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  • FIRST POST
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 5th Dec 17, 10:04 AM
    • 1,997Posts
    • 843Thanks
    Stoke
    My challenge this month..... clear the cupboards
    • #1
    • 5th Dec 17, 10:04 AM
    My challenge this month..... clear the cupboards 5th Dec 17 at 10:04 AM
    So after what has been a fairly painful few weeks dealing with the breakup of my engagement and dealing with the process of securing myself my home, I have decided to set myself a challenge this month.

    With only one income nowadays and having to cover the mortgage alone, December is probably one of the worst months for someone like me. Although I don't have to spend £200 on my ex-fiancee, I still have to spend money on other gifts for family members etc, and cover the bills in the house of course.

    So I am aiming to clear my cupboards, by shopping as little as possible for food and the like. Now I know this won't be easy. I'll still have to buy milk and veggies etc, but I went through the cupboards yesterday and found all kinds of stuff. Two big cylindrical tubes of salt (no, I'm not planning on eating both of those) for example. This kind of stock piling is the kind of weird thinking that was more tantamount to her than me. Two boxes of teabags? Rather than just replacing the empty box when it's empty. Several different bottles of cooking oil. All kinds of dehydrated food. Plus a freezer full to the brim of decent quality meat and fish.

    Now I confess, since we split, I've been essentially going to the supermarket, filling my fridge with fresh food and eating my way through it. My aim with the plan I've outlined above is to cut my costs massively, at least short term, in what is the hardest month of the year for most people.

    Has anyone else tried this? Does it work, or will I give in and end up buying more fresh stuff? Do people make weird concoctions with the odd bits of food (I love doing that).

    I am starting tonight by finishing the last of my fresh food. Then the real challenge starts tomorrow
Page 1
    • JackieO
    • By JackieO 5th Dec 17, 11:27 AM
    • 15,634 Posts
    • 127,795 Thanks
    JackieO
    • #2
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:27 AM
    • #2
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:27 AM
    We are all doing our best to clear the cupboards, and in my case freezer of over stocked stuff ,pop into Love Food, Hate Waste forum on here and see what we make.

    I often have a freezer roulette sort of meal from unidentifiable bits that I froze without labelling properly.And making something out of what you have instead of buying more to clutter up the cupboards is a great way to save your cash .

    Think of your cupboards as giant piggy banks where instead of cash you have food bought to eat List everything you have down and post and no doubt we will come up with some ideas for you. Lists are a good way to start as you can then see what you have plus what you may need to buy in.I buy in UHT milk as I find I have little or no waste using it and fresh veg and fruit and I am making do with whats indoors and not buying at all if I can help it
    Good luck

    JackieO xx
    Quot Libros,Quam Breve Tempus.
    • caronc
    • By caronc 5th Dec 17, 11:29 AM
    • 2,799 Posts
    • 18,059 Thanks
    caronc
    • #3
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:29 AM
    • #3
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:29 AM
    Good luck with your challenge Stoke. If you are looking for some moral and practical support join us on the "Cooking for one" thread,
    August £108/£120, Sep GC £121/£120, Oct GC £141/£200, Nov £116/£120, Dec £46/£60
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 5th Dec 17, 11:46 AM
    • 61,014 Posts
    • 356,391 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    • #4
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:46 AM
    • #4
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:46 AM
    ....Do people make weird concoctions with the odd bits of food (I love doing that)....
    Originally posted by Stoke
    It's compulsory

    Only yesterday I had some "going black sprouts" and some "last legs carrots" that had to be used up .... so I made some stuffing and instant mash and instant gravy, then dug out a 100g portion of beef from the freezer and that was dinner.

    I'd have been prepared to eat the brussels and carrots with the instant mash and gravy if that was all I had. One day, using up food, I just had a pile of mash and some mashed swede and some carrots ...with gravy. Loved that 'meal'.

    I'll eat what I've got - most usually an "odd combination" but you can't pick and choose what you eat/serve it with if you're trying to use up what you've got.

    I'd eat a stuffing and carrot sandwich on its own if I had to.
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 5th Dec 17, 11:52 AM
    • 1,997 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Stoke
    • #5
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:52 AM
    • #5
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:52 AM
    Thanks for the encouragement, good to see I'm not the only one having a pop at this.

