There’s something so comforting about a bowl of hot stew in winter. Perfect on it’s own or served with some freshly buttered bread.
But the best thing about it is it really is a budget meal! It’s nearly grocery day so im trying to use up what we’ve got in the fridge and I found a bag of sizzle steak…. It’s not exactly the kind of bbq weather that you’d normally use sizzle steak for so I decided to get creative with it and use it for this budget winter stew.
I chopped the steak in to small pieces and popped it in to the bottom of the slow cooker on high for 4 hours. On top of that I added 2 large diced Potatos, 1 large diced sweet potato, 1 large diced carrot, 1/2 jar tomato pasta sauce I found in the fridge, wistershire sauce, and some water. Then about 1.5 hours before dinner I added diced pumpkin, 1 large diced zuchinni and some gravy powder to thicken it all. I also turned the slow cooker down to low.
I love no fuss meals like this so are easy to make and serve heaps! There was enough for dinner and lunches too. And all for only around $5!
I’d love to hear others favourite slow cooker meals too.
It’s no secret to those who know me I LOVE baking! Cooking I can be hit & miss according to hubby, but baking is definitley my thing (ok well also according to the husband – apart from sponge cake… I don’t know how but every sponge cake I try to make is a serious fail haha).
Anyway back on track, I love baking! And these muffins are some of my fav! They’re so easy to make and taste great! They’re also perfect for kids to get involved in and they’re perfect to use up leftover fruit that the kids half eat lol.
All you need is the 75c homebrand cake mixes from Coles & Woolies etc and a few standard ingredients already in most households.
Make up the cake mix as per the instructions (it says to use 2 eggs but I find making them for muffins I only need to use the 1). Then add in any variety of ingredients you like!
Some popular ones here are:
• Banana/cinnamon – add 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder & 1-2 soft mashed bananas to the mix
• Apple/cinnamon – as above however with 1-2 grated or diced apples
So after being in a high of last fortnight a shop coming in at $201, I was a bit dissapointed at this fortnights being $255 plus we still have to get dog food.
that being said I did have to get Nappies ($11 from Woolies), detergent ($3.50 on sale at coles) and laundry liquid ($12 – not on sale however, I like the dissolvable capsules as I find them the most cost effective as they’re “portion controlled” and there’s no chance of over using them. Normally I get them on sale however there were none today, but I got the most for the least amount of money and im trying out a new brand so we’ll see how they turn out). And these are things that do add up when it comes to groceries.
For Nappies I do normally use MCNs (modern cloth Nappies) when at home. I use disposables for going out and bed time. Going full cloth is a tricky option for some so I go half/half. I totally get also why though cloth can be off putting but once you get into a routine with it, it’s so much easier!
Once they’re clean and washed, when I am putting all the Nappies away I put liners inside them all, fold them over and stack them all up so they’re ready to go. I use 2 liners in each at a time too so you can get longer than 30 mins out of each one (probably 2 hours) which saves having to wash so many. When washing I wash wet ones in our normal wash and dirty ones seperate.
With washing try not to tumble dry them, especially those with a waterproof lining as this can ruin it and they won’t work as well. I peg the shells (the fabric part you see) inside out in the sun. The liners I also peg out the sun too. The sun is actually a natural bleach and if you can peg them out in the morning and leave them there the whole day they’ll get a good dose of that germ killing sunlight on them!
I probably have about 25 MCNs but I also do washing every day. I would say I only use about 6-8 of them a day.
I don’t have any particular favourite or brand I really like. The “China cheapies” are good for starters caz you can get them cheap for around $6-$8 each on ebay and their lining generally has a PUL or similar kinda fabric so I find they don’t leak all that much.
I’ve also got some itti bittis which are good caz they’re sized so they fit bub a bit better and there’s no clipping and unclipping snaps to adjust sizes. They’re so nice and soft too with a velvet/minky feel to them.
I’ve also got a few baby bee-hinds and homemade ones which I’ve collected over the years.
