Tikka Masala

This might not be the original version of tikka masala, but it’s a good one – one that I make every time I make tikka masala. If carrots and chickpeas aren’t cheap when you want to make it, feel free to add other vegetables – for example peas, cabbage, bell peppers etc.

Ingredients:

500gr chicken fillets

1 onion

1 can of chickpeas

1 carrot

3 cloves of garlic

1 can of coconut milk

5dl cream (1 pint/2cups)

2 cubes of chicken stock

1-2 packs of Tikka Masala spice pouches

Paprika powder, salt and turmeric

Butter to fry in

½dcl tomato purée

2tbsp soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Grate the carrot, chop the onion finely and press the garlic cloves
  2. Chop the chicken fillets to cubes
  3. Empty the can of chickpeas in a strainer and rinse them with cold water to get rid of the salt water
  4. Heat up a large frying pan or a cast iron skillet and fry all the vegetables, except the chickpeas until they’re brown
  5. Add the chicken and let it get some color too, but it doesn’t have to ready in the center
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it well.
  7. Let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. Put in salt, paprika powder and turmeric to taste.

Curry sauce recipe

This is a basic, tasty recipe that I use all the time for different chicken dishes. It makes a lot of sauce, but you can easily freeze the sauce in small containers and use later. To make the sauce even tastier – put in the chicken fat that comes off the chicken, if you grill it in the oven. It really adds flavour!

To make this recipe vegan: use vegan butter, vegan milk and vegetable stock instead! (for vegetarian, use vegetable stock)

To make it gluten free: use corn starch instead of thickening/flour.

 

Ingredients:

3-4tbsp curry powder

2-3tsp turmeric

2 cubes of chicken stock

1 litre of cream

2tsp paprika powder

3tbsp butter

3tbsp flour

Salt, pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Mix the curry powder, turmeric and the paprika powder together in a small glass or a little bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a sauce pan and whisk in the flour. Make sure there are no lumps, it should be smooth.
  3. Whisk in the stock cubes and the spices in to the mix.
  4. Add the cream little by little and let the sauce thicken a bit before adding more.
  5. Season with salt & pepper, if you want.
  6. Let it simmer on low heat for a few minutes and make sure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Cheap ways to entertain yourself PART 1

When you’re like me and don’t have much money in the bank, it’s difficult to find things to do outside the house or apartment. This is why I’m always trying to find different & new, free if possible, attractions and amusements. Things that’ll get me outside instead of just sitting inside the house all day on my bum and be lazy. This is part one, and there will be more parts as I find things that you can do, and please leave a comment if you have tips and suggestions for me!

  • Check the posters at your library for concerts, lectures, art shows etc that are cheap or even better – free!
  • Sometimes your local food market/shop has special events to celebrate a new opening, a holiday or the chain’s birthday! When they do, there’s usually free food, happenings, deals and things for kids to do. Be sure to take full adtof this and make it a half or whole day’s outing. There are ofte good discounts on these days!
  • Many libraries have CDs and films of different sorts, go and see if they have anything good and check them out! 
  • Learn a new craft or get a new hobby by borrowing a few books from the library – why not teach yourself how to mend you own clothes or learn a new language?
  • Get an allotment close by and start growing things!
  • Once again, check at your library what kinds of local societies and clubs there are in your town or village. See if anything takes your fancy and join it.
  • Join a study circle, or start one yourself if you can’t find what you’re looking for. Chances are that you’ll get a full group very fast as other people have looked for the same kind of group, but have been too lazy to start a study circle about the subject. Why not start a circle about self-sufficiency or a group where you can trade coupons with others?
  • Go to flea markets and check them out – it doesn’t cost you anything unless you buy something.
  • If you live close to the sea, pack a pick nick basket and go down to the beach for a day of sun, sand and swimming in the ocean.
  • A lot of museums are free, almost free or have one day each week/month that’s admission free. Use this and pack a lunch box if it’s a bit far away.
  • Host a Dutch-treat at your house for your friends or family. Cheap and a great way to meet up and is even more fun if you pick a theme for it.
  • Download a film or documentary and watch it.
  • Go to local markets and traveling carnivals. 

