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Bulk Cooking

Life before Table Tucker

Before Table Tucker I was a typical time-poor working mum. Trips to the supermarket involved making rash buys from screaming supermarket shelves. They knew me by name. I thought I was happy in the comfort of grouse convenience dinners and packaged chips-and-dips. They sure looked inviting under those dazzling lights. Then, one day, as I watched the cashier’s screen counting up my stuff, I had a blinding moment of clarity. I was sick of being ‘ripped of ’ by my own lack of time and organisation.
I haven’t always been a time-poor working mum. I’ve also been the broke university student, working three jobs and living on toast for dinner. After that, I backpacked around the world living on instant noodles and beer. When I finally made it home, I was on a tight schedule. There were visa cards to pay for and pizzas to order. Cooking-for-one, or cooking at all, was not a choice I could afford or had the time to indulge in.
It wasn’t until my thirties that I learned the basics of cooking. Help arrived in the form of a friend who was leaving town. She left a box of recipe magazines on my doorstep one night on her way to the airport. There was no secret knock, just this little box of mags sitting on my porch crying out for someone to love them. I brought them in from the cold, patted the dust of them and lined them up across my kitchen bench. And so began my journey of finally learning to cook.
“Table Tucker puts control back in your hands.”
Meeting today’s challenges
What you now may hold in your hands is my answer to a few more of life’s challenges than just learning to cook. Not in my lifetime have I had the time to spend long evenings in the kitchen like my grandmother did. In this generation, with rising interest rates and high petrol prices, it is even harder.
To find the time to cook, youths, singles, students, partners, working families, pensioners and now a growing number of single parents are finding the simple act of eating well each week, while staying within budget, to be a real challenge. Then there is sanity. Those supermarket shelves are still screaming at us and it is difficult to stay focused. We now also have to meet these challenges while still being kind to the Earth.
So how are we going to manage all of this without compromising our lifestyles too much?

A total solution to the dinner dilemma

In this book I hope you will find, as I have, a total solution to the dinner dilemma.
Groceries take up a huge sum of our disposable income and world resources.
Table Tucker works behind the scenes to reduce the impact of these worries.
You will:

  • Find the extra time to enjoy the act of cooking.
  • Find the extra cash to ease your financial pressures.
  • Have the headspace for greater happiness, creativity and peace of mind.
  • Have more time to spend on the areas of your life that you love.
  • Reduce stress daily through better organisation.

And you can do it all while saving the world!
Table Tucker puts control back in your hands.

Eat your way to a better world

It is likely that you are already doing what you can toward helping the Earth, from taking eco bags to the shops to reducing your water usage. Table Tucker goes further by combining a number of simple core principles (See Core Principles p. 4) to achieve savings in time, money, sanity, petrol, waste, water and energy. All you need to do is use Table Tucker on a daily basis to eat your way to a better world! Pretty cool, eh?

Evolution and Table Tucker

I have evolved with Table Tucker as I am sure you will. I have changed from a convenience dinner mum to a more Earth-happy mum and conscious consumer. Now when I look at the goods in my basket or trolley I feel great about my impact on the Earth. I see fresh veggies in their jackets and much less packaging. Cooking is a pleasure because I feel great about my shopping, cooking, eating and cleaning-up habits. And, as you are soon to discover, the concept of only cooking three nights each week is blissful.

You can relax now

It is hard to believe that a little cookbook could bring such inner and outward calm. But let me assure you, TableTucker can.

“The best stories are built on
a fearless love for change.” Penina Petersen

Table Tucker

The Smart Cookbook Changing the Way You Shop, Cook, Eat and Live

Table Tucker is a revolutionary culinary manifesto written by an Aussie mum from the country who wanted to beat spiralling grocery prices and solve the eternal dilemma of what to cook for dinner. With her book, she’s made leftovers and buying groceries in bulk (and seasonally) fashionable, easy and seriously worth it. Table Tucker is the ultimate budget cookbook where the recipes and shopping lists work together to help you arrange your cooking schedule so you only have to prepare meals three times a week and then put your feet up! Slash your grocery bills with Table Tucker’s shopping lists to reduce waste and save you serious money on your household budget.

52 weeks of seasonal shopping lists, recipes & budget dinners

  • Save thousands on groceries every year
  • Save time, money and petrol by buying in bulk
  • Annual, seasonal and monthly pantries
  • Shopping lists for every season and week of the year!
  • Cook only three times each week and put your feet up
  • Amazing new quick-scan recipe format
  • Easy everyday recipes your mum would cook you
  • Uses seasonal veggies you can plant ahead of time
  • Earth-happy core principles
  • Flexible system that works for any situation
  • Meals account for lunches and leftovers too
  • Dinner served! 24/7 all year round
  • Instant inspiration anecdotes to ponder over
  • Easily delegate your shopping to others


There are lots revolutions out there pressuring us to take action. At Table Tucker we take a different view. We understand you are busy and that life leaves little time for much else. That’s why we’ve developed a holistic approach to life’s challenges. At Table Tucker all you have to do is enjoy a delicious dinner every night of the week to get big returns in time, money, sanity and good karma! The concept is simple and working for thousands of our readers!
Table Tucker is a brand new breed of smart cookbook. Our community is changing the world one meal at a time! In one lifetime a Table Tucker reader is typically gaining 5.2 years worth of days off, saving $456,300 dollars, enjoying priceless sanity, saving 21,654,360 litres of water and much more!
Collectively? Currently we don’t have a calculator big enough to document our cause! We just keep eating our delicious dinners while we take it all in..
And there’s more! We are dedicated to unleashing precious wisdom for both young, middle aged and old! We’re into love, happiness, passion, following your dreams and going on adventures.!
If you’d like to become part of something really big join us!
Ideal for students, singles, couples, single parents, working families, pensioners…well, everyone!


