authentic living

September Grocery Budget Challenge: Week 3

September Grocery Budget Challenge: Week 3

Hello Friends!

Welcome back to my September Grocery Budget Challenge, I can’t believe we are in week three, where is the month going!

If you missed out on week one and two, you can find them here:

For a quick re-cap, I’ve set myself a challenge to drop our grocery budget to $120 per week for groceries AND household needs (i.e. washing detergent) without sacrificing food quality and sustainability. I am a big believer in cooking from scratch and consuming wholefoods that nourish you from the inside out. To achieve this goal I have been utilising meal planning, zero food waste principles, focusing on wholefoods and getting creative with what I’m cooking. For reference, Nathan and I live about an hour out of Melbourne CBD (Australia) and $120 is a challenge for us without being too unrealistic, previously we were spending over $200 per week on groceries for the two of us!

So without further ado, let’s get into it.

This week’s grocery shop

For the third week of September, my grocery shop came in at $134.46 which is only $14.46 over budget, much better than last weeks attempt! I also used some of the protein money for the month to buy the chicken, fish and eggs so that is not included in the $134 total. I take out $100 in cash at the beginning of the month and use it to purchase any animal protein we need throughout the month. We follow a predominantly vegetarian diet, we have only incorporated animal products since I became pregnant and I will only buy from local butchers and farms. It’s week three and this is the first time I have used any of it for the month of September.

I had to stock up on some more essentials this week, mainly olive oil and coconut oil. I also grabbed some things that were on special which I didn’t actually need such as the organic quinoa, organic canned tomatoes and extra coconut milk and almond milk. If I didn’t do this I probably would have come in under budget (for once!).

I have included a break down below of what I purchased and where!

Local Green Grocer – $55.56

  • Whole Butternut Pumpkin x 3.5kg
  • Brown Onion x 750g
  • Fresh Ginger x 125g
  • Ground Coriander
  • Pink Lady Apples x 2kg
  • Pak Choy x 1 bunch
  • Carrots x 345g
  • Sweet Potato x 1.57kg
  • Leeks x 1 bunch
  • Lebanese Cucumbers x 350g
  • Bananas x 1.8kg
  • Purple Garlic x 1 bulb
  • Avocado x 1kg
  • Zucchini x 245g
  • Broccoli x 865g
  • Green Capsicum x 500g
  • Red Capsicum x 265g
  • Fresh Coriander x 1 bunch
  • Chinese Cabbage x 660g
  • Baby Spinach x 500g
  • Tomatoes x 630g
  • Strawberries x 2 punnets
  • Blueberries x 1 punnet

Aldi – $37.96

  • Organic Milk
  • Organic Yoghurt
  • Vanilla Yoghurt
  • Apple and Mango Juice
  • Flavoured Tuna x 4
  • Sardines x 2 (for the dogs)
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Organic Quinoa
  • Choc Chip Cookies
  • WeetBix
  • Rye Bread

Woolworths – $34.40

  • Cobram Estate Olive Oil
  • Earth Choice Laundry Liquid
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk x 2
  • Canned Coconut Milk x 2
  • Organic Diced Tomatoes x 3
  • Organic Soba Noodles
  • Sharp Parmesan Cheese
  • Peppermint Tea

Coles – $6.54

  • Tuna in Springwater x 2
  • Lindt Dark Chocolate x 2

Protein (not included in $120 budget)

  • Chicken Breast from local butcher x 1
  • Fresh Salmon Fillet from local seafood supplier x 2
  • Dozen Free Range Eggs (from family run local farm)

Meal Plan for the Third Week of September

Week Commencing 15/09/19
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Breakfast Organic sourdough toast with peanut butter or Vegemite and butter Kiah: Overnight oats with natural yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, fresh berries and chopped walnuts

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Kiah: Overnight oats with natural yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, fresh berries and chopped walnuts

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Kiah: Green smoothie made with frozen bananas, fresh spinach, hemp seeds, tropeaka protein powder, natural peanut butter, almond milk, water and ice

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Kiah: Overnight oats with natural yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, fresh berries and chopped walnuts

