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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Monday, 30 June 2014

No Waste Food Challenge - June Round-up

I was delighted to be host the No Waste Food Challenge in June on behalf of Elizabeth's Kitchen. I cannot stand food waste and we ensure we use the food we buy wisely and waste as little as possible. There were SO many delicious and inspiring recipes shared which use up ingredients that may have gone to waste.

English Girl made a Slow Cooker Vegetable Broth, a healthy and thrifty recipe, great for those chilly summer days or as a base for so many other dishes.

Madhouse Family Reviews used up some of the exotic spices in her spice rack when cooking these Turkish Kofte Meatballs, a fast and delicious family supper.

Searching for Spice used up some bunches of herbs when making her Tomato and Coriander Soup, such a vibrant colour, great for a light summer supper.

tomato coriander soup (1024x713)

Fab Food 4 All baked a delicious Rhubarb and Marzipan Cake, perfect for a lunchbox or afternoon tea treat or equally lovely as a pudding with cream or custard.

The Taste Space baked these delectable healthy morsels, Maple Sesame Crackers, which would be perfect for snacking on any time of day.

Sesame Seaweed Snaps

Creator of this challenge, Elizabeth's Kitchen made this fab Spinach and Mozzarella Stuffed Meatloaf.  A great family dinner or dinner party main course and perfect for using up cheese and greens lurking in the fridge.

Spinach and Mozzarella Stuffed Meatloaf

Chocolate Log Blog baked this delectable Eton Mess Chocolate Cake, oh my goodness it looks so good.  An impressive centre piece for an afternoon tea and a great way to use up some strawberry yoghurt.

Eton Mess Cake

Lancashire Food made some Rhubarb Anise Syrup and Jam, a delicious solution to a glut of rhubarb which most vegetable gardeners seem to experience. 

Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous cooked a tasty Dal using Quinoa and Lentils, a healthy way to fill tums and use up pulses lurking in the cupboard.

Chris from Cooking around the world made Filé à Osvaldo Aranha from Brazil and Fritule from Croatia in honour of the Word Cup, great ways to use up pantry ingredients.

Elizabeth's Kitchen entered another delicious treat, Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova, oh my goodness it looks SO delicious.

chocolate strawberry pavlova 3

My Little Italian Kitchen baked Cherry Clafoutis, a fab way to use up fruit and other ingredients from the fridge.

cherry pie

I'd Much Rather Bake Than . . . made a vintage fruit cake recipe, Vinegar Cake, perfect for using up packets of dried fruit lurking in store cupboards and better still the recipe is egg free so perfect for when there are no eggs about or for those allergic to eggs.

Green Gourmet Giraffe cooked a delicious and vibrant Greens, Beans and Potato Soup.  Perfect for using up vegetables and herbs past their best, and a healthy supper too.

Sarah from Maison Cupcake made a super healthy Spicy 'Kermit' Soup in 5 minutes using her Vitamix.  A fab way to use up greens lurking in the fridge.

Raw green soup with cavolo nero, coconut and butternut squash Vitamix recipe 

Kavey made some White Cherry Rum Liqueur which sounds divine and would be fab for gifts or a delicious drink to unwind with.


Gluten Free Alchemist created a Chocolate Hazelnut Coconut Milk Ice Cream, a delicious way to use up some homemade Chocolate Hazelnut butter.

Leeks and Lemoni baked some fab Strawberry and Orange Muffins for an alfresco breakfast.  I'm sure they would be great with a cuppa or a very welcome lunchbox treat.

Strawberry Muffins

Eat Your Veg made a delicious and nutritious Easy Peasy Vegetable Noodle Stir Fry which is great for using up vegetables and a super quick family supper.

Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous cooked Almond Meal French Toast which is a delicious breakfast treat and a fab way to use up bread past its best.

The Lass in the Apron baked Date Cashew Chocolate Drops, perfect for a lunchbox or afternoon tea treat and a great way to use up unusual flour which may be hiding in a cupboard.

Date-Cashew Cookies

The Lass in the Apron also baked these delicious and delicate Rose Almond Petit Fours, perfect for an afternoon tea or cake sale. 

Rose-Almond Sponge Cake Square

The Baking Explorer made Gluten Free Cola Cupcakes which taste as good as they look and are a great way to use up soured cream lurking in the fridge.

Fab Food 4 All cooked this delicious Roasted Tomato, Red Pepper and Chorizo Soup, perfect for a chilly summer evening, freezable and a fab way to use up tomatoes and peppers.

Thank you so much to all those who entered No Waste Food Challenge this month, great recipe inspiration to help us all love our leftovers and use up food languishing in fridges and store cupboards.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Our Family Meal Plan for this week 30/06/2014 - £55

I've got a busy week this week, a couple of appointments, a couple of meetings and a long day in London.  Hubby will be on duty for me whilst I escape to London so an easy dinner is needed for that night as with many other nights this week.  We'll be eating plenty of salads, which our allotments and back garden are providing.  I have included the price of salad greens in the Meal Plan shopping list for those who are unable to have access to garden fresh produce.  I have also included the price of tortillas for the Burritos but I will be making our own as well as bread for breakfasts.

