I feel like all I’ve done all weekend is wash up and I’m sure every single time our neighbour walked past our kitchen window today and yesterday I was either wiping down a surface or scrubbing a pan or something! I’m knackered, and my poor little hands look like they’ve aged about 30 years in two days. The reason for so much washing up is two-fold really… first I did a LOT of cooking this weekend which in itself suggests a lot of washing up, and second, I have this awful habit of having to clean up in between dishes, and even in between stages of cooking each dish because I can’t handle working in a messy kitchen, unlike my hubby who uses every pot in the house while simultaneously painting a picassoesque work of art on the wall with the food.
Just last week I wrote one of those dreaded group emails to my family and some friends telling them how things are going. In it I mentioned how much more free time C has had this year so far because he’s not doing quite so many hours at the pub. Now either I spoke way too soon, or I have some incredible jinxing superpowers because it seems as of this weekend, I was wrong. He’s just done 3 double shifts in a row and is working again tonight after sleeping for almost 13 hours in between (understandably).
I may have mentioned already that C and I are saving this year and we’re being quite strict on ourselves, giving ourselves a very specific monthly budget for groceries, fun and bills. And, on top of that, while we’re not really doing the full-on diet we were on last year, we are trying to stick to an 80/20 rule and not let ourselves get back into some of the nasty habits we had managed to fall into before we started said diet.
As much as it might seem it, I am not drunk, I am not writing in cryptic code and I am not losing track and going on random, rambling tangents… it is for all of the reasons above that I found myself spending an awful lot of time washing up this weekend. In order to save money, eat frugally, remain largely on our diet and save time during what is set to be an extremely busy week for the both of us, I embarked on a little project this week to cook a bunch of meals so we could have them stacked in our fridge, already portioned out into tupperware ready to be heated up as and when we make it home, or to take as lunches. It’s what C likes to call trough food (charming, I know).
I usually make a soup or something for lunches on the weekend, but I have never done quite so much prep as I did this weekend. I feel rather holier than thou, being so organised – domestic goddess extraordinaire, at your service if you please! But not only does it mean we’ll save money on food this week, it also gave me something constructive to do while C was at work and I was trying hard not to spend any unnecessary cash over the weekend.
The fruit and veg market right near our place has loads of cheap fresh produce and as root vegetables are especially cheap at the moment, my weekend’s masterpieces included the following:
- Leek and Potato Soup
- Coconut Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew (my photo of this looks awfully vomit-like due to the yellow-ish lights in our kitchen so follow the link for the recipe and some decent images!!)
- Pork and Butternut Squash Stew
- GF Spaghetti Bolognese
- Basil Pesto (for later in the week)
- And as a tasty, yet healthy, treat: cashew, walnut, prune and coconut bliss balls covered in a coconut chocolate. This was mostly due to the fact that while I was waiting for some things to cook, and in an effort not to wake C up by going back into our room I decided to clear out the pantry and found a bunch of half empty packets of nuts and dried fruit that I needed to use.
I also made sausage and mash for dinner last night because I wanted to try out the GF sausages they are selling now, and for breakfast this morning some of my delicious cinnamon chip scones! mmmmm
Before I go on to tell you the recipes, I should just add that I did actually leave the house a few times this weekend. Just so we’re all clear!!
Everything I made is GF and most things are dairy free also, apart from the scones and the soup. The stews and the scone recipes are available via the links above. The basil and the spag bol recipes are kinda no-brainers and the rest are below…
Leek and Potato Soup
55g butter (just substitute for coconut oil or similar if you would prefer DF as well)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 leeks, sliced
225g/8oz potato, cut into 2cm thick cubes
850ml/1 1/2 pints vegetable stock (you can use bouillon as there’s a GF and DF one, but I make my own from the vegie cut-offs and a few herbs/spices etc)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion, leeks, garlic and potato and sauté gently for 2-3mins, until soft but not brown.
2. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 15mins.
3. I like mine thick and smooth, so I let it cool slightly and then wizz it in the blender.
This recipe is a bit of a free-style adaptation from one I saw on a friend’s facebook page but it went something like this:
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup walnuts
Handful prunes (about 12)
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 Tbsp agave syrup
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 Tbsp coconut oil
Process all of the above in a blender/food processor until it becomes a paste. Roll spoonfuls into a ball and lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
For the coconut topping:
Heat 1/4 cup coconut oil in a saucepan on a low-medium heat, add in 2 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp agave syrup and stir until well mixed.
Pour the chocolate mix over the balls and then freeze for about 15-20mins.