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Monday, 16 July 2018

Apologies for being rather late publishing our meal plan this week.  We had a really busy weekend and there just wasn't enough time or energy left for me to get it blogged by Sunday evening as usual.  It's the last week of school for the year, that means at the end of this week my children will be home for 49 days.  I'm making sure I have plenty of coffee in the house.

It's a fairly easy and relaxed meal plan for us this week as we're all knackered.  The heatwave is still in full swing, we're all getting grumpy with the hot weather.  We could really do with some rain, it hasn't rained here for over a month now.

Our garden is still providing loads of fresh greens, lettuces, strawberries, raspberries, and fresh herbs so I've not included them in the shopping list. It won't be long until the apples on our tree will be ready to eat. 

Meal Plan 

Breakfasts will be homemade granola with yoghurt and fruit.  Weekend breakfasts will be pancakes and crumpets.

Packed lunches will be Cheese and Vegetable Puffs with fruit, crudites, and a baked treat.  Weekend lunches will be Caramelised Onion and Cheddar Swirls with salad greens, and Versatile Flatbreads.


Quick Bean Chilli - Meatfree Monday

Chorizo frittata

8 free range eggs
2 large potatoes
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 Tblsp oil
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
200g Chorizo, cubed

Scrub the potatoes, cut into 1 inch/2.5cm dice cubes and boil in salted water until just cooked then drain well. Put the chorizo into a large frying pan over a moderate heat, fry until the oil starts to run then add the potato cubes, frozen vegetables and onion. Cook until the chorizo is crispy, the onions have softened and the frozen vegetables have heated through.

Break the eggs into a bowl, add salt and pepper then whisk together before pouring into the frying pan. Add the remaining oil to the pan and then pour in the egg mixture.

Reduce the heat to low and cook gently for about 5-10 minutes. Whilst the frittata is cooking heat the grill of your oven. When the frittata is set around the edges put the frying pan under the grill. Be very careful not to melt the handle of your frying pan. Grill the frittata until the top is set and light golden. We have ours with salad or steamed greens. 

Lentil and Vegetable Curry

2 tsp oil
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups green lentils
2 Tblsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1.5 litres vegetable stock
2 cups mixed root vegetables, peeled and diced

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat and saute the onion and garlic until the onion has softened. Add the spices to the pan and stir for a minute or two until they are fragrant. Add the lentils, stock and vegetables then bring to the boil.

Simmer for around half an hour until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has mostly been absorbed. Serve with cooked rice. We add some steamed spinach on the side for added veg content.

Leftover Curry Pasties

Leftover Lentil and Root Vegetable Curry
2 sheets puff pastry

Preheat your oven to 200C

Cut each sheet of pastry into thirds. Put mounds of leftover curry on one half of each pastry third. Fold over the other half of the pastry third and crimp with a fork to seal the edges. Prick each pastry parcel with a fork so steam can escape during cooking.

Put on lined baking trays and cook for 20 - 25 minutes until the pastry is golden and crispy. Serve with mango chutney and steamed vegetables.

Sausage Flan

500 grams Cumberland sausage meat
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 spring onions, sliced
2 potatoes, grated
1 eating apple, grated
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
4 free range eggs, beaten

Preheat your oven to 180C.

With wet hands, line a 23cm diameter loose bottom flan dish with the sausage meat.

Put the garlic, spring onion, potato, apple, cheese into a bowl. Add the beaten egg and combine everything well.

Pour into the sausage meat case then gently tap on the bench to make sure there are no air bubbles in the filling. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the filling has set in the middle.

One Pot Orzo Bolognese

500g minced beef, or vegetarian mince
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 peppers, diced
330g dried orzo pasta
500ml pasta sauce, homemade or store bought
600ml vegetable stock
300g frozen peas
300g frozen corn
100g cheddar cheese, grated

Put a large frying pan on to a medium-high heat and cook the mince until it is no longer pink, breaking up clumps as you do so. 

Add the diced onion, minced garlic, and diced peppers to the pan then cook for a few minutes until the onion and peppers soften.

