Saturday, 2 May 2015

The day after the week before

So we made it. We lived for £1 each a day for 5 days. James has said he found it much easier this year because he didn't have a caffeine headache all week. We did have some food left over, which will not go to waste.

700g flour - 21p
approx 40 tea bags - 17p
4 packs of crisps - 22p
1 portion of pancake batter - 8p
2 Custard creams - 2p
3 slices of bread - 9p
1/3 of the squash - 14p
1/3 jar of jam - 10p
1 banana (which I missed off the picture) - 10p
2 small portions of special fried rice - 36p

So we had £1.49 worth of food left. That might sounds impressive, but Joey had school dinners this week (I gave him the option of doing LBTL for his lunch, and initially he said he would because that's what poor people would do, but as school dinners in this country are free for KS1 pupils I told him even poor people would get a free lunch in his class, so he said he would keep having school dinners. He is only 5) so, most of this food would have been in Monkeys lunch, and we would have had the fried rice earlier in the week and had the leftovers for lunch one day, freeing up some bread for monkeys jam sandwiches!

So what did we eat the day after living below the line?
Well we didn't splurge and go mad. We had cereal and toast for breakfast (my toast was dripping in butter though, the one thing I've really missed all week!), then we did go to McDonalds for lunch, but that was because Monkey won Star of the Week at school, and I've been promising him a treat when that happened. Dinner was steak and chips, the steak was from the reduced section in Asda though ;)

Living Below the Line does have an effect on the way you shop. When I went to Aldi to do my normal shop I did keep thinking "we couldn't afford this last week", but was struck by how fortunate we are that, although I am careful and watch what we spend, I never have to keep tally as I go round to make sure I can afford what's in the trolley like last week, unlike many.

If you've been inspired by our week Living Below the Line perhaps you could do it next year? Could you go without a coffee or snack this week and donate the money to help those in poverty? We'll be donating the money we saved from our usual shopping, but more than that we've come away from this week with a renewed sense of compassion for those living in poverty, wherever they are in the world.
Donations can be made through the website below.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Live Below the Line 2015 - Day 5!

So as I write this I've just eaten my last bit of food for the day and will shortly be off to bed, and will wake up to many more options and choice in the food department. Today has been a great food day (we tend to keep the best until last in case morale is low!). Monkey started the day with Cocoa rice. He's been getting involved this week and helping weigh out the cereal and milk, which is not only important in keeping tabs on the price per day, but also so we didn't run out of things that we were having every day. Here's a picture of him weighing it out! (I'm teaching him some good maths skills too!)

For me, breakfast was a sausage and egg sandwich. Ideally this would have had butter and a dash of brown sauce, but it still tasted lovely!

Today was the day of the value sausages, here are 9 saver sausages, sizzling in a pan. Me and James had 2 each in our sandwich, and the other 5 were to be chopped into our special fried rice for tea.

Lunch was soup as usual, which I've enjoyed each day, but I think James was pretty bored with it, so didn't have his today.

For tea, as I've mentioned we had special fried rice. This has to be one of my favourite low cost meals, which we do actually have quite regularly even when not living below the line, but with left over chicken.

Special Fried Rice - Serves 4 - 25p a portion
500g rice - cooked and cooled
1 chopped onion
2 mushrooms
2 stock cubes (ours were beef, but any will do)
1 tsp curry powder
250g frozen vegetables
5 cooked sausages, sliced.
2 eggs, whisked

1. Use 1 tsp oil (or I used the sausage fat) and fry the onion for 2-3 minutes, then add the chopped mushroom and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
2. Add the frozen veg and the stock cubes and cook for 4 minutes until everything is warm and sizzling.
3. Push to the side of the pan to make room to cook the eggs in the centre, whisking to make like scrambled eggs.
4. Add the rice and mix all the other ingredients together.
5. Sprinkle the curry powder over the rice mix and then season with salt and pepper.
6. Leave the rice to almost catch on the pan to give it a lovely crunchy texture.
7. When it's almost done add the sausages to warm through.
8. Serve!

So the total for today...drum roll...

