Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cheap as Chips?

Have just enough time to write and publish before Norma arrives, so will begin with replies to comments.

I buy EasyYo from Lakeland Campfire, where it is much the same price as elsewhere, although sometimes they do an offer. Even at the full price it ends up cheaper (by weight/volume) than the 'ready-made' yogurts sold in supermarkets.
Several readers use EasyYo 'mix', but use only part of a pack and make it up with milk instead of water, so this would also mean it would be cheaper. They say it works, but haven't yet tried this myself.

No Valentine cards for me. Think my golden years re this were when I worked as bar-made and one year had about ten (how B sulked!!!). B does give me a birthday card, but although he asks me what I'd like for a present, I usually tell him I'd let him know later, then forget so it is rare he buys me anything off his own bat. Sometimes though he does bring me in some flowers (then I wonder what he's done that he feels guilty about!).

You sounded as though your whole family celebrate Valentine's Day Lisa. Your comment re the 'tent city' was surprising, but the programme said that America is trying to hide this fact (from the world) that they have this problem, so maybe they do not wish their own citizens to know about it either. Deb and Urbanfarmgirl also commented on the programme. I have yet to watch the repeat myself although think it is on iPlayer for those who wish to see it before then.

Am puzzled why a 'canner' is needed to make jam Lisa. Not quite sure what this 'appliance' is, possibly a steriliser, but jam is cooked to such a high heat that it shouldn't need sterilising. Over here we just boil sugar and jam until it is as 'setting point', then pour it into hot, sterilised jars and then seal it with either a screw-cap lid, or a cellophane circle held on with a rubber band. The jam then will store for months (sometimes years if unopened) on a shelf in the larder.

Not sure how much it costs to buy dried milk over here, am sure some brands work out cheaply enough, although supermarket fresh milk is very cheap (some stores sell 4 pint containers for just £1.). 'Doorstep' milk, as delivered by the milkman is around 50p a pint. .
By the way the spelling for blancmange (as a dessert) is written as one word not divided into two.

Loved the suggestions for patching furniture with tape, fabric d'oyleys etc. We usually have a 'throw' that we drape over the back of couches to protect the fabric, or to cover up holes, also slip covers for the ends of arms where hands often rub through the fabric weave.

Now to the Goode life. The 'tea-loaf' made yesterday turned out much better than expected. I was in the middle of making it when the groceries arrived, but managed to get it into the oven while B unloaded the many 'crates'. Considering there was no fat at all in the cake, and only one egg used feel it is a perfect recipe for us 'cost-cutters'. Have given the recipe before, but if anyone wishes to have it again, just ask.
Using fruit-flavoured tea-bags certainly helped.

The good news is that the points vouchers plus the promotion savings reduced my bill by £48!!!
Also a further £20 will be given back to me by B's social to pay for their desserts. As I'd managed to reduce my shopping list anyway to 'essentials', in real money terms I'd only need to find just over £50 to pay for our own 'edibles'.

Surprisingly, despite there seeming a lot of full bags spread over the kitchen floor, once emptied and put away in fridge/freezer/larder there are still gaps left on the shelves, so haven't overstocked as so often done before. Was pleased about this.

My freezer purchases were small - a bag of oven chips, and a bag each of broccoli florets (had a 'price match' refund of 30p as they hadn't the broccoli and cauliflower mix I requested), and a bag of frozen peas.
'Larder' goods bought were 2 x 6 pack of baked beans (on offer), 5 cans of Baxter's soup (on offer), four cans of corned beef, two cans of Spam (offer), and four small cans of tomato puree (as these worked out cheaper by weight than one jar of same). Also bought 2 jars of Branston pickle (offer), some dark 70% chocolate (for cooking), a jar of English mustard and a jar of whole grain mustard (as had run out of both), and a jar of Marmite. Plus 3 cans of the cheapest canned fruit (sliced peaches, pineapple cubes).

The fresh foods were my main purchases, these being vacuum packet beetroot, head of celery, iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, white cabbage, red onions, carrots, parsnips, a bag of 'value' bell peppers, two bags of small potatoes (offer), and a 2.5kg bag of King Edward potatoes (for baking/roasting/chips).

There was a mention recently of the cost of the 'ready-cooked' jacket potatoes that take only a few minutes in the microwave. These working out at 50p each. So with that thought, took time yesterday to count the King Eds in the bag and work out the cost of these. These cost £1.49 for the 2.5 kg (that's the same as 3 microwaved 'jackets' would have cost), and although all the spuds in the bag were not all large, there were 9 full-sized 'jacket's' and 14 smaller ones (and even these weren't that small). As the 2 kg bag of 'chunky oven chips' cost £2, this proves that the phrase 'cheap as chips' is appropriate when it comes to 'doing it ourself' as against the ready-cooked/prepared..

Also bought oranges, and having ordered loose 'large' (30p each), and also a 'net' of oranges (5 oranges for £1.85), all oranges were the same, but those bought 'loose' worked out cheaper than the 'pack'. So again we should never assume that a 'bulk buy' is less expensive than the items bought singly.

Other items delivered were 3 x 4 ltrs milk, 8 packs butter (for B), 2 tubs Flora Pro-active (for me), 3 packs cheddar cheese (on good offer), 2 of Red Leicester, some cream cheese, double cream (on offer), pork sausages (to be frozen), and 2 packs of smoked streaky bacon.

Yesterday B and I managed to eat a can of Spam between us. I had a sarni with watercress and Spam for lunch, B fancied fried Spam for his supper with some oven-chips and peas, and I later finished the rest of the can eating it cubed with some of the tomatoes. Now, these were the first tomatoes I've eaten for weeks (normally always keep them in stock), an either these were a particularly tasty variety (Piccolo cherry tomatoes), or it was because I'd had to wait for my 'treat', but whatever, it was like it used to be in the old days, 'first taste of the season'. And how good that was. We should do this more often, eat only when in season (not that the toms are in season, but you know what I mean, some things are always worth waiting for as they are then more appreciated).

Time has caught up with me, have a bit of clearing to do before Norma arrives, so will say my farewells for today. Hope you can join me again tomorrow. Thankfully looks like being a sunny day today and surprisingly we are now back to springlike temperatures 13C in some areas. But that is Britain for you. Never know from one day to the next what the weather will be. TTFN.