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The last few weeks have been a complete nightmare for the ThriftyFamily if I’m totally honest. We sadly lost my grandmother, ThriftyBaby has picked up every virus going and kindly passed it around the family (and being pregnant I can’t take anything for it!) and on top of all of that we have had to move out of our house during the big kitchen renovation. Lola has even had to go on holiday to the doggie kennels as we were unable to bring her to the house we’re staying in temporarily during all this commotion!
When renovations began, the original kitchen was dismantled and taken away by a wonderful local charity called Eammus who support homeless people in getting back into work so that felt really good but that left us with only the portable kitchen appliances which had to be housed in our spare room.
In order to avoid spending lots of money on unnecessary and unhealthy takeaways we’ve had to make the most of the pieces of kit we were left with but actually it’s just made us even more creative with our menus so I’ve put together a list of my essential kitchen gadgets to ensure a thrifty survival during renovations.
1. The Breadmaker
Not only does the smell of bread feed my soul on a cold autumnal morning but having bread in the house is so useful due to its versatility if you’re up for being a little creative. Warm buttery toast makes a lovely snack, breakfast or supper and sandwiches make for a handy (mess-free) packed lunch option for days out with the family but also a bread and butter pudding can be a real winter warmer treat.
Breadmakers by Panasonic are a great range for the beginner baker right up to those of you who fancy turning your hand at rustic artisan loaves á la Paul Hollywood. Even one of the more basic ones has a fruit and nut dispenser which ensures an even spread of your added ingredients so they don’t all gather at the bottom of your loaf. You can even make your own jams in these breadmakers!
I much prefer to make my own bread than buy it as I’m conscious of what I feed ThriftyBaby especially in these early days when he’s still adjusting to solids and by making my own, I know exactly what’s going into the bread and so avoiding any preservative chemicals. However I definitely haven’t got the time to be making it by hand these days. That’s why the timer function is so brilliant, you can ensure it starts kneading and baking in the small hours ready for breakfast time.
This is a particular favourite recipe of mine for bread to use with the breadmaker as its completely fool-proof 🙂
- 225ml (8 fl oz) warm water (45 C)
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon quick yeast
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 400g (14 oz) bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
Prep:10min › Cook:40min › Ready in:50min
- Place the water, sugar and yeast in the pan of the bread machine. Let the yeast dissolve and foam for 10 minutes. Add the oil, flour and salt to the yeast. Select Basic or White Bread setting, and press Start-told you it was simple!!
Original recipe sourced from the All Recipes website.
2. Coffee Maker
I’ve mentioned this before but I love my coffee maker I won last year. If I hadn’t won one I’d probably still wouldn’t own one as I saw them as a luxury indulgence I didn’t need, however now I own it I realise how useful and money saving it really is. By making my own coffee and popping it in a flask, I’m saving loads of pennies on takeout drinks but also reducing the chance of me buying a triple chocolate cookie to go with it! The one I won was Bosch Tassimo Vivy which is actually currently on sale so an even better bargain!
There are also lots of compatible coffee pods available these days so you can definitely reduce the cost of making the coffees at home too. A home-made Cadbury’s hot chocolate really is an essential for keeping me sane during these renovations, at least until I can drink wine again (bring on the New year!)…oooh then I can make Irish coffees at home! RESULT!
3. Breakfast Sandwich Maker
One of my major weaknesses, I’m ashamed to say, is my taste for a McDonald’s breakfast. I’m embarrassed to admit it but it’s true. However when I went to New York for my 30th birthday we bought a breakfast sandwich maker in Macy’s. I’d never seen one before and a quick check at the time on Amazon shows they weren’t available in the UK so I picked one up there and had to use a UK adapter for the plug. They’re such a cool gadget and cost about the same price at three McDonald’s breakfast meals so I soon made back my outlay! It’s not something I use everyday but it does make a filling breakie for a weekend treat and impresses anyone who has stopped over and they’re now available in the UK from Amazon so no-one has to miss out!
4. Blender & Slow Cooker combined
Not only has my blender been a “god-send” for making soups whilst I tried to shed my baby-weight (…before getting preggo again!) but it came in so handy when we started out weaning ThriftyBaby. Being able to continue to blend up our standard meals of chilli, bolognese, stews and casseroles whilst we have the builders in has been great as these are all the meals we’re able to carry on cooking in our make-shift kitchen. My blender was a house warming gift when I bought my first home ten years ago when I just started university and my slow cooker I picked up for a fiver at a carboot sale but I always see these for sale on local Facebook selling sites too so they’re cheap enough if you have a search about.
So to round up, there’s really no need to go without healthy and filling meals that don’t cost the Earth, even if you don’t have a kitchen like us.
For giggles, as I’m sure I’ll look back and laugh at the state of my house one day (ONE DAY BUT NOT YET!) here is my kitchen – eek! I’m promised it will be worthy of Instagram once complete though!!
*This post was sponsored by Panasonic and contains affiliate links.