These are a few of my favourite things...

Posted September 14th, 2007 by Penny Wise

At least I don't feel like I'm the only one checking food labels in Mr Patel's any more. After a program that screened in NZ last night, it looks as though half the country is doing it! 'Inside NZ' aired an hour-long feature called 'What's really in your food?' What an eye-opener it was, and I only saw the second half of it! Needless to say, my 'Chemical Maze' book that I bought a little while ago and then put in the 'too hard basket' has been brought out and I will be studying it meticulously from now on. How I wish us humans had never been subjected to any of this stuff. At least our newly converted family of cavemen are a few weeks ahead of the rest of the country. Liam has so much energy from all the good food he's eating, he's just about bouncing off the walls and I figure the more additives I can eliminate from our family's diet, the better it will be for all of us.

My kitchen is a very happy blend of 'old-fashioned food meets the wonders of technology' at the moment. I adore my breadmaker (especially the fact it didn't cost a cent, thanks Mum!) and have now got into an easy pattern of turning out a loaf every second day. With the help of my new Easiyo maker we have all become yoghurt fiends and are getting through a kilo of the yummy stuff each day. The boys and I have always hated yoghurt but there's something so much nicer about making your own isn't it? It just tastes better and of course, you know what's in it. For the first time EVER, Liam asked for yoghurt in his lunchbox today! My other favourite appliance of the moment is my blender, which I also didn't pay for. I only really got it to whizz up scraps for my worm farm but in my endless efforts to fill up the boys at the moment, I picked up a book on smoothies from the library the other day. I have never made smoothies in my life but we are quickly becoming connoisseurs and I am wondering how we lived without them before! Especially me, who hardly ever consumes fruit. I've even been leaving the Coke Zero alone and picking a grapefruit off the tree, squeezing the juice into a glass and topping it up with water instead. Although after watching that programme last night, I don't think I ever want to go back to Coke again anyway!

It's good to see that NZ is finally starting to catch up with Australia a bit when it comes to decent bargain hunting websites. I have used Price Spy before to help me get the best price on a digital camera but that was the only one I knew of. However, now there is The Deal! News of this new website came along at just the right time. My mum had been wanting to get a laptop for ages but had been hanging on to her old PC while she compared prices. Anyway, her PC suddenly gave up the ghost so I went straight on to The Deal to check out prices. We managed to get her a top of the range HP model for $450 less than retail! The site deals in excess stock and end-of-line merchandise and mum's new laptop arrived three days later in perfect condition. A fantastic bargain! There is also another new site called 'I Love Sales' which finds all the new upcoming sales for stores in your area. It's still really new but I think it's going to come in very handy in the future!

The food bill is slightly better this week, although I still managed to spend $95 at Mr Patel's yesterday and didn't have a lot to show for it. It was just fruit and vegetables really with a $7 bottle of wine thrown in! I do find it hard sometimes living in an area where there's only one grocery shop for miles. I mean, do I get everything I need at Mr Patel's where it may cost a bit more, or do I get in the car and drive 30 minutes to the nearest supermarket on the off-chance they may have something cheaper? It's a bit hit and miss really - Mr Patel's prices aren't that bad and I have a feeling that whatever savings I made elsewhere would be made up for in petrol. I do wish there was a nice produce market or something near us though. One chap has set up a little stand in town once a week where he sells fresh fish. There's nobody else in town who sells it and the locals rush to his stand on a Friday morning. Brilliant idea but being married to a fishing fanatic, that's the one thing I don't need to buy. I'd better hope he goes out and catches plenty this weekend to keep us all going during our 'no spend week!'

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