Comfort food

Posted July 18th, 2006 by Penny Wise

Groan, I feel like a sack of spuds lately! It’s all this winter food I’ve been filling myself up with over these cold winter months – the bread, potatoes and pasta. I spoke to a nutritionist woman a couple of months ago who told me I treat these foods like an insulin spike – filling up on them as a quick pick-up when I run out of steam. So I tried cutting out the bread and potatoes and substituting them for healthier options. It was the easiest diet I ever tried – in the first week I lost two kilos! I lost a further two kilos the next week and felt terrific! Then I ran out of healthy substitutes, fell off the wagon and haven’t been able to claw my way back on to it yet… but! I shall know what to do next time the urge to diet hits me – biff the bread. I couldn’t believe how much longer a loaf of bread lasted in our household when I wasn’t partaking of any. Everyone else took so long to get through it that I had to freeze half the loaf so it didn’t go stale. It was a great money saver too!

Apart from my beloved Destitute Gourmet books, I can honestly say that as a Simple Savings member I never need to buy another cook book. There are so many divine recipes in the Vault to try, like the Economical Egyptian Soup – it sounds so good I’m going to have to give it a go! I have been experimenting quite a bit with the recipes that have been winging their way through the Discussion Forum too. The only problem is that the forum content moves along so fast these days that you have to nab the recipes quick before they disappear! Luckily I managed to copy down a little gem to try out last week called Pumpkin, Spinach and Feta Risotto. It was so yum! Even Noel liked it and he’s not a big fan of vegetarian food. It’s actually in the forum under ‘Lost recipe’ but if you can’t find it hide('penny')email me

Actually, while I think of it I must share a recipe from my own stash that always makes me chuckle! My friend Donna was on holiday in Dallas and was having lunch with her daughter at a well-known café. They decided to try the café’s home made cookies and were so impressed that they just had to ask for the recipe. The waitress refused, but when Donna persisted and offered to buy the recipe, she smiled sweetly and said ‘OK, you can have the recipe for two-fifty.’ Donna was delighted with her bargain and asked for it to be added to her tab, but was horrified when she was presented with a bill for $285 at the end of her stay. How could that be? All she had bought from there were a couple of salads, a scarf – and a $250 cookie recipe! She was mortified and called their accounting office to explain – she thought that by ‘two-fifty’ the waitress had meant $2.50 and begged them to take the recipe back. No luck – she was told all their recipes were this expensive so not just anyone could duplicate them and the bill would stand. So poor Donna coughed up her $250, but as she handed over her money she said, ‘OK – you guys have got my $250 and now I’m going to have $250 worth of fun. I’m going to see to it that every cookie lover I know will have this recipe to enjoy for free!’ They pleaded with her not to do it, but she has remained true to her word and who can blame her? So, for all Simple Savings cookie fans, I gleefully bring you the bona fide free version of:


This makes around 112 cookies, but the recipe can be halved.

2 cups (1lb butter)

2 cups sugar

2 cups brown sugar

24oz chocolate chips

3 cups chopped nuts (blanched peanuts)

2 tsp vanilla

5 cups rolled oats, measured out and blended to a fine powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

4 eggs

4 cups flour

Cream butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 200C. Enjoy!

I think I had better leave the subject of food now; all this talk is not doing my appetite any good! Have you been listening to the Simple Savings radio shows recently? The last two have been fascinating. I’m a big fan of Fran Sheffield as you know – thanks to Fiona, and it was great to listen to the two of them on the World Talk Radio show two week’s ago (if you missed it, remember you can catch up on the archives; there’s a link to the show on the SS Home Page now). I thought I was pretty clued up about homeopathy but I learned heaps! If you haven’t listened to it yet, do check it out, it has something of interest for everyone. I have to admit that I did listen to the last show ‘for ladies only’ with some misgivings as it was all about saving money on feminine hygiene. OK, I admit it – I was expecting to have a right old snigger, childish I know! But you know what? It was so interesting! I can highly recommend the show to all women who would like to know how to save money in this area – you’ll be surprised, I certainly was!

A quick update on my little one-eyed champ, Dudley before I go. He’s doing brilliantly! Pretty much back to his old self and his fringe is flopping nicely over where his eye was, so you’d hardly even know to look at him now!

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