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  • FIRST POST
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 15th Jun 19, 7:27 PM
    • 19Posts
    • 54Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    Trying to start over
    • #1
    • 15th Jun 19, 7:27 PM
    Trying to start over 15th Jun 19 at 7:27 PM
    Hello,
    I hope I'm in the right section. I've had a look through the board, and it seems really useful for my situation, however I am hoping to get some more personal advice, or somewhere to have a look when it's all in one place.

    The short version is that I use a lot of convenience food, although try to make it as balanced as possible. So not all ready meals, more something like microwave steam bags of veg or rice, with a roast in the bag chicken. Or a stir fry pack with egg noodles.

    It worked well for us, however the last few months have been tight, and I find myself stuck with how to cook healthy things from scratch. We're actually pretty broke right now, and seems its going to be this way for a while yet.

    I don't know what to do about it all, and where to even start. I cannot cook, not really, and I'm finding the whole thing very stressful.

    I really would appreciate any advice, or even just being pointed somewhere useful. I'm so overwhelmed - our budget is non existant, we have a lot of different dietry requirements and I'm just stumped.

    Thanks for taking the time to read - I know I said the quick version....
Page 1
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 15th Jun 19, 8:07 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    • #2
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:07 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:07 PM
    I just wanted to add, that if I should post this somewhere else, instead of here, could I just move the post?
    Also, I do realise that my post makes me come across as clueless, however that's because I really feel like I am in this situation.
    Things are pretty rough, and I do need to do a complete overhaul in how I shop and manage things in the kitchen department. It's all a mess, and needs to be sorted. I just haven't the first clue in how to start.
    Last edited by BubblesandPop; 15-06-2019 at 8:31 PM.
    • janb5
    • By janb5 15th Jun 19, 8:37 PM
    • 1,952 Posts
    • 7,065 Thanks
    janb5
    • #3
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:37 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:37 PM
    Hi BubblesandPop,

    It`s always difficult to post when you`ve got a lot on your mind and I know you felt really overwhelmed right now.

    Take a deep breath- I know lots of people on here have been in your shoes and it`s a very helpful forum.

    Could you give some examples of meals that you and your partner cant eat. Also maybe make a list of what you have got at home so you can work your way through that first.

    There are lots of meals that you can do that don`t take much cooking so maybe you can start with one meal first and then build up your confidence and then try something else next time?
    Last edited by janb5; 15-06-2019 at 8:40 PM.
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 15th Jun 19, 8:43 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    • #4
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:43 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:43 PM
    Hello janb5
    Thank you for the reply.
    Both me and my husband eat the majority of food - it's the kids that don't! One is a pescatarian, one won't touch any veg, mainly due to ASD food issues, and the other hates fish. They all eat what the others wont
    • janb5
    • By janb5 15th Jun 19, 8:56 PM
    • 1,952 Posts
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    janb5
    • #5
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:56 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:56 PM
    Ok then maybe you have to get the kids on board.

    First of all you and their Dad cant be making food to suit 5 different people. It`s so expensive and also takes a lot of time.

    Hopefully your OH ( other half) can support you over this.

    How old are the kids? How about asking them to write down their favourite foods and saying that everyone has to take turns in choosing the meal. Perhaps do a meal planner for the meals for the week. Get the kids involved, setting the table, cutting veg etc. Also say to them that if you can cut down your food bills, then there will be more money for treats, days out etc.

    What about baked potatoes with a filling they like, tuna, cheese, baked beans etc so they can help themselves.

    Also try to avoid ready meals- they cost a lot. Have you got a roasting tin and you could roast a chicken ( cooking time and temperature on the bag ( for example.

    If you and your OH work together on this then maybe that would help.

    How did you get on with the list of foods you`ve already got and also an idea of how much £ you have left until the end of the month.

    I`m sure lots of other people will be along soon to offer their ideas too.
    • janb5
    • By janb5 15th Jun 19, 8:57 PM
    • 1,952 Posts
    • 7,065 Thanks
    janb5
    • #6
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:57 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Jun 19, 8:57 PM
    How old are your kids?
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 15th Jun 19, 9:06 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    • #7
    • 15th Jun 19, 9:06 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Jun 19, 9:06 PM
    The kids are in college / Junior school / infant school.
    We do have roasting tins etc, in fact, we have quite a few kitchen cookware, even though we don't use it as we should.

