The week without shopping

Full Fridge

This week I spent $134.02 on groceries. I nearly fainted when I tallied up the receipts I saved from food purchases. Suddenly the "the week without shopping" I read about in The New York Times Dining and Wine section seemed like the world's most brilliant idea. I e-headed over to the man who inspired this: Fat Guy at eGullet. He saved himself about $100 and several hours in shopping and transportation time by doing what I'm always saying we should do around the house: eat down the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.

So, our latest box from Beneficial Farms arrived yesterday and I made a trip to the grocery store for mustard and cilantro and that my friends, is that. I will not be crossing the threshold of a store until I absolutely have to...which will probably be in about a week when we run out of milk. I will make some room in the pantry, save money and time, use up neglected ingredients, and to paraphrase Jack Black "test my mind and my head and my brain."

Monday, March 9, 2009
So far, so good. The experiment has worked exceedingly well because we went out to eat on Friday night and went to a friend's house for dinner on Saturday night. But other than than, I used some of the random grains sitting around in little plastic bags to make multigrain waffles on Saturday morning and plowed through some leftovers for weekend lunches. The first big score from the freezer and the overstuffed produce bin was Sunday dinner: Turkey mulligatawny soup (with multiple vegetables from the box and turkey from a stash in the freezer), stirfried sprouts (from the avalanche of sprouts from Beneficial Farms) and homemade squash dinner rolls (containing leftover bits of pureed pumpkin almost lost in the back of the refrigerator). Here's what I did instead of my usual Saturday grocery shopping: read a book.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Last night's dinner was brothy soup with frozen chinese dumplings and lots of vegetables. I discovered the batch of chicken poaching broth that had been taking up so much space had turned. Well, I hate to waste food but I did want to clean out the refrigerator. Leftover vegetable stock came to the rescue. I have barely touched the things in the freezer and have mostly been working on leftovers. Who knew the refrigerator had so many nooks in which to tuck things.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Last night's dinner was the last of the roast pork loin, spinach from Beneficial Farms and a mighty pile of oven cottage fries. It was a meal fit for a king even if the potatoes were a little too crispy. I've barely touched anything in the freezer or pantry. Tonight I'll be trying to cook up some of the various Asian noodles I have stashed in the dry goods.

Thursday, March 12, 2009
Success! with the rice noodles. I made a shrimp pad thai with a little substitution (red onion since I used up all the scallions with the brothy dumplings). Forget that idea of using more than one package of rice noodles--they swell significantly in their soaking water and we had plenty. So one half package of noodles done, one half bag of frozen shrimp done, one small bag of sprouts done and that random half lime done. I'm starting to see some space in the refrigerator but we are running low on milk. I'm so enamored of the thought of clean shelves that I might just break down, buy milk when we run out and keep on plugging through the pantry. I will use that can of lychees, I will!

Friday, March 13, 2009
Again, an easy evening because we went out to eat at Vinaigrette for the Kitchen Angels benefit night. The meal was great and by sharing a dish of creamy macaroni and cheese there my urge to make it has been quelled. There are still plenty of leftovers in the refrigerator and I've been staring at the spaghetti squash I unearthed from the pantry for a week. We will need an infusion of milk and bananas this weekend but other than that, we need to keep plugging. I'm just amazed that it took a week of eating leftovers to even begin to see a little space in the refrigerator. The situation was worse than I thought.

Saturday, March 14, 2009
I guess I cracked. I poured the last of the milk into my coffee today so I broke down and bought $19.76 worth of groceries: milk, eggs, vanilla yogurt, bananas, celery, lentils, zucchini, a lemon, and a red onion. That and the pantry and the box from Beneficial Farms will hold us quite well. We mostly worked through leftovers this past week, so there is still plenty in the pantry and freezer. I am addicted to grocery shopping but it was pleasant to have such a short list and be done with it in about half an hour, including transportation. The can of lychees has not been eaten yet, so this experiment will continue, with an infusion of fresh milk when necessary, until they are used.