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  • FIRST POST
    • caronc
    • By caronc 17th Jul 17, 6:31 PM
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    caronc
    Cooking for one (Mark Two)
    • #1
    • 17th Jul 17, 6:31 PM
    Cooking for one (Mark Two) 17th Jul 17 at 6:31 PM
    In view of the issue of longer threads being auto-deleted I thought wise to start a shiny new thread as we had got to over 5.5K posts.
    The original "Cooking for one" thread can be found here http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5585796

    13th Jan 17 at 7:32 PM
    Hi, newbie poster though long time lurker trying to adjust to being an empty-nester and due to some substantial changes income-wise in the next couple of months trying to cut my costs and adjust my shopping to mainly solo dining. I abhor waste so good that way and do cook from scratch/batch cook the vast majority of the time. I do "sort of" meal plan but it can be a bit hit or miss depending on my health is on any given day. I'm reliant on on-line shopping so can't take advanage of aldi/Lidl etc. What (if any) changes did you make when changing to a single-person household?



    August £108/£120, Sep GC £121/£120, Oct GC £141/£200, Nov £116/£120, Dec £46/£60
Page 163
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 4th Dec 17, 3:17 PM
    • 14,239 Posts
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    We could almost have a thread specifically on ways to use apples

    Besides:
    - eat as is
    - stewed apples
    - think I remember that was one of the things that could be used an "equivalent" in recipes (eg of sweetening)
    - apple sugar (apple dried in a dehydrator and chopped VERY small). Yep....I've got some of that = like it

    On that note - must hie me hence to the kitchen and have a go at Caron's idea of how to turn yesterday's barley/etc dish into a soup for tonight.

    At least I'm warm enough now. The one "little man" - ie plumber in this case that I've found to date here (whoops - person - being 21st century - but they do happen to be a man) has been round and sorted my central heating. Ahem...whoops...and pleads guilty to being useless re that sorta thing myself. Anyways - at least he didnt charge me much at all - I googled the "going rate" for this and he charged me a lot less than that (probably thought it was worth it to see an example of just how little some customers know about these things - and have a good laugh about it).
    New Year's Resolution already made -

    Don't get mad....get firm ...
    • Need2bthrifty
    • By Need2bthrifty 4th Dec 17, 6:35 PM
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    Need2bthrifty
    Well - I added those various bits of "oomph" I had in mind to it - and have just had the first of the 2 portions it made.

    Verdict - one of those "Well I ate it...." scenarios. As in - it was edible - but not what I would call tasty.

    So I shall eat the second portion tomorrow - and then not make this particular recipe again. NB: The recipe was one from her meat-eating days - so I substituted vegetable stock powder for the chicken stock cube she used.
    Originally posted by moneyistooshorttomention
    Gotcha - my father had the same expression when I tried cooking him something different for a change, translation = its okay, but don't make it again

    I'll stick to Arborio and keep the barley for my soup.
    Oct GC = £49.92/£60.00
    Nov GC = £55.48/£60.00
    Dec GC = £47.15/£70.00
    • caronc
    • By caronc 4th Dec 17, 7:26 PM
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    caronc
    Good evening everyone,
    PN - you wouldn't want to be near my closest Asda it's not great, non-food departments but the fresh food can be really hit or miss. I'd use them more if the on-line delivery came from another store as the one just a couple of miles further away is really good. It always surprises me that two stores so close together can vary so much!

    I managed to drop my favourite bookmark under my bed and then managed to push it even further out of reach trying to retrieve it. Nothing else for it but to move it out, not an easy task as it is a heavy wooden frame! Now I do "sort of" clean underneath with the hoover & mop so while I thought there might be a bit of stoor where it meets the wall I wasn't expecting just how much had gathered, though in fairness I can't actually remember when I last hauled it out but it obviously was too long ago. I had another wrestle with Henry and course that then showed up how dusty the skirting board was so that's done too. I really must do better in keeping up to date with these things so I don't end up up with big jobs to do which I find taxing. One for a "New Year's " resolution I think as recent cleaning has shown that while my house might look clean and tidy it really is only surface clean which I don't like. I'm not one of these people that is incredibly house proud but I don't like the thought of lurking dirt.

    In between Henry wrestling I managed to scoff a slice of cream sponge, there's a piece left so that will be tomorrow's treat . I must have a rake in the fridge/freezer/cupboard to see what I fancy for dinner and I'm going to take a HM fish pie out to defrost for tomorrow night. I could cook it from frozen but as it is already cooked find that the longer cooking time leaves the fish & prawns rubbery.

