Yesterday B and I went dumpsterdiving and we got a huge load of potatoes. Yes, a bit of them were bad and soft, but still…there was a lot and we even gave my son a large bag plus some other stuff to take home.
Earlier today I texted one of B’s colleagues, an around 60year old guy I’ll call Bear on this blog. He lives alone, and I know how it is for most people who lives on their own; cooking is seldomly prioritized. Bear has also helped me (us) during the toughest crisis this december, and hes a friend og B’s mom as well. So…kind of a member of our family you could say. I asked if he’d like a portion of whatever I came up with tomorrow on the job and he did. So there was no way I would NOT cook today.
I came up with a…erhmmm…mix of mousakka (without eggplant) and lasagna (because of the bechamel and no pasta), and we didn’t have any ground beef, so instead I used ground chicken. Oh yeah. And my name is Maya hence the name of this dish.
Here’s my extremely loose recipe. I made enough to feed 9 people of moderate appetite especially if serving bread with it.
Potatoes and shredded cheese and…
Meatish tomato sauce
A package of ground chicken (400g)
A splash of oil
2 large onions (in Denmark that is aprox. 200f)
4 cans of chopped tomatos (4×400g)
spices + salt and pepper
2-4 “icecubes” of frozen cream (I freeze my cream to make it last longer)
1. Brown the meat in a splash of oil
2. Throw in the onions and stir until they’re soft and glasslike.
3. Dump in the cans of tommatos and heat it till it’s boiling.
4. Season it with salt, pepper, and perhaps thyme and oregano. I also added 2 cubes of vegetable stock but you don’t need them.
5. Add the cream -fresh or frozen – mix it in and put aside in a large bowl .
50g salted butter
4 chaotic tablespoons of all purpose wheat flour
1 liter of milk, preferably not a skimmed type. The fat ia good if you, like me, always put a bit too much flour in so you need to add water.
salt, pepper and a good dash of nutmeg.
1. Melt the butter in a large pot
2. Add the flour to create a ball of butter and flour
3. Add the milk little by little while making sure you heat it up along the way to avoid lumps.
4. At some point, you’ve probably added all your milk, then add water until it has the required texture. Which is.. not thick nor thin. Not too sticky nor too runny
5. Season it.
ASSEMBLING IT ALL
1. Peel a whooole lot of tomato and slice them in 0,5 slices.
2. First add meatish sauce, then potatoes, then bechamel, then potatoes, then meatish…etc. and keep doing it until you run out of both. Top it off with the bechamel as it makes it easier to save on the….
3. Cheese which you will add after having it in the oven at 200°C for about 40 minutes, and then give it another 25 minutes. Time in the oven is really depending on how thick you sliced the potatoes. But around 1 HR all together.
Enjoy with a salad or bread or whatever you feel like.
Just before Christmas we went to the garden center just for fun, and they had all sorts of seeds on sale, and we got a whole bunch of different stuff including different varieties of Tulips and Daffodils that I planted about 1 week ago. A bit too late, but I wanted to make sure they didn’t come too early as we’ve had almost no frost this winter (yet). I put my garlic in the ground in December as the almanac says, but… I’m a but worried that them already being 15 cm tall will be a problem if winter comes. So I planted a new batch just to be sure – as I use quite a lot of garlic.
But! Along the seeds I got some allium ursinum (in Denmark we call them ramsløg). And they need to get in the ground in january.
So. Here they are. I’m experimenting a bit, because I didn’t find any ressources about what kind if soil they need, so I have one half with just dirt from the garden (since my other alliums are sprouting just fine) and the other half has some bought compost on top. I’m using a plastic egg tray, which was saved. I know people prefer the paper ones, but…the eggs were cheaper in plastic and I want to use the tray later and next year as well, as it’s creating as little greenhouse with its lid on… so that’s my justification right now.
I’m not watering the soil, but spraying it, keeping it a bit moist and not wet, since it’s not going to evaporate from the outside like a paper tray. I read somewhere that they need the cold, so I put it outside a few days before bringing it inside placing it in the window. And now… I’m waiting. Juuust like with everything else that happens in the garden.
I got my hands on some organic lemons the other day, and decided to try if it would be possible to grow a tree, and possibly have one ready for my parents 40 year wedding day next year. I live in Denmark, so it’s a gamble, due to the weather and the cold season, but either way, I will learn from the experience. It won’t be very likely that it will ever produce any fruits, but I actually think they’re pretty trees and the leaves themselves have a wonderful smell, and I think I can use them for something regardless.
