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We just love this paper roller from George and Willy, there's a few different sizes and colours, too.

"Food to me, is all about good ingredients, and doing as little as possible to them"

I recently met up with a close friend of mine, and over a cup of tea, we discussed how hard it can be to feed your family good, wholesome food, without breaking the bank. We usually spend around $200 to $220 a week for our family of five, keeping in mind, we sometimes spend more if dried goods need to be topped up. After speaking to a few fellow mamas, it seems this is quite reasonable?

In my kitchen, simplicity is most definitely the greatest virtue. It goes without saying, that the same applies to my shopping list each week. Here's a breakdown of our typical shopping list, along with a few meal and snack ideas for hungry, growing kids. 

Plenty of seasonal fruit and vegetables. We mostly enjoy a plant based diet, and so for us, the quality of the produce is essential to inspire simple meals. I usually shop at the farmers market, or local grocer. There's always plenty of leafy greens, for salads, summery stews, soups and smoothies, I often freeze any left over dark greens, to avoid waste. Bananas are most definitely a staple in our house, simply eaten as they are, as a topping on oatmeal, in smoothies, or banana bread (delicious recipe, here.) When it comes to fresh produce, let the seasons guide you, and buy local, if possible.

Lots of legumes, such as lentils, butter beans and chickpeas. The perfect base for a meal, imagine a herby lentil salad with mustard vinaigrette, chickpeas braised in a rich tomato sauce and served with crusty sourdough bread, buttered balsamic lentils, or perhaps a garlicky butter bean dip. Find these recipes, and more in the vegetarian section, here.

Free range, organic eggs. The humble egg can make a nutritious breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s not surprising that our family of five enjoy two dozen a week. Also necessary for simple homemade baking, check out my wholesome baking section for recipe ideas. 

A loaf or two of sourdough bread. We just love it's deep, chewy quality and delicious hint of sourness, a character that comes from fermentation of the dough. We find it's much more gentle on your digestion, compared to commercially made bread.

Good quality dairy. I usually buy a wedge of parmesan or pecorino, a block of sheep's feta, and some nice cheddar, for the kids. There'll be a block or two of nice butter, and a small bottle of organic cream as I like a dash in my morning coffee. If I feel like splashing out, I'll get a jar of coconut yoghurt, although a thick natural yoghurt is also nice. If you prefer to be dairy free, there's a plethora of coconut and nut alternatives out there, or you could try to make your own as this tends to be much more cost effective.

Rolled oats. This humble and low-cost ingredient is not only essential for our morning oatmeal (always soaked overnight for easier digestion) I often use it in baking, instead of ground nuts or flour. Simply grind the oats in your food processor until you have a flour like consistency. 

Store cupboard staples are key to keeping the price of your weekly shop down. I stock up on these items once every couple of months, or as needed. These include rice, quinoa, polenta and pasta, olives, sundried tomatoes and capers, there's also dried goods for baking, such as buckwheat flour, spelt flour, dried coconut,  various seeds and nuts, baking soda, rapadura or coconut sugar.  A large bottle of extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, and a jar of coconut oil for cooking. Apple cider vinegar for health tonics and dressings, some good quality honey, oh, and dried herbs, spices, and stock, always important for flavouring meals.

We only occasionally buy meat, these days, although do enjoy fish once or twice a week. It's been a personal choice for a few reasons, the effect on the environment being one, but also, we have found a new sense of energy and health from eating a more plant based diet. I have also found that when I do eat meat, I appreciate it more so than I used to. If you like to eat meat regularly, the butcher is a great place to buy, particularly for cheaper cuts, or a homekill is another great idea that is cost effective. 

I make my own natural cleaning products, for beauty, laundry and home. From the ingredients used, to the lovely glass jars they are stored in, homemade formulations evoke immense joy and love for those who use them. These require a seperate blog post, though. Coming soon, hopefully!

Simple snack ideas

My kids are always hungry, and if you have little one's too, I'm sure you can relate! Here's a few simple snack ideas that only take minutes to prepare, and keep them full of nourishment.

- Natural yoghurt, topped with banana, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. I also make a jar of homemade compote each week by cooking seasonal fruit with a little honey until tender. This week, we are enjoying apple and raspberry with a hint of vanilla.

Banana oat hotcakes , fantastic for breakfast, lunchboxes or snacks on the go.

- Roasted garlic butter bean hummus, serve with raw vegetable sticks, crackers or sourdough.

- Sunflower sesame crackers, salty, crunchy and moreishly delicious. 

- A truffle or two is often my go-to for when we feel like something little and sweet. Here's quite a few different recipes you could try.

- You'll love this recipe for chocolate chunk cookies that only contains four ingredients. The kid's love them, too.

Thanks for reading this post! I hope you might have picked up an idea or two. If you have any comments or tips, please feel free to share the below.

Eleanor xx

Disclaimer: Please know, I am not a qualified nutritionist or Naturopath. I also understand that we all have different diet preferences, what works for us as a family, might not for you, and that's okay! if you have any particular dietary needs, please consult a professional before making any changes to your diet.


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