Add the orzo, pasta sauce and stock to the pan then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked and all of the stock has been absorbed. Stir through the frozen peas and corn, cook until these have heated through. Stir through the grated cheese then serve.

10 Minute Spicy Bean Burgers with sweet potato wedges

Shopping List

43 items: £67.95

2x   ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                                          £1.64

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x   ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g)              58p
3x   ASDA Smartprice Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g)                           90p
1x   ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g)                                                      33p
1x   ASDA Vegetable Bouillon Mix (150g)                                                   £1.40
1x   ASDA Bolognese Pasta Sauce (500g)                                                 69p
1x   ASDA Black Eye Beans in Water (400g)                                              55p

Dairy and Eggs
1x   ASDA Semi Skimmed Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)                                           £1.48
1x   ASDA British Whole Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)                                              £1.48
5x   ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g)                                 £2.25
1x   ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15)                                         £2.00
1x   ASDA Mature Cheddar Cheese - Light (750g)                                      £3.65

Packets and Cereals
1x   Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg)                                                  65p
1x   ASDA Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                                              69p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg)                                         45p
1x   Allinson Easy Bake Yeast (100g)                                                         98p
1x   ASDA Orzo (500g)                                                                              65p
1x   ASDA Good and Balanced Green Lentils (500g)                                   £1.15
2x   ASDA Scottish Porridge Oats (1Kg)                                                    £1.78
1x   ASDA Ready to Roll Puff Pastry (500g)                                               £1.00

Fruit and Vegetables
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Salad Tomatoes (750g)                                £1.15
25   ASDA Grower's Selection Bananas                                                      £3.00
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Seedless Red Grapes (500g)                       £1.50
25   ASDA Grower's Selection Royal Gala Apples                                      £4.80
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots (1Kg)                                              50p
1     ASDA Grower's Selection Butternut Squash by Weight (1.3Kg)            97p
4x   ASDA Grower's Selection Whole Cucumber                                         £2.00
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Green Seedless Grapes (500g)                    £1.50
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Garlic Loose                                                20p
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Courgettes (3)                                             95p
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Spring Onions                                             £1.00
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Sweet Potatoes (1Kg)                                  £1.00
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Giant Watermelon                                        £2.50
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Black Seedless Grapes (500g)                     £1.50
3x   ASDA Grower's Selection Satsumas (600g)                                         £3.75
4x   ASDA Farm Stores Pears (500g)                                                         £3.20
2x   ASDA Farm Stores Brown Onions (1Kg)                                              £1.10
4x   ASDA Farm Stores Cherry Tomatoes (250g)                                       £2.00
1x   ASDA Farm Stores White Potatoes (2.5Kg)                                         £1.15
3x   ASDA Farm Stores Mixed Peppers (3)                                                 £2.97

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x   ASDA Extra Special Chorizo Casero Sausage (225g)                           £1.85
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection Pork Sausage Meat (400g)                          £1.75
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection Beef Mince - 5% Fat (500g)                         £3.31
Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery website My Supermarket, and are correct as of 14 July 2018.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.

We purchased our shopping list from Asda via My Supermarket on 14/07/2018, and our groceries cost £67.95. Had we shopped elsewhere our groceries would've cost:

£73.55 from Morrisons
£80.07 from Tesco
£80.13 from Sainsbury's
£88.05 from Ocado
£89.55 from Waitrose

My lovely blogging buddy Ciara from My Fussy Eater has created a fab Meal Planning Facebook Group so we can inspire each other. She also has a book coming out in April which you can order here

And Katykicker, and Naomi from The Organised Life Project have a Meal Planning Linky full of fabulous Meal Planning posts with lots of tasty ideas.


Sunday, 8 July 2018
The heatwave is finally showing signs of letting up, but only for a couple of days midweek.  I'm really not enjoying endless days of 28C and over.  This week is the second to last week of school for the year which means there's lots of events and activities to remember, the calendar looks rather full.  

We're doing our best to keep cool and hydrated, resting as much as possible when we can as the heat tends to sap all of our energy.  Cooking will be as minimal as I can get away with this week, it's just been too hot to want to spend much time in our kitchen.  It's been over 30C in there without even turning on the oven.

