Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Store cupboard soup and musings on washing

Oh yes, today is a good day.  There's sun, it's mild enough that I could hang the washing out in just a top without freezing and it's windy enough that it was worth hanging some washing out - hurrah.  There's nothing like pegging out a fresh damp wash to make me feel really happy, silly, I know, but it's got funny little rewards like not costing anything and smelling all gorgeous and fresh.

So, my washing is drying on the line instead of on the heated airer.  The cub is having a nap upstairs - a very odd nap, as he decided he didn't want his normal morning one and seems to have amalgamated it into his afternoon nap by bringing it forward 2 hours.  Oh well, peace and quiet for Mummy and any sleep is better than no sleep at the moment, even if it is at a funny time!

I'm making the most of my time by setting some soup to cook whilst I'm faffing about on the internet working.  It's a super simple soup.  The Cub loves it, the Viking loves it, even I like it and I'm not a huge soup fan.  It's made entirely from store cupboard ingredients and is pretty economical to make.  I invented it when I was first weaning the cub and wanted something quick, tasty, nutritious, filling, cheap and that would stay on the spoon reasonably well as he tried to guide it to his mouth!

Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup

Baby endorsed!
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tin tomatoes (Tesco Everyday type is fine. No need for fancy ones!)
1  smallish cup of dried red split lentils
1/2 pint hot stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 or 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
dried red chilli flakes to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Soften onion and garlic in a couple of tbsp of sunflower oil.  Add the rest of the ingredients and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are really soft and pulpy.  I choose to blend it with a hand blender at this point, but the Viking quite likes it as it is and the Cub has expressed no definitive views on the matter.  Once it's blended you can add a bit more water if you want it thinner or simmer for longer to reduce it.  Serve it hot with a good handful of grated cheese on top (and some salt, if you're over the age of 10).

Now I'm going to see if there's time to have lunch and start the bunting for the Cub's room...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Bye bye birthday cards

We moved house just recently and were seriously remiss in our throwing-out before we moved and are now stuck with large piles of stuff we need to shift one way or another just so we can clear our sitting room.  Whilst engaging in a mass clear-out of paperwork I happened across a heap of cards I had previous deemed just too pretty to bin out of hand.  Well, desperate times call for desperate measures and I braced myself to chuck the lot in the recycling pile when I had a minor brainwave, got out my scissors and chopped them up, where possible, into pretty gift tags.

Now I just need to come up with an upcycling scheme for wrapping paper (would dyed/painted newspaper look nice enough?) and my gift-wrapping will be both economical and ecological!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Yoo hoo, I'm baaaack

Wow, I don't even want to think about how long it's been since I posted on here.  I've re-found my inspiration, though, after an amusing article on Radio 4, You and Yours yesterday.  It had this mother talking about how she had come to the sudden realisation that she didn't need to spend masses of money on her two year old, including such gems as "he can actually just have the same Greek Yoghurt that we're eating, I don't need to buy him the organic sugar-free baby yoghurts he's been on since he was weaned".  Well, excuse my French, but no shit Sherlock.

Some of us have no choice but to make do, mend, save, scrimp and otherwise find cheap or free ways of doing things that other people throw money at.  The fact that I enjoy being a tight-arse over matters financial is neither here nor there!  So now I've nurtured my cub for over a year, got him walking, (sort of) talking, eating and expressing his unique little personality with great forcefulness, I decided to come back and share some of my money-saving exploits yet again, only now with added baby.

Today's money-saving tip (and I'd like to start off with the blindingly obvious, because it's fun to annoy people, plus this is what we've done in the last few months): look into whether you really need a second car. Hah.  We need the first one for my husband to commute (it's more expensive on the bus, we checked!) but I can now walk everywhere, so I do.  This has the added benefit of losing weight (yay) and the downside of all my clothes now being too big. Sewing time!

I feel very virtuous, but on days like this when the streets are slick with compacted snow and I have to get to the other side of town, I do heave a bit of a sigh before bundling me and the cub up in our heavy-weather gear and setting off.