    Is it a British thing that we stockpile food? I vividly remember growing up that my mum would do huge huge shops, especially at Christmas time. No less than 30 mince pies and all that nonsense. Thinking back, the logic was something along the lines of "Christmas is coming, everyone comes around, and everyone wants chocolate and the supermarket will be closed for a couple of days, so let's buy 5x as much as we usually have". I can actually remember walking around with two shopping trolleys one year.

    I don't usually stockpile in the way my ex partner did (she would happily buy 2 or 3 boxes of teabags in the same shop), but what I do tend to do is forget about perfectly good food, which then ultimately gets pushed to the back of the cupboard and then it is inaccessible. Just yesterday, rooting around, I found one of those Fray Bentos 'pie-in-a-tin' meals. Pretty sure it's been there for over 12 months, as we only really had them when we first moved in because we were still finding our feet.

    Going to be an interesting experiment for me. I will document the process from start to finish with photos I'll also go through and find what's there, hopefully can experiment with foods
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 5th Dec 17, 11:52 AM
    • 2,466 Posts
    • 3,533 Thanks
    trailingspouse
    • #6
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:52 AM
    • #6
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:52 AM
    I do this every December regardless of the state of my marriage...

    Recently we've had three 'lucky dip' casseroles, 4 panninis for sandwiches, two almost-finished tubs of ice cream, some trout that I'd completely forgotten about, and half a loaf of slice bread (I don't even remember putting that in the freezer!).

    Once you've started to do this, it will become a habit - I always check the fridge and the cupboards every week before I do the big shop, so that I can check what needs eating up or what we've got plenty of. It's amazing how much you save, and you quickly get a feel for how much of something you'll use up in a week.
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 5th Dec 17, 11:54 AM
    • 1,997 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Stoke
    • #7
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:54 AM
    • #7
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:54 AM
    It's compulsory

    Only yesterday I had some "going black sprouts" and some "last legs carrots" that had to be used up .... so I made some stuffing and instant mash and instant gravy, then dug out a 100g portion of beef from the freezer and that was dinner.

    I'd have been prepared to eat the brussels and carrots with the instant mash and gravy if that was all I had. One day, using up food, I just had a pile of mash and some mashed swede and some carrots ...with gravy. Loved that 'meal'.

    I'll eat what I've got - most usually an "odd combination" but you can't pick and choose what you eat/serve it with if you're trying to use up what you've got.

    I'd eat a stuffing and carrot sandwich on its own if I had to.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    That's brilliant. There's something very fun about cooking "almost bad" vegetables (I'm a bit more careful with meat). It's like you are defying science ever so slightly. I am a bad one for bananas. I will eat them when they're nearly brown. I find they actually sometimes taste nicer. There's a fine line. Sometimes they become too sweet.
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 5th Dec 17, 11:58 AM
    • 1,997 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Stoke
    • #8
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:58 AM
    • #8
    • 5th Dec 17, 11:58 AM
    I do this every December regardless of the state of my marriage...

    Recently we've had three 'lucky dip' casseroles, 4 panninis for sandwiches, two almost-finished tubs of ice cream, some trout that I'd completely forgotten about, and half a loaf of slice bread (I don't even remember putting that in the freezer!).

    Once you've started to do this, it will become a habit - I always check the fridge and the cupboards every week before I do the big shop, so that I can check what needs eating up or what we've got plenty of. It's amazing how much you save, and you quickly get a feel for how much of something you'll use up in a week.
    Originally posted by trailingspouse
    Oh I'm an absolute ninja for ensuring stuff in the fridge doesn't go bad. I take it quite personally when it does. I feel bad throwing away food and if I can recover it by maybe cutting some of the bad parts off, I will. My milk is currently 15 days past the use-by and is still going strong. Down to the very bottom, so one more cup of tea and that's a win.

