Saturday, January 15, 2011

Finished with my Cupboard!
Last week I decided to do a cupboard challenge.  Basically what this meant was I would only eat what I had in my cupboards, freezer or refrigerator.  No grocery shopping.  If I didn't have it, I wouldn't eat it.

So, how'd I do?

I started last Friday, and David joined me in the challenge while he was home over the weekend.  He made protein shakes, I made oatmeal.  We made some beef and broccoli.  Tuna and canned grean beans.  Rice.  Friday and Saturday were easy and I was really motivated.  Then Sunday rolled around, and it was just more of canned grean beans, canned black beans and taco bell sauce with rice, cereal for breakfast.  Both David and I were getting bored of the cupboard.

Monday night was the college football championship game, and David was gone travelling but only an hour and a half away.  He invited me to stay with him for the night so we could watch the game together.  I pondered the drive, but it was well worth a fun evening with my hubby so I drove down to Eugene.  I didn't bring food from my cupboard, he took me out to dinner!!! :)  That was cheat #1.

Cheat #2:  last night was one of my very best friend's birthdays.  You can read about her here!  Her awesome hubby organized a super fun surprise party for her with close friends and family, and I wanted to bring the cake-- a cheesecake!  I didn't exactly have all the ingredients though.  I had cream cheese, but not marscapone which the recipe I was using called for.  I also didn't have enough eggs or any graham crackers.  And I really wanted to make a yummy cake for her birthday, no improvising (David was telling me just to use oats instead of graham crackers.  My usual self would probably go with that, but not for Krista's birthday!  No shortcuts and definitely no experimenting for her birthday cake!).  I cheated and did go to the grocery store to buy the cheese, eggs and graham crackers.  The cheesecake turned out (gotta love Giada) and Krista liked it, and her party was a great time with some awesome people and best of all we celebrated one amazing chica!  Well worth cheating on my cupboard. :)

What did I learn?

Eating out of my cupboard and fridge was really healthy.  I ate lots of the veggies that I might have let go bad if I had otherwise gone to the store and purchased other things.  I ate a ton of oatmeal which is a superfood with whole grains and tastes awesome with frozen berries mixed in.  Swirl in a little agave syrup and it's definitely a treat.  Canned grean beans aren't that tasty on their own, but add in black beans and rice and some taco seasoning and it's not that bad.  It's definitely healthy!  I ate some of the frozen soup I'd made a few weeks ago, and made tuna sandwiches for lunch.  I still haven't eaten through my entire cupboard yet, but no, I'm not signing myself up for week two!  I'm tired of tuna and grean beans and rice, but I sure did eat healthy this past week.!

It was a cheap way to eat, obviously, and things didn't go to waste.  I only bough cream cheese, graham crackers and eggs, so my budget for the week is certainly still in tact.  The food in my fridge which I am notorious for throwing away because it's gone bad was eaten.  Nothing went rotten.  I used up the fresh veggies and lots of canned goods.  I really didn't need to go grocery shopping, even though I totally would have if I hadn't challenged myself to do this.  Now for some people, this is normal, not grocery shopping every week.  Probably for most people!  But for me, well, it's not and because of that, I end up wasting stuff and spending more.  This past week I spent very little (even though I cheated!) and didn't have to throw anything away.  That feels good.

Limiting my choices of where to eat (I had three choices- the cupboard, fridge or freezer) made things simple.  I made my lunch because I knew I wouldn't have to figure out where to go and buy it, and it was easy to decide what to cook for dinner since I didn't have all that much to choose from.  It wasn't easy eating the same things a few days in a row, but it sure was simple!

What now?

I haven't committed myself to grocery shopping every couple weeks or once a month or something restricting on myself but I do think I will try to plan out a few meals a week.  Since I knew ahead of time that for the whole week I was going to eat what I already had on hand, I knew what I was going to prepare for meals and it made things so simple and faster than normal.  Since I'm a "single lady" during the week, I won't be cooking elaborate meals but I do want to continue the streak of eating healthy and preparing food.  Less buying my cup of fat laden soup at Safeway for lunch and more sandwiches!  In order to do this I need to plan what I'm going to eat so I can buy the appropriate items ahead of time.  I sound like my mom right now, oh how I love her!

Winco is probably the cheapest grocery store around but going there is like a field trip in and of itself.  If I go there once a month to pickup some of the bulk items (like oats, flour, dried fruits) it will help me stay on my new budget and I'll only have to deal with the crowds once a month.

All in all, this was a fun experiment and now I feel like I need a new challenge, which will be writing out my goals for 2011.  I know, I'm late to the whole new years resolution party, but now that I've had a few weeks to let it all marinade upstairs I think I'm ready to start the task of writing out my personal goals for this upcoming year.  I've never done it before.  Stay posted, it will be interesting I'm sure...

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