Pan Fried Bacon, Camembert and Onion Chutney Sandwich

I love chutney. Whether it is a mango chutney to serve with a hot curry or tomato chutney added to spruce up a sandwich I just love it. And one of my favourites is onion chutney. I have made pan fried sandwiches with onion chutney before but this time was by far the best. I played around with how I cooked the bacon and it added so much to it. This is in no way was the healthiest sandwich I have ever served, but each bite was just bursting with flavour. So much so that all you can tell yourself is “Life is too short to not enjoy this sandwich at least once”. Should I admit that I made this twice already?

Pan Fried Bacon, Camembert and Onion Chutney Sandwich

Thick sliced white loaf (2 per sandwich)
Camembert (about 85g/3oz per sandwich)
Bacon (1-2 slices per sandwich)
Balsamic vinegar
Onion Chutney
Butter

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Mini Jack-o’-Lantern Sloppy Joe Pies #SundaySupper

This year Sunday Supper is celebrating Halloween. And I have to confess I wasn’t really sure what to do because I’ve never gotten into Halloween. I didn’t grow up in a country that celebrated it and it wasn’t really that big in the UK when my husband was growing up. So I just never thought to get into it as an adult. For the longest time I associated it as the holiday that celebrated my least favourite things; candy corn, candied apples and getting scared. Everyone I knew seemed to love going to haunted houses and watching scary movies. And if there is one thing that I hate it is being scared. I don’t get the fascination with fear and avoid it at all cost. But this past year I have had a few people in my life that really got into Halloween in a different kind of way and it has shown me that it can be a lot of fun. And while Halloween doesn’t have a strong chance of being a much adored holiday in my house I am starting to see the fun and wanting to find ways of enjoying it more so that when my daughter is older, if she wants to get into it, I will be ready to dive in.

For my Halloween treat I decided I didn’t want to go down the traditional sweet route and thought why not show creative ways to bring Halloween treats to dinner. It might be a lot of work if you are making it for a big group but it could easily be a fun activity to get the kids into decorating their own sloppy joe pie.

Mini Jack-o’-Lantern Sloppy Joe Pies

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, shredded
1 green pepper, chopped
1 hot pepper minced
1 medium onion, minced
500g (1 lb) minced beef
120g (1/2 c) ketchup
1 400g (15 oz) can whole tomatoes, puréed
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp red wine (or red wine vinegar)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pkg ready made pie crust
1 egg
orange food colouring

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10 Simple Ways to Save Money on Food Shopping

It has been almost 3 years since I took on this adventure of blogging. It is amazing how quickly time has gone by and how much has changed. I have moved to a different country, had a baby girl and so many other little things have changed it is like reading about a different person when I looked through my old posts. So it is no wonder that a few days ago I was sat with a mug of tea, staring at my homepage and asking myself “What is it I want for my blog?”. Blogging is not an easy task, it takes a lot of time and effort and there are moments that I wonder why I take on the additional stress. So what do I really want to say, is it just an outlet to share recipes? That is sort of what it has become and that isn’t a bad thing just that I have more I feel I want to share. This blog started out as a way for me to share in the journey of watching our budget but slowly over time I have drifted away from that. But I am starting to realize that I have more I want to say and share but sometimes I get so excited about this topic that I am so passionate about that I don’t feel I come across clear enough. So I am going to try and rein in my excitement and give focused advice and I am going to start by sharing with you 10 of my top tips for saving money on your food shopping.

1. Write a menu for the week before you make your shopping list-
This step alone can save you so much more time and money then you might thing. It might seem like a daunting task to do but trust me you will save time and money because dinner is no longer a guessing game and you will spend less time browsing in the store because you already know what you are cooking for the week.

2. Make a list and stick to it-
Now this one might seem like a no brainer but you would be surprised at how many people tell me that they might write down a few items on a list but that for the most part they just ‘go shopping’. That is one of the biggest ways to over spend in the supermarket. Without a list you are more tempted to buy more then you need. When you are making your list make sure to look at your store cupboard so that you don’t end up buying things you already have.

3. Shop on a full stomach-
Shopping when you have the munchies is the worse! Being hungry can encourage you to buy things that you don’t need just because it sounds good. Don’t let your stomach control your wallet.

4. If you don’t need it to look at it-
If you don’t need any snack foods then why are you wandering down that aisle, it is too tempting to buy things you don’t need if you go down the isles and browse. Stay focused. Stores purposely design their shops to try to encourage you to walk up and down each isle because it is their goal for you to BUY. Also don’t be fooled by displays at the end of the isles with promotions. Often these are promotions that the brands have pushed and it isn’t always the best deal in the store.

