Also now we are in the swing of things, I am finding tracking my savings easier and a pretty much a normal thing, I want to add to The Vicky Challenge. So each week there will be something extra, usually a theme. Something that might find us NEW ways to save. This weeks theme is Aldi!
But first my savings...
I potted more parsley seeds and cut back some herbs and cleared some things that have finished producing. Making room for some new seedlings.
Chloe came back from the farm and visiting my brothers farm with buckets of figs! There are two types, big plump purples ones...
I have bags of them, in the fridge, in bowls, baskets and simmering on the stove.
Figs here are ridiculously expensive. Mostly they are sold in plastic containers of six. They are over $1 each. I mean per fig! So I have over $300 in figs just now!
When Chloe headed off on her trip she took Andy's fruit picker he made me and a ladder, knowing the figs were almost ripe. My niece Alex also helped and she climbed right to the top of the trees. Alex is a rock climber. Handy!
The sun was setting and Chloe thought of my blog and what a good picture the huge fig tree would make!
I made jam... ten jars so far and more on the way.
There are so many things you can do with jam. I want to use lots of figs fresh and baked but many were soft and I have no hope of keeping up. So jam it is. But jam can be:
Gifts towards a kitchen or basket of goodies present.
Donations to a fundraiser/stall.
Goes on toast, scones, warmed as pancake syrup.
Stir into plain yoghurt to make flavoured.
Add to muffins or cakes. Berry jam extends berries in anything.
Fill a sponge.
Fill jam drop biscuits or jam doughnuts.
Make a jam tart.
Glaze meat or chicken.
Make bread and butter pudding.
Make buns or scrolls and fill with jam. Then add icing.
Use instead of ice-cream topping and nuts.
Flavour a milkshake.
With puff pastry and cream you have little danish pastries or desert treats.
My Dad puts plum jam into a curry.
To name a few!
We didn't go out for Valentines Day. I made a special dinner. Predictably it included figs!
I made figs stuffed with goats cheese and wrapped in Prosciutto and baked...
A baked brie ...
This is really really easy and so good! All you do is slap a brie or camembert on to puff pastry. Top with nuts and cranberry, wrap and bake. Let it cool down to just warm or it is too runny! Then serve with a little salad. There are variations on this but this is the usual one I do. It seems really fancy but it's not!
I did pear, rocket and balsamic vinegar. Somehow the pear and the cheese are so lovely.
For desert I made a Chocolate Brownie. I used a packet mix for this as Brownies are totally unfamiliar to me so sorry no recipe!
This also gives me a heap of slices for Andy's lunch box all week.
I am reading an old book called "Living on a Little" by Caroline French Benton... one of the tips is when making a cake to seperate away a little of it, make into another tiny cake and change it in some way so that you get an additional serving. So if making a plain cake she might make a tiny cake just big enough for desert and add jam into the middle or ice it differently. Then you have a spare desert or afternoon tea or treat. It is as if you have another cake.
Taking this advice I separated away two small serves of Brownie Mix. They look really cute like chocolate bars. So that is another nights desert plus a gift.
I can tell I am going to get a lot of tips from this book!
I will say we saved $100 on going somewhere fancy as we have some years.
As usual I made the lunches = $100 saving.
So not too bad for a short week. $540 or so.
On Friday night I met Cath and Wendy at Aldi at Hallett Cove. Also Laine, Cathy and some other lovely ladies. It was a fantastic night! I learned so much!
For those that don't know Aldi has been in some states of Australia for a long time but our state has never had an Aldi and I had never been to one. But Helen, Wendy, Cath, Kaye, Fiona (and others!) have all told me how much they save shopping at Aldi. Many people say it reduces their grocery bill by half.
Truly I thought surely it couldn't reduce my own bill by so much? But after Friday night I know it will. Maybe even more.
This will not be a help to everyone, if you don't have an Aldi or it is too far away... but for the SA ladies who have not tried it or anyone who has one and hasn't been this could be a game changer!
I was impressed with everything! I have signed up for the emails and the catalogues are being delivered to my letter box. The fresh produce was Australian or even better South Australian and beautiful as was the meat. Even the pizza bases, bread, biscuits etc I noticed were all Australian.
Wendy and Cath were able to tell us what products they use and love and others joined in. One lovely lady was from Holland and she had shopped in Aldi for many years. Everyone was so helpful.
Talk about a steep learning curve!
I bought dark chocolate for Andy. He says it is beautiful!
The price was amazing. And something I noticed is that cheaper products in our usual stores have hideous packaging. Aldi things all look first class.
The skin care is famous. I had already read up on that and the blind tests where Aldi products have won major competitions world wide. Most of it is around $8.
I bought two serums. So far I am so impressed with them! For anyone who shops at cosmetic counters this would amount to hundreds of dollars a year difference in one product.
I wrote down a lot of prices of things we regularly use. Olive oil, pasta, shampoo and so on. Things like the Olive Oil, I noticed was about half price plus Australian made lovely olives.
Many things were well under half price. I particularly noticed feminine hygiene products, laundry powers and liquids, the whole fruit and veg department... all well under half our local supermarket.
I had the best night! This is me (looking so excited!) with Wendy and Cath.
This was an experience that is going to save us a fortune. Last year one tip alone from The Cheapskates Club saved me over $500. It would be impossible to add up the savings from tips I have adopted. But what amazes me is still finding new ones and this workshop was one of them!
When I got home I sat and had a cup of tea and an Australian made Aldi biscuit that was delicious. I thought what a lovely night! I am a total convert! If the average Australian family spends $200 a week on groceries then they are able to save over $5000 a year changing to Aldi. That is a lot.
How did you go this week? I hope you had some great savings and are also some new discoveries!
Today I am making more jam and we are having roast chicken and figs for dinner. I have a lot of figs to deal with! xxx