Living cheaply and healthily, 1940s style

“Green is not the colour of money, it is the colour of life…..’ – VANDANA SHIVA

There is one thing that is really helping me during these challenging times and that is eating simply. Wartime rationing has taught me how to do this, I can eat simply and healthily and extraordinarily cheaply.

Todays menu with costs:

Breakfast: 1/2 dry cup of organic porridge oats with water/milk/sugar (20 cents or 12 pence)
Lunch: stir fried veggies on wholewheat toast ($1 or 62 pence)
Dinner: wartime potato and lentil curry with a large side salad (60 cents or 37 pence a portion)
Supper: 2 eggless pancakes and jam (30 cents or 19 pence)
Bedtime: mug of cocoa (50 cents or 31 pence)

Total cost = $2.60 or £1.62
Calories = Just under 2000

I looked at the ingredients I used. My oats and flour are always organic as are my lentils and I always use an organic non- dairy milk like almond, flax or hemp. This of course bumps the price up a little but I still like to buy organic when I can. I do not agree with the Monsanto monopoly on seeds, world food and it’s GMO’s so always try hard to buy localish or organic whenever I can. We have a lot of power as consumers if we all do our bit…

I got sidetracked there didn’t I… 🙂

But looking at my diet today, its been practically chemical or processed food free which has to be a good thing doesn’t it? We DO have a choice what we put in our mouths and we can eat a fairly nutritionally balanced diet cheaply if we take the time to prepare and cook.

It’s not easy I know, hell I struggle quite often, but it’s doable.

And doable is keeping me healthy and helping me hang on in there financially while I can’t get a job here in Canada.

If it’s doable, I’ll take it!

C xxxx

PS: I hope you don’t mind my insertion of the videos that are not directly wartime related but FOOD is something I am so very passionate about. Food is so important to us all, everyone should be able to eat food that doesn’t make them ill…

A surprise of words and gifts

There are occasions when I am touched so deeply by the kind actions of others that I feel unable to quite know what to say..

Today, I forced myself to go and collect the mail. It is with apprehension I opened my community mailbox, at this moment in time brown envelopes are NOT what I want to see. However, it all wasn’t doom and gloom. One was a handwritten address on the front of a padded envelope..Something to get excited about as I knew it wouldn’t be a bill…

Like Charlie Bucket opening his Wonka Bar, I carefully peeled open the padded envelope to find a green (my favourite colour) paper wrapped package. I tried to open the package carefully (after all I’d be wanting to reuse the wrapping paper this christmas) but after picking away at the ‘Sellotape’ for 3 or 4 minutes I could bare it no longer and ripped it open. Inside was a book and a card. I opened the card and started reading…

“I have loved following your journey this year. You write with humour, insight, honesty, intelligence and great feeling….”

“I’ve cheered your successes and sympathized with your struggles. You have entertained, enlightened, educated and encouraged me through your blog…”

Let me tell you, when one reads words like that, it moves you to tears. That someone has honestly felt these things and has taken the time to share those thoughts. It’s humbling to witness the capacity within the human spirit of selflessness and love towards a stranger in a way… I think we have many, many special people that surround us on our lovely planet.

As if the words, were not heart-warming enough there was not only some grocery gift-cards (which are being put away for our 1940s Christmas) BUT a fabulous cook book by Devonna Edwards called “WARTIME RECIPES from the Maritimes- 1939 – 1945”. I’ve already picked it up several times in the past 30 minutes as I type this! I will cook up many of these recipes on my blog..

Thank you my friend for sending this lovely thoughtful care package. xxxxxx

And a few weeks ago, a dear pen-friend from the US sent some wartime postcards and a “Dig for Victory” pin. I wasn’t expecting that, it was so very thoughtful..

I have a special box for my wartime things, I tend to squirrel them away then occasionally spend an evening, when it’s quiet, looking through everything and letting my thoughts travel back in time while listening to wartime music, speeches, air raid sirens, and public information announcements.

One should never forget the hardship and sadness experienced by Sons and Daughters, Mums and Dads, Grandmothers and Grandfathers, all over the world, during the Second World War. We should also celebrate the bravery, ingenuity, and great spirit of all those who endured the austerity and heartbreak with a determined smile.

We should remember, so our governments, never ever put it’s people through a war, like this, again..

