Sabrina’s Tips On How To Make Your Food Go Further

Chicken Stir Fry with Noodles and Peppers

If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’ll know that food is a huge passion of mine. Coming up with new recipes and experimenting is a hobby of mine. But today, with all this talk about panic buying amidst this deadly virus, I couldn’t help but think, what can I do now to help others…

My epiphany was this! My Ideas On How To Make Your Food Go Further!

There are certain things that most of us keep in our kitchen during week to week shops or our larger monthly stock ups, so I wanted to focus on those to begin with. The issue right now is that due to bulk panic buying some of our staples are very hard to get a hold of. Take a look at the meals below to see if any of them would appeal to you or your family. Then see how you can make them go further with my recipe adjustments.

Keep those handy takeaway boxes ready to freeze any leftover freshly cooked meals, extra vegetables or leftover homemade sauces.

COTTAGE PIE
Serves 4 to 6 people (sometimes with leftovers if its children’s portions)
Ingredients

1 or 2 Large White Onion – Diced
3 or 4 Large Carrots – Diced
500g Mince Beef – Cooked & put through a processor to make smaller pieces
1kg Potatoes – Cooked and Mashed
Gravy Granules – I use the Bisto Onion Gravy Granules
Additional foods to add to make it go further…
Baked Beans x 1 Tin
Mixed Dice Vegetables x 1 Cup
~~~
Most people will have a bag of frozen veg or veg that needs to be used up. Dicing it up small and adding it to your cottage pie gravy is a great way to get extra veg into children as well as help an adult get their 5 or more a day! Same with the tin of beans! Pour off a little sauce if there is lots in the tin, but the tomato sauce actually helps you to get a lovely gravy. The beans bulk out the cottage pie filling while adding your veg in take. You can even add all of this into a large casserole dish, and cook it in the oven for an hour, even the veg if cut small enough will cook in the gravy, locking in all the vitamins…

My Cottage Pie is a family favourite! If you cannot get fresh meat then using a tin of Minced Beef and Onion would work just as well!

CHICKEN CURRY
(You can use one of my Recipes already on my blog for the method)
Serves 4 to 6 people (sometimes with leftovers if its children’s portions)
Ingredients

2 Large White Onion – Diced and Chopped into two sizes
50g Tomato Puree (this is for your homemade sauce)
2 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes (for your sauce)
500g of Chicken cut into bite size pieces
100g of Yoghurt, I use Dairy Free Coconut Yoghurt
Serve with Rice and / or Naan Bread
Sauce – I prefer to make my own to my taste but you can use a jar of sauce, but if you do use a jar you only need 1 Tin of the Chopped Tomatoes. You then add curry spices like Cumin, Paprika, Garam Masala and Chilli. As well as Garlic and Coriander usually! (See my Recipes for more on making sauce and a method for the curry too).
Additional foods to add to make it go further…
New Potatoes x 1 Tin (They’ll cook in the sauce on a low heat for 20 mins)
1 or 2 Peppers Sliced thinly (fry these a little with your onion then add)
Cauliflower Diced up x 1 Cup (Chopped small it will cook in the sauce)

Here is one of my recent Curry dishes, this one was with extra Peppers and Potatoes

CHILLI CON CARNE
Serves 4 to 6 people (sometimes with leftovers if its children’s portions)
Ingredients

2 Large White Onion – Diced
4 Large Carrots – Diced
1 Tin of Plum Tomatoes (they are sweeter but you need to chop them)
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes (you could use 2 of these and no plum if easier)
500g Mince Beef or Pork or both – Cooked & then put through a processor to make the pieces of meat smaller – or use Quorn or Soya Mince
1 Tin of Red Kidney Beans
Serve with Rice
Sauce – I use a packet or a jar for convenience but you can make a sauce, you have done the basics with the tomatoes already. So add the tomatoes to a bowl, then add Cumin, Garlic and Chilli to your own taste.
Additional foods to add to make it go further…
Baked Beans x 1 Tin (some people don’t like Red Beans so you could use Baked Beans (Haricot Beans) instead.
Peppers – as many or as little as you like, if one needs using up do it!