Breakfast - Sausage and egg sandwich - 30p
Lunch - Soup and 2 slices toast - 16p
Tea - Fried Rice - 25p
Snacks - 3 custard creams, pack of crisps and banana - 18p

Total - 89p

James and Joey had pancakes for pudding, and I had enough money in my £1 to have them, but I was so full from the fried rice I didn't have any.

I'm going to post again tomorrow with what we had left at the end of the week, and any final thoughts, but for today I'll say good night!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Live Below the Line 2015 - Day 4

So Day 4, we're in the final stages of the challenge. Today I found it easier than yesterday. I didn't feel hungry this morning, but I was definitely ready when it was time for tea!

After school on Thursday I have my year 11s for revision, and always have lots of biscuits for them. I was telling them all about living below the line, and they were amazed that you could live on just £1 and were asking all about what I'd eaten. When I think about doing LBTL, part of it is personal and making a personal sacrifice to try and understand just a tiny bit of what it is like to actually be hungry and have so little choice in what to eat. Another reason is to raise money for charities like Tearfund who are trying hard to help those living in poverty around the world. The thing I've found most amazing this year is all the conversations I've had with family, friends, colleagues, pupils etc and raising awareness of poverty, at home and overseas.

Tonight in our bible study we prayed for Yemen due to the persecution that Christians face there, but we also read that approximately 45% of people there live below the poverty line. Almost 1 in 2 people are in poverty. That's something that is quite hard to comprehend. I went looking for some statistics about it and found this interesting website showing world poverty.

Some of the shocking statistics include
  • More than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day, including 300 million children
  • Every 3.6 seconds a person dies of starvation, and most of those who die are children under age of 5
  • Every year 6 million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday
When was the last time you went to bed hungry? (and I'm not talking about being on a diet!) How would you feel about your children going to bed hungry? or dying from starvation.
If nothing else, I want after this week to have highlighted to people how fortunate we are, and how much we take for granted the variety/access and availability of food we have in our country. If you'd like to sponsor us check out our webpage.

Over to todays menu.

Breakfast - Cocoa Pops & cup of tea - 13p

Lunch - Soup, 2 slices of bread and pack of crisps - 21p

Dinner - Spaghetti bolognese and pancakes for pudding - 49p

Snacks - 2 custard creams - 2p

Total - 85p

The hit today was pancakes for pudding!
125g flour, 250ml liquid (half milk, half water) and 1 egg made 9 pancakes.
Joey even helped me make the pancakes and flip them which he enjoyed. Unfortunately I forget to take a picture until we only had this sorry looking one left, plus the camera lens was obviously misty! A splash of lemon and a sprinkle of sugar, and they were delicious!

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to a very special breakfast! See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Live Below the Line 2015 - Day 3

Sorry for the short and photo free post.

Today I've been busy at work, hardly having time to notice being hungry. I enjoyed my soup and bread for lunch and my crisps too. I didn't take my custard creams with me, so come 3 o'clock I was needing a cup of tea and a biscuit, neither of which I could have (I'd only brought one tea bag with me).

Tonight we were having the curry left from Monday, and also the tortillas I'd made too. Here is one thing I learned today: 2 day old homemade tortillas don't taste good! Unfortunately I didn't have time when I got in to be able to cook them fresh, but I'll bear that in mind in the future!

So how did we do today?

Breakfast - 
Cocoa rice, 1 slice toast with jam and cup of tea - 14p

Lunch -
Soup, 2 slices of bread, crisps - 21p

Dinner - 
Quorn Curry and rice, stale tortillas - 59p

Snacks - 
Custard creams and half a jam sandwich - 5p

Total - 99p

I'm coming to the conclusion that either my hunger is psychological or because we're not eating a lot of protein, but I'm definitely feeling more hungry than usual.

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to having pancakes for pudding!!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Live Below the Line 2015 -Day 2

Good Evening, I'll keep this short and sweet as I need to go to bed as I've had parents evening tonight, then marked books and I'm working tomorrow, so much sleep needed!