C xxxxx

A 1940s Wartime Christmas

It seems fitting that after a year of many struggles and a year of living on WWII wartime rations, that we should end the year on a proper “1940s Wartime Christmas”…

While one cannot even comprehend the hardship faced by those living through this time period, Christmas was always a day to look forward to, a day for the children, a day of celebration, despite food shortages and loved ones far, far away.

Children decorating a christmas tree, on the underground, during an air raid

I feel in our modern age, young families, who can ill afford vast sums of money, are pressurized to provide gifts, to children and immediate family members, that place intolerable financial burdens and stresses in the post- Christmas period. Living in a consumer society, we can be deemed odd or our children pitied for parents NOT complying to what is perceived to be the 21st century NORM.

Where have those good old-fashioned Christmases gone where it was less about the gifts and more about being together as a family, having fun, showing our love, a time where our children left a note for Santa and asked for one simple toy, something they would hold on to and treasure?

Christmas on the underground in Great Britain

To me Christmas is about spending a day being happy, being grateful, feeling loved and wanted, warm and cosy and smiling.

So on Christmas Day 2012, my family and I are transporting ourselves back to Christmas Day 1940, the first Christmas on wartime rations, to enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas full of nostalgia, devoid of excess (ours are normally anyway)and full of hope and joy.

We’ll make our decorations, we’ll have a short tree, the children will have a small chicken and a slice of ham, we’ll make a wartime ration book christmas pudding and christmas cake, play 1940s music, lay the table with 1940s tableware, listen to Christmas speeches and open a bottle of Emva Cream Sherry and get rosy cheeked after playing some party games..

I’m rather excited by it all and I’m putting away some of my rations to ensure we have enough goodies to have a really nice day..

C xxxx

Wartime berry shortbread No 98

Of all the biscuit/cookie type wartime recipes I have created over the many years of recreating 1940s wartime recipes, this is my very favourite indeed. It’s sweet, tasty and filling and the tart berries lift it and make it totally delicious… I’ve made this several times this year using blackberries, raspberries and blueberries…

You can experiment with using a little less sugar and fat as it will use quite a bit of your ration, but I prefer to keep to the recipe below and just have it less often, for special occasions

Berry Shortbread

  • 8 oz (250 grams or 2 cups) of plain flour (I use 80% wholewheat/meal and 20% white which is as close as you can get to national flour available to the British)
  • 4 oz margarine (115 grams or 1/2 cup)
  • 4 oz sugar (115 grams or 1/2 cup)
  • large handful of small berries (fresh not frozen)


  1. Melt the margarine until runny
  2. Add in the sifted flour and sugar and stir until bound together (if mixture is too dry add a little water)
  3. Knead until mixed together well
  4. Flatten out the mixture with your hands
  5. Sprinkle the berries evenly out over the top
  6. Very gently fold the dough in and knead very gently
  7. Press gently into a shortbread tin ( 7 inches)
  8. Put into oven at 180C for about 20 minutes until golden brown
  9. Remove and cool in tin for 20 minutes, cut up then remove to wire rack until cooled

Makes 8-10 slices

Note: Being vegan this is a very easy recipe to adapt. Use an organic vegan margarine (so avoiding Monsanto’s GMO soy beans) and if you dislike using a refined sugar there are many unrefined raw alternatives in most stores.

General update on recipes, weight loss and making do…

First let me say thank you once again for the fantastic comments left on the blog and for the e-mails received. I have read them all and WILL get around to responding as all of them warrant a full and proper reply. Am still trying to cope with a HECTIC schedule (thank goodness I do not have a job!) of urgent paperwork (and there is reams of it), personal issues and just trying to damn well make a living! I am writing this taking a break from some paid article writing that has come to me from the UK.

I recently have been reading, researching and worrying about global food shortages, as much as I hate to see this because it will be those in current poverty or social strife that will end up suffering the most, I am also encouraged to see that finally those that have smirked at the mention of global warming and climate change, are taking it a little more seriously. Whether or not we can do anything about it, we have to now realize that there will be a significant impact environmentally, socially and economically and we all have to step up and take some responsibility to lessen the depth of the hole we are digging for others (and ourselves) with our rampant consumerism and wastefulness…

While I’m not for one minute suggesting we should all return to a world of food rationing, I DO sincerely believe we can use rationing as a guideline to be less wasteful in all aspects of our lives. I am finding the 1940s Experiment to be my focus as I struggle with making do…

On that note, I have now re-created 98 wartime recipes and you’ll love the final two coming up based on VE Day celebrations so those will come to you in the near future..


