Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Mid Week Munchies and thrifty vegan living
These days I have to live pretty thriftily. I work 3 days a week. I chose to go part time a couple of years ago and it suits me well. My health condition saps my energy and having time to rest between the days I work (I work Monday, Thursday and Friday) does help and has definitely increased my productivity and concentration levels on the days I do go to work. It leaves me with very little disposable income though. Most of my life I've worked in pretty low paid jobs, currently I do an admin role, so I'm used to watching my pennies and I'm pretty good at it. Ebay and charity shops are my friends. I make stuff for presents, I enter competitions and I am a big fan of discount food shops. I would even go as far as to say that I get a shoppers high from these places and can often be found entering our house shouting to Matt - 'Just wait til you see what I've got for 29p!'
We cook from scratch a lot and eat lots of healthy wholefoods dishes. Shopping at discount shops allows us to also enjoy some treats and convienience foods too. Normally I would not buy shop bought smoothies but when Heron Foods (the main discount food shop in my town) had these big Innocent Super Smoothies for 69p recently I had to give them a try. I've not had the one above yet but we had a mango based one that was lovely. The carton had two breakfast sized servings. Normally they retail at £3.39.
More drinks were to be had this week from Heron with these cartons of coconut water and organic ooling tea flavoured with peach puree. I love coconut water and like to add it to home made smoothies and I was impressed with the tea drink which wasn't overly sweet and let the tea flavours still come through. These retail at £1.75 and £1.69 respectively. They cost me 39p each.
Jus Rol is a friend for vegans looking for quick convienient pastry items with a lot of their range being SFV. They often crop up in Heron and we've had the croissants and apple pastries in a tin before as well as the sheets of pastry. The shortcrust sweet pastry above has gone in the freezer so it's ready to whip up something like a quick pecan pie when we have friends over. It retails at £1.75 but I picked it up for 39p. Are you starting to see a pattern here! Also, pictured are some Foxes Golden Crunch biscuits. Quite a few packs in the Foxes biscuit range are accidentally vegan. These golden munch biscuits are one of my favourites and are buttery tasting and great for dunking. A total bargain at 29p a pack.
Also, picked up in Heron this week were these vegetable based quarter pounders and the new Linda McCartney vegan friendly soy based burgers. The EatWell burgers were £1.39 and the Linda's were £1. This is actually the first time I'd seen the Linda's anywhere. I've heard good things about them and am excited to try them. They look like they'd be a great burger to take to summer barbecues.
I did deliberate over buying the next item. I am not a fan of oven chips and felt that a £1.69 a bag it was cheaper to buy a bag of sweet potatoes and make my own wedges which is what I normally do. However, I can never get crispy sweet potato wedges and these have the words 'vibrant and crunchy fries' on the front. The crinkle cut reminds me of childhood and the excitement of my mum getting a crinkle cutter so we could have crinkle cuts chips from the chip pan at home. They also have a coating that includes paprika which I love on sweet potatoes and they are even gluten free so after they'd gone in and out of the basket several times they stayed in.
Take aways are a very, very rare thing for us but items like the ones below help make a home made curry or Chinese dinner feel more like a take away treat. Both the spring rolls and the samosas bake in the oven in around 10 minutes and are great value at £1 a pack. We've had standard vegetable samosas recently and also the dahl samosas pictured which I absolutely loved and which are very moreish.
Products in Heron change from week to week but there are nearly always crisp bargains to be found. We often get big bags of vegan friendly flavours of Walkers Sensations, Tyrells or Kettle Chips for 39p-59p which would usually retail at £2. They even had Ten Acre crisps on one occasion with 5 bags for £1 (usually 90p each). These Skips and Hula Hoops were 6 bags for 99p.
I do shop at other places too. We are lucky to have a great little independent health food shop run by our friends Steve and Ann. These sour cream and chive quinoa chips are a big favourite of ours and reminded me to ask Ann if she could order some of the Kale Straws from my last blog post. Ann knew of them and said they had been out of stock for a while and the one time she'd managed to get them a customer bought the lot! I told you they were amazing. Anyway, the good news is that they are back in stock and a consignment is on the way to Glossop.
We have a fantastic coffee shop in our train station called Twig. They offer a range of plant milk, serve excellent coffee and sell some vegan friendly snack bars and also the Ten Acre crisp range. I was so excited this week to see that they also now have some of the Ten Acre Popcorn.
I am a huge popcorn fan and I tried this new vegan friendly popcorn range when I used to write reviews for Can I Eat It App about a year ago but I hadn't seen it for sale anywhere since. The wasabi is my favourite but the whole range is great and definitely worth trying if you spot it anywhere.
As I mentioned earlier I also enter food competitions. Last month I won a gift box of Panna Chocolate, an amazing raw choc from Australia, the month before I won a selection of Laboko chocolate and excitingly earlier today I got an email saying I had won a window box garden from Rocket Gardens worth £25. The plants I'll get sent include various varieties of salad leaves, green beans, spinach, spring onions, beetroot and a selection of herbs. I've never grown things like this before so watch out for a future blog post letting you know how I get on.