Sunday, August 29, 2010

Real Food on a Real Budget: Review and Giveaway

[This competition is now closed. Congratulations to Louise, our winner of Real Food on a Real Budget.]

I previously shared how Stephanie Langford's blog Keeper of the Home is one of my inspirations for living a more healthful life.
Well I'm pleased to tell you that I've been reviewing her latest ebook Real Food on a Real Budget: How to eat healthy for less this past week and it's fantastic. Better yet, I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader. More on that later.

What it's about
It's all in the title. Real Food on a Real Budget: How to eat healthy for less. Stephanie has shared all the tips and tricks she's acquired over the years for feeding her family a natural, whole foods diet without breaking the bank.

Real Food on a Real Budget has given me so many ideas for getting better quality foods into our diet while sticking to a set budget. It has really encouraged me to think outside the square, to analyse where I'm spending my food dollars and whether I'm getting the best value for money, and to find ways to become more efficient in the kitchen.

What I liked about it
Comprehensive. Stephanie has covered all the bases with this book: She explains how to set up a working grocery budget; investigates the many places you can source food from; lays out various techniques for meal planning; discusses the benefits of cooking from scratch, buying in bulk and couponing; encourages readers to eat local and seasonal foods, grow their own food and preserve produce; talks about how to get into a frugal mindset; lists the most affordable nutrient-dense foods; looks at many of the little things you can do to save money and time; talks about the labour of love it is to feed your family; and includes a number of worksheets to get you started.

Personal experience and more. Under the topics listed above, Stephanie has not only shared the techniques that work best for her, but has given a range of ideas she's gathered from others. This gives readers lots of methods to pick and choose from, so they can find the ones that will work best for them.

Encouraging and empowering. The work we do feeding our families may not be highly valued in today's society, but as Stephanie points out, it is so important. This book encourages readers to be conscious about what it is they're feeding their families, and gives them the tools to do the best possible job with the resources at their disposal.

Internationally applicable. Although Stephanie lives in Canada, the ideas she's given can be applied anywhere in the world (save perhaps the chapter on couponing.)

What I didn't like about it
The only thing I found tiring was reading it on the computer. (I love to read in bed.) If you decide to buy this book, I recommend getting the paperback version rather than the ebook because it only costs a few dollars more and would mean you could read it somewhere comfortable (aah, warm snuggly bed!), write notes on it and refer back to it easily. I considered printing it, but it's 277 pages long... and I just don't have that much paper in my printer.
Stephanie is giving away a copy of her ebook to one lucky Craving Fresh reader! The giveaway will run from now until 11.59pm Thursday 2 September 2010 (NZ time).

How to enter. (There are 6 possible ways to enter, and you're welcome try them all to increase your odds of winning. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.)

1. Leave a comment. How do you prioritise where you spend your grocery money?
2. Subscribe to Craving Fresh. (Comment if you already do subscribe as well).
3. Subscribe to Keeper of the Home. (Comment if you already do subscribe as well.)
4. 'Like' Craving Fresh on Facebook. (Comment if you're already a fan as well.)
5. 'Like' Keeper of the Home on Facebook. (Comment if you're already a fan as well.)
6. Follow Keeper of the Home on Twitter. (Comment if you already do as well.)

Remember, for each of the entries above that you do, leave a separate comment on this blog.

The winner will be picked at random and notified by email, so please leave your email address for me in a way the spammers can't pick up on, eg. cravingfresh (at) yahoo (dot) com.

I requested a copy of Real Food on a Real Budget to review. Happily for me, Stephanie said yes and also set it up so if you buy either a digital or paperback copy of the book using one of the links from Craving Fresh, I will receive a small payment for marketing it. I've tried not to let that incentive bias my review of the book. 

To buy it
If you're interested in purchasing a copy, it's currently on sale for US$18.97 for the ebook version and US$21.97 for the paperback version. The paperback version also currently comes with free shipping (usually US$3.99), if you use the code FREESHIP at checkout.


  1. Hey Emma, Oh exciting a prize! How do i prioritise money during the grocery shop? well for us, i only ever plan 6 meals a week, not seven. Then that makes sure we eat some of the random stuff in our cupboard! (plus we are often out once a week for gareths work or things). So for grocery shopping it is making sure we buy enough food to eat six meals that week, pref one vegeterian. Then we do a top up of some staples like cerel and museli bars. If something is on special and i know we will need it next week i keep an eye out too. If money is left over, it is just saved for next week.

    I have definetly changed our eating habiits this year to go with seasonal fruit and vege. Hence looking at how best to freeze things, and make use of what is cheap. I cant wait for capsicums to come back in season...i miss them!

  2. hi.. I have been lurking and subscribing by RSS for several months. I have made your peanut chocolate slice several times for appreciative colleagues and have good intentions towards the healthier recipes but haven't yet actually made any. I definitely buy fruit and veges first.. I try and buy most other things in bulk so some weeks I only have to buy fruit and veges..I love those weeks!

    (young1s at google mail)

  3. Hmmmm real food on a budget. That would be nice. Seems a bit difficult when feeding 8 or 9 people on a regular basis and need to buy in bulk. Seems hard to trade 3l blue top milk for an organic substitute when you go through 15l of milk a week. Also being a busy household I don't necessarily have the time to go to ten different shops to get the best. Have started shopping on-line again with Foodtown (I know not the cheapest), although shopping on-line does give you the ability to see the same products side by side and was delighted to be able to buy organic green kiwifruit that was over $1 cheaper than the kiwi gold. You do have to be exhaustive in list writing, as forgetting one important thing can mean a trip to the supermarket anyway.

  4. Oh a give-away!! Fun.

    I buy a wide range of foods (eg lots of different coloured vegetables, different meats/protein, different starches) to give a real variety to our diet

    I buy what is in season as these items are cheapest and often local (veges)

    When I supermarket shop I do the outside of the shop first (produce, butchery, dairy, bakery, deli, freezer) before doing the inside aisles so I stock up on good stuff rather than more highly processed foods

    I buy what is on special (I always have a really long receipt due to all the specials)

    Not sure if that really explains - but I guess to sum up I try to make sure that the bulk of our grocery money gets spent on fresh, local, in-season, unprocessed foods to bulk out our meals and the more processed stuff is more of a treat rather than forming the basis of our meals - and I buy on special ALWAYS!

  5. AND I subscribe to Craving Fresh...

  6. AND I now subscribe to Keeper of the Home....

  7. AND I like Craving Fresh on FB....

  8. AND I just liked Keeper of the Home on FB too!



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