The Freezer-Food Meal Plan

This last month has proven very expensive for one reason or another. What with council tax, MOT on two cars and insurance due on one, there really isn’t much left over to see us through until next pay day. I tend to have a habit of buying too much when I go food shopping and end up picking up items from the “still fresh” reduced section to go in the freezer for use at a later date. I’m just not very good in actually getting to that “later date” and therefore have ended up with a freezer stuffed to the gills with food.

So, in a bid to save money we have been having “freezer food” meals all this week and it has saved us quite a bit of money!

On Monday we had a random Chinese mix-and-match night with egg fried rice, chicken chow mean, one slice of prawn toast (why did I even bother freezing that?!?) and a couple of chicken goujons to add a bit of crunch. We even had some Chinese dips left over from a couple of weeks ago that had been sealed away and still tasted fine.

Tuesday was a little bit naughty with turkey shapes, chips and peas. Yes, we are both adults and don’t have any kids, that doesn’t mean we can’t have turkey dinosaurs if we want them!

Wednesday saw us having one of our favorites, IKEA meatballs with mash and meatball sauce! With an IKEA being literally 10 minutes away from where we live we quite regularly indulge in the Swedish delight that is their frozen meatballs!

Tonight is going to be a bit of an experiment. I have somehow managed to collect 3 bags of hot dog frankfurters and while I do really love hot-dogs, they just don’t seem to suit as an evening meal. So I am getting creative and making a hot-dog pasta bake! Pasta shapes with a bit of spiralized zucchini thrown in for some semblance of healthiness, pasata as a base mixed with mushrooms and some cherry tomatoes with a bit of smokey cheese thrown into the mix because cheese makes everything better! Fingers crossed it will be edible!

Tomorrow is a bit open ended at the moment as Friday nights are normally take-out night. However we are going on an impromptu trip to Skegness in our motor-home on Saturday/Sunday so we may end up having something random at home and then splurging on a meal out on Saturday night, obviously to celebrate having saved so much money over the week!

Oh well, it’s payday next week anyhow.

Long Time No Type

Well, what can I say, I’ve been away from this blog for so long I can hardly remember when I last posted anything without checking on my feed. It’s been a bumpy few months that’s for sure.

In short a massive opportunity for us has slipped through our fingers thanks to problems with our new motohome and more than a little bit of procrastination. But hey, life goes on and all that jazz, there will be other opportunities which will pop up when they are good and ready!

All in all the last few months have seen me loose motivation for my exercise classes, binge eating junk food, biting my nails and generally not looking after myself very well. I was sat at my desk the other day wearing my floor length slinky skirt and a fitted shirt and looked down to see buttons straining and the stretchy skirt making me look pregnant (I’m not, for the record). It was the proverbial kick up the ass I needed to get back onto another health kick.

I have realised that talking about my efforts on here helps to keep me motivated, which is why I guess I stopped posting as I felt I had let myself down.

So, how am I re-starting my fitness efforts? Zumba! I have finally found a Zumba class at the right time and in a location not too far from my house. It’s on a Tuesday so the work week has not had quite enough time to drain my energy. I just hope I survive it!

I am also re-doubling my efforts to eat healthy too, again by planning out the weeks meals. This week we are on a money saving kick to try and get through some of the mountain of food we have stored in the freezer. Last night it was a random Chinese night with noodles and mix veg. Tonight, as I am at Zumba class 6:30 to 7:30, we are going to have chicken breast steaks with some potato-based product and vegetables prepared for my return by the Hubby.

So … here goes nothing … again.

Small Succsess

Having received my Fitbit on Tuesday last week I have worn it almost constantly (with the only exception being when it made my wrist a bit sore on the first Friday night and then on the Saturday when it was on charge). While wearing ti overnight has taken quite a bit of getting used to, I am finding it amazingly useful!

It is making me so much more aware of exactly how much (or how little) exercise I really am doing! I have an office job in an office which is basically one room with only one other person in it. The door to our office is directly onto the car-park so it’s not even like we are in a larger building that I can roam around on a short break. I take less than 10 steps in any direction and I hit a wall … not very conducive to increasing exercise levels!

However the prompt feature of the fitbit is very useful in that it will tell me how fare off the 250 steps per hour target I am with 10 minutes to go. So if I get a prompt saying that I have below 100 steps to go, up I pop from my chair and pace back and forth like a stressed zoo animal for a couple of minutes. It’s a small step but I feel it is helping.

The ability to use the same program to log my food intake is also extremely useful. I have been using other apps previously but the fact that I am now getting a more accurate estimate on how many calories I am burning during the day, It helps me to control how much I eat. I am also becoming more aware of exactly what I am putting in my body and helps me to steer clear of any naughty snacks during the day!

For example, as I have been able to keep on track with my meal plans this week I have been able to log my breakfast after I have eaten it and then enter what we are going to be having for evening dinner at the same time. This helps me to plan how much I can take in during the day and helps to strengthen my resolve to resist the constant temptation of the Mcdonalds that is less than 5 minute walk from my office door! Especially after I looked up exactly how many calories are in one of their meals … yikes!

