Tag Archives: low fat

The Big Budget Challenge – Week II

I’m  now in my second week of ‘The Big Budget Challenge’ hosted by the lovely Laura @ Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish.  I did okay in Week I, but Week 2 has been even better 🙂 

Here’s a run down of my top ‘money saves’ this week:

1. Avoid waste. No food thrown away this week!  

See these sad-looking bananas….

I turned them into this:

It’s banana cinnamon ‘ice cream’.  It’s so creamy that you would think it was proper ice cream!  To make it, I simply cut the bananas into slices, froze them, then whizzed them in the blender on the ice setting until they were all chopped up.  I then transferred them to a bowl, added a dash of nondairy milk, lashings of cinnamon and a tablespoon of ground linseed.  I then pulsed them using a hand blender until they went white and creamy.  The bananas were so ripe that I didn’t need to add any sweetener.  Lil’ L loves this dessert and it makes a nice change from apples 😉

2. Shop around for cheapest deals.  I finally got round to trying out www.mysupermarket.co.uk that a friend recommended way back in the summer.  I was really impressed with it.  It’s so simple to use.  At a click of a button, it allows you to import your online shopping basket from your usual provider (mine’s Tesco). You can then easily edit the basket, deleting items you no longer need and adding new items. 

Then, it does something really useful…

  • It shows you how you can save money by swapping to cheaper items. If you agree with their ‘Swap & Save’ suggestions, you just click to swap.  I saved £6.36 by swapping some items.
  • It then compares the cost of your basket at four supermarkets.  If your shop would be cheaper elsewhere, you just click to swap.  I did a big grocery shop (83 items) and the total was £139 at Tesco.  In Asda, the same shop would have cost me £155; Sainsbury’s £166; and Ocado (Waitrose) a wopping £177. I’ve always done my big grocery shops at Tesco, so it was great to discover that it is actually the cheapest supermarket for me. 🙂 
     
    It’s interesting because the cheapest supermarket very much depends on the types of groceries you buy.  For my friend, Sainsbury’s came out £30 cheaper than Tesco!  Lately, I’ve been disorganised with my grocery shopping and have ended up buying bits and pieces on a weekly basis from the Waitrose in Bath.  By getting more organised and ordering a fortnightly Tesco home delivery, I should save a small fortune! 🙂 

3. Make use of home grown foods.  We’re eating tons of apples and there’s still hundreds left!  After watching Monty Don’s episode on how to ‘over winter’ apples, I challenged M to make me a storage contraption using old scraps from the garage.  He rose to the challenge and made a great storage system…..

… but it took him the whole of Sunday.  He’s now banned me from watching Gardners’ World as he’s fed up with landing Monty Don’s ‘Jobs for the Weekend’. 😉

4. Go foraging!  No foraging this week as I’m still working out what to do with all the nuts we found last week

5. Make use of vouchers and deals. HUGE savings here! Last Friday, me and my good friend J went to London to meet up with our gorgeous friends N and H for lunch.  I converted my Tesco vouchers into tokens for redspottedhankie.com and managed to get both our travel tickets for FREE!  A total saving of £66!  This meant we had more cash to spend on gorgeous eats and drinks 🙂 

So, lots of savings this week.  Good thing too because next week is going to be v. v. expensive 😉 

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Being Frugal, Growing Fruit & Veggies

The Agonies of Dairy

When I was doing my degree and PHD (many moons ago) I spent a lot of time to-ing and fro-ing to Paris.  As soon as I arrived, I would head straight to Bastille to buy a pancake from this little crepe stall that I adored.  My favourite pancake filling was nutella and banana.  After savouring every mouthful of the pancake, I would then spend the next half hour or so sitting on the steps of the Opera de Bastille, clutching my tummy in agony! 

I've spent a lot of time sitting on these steps!

It would take me another 4 years to realise that I was actually allergic/ intolerant to dairy.  Throughout my student life, everything I ate seemed to give me stomach cramps and upset stomachs.  Being a vegetarian, it was likely that most dinners I ate at university would have contained dairy (this was a long, long time ago when the classic response to ‘I’m vegetarian’ was to serve you pasta or vegetables covered in cheese).  

I went to the doctor’s a few times over the years, but they would put the stomach problems down to ‘student lifestyle’.  I put up with it for years (with a little help from bottles of kaolin and morphine).  The ‘lightbulb’ moment came when I complained to a friend that even a cup of tea would leave me in agony with stomach cramps.  Ding!  I realised the culprit must be dairy.   As soon as I stopped consuming dairy, all the symptoms stopped.  No more stomach cramps, no more upset stomachs… and even the patches of eczema that I’d had all my life completely vanished! 

Since I’ve stopped eating dairy, I’ve never looked back.  I feel far healthier, my skin’s clearer than ever, I weigh less and I have no more stomach pain.  People ask me if I feel that I’m missing out but the answer is no, not for one moment as I’ve never felt so good. 🙂  

I’ve subsequently found out that most of the world’s population is lactose intolerant.  Studies have also shown strong links between the consumption of animal protein and increased risk of heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes and the common cancers.  More than ever, I’m glad that I’m unable to consume dairy.

Another reason that I don’t feel that I’m missing out is that I simply substitute animal protein for vegetable protein when I cook meals and bake treats.  One such example is pancakes with chocolate sauce.  Inspired by a recipe by Jane Easton from Viva, I’ve created my own version of my Paris favourite.  Our family love having these pancakes for a weekend breakfast treat.  If there’s any chocolate sauce left over, Lil’ L loves to spread it on crumpets or toast as an afterschool snack.  Both the pancakes and chocolate sauce are low fat and nutritious, so we can all indulge to our heart’s content 🙂  Here’s the recipe.

Vegan Pancakes with Chocolate Sauce and Banana

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Filed under Breakfast and Elevenses, General wittering

Something good for the weekend… Delicious dairy-free wholemeal scones!

Dairy-free wholemeal scones

On weekends, we love to have something special for breakfast or elevenses.  Today, we decided to make some scones and eat them fresh out of the oven.  We made them dairy free by using soya milk and Pure dairy-free sunflower spread.  To add a touch of wholefood goodness, we used half wholemeal and half plain (all purpose) flour.  We served them with a big dollop of St Dalfour’s sugar-free strawberry spread and fresh strawberries.  The result was a tasty scone that is far healthier and nutritious compared to classic scones. 

Lil’ L said it was definitely worth the wait for these (ie. the wait for me to actually get out of bed and make them 😉 ) and proceeded to eat 2 scones… then come back a minute later for another one!

The recipe can be found here.

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Filed under Baking & Desserts, Breakfast and Elevenses