    I do want to turn it into a habit, but really, I want to simplify the cupboards. Get rid of all the bottles of oil for example. Use them up.... then just have one bottle. When that goes, replace with another. It's easier than ever now that I have an Alexa in the corner of the kitchen. "Alexa, add cooking oil to my shopping list".
    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 5th Dec 17, 2:07 PM
    • 10,053 Posts
    • 108,015 Thanks
    LameWolf
    • #9
    • 5th Dec 17, 2:07 PM
    • #9
    • 5th Dec 17, 2:07 PM
    I'm sorry to hear of your break-up Stoke.
    ,pop into Love Food, Hate Waste forum on here and see what we make.
    Originally posted by JackieO
    If you are looking for some moral and practical support join us on the "Cooking for one" thread,
    Originally posted by caronc
    I concur; both these threads will offer some great ideas and encouragement.
    Is it a British thing that we stockpile food? I vividly remember growing up that my mum would do huge huge shops, especially at Christmas time. No less than 30 mince pies and all that nonsense. Thinking back, the logic was something along the lines of "Christmas is coming, everyone comes around, and everyone wants chocolate and the supermarket will be closed for a couple of days, so let's buy 5x as much as we usually have". I can actually remember walking around with two shopping trolleys one year.
    Originally posted by Stoke
    My mother used to go absolutely silly at Xmas; it really was ridiculous - and then she'd get cross because she had a tonne of stuff left over come New Year.
    I don't buy extra at Xmas (there's still only the two of us, same as the rest of the year) but being disabled, I work on a "one in use and one spare" principle for things like gravy granules, Marmite, that sort of thing - and the same with toiletries, toothpaste, mouthwash and the like; I keep a standard 4 tins of tomatoes and 4 of beans in the cupboard; the idea being that because my health is so iffy, if I'm too poorly to shop for a while, I can still feed us.

    One thing I would say, I'm sure your family won't expect you to spend £££ on presents for them; they presumably know of your situation?

    Btw, I too would take it personally if I had to throw food away; so I'm definitely with you on that one.
    LameWolf
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 5th Dec 17, 3:39 PM
    • 1,997 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Stoke
    I'm sorry to hear of your break-up Stoke.

    I concur; both these threads will offer some great ideas and encouragement.
    My mother used to go absolutely silly at Xmas; it really was ridiculous - and then she'd get cross because she had a tonne of stuff left over come New Year.
    I don't buy extra at Xmas (there's still only the two of us, same as the rest of the year) but being disabled, I work on a "one in use and one spare" principle for things like gravy granules, Marmite, that sort of thing - and the same with toiletries, toothpaste, mouthwash and the like; I keep a standard 4 tins of tomatoes and 4 of beans in the cupboard; the idea being that because my health is so iffy, if I'm too poorly to shop for a while, I can still feed us.

    One thing I would say, I'm sure your family won't expect you to spend £££ on presents for them; they presumably know of your situation?

    Btw, I too would take it personally if I had to throw food away; so I'm definitely with you on that one.
    Originally posted by LameWolf
    Very interesting about the plus 1 for essentials. I am the same right there. I do have a spare tube of toothpaste etc. I think that's where it makes so much sense, but then I also remember opening the cupboard and 6 of those old fashioned christmas pudding tubs being in there ready for the 6 christmas days we have every year

    The family have been very good for me. They never expect me to spend big money, but of course I do enjoy buying presents for them. I'll get something nice but that doesn't break the bank
    • Judi
    • By Judi 5th Dec 17, 3:52 PM
    • 15,476 Posts
    • 63,975 Thanks
    Judi
    I must admit i like to go shopping when my fridge and freezer are pretty bare. I menu plan and rarely stray off my list. I dont really buy bits and pieces and very rarely run out of anything.
    'Holy crap on a cracker!'
    • janb5
    • By janb5 5th Dec 17, 4:01 PM
    • 1,796 Posts
    • 6,390 Thanks
    janb5
    Hi- you might like to have this recipe for banana cake which I was given some years ago and it really is yummy. Fab for those bananas that are really very ripe.


    BANANA CAKE


    4oz butter or margarine
    6oz caster sugar
    8oz self raising flour
    2 eggs
    2 large or 3 medium, very ripe bananas
    2 teaspoons honey
    ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

    Heat the oven to gas mark 4; 180C
    Grease a 2lb loaf tin.
    Mash the bananas with a sturdy fork.
    Cream the butter and sugar together and mix in the eggs
    Add the honey and cinnamon
    Mix together the two yellow sludges you now have.
    Mix in the flour.
    Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes then lower the temperature to gas mark 2; 150C and cook for a further 30 minute

    * I sprinkle demarara sugar on mine before baking *.
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 5th Dec 17, 5:55 PM
    • 1,997 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Stoke
    I must admit i like to go shopping when my fridge and freezer are pretty bare. I menu plan and rarely stray off my list. I dont really buy bits and pieces and very rarely run out of anything.
    Originally posted by Judi
    I like the sound of that. I used to have a rigorous plan I stuck to. Now it is fairly loose, but I'm able to sort of interchange throughout the days a bit more. Still no waste.

