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  • FIRST POST
    • Pink.
    • By Pink. 25th Dec 10, 1:15 AM
    • 17,431Posts
    • 40,365Thanks
    Pink.
    • #1
    • 25th Dec 10, 1:15 AM
    25th Dec 10 at 1:15 AM
    Hi Everyone,

    Welcome to the first Grocery Challenge of 2011, a new decade and a new beginning!

    If your new month starts early feel free to join this thread, or if you're still working on your December budget, then keep on posting in the December 2010 Grocery Challenge

    As always this challenge is to reduce your own grocery budget to levels that you will be pleased with, not forgetting that we always recommend that you stay inside your own comfort levels and take things gently one step at a time. Remember that this is not a competition....it's designed to take you and your grocery spending to a level you are happy with.

    If you are new to the challenge I have quoted the advice from Galtizz below which will help you get started.

    Please post into this thread for help and advice and support at any time. Good luck to everyone taking part!

    I have said this before, but for all the newbies to the challenge;

    For the first month I took a guess at the budget but I really had no idea how much I was spending.

    I found the best thing is to have a guess the first month but SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS (and yes, that does include the ones from the local shop when you run out of milk ), then at the end of the month add them all up and have a look if you were on budget, if not, it doesn't matter because your budget was a guess. For the next month you can use the total of your receipts and take a bit off to get a realistic budget, just shave off as much as you think you can, it could be £1 a week or £20 a week.

    If you are currently spending £200 a month don't suddenly drop it to £100 - you'll never do it but if you cut £20 a month off for a few months you'll get there eventually without feeling you're missing out on anything.

    You might think you've done everything you can in the first month but someone always comes up with a new idea and, if you try it you often find you save a bit more (unless you are SarahSaver who is an expert at this and could only save more if she turned her back garden into a paddy field and lived on rice ) In the first month I thought, I'm planning meals, I couldn't possibly save any more, but then I started double cooking and freezing, and making soup instead of buying it in tins.

    I've been doing this since Feb but only saved ALL of my receipts last month, it has given me a much better idea of where it is all going. Budget for next month is £80 for 2 of us, I'll start on 30/4. I could probably save more, by eating different foods but I can afford to live on £80, I have saved a lot of money since Feb. and I don't waste food or money any more. So I'm happy with my budget.
    For quidelines on posting in this thread please read the second post in this thread.

    For everyone's targets and totals for the month please read posts #3 and #4 on this thread.

    For the Grocery challenge Recipe Index please see posts #5, #6 and #7 on this thread.

    I hope everyone has a great month and may I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year! Hope it's a good one for all of us.

    Pink
    Last edited by Pink.; 29-12-2010 at 9:09 AM.
Page 89
  • triticale
    There don't seem to be any asparagus recipes in the index, I meant to ask for this to be added last time I got some bargain 'gus, could it please go in the index somewhere? Thanks.

    Pasta with chicken & asparagus

    Ingredients
    250g (1/2 lb) chicken breast
    250g (1/2 lb) asparagus
    1 tablespoon butter
    175g (6oz) pasta
    half a small onion (or a couple of shallots), finely chopped
    Salt
    Pepper
    100g (4oz) double cream or crème fraiche
    50 - 60g gorgonzola cheese
    A little nutmeg, grated
    Pinch cayenne pepper
    Grated parmesan cheese

    -----------------------------------------------------------------Method
    1) Cut the chicken breast into small strips.
    2) Cook pasta in boiling water.
    3) While pasta is cooking, cut asparagus into two or three lengths (about an inch or so). Put it all in a sieve and immerse it into the boiling pasta water for 10 seconds, then lift out and drain.
    4) Melt butter in a large pan, add onion, cook for 1 min then add chicken. Stir fry for 3 or 4 minutes.
    5) Add salt, pepper and asparagus.
    6) Cook for another minute or so, then add the cream or creme fraiche, grated nutmeg, cayenne and the gorgonzola broken into small lumps.
    7) Cook until the cheese just melts, take off the heat and check for seasoning.
    8) Drain the pasta and toss into the sauce. Serve immediately covered with plenty of parmesan.