    We have around £50 until payday, and I will ask DH to help with doing a proper food inventory in the morning, to sort out what we have.
    Last edited by BubblesandPop; 15-06-2019 at 10:18 PM.
    • janb5
    • By janb5 15th Jun 19, 9:15 PM
    • 1,952 Posts
    • 7,065 Thanks
    janb5
    • #8
    • 15th Jun 19, 9:15 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Jun 19, 9:15 PM
    Great that`s a start. I`ll check into the forum tomoz. What ideas does your OH have?

    Don`t put yourself down- we all have to start somewhere. Sending hugs.
    • thriftwizard
    • By thriftwizard 15th Jun 19, 9:49 PM
    • 3,054 Posts
    • 37,726 Thanks
    thriftwizard
    • #9
    • 15th Jun 19, 9:49 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Jun 19, 9:49 PM
    BubblesandPop, certainly no judgement from me; long ago I was exactly where you are now! Though our own personal financial crisis hit us quite some time before the ASD/anxiety issues really kicked in, so I was beginning to get the hang of cooking by then. I was a bit of a career girl before having kids, and to be honest thought cooking was a bit of a waste of my time & talents - something my family & education had worked hard to instill in me! Why learn to make a sauce & buy ingredients & spend time preparing them, when you can just buy a jar? How wrong I was...

    Much to my surprise, I found that cooking/meal planning/budgeting turned out to be a worthwhile challenge, and now the cooking thing has become a creative delight although I know I spend a lot less on food than most of my friends! So the first thing is, try to look on this as an interesting & worthwhile challenge rather than a ghastly ordeal. The way it feels to you makes a lot of difference.

    I don't know how old your kids are, but even small children can help with things in the kitchen, like making pastry or peeling veg; three of my five have ASD or anxiety issues and two of those have turned into excellent cooks, who really enjoy cooking & experimenting, as has one of the two without obvious issues; the other two are capable, even if they don't relish cooking in quite the same way. Though they are all grown up now, we have two still at home, one of them vegetarian (earning) and one pescatarian (not yet earning) but we've been catering for a multitude of dietary oddities all along. In a sense, it's a journey we've all undertaken together.

    When they were young, if they didn't want to eat whatever the rest of us were having, there was always the option of "mini-pizza" and salad; that was a (defrosted & warmed) pitta bread spread with tomato puree or pasta, with grated cheese and whatever else they wanted or could find to put on top of it, then grilled. From a fairly early age - around 8, I think - they made it up themselves, under my supervision. No-one chose to eat that all the time; it filled them up & was probably no worse than many of their contemporaries were eating, but wasn't exactly inspiring or top-notch nutrition.

    Youngest (ASD) announced her intention of becoming vegetarian at 14; she is now 23 & pescatarian. Fine, as long as she was prepared to make it herself... my budget didn't run to Qu0rn or L. McCartney stuff! To this day, neither girl has much time for ready-made veggie meals; they'd rather make themselves grilled halloumi with salad, stir-fried veg with noodles & egg, chickpea burgers or a simple ragout with pasta, which are all quick & easy once you've got the hang of things a bit.

    That's enough of an essay for now! But - don't panic, it's all very do-able, and you can all learn together, make mistakes & laugh, & everyone will benefit in the long run.
    Angie

    GC July 19 - £419.37/£400 - eeek!
    2019 Fashion on the Ration Challenge: 39 coupons left out of 66

    (Money's just a substitute for time & talent...)
    • rach_k
    • By rach_k 15th Jun 19, 10:17 PM
    • 1,475 Posts
    • 2,572 Thanks
    rach_k
    How are the kids with things like bolognese and chilli?

    If they will eat them, I'd do a big batch of each using veggie mince (I like the Tesco meat free mince). If veggie mince won't go down well, do some with veggie mince and the rest with meat - I find it's the prep of the veg, faffing around with spices etc that takes the time so having two pans on the go doesn't take much more effort. There are loads of easy recipes online.

    You could cutting up some veg into really tiny pieces or the finest grating you can do. If you add it fairly early on, it should blend in so you can't see it even if you look. I think last time I did it, I added broccoli and carrots. Nobody knew it was there but leave it out if it won't pass muster!