As I said, this is part 1 and remember to leave a comment with suggestions of things you can do on a budget or upcoming topics that you’d like to see!

UPDATE: Emergency Travel Kit 2

I’ve totally forgotten that I’ve updated my Emergency Kit for my travels and so I’m going to share this update with you. Perhaps you already have these things in your travel kit and if you don’t then I hope you can have some use of my idea. Remember that this is only one way to do this and is only supposed to give you guys a general idea of how you can do it. The possibilities are endless when it comes to putting together an Emergency Travel Kit and should always be varied depending on your needs, the length of your travel, ways of travel & wallet. The only wrong thing to do is NOT bringing a kit with you or not putting any thought behind putting it together – and therefore missing vital things when you open it!

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This kit is basic food kit that I always bring with me and it contains:

  • A couple of packs of ketchup, mustard & mayonnaise.
  • Small packs of salt & pepper (not in the picture)
  • A pack or two of wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger. I absolutely LOVE sushi and so I always have these things. Plus they’re good on a salad if you haven’t bought a dressing.
  • Dark chocolate or a bar of candy, just in case I need something to eat while I wait. Sometimes I bring fruit too or a homemade sandwich,
  • Plastic cutlery and/or chop sticks. Usually I bring chop sticks if I’m flying on a plane, since the security officers often take the plastic cutlery away for security reasons.

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Where do I get all the stuff from and how much does it cost me, you might wonder. Well, most of the things I bring with me are free or near to free. The condiments (ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper etc) are always free – you simply take them from your local McDonalds, Burger King or whatever other fast food place that have them for free. I just take a few extra with me to the table when I’ve ordered and then just put the extra stuff in a ziplock bag, which I then store in my backpack. I always keep them in the fridge just in case.

The wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce packs were bought at the chain Wasabi, a chain that sell prepacked sushi, for a few pennies per pack. They last a long time, but be sure to check their expiration date anyway.

The snacks are often the most expensive parts of my food kit, but I always try using coupons and deals to make them as cheap as possible. Dark chocolate is good, raisins, a couple of candy bars, dried fruits, fresh fruits, popcorn etc. I never bring nuts since there are so many that are allergic to them. Remember that there are nuts in Snickers! Snacks are important to keep your energy levels up and if you have an unexpected layover or a long delay – your mood will go down if you’re hungry.

2 half liter bottles of water. It’s very important to stay hydrated on a trip, which is why I bring two bottles of water with me on every trip. If you go an airport, remember to empty them BEFORE the security check or they will be confiscated, and new bottles are expensive. Besides, most airports today have water stations just past the security where you can refill your bottles.

Chop sticks are vital to me, and should be to you. I’ve often been in the situation where I arrive late at night, or on a Sunday, only to find that there are only fast food restaurants, a supermarket or a sushi place open. I go there and buy my food, go back to the hotel room… only to find that I’ve forgotten about cutlery and have nothing to eat with, except for my hands. Not fun. Which is why I always bring chop sticks and since I always forget about utensils, I’ve perfected the craft of eating everything (and boy do I mean EVERYTHING) with a pair of chop sticks.

 

I hope this post will help you prepare for your next trip and that, if an emergency should arise, you’re as ready as you can be!

How to save on holiday foods!

What you serve at your Christmas dinner depends on where you live, as well as when you celebrate it – on the 24th or the 25th of December. You might nog even celebrate Christmas, you might have Chanukka or some other holiday. But there will be food and it can often cost a lot of money to buy. How many of us doesn’t curse at the expenses of food during regular weeks? Imagine the costs during a major holiday. If you want to save, like I do, or can’t really afford the food – but still want to give your family a nice meal – then planning, coupons and the weekly ad will take you a long way. I’m going to give some general tips and then post some links to coupon sites.

I’m using Christmas as an example since I celebrate it, but the tips and tricks can be applied to any holiday.

