One of the things I begrudge paying money out for is a haircut. Whilst I want my hair to look nice it grows so quickly that it soon looks unruly. I can't really afford to pay out £20 every 5 weeks to get my hair cut so I let it grow long. Unfortunately that always looks a mess too and it ends up in a ponytail or other type of fastening to keep it out of the way.
Then a friend posted this video clip on her facebook wall.
Well, I figured that it had to be worth a go, that it would grow back anyway if it didn't work and ended up being surprisingly pleased with the result.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Saturday, July 31, 2010 6:39 AM
Nettle & Ricotta Cannelloni
Having never eaten nettles before - well lets face it, it doesn't sound appetising - I approached this recipe with trepidation. I used to buy a lovely spinach and ricotta cannelloni down at the supermarket and thought that as nettles were supposed to be a good substitue for spinach I would give it a go, especially with the surplus ricotta I had in the fridge after our cheese making episode.
Bizzarrely it tasted quite nice. The only thing that let it down was pre-bought gluten-free pasta sheets, which I have never used before and am unlikely to ever buy again. I also used equal quantities of ricotta and nettles to make the filling, on hindsight I should have used less nettles as they are much more strongly flavoured than spinach.
There are no weights or measures to this as it was an experiment, now I know it works I may weigh it all out next time I have a go at making it.
To make the cannelloni you will need pre-cooked lasagne/pasta sheets, tomato sauce, nettle & ricotta filling and some grated cheese to spinkle on the top.
Heat together passata, garlic, oregano and basil in a small sauce pan. Warm thoroughly without boiling.
Nettle & Ricotta Filling
Mix together equal quanities of cooked nettles and ricotta.
To Construct The Cannelloni
Posted by OneProudMomma at Saturday, July 31, 2010 6:11 AM
A Glut Of... Lemons - Baked Lemon and Ginger Cheesecake
This baked cheesecake recipe has a ginger nut crumb base and a lemon ricotta top. Instructions for making ricotta cheese at home can be found by clicking here.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Saturday, July 31, 2010 5:38 AM
Edited on: Saturday, July 31, 2010 5:41 AM
A Glut Of... Gooseberries - Seedless Gooseberry Jam / Jelly
My gooseberry originally started off as a 99p twig from Aldi a few years ago. I now have 2 plants the size of the one above, plus 2 more twigs which have self set themselves this year. I can see in a couple of years time I will be the Queen of Gooseberry Recipes! The gooseberries on the bush above are not ripe yet, they turn from green to a lovely ruby red colour when they are ripe.
I'd picked a colander full of gooseberries one day with the intention of making some muffins or gooseberry fool, but time got the better of me and I needed to do something quickly. As my daughter loves gooseberries but doesn't like seeds in her jam I decided to make a seedless jam, or a jelly as it is called sometimes. As I was in a hurry I didn't get too many photographs taken, unfortunately, but the experiment worked and my daughter rated the result as "the best jam in the world", so I figure it must be worth sharing!
To start with I put the washed gooseberries in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and cooked them for around 10 minutes, stirring occassionally to make sure they didn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Once they were cooked I strained them through a muslin lined colander to make sure I got all the pulp and juice without the seeds and other bits. (A similar method to when making ricotta cheese)
When you have all the pulp, weigh it. Place an equal weight of sugar in the pan with the pulp, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and stir.
Bring the fruit/sugar mixture to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, carefully skimming away any foam.
Get your warmed prepared jars at the ready and pour the jelly into them. Place your wax disk on top and seal them after they have had a chance to cool for a few minutes.
This makes a runny jam, which we keep in the fridge. If you want to set the jam so it is firm you will need to add pectin, or use jam sugar which already has the pectin in it.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Thursday, July 29, 2010 7:01 AM
The war on weeds
Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 28, 2010 9:38 PM
How to make a zip-up purse
Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 28, 2010 9:37 PM
A Glut Of... Lemons - Lemon Drizzle Cake
This is the recipe that is usually responsible for me ending up with a glut of lemons. I go to the supermarket thinking "I'll pick up a lemon and make a lemon drizzle cake" and end up coming out with a bag full because it works out cheaper to buy them in bulk. That happened again today - I went to check out the "oops" fruit and vegetables and there was a bag of lemons tempting me for the grand price of 39p. Lemon drizzle cake here we come! LOL
Lemon Drizzle cake is incredibly easy to make. I usually triple the ingredients and make three cakes at a time, then I have one to eat now and two to freeze. It works out much more economical that way as the cakes have to bake for 1 hour.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:58 PM
A Memory Rag Bag
My children form very strong attachments to their clothing, I'm not sure why - I only remember feeling that strongly about the three bears embroidered on one of my pillowcases when I was little. The pillowcase wore out and I was devastated, so my Mum cut them out and appliqued them to a t-shirt for me, I was over the moon when she did.