Mixed Dice Vegetables x 1 Cup (You can add other basic veg if you don’t have enough or you want to do a vegetarian style chilli).

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SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN
Serves 4 to 6 people
Ingredients
500g Chicken Breast (Diced) or a Vegetarian Alternative
Tin of Pineapple – Cut into Small Chunks – 1 Ring per person
Peppers – 1 Yellow and 1 Red Cut into Small Long Pieces
1 Large Onion – Diced into Small Long Pieces
2 Carrots – I Peel and Slice them with the Peeler into long thin shards!
Serve with Rice
Sauce – I always buy a cheap jar of sauce, the cheaper the better!
Alternatives
This dish is so easy to make and these flavours are quite specific, if you aren’t keen on that much pineapple then do one ring total or leave it out but then you should add more of the other ingredients.



Fresh meat, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables are hard to get hold of in my area right now. When I did a home delivery order most of what I asked for was either out of stock or I was given a substituted alternative closest to what I wanted. This was very inconvenient and I have ended up spending 4 hours in total, chopping, peeling and bulk freezing some of the fresh veg before it went bad. I created mixed veg bags including a stir fry mix!

TOP TIP: Only make a freezer portion size for what you or your family members would eat at a meal time! Then there is no waste when you defrost it to use!

Washed, Chopped and Sliced, Ready to Freeze. MY TOP TIP always squeeze the air out of the freezer bags before popping them into the freezer to save space!

You can make 6 portions of Vegetable Stir Fry using the following raw vegetables, washed, chopped and ready to cook or freeze:
3 Coloured Peppers – 1/2 a sliced pepper per portion
1 Broccoli Head – cut into thin stems
1kg Carrots – I use a peeler to slice mine into strips
1 White Onion for every 2 Portions – Diced into small chunks
~ Add any of the following to make it go further and become 8 portions~
Water Chestnuts – I use Tinned x 1
Bamboo Shoots – I use Tinned x 1

Adding Noodles OR Rice on the Day you make the Stir Fry for extra bulking out of your food. Either use 1 Packet of Stir Fry Noodles once your veg is cooked, or a packet of Microwave Noodles or a Microwave Rice (all down to your preference) and one of these makes this meal double in amount.

Using a bought Sauce or Making a Sauce?

Adding a bought sauce to this stir fry is great, but if you’re feeding more than 4 people then 1 jar is only just enough. TOP TIP: Make sure you add 2 cm of warm or hot water to the bottom of the jar, replace the lid and give it a good shake, add this to your stir fry, no sauce left in the jar and wasted!

Don’t be scared of not using all the sauce, you can you half, replace the lid and use the rest within 2 or 3 days usually (always check the label).

Alternatives for Sauce… Make your own!
You will need… Garlic fresh or paste, Ginger fresh or paste, Sweet Chilli Sauce or Chilli Sauce (if you like it hot!) Salt, Pepper and Chinese Five Spice! I prefer the pastes as it makes things so easy!

In a small bowl mix up a tablespoon of everything above! Less of the hot chilli though unless you like it spicy! Add more or less and experiment with the taste until it’s to your preference. Add this to your stir fry when you add the noodles. One of each paste does me around 7 or 8 stir fry’s or Chinese orientated meals. Chinese Five Spice goes a long way too!

A Pasta Bake is also a great way to use up Vegetables about to go stale and any leftover sandwich meats or leftover sausages for example. This is a firm fave of mine, bacon chunks, peppers and tomato!

I really hope I have given you some inspiration on some family favourites and ideas on how you can make them go a lot further during this difficult time. You can of course substitute the meats for vegetarian alternatives or swap out the vegetables you don’t like for others too.

Experiment with what you’ve got to use up and so long as you’re making healthy meals with vegetables in you’re already winning for the day! If you liked any of my meals after making them please leave me a comment, I would love to know how you got on.

Is there anything you would like to cook but need some help with? I’m an experienced cook and perhaps have experience of the dish, please comment and ask me 🙂 I’m happy to help!

Stay In and Stay Safe Friends. I might go do some baking now I’m done with my savoury cooking! If you’re after sweet treats check out those recipes that are on my blog already too!

