Category Archives: Budgeting

Food on Friday ~ Eat Hearty

autumn, a time for rich hearty meals

What with everything that’s happening in the world, and now that fall is upon us, perhaps the time has come to ditch our lighter diets, and instead fill our plates with rich and hearty foods.  And, let’s be honest, we could all do with some comfort food right now.

And, of course, autumn does mean apples.  And, piles of leaves.  And, Rose Hips.  And Pumpkins.

Although, please wear a warm scarf.

With all that in mind, first for this Friday we have Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats, and her Cider Braised Pot Roast with Caramelized Onions and Cauliflower Rice.  I don’t yet know what this tastes like, but it looks and sounds fabulous.

Cider Braised Pot Roast with Caramelized Onions and Cauliflower Rice

From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have a Healthy Slow Cooker Chipotle Bean Chili.  This is a healthy, hearty, vegetarian, comfort food meal.  Switch the cheese and you can have it vegan, or add chicken for those who like that.

Healthy Slow Cooker Chipotle Bean Chili

Another chili recipe, this time from Country Living; Pumpkin Beef and Black Bean Chili.  This is one of Country Living’s 60+ Best Pumpkin Recipes to Delight Your Family All Fall Long ~ a very good collection.  Look no further for your pumpkin recipe ideas.

Pumpkin Beef and Black Bean Chili

Autumn is a time for soups and stews, and Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has a copycat recipe for Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup.  I don’t know what this is like at an Olive Garden, but it looks great here.

Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Our collection this week is from Woman’s Day; 35 Delicious Fall Soups to Make on a Chilly Day.  From there I’ve chosen to feature a Corn and Potato Chowder.  How good does that look?

Corn and Potato Chowder

For Dessert, Diane offers us this Apple Pan Pie, which here we would call an apple crumble.  Fabulous served with cream or even ice cream.

Apple Pan Pie

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

kids and dogs love fallen leaves

so do we young at heart

Food on Friday ~ Weeknights

keep your face towards the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you

Now that the nights are drawing in, we perhaps look for warming, nutritious, comfort food, especially on a weeknight.  After a hard day at work we don’t want to spend too long in the kitchen, and these are all easy weeknight recipes.

First this week from Chungah at Damn Delicious we have a warming Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup.  If you don’t happen to have an instant pot, this recipe is still very easy to make in your regular stock-pot.

Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup

From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats we have this Weeknight Maple Turkey Chili.  Made with ground turkey and served with sliced avocado and egg, this is a really simple and delicious fall staple.

Weeknight Maple Turkey Chili

Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français has a recipe for a fabulous English staple; Chicken and Leek Pie.  I happen to really like this dish, eaten great hot or cold.

Chicken and Leek Pie

Sylvia at Feasting at Home has a collection of globally inspired Fast and Easy Weeknight Dinners.  I very much like the look of this easy Kimchi Fried Rice, a 20 minute vegetarian dinner.

Kimchi Fried Rice

From Delish Magazine we have a collection of 80 easiest weeknight dinners, from which I’ve chosen to feature this dish of Cheesy Baked Meatballs.

Cheesy Baked Meatballs

And also this great looking Caprese Chicken Pasta, ready in just 30 minutes.

Caprese Chicken Pasta

~

jack collierjack

collier7@talktalk.net

if in doubt you could always opt for dark beer, bread, and cheese

Food on Friday ~ Autumn

fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose

In a couple of days time we will have the Autumn Equinox, the harvests will be taken in, and the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness will be upon us.  I expect that you’re like me and wondering where the year went to, and how come I don’t remember what happened.

I believe that this coming Tuesday September 22nd is a time for me to make a fresh start, throw off the constraints of a summer that didn’t have much good going for it, and begin again.

A good place to start our move into Autumn, or Fall if you will, is with some good food, great recipes, and hopefully some very good company.

First this week we have Chungah at Damn Delicious and her warming, nutritious, delicious One Pot Chicken and Mushroom Orzo.  We all like one pan dishes don’t we?

One Pot Chicken and Mushroom Orzo

Now, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has The 35 Most Popular Fall Recipes.  From this collection I’ve chosen a Slow Cooker Herbed Chicken and Rice Pilaf.

Slow Cooker Herbed Chicken and Rice Pilaf

To go with your chicken, and for the warmer days still to come this year, from Dana at Minimalist Baker we have a Raw Rainbow Veggie Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing.  And, just how pretty is that?

