A Box of Bananas

Leave a comment

Yesterday we did some shopping at the supermarket and greengrocer.

As always, I scanned the shops for any particular bargains.

There were bananas for $1/kg so I prepared to fill a large bag. The owner asked if I wanted a whole box.

Yes, please!

We have sliced banana on our cereal each morning and it does not matter whether it is fresh or frozen.

So, I peeled some and froze them on trays. Once they are frozen I will bag them up for future use. Banana cake, smoothies and banana ice-cream are other possible uses.

There are still plenty in the box so I will freeze them over coming days.

This is another example of being open and aware to bargains that may come your way.

The box full was $13 which worked out at slightly less than 9c/banana.

Making the Most of Everything

2 Comments

At the end of my last post I mentioned that I would share some details of the food preparation that I do.

In the past few weeks I have been fortunate to score some great bargains on fresh produce. A food bargain is only a bargain if you actually use the food. This can be a particular challenge with fresh produce but with a bit of know-how and some time you can make the most of bargains that may come your way.

Today I want to show you how I used and stored large quantities of cheap bananas, pineapples and tomatoes.

I bought a 10kg box of perfect, ripe Roma tomatoes for $10. $1/kg was too good to pass up. I could have bottled them straightaway but they were so firm, red and perfect that we decided to enjoy them fresh for as long as possible. I spread them out on a couple of racks so that would be able to easily identify any blemishes or potential rotten ones. Fresh tomato salsa was served with at least one and often two meals every day. Here is a selection of our meals.

L to R: Chicken tacos, Mexican quinoa and Baked potatoes with refried beans

This strategy worked well for just over 3 weeks which is testament to the perfect quality of the produce. In fact, I have no idea why they were being sold for $1/kg.

The remaining tomatoes were diced and packed into jars to go in the freezer. These will be added to casseroles and other dishes instead on buying canned tomatoes.

Next were the bananas. These were also $1/kg and I bought 12.5kg in a box. The bananas ranged from partly green to overripe but the majority were ripe and flavoursome although the skins were showing blemishes. We eat sliced banana on our cereal every day so about a dozen of the least ripe ones were added to fruit bowl to be eaten over the next week.

Two very ripe ones became banana cake and the remainder were peeled, cut in half and frozen on trays. They can be sliced and added to cereal with no further preparation.

You can see the less ripe bananas in the fruit bowls in the background as well as trays ready for the freezer and two bananas in the bowl which were about to be turned into banana cake.

Finally, the pineapples. I spotted this box of 5 pineapples for $4 and knew exactly how I could use them.

Dried pineapple is a delicious treat so it was a simple matter of peeling, coring and slicing the pineapple and then into the dehydrator. We like it semi-dried (a bit chewy but not crunchy). I store it in a container in the refrigerator.

L to R: Fresh pineapple ready to dehydrate, dried pineapple, ready to store in the refrigerator.

I would love to hear your stories of bargains or gluts and how you make sure they do not go to waste.

Bagging a Bargain

Leave a comment

Most of us are trying to make the most of our grocery budget as food prices seem to be increasing on an almost daily basis. Extreme weather events driven by the impacts of climate change along with global conflicts are combining to disrupt supply chains.

This is the background upon which shoppers are doing their utmost to spend their food budget wisely.

There are not many, if any, items which can regularly be purchased for $1/kg. So, when I spotted Roma tomatoes for $1/kg at our local greengrocer, I took advantage of the bargain. Although the tomatoes were loose on a display stand, I discovered that I could purchase an entire 10kg box for $10. This was too good to pass up.

Here is my haul.

Of course, a bargain is only a bargain if there is no wastage. I have spread the tomatoes out on the kitchen bench and there are no soft spots or blemishes – all absolutely perfect.

Tonight we will have slices of fresh tomato on our pizza. Tomorrow I will make salsa to have with our bean tacos and I am sure they will feature in other meals over the next week. Other than that, I may dehydrate some, make pasta sauce and bottle or freeze them whole.

Making the most of seasonal and often cheaper produce makes good sense as we try to stretch our budget a little further.

Some New Toys

Leave a comment

I know that plenty of people aim for a “No Spend January”, however, that is definitely not the case here at the moment.

It seems as though we have been spending at every turn but it has hardly been frivolous.

Yesterday we picked up a new dehumidifier that we had ordered. There is no real end in sight to the recent extended spell of wet and humid weather. Mould is a constant battle where we live and I decided that I really needed an additional dehumidifier. We have had one for well over 10 years and it can definitely make a difference.

Today the new fridge arrived. This will be in addition to the main refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen and an upright freezer.

We have had this knife block and knives for many years and they have served us well. GMan sharpens the knives when required. A few weeks ago we had a mishap when he was using the point of one of the knives to separate 2 slices of frozen bread. There were no injuries sustained, however, about 1 cm of the tip of the knife broke off. Some research revealed that we could order an identical replacement knife which we collected from the Post Office today.

