Do You Budget For Your Meals? What’s Your Weekly Planning Secret..?

I’d love to hear what people do when it comes to their household shop. Don’t be shy. Please share what works. Are you the type of person who flies by the seat of your pants and wings it every day? Buying food on a whim , depending on what your taste buds are calling for? Are you a strict planner, who knows exactly what your weekly menu will be and you don’t spend a penny over your list? Or, are you like me? Someone who does a large weekly shop based on what I think I may cook, plus a bit extra on the side that takes my fancy. And then a little bit extra on top of that for the spare freezer (just in case!). Someone who then pops out to the shops to buy some extra bananas & accidentally spends £32.47? I decided to take a deeper look at where my money is spent. The usual bills, kids clubs, gym membership etc but I was absolutely gobsmacked by the billions of times I pop into various supermarkets on a weekly basis, in addition to my weekly food shop!!! I must seriously love a supermarket! The odd £23 here, £3.42 there, then another £17 here and oops, another £6.75 here….it goes on. crazy!!! Am I alone? Do you go out for milk and return home with a hedge strimmer (minus the milk!)?

I therefore thought it might be a good idea to start planning my weekly shopping a bit better (everyone raves on about it, after all!). In doing so, I’ve found a nifty online tool which compares the supermarkets (uk – but must have similar in other countries) & offers the option of swaps and switches to reduce the cost of your shopping basket. I decided to go for it.

http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/?banner=35311&utm_medium=email&utm_source=affiliate&utm_campaign=MoneySavingExpert&utm_content=MoneySavingExpert

On average, our weekly shopping bill ranges from £97 – £134. Plus all the extras my husband and I buy in addition to this. Of course, it does differ & we need wiggle room. Is it the type of week where all the detergents need purchasing, do we have guests over, what’s the wine store looking like etc? Based on a good look through my cupboards and Fridge Freezer before I sat down to write my list, I’ve decided to be strict on myself and go for an £80 budget this week. I’m slightly scared. My shopping pattern does vary, especially if I’m a bit hungry whilst zooming around the aisles! And don’t even mention kids! If they come with me, it really does sky rocket with my little ones in tow!

As you may know from previous posts, we had a bit of an adventure with our youngest when it came to trying new food. See the posts here:

https://mumsinreallifecouk.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/synopsis-of-a-5-day-healthy-eating-plan-for-kids/

I really do try to engage the whole family when it comes to meal times, it works for us and has really given my youngest a little voice when it comes to dinner.

We therefore roughly decided on a menu (personally I find it helpful with my youngest. If it’s been agreed, then it’s much easier for me to negotiate when said dinner appears and the reaction is like I’ve dished up dogs doo doo!) . We’re still trying to try new meals (as you may know, I LOVE food and quite frankly dinner times were becoming tedious!). Here’s the menu for the week:

Now, I’m quite a conscious shopper. I always try to buy local where possible and to support farmers. I also care about recycling. Let’s see how I get on.

Now time to shop! I did the online comparison, and whilst all comparisons weren’t available, it became clear that the shop of the week for my needs was Aldi. This was ok, because I didn’t need all my other preferred brands (laundry powder, dishwasher tablets, shampoos etc) that Aldi doesn’t stock. Phew!

Off I went on my merry way. I got most of what I needed (and a few extras – I just can’t help it!) but wasn’t able to buy Sesame seed oil or Sesame seeds. I also swapped Sea Bream to Sea Bass. That’ll mean a trip to Tesco then (because it’s the nearest to me). Also, I didn’t buy any alcoholic beverages. I was so shocked when the time came to pay – £75.95!!

I was pretty pleased, I didn’t even compromise on my cuts of meats. For example, it would’ve been cheaper to buy less lean mince, but I stuck to my guns and bought the normal 5% Fat lean mince I always buy. I was able to buy a lot of British food, so that was fab. What I did notice, was the amount of packaging that the fruit & veg came in. Understandable when it’s travelling so far, but is it necessary? But this is for another blog.

