So I have a little confession today. I spoke in my last post about how I was going to try and spend less money on weekly groceries now that our renovations are about to kick off. My reasons for sharing that were firstly, that healthy eating can get expensive, though it doesn’t need to be, and I wanted to be able to provide some ideas for other people in a similar situation. And secondly, that I wanted to hold myself accountable and thought by sharing my intentions with you, I would be more likely to stick to them.
Turns out, I was wrong. Since I wrote the post my eating expenses have stayed pretty much the same as they usually would be. We had a few things on last week, plus B’s birthday on the Saturday and we ended up going out for both breakfast and dinner. On top of this, the weather on the weekend was absolutely amazing, and after spending a few weeks shivering due to quite a bit of snow and cold weather here (more so than usual!) I wanted to make the most of the warm weather and spent the day outside. Mum and I headed to a local market which had a few healthy raw desserts that you don’t normally find in Hobart, and therefore we had to sample a few (and were very glad we did, they were incredible!) after which we headed down to the waterfront and enjoyed a wine in the sunshine – I am not a big drinker by any standard these days but I do love having a nice glass of local Tassie wine in the sunshine on the odd occasion, and this was the perfect day for it.
So this week I am determined to put in a little more effort. For a start, the weather forecast doesn’t look anywhere near as good as it was over the weekend, and therefor there will be no sunshine to entice me out of the house! I have also organised a veggie box to be delivered by a local supplier later in the week which always works out to be a little more cost effectively than buying from the local store, and I am going to try my hardest to cook for the week ahead using mostly ingredients from the box, instead of running to the shop to buy additional ingredients as this can quickly add up.
I suspect that a lot of my dishes over the coming weeks and months will follow the formula I’ve used here to make this dish – loads of veggies, a little protein and a delicious dressing to tie it all together. You could easily swap out the veggies and protein for whatever you have on hand, and I’m sure you could vary the dressing too depending on what you had on hand. I love the inclusion of jalapenos (which we had in the fridge) to give it a little zing, but if jalapenos are hard to come by where you live, as they are here (read: expensive!) then substitute with another chilli or just omit completely.
And re all the saved pennies, in true “me” fashion I have already picked out what I am going to buy with the money I’m saving each week – a gorgeous Afghan kilim rug for the kitchen. I’ve been wanting one for ages and I think it would go perfectly in the new space. And just in case you’re wondering, it will take a fair few weeks of reduced grocery bills for me to get there – our food expenses aren’t that excessive!
- 1 packet (250g) tempeh
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large head of broccoli (or 2 small)
- 10 large button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 can brown lentils, drained
- 10 large green olives, pitted and sliced in half
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ⅔ cup yoghurt
- ⅓ cup water
- 3 slices jalapeño
- ½ avocado
- ⅓ cup fresh coriander (leaves and stems)
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ lime, juiced
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 220 C || 430 F
- Cut the tempeh into slices and lay on a lined baking tray Place in the oven and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until browned on the bottom side. Turn over, and bake another 10 minutes until golden on both sides.
- To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste, and add a little more salt or lime juice if needed.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large fry pan or wok. Add the broccoli, mushrooms and garlic and cook around 6 - 8 minutes until just starting to soften. Add the lentils and olives and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Add the tempeh, spinach and lemon juice and stir until well combined, about another 30 seconds.
- Pour over the dressing and serve immediately.