake because fat.

Cake for pudding.

F 18 09 2015

Jon was ill today, so he’s been snacking on biscuits and tea.

He took an energy drink, an apple, two bananas, some sandwiches and porridge into work, but he may not eat it all.

Breakfast

Mango, leftover pie.

Lunch

Roast chicken and roast veg sandwich.

Dinner

Roast chicken and roast veg sandwich.

S 19 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: Finished the pizza.

A: Mango.

Lunches

J: Pork stir fry.

A: Two tomato sandwiches

Dinners

J: Pork stir fry.

A: Roast chicken with vegetables.

S 20 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: Oatcakes.

A: N/A

Lunches

J: Porridge.

A: Pie and coconut-milk plum ice cream.

Dinner

Pork stir fry.

M 21 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: Eggs and sausages and vegetables.

A: Beef sandwiches and half a mango.

Lunches

J: Porridge

A: N/A

Dinner

Pork stir fry.

T 22 09 2015

Breakfasts

J: A sandwich.

A: A mango.

Lunches

J: Eggs and sausages and vegetables.

A: N/A

Dinner:

Mince with vegetables and black beans.

How To… cook with cheap vegetables.

I am a big advocate of doing everything as cheaply as possible. On the other hand, anyone who ever bought 40 avocados or 5kg of broccoli because it was cheap can confirm that sometimes we buy cheap food and make a dog’s dinner instead of a meal.

Too many avocados!

Too many avocados!

Here is some step-by-step advice to help you buy and use cheap vegetables.

1: Learn the warning signs. There is nothing worse than buying a load of cheap mangoes, only for them to be fibrous and inedible. Learn how to sniff the produce and smell the freshness, how to press the skin or tap the shell to gauge the ripeness, how to check the colour and texture for assessing quality. A few bruises, a soft patch or even a dot of mold can be cut off. Stone-deep rot, dryness and hollowness aren’t usually fixable. Have a good search for the favourite or most expensive produce in your home and how to tell when it’s perfect to eat.

2: Look out for reduced sections. Supermarkets will mark down produce long before it’s overripe or going off, so buy that. Vegetable stalls and grocers aren’t quite so kind, so have a good look at anything you buy. Usually it will just be a little “ugly”: soft apples and dry cabbage being good examples. But sometimes you won’t be able to work with it.

All reduced price.

All reduced price.

3: Only buy what you can realistically use. A family of 5 may be able to eat 10kg of tomatoes in various forms over a week, but don’t push it to 20.

4: Plan ahead with whatever you’ve got. When I come home with tomato, aubergine and courgette, I want to know I can prepare more than one or two variants on meals with it. Ratatouille, mince and rice, salad, vegetable bake and curry, in this case. If you’re not sure, sit down and write out a list of recipes until everything would be used up.

20140219_071852 DCIM100MEDIA

5: Once you’re confident checking quality, finding cheap produce, buying to suit your family and meal planning, try only using cheap plant foods. It saves so much money and even saves time to have an amount of perfectly ripe fruit and veg around the house.

6: Learn to store the produce. Slice and freeze fruit and vegetables. Make vegetable base for stews and freeze or can them. Make jam and chutney and pickles. Make a load of pasta sauce and leave it in the fridge. Dry fruit. Anything, just learn to store it so that when you find an amazingly good deal you can buy it all. We have salad leaves we freeze and use in stir-fries, jams in jars and sliced fruit in the freezer. Be creative.

Pie with home-made jam.

Pie with home-made jam.

So that’s how we find, buy and use cheap produce. I hope it’s reasonably enlightening. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

TTFN and Happy Hunting.