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Monday, February 28, 2011

1 Month of No Groceries!

Today is the last day of February, and the last day I had planned to cook entirely from my cupboards.  I am happy to say that the only things that I bought this month were 4 gallons of milk and 1 box of butter (of which I used 2 sticks). I am also happy to say that I think I could continue cooking from my cupboards for another week if I wanted to - although they would be extremely bare at the end of the week!

Since I had to go into town today for a project with the kids' school, I did go grocery shopping just in case I didn't have enough for the week. (Don't worry - I am not using any of my new groceries until tomorrow.) I just didn't want to have to make another errand run into town at the end of the week if I was already there.

I was pleasantly surprised over the month of how meals went from cooking just from my cupboard.  I thought about sharing all of the meals I made, but realized that my cupboards are different than others.  If anyone else wants to try this, I didn't want to taint their creativity by listing what I did -  or didn't think of doing.  I will tell you some things that I took out of this month of cupboard cooking though.
  1. It was extremely helpful to have a nice supply of dried goods on hand that I buy extra of when on sale. 
  2. What I have canned and preserved turned out to be a major part of keeping my cooking from my cupboard going - fruit, dried beans, meats, vegetables.  It really has got me excited for this upcoming canning season and broadening and expanding on the foods that I preserve.
  3. I became much better with substitutions when cooking.  I don't deviate from recipes that much out of fear of ruining a meal, but I was pleasantly surprised with how things turned out when I had to substitute - again, I won't share in this post what I did out of necessity as to not hamper your creativity!
  4. Taking some extra time to think about what is on hand before planning a meal greatly helps keep grocery purchases down.  I usually plan meals around what I want to eat/cook and then purchase ingredients instead of planning meals around what I have on hand.  
  5. I am very thankful to have a wheat grinder and a large supply of wheat berries for making bread. Fresh whole wheat bread can provide for many yummy and nutritious sandwiches.
  6. Having chickens is wonderful!  Eggs are used in so many recipes.
  7. Having a milk cow (or milking the cows you have) would be just as wonderful - milk and butter are used in so many recipes. (We had some meals without the butter needed - edible, but just not the same.)
  8. I would say I'm pretty good at being frugal, but I was amazed again by what you can survive on when you need to do so or just make yourself do so. 
I'm sure there is more I could list if I thought about it, but I have kids getting up soon and need to keep moving.  Maybe I'll add them if I think of any - so check back to this post if you decide to give it a try!  I'd love to hear your thoughts and maybe next time I won't put a deadline of a month on and see just how long I can go. :)


Becca's Dirt said...

Wow what an accomplishment that was and I know a good feeling to know you were saving money not going to the grocery store. Great post.

LilRedJo said...

Congrats on making it a full month!
During our recent blizzard, I came to the realization of exactly how much oil/butter we really do use!

Jen Coe said...

I am incredibly impressed! I have had to go for one or two days cooking eclectic meals for my family, but I could never do a month!

Carrie said...

We did this last winter and were surprised at how well we did! We too relied more on beans and rice as sides but also potatoes, onions and just being creative.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

I am so impressed Becca. A daunting task for just adults but you with little ones. just like you said we tend to cook based on what we FEEL like having instead of cooking based on what we REALLY have. Now its my turn and I should have no excuses since we have many milk cows !!!

Yeoman said...

Wow. That's amazing.

In thinking on it, I may have done a month or more without going to the grocery store when I was single. At that time, I was pretty much living off of wild game and stuff from the garden, as long as I could. I haven't gone that long without going to the grocery store for a long time, however.

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