    Hi- you might like to have this recipe for banana cake which I was given some years ago and it really is yummy. Fab for those bananas that are really very ripe.


    BANANA CAKE


    4oz butter or margarine
    6oz caster sugar
    8oz self raising flour
    2 eggs
    2 large or 3 medium, very ripe bananas
    2 teaspoons honey
    ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

    Heat the oven to gas mark 4; 180C
    Grease a 2lb loaf tin.
    Mash the bananas with a sturdy fork.
    Cream the butter and sugar together and mix in the eggs
    Add the honey and cinnamon
    Mix together the two yellow sludges you now have.
    Mix in the flour.
    Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes then lower the temperature to gas mark 2; 150C and cook for a further 30 minute

    * I sprinkle demarara sugar on mine before baking *.
    Originally posted by janb5
    Wow, I like the look of that. Plus I have all of those ingredients already Absolutely no excuse not to make it
    • CRANKY40
    • By CRANKY40 5th Dec 17, 6:06 PM
    • 2,653 Posts
    • 27,524 Thanks
    CRANKY40
    The only thing that I was going to say was along similar lines to Lamewolf. Bad weather has been predicted for this winter.....keep an eye on essentials and don't let those run too low. Even if you live close to shops there is no guarantee that those shops will be able to get deliveries if there's snow.
    • Nargleblast
    • By Nargleblast 5th Dec 17, 8:55 PM
    • 9,436 Posts
    • 55,734 Thanks
    Nargleblast
    Stoke, if you have excessive quantities of tinned or packet foods that you know you won’t use, you can always donate it to a food bank - big supermarkets often have collection points for local food bank donations. Just make sure anything you donate is not out of date - it would probably be ok to use, but the food bank might not accept it.
    Debt free date.....3 August 2015
    Now building up a Doomsday Cash Stash
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 12th Dec 17, 11:51 AM
    • 1,997 Posts
    • 843 Thanks
    Stoke
    So I'm a few days in and I'm getting there. Still long to go. I'm not a huge fan of vegetable oil, but I'm not a big fan of waste either, so I've been using the veggie oil to fry up veggies most nights. I've also been eating out the freezer.

    I found some protein powder which I am now using at work, where milk is provided for free Have only been Spar once to buy some milk
    • wondercollie
    • By wondercollie 12th Dec 17, 6:46 PM
    • 1,118 Posts
    • 8,372 Thanks
    wondercollie
    British stockpiles are nothing compared to North American ones.

    I live where it can hit -40C for a couple of weeks at a time. When my children were small, there was no way I was bundling them up to go to the grocery store for a couple of item. -25C? Yes. -40 No.

    The freezers are full by mid-November and at least two dozen cans of soup on standby. By January, the stock starts to dwindle but never below a weeks worth.

    So often by Christmas all I have left to buy is the bird, the pudding and fresh veg. And it's cold enough to store the frozen bird under a storage box on the deck. It won't defrost and it keeps predators and the family dog away.
    • karcher
    • By karcher 12th Dec 17, 8:09 PM
    • 1,562 Posts
    • 13,173 Thanks
    karcher
    So I'm a few days in and I'm getting there. Still long to go. I'm not a huge fan of vegetable oil, but I'm not a big fan of waste either, so I've been using the veggie oil to fry up veggies most nights. I've also been eating out the freezer.

    I found some protein powder which I am now using at work, where milk is provided for free Have only been Spar once to buy some milk
    Originally posted by Stoke
    I'm not a fan of veg oil either and would use olive oil for stir frying veg.

    Great suggestion above that anything you can't use, is unopened and within date, you donate to a food bank.

    I know every penny matters but at least that way there is no waste and someone will benefit during, what is for many, a tough time of year.

    Good luck OP
    Last edited by karcher; 12-12-2017 at 8:13 PM.
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