My daughter just has a huge growth spurt, going from age 10-11 years clothing to 13-14. She's managed to miss a whole age range in the middle! However, this meant that her favourite clothing would no longer fit her. She was really upset by this as some of the clothing had been given as a gift for her birthday, other jeans she had bought herself with money she had earned. She had memories of playing in park, my 40th birthday party and her Grandma, all in what would appear to anybody else to be a pile of ripped and stained play clothes.
I wanted to do something nice for her, something that would mean that she wouldn't lose those memories. So I came up with an idea - I'd make her a tote bag. Tote bags are fashionable at the moment, and a nice size tote bag would be great for when we go out on day trips, so she can carry her artists pencils and sketch books, plus other things.
To start with I gathered a selection of clothing who's colours and textures complimented each other. Then I washed and ironed it all - 4 pairs of trousers, 1 blouse and a t-shirt.
I then sat and cut out all the useful pieces of fabric. Splitting the trousers up the seams, cutting around the pockets, rescuing the stud fastening on the front of the blouse and the embroidered sequin motifs.
I knew I wouldn't use all of the fabric up - I kept a large amount of grey denim back to make her some slippers - but I was still quite frugal with what was deemed unusable, mainly just the waistband, hems and fly. I decided that the t-shirt, being very soft, should be used to line the bag.
I looked through the various scraps of fabric and decided that the central feature of the front of the tote bag would be a large button fastening pocket (from the back of her jeans) this would give her a secure place to keep her inhaler, phone and purse. From there I just kept adding panels of fabric.
Next I started to muck about with a sort of rough patchworking. I didn't measure anything out, just stitched stips together, cut across them, turned them around, stitched them back together again. I made some interesting panels, which I then attached on either side of the pocket panel.
I decided that was the right size for a tote bag and stopped there. I then made a rough patchwork back panel. Again, no measuring as such, just stitching bits together, cutting, turning and stithcing again.
I then stitched the two panels together and started work on the handles. I wanted something soft and strong, so I opted for padded plaits. These took longer to make than the rest of the bag! First I made 6 long tubes, placed three of them together and stitched across the end to hold them together. I then used some reclaimed wadding from an old cushion and stuffed each tube. The stuffed tubes were then plaited, and stitched into place on either side of the bag.
Next, I made the lining. I placed the t-shirt over the bag and cut the lining to the correct size. I stitched the side seam, leaving the bottom and top of the lining open.
I reinforced the top of the lining with a strip of denim and then stitched it into place, taking care to stitch the straps in between the lining and outside of the bag.
I pulled the lining the correct way out and then stitched across the bottom seam of the bag (which was the hem of the t-shirt)
The final step was to stuff the lining back into the bag, and stitched across the handles on the outside just to reinforce them.
Voila - one frugal, memory, rag bag - and isn't it beautiful!
Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 28, 2010 7:49 AM
A Glut Of... Lemons - Lemon Curd
I much prefer home made lemon curd to the shop bought variety, it tends to be more tart and creamy. The couple of children that like lemon curd at all, prefer the sugary gloopy shop bought variety. I don't mind that, all the more real lemon curd for me! :-)
Lemon Curd is very simple to make using only four ingredients and minimal equipment. It contains butter and egg, so will need to be eaten within a few days of being made. That really isn't a problem for me. It can also be used instead of icing for cakes, in which case use it whilst it is still warm as it spreads easier.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Tuesday, July 27, 2010 8:27 AM
A Glut Of... Milk - Ricotta Cheese
Our glut of milk came from the local supermarket who had overstocked with stuff one weekend. They were selling off 2l cartons of full fat milk for 50p. I know that you can freeze milk so I bought a few cartons not entirely sure at the time what I was going to do with it all other than maybe let the kids drink it all over the summer holiday.
