Okay. I promised I’d document the $25 each a week thing, which means I have to start with the hunting and gathering part of it all.
(Check out the Paleo reference! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink! I’ll stop now…)
Before I talk about what I’ve bought though, there’s something you need to understand. This is my pantry.
It’s quite well-stocked and I like to keep it that way. I didn’t buy all of these things in one week, but I have bought things as I needed or wanted them. If I run out of something, then I replace it.
To a lot of people, there would seem to be very little actual food in here. Instead, they would just consider it to be a collection of ingredients. Okay, then. I don’t buy processed food as a rule. There are no packet mixes in my kitchen, there are also no snack foods, no breakfast cereals or the like. I make things from scratch. This helps to control consumption – if it’s not there, we can’t eat it – to keep additives and preservatives out of our systems, and to keep costs down.
The exceptions are things like curry pastes and that jar of Nutella (for The Boy) and Vegemite for me. I also stock sachets of microwaveable rice for last minute meals.
My refrigerator and freezer are also full – of ingredients. I’ve not photographed them, but the same principles apply. The only ready meals in my freezer are ones that I’ve made up and put there.
When you look at my grocery purchases you’ll see a lot more of the same. I tend to buy the same things and use them in different ways. However, I also treat myself to something new whenever I shop (as long as it isn’t hideously expensive) and that means I get both to have a play and to try new flavours.
At this time of year, my kitchen is the coldest part of the house and I like to spend as little time in there as possible. Casseroles and slow cooker meals make a frequent appearance, because I can put them onto cook with very little fuss and leave them to their own devices until I want to serve them.
I’m also using a lot of frozen vegetables for our main meals. I don’t have a problem with this. In many cases frozen (and canned) vegetables are fresher than the “fresh” items available in the green grocery or supermarkets, as they are frozen not long after they are picked. Contrast this with long road transport and cold storage times for their supposedly “Fresh” brethren. If they are produced in Australia or New Zealand, then I know they’re clean and grown in healthy conditions.
The fact that the frozen vegetables are pre-prepared means that I’m less likely to hurt myself preparing them if I’m a bit wobbly that day too. Bonus. Mixed frozen vegetables means that I can pour a cup of the medley into a microwave container and have all we need heated in a trice.
But I do buy fresh as well. I always try to have onions, carrots and celery to hand, along with potatoes and sweet potatoes.
So, without further ado – the shopping!
In Aldi, I bought:
- 2 Kg Beef mince $13.60 (I’ll divide this up into 4 x 500g bags and freeze)
- 600g chicken tenderloins $ 7.65 (I’ll crumb, bake and snap freeze these for future meals)
- 1.6 kg corned beef $12.42
Total – $33.67
- 1 kg frozen peas $1.99
- 1 kg frozen peas,carrots and corn $2.79
- 1 kg frozen mixed winter veg $1.59
- 500g frozen stirfry mix $2.19
- 1 kg beer battered fries $2.69 (see my recipe for loaded fries)
Total – $11.25
- corn snack pack (4 sml cans of kernels) $2.29
- 1 x can creamed corn $0.89
- 2 x 400g cans cannelini beans $1.50
- 2 x 400g cans kidney beans $1.50
- 2 x 400g can crushed tomatoes with herbs $1.58
- 1 x 400g can condensed milk $1.69 (for dulce de leche of course!)
- 1 x 190g jar sundried tomato pesto $1.99
- 1 x 190g jar capsicum pesto $1.99 (my new thing to try this week)
- 1 x jar hot paprika $2.49
Total – $15.92
- 500g unsalted butter $2.59
- 1 kg Plain flour $0.75
- 2 kg SR flour $1.50
- 1 kg Jasmine rice $2.29
- 1 kg brown onions $1.49
Total – $8.62
At Woolworths, I spent $12 on a 10kg bag of Laucke wholegrain bread mix (We make our own bread at the moment).
At the greengrocer:
- 1.5 kg washed potatoes $3.00
- 790g pink lady apples $1.49
- 2 kg butternut pumpkin $1.52
- 600g sweet potatoes $1.83
- sweet red capsicum $2.39
- 1/2 a bunch of celery $1.29
- 3 bok choy $1.59
- 1 orange $0.38
Total – $13.49
All of which came to $94.95.
So, tonight we will be “shopping the fridge” and eating the remainder of a pasta bake I made last night. That used up most of a rotisserie chicken I had, so the rest of that meat has gone into the freezer and the carcass will be made into chicken stock for the freezer overnight.