Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Budgeting and Insourcing...How to bake and make do...

 
I was getting ready to do the grocery shop the other day.
 
To prepare for a grocery shop, I always do a refrigerator cleanout and pantry stocktake. How else do I know what we really need? 
 
Do you do this too?
 
Well once I'd done that, I realised that if I made yoghurt, used up the bits and pieces I had in the fridge, and baked bread, I actually didn't need much at all!
 
THAT was a good feeling.
 
Granddaughter and I baked the cupcakes above.
 
I got a batch of coconut yoghurt going. You can find my recipe here.
 
 
I baked my Artisanal Gluten Free Bread, recipe for that one here.


I used a batch of normal dairy home made Greek Yoghurt to make some Labne (also known as Labna, Labneh or Middle Eastern Cheese). This now sells in a tiny tub for $6, so I swear I could make a killing marketing this one to the hipsters! Here are the instructions. I added cracked pepper and extra virgin olive oil and kept this batch as a spread, although it was thick enough to roll into balls. I love this so much, and it's absolutely gorgeous as a dip base, an accompaniment to rissoles or chicken, or as a spread.


I roasted some fresh beetroot that I'd forgotten about...
 

 
...and while they were roasting, I cut up a capsicum past it's prime and several carrots, so they'd roast and be used as snacks and salad additions...

 
Somebody in the household had opened both a can of tuna AND a can of salmon for sandwiches, so I used the combination of the two, to make yummy seafood mornays with crunchy gluten free breadcrumb and cheese topping. Just make a white sauce, add the tuna and salmon, season well and decant into ramekins or a casserole dish and top with a mixture of breadcrumbs and cheese. Absolutely delish!

 
Two knobs of sausage mince were discovered in the bottom freezer drawer. I'd grabbed these when they were marked down to 20c each. Yes...20c!
 
From those I made two giant sausage rolls...each will feed the three of us.
 
And a yummy meatloaf loaded with veges, and topped with the gluten free pastry that was also hiding in the bottom drawer. My sister had grabbed this for me when it was marked down too.
 
Meatloaf can be a combination of any mince, any leftover cooked or raw veges, a bit of binding substance such as flour or breadcrumbs and a couple of eggs. That's it. You can't go wrong.
 
Winning!




 
So in addition to an organic frozen chicken, some salmon fillets bought a few weeks ago, a couple of chicken breasts and a piece of corned beef, we were looking good for the week.
 
Having a well stocked range of spices and condiments really helps with a  flavour boost when the meals are plain too...
 
 
And I always have multiple tubs of butter, dark chocolate, and slabs of Haloumi on hand as they keep for EVER. So a treat, some baking, and a flash breakfast are always in the mix.
 
 
Tidy refrigerator, full of goodies...
 
 
...and all I needed to buy was greens, shallots (spring onions), eggs, milk, bread and fruit.

 
Happy me.
 
I rewarded myself with a DIY Jamberry manicure. Wraps from my own stash. Free.
 
 
With some imagination, a few basic cooking skills and some pantry staples, you too can slash your grocery bill.
 
You can do it.
 
What are your favourite grocery busting recipes?


 photo signature_zps33fd9dfd.png

30 comments:

  1. Dear Mimi, cooking doesn't come naturally to me. I aspire to your standard and am enjoying learning more all the time. You would think looking in the fridge before shopping day (tommorow for me) would almost be too simple to remind people of but I sheepishly say thankyou for the reminder - I'm off to do that now. Thanks again! Clare

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Clare, honestly I wasn't always this organised. Like anything, it comes with practice. I always say you have to do something 27 times before you're good at it. Keep chippin' away. You'll be fine. Love, Mimi xxx

