• A full belly is a happy belly

    I’m sitting here rubbing my tummy with glee (sort of); I love when BF throws together epic meals like the one we just had!

    I should have taken a photo…grr. He made surf and turf with steak, prawns, mushrooms and onions (stir fried with a pinch of soy sauce) and a bit of KFC potato and gravy on the side (a weakness we both share…).

    Much as I loved the prawns, it was the mushrooms I wolfed down! One of my favourite fall back dishes was born from a desperate weekend brunch consisting of leftovers – toss in onions, mushrooms and canned tomatoes, and even better if potatoes can be incorporated somehow.

    We went to Countdown for the first time in a couple of months and made it out at $130. Which was pretty good considering what we bought – lots of meat, a few splurges and even some produce. This week we’re having nachos, chili, chicken giouvetsi, and fried cabbage.

    Standouts (in a good way): Cabbage half, 1.85; capsicum, 99c; 24 prawn cutlets, 5.03 (we don’t normally eat THIS well!!);500g brown sugar, 1.25; Nature’s Fresh bread, 2 for $5 (now we’re eating two loaves a week, I usually get name brand as there’s virtually always a 2 for $4 or 2 for $5 deal on); Select chilli beans, 1.59.

    Standouts (bad): “Breakfast” mushroom pack, 4.98; Raro, 1.79, Home brand milk 4.75 (thirty cents cheaper at PnS, get with it Progressive!!)

  • Saturday spending

    7.27 at Foodtown for eggs, milk and a lightbulb.

    3.00 at Unichem to pick up my pill prescription

    19.90 for a stick on silicone bra – this one really annoyed me! They used to be $10. I know I had one, but must have lost it in the move last year. Now I need one for upcoming parties, and was planning to pick one up on TradeMe, but only if I could get it for less than $10. I didn’t try hard enough, and went to buy one at the mall, only to find their price had doubled. Oh well.

    10.50 for a book (via TradeMe) for friend’s birthday present next week.

    Total: 40.67. Crikey.

  • Grocery shopping

    Assessing the damage….

    $147 for this week, so I was pretty close on guessing $150 at the checkout. I figured anything under that would be okay. considering it included a 5.50 carpet cleaner, $10 razors and $6 shaving cream for BF, I think we did pretty well.

    Here’s what we’re having for dinners this week:

    Lemon/basil pasta

    Lemon/basil pasta

    Chicken fried rice

    Peanut satay burgers x2

    Lemon and basil pasta

    Sausages with peas and corn

    Chicken/sour cream tortilla bake


  • Sticker shock

    I think Saturday has become our default shopping day. It used to be Sunday, but somewhere along the line we started running out of food earlier in the week and now need to buy food by Saturday. Today we went to the Lim Asian supermarket in Mt Albert, and I love it! It was inspiring – all the sauces and gravies, all the different spices and world flavours….it actually got me excited to food shop! We got SO much for $50….and then we swept through Pak n Save, expecting to come out happy as Larry, because we didn’t need much after getting our meat and veg.

    HAH! Apparently not. We spent $150, instead of our usual $120. Was I gutted! I freaked out at the checkout

    But I figured I really need to get a grip and stop being so depressed about going over budget. Realistically, if we want to eat remotely well, it’s going to cost more. I need to rework the budget. Sure there’ll be weeks when we eat pasta, and nachos with beans, and chili, but weeks like this we want to make stew (which includes produce, which jacks up our bill) and curries and so forth. And we just can’t do that on $120. (Plus I want to start eating better lunches once in awhile. I thought mac and cheese was an acceptable lunch, but apparently not! But you know, a girl at work was heating up chicken nuggets one lunchtime, so at least I’ve never got that bad.)

