1940s Meal Prep – 7 days dinners for 32p


Yes that’s right – 7 days dinners for 32 p each. And I’m going to tell you what I used, what each item cost, AND how much fibre and protein per serving!

There is quite a group of us on my blog starting off the New Year with really good intentions to have a “Month without Money” in January (grocery money) by using up stuff we have been hoarding in the cupboards before buying more. Spending as little money in January is something we are all trying to achieve to help us get over the lean month but also be mindful of waste and of what we spend, just like our families had to do during rationing in WW2!


I decided today that I would use up the post Christmas reduced veg I bought the other day. I bought some bags of parsnips for 9p a bag, some sprouts for 10p a bag, some carrots for 19p a bag and potatoes for 29p a bag. I then rummaged through my cupboards and found a can of tomatoes, can of kidney beans, can of chick peas, a large onion, 2 courgettes, few teaspoons Bisto powder, dried mixed herbs, salt and pepper. The total cost of all the ingredients actually used was about £2.25 and I was able to have one meal for lunch and fill 6 meal prep containers to put in the fridge and freezer (it also spurred me into defrosting the freezer!).

YES, that’s right…..£2.25 for 7 days’ dinners, that’s 32p per meal!


So here’s what I made and how…although these are not 1940’s wartime recipes that you’ll find in a book any cook during the 40’s would have thrown stuff together to use up stuff and not waste it!

Root Veg Mash

1.5 lbs parsnips
1.5 lbs carrots
1.5 lbs potatoes
1 onion or leek finely chopped + garlic (optional)
Butter or margarine
Salt and pepper.

Cut up carrots small and parsnips and potatoes in slightly larger pieces.
Add to boiling water and simmer until soft.
Meanwhile add all your butter or margarine (according to how much you like) into a saucepan and peel a clove of garlic or two and add that into the saucepan with the chopped onion and sauted until onions are soft (remove garlic cloves when ready)
Place drained veg into a large bowl, place butter and onion mixture on top and mash all up together.
Add salt and pepper liberally until your own desired taste is reached.

Will be enough for 7 days meal prep plus a portion of pre mashed veg to add to stew recipe below.

PS: It was DELISH!

Meal Prep Bean Stew

1 can kidney beans
1 can chickpeas
1 can tomatoes
1 onion or leek
2 or 3 courgettes or a small chopped marrow
Portion of pre-mashed cook veg from recipe above.
Bisto powder
Salt and pepper
Dried mixed herbs
Spoonful of sweet chutney (optional)

In a large saucepan, saute chopped onions or leeks until browned and soft
Add chopped courgettes or marrow
Add all cans and pre-mashed veggies
Thicken with Bisto powder
Add chutney, herbs, salt and pepper.
Cook until stew has reduced a little and thickened.

Will be enough for 7 meal prep portion sizes.

Fibre and Protein Boost!

I even worked out the fibre and protein content of each meal. Each meal provides a whacking great 20g of fibre!! (daily recommendation is 25g – 30g) and protein was 18g (daily recommendation is about 55g) so that’s pretty good too!

With hindsight I would have thrown another can of kidney beans in or thrown in some dry lentils and boosted each meal by another 5g of fibre and 5g of protein!

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A month without money?.. Let’s mend and make do!


Immediately after Christmas, most of us, especially those with limited income, single parents, those on benefits or simply those who have really overspent are pretty much BROKE in the month of January and the only way to balance the books is to cut the spending, and be extra frugal for a month or two.

I’m not against a little moderate consumerism, we need it for our economy and businesses BUT I am against mindless consumerism and the pressure many individuals and young families can feel to overspend way beyond their means. I can understand that we want to give our kids things that make them happy, even more so if they have little or nothing and I enjoy the giving and receiving of affordable gifts, but the sheer weight of debt many encounter post Christmas is a ‘horrible’ situation to have to struggle against.

Looking back to the home front during WW2, that pressure of consumerism was alleviated, families had to mend and make-do and use their ingenuity and creativity to often make gifts. Expectations were certainly not the same as they are today.


So what can we do to really cut back in the New Year to balance the financial scales?

