24 Feb Resourcefulness and good storage.
I love everything about “the everyday” and this week I am sharing with you some tips of how to be resourceful around the home. Mainly where food is concerned and mostly linked to food of the healthy whole food variety ie: the most expensive kind.
As dull as it (or indeed this whole blogpost) sounds I find good storage goes a long way. In all areas of the home but certainly in the kitchen when dealing with fresh ingredients and for prolonging the life of your meals. For me this has meant stealing from my Mother’s 1980’s tupperware collection or (the cheaper option) take a trip to Ikea for their £3 set of 17 plastic containers.
A positive for buying cheap plastic containers is that when you decide to drop meals to someone with a newborn or who is ill then you don’t care if they return the container in the same way you would with the fancy stuff. If you know me and you have some of my fancy 1980’s tupperware GIVE IT BACK. I jest.
A sidenote for parents of small children on expensive yet impressive storage – I invested in YUMBOX lunchboxes for my boys this year. I know others swear by sistema lunchboxes but the leakproof, intricate sectioned yumbox suited my personality (read “storage obsession”) and our family’s lifestyle of snacks on the road.
Rotate dry foods
This is a tricky one and mainly comes down to finances for me. Despite my love of ALL nuts and seeds and dried fruit I simply cannot justify a basket filled with a £9 bag of raw cashews, £5 goji berries, £3 cranberries, dates, flaxseed, linseed, chai seeds, cacao powder, cacao nibs and so the list goes on.
How I get around that expense is by rotating what I have in the cupboard and basing my recipes around what I have if and where possible. It can get mundane if dessicated coconut is in smoothies, curries, quinoa AND yogurt dessert. So keep an eye out for the penny sales in Holland and Barrett (this is the only time I go in here as I prefer to use my local Health store ) and build up your selection of nuts and seeds that way.
Old fashioned doesn’t mean out of date
Make stews from the cheaper cuts of meat from time to time. Add potatoes into recipes- they are super cheap (I got a bag for 39p on Sunday that has accompanied at least four dishes since then) and let’s be honest, a homemade oven chip goes down a treat no matter what age you are. Know that chicken bone broth (I share my recipe here) is one of the most nutritious things you can fire into your body. Pies and bakes are great for big groups of friends and for freezing. And a simple green salad with apple cider vinegar dressing will add colour to your life if nothing else.
Buy meat in bulk, freeze meat in bulk
We eat a great deal of chicken in our house. Sometimes I roast a whole chicken in the oven and serve it on a wooden board wth table salt and slices of buttered bread if I can’t be bothered cooking a full roast dinner. It’s divine comfort food. But if I buy breasts of chicken I tend to buy in bulk from our local butcher who offer twenty breasts of chicken for £22. I also do this with salmon. I located a “fish man” who I buy off weekly or monthly from the back of his van, and then I freeze the fillets. The same applies with turkey mince and beef mince. Buy big and separate into 1lb bags. Sirloins however I LOVE to have fresh. There is something so good about fresh meat.
The same method of bulk freezing can apply to cooked foods as above. Makes for an easy Monday night dinner straight out of the freezer when the shopping isn’t done!
Eat local, buy local (as much as you can)
It’s easier said than done isn’t it? Buying from your local fruit and veg shop or butchers but it doesn’t always happen, not for us anyway.
If you see a supermarket delivery van outside my house don’t come back later and egg the front door. From time to time I get a shop delivered but I always buy my meat from the butchers and as many fruits and vegetables from my local green grocers. The lemons are just juicier and the experience is fifteen times better than a supermarket one. Do what works best for you in that week.
Alternatively invest in Helen’s bay organic or Armstrong meats who deliver amazing local produce to your door.
From a fitness point of view, meal planning is key to success for me. I break it down into breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This is great for families too as you know the score every day and meal preparation is more straight forward. It also keeps you from straying from your shopping list which keeps cost down.
I spent some time in Africa during my youth and early twenties on mission trips. Trips like this amidst real poverty can’t help but shape how one looks at food, it did for me anyway.
In Northern Ireland poverty is real too. Have a look at Storehouse if you’re interested in helping out or even educating your kids on what life for their less fortunate peers is like. Not everyone has the choice of the green grocers juicy green Armagh apple or the supermarket smaller pack of six.
As much as a healthy lifestyle is my daily drive and what I want for my family (I was pretty unwell last year which changed my outlook even more on wellbeing. That is for another blogpost), I try to buy with my heart remembering even my Grandmother and how resourceful she was raising her kids and a ton of us grandchildren from her bungalow on the pig farm with eggs and soda bread.
As with all content on this blog, my views are my own and I am not trying to tell you how to do anything you don’t feel like doing.