The Perfect Hot Chocolate for my Less Is More Christmas.

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I am also simultaneously running and updating another blog dedicated to The Less Is More Challenge and all those other great Less Is More Lessons. At the moment I am writing a lot about the amazing time that is Christmas, and the different approaches one can take. These approaches include my own personal approach, but also the very marketed and standardised approach Christmas has become for many.

So, as part of My Less Is More Christmas, I am on the hunt to perfect the simple things that life can bring at Christmas time. These simple things involve some local ingredients, some time in the kitchen (involve the youngsters) and the best of the simple things that Christmas can bring. I am going to perfect and bring you my tried and tested best recipes for the following Christmas Yummies:

  1. Hot Chocolate
  2. Mince Pies
  3. Gingerbread Cookies
  4. Perfect Roast Potatoes
  5. Perfect Left Over Turkey recipes
  6. Finger Food for party season
  7. Mulled Wine, and last but not least..
  8. Sherry trifle

So the first tried and tested recipe is the ultimate favourite of my family anytime of year. Hot Chocolate is so enjoyable and fun to make and it was an Austrian friend who really got me into it many years ago – I have been addicted ever since and passed it onto my daughter Eabha. The recipe is from Irish chef Donal Skehan and really is AMAZING. It contains cream which has added luxury but I make my regular hot chocolate throughout the year using skimmed milk.

Dark Orange Hot Chocolate

Serves 2

450ml milk

200ml cream

1 orange, zest only

150g dark chocolate, chopped

1 tbsp caster sugar

Add the milk, cream and orange zest to a saucepan and place over a medium heat.

Bring to just before the boil and then take off the heat.

Add the chocolate and sugar and mix through.

Pour into the glasses and enjoy right away.

 

My favourite new recipe from the Live Below The Line Challenge – Chapatti’s

photo (28)So I learned a heck of a lot when living on the live below the line challenge last week. Living off €1.19 for 5 days, which included food & drink is a tricky task. I really feel for people who have no choice but to do this, I cannot imagine how frustrating and debilitating this must be.

When I started I printed off the manual to the Live Below The Line Challenge, this contained quotes and recipes along with other useful information. But I wanted to share my favourite recipe with you all because it is so simple, cheap, quick & easy and also it tastes delicious!!

It is the Chapatti’s in my opinion they are like a cross between a wrap and naan bread but they taste delicious. They can also be varied when my daughter threw some chocolate into the middle of hers and fried it on the pan with a little bit of butter – delicious as she said herself with some ice cream on top.

To Make Chapatti’s it is simple there are only 2 ingredients: Flour & Water.

The ratio of flour to water is about 2:1.

Put the flour in the bowl and mix in the water until you get a firm ball. Roll out and put on a hot pan (oil not needed). Keep on the hot pan for a second to ensure it doesn’t stick then turn down and cook through on a medium heat.

Quick and easy. Most importantly ENJOY!

 

Live Below The Line – Day 3

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Today has been by far the hardest day – the hump in the week by a mile. I think the fact that I had a busy day and had to take my lunch with me to eat on the go. I also think my sugar cravings went up a notch today causing me to chaise my tail a little bit. I solved this however when my 3yr old gave me the end of her “free” lollipop. We got it free yesterday when I bought the dog food in a pet super store so thank God for that!!

I did also have a fairly mundane menu with the same breakfast and lunch. I made two of the lunch pots yesterday as I prepped for today as I knew I would to have lunch on the go. Part of this challenge has really pushed me into the whole area of FREE natural food and I researched sea weed and how to cook with it and I had a plan for my main course by that was put on hold when the tide was in at 3pm today. It was however out at 8pm when I went back for a walk with the family and I got my bag full so tomorrows main course will be something to marvel at. My husband suggested I get a fishing rod and go fishing for my dinner – he was joking – but I was delighted at his suggestion!! Where I am living has some of the best bass fishing grounds in Ireland, so who would be the last to laugh in that scenario.

I also love this challenge as my basic maths have been given a revive. Getting the costings per serving is a bit of a pain but its good for the brain!

Breakfast: Porridge with water and dollop of Strawberry Jam. And of course a pot of tea with milk.

