February Challenge

Does anyone else feel like they spend way too much on groceries? It’s just ridiculous that I can be spotted at the grocery store 2-3 days a week. I do a pretty good job shopping for things like chicken, beef roasts, pork chops in large quantities and then storing them in smaller packages. I do less well using the things out of the freezer instead of just buying them all over again when I plan a meal. Time to address this issue.

Okay folks, here it is, the February challenge. I’ve decided that I will do no grocery shopping during February except to buy milk. Yes, I know, I could not buy milk either if I bought the ultra-pasturized kind that lasts 6-8 weeks. I buy milk produced at a Virginia creamery and I’m not willing to give that up. The plan is to cook entirely out of my freezer and pantry (and whatever is left in the fridge) for the whole month. Now, in the interest of full disclosure a few notes:
First, I have a business trip this month so I won’t be here to cook for 5 days. I don’t expect that my beast sitter will be inclined to sign on to the challenge.

Second, I do have a freezer in the basement. It is by no means full, but I do have more freezer food than fits in the standard fridge/freezer combo.

Third, my pantry is more extensive than many. I didn’t fill the pantry with unique items just to make the challenge easier. I do keep things like chipotle peppers, coconut milk, hearts of palm, pepitas, etc. in my pantry regularly.

Fourth, I do have a garden in the summer and I can and freeze my own produce so I have home grown tomatoes, beets, beans, peas, etc. as well as salsas, chutney, creole sauce, etc that I made from my garden vegetables.

Finally, I promise that I made no attempt to stock up for this challenge save one item. I did buy a 5lb bag of onions yesterday. I pretty much can’t cook anything without them and I usually have many on hand. I was a little low because we’ve had much snow (about a foot) lately and I haven’t even done my regular grocery shopping.

So there you have it. The February Challenge. My plan is to cook just as often as I would any other month, rather than resort to eating mostly the chili I have in the freezer. We’ll see how it goes. My goal is to actually know what’s in my freezer and maybe empty it out some. Keep your fingers crossed that I can come up with some interesting things even as March approaches!  Sign up for email updates to track my progress.

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3 Responses to “February Challenge”

  1. Lala Says:

    Scary, but I totally promised myself the same thing the other day! I have SOOOOO much stuff in my pantries and freezer, too, and there’s no reason to go shopping. I rebuy a lot of the stuff I already have because I have so much I don’t know what I have. 🙂 So, I will try to do this with you, too. I may buy only bananas and other fresh veggies as needed (ie for salad, if necessary) but am going to try to see how far I can go.

  2. Cindy Says:

    We just did a big COSTCO trip and stocked our big basement freezer after breaking everything up into smaller bundles. We had the same issue too – I got down there to put things away and found we already had much of what we had brought home.

    I am trying to avoid using prepared foods, trying to use more if what we have, and trying to make fewer grocery store trips, but I probably couldn’t take your challenge just on the fresh fruits and veggies point.

    My modified challenge: One trip to the grocery store per week for less than $60 for my family of four.

    Good luck on your cooking adventure!

  3. Stephanie Says:

    You are a more adventurous cook than I am but I did this last year. Only bought milk each week and made it through February and July both without buying any new groceries. It’s a great way to work through the pantry!

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