So things seem to have been working out with this! Thankfully I am starting to see the physical evidence of this in that since I received my fitbit and logged my starting weight I have lost 5lb!

Now to keep this ball rolling!

Last week I managed to stick with my meal plan as below:

  • Monday: Quiche Loraine with home made curly fries (yay for spiralizer) and salad
  • Tuesday: Smoked gammon steak with whips and vegetables
  • Wednesday: Curry with rice and naan bread (finally getting the hang of sticking to smaller portions of this)
  • Tuesday: chili sausage with roasted vegetables and home made wedges

Friday is as always a take-out night.

Next week will be a bit of a challenge as I have training at work in one of the other offices so for two nights this week I will be getting home late. But hopefully we will be able to stick to this plan:

  • Monday: Cheesy pasta with ham and roast veggies
  • Tuesday: Slow cooker beef and potato gratin (recipe by The Magical Slowcooker)
  • Wednesday: (training day 1) Pizza with garlic focaccia bread
  • Thursday: (training day 2) Fake-Friday takeaway
  • Friday: (bank holiday day off) Roast lamb with mash potato and vegetables

you may be thinking that none of this really looks all that healthy or low fat … well for me it’s not the fat content I am focusing on right now, it is portion size. Traditionally I have piled food high on the plate in order to provide myself and husband with what looks like a sufficient meal, when actually it is twice or three times what we should have. I have always ignored the “serving size” recommendations on the packaging. Now I am finally getting better at limiting what I put on the plate which is already having a great effect on how we feel after we have eaten a meal.

Fingers crossed I can keep this small success going!

(/EndRant)

Yet Another Bandwagon

Over the last few weeks life kind of got the better of us, leaving husband and myself feeling incredibly drained and rather touchy. The Motorhome we purchased needed a lit more work doing to it than we had imagined and now, 4 weeks since we took possession of it, it is still not ready for the road.

As a result of both our moods being low we have also fallen well short of our healthier eating plans. last week we had takeout Chinese on Thursday, pizza on Friday and a chip shop takeaway on Saturday followed by a McDonalds breakfast on Sunday morning! Comfort food it may be but I always find that while I enjoy this sort of food a lot more than I should, it actually makes me feel worse afterwards. I feel heavy and sluggish and just generally bleh.

Thankfully things do seem to be looking up as day by day the motorhome is inching closer to being ready and as it does, the mood improves too. This week I am trying to claw our way back into a better meal plan too. Monday was quiche and chips with salad, yesterday we had lasagna and garlic bread with a side salad and today is sausage and mash. Tomorrow we will be experimenting with Quorn kievs which should be interesting considering neither of us have ever eaten Quorn in our lives.

I have also decided to throw a bit of money at the problem and bought myself a Fitbit to try and help me focus on being active more. I work in an office which makes getting any form of exercise during the day rather difficult. My Fitbit arrived yesterday and it seems like it’s sleep monitoring system will be quite useful and today it has been buzzing away on my wrist to tell me to more my ass a bit more. It does feel strange just walking up and down the office while waiting to be taken off hold, I feel like a tiger pacing round it’s territory! luckily I work in a small office so my coworkers know what I’m doing and that I haven’t just gone round the twist!

Fingers crossed we will be able to stay on this particular bandwagon for a while.

A Successful Week

A few days ago I posted this about how I was going to try my very best to stick to a set meal plan for this week. Well, I am very pleased to say that for the first time since I started planning out the weeks meals, we have actually kept to the menu! This has had the added effect of my not even setting foot in the local supermarket once this week since I did the main food shop which has naturally saved us some money.

Let me tell you, that place is tempting. I my office building is actually directly behind an ASDA Megastore (which regretfully contains a branch of McDonnalds) so I am quite often tempted inside just to see what they have on offer which inevitably ends up in me spending somewhere in the region of an extra £20 or so.

Tonight is my night off from the kitchen so we will be having a takeout of some sort but this gives me the opportunity to formulate a plan for the next weeks meals. for me I find it most useful to start the plan for a Saturday so that I can include Saturday and Sunday’s dinners in my shopping list for the week.

We did have quite a few red meat meals last week so this week is much more poultry based with a couple of healthy options thrown in too.

Saturday: Chicken fajita mix with spiralizes sweet potato.
I’m still trying to get the hand of cooking sweet potato so fingers crossed this one will work out OK.

Sunday: Roast chicken with all the trimmings
I love a good Sunday roast and if we get a whole chicken for the two of us then we will have enough leftovers for a couple of extra meals or lunches out of it too.

Monday: Zucchini & Mushroom pasta with leftover chicken
Another trip out for my spiralizer, I will probably add something a little carby in there too as I find my system doesn’t react very well to zero carb meals.

Tuesday: Sweet chili chicken with jasmine rice
And the chicken week continues!

Wednesday: Individual steak and red wine pie and mash
Nothing beats a bit of comfort food to get you through the middle of the week.

Thursday: Hamwiches with potato wedges and vegetable mountain.
These things are my husbands most favorite food ever! I know they are unhealthy and processed beyond recognition but I do combine it with a load of fresh veg and home made wedges … and seriously, these things are sooooooo good!