It occurred to me at the time that the milk was only half the price of the stuff I usually buy but oh, wouldn't it be good if we could learn to make cheese. Now that we use in abundance and it is a lot more expensive to buy than milk. I remembered my new book had a section on cheese making and set out to learn what I could, which turned out to be a sketchy over view with not many details. However, it did state that the easiest cheese to make was ricotta, so I looked up ricotta making on the internet. The recipe I found was rather on the bulky side considering that I didn't know whether it was going to work or not, so I scaled it down, amended it to use ingredients you could readily buy and voila - my very own ricotta recipe! The ricotta itself is creamy and not tart, rather like cream cheese (which in fact it is). It spreads well and can be used in baking. Once made it will last up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Tuesday, July 27, 2010 7:35 AM
Summer Holiday Activities
The summer holiday is nearly here and for those of us with school children you may find yourself wondering what to do with them during the holiday that won't cost the earth. If you're lucky enough to live near a beach or a park it is a little easier, as on a dry day you can take a picnic and make a day of it, but if you don't or if it's raining it can be a little harder to come up with things to do. This is especially true if you have a large family or are just generally impoverished!
Help is at hand though, there are a number of free activities that take place around the country during the summer holidays. One of my families favourites is Bookworm Wednesdays held at Showcase Cinemas.
Children over 6 fill in a book review form and that is their entrance ticket to the cinema, one accompanying adult per child gets in free and children under 6 do not have to fill in a book review or pay. For us it means that our entire family of 5 children and 2 adults get into the movies for nothing.
The movies are shown once a week on a Wednesday morning, and although you don't usually get to see a new release (we did once by accident when they forgot to change the movie in the player) the whole experience of going to the movies when you don't usually get to go is an exciting experience for the children.
This years movies are Alvin and The Chipmunks, Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief, Tooth Fairy, Alvin and The Chipmunks The Squeakquel, Fantastic Mr Fox and Ice Age 3.
For more details and to print off the book report form please visit http://www.showcasecinemas.co.uk/programmes/bookworm2010.asp
Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 21, 2010 12:19 PM
Free Energy Saving Plug
Yesterday the postman delivered a package for me. I was quite excited because I didn't have a clue what it was. When I opened the package I discovered it was a Lime Energy Saving Plug, then I remembered filling in a form online and requesting my "Free Plug".
It's a neat little gadget, a plug with a infra red sensor. You plug it into the wall socket and then plug your TV into the Energy Saving Plug Socket. When you first turn it on you have to tune it in to your existing remote control (the instructions are in the box). Then in future when you use your remote to turn your TV to standby, it actually gets turned off at the plug socket.
You can get one plug free if you are over 70 or if you are in receipt of certain benefits.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 21, 2010 8:05 AM
Liquid Hand Soap
I originally saw instructions on how to make your own liquid soap on a You Tube video a month or so ago. I gave it a go and must say that although the quality isn't the same as the sort you would buy in the shops, it works and it costs a lot less.
All you need to make your own soap is a bar of regular soap, boiling water, a measuring jug, spatula for stirring, essential oils (if you want to scent it), a pump dispenser bottle to put it in afterwards and a funnel (to get the soap in the dispenser).
To start with grate your bar of soap into the jug - the finer the better as it will take less time to dissolve in the water.
Make sure it is relatively flat in the jug and read off the quanitity, here it is approximately 100ml. Add 4 times as much boiling water (400ml in this case), taking the level in the jug up to 500ml.
Stir the soap mixture until it has all dissolved.
Once it has dissolved, let the mixture go cold. It will set a bit like a jelly!
Then add some essential oils if you want to - I use 10 drops each essential oils of Rosemary and Lavender. Then beat the soap mixture until it is all gloopy and reasonably runny.
Once you are sure the essential oils are mixed thoroughly throughout the soap, pour it into your dispenser. I use a funnel as I make less mess that way.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 21, 2010 6:58 AM
Homemade Baby Wipes
I was pushing Amelia down the 'Special Offers' aisle in the supermarket when I caught a display filled with baby products. Huggies nappies, Johnsons toiletries and baby wipes were all there, tempting me with their discounted prices. I grabbed the double pack of disposibles for £5 - yeah I know, she could be in washables. Better for the environment, better for my purse, etc. but they aren't better for me. Washable nappies means more laundry, and with a family of 7 plus an incontinent dog I have enough laundry already! - Anyway, back to the point...
I noticed on the shelf that the Johnsons baby wipes were better than half price, only £1 a packet. I felt quite pleased at that as they are my preferred brand of baby wipe, especially the Aloe Vera ones. I picked up three packets (one for the changing bag, one for the bathroom, one for the bedroom) and was just about to put them in the trolley when I paused. Usually, I would be congratulating myself on a good find, having saved in the region of £4 on the weekly shopping bill, but not this week. This week I thought "£3 just to wipe a bum? That's stupid. I should be making my own wipes again, or use baby lotion."
