Monday, 28 May 2018

Feed a family of 4 for under £5 - Mexican bean pie!

Hello! As part of my money saving ideas, here's a meal! I recommend making this the day after fajitas as any fajita mix left can go in the pie, as well as any left over wraps and dips being used! However, I've written this as if you haven't made fajitas last night!

Mexican bean pie ingredients (including the sides)

3 medium sweet potatoes - 35p each, so recommend buying a bag of them at £1 and having some for another meal.
Kidney beans in chilli sauce tin - 65p
Taco beans in tomato sauce - 65p     - These beans sometimes come up on offer at Tesco of 2 for £1.
Fajita spice mix (packet powder) - 60p (around 20p used in this meal) (not needed if you have fajita veg)
4 potatoes for chips - 33p each, so best buy a bag for £1.15. Or if you prefer, buy a bag of oven chips.
Tortilla chips - 46p for value which I like, they just are slightly more broken. Otherwise, around £1.

£4.11! (£4.65 with more expensive tortilla chips).

Peel, chop and boil the sweet potatoes. Whilst they're cooking, add the beans together in a dish you can add a top to, as well as about 1/3 of the spice mix. Mix these all together in the bowl. If you have left over fajita veg, add this to the beans instead of fajita mix. Once the potatoes are soft, mash them. Add the mash to the top of the beans to make a pie. Cook in the oven for around 20 minutes so it's all hot and bubbly. Whilst the pie is cooking. Cook your chips.

Once the pie is cooked, serve with chips and nachos. If you have left over wraps, I like to deep fry them in triangles for dipping in the pie. Otherwise the wraps can also be stuffed with the pie and chips.

Optional extras - I've had it with and without dips. The pie is saucy on it's own so whilst dips are nice, I don't think they are an absolute must.

Salsa - 80p
Oatly creamy oat fraiche (works well as a sour cream!) - £1.55

Here's a pic of the outcome (with dips) using deep fried wraps as I had fajitas yesterday! Sorry the photo is quite close!

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Vegan sandwich fillings!

Hello! It's British sandwich week, or something, and since it saves money to make your own, I thought I'd make a blog with lots of yummy fillings in case you get stuck for ideas! This may just end up looking like a list, but I'm hoping it may help someone who is sick of the same sandwich everyday to feel inspired! Pretty much all of these can go in bread, pittas or wraps. Another little tip, if you usually buy your sandwiches every day, each time you make your own, put the money you saved in a pot and soon you'll be motivated as you see how much your pot is growing!

My favourite- Breakfast sandwich. Inspired by my old McDonalds order, vegan sausage (cooked), seitan sliced as bacon, hash browns, a little houmous (I tried this once and love it, gives an eggy kind of texture to the sandwich), vegan cheese slice, ketchup. Cook it all and assemble without the top on, melting the vegan cheese on top to keep it all together. Let it cool before adding the houmous on the other slice of bread. This is delicious hot too without houmous, or you can eat it cold at work and have people question if it's vegan multiple times (can you tell what happened to me??)

Kebab sandwich We're lucky now to have an endless supply of mock kebab foods and they can make a delicious sandwich! you can use Oumph, Vivera, or just slice up some seitan, then I like to add red cabbage, spinach, onion, vegan mayo and a little hot sauce - I use the vegan Siriacha mayo that is becoming increasingly available in supermarkets (pic below). Also good with some fried mushrooms.

Image result for sriracha mayo

Houmous sandwich plus! I say plus because whilst houmous is the primary ingredient, I add lots to it. This consists of houmous, mayo, sliced tomato, spinach, olives (I use a mix of black and green), a little sliced onion and sweet chilli dipping sauce. Can also add falafel.

Chilli wraps This is a way to use up leftovers. Make a chilli to dinner one night and any left (including the rice if you have it and dips etc) and all just go in a wrap for lunch. I tuck in both ends and make more of a burrito shape if I'm taking it to work to try and reduce spillage.

Avocado, olive and toms pret style One of my favourite sandwiches to buy is Pret's avo, olives and toms. But it's expensive. So you can also make it at home! Slice some avocado and tomato, adding olives (I just use black for this) rocket (if you use rocket) and spinach, vegan mayo. Can go in a sandwich or if you want to full Pret experience, put it in a wholemeal roll.

This goes for most store bought sandwiches. If there is one you love and often buy, it's always worth having a go at making your own version at home if you have the time. This should save you money in the long run as you'll get far more ingredients for the cost of the £3+ sandwich!

Basic sausage and bean Again more to use up leftover beans. Cook some sausages and allow the beans and sausages to go cold as they stay in the sandwich better. put together and add your preferred sauce (I add BBQ to this). can also go in a wrap if you have any left from a meal.