Breakfasts will be cereal and milk or toast with spread followed by a piece of fruit for afters. 

Lunches this week will be Wholemeal Savoury Swirls with crudites, a piece of fruit and a small baked treat.  My husband and I shall either have the same or leftovers from dinner the previous night.  Weekend lunches will be Frittata on Saturday, we are at friends for lunch on Sunday and I will be taking drinks and the puddings.


Monday - Cheese and Vegetable Puffs with salads

Tuesday - Lentil Bolognese with wholewheat pasta and steamed greens

Wednesday - Sticky Chicken Drumsticks served with potato salad and green salad

Thursday - Homemade Pizzas as 7yo has a friend over and they want to cook their own dinner :)

Friday - Burritos with lots of salad

Saturday - Homemade Fish and Chips

Sunday - Honey Soy Chicken Vegetable Stir Fry to use up any vegetables lurking in the fridge.

Shopping List

36 items: £55.07

Packets and Cereals
1x   ASDA Chosen by You Wheat Bisks (48x18g)                                                      £2.48
1x   ASDA Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                                                             80p
1x   Great Scot Red Split Lentils (500g)                                                                    £1.28
1x   ASDA Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)                                    65p
1x   ASDA Wholefoods Brown Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                                                    £1.28
1x   Cook Italian Wholewheat Fusilli (500g)                                                               £1.00

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x   ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g)                                                     62p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g)                                         23p
2x   ASDA Smartprice Mayonnaise (500ml)                                                               80p

Dairy and Eggs
4x   ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                                               £4.00
2x   ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g)                                                90p
1x   ASDA Reduced Fat Soured Cream (300ml)                                                         90p
1x   ASDA Chosen by You Mature Somerset Cheddar (300g)                                     £1.60
1x   ASDA Mixed Weight Free Range Eggs (6)                                                         97p

1x   ASDA Chosen by You Cook from Frozen Whitefish Fillets (500g)                        £2.00

Fruit and Vegetables
4     ASDA Red Cabbage by Weight (100g)                                                               32p
1x   ASDA Spring Greens (500g)                                                                              75p
2x   ASDA Salad Tomatoes (750g)                                                                            £3.00
15   ASDA Bananas by Weight (170g)                                                                       £1.73
4     ASDA White Cabbage by Weight (100g)                                                             20p
4x   ASDA Whole Cucumber                                                                                     £1.96
3x   ASDA British Iceberg Lettuce Loose                                                                   £1.47
2x   ASDA Celery                                                                                                     £1.00
1x   ASDA Baking Potatoes (2.5Kg)                                                                          £2.00
1x   ASDA Garlic Loose                                                                                            25p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g)                                                                      £1.36
1x   ASDA Courgettes (3)                                                                                         £1.00
2x   ASDA Spring Onions                                                                                         98p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Brown Onions (2Kg)                                                               98p
2x   ASDA Carrots (1.2Kg)                                                                                       £1.66
2x   ASDA Apples (1.2Kg)                                                                                        £4.00
3x   ASDA Smartprice Pears (500g)                                                                          £2.37

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection British Beef Mince (500g)                                           £1.99
1x   Banham Poultry Chicken Drumsticks (1Kg)                                                        £3.25
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection Chicken Breast Fillets (4 per pack - 613g)                  £4.29

1x   ASDA Chosen by You Large Tortilla Wraps (8)                                                   £1.00
Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery websites, and are correct as of 29 June 2014.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.

As usual I compared the cost of my shopping using My Supermarket.  Our groceries cost £55.07 online with Asda on 29/06//2014.  Had I shopped elsewhere our groceries would've cost £54.12 from Aldi, £56.64 from Morrisons, £59.31 from Sainsbury's and £60.76 from Tesco.

Don't forget to check out all the other Meal Plans in the linky over on 
At Home With Mrs M.

We Should Cocoa goes Gluten Free - June Round-up

I was delighted to host We Should Cocoa this month, thank you so much to all those who linked up delicious gluten free chocolate treats and to Choclette who asked me to host.

Kate from Happy Igloo baked this delectable Chocolate Orange Roll, perfect for an impressive dinner party dessert.

Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Roll

Catherine who blogs at Cate's Cates made some allergy friendly Two Ingredient Chocolate Tahini Shortbread, great for parties and lunchbox or afternoon tea treats.


Ros the More Than Occasional Baker adapted a recipe to bake Flourless Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies, great for baking with kids and deliciously gluten free.

The Gluten Free Alchemist baked a scrumptious Pear and Chocolate Cake using local produce and a perfect treat with a cuppa for afternoon tea.

BakeNQuilt made these fabulous Chocolate Marshmallows which would make great gifts for friends or an afternoon snack treat.

