Sunday, 13 January 2013

A simple frugal life

Well the last fortnight has been spent slowly getting back into a rhythm of work and home and I have thoroughly indulged myself on the home front .I have also spent time considering how our lives could be improved . As a family we have to live within a modest budget but I try not to let this affect our quality and enjoyment of life , our daily life's just take a bit more planning and consideration  than those with more disposable incomes. I know that due to the Financial crisis that has crippled many families in many countries we are not the only ones watching those all important pennies  !!

So a new thing I have put into action over the last two weeks is to clean more economically and environmentally friendly and stop buying those expensive spay cleaners and liquids, I have possibly gone back to the way  that my grandma used to clean .I do have a bit of a thing about cleaning anyway and I know this might sound strange but I find it quite empowering being able to make our house look nice through my own effort .I know my husband couldn't keep the same standards up and I'm sure he would agree with me on this issue too !! So all I need is a bar of household soap ( 54p for two bars ), lots of hot water and plenty of elbow grease !! I've also started using lemon juice or white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda as cleaning agents which all work fantastically well and are cheap to buy and are kind to the environment !! Although saying that I have always cleaned my windows with vinegar and newspaper like my grandma did , the glass just glistens when done this way , and no streaks.

Another thing I am trying is making my own washing powder , in fact I have made my first batch and have done 5 loads of laundry with it  so far and I have not been disappointed with the results .I saw many recipes on line (and please note if looking at American blogs for recipes we cannot buy Borax in u.k or Europe as it is banned )  but in the end I got a recipe off  www.dri-pak.co.uk as I had purchased products produced by them . My purse has been very happy over the last fortnight , this batch of washing powder will last a while and I've plenty of the base products to make quite a few more batches , result !!


You can also add a few drop of essential oils to fragrance the soap powder ( mix well).

One area on the homey front I absolutely love  is producing wholesome nutritious food for my family that doesn't cost the earth , but I am trying to be as frugal as possible of late and even making use of every scrap of food I can . Even bread that is just past it's best ! don't throw that stale bread away !!  why not make a bread and butter pudding ??

This one is a Christmas mincemeat bread and butter pudding , yes I had half a jar of mincemeat  left in the cupboard and everyone really enjoyed it , I served it pipping hot with Vanilla ice cream , yummy in there tummies !!

OOoo what else have I made ??

MMMMMmmmmmm Lemon curd .........

Hedgehog Bread ( please note that no real hedgehogs have been harmed in the making of this bread !!)Lol .
Sorry! , seriously this bread is a half wholemeal and half white flour bread and the kids love it .

Ahhhh a family favourite , Cinnamon crumble loaf it is a simple but tasty cake .
OOoo and there was the sticky Gingerbread Cake and hands up I could not resist having a little taste of this cake . Yes confession time I don't usually eat my own cakes ( well not anymore !) I'm going to let you into a bit of a secret !!

 In 2009 I joined Slimming world after being overweight for 15 years and not planning on having anymore children I decided this was the time to do something about my weight. It took me 18 months to loose 5 stone and 3lbs and I felt like I did in my early twenties . It gave me an amazing amount of confidence back and I have tried very hard not to put all the weight back on . I have gained just over a stone which I am now trying to loose it for my sisters wedding (bridesmaids dress to measure for in the next 4 to 5 weeks , aaarrgggh ! ). So I have trained myself not to eat the sweet delicious cakes I make . Oh and the bread too , yes I no longer eat bread because if I eat bread I want butter and lots of it , so abstinence is the best policy for me .

But there is one cake I do eat ........
Chickpea cake.......yep you read right ! chickpea. If you are on the Slimming World programme it is just 1syn for the whole cake . So if like me you are an emotional eater then you can have your cake and eat it !!

Here's the recipe cake : 1 x tin of chickpeas , 1 x tbsp almond essence , 1 x tsp baking powder , 3 x eggs , 3/4 cup powdered sweetener .
Topping : 1 x tub Quark ( virtually fat free cream cheese )  and a few drops of vanilla essence and sweetener to taste and top with a fresh fruit of your choice . On this occasion I used Blueberries .
Instructions : put all cake ingredients into a blender and blend to a smooth batter then pour into a prepared sandwhich cake tin (spray with a low cal oil something like fry light , I also use a pieces of grease proof paper as the cake can stick) .
 Bake at 200 f for about 20 to 25 mins until springy in middle and an inserted skewer comes out clean . Remove from tin and place on a wire rack until cold .
Then cream Quark ,sweetener and vanilla essence until thoroughly mixed then spread onto cold cake then decorate with chosen fruit , Enjoy !!