      Delete
  2. Dear Mimi,
    Well done. Don't you just love when meals can be created out of bits that would have otherwise gone to waste? I feel like I have been extra frugal and a good steward when I do this.
    My project right now is rotating freezer stock and using up enough to get by with having one freezer instead of two. So far, frozen Easter candy and leftover cream became homemade ice-cream. I made the vanilla for it too, and when I strained it, I dried the beans and put them in a jar of sugar. A big bag of frozen cherries that I've had way too long became 3 pints of canned cherries in rum for the pantry. Some small bags of blueberries and one lone bag of blackberries were turned into a cobbler. I'm happy with my progress and happy that it means less to buy at the grocery store, as you said.
    Thank you for sharing your recipes and productivity with us. It really is an encouragement! And yes, that is a very tidy fridge ;)
    Love, Kelsey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Kelsey, yes it is a good feeling, isn't it? I hate waste, and with our food sensitivities, trimming the budget wherever we can is really important. I'd hate to be one of those people buying the same thing week in, week out, and tossing it all out only to start over again. What a terrible drain on the family finances! You've done well with rotating freezer stock. That's a whole other topic! Love your ideas as always. Keep going! Mimi xxx

      Delete
  3. This is such good advice, and something I am trying to learn! Like your other comment, I sometimes find myself shopping on my designated shopping day with a plan for 7 new days worth of food, without having searched through my fridge and pantry first. This week, I did as you did, and found I had plenty of food to work with. I did still go shopping and used my budget to stock up on all kinds of meat for the freezer from a warehouse store. This will hopefully help to keep me out of the stores as much later this summer (I am in the US), when I can really rely on the garden for fresh produce.
    Beautiful manicure! And cupcakes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Leigh, it is a thing that you become more accomplished at, the more you do it. It's a great sense of wellbeing and nurturing to be able to feed the family just with what's on hand. I think it really teaches us what we're truly capable of on so many different levels. We need to starve the supermarkets of our traffic, I reckon! Love, Mimi xxx

      Delete
  4. I've been cooking out of my pantry. We've been eating out too much since I had little energy for awhile, but I'm beginning to regain some energy after radiation. I will finish my last chemo Tuesday.

    When I'm on my game, I make grocery lists like you do. We are still eating primarily out of on hand items. It will take a few days to feel better after the treatment, then I'm going to get busy!

    Hugs,
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage
    No more chemo treatments ever in Jesus' name!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dearest Laura, what wonderful news from you! I've been so busy of late, that I haven't had time to visit my blogging friends all that much, but I have thought of you often. You will be on your game again before you know it, and blessed with good health and abundance of that I am certain. Sending love and hugs, Mimi xxx

      Delete
  5. Gosh your fridge puts my fridge to shame!! This picture is giving me urges to do some major fridge cleaning- my least favourite thing to do up there with cleaning windows! Thanks for the motivation Mimi xx Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! It's just me. I like a tidy fridge. One of my strange quirks Jen! Mimi xxx

      Delete
  6. You are so inspiring, Mimi! It's amazing what we can all do with a little effort and thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacey, it is indeed. And it's not even much thought or effort. It's just a diligent heart :)

      Delete
  7. Hi Mimi, this is such a great post! It’s amazing how much we truly have in our homes to make meals with isn’t it? Before I did this fortnights groceries I shopped my fridge and pantry to see what I had on hand. I was also inspired by an earlier post of yours about doing lots of prep on your grocery day to help you get ahead. I have been finding that there are some days when I end up a bit frazzled & behind schedule with after school activities, homework and a cranky toddler... we have ended up having not great dinners or resorting to takeaway on those days.
    Rather than portion & freeze my purchased meat straight away, I actually decided to prep & cook some meals for the freezer. I ended up making Butter Chicken & cauliflower rice, Stroganoff, Bolognese sauce which yielded two meals and I also cooked a roast chicken and veggies for that evenings meal. I’m pleased to know that I have some meals I can rely on for the days I know are going to be challenging. Apart from that, all other meals will be cooked fresh on the day. So thank you for inspiring me to tackle meal prep in a different way. Jodie Xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jodie. I apologise for taking a while to respond. I've been a bit flat out with life stuff here. Yes it truly is amazing and enormously satisfying, to take stock and go 'no I don't need all that stuff on my list'. I think half the time we shop out of sheer habit, not out of need as such. Ah...the cranky toddler syndrome. That's a tough gig! And yes, being prepared does help for sure. You did so well with your prep, and one you get into the swing of it, you'll never look back. I'm so proud of you. Mimi xxx

      Delete
  8. Wow, you were so productive! It always feels so great to use up things and not let anything go to waste. I'm trying to eat down our own food stash right now, so I'm grocery shopping mainly for fresh stuff and trying to be creative about meals. Your refrigerator looks fantastic; mine desperately needs to be cleaned out. It's on the agenda! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Stephanie. It's a bit of a lifetime obsession, but a good one! And like most things, if you tackle that refrigerator cleanout weekly, it'll never be the nightmare task you hear about! Mimi xxx

      Delete
  9. Cute cupcakes Mimi! My 4 year old loves baking too, it's messy but fun.