    I never had the urge to try any type of 'blue cheese' but the gorgonzola makes this taste phenomenal (in my opinion).
    • Linda32
    • By Linda32 18th Jan 11, 11:29 AM
    • 4,291 Posts
    • 9,402 Thanks
    Linda32
    Hello all,

    I'm going for £260.00 and will finish after shopping on 28th January

    Total so far, £148.57
    Tesco £7.88
    New Total £156.45
    • happycrafter
    • By happycrafter 18th Jan 11, 11:30 AM
    • 420 Posts
    • 4,543 Thanks
    happycrafter
    On a more GC note, I went to Mr T's last night for some veg oil for deep frying, didn't really want to spend £3.93 on a 3 litre bottle so was about to buy 2 x 1 litre bottles, then noticed they were 'Buy 3 for £3'! It is effectively nearly a '3 for 2' as two would have cost £2.90.

    I also got a lovely bag of pears for 30p and some beautiful asparagus for 30p! Now I am flummoxed as to what to have with it though, I usually have it with pasta and some kind of cheese sauce, but I left my cheese in OH's fridge (don't ask!!) 100 miles away so that's not doable.

    Any asparagus ideas? It doesn't need to be a huge family meal, it will just be for me. At the moment the best idea I have is - steamed, olive oil + salt & pepper, which seems a bit dull.
    Originally posted by triticale

    Dunk them in a soft boiled egg like toast soldiers
    • jjef
    • By jjef 18th Jan 11, 11:47 AM
    • 1,747 Posts
    • 35,711 Thanks
    jjef
    Pay day for us today and I survived on my £120 from the 1st until 17th, looking at £300 to keep us going until the end of the month hoping to get all storecupboard bits in a big shop this week and will aim to just need top ups for the start of Feb.
  • triticale
    triticale, For the asparagus, if they are the green ones, you can try to gridle them with a bit of oil and garlic. When they have the griddle marks, I take them out. I also do this with green beans!!! You need to add them to the griddle when it is hot, otherwise they might soak in the oil (as any other vegetable).

    Also good if you cut them in chunks, put them in a pan with oil, a bit of salt and a bit of pepper. When almost done, add an egg and stir until they are all mixed together and the egg has just cooked. Or in omelette, I prefer to steam or boiled a tiny bit before these but some other people do them directly. They are amazing mixed with spring onions if you do any of these two.

    Wrapped in bacon and in the oven.

    I kind of run out of ideas now lol, but I am hungry, so off to make lunch, then get ready and off to the post office to send all my eBay things!!
    Originally posted by martafdz
    Thank you!!! I hadn't thought about omelette, I don't have a griddle pan or any bacon, but I do have eggs and needed to get spring onions for fried rice later in the week anyway, that's tea sorted (and a 'luxury'* one too), yum yum!

    Dunk them in a soft boiled egg like toast soldiers
    Originally posted by happycrafter
    Mmm, sounds lovely too, I am sold on the omelette though! I won't be stuck for ideas next time.


    * 'luxury' compared to the leftover freezer potato stew with leftover roast potatoes I am currently eating for lunch!
  • Hippeechiq
    Welcome Ilona

    And nice to see you back Katholicos
    Thank you minnie for the tips in soda crystals. I did not know it sorted out drains, I am buying it for sure to try and unclog mine! It takes ages for the water to drain in the bath and it leaves all the soap in the sides! They used to be fine, so I guess the drain might be a bit blocked somewhere down the way.
    Originally posted by martafdz
    Martafdz If you have a shower above your bath that you also use, it could be hair hun. Mine was the same just before Christmas, and after trying copious amounts of bleach, I got OH to take the side of the bath off and undo the u bend under the bath, and there was an enormous ball of hair stuck in it

    In case anyone is interested, there are more uses for Soda Crystals HERE
    Last edited by Hippeechiq; 18-01-2011 at 12:02 PM.
    Aug11 £193.29/£240

    Oct10 £266.72 /£275 Nov10 £276.71/£275 Dec10 £311.33 / £275 Jan11 £242.25/ £250 Feb11 £243.14/ £250 Mar11 £221.99/ £230
    Apr11 £237.39 /£240 May11 £237.71/£240 Jun11 £244.03/ £240 July11 £244.89/ £240
    Xmas 2011 Fund £220
    • happycrafter
    • By happycrafter 18th Jan 11, 12:04 PM
    • 420 Posts
    • 4,543 Thanks
    happycrafter
    Just worked out my shopping:

    A$da = £126.04 including £10 on savings card
    Ald! = £60.48
    Total £186.52/£250.00

    was very weird paying cash for everything when I have used my card for so many years.

