Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Filling the Freezer. #Frugal Food.

Apologies Herbivores, We're Frugal Omnivores Here.

OK, so I'm mildly stunned by high quality at low prices!


The frugaldom grocery challenge is one that I quite enjoy, especially when there's the occasional plus point, like hosting barbecues paid for by third parties. Not only is it fun sharing such good fortune, but there are also the leftovers and the savings from not having had to pay for lunch or dinner on such days.

My annual budget for all food, toiletries, cleaning and laundry products has been increased this year to a whopping great £1.25 per person per day - that's a 25% increase on previous years, just so we can enjoy a few luxuries now and again. (Basic essentials, if anyone wants anything extra like hair gels, aftershave or cosmetics, they buy it for themselves.)

Quail egg
The frugal diet, to some, may appear fairly luxurious in as much as it includes things like scallops, freshly caught mackerel, pheasant, goose, freerange duck and hen eggs, trout, quail eggs, homemade champagne and any number of hand-made delights not normally associated with moneysaving. But these things aren't costing cash - they are freely traded among like-minded others who fish, rear poultry and game and spend time, rather than money growing, picking, preserving and making the best produce they can from fresh, home grown ingredients. (Have you tried freshly made egg pasta with spinach?)

Here in Frugaldom, we don't eat any of our feathered friends, we simply keep them for eggs, so that means buying meat.


Having lost ROSSPA, (a farm shop outlet that used to deliver my butcher meat overnight) I had been struggling to find an affordable supplier who could deliver. (We've no car and don't live near shops, remember.) My body-building son said he'd heard 'Muscle Foods' was a good company to deal with, so that's where I went. (As reward for doing so, they gave me the above link where all my friends could go and claim 4 free chicken breasts with their first order!)

Their fresh meat is all ethically produced within Britain and the EU, they have won multiple awards and are Fine Food Guild members. Add to this the fact that they guarantee no added water or salt in their products and you can see the odds stacking up in their favour instantly.

On the whole, we eat mostly chicken, so I was aware of current costs and offers in supermarkets even if I can't get to any of them to buy their produce, so when I saw the price of fresh chicken breast fillets at £5 per kilo, I was very pleasantly surprised. In fact, I instantly ordered 10kg and then added a couple of kilos of lean beef stew and mince to fill my almost empty freezer.

The order arrived overnight and was exceptionally well packed, fully protected in thick insulating polystyrene wrap, bubble wrap and ice packs. Some of these ice packs were still fully frozen, despite the heat of today when my order was out for delivery. Better still, I've popped them into the freezer, too, to save for using in the cool bag for taking picnics on the bikes.

Looking at the chicken fillets, they are quite huge - a single one diced will make a meal for two of us here, at least! (The secret to frugal cooking is always shred, dice, cube or grate to make things go further and add salad, veggies, pasta or rice etc.)

The fillets came packed in 5kg containers, so I have individually wrapped them in cling film for freezing. I weighed a couple of them beforehand; the first fillet weighed 220g (about double some of the supermarket ones), the next 245g and, in total, I had 44 fillets each capable of feeding two. An average of 227g per fillet and almost zero fat to trim off them.

But that's not all! You know us frugalers always like a little bit extra, well that came in the form of a free sachet of seasoning, a free sheet of thick, insulating poly-foam, some free bubble wrap, several free ice packs and free trays that I have washed, dried and used in the freezer. Once emptied, they'll get used as seed trays in the greenhouse. The poly-foam will be ideal to insulate planters during winter, to keep them off the frozen ground.

Now I am not too sure what the people at Musclefood are going to think of this, as my only effort at building body beautiful is to walk and cycle a bit because I don't have a car, but they may find themselves being the suppliers for several other rural-living frugalities like myself and the worst part is - THEY SEND YOU MORE OFFERS! I've just been offered 1.5kg of veal for £6!

First meal - stir fried chicken breast with onions, pepper, raisins pineapple and cashew nuts with noodles - enough to serve 3.

