We asked one of our favourite Instagrammers @MabelsMummyMakes for her top tips on feeding a family without breaking the bank….
Hi, I’m Emily aka Mabel’s Mummy!
I started my Instagram page in January 2019 as I wanted to lose weight in a healthy way and have always loved to cook. I subsequently lost 2 stone after the birth of my daughter with the page giving me motivation to cook my family and I into a healthier lifestyle.
We recently took out life insurance through WillU Life after hearing about of the great rewards and benefits. One key factor for me was the Ocado discount which saves us money on the weekly shop. The main reason I shop online is because I’m an impulse buyer in the supermarket and was spending unnecessary money on things I didn’t need. I also save money by meal planning. This means every week I know exactly what i’ll be cooking, which also saves time, creates variety and wastes less. My meal planning is very simple; I go online and find offers for the main ingredients, I then decide what I can put with it on the Ocado app or by looking up recipe inspiration. I try and crossover recipes so I can use the same ingredients over a few days but make different dishes. For example, if aubergines are on offer I can make aubergine curry, a parmigiana and a miso aubergine dish with rice.
ICE ICE BABY
Another way I keep costs and waste down is by freezing any unused food in my fridge at the end of the week. I lived in France for a few years and seeing how much they eat out of their freezer made me shop differently. I noticed that frozen fruit and veg was cheaper and actually more nutritious! The great thing about frozen ingredients is that they are always pre-prepared, so I never have to chop onions! I buy all of my herbs and spices frozen and if I buy fresh chillies I put them into my freezer to chop and grate into dishes.
My two favourite places in my kitchen are the storecupboard and freezer. I make most of my meals from them every day and always find inspiration from what I have in there – helping me avoid mid-week shopping.
A great hack is chopping leftover cucumber, lemons and limes into segments and freezing them for ice cubes – perfect to flavour a G&T! I also peel apples & pears, pop them into the freezer for when I want to make a quick crumble. I cook them from frozen in a pan with a drizzle of honey for a few minutes, then top with granola and place into the oven to crisp up.
FEEDING MY FAMILY
My son is dairy intolerant so as a family we follow very low dairy diets and I use as many dairy-free substitutes as I can.
I have one child that is very fussy and another who eats anything. It’s very difficult as a parent to keep everyone happy, not cook the same 4 meals on rotation or be in the kitchen all evening! The motivation for my Instagram page is to prepare simple, healthy and easy family meals.
There are lots of meals I make that my children won’t eat so I adapt the leftovers. If I cook the children a roast chicken and potato tray bake at 4pm, I’ll use the leftover roast chicken to make my husband and I a quick curry in the evening. When it comes to meals, the simpler the better – you don’t need a long list of ingredients and it doesn’t have to be costly. One pot dinners and tray bakes are fab as I cannot bear washing up!
HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS
I love to entertain and regularly have 12 people for lunch on a Sunday. My advice for this is to pre-cook as much as possible and try slow cook meals which take very little prep. Especially in the winter, I like to cook stews, my favourite is Deliciously Ella’s chickpea stew. I put it into the blender for the kids and pop it with pasta so they get all of the goodness without knowing it! Cooking for a large group can be expensive so when Ocado have an offer on gammon or a side of salmon, I always buy it and freeze it for when needed.
MABELS MUMMY MAKES’ TOP TIPS:
• Buy your fruit and veg from the freezer aisle. Supermarkets have amazing products in the freezer that I bet you didn’t even know existed!
• Buy foods on offer and freeze them if your due to host
• Keep a well-stocked storecupboard
• Do weekly meal plans to save money and generate less waste
• Freeze anything in the fridge at the end of the week