    We also got way overcharged at the checkout for my Nice and Natural muesli bars. Now, they were on one of those massive aisle end displays for 2.79. There were two kinds of bars, original, and the sweet and salty (or whatever it’s called). I snagged the second kind. They came through at 3.69 on checkout. The girl made a call, told me that it was only the ORIGINAL flavour on special, and got a guy to run and bring me one of the boxes that WAS on special. He was there in a tick, beaming and holding it out to me. Except by then I’d had so much time to freak out over the fact that we were $30 over budget, and I couldn’t work out why, that I just brushed him off and told them to forget it.

    Seriously, if you advertise something at 2.79, MAKE it 2.79! There were a TON of the new flavour on that display, so they should honour it or take them off the shelf.

    Here’s some of what we bought at the Asian supermarket, and some of what we got at Pak n Save.

    6pk pork buns                         7.70
    550g pork mince                  4.96 (8.99kg)
    870g chuck steak                7.86 (8.99kg)
    410g diced beef                    4.55 (10.99kg)
    390g pork rump                  3.52 (8.99kg)
    Onions – 1 bag                      1.49
    Leek                                         1.30
    Parsnips                                2.99kg
    Shanghai veg                      49c bunch
    Honeydew                           1.89
    2 Royal Gala apples         28c (89c/kg)
    500ml Lee Kum Kee soy sauce 2.99
    Spare rib sauce 350g                  4.90

    Some ridiculously good prices!

    At the supermarket…

    Norths bread                            2 for $3
    Budget coco puffs                  4.29
    Sealord tuna, plain               1.99
    Pams fruit salad                     1.29
    Just creamed corn               1.09
    Watties pasta sauce             1.69
    1L Just Juice                          1.75
    12 Farmer Brown eggs       4.00
    Beef stock                                 1.89
    Coconut milk                          1.49
    10 Pams tortillas                  3.95
    1kg jasmine rice                    2.99
    Watties soup                          2.59
    Green curry paste                99c
    Kraft peanut butter             1.99
    Self raising flour 1.5kg       3.59
    750g cheese                          5.99
    3L milk                                     4.45
    680g kumara chips             3.99
    1kg potato mash                  4.95
    Flora margarine                   2.79
    Pams fresh ravioli             3.29

    On the upside, we should eat fairly well this week and our cupboards are stuffed full.

    BF is funny. He started talking about how he would just eat noodles for lunch all week, and how he’d make Two Piece meals like he’d seen on Oprah. I’m still not sure what he was on about, but apparently it’s a way of cooking, designed for people who’ve just moved out on their own/into the city/something like that. How sweet of him.

  • Price book

    I’m seriously considering giving up keeping a price book.

    The original idea was to get an idea of what things cost, and what rock bottom prices are, and the sale cycles.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t noticed much of a pattern. Maybe it’s a New Zealand thing. Maybe our sales are more sporadic and based on supply and demand. Sometimes items stay on sale for weeks at a time…and it’s rare to see a significant discount on anything.

    I should probably sit down one day and rearrange all the products so they line up with each other. At the mo they are entered as shown in order on the receipt. I’ve tried to get around this by colour coding some of our most frequently purchased items, but it’s a headache.

    What have I learned from my price book? Not much, except that cheese and milk are getting cheaper, slowly. And that Countdown still hasn’t lowered its dairy prices at all. The difficulty of keeping a price book’s been compounded by the fact that

    a) we split our shopping between two supermarkets. One is generally a little cheaper but has less variety.

    b) the receipting systems are different. One shows if things are on special, and how much has been saved (ie, the original sticker price, and the amount discounted). Makes it a pain to work out what we actually paid, but shows how much we saved as well. Also, sometimes items don’t scan with a very detailed name and it’s hard to remember what they actually were.

    c) meat and veges are hard to account for. They don’t scan with the price per kilo (obviously it’s printed on the packs). But on the receipts, you only see the total price paid. I can remember these off the top of my head sometimes, but not always. And, we often shop for meat and product separately (at the veg shop and the butcher). Keeping track of those, well, is hopeless.

    Any thoughts?