For The Love Of Aldi

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For many many years in the lead up to Christmas, we buy a few extra food bits and pieces for the fast approaching festive season every week in an effort to spread the cost, but for some strange reason this year, we didn’t. It was pretty horrifying to have to do so much damage to our finances in one go, so we headed off to Aldi in an effort to curb our spending and save a few pennies and I was so pleased with our purchases we will definitely be heading there again next year.

Now my hubby is quite an indulgent spender with little thought for the consequences and this year he insisted on a goose, a duck and a turkey crown all of which we bought from Aldi and were as delicious as if they had been from M&S.

The basics also came up trumps with Maris Piper potatoes at 29p per bag, we bought six and our carrots, parsnips and sprouts came from there too! Large boxes of stuffing for 37p mixed up with our sausagement (also Aldi) for our homemade stuffing balls tasted no different than when we have used Paxo in the past.

 

We also bought some budget busting treats, like a box of 18 Macaroons above (frozen section) for £2.99 – a real steal when I pay £1.75 for just one in Lauderee whenever I visit London. They may be a little bit smaller but honestly tasted no different and the Chocolate melt in the middle pudding bought for those that don’t like Christmas Pud went down a treat and was utterly delicious and would of passed as Marks any day of the week. Sadly it disappeared before I got chance to take a picture so I grabbed one from the Aldi website so you know what to look out for next year!

So all in all Aldi was the place to be this Christmas and with a overflowing shopping trolley coming in at £133, our food shop wasn’t quite as painful as I thought it would be!

How did you cut food costs this Christmas?

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Christmas Food On A Budget

£2.66 Christmas dinner served up

I haven’t done much of my Christmas food shopping as yet. All the fresh stuff is left as late as possible and I like to have time to gather as much information as possible as to where the best deals and cheapest products are.  Luckily this year that was all done for me, as I was sitting doing some online food shopping the other day, there was a feature on This Morning with all the information I could possibly need.

Now I know that traipsing to different supermarkets can be a bit of a pain but it is the only way to get the best prices and well worth the planning. You may not wish to visit them all on the same day, maybe choose one that stocks the products you can freeze first followed by those that have the cheapest fresh food nearer to the day.

So if you missed it, here is the list of the best priced food according to This Morning which focused heavily on luxury products:-

Tesco

Large beef roasting joint was £11.00 – now £5.00
1kg Salmon was £24.00 – now £12.00
Seven cheese selection pack, serves 19, was £8.00 – now £4.00

Morrisons

M Signature fruit stuffing parcels, 6 pack £2.99
Chocolate choux crown £3.00
Shellfish platter £5.99
Large fruit panettone £2.00

Sainsbury’s

Prosecco Magnum, serves 12, was £19.50 – now £14.50
Large smoked gammon joint, serves 4, was £6 – now £3.00
Blanc de Blancs champagne £22.50
Taste the Difference mulled wine £6
Fox’s Fabulously Biscuit Selection 600g was £6 – now £4 until 1 January
Cognac laced christmas pudding, serves 8, was £12.00 – now £6.00

Asda

Pierre Darcys Champagne was £24.25, now £10.00
Special bucks fizz smoked salmon, serves 2 , £3.00

ALDI

Vintage manx christmas pudding £12.99
Specially Selected serrano ham leg £34.99
Specially Selected wild lobster tails with garlic butter £9.99
Whole salami with cutting board £3.99

Iceland

Whole cooked canadian lobster, serves 2, £5.00
Winter berry glistening gateau £4.00
Whole cooked canadian lobster £5.00
Apple and red cabbage £1.00

Lidl

Vintage Arestel cava brut £4.99

Whole self-basting turkey with giblets £9.99, Serves 4-8

Brandy butter 200g – deluxe brandy butter £1.59
Allini prosecco de spumante £4.99
Favorina panettone classico £3.99
Pack of 6 oysters £2.79

Deluxe christmas chutneys £1.29 each

The Good Housekeeping Cost of Christmas Survey also features some great prices and show’s that Christmas dinner can actually be served for just £2.66 per head which is actually less than in 2013 due to the battle between retailers and traditional supermarkets. Research found that the cost of feeding eight on Christmas Day could be as little as £21.31 which is the third cheapest basket since the survey began in 2009.

A like-for-like comparison across all 10 leading supermarkets found Iceland was the cheapest, with dinner for eight people costing £27.84, including fresh vegetables.

