25 April 2012

The slow and mindful grocery challenge - part 2

Today is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand - a day of commemoration for all those who gave their lives in the defence of our countries.


We started our 50 percent reduction in meat consumption last Thursday and yesterday - Tuesday - was the first day we've eaten meat. We'll eat vegetarian today, we have visitors tomorrow, so I'll use a shoulder of lamb as a roast, and we'll go back to vegetarian again later in the week. Meat is SO expensive now, I'm pleased we like eating this way because not only does it cost less, it lessens our footprint as well.

I was at the neighbourhood centre all day yesterday and did some grocery shopping on the way home. I spent $63.25 altogether, buying a few things we need now, and a few things for the stockpile. I am pretty sure that if I put aside $30 for the next two weeks, to buy fresh milk, butter and fruit, that will see us nicely looked after. I thought I'd spend more than $85 a week but I doubt that now. I think it will be less. We'll have to wait and see but I know I won't have to increase it.

Tomorrow I'll do up a meal plan for the rest of the month and into the first week of May. My sister is coming to visit so there'll be three of us here but that won't impact on the budget because we'll be eating from the backyard, stockpile and freezer. I plan on making some pea and ham soup while Tricia's here, she loves it, we do too, and it will do all of us for a few days without mucking about. I'll make a nice dessert each day for variety and I'm pretty sure we'll all be well satisfied with that.

That's the great benefit of stockpiling - that ability to feed more people, to go for a couple of weeks without shopping and to be a bit more creative when you cook. If you get sick, or the main breadwinner does, there is no greater friend than the stockpile. 

I made a whole orange cake last weekend and that is almost gone now, so today I'll make up a batch of quick and easy biscuits - I have a cup of pecans in the fridge that I want to use, and some flaked coconut, so I'll use those ingredients to fancy the biscuits up a bit. And then we'll be set. We'll have the biscuits for our morning tea treat, I'll bake bread every day and make up a non-meat main meal most days and we'll happily sail into May with smiles.

CHEAP AND EASY BISCUITS - this is the same recipe as the CWA's Five Dozen Biscuits, it makes about 80 biscuits

Bake for 10 minutes at 180C/360F
  • 500 grams/1 lb butter 
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 cups self-raising flour 
  • Plus any toppings you like - nuts, coconut, choc chip etc.
Cream the butter and sugar, add condensed milk, mix and stir in flour. Roll the dough and divide up into two if you want to freeze half the dough for later. Mix in the nuts or whatever you're going to use, divide into into balls and flatten, or place a thumbprint to add jam for jam drops.

When golden brown, cook on racks.

To make the equivalent of a tin of condensed milk:
  • 1/3 cup hot water 
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup powdered milk - this can be full cream or skim milk 
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
Melt the sugar in the hot water, then put all your ingredients into a food processor or blender. Mix slowly at first until everything is combined, then use high speed until everything is smooth.

For jadeleaf who asked the other day. This makes enough for two, you can easily double the recipe.

1 egg
1 heaped tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
1 heaped tablespoon sugar
1½ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, whisk together the egg, cornflour, sugar, vanilla and ½ cup milk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the rest of the milk and put it on the stove to heat up. Bring to the boil while stirring - this will burn if you don't stir it. Turn the heat down when it's getting hotter and once it's boiled, stir for another minute and it's done. It will thicken up more as it cools down. You can keep it in the fridge, covered, for two days.

I'm not finished my grocery challenge yet - I have some menu planning and tweaking to do - but I'm really pleased I took it on.  I thought we might have to increase what we spend and now I know we don't have to do that. Now I can concentrate on inventing some new simple recipes for us, using the stockpile as my shop. The vegetable garden is becoming more productive every day, the girls are producing a lot of eggs so it looks like there will be smiles at the dinner table here.

How are you going with your challenge?  ♥

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