    We use chilli in a few different ways - on jacket potatoes or potato waffles, on nachos (bit of a treat but they're actually the Tesco value ones!), with rice or I bet it would be nice with chips too. Bolognese can be with the same if you swap rice for pasta/spaghetti. If you add a separate portion of veg for those that will eat it, that's some nice meals and it freezes really well. If somebody suddenly decides they won't eat the bolognese/sauce, they can at least have the carbs and bread; they won't starve!

    I'm a big fan of frozen veg - you don't waste any, it's usually chopped already and you can do it in the microwave if you want. Don't get sucked into thinking that only fresh veg counts! Some tinned veg is okay too - my kids love tinned sweetcorn and carrots although I'm not so keen.
    • Camomile
    • By Camomile 15th Jun 19, 10:44 PM
    • 50 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    Camomile
    Have you got a freezer? Cooking some stuff in bulk would help.

    Does either you or your other half could go trailing the shops where reductions are on? Worth looking at budget shops? I’m getting frozen veg also stir fries from Farmfoods. At the top of their 5 packs for£4 you can always print 10%off coupon.

    What shops have you got nearby? Tesco has Asian range 4 tins of chopped toms for £1 sometimes, works cheaper than their own stuff. Local markets are also worth looking at.

    Kids with ASD are sometimes a nightmare to cater for(speaking from experience).

    Don’t worryabout lack of cooking skills, everybody has to start somewhere.
    • Camomile
    • By Camomile 15th Jun 19, 10:48 PM
    • 50 Posts
    • 126 Thanks
    Camomile
    Basic tomato sauce: Brown an onion, add chopped 1 large carrot, 2-3 celery sticks, and 2 tins of chopped toms, season (sugar, salt, pepper), cook and blitz with blender. This is the basic tomato sauce for ragu which you can use in lasagne, cottage pie, bolognese.
    Last edited by Camomile; 16-06-2019 at 9:18 AM.
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 16th Jun 19, 7:40 AM
    • 3,326 Posts
    • 36,409 Thanks
    CRANKY40
    I agree with Camomile - for the ASD food issues the blender is your friend. If you make sauce for spag bol for instance and the rest of the family don't want something that looks like tomato soup on their dinner then just remove a portion and blend for the ASD person. My son has had food issues relating to texture all of his life. He's 14 now and eats a lot more than he used to but smart price chicken noodles are still a favourite.

    The only veg that he will eat if he sees it in his dinner is mashed carrots but he's been eating all other veg since he was weaned. He knows I hide his veg and says that's fine. My friends asked me what I'd do when he was older - the answer was that if he moves out, he can take the blender

    The other interesting thing is that he doesn't like the texture of most meat but will quite happily accept supermarket veggie substitutes. It doesn't have to be quorn although he will eat that. The supermarkets own stuff will do fine so that is what I use if I'm making spag bol/chilli/lasagne. He does eat chicken now although he didn't until he was about 9. He prefers pasta meals to most things and I don't always want that but pasta can be cooked in advance, kept in the fridge and heated through with some kind of passata based sauce. These days he is capable of doing that himself.
    • janb5
    • By janb5 16th Jun 19, 10:35 AM
    • 1,952 Posts
    • 7,065 Thanks
    janb5
    Hi Bubbleandpop- hope you come back here alter today to let us know how we can help with what you`ve currently got.

    I knew this forum are totally there to help out - some fab suggestions there. : )

    More importantly no one is judgmental...pretend we`re your next door neighbours!
    Last edited by janb5; 22-06-2019 at 10:32 AM.
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 16th Jun 19, 2:05 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    janb5 - Yes, I'll be posting what we have today - I don't think we have anything to make a meal though, just parts of it.

    thriftwizard -Thank you so much for your post, I found it very reassuring and feel a lot more like I'm able to do something.

    rach_k The kids will eat chilli and Bolognese etc. I usually throw a sauce in though, once I've browned the mince (usually Quorn)

    Camomile We do have a freezer, yes. We have a lot of shops near us actually; Tescos, Sainsburys, Asda, Waitrose, Iceland, Lidl, Aldi, Farmfoods, a few Co Ops and Costcutters. Farmfoods send leaflets through the door, however My DH thinks they wouldn't work out any cheaper, so we haven't been in there for a looong time (few years)