I must admit my previous experience making homemade baby wipes was not too successful. I used the method of sawing a kitchen roll in half, removing the cardboard tube from the middle and then letting it soak up some boiling water which I'd added a little baby bath too. Don't get me wrong the wipes worked, initially, but the damp kitchen paper used to stick to my hands and the babies bum as it seemed to break down after being damp for a few days. Maybe I needed a better quality paper to start with, I'm not sure, I might experiment with that later on!
I'm not too keen on using baby lotion and cotton wool for the same reason. The cotton wool fibres get clagged up with the baby lotion and then you end up having to pick bits of sticky fluff off your clothes, fingers and babies bum. There has to be another way.
Then I remembered The Basket in the bathroom. It's filled with goodies from my Mum; sample sized soaps, scented disposal bags and gauze wipes. to name a few. The gauze wipes are actually from a relative, every month they are given a set of supplies from the hospital. The kit they are given always contain gauze wipes which are often surplus to requirements but as it is part of their monthly kit they get given them anyway, lucky for me! I figured that if I could use the gauze wipes with the baby lotion the residual fluff on the bum problem would be solved.
With that thought in mind I reached out for the discount (only £1) bottle of Johnsons Baby Lotion, then that little voice piped up inside my head, "Bet the own brand baby lotion is cheaper". With my hands firmly on the trolley we set off for the baby toiletries section. Not only was the own brand cheaper, they even produced their own Value baby lotion at 10p per bottle. At that price I figured it had to be worth a go, and if it wasn't any good I probably still had a part bottle of Johnsons Baby Lotion courtesy of my Mum in The Basket in the bathroom.
From the previous experience with home made wipes I know that the container the wipes are kept in is important. It needs to be easy to fill, easy to open when you need a wipe in a hurry and relatively airtight so that the wipes don't dry out once made, an old baby wipe tub or one from toilet wipes is ideal. Someone was definitely smiling down on me today, the old Kandoo tub turned out to be the exact same size as the folded gauze wipes!
So armed with my old tub, free gauze wipes and 10p bottle of baby lotion I set to work.
How To Make Home Made Baby Wipes
First gather together everything you will need.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Tuesday, July 20, 2010 2:50 PM
Make your own table linen
Posted by OneProudMomma at Tuesday, July 20, 2010 10:45 AM
Evening Primrose Flowers
You see a lot of Evening Primrose Oil products in the shops, mainly in the form of oil capsules and cosmetics, but Evening Primrose itself is a very easy plant to grow yourself. The oil is extracted from the seeds, however it is not really practical to press your own seeds as you would needs millions of them to produce a small amount of oil. I was fortunate enough to have Evening Primrose introduce itself to my garden after a couple of summers of neglect.
The photo at the top of the page shows the plant during its second year of growth, the year in which it flowers. During the first year of growth the elongated leaves form a rosette close to the ground, it is only during the second year that the flower stalk shoots up.
Even though it is impractical to produce your own oil from home grown Evening Primrose, you can still take advantage of some of the health benefits. The ripened seeds can be collected in the Autumn and once cracked (to help release the oil) can be used sprinkled on bread or used in baking in the same way that you would use poppy seeds. Save some of the seeds and sow them for more flowers in a couple of years time, although if you sow the seeds in the autumn indoors you will have first years plants ready to plant out in the Spring, basically saving you a years growing time.
The flowers, shown above, are edible and taste quite sweet. They can be used to decorate a leafy salad and would look very impressive if teamed up with peppery nasturtium flowers around the top of a summer salad bowl. You need to harvest them first thing in the morning, as Evening Primrose flowers at night and the blooms die off the following day.
The leaves from both the first and second year plants are edible, they are quite pungent in taste and also hairy which may be off putting for some. They can be eaten raw or cooked.
The roots are also edible, although I have read on one website that you should only eat the root from the first year plant it did not go into an explanation as to why that was the case. Other websites I have read about Evening Primrose on have stated that you eat the root from the second year plant. The one thing that these sites do agree on is that the root of the Evening Primrose can be used just the same as a regular root vegetable. Apparently the first year root tastes peppery, whilst the second year root tastes like sweetened parsnips. As I like the sound of the second flavour I'm intending to harvest the root on my Evening Primrose after it has finished blooming!