    I just need to go to the local butchers for the rest of my items and the main big shop is done. Then I have to buy fruit/veg/milk and bread on need to eat basis.
  • martafdz
    After talking about eggs, omelettes and left overs I went and made an omelette with the potato wedges I had left from two days ago and some bacon.

    Scrambled eggs, spring onions and asparagus is a traditional Spanish dish, specially in the east and south. They (or "we", since I am from Spain lol) add prawns or mushrooms sometimes.

    Quit smoking *1st January 2010*

    13/12/2012, baby girl!!!
  • martafdz
    Martafdz If you have a shower above your bath that you also use, it could be hair hun. Mine was the same just before Christmas, and after trying copious amounts of bleach, I got OH to take the side of the bath off and undo the u bend under the bath, and there was an enormous ball of hair stuck in it

    In case anyone is interested, there are more uses for Soda Crystals HERE
    Originally posted by Hippeechiq

    Thanks!
    I do believe it is hair. My hair. Lol. I have loads, all hairdressers comment on it... but not cheerfully lol. I had two at a time trying to dry my hair sometimes! I had it long before my bleach disaster and even though I am careful with it, I am sure a good amount has gone down. The problem is that I do not have access to the bend, the bath has tiles all over the side! I am going to go to MrM today, if I see soda crystals I will buy a couple of bags and use them in all my drains. Thank you for the list of uses, I am going to try it as a degreaser in the glass tray of my oven too, the oven cleaner is far too expensive so I am going to try this first.

    Thank youuuu!
    Quit smoking *1st January 2010*

    13/12/2012, baby girl!!!
  • cat_smith
    Stuck using local expensive shops as husband has managed to lose 2nd car key in 2 weeks and his car is now imobilised. Still well within budget though, so not too bad. Will requisition the car tomorrow for a proper Mr T shop - need F&V and some storecupboard stuff. How is it that we've been living out of the freezer for 2 weeks and its still stuffed?

    Got the takeaway book through from Amazon today. Can't wait to do my own fajitas etc.

    Also received my meat slicer. Can finally cut some of the sausage we picked up in France. Wild boar and hazelnut. Mmmmm. Not too good for the diet though ;-)
    GC Mar 13 £47.36/£150
    • XSpender
    • By XSpender 18th Jan 11, 12:25 PM
    • 3,343 Posts
    • 34,428 Thanks
    XSpender
    Today I need bin liners, bananas, eggs and full fat milk to use in cooking for DS. Nothing else. I will keep repeating this to myself as I wander around Mr S.
    Originally posted by XSpender
    Well it didn't work. I remembered I needed Halloumi cheese for Friday tea and Mr M (where I do my main shop on a Friday) don't stock it so bought that but was also tempted by half price BE fish fingers at 99p for DS and half price cath city a £1.99 which we would have needed next week.

    Off to update my signature
    • kippers
    • By kippers 18th Jan 11, 12:27 PM
    • 1,970 Posts
    • 6,035 Thanks
    kippers
    6 days left of my Jan GC
    I've just thought... those of you who make your own bread, how do you find it keeps? Would a loaf last, say, a week and still be reasonably fresh, or would it get too stale to eat as is after a couple of days?

    Or does it not hang around long enough for you to find out?
    Originally posted by CupOfChai
    I make rolls for packed lunches. I make batches of 24 in one go . I cut them in half and then freeze them straight away. This way the bread is as fresh as the day i make it.

    I also do this with the loaves i make too, i slice it then freeze it ready sliced. I just take out the number of slices i need. Hope this helps.


    Tonight we are having spag bog from the freezer, so another easy meal for me tonight. I have picked some curly kale and i will do some carrots as well (we love our veg). It's a good meal to do today as my DD2 is round her friends for tea and she won't eat spag bog.

    I'm a bit short of fruit at the moment but i can't go to the shops until tomorrow so i will have to use up what i've got. I've still got £2.50 on my asda gift card.

