29 April 2020

Happiness Homemade: A Winter Shopping List

In our house the cooler weather, especially in winter, brings about changes in how we eat.

Over the summer we had lots of salads and barbcues and thoroughly enjoyed them. Most of our meals were cooked outside, either on the barbecue or in the slow cooker on the verandah.
Now summer is over, and the weather is cooling, making more comfort style meals to warm us on cooler evenings more appetising.

I've already made three big pots of soup (lamb and vegetable, Grandma's Chicken Soup and pumpkin). We had curry on the menu a couple of weeks ago and I made some naan to go with it. The curry used up some of the leftover lamb from the Sunday roast and I put the rest into gravy and froze it for another roast dinner. The bones are in the freezer too, waiting to make another pot of soup.

Hannah made a huge dish of pasta bake and we portioned it out into dinners and a few lunches. We usually have pasta bake with green salad (whatever salad greens are in the fridge).
Years ago, the changes to sturdier meals and more cooking meant the monthly shopping list changed slightly.

With my once-a-year shopping, I plan for these change, so, come winter time, we can have more tuna surprise and tuna patties without affecting the budget. And I've never been happier to do the bulk of my shopping once a year than I am now!

We use less pineapple and beetroot, and more tuna and tomato soup in winter. We eat less salad veg (and I won't buy tomatoes in winter, they're out of season here and far too expensive, so we rely on what I can grow in our little greenhouse) and the boys seem to wolf down more rice and potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli (especially if I make a cheese sauce) and silverbeet.
What I'm really saying is because of the way I shop, and the stocked pantry, my weekly shopping list only has minor changes to adapt to the change in seasons and the way we eat.

I still buy milk and a couple of loaves of bread each week (although with the stay-at-home restricitions the bread maker is getting a workout).

Meat and chicken stay the same. We eat the same cuts, prepared in different ways of course, all year round, so I'm always on the lookout for chicken and mince on sale, for roasting beef and corned beef, legs of lamb and steak (as a special treat). I did a late quarterly meat shop a couple of weeks ago to top up the freezer. Mince and chicken are on sale again this week, so I've made up a list and one of the boys will go and collect it for me. Then the freezers will be full again.

But the fruit and veg I buy change. More citrus, because they're in season and cheap and our trees can't supply enough at the moment; lots of parsnip (I never seem to be able to grow enough), turnips, pumpkin and definitely more potatoes.

This week the shopping list looks like this:
2 x 3L milk
2 loaves bread
sweet potato (on sale for 69c/kg)
frozen veg - peas/corn/carrots (if I can get them - the supermarkets are still low on frozen veg)
cabbage (ours aren't ready yet)
bok choy
apples (our local orchard has beautiful apples 10kg/$6.99)

If potatoes are too expensive (my absolute top price is $1/kg, but I prefer to pay under 80c/kg) then we'll fill the gaps with pasta and rice.

The shopping list may change - it will depend very much on the fruit and veg prices when I get to the greengrocer (until the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted the kids are doing the shopping, after that I'll be back in charge).

But the changes are slight, and easily absorbed into our meal plan.

When Disaster Struck, I realised that most of us eat the same basic foods all the time. It's how they're used that makes the difference. Have a look in your pantry, then look at the meals you make. Chances are theere are no more than 25 - 30 different meals that all use the same ingredients in various combinations.

So when you ask to see my summer or winter shopping list, it looks pretty much the same all year round. Just a few adjustments to the basic ingredients, otherwise it's my stock once-a-year shopping list.

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