5. Choose generic-
Brand shopping is an easy way to waste money. Most store branded items are just as good and we have found in some cases we prefer them. For example we love some store brands of granola cereal more then the Branded versions.

6. Buy less prepackaged-
It seems so much easier, just go pick up the package of ready sliced or ready prepared and you are done. But there is a large amount of money that is being wasted because of our need for convenience. Instead take a look at the stores deli meat counter, they often have in-store prepared meat that they will slice for you that is cheaper then if you bought the ready sliced packages. And if you are lucky it is often roasted in the store and not water packed so it is fresher and healthier. Seriously have you ever looked at the sodium levels in pre-packaged lunch meat!!

7. Buy and cook in bulk-
There are so many recipes that you can make in bulk and freeze for later on. So when you are shopping for things like meat look at some of the larger packages of meat and see if you can get a better deal. If you don’t want to cook it all in one go you can re-package it at home to freeze individually.

8. Use coupons wisely-
In the past I talked about using coupons and I am still a big advocate for doing so, however I want to stress how important it is to make sure you are actually getting a deal. Ask yourself, is it actually cheaper to buy this product with the coupon or can I buy the generic brand without the coupon and still spend less. This is something I discovered when I was using coupons, more often then not if I just bought the store brand I would spend less then if I used the coupons. And even more importantly did you even plan or need the item that you have the coupon for. It is no good saving money if it is a product that you probably wouldn’t buy in the first place.

9. Don’t look at the price look at the unit price (gram, kilo, ounce)-
It is a very common mistake to think when shopping on a budget “What’s the cheapest way to get all the things I want?”. Instead ask “What’s the best value for money I can get?” Oh but this package of rice pilaf is only .99 that is cheaper then that bag of rice that is 1.40. But think about it, that package of rice will feed your family for 1 meal the bag of rice could feed your family every day for a week. That means you save yourself almost £6. That adds up over time, trust me. Yes it takes longer then 5 minutes in the microwave but rice is so simple to make that it can be worth it if you just give yourself the 20 min. Start the rice first while you prep the rest of dinner, or throw a load of laundry in the washer what ever it takes to get rid of the I don’t have time excuse.

10. Find ethnic stores in your area-
This one might seem odd but it can save you money if you do a little research. Most areas have ethnic grocery stores, even if you are sure that you don’t. So some research for Asian or Middle Eastern stores around you and try to do your shopping there for bulk items such as rice, oil, noodles and some spices. I buy my olive oil in a large 5 Litre container that I use to refill my Oil pourer. It costs me around £7 where buying olive oil at the store I would spend about £3 for a 1 Litre bottle. I do a lot of asian cooking so I buy all of my asian spices and sauces, soy sauce costs 1/3 of the price at my asian market compared to the regular grocery store. But a word of caution with this advice. You can quickly lose what you saved if you have to drive around looking for things, only do this if your store is a reasonable distance, even better if it is on the way to something else that you might need to go to.

Crock Pot Chili

So even though the crock pot challenge is over I wanted to share one more and start talking a bit about the upcoming holidays. I love the holidays but even though it is my favourite time of the year it also can mean a lot of stress around meal times. We have so much going on that it can be difficult to make sure dinner is ready to go every night. One of the things that I find can help reduce that stress is by cooking up meals that can be placed into the freezer for simple meals ready to go. During the winter I go crazy for things like stews and chili because they are simple and warm up you from the inside out. And they are really easy to make up and freeze.

Now chili is best when it is given time to age, so a trick I use if I want to serve this right away is to prep it the night before and leave it on low all night and during the day. I find this gives the chili so much better flavour.

What are tips that you use to make cooking during the holidays easier for your home?

Crock Pot Chili

500g (1 lb) minced beef
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 400g (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbsp tomato puree
2-3 Tbsp. chili powder (depending on how spicy you want it)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 410g (15 oz.) tins red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water

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Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken for #CrockPot Challenge Day 5

And here we are at the end of the week with the last dish. And this one was worth the wait. If you love the fall off the bone taste of rotisserie chicken then you are going to want to give this one a try. It was a miracle I was able to take this out of the crockpot and onto a plate whole so I could photograph it because this melted off the bones like butter. I found this recipe from LaaLoosh and she is right, this is better then what you can get from the store. Once I removed the chicken from the crockpot I thickened the juices to make a gravy but to be honest the chicken doesn’t need it so it might be better to just save this amazing broth for a soup later on.

Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken

1 whole chicken
118mL (1/2 c.) reduced sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper to taste

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