    I've managed to solve a conundrum re my electricty bills, since I got the smart meter in a can track the cost my actual bill has always been a bit less than I calculated it would be. Anyhow when I first got the meter I was sure the installer told me the standing charge wasn't included in the cost shown and it would seem it is. I noticed on Saturday night when I was up later than usual that at midnight the meter zeroed but within a minute 19p appeared on it. Checked on-line today and yes the standing charge is included so that's why my calculations were out. As they say every day's a school day
    August £108/£120, Sep GC £121/£120, Oct GC £141/£200, Nov £116/£120, Dec £46/£60
    • poppystar
    • By poppystar 4th Dec 17, 8:06 PM
    • 291 Posts
    • 1,017 Thanks
    poppystar
    It always surprises me that two stores so close together can vary so much!
    Originally posted by caronc

    I think it is the proximity that causes the difference. I have the same with my favourite coffee shop. If a big company has two close retail outlets they tend to favour one over the other - for refurbishments, priority in stock and in quality of staff, especially management - all of which makes a downward spiral. Demoralisation and less effort from those working there, not so nice environment to work in, further demoralisation ….etc.

    The fact that customers also notice and maybe even express their dissatisfaction just makes it worse because the outlet then gets bad reviews this feeds back into how much funding the company is willing to invest in this now 'bad' store and its staff. It's illogical in that if they invested in the store and staff it would generate more positivity and profit - but big company does not work that way
    • caronc
    • By caronc 4th Dec 17, 8:09 PM
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    caronc
    I think it is the proximity that causes the difference. I have the same with my favourite coffee shop. If a big company has two close retail outlets they tend to favour one over the other - for refurbishments, priority in stock and in quality of staff, especially management - all of which makes a downward spiral. Demoralisation and less effort from those working there, not so nice environment to work in, further demoralisation ….etc.

    The fact that customers also notice and maybe even express their dissatisfaction just makes it worse because the outlet then gets bad reviews this feeds back into how much funding the company is willing to invest in this now 'bad' store and its staff. It's illogical in that if they invested in the store and staff it would generate more positivity and profit - but big company does not work that way
    Originally posted by poppystar
    Yes that would seem to be the case, we have 3 stores within a 15 mile area, one is very good, one is good and the third food-wise really isn't great.
    August £108/£120, Sep GC £121/£120, Oct GC £141/£200, Nov £116/£120, Dec £46/£60
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 5th Dec 17, 8:10 AM
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    PasturesNew
    It always surprises me that two stores so close together can vary so much!
    Originally posted by caronc
    Most people assume that all shops are the same/like the one they go to - annoying for the majority of people when 'advice' or 'recipes' given assume that goods are available everywhere. Store stocks are store-by-store and regionally and demographically selected by head office computer algorithms.

    On the telly as the celeb chefs drag out "sheets of gossamer butterfly wings which are ideal for wraps" they'll invariably say "you can get these from all good supermarkets" when what they mean is "as it's me, my local Waitrose orders them in specially to be collected at the Kensington branch"
    • AndyCF
    • By AndyCF 5th Dec 17, 8:14 AM
    • 190 Posts
    • 497 Thanks
    AndyCF
    Yes that would seem to be the case, we have 3 stores within a 15 mile area, one is very good, one is good and the third food-wise really isn't great.
    Originally posted by caronc
    Its similar to me then, there is nothing within 'sensible walking range' really , well there are local shops but the selection is variable to say the least. The 'major places' are about 30 minutes away or more, which might sound OK but then you figure in the weight of heavy bags on the return journey etc it does not work out well.

    I roughly calculated the cost of bus tickets there and back vs walking there and taxi back and there was not actually a mass difference, the advantage of the latter being you'd not have to wait too long and worry about frozen bits quietly defrosting while waiting for said bus to arrive.
    • wort
    • By wort 5th Dec 17, 8:27 AM
    • 451 Posts
    • 7,169 Thanks
    wort
    Jacket spud was yummy! Farway -it's my go to, definitely. I remember a few years back dd2 still lived at home and hubby worked away mon to Friday, the number of times I went in the kitchen and said oo what should I have? ! My dd would laugh and say jacket potato you always do!!

    Just had toast and cheese spread. Lunch at work so I'm taking a ham salad bar and a muller rice as it's always perishing, so that will warm me up. I've just thought, that today may be our Xmas dinner? I know it's a Tuesday, but not sure if it today or next week?
    It's not as fancy as it seems! It's buffet of sandwiches, sos rolls etc.they usually get me a g free sandwich and a mince pie. Will take mine just in case.

