Oven baked Pastrami Sandwiches

Baked sandwiches are amongst my favourite types of foods, hands down! The simpler ones require hardly any prepping and are filling on their own, or with a salad. When it comes to toppings, the combinations are almost endless – it’s so easy to make sandwiches for every taste and these are very cheap and budget friendly. I chose pastrami as my protein but you can naturally use ham, turkey, a selection of veggies or any plant based food you like.

Ingredients

4 slices of toast

Butter

4 slices of pastrami

Grated cheese

Mustard

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 225 Celsius
  2. Place the slices of toast on a baking tray
  3. Butter the toasts on the side that you’re putting the filling
  4. Put the slices of pastrami on the toasts
  5. Drizzle mustard over the sandwiches
  6. Top them with grated cheese
  7. Place the baking tray in the oven and cook until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!
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Cabbage Salad recipe

This recipe is a very popular salad in Sweden and Finland and is usually eaten with pizza. It’s therefore known as Pizza Salad in these countries. The salad is completely vegan and is a great base when you want to make a salad, you just put some of it on the bottom of a plate and then just pile up with any other vegetables and toppings you like – even pasta. The cabbage salad is also a great side dish to grilled meats and fish, so try it at your next barbeque!

Ingredients

1 head of fresh cabbage

2-4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (depending on the size of the cabbage)

1-3 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on the size of the cabbage head)

½ – 1½ teaspoon(s) of salt

½ – 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper (or according to taste)

Instructions

  1. Grate the cabbage on the coarser side of a grater or shred it finely with a knife.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Make sure that the ingredients are well mixed, use your hands!
  3. Cover it with cling film and leave it in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

This dish tastes better if you make it the day before you’re meant to eat it and just let it sit in the fridge and soap up all the flavours. If you want to, you can add some raw, shredded or grated red onion too.

How to write to companies!

People always ask me how I get my coupons and tell me that they can’t find it. I have the same problem, there aren’t that many coupons online, at least not if you live in the U.K. like I do. That’s why you’ve got to be proactive when it comes to couponing and use every strategy possible to get them on a fairly regular basis. One way is to write letters to your favourite, and not so favourite, companies. Which is what I’ll be covering in this blog post.

  1. Pick out your favourite brands that you use on a regular basis and have a look at the back of their pack – there should be an address there where you can send letters and queries. Write down these addresses along with the names of the companies, so you don’t get them mixed up. This is where you’ll be sending your letters.
  2. Make sure that each letter is personalized to each company and don’t clip in sentences from other letters to the current one (if you’re using the computer to write your letters), since this can backfire completely. If you manage to get a comment like “my dog loves it” in a letter to a chocolate company, then that shows that you either abuse your dog by giving it chocolate or that you’re reusing parts of the letter from a previous one to a dogfood manufacturer. This isn’t a problem, really when you write by hand, but make sure that you know who you’re writing to so you don’t write the wrong company name by mistake.
  3. Write your letter by hand, unless your handwriting is very hard to read. If you have severe problems with spelling, for example due to dyslexia, then I recommend that you either have someone help you write out the letter or use a computer with a spell check. Then you can write your letter, print it and then sign your name at the bottom. It should look proper and be easy to read to strangers. Also, if you use a pen – make sure that you don’t have too many crossed over words, rewrite the letter if you need to just to make it look nice and proper.
  4. In your letter, compliment the company in a nice and honest way. Don’t overdo it, lie or use grandeur – they can smell those sorts of things from a mile away and it’s very off putting to try and suck up to them. Be honest and natural in your praise.
  5. Tell them why you like their products and be sure to specify exactly what products it is that you often buy and use. This helps them to know why a certain product sells and can ensure that they keep making it.
  6. If you have any suggestions for improvements on a product you use, tell them in a nice way. Companies also likes it when their customers give them suggestions of new flavour combinations or fragrances that you’d like them to start making, so be sure to suggest it to them.
  7. If you’re writing to a pet food company then include a photo of your pet(s) to them and make sure that it’s a cute photo. Write the name(s) in your letter and on the backside of the photograph and tell them what products that they really like the most. If you can’t get a photo, then have the pet leave an inked paw print at the end of the letter.
  8. Your kids can be a part of writing to a company too, if you have them. Have them write a thank-you card and/or make a drawing to their favourite food or toy brands. Be creative!
  9. Don’t ask for coupons or vouchers, as it can be of putting to most companies. You’re not a beggar, so keep some class when you write the letter. I know that this may seem like a contradiction, but your whole letter might come across as a bit fake if at first you compliment them and in the end you ask for/demand coupons – see what I’m getting at?
  10. Don’t forget to put your home address in the letter, just to make sure that they know where to send their reply and always sign with your first and last name in a clear fashion – they should know who sent it and where they can send a reply.
  11. Remember that most companies will just send out a standard thank-you letter, don’t expect everyone to send you a lot of coupons or freebies. Some will, but certainly not every company does this. I’ve had more standardized thank-you letters without anything in them than I’ve had letters containing coupons.
  12. When it comes to complains – don’t complain unless you’ve got a genuine complain. If you have a complaint it’s usually easier to go on to their website and fill in a form. Again, remember to add your home address so that they can send a reimbursement to your home.
  13. Don’t write too often! They’ll start recognizing you and can become less prone to sending you coupons and freebies. But do send them cards for the holidays – Christmas, Channukka, Eid etc.
  14. Finally – always be polite and nice in your letters! This is the most important thing of them all.

