Tuesday, April 30, 2013


After reading your comment Kathryn, it makes me think that all storage should have open shelves with no doors.  Then perhaps we'd keep things tidy and not collect so much clutter, because (here I go again!!) am reminded of a cupboard in Leeds where I kept all containers that could be reused (think this is called recycling these days), and often the cupboards were stuffed so full that each time the door was opened about 100 (empty, clean) yogurt cartons, stacked in piles would tumble on the floor and have to be re-stacked and put back into the cupboard.   In the end had to throw them away.  Well at least most of them, some were usable as small flowerpots once I'd made holes in the base.  The rest had to go.
Decided after that not to keep so many 're-usables', especially as now these can go into special bins at the tip for someone else to recycle. Unfortunately, the habit has stayed with me, and this week I've just GOT to sort out the revolving set of shelves (bottom unit in a corner), absolutely FULL of empty cottage cheese cartons, small plastic containers (and save all their lids as well), as these are very useful for storing the right amount of home-made chicken/beef stock in the freezer. 
When saving cartons now, my thoughts are with the 'club socials' when I cater for at least 40 people, and so try and save at least 40 individual sized cartons that could hold a dessert (that could be frozen).  Probably makes more sense to make one or two much larger desserts then let the committee members portion them out and serve on plates.  I always seem to want to make things difficult for myself.

The mention of listening to Radio 4 Kathryn, has reminded me that there was a talk on Radio Lancashire about the Foodbanks in this area, the Morecambe Foodbank sent me a memo re this also a radio link: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p017bof4 and one I'd liked to have listened to myself as some of our Morecambe members were interviewed.   I did pick up the link and began to listen and the presenter (was he called Dave?) mentioned the huge rise in Foodbanks.  Problem (for me) was that the programme ran for 180 mins, and as I had been told the mention of the Morecambe Foodbank came 1hr 8mins into the programme (other areas may have been mentioned earlier) and I just didn't have time to wait that long, but wondered if Janet -who works with the Rossendale Foodbank- listened to the prog (if not, she now has the link) as there may have been a mention of hers.

Sounds as though you found my 'rule of four' worked well Rhea (welcome back).  When it comes to shopping for food, or even choosing which dish to cook (and how we cook it), as you say, it does help to focus our minds.  There is so much of our lives we tend to do more by habit, and by doing so miss so many things that could have proved more useful, or profitable and even more enjoyable. 'Going with the flow' may be easy, but what a lot we could lose because of doing this.

Checking my diary, discovered that next Monday will be a Bank Holiday, so perhaps not a good day to go to Barton Grange.  In fact three other days of that week I have 'other commitments', and also a couple more the following week, then it will be the week of the  'Indian Feast', so am thinking that today might be a good day to go to B.G. having managed to make a bit of space in the freezer (enough to hold the meat purchased) and will take it from there.  Or should I wait and try and fit it in next Tuesday? Decisions, decisions...

Still have a lot of reorganising the kitchen AND stock-taking to do.  It would make more sense to get that done, then buy the meat later.  According to my written record of what is in the freezer drawers, there is already enough meat there for the curries.  However, I have made my usual mistake of not crossing off meat that I've taken out to use, and not added other frozen foods that I bought later (although these have normally been prawns, fish and veggies).  It would probably be a better idea to put a list of contents in each drawer, so that it reminds me to cross off or write down when something is removed or added to the drawer.   At the moment the lists are kept in a small book, and half the time I've forgotten where its been put.

I have a pack of unused postcards in my stationery drawer, so could used these as drawer 'reminders'.  Come to think of it, does anyone write on and send plain postcards these days?  Other than sending holiday ones with a scenic photo on the front?

Even when postcards could be sent (perhaps by a charity or the council) these are still put into envelopes before being posted.  And these are always organisations that are always wanting more money.  Perhaps if they didn't waste the money on envelopes and just sent the postcard that could save a few hundred (even thousand) pounds.
After watching Barefoot Contessa (just for a few minutes), yesterday began to have a U-turn when she was talking about potatoes and tomatoes, pronouncing both the same way. Yet we change the US 'tomay-toes' to 'tom-ar-toes', so why not potatoes to 'pot-ar-toes'?. Sometimes our English language just doesn't make sense. 
Read some months back that the word 'gotten' (regularly used in the US, but never here, where we just say 'got') was actually used in Britain for centuries and changed to the shorter version sometime after the Pilgrim Fathers settled in America.  It could be many of the American pronunciations and words (so different now to ours) WERE ours once upon a time, and it is us who changed them. 

