Monday, 26 August 2013

Skint, Skint and Even More Skint!

Trying to get the boat ready to move on, to means that Pete hasn't done any paid work for five weeks now.  Added to that we have had to buy a wood burner, fridgefreezer and washing machine earlier than planned so that they could be craned on to the boat.  All this has emptied our purses quite considerably, so now we need to do some serious saving/frugal living to be able carry on with the barge.  With that in mind, I have joined SFT's Stretch-It-Out September Challenge:

1. We spend our usual Grocery Budget from 1st to the 22nd-weekly or however suits. Looking out for bargains, special deals and batch cooking.

2. Then from the 23rd to 30th we eat for 'free' using up all the batch cooking and special deal meals.

3. The money we save by not spending that week could be used for anything

Today I have been emptying out my fridge to make a lovely pasta sauce to freeze, ready for quick easy meals 
when I get in from work.

I used :

1 Onion
3 homegrown courgettes
1 homegrown fennel bulb
1 Red Pepper
2 Homegrown Garlic Cloves

All gently sautéed in 2 tablespoons of water until soft, then I added:

1 Tin Tomatoes
300 ml Vegetable Stock
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/2 tsp Chilli
2 tablespoons Tomato Ketchup
Salt to taste

And simmered for about 30 mins until all the flavours had come together and made a lovely chunky sauce.

I have actually frozen this in four portions, because I have it as a main meal with pasta but Pete will have the pasta
as a side dish with a couple of pork strips, so I don't need very large portions,



  1. Your pasta sauce sounds delicious and that little bit of chilli will give a bit of extra kick. Simple suppers can be really tasty and filling as well as frugal. At least you have all your appliances fitted and you are ready for the challenge.

    Karen x

  2. Oh I am so sorry about the skint situation but it is so worth it! You are living your dream and I am so pleased for you.

    I'm really happy you've joined the challenge-that pasta sauce looks so yummy and I've been seeking advice about how to make one (rather than resort to the supermarket brands like i normally do). Thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas Fran.

    Looking forward to hearing more about the S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G!!

    Sft x

  3. I'm so sorry that you are in this situation, Fran, but the upside is that it's kind of fun seeing how creative you can be with what you've got! I do hope it works and that you'll be back on top very soon, my friend. Big hugs xxx

  4. Good luck with the challenge. It's a good start making your own pasta sauce as I have to admit to using ready prepared sauces, and they aren't cheap. I've got more tomato plants growing this year though with the aim of making some sauces of my own, we'll see how I do.

  5. Karen - you are so right and I can really enjoy my new appliances with this challenge xxx

    SFT' - I have also today frozen some boiled beetroot and some turnips to use later, so am off to a good start. Thank you for the motivation xxx

    Val - please don't feel sorry for us, we are still in a better situation than a lot of people at the moment. We have most of the materials for the foreseeable jobs - it is extras like the fitted kitchen that we are saving up for. It still isn't going to stop me coming over you very shortly xxx

    Jo - thanks Jo - when I have had a glut of tomatoes in the past I have slow roasted them in the oven with peppers, garlic, aubergine or what ever veg I had to hand and then bottled it to save freezer space. Even better for a quick meal, you don't have to defrost them xxx

  6. Hi Fran, your a smart cookie . . . full of great ideas to save money. Just think if we did something like this every month, we could save a lot of dough . . . for extras and rainy days.
    I like this, "a send free week every month" . . . it just takes some planning.
    Thanks for the inspiration :)
    Your blogging sister, Connie :)

  7. Pasta sauce can be used for so many tasty meals - smart of you to start off with such a frugal item. Cutting back a bit would be good for all of us - thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  8. Ah ye poor old souls, have ye not got a fishing rod, net or line to catch yer own from off the dock ?

  9. Good luck with your challenge. The pasta sauce sounds delicious.

  10. Connie - thank you, but I am sure that Pete would disagree about me saving money! Seriously I too like the idea of only shopping for three weeks and saving money on the fourth xxx
    2 Tramps - I love pasta so it really had to be my starting point xxx
    Mel - any food parcels from Ireland would be very welcome!! Pete thought that fishing was a great idea, crept he'd starve as he couldn't kill anything xxx
    Wendy - thank you will let you know how we go xxx

  11. I thought Pete ate Pork ? In which case he can still go fishing & get someone else to kill his catch. I would send a food parcel except for the cost of the postage :(
    Love and Light xx