If you can get into the hang of them and get the chance to wash reguarly then MCNs really are a great money saver and they’re a lot better for the environment too!
When I first started trying to find ways to save money on our groceries I was blown away by suggestions that people had.
Some were great and some wouldn’t work for us, and that’s totally ok because every family & household are soooo different!
But I started to take notes of and save some so that Id be able to remember them in future. The pictures above (sorry I cant work out how to copy & paste the hints in here yet so I have to take screen shots instead) are just some of the things I do and refer to, to help save money on our fortnightly groceries.
i think if I had to choose 1 thing to share, it would be. Make sure you have always used up the meat in your freezer and the staples like eggs & beans before buying more.
I can’t tell you how many times over the years we’ve done a “bulk shop” for meat only to go out again a few weeks later and buy more. We haven’t used up what is already there and as such you accumulate food and it just sits there. Now yes it may be frozen, but do you really know how long that bag has been sitting there in the freezer for? Or how long that tin was sitting on the shelves for at the shops before you purchased it?
it may take getting creative with your meals, coming up with new ideas. But it’ll feel much better knowing you’ve got fresh food in the fridge and freezer for meals. Unless the bulk meat i’m buying I really would use reguarly, I just wouldn’t buy.
Also things like eggs are so versatile for brekky, lunch & dinner! So I always make sure we have heaps of eggs here. Brekky you can have things like the obvious eggs on toast, lunch you could have a BLT sandwich or wrap with egg on it for added protein to fill you, dinner you can have quiche or frittata (which is fantastic for throwing random veggies in that you need to use up and it bulks it up too which is great for leftovers). And ofcourse they’re essential for baking. I love getting the homebrand 75c cake mixes and adding diced up fruit, oats, choc chips, coconut etc to them. They’re such a cheap snack and you can make so many different flavours to suit your family! Plus you can make them dairy free by using soy/almond milk and olive or coconut oil instead of butter.
Now I know there’s always a debate about caged eggs and free range. I do try buy free range as often as possible if they’re on special, but unfortunately they are so much more expensive. Which sucks caz yes they are from chooks with better homes and as such they’re better for us too. So in regards to eggs that’s a personal choice for you and your family to choose what kind you like to purchase.
These are just a few suggestions to help lower your grocery bill. I’ll add more as I think of them.
The groceries you’ll see in my profile picture were all up… $201!
after becoming a Stay At Home Mum after baby number 2 (apart from working for 6 months for the bank to be happy and us to be able to buy a house – that’s a blog post I’ll do another day), I decided I wanted to help us to save as much as I could and to show our kids the happiest life we could, with them appreciating the small things and knowing that everything in life does come at a cost.
after baby number 3 came, I decided to really knuckle down and work on our budget. For most people, the easiest way to save money is to reduce the cost of their groceries. Which is what I did.
back when my husband and I were both working full time we could EASILY spend $300 a week plus extra trips to the shops for stuff we forgot. It was insane how much we used to spend when I think about it now! We ate well, really well. As in a lot of take away, coffee, treats and meals out… But not a lot to show for it. When we did groceries we’d come home and throw away fruit & veg we had forgotten about and left overs hiding (and growing… ewww!) in the back of the fridge. We wasted sooo much money. And that was with only 1 child!
So when I got our groceries in at $201 this fortnight I was literally exploding at the seams with excitement over it!!
Now I will admit this shop was a treat shop. I’ve been stricter lately but there was some great specials that I got for the kids and hubby. Ie 90c packets of chips and $2 packets of special cookies we love. Normally I try make all the sweet things but I decided at that price why not get a few bargain treats.
This shop didn’t include baby nappies as I didn’t need any (I use cloth during the day unless im going out or going to school) or toilet paper. I also had to get $15 of fruit & veg on the weekend. But we still came in under budget!
So in my next post I’ll share a list of ideas, hints & tips I use to help reduce our grocery shop and save time at home when cooking and hopefully help you all out too.