Which then brings us up to next weeks take-out night!

Some of the above meals are from recipies I have found on blogs so I will post linkbacks to them when I can track them down again (I keep all of the recipes I like the sound of as print outs in a file in my kitchen).

Also, for some reason I find it quite funny that my spell checker wants to change the word “spiralized” to “liberalize”. America sounds like it needs more spiralizers (it wants to change that to ‘moralizers’) at the moment!

 

A Weekend Of Toil

I think it is safe to say we have just had one of the best and most productive weekends since we got marries last year. We had assumed the weather would be cold and damp much like the previous week so we had a less than inspiring weekend of housework planned, which became even less appealing when I opened the curtains on Saturday morning and let the bright sunshine pour into the bedroom.

Resigned to our plan for the day I set about making breakfast. A caramelized onion sausage and fried egg butty for the husband, and a sausage, mushroom and spinach omelette for me (with a bit of crusty bread on the side). Having taken on our fuel for the day, husband stood up and decided to turn the weekend on it’s head.

“Should we make a start on the driveway?” He said suddenly, hands on hips as he looked out at the strip of gravel outside.

We have kind of overloaded our driveway recently, what with buying a boat that needs a complete overhaul and now a motor home which only just squeezes past said boat on our double driveway. It’s a risky think and ended up making it very difficult to get the motor home off the driveway when we took it for a habitation report at a specialist the day after we got it (long story for another post).

With a rather bemused “Errm…’kay” from me we donned our scruffy clothes (the only time I seem to wear blue denim anymore is when I’m working in the garden), boots and head outside into the glorious sunshine.

And started digging.

What was our mission? To extend our driveway sideways by about a meter into our lawn along the 8 meter length of that part of the driveway.

Husband did the majority of the digging with me scooping up bits of terf and soil and piling it in the rough vicinity of the area where a raised veggie patch is going to go eventually. While we were half way through this I dashed off and wandered around the local DIY store like a lost sheep trying to find a suitable piece of weed barrier and trying to match up the gravel in our driveway to what they had in bags.

Having returned with the weed barrier and the truly pitiful number of bags of gravel (who knew you would need SO MUCH to cover a 1×8 meter slice of driveway) I set about the next part of my mission, to scrape up as much loose gravel from the back of the driveway as I could to compensate for my lack of calculations when at the DIY store.

I dug up, carried and poured out about 15-20 full buckets of gravel which was just enough to cover the patch … and then we had to move the boat.

She is a small ‘trailer sailer’ called a Lysander which we bought as near scrap with the intention to do up over last summer, but we never got round to it what with wedding planning and all that. But even though she is small, this girl is heavy! We had to MacGuyver a way of hauling her up the slight slope of the driveway in order to zig-zag her across so she sits neatly next to the new lawn line and let me tell you, it was not easy (or safe) but somehow we managed it.

All in all it took about 5 hours to get done but by the time we had finished we were both exhausted, aching and absolutely filthy, not the type of dirty weekend one might have had in mind.

but, even though I am covered in bruises and my back is still giving me grief, we both feel so accomplished and proud of what we have achieved. And I dread to think how much it would have cost if we had hired someone to do it.

The Best Laid Plans

I do really like to plan out the weekly meals that I’m going to cook for myself and my husband each week, especially as it helps to keep a reign on what I buy from the supermarket. I have blogged about meal plans a couple of times but never realized there was a “linky” as I have seen people calling it! I’m a bit of a twitter fiend so naturally I do love a good hashtag and #MealPlanningMonday fulfills that love beautifully!

 My main trouble is sticking with the plan. The hubby is rather indecisive and doesn’t like to sit and plan the weeks meals with me but will wait until that morning before he decides he doesn’t want to have that particular thing for tea. However, this week should be good as he has decided to put a couple of suggestions forwards for things he would like to have, thankfully both of which I like too!

 So, here is what I will hopefully be making to our evening meals this week … *drumroll*

 Monday – Lasagna, garlic baguette and salad

I love lasagna, its simple, warming creamy and it is the perfect partner for garlic bread! This was husband choice no.1

 Tuesday – Rump steak with chips and veg

This is a big treat for us tonight, we hardly ever have steak at home so this should be a really nice hearty meal. As if you couldn’t guess, this was husband choice no.2 in a “man want meat!” moment.

Wednesday – Sausage & mash with veg and onion gravy

I have some really nice reduced fat pork and leak sausages which are just too good to go on a sausage butty at the weekend. The weather is set to be wet and cold so this is a simply yet filling favorite.

Thursday – Chili Con Cane with jacket potato and salad

I love chili but husband and I had Chinese food on Saturday and then the leftovers on Sunday so we didn’t want to have rice again so we decided on a baked potato!

Friday – Takeaway

Friday is this cooks day off 🙂

I plan my meals with Saturday as the start of the week as this works best for my weekly food shop but as we were doing a lot of work around the house and the garden this weekend (to be featured in a future blog post no doubt) we decided a cheeky Chinese takeaway would be a nice reward for some very hard work.

Now, I hope I have done this link thing right so all that remains to say is “happy #MealPlanningMonday weekly meal planners!!!”

Hijacked By Twins