Raw Rainbow Veggie Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

This is a super collection from Jessica Merchant’s How Sweet Eats; 45 Of My Favorite Fall Dinner Recipes.  With so much to choose from how about a Smoky Pumpkin Bisque with Grilled Cheese Croutons?  You need to keep this recipe by you for Halloween.

Smoky Pumpkin Bisque with Grilled Cheese Croutons

This might almost be the ultimate fall dinner recipe collection ever; from Delish Magazine 61 Unbelievably Easy Fall Dinner Recipes.  From this cornucopia I’ve chosen these Garlic Rosemary Pork Chops.  If you think that pork chops only come in the dry and overcooked variety, then you should try this recipe.

Garlic Rosemary Pork Chops

Or maybe this is the ultimate Fall Recipe Collection; 50 Apple Cider Recipes You Need in Your Life this Fall.  From this Country Living apple collection I’ve picked a Roasted Butternut Squash with Cider Vinaigrette.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Cider Vinaigrette

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you are lucky you still have rosehips in your garden, and they make up some great medicinal recipes

Food on Friday ~ Weeknights

after a long day at work cooking is probably the last thing on your mind

Even though I am a gentleman of leisure there are times when I’m rushed for time and don’t feel like cooking anything complicated nor time-consuming for dinner.  And for most people, I know there is much more pressure on your time.  So this Friday I’m concentrating on easy recipes that are perfect for weeknights.

Even tough you might be tired and under time pressure after a hard day at work, please take the time to enjoy cooking and eating your meals.  Be mindful of your food.

First up, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have these weeknight style Crockpot BBQ  Beer Chicken Taquitos ~ with Street Corn Salas and Lime Crema.

Crockpot BBQ  Beer Chicken Taquitos

From Holly at Spend with Pennies, how about this Easy Tuna Casserole?

Easy Tuna Casserole

This is really easy from Ali at Gimmie Some Oven; Brown Butter Lemon Pasta.  And, I agree with Ali here, buy the very best ingredients you can afford, especially for  simple dishes such as this.

Brown Butter Lemon Pasta

For a side dish, or just something healthy on its own, from Cookie + kate we have this Easy Tomato Salad ~ how wonderful if you have tomatoes growing in your own garden.

Easy Tomato Salad

This is not the first time I’ve blogged about weeknight dinners.  Back in May 2018 there was another post entitled Weeknight Dinners.  Among the recipes I covered there is this Prosciutto and Balsamic Greens Flatbread.  From Averie Cooks.  Looks delicious.

Prosciutto and Balsamic Greens Flatbread

Our collection this Friday is from Delish magazine; 80 Easiest Weeknight Meals Ever, and I’ve chosen to feature this fabulous looking Spinach Lasagna.

Spinach Lasagna

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

the simplest meal ever

just add cheese

Food on Friday ~ Italian Style

Italian Style is all about a life of good taste

What cool and elegant person hasn’t admired Italian Style?  The homes, the clothes, the shoes, the furniture, the cars, the boats, the food, the wine…..  Ferrari, Lamborghini, Versace, Gucci, Giannini, Prada, Ferragamo, Valpolicella, Chianti, Barolo, Pinot Grigo…..  I hope that most of you will recognise most of those names and be able to add a few of your own to my list.

I like Italy, I like Italy a lot.  But one thing you have to know about Italy and the Italians is that their history was as volatile and complex as they are today, and it wasn’t even a completely unified country until 1918, after the Great War.

Maybe because of this Italian Style, Italian food and wine is very regional, and when we say Italian Food we really mean the Italian food we eat in England, America, Australia, and elsewhere outside of Italy.  If you want to know what really great, real Italian food is like then visit Italy.  And if you want to know I love Tuscany.

Enough background, first this week we have a Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese with Spicy Basil Breadcrumbs from Jessica at How Sweet Eats.

Zucchini Lasagna Bolognese with Spicy Basil Breadcrumbs

Another zucchini recipe, this one from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; Zucchini Parmesan Chicken Meatballs with Lemon Pasta Carbonara.

Zucchini Parmesan Chicken Meatballs with Lemon Pasta Carbonara

One of my favourite Italian Recipes, best eaten in Tuscany with fresh pasta of course, is Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken,  this from Alyssia Rivers at The Recipe Critic.

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken

And now I have a collection for you; 65 Italian-American Dinner Ideas from Delish Magazine.  Of course I’ve chosen to feature their very easy Flatbread Pizza.