But being frugal doesn't mean I can't have a Little treat , In fact I indulged in my love of blue and white the other day.

These four delightful items cost me a grand total of £ 3.50 from a local charity shop , they were hiding at the back of a display cupboard , so I liberated them . So being frugal doesn't mean you can't have pretty things it just takes a bit more leg work and a keen eye !! They do look at home on my dresser.

This is turning out to be a bit of strange post I feel like I have just wrote an article for the Womens Institue!!
and should be wearing a rather frilly pinnie (apron) .

On the work front it is back to my School job and my ' Handmade Over Yonder' job both of which have come back into full swing in the last week. School is good with all the Little ones . At ' Handmade Over Yonder ' head quarters A.k.a the dinning table I have made some crocheted pin cushion which will hopefully in the etsy shop later this evening . I've been playing with some lovely Rowan 'Milk Cotton ' yarns.



I am also busy away making jumpers for The Linen Hares 10 done this week another 10 to go before I start making the Hares.
In my favourite chair in crochet heaven !!
Any way I think I've gone on quite enough I best  go before I bore the socks off people !!
Thanks for popping by and I hope you have a productive week !
So ta ta for now .xx

33 comments:

  1. Chickpea cake sounds interesting Tracy - I might have to give that a try!

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  2. Hello Swallow Barn,
    The chickpea cakes has a texture which is similar to a cake made with ground almonds . But I think it is a bit like Marmite I have friends who love it and some that really don't like it !!
    Let me know what you think .
    Have a lovely week
    With kind regards Tracy

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    1. Thank you - I am going to try it at the weekend. I have a book called Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache which is full of recipes for cakes made of unusual ingredients - mainly vegetables. I've made quite a few and they have all been delicious!

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  3. Lovely post, frugal cleaning definitely way ahead! Your baking looks delicious, wush I had your willpower Tracy! The chickpea cake also looks gorgeous, but can't imagine what it tastes like? Lots of lovely pics, you've been really busy!

    Love Claire xxx

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    1. Hi claire ,
      I am really enjoying the new cleaning routine and am liking the natural soapy smells rather than the intense smell of chemicals when I clean . It takes a bit more effort but it is good exercise !With regards to the Chickpea cake it smells and has the texture of a cake made with ground Almonds .
      Thanks for popping by and enjoy the rest of your week.
      With kind regards Tracy x

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  4. What a delight it is to read your blog! I love your dishes and the deserts look yummy!!! Liz B.

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    1. Hi liz,
      Lovely that you popped by and I'm glad you enjoyed this post,I just fancied having a bit of a natter about the things are making me tick on a daily basis at the moment .I feel very lucky to have found those blue and white items .One mans trash can be another mans treasure !!
      Have a lovely week with kind regards Tracy .x






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  5. Wow, that chickpea cake is going on My List! And I adore those pincushions - the way you have combined the stitches and colours is very clever.

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    1. Hello there One-oh-four,
      Thanks for popping by and I would recommend people to give the chickpea cake a chance , I do think it is rather yummy !!
      I'm so pleased you like the pin cushions I am really enjoying making them .
      Enjoy the rest of your week with kind regards Tracyx

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  6. Your baked treats look delicious! Congratulations on losing all that weight and keeping it off whilst baking for the family. I've done the same thing a few years back, and I know how hard it is! This was a lovely rambling post, and I enjoyed the read over my tea :)
    Wendy

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    1. Hi Wendy,
      My goodness me it is hard , isn't it ! losing the weight and keeping it off . But it does mean you have to develop a different mind set where food is concerned .I also wanted to set a good example to my children and show them that you can change things if you work hard at it.
      I'm so glad you enjoyed the post !

      Have a lovely week with kind regards Tracyx

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  7. Just lost the comment I left for you over on the face book link to your blog!!

    Thank you for the inspiration to go back to SW. Was planning to give up (once again) but I can do it!! Going to try your cake in a bit. Need to have a wander into town to get the Quark. Have everything else.

    I do my windows the same, handed down from my mum, nan etc.

    Hope the snow isn't too bad. We have rain and sunshine down here.

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    1. Hello Poppy Cottage,
      I too am back with the programme , even when I'm not at group I still apply the S.W. principles to my daily diet and in the main it seems to work . The thing I always try to do is to be truth full with myself and keep a food diary. If I have something naughty I don't ignore the fact I've had it , I admit it to myself and don't beat myself up about it but be very good for the next few days to compensate for it . I also never expect big loses ,people get so hung up on losing large amounts week after week . I took me 18 month of steady away ,a lb or 2 or even just a 1/2 lb a week but I just kept going and because I did it slowly I think it has helped stay off .
      Take it one week at a time or even a day at a time or even a meal at a time but stick with it and don't give up you can do it . !!

      The snow has been lovely but has melted , I've been out to my crochet group tonight and the slush has turned to sheet ice .I'm not looking forward to doing the school walk in the morning .

      Enjoy the rest of your week with kind regards Tracyx

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  8. Must try making the chickpea cake - and your other baking looks delicious.
    Jilly

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    1. Hi Jilly
      Thanks for popping by , I was a bit naughty today I had a little piece of the ginger cake as it's rather yummy . I was weak as I was cold and tired but I will be good for the rest of the week .
      With kind regards Tracyx

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  9. The pin cushions are lovely! :-) Happy hooking. Regula

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    1. Hello Babajeza
      Welcome , thank you for popping by and yes I am in a Happy Hooky place at the moment .

      Have a lovely week with kind regards Tracy .x

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  10. I lost 2 stone with Slimming World buy since I stopped have put some back on, The chickpea cake sounds a winner and one definitely to try. Keep up the good work.

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    1. Hi Shirley
      Lovely that you've popped by , the chickpea cake has been a life saver at times ( well not literally , you know what I mean ). I am an emotional eater always have always will be , I will most probably always struggle with my weight . But this cake hits the spot when I need it most !!
      Enjoy the rest of your week with kind regards Tracyx

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  11. I loved your post, we've been trying something very similar in house. I'd love to try the washing power, could you tell me where you got your soap flakes from? Many thanks x

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  12. Hi Katysclutter,
    Fab to meet a like minded person , the soap Flakes came from a bargain shop called The yorkshire trading company but I have previously bought it from Morrisons supermarket before. As I've always used it to wash pure wool jumpers by hand .But if you go on www.dri-pak.co.uk they may do a list of stockist.
    Hope this helps Tracy x

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  13. hello
    what a wonderful post,i love it. I make somethings like you.
    have a nice day,
    blessings,regina

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  14. That cinnamon cake looks delicious.

    Love the cups. They were such a bargain. I keep looking for some nice 'vintage' tea cups at a bargain price but they have to suit my fussy husband (not sure he's into the vintage look!)

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  15. I have been following your blog for a little while and love it. I particularly loved this post, I will have to try and find the time to have a go at some of your makes, love the idea of making my own soap powder!

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  16. Hi Tracy, good on you for getting into the economic and environmental cleaning : -) You should keep the weight off with all the extra elbow grease!! Lovely bargain with your blue & white china, and your pincushions are lovely.

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  17. Chickpea cake! I'll have to try this one. I love getting people to guess what the ingredients are in an unusual recipe - think I'll take bets on this one x

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  18. I was thinking about you and chickpea cake this morning just before me and some work colleagues got weighed. I am so thankful you posted the recipe and will defnitely be trying this at the weekend. I also found some blue and white teacups snuggled away at the back of our new garage so when I finally get my dresser I will see if they look good on there - if not they may need a new home; any takers?????? x x

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  19. Have a look at: down to earth, a fab aussie blog xxBrenda

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  20. Hi Tracy, found your blog while looking for patterns of chickens for patchwork. I really enjoyed reading and will come back to your site often. You sound like a like minded woman. Keep up the good work. Lyn.

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  21. Thankyou for such an interesting post! I love the idea of making soap powder - it's worth it just to buy those products - the soap flake packet is so cute! I think we could all be more frugal in our daily lives. I'm fixated on using up every bit of food at the moment and am enjoying the challenge. I also love the inspiration gleaned from so many lovely blogs.

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  22. I love your desserts. They look scrumptious. Your blue and white collection is beautiful.

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  23. I've enjoyed this and if it's a future taste of the WI then so be it - it looks good! ;-)

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  24. Lovely pin cushions!

    I have bought borax from The Soap Kitchen about a year ago(I make my wn soap too!), I thnk they still sell it. You might want to check them out.

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