Couponing terminology

In the world of couponing and saving money, there are lots and lots of special words that we use, that most people might not recognize.

Peel off coupon “peeile” – is a coupon that are stuck to a product and needs to be peeled off – hence the name “peelie”.

Catalina – Coupons that print at the register and can be for money off your next purchase, triple or double points, extra points or money off of a specific item or something like that.

Bogo – Buy one, get one (free/half price). It means that if you buy one item then you get another for free (or sometimes for half price)

Sale cycle – the cycle that shops use when they decide what items should go on sale and when. Different items have different sale cycles.

Stockpile (noun) – you pantry that’s full of items that you’ve bought for next to nothing to keep you until the next time you find coupons and/or the shop has it on sale.

Stockpile (verb – to stockpile is to buy a lot of things with coupons when the item is at its lowest sale price to make it last until the next time the price is good.

 

These are just a few words, but they are amongst the most important ones and I’ll update this as often as possible.

Couponing – a VERY quick and general guide!

Coupons are not new, but can be difficult to understand to a lot of people.

  • In the US of A a lot of coupons double, they don’t do that in the U.K at all.
  • You can use as many coupons as you like in a single transaction, however you can’t use more than one coupon for every item you purchase. Check the coupons, most of them say “limit of 1 coupon per purchase” or something similar.
  • You can buy as many items as you have coupons for. For example, I have two Fairy coupons for 1£ their washing up liquid. I can buy two and use one coupon for each bottle, since they’re two purchases.
    • However, you can combine the coupons with rewards from a chain. I have an offer from Sainsbury’s that says: Buy catfood X and get 200 nectar points. I also have a 2£ coupon for said catfood that I can use with that, since it’s NOT a coupon.
  • Make sure that you use the coupons within their dates. Use it before it expires.
  • Most coupons don’t exclude travel sizes or specify a certain size that you need to buy, for example: “This coupon is only valid on Fairy 750ml”.
    • If there are no size restrictions on the coupons, buy a smaller size to maximize your savings. I have a 75p of Head and Shoulders coupon that is valid on any size bottles. I’m going to use it at my local Sainsbury’s, since they have a 300ml bottle for 1£. After the coupon I’m going to pay 25p for a bottle of shampoo and I’ve got 2 coupons!
  • Read the coupon policies of your favourite shops and if you can’t find it – ask them via their website or on social media.
  • Also, make sure to check magazines, inserts and your Sunday newspaper for coupons – even free magazines and the back of your bus tickets can have sweet deals and coupons in them!
  • Buy the chain’s own magazine, they can often have coupons. Have a look through them first, just to be sure.
  • Join baby clubs if you’re expecting or have a child who wears diapers. The diaper companies often have clubs that lets you earn points, rewards and coupons on your diaper purchases. Check out Pampers website!

How to read a coupon:

A coupon/voucher will contain:

  1. X£ or Xp off
  2. What it’s valid on and/or what it excludes
  3. Valid for – an expiration date
  4. How many coupons you can use per purchase/transaction/household
  5. Your name
  6. Information to the shop on how they can redeem the coupon

If a coupon says:

  • 1 per purchase = you can use one coupon per item purchsed, so if you buy two of product X that means that you can use two coupons – one for each item.
  • 1 per transaction = You can only use one like coupon per transaction, but there’s nothing that stops you from buying three of the same thing, with coupons, in three seperate transactions
  • 1 per household = You may only use one coupon per household (you and your closest family – you, your partner and your children)

 

How to get coupons:

Be advised that you need to double check Extreme couponing and Money Saving Expert, since sometimes their coupons are invalid.

 

  • Check out the websites of your favourite brands and sign up for their newsletters. They can contain a lot of coupons!
  • Sign up to all the shops loyalty programs (Nectar, Tesco Clubcard, Morrisons…), that’s an awesome and free way of getting coupons.
  • Google is your friend. Google your favourite brands + vouchers and see what comes up.
  • Write letters to the brands you like and write REAL letters with pens and papers. Include what you like about them, why you buy them and maybe a suggestion of what you’d like them to make, improvements of their products or a new flavour. If you have children – have them draw pictures and send off to their favourites too. Companies likes that! If you have pets – send cute photos of your animals to the companies that makes the food they like. Be creative! A lot will send out a standard “thank you” letter, but some will send free stuff and/or coupons.
  • Join or create a coupon swapping group and swap coupons.

 

 

Have a look at YouTube for different people who coupon and explain it. Here are some great couponing people:

  1. Holly Vlogs (UK based)
  2. Hip2Save (USA)
  3. Southern Savers (USA)
  4. Krazy Coupon Ladies (USA)

 

I hope that this helps somewhat and please, ask if you have any questions.