    I've lifted out a chicken something from freezer, can't remember if it's the remains of hm curry,from fri, or the hm enchilada sauce thing. Either way it's got chicken peppers onion, and spicy sauce!!!
    Money- glad your little man sorted it out and didn't charge you a bomb.
    Focus on contribution instead of the impressiveness of consumption to see the true beauty in people.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 5th Dec 17, 8:29 AM
    • 14,239 Posts
    • 38,568 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    Most people assume that all shops are the same/like the one they go to - annoying for the majority of people when 'advice' or 'recipes' given assume that goods are available everywhere. Store stocks are store-by-store and regionally and demographically selected by head office computer algorithms.

    On the telly as the celeb chefs drag out "sheets of gossamer butterfly wings which are ideal for wraps" they'll invariably say "you can get these from all good supermarkets" when what they mean is "as it's me, my local Waitrose orders them in specially to be collected at the Kensington branch"
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    Agreed.

    Well - I've certainly never noticed laverbread on sale in my local supermarket until I moved here (possibly I was oblivious to it - but I dont think so). So that's a regional difference.

    Thankfully my clotted cream seems to be available everywhere now - for those times when it's the obvious thing imo to have with something

    I'm surprised at just how many regional differences there still seem to be - in a variety of shops actually.....after a comment from someone the other day of "I can tell you bought that item of clothing back in your home city - as that's obviously that city's style. You wouldnt be able to buy one like it here" and I'm waiting to buy the new clothes I need generally until visits there.

    Books/magazines seem to be much the same - as the advert etc says "Available in any good supermarket/bookstore" and I'm left thinking "Why can't I find it near me then?"
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 05-12-2017 at 8:34 AM.
    New Year's Resolution already made -

    Don't get mad....get firm ...
    • wort
    • By wort 5th Dec 17, 8:35 AM
    • 451 Posts
    • 7,169 Thanks
    wort
    Andy - I'm in similar position to large supermarkets, asda is about a mile, if I cut over the canal. Tesco is just to one side of town centre,that's a mile in opposite direction to asda. Both would take around half an hour to walk. I have a little tesco about 10 mins away and a coop a little closer which I use for milk.
    Tbh Asda is so big I'm not keen, hubby used to go there ,with dd2, but then it seemed to get expensive so as they were in a car they started going to Morrisons. Which is not walkable! !!!
    I'm lucky that I can usually get a lift with my sister if I need a big shop. But it tends to be the close ones usually tesco.
    Focus on contribution instead of the impressiveness of consumption to see the true beauty in people.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 5th Dec 17, 8:42 AM
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    PasturesNew
    If you want to buy something from Argos you can find out which stores have stocks of that item online. It'd be good if supermarkets had that.
    There might be one product you want to buy and there are 2-3 stores within a 10 mile radius - and if you could check online you might find that it's not stocked at the one you usually go to, but if you go to another one the same distance in the opposite direction they have it there....

    Their computer knows which goods ended up in which stores, so it's not a complex SQL query to drag that out into a searchable interface.

    Ditto with the floorspace. It'd be nice if each store's web page gave you the selling floorspace so you could look at, say, 2-3 online and "go to the biggest one".

    We all know the nearest store, beyond that there are markers you can see on their store locator map, but if you never go to those places you've no need to. If, however, you could spot that another one was 2x the size of your usual one (or smaller) you might choose to visit that store instead.

    Things people in ivory towers don't think are useful/important for many shoppers.
    Last edited by PasturesNew; 05-12-2017 at 8:44 AM.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 5th Dec 17, 8:56 AM
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    moneyistooshorttomention
    Logical sense indeed Pastures.

    It wouldnt work that way for me here and minus a car - but I can see a "Which store has what product" thing would work for a lot.

    Floorspace as well - a friend of mine asked a local friend of ours how big a new store was and was told it was massive. Said friend of mine visited it in high hopes - and then came back and told me it was tiny and that's what I'd think too about it. It's all comparative - and goes to show we all have pictures in our mind of what we mean when describing the size of something and our pictures might be very different.
    New Year's Resolution already made -

    Don't get mad....get firm ...
    • kittie
    • By kittie 5th Dec 17, 10:10 AM
    • 11,383 Posts
    • 64,914 Thanks
    kittie
    so far the A2 milk experiment is having very good results and everything has quietened down, to the point that I thought I would give myself the ultimate test last night and had spelt flakes with A2 milk for supper. Nothing happened and my stomach never complained at all, the whole night. So far so good. I started introducing small bananas yesterday morning as the last one immediately gave me heartburn, many months ago. So far so good with that too