✩ Sabrina ✩

Endo & Me ~ Endometriosis Awareness March 2020

In coordination with Endometriosis Awareness month this March 2020 I am going to be telling my diagnosis story. I know I have talked about my Endo in many of my posts, but this is the real true and honest story of mine. I will also be sharing statistics, symptoms and other information, as well as giving links to the websites you might find useful to find more out about Endometriosis if you wish to.

Not only is this going to be emotional post, it is raw, and it could also be disturbing for others. I am choosing to share some pictures post surgery too. I will therefore by putting a Trigger Warning on this post, because I am showing pictures but also talking about things that may upset others.

Please don’t let this put you off reading it, I think people need to see what effect this horrible condition can have upon the body. The female body already endures so much, so to have to deal with this condition too, it is exhausting. I should know.

There was light at the end of the tunnel for me, so this post does end on a positive, but I do believe more people need to realise the repercussions of having this debilitating and incurable condition.

Please continue reading now as I tell my story of pain, loss and eventual diagnosis.

Endo and Me

I have a love hate relationship with my body. Sometimes I love that I have a fast metabolism, it keeps me slim and I’m generally quite fit and strong despite my thin frame and small bones… however the Endo side of me causes unimaginable pain at times. It’s a chronic and incurable illness that doesn’t just affect your period like so many ignorant and uneducated people might believe. It is so much more than that because a number of things that happen to you can have a real negative affect on your life as well as your body. Let’s start at the beginning for me. I first had issues with my body when I was around fifteen years of age. I began getting unusual pain that I had to take medication for. All you could get at that age was paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets which were 200mg a piece and trust me; they barely touched the sides of my pain. As I got older I began having more symptoms, I didn’t know back then they were to do with Endometriosis. Except that whenever I sat in front of a doctor they tried to tell me it was anything and everything but that, it was never even mentioned. When I was seventeen I lost weight suddenly and quickly, I was tested for Thyroid issues and even Cancer! All tests came back negative and I tried to just deal with my awful periods and pains. Doctors were reluctant to explore further, so I let it go. At 19 I was fed up with the ridiculously heavy flow I had every month and the fact that I had no regular cycle, it was so exhausting and an anxious time. So after some persuasion on my part, I went on to a contraceptive pill. Regulating my cycle was a bonus of the tablets, and for the first time in my life I could be social with confidence. By knowing when things would be occurring allowed me to be at home with my hot water bottle and tablets when I needed to be.

When I was 25 I came off all medication in the hope of starting a family. Little did I know that all the pill had done for years was masking other symptoms of my Endo. When I had been off it for just six months I had such pain that it began affecting my everyday life. I cancelled social time with friends and family, I ended up avoiding things that I usually enjoyed because I was worried about being unwell in front of people. This caused me to suffer with anxiety, and that never went away, it just got worse as years went by… and so did my pain.

When I failed to conceive for years I went to my doctor and had various tests, blood tests for Thyroid, Hormones and Vitamin Deficiency amongst them. Then when everything came back with no issues and my pains were so bad that they affected me daily, I began seeking more answers. Endometriosis or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome was just two conditions that female members of my blood line suffer with. I must have told this to over a dozen doctors over the years. There are correlations between female genes that are often ignored. It wasn’t until I finally conceived after three years of trying, and then I tragically miscarried, that I ended up in Accident and Emergency every four weeks when I got my period, and I began getting sussed on this…

When I lost my baby I blamed myself and it made me depressed. I was so unwell physically I just didn’t know to what extent just yet.

So to help my state of mind I kept a diary, what I ate, what I did daily, what my pains were and where, I kept track of my cycle down to the hour and tried to make sense of it all. I looked for answers online and anything that told me what it could possibly be. Going in and out of hospital with no answers was exhausting, and it was wasting so much time too.

