Burn Black

That ain't a vulture, that's a fucking pigeon…

Posts Tagged ‘frugality’

Make Your Own Houmous…

I love houmous/hummus.  I can sit down with a tub of the stuff along with some pitta/carrot sticks/celery and quite happily munch away until my heart and tummy is content.  It’s so bloody easy to make too that I have no idea why I even buy the stuff anymore.  It works out a lot cheaper to make your own too, if you go by weight. Below is my easy go to recipe.  There are no measurements as such as it’s the kind of food that everyone has different preferences for.  Some like it smooth, others lumpy, some like lots of lemon juice etc etc.  My advice would be to have a play and see what works the best for you.  If you end up with something that tastes and resembles houmous at the end then well done.

IMG_7305

The main ingredient of houmous is chickpeas (or garbanzo beans).  I never buy tinned if I’m honest.  A tin of ready soaked costs 55p.  I can buy a lot more chickpeas for my moolah if I buy a 500g bag of dried for £1.10.  I normally go by the 1/2 a cup of dried = 1 tin of soaked ratio too.  The only downfall to buying dried however is that you need to prepare them in advance but it’s easy when you know how.  I normally just measure as many cups as I can get out of a 500g bag, soak them overnight and then stick them in the slow cooker the next day.  Once cooked I’ll then measure them out in equivalent of tins and freeze in individual freezer bags until required.  I do the same with the majority of my dried beans and pulses too.  I have heard stories of people sprouting them for additional nutrients but I’ve never tried that myself I must say.

IMG_7307

When it comes to making actual houmous I normally grab one or two freezer bags (remember these have been measured to be the equivalent of a tin each) bring them to the boil just to defrost/make sure that they’re properly cooked, bung them in a food processor with a little bit of the water, some garlic, some salt, pepper, ground cumin, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil and blend it until it resembles the consistency/taste that you require.  It keeps for a few days in the fridge and if you’re feeling adventurous you can add any extras to it, such as chilli or roast veg.  In my view there really isn’t a set of concrete rules with this.  I’ve used limes when I’ve had no lemons, flaxseed oil instead of olive oil etc. etc. and as long as it tastes great to you then that’s all that matters.

IMG_7308

I hope this has helped and if you discover any good flavour combinations then please let me know.  Also if you know the reason behind the different spellings of houmous/hummus then let me know too.

 

 

 

Operation Frugality: Week 3.

I was determined to make this week a week of low spendage, especially after last week but I didn’t manage, far from it in fact.  Firstly my mobile phone stopped letting me make or receive phone calls unless I had the speaker on and there’s some conversations you just don’t want the world to hear when you’re in the middle of Tesco’s.  Therefore I had to get an upgrade, it seems that current events have gotten the best of me as of late too…

Monday 13th January – Nothing.

Tuesday 14th January – I’ve had a lot of things going on and as a result my plate has had lots on it.  As a result the emotional crutch that I’ve tried so hard to avoid has once again stuck it’s nicotine stained claws into me and I bought a packet of cigarettes which cost £7.70.  I also needed a lighter 90p.  Great eh?

Wednesday 15th January – Nothing.

Thursday 16th January – This is the day I finally had enough with regards to my mobile.  A short trip to the phone shop and I had a brand new iPhone 5s and had to pay £49.99 upfront.  I also needed a new screen protector and cover as my one from my iPhone 4 are too fat now.  I bought this bling one from eBay for £5.99.  Since I’m running out of ideas as to what I can make in the house and emotional drainage making me unmotivated to do pretty much nothing at home I ended up buying lunch too £4.10.  A bad day really.

Friday 17th January – It’s my birthday next week and since the Kurt Geiger shoes from last week were far too high for me (I gave them to a friend who I’ll know will make them her bitch) I ended up buying a dress (£25.44) and a replacement pair of heels (£54.94 – In fairness I have wanted these FOR YEARS) for when I go out in a fortnights time.  I think totally unnecessary but these are staple items that I’ll get lots of wear out of therefore feel semi-justified.  Plus did I mention it was my birthday soon???

Saturday 18th January –  I bought V and I a meal from M&S after work (£15.61) and some fags (£7.70).  I could have probably done without but my nerves are still shot and after all the shit I’ve had to pick the scab from and go through this week I felt we both needed a treat, especially since V has proven himself a rock as of late.  Plus I figured it would be cheaper than a takeaway.

Sunday 19th January – Nothing.

So yeah.  Out of all the above I pretty much feel justified in buying the phone, the dress and the shoes.  The fags would probably come next.  I am pretty much livid with myself for letting things get to me that much but I’m sure once it’s all over as will my useage of them also.  All in all a really bad week.  Total Spends:  £172.37.  It would appear that when depressed I’m not only an emotional smoker but a shopper too. :0/

 

Operation Frugality: Week 2.

So far this year I have to admit that I’m rather liking this challenge in a masochistic kind of way.  If anything I am noticing spending patterns and am acting upon them which is the whole point in this exercise after all..  A perfect example of this is my tendency to hoard stuff that I buy from work.

