$21 challenge: week 1 update...

10 June, 2015

It is now just over one week into my rather rash decision to attempt to live on only $21 of groceries until the end of June.

Spent: $8.30
Remaining: $12.70

The only buys were some milk, yoghurt and a $1 lavish spend on a packet of pasta.


This was lavish as I have spaghetti at home, so could have used that. But I was planning to use some beef from the freezer to make beef stroganoff and really, spaghetti pasta just would not work. It needs to be spirally pasta. So I lashed out.

Now it does feel like I have spent a lot of the kitty. But I am still hopeful, as the mostly costly element was the yoghurt (at $5.30), but this supply should last me until the end of the month. The only real necessities over the next three remaining weeks will be milk, so there will be a small amount left for contingencies.

But sadly the budget did not stretch to buying mushrooms for the stroganoff. What was I to do?

Well, go foraging.


Over the long weekend we did a trip up to the pine forests and luckily there were still saffron milk caps and slippery jacks to be had. In fact, there were not just enough for a few dinners, but plenty of extras for future meals.


These will go into the freezer as a future stash. Many thanks to Rohan for his generous sharing of knowledge on his last mushroom workshop of this year. If you are interested in learning about foraging for mushrooms safely I highly recommend this session.

So that covers off what I'll be eating for the next few days. What else have I been eating.

I finished off the celery risotto from last week. I've had a few frittata style meals with a mix of garden veg (broccoli, kale, silverbeet) and a couple of pasta meals with homemade passata with oven roasted onion (from my massive 10kg bag) and the last of summer capsicums.

Breakfasts have been mainly fruit and yoghurt, the fruit being either preserved or dried except for the odd few raspberries. Weekend breakfasts of porridge with brown sugar and prunes are an indulgence. I've found that using half milk and half water is undiscernible from the whole milk version I usually make, and so that will save a little milk make my supplies go a little further.

Snack wise again I've been living off the stores of dried fruit and nuts, except for the last apples. I've been rationing my them to one per week which will take me to the end of the month.

Even though I've had to be very careful in my meal planning, I don't feel deprived. As yet. That may change as the month progresses. But already I feel that I am learning how little I really need to eat well. I just need a little planning and using what I have.

17 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Cheers. They were pretty good!

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  2. Foraging mushrooms is a great idea (since you have the knowledge). They are so expensive at the store. Good luck.

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    1. Yes, I've done a few mushrooming courses over the last few years so I definitely know enough to be very, very careful in what I do pick. I reckon at each trip, with an hour or so of gentle bushwalking we were able to pick over $200 worth of mushies, if I were to buy these types at a farmers market. Not a bad effort for a day out.

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  3. Watching your exploits closely. It's amazing how little we really do "need" and how much of what graces our pantries is impulsively bought and indulgent wants. Can't get much more indulgent than those gorgeous foraged mushies.

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    1. So true! When you scrape it right back to bare basics it really shows what you truly "need." One thing I have found really good about this experience is that I do relish the "want" foods so much more that I would without this experiment, as I look at them with different eyes.

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  4. I think you may end the month with more food than you started at this rate! I would love to learn how to identify fungi.. I wonder if there is a local course I could do.. it sounds like it would be a good investment. And I am hearing you on working out the difference between a want and a need. Th

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  5. .. oops, accidentally published! That was something I was keen for my girls to discover too..

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    1. Haha, not quite! I suspect there must be someone in tassie running courses. Surely.
      I suppose the difference between wants and needs are good for all of us to discover, or rediscover over time. I know its been good for me, anyway.

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  6. I'm surprised you don't make your own yoghurt. I've been doing it for a few years now. 50 cents for a tub of yoghurt makes a big difference to the budget (500 ml of $1/litre milk).

    Do you do anything to the mushies before freezing or just bung them in as they are? I've been drying mine. Never thought of freezing.

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    1. I've tried, Bev, but I never have found a recipe to give me the thick, creamy texture I like.
      For the mushies I've cooked them down before freezing. I also dried the slippery jacks as I've been told they become porcini like. I hope so.

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    2. Unfortunately, I think you'll find that thick creamy texture is the result of all the thickeners and stabilisers they put in commercial yoghurt, which is one of the reasons I don't buy it!

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    3. Fair enough. I tend to be pretty picky, and this brand is only milk, milk solids, cream (!) and cultures. I also buy the Barambah organic yoghurts, but they sadly aren't available at my local supermarket. But I agree that the usual fruit flavoured, less than 2% actual fruit, additive laden excuses for yoghurt are pretty poor foods.

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  7. Make your yoghurt in your thermomix.
    Save some of that greek yoghurt and use it as a starter. It'll cost you around $1 a litre...http://www.the4blades.com/t4b046-expert-thermomix-yoghurt/

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    1. Looks like I've been missing out. I will have to give yoghurt another go. Thanks for the link :)

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  8. Sorry, you mentioned you're growing Kale. I have some seeds and am looking to plant, but have I missed the season?

    I too am in Melbourne.

    PS: Nice photos on the right sidebar. Did you take these?

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    1. Hmmm, I think you should be ok. I expect you would get a few leaves off them, but they will grow slowly, and then likely bolt to seed as it gets to spring. But if a small harvest is worth a trying a couple of seeds to you (it would be to me) then I say go for it!
      Cheers. Yes they are pics I've taken. They are the favourites, but I need to update them. I do like taking photos!

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