I haven’t exercised, apart from a few walks, for the past few weeks because of dealing with so many other things but I am determined to continue on as soon as I can and repeat my Couch to 5K program (jogging) from scratch NOT using a treadmill, I yearn to run, I love that feeling. 

Despite not exercising my weight is dropping slowly and I am making a new goal of FINALLY getting to 199lbs (100 lbs off since October 2011) on a Christmas Eve weigh in… I need a goal and I think that is a tough but realistic one. This would be my best Christmas present ever..

Well my tea break is over, I’d better return to my article writing.

Thank you

C xxxxxxxxx

Chocolate Oat Cakes No 97

These are excellent biscuits/cookies for children. As cookies go they are low in fat, relatively low in sugar and have lots of rolled oats in them. My grown up kids all enjoyed them, and the dog… and as I share this recipe with you, I’m enjoying my second one and thinking I should wrap them up and stick them in the freezer before I eat the 25 that are left.

I like recipes that are easy peasy, quick and tasty and utilize ingredients most of us would find in our kitchen cupboards at anytime. This one fulfills that criteria..

Chocolate Oat Cakes

  • 2 oz (56g) margarine
  • 2 oz (56g) sugar
  • 8 oz (225g) self-raising flour (if using plain add 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
  • 1 breakfast cup (95g) of rolled oats
  • pinch salt
  • 1.5 oz (42g) of cocoa powder
  • milk and water


  1. Rub the margarine into the flour
  2. Add the rolled oats, sugar, pinch of salt and cocoa powder
  3. Mix well and add a little milk and water to moisten and stick the mixture together
  4. Roll into balls and press down until very thin with the back of a fork or alternatively roll out until thin, cut into rounds and prick all over with a fork
  5. Bake in an oven at 190C (380F) for about 15 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle with sugar and cool on a wire rack

Makes 30

Getting by…and learning to write

This will be a brief posting. Life is hectic. I never knew not having a job could be so busy…

The early weeks were full of distractions and stresses of an unknown future but as time has passed by, the kids and I have something tangible on our horizon, we just have to knuckle down and get the appropriate paperwork completed. Yes we have a deadline and that’s why I’ll be chained to my computer all this afternoon.

But life goes on…

There are real concerns and worries when you are unable to work for any employer in the country in which you live, when you have no health coverage or no financial assistance in any form to feed yourself or your family. I’m not looking for sympathy or anything else here but just stating the facts. They need to be spoken. The few months while we wait for our new work and study permits will seem like a lifetime.

It’s not ALL doom and gloom though. I recently was given the opportunity, by a Facebook friend in the UK, to write 10 web articles for a days pay. The subject …….LUXURY SKI RESORTS. As I know nothing about skiing and have not acquired the necessary skills to say focused on one task, instead of taking an hour an article, each one took 2-3 hours including research. Although I was frustrated by my inability to deliver to a specific deadline, I was rather pleased that I had managed to formulate some accurate, factual articles. A small success. I will have another 10 articles to write on specific herbs this weekend, I know my herbs, this will be easier..

Onwards and upwards… time to go shopping and then an afternoon of immigration type paperwork!

C xxxxxxxx



Canadian Thanksgiving.

I brought some maple leaves in from the tree outside to brighten up the table..

Some of us in Canada celebrate thanksgiving on Sunday and some on Monday… we get a holiday, all stores and businesses are closed except for gas stations and restaurants and hospitality pretty much. I decided to have our meal today. I LOVE putting in hours of prep work and enjoying a lovely, celebratory meal at the end of it…

Meatless loaf, tasted so good, full of protein and very tasty indeed..

Our Canadian thanksgiving meal was very similar to the christmas dinners we had when we lived in the UK (being british) except we had lashings of mashed potatoes instead of roast potatoes. Everything on my plate was pretty much what someone would have

A sunny thanksgiving

enjoyed for a really special meal, back in the 1940s. I cooked a very small ham for the children (there were urban pig clubs) but for myself, I wanted something very special, so tried a meatless meatloaf (being vegan) using mostly ingredients available during wartime (Ok except for tofu and soy sauce). It was just one of those occasions (and there has only been a handful of them in the past year), where I had to make an exception.