Fellow discounter and last year’s winner Lidl came second at £28.13, followed by Morrisons (£29.12) and Aldi (£32.06).

Good Housekeeping consumer director Caroline Bloor said: “It’s a constant struggle for many to keep family food bills under control, but the current battle between the traditional supermarkets and the discounters is pulling prices down for everyone – and will continue to do so.

“Even at the most expensive supermarkets there are still bargains to be found, for example Waitrose’s Christmas cake is 49p cheaper than Aldi’s and the cost of potatoes and carrots is broadly the same across all retailers.

The Good Housekeeping £2.66 Christmas dinner ingredients across all supermarkets are:

Turkey: Lidl Braemoor (£9.99);

Potatoes: The Co-operative Maris Piper 1.5kg (£1.50);

Sage and onion stuffing: Morrisons, Asda, Tesco 2x85g (30p);

Sprouts: Aldi 750g (49p);

Carrots: Aldi 1.2kg (49p);

Parsnips: Tesco 750g (90p);

Cranberry sauce: Tesco Everyday Value 185g (50p);

Christmas pudding: Sainsbury’s Basics 2x454g (£2);

Brandy butter: Aldi, Lidl 200g (£1.49);

Mince pies: Sainsbury’s Basics Mince Puffs x 8 (65p);

Christmas cake: Large Iced Fruit Bar 800g (£3).

Will you be shopping around for your festive fayre this year or sticking with just one supermarket?

[Money) A Funny Old Week

Lots of no spend days last week,  in fact although I moaned about my friend saying she would meet me for an all day breakfast at £4.95 with cup of tea included, it turned out to be the only day I actually spent any money!

Mon – No spend.

Tuesday – No spend.

Wednesday – Bus Fare £4, Blow Dry with Junior Training £5, All Day Breakfast £4.95.  Total £13.95.

Thursday – No spend.

Friday – No spend. We don’t do Valentines in this house.

Saturday – No spend.

Sunday – No spend.

Another funny old week of no late night Supermarket bargain hunting and no cheap flowers bought at all last week but I did have a bunch bought by a friend so that saved even more money, thank you S!

I find the easiest way to achieve lots of no spend days is to steer completely clear of the shops!  Once in town and it becomes a different story, I pop into Boots to look on their clearance shelf, I look at clothes, always on the hunt for a bargain, I’m tempted by coffee shops and caramel latte’s so by keeping away from the town centre definitely works for me.  How do you manage to achieve your no spend days and do you have to keep away from the shops to achieve them?

 

[Food] One Pork Joint, Three Tasty Dinners

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I took advantage of the Sainsburys half price on pork joints offer last week and had a delicious roast on Sunday with plenty of leftovers, enough in fact to recreate two tasty dinners.

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First up was the meal I had seen on the Sainsburys TV advert using pork leftovers from their “Live Well  For Less” campaign here.  Upon first looking at the recipe I thought it actually took an awful lot of ingredients, so could work out costly if you didn’t have the items already in the fridge, but luckily for me I did have a butternut squash and two leeks. I didn’t have any pearl barley so substituted this with red lentils.

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The recipe says to use any leftover green veg, I had cauliflower and broccoli but to be honest you could use carrots if you didn’t have or want to buy a butternut squash.

I think it’s important to tweak the recipes to the items you already have in the store cupboard/fridge and not spend out buying anything in,  as this defeats the object of saving money.  I only needed 300g of pork for this and had the same amount if not a little more, left for another meal.

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I toyed with the idea of buying an uncut loaf and making sandwiches with the remaining meat, a bit of pickle and all is well with the world.

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But instead I made the curry or “fry” as it is described, which I have featured in my leftovers page here.

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I had all the ingredients required in the house already, except a green chilli, but I had red so used one of those instead.  Upon eating, it made me realise how quick and easy it is to make something that is actually authentic and packed full of flavour.  It’s just herbs, spices, tomatoes and meat, so from a calorific point of view this can’t possibly be fattening, nor can the Sainsburys leftover pork recipe as it’s just veg, meat and stock, so both these meals get a thumbs up from me and they went down well with the family too!

One joint of pork costing £6.95 fed  a family of four three times this week and bearing in mind that both these dinners can be made using any left over meat, I look forward to finding a half price on lamb deal!

Have you had any tasty meals using leftovers this week?

[Eating Out] 2 meals for £10, Who Knew?