The old knife has been relocated to downstairs where it can be used when harvesting vegetables such as broccoli and celery.

Our other major purchase in the past month was a new laptop computer. It is to replace the old desktop computer and also means that we now have 2 portable devices. We both have volunteer commitments and meetings for which these will be useful.

All of the purchases will support our lifestyle and were carefully considered and planned.

Maintenance Mode & Mundane

Leave a comment

If my first few posts of 2022 were anything to go by, you would think there was always some huge activity going on here every day. I am sorry to disappoint you but that is not the case.

Yesterday included a routine doctor’s appointment, changing the sheets on our bed and a couple of loads of washing as well as cutting up some pruning I had done a few days prior so that it will break down more quickly in the compost.

This morning I decluttered some emails as well as the cane basket which sits on the kitchen bench next to the phone. It is our ‘dumping spot’ and occasionally needs a review and overhaul. The contents include a notebook, pen, pending correspondence etc.

I also shredded a small quantity of paper. We choose to handle all of our paper and cardboard at home rather than putting it in the recycle bin. The shredded paper goes in the nesting boxes for the chickens. Some lightweight cardboard is shredded for addition to the compost while the heavier cardboard becomes a weed suppressant to go under mulched areas in the garden.

The administrative maintenance – emails, shredding, notes and correspondence – done regularly means that I never need to have a huge declutter of these things.

Finally, we went shopping to top up our grocery and fruit and vegetable supplies.

Buy Nothing November – Final Analysis

Leave a comment

There has been a bit of a hiatus as we were on holidays for part of the time and occupied with various happenings at home.

Since my last post the only additional stuff I bought in November was 4 items of clothing from an op shop while we were on holidays. I spent the princely sum of $13 for 2 pairs of white shorts, a black top with white spots and this lightweight pair of loose trousers.

I am not sure whether they are meant to be pyjamas but I will be wearing them for comfy loungewear at home.

Bargain Buy & Brains Trust

Leave a comment

On Tuesday I went to the dentist which is adjacent to my latest favourite op shop. I popped in and found a pair of fitted white stretch pull-on trousers for the princely sum of $4.

Of course, they were too long and needed taking up. The next question was what is the correct or most flattering length.

I was unsure and turned to the collective brains trust of some of my online fashionista friends. After a couple of attempts I settled on this length.

Here are the trousers hemmed, pressed and ready to wear.

Upcycled Packaging

Leave a comment

My last couple of posts have focused on avoiding packaging when grocery shopping. While avoiding packaging and waste is ideal, we still need to consider all potential waste and whether there are other options for it.

Upcycling is one of the strategies for removing items from the waste and recycling stream.

I would not buy Pancake Shaker mix but I ended up with a container of it which had come from my mother’s pantry. I decided to use it rather than waste perfectly good food but was then left with an empty plastic container.

I decided to cut it down to make a scoop.

After marking the proposed cutting line with a felt-tip pen I then carefully cut it with a Stanley knife. These are the 2 pieces I ended up with.

The offcut will go in the recycling and the scoop will be handy for GMan when measuring our flour during his breadmaking adventures.

There are many opportunities to reuse or upcycle all sorts of packaging. Do you have any examples?

Mission Accomplished

2 Comments

Yesterday I showed you the boxes of jars to be filled with dry goods.

It took me 30 minutes at Simply Good to have these weighed and fill them.

Once I was home I could just put them in the pantry.

This is what I bought today. It is not an exhaustive list of everything I buy there, just today’s purchases.

Chia seeds
Psyllium husk
Kidney beans
Red lentils
Sunflower seeds
Pepitas
Arrowroot
Potato starch
Brown rice flour
Quinoa flour
Baking powder
Cinnamon
Turmeric
Smoky paprika
Mixed herbs
Cashews
Black beans
Coconut

Zero Waste Shopping

1 Comment

One of my passions is reducing packaging. My life is far from totally zero waste but I do the best I can. That is all that any of us can do. What works for me may not be an option for you.

I buy most of my dry goods – seeds, nuts, flours, spices etc from bulk bins at Simply Good. It means that I can buy as much or as little of a product as I wish without any packaging.

The shop is about 50km from home so I do not pop in every other day. In fact, I generally shop there about 3 times/year and always combine in with a trip in the same direction (usually to Brisbane).

Tomorrow is the day as I am running low on several staples and I have a dental appointment in Brisbane. So, I have made sure the containers are clean and labelled. You can use the lightweight plastic bags provided at the shop, however, I choose to take my own bags, or better still jars.

The staff are happy to pre-weigh the jars before filling them and then the weight is deducted at the checkout. For this to work accurately the jars do need to be labelled.

When I arrive home it is a simple matter of placing the jars in their correct location in the pantry and I fully restocked until next time.

Do you try to reduce packaging? Do you have any tips or tricks for minimising packaging when grocery shopping?