Wearing grungy green ugg boots she bought in New Zealand many years ago, Penina Petersen stands in the kitchen of her cosy rented house on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria’s little Mediterranean.

Cooking is furthest from her mind. Her dinners are planned out for the next year. By my estimations, tomorrow night will be ginger lime chicken and Asian veggies, Tuesday falafels, and a month on Friday she’ll be dishing up ham and mushroom penne to her husband and 4-year-old son.
Auckland-born Petersen is trying to religiously stick to the 52 weeks of menu plans and shopping lists on her culinary manifesto. She needs to know she is “on track” with her followers, that the meals she espouses are simple, colourful and delicious and, for her personal benefit, keep her saving money.
According to her calculations, if you follow her plan — cooking only three times a week and stretching out your basic grocery shop to once a month — you can save $456,300, around 21 million litres of water and earn 5.4 years of cooking days-off over a lifetime.
During the last couple of years on her Table Tucker regime, the Petersens saved enough to take their first family holiday, five days in Noosa.
Petersen’s story is not one of celebrity chef or Michelin star restaurateur offering up innovative and grandiose recipes. Gordon Ramsay would probably call her a fraud if she tried to sell herself as one. No, hers is a tale of perseverance, commonsense and self-belief; a typical mum wanting to make a difference in her family’s life and who saw a way to share it with other budget-conscious consumers.
These days who isn’t trying to save a few dollars on the supermarket shop? That’s why her publisher believes she’s onto a winner. Her originally self-published cookbook, Table Tucker, grabbed the attention of Australian homemakers last year, quickly selling out the 2500 copies she had made at her town’s local printer and sold on the internet.
When Hachette Publishing saw Petersen promoting her book on the Seven Network’s current affairs show Today Tonight last November, it scooped her up and relaunched the book, on sale in New Zealand and Australia this month under the same title.

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Make saving money a habit like brushing your teeth. I like to think of my finances as a ‘rinse and repeat’ process. Make the saving and then keep repeating that action.

Perfection is when there’s nothing else to take away

Some people think they’ve done enough. They think there’s nothing more they can do to save. Wrong.
There are endless ways to save and penny-pinching is an ongoing habit and journey. Think of saving as ‘preventative maintenance’ if you’ve reached this point.

Today I’m dishing up a few super fast tips on ways you can save money fast around the house

Cook In Bulk

Let’s talk ‘hump day’ Wednesday. We’ve made it through Monday and Tuesday cooking each night and heading off to bed at a reasonable hour. But then Wednesday hits. For some, Wednesday is that ‘into-the-week’ but ‘not-quite-the-weekend-day.’ Boredom and lethargy often sets in.

Pexels / Pixabay

I know. You might say to the family ‘Let’s order takeaway!’
This could add some excitement to the week without any of us leaving the couch – yay!!!
Plus. We won’t have to cook and leave the house – especially if we order delivery.
Bad move.
You’ll likely spend three times what a trip to the kitchen or freezer might cost. If you do this often, you’ll find this habit soon burns a hole in your pocket. For the average family this amounts to up to $40 per week.
Here are some solutions:
  • Make up a big soup on a Sunday night using leftover veggies from the week
  • Freeze the soup and keep it for Wednesday when that takeaway craving hits
  • Think ahead: Buy frozen chips, fish and pizza and keep in the freezer

Learn DIY tricks

When you own your own home, things go wrong. The bathroom tap might come off its spring or a fence paling might come loose. Your first instinct might be to hire a tradie to get issues fixed. But this can get expensive, when you can find a DIY fix instead.

Brett_Hondow / Pixabay

Avoid Calling Out The Handyman

When you own your own home, things can and will go wrong. Our first instinct is often to hire somebody and get them to sort out the problem. But that can often end up being very expensive and unnecessary.
Suppose, for instance, you’ve got a blocked drain. Instead of calling out contractors, look for things you can try to unblock a drain first that are much less expensive. The same applies for if you’ve got a problem with your guttering or if the caulking in your shower is peeling away from the wall. Home remedies often work just fine in these circumstances, without having to pay out money for time and labor.

Lose Bad Habits

Your home environment can be your worst enemy if you are trying to quit smoking or drinking. There’s nothing worse than knowing you’ve got boxes of ciggies in the cupboards. Or you’re tempted by cheesecakes and chocolate in the fridge. These temptations test willpower and are usually hard for good-meaning people to resist.

pixel1 / Pixabay

The solution is to remove all temptation from your house. Don’t buy these items when you go shopping. You’ll save money in the short-term, while you pay out less in the long term on health costs.