Veggie burger I came to a revelation once that just because a burger is round doesn't mean I can't break it apart and make a sandwich, then I wondered why I was so slow to realise this. So anyway, just cook up you favourite veggie burger (I'm thinking vegetable based not mock meat, but either works). Add to spinach, onion, tomato and sauce (I use mayo...I use a lot of mayo).

Lasagne filling If you make lasagnes, it's worth saving a spoon or two of the filling for a sandwich for lunch the next day (as well as the cheese sauce). just add it to the bread and drizzle the cheesy sauce over it. Yummm.

Mexican bean This for me is more of a left over sandwich again. One meal I make it mexican bean pie, whereby I just by cans of taco beans and kidney beans in chilli sauce, add them together to a bowl and top with sweet potato mash, then cook. Any of this left over makes for an awesome sandwich the next day (especially if you add salsa!).

Mac and cheese sandwich Oh my! If you make your own mac and cheese and love some carbs, I love my mac and cheese either cold in a sandwich or hot in a toasted sandwich, with ketchup.

Bacon sandwich A basic one but something you might miss so I've added it for you to try. I use Love Seitan seitan cut into slices and fried until a little crispy. It's not bacony, but it sure is satisfying! Add your preferred sauce.

Pudding sandwich Yup. My version of this is Biscoff spread and banana, could also add a little grated chocolate Good on toast too if you want it warm and melty.

Hope this helps!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Chinese fakeaway!

Hello! Recently I put up a pic of my chinese 'fakeaway', which I worked out cost me under £10 for a family of 4. I asked if anyone wanted a blog to make it, you did! Here it is! Now I hate it when chefs say something costs 6p when you can't buy that portion, so the under £10 is for the meal, but I will put the price for the whole ingredient as well as the amount used.

Chinese fakeaway

My meal consisted of a stir fry, garlic fried rice, chips, curry sauce and spring rolls. I won't put a recipe for chips, but I factored in a cost of £1.20 for them as I make my own and fry them, if you have frozen oven chips, this could be cheaper! I cook a lot of this at once, so whilst it looks like it'll take a long time, it's not so bad!

Stir fry - £3.87

In mine I use:

Broccoli (60p per broccoli, 30p used)
2 red onions (21p each, 42p used)
2 large mushrooms (£1 for 4, 50p used)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (50p per garlic, around 20p used.)
1 carrot (6p a carrot, available loose...this makes me laugh since I used 6p in my tiny rant above!)
Noodles (I use these which are on the Tesco vegan list. They were in my store last time I went. I think they're around £1.50)
1 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce (I use blue dragon dipping sauce. £2 a bottle. 20p used)
5 Tbsp soy sauce (I buy this one as it works out cheapest per 100ml, £6.90. 69p used)

Cook the broccoli as you would usually, either steam or boil. Fry the onions, crushed garlic, mushrooms and carrot until soft. For the carrot I use my peeler to make thin strands to suit the stir fry and cook nicely. Once soft (and the broccoli cooked), add the noodles and broccoli (both mini packs within the pack). these will need seperating in the pan, so I use two forks to pull them apart. Mix in with the veg. Add around 5 Tbsp of soy sauce and 1 Tbsp of sweet chilli, mix and allow to cook. Yumyumyum!

Garlic fried rice - 79p

Rice (£1.60 depending on the brand you use, 60p used)
1 clove of garlic (same one as above, so 5p used)
1 tbsp soy sauce (from the bottle above, 14p)

Cook the rice (can go with the broccoli above!). Fry the garlic in a pan. Add the rice to the garlic, add the soy sauce, mix and allow to cook a little once mixed.

Curry sauce - 68p

When I went vegan I was keen to find a curry sauce that matched a take out. After trying most brands suitable, I found one (well, Mum did, credit where it's due and all that). I use Goldfish Chinese curry sauce, available from most supermarkets. This brand states that it is suitable from vegetarians and that it's NOT made in a factory with fish or meat - nice! This is very easy to make, the instructions given are accurate. You use around 1/4 of a tub (100g) and add 300g of boiling water. mix this so make it as smooth as possible (don't worry if it's still a little lumpy these will melt when cooked). Then put on the hob until it thickens, stirring often. £2.75 a tub, 68p a portion.

Image result for goldfish curry sauce

Spring rolls - £3

Another item I searched for were good spring rolls. My favourite are Morrison's vegetable spring rolls. £1.50 a pack, so for 4 people I'd say £3.00 if you want 2 each. Be sure to check you pick up the vegetable ones, the chicken ones look similar.

Morrisons Vegetable Spring Rolls
Total: £9.54 and I reckon if you shopped around this could be even cheaper (eg different spring rolls, a cheaper rice brand etc). Considering a family of 4 takeaway of the same foods may be around £15-£20 if not more, I think this is pretty good!