My 'refer a friend' links are included or else you can go to http://www.musclefood.com/SK5873 and claim your 4 free chicken breast fillets when ordering. There's also a loyalty points scheme, so it's pretty much a win/win situation for frugal living pundits like me who love nothing more than a bargain slap-up meal.

Don't get too carried away with these bargains - do as I suggest and see if you can find a neighbour to share your order so you can take advantage of the free delivery options whenever an exceptional bargain appears on the horizon. Or else have a body-builder in the family and combine orders. :)

Having fun with a full freezer,
Frugaldom

14 comments:

  1. That's very good that you have found a source for your meat. You are certainly doing well, eating on a budget. Here is the name of a great blog here in the States--"The Prudent Homemaker." I have been amazed at her tricks for feeding 7 children and 2 adults, and the photography is beautiful. Check it out!

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    1. Will check that out soon, thanks. I've been doing budget challenges since 1999, so it's always interesting to see how others manage and how prices differ elsewhere.

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    2. I agree, the Prudent Homemaker is an excellent blog, she makes so much from scratch and raises as much as she can on a small lot in Las Vegas (veggies only). Well done NYK, so nice to find a company with free rural delivery!

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    3. Free only if we share orders and buy in orders over £75 but I see they occasionally do special offers that include delivery, which seems great! The order was delivered by UPS today.

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  2. You're doing so well - wish musclefood delivered to France!

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    1. It's definitely worthwhile looking at alternative suppliers. I'd never have thought of looking at a bodybuilding-related company had it not been for son and his pastime. At least I know he's doing his best to be frugal if he's bulk buying his chicken. LOL

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  3. you did do well with your order and recycling/reusing everything it came in as well.

    Gill

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    1. Gill I am terrible - I have just put in another order to include 10kg of porridge oats as they're on offer at £1 per kilo, which I can't get them for anywhere about here. Fortunately, I've doubled up by adding son's chicken order to mine to get the free delivery but this could totally change the way I meal plan. I must not return to the site for at least 3 months!

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  4. A brilliant bargain, something I'll use once we have an empty freezer after the house move to cheaply restock again. It's always nice to find a good company, that delivers on time and well wrapped and that offers a good bargain to boot.

    Thanks for the links.

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    1. Don't forget to use the hidden code for the free chicken. :) I wish I'd had one of them to use but didn't know anyone else with an account. I have now placed my second order, this time split among my son, my neighbour and myself. Not much for me this time but free delivery helps. I'll let you know what their beef is like tomorrow, although I do realise you might be able to source that cheaper from a supermarket, if you have one nearby.

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  5. I used your link and my order came yesterday- am very impressed so far. I ordered the mixed pack at £75, which had the 5kg of chicken. I split these into bags of 2 and also got 4 free breasts -14 bags. The free ones were about half the size, more like supermarket ones. The others are huge!!

    The pack seems good value and you should have the credit from my order too!

    I love a good deal and my freezers are bursting!!

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    1. That's brilliant, thank you so much for using my link. I have now received email notification telling me that I have been awarded 500 points, which is great! You should also have received a code of your own to use, so you can invite everyone you know to try the store. :)

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  6. I, too have used your link, so there should be even more points winging your way. My elder son, who is very much into the 'muscle' scene had told me about this site but I thought it would be substandard meat - shame on me for not looking! Thanks to this blog I now have a huge meat order winging it's way to me. Now I just have to find room in the freezer.....

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    1. I have to admit that I scoured the site and read everything I could about the production levels and welfare standards and honestly couldn't find anything to fault. My guess is that you'll be as amazed as I was at the quality and even the packaging when your order arrives. Yes, they have some products that are more expensive than supermarket stuff but nowhere I can find beats that chicken offer or any of the special offers I've read about since becoming a customer. Their free seasoning is rather nice, too and that's over and above the fact that we get loyalty points. The free chicken fillets are small ones but free is still a bonus. Thank you so much for using my friend referral link! :)

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