Wednesday, 7 May 2008

'Let's save money on food' menu plans.

I know that people are hurting budget wise atm. Food has increased, petrol has increased, PHI has increased and now, with the Australian Federal budget looming, people are getting more jittery. I used to be able to shop for $70 to $100 per week only three months ago. Now everything has gone up and I am finding that it's costing me closer to $100-$120 per week! Anyone want to do the math to work out what % increase that is?

Here's my attempt at some Taurean practicality. I give full credit to the links on my blog for some of my ideas and will properly quote you when it's not 4am (I'm running away from the co-sleeping, boobie monster, bad, bad mummy!)

First things first, do try to buy local, our farmers need all the support they can get to keep going; they have increased farm costs as well you know.

In the beginning you will be buying most of the things you need but as the weeks go on, you will be starting to grow your own fruits and vegetables in containers. This will save you money!

Note: I use skim milk powder to cook with. I make it up and keep it in the fridge for all my cooking.

Fruit is always seasonal from the markets or from my freezer stocks. I always buy apples by the box when they are on sale and spend a day peeling, cooking and freezing.

Breakfast options: these are the things I make during a week.

Toast with toppings - Choose your favourite bread recipe.
Cous Cous with honey
Yoghourt with fruit.

Lunch Options:

Lentil and vegetable soup (I don't make the dumplings but you might like to)
leftovers from the night before
One of the soups from The Crone's Cauldron
Sandwiches for the children's lunches and if they are old enough, a thermos of soup from the previous day.

Dinner Options (vegetarian):

Mushroom pasta bake (I obviously don't use bacon)
Fried rice - you all know how to make this one don't you?
Brocolli Frittata with salad
vegetable curries with dhal (thanks Brazen!)
Risotto, Brazens Pumpkin one is excellent, I use vegetarian stock though.
Zucchini balls, hummous, beans (saute sliced onions in olive oil until golden, add de stringed green beans, salt and pepper to taste and a little water. Cook until tender) and flat breads (I make the tortilla recipe above, but roll it thinner).
Homemade vegetarian pizzas. Again, I use the tortilla dough because I like a thin and crispy base and it's super quick to make. Toppings are an 'empty the fridge' deal.

Snacks in our house are mainly fruit, tortillas, cheese and crackers or homemade popcorn. I do make a couple of batches of muffins a week though, as well as a vegan chocolate cake.

Week one gardening plan:
That's the food part dealt with. Now think about getting hold of some polystyrene boxes. Make a couple of drainage holes in the bottom, and fill it with a bag of good quality potting mix. Next go to the markets and buy yourself a couple of bunches of spring onions and cut off the white part with the roots. Go and plant these white parts as a bunch into the mushroom compost. A couple of perpetual spinach seedlings and a silverbeet seedling and you have the start of your vegetable garden. Water well and stick this box in a nice sunny spot and check it every day to admire. Here's a visual for you (Gosh I must take more pictures!)

You can also use a large pot to do this if you are worried about the chemicals in the polystyrene box Crazy Mumma brought this issue to our attention here. I have tried to keep it low budget as I haven't been able to find large pots cheaper than $12.

Please do go and check out the fantastic blogs I have linked on the left. Nearly all of them have amazing frugal living ideas.

Now, it's nearly 7am and the Tots are waking up. I, of course need to go back to bed for a sleep.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lara, great idea on the food savings. I have just this week done an article for our finiancial services clients on how to save $ when shopping etc, will do a post when I finish work today to follow on from your good ideas.


Anonymous said...

Have happened upon your blog by chance and love the gardening plan in order to start my long harboured vegie patch. We don't get a lot of sun though being in the shadow of an escarpment, so will be hauling boxes around a lot. Anyhow, just wanted to say I love your blog and I will be coming in for inspiration as this is something I have wanted to do for a long time (self sufficient) and so many things you have said resonated with me very much (e.g Taurean in a jealous snit, roflmao). Rachel

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Anonymous said...

I'm already planning out what to plant in next years garden so I'll have a really good variety to plan menus by - Thanks!! great ideas.

By the way...I tagged you. You're it!