Friday 26 June 2020

Other Boxes are Available

There have been a plethora of food boxes designed by the supermarkets during this pandemic and some of them have been really good, my Morrisons Vegan Box amongst them.  I thought I would just try out one more box to see if it matched up in value and quality and when I spotted a free delivery code for the Aldi Food Parcel I thought this would be the one I would go for.

I ordered it to arrive on Wednesday 24th as this is when my current food Challenge is over, but somehow it came on Saturday 20th, very strange.  But as these are all tinned or packet items I guess it wouldn't matter if they brought your order early.  Better early than late!!

Getting free delivery saved me around £3 so that was good.

It was quite neatly packed, there was some scrunched up packing paper on top of the food to stop it moving around in transit.  This was added to the log basket to be used for starting the fire.

The contents were pretty much the same as on the website.

The two differences were the chocolate, I got a block of white chocolate instead of milk and also  the rice.  Here I got two pouches of microwaveable rice instead of a 500g pack of white Basmati rice, which I guess is a similar value but not the same amount of rice.  I could have made many more meals with a pack of 'proper' rice.

Of the foods in the parcel these are the foods I can't eat, either because they contain meat or dairy.

And these are the ones I can eat.

It's a really good store-cupboard filling box, with  the addition of a pack of toilet rolls and some anti-bacterial handwash ... two items that were originally in very short supply.  This particular box has been criticised by some as not having many actual meals in it but I actually see quite a few and a lot more if you are able to get a few extras, either by going out yourself or asking a family member or kind neighbour if you are self-isolating ... as lots more people are now doing here once again in North Wales due to a fresh outbreak of Covid-19 on Anglesey.

Although I am not going to do a Challenge as such with this box I couldn't resist sitting down and quickly working out how I would use it if I were a meat-eating, dairy consuming person with a partner.  And also using only the contents of the box with no store cupboard extras.

I could just about manage 14 main meals with a bit of playing with the ingredients to hand.  If I could add a couple of potatoes, some cheese, a loaf of bread and some spread or butter this would have made a week's worth of lunches as well as the one main meal a day I have managed.  And of course a bit of fruit, even just a bunch of bananas and a pack of 6 apples would mean an even healthier menu.

So here's my quick off the cuff menu to feed two people from this box.

Rice Pudding for 1 day
Tea or Coffee with 3 of the packets of biscuits divided into quarters over 6 days   

14 Main Meals 

3 x Pasta with Pasta Sauce, Tuna and Sweetcorn

2 x Pasta with Chicken Noodle Soup

2 x Rice and Chilli con Carne with Sweetcorn and crushed salted peanuts

2 x Rice and Baked Beans with Tuna and Sweetcorn

3 x Tomato Soup, bulked out with Tinned Tomatoes and Sweetcorn

2 x  Minestrone Soup with added Tinned Carrots

Bar of White Chocolate
Salted Peanuts
Bourbon Biscuits

Leftover/Emergency Rations
2 tins of tuna

How would you do it?

What did I LIKE about this box -

I liked the mix of foods, the addition of hand wash and toilet rolls and the speed at which it was available for delivery.

What did I DISLIKE about this box -

That every single tin, except for the shrink wrapped sweetcorn and tuna tins was dented.  

As the box was in pristine condition after delivery and there wasn't much room for movement inside the box I'm guessing that they must be packing dented cans.

Have you had a Food Box delivery during lockdown, what did you think of yours?

Sue xx

Thursday 25 June 2020

Living on a Box - Day Fourteen & End of Challenge Round Up

Breakfast - Green Smoothie

Oh it was nice to have a green smoothie after two weeks of cereal and yoghurty type breakfasts.  I'm so glad there was plenty of spinach left over to take the sweet edge off the frozen banana chunks and the apple.  Having a nice big dollop of peanut butter in it adds a good amount of healthy fats and means that the smoothie keeps you fuller and more satisfied for much longer.

Lunch - Cheese and Salad Sandwiches
with extra cucumber on the side.

The cucumber was right on the edge of not being nice any more, they are so much tastier when there is a crunch to them aren't they.  But it was good that I managed to make it last the whole of the two weeks of the Challenge.

A little peek at what the sandwich looked like inside before I added the lettuce and the top slice of bread 😃

Dinner - Chilli Mince but with Cous Cous and Peas

Yes, you've seen this photo before, on Day One in fact, it's the nearest photo I have to my final meal.  I have a confession to make ... I accidentally deleted the photo of last nights evening meal.  It's the first time I've done this for ages and it had to be on the grand finale meal of my Challenge ... bloody typical 🙁


Week One Menu

Best Meal of the Week - Chickpea and Potato Curry with Cous Cous

Worst Meal of the Week - The Pasta Bake with Sausages - those sausages are AWFUL!!