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Kiah: Overnight oats with natural yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds, fresh berries and chopped walnuts

Nathan: Weetbix with honey and milk

Toast with eggs or oats with leftover fruit
Morning Tea Coffee with Karolina at Conscious Cravings Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Kiah: Homemade apple and cinnamon muffin, raw almonds and cup of tea

Nathan: Vanilla yoghurt and piece of fruit

Leftover fruit and cup of tea
Lunch Lunch with Jake and Karolina Quinoa, pumpkin and lentil salad with tahini dressing (tri-coloured quinoa, cooked brown lentils, roasted butternut pumpkin, spinach, cucumber, tomato and avocado) Quinoa, pumpkin and lentil salad with tahini dressing (tri-coloured quinoa, cooked brown lentils, roasted butternut pumpkin, spinach, cucumber, tomato and avocado) Toasted sandwich Kiah: Sweet potato soup from freezer
Nath: Vegetable lentil soup from freezer
Tuna salad (tuna, spinach, cucumber, tomato, sunflower seeds) Leftovers from the week
Afternoon Tea Raw nuts, fresh fruit and cup of tea Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Kiah: Natural Babybel cheese round and an apple

Nathan: Homemade banana muffin and piece of fruit

Leftover homemade muffin
Dinner Fresh Salmon fillet (baked) with stir fried Asian greens and rice Chicken and vegetable stir fry (using leftover veggies and one chicken breast) Sweet potato chickpea and spinach curry with soba noodles Sweet potato chickpea and spinach curry with soba noodles Lemon, pea and spinach risotto (add in any other veg on sale) Lemon, pea and spinach risotto (add in any other veg on sale) Date night/takeaway
Dessert Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea Dark chocolate and cup of tea



Breakfast

Breakfast was the usual affair once again, I have overnight oats most days and as the weather gets warmer I’m starting to incorporate my favourite smoothies again. Nathan is quite happy with his WeetBix, honey and milk with a glass of juice. On the weekend we have toast just to change it up a bit (plus I love toast!). I needed to buy the milk, almond milk, plain yoghurt, WeetBix, berries and juice for breakfasts, the remaining ingredients I had on hand.

Lunch

Lunches this week were a bit all over the place! I had planned on meal prepping quinoa, pumpkin and brown lentil salad bowls – which I did and we ate them on Monday. However we then had leftover stir fry that we needed to eat so we both took that on Tuesday, we ended up having toasted sandwiches Wednesday, another quinoa, pumpkin and brown lentil salad bowl on Thursday and then soup from the freezer on Friday. I cooked the lentils from scratch (I always keep dried lentils in the pantry) and we had enough quinoa, lentils and pumpkin to make three salads each, so I put the other two servings in the freezer for next week. I only used half of the pumpkin for the salad bowls as it was HUGE so I roasted the other half of the pumpkin and scooped the flesh into a glass container and popped it into the freezer, I’ll use this to make my delicious mushroom and pumpkin risotto (recipe here) in a few weeks time.

Saturday lunch I had something that most people probably cringe at but my mum used to eat it when I was younger and it’s surprisingly good (plus I’m trying to make sure I’m getting my Omega-3s). I had Brunswick Sardines in Olive Oil on toast with natural tomato sauce and melted cheese, and served some sliced apple on the side and a cup of tea. It was amazing (don’t judge me haha).

Dinner

I tend to plan to cook 3-4 nights per week, the nights in between we have leftovers, this works well for us as it is easy, saves us time, reduces dishes and minimises food waste. One night we’ll usually have fish, we might have meat another night and the rest of our meals are vegetarian or vegan.

Sunday night we had fresh salmon fillets which I marinated in a fresh ginger, garlic, honey, soy and chilli dressing and baked in the oven for 20 minutes. We served these with stir fried veggies (pak choy, carrot, green capsicum, red capsicum and broccoli) using the remaining marinade and some quinoa. A delicious and easy Sunday night dinner!