    Today I am having a mid day meal that I had months ago, small amount of brown rice in the bottom of the rice cooker plus sliced ginger, carrot and an umboshi plum, a deep frozen small chunky piece of cod on top of that and all set to be ready at 12. I will add shredded pointy cabbage at 11.30. All in one pot as I will be busy later, when my meat arrives, I have to split into solo portions, vac pack, date and quick freeze

    Breakfast was soaked oats, walnuts and raisins all soaked overnight in A2 and just now I had a lightly boiled egg, preceded by a small banana. I have a small portion of grapes to eat today and some green salad,on its own probably with a squish of apple cider vinegar. Maybe a fresh fig. I am liking fruit in between meals, it suits my digestive system
    • caronc
    • By caronc 5th Dec 17, 10:22 AM
    • 2,792 Posts
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    caronc
    Good morning everyone,
    While I can understand regional & demographic differences in what SMs stock what I can't understand is how stores can vary so greatly in the quality of stocks which must in part be down to local management as they are stocking virtually the same product range.
    PN- what a sensible suggestion if only the SMs could offer that. I suppose they might argue that many offer "click & collect" shopping where you can pick the store but that is no use if it just one or two items you want.

    We have had a bit of an upset, quite literally for my son's partner who came off her bike late yesterday afternoon. She's cut her eye and broken her arm but was lucky as it could have been much worse. To complicate things she's currently in Belguim studying so my son is now on his way to get her. He's driving which makes me a bit as he only passed his test in September but fortunately he has managed to get a ferry to Dunkirk so it's only about 100km on the motorway from there. I'll be on tenterhooks though until they are both safely back in Cardiff!

    Breakfast was the usual toast & fruit and lunch will be LO ratatouille from last night (in the end up I had lamb chops, ratatouille & sweet potato wedges, all from the freezer) and no doubt I'll scoff the last piece of cream sponge. Tonight I'm having fish pie & sprouts assuming the fish pie has defrosted, if not I'll have that tomorrow and have pasta tonight.

    Today's cleaning challenge will be the front porch and if it stays dry the front windows. Neither are big jobs but no doubt as always will take me ages.
    August £108/£120, Sep GC £121/£120, Oct GC £141/£200, Nov £116/£120, Dec £46/£60
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 5th Dec 17, 11:28 AM
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    PasturesNew
    Late breakfast, just eaten, ended up being two bits of toast (that same, now out of date, loaf.... near the end of it though!), topped with baked beans and 2 scrambled eggs. Splash of the brown stuff and a black coffee.

    It's very filling and warming.

    I'd gone through to the kitchen to make a cheese omelette/chips/beans for lunch, but then realised I'd run out of oil. The bottle of oil I'd run out of was about 500ml and had lasted me 3-4 years, so it's not something I'm used to buying so had forgotten I'd got no oil. I now need to buy a bottle of random cheap oil for cooking.

    It's the only oil I had/have, when you only get through 500ml every 4-5 years you don't need more than one else you'd have two sitting and gathering dust
    Last edited by PasturesNew; 05-12-2017 at 11:30 AM.
    • AndyCF
    • By AndyCF 5th Dec 17, 1:21 PM
    • 190 Posts
    • 497 Thanks
    AndyCF
    If you want to buy something from Argos you can find out which stores have stocks of that item online. It'd be good if supermarkets had that.
    There might be one product you want to buy and there are 2-3 stores within a 10 mile radius - and if you could check online you might find that it's not stocked at the one you usually go to, but if you go to another one the same distance in the opposite direction they have it there....

    Their computer knows which goods ended up in which stores, so it's not a complex SQL query to drag that out into a searchable interface.

    Ditto with the floorspace. It'd be nice if each store's web page gave you the selling floorspace so you could look at, say, 2-3 online and "go to the biggest one".

    We all know the nearest store, beyond that there are markers you can see on their store locator map, but if you never go to those places you've no need to. If, however, you could spot that another one was 2x the size of your usual one (or smaller) you might choose to visit that store instead.

    Things people in ivory towers don't think are useful/important for many shoppers.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    Oh no, another SQL guru

    The tool is useful on that site and the few times I've used it, it is appreciated to see 'where the nearest one that does have item xyz in stock' is.

    I actually used to go not to the nearest one but one that was the third 'away' as such simply as there was always loads of free parking at that one and although it was a busy shop there were no silly "mega length" queues compared to the other two: One small one being in the middle of town and the other, a larger one on a retail park just outside the town centre. Pick the wrong time and both were packed.

