Bank holidays always throw me, even in lockdown & the next challenge!

With Steven starting a new job this year, combined with lockdown, I don’t know what day of the week it is sometimes.  Every day is organised and planned but I still couldn’t tell you the date or the day without looking some weeks!  This Monday was a Bank Holiday and Steven would normally be at home, however the new job doesn’t work like that so he took the Friday off with me and then was at work Monday.  Needless to say, with me having time off and Ste not being here, I still didn’t know what day it was!  So when I started with a migraine on Monday which lasted all night through to Tuesday morning, it has taken me until today to come round and feel somewhat normal again.  I think today has been Wednesday, right?  We have other things going on with family and health which I won’t go in to here, so it’s already been a right old week.  
I did manage to go shopping Monday (maybe that’s why I got a migraine!) and got our first supermarket shop in 4 weeks, so that’s all put away and the menu plan for the week is finally done too.  Better late than never.  It’s all a bit backside first right now, I mean when isn’t it?  Mostly menu plans “should” be done by looking at what you have in and making meals from there.  Well we have started a different challenge which left me doing things in a round about way this time.
The challenge is not to go back to the supermarket for 6 weeks!  As you may know, we have a monthly grocery budget of £300.  This is regardless of whether it is a 4 or 5 week month.  An average of £75 a week.  Now for us, that’s actually way more than we should be spending right now.  Bearing in mind we grow a lot of our own things, so we should see this reduce over the next few months as the garden starts to pay for itself.  
We’ve also had another curve ball thrown in that we are taking a hit on our income as a result of the virus.  Presently this should be for 4 months, June 1st until the end of September, so it is massively important that we keep our outgoings down.
Having said that we do still have milk delivered and buy a top up veg box weekly.  We will continue to support these local businesses unless something drastically changes, or when we start growing everything we need.  We’re not there yet but are working on it.
So straight in to it.  Every week I am making bread, treats, soups, scones, pies and quiches/fritatas.  These are for lunches, main meals, snacks and the freezer.  9 times out of 10 the pies are using left overs as I don’t tend to make pie fillings specifically for pies for us (though I do sell some which I made specifically for customers), with the exception of corned beef and potato.  I also hardboil any eggs which are not sold or for incubating.  At the moment this is quail only as ALL of the hens eggs are selling, much to my disappointment 😉 sometimes I find a cracked one which I get to use!  The quiches and fritatas are using whatever we have in abundance such as the kale and asparagus.  Scones vary from week to week and bread is something we no longer consider a throw away item as we may have done in the past.  It’s amazing how making your own makes you value everything so much more.
I spent £147.62 on Monday and our next veg box is coming on Saturday which will be £11.  I’ll let you know once the milk man invoices us as we changed the order this week.
I planned on making bone broth/stock once every 6 weeks when I planned the challenge, however when I made some in my 6 litre slow cooker, it only yielded 2 litres.  Now I used 3 carcasses, so I am wondering if it’ll be quite concentrated and maybe I can eek 500ml out to 750 for example.  I can just season more if needed.
A few other points to note – I’ll be making ALL of our own bread products, we have NO pork left in the freezer and have made the decision to not buy any joints or chops, only sausages and bacon, until we have our own later this year or early next year.  We have joints of beef which we will dice and mince once we run out of those.  WE have also ran out of whole chickens.  Again, we will not be buying chicken, we will wait until our meat birds are ready in around 8 weeks or so!  We do however have the luxury of thigh/drumstick, carcass and wings of one bird a week.  As you will know if you read our blog, my parents buy an organic whole bird each week as it’s not much difference in cost for 2 breasts which is what they started to get (from the farm shop).  They take the breasts and give us the rest which they don’t like.  So the only chicken we will have during this challenge is that.
It’s really exciting, I think setting challenges keeps you focused and energised.  Well it does for us at least!  I did a bit of a YouTube video on it which would be great if you could watch and subscribe to.  Eventually we hope the channel will be enjoyed by many, you have to start somewhere right?
Stay safe everyone.

9 thoughts on “Bank holidays always throw me, even in lockdown & the next challenge!

  1. Great challenge Tracey, I'm sure you will manage it. Its surprising how inventive you become when you limited choice. It won't be too long before your garden starts producing. I'm trying hard in a very small garden and I'll preserve what I can along the way.