I will probably need more fruit & milk as the week goes on, get through it faster than the click of a finger!!

Here are my fares:

I was pretty pleased with myself. Not a hedge strimmer in sight! Go me.

The food, ingredients and methods will be posted as I go along. Wish me luck with the Sea bass and fingers crossed it all gets enjoyed, I’m not a fan of waste 🤞🏻

PS: If you are shopping in Aldi for the first time…TIP: at the tills you bundle everything back into the trolley as soon as it’s scanned and pack afterwards once you’ve paid 👍🏻

No more messy spoon marks on your worktops!

Here at Mums In Real Life, we use the hanging hook on our pans to hold our spoons! Very random, but it’s a bit of a cleaning hack as we don’t need to clean the kitchen tops 👍🏻

Got any helpful hacks to help us out? Here at Mums In Real Life we’re always keen to hear any helpful hints!

Please comment or email us at:

hello@mumsinreallife.co.uk

The Results Are In…Saturday Night Curry

Carly settled on Saturday night takeaway theme for our MIRL dinner, perfect for a night in with friends. In true Carly style, she made it ALL herself. If you’ve never tried making your own Indian dishes then you really should – they are amazing! Fragrant, warm, spicy and unbelievably fresh. No trace of any nasties.

I think it’s fair to say that Carly knows how to throw a brilliant dinner. Cue 8 adults, 10 children and two kittens – it all made for a lovely (noisy) night in with friends.

For the children, she made her classic Pepperoni Pizza which always goes down a storm with the children. For adults she made a warm and spicy Lamb Balti, tasty Chicken Tandoori and a gorgeous Vegetable Curry with aubergine and lentils. I ate a lot of the Vegetable Curry, it was perfection (thanks to our friends at Lennards of Covent Garden for the amazing veg box).

And, as with all good dinner parties – the guests all contributed too. Naan, Poppadum (freshly made at dinner by the newly crowned ‘Poppadum King’), Mango Chutney, Cucumber Raita and Kachumber Salad. Delish!

Spiced Vegetable Curry with lentils and aubergine Poppadum courtesy of the newly acclaimed ‘Poppadum Man’

Watch this space for the recipe cards, they’ll be here really soon!

Tahlia x

Dopiaza Date Night

If you are looking for a curry to make this weekend, check this out. Full of fragrance and very simple to make, this gets the thumbs up!

For the main Dopiaza dish, I gently fried 500g of cubed lamb, 2 onions (quartered), a baby leaf, Cinnamon and green cardamom in 2 tbsp of oil and 20g of butter.

I turned the heat up high, for about 15 mins until the onions were really brown, soft and sticky.

Next up, I whizzed a chopped onion, 4 cloves of garlic and 1tbsp of fresh ginger in a blender along with some cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, green cardamom, black pepper and some cloves into a smooth (ish) paste.

I added this to the lamb and cooked for 5-7 mins until the water had evaporated.

Finally, I added 200ml of cold water, put a lid on the pan and simmered for about 40 minutes.

Whilst the curry was simmering away, I then made up the Riata dip. So simple! So tasty and very easy.

I blended mint leaves, a huge chunk of coriander, some green chilli, half of a lemon juice in with some yogurt. Done ✅

As a side dish I made Bombay potatoes. I part boiled some quartered potatoes, then gently fried them in oil with onions, cherry tomatoes, cumin, turmeric and chillies. I added a few splashes of water and then added spinach.

Now time for the Chapatis. I used Plain flour, olive oil and water and formed into a smooth dough. I left the dough mixture on the side for 5 minutes to prove and then divided into 8 pieces.

Then I rolled them into balls and flattened.

When I was ready, I heated a frying pan and lightly greased it. I cooked the Chapatis for 30 seconds on each side and then served everything up, garnishing with Coriander and some fresh chillies.

I’ll put the recipe card up as soon as I can. Give it a go 👍🏻