Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Growing things

Its that time of year again, and with the recent snow all gone I'm hoping that that will be it until next winter rolls around. My little raised bed is looking all sorry for itself (one day I'll work out how to post pictures) but the strawberry plants have survived their snow blankets so should be good to go again once the summer is on the way :-)

And so my thoughts are turning to growing things again.

Plans atm are to get some potatoes chitting come February, and some tomato seeds in on the windowsill (asap I suspect now), and probably some sort of winter salad underway very soon too.

Finally did the weekly shop

And after discount brought it in at £20.50! Yay!

Shopping was (had planned to detail exact costs here but the receipt has gone walkabout between purchase and home... somewhere in the bottom of my bag, I suspect)

Bread - one white, one wholemeal
5 cans soup for DP to take for lunches (some of the bread will be needed for this also)
Vegetable bakes (sold as two packs for £3. four individual bakes altogether)
Strawberry Milkshake (this the 'treat' item for the children)
Mushrooms (250g)
Baked beans (one can)
Tortilla chips (one bag)
Stuffing mix (one box)
Apples (2 bags at 2 for £3)
Clemantines (2 bags at buy one get one free)
Frozen peas (being sold as a 3 for 2 offer - so have 3 bags, enough for at least a fortnight)

And that was it!

Meal this evening is Meatloaf (for DP/DD1) or Stuffing loaf (the rest of us) with parsnip mash and a.n.other veg. Probably peas. Cooking as I type, although DS1 is eyeing it all suspiciously and will probably end up with a houmous sandwich (rolls eyes).

Monday, 3 January 2011

Super food

Made a bit of a find yesterday. You know how you buy something and then tuck it away to ripen and promptly forget all about it? Even to the point of getting some more a couple of weeks later? I did just that with four avocados just before Christmas. (blush - oh come on, we *all* do this from time to time)

Found them at the back of the shelf yesterday and braced myself for mouldy yet-more-wasted food. But on investigation they were spot on perfect, phew! So tea yesterday (and lunch today) ended up being my marinated cabbage/coleslaw (red onion and carrot finely sliced along with a sprinkling of cornish sea salt and lots of cold pressed rapeseed oil, leave 24 hours or more, and then eat), with avocado, a handful of torn flat leaf parsley, a dash of sweet chilli sauce touch of pasta sauce, oodles of houmous, and a drop of teriyaki sauce.

Day three is more of the same.

*Still* not gone shopping. I think I spent too much on food this Christmas! But I'm making progress in coming up with a list. At least I think I am. In the meantime we are eating what is in the house - go us!

Veg box is coming on the 7th and will include onions, potatoes, carrots and greens. I already have some greens (cabbage and kale) and all the above, plus swede and parsnips. Fruit - we have apples, oranges and bananas plus assorted dried fruit and a pint of fruit compete in the fridge - isn't on the list this week.

So far the plan is to use the tub of mince in the freezer (which has been in there at least 3 months, oops) to make a meat loaf for DP and DD1. Hopefully this will be good for four portions, so will do both of them for an evening meal and then one other in the week, either at home or at work. At some point I'm going to make a huge pot of vegetable soup with anything that is getting ropey, and will freeze some of this if there is truly gallons of it. Another thai green curry is on the cards as I have a jar of paste in the fridge. I know the paste keeps well, but it seems silly to open another jar or make something up for a different sort of spicing when that is there. I finished the marinated cabbage/coleslaw for a late lunch today, and have used the other half of the white cabbage to make more already this evening.

Anyway, that still leaves some thought to be had on what to eat this week, and what to buy to facilitate this. Its really obvious how I've got out of the habit of even the smallest amount of planning over the last few months, which isn't good for income related eating! So, bread would be a sensible buy. But stocking levels here at home are such that I can see this weeks money going mainly on readymeals, soup in tins, etc to provide DP with at work lunches. Which as I'm trying to get us back to taking lunches from home...

Sunday, 2 January 2011

starting as I mean to go on

although the problem with the whole 'do it for £25 plus veg box' thing, is that we're not actually starting from that point.


But on the plus side, I've decided that day old thai green curry is the way to go, so make in advance and then eat.... Yum!

For the evening meal yesterday, the children had pasta bake - finely chopped onion, carrot and sprouts put on to cook with the pasta, and then that mixture baked in the oven with a jar of sauce. And a tiny sprinkling of grated cheddar on top.

I cooked some rice in the pasta/veg water (frugal stock, lol) and DP and I ate the last of the above curry (somehow aware that I really over catered there).

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Day one of 'the plan'.

Breakfast was fruit bread, tea etc - all things already here as part of regular eating. Lunch will be leftovers of last nights food ( made far too much!) So Thai green veg curry then!

Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, sprouts, tin of coconut milk, cornflour and lemon juice. Oh and an couple of huge spoonfuls of Thai green curry paste..... Potatoes are the last few of those grown by DS1 last autumn, everything else from the Christmas veg box.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

A new beginning

I have neglected blogging. (not writing, just blogging... I have notebooks full of scrawl....)

But I'm back to start a new project. Just a month long this time. This blog is its best fit (and is in theme and allsorts!).

So - what is it?

Well last week in M&S I was given a leaflet containing 4 vouchers for £5 off a food/flowers/plant spend of £25 or more, one for each week in January. And this got me to thinking about how our food budget over the last few months has gotten just a tad (cough) out of hand.

So could I feed us all on this £25 each week.

Sadly, initial research suggests not. (lots of time trawling the web, of which was possibly the most useful, but is shockingly low in greens (although I suppose you could repurpose the 10p per person per day for fruit into greens instead), and I'd actively fear for our long term health on this meal plan. Greens are important people!)

But I do believe that 6 people (two adults, a near adult, two children and a small small in our case) could do it on not a huge amount more.

We're looking for a diet that is:

rich in green foods - I am much healthier on at least 2 servings a day. Drop below that and illness levels in the house definitely go up as well.
rich in other fruit and vegetables - including sea veg sometimes, just because they are vital and yummy.
mainly vegan - with the ability to let the omnivores (1 adult + 1 near adult) have some meat each week, plus some dairy or eggs for the vegetarians (2 children) occasionally

And doable with a £25 M&S spend plus a veg box (medium at £13.49 inc 99p delivery, or possibly medium fruit/veg at £17.74 ditto) or equivalent cost in other vegetables/fruit from Abel and Cole and a carton or two of Soya (£3), likewise. Which will give me a budget of around £45 with an actual spend of £40. Which does seem slightly on the high side, but will mean we can stay as organic as possible which is important to us.

In many ways I'm not starting from an entirely fair point, as I have dry stores and things 'left over' from Christmas spending that will mean that I shouldn't be buying much flour, pulses, seasonings, chocolate, tea etc - in other words all the little things that smooth the diet and make it interesting - in the month. I still intend to try though :-)

Voucher number one goes 'live' between the 1st and 9th of January 2011, with the others following on 10th-16th, 17th-23rd and 24th-31st. The first veg box will arrive on 7th January as we have fresh vegetables and fruit to use up from the Christmas veg box until then.

Hmm maybe this won't be a good budget test after all :-s