Sunday, 27 January 2008

What we actually ate... Week One

So I didn't quite stick to the meal plan every time, but when I did change things it was due to unforeseen circumstances (read that: change of mind), or I made a more frugal choice to use up leftovers or something that was on the turn. But did I manage to stick to the budget? That is the question... and what did we actually eat.

Midweek breakfasts were the same every day, cereal with milk, fruit, water.
Weekend breakfasts slight change in that we had bacon sandwiches one day (reading and writing about farmhouse breakfast week made us all crave some). The other day we had bubble and squeek haggis with a fried egg on top...

Midweek Lunches
  • Cheese rolls (on wholemeal bread made by Hubs and the boys), salad, apple juice. I had quesadillas.
  • Boys: pasta salad with boiled egg, mandarins, apple juice (Hubs & I had tuna pasta salad)
  • Ham sandwiches, cucumber, kiwi fruit, mandarin, apple juice. I used up the cauliflower cheese.
  • Hubs took a ham sandwich, salad, coffee cake and a mandarin. The boys were off ill so just picked at food through the day (bananas, blood oranges, cucumber, carrot, tiny chocolate cake).
  • Leftover chicken, cous cous and courgettes. Hubs took the leftover vegetable soup.
I totally forgot to include after school snacks in the planning: as they were only at school Mon & Tues it was quesadillas & water one day, apple juice and biscuits the next. We also made the coffee and chocolate cakes as we had young guests on one of the days.

Midweek Dinners
  • Mon: Meatballs in tomato sauce with penne pasta and cauliflower cheese. We were going to have them with spaghetti but as I needed pasta for the packed lunches the following day I didn't see the point in boiling two pans of water. The cauliflower cheese I made the night before as the cauliflower was on the turn.
  • Tue: I bumped the spicy seafood rice to Wednesday. Instead I used up the last of the jamon and the leftover vegetables from Sunday to make a big stew, also added half a carton of passata which was lurking in the fridge and a few teaspoons of chipotle paste.
  • Wed : Instead of the planned roast vegetables and fish we had the spicy seafood rice. I ended up cooking a creamy seafood risotto with a bit of a kick and some spice. I wish I'd written down how much of everything I put in because it was excellent!
  • Thu : I made the boys a quick vegetable soup, blitzing it with the stick blender. Roast chicken with couscous and roasted courgettes for Hubs and I.
  • Fri : Different again. Boys had leftover chicken and salad. I didn't feel like cooking so Hubs made us some pasta with the last of the leftover chicken and a hot creamy sauce - it was delicious! He even put the chicken carcass on to boil for chicken stock to make a soup for lunch on Saturday.
Lunch: Chicken and Pasta Soup, made from the leftover chicken carcass.
Dinner: Haggis, Mashed Potato, Mashed Carrot and Sweet Potato mix, Mashed Celeriac. It was the first time the children have tried haggis and they loved it!

Sunday: Cousin mixed up the date, it's next weekend that we are there for lunch.
Brunch: Bubble and Squeek Haggis with a Fried Egg on top.
Dinner: Still to be decided.

The organic veg box cost £44.31, it included veg, fruit, chicken, milk, eggs, butter & mayonnaise.
Extras Bought : cucumber, tomatoes, milk, bread, bacon, haggis, ham
Already had : jamon, apple juice, flour, pasta, cream, mandarins, cauliflower, extra carrots, cereal

Where we have things every week such as cereal, flour, etc. I took the monthly spend and divided it by 4 to get an approximate cost. I rounded figures up for things used every day such as apple juice. Taking this into account we spent an extra £24.13. This did not include spices and condiments. I will work on a figure for this as it's the sort of thing I buy in bulk and then we have enough to last a lifetime.

So the total was £68.44 , not including dried spices and condiments. That was eating mainly organic, and a lot of seasonal food. Anybody can do it for a week, I need to see if we can do it for the next three weeks.

Though I've thought many times about doing this it was my lovely friend Fiona over at the very brilliant Cottage Smallholder who inspired me to actually get on and do this whole budget thing. While e-mailing her yesterday I worked out that £70.00 a week saved over the year is £3,640.00 (that is approximately US$7,218.00, CAN$7,260.00, AUS$8,204.00, Euros4,915.00) Now when you think about it like that it makes it seem more than worthwhile! ... and suddenly the guilt of my other on-line shopping this week (more of which next week) doesn't seem so bad! No, I didn't order myself the F&M weekend hamper!


slush said...

WOW! Good for you. I dont know if I could do it. We used to plan out at least dinners for a week and stick to it rather well. But I have never tried to plan out all meals for all days for a week. I am sure we would save money if I did. It would leave out all the spontaneous take out when we dont know what to make!

Sylvie said...

I'm impressed! I often easily spend that amount on just the two of us. I'm gonna sit down tomorrow and make a meal plan, at least for dinners!

Anonymous said...

Hi Amanda, Well done, I had no doubts about you doing it and when you see what the total saving is for the year, it will make to try even harder. Just look at it over 5 years and with interest it would be the cost of a new car.
Love You Mamxxxxx

Aimée said...

That's great, Amanda. The savings are huge when you add it up for the year like that. Impressive!

KJ said...

Congrats, that's great. Gee you eat well. It all sounds delicious.

Pat said...

Well done Amanda!!!

Marie said...

Well done on mission accomplished on the first week! I am well impressed! You should write a book and include recipes. It would be a best seller!

Cottage Smallholder said...

Well done Amanda, I'm so impressed and all the meals sound delicious too.

You are right you have to look at the annual savings to keep the focus.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Slush, I enjoyed thinking of the meal plans, I didn't like sticking to it though. That's the other thing we tried not to do, when I didn't feel like cooking on Friday night Hubs made a quick pasta. It would have blown the budget out of the water if we'd had a takeaway.

Hi Sylvie, I've read lots of things that say meal planning is definitely the way to cut costs and though I didn't stick to it 100% it did help me to stay focused on the mail goal of keeping within £70.00.

Hi Mum, xx ;)

Hi Aimee, Staggering when you add it up over the year. I hadn't thought of it enough like that.

Hi KJ, We're lucky because the boys love fruit and veg. They can't go a day without tons of it.

Hi Pat, I felt very pleased with myself but like I said, a week is easy. Have to keep it up for 3 more, then hopefully some things will be habit.

Hi Marie, thanks for your vote of confidence but with the likes of the very pretty Tanna Ramsay and all I don't think there's any room for another family cookbook.

Hi Fiona, I will keep that figure in my head and think of all the things we could do with the money.

Thank you very much for your encouraging comments. I'm feeling really motivated and pleased.
Amanda x

Quellia said...

Good for you! I know being flexible really helps keep a meal plan alive.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Bravo! (And boy do I miss haggis!)

katiez said...

I was just kind of skimming the menu... thinking, yeah, that's good, I like that, yup, then I saw the haggis! And the kids liked it? Good for them and you! It's been a long time since I've had it... I'm assuming you didn't make it...or did you?

Trig said...

You should email Hugh FW, Amanda. It's a great argument against the "I can't afford to eat organic and free-range food" nonsense that he kept coming up against making the Chicken Out programme.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi Quellia, thanks!

CC, yeah, we love it too! I wonder if Germany has an equivelant.

Hi Katie, I know! We were really amazed and sat watching while they took their first mouthfull.

Hi Trig, That's a good idea. It was easy enough if I'm honest, only part that didn't inspire me was the trying to stick to a meal plan.

Thank you for your comments.
Amanda x


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