Week Two Menu

Best Meal of the Week - Shepherds Pie

Worst Meal of the Week - honestly there was not one that was bad!!

And what is left now ...

In the freezer I have a little bag of peelings and a tub of cooked chickpeas.

On the fridge shelf there is a tub of hummus, half a jar of mayo and almost a full tub of dairy free spread.

In the fridge drawer there are two onions, three carrots and about an 1/5 of a lettuce.

Out on the worktop I have some of the Lotus biscuits, the Shredded Jackfruit pouch, one Stock Pot and about a quarter of a jar of Peanut Butter.

How could I use what I have left to make one more days food:

Adding a couple of slices of bread for toast, to go with the peanut butter I would have breakfast. 

For lunch I could use the lettuce, one carrot, grated, half a finely sliced onion and some of the mayo to make some coleslaw. Which I could sprinkle with the chickpeas and serve alongside the hummus and another carrot chopped into batons for dipping.  

And then later for dinner I could make a portion of rice to go with the Shredded Jackfruit.

So in total, with a couple of little extras I have the makings of one more days food and I could make a panful of soup using the trimmings and peelings, the stock pot, the leftover onion and a half, and the carrot.

Nothing wasted and only the sausages thrown away, not a bad fortnights Living on a Box.

And not a bad end to the Challenge.

Sue xx

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Living on a Box - Day Thirteen

Breakfast - Peanut Butter on  Toast with Apple Slices and Almonds

Today I ate the last of the almonds, as well as having them with a couple of my breakfasts they have been a good little snack when I've needed something to nibble on with my morning or afternoon cup of coffee.  There's been a lot of  'last ofs' over the last couple of days which is only to be expected I guess with such a limited amount of food 🤣  

As I got the piece of frozen bread out for my toast I double checked there were still two slices left in the bag for tomorrows lunch - there were, phew!!

Lunch - Baked Potato with Butter and Cheese

No zapping this potato in the microwave, this was cooked long and slow in the oven for maximum flavour and it was delicious and very filling.

Dinner - Hummus Pasta with Peas and Spinach

Why have I never thought to use hummus as a pasta sauce before, this was delicious.  I simply drained the pasta through a colander catching some of the cooking water in a mug, and then tipped the tub full of hummus into the pan to warm through, thinning it down slightly with some of the saved pasta water as it heated through until it was a nice coating consistency.  Then the pasta was tipped back into the pan to heat up again in the sauce.

Another very successful days food.

Sue xx

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Living on a Box - Day Twelve

Breakfast - Granola and Almond Milk
with black coffee

It wasn't supposed to be a granola day, but I just had the urge to use up the last of the cereal and have the worktop a bit clearer.  I do like using the last of something ... it's just one of my many strange little foibles!!  Now the cereal box is off the worktop and in the recycling box, and the Smoothie that should have been this mornings breakfast has been moved to the final day.

It's a good job I write out my menu planner in pencil  😃

Lunch - Cheese and Onion Sandwiches with Tomato

I was amazed at how lovely and fresh this tomato still was and couldn't resist putting a bit inside my sandwich as well.  What a lovely fresh tasting lunch this was.

Dinner - Potato, Chickpea and Cous Cous Curry
Served with more cous cous.

Gosh this was a HUGE portion and so filling and I managed to eat all but the last little bit of cous cous, which the chickens had in their breakfast treat bowl this morning.

The best thing about this week, apart from all the tasty foods of course, has been the menu planner.  Having everything written down in black and white ... even if I have changed things round a little bit some days ... has been a godsend.  Checking what's on the menu for each day and taking just what I need out of the freezer or double checking that it's still on the worktop, has made the whole of this Challenge so much easier.

Now that the Challenge is coming to an end I might give myself a week of freedom, just picking what I want from the cupboards and freezer and then after that go back to making a weekly menu plan using up what we have in store here at the house, we do need to whittle some foods down ready for moving house.  But in the not too distant future money is once again going to be quite a bit tighter for me, so I do need to get into some good food habits.  Of course I do know lots of tips and tricks for  s t r e t c h i n  g  my foods out, and each and every one of them should stand me in good stead in the years to come.

Sue xx

Monday 22 June 2020

Living on a Box - Day Eleven

Breakfast - Granola and Almond Milk

Eaten at the computer ... gosh that could have been disastrous!!

Lunch - Hummus and Salad Bun

With a bit of extra lettuce that didn't fit on and extra cucumber slices eaten whilst I was making the bun ... and the obligatory black coffee 😃

Dinner - No Chick Strips and Pasta 

I added spinach, frozen peas and some grated cheese to the pasta sauce again and cooked it all in the oven for 30 minutes just like last night.  But this time instead of having the full 100g serving of pasta that I've been allowing myself all week, I just had 85g as I remembered how filling last nights tea was and knowing that I had the addition of the No Chick strips ... which incidentally are pretty tasty ... I knew this would be more than enough.

