Thursday, 9 June 2016

How to transform wrinkly kiwis and mushy avocado's into a delicious dessert!

I don't know about you, but I struggle to work out when kiwis and avocados are ripe. To stay on the safe side I leave them out in the fruit bowl until the kiwis have gone wrinkly and the avocados are a bit squishy. Unfortunately by this time they may have gone too far the other way and become over ripe. Luckily this isn't a disaster as wrinkly kiwis and mushy avocados make a perfect pair!

The first time I made this dessert I happened to find both an over ripe kiwi and avocado at the same time. I blitzed them together with a hand blender and then froze the mixture, forgetting to take it out and stir it every so often as it froze to stop it from going rock hard. It was less than ideal, but tasted really good.

The next time I made it I chopped up an over ripe avocado, froze the chopped up pieces and left it there until an over ripe kiwi came along. It worked out much better as when I blitzed the two together I had an immediate sugar free, zero waste, plastic free, vegan sorbet! It is also a great way to get fussy people to try avocado if they haven't before!

My kids have become so used to my experiments now that they have begun suggesting a few of their own, but I have to say mixing a small amount of honey with raw grated and then blitzed carrot is not something I will be doing again!

If you like this sorbet you might also like my other avocado sorbet recipe!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Yummy uses for cold chips!

I try to not buy takeaways because they can be expensive compared to home made meals, are rarely as healthy and usually come in packaging (although I have been known to take my own reusable containers). Most of the time I try to take my own advice here for alternatives to takeaways but there are always times when it just doesn't work out and we get one!

The other day we needed something really quick for dinner, but we had already had a big lunch so didn't need much and we bought some chips with the plan of grating a bit of cheese over them when got home (not the healthiest dinner we have ever eaten!). I over estimated the number of chips we could eat though and bought way too many. In fact I bought a whole portion too many!

Happily the chips came in paper which I recycled and I brought them home in a reusable bag I had on me, so at least nothing went in the bin!

Portions of chips are often bigger than I think they will be and we always end up eating more chips than we need. I usually end up dumping any excess we can't get through in the compost bin as it never occurred to me that anything could be done with cold chips, but I couldn't bring myself to chuck a whole portion of chips and turned to google. It turns out there is no good reason to chuck cold cooked chips and there is lots that can be done with them! Essentially they are just cold cooked potato and aside from simply reheating there are lots of recipes that use pre-cooked potatoes!

I decided to use mine up in a Spanish frittata! I chopped up the chips, put them in the fridge until the next day. Then I reheated them in a pan, put in some chopped up bits of steamed courgette, poured over some egg and topped with slices of cheese. I cooked it until it was solid to the touch (except for the cheese, which was nicely melted) on top and served it! Ideally it would have been better to firm up the top by putting the pan in the oven as my one was a little crispy on the bottom by the time I was done, but I wasn't sure I could do that with my pan.

The frittata was really delicious (although a little well done) and was a quick and easy way to use up those leftover chips.

Other potential uses for cold chips include chip 'potato' salad, patatas bravas, leek and chip soup and more! Now I know there are so many uses for cold chips, I'll never chuck them again! How about you - what do you do with cold chips - have you ever used them up and how did it turn out for you?

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Monday, 30 May 2016

It's time to stop wasting food!

I've been thinking about food waste a lot recently and also vlogging. I've had a quick go and put a video together about food waste. Let me know what you think and whether you think I should make more of these or not!?!?!

On the food waste front, I'm sure I'm preaching to the converted, but food waste is not cool, in fact it might be contributing to climate change! For more info other than this video, I also wrote an article for The Money Principle on food waste recently and have written loads of posts on the blog - search under the label food waste!

I have several posts on avoiding wasting various types of food coming up too so look out for them!

Thanks for taking the time to watch my video and if you have a moment spare I would really appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Interview with Maria Nedeva of The Money Principle!

Maria Nedeva is the owner of The Money Principle where she teaches people in financial trouble how to build sustainable wealth. I recently came across her blog and was hooked. Maria's blog is not only really informative and helpful, but is also a very enjoyable read! I asked her a few questions about The Money Principle and this is what she had to say:

1. What made you start blogging and why?

In brief, three developments came together to shape my decision to start blogging: a crisis, an opportunity and a great book.

First, in late 2009 we found ourselves in £100,000 consumer debt. Naturally, I panicked at first but then resolved to turn around our financial fortune. Started learning, thinking and making progress in paying off the debt. Deciding to write and share what I’ve learned and figured out was a natural step – we all need accountability and supportive friends and a blog provides both. (Oh, we did pay off the £100,000 worth of consumer debt in three years; and with interest.)

Second, I’ve always written. It started when I was seven years old and wrote a story about a wolf cub. It wasn’t very good story but it came from my heart and soul. The writing bug was so strong that even my high school language and literature teacher didn’t manage to beat it out of me. Later in life I became an academic and did mostly academic writing. Had to become professor to finally admit that I’m really finding it boring and limiting. I wanted to learn to write things that more than 20 people want to read and a blog offers an opportunity to do that.

And third, in early 2011 I read a book that changed me profoundly. The book is ‘The 4-hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss. I’d recommend it to anyone who feels like they are running very fast to stay in the same place. Also, make no mistake: the book is about how to achieve more by doing less but you are unlikely to be able to get away with working 4 hours per week. I know first-hand that Tim Ferriss doesn’t either.So, in March 2011 The Money Principle was born.

2. What topics do you blog about?

On The Money Principle I teach people in financial trouble how to build sustainable wealth. This is what I know a lot about and this is what I have achieved; so my knowledge is not simply ‘bookish’, it is ‘existential’. Between 2010 and today (mid-2016) we’ve gone from £100,000 consumer debt to over £150,000 in new investments and savings.

Such turn around comes with paying off all consumer debt, making sure that you manage your money really well and increasing your income substantially. These are the things I mainly blog about.

3. Which do you think the most useful post on your blog is and why?

There is a lot on The Money Principle and this is only to be expected form a blog that has been around for over five years. I believe that there are two particularly helpful articles for people in financial trouble who really want to turn their fortune around.

SmartPeople Choose Financial Health over Wealth: this is a blueprint for achieving financial health including links to helpful tools. It is a long post (it is almost 3,000 words long) but there is a mind-map that will help you judge whether it’s worth you reading all of it and which parts you are particularly interested in. If was in financial trouble and wanted to get out of it, I’d read all of it; but then I would say this, wouldn't I.

How toPay off Debt Fast and Stay Debt Free Forever: this post is part of the book on paying off debt fast that I’m currently completing. It would probably be best to tell you what a reader said about it in the comments: “This is the most common sense and thorough way to get out of debt I have read, and I have read many. Thank you.”

4. What are your thoughts on being eco-friendly and saving money - have you found any ways that being eco-friendly can save money?

I am a firm believer in being eco-friendly and that it can save you money; I’m not evangelical about it though. This means that while I believe that it is our duty to leave the world a better place – or if this is not possible at least not to cause damage – I also believe that the balance can include modern amenities.

In my daily life, being eco-friendly and saving money meet in the following:
  • Not wasting food.
  • Not wasting energy.
  • Not wasting resources (cycling and driving economical cars, for instance).
  • Producing energy (we have solar panels).
5. What do have planned for the blog in the future?

I do have big plans for The Money Principle. Mainly, I’d like to transform it into an easy to use resource for people in financial trouble who would like to learn how to build sustainable wealth. The book on paying off debt fast will be finished in couple of months (and offered as an e-book); have several more ideas for books on these matters.

Apart from that, I’d like to continue to educate, provoke, entertain and inspire my readers. 

Thanks so much to Maria for answering these questions - if you want to find out more take a look at her blog The Money Principle!