Step 1. Is getting the seeds out. I know people usually cut the lemon in half, but “being frugal” I didn’t want to waste any seeds. Instead of cutting the lemon all the way through, I decided to just cut a bit and using my fingers to separate it and dig out the seeds.
Step 2. Peel off the outer shell. I see most people use paper cloth to hold the seeds (they’re slippery as F), while peeling off the hard shell. I decided to use a kitchen towel instead, because I felt it was easier to rub of the slimy stuff. And I was right. It was SO easy!
Step 3. I put the (8) kernels on some paper towel (ok…toilet paper) and drizzled some water on it before putting it in a plastic bag. Most people use ziplock bags, but I want to reuse my plastic as much as possible, so I just closed it with a locking mechanism I got from IKEA years ago.
Step 4. Leave it a warm place for at least 1 week. We have a quite cold house, so I put it next to my radiators, but to make sure, that it didn’t burn I wrapped it in a duvet.
Step 5… set your alarm/calendar and wait…just like me. Chapter 2 will come within a few weeks.
We made it through Christmas and new years eve…and no. We didn’t manage to stay frugal. Actually it went the other way. Having the small ones for the first time made us lose our focus, but it’s fine. My adult son was home too. Next year is without kids, and it’ll be an entirely other level. We spent the night with B’s sister and this was all the presents, primarily for the three small kids there, but I was showered with love in the form of presents as well.
Getting married in a few..five…months time, B decided that my golden and simple engagement ring should have a tiny diamond. We had originally agreed on just moving it from one hand to another, but he wanted to make sure it was something special after the wedding. I was happy to learn he made an effort to make sure it wasn’t blood-diamonds, but it did cost a bit extra. We will add it to the ring in may a few weeks before the wedding.
New years eve we spent alone. We needed it. And I got to test my crockpot for real by making brisket. It was amazing. So was the homemade “kransekage” because in Denmark you can’t have new years eve without this. Most people buy it, because it’s pretty sticky and they think it’s too much work, but that’s because they’ve never tried it. If you can live with the amateur look it’s better than the store bought one. The recipe should be with the picture.
January has, so far, brought knowledge that adding your credit card to Google play is a shitty idea. I didn’t…but B did. And we decided to check out how much money had used on his games…which created a relationship crisis. I won’t say how much he spent the last 18 months, but… me deciding to try to save money on my wedding dress and foods and so on because “we don’t have a lot of money”…. I felt betrayed, and he was not in his proudest moment to say the least. He didn’t realise the amount until then.
Buuut… You can only fix what you know what’s broken, so we took off the possibility to buy stuff online, and got him an old nokia. Which actually freed a lot of time together as well. Maybe some day he’ll be back on the android, but we’ve talked about waiting until after the wedding just to keep it safe.
This weekend it was time for us to get a tree and decorate it. We decided a long time ago, that we´d get a plastic tree, if we could get a nice one – and if we promised each other, that we will use it for at least 20 years, we would feel okay about it. Both of us have ADHD and our experiences with real trees are, that we forget everything about them, so when we reach april, the livingroom is fully covered in the needles from the tree. We also have a cat and a dog, and bringing in a real tree would be…too exciting for them, and I was right. I´ve been fighting them off all the other years, but none of them seem to even recognise, that there´s a tree in the livingroom – and the good thing with the plastic tree is alto, that it´s possible to push it up against one corner, so it doesn´t take up too much space. There´s the environmental thing, but I´m not sure it´s as bad, if we use it for as long as possible and go to the recycling station and wort the different bits and pieces in the right materials. I hope we´re right. Either way we´re saving quite a bit of money on NOT buying a tree every year and start up the car to go get it etc. But let me know what you think (and maybe even know).
We bought a Spitsbergen tree – and ofcourse we did that on black friday alongside the last christmas-gifts. We got a decent discount of about 35%, so it was okay. I was pretty surprised how good quality it was and how lifelike it is, although it´s only the outer branches, that are really natural, but it´s a compromise, we were ready to accept.
It´s out first christmas with B´s kids, as they´ve been with their mother every year up til now, and B has celebrated christmas with her family even though the divorce was final almost 3 years ago when I met him. He didn´t think he could give them just as good a christmas as she could, and they were pretty young. This year, however, it felt wrong, for us to go to her family, when we´re kind of starting our own traditions and ways of doing things as a couple with three kids, so we´re having the kids, and we´re turning the christmas-preperations up a notch.
