Sunday, November 28, 2010

The No-Shop Challenge

I noticed something the other day. I noticed that my kitchen is overflowing. I only cook for two people, but I'm pretty sure I have enough food to feed a family of eight at any given time. This is most likely due to the following:
  • I over-shopped for Thanksgiving
  • Thanksgiving yielded lots of leftovers
  • I like to have lots of options when I start getting creative in the kitchen
  • I go grocery shopping every week
  • I shop at Costco for many things, thus creating stock-piles of certain foods like canned beans, pasta, chocolate chips, flour, onions, peanut butter, sugar and frozen chicken
In an effort to make up for going over-budget on groceries the past few... months, I am challenging myself to use what I have.

That's right. For the next month, I will not go grocery shopping. Wait, I take that back. For the next month, I will only allow myself to purchase:
  • eggs and dairy (but no specialty cheeses and such)
  • fresh fruit and veggies (AFTER I use the fresh and frozen we have)
  • brown sugar (it's Christmas...)
  • wine (for entertaining and gifts only)
  • cat food
By doing this, I will be saving:
  • Money
  • Gas
  • Time
  • Food
  • Myself from the evils of over-consumerism
So here are my official no-shop challenge rules:
  1. No grocery shopping until January 1 except for above-mentioned items
  2. I cannot cheat by buying groceries at the drug store or mega-stores like Target.
  3. Gift certificates and store-credit cannot be used until January unless it's about to expire
  4. Accepting leftovers, gifts and home-grown produce from friends and family is OK. (Thanks for those beautiful pomegranates, Grandma!)
  5. I can't ask JT to buy groceries for me.
  6. I will still cook the same number of meals per week, but I will only use ingredients I have.
  7. If I don't have the ingredients I need, I will use a substitution or create something new and different.
I'll let you know what I create!

And what about YOU? Do you think you could take on the no-shop challenge? What will you make?


  1. Good luck with your no shop challenge! We went to the grandparents for Thanksgiving so I don't have a ton of leftovers and I definitely couldn't go a month without shopping in December! But I do like the frugal and time saving aspect of it :)

  2. How did it go? I have been thinking about doing this, but I just don't think I am creative enough in the kitchen.

  3. I love it. I've been following the same path since my other half was laid off. Tonight's menu... Coney Dogs.

    From the freezer:
    -1/2 lb ground beef
    -3 hotdogs

    From the Pantry/Cabinets:
    And... on hand staples:
    -1/2 onion
    -4 cloves garlic
    -1 Tbls chili powder
    -1/4 tsp allspice
    -2 Tbls tomato paste
    -1/2 cup water
    -1 1/2 cup chili sauce
    -1/2 cup franks redhot
    -1/4 cup worcestershire suace
    -2 Tbls brown sugar
    -1 Tbls dijon mustard

    Over medium heat with 1 tsp oil, add ground beef and finely chopped onion. Begin browning for several minutes. Add minced garlic. When onion soft, and beef browned add chili powder, allspice and tomato paste. Cook several minutes and allow the tomato paste to darken and become fragrant. Add water, worcestshire and hot sauce and bring to boil to reduce and thicken. Stir in sugar and mustard (add more or less for taste... I like it hot... hello Frank). Serve over cooked hot dog and warmed bun. Kitchen-Coney is born....