One afternoon I had written out all of my symptoms and matched them to the condition Endometriosis. All I wanted was someone to take me seriously and try and attempt to diagnose me. Instead I was in hospital nine times over the course of eighteen months. I had one MRI, seven ultrasounds, I went on a drip three times due to dehydration, I was given antibiotics twice, I had examinations with five internal swabs checking for infections… Nothing came back with anything concrete. On an ultrasound they told me that I had had a cyst that had burst. That time I ended up almost passing out in the bathroom at home from the pains, I was vomiting and couldn’t keep anything down. A&E was the only option when I had so much blood loss and was so sick from pain that I became dehydrated and needed a drip.

When I was admitted during the period that came after I lost my first child it was clear that I was incredibly ill and needed help. I had doctors who wanted to take me to surgery to check my appendix and my bowel, but I kept telling them it was Gynaecological. After I had a complete meltdown and shouting because I was kept nil by mouth for three whole days while two doctors argued over what to do with me, a lovely doctor who was a cancer specialist offered to do a basic laparoscopy on me that evening, to simply look inside me and take some pictures, so I could be passed on to whichever department I needed to be. This was the turning point for me; it was the start of my actual diagnosis. Over thirteen years since my first unexplained pains had begun…

It was severe. I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis, with a mass the size of a Tennis Ball attaching my Left Ovary, Bladder, Bowel and Womb to each other. My organs were all pulled off to the left side of my body, which was contributing to other symptoms that I was having, including bloating, bowel pain and problems, pain when I had a full bladder and pain during intercourse. The pictures that were taken inside my body showed extensive Endometriosis, like a mesh of tissue, thick cobwebs and various sized pockets of blood. At this time I had been ill for a long time, and I had lost weight, I was a size 6 and I didn’t feel like me anymore. The pain was all I knew some days. Having a diagnosis was like a light bulb had been turned on in my darkened room…

I was lucky because there was an Endo Gynaecologist Specialist at my local hospital. After speaking with him he agreed to operate, to try and save my left ovary. I wanted to be a mother so badly and he understood this. We also agreed to check for reasons why I couldn’t carry a baby thus far, four years of trying and a miscarriage was an indication things weren’t right. And he wanted to find out if it was all down to this Endo and the position of my organs. He would also do the dye test on my Fallopian tubes while I was under to see if they were clear of Endo too.

So I was popped onto his waiting list for surgery twelve weeks later. Every day was hard during that time, it was a blur of medication and hot water bottles and I had to give up work and go off sick after trying and failing to do my shifts and ending up just collapsing. After dealing with the chronic pains during that time, having hardly any sleep because I couldn’t get comfortable and my constant anxiety and nausea… I finally went in for my surgery…

The day afterwards I felt like a new woman, this man and his team had literally given me my life back. It was bad, but they had fixed me for now… I had had the Endo mass and tissue removed, then my organs gently coaxed back into place, my tubes flushed, my bowel that was damaged had a resection, and my left ovary was carefully saved. I could feel that constant pressure was gone; there was no more dull pain in that area. In fact recovering from the surgical incisions wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the pain I had lived with every day for years. I stopped taking pain medications three days after I got home from my surgery, because I felt like I could deal with the pains I was getting, which were less than ten per cent than what I was used to. How mad is that?

The worst thing about the surgery for me was the gas, it fills every part of your body as it absorbs and fills the spaces between your organs, it can be very painful until it’s gone. I had to drink so much peppermint tea to help with the bloating! Below is my abdomen after surgery, you can see I’m swollen and bruised and you can see the three incision sites.

Days After Surgery…

The worse thing about having Endo is that it has stolen friendships away from me, and it put strains on other relationships too. People don’t understand how you can look so “well” on the outside but feel incredibly ill on the inside. Pain is something your body gets used to but it is the fatigue that most people struggle to deal with. Sometimes I would visit family and I would be talking one minute and falling asleep the next. Even after my surgery, although I didn’t have the same pain levels as before, I was still keeping up with the feelings of being tired, and my periods were exactly the same.

Did you know that Endometriosis also causes a whole range of other issues? I had over half of these when I eventually got diagnosed. Most women get told they have painful periods and IBS. Most of us only have these things because we have Endo. Here is a great diagram that was shared on the social media Endo pages earlier this month outlining most of what women like me have to deal with, sometimes these are daily symptoms, some are infrequent but they still occur, often brought on by hormone changes and cycles.

