Mrs Green’s ‘no spend’ food challenge week

Filed in Blog by on August 10, 2009 13 Comments
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Mrs Green's food cupboard before the declutter

Mrs Green's food cupboard before the declutter

As you’ll be aware I did a grand declutter of my kitchen a couple of weeks ago.

Something I’ve always wanted to do is get super organised in the culinary department. Not that there is anything wrong with the current system other than, oh wait, there isn’t a system.

I have images of knowing exactly what is in my cupboards, fridge and freezer at any one time and being able to whip up a delicious meal in an instant.

I’ve tried menu planning, but that doesn’t work for me at all, so I need to try something else.

Maisie has mentioned once a month cooking; this sort of appeals, sort of doesn’t; so I’m going to have to devise my own plan.

The first thing I am going to do is try and have a ‘buy no food’ week.
Kate, over at ‘An exercise in frugality‘ did it and I’m going to have a go too. Apart from buying fresh fruit and vegetables (oh and yogurt of course) I’m going to live out of the cupboards for a week and see how I get on.

In my mission around the kitchen I found several duplicates (like 14 tins of chickpeas) and many things that we don’t really use (packet miso soup anyone?). I gave away a big box of stuff on Freecycle, but I fancy setting myself the challenge of using some stranger things up (lavender jelly) or trying to make things we don’t really like (millet) into something more palatable.

I have other challenges I want to set myself too, but this will do for now.

Does anybody fancy joining me with a ‘no spend’ week? Do you have enough food in your cupboards to feed a small army? If so, why not sign up, reduce your food waste and save some money?  You might even discover a new family favourite recipe once you have flexed your creative kitchen muscles…

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (13)

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  1. Kira says:

    I could live for a month on frozen raspberries but other than that there’s not much in my cupboards. I’m planning to go shopping today to fill them slightly. I do have one larder-style cupboard that doesn’t get looked at much so maybe i could target that and see what we keep in there. There’s not much real food but possibly repeats of curry powder or coriander seeds.

  2. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Though I cannot join-in due to purchases every few days, there is definite value for shoppers who do a mega weekly shop. This is probably a factor in the excessive food waste some families have.

    Gathering a range of ideas, including some expert advice from Maisie, will promote new thinking and novel recipes for concerned consumers. I do have lots of dried ingredients for winter soups. These could used to incorporate some leftover meat or associated tissues.

  3. Poppy says:

    We sort of did this in the run-up to our holiday. Made for some very interesting meals!! I called it our ‘Back of the cupboard/bottom of the freezer diet!’

  4. As I went shopping on Saturday I sort of have fullish cupboards again.

    I am emptying and defrosting my inside larder freezer today, as it is cool and damp, all contents going into the large chest freezer in the shed.

    I shall then put things back in a more orderly manner.

    DH often says we could easily live for a month on what is in the cupboards and freezers.

    I do tell him we might be down to beans & egg on toast in the last few days, but must admit I think I could easily do 2 weeks without having to worry.

    I generally do a supermarket shop fortnightly, then top up with extra cheese and milk at the PO/shop when there using the post office.
    I also get my meat weekly from here or the butchers in town.

    Eggs come from the farm gate, milk and butter via the milkman and veggies in a box delivery scheme.

    SO sign me up Mrs G as this could be a good challenge to try and use up some of the things I may find lurking at the back of the freezer shelves.

  5. Charity says:

    I’ve been overdoing this recently – this week I found I was completely out of pasta, rice, oven chips, couscous and noodles! My fussy 4 year old, who doesn’t really eat protein foods, has therefore been existing on bread and butter for the last couple of days. So I won’t be joining you this time, my Ocado order comes tomorrow.

    The one thing I can’t seem to stop hoarding is breakfast cereal. I don’t know why, but I seem to need to have half a dozen unopened packets available at any time.

  6. Kate says:

    I’m in (thanks for the mention!). I’m dropping my kids off at summer sleepover camp this morning and I won’t be shopping for six days. I have produce, eggs, and beans – I’m set.

  7. If anyone has any unusual items they need to use up maybe post them here then we can take a look and see if any suggestions can be forthcoming.

    I am part of a forum on http://www.moneysavingexpert.com which has a store cupboard challenge and basically doing what we are here; there have been some weird and wonderful concoctions sometimes.

  8. Sharon says:

    I could definitely survive for a month on food already in the house! I did go shopping yesterday, but we’d just come back from our hols so the fridge was bare.

    So I’ll take up the challenge. Let’s see how long I can manage before going to a food shop….

  9. thegreengal says:

    Count me in! Had a good look in the cupboards last night and I was surprised by the amount of food in there. Quite relieved the purchase of fresh fruit and veg is allowed because I don’t think I’m quite ready to only go on what I’ve already got in. Piper Terrett at frugal-life.spaces.live.com is going all the way and surviving on only what lies within her cupboards or growing in her garden for one week, that’s hardcore!

    I’m counting my start of the challenge from yesterday because we have yummy veggie fajitas and all of the ingredients were already in-house!

    Looking forward to reading how your challenge is going and I’ll let you know how I’m coping too.

  10. sandy says:

    count me in, we already have lots of veg in the garden, so I think we could survive on this and lentils and beans. well I am going to try anyway

  11. tammy says:

    I declutter my cupboard and fridge when Boyfriend travels on business. It’s a great way to use odds and ends in creative cooking experiments.

  12. Greenlady says:

    Aha so that was the secret from last week, excellent ! Sorry I am late on this one but have been poorly ( which slightly messed up my ” Rubber £100 food budget ” for a few days but never mind. I am pretty much doing this for the next few weeks anyway and will be interested to compare tricks, tips, successes and failures ^_^.

    I did buy a free range chicken that was reduced to £2 yesterday, roasted it with smoked garlic and fresh lemon last night and had a good helping hot, thats going to be the basis of quite a few meals, mostly fresh and a couple for the freezer. Chicken sandwich for lunch for starters, yum !

  13. Mrs Green says:

    Well hopefully you’ve all seen yourselves signed up to the challenge (whether you wanted to or not LOL!)

    http://mzw.wpengine.com/2009/08/no-spend%E2%80%99-food-challenge-week/

    Sorry to hear you have been unwell Greenlady and I think the chicken was a great buy; with all that garlic, you’ll soon be fully recovered 🙂

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