Today has been interesting. I've found it really hard resisting food we have in the house that isn't part of LBTL, so not allowed. I may have to hide completely all these things that are taunting me (ironically most stuff has been there for at least a week or two since Easter, and until now I had no interest in it, which shows you always want what you can't have!).

So today I was off work with the little man, and had to resist everyone eating toast and biscuits at toddler group as I had a glass of water. I couldn't wait to get home and eat my soup for lunch.

The vegetable soup was 10 times better today, in my opinion, as I blended it. Initially I had left the soup like a broth with vegetables in it, as my husband said he would prefer it like that, but I most definitely didn't. So now we have 2 separate containers of soup in the fridge, one blended, one not! I also got a treat for lunch of cheese on toast with my soup! This is the first year we have managed to afford cheese, and only because we bought a pack of sliced cheddar. The good thing about buying it sliced is that it is automatically portioned up, so no wastage and no arguing over who got more!

Tonight's spaghetti bolognese turned out...interesting!
It definitely wasn't bolognese, but it was tasty according to me and my husband (Monkey wasn't quite so convinced!), so gets the thumbs up.

Recipe - Serves 5
Cost - 33p a portion

10 raw sausages - meat removed from skins
2 onions
150g frozen carrots (I separated these out from the mixed veg bag)
500g carton of passata
Tin of chopped tomatoes
2 stock cubes (I used beef, but any would do) made into 400ml stock.
500g spaghetti

1. Fry the onions in the pan for 2-3 minutes
2. Add the sausage meat and fry for a further few minutes to brown the meat
3. Add the frozen carrot, tomatoes, passata and stock, bring to simmer and leave for 20 minutes.
4. Boil water and cook spaghetti as per packet instructions.
5. Enjoy!

So todays money looks like this
Breakfast - Cocoa pops, milk, tea and 2 slices toast with jam - 19p
Lunch - Soup, 2 slices toast with 2 slices of cheese - 39p
Dinner - Spaghetti bolognese (?) - 33p
Snacks - Crisps and 2 custard creams and tea - 9p
Total £1.00

Monday, 27 April 2015

Live Below the Line 2015 - Day 1

Welcome to my posts about Live Below the Line 2015.

This is our 3rd year taking part, and just to change it up a bit we've altered the menu that we had the last 2 years. I took the obligatory photo of all our food and set about planning a menu for the 5 days.

Mixed Veg 1kg 0.89
Quorn Pieces 1.48
Sausages x 20 0.99
Onions x8 0.59
Rice 1kg 0.40
Spaghetti 500g 0.20
Eggs x6 0.79
1.5kg flour 0.45
Custard Cream 0.26
Stock Cubes x 12 0.39
White Bread x 20 slices 0.55
Squash 0.42
Jam 0.29
Tinned potatoes 0.15
Mushrooms 500g 0.50
Passata 0.35
Chopped Tomatoes - 2 tins 0.68
Coco Rice 0.83
Teabags x 80 0.34
Ice cream 0.89
Bananasx4 0.39
Crisps x 12 0.66
Cheese slices 0.94
Milk 0.75
Bread 0.55
Total 14.73

After both Monkey and my husband decided last year to dismiss the smart price cornflakes we had to find a better alternative this year. Although not particularly cheap we settled on Asda smart price Cocoa rice, which I have to say got the thumbs up this morning. Last year we also didn't have tea or coffee, but after my husband had terrible headaches all week we decided caffeine had to be on the list this time, even if it had to be tea (my husband is a coffee drinker, but we couldn't afford a jar of coffee!)

Todays Menu looked like this:

Breakfast - Cocoa Rice, slice of toast with jam, cup of tea. 14p

Lunch - Vegetable soup, 2 slices of bread with 2 custard creams. 18p

Dinner - Quorn Curry with rice and homemade tortillas, icecream. 67p

Total 99p

I made homemade tortillas, which turned out a bit more crispy than normal tortillas, but everyone really enjoyed them!I made 16, we had 8 tonight and will have 8 with the left over curry on Wednesday, and they are just flour and water, super frugal. I'll hopefully have time to post the recipe for the curry tomorrow, because its really yummy!

To find out more about Live Below the line go have a look at the website.