There's been more than one box being dealt with this week!!

Although I'm doing this Challenge and haven't really needed any shopping for the last two weeks, I still went to Tesco with Alan.  Partly for the ride out and change of scenery and partly so that we could each pick up five tins of tuna for Ginger.  Some things are still slightly limited to each customer in store, and tinned fish in our Tesco is one of them.  Ginger eats a tin a day, shared slightly with the dogs in the mornings as he doesn't like wet cat foods of any description, (he also has a bowl of various dried cat foods available to him at all times), so every time we go shopping me and Alan get a trolley each and we each buy our own food plus Ginger's tuna, meaning we've been able to keep the stocks just above what he needs.

  Because I didn't actually need any shopping of my own whilst I have been Living on a Box I thought this would be a good time to start a mini Brexit stash ... without feeling too guilty about buying extra foods. 

So over the course of the last two shopping trips I have bought 8 tins of tomatoes (they are on offer 4 for £1), some tinned chickpeas, tinned lentils, 4 packs of passata, a couple of garlic purees, a couple of tomato purees, a couple of jars of pesto, a jar of mayonnaise, some stock powder and two packs of spaghetti.  From the cupboard at home I added a bag of brown rice and a pouch of turmeric to the box to fill the remaining space, and now it is packed in a box of it's own.

A nice little emergency stash to start me off which is now sealed and labelled and will come with me when I go back to the Van.

Sue xx

Sunday 21 June 2020

Living on a Box - Day Ten

Breakfast - Granola with Almond Milk

As you can see I still weigh out all my portions, it would be so easy to pour out too much and leave myself hungry on the last day.  The portion on the left is mine for this morning, I was comparing how little the recommended serving size was in comparison ... it's much too small.  Considering I get hungry half way through the morning if I eat too early as it is, the recommended size would most likely leave me hungry an hour after eating!!

Lunch - Hummus, Toast and a Carrot.

This is a very satisfying lunch and very filling.  I have found myself loving the crunch of fresh carrots so much, although I was generous and split one of my carrots batons between the dogs who love them as much as me.

Dinner - Pasta Bake with Cheese, Spinach and Peas

I added the cheese into the sauce rather than forget to sprinkle it on the top like I did last time, and cooked everything together in the oven for 30 minutes.  Another very satisfying and tasty dish, eaten while watching an episode of Vera on television.

Someone else unboxing a Morrisons Vegan Food Box

Sue xx

Saturday 20 June 2020

Living on a Box - Day Nine

Breakfast - Peanut Butter on Toast with Apple Slices and Almonds

Waiting for my soup to heat up.

Lunch - Soup with a toasted Crust

Alan made himself a HUGE pan of soup, enough for 13 portions.  This was todays, as you can see we like different styles of soup!!

Prepping for my Shepherds Pie, of course I saved the peelings 😄

Ready to be heated up later.

Dinner - Shepherds Pie.
Nothing else needed, gosh that was filling.   I gave the third I couldn't manage to Alan.

No waffle today, instead why don't you nip on over here and watch someone else unpacking a Morrisons Vegan Food Box.  Sopherina's channel is like a breath of fresh air and usually so relaxing to watch.  Just click on the arrow 😃

And then there's this one showing some of the things that they made with theirs.


Sue xx

Friday 19 June 2020

Living on a Box - Day Eight - Midway Musings

So yesterday was the halfway mark of the two week Challenge, so I thought I would check through all my remaining food. 

1.  To make sure that the things I have left are still in good condition ... and

 2. That I have enough to last me until the end of the Challenge.

As you can see the fruit and vegetables are still looking good.  I have been careful each time I have made a meal to use the squishiest tomato or the softest onion etc and this way the best have been saved until last.

Once checked over, the fresh vegetables and the apples were straight back into the fridge salad drawer carefully wrapped once more.

This is what's left out on the worktop.

I seem to have planned this out a bit weirdly as I have had one pasta meal during the first week and I have FOUR to look forward to this second week.  It's a good job I love pasta!!

And this is the fridge shelf.

The freezer is looking good.

2 x Chilli Mince
3 x  Pasta Sauce
3 x Hummus
1 tub x Cooked Chickpeas
2 Chick Strips
10 slices and 1 crust of Bread 
1 Bread Bun
Half a bag of Frozen Peas
2/3 bag of Spinach
2/3 of a Banana
and a little bag of trimmings and peelings.

Of course some of these are being used for todays food.

Breakfast - Granola and Almond Milk

Lunch - Hummus with 2 slices of Toast and 1 Carrot

Yummy ... and so filling!!

Dinner - Pasta Bake with Peas

I forgot to sprinkle cheese on top, but it was still delicious.

Sue xx