    Turning slightly towards foodie things: With my online shop shop I actually use the 'Market that is about the furthest away (if I was driving there) simply as you can forget about locality and concentrate on which offers both the best value and has what you want in, well usually has anyway. , I'd probably very rarely use said place simply as its too far even when I did have transport.

    I guess all I'm saying here is I got out of the 'mindframe' with online ordering to not say for instance "lets get from Sains" as that's where I'd go if I had transport, simply as with online distance = not really to be factored into the equation so much.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 5th Dec 17, 1:36 PM
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    PasturesNew
    I tot up the cost of driving to other shops. My car does 10 miles to the litre, which is handy as that means whatever the current litre price is as shown on the petrol stations, 1/10th of that is my "per mile" cost for fuel alone. For other running costs I'll factor in a further 50% of that cost. So I mentally tot up the cost of "going out anywhere".

    With my local garage showing fuel at about £1.20/litre at the moment that's 12p/mile, so a 16 mile round trip to 4sda "to see ...." costs in fuel alone £2. I always figure "I can buy a lot of food for £2 simply by not going there then".

    In the main, my costs at a till are typically £3-6 each time, so it's not as if I'd be spending £2 on fuel to return with £50 of shopping; I've NEVER spent anywhere near that much! I guess an expensive shop, done about once a year, would see me spending about £20.

    I know there are lots of great foods at 4sda, but that £2 just to get there/back makes me think "might as well just spend £2 on food locally". ~£2 can get me, say, a loaf of bread, 4 tins of beans and a cheesecake, or a pack of 6 sausage rolls, bag of frozen chips and a bottle of fizzy pop. Or it can buy me a family sized meaty pie. £2 is disproportionate to my spend.
    • kittie
    • By kittie 5th Dec 17, 2:35 PM
    • 11,383 Posts
    • 64,914 Thanks
    kittie
    oh dear caronc, they will be back in no time but I bet the time is going so slow right now. Cardiff! my most favourite city, I lived near pontyclun for over 30 years, loved living there and loved the people and so easy to get anywhere

    I have packed the meat, really not such a big amount but it is expensive and I only eat small portions of it, like one lamb chop. I could devour two but I don`t. 28 solo portions done and labelled and that includes one short back rasher plus one pork sausage in one pack. I was getting so fed up of having to do something with bulk and then re-bulking with beans and the like and then I would not look forward to all the repetitions wrapped in small foil dishes. I decided to only keep what I really like, not what I should like
    • AndyCF
    • By AndyCF 5th Dec 17, 2:53 PM
    • 190 Posts
    • 497 Thanks
    AndyCF
    Oh I agree on the 'cost of travel vs local' in my case there's not a lot of local choice . A bit of research showed there was not very much in the cost compared to "walk there and taxi back" vs "bus there and bus back" , the former would be my option here if I had to do this.

    I could do a "walk there and back" once I'd treated myself to some kind of 'cooling bag' to keep frozen goodies sensible I guess. I have no 'style concerns' with being seen with some kind of trolley either.
    • Farway
    • By Farway 5th Dec 17, 3:02 PM
    • 5,741 Posts
    • 7,778 Thanks
    Farway
    'Afternoon folks
    The remark by money on apple methods prompted me to nuke / stew one of my nicked apples last night, eaten with Greek yoghurt & honey. Very easy and same again tonight I think

    Another bumper shop in Lild this morning, over £6, but it did include choc biscuits & yet more mince pies. Plus stocked up on mushrooms on offer, and shallots also on offer.
    The mushrooms & shallots will go into a planned beef stew thingy because I noted stewing beef chunks are on offer from Thursday and it seems ages since I had a nice HM stew, and weather forecast is Arctic winds by the weekend, seems like a meal pre-planned in the stars

    Nil breakfast
    Back to cheese & salad sarnie for lunch, with a slice of tea cake
    Dinner is a deja vu yesterday, including nuked nicked apple for pud

    PS Andy I could do a "walk there and back" once I'd treated myself to some kind of 'cooling bag' to keep frozen goodies sensible I guess. I have no 'style concerns' with being seen with some kind of trolley either
    I have a trolley, and use a cooling back from Lild, guess most shops, especially Iceland, would have something similar. What I like is that it is flexible, so can easily be rolled, squashed to fit in when empty, and only used when frozen, or chilled products are bought
    Last edited by Farway; 05-12-2017 at 3:09 PM. Reason: PS
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