The weekly shop has become more and more expensive, obviously we have a little person to feed now but it is not just that, the price of groceries is definitely going up. Despite my best intentions of planning meals and sticking to a list I always end up impulse buying and ending up with food going to waste.
There are so many times that I have nipped in the car to Asda to pick up milk and ended up spending the guts of a tenner on things I don't need. I walk about like an Asda zombie hypnotised buy their BOGOF biscuit offers.
Well enough is enough! Asda, me and you are done - I'm going cold turkey!
Recently I have been reading these blogs and they have inspired me to be more mindful of my budget and my waste when it comes to food shopping;
Mortgage Free in Three
After a bit of online research I found a company that interested me, Castle Farm Fresh Produce.
Based in the foothills of the Mourne Mountians this company provides a wide range of local products and even delivers to your door. Reading through their website I loved the business goals that they listed;
- Provide local quality produce at a competitive price
- Provide local employment
- Cut down on food miles
- Promote the Mourne area
- Support existing local producers
- Farm in a sustainable, enviromentally friendly way
- Encourage customers to buy local produce
I was also attracted to the 'Box Deals' option in their website, providing value and quality. Cheack out the range of 'Box Deals' here.
So here is what we ordered;
Large family essentials box
2 x 2.5kg maris piper potatoes
2 x 2 litre milk
1 x head of broccoli
1 choice of cabbage or 500g sprouts,
1 choice of cauliflower or turnip
500g white onion
18 free range eggs
500g loose tomatoes
1 x pack of 3 mixed peppers
10 x small lunchbox mixed apples
1 x Punnet Clementine’s, 4lb bananas
White sliced loaf or pack of 4 soft baps
500g Dromona butter
Soup Pack (250g of buchanan soup mix, large bunch whole soup veg, 8 plain chicken drumsticks)
2 x packs of 4 skinless chicken fillets
2 x 400g packs of plain beef, beef and chilli, plain pork or pork and leek sausages
2 x 400g steak mince
2 x 400g pack of Chicken goujons
2 X 300g pack of Unsmoked or smoked back bacon
What I like about this box is that it includes the essentials such as milk, bread and butter aswell, removing the temptation to go to Asda!
£60.00 may seem expensive for just me, husband and the little person but I was confident that with careful planning and using the freezer we would be able to make to food last us at least 2 weeks. £30.00 a week- not bad in my opinion!
This takes some planning, although the chicken goujons that are included were great for a night off cooking from scratch!
Here are some of the goodies that we cooked up!
Here is the massive pot of soup that our soup mix made. We used two chicken breasts instead of the 8 drumsticks for the chicken element. This pot served as a hearty dinner for the whole family as well as leftovers for lunch the next day. There are also 5 baby sized portions in the freezer.
This is a chicken and broccoli pie, helped along with a wee tin of condensed soup in the store cupboard.
As you can see, in the deal 18x eggs are included. We were so busy in focusing on making sure none of he meat went to waste that the eggs were forgotten and before we knew it the use by date was approaching. We gave in and went to Asda to get 3x pastry bases at 90p each and whipped up these lovely cheese and broccoli quiches. This was such a hit with Joel and so easy to make. Phil was so proud of this creation he sent one to his mum!
We also made cottage pies, pots of belly warming curry carrot, parsnip and apple soup, vegetable stew and sausage casserole. I also tried this recipe from the Mortgage Free in Three blog which has become one of my favourites. It has to be said I have not mastered onion soup- my version tasted less sweet than I would have liked - but I will try again! All these dishes take that wee bit more effort to make, especially after a day at work but are worth the effort as they all provide leftovers for packed lunch the next day as well as the possibility of freezer portions.
Not all the meals required such effort, we also had sausage sandwiches, bacon turnip and potatoes, chicken goujons and roast vegetables and as shown above, bacon egg and sneaky oven chips. The bacon and eggs provided in the box are beautiful!! So tasty.
The other advantage of this way of shopping meant that all the food was Joel friendly. Cooking from scratch means that you can monitor the salt content and know that there are no hidden nasties. There is a real satisfaction in everyone sitting down to dinner at the table, all eating the same meal, cooked from scratch. Any leftover could be used with a few store cupboard bits to make a new meal. See above, just a few left over roasted vegetables added to pasta and pesto and some tomato made a delicious lunch for Joel and I.
However I have to confess, I was not able to go Asda cold turkey, we had to go for formula, and the pastry bases for the quiches. We also had to go to Lidl for milk - always the cheapest. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Lidl are by far the best for nappies too! There was also a trip to Home Bargains for pesto and breakfast cereal. There was a minor chippie slip up and perhaps a Dominoes splurge as well. Not quite a frugal queen yet, but heading in the right direction!