So… this sunday we decorated the christmas tree, and a really good thing about putting it in the corner is, that it is possible to decorate a tree with the same amount of lights as when I only had little trees standing on a small side table. I really enjoy it – and how it brings hygge in to our living room. I´ve decided, since we have a plastic tree, to compensate and not buy “gold lametta”, even though it has been one of my guilty pleasures for decades, when it came to christmas trees. I do need a it more sparkle to be satisfied, but…I will have to think about better solutions that can be used every year.
I know – this might not be 100% frugal, but I really need to share this basic-recipe with you, because it is sooo good. The idea came along when I had some veggie-leftovers (more specific soft carrots and almost moldy onions) and “accidently” bought way to many canned tomatos, and B just looked at me with “wtf” written across his forehead. The tomatosause is basically this:
canned, chopped tomatoes
carrots – shredded
any other vegetable that makes sense to eat – cut or shredded
herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano or anything YOU think tastes good
Usually you´d cook it in a big pot, but this one you need to reduce and I find it way easier to do that in a large frying pan, allowing as much steam as possible to leave the dish. If you want to, you can add left -over bacon-grease or bouillon/stock, but remember, that animal products will reduce the durability of the sauce (or any other dish).
In these two jars (500ml each), I had 5 cans (400g each), 10 small carrots, 3 onions and some sellery as well.
I poured into scolded glass and put the lid on immediately, and put it in the fridge. I didn´t know it would “pop” the lid, but I discovered that it did, when I couldn´t open one of them, when I needed it, which means it´s basically air tight.
For the pizzas I used my basic dough with rye, spelt and wheat + an egg or two ( I don´t remember to be honest). I roled out the dough really thin and put the oven om 250C and baked them for about 5-7 minutes, so it wouldn´t get soggy from the sauce. And then the fun began.
This was my topping, and it was amazing – especially due to the sauce and all the flavors I managed to add to it.
jerusalem artichoke (according to google translate)
diced chicken (200g for 4 pizzas – it was “last day of use” )
Having a car comes with many expenses, so be sure you only buy “what you need”. When I bought my car, I was single and living with my son. Now I’m engaged to be married next summer, and besides my son T who is turning 19 this December, and not living at home, I’ve become a stepmom of two, so this blended family of 5 has a car with only four seats. But it’s a cheap car, and it has a pretty good mileage and except some weekends we are 2 adults and no kids, so a 5 seat car is really an unnecessary luxury.
Today we washed it, and we didn’t think it was really that much needed, but it was. I wanted to clean the inside due to the mud the kids smeared all around the inside, and so I could make car seat covers and so on, but then it kind of evolved from “just a quick clean up” to a “what the actual fuck”-experience both on the inside and outside.
You want to use a very soft brush and get some special auto shampoo.
Wet the car with a hose very lightly.
Put a few drops on the brush and begin the quest. Be sure you clean all the dirt off as little rocks and dirt may develop in to rust.
Take on section at a time so it doesn’t dry up.
Rinse and begin a new section. And remember! Never do this when the sun is shining as you will most definitely need too much water and get ugly streaks.
I have a garden hose with different settings. I used the “mist” for the initial wetting, “jet” for stains, and “cone” for rinsing off the soap. I thought I’d use too much water, but honestly I don’t think I had it running more than 5 minutes altogether on the different settings, and since I didn’t shower yesterday…I don’t feel too bad about it.
Oh yeah… and you want to wash it more often than we do. This was embarrassing. But I promised you honesty. So here it is
This is my kitchen from yesterday – it still looks like this btw. We´re not perfect people in this house at all, and I refuse to pretend that I am in this blog too. Actually people pretending to be perfect in blogs and on youtube and other platforms scares me. I can´t stop thinking what´s hiding beneath the surface, and having a crazy imagination like me does not make pretty stories just because people are pretty and lead pretty cute lives. So when thinking about starting this blog, we had conversations about how honest to be here on the blog, we agreed to go “all in” – but ofcourse with respect to the people around us and each other and our wish to stay together for the rest of our lives.
As you can see in the above picture, my kitchen window is right next to the street in our little cul de sac, and it wouldn´t be a problem if the people around us were about the same age and had lives, so they would not be so busy. But appearantly mostly “elderly” people lives here, and some how they have time for “strolling” while looking through windows all day long, so I have to smile and pretend, that I´m proud of my mess…which I´m not.
We’ve been wanting to put up curtains for a while, but money are an issue so we were quite hesitant because we remembered the drama and the expenses about the livingroom curtains that we felt the need to buy after only living here for a week.
