Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Food Shopping Ban is Over!

Wow... not food shopping for an entire month was SO much harder than I thought it would be. In addition to the fact that we have almost no food left in the fridge or freezer, I had to tweak a lot of my recipes to make do with what I had.

In the last few weeks, we have made our own mayonnaise, chopped up pickles to replace relish, substituted white sugar for brown, used plain cinnamon in place of pumpkin pie spice, ground up grits for cornbread because we had no corn meal or muffin mix, and skipped vanilla in a variety of baked goods. We also halved recipe requirements to stretch what we had (one pound of meat in the chili instead of two, 1/4 c. chocolate chips instead of 1/2 c., etc.). I spent a lot of time online looking up different substitutions because it seemed like every recipe I wanted to make needed one ingredient I didn't have or had recently run out of.

We started with a fridge/freezer full of fresh and frozen veggies, cheeses, a huge variety of meats, snacks, and dozens of eggs. The barren remains include half a package of hot dogs (which I pulled out in a moment of true desperation), four sausage links (which will be for dinner tomorrow night, the last day of the grocery store ban), some pumpkin muffins and oatmeal muffins, sour cream, cream cheese, one egg, about a half cup of applesauce, and a bunch of condiments we can't use alone. We still have tons of peanut butter and jelly, so we wouldn't have starved, but that's not the point. Besides, I HATE peanut butter and jelly. The boys love it and probably would have been content to eat sandwiches the whole month, even though I put a lot of time and effort into ensuring a varied menu throughout the whole challenge.

All in all, it was a very interesting month. Of course, my grocery list is thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis long, with tons of staples like sugar and eggs and vanilla. Now, my plan is to work a tight budget and only buy what we need for each week. I think I can do it on $50, but Andrew says $75-$100. I have been stockpiling coupons to get the most out of the new budget, so we'll see how it goes.

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