Flatbread Pizza

Another collection, from bon apetit; 48 Classic Italian Recipes That Make Us Want To Quit Our Jobs……  And from that I’ve chosen something easy that will use up some of those leftovers cluttering up your refrigerator, a Sausage and Broccolini Rabe Frittata.  Easy, tasty, great to take for your lunchroom break.

Sausage and Broccolini Rabe Frittata

Finally for this week, and entirely different kind of collection, from a website called Great Italian Chefs, which has a myriad of regional recipes, I’ve chosen this classic Rigatoni Imbottiti ~ Italian-American it isn’t.

Rigatoni Imbottiti

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Franciacorta Italian Wines

90% of Contractors Suck

do not ever pay for work that isn’t done right and completed on time

what the Arc would have looked like if Noah had used a contractor

Stop letting contractors screw you over.  There is NO excuse for work that isn’t done right, finished on budget, and completed on time.  I’ve heard it again and again that some contractor totally fucked up a job, or charged far too much, or did work that didn’t need doing, left an utter mess behind them after they finished, caused far more damage than they were asked to come in and fix, never finished the job at all, didn’t do the job they were asked to do, or didn’t even turn up…..

This is not a new story for me, so why am I bothering to flog this comatose horse?  Well a couple of friends of mine, and another couple of nice people whose blogs I follow, have all had problems with contractors in the past few days.  In my expert opinion 90% of contractors of every ilk from decorators, to plumbers, to electricians, to garage mechanics, to moving men et al, are utterly useless, partly skilled, dishonest, lazy, misogynistic jerks.

So how to avoid being totally ripped off?

  • Do not hire a contractor based on somebody else’s unsupported recommendation.  Especially do not hire anyone recommended by another contractor; say your realtor.
  • Do not ever, ever hire a friend, or a friend of a friend, to do ANY work for you.
  • Do not ever hire a contractor without first having a totally clear picture of the work you want doing, when you want it done by, how much you are going to pay, and when.  If you don’t know any of this stuff, GO AWAY AND FIND OUT!
  • Do not ever hire a contractor who can’t show you a current copy of their appropriate certification, and customer references.  Check these out, and never just by making a phone call.
  • Do not hire a contractor who can’t give you a firm written quote, on a proper letter-head.  If possible get three quotes, (if it’s a big job then you must have at least two firm quotations)
  • Do not ever pay a contractor before they have started work, and never ever pay them in full until the work is completed to your satisfaction.  Agree stage payments if appropriate.  Go over everything your contractor has done with a fine tooth comb.  Your word is the final word!
  • Do not ever, ever allow an unsupervised contractor into your property. And, ensure they are watched over 100% of the time thereafter.
  • DO NOT hire day rate illegal aliens under any circumstances.  And don’t hire anyone who isn’t fluent in your language.
  • Learn some DIY stuff.  Learn a hell of a lot of DIY stuff.  It is always easier, cheaper, and better to do the job yourself than hire some utterly useless, partly skilled, dishonest, lazy, misogynistic jerk to do the work for you.  And if you have some idea about how to actually do a bit of say; decorating, then you are in a far better position to control your idiot contractor.
  • Finally; do not be a woman.  All contractors think women are easy marks.  If you are a woman then follow the suggestions above with the utmost regard.

This is your job, your money, your home, your safety.  If your plumber floods your home, your electrician sets fire to your home, or you home just blows up……  then ultimately it is YOUR fault.  Do not let ANYONE tell you how you should go about dealing with a contractor.  (except me)

Some say that they have had a really good contractor.  And that not all contractors are bad.  All I know is that anyone who says they have had one good contractor will also have had three utter disasters.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

some decorators can’t even varnish a floor without making a mess of it

Songs on Sunday ~ Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren

they wouldn’t be bangers if mash wasn’t involved

Sunday ~ and as I’m going to Turkey tomorrow, today I want some Proper British Fare for lunch.  And what could be more British than bangers and mash served with red onion gravy?

Perhaps the most unlikely vocal duo ever.

Please listen without getting hungry.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

sausage, potato, and green beans in foil

less British than bangers and mash

but more to American tastes

Food on Friday ~ Quick and Easy

my friend cooks with wine, sometimes she even adds it to the food

In an ideal world each of us would have a gorgeous kitchen, a larder full of exactly the right ingredients, and lots of time to create wonderfully, brilliant, healthy and tasty dishes.  Mostly the world isn’t like that, and for many of us there are so many other things we need and want to do rather than stand over a hot stove.  Particularly when the weather is wonderful ~ or we have to go to work.  Or have a long, hot, soak in the tub.