I experience a great deal of these symptoms. Some are daily and some are infrequent.

Endo Warrior is a term I use often to describe myself, because some days it feels like a battle just to get through the day. I am extremely lucky because I got the time to recover from my surgery, both body and soul searching too. Then when I was ready I had to do IVF in order to have my son. He is my entire world and I would be lost without him. I look back at all that I’ve been through and I am proud that I never gave up, despite everything.

If you want something in life and you have to work harder to get it then it makes it all the more worthwhile. I overcame a needle phobia and dealt with my Endo pain during my IVF treatment. But I would do all of it again if I had to. Being a mother is one of the most incredible and rewarding things I have ever done.

I realise some women have too bad a diagnosis and never get the chance to be mothers because of this condition, and that makes me sad. I class myself as one of the lucky ones.

To anyone out there who is suffering, make your voice heard. I once said to a friend that “Living a life in pain is like letting pain decide your life for you” and I got to a point where I just couldn’t live like that anymore. If your pain is ruling your life, then perhaps it is time to do something about it. Find a Doctor willing to listen and willing to take you seriously. Keep a diary, show that to a specialist if you’re lucky enough to get referred quickly.

Endometriosis has cost me so much in my life already, and because there is no cure I deal with those uncertainties for my future every single day. I still class myself as one of the lucky ones, I still have all my organs at the moment, and I was able to carry and have my son. I love being a mum. I try not to let my pain get in the way of that. As my son gets older I will be able to explain why mummy cannot bend and play today, and I will come up with other things for us to do together on those, my bad days. But I know it won’t stop me from being the mother he deserves. Of that I will make sure.

Website Links To Endometriosis Information

Endometriosis UK
Endometriosis NHS

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes today. If you would like to leave a comment please do so, I hope that my words help even just one person to stand up for themselves, to explain to a doctor that you want answers, that you deserve to live a life without pain. Stay strong.

✩ Sabrina ✩

March 2020 Treatbox Reveal

Hello Treatbox Fans! How are we in March already?!

It’s not only a brand new month but it means it’s my birthday week!

It’s now time for the March 2020 Treatbox Reveal and Review!


There is a Pretty Lilac Paper this month, a couple of heavy items slide around inside as I open the box…

What’s inside this month’s box?

“Essentials” written on a Mini Cotton Drawstring Bag
A5 Print “By being yourself, you put something Wonderful in the world that was not there before”

Two Bags of Offblak Generation T Black Tea Earl Grey & Rose
Meredith & Drew Packet of Wonderful White Choc Chip Cookies
Today’s Plan, Day Planner Pad

Sweet Tooth “Busy Doing Nothing” Sticky Memo Pad
Willow & Rose Card Holder in Lilac “You’re in Good Hands”

My Honest Opinion

Overall this box was average in my opinion. It’s very nice to have a mixture of treats that we can enjoy and relax with when we have the time, such as the tea and the biscuits. I’m so glad there isn’t a face mask because I still have some from previous months I haven’t had time to use yet! Ha!

I also like getting products from brands that we haven’t seen before. These are also high quality and of British made I believe which is excellent.

Two stationary items in one box was a little bit unexpected after us receiving a notepad in January. But luckily I am a big fan of making lists and staying organised! The Memo Pad is cool too with all it’s different shaped sticky notes. Perhaps it’s time to get a snazzy pen in an upcoming box to go with all our Treatbox Notepads! Hint! Hint!


What I loved the most this month was the Daily Planner and the pretty A5 Print with such a great Quote on it!

Check out my previous Treatbox unboxing posts in this unique category of mine called ‘Treatbox’ it is specifically for these box reviews and reveals – Severn Wishes Treatbox.

Are you thinking of ordering a TreatBox for yourself or for a gift for someone?

Then you can find Treatbox subscriptions and build your own box at their 
website

Don’t forget you can follow my social media such as Instagram for more Treatbox photos and updates throughout the month including me using items! @SevernSabrina

Thank you for visiting Severn Wishes, have a great March!

✩ Sabrina ✩