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  2. Well done for making so much yourself – it is not only cheaper but also better for you and with fewer preservatives etc etc. Tastes better too : )

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  3. Tracy, if you can invest in a standard non-electric pressure cooker to prepare the stock in, it will produce a more concentrated stock. I have a Prestige one. It also cooks stews beautifully and is good one pot method of cooking main meal of day. Also tenderises meat i.e. stewing beef cooked with onions and stock for your own meat pie fillings. Most people are afraid of a standard pressure cooker, but really there is nothing to be afraid of and it will help you save the pennies especially in the winter months. Also good for making preserves as well. Keep up the good work. Hope you feel better soon migraines are the worst (I am a fellow sufferer). Is it tension, or due to a food intolerence. Take care Tricia x

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  4. Fabulous post chic, really great! Very inspiring. I forgot how much we like pea and ham soup so I think we'll look at making that soon. I'm going to be doing any supermarket food shopping from the beginning of June; as you know Jon does it just now but I too want to be able to spend a little more and not have to go for a few weeks combined with our monthly trip to the wholesalers for the big dried goods. We all find our way and what works best to save money and to eat as healthily as we can. I definitely need to eat a little better, but Jon's pies are sooo tasty.Looking forward to some lighter meals now that the weather seems to be changing. Look forward to hearing more from you and your challenge of course.xx

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  5. You're so right, thank you for your comment. We are finding we are eating things that I wouldn't normally put together as a meal. I don't mean tuna and gravy type combinations 😉 just meals that are very nice, but not on my usuals list. It's great to be taken out of your habit zone. I hope you have an abundant year and get to preserve plenty 🙂

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  6. Thank you – there are so many arguments for cooking from scratch I think. Don't get me wrong, I know people can't always, but surely doing something is better than nothing, it is so rewarding 🙂

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  7. You always read my mind 😉 although a slightly different tool I have been looking at is the instant pot, which is probably very American? I haven't done much research yet. Have you heard of it? I'll look up the UK based ones, I've just not had chance or prioritised it yet. Interesting on the stock.Migraines are the worst aren't they? I think this one was brought on as a combination of heat and emotion strain as we are having a bad time with my nana right now. I visited her at the window of the place she is right now and was stood in the blazing sun for an hour. So it could be that, thanks for caring x

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  8. Ah thanks Lou, as I have said before, it helps keep my mind focused on the tasks in hand. Love pea and ham soup! Even better when I have ham and not just ham stock haha! It's such a nice feeling not having to go weekly to the supermarket I find. I hear you on the pies! mmmmm!! Take care and look forward to your blog post as always x

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  9. Hi Tracy,The Instant Pot is the electric version of the Pressure Cooker. Many say that you can preserve stuff in it, as in Canning food at high temperatures and on paper that holds up but the USDA Regulators in the States have some serious concerns about this and still recommend a proper Pressure Canner. I have looked at them and there are certainly lots of dishes that you can cook up; I think it would be an asset but the practical part of me refuses to buy one at the moment although I am interested. The reasoning behind this is simple for me. My Mum had an all singing all dancing computerised microwave which I inherited. It as not had much use although I have used it regularly. It is one of these push sensor things. Push sensor thing has gone and cannot get it fixed. Next microwave will be a push button one. These sensor things are all very good but in a practical and busy kitchen I want something that is going to last. Wen I talk of a Pressure Cooker I am thinking of something that I can within reason use on any heat source and for me the old fashioned/traditional pressure cooker fits that brief. Just my personal take on things – they have to be practical i.e. what happens if there is no electric, gas? They have this one in Argos at the moment. Link here it is the 7.5 litre Prestige one I was looking at. Prestige is one of the oldest makes. I am still able to get gaskets for my pressure cooker and have had it 40+ years. The one I am looking atis nice and deep in size and so should take standard and taller Kilner type jars. My traditional one has a shaped lid but is about the same depth overall. You could bottle fruit this way on and tomatoes as long as you put some lemon juice in each jar. Vegetables – no way as not enough acid. This is why you need an atmospheric pressure canner which is regulated to your particular area. Once you get your head around the instructions they are straightforward to use both the English Pressure Cooker and the American style Atmospheric Pressure Canner. I grew up with a pressure cooker being in use at all times. My mum never had a full sized cooker until I was three. She had a little Baby Belling oven with two plates on top and so the Pressure cooker was an absolute boon, energy and money conscious. Mum always used it for soups, stock and stews. My Dad had migraines and I followed suit (tinned Salmon used to trigger his and also stress). Mine is combined as a symptom of my epilepsy although I do get them every so often anyway. I go to bed in the dark then as it is the only way to shift it. Am so sorry that your Nana is not well and that because of current restrictions you are not able to do what you should be able to do for her. Just love her and be there when you can we can only do what we can however in our own minds it is never quite enough. She knows you are there for her where you can be and that is all that matters. Sorry its War and Peace of an answer; I do try and condense things but it does not always work! Hope this helps, but take care and hang on in there. Tricia xx

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