50g of porridge = €0.04

Strawberry jam = €0.03

Reused Tea Bag = €0.02

Drop of milk = €0.05

Total: €0.14

10am Cup of coffee:

Tesco cheap and cheerful coffee 1 tsp = €0.08

Drop of milk = €0.05

Total for the cup of you could get used to the taste but does the job waking me up coffee €0.13

photo (21)Lunch: Low Fat Natural Yogurt with some porridge on top and 1/4 of an apple

4 spoons of Tesco value Low fat yogurt =  €0.10

1/4 of an apple = €0.04

1 tbls of porridge oats = €0.01

Total €0.15

I just had to make this picture bigger as I just noticed my dog – Callie O’Malley doing a Photo Bomb!! LOL all those who know her will know she is part human and is obsessed with the family she will look at us hail rain or shine through the window, totally dedicated. While our other dog will be off sunning herself totally oblivious to the fact she has a family!

photo (23)Dinner: Homemade Tortilla Chips with a spicy chick pea and tomato sauce baked in the oven.

Slightly stale Tesco Tortilla Wraps = €0.90 of which I ate 1 of them = €0.09

For the sauce which I will be dividing by 4 as this was the number of people who could easily have been fed by this dish.

1 very small clove of garlic = €0.04

1/2 full onion = €0.10

1/2 tin of value chick peas = €0.25

1/4 of a carton of passata = €0.50

Drizzle of olive oil = €0.04

Salt & Pepper & Chili flakes = €0.02

Total for sauce €0.95/4 = €0.23

Total for my portion of dinner = €0.32

photo (24)I made enough for the whole family so when my husband got home he sabotaged the whole dish by adding blue cheese and chili’s he did add these to the middle section and I ate around the edges which left pretty much the whole dish to him!!

I also have a previous post on how to cook the tortilla chips DIY they are far superior to the shop bought versions and are cheaper too. They also take minutes to make and will wow anyone and make them think you are a culinary genius. You can check out my blog on how to turn stale wraps into lovely chips HERE. p.s one tip I alway give is keep any wraps in the fridge they will keep longer and will not dry out and turn into a frizbe.

When out for my evening walk with the family not only did I foraging Sea Weed but I also gathered Nettles and some more Dandelion leaves for tomorrow. Only 2 more days left and I am really getting into this!

For Tea I had two Oreo biscuits €0.20 and some Nettle Tea.

Total spend for Day 3 €0.94 so another 0.25cents to my Jar!!

All proceeds of my Live Below The Line Jar to go to Unicef Ireland and the Syrian Children caught up in that dreadful conflict that has been going on for over 2 years.

Thank You for supporting me, with however much you can give – as every cent counts. To date I have collected €50 online (Thanks SJ & ORO’B) and I have collected another €20 from personal donations. My target is €250 and I hope with your support I can make and even exceed this.

To support me online visit MY Unicef Fundraising Page HERE

If you know me personally or my family and friends you can give them any donations and they can pass it onto me. alternatively if you would like to email me please do even if it’s just for the chat, I love to hear how my thoughts & actions can influence people : claire@clairelewis.ie

Thank you all 🙂 XX

Live Below The Line – Day 2

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So it is day 2 and my kitchen has just closed and I have had another very enjoyable day. The nettle tea is flowing as I type and it is so funny the reaction a simple nettle tea has received! Wait until I tell you what I had for dinner this evening…..

Firstly I want to thank those of you who sponsored me so generously I know times are tough and some times a spare few euro are hard to come by. But I just want to THANK YOU ALL for just even reading this is supporting my cause.

As the days are unfolding I am finding out more and more about myself and my limits – although the sugar with drawl were something nasty yesterday. I am also rediscovering FOOD and our relationship with what is such a basic need. But this need has turned on its head to what it is now for billions of us – a grossly wasted want. Instead of needing food we now want and expect it and want it with all the conveniences that we have come to expect!

One of my main fundamental questions this far is – What would happen if food production failed and there were global food shortages? Can you imagine the local super markets? Can you imagine the panic of normal working people who never had to think about food – where it comes from – the waste created getting it to the convenience store that the person stopped at on the way to work. What would happen to a normal civilized society?