Jess and Cody

This vegan meatloaf was pretty amazing, my eldest daughter and her boyfriend had a slice and really liked it too. If you would like to try the recipe CLICK HERE. Note that it actually makes two medium sized meat loafs and is enough to feed about 12 people! Also note that you need to add an extra 20 minutes to the cooking times than specified in the recipe..

I served mine with wild thyme from the garden..

What we had

Main: Country style mashed potatoes, braised sprouts, roasted parsnips, baked ham in apple sauce, meatless meatloaf, garden peas, stuffing balls, bisto and vegetable gravy

Dessert: Apple pie and I made an avocado chocolate mousse using yes, avocados, cocoa powder, agave syrup and vanilla essence

Quiet for a few days

Brave smiles from my Hobbits xxxxx

We’ve had quite the week as a family. It’s been worrying for us but we now have a way forward and it’s this we’ll be working towards, quite ardently, over the next week or two…

Not quite such a brave smile from me! LOL!!

As there is LOTS of paperwork involved that is extremely timely, the blog maybe a little quiet for the next week or so, however, I’ve several new wartime recipes to go up so watch out for those popping up.

And although I haven’t had time to respond to all the lovely comments and notes of support, I will, as these have meant such a lot to keep my chin up in all aspects of my life..

A very special shout out to Marie Kettle, who has stood by us and helped us, for free, in a humanitarian capacity. We have been very grateful for her guidance and for her being there literally to hold our hands.

AND my dear friend Matthew Guy who took a day off work from Acadia University to drive us to our meetings and interviews and be a support for us all day…

Thank you 🙂

C xxxxxxxxxxx

Welsh Claypot Loaves

Although I have never found this recipe in a wartime cook book the tradition of cooking bread in clay pots dates back at least 150 years.

I came across this really lovely photo I took (I wish I still had a camera) when I first made “Welsh Claypot Loaves” about 10 years ago. At that time I lived on a farm in Wales that dated back to the 1600’s so it seems likely that the tradition of cooking loaves in clay pots would have continued into the war years for some families

I used ordinary clay pots but I made sure to oil the inside of the pots and bake them a couple of times first before using them the first time to cook bread in.

Welsh Clay Pot Loaves

  • 2 x 5 1/2″ clay pots
  • 1 cup or 4oz / 115g wholemeal bread flour
  • 3 cups or 12oz / 350g white bread flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp / 7.5mls salt
  • 1 sachet or 3 teaspoons of dried yeast (quick rise)
  • 1/4pt / 150mls lukewarm milk
  • 4floz / 120mls lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup or 2oz / 50g of softened butter or margarine
  • 1tbsp / 15mls chopped fresh chives
  • 1tbps / 15mls chopped fresh parsley
  • 1tsp / 5mls chopped fresh sage
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Rolled oats to top

If using dried herbs use only 1/2 the stated amounts


  • 5 1/2 inch standard clay pots
  • Parchement paper
  • Bowl
  • Saran wrap-clingfilm


  1. Measure and prepare ingredients. Make dry wells in the flour and add herbs, soft butter, salt, crushed garlic and sachet of dried yeast.
  2. Add all lukewarm milk and water to bowl and mix together and knead until smooth. Place in bowl and cover bowl with cling film and leave to rise somewhere warm for an hour.
  3. Line the clay pots with parchment paper to stop the bread sticking. Although hand thrown high clay content pots are preferable for that rustic look, I use your standard 5 1/2″ terracotta pots from the local garden centre. None have exploded yet , but be careful, they get very hot!
  4. When dough has risen, remove dough and knock back by roughly kneeding for a few seconds
  5. Split the dough into two and place one ball in each of the lined pots. Cover the tops with oiled cling film and place in a warm position to rise again.
  6. After about 30 mins the dough should be risen to at least the height of the rim. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the rolled oats.
  7. Place in the oven at 200 centigrade or 390 F for 35-40 mins and remove when golden brown

The loaves look and smell lovely and ready to slice after about 1/2 hr of standing. The herby flavour is completely fabulous!