Friday, 31 May 2013

Day 4 - cheapest yet and full to the top of my pinny!

A photo of my garden in March, just to remind me to be
grateful for the lovely weather we are finally having.
Day 4, the end is in sight, I'm over the hump of the hill, shooting down the other side and I confess that I can't wait for Sunday morning.  Not that I've minded most of the meals I've had so far, but I chafe against the restriction.  I would like an impulsive snack occasionally, without having to think of the consequences to my dinner.  And I would love a cup of tea - any sort, anything other than tap water.  Just one more day to go, tomorrow, and I will have made it to the end.

I wasn't feeling very imaginative today, so I stuck with tried and trusted for breakfast, porridge and peanut butter.  I rang the changes at lunch by throwing caution to the winds and having that extra slice of toast that I denied myself yesterday, so 3 slices with half a tin of mushy peas.

I felt I needed that extra, bcause I knew that this afternoon I had to do some "work" work, as opposed to other types of work such as cleaning the house (pfft!) or parceling up goodies that people have bought online, or donations to auctions etc.  Real, actual, paid work.  The sort of real, actual, paid work that I ran screaming from last August into a life of comparative penury, simply because I couldn't face doing it any longer.

Now this is a horrible self-indulgence, if I'm honest.  To leave paid work when so many others are desperate to find just that, cannot on the face of it be classed as proper grown-up behaviour.  But it had to happen because I was going slowly silly in the head - over-emotional, irrational, forgetful, sleeping long hours full of fitful, anxious dreams of fires where I couldn't dial 999 to save my life, or I'd left my purse in a public place and of course it was stolen or my cat urgently needed the vet but I kept getting delayed.  You get the picture.

So I negotiated my resignation and started a new relationship with the same company on a retainer basis, and it has worked well.  But of course now I have new interests, and it is quite hard to leave them to go back to the challenge of programming in MS Access.

One of the things that helped me cope when I had to do work that I really believed I couldn't, was food.  Program doing strange things?  Have a sandwich and think about it.  Operator pressed the wrong button - twice - get last night's leftovers out of the fridge and ponder while eating them.  At very least, a nice cup of tea and five minutes of Frasier would delay the inevitable for a while.  And here today I was facing the work knowing that I could not turn to my usual solace.  I drove myself mad sitting at my computer all afternoon, not hungry, but craving something - anything - to eat.  In the end I gave up and went downstairs and started the washing up, which frankly even I can't get wrong, and the cravings disappeared, switched off magically.  I will have to do the "work" work on Sunday now, with a gigantic bowl of popcorn by my side!

So - what to have for dinner when I have all of 78.2p left to spend - decisions, decisions.  Although by now I was actually very hungry, so when I spotted the 400g of dry spaghetti left over from lunch earlier in the week, my decision was made.  I simmered a large chopped onion (7.2p) in a stock cube (1.5p) dissolved in a little bit of water.  When that had mostly evaporated I added half a tetrapak of tomato passata (14.5p) and left to cook gently until the onion was soft and the sauce thick.  Meanwhile, I took half of the remaining veggie burger mix (30p) from last night and rolled it into 9 small balls.  These I dry-roasted in the oven to make "meat"balls.  I worked out how much this left me and decided I could easily afford 300g of pasta (11.4p).  What I didn't realise is just how much pasta that is.  I never do spaghetti by weight and of course usually I'm cooking for two, so although I realised that this was quite a good fistful of pasta, I didn't compute how much I was going to end up with, which was at least twice as much as I could possibly eat. 
First serving! 
Yes, I know what the "meat"balls look like, but I prefer not to think about it.

I confess at this point that the matter of how much I ate of the spaghetti today compared with how much is left for tomorrow is woolly at best.  I did try to weigh as I went, but Husband was trying to use the kitchen as well, and it got complicated and confusing, and the bottom line is, I may have eaten an ounce or two more or less than half of the pasta and sauce, although I definitely ate all of the meatballs!  For the sake of my sanity and your patience, I am going to assume that it was exactly half.

It was good, although I'll increase the sauce to pasta ratio if I cook this again.  Which I probably will, because the sauce comes out at about half the price of the bottle I usually buy.  The burger mix made very tasty meatballs and overall I was well pleased, especially with that wonderful full feeling I had all evening!

In fact I was so full that I couldn't even manage my rich tea dessert tonight, which is pretty amazing when you see how much today's food cost in total.  Here goes:

Breakfast - 50g oats and 20g peanut butter - 7.5p
Lunch - 3 slices bread and half tin of mushy peas - 14.3p
Snack - 4 biscuits - 2.3p
Dinner - veggieburger mix (30p), 70g onion (3.6p), quarter-pack passata (7.2p), half a stock cube (0.8p), 150g value spaghetti (5.7p) = 47.3p

Grand total: 71.4p, or as my granny would think of it, fourteen and thruppence ha'penny in real money.

Blimey.  Not much more I can say after that, really, except to thank one of my lovely relatives who has promised me £20 in sponsorship, which completely blew me away and totally made my day.  And to show you a picture of my cat, by way of celebration.

This is Moo, who has deformed front legs and who likes to sleep folded in half at the waist, head between his knees, next to his all-black brother Charlie (the shiny bit on the right).  Judging by its similarity to a bottle-brush, I am fairly sure the tail you can see is Moo's.  The detritus on the sofa cushion is mostly pulled threads because he can't retract his claws.  My lap is similarly afflicted.

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