Grocery Shop and Menu, vol. 1

I used to love make-up and clothes hauls, but now grocery and household hauls are all the rage for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old or because my consumption focus has shifted to food, but… yeah. Here’s what I bought this week, and what I intend to cook with it.

What I Bought

Hellooooo, fresh produce. Always the star of the show. Here we have tomatoes, cucumbers, and patty pan from my father’s neighbours, and fruit (peaches, nectarines, bananas, and a melon) I bought at the supermarket. I might end up buying some more fruit and fresh veg throughout the week.

Some frozen veg, because buying these fresh (except for carrots, those are for pure convenience, I rarely get them) would be more expensive, plus I probably wouldn’t use them all up in time, and they would go to waste. Here we have baby carrots, green beans, spinach, button mushrooms, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Protein and dairy. Cat (not a recent purchase; not for consumption), minced chicken, eggs, oat milk, and plain yoghurt. Usually I buy more protein, but I a) have been cutting out meat to save some money; b) did not find the brand of chicken I usually buy (GMO feed and antibiotics (probably not…) free). I also think I finally found a brand of eggs I’m happy with. They’re more expensive, but it looks like they treat their hens better. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t think they frolic in the fields, but they get better feed at least.

Condiments and carbs. Rolled oats, buckwheat, quince marmalade, spices (three types peppers, some mixes, granulated garlic), and two boxes pasta (was 1/3 cheaper than usual, might actually go back and buy some more to stock up).

Bread, beans in tomato sauce, chickpeas, cat (still not for consumption).

And here’s some household and personal care things, because why ever not. Hypoallergenic detergent, dish washing liquid (says it’s eco, but I’ve never used it before and haven’t researched the brand, so I can’t vouch for that – bought it because it was the cheapest ‘green’ one on the local market), Frosch fabric softener (my favourite to date), toothpaste (haven’t tried before).

I’m working on making a transition towards all ecological/ biodegradable household products, but it will be a while in the making, because these things are 3+ times more expensive than the usual fare. I started with dish washing liquid. Actually, I started with fabric softener ages ago, because Frosch is the only one I can use, others are too strongly scented and give me headaches.

What’s Cooking

I’m working on meal planning to reduce food waste (both for the purposes of economy and ecology), but for now these tentative lists of meals will have to do.

Breakfast

  • eggs
  • toast with marmalade
  • oat porridge (probably water-based)
  • buckwheat (with milk if I can be arsed to buy it later in the week)

Snacks

  • fruit
  • oat porridge
  • semolina porridge (again, if I can be arsed to buy milk or make some from the powder milk I have at home – or maybe I’ll use sweetened condensed I already have opened, we’ll see)
  • pancakes (need to use up some milk and kefir that’s gone off a bit)

Dessert & Drinks

  • compote
  • oat milk
  • tea, decaf coffee
  • banana nice cream
  • smooooootthiiieeessss
  • pancakes with fruit and condensed milk
  • pancakes with berry syrup (have some frozen berries that need using up)
  • peaches quickly fried with butter served with yoghurt
  • vanilla & cocoa cake in the microwave

Lunch

  • chickpeas with veg
  • green beans with lemon and garlic (this)
  • bread with veg salad and boiled egg
  • pasta with tomato & chicken mince sauce OR chicken meatballs, not sure yet
  • stir-fry from frozen veg and shrooms over rice
  • something with potatoes (have some in the fridge from last week’s shop, need to use up)

Supper

  • beans on toast
  • spinach omelette
  • fried courgette (have some in the fridge) and patty pans
  • courgette fritters
  • potato/ carrot/ orzo/ chicken stock soup (I’ve got all of that in the fridge/ freezer, need to use up)

Breakfast and snacks (and sometimes dessert) are usually interchangeable for me, and so are lunches and suppers. So I might end up eating courgette with buckwheat for lunch, for example, and pasta or stir-fry for supper.

The hardest for me to plan are usually breakfasts and snacks, because they need to be easily transportable and preferably consumable at my desk at work, which sets some limits on them. Like, yoghurt is easy to transport, but I can’t eat yoghurt at my desk (we’re not allowed), and toast with marmalade is a pain to transport. So although toast with marmalade is easier to make than, say, porridge, I usually go for porridge, because that can be made the night before and then eaten hot or cold in the office kitchen 3 minutes before my shift starts, which gives me 10-15 additional minutes of free time in the morning.

Weekly Treat: a proper hot chocolate.

Whether your austerity is artificial or dictated by circumstance, it is necessary to set aside even as little as £1 a week to give yourself a little treat, lest you grow bitter or end up binging. I try to set aside approximately £2 for frivolous things. Living in a low wage country means that these £2 can get me several fun things. I usually indulge in one, and then accumulate the rest towards either savings or forthcoming treats.

hot choc

This week’s treat is a mug of proper hot chocolate. Mmm. I already had milk, cocoa, and sweetener, so all that was needed were some marshmallows and a candy cane.

I sat down with the last of the Christmas cookies and my notebooks to clear my head and plan. Setting time aside to journal is a treat of its own, and combined with overindulgent dessert it was something else entirely.

hot chocolate and journalling

Taking multiple pictures of essentially the same subject for a single post isn’t my usual MO, but man, I couldn’t resist.

hot chocolate and cookies

I mean, just look at the thing!

hot choc close-up

Look at it.

On a related note, marshmallows have become an obsession all on their own. This is my fourth brand. Can’t decide which one I like more. Might just have to buy them all for a thorough comparison~

Weekly Treat: Ciabatta with Sheep Milk Cheese.

Even when you’re saving money/ getting in shape/ getting rid of all but necessities, it’s important to give yourself a bit of a frivolous treat from time to time. I’m a little bit precise, to the point of being rigid, so my fun is budgeted in. My goal is not to go over £2 a week in local currency equivalent — occasional outing with friends notwithstanding — with any money left rolled over to next week.

This week’s treat is food related.

ciabatta

 

I discovered this bread by chance when dining at friends, and it’s become my favourite from the first bite. It’s available in a local supermarket chain that I shop at most often, but it’s a bit on the expensive side for me, so I only get it as a special treat.

This ciabatta is so good that I eat it for breakfast without any addition whatsoever. It’s important to exercise self-control, because even though the loaf is huge, I could easily eat at least half in one go. Mmm, carbs~

Are you treating yourself this week? What’s your treat?

ciabatta with sheep milk cheese