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I have  to admit I had never been to a Brewers Fayre pub/restaurant before and when I was invited out to lunch with a group of girls for a friends birthday, I was a little apprehensive to be honest and really concerned about the money I would spend as I have also been invited out on Sunday to catch up with one  of my best friends who is home for the weekend.

I only had to see the 2 for £10 section of the lunch menu and I soon had a smile on my face.  Everyone  else seemed to be ordering from these specials, so with a glass of pepsi which you can refill as often as you wish, it was a total win, win.

I ordered the fish and chips (well it was Friday) and it was really nice. I liked the look of everything else that was ordered, smothered chicken, curry, sausage and mash etc and even though they also have a small selection of desserts on special also, I was really good and didn’t have one, so spent a grand total of £7.35 and had a good three hours of laughter and chat with friends, priceless.

Brewers  Fayre also do  a loyalty card system where you can swap points for food, certainly worth picking one up if you eat there regularly. Find out more here.

I had allocated £30 for both events this week and to be honest, it is really rare for me to go out twice a month let alone twice in one week.  I will let you know how much I spend on Sunday, I’m hoping to stay on track with the buffet night at the local curry house! Speak soon and have a great  weekend!

[FOOD] This Weeks Great Supermarket Deals

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Just popped into my local co-op to use the cash machine and was impressed with some great offers this week.

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£2.50 for Cheese and £1 for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.

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Half price pork joints and packs of bacon.

20140113-125351.jpgHaving only just done my fortnightly shop I didn’t really need any of the deals but at least I know where to go if I either run low or if any of those items are needed during the next fortnight. I did however, pick up a pizza. Not a fan as a rule, unless it’s from Dominos (although the kids are) but I like to have one in the freezer for emergencies. I tend to throw one in the oven maybe on a Sunday for supper if we have had a fairly early roast and at only £1.50 for a 12inch, it just had to be done!

Sainsbury’s also have pork joints on offer at half price and I picked up my favourite Oat So Simple syrup flavoured porridge for just £1.49 for a large box of 15 sachets. A much better deal than the two boxes of 10 for £4 which is the normal offer most supermarkets run.

Morrisons also have pork joints and loin steaks at half price.

What is it with pork this week?

[FOOD] Homemade Carrot And Coriander Soup – Nutritious, Delicious And Most Importantly Cheap!

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Welcome to my blog and my first blog post of 2014.

Feeling the financial strain of Christmas or perhaps looking at ways to achieve a stylish but much more thrifty lifestyle, then this is the blog for you.

With storms battering the coast and many houses having had experienced flooding over recent weeks, there couldn’t be a better month to start making your own deliciously healthy and more importantly cheap, home made soup.

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I stumbled across this Jamie Oliver recipe for a quick, easy and classic coriander soup after picking up a couple of bags of cheap carrots and some reduced coriander a few weeks ago and it has since become a  firm family favourite that will not only help to shift the excess pounds gained over the festive season but can be cooked in bulk and frozen into individual portions for tasty lunches and double quick suppers.

So here’s over to Jamie:-

If there�s one ingredient you shouldn�t be without this festive season, it�s the humble carrot. Loved and adored by children, adults and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer alike, this tasty vegetable won�t go to waste or break the bank.
Preparation: 10mins
Cooking: 20-25mins
Serves 4
Per serving: 102 calories, 4.0g fat, 0.4g saturates, 12.6g sugars, 0.8g salt

Ingredients
15ml/1tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
450g/1lb carrots, washed and sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
5ml/1 tsp ground coriander
1.2 ltr/2 pints vegetable stock
45ml/3tbsp chopped fresh coriander
squeeze of lemon juice
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
single cream to serve if liked

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions, carrots and garlic, saut� for 4mins, until they are beginning to soften but not colour. Stir in the ground coriander and plenty of seasoning and cook for 1min.
2. Add the stock and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20mins or until the carrots are really tender. Stir in the fresh coriander.
3. Whizz the soup with a stick blender or transfer to a food processor. Add the lemon juice and nutmeg to taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Reheat until just hot but not boiling and serve. Garnish with a swirl of cream if liked.

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This really is as good as any I’ve tasted.  I find this recipe will make  3 large or 4 small bowls  so if cooking for a large family or wishing to  freeze a few portions, then do double up on quantities.

* I have made this without lemon juice every time and once without garlic and it didn’t seem to taste any different so don’t fret if you don’t have one or two of the ingredients listed so long as you have the stock, carrots and coriander, it’s pretty foolproof.

* Herbs can be costly in the larger well known supermarkets and are much cheaper in places like Aldi.