Anyone who’s ever been in my bathroom will testify to the amount of Lush products in it.  At this moment in time I have the equivalent of over 6 litres of shower gel, a shoebox filled with soap and at least 2 carrier bags worth of bath bombs and various other bath treats in there as well as various lotions, potions, shampoo and massage bars.  Safe to say I don’t think I’m going to need any of those this year.  Same goes for perfume which has actually proven difficult thanks to Illamasqua who currently have a sale on.  I’ve wanted a bottle of Freak for ages and it’s currently reduced.  I’ve had to be a big girl and say no however because a) I must already own something like 20+ bottles of fragrance so I know I won’t need anymore for a very long time and b) V bought me a bottle of the Tom Ford perfume I’ve been lusting over for a very long time as a late Christmas/early Birthday present which to be honest is literally the best aroma that’s ever filled my nostrils and I’m really grateful for him to have spent so much money on something so decadent.   Recognising what I already have/how often I use things is going to be key to this challenge I feel.  So here’s a daily breakdown of expenditure for week 2.

Monday 6th January:  It’s marmalade season and I need some Seville Oranges so I went to the local greengrocers to see if there were any.  There wasn’t but I did need some fresh garlic so bought a bulb of that (in the past I would have bought about 3), some fresh coriander which I now regret as I already have some in the freezer from the last time I bought some  (at least I can freeze this if I don’t use it however and I now know for next time) and 4 Persimmons for £1 which is a bargain and I love them.  That lot came to £2.99.  None too shabby but I still need those oranges.

Tuesday 7th January:  I spent 87p on a load of carrots.  What with the coriander I’d bought the day before I made soup which sorted me out for a few meals.  I also spent £4.99 on dried dates and some dried apricots in Holland & Barrett.  Not necessarily needed but I want to try and make my own version of these for after exercise etc. which I’m sure will work out cheaper in the long run.  After work I went to the gym.  I walked there and got the bus back which cost me £1.85.  This brings the days total to £7.71

Wednesday 8th January:  I admit now that the money I spent today was not due to necessity.  Firstly I got my nails “did” (acrylic infills) which cost £11.25.  I like getting my nails done.  They’re less hassle than my real ones as they’re really low maintenance, and it’s a treat and a bit of me time at the end of the day which is always well received by myself whenever the time comes around.  I work hard so why not?  I then bought a lipstick (£3.01) and a new gel nail varnish on eBay for £3.99.  I have the UV kit to do my own gel manicure and doing my nails myself saves me around £15 a pop so I find it well worth it in the long run.  May as well be hung for a sheep than a lamb I guess.  Bit of a bad day really.  Total spends = £18.25

Thursday 8th January:  On this day I went a bit mental.  However I did buy things I actually needed as opposed to things I wanted which is always  a plus.  What with my going back to the gym I’ve discovered that I a) hate wearing baggy jogging bottoms as I don’t like how they flap about when I’m on the treadmill and with me wanting to start running I figured I needed some new gym clothes and £44 later I had some.  Later on that day I made the mistake of going onto ASOS and ended up purchasing a pair of £140 Kurt Geiger heels for a bargalicious £13.50.  I’m sorry I know it was completely unjustified but I did spend a few minutes gingerly thinking about pressing the checkout button, and well…

Friday – Nothing

Saturday – Nothing

Sunday – Nothing

So this week I’m quite please that I didn’t spend any money on lunches, or coffee for that matter whilst at work which was rather ace.  The shoes and lipstick? well did I need them?  Not at all but I did actually want that lipstick for ages so it wasn’t an impulse buy, the shoes? a totally different matter.   The gym wear was a must however as I normally look like a tramp when I’m there and getting new gym wear has been on my “to do” list for a while.  I also know that I don’t *need* the acrylic nails but I do enjoy wearing them.  They make me happy and dare I say *ladylike*  and so for now they stay.  I may review it when they need to come off but I’ll review it then.  The food items I obviously need and when the weather improves I’ll cycle to the gym and back.  Total spends this week:  £86.45 (eek).