This week we’re concentrating on quicker and easier wonderful, brilliant, healthy, and tasty recipes.

First up this week, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; 15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles.  Simple, easy, fast, and looking delicious.

15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles

Another noodles dish, this time from Chungah at Damn Delicious; Quick Chicken Ramen Noodle Stir Fry.  I like stir fry dishes, my perfect one pan meal every time.  This one should be ready in 30 minutes.

Quick Chicken Ramen Noodle Stir Fry

Something I must try, from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb is a Cajun Shrimp and Rice Skillet.  This is a one pan dish you should be ale to prepare and cook in just 30 minutes, less if your seasoning is ready mixed.

Cajun Shrimp and Rice Skillet

At this time of year some of you may have peppers growing in your yard.  From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats we have these Grilled Marinated Peppers with Burrata and Breadcrumbs.  This dish may take a little longer than the others we’re looking at this week, but it’s a very relaxing kind of longer.

Grilled Marinated Peppers with Burrata and Breadcrumbs

Our first collection this week is from Diane, The Minimalist Baker 26 Quick & Easy Recipes, all of which should be ready in 30 minutes or less.  As the weather is not only mostly sunny, it’s also probably hot where you are, I’ve chosen to feature this Greek Goddess Bowl ~ something an Aphrodite would enjoy.

Greek Goddess Bowl

Another collection, this time from Country Living; 77 Best Quick, Easy Dinner Recipes You Can Make In 30 Minutes or Less.  I’ve chosen to feature this dish of Grilled Pesto Chicken with Summer Squash ~ and talking of things you may have in your vegetable patch, how brilliant if you have squash growing in your yard.

Grilled Pesto Chicken with Summer Squash

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

we each have our own idea of an Aphrodite

Songs on Saturday ~ Geordie

howay man, wesa gannin doon the toon

Yesterday I went shopping in Newcastle.  Not only does the place bring back so many memories, it’s also the best place to go shopping outside of Italy.  I always spend far too much there.  Here’s a little song to remind me of the toon.

Although Newcastle never really was my home town ~ I was born in a far more ancient and much smaller pit village.

Please listen with a smile.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

the monument

Just Ban Everything ~ Why Don’t You?

what price freedom of thought and expression

some people are natural sheep

Even though I limit myself to just 10 minutes of news a day I can’t help from noticing that the world is becoming crazier, crueler, and more bizarre as each day passes.

The latest insanity I’ve seen is a call to ban the wool trade because it’s cruel to sheep.  Here in the UK an advert by PETA, (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ), has been canned by our advertising standards authority for claiming that ‘wool is just as cruel as fur’.  The snag is that if farmers didn’t regularly shear their sheep, then the poor animals would get very sick ~ and that really is animal cruelty.

I know that several organisations want to ban the keeping of domesticated farm animals, along with banning eating meat and wearing leather / wool.  That is never going to happen.  Although a bunch of mad scientists are busy creating artificial meat, currently only grown at vast expense in labs, but if they get their way there will be factories churning out this muck before long.  Don’t expect me to eat that, nor quorn either.

Milk substitutes are already available as an alternative to the genuine article from cows, sheep. and goats.  I suppose artificial vegan cheese actually tastes a bit like real cheese.  Luckily I have sworn off dairy products as part of my paleo diet.

The green global warming eco-warriors will be happy to have the keeping of farm animals banned because they say that the methane from bovine flatulence is a major factor in catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.  Maybe if they shouted less we’d have less CO2 in the atmosphere and less COVID-19 laden spittle floating about.

Talking of global warming, the burning of coal to generate electricity is banned here in the UK, which puts our economy at an enormous disadvantage to China, India, and the USA, where coal is still mined and used.  Next, ‘they’ will ban the use of oil based fuels, such as diesel.  Where do ‘they’ think all the electricity is going to come from to run all the electric vehicles?

More insidious, because of the COVID-19 virus, travel between counties is mostly banned, and travel within countries is banned in some places too.  Gathering together in groups is mostly banned everywhere.

Worse than that, history is banned, because some of it ‘offends’ certain minority sections of the community.  Some words are banned, some movies are banned, some songs are banned, and I’ll bet some books will be banned before ere long.

I seem to remember people like the Nazis doing this kind of totalitarian stuff.

Some say that Black Lives Matter.  And that we should all ‘take the knee’ to show respect.  All I know is that where they burn books they will soon burn people.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

some say the answer is green energy

good luck with that one

 

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