I'll be baking our burger buns, and making the wraps for lunches despite the heat.  We've got an abundance of lettuces, fresh herbs, and assorted greens ready to be harvested from our garden along with loads of strawberries and raspberries so I've not included those in the grocery list.

Breakfasts this week will be cereal with milk and fruit again.  On the weekend we'll probably have pancakes and crumpets.

Packed lunches will be falafel wraps with crudites, a baked treat, and fresh fruit salad.  Weekend lunches will be Weekend lunches will be Homemade Pizzas with coleslaw on Saturday and Traffic Light Rice and Beans on Sunday.


Rice and Vegetable Bake with salad greens - Meatfree Monday

 Fish Wraps with Asian Coleslaw

200g vermicelli noodles
1/2 white cabbage, finely shredded
1/3 red cabbage, finely shredded
3 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks (optional)
6 spring onions, finely sliced
large handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 chilli, deseeded and very finely diced
handful of roasted nuts (optional)

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp sugar
3 - 4 Tblsp lime juice

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until completely combined.  Set aside for the flavours to develop whilst you make the salad.  Put the noodles into a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Leave for 3 - 5 minutes or until tender.  Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. 

Put the prepared vegetables in a bowl, add the noodles and toss to combine.  Pour over the dressing then gently mix through the salad.  Serve immediately.  We're having ours in wraps with grilled white fish.

Gnocchi and Mixed Vegetable Bake

1kg gnocchi
500g frozen mixed vegetables
2 cloves garlic, minced
handful of fresh mint or parsley, finely chopped
600ml full fat creme fraiche
100g Parmesan or hard cheese, finely grated

Put a large pot of water on to boil.  Add the gnocchi and frozen mixed vegetables then boil for 3 minutes or so until all the gnocchi have floated to the surface.  Drain well then mix through the garlic, herbs, and creme fraiche.  Pour into an oven proof dish, ours is 2.5 litre capacity, and top with the grated cheese.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes then serve with a side salad.

Really Easy Vegan Chilli

Quinoa and Vegetable Curry

Leftover Quinoa Curry Pasties

Burgers and Chips

Shopping List

45 items: £70.89

Packets and Cereals
2x     ASDA Smartprice Wheat Bisks (24x18g)         £1.48
1x     ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg)         69p
1x     ASDA Lime Juice (250ml)         39p
1x     ASDA Easy Cook Long Grain Brown Rice (1Kg)         £1.17
1x     ASDA Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)         59p
1x     KTC Vermicelli (200g)         50p
1x     ASDA Quinoa (300g)         £1.29
1x     ASDA Corn Flakes (790g)         £1.34
1x     ASDA Ready to Roll Puff Pastry (500g)         £1.00

2x     ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)         £1.64
1x     ASDA White Fish Fillets (540g)         £2.50
1x     Birds Eye Original Beef Burgers with Onion (10 per pack - 567g)         £2.50

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x     ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g)         58p
1x     Amoy Soy Sauce Reduced Salt (150ml)         £1.00
1x     ASDA Smartprice Mayonnaise (500g)         41p
6x     ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g)         £1.98
2x     Caribbean Choice Coconut Milk (400ml)         £1.26
1x     ASDA Curry Paste - Balti (200g)         £1.19
1x     ASDA Borlotti Beans in Water (400g)         55p
2x     ASDA Chilli Beans in Chilli Sauce (390g)         £1.30

Dairy and Eggs
2x     ASDA Crème Fraîche (300ml)         £2.36
3x     ASDA Semi Skimmed Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)         £4.44
1x     ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g)         45p
1x     ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15)         £2.00
1x     ASDA Smartprice Hard Cheese Wedge (170g)         £1.60
1x     ASDA Mature Cheddar Cheese - Light (750g)         £3.65

