Thursday, 26 January 2017

So how did we do on the $21 Challenge last week?

Total spend on food for one week (for a family of 6) was $39.13.

And we certainly would have made it, if I hadn’t already committed to blowing the budget with the birthday dinner.  The birthday boy chose lasagne, and a strawberry cheesecake for his candles, of which I needed to buy mince, strawberries, cream cheese, grated cheese and I ‘splurged’ on a French stick for some garlic bread – so the total spend for that spread was $23.80.  Realistically, that could have been our whole week’s purchase as we had plenty of food in the house.  The other food purchases were some fruit from the market ($5) and $10.33 for fresh milk and some yoghurt (we knew ourselves well enough to know we would buy these too).

Definitely a good exercise to understand that when you have a pantry and freezer pretty much full, and a garden with some produce, there is indeed a good supply of food that can be used up instead of buying more.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

This last Sunday, we started a $21 Challenge.  This week, our grocery spending will only be $21!

Yes, impossible of course!!

Except that it isn’t!  It only takes perseverance, ingenuity and a good mind-set!

On the Saturday, I asked the family what were their grocery essentials – so I could see what substitutions we already had in the cupboard – and so I could see what I would be spending $21 on this week.

Here was our list:
Cereal, coffee and tea
Already have plenty, will just use up.
Have 1 dozen = 2 each person for this week.  Cake subs = bicarb and vinegar
Have 3L UHT and plenty of powder.  Will prob buy 1 x 3L fresh.
Plenty of bread flour and yeast, will use.
Have 20 pieces fresh, 3 lge tins = 5 days worth.  Subs = plenty dried fruit.
Have 2 x 500g.  Plenty.
Plenty.  Subs = dried beans.
4kg on hand – should be enough!  Subs = plenty rice and pasta
2 whole heads.  Conserve.
Have 500g block and 500g grated.  We eat a lot of cheese so will need to major conserve or buy.  Plenty of dried parmesan for cooking.
300g left.  Have culture to make more, but not enough milk…will make/buy milk.

Hmm, looks like no-one nominated vegetables – LOL!  But they do need to be on the list so here was the situation:
Harvest: tomatoes, cue, carrots, onions, kale; Have half lettuce, 1.5 lge zucc; 3 sweet pots.  Will possibly buy some pumpkin and more lettuce.

So you could be thinking we are well prepared.  And we are – I buy in bulk wherever possible so we do have quite some supplies.  And that is half the point – to do a bit of a pantry inventory and realise you don’t need to mindlessly go shopping and buy the usual $200++ of food.

And, just for the record, my last food shopping day was Friday 13th January.

But what will we eat from what we have?  Won’t it get boring??  I very much doubt it but let’s wait and see.  I will write it all down just for fun :-)!

Breakfast – yoghurt with fruit and nut, eggs on toast, cereal, coffee & tea (milk and sugar)
Morning tea – cake/cookie, salad, fruit, coffee, tea, baked scones and muffins
Lunch – Soup in a cup and toast, fried tomato and cheese on toast, salad
Snacks – fruit, nuts, cheese, crackers, pasta, corn chips,
Dinners –chicken kebabs, BBQ pots/sweet pots, zucc and beans; sticky date pudding and icecream;
-        lamb chops, carrots, zucc, kale - cooked in herby tomato soup, rice
-        sausages and mash, fried tomatoes, baked beans
-        pasta with cheesy, bacon and zucc sauce
-        lamb chops, potato salad and garden salad

Today, we are officially out of milk (fresh was finished on first day, UHT today), so we are buying 1 x 3L.  We are out of fresh fruit, but still have 1.5 tinned.  We are out of cheese, except for a tiny bit of grated.  We will eat salad tonight and that will use up the lettuce…so it is getting down to the wire in terms of variety of food – but there is still plenty to eat here!   Just got to convince the kids ;-)

And we have a birthday tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see what the birthday boy chooses for his celebration dinner!  And, yes, I will blow the budget for that.  Because no matter what, we have done very well and this has been a good lesson for us all to be more mindful consumers.

Friday, 6 January 2017

On the 12th day of Christmas, I present to you a round-up of the ‘green’ of our Christmas Day.

I did this round-up last year, and I was feeling that perhaps I didn’t do as well this year (mostly because I was too late to order the Christmas Loo Paper from Who Gives a Crap L), but actually, I do think we did quite well.
Here is our Green Christmas List:
·        Real Christmas Tree again – purchased from the local Lion’s Club fundraiser of course, and will be composted.
·        Used cuttings of native shrubs from our block in our Christmas decorating
·        Re-used our perpetual “With love from your family” gift tags (will need to make another one, Pepper ate mine!)
·        Gifts wrapped in newspaper and prettied up with recycled ribbons
·        Recycled gift bags used – and packed away for next time
·        Recycled (= second-hand) gifts under the tree included my new camera, an electronic toy for our boy, a make-your-own plush toy for the youngest
·        Gave stainless steel lunch boxes as gifts to the children and each other; and stainless steel thermoses to the children
·        The vast majority of purchases were from local shops, and the two online ones, from ethical stores (Biome and Dachshund Rescue Australia)
·        Carried on our family tradition of choosing library books for each other instead of purchasing – we did very well I have to say, the kids have all been reading for days.
·        No Christmas crackers at meals – the food was what we were there for!
·        The candles and holders on our table were from the op shop, as were the 5 mini Christmas trees I added to the decorating.
·        I made Christmas stockings for us all this year, using only recycled fabric.
·        Santa again wrapped the family gift (a ‘spider web’ swing) in a blanket – he’s one clever dude that man!