Supermarket-free Me: What’s for dinner?

I think it’s time I wrote a post about food in this supermarket-free blog!

If you have given up the supermarket, is it changing what you eat? Are you cooking more? Is it exciting or a chore?

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This red cabbage soup was definitely exciting!

I have to confess that I’m usually a boring cook. I have a selection of meals that I cook and I only add to that repertoire when my children reject the dishes they are thoroughly fed up with!

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This vegetable crumble was great the first 20 times but now it’s getting boring – and we’re having the leftovers above for tomorrow night’s dinner!

While I enjoy cooking if I’m in the right mood, it’s something I pursue out of necessity as opposed to pleasure.

As a supermarket customer, family meals were typically either cooked-from-scratch  and made with lots of fresh organic produce from the veg box, or they were a combination of shop-bought items (e.g. veggie sausages, veggie haggis) plus the organic veg. Occasionally I bought things such as a supermarket pizza, a jar of pesto or a quiche. I usually had a few of these quick convenience foods in my freezer, alongside portions of homemade sauces, for days that I had no time or energy to cook.

Now, being supermarket-free over Lent, I don’t have the backup of their pre-made items and I’ve had to be more organised to make sure that I am always able to feed my family. I really care about the health benefits of food, so I welcome the push it’s given me to ditch the processed meals and get the freezer stocked up with my home cooking. It’s also helping me to reduce my food waste because I’m more motivated to use up everything I already have at home, now that hunting and gathering’s not as simple as popping to the supermarket!

Here are some examples of the food I’ve been making and baking over Lent.

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The pot on the left is a big tomato sauce made from as much of the veg box as it is feasible to use!  When my veg box arrives I get into ‘attack’ mode to try and reduce its volume, as the amount in it can be overwhelming.  I make this sauce at least once a fortnight and it’s a helpful ‘ready meal’ –  although I’m just waiting for the children to finally give this old favourite the thumbs down!

The pot on the right was the vegetable crumble filling which I prepared last night and was heating up to put in the oven with the topping for tonight’s dinner.

The fairy cakes were made purely to entertain the children while I was busy in the kitchen!  They happily stirred the mixture then licked the bowl while I got the healthy stuff prepared.

There have been a lot of cakes lately as I’ve been whipping up batches whenever we’ve had people round instead of buying biscuits.

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Carrot and raisin muffins made last night

Although packed with sugar, I like having control of the ingredients and appreciate the ability to reduce the amount of plastic I am consuming.

As a result of more cooking and baking, I’ve been buying more eggs.

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From a local shop

We’ve been consuming less shop bought juice and squeezing our own…

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Orange juice from blood oranges

So far, so good. I think I will be increasing my cooking to make sure that we do have plenty of food ready on busy days and I will be trying out a few new things so that the children don’t associate ditching the supermarket with less choice and even more of the dishes they are starting to get bored with!

I’m aware that giving up the supermarket could push someone else with less time, or perhaps someone who is driven by different motivations, to eat very differently – ordering in take-aways, eating out more or buying convenience foods locally. I’d love to hear about everyone’s experiences…

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