Little disclaimer note thing

I tried to cut them out, but they were still a little bit visible. I am lucky enough to have access to a Loving Hut that sells vegan 'crispy clouds' (fake prawn crackers) and they now sell them uncooked in a bag so I can fry them at home. They're £2.50 ish a bag and you get 50-60. If this interests you, it may be worth talking to your local Loving Hut!

Friday, 4 May 2018

BBQ ideas for Summer!

Hello! This weekend is set to have delightful weather so I thought I'd write a BBQ post of all my ideas for a budget (but banging!...sorry) BBQ! Here I'll discuss where to find good meat replacements, vegetable versions (as in not soya based) and other yummy ideas...including pudding! This is more for ideas as well as saving money as I've seen a few questions starting to appear about what people have with bbqs. This post includes:

Vegan BBQ meats
Vegetable based BBQ shapes of joy!
Other ideas for you BBQ

Vegan BBQ meats

This is where vegan food can get expensive. Some of the companies are still quite small and so prices can get hefty. But that doesn't have to be the case! Often brands such as Linda McCartney are offer in one of the big supermarkets. For example, Morrisons currently have their sausages for £1 for 6. It's always worth having a quick google about to check prices. I like to use as this allows you to see all the prices of a product on one screen, very nice!

Also, if you have a Farm Foods near you (here's the store locator: Farm Foods stores) you can get packs of 8 burgers and sausages (as well as mince and meatballs) 3 for £5.

Also, don't forget to check out Ocado, who often have offer on Frys products, as well a coupons that can be added to make very reasonable prices! (I will always do my best to post these offers!)

Vegetable based BBQ shapes of joy!

Sorry, I didn't know how to collectively phrase this separate to the 'meaty' types. As the rise of veganism continues, more and more of these are becoming available. The burgers I would like to draw your attention to most though are Tesco 'vegan vegetable patties' you get 6 for £1 and they are delicious and full of lovely chunky veg (as well as being especially good topped with vegan cheese and mayo covered lettuce, tomato and onion. A delicious burger experience!) See them here

Tesco also currently have an offer of 3 for £4 until the 14th May on burgers including veggie quarter pounders, spicy bean burgers and peanut and avocado burgers, as well as their sweet potato falafel and aubergine croquettes. You can see the range in the offer here (I've filtered it to vegan).

As well as Tesco Asda also have a new range of vegetable based burgers and sausages for £1.50 a pack. These include butternut squash, sweet potato and red pepper sausages and mushroom and kale sausages. See them all here.

Other ideas for your BBQ

Some of these may be obvious, but I've put them just in case you haven't thought of them yet!

Stuffed mushrooms: Get a large mushroom per person, fry an onion, wilted some spinach in with the onion and top the mushroom with this mix, adding extras such as tomato slices, or even vegan garlic and herb cream cheese. Then you can bake these in the oven or barbecue them (I recommend barbecuing the mushroom separately first though then topping and finishing them).

Vegetable rice: Fry all the veggies you like, cook the rice with a vegan stock cube in the water. Add rice to the veggies. This one may seem simple but I don't often see the idea of adding stock to rice water and it makes for a lovely taste!

Veggie kebabs: Skewer all the veg you like and cook on the bbq, you could add a bbq glaze (or any flavour) on them too.

Sweet corn: I did a post previously on frozen veg. If you didn't see it, you can get corn on the cobs in the freezer section which work out significantly cheaper per cob than fresh. These can be nicely barbecued and make a great addition to you plate.

There is a whole array of foods you can make to go with you meal, these are just a few ideas to get started with. Let me know if you have a favourite you'd like adding!


Chocolate bananas and ice cream: Bananas on a bbq is YUMMY! This can be made in  a few ways: either split the banana down the middle and stuff some chocolate in it, then wrap in foil and bake, or slice the bananas and cook on the BBQ, then sprinkle chocolate on the hot banana slices. You can also just cook the banana in the skin, peel it and top it whilst hot. Whatever way you do it, involve ice cream at the end! Yumyumyum

Grilled watermelon: As it sounds, you cook slices of watermelon on the bbq (currently £3.00 in Tesco for a whole massive watermelon). These are particularly nice when drizzled with a sweet syrup.

Fruit and ice cream: Again, may sound easy, but I've added this to remind you that you can get frozen fruit packs which work out considerable cheaper than fresh! There is usually a summer fruits/berry type which goes especially well with a lovely summery bbq.

I hope this helps!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Love Seitan May offer!

Hello! Super yummy Love Seitan are running an offer on all of their seitan throughout May!

You can get full blocks (800g) of each flavour for £12.95 instead of £14.95, for choose the two full block offer (where you choose two flavours) for £25. Postage is free over £20, or £2 under £20.

They have also released a new flavour of fiery fajita! (Also on the offer) Yumyum!

Head here for the store: Love Seitan

Hope this helps!