Michelle publishes some great stories on her Keep Calm Get Organised blog. I was particularly interested in her $50 grocery challenge which she introduces with some alarming statistics on just how much food is wasted by Australian households each year, and the impact this has on the environment. I thought I would give the challenge a try. Now let me tell you I’m a minimalist and an under-buyer – definitely not one of those people whose fridge contains not one inch of space and with a pantry to match. So I did wonder if this challenge might be a little ambitious for me, given Michelle’s requirement that we make use of what we already have. She further suggests that a couple or small family limit themselves to only $30, but because I bought organic fruit and veggies that week I felt this justified giving myself the higher grocery allowance even though we are just a couple!
My inventory revealed a freezer containing lamb shanks, pumpkin pie filling, and a recipe of pate brisee pastry. Items already in the pantry selected to build meals around included canned chick peas, coconut milk, rice and quinoa mix, dried fruit, and nuts. The garden yielded pumpkin, heaps of sweet potato, and eggs from our chickens. Michelle suggested making your own bread, and I agree with her that it really is very easy – it just requires a little forward planning. I spent $31.50 on fruit and veggies at the markets; and just $18.60 at IGA.
So what did we eat that week?
Lamb shanks with prunes & apricots
Grilled salmon & vegetables
Thai fish curry
Quinoa, rice & sweet potato salad
And for treats and guests – Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin & Prune cake, and Date cake. When I bake cakes I usually cut them in half and put half in the freezer. Mr Simply Will has something of a sweet tooth, and this stops them disappearing so quickly!
The $50 grocery challenge was a great exercise in being more thoughtful about the food we eat, minimising waste, meal planning, creating a grocery list and sticking to it, and using what is already available.
What are your thoughts about Michelle’s $50 challenge? Would you or have you tried it?