Plans for 2014…

In my last entry I mentioned that I’d made plans for this year so I figured I would post them on here, if anything to act as a reminder.  In 2014 I would really like to try and do the following:
  • As Le Tigre would say “GET OFF THE INTERNET – I’m not planning on doing a Neil Gaiman  but I do spend a lot of time on social media.  V thinks that he does too.  We’ve since tried to improve this by having phones/laptops/iPads put away on our evenings together with great success.  I also feel like a crap friend at times.  The time I spend online catching up with people I could be doing in person, the fact my best friend lives about a 10 minute walk away from me, yet I see her rarely is testament to this.  I’m therefore going to try and limit my time online to just one day a week.  I was/am quite addicted to a few games on Facebook.  I’ve deleted them all bar one, however I feel playing it just once a week will become frustrating and I’ll probably give that up too in future.  Hopefully this will mean I’ll have more time to read more books/crochet/knit etc. as well as blog more, which is another factor I’d like to improve upon.
  • Operation Frugality – Although compared to others I am already a frugal person, I still find I waste money on absolute shit, this was confirmed during the great uncluttering of 2013.  Therefore rules are simple and the plastic has been destroyed/hidden.  I’m only allowed to buy things if I absolutely need them and even then if I can save money by being more savvy with my hard earned cash then to obviously do so.  I’m thinking of doing a weekly breakdown blog post of what I’ve spent that week to keep my motivation levels high with regards to this.  I personally think it’ll be interesting so we’ll see how it goes.
  • Continue the great uncluttering/life laundry that I started in 2013 –  Already I have a huge box of gear to give to charity and one huge box to list on eBay as and when inclination allows.  I hate listing things on eBay so so much.  Needs must however.  Alongside this as mentioned before, I’m going to try and do at least one 20:10 of my home each day in attempts to ward off my flat becoming messy and disorganised but no more than 3.
  • Diet and Fitness – I’m signing up to do a 5km run in the summer, something I’ve never done before but at least it will get me running (I have the couch to 5km app downloaded and ready).  I’ve had a review at the gym this week and am hoping I can go back to kickboxing at some point in the near future.  All in all I’m feeling quite positive with regards to my fitness this year.  I also have the Insanity Workout (yes it is as horrible as what everyone makes out but it does get results) to attempt when I can’t do any of the above.  I’m going to try and aim to do at least some form of exercise at least 5 days a week.  Something is better than nothing.  On top of this I will of course be trying to eat as healthy as possible as well.  No more buying lunch at work (Operation Frugality denies it anyway) so no excuses.
  • Get up to speed with my skills as a designer – I’ve done nothing with regards to my degree since I left uni and is something I constantly feel bad about.  I have opportunities at my feet that I feel I cannot take advantage of due to this and the lack of confidence that goes with it.  Therefore this year I’m going to try and master at least the aspects of print based design that I feel I need to work on so any resources for this would be appreciated.  Same goes for photography too.  I used to do a lot of it and then I stopped which is a shame as I did enjoy it.
  • Vanity – I need to seriously up my dental hygiene and get my other sleeve started.  I need to floss, my dentist has said so on many occasssions but I hate it.  I try hard for a week or so and then give up.  Now I’m a non smoker there isn’t any excuses.  To be honest I haven’t even seen my dentist in about 2 years because I just know I’ll get another bollocking from her.  Booking an appointment with her is on the “to do” list.  Getting my other sleeve started is probably going to be the only indulgence of this year as and when Operation Frugality will allow.  It needs doing.  It’s been lasered as much as I can handle now so I need to look into my options when I have enough money saved up for my first appointment.  Cheaper goals include mastering the art of good eyebrows and contouring.  Ru Paul’s Drag Race can only educate so much.

I am aware that this list does seem like a lot but at the end of the day they’re just goals that I would like to at least try and do during the year.  A year is a long period of time and if I don’t get to do them all then there’s always next year isn’t there. *wink*.

Recent Noms…

I stumbled upon Smitten Kitchen last week and the next day made this for dinner.  It seems that a lot of the ingredients used are relatively easy to come by and also cheap to make and I’m that impressed I’m considering buying the cookbook.  It’ll be getting made again at some point soon.

I also tried to make sourdough bread with the culture I started a few weeks ago and it flopped.  I ended up using the flat dough for chapatis.  All in all, not an experiment I’ll be repeating.  Never mind.

Last week I also stumbled upon this by the Hairy Bikers on the TV and quite intrigued I made it.  I wish I’d halved the ingredients as the recipe made much more than for just 4 people.  It was ok but I doubt I’ll make it again.  I have the remnants in my freezer for next time I fancy something sweet.

I’ve also realised that I have more or less a freezer full of food so I’m on a food shopping ban until it’s a lot more controllable.  I think it’s going to be pretty amusing to see what I can come up with at mealtimes in the meantime.

Culture and Potatoes…

Today it occurred to me that I still hadn’t started that Sourdough Culture that I said I was going to do ages ago (and even went to the trouble of buying some really posh flour from mmm… for this exact purpose) and that I also had rather a lot a) potatoes and b) onions that needed using up before too long so this evening has been spent in attempts to rectify all of the above.  Starting a sourdough culture seems relatively easy.  I’m using the information from this site.  It should be ready to use come Monday/Tuesday so expect an update around then.

When it came to the glut of potatoes and onions scenario I was a bit more confused.  I have no idea how I’ve came to own so much of both vegetables and I had no idea as to what I was going to do with them.  A quick google search that included the words “potato, onion, vegan” and I’d stumbled upon this beauty from the Post Punk Kitchen.  I should have known really considering I own quite a few of Isa’s books.  Anyway it took all in all nearly 2 hours to make but excluding tonights tea (it was delicious btw) I now have the equivalent of 4 more meals in my freezer and since all the hard work is done all I need to do is boil a pan full of water and chuck em straight in, similar to gnocchi.  Until today I’d never made Caramelised Onion too, never mind know that you could freeze it.  Jobs a good un.