Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Another Day, Another Way...

Time for me to write a short blog before my 'working day' begins, and with many thanks to all who have written in, I will be finding out about the free or almost free transport available for me.

One of the things I will find difficult to do is ask for help.  Because that's just not me, and it was in the very early days of marriage, after moving to our first house with two small children and another due to drop in a very few weeks, that my mother said to me "you need help".  She meant well, and of course she was quite right (B was working away from home at that time), but to me it felt my mother thought I was a failure.  So all I wanted to do was prove her wrong.

It would have been so easy, too easy for me to ask my mother to help me (esp with money), but had I done so then this blog would have never been written.  I wouldn't have HAD to learn how to cook so frugally, make one penny do the work of two, and the lessons learned the hard way have stood the test of time.  Sometimes it is far better to learn how to do-it-yourself rather than allow someone else to take hold of the reins. That's my philosophy anyway.  Doesn't mean that help should be dismissed, and I have allowed (if that's the word) our upstairs neighbour to trundle our wheelie bin and carry the two big plastic boxes full of assorted rubbish, out to the gate once a fortnight.  I can at least fill the bins/boxes myself, and how little rubbish there is now compared to months ago!!
Those brown paper carrier bags that Tesco now deliver some of their groceries in I always keep, and very glad I have some as I can fill them with paper and card, and throw those out to be recycled too.

Well, it wouldn't be the Goode Life if something didn't keep going wrong, and yesterday the central heating cut out again.   I'd felt cold during the day so pressed the 'over-ride' button, but after it had switched back on, it stopped and the red light flashed again.  Decided to try switching it off completely, the resetting it, and it did start and carried on until due to switch off at night.  It began heating again this morning so fingers crossed.   As long as I can keep it working, then I'm not too bothered.  It's such a busy week this week that I don't want to have to hang about waiting for the repair man to try and sort it (again).  Maybe next week if it does it again.

Managed to do quite a bit of work yesterday, hopefully sorting out lots of meat from the four drawer freezer, but found it was mainly boneless pork steaks, so have thawed out all these overnight and cooking them together today, then later decide what to make with them.  A few packs of D.R's lamb's kidneys, B loved these on toast, but not my favourite offal, the flavour too strong, but can't waste them, so will have to come up with some recipe ideas.
Plenty of 'fresh' salmon that we bought from Glasson last year, and quite a lot of 'fresh' soft summer fruits.  I've ordered some frozen chicken fillets (cheapest way to buy these), and unless Boris (the US style fridge/freezer) comes up with beef then looks like it'll be fish or chicken meals for the next few months.  Mind you, that is probably the healthiest way to eat protein.

Will be sorting Boris out today, moving more fish from 'his' drawer to the larger one in the smaller freezer, to give me room for the frozen food I've ordered (and not a lot of that).

Have decided to make a big pan of vegetable soup today to use up some chicken stock, then I can thaw out the many chicken drumsticks I'd frozen, and cook these with veg to make more stock - the chicken flesh can be used in many dishes.
The thought came to me in bed (I have a lot of time to do thinking in bed these days), that it would make things simpler for me if I didn't bother to neatly dice the onions, carrots, celery, potato, parsnips etc that all go into the soup-pot with the stock, but just trim and roughly chop and the let them cook until softened, then can blitz the lot in the food processor to make a smoother soup.   Why didn't I think of that before?  Probably because I like to eat 'chunky' soup where the veggies are 'cheffily' prepared.  But - as B used to say - it all goes down the same way when eaten. 

Yesterday I was refilling the large plastic sweet jar with quick-cook pasta penne, but left with a good handful (or two) that wouldn't fit into the jar, so cooked this for my lunch, adding some basil pesto and grated Parmesan for flavour.    For supper I re-heated a Cottage Pie that I'd made for B, and very good that was too. 
Funny how I've done a complete U-turn when it comes to meals, perhaps for the first time for age I'm cooking a 'proper' meal (or at least reheating one) for ME!  Instead of making do with salad and things.   Must make sure I eat enough fresh (rather than root) veggies though.  Still have plenty in the fridge, and quite an assortment in the freezer.  Must try and make myself like spinach!

It's turned very cold, although have not yet seen signs of frost on the lawn.  Am keeping the curtains in the living room only partly drawn (it's a huge bay window, NOT double-glazed) to help keep in the heat, and I close them completely mid-afternoon as the sun goes down.   No problem keeping warm at the moment.
I've ordered a larger vacuum flask from Tesco as the one I have is quite small, and am intending to use the small one to hold chilled milk, so that I can keep it in the living room with the larger flask full of hot (black) coffee, then make it up as needed.  Or I could keep the large flask full of hot soup.  Have to see what works best.

Must mention the comment from Stephanie.  As I also have the water retention problem (and still have it), have to make sure I cut out salt from my diet.  Am finding the best way to do this is to make/cook everything to be eaten rather than buy it ready-made (or at least check the sodium content on the lable).  My 'heart' book tells me that no-salt substitutes should NOT be used, so myself tend to add 'seasonings' by way of extra pepper, and also celery is said to improve flavour (the veg, not celery salt).
Having said that, I do find adding a pinch of rock/sea salt crystals to a large pan of soup (less than one crystal per portion), really does improve the flavour.  I tell myself that one crystal really can't do THAT much harm as normally our bodies are supposed to to have some salt, now usually over-supplied by manufactured products so we end up having too much.  As long as we take control, then we can avoid salt completely (or almost), according to our needs.

When it comes to low-salt recipes, are their any?  Suppose really we should just read the list of ingredients and then remove any salt that might be listed.  Use unsalted butter instead of salted (if we use butter at all).
Certain (processed) foods ARE high in salt, such as Spam (so no more Spam for me, boo hoo), but also cooked ham, bacon, sausages.  Afraid with me, and not before time, I should start closely reading every label on the jar/can/package.  Unfortunately with many low-fat, low-salt foods, more sugar is included to keep it palatable.  We just can't win.
The only thing to do is make as much as possible ourselves, and avoid eating all the processed foods we can.  It's not as though there is nothing else left to eat.  We are knee deep in wonderful foods that are really healthy to eat, so time for me at least to concentrate only on those. 
Give me time and I'll try and sort out some 'goode food' worth eating.

That's it for today,  will probably be back tomorrow, maybe not Thursday, certainly not Friday (both days have visitors (twice on Friday), and meeting up with more on the Saturday and all day Sunday, so it just might be a few days before I am finding time to sit here for my next chat.  However - if I do have a few minutes to spare, then will do a short blog.  Until then....TTFN.