    Cranky40 Supernoodles are a favourite for my son too! He would eat only that and pizza if he could.
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 16th Jun 19, 3:27 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    We do also have a few bargain shops near us, however don't take advantage of them, as it's easier for me to do the shopping all under one roof.
    So, we have a Family Bargains, B&M, Wilkos, Savers, Pound Stretchers, Poundland, etc. I don't know if they're cheaper than the supermarkets for toiletries or cleaning products?
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 16th Jun 19, 6:18 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    OK - I finally tackled the list
    I pulled everything out of the freezer, and went through the cupboards and fridge,
    There is a lot of stuff in there that I'm not sure of. Some I've bought with good intentions, and they've just sat in the cupboards or freezer for months whilst I ignored them.
    Like the risotto rice that's unopened, or the beef joint that has what looks like freezer burn ( does that need throwing?)

    Anyway, here is the list:

    Inside the freezer..
    Chicken Wings
    Beef Topside
    Pork Chops
    Rump steak
    Lamb chops
    Mango, coconut & lime chicken mini fillets
    Sirloin Steak with peppercorn sauce
    Salmon fillets
    Basa fillets
    Chicken sausages
    Green beans
    Peas
    Strawberries
    Raspberries
    Coriander
    Garlic
    Vegan Sausage rolls
    Meatfree meatballs
    Quorn pieces
    Vegetarian Quarter pounder
    Quorn mince
    Red pepper and butternut squash sausages
    Quorn sausage
    Butternut squash sausages
    Fries
    Chips
    Yorkshire puddings
    Basmati rice
    Beef stew
    Tikka masala sauce
    Bake at home rolls
    Pitta breads
    Naan breads
    Mini brioche rolls


    Inside the fridge..
    Pepperoni
    Feta
    Parmesan
    Stilton
    Cheddar
    Halloumi
    Carrots
    Chesnut mushrooms
    Italian salad
    Beetroot
    Peppers


    Inside the cupboards..
    Sweet potatoes
    Apples
    Bananas
    Tomatoes
    Lemons
    Onions
    Jarred olives
    Pinto beans
    Harricot beans
    Chopped tomatoes
    Tuna chunks
    Pink salmon
    Tuna chunks
    Baked beans
    Corned beef
    Sweetcorn
    Fruit cocktail
    Pinapple slices
    Naan bread
    Risotto rice
    Jasmine rice
    Lasagne sheets
    Pudding rice
    Long grain rice
    Dried apricots
    Nuts
    Eggs
    Plain and self raising flour
    Porridge oats
    Quinoa

    That's about all of it
    Last edited by BubblesandPop; 17-06-2019 at 8:27 PM.
    • BubblesandPop
    • By BubblesandPop 16th Jun 19, 6:22 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 54 Thanks
    BubblesandPop
    After reading this list back, I have to confess that a lot of this stuff usually goes to waste, or sits in the kitchen and I'll ignore it.
    I know that's not good, just we buy the food for lovely recipes we've seen, and then end up buying something quick to throw in the oven instead.
    • janb5
    • By janb5 16th Jun 19, 6:33 PM
    • 1,952 Posts
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    janb5
    Wow you`ve got more a lot to play with.

    How about printing off the list and working out a weekly menu that the family will eat using Thriftwizard ideas for anyone who doesnt like the choice.

    Are you both working and how long have you got till payday?

    I`m thinking you could easily manage this. If there any recipes you get stuck on we can talk you though it if that helps
    • Brambling
    • By Brambling 16th Jun 19, 6:35 PM
    • 1,030 Posts
    • 5,673 Thanks
    Brambling
    The beef will still be ok to eat so don't throw it away, I would eat it sooner than later to avoid more freezer burn. You've plenty of things to make a risotto either meat, fish or veggie don't bother standing stirring the stock in but look for a microwave risotto recipe there are plenty on line. Peas, sweetcorn or mushrooms would work well and you could serve with the sausages different variety to suit. If you want to stretch the salmon chop it up small and stir it through the cooked risotto the heat will cook the fish and you don't need one portion pre person
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