$21 challenge: week 2 update...

17 June, 2015

I have hit the halfway mark for the considerable challenge of living on $21 of groceries for the month of June.

Overall it continues to be ok. I am starting to pine for more foods from the markets, but then I just remind myself that I have plenty of food at home and no I don't really need to buy myself a cauliflower to make cauliflower cheese, as I have plenty of delicious food at home.

For this second week I have not spent any money at all, so I still have $12.70 in the kitty.

That said I am almost out of milk, so will need to get more of that soon. So far I have been able to entirely avoid the supermarkets, but needing to go and get milk will expose me to a lot more tempting food stuffs, so I think I will need to steel myself to go and walk out with nothing but milk.

Eating this week has included:

Weekday breakfasts of yoghurt and preserved fruits (this week I'm using the canned blackberries) and still the weekend favourite of porridge and prunes continues to dominate.

Lunches are mainly leftovers from dinners, which this week has been chicken and freekeh, a mushroom tarte tatin (i.e. a bed of mushrooms with puff pastry I had in the freezer on top - pastry makes everything better!) and the latest being Jerusalem artichoke soup with my darling mother's homemade sourdough bread, which she regularly drops off at my place.


I've also had the odd dessert of preserved apples made into a crumble, with thermomix custard.


Mmm, winter comfort food heaven.


Snacks continue to be mainly dried fruit and nuts.

To give an example, this is my lunch box for today.


My breakfast yoghurt with blackberries, snacks of dried apple, almonds and dried plums, and my leftover Jerusalem artichoke soup in the bottom red container. The lemon is for hot lemon drinks over the day, as I get sick of tea and I like a warm drink in winter.

Overall I'm a bit surprised at how easy it has been to put together meals from what I had in the store cupboard and freezer. I really haven't had any meals that had obviously missing elements or ingredients. Yes it takes a bit of effort, but when you consider the time saving of not having to pop to the shops to pick up said ingredient (and usually pick up other unnecessary items along the way).

However, I am running out of ideas. Do you have any store cupboard meals you love? Please send me inspiration.

12 comments:

  1. Great effort! I have been thinking about our emergency meals, frittata if you have any eggs, ratatouille or soup with added rice noodles to bulk it up. :)

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    1. I will definitely be doing frittata sometime! Thanks for the suggestions.

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  2. I should do this again as our freezer is full and we need to make room for a little bull. The garden is doing OK so will definitely give it some more thought.

    Barb.

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    1. It is well worthwhile, especially if you need to clear things out to make room for fresh stuff. I think I will make this a regular event, just maybe not for so long :)

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  3. I get paid monthly and I try to set myself an allowance of a certain amount and I take this amount out in cash at the start of the pay month. I do a "big" shop (it's not that big really) at the start of the month to stock up on regularly used items. When my wallet starts to get quite light towards the end of the pay month I end up eating only from what is in the house - it's amazing how when you apply a bit of discipline how little you can spend if you have a well stocked fridge/freezer and pantry. It can take a bit of adjusting and organisation but I'm finding that it isn't all that difficult once you get your head around it.
    I find it's also quite empowering knowing I haven't visited a supermarket all week and then I can splurge a little at the farmers market on the weekend.
    I also buy the majority of my meat in bulk from the farmers directly so that saves a lot of money as I could go several months w/out buying meat unless I run out of a certain cut that I need for something.

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    1. I like your thinking. I do have a rough weekly budget, but I confess I often go a bit over. This strategy would really make me think much more about those extra purchases. Cheers!

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  4. I've heard of this $21 day challenge before, from Simple Savings. I didn't realise it meant only spending $21 and still using what you have on hand.

    How does this work long term when you need to replace the items you've eaten?

    However, some great tips on low cost food. ;-D

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    1. Haha, that I don't know. My intent when I started was only to do this as a one off, but I'm thinking now I might do it seasonally, maybe for a couple of weeks at the end of each season. But at least a couple of times a year. Certainly not every month though. That would be completely unsustainable.

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  5. Bek, doing so well, good for you! You know, since I tried this a few weeks ago, I have been continuing it - it has become a bit of a game for me - what can I make from what I have today? It is also changing the way I shop - I am really making the effort to come up with a menu from what I have on hand, then only needing to add specific ingredients to the shopping list, rather than buying whole meals' worth of ingredients.

    As for a store cupboard dish, this is my favourite, requiring rice, lentils and onions, and a dollop of yoghurt:

    http://alltheblueday.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/mujadara-thrifty-comfort-food.html

    Hammo, I think this might answer your question too: yes, you do have to restock what you've eaten down, but also, maybe you start to think differently about what you buy. In my case and Bek's, we are eating more from the garden, also in my case we ate up a whole heap of food, such as old packets of prunes, which had been sitting in the pantry for ages, and which I otherwise might have ended up throwing out and wasting. Also, necessity made me experiment with the dried pulses that can sit in the pantry forever while we blithely pop out and buy food that looks easier to eat. As it turns out, I have discovered some new recipes for very cheap food, and used up some of the barley and quinoa that has been sitting in the cupboard for who knows how long!

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    1. Cheers Jo. Thanks for the inspiration. That lentil soup is very much like one my boyfriend makes (he was born in Iraq) which is red lentils, fried onion and a type of egg noodle, then served with lemon juice squeezed on top. It is the best recipe. I will have to try this one though.
      It is so true that things like this can change your habits long term. I hope this remains a skill, but I think a planned redo every so often will help keep me using what I have more often than not.

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  6. With my son away at university, I find that I rarely need to visit the shops, and my budget for food can be halved. I loved having fresh greens and storecupboard squash all through the winter and eat loads of freekeh, couscous and other grains. Porridge is a favourite too and I've given up tea and coffee recently so drink hot water and lemon (sometimes with honey in it). My biggest expense is out of season fruit! PS. Love the sound of preserved apples, how's that done?

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    1. Yay for hot water and lemon, it's a current favourite for me too. The preserved apples are via a water bath method. I slightly cook quartered apples with a little water, lemon juice and sugar until they just soften, making packing into the preserving jars easier. I then process them for 30mins. Easy stewed apples is the result.

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