Monday, August 03, 2015

#Frugal15 Week eight

Mosaic of images showing a selection of groceries and four meals. The meals include corn fritters and salad, french toast with yoghurt and berries, baked potatos with mexican beans, sour cream and avocado and tomato soup with a muffin.
The week's grocery budget was rather high: but justifiably so. Aldi had the dish cloths I like available for the first time in a few years, so I took the opportunity to stock up while I could. And a trip to Costco with friends resulted in a five-litre container of white vinegar coming home with me. If you don't factor those two cleaning expenses in, the total grocery bill drops to under $50.

I hadn't made a menu plan for the week, thinking I'd be mainly eating leftovers and finishing up items half-used in other dishes and waiting in the fridge to be finished. By Sunday I realised that this was an error, as the constant parade of things I'd eaten recently meant I hit Sunday feeling bored and grumpy food-wise: and it took quite some deviousness to stop myself from trotting off to pick up fish and chips or noodles from across the road.

The diversion that finally worked was trying to use the leftover risotto in the freezer to make arancini patties (balls were out of the question as I don't deep fry things).

I've learnt my lesson: this morning before I went grocery shopping I made a menu plan that included three dishes I've not made in ages, and which include ingredients I've not bought since this challenge started (almost three months ago! Can you believe it?!)

It was another busy week. I spent Tuesday helping prepare for the first Pop Up Small Business Fair, and in return was bought lunch
Toasted panini with salmon, brie and spinach.
and dinner. (It was a long day...)
Dining table with pizzas and wine glasses on it.
On Wednesday a friend and I went on a day trip to Goulburn to see the Rosalie Gascoigne exhibition on at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery and I budgeted to treat myself to lunch at a local cafe. As I explained to my friend, being frugal doesn't mean being a complete tightwad and having no fun: it means being mindful about how and where you choose to spend your money while keeping within your budget.
Plate of grilled fish, salad and chips.
Friday was Cooking for Copyright day, and I'd arranged to guest post on a friend's blog with a $5 Friday meal. But I had other pressing appointments, so the post might just have involved a set-up photo and then some corn fritters out of the freezer for the final photo. Yep, a definite 'here's one I prepared earlier'bait and switch situation!
Handwritten recipe for corn fritters, surrounded by the ingredients needed to cook the recipe
I suspected Friday was going to be another long day without a chance for a break and no easy access to any food except chocolates from vendors' stalls and cupcakes from the caravan cafe which was going to be in attendance. So, in a last-minute panic I grabbed various frozen packages out of the freezer and a couple of things from the fridge while making breakfast,
Cheese on toast on a chopping board. Behind it on the kitchen bench are various tinfoil packages and plastic containers, an apple, and a bottle of water.
 which I turned into this several hours later:
A vegeburger on a napkin next to a flier for The Pop Up Office.
Saturday morning a friend dropped in on her way home from the farmers' markets with some 'little extras' she'd picked up for me. Which were much appreciated, even though it's rather premature for food parcels around here.
A container of fresh pasta, half a loaf of bread, two potatoes and a leek arranged on a kitchen bench.
And for lunch with another friend, we played a game of Freezer Roulette. She brought bread rolls from her freezer (a day-old bargain from one of Canberra's top bakers, she tells me) and I offered her a choice of soups from mine. She chose tomato. I went for pea and zucchini.
Two bowls od soup (both different), two rolls, and two glasses of sparking shiraz on a dining table.
It was a good week.

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