Saving on redecoration!

As some of you might know, I’m renovating my home and therefore also doing a lot of redecoration and my budget is very, very tight. That’s why I’m doing as much as possible on my own as a DIY project. Since I’m currently unemployed I’ve got the time to spend on renovating. The big things like gas, plumbing and electricity I don’t do – mostly for legal reasons, I’m not a professional so I can’t legally do stuff like gas and electricity. Plus, I don’t know the first thing about them either, so that’s why I’ve brought in skilled people to fix those things for me. I’m also bringing in a carpenter to repair two rooms for me, the state of them are just too bad for me to have a clue what to do.

But stuff like painting, putting up wallpaper and small stuff I’m doing on my own and I’ve got some hints for you that I’m using. Things that’ll save you money and have saved me quite a few pounds and pence. Just a moment ago I actually saved 48.99£ on paint buy using a “Buy 3 for 2” deal on paint from Homebase. They have the deal through tomorrow (August 20th 2017), so if you hurry you can still catch it online and they deliver from just 3.95£.

I used the deal twice, meaning that I bought six pots of paint and only paid for four (3for2 x2) and that saved me 48.99£. I bought two 2.5 liter cans of primer for walls, one 2.5 liter can of primer for wood, one 2.5 liter can of blue bathroom paint and one each of 2.5 liters of red and a soft white colour for walls. That’s how I used the deals, because I really needed those buckets of colour for my house. Now I’m waiting for a good deal on tiles for my bathroom and a good deal on damp colour for my soon to be pantry that has black mould in it.

 

Here are a few tips from me on how to save on renovation and redecoration;

  • Plan ahead – if you know in advance exactly what you’re going to do and what you’ll need to get when you do that, half the battle is already won. Planning is key.
  • Write lists – it may seem silly, but writing down what you need and how many will save you trips to the shops and in the end money.
  • Calculate the paint – count as closely as you can how much paint you’re going to need when you repaint a room and don’t forget to include the primer and undercoat when you calculate how much paint you need.
  • Make a budget – boring but absolutely necessary to keep the costs from stacking up. Sit down and make a realistic budget with room for errors and mishaps. By following the other steps you minimize the errors, but be sure to plan ahead for them. Also, plan out rough sums for everything – for example: 200£ on paint, 500£ to hire a redecorator to do some work, 400£ on materials etc.
  • Get a few DIY books – go to your local bookshop, second hand shop, or go online, and invest in a few good DIY and redecorating books and learn how to do as much as you can from them. Plus Youtube is a great source for learning DIY stuff by watching people in action. You can always use DIY books in the future anyway or lend them to family and friends who are renovating.
  • Go deal shopping online – it pays off to do your research online for the materials that you’ll be using for the renovation and don’t be afraid to buy things ahead of time, even if you won’t be needing the stuff for a little while. Some of the paint that I bought won’t be used until the carpenter’s been here and I don’t even know when he’ll be here. But since Homebase had a great sale I bought the items anyway. Not doing so would have cost me at least another 50£, which I now saved. Spending a bit of time on the internet can save you big bucks in the long run.
  • Ask your family, friends and neighbours for help – if you need help putting something up, painting, redoing stuff or something like that, don’t be afraid to ask for help. But you know, buy them pizza or throw a nice dinner party afterwards to say thank you. After all, they’ve worked for you for free! And always provide them with water, goggles, face masks and whatnot that they need while helping you with the work at hand.
  • You don’t need the fancies things – people seem to have an idea that when you redecorate or renovate, you need to use the absolute best of the best when it comes to paint and material, but this is simply not true. I’ve bought a lot of material (paint brushes, sandpaper, cutting knives etc) from Poundland and never had any problems. When I go to Homebase or any other DIY shop I always buy the cheap stuff, because I know that the quality is often just as good as the more expensive stuff. The same goes with paint, some of the paints I bought was about 14£ for 2.5 litres! The only thing I’ll spend a few more pounds on are the damp seal and anti mould paints, because it’s so important not to have mould, mildew or damp in your home. That’s the only exception. Plus, go online and dig around.
  • Order online for delivery – if you find a few good deals in an online shop, but can’t pick it up – get it delivered to your house. Some shops have free delivery, take a small fee or you get free delivery after hitting a certain sum. Try and get to that sum, but if you don’t then go for delivery. Most places take about 4£ for standard delivery and in the end, you’ll still save money this way. If I were to deduct the 3.95£ delivery fee from my savings I’d still save about 45£. So, it really doesn’t matter.

Coupon Policies

It can be very difiicult to know what goes at what chain when it comes to coupon policies – who accepts coupon, who doesn’t and do they have any limits on the amount of coupons/vouchers that you can use in a single transaction. Therefore, I’ve created a page where you’ll find links to the various store chains in the U.K and their coupon policies. Some of them don’t have a policy and where that’s the case, I’ll try to contact them on social media or through their website to find the answers.

I’ll try and expand the page to the U.S too, but for now it’s the U.K. chains that I’m focusing on.