Fruit and Vegetables
1x     ASDA Grower's Selection Salad Tomatoes (750g)         £1.15
25     ASDA Grower's Selection Bananas         £3.00
1x     ASDA Grower's Selection Seedless Red Grapes (500g)         £1.50
25     ASDA Grower's Selection Royal Gala Apples         £4.56
2x     ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots (1Kg)         £1.00
4x     ASDA Grower's Selection Whole Cucumber         £2.00
1x     ASDA Grower's Selection Celery         55p
1x     ASDA Grower's Selection Garlic Loose         20p
2x     ASDA Grower's Selection Courgettes (3)         £1.90
2x     ASDA Grower's Selection Spring Onions         £1.10
2x     ASDA Grower's Selection Giant Watermelon         £5.00
1x     ASDA Grower's Selection Black Seedless Grapes (500g)         £1.50
2x     ASDA Grower's Selection Sweetclem (600g)         £2.00
1x     ASDA Farm Stores Brown Onions (1Kg)         55p
1x     ASDA Farm Stores White Potatoes (2.5Kg)         £1.15
3x     ASDA Farm Stores Mixed Peppers (3)         £2.97
1       ASDA Grower's Selection Red Cabbage          72p
1       ASDA Grower's Selection White Cabbage          78p

Ready Meals
1x     ASDA Italian Gnocchi (500g)         £1.40

We purchased our shopping list from Asda via My Supermarket on 07/07/2018, and our groceries cost £70.89.  Had we shopped elsewhere our groceries would've cost:

£81.57 from Sainsbury's
£81.88 from Morrisons
£85.25 from Tesco
£91.39 from Ocado
£91.77 from Waitrose

My lovely blogging buddy Ciara from My Fussy Eater has created a fab Meal Planning Facebook Group so we can inspire each other. She also has a book coming out in April which you can order here

And Katykicker, and Naomi from The Organised Life Project have a Meal Planning Linky full of fabulous Meal Planning posts with lots of tasty ideas.

Froothie Optimum Vac2 Air Vacuum Blender Review

Monday, 2 July 2018
I was sent this very snazzy looking blender from Froothie to review, and I am a very happy cook indeed!

We had one of the original Froothie blenders for over a year, I've loaned it to the local Church cafe where it's used very regularly, and it's still going strong.  I was very interested to see what features the new model has, and whether it would stand up to heavy use in our family kitchen.

The new Optimum Vac2 Air Vacuum Blender is unique in that it has a pre-blending vacuum function which minimises oxidation and destruction of nutrients in juices and smoothies.  This means that if I made juices and smoothies the night before, they're still lovely and fresh the next morning retaining most of their original colour, texture and taste with minimal nutrient loss.  This is a brilliant feature for a busy family like ours.  I can make breakfast smoothies the night before, and clean the blender too, so we can just grab and devour the tasty smoothies in the morning.

The blender has four diffferent pre-sets for quick jobs - Smoothie, Nuts, Veg and Fruits, and Soup.  There's a handy guide to each function in the instruction booklet.  You can of course just use it as you want without using the presets or the vacuum function.

As well as the instruction manual the blender comes with two spare air valves, a tamper to help the blending process, and a recipe book containing mainly vegan recipes.

I've made seed butters, nut butters, countless smoothie and juices, sauces and soups.  It's a really powerful machine, and as you'd expect makes a bit of noise when blending but that's fairly standard with this type of blender.  It's a proper workhorse in our kitchen, so useful and I use it often.  Really handy during the heatwave for blending frozen fruits to make slushies, sorbets, etc.

If after reading my review you would like one of these fabulous gadgets for yourself, just click here. This is an affiliate link, and if you buy through this link then I may get some commission.   Simply add 1766 Ambassador Code in the comment box when purchasing online, or mention the code to the customer services person if ordering via phone.  There's also a 0% finance offer on all machines over £299.

There's a Crazy Special on at the moment too.  If you buy a Froothie Optimum Vac2 Air Vacuum Blender and enter one of the codes on the graphic above, then you will receive that item FREE! 

The blender comes with a 5 year warranty which means peace of mind when purchasing this fabulous kitchen gadget.  The blender comes in black, red and silver, colours which would fit in with most kitchen colour schemes.  

Froothie also offers 30-day money back guarantee too, if you're not satisfied.  Just pack up the blender and return the product in its original packaging without paying shipping charge and Froothie will refund the total cost.

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