 

Tips:

  • Like when you’re buying the holiday gifts, planning is everything. If you haven’t planned anything then you’re going to end up overspending, miscalculating dishes for the amount of people present, multiple and unnecessary trips to the shops.
  • Start planning any dinners/lunches where your extended family will attend at least 3-4 weeks in advance. Plan what dishes you will be serving, what the ingredients are and how much you need to make of each dish.
  • Remember to plan for the side dishes, condiments, snacks, sweets and drinks! It’s easy to remember mustard when you sit there at the dinner table and want some.
  • Lists are everything! Make lists of what you need to buy and group the ingredients after what type of food they are, for example:
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Condiments
    • Baking goods
    • Meats
  • When you make the lists, make sure to separate them buy shop chain as well! Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, Walmart, ICA, COOP, you name it!
  • Will anyone be staying be staying with you, other than your closest family (spouse and children)? They need food too!
  • Will it be a buffet, formal dinner or a regular meal? Each have their own advantage, but I’d recommend some type of buffet.
  • If you choose to have a buffet, first decide on what dishes you’re going to be serving or assign a dish to each guest (if you’re having them). If guests are bringing some of the dishes, you all save on food!
  • Shops usually start marketing their Christmas food at least 6 weeks before Christmas. Take advantage of this and start buying what you know you need. Some things we always have at Christmas, every single year, so why not buy them now and tick them off your list?
  • Always check the weekly ads in the shops closest to you! More often or not they have one or two Christmas foods on sale every week leading up to Christmas, make sure you buy them and always buy the full allowance. For example: you have a baked ham on your Christmas table and one week your shop allows you to buy 2 good sized hams for 10€. It’s one purchase per household. Buy those two hams, even if you know that you’ll only eat one. You can cook the other one too and have dinners and lunches for a rather long time after, if you freeze it.
  • Remember that manufacturers often put out a lot of coupons for their products during the holidays, since they want you to buy their products. Take a few coupons and save them. You should of course use some of them for the items that you need at the moment, if it gives you a good price, but after Christmas the shops often drops their prices to make room for new products. That means that you can score some incredible deals, and even freebies or money makers, if you took a couple of extra coupons when there were some.
  • If your shop allows overage – use it to buy the things that you can’t get coupons for
  • READ YOUR WEEKLY ADS LIKE IT’S THE BIBLE, PEOPLE!
  • Take a couple of hours to surf around for coupons and discounts and print as many coupons as you’re allowed.
  • Your shops usually have some kind of loyalty card. Make sure to sign up for that. That way you get instore coupons, deals and rebates. The instore coupons can be combined with a manufacturer’s coupon and make a product free, close to free or a money maker.

 

Links:

Coupons.com (US): https://www.coupons.com/

Grocery Coupon Network (US): https://www.grocerycouponnetwork.com/

Be frugal (US): http://www.befrugal.com/printable/restaurant/

Retail me not (US): https://www.retailmenot.com/coupons/fastfood

Coupon Mama (UK): https://couponmamauk.co.uk/

Money Saving Experts (UK): http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/supermarket-coupons

Extreme Couponing (UK): http://www.extremecouponing.co.uk/

Extreme Couponing & Deals (UK): https://excoupuk.com/

Super Savvy me (UK): https://www.supersavvyme.co.uk/offers/coupon

Hot UK deals (UK): http://www.hotukdeals.com/groceries

Hip2Save (US): http://hip2save.com/

Southern Savers (US): http://www.southernsavers.com/

Deal shopping holiday gifts

The holiday season for me, and millions of other people, can be very stressful and puts a strain on a lot of peoples’ economy – unnecessarily. Whatever holiday you celebrate in December, gifts and good food are big parts of them. Studies show that we argue, fight and feel emotionally worse during the Christmas and Chanukka seasons, for loads of reasons. But, with good planning, and a few easy tips and tricks, you can avoid a lot of tears and sleepless nights. There are good and easy ways to save money and don’t go into debt or ruin to have a nice holiday.

First I’m going to discuss how to get nice gifts for you family and friends, tips & tricks and then put out some useful links to different discount websites, price comparing sites etc. I’ll get to food in my next blog post, since I suspect that this will be a rather long post.