Avoid The Clothes Dryer

Air drying your clothes is a great way to save money. Dryers are money-sucking monsters.
Here are the benefits:
2. Clothes will last longer and you’ll avoid shrinkage

RyanMcGuire / Pixabay

Got outdoor space?

Rig up a retractable clothesline. These only cost a few dollars and fold away when not in use.
This way you can enjoy the space in your garden when you’re not doing laundry!
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If you love cooking in bulk, discover some great food shopping tips for cooking in bulk this weekend. Saving money on groceries and saving valuable time is easy if you plan ahead, purchase groceries in bulk and batch cook.

Bulk food shopping tips for this weekend

Meat & poultry

Buy meat in bulk and find wholesale suppliers in your area. Money saving meat purchases include budget mince, sausages and stewing meats. Purchase chicken fresh or frozen and try to get your chook for under $5.00. It is cheaper to buy a chicken, roast it and shred it for meals than it is to cook up fillets. Roast chicken is also delicious in a pasta or a soup! If you have to buy fillets buy them in a big pack at a wholesale poulterer.


Buy onions, potatoes, garlic, ginger and fresh herbs (for freezing) in bulk.

Kitchen Gear

Buy a big community size cling wrap and aluminum foil that will last you months! It is much cheaper to
buy products like this in bulk. I sit my cling wrap at the top end of a large bread board so it is easy to access when making the kids’ lunches.

Grocery Items

Items on your grocery list should include oils, oil sprays, sauces such as tomato sauce and soy sauce.

Herbs & Spices

Fill your spice rack and keep it well stocked with all the spices you require for the coming season and year. Also include beef, chicken and vegetable stock powder.

Milk & Bread

Buy long life milk and bread for the freezer. This will reduce unnecessary trips to the shops where you will likely spend $30 or more on items you were not planning to buy.

Canned Goods

Stock up on diced tomatoes, soups, chick peas, lentils and the like.

Freezer Items

Stock up on pastry, frozen peas, mixed vegetables, frozen corn and spinach.


Stock up on rice and pasta. If you keep your pantry well stocked you can save much time avoiding extra trips to the supermarket for groceries and more time in the kitchen cooking up beautiful bulk cooked meals for the family!
Hope you liked my bulk food shopping tips! Good luck with your next cooking adventure!

Can’t be bothered working it all out?

If you want a great resource for cooking in bulk and stocking your pantry check out Table Tucker or FREEZER MEALS cookbook. Table Tucker delivers annual, seasonal and monthly pantries for 52 weeks of budget dinners for the entire year! You will never have to write a pantry list ever again. Freezer Meals is a savvy bulk cooking system, which will save you up to $400 on your monthly grocery spend.

Got some great food shopping tips to share? Add them to comments below!

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Buy in bulk

by Penina

Buy Groceries In Bulk

Your time (which is money) and the petrol savings are what really make bulk buying worth it.

When you buy in bulk every month and season, Table Tucker reminds you to buy other non-food needs that might run out when you prefer they wouldn’t. 

Buying these items in bulk avoids extra trips to the shops where chocolate biscuits, bags of chips and other rash buys are there to tempt you. 

The list includes such items as toilet paper, laundry powder, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, razors and soap for example. 

While bulk-buy savings are great, your time (which is money) and the petrol savings are what really make bulk buying worth it. Petrol costs from all those extra trips amount to a large sum over the course of a year. See our Money Crunch pages in TT’s seasonal apps. 

There is nothing worse than having to go and buy toilet paper in the middle of watching your favourite show, is there? Or running out of toothpaste before an important morning meeting, causing you to spend more money on fresh mints on your way to work! The spending can just go on and on. 

Shop monthly at stores that specialise in bulk-buy items. 

Because the ingredients in Table Tucker are so basic, these bulk-buy stores should stock all that you need.
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Enjoy This Simple Pleasure

Excerpt: Table Tucker Cookbook: And take your time. There’s no rush. It’s Sunday…

Sunday afternoon is the perfect time to enjoy a cook-up. See Cooking & Kitchen Tips for some preparation ideas that save you time during the week. The Sunday cook-up is a great tradition. You’ve had a relaxing weekend and you can enjoy the pure pleasure of cooking. 

Scan the week ahead and suss out all the little jobs you can do ahead of time. 

Listen to some great music while you have your Sunday cook-up. Go on. Put on that apron. Pull out your mixing bowls and your time-worn wooden spoons. Swan about that kitchen of yours basking in the pleasure of cooking that previous generations have always had the time to enjoy.

Dream a little out that kitchen window. 

If you have a child, involve him or her. Give your child a job to do. My toddler loves to get up on a chair and wash the dishes for me. Yeah. Great! Train them young I say! I’m not complaining. He usually ends with dishes in the bath, but that’s fine. 

Have fun. Enjoy a glass of wine. 

Fancy a little Michael Bublé with that wine perhaps?

Most of all, enjoy the sheer pleasure of an afternoon in the kitchen.
An excerpt from Table Tucker coobkook
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