There was a letter in the paper yesterday about the letter 'H' (correctly pronounced 'aitch'). Apparently, many times when giving her postcode over the phone, the operator read it back as 'haitch', and the grumble was this was not corrected at school when spoken incorrectly.
Have to say this is purely a regional difference because in Yorkshire everyone seemed to sound the 'h' when spelling it as a letter, and myself find I too dislike the way some TV presenters keep adding a 'k' at the end of a word ending in 'ing' (saying 'somethink', 'anythink', etc.) not sure but this might be regional to Essex?  But it's not really bad grammar, or even bad 'English', it's just a regional difference.
The days (as in my youth) when everyone on the radio, TV etc, had to speak the 'King's English (as it was in those days), are now long gone.  There are so many 'voice-overs' today that are practically all regional, especially favoured are those from the North-East, the 'Geordies' (quite like these myself).  The majority of our main news presenters are still fairly 'accent-free', but in chat shows it is now very common to hear Welsh, Scottish and Irish accents (some of these probably regional in their own areas) as well as from all areas of England, and all the lovelier because of it. 

Probably did believe that Daisy was your daughter Mandy, but this makes no difference to her diet other than being her grandmother you will probably be more aware than many young mothers of today how to make baby foods at home, and also cope with the problem of a child being lactose intolerant, so bless you for being there to help.
Having had a grandson living with us for a few years (previous to that he used to pop in almost daily after school, had meals with us etc), really do miss having 'youngsters' around, and being able to bring up a grandchild, even for a short time, can be a joy.  Somehow it seems easier the second time around.  Probably due to previously learnt experience (which we often discovered a bit too late for it to be of much use).

Although cost-cutting recipes are always useful, often it is the hints and tips that can help us save a few extra pennies and also help to use up 'left-overs' and odds and ends of packets that others might normally throw away.  Even the strangest things can often be given a second use.  So here are some suggestions...

1) Instead of using egg and breadcrumbs when coating chicken joints, instead use a packet stuffing mix.

2) Save the fluff from the filter of your tumble-drier.  This is useful for stuffing soft toys, pincushions etc.

3) When cooking potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water, heat baked beans or frozen peas at the same time by putting on a place and using this as a pan lid.  Cover the beans/peas with foil and these heat through as the potatoes are being cooked.  Also a good way to heat plates prior to serving a hot meal.

4) Keep cut parsley and other herbs fresh for up to two weeks by first rinsing them , then placing them in a strong polythene (freezer) bag, blow it up like a balloon, then seal tightly and keep in the fridge.

5) Use sleeping bags (ones with all-round zips) to make an extra duvet by laying one on top of the other and zipping together.

6) Store single sleeping bags in colourful pillowcases (made by stitching together one strong new tea-towel (the type with a picture on it), and the same size piece of old white sheeting, to make a 'pillowcase'.  When folded, a single sleeping bag will fit into this to make a plump pillow that can be used on the bed or as a floor cushion throughout the rest of the year when the sleeping bag will not be used. 

7) Use cheese sauce powder/mix to flavour scone mixes as this saves grating the more expensive cheese.  

8) Blitz up some dried onions and fold the onion powder into yogurt or cream cheese to make an onion flavoured 'dip', also add the onion powder to sauces, savoury scones etc. when you wish for an onion flavour.

Everyone has a favourite tip or three, so why don't we share some of them.  Please send any that you think really will save time, money (and hopefully both).
With that thought will leave you for today as am hoping to get the rest of my above-mentioned 'chores' done today.  However, with it showing signs of it being a glorious day, might decide to go to B.G. after all.  Even I don't know yet what will happen today, I'll just have to wait to find out, and you will hear all about it tomorrow.  Hope to see you then. Enjoy your day.