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Gifts

For me, buying gifts is the most stressful of all! I celebrate Christmas and I’ve already started asking my friends and family what they want for Christmas, just so I won’t be stressed the week leading up to it. There are a million things to be done anyway and spreading out your shopping is a smart move. Let me give you a few tips that you can use:

  • Start planning NOW! Sit down with your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/children (if you have either one) and plan the holiday. Let you kids be part of the plans from an early age, they’ll love it!
  • Spread out you gift shopping – you don’t have to do everything at once. Do a few every week and always bring a list with you to cross check and cross off what you’ve bought. That way you won’t buy the same thing twice. The same thing goes for food.
  • WRITE lists of what everyone wants – you WON’T remember what your family and friends want.
  • Start asking the ones you plan on buying presents for what they want already, it pays to be early. Again, if you ask late then you’ll have to stress buy everything at once and that’s not good.
  • Order of the internet or try finding what you want on clearance. That saves huge amounts of money. Take some time to surf around and compare prices at different websites. Also, many websites give you free shipping if you order over a certain amount, so if you can – collect a few presents from the same site to get over that amount, providing that all the gifts are at a relatively good price.
    • There are more often than not codes for free shipping. Hunt one down!
  • DO NOT use the deal: “Buy now – pay in 3 months”. That costs extra money and could set you into debt. Only shop with money you have NOW, or don’t buy it.
  • If you have a stockpile at home, then you can make cheap gift baskets from that. Put together a basket and wrap it in a festive crepe paper and some beautiful satin bands, and give it away to relatives, recently married friends etc.
  • A gift basket from your stockpile can contain so many combinations, for example
    • Diapers, pacifiers, baby wipes, baby clothes that were on sale, laundry detergent, baby food and a little stuffed toy for the new parents, or parents-to-be.
    • Laundry detergent, washing up liquid, soap, shampoo, cleaning supplies etc. and other household items to the friend or relative who’s just bought a home or moved away to go to college and might be a little strapped for cash.
    • Pasta, marinara sauce, baked beans, tins, gift cards to food shops, travel sized shampoos and soap, coupons and other things to the person who’s just started studying at college or the university.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. Say: “This year our budget for presents is going to be X. How can I/we stick to it?”
  • Have savings account for holiday expenses just like you have one for vacation, emergencies and pension. Put a little sum in every week/month, depending on how often you get paid, and you’ll have a good start. This account can be used for other holidays as well and not just the ones in December. Just remember to always have money there!
  • Homemade food is always appreciated. If you have a garden full of various fruits, berries and vegetables, then do something with them and give away jams, juices, pickles etc.
  • Decide on how many gifts each person is going to have, for example: each of my children will have 4 each, my spouse 3, I’m getting 3 from myself and every other relative will get 1 gift each. That limits it somewhat.
  • I like to leave a gift for the mailman and the guys who empty my garbage every week. Usually I buy a couple of nice chocolate boxes, wrap them and write a card. Then I go out when I see them and wish them a happy holiday.
  • Hunt for coupons, rebates and discount codes. There are a million of them during the holidays.
  • Be aware that some shops actually mark up their prices a lot before the 25th of December and then dump them for the sales.

 

Useful links:

Pricerunner (UK): http://www.pricerunner.co.uk/

Pricerunner (US): http://www.pricegrabber.com/

Pricerunner (SWE): http://www.pricerunner.se/

Deal Extreme: http://www.dx.com/?Utm_rid=16341893&Utm_source=affiliate

Amazon (UK); https://www.amazon.co.uk/

Amazon (US): https://www.amazon.com/

Voucher codes (UK): https://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/

My Voucher Codes (UK): https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/

Missguided Voucher Codes (UK): https://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/missguided.co.uk

Official Coupon Code (US): https://www.officialcouponcode.com/

Voucher Cloud (US): https://www.vouchercloud.net/

Groupon (US): https://www.groupon.com/

Groupon (UK): https://www.groupon.co.uk/

Coupons (US): https://www.coupons.com/coupon-codes/

Ashley’s money saver (UK): https://ashleighmoneysaver.co.uk/coupon-detective/

Extreme Couponing (UK): http://www.extremecouponing.co.uk/

Supermarket Coupons (UK): http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/supermarket-coupons