    Anyway hope you are all well. Keep going with the GC
  • bella121984
    We were recently given a breadmaker that someone was throwing out...ive always wanted one! Does it really work out cheaper to make your own bread rather that buy it? Is HM bread really as unhealthy as everyone likes to make out?!
    January grocery challenge- £338.09/£350
    £365 in 365 days- £25
    January NSDs- 9
    Money made on ebay- £16.89
    • happycrafter
    • By happycrafter 18th Jan 11, 12:42 PM
    • 420 Posts
    • 4,543 Thanks
    happycrafter
    not sure if it works out cheaper I buy the A$da strong white bread flour which is now 50p but the taste I prefer especially when I do the garlic bread and use garlic salt instead of plain salt for an added kick.

    I make with my BM:

    pizza dough used to make my HM flat garlic bread and pizza's
    bread rolls
    bread
    malt loafs - when i can get malt extract
    cakes - occasionally

    I also use a jar of dried yeast granules and not the quick stuff your supposed to use, not had any problems so far (touch wood).

    not used it for jams yet
  • martafdz
    Stuck using local expensive shops as husband has managed to lose 2nd car key in 2 weeks and his car is now imobilised.
    Originally posted by cat_smith
    OMG! Lol How has he done it? He should put a big chain or something in the next one. I've only lost the keys once and now I have huge keyrings so I always find them easily and they are more difficult to lose. Does he like some of those hooks with chain? Or one of those that use the waiters, with extensible cord! lol

    Quit smoking *1st January 2010*

    13/12/2012, baby girl!!!
    • boysma
    • By boysma 18th Jan 11, 12:57 PM
    • 827 Posts
    • 12,862 Thanks
    boysma
    Another £5.14 to Mr T and Iceland this afternoon for bread, cereal (on offer) and value orange juice.
    Payment A Day £15 (started 17/5/14)
  • cat_smith
    OMG! Lol How has he done it? He should put a big chain or something in the next one. I've only lost the keys once and now I have huge keyrings so I always find them easily and they are more difficult to lose. Does he like some of those hooks with chain? Or one of those that use the waiters, with extensible cord! lol

    Originally posted by martafdz
    No idea how. The first one fell through a hole in his pocket. This one is anybodies guess. But at over £130 each its not cheap, and they take over a week to order. Grrrr.

    He doesn't keep it on a ring at all as it was slightly broken. Think I might superglue the next one to him
    GC Mar 13 £47.36/£150
    • elly2
    • By elly2 18th Jan 11, 1:20 PM
    • 553 Posts
    • 5,227 Thanks
    elly2
    Afternoon all, the mr t shop wasn't too bad, came in at £40.33 but £15 of this was on dog food (will transfer this from my dad's bank into mine) so i am under budget again this week (not by much but still)
    Today is the first time i have visited a supermarket this year and the price of food seems to have rocketed i was shocked at how much veg oil is (got the 3 x 1 litre bottles for £3 which was on special), the tiger loaf has increased by 20p , but i did find the elusive (sp) onion granules so will be making donners some time next week, and also the coconut block needed for my curry (again next week). Tonight we are having pork caserole with mash and green beans.
    I made chicken and rice yesterday and there is rice and chicken leftover (alot of rice ) so was thinking maybe a chicken fried rice for tomorrow (usually i would have thrown it all out) but every time i try to make fried rice it all clumps together does anyone have a foolproof recipe , and will the rice still be ok by tomorrow?.
    found one (takeaway secret book doh obvious place to look ) also one in recipe index first post, no wonder mine has been going clumpy i have been trying to cook it in the egg mix lol)
    Last edited by elly2; 18-01-2011 at 1:35 PM. Reason: found a recipe


    • Rhealea
    • By Rhealea 18th Jan 11, 1:23 PM
    • 51 Posts
    • 187 Thanks
    Rhealea
    Hi all
    Am looking to join! Have set my budget to £435.00 per month for now - will DEF not be more and hoping to get it down!
    Grocery Challenge - Jan £426.06 / £435.00
    Feb £376.37 / £435.00
    March £0.00 / £435.00
    • quintwins
    • By quintwins 18th Jan 11, 1:47 PM
    • 5,003 Posts
    • 29,347 Thanks
    quintwins
    hi everyone i havnet really been about this last week however i'm already over budget it all went out the window when my kids got suck i do have enough food to do us the rest of the month tho with the exception of milk and bread so i think i'll end up about £30 over
    DFW £7632/£28996 26.3%
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