I guess it has to start at Christmas. Reduce the spending, give smaller gifts, don’t use credit cards if you can’t afford to repay it back in a month or two, never spend more than you have and don’t be afraid to say no.

When my marriage broke down several years ago and then consequently losing my work visa in Canada and with no means to support myself, our life took a dramatic turn and ever since the first of those events we have have lived within our means at Christmas and do not own credit cards. That’s not to say we still don’t feel the pinch in January and February though, especially with a multitude of family birthdays taking place BUT a couple of careful months and we are back on track.

So here’s the challenge for anyone who want’s to join in and share their experiences…

“Let’s spend as little as humanely possible for a month, lets do without stuff, be mindful of the food we buy and eat and let’s just mend and make do!”

I’m up for it if you are!!!

I’m not saying we should list our private outgoings and bills etc but rather celebrate the daily cutbacks we make to save money in what we purchase and what we buy at the grocery store!

How little can we spend?

What can we save?

If anyone is up for this as a group lets do this here and/or on my Facebook page.
Well my challenge starts today – I’m off to the shops in an hour or two. I’m going to keep all my receipts and ONLY buy something if I REALLY have to.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas.

C xxxxxx


So here’s my first spend since Christmas. £2.80 for toilet rolls and sanitary towels. I wonder how long I can make 6 toilet rolls last!


MEND AND MAKE DO: DRESSMAKING CLASSES IN LONDON, 1943 (D 12887) Mrs Bolton at work on a sewing machine during a Make Do and Mend class in the office of the Kennington branch of the Labour Party. She is making a coat for her 16 year old daughter on the sewing machine that she has bought to the class as part of the 'Equipment Pool', to which all members of the class contribute. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125908

MEND AND MAKE DO: DRESSMAKING CLASSES IN LONDON, 1943 (D 12887) Mrs Bolton at work on a sewing machine during a Make Do and Mend class in the office of the Kennington branch of the Labour Party. She is making a coat for her 16 year old daughter on the sewing machine that she has bought to the class as part of the ‘Equipment Pool’, to which all members of the class contribute. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205125908


Merry Christmas.


Just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope your day tomorrow is filled with happiness and love.

I am so very sorry for my recent lack of commitment to my blog. I feel so frustrated with my lack of time to do the things I feel driven to do but I am going to formulate a plan to try and fit more time in to post and communicate more regularly. I have REALLY appreciated the continued support, messages and comments.

Thank you and have a lovely day tomorrow with those you love xxxxxx C

Homemade Christmas decorations- tree stars

Here is a lovely way to make pretty tree stars out of old Christmas cards . I think in wartime Britain during the 1940s people would have made lots of homemade decorations out of card or paper! – Hope you enjoy this blog post from 2012!  For full step by step instructions to make these tree stars click here  C xxxx

Four in a Bed – Channel 4 – 1940s Cooking!


So one very hot day last summer I drove all the way over to Cambridge to take part in a Channel 4 TV show called “Four in a Bed”.

They wanted someone to facilitate a 1940s bake off and we decided on a very simple ‘Carrot Cookies’ recipe.

Armed with many props from my kitchen such as tea cups, rations books, bunting, old lace, cake stands, vegetables and ‘here’s-some-I-prepared-earlier-cookies’, and getting lost a couple of times on the way, we eventually made it and despite not having a hairbrush at all (I forgot it) was able, with the help of my daughter, to position two rather pathetic looking victory rolls precariously on my head and squeeze into my slightly tight dress (which WILL be loose one day).

We had great fun filming with Channel 4 at DUXFORD LODGE which is a beautiful country house quite close to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

Initially I made my excuses not to do this and tried to find someone else who would BUT so many times in my life I turn things down because of being self conscious so pushed myself to do this and was really pleased I did.

It was fun, gave me a little more confidence and of course will always be a day to remember.

The 1940s Cooking Scene starts at 8 minutes 50 seconds in and you can watch it on the link here.

Keep pushing outside your comfort zone if ever you get a fun opportunity like this and just GO FOR IT!!!

C xxxxx