    The thing I make most to use up a variety of veges in the fridge is self-crusting quiche. Most things get grated so you would never know they were going a bit soft.

    My kids love smoothies, and they are a great way to use up older bananas, kiwifruit etc.

    Pizzas are another regular here where it's easy to use up small amounts of various things in the fridge.

    The funny thing is,the use-it-up recipes are among the most popular at my house lol.

    I have nearly everything I need to try your gluten free bread. If I can master that it will be a game changer! It's so expensive to buy gluten free products, but where we live it is also horribly inconsistent. The gluten free products at our closest supermarket can go weeks without being restocked, so being able to bake our own is essential.

    You've inspired me to organise our fridge! Though I will wait for the kida to go back to school next week. Otherwise I will need to do it again by Monday lol.

    Thanks for a lovely post Mimi!
    Jen in NZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jen! I love that self crusting quiche too. That was on high rotation whenever we had a full house here. I love what you say about the use-it-up recipes being the favourites. It's a lesson isn't it! I hope you like the bread. It's not to everyones taste, but Daughter and I love it. Love, Mimi xxx

      Delete
  10. Mimi how do you keep your oven and oven trays so clean? Please share! Regards Robyn S.Australia

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Johan you're a bit of a smart alec aren't you. Don't bother coming back. I don't appreciate malicious links on my blog.

      Delete
  12. I do the same thing...before shopping, usually on a Saturday morning, I go through the fridge and the fruit bowl and create. It could be that the orange goes into a juice or a stirfry or a cake or muffin mix - same with the banana and bibs and bobs of yoghurt, cream or milk that needs to be used up. If there is a reasonable quantity of leftover meat such as last night's spaghetti bolognese, I will freeze it for future pizza topping. The vegies that need to be used might go into a soup or used to make home made dog food. No waste and a good amount of food created to help keep the grocery bill down. I don't know if you watched the show 'Back in time for Dinner' recently but the last episode (I think) talks about food security and the need to use up everything. Well we have been doing that to a large degree but they made a banana peel cake so that will be my next culinary experiment.
    Love your work. Janiebabe x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Janie, I love doing that. It's such a good feeling and creates an environment of waste not, want not in the household. I did watch Back in Time for Dinner, as well as the one about slashing your grocery bill with DIY copycats...the name of it escapes me for now. But all good and useful and reinforces what I think many of us have been doing for decades. Banana peel cake? I'd be interested to see that one! Mimi xxx

      Delete
  13. Hi there Mimi! You made me want to bake so bad! Those chocolate little cakes on the first pic made my mouth watery... have to find something chocolately now! ;)

    Cielo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dear Cielo, as if any of us need encouragement to bake. Such a wonderfully fulfilling enterprise ;-)

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mimi, you and I really don't cook and eat the same things but you always inspire me. Taking care of my home and our resources is very important to me. For dinner tonight, instead of going out, we had tacos made from leftover taco meat that I froze. We chopped fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and guacamole...all of this lead to a feast! Much better than we would have had if we had gone out. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stacey, yes...we all have finite resources, no matter our financial position. I've always believed in the role of the homemaker to make the best of those resources. Yumbo to your tacos, and bravo to it being better than 'going out'. Mimi xxx

      Delete
  16. So inspiring as always Mimi. Your energy amazes me!
    I've gotten really slack with this aspect of homemaking in the busyness of being a working mother! I need to remember to be gentle with myself and begin where I am.
    Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Veronica, we are all 'slack' sometimes. I think it's okay to take a breather occasionally. It helps you get back on track with renewed enthusiasm. Be gentle with yourself, as you say. You'll get your mojo back, I promise. Love, Mimi xxx

      Delete

I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx