Sunday, 2 February 2014

31 Days of Cheapness

I found a great frugal food website the other day: Cheap Family Recipes, and I'm really excited to share it with you!

The authors of this site have provided meal plans and shopping lists for incredibly cheap family eating. They claim that, if you follow the meal plans and shop wisely, you can feed a family of four for a month, for about £100. The recipes look tasty and well balanced, and they have two plans on offer: the vegan version, and a version that includes meat. They also offer the whole thing FOR FREE. I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that I am rather excited to give this a try. Starting tomorrow, I will be following the Cheap Family Recipes 'option two' vegan meal plan for 31 days.
Bean Curry (pic taken from
Now, a few disclaimers. The prices on Cheap Family Recipes were calculated in 2010. Prices have gone up exponentially since then, pretty much everywhere. So I am under no illusion whatsoever that this will be quite as cheap as they're claiming. BUT the principle is still sound. The recipes still use very cheap ingredients so I'm interested to see how cheap it'll be to eat like this in 2014.
Onion Tarte Tatin (pic taken from
 Also, I am not feeding a whole family with this plan, as I am only carrying out this experiment on myself this time. So I have cut all the quantities down to single-person amounts, except where it's something I need for everybody in the house anyway (like potatoes), where I've just bought in bulk like I always do. I'm not sure yet how much it's all costing, mainly because I already had half the required items in my cupboard anyway, but I''ll work it out and put a list up soon.
Red Pepper Pasta (pic taken from
I'm also keen to see what happens to my body if I start following this plan. I need to go completely vegan again because of the effect dairy has on my skin (Psoriasis, spots and what not) and lungs (asthma), but I've been struggling to drop the last few non-vegan things I eat at the moment, because it's just easier to grab something convenient than make the effort to make a 'proper' vegan meal (and I can't afford ready made vegan convenience food, which is super expensive). I'm also interested to see if it will affect my weight. I'm pretty much smack bang in the middle of the healthy range if you go by my BMI, so it doesn't really matter if I stay there or even put on a little bit here and there. But I eat way too much junk food, which obviously will not be part of this new menu plan, so I won't be surprised if I lose a few pounds over the next month. If that happens, that's okay. As long as it's not more than a stone I'll still count as healthy.

Watch this space for updates!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Cheap vegan cream of celery and potato soup

I shot myself in the foot by saying I'd get back to blogging soon didn't I? Pretty much as soon as I posted that, I came down with the mother of all nasty viruses (thanks to my germ incubator of a child) and was flat on my back for AGES. Today is the first day I am even vaguely able to think about looking at a computer screen without my head splitting in half! Anyway, I wanted to share this soup which I made the other day in a rare lucid moment between coughing and sneezing and passing out on the couch like some sort of zombie. Due to being ill, I had been neglecting the grocery shopping and my fridge was rather empty. So I invented this quick and easy comfort food with whatever I could find.... cream of celery and potato soup!

Chop, and throw into a pan:
One head of celery, one onion (I only had red ones, which was fine except it made the soup a bit grey looking. If you want green soup, use normal onions instead). Three cloves of garlic (this was me trying to kill my virus. You might want to use less). One potato. Add enough vegetable stock to just about cover the contents of the pan, bring to the boil then simmer it until everything has gone soft. Pour in about half a cup of soya milk (if you're not vegan you can use cow's milk instead). If you like it lumpy, heat through and serve. Otherwise blitz it up with a stick blender. This made enough for two big bowls of really thick soup. I had mine with hedgehog bread and it was really tasty!