Saturday, 13 August 2016

$21 Challenge Day 2 - Flapjacks and Freezer Mysteries

Day 2 successfully done and dusted yesterday.  Am not going along too bad at the moment!  I have dinner already planned for today and tomorrow, that's Days 3 and 4 and am not stressing too much about the rest of the week YET.  After doing my freezer inventory yesterday I know that we have plenty of meat and vegetables to get us through the week, even if I have no idea what that meat actually is!  At the risk of boring you to death, here are the current contents of my freezer:

1 loaf bread (just had to take that out to use now)
1 x No.30 chicken.  Generously gifted to us by my mum last week when she spotted it on special. Even more grateful for it now!  To be honest, this will probably get us through the remaining days I have yet to plan alone but am trying to save it for a real emergency and so that I have to more creative using up the other stuff.
1 x corned beef.  Again thanks to Mum.  Tonight's dinner.
4 x bags of green beans
1 x bag of rhubarb
5 x bags of leeks.  Woohoo, so glad to have these, now I don't have to buy any onions this week!
Enough frozen chips for one
2 x bags silverbeet
2 x bags cauliflower
500ml bottle cream
2 x bags capsicum
1 shop-bought falafel burger (which quite frankly tastes like a Tux dog biscuit but nonetheless is a quick dinner for me in an emergency)
2 x portions spag bol
2 tubs of plums
1 x bag parsnip
2 x individual chicken and vege pies
1 beef curry pasty
1 loaf garlic bread
3 x chilli peppers
1 bag carrots
6 sausages
Bacon bits, will do for a bacon and egg pie or something
1 whole salami
4 x venison patties
4 bags of mystery meat (could be venison most likely but have no idea!)
1 leg of - ummm - might be a ham hock?  I'm really not quite sure!

Doing my freezer inventory made me realise just how long it has been since I did a $21 Challenge. Gone are the days of having an enormous chest freezer; I now have a small single upright freezer and the whole process took less than half an hour compared to the mission it used to be.  To be honest I have my mum to thank for a lot of these, she and her partner are keen gardeners and gave us heaps of their surplus, particularly before I had a vegie garden of my own. Also Ali the hunter for providing us with venison.  I also unearthed a bag of dog meat and four bones for Minnie the spaniel and half a dozen chicken frames which I made into food for the cats so we don't have to buy cat food for a few more days at least.  I have to admit, I really enjoyed pottering yesterday and being so productive!  Made me feel like I was really doing something, making a difference.

Last night's dinner was simple, venison patties (these things are huge!) with mashed potato, roast pumpkin, beans, carrots and gravy and I had lentil bolognaise again seeing as I still had a truckload left.  It made me chuckle thinking about all the $21 Challenge nay-sayers who always used to harp on about not getting a balanced diet and living on two-minute noodles.  If you eat right in the first place, you're still going to eat right in a challenge week!  If you normally exist on expensive processed and pre-made crap, well then yes, you are more likely to struggle and run out of food.  That's one of the brilliant things about the challenge though, it makes people totally rethink their eating and cooking habits.

With dinner nice and easy and under control I was feeling a bit redundant until I remembered Fiona and I saying in the Challenge book how important it is to make sure there is food on hand, especially if you have hungry males or teenagers in the house.  So I needed to do some baking!  But what? Most of my baking supplies such as eggs and milk were too precious to use and I had run out of a lot of things already such as cocoa, coconut and chocolate chips.  None of us eat cereal so I couldn't fall back on that - until I spotted half a bag of rolled oats in the pantry.  Ooh, could I make flapjacks I wonder?  I hadn't eaten these since I was at primary school and use to make them from my Winnie the Pooh cookbook - but much to my distress I accidentally sent both my beloved Pooh Cookbook and another childhood favourite The Blue Peter Book of Gorgeous Grub to the op shop over a year ago and it was a long time before I realised.  I'm still heartbroken - and where was I going to find the 'right' recipe for the flapjacks of my youth now?

I figured seeing as I grew up in England I should go with an English recipe, so went online and put my hopes and trust in BBC Good Food.  They reckoned all I needed was oats, butter, brown sugar and golden syrup.  Well that sounded about right and I had all those so I set to work.  The result? They smelled right, they tasted right, they even felt right, not too crunchy, not too soft.  I was dying to try them all afternoon but I wasn't hungry and kept telling myself I had to save them to get us through the week.  At 11pm that night however I could stand no more and helped myself to the first little golden bar.  Ohh, I can't tell you how happy I was, they were perfect!  Whilst I do feel more than a little guilty that I no longer need Winnie the Pooh, I will definitely make these again and with no eggs, butter or any other fandangley bits required, they are perfect for a $21 Challenge.  You can find the recipe on my Facebook page.  Just tilt your head to the side when looking at this photo, I have no idea why it won't upload the picture horizontally!  But you get the idea...

As mentioned, tonight's dinner is corned beef, which will be accompanied by spinach quiche. Actually I think it's more of a frittata really, but back when I first learned to make it at 19 I don't think frittatas were a thing, not in NZ anyway.  Either way it's yummy and a perfect vegetarian dish for me too.  Am particularly happy because I don't have to spend anything today.  So far my $21 Challenge spend amounts to $12.57 and I'm conscious we still have four days to go.  That's gone on a tin of tomatoes, a bag of rice, salt (was gutted I had to buy that!), butter, milk and margarine.  Exciting stuff.  Will post the recipe for the spinach quiche later.  Gareth as we speak has just sampled his first flapjack and has pronounced them as perfect, which if I say so myself they are.  It ain't half bad this $21 Challenge lark!

1 comment:

  1. Well done Jackie, those flapjacks sound yummy. Wonder how they would go using gluten free oats instead?