Luckily I went to the goodwill shop last week, and I stumbled across a sheet with broderie anglaise all around the edges, and since it was cheep (15dkr), and I also found a curtain rod for less than that, I had no more excuses than to make those curtains and keep a nice facade…
Here´s a “how to”
I´m pretty satisifed with the curtains. to be honest. I decided to (have B) hang them a bit above the counter, because I know I´m a mess at the sink, so I have to be able to wipe it off without thinking about moving the curtain to avoid the cloth.
This was supposed to be our weekend with the kids, but they had signed up for their first scout-camp this weekend, so we picked them up today and they´re going to school (and their moms place) tomorrow. It´s a bit sad for us, but they had an amazing trip with their friends and we picked them up all covered in mud and dirt with glassy tired eyes and red cheeks. Just as they´re supposed to be.
The only thing that didn´t go in the washing machine today was the kids (they showered) and being a bit too frugal I overloaded the machine with jackets, snowsuits, sleeping bags and everything else…so it refused to function and we had to empty it manually and…yeah…*deep breath*… we had to use the dryer to make it before midnight. Little monsters really generate a lot of laundry.
I don´t enjoy the thought of tomorrow though, because the mix of a tiny car and the boys´muddy boots are just…*sigh*… oh well, we thought about going to the carwash anyway, and I DID think about making car seat (and trunk) covers from an old tarp I have laying around somewhere…so yeah, no need to complain – except from the fact that I wish I didn´t procrastinate the first time I thought about makin it, so I didn´t have a muddy car on the inside as well. I will make a post about the tarp-project some day this week… and post pictures of my muddy car seat below this paragraph tomorrow.
But anyway, my little monsters are going home tomorrow, and because I had a lot of ripe bananas and a few carrots left, I decided to experiment and bake a banana bread – thingy for them to take to school.
B worked in London “back in the 90´s” and when we visited one of my many ex´s brother in law – who has the CUTEST and most amazin cake-shop named “Cravings” in Copenhagen – a few months ago, B had banana bread and said it brought him back to “when” while he looked at me with teary eyes and a smile on his face that wouldn´t come off.
SO…of course my plan was to destroy that sweet memory and bake a different version of banana-bread and maybe even make it healthy-er, so the teachers don´t frown too much because the kids are bringing cake to school…
I don´t know how it will be just yet – it´s in the oven right now, while I´m sitting here writing. But if it is a crappy recipe – you will know what NOT to use, right? 😀
Banana and carrot bread
READ the recipe before you begin – I am a very spontaneous person when cooking, so I don´t even out spoons or anything – it´s pretty much a “go with the flow” thing.
3 very ripe bananas (dark spots on the peel is good for the sugar-level)
3 small (ok mine were tiny) carrots – peeled
50g (1/3 cup) butter (I used salted)
Salt – a little more than a so called pinch
1,5 teaspoon of baking soda
50g (about 1/2cup) white sugar
50g (1/2cup) whole wheat rye flour
100g (1 cup) wheat flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1,5 teaspoon vanilla-sugar (or what ever kind of vanilla it measures up to)
First I preheated the oven (convection) to 175C/350F
Then I mashed the bananas completely (use a fork if you don´t want to do too many dishes, but I´m lazy and B is amazing, so I used my tupperware-chopper-thingy (I googled it and its called a smooth chopper)
I tupperware-thingy-chopped the carrots as well, but you may grate them if that is what you prefer
Now melt the butter and mix it in
Crack an egg and throw it in along with the salt
It´s obvious that the picure below has the wheat flour, baking soda, rye flour, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla in it, right? Well…it has. Mix it for a few moments, but not too much, just to make sure everything is “wet” and mixed “okay”.
I have this silicone baking dish from Tupperware as well, and yes – it´s expensive if you have to buy it, but I got it as a hostess-present 7 years ago, so here´s a frugal tip for you: host a tupperware party and get a free gift – but remember to check out and wait for the right present, or you´ll end up with weird sh*t….Anyway I did oil it up a bit today, because my darling B put it in the dishwasher last time I used it, and I wanted to be sure I could get the bread out for pretty pictures for you lot.
baking time? Yeah… that´s actually a mystery for me, because the usual recipes online says 45-50 minutes, but it was still sticking to my knitting pin when I tested it, so I turned off the heat and left it in there for “a while”…and yes…it´s dark, but I didn´t burn it…and it doesn´t really taste burned, although there IS a caramelized and unknown flavor to it, so maybe I did burn it a little?
REVIEW: It´s really soft – waaay more than I expected – and it´s not too sweet but still yummy, so I guess I´ll go grab another piece before someone eats it all within a blink of an eye.