Chocolate Marshmallows | BakeNQuilt.com

Another sweet treat was made by Green Gourmet Giraffe, Black Bean and Cacao Fudge.  A vegan, soy free and grain free recipe and the fudge looks so very tempting.

Cake Boi made these Top Hats, perfect for parties, cake sales or a fun afternoon tea/lunchbox treat.  My daughters have begged me to let them make some.


The creator of We Should Cocoa, Choclette, baked a Coconut Chickpea Chocolate Cake which is free from eggs, diary, wheat, gluten and refined sugars and looks absolutely scrumptious.

Chocolate Coconut Cake

Mainly Baking made a dairy free and gluten free Pear, Almond and Chocolate Chip Cake which looks delicious and would also make a delicious pudding.

Lancashire Food baked this decadent and scrumptious Amaretto Chocolate Torte, great for afternoon tea or an impressive dinner party dessert.

Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than . . . . made some Five Ingredient Dark Chocolate Brownies which look very fudgy and delicious.  I'm sure I could eat at least a couple whilst enjoying a cuppa.

Alexandra, The Lass in the Apron, created a recipe for these Date Cashew Chocolate Drops which are a perfect lunchbox or afternoon tea treat.  

Date-Cashew Chocolate Drops

Nutty Tart baked a Chocolate Truffle Cake with Chocolate Truffle Frosting, great for a tea party treat, decadent dessert or bake to impress friends.  

Chocolate Truffle Cake

Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary made Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake, a fab dessert treat which is super quick to make and delicious too.

Gluten Free Chocolate Mug Cake by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Thie KitchenMaid baked Gluten Free Chocolate Cakes, perfect for kids lunchboxes or an afternoon tea treat.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cakes With No Refined Sugar

There were SO many delicious, scrumptious and mouth watering entries this month!  I can't wait to see what the challenge will be next month.  Thanks again to all those who linked up.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Walkers Market Deli Crisps

I was invited along to the launch event for Walkers Market Deli crisps which was held at The Natural Kitchen in London.

On arrival we were greeted with trays of Market Deli inspired canapés, each had been paired with a wine to match those particular flavours.  I of course didn't sample the wine as I am currently pregnant, I must confess I only tried two of the canapes for the same reason.

Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens welcomed everyone and spoke about the range and the importance of quality ingredients and provenance which are very important to him in his kitchen.

We were then lead on to the 'Store Cupboard' where the eight different flavours of the new range were explained, along with the inspiration behind the ingredients. Walkers experts werre on hand to answer any questions we had in relation to the product and the provenance of the ingredients and inspiration behind the range.

Lastly we watched Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens cook up a dish with the flavours inspired by Market Deli.

The full range of Walkers Market Deli range will be available nationwide from Monday 23 June 2014.  Flavours such as Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato Tortilla Chips, Pitta Chips with Roasted Garlic and Mediterranean Herbs and Flame Grilled Roasted Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onion flavour Crisps are available.  The chips are packaged in large 165g sharing bags (rrp £2.39) and individual serving size bags as well (rrp 83p).

Disclosure:  I was compensated for attending the event and blogging about it.  All opinions are my own and I was not encouraged to write a positive review.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The new and amazing Cricut Explore!

I was really excited to attend a sneak preview of the new Cricut Explore machine.  I already have a Cricut Mini which is fab for general paper crafts, card making, precise cutting and cutting vinyl and iron on vinyl but it is limited in what it can do and you can't use your own designs.  

However, with the new Cricut Explore not only can you upload your own designs it can cut 50 or more different materials.  I was slightly mindblown at the crafting possibilities!

There's a built in pen slot and writing option so the Cricut Explore can write on your creations in a wide range of fonts.

When using the Cricut mini you had to manually select the cutting depth depending on the thickness of your material.  This was a real pain and involved lots of experimentation which caused wastage of craft materials before I figured out the right cutting depth.  Thankfully this issue has been resolved because the new Explore has an easy dial to select the material you're cutting, simple!

Cricut have been working with designers and bloggers and have created a wide range of projects so you can get creating straight away.  Simply by browse their image gallery, find a project, click on it and all the material requirements are shown so you can get started making it yourself.  The projects can also be customised to tailor them to your tastes.  There's also an extensive image and project library, accessible via subscription, or you can upload you own images or create your own projects.

Here's some of the projects that were made with the Cricut Explore and were on display at the launch event:
Intricate bunting, perfect for parties!

Customising clothing is easy, fun and quick
Halloween decorating made easy!
Christmas decorations, cards, gifts and place settings all made with the Cricut Explore.

Beautiful, delicate butterflies affixed to a gown

I had a great time at the event and we've created a few projects at home with the machine.  It is easy to use, my 3 daughters love it!

A gorgeous bouquet made from craft paper

11yo customised her t-shirt

7yo also customised her t-shirt

We're looking forward to sharing more projects with you that we've created using the Cricut Explore.  The Cricut Explore is available from Amazon and Hobbycraft.

Disclosure: I received a Cricut Explore to review and create projects with.  All opinions are my own.