Monday night we came home from work, walked the doggos and threw together a chicken and veggie stir fry, I used Chinese cabbage, onion, carrot, green capsicum, red capsicum and broccoli along with the one chicken breast. I made a stir fry sauce using fresh ginger and garlic, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine and natural hoisin sauce. We served the stir fry on rice with fresh cashew nuts, chopped coriander and sesame seeds. There was enough leftover for us both to take a serving for lunch the following day. (Forgot to take photo – sorry!).

Tuesday night I made this delicious Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach curry by Heidi Sze – it was so easy to throw together and full of flavour, I added a little extra sweet potato, and some fresh curry leaves I had in the fridge from a couple of weeks ago and used lemon instead of lime. We served this on organic soba noodles with fresh coriander and black sesame seeds, it was amazing! I definitely recommend this for an easy weeknight dinner.

Wednesday night we got home from work, walked the doggos and had leftover curry from the night before which was even better the next day. When storing soba noodles, you should always store them separate to the curry (or whatever you are serving them with) and to reheat you just immerse them in boiling water for a minute or two and strain. I heated the leftover curry on the stove and when I served it all up it doesn’t even feel like you are eating leftovers!

Thursday night I created this delicious Lemon, Leek and Pea risotto with spinach and Parmesan. When I cleaned out our pantry a couple of weeks back I found a packet of arborio rice that I needed to use so decided that we would be having risotto at some point in September. I have too many lemons on my lemon tree so needed to use some of those and when I went grocery shopping I saw the leeks on special and thought they would make a great addition. The peas I had in the freezer and the spinach is something I always have on hand as we buy 500g (which is a lot) every week to add greens to meals easily. I’ll definitely be putting this one up on the blog!

Friday night we came home from work, walked the doggos and had leftover risotto for dinner, super easy and super delicious! If you are going to reheat risotto, I recommend doing so on the stove and adding a little stock while string to heat through.

Saturday afternoon we went out for coffee at a new restaurant in town, I tried their organic dairy free hot chocolate with almond milk which was amazing.

We then watched the final between Collingwood and GWS (AFL if you are not familiar) unfortunately Collingwood lost, the last quarter was intense though, they fought hard! Once the game finished, it was getting late and it was pretty wet and rainy outside. I really wanted Indian but didn’t want to drive to the next town to get it, so I grabbed the broccoli and zucchini out of the fridge that was leftover from last week and turned it into my own Indian curry – I sent Nathan to the supermarket to grab some naan bread and viola, Indian for dinner but much healthier!

Snacks

Since falling pregnant I have had to snack more than I used to, previously I would have an almond latte as morning tea and a piece of fruit in the afternoon. These days, I take raw almonds and cashews, homemade healthy muffins (I usually make a batch of muffins every Sunday using what fruit we have leftover), fresh fruit and a Babybel natural cheese round. Nathan is somewhat similar although he takes vanilla yoghurt rather than nuts and cheese.

This week I made these Healthy Apple Muffins using leftover apples from the previous week, I had all other ingredients already – they turned out great!

 

I also purchased the apples and bananas as our snack fruit for the week.

At the end of the week I had some leftover sweet potatoes and zucchini so decided to try and make life easier for future me by turning these into a meal for the freezer, I already had lentils, chickpeas and stock on hand so I threw together this sweet potato, lentil and chickpea dahl with zucchini. Dahl freezes really well and it made enough for about five serves so I’ll use that for dinner in the coming weeks.

If you want the recipe for this, I used a combination of this one and this one and kind of made my own adjustments/additions (I can never just follow a recipe haha).

In Summary

Overall week three was a success, only $14 over budget and we had an abundance of good nourishing food that lasted us the week. I tried out some new recipes and Nathan enjoyed eating them! I really recommend giving Heidi’s recipe a go, so yummy and easy!

If you too are looking to cut some money from your grocery budget I hope this has given you some motivation, or at the very least, I hope it has given you some meal ideas and inspired you to do some more cooking from home with fresh ingredients! If you’d like to stay up to date on the remainder of this challenge, feel free to subscribe via email so you receive a notification every time a new post is published.

I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below or over on my Instagram page, maybe you’re trying to cut costs or just looking at ways you can be more sustainable both financially and environmentally, I love chatting about both of these topics.

Until next time, take care!

X Kiah



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