So for today I had my three meals and made a few interesting discoveries in my quest to find FREE foods to supplement my very small budget of €1.19.

Breakfast: Porridge with water and dollop of Strawberry Jam. And of course a pot of tea with milk.

50g of porridge = €0.04

Strawberry jam = €0.03

Reused Tea Bag = €0.02

Drop of milk = €0.05

Total: €0.14

10am Cup of coffee:

Tesco cheap and cheerful coffee 1 tsp = €0.08

Drop of milk = €0.05

Total for the cup of you could get used to the taste but does the job waking me up coffee €0.13

photo (21)Lunch: Low Fat Natural Yogurt with some porridge on top and 1/4 of an apple

4 spoons of Tesco value Low fat yogurt =  €0.10

1/4 of an apple = €0.04

1 tbls of porridge oats = €0.01

Total €0.15

 

I just had to make this picture bigger as I just noticed my dog – Callie O’Malley doing a Photo Bomb!! LOL all those who know her will know she is part human and is obsessed with the family she will look at us hail rain or shine through the window, totally dedicated. While our other dog will be off sunning herself totally oblivious to the fact she has a family!

 

 

 

photo (20)Dinner: Chipatti Pancakes with garlic mushrooms and dandelion salad!! 

3 medium sized mushrooms that I bought in the reduced isle the whole packet cost €o.45 = €0.11

I very small clove of garlic = €0.04

Drizzle of olive oil = €0.04

Salt & Pepper = €0.02

Dandelion salad was FREE and guess what more good stuff packed into these leaves and what some would consider a garden pest! I obviously googled the whole idea before I went and chewed up the lawn and I also picked them where I picked my nettles yesterday – this is actually how I began to think about can I eat Dandelions as there were so many of them around. Check out that they have been eaten for centuries and that the French folk actually grow them like lettuce, read all about it HERE.

Chipatti Pancakes were to die for and were soooooooo easy to make – not sure of the effect on the waist line but hey they only cost €0.08 to make. I will be putting the method on how to cook these and the variations you can do in the next blog. ( My 3yr old had to help me as she thought we were making play dough, but she put chocolate in hers and we folded it over and fried it on the pan – needless to say I nearly fainted at the though of this! She and her dad ate them with ice cream 😦 and I just watched…..

Total for dinner €0.29

Because today was so under budget at 0.71c I have now gone into the kitchen and God help the two Oreo cookies that will be devoured!! And another 0.20c to the bill bringing todays eating in at €0.91

Thats another €0.28 put into my Live Below The Line Jar to go to Unicef Ireland and the Syrian Children caught up in that dreadful conflict that has been going on for over 2 years.

Thank You for supporting me with how ever much you can give as every cent counts.

To support me online visit MY Unicef Fundraising Page HERE

If you know me personally or my family and friends you can give them any donations and they can pass it onto me. Alternitavely if you would like to email me please do even if its just for the chat, I love to hear how my thoughts & actions can influence people : claire@clairelewis.ie

Thank you all 🙂 XX

Tortilla – they are so easy to DIY!

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My husband LOVES Tortilla’s fully loaded with tomato, chili, cheese and sides of guacamole and sour cream. We used to buy the packet version of the tortilla chips UNTIL an experience while on Honey-Moon in Vegas. We ate the most delicious home-made,  authentic version while eating in a Mexican restaurant and couldn’t believe how simple they are to make.

They also are a great way off feeding a few and if you are looking for a nice nibble dish for a dinner party this is it. Also, and my favourite reason for making these bad boys are they are a great way of using up food and the ingredients can be bought every week and used in various dishes.

To make the Tortilla’s: using wraps just cut them into triangles place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook in the oven until golden brown.

To make the sauce we always keep tins of tomatoes and if you fry some garlic and onion and if you like a hot sauce some chilly add the tin of tomatoes and make sure you leave it to reduce down so it is not watery.

Pile all the home-made tortillas on a baking tray, load on the sauce, great some cheese and if you like add jalapeno Peppers.

Pop in the oven until it is all bubbling and golden brown.

Serve with sour cream and guacamole!! Yummy