Posted by OneProudMomma at Tuesday, July 20, 2010 9:47 AM
Crocheted Rag Rug
This is a project I completed some time ago so unfortunately I don't have any work in progress photographs. I will be making another rug soon, so I will document that with step-by-step instructions.
To make the rug you will need a lot of old cloth - the rug above contains old pillow cases, flannel pyjama trousers, a pair of velvet jeans, some lining material, an old valance, a bit of an old curtain and a t-shirt. It was the first rug I ever made and I was aiming for an oval shape, unfortunately I was making the pattern up as I went along and I mis-counted which is why it is somewhat mis-shapen. Next time I am going to either make a circle or square/rectangle.
You will need a really big crochet hook to make a rug (a 10mm / number 000 is good) and be able at form a chain and single crochet stitches as described here.
To prepare the rags they will first need to be thoroughly washed and dried. Cut the rags into 1" wide strips as long as possible.
The rags will need to be stitched (or knotted) together so that you can use them in the same way you would yarn. There is a particular way to knot the rags, if you choose this method, which I will detail later when I make the next rug - it is not a straight forward knot as it needs to lie flat when the rug is crocheted.
Then you will make a few chains stitches to form the centre of the rug (it is the equivalent of casting on in knitting) and carry on with the single crochet stitches until the rug is the size you require. The rug above is just over 80cm long.
Some instructions for crocheting rag rugs say to stitch the edges of the rag strips over to limit any loose threads and make the rug neater, personally I find this time consuming and boring. I like the odd stray thread and a bit of knot showing through - I think it adds to the charm!
The photo below shows in more details the different fabrics used and how closely the stitches are formed.
When you look at the back of the rug you can see the knots where the fabric strips have been joined together. The loose ends can just be pushed in between the stitches to hold them into place.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Sunday, July 18, 2010 2:14 PM
How To Upholster A Cheap Chair
Posted by OneProudMomma at Sunday, July 18, 2010 12:01 PM
Braided Soother / Toy Holder
I recently taught my older two girls how to make friendship bracelets. I found the act of making them somewhat therapeutic and relaxing but couldn't think what to do with a load completed bracelets. I then came up with an idea of how to use the techniques need for a basic V pattern friendship bracelet and utilise that to make a cloth soother (dummy) holder for my youngest.
The holder is made from cotton yarn and features a loop to attach to the soother handle at one end and a button hole at the other, so you can attach to the little ones clothing. You will need to be able to make a 4 thread plait and a V patterened friendship bracelet to complete this project.
|Price Per Portion||49p|
These costs are based on shopping at Tesco and making your own pastry for the case. I always buy whichever strong cheese is on offer at the time. Although it is too strong for the children to eat I find that I need less of it in my baking to flavour the food, so it saves me money long term! Also, I don't buy my eggs from Tesco I buy them straight from a local farm so they only cost me £3.30 for a tray of 30 large eggs, unfortunately not many people have that luxury so I included the Tesco price for the eggs (it works out nearly 10p per portion cheaper using the farm eggs!)
|12" pastry case (uncooked)||20.5p|
|McLellands Seriously Strong White Cheddar (500g)||£2.50|
|Cooking Bacon (500g)||£1.14|
|Big & Fresh Eggs Box Of 10||£2.08|
|Creamfields 0.75% Milk 3ltr||£1.25|
|Saxa White Pepper 25g||27p|
|Tesco Value Mixed Herbs 18g||19p|
|12" pastry case (uncooked)||1 case|
|mature cheddar cheese||100g|
|chopped bacon bits (fat removed)||500g|
|ground white pepper||large pinch|
|mixed dried herbs||1 teaspoon|
- Pre heat the oven to 180C.
- Line a 12" flan dish with pastry - click here to view the instructions - but do not cook the pastry case.
Finely grate the cheddar cheese and set aside for later.
Trim the fat from the bacon and chop it (I find it easier to cut the
bacon with kitchen scissors). Fry the bacon until it is cooked through
- Beat 5 large eggs into a jug and enough milk to make it up to 500ml - usually about 150ml. If the level is much lower than 500ml add another egg.
- Add the herbs and pepper to the egg and milk mixture and beat together.
Cover the bottom of the pastry case with the bacon and then sprinkle
all the cheese over the top.
Pour the egg and milk mixture all over the filling, making sure the
bacon & cheese is covered.
Place in the hot oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Serve either hot or cold, with salad and potato wedges or chips.