I mentioned Friday that I had a ‘Use It Up Week’ planned. This was mainly due to the guilt of my overspend on the previous weeks groceries. I’d spent £75 by online grocery shopping, which is 25% lower than what I used to spend but it’s still £25 more than what I have been spending the last few weeks. If anyone’s in any doubt how much blogging can keep you on track with developing new habits – don’t be! Since I posted about my reduced spend I feel totally accountable to meet that target as much as I possibly can…
As a fanatical meal planner I don’t carry much surplus in my cupboards, fridge or freezer, there’s no need and I believe it leads to waste. I like to think I work on more of a ‘Just In Time’ basis. But food items do creep into our home, so every once in a while I have a ‘Use It Up Week’.
The ‘Use It Up Week’ plan
Did I mention there was a plan? There always has to be a plan for me when it comes to food. (I’m not this organised in other areas of my life I promise).
1. Do an inventory of cupboards and freezer with a view to incorporating as many ingredients and items as possible. Particularly those that have been hanging around a while!
2. Design a meal plan (for 6 days) around those items, writing a shopping list for additional items required. This should be as minimal as possible.
3. Go without a few things for a week, and not add to stocks with additional items. When shopping resist buying anything above and beyond what is required even if it looks a good price/deal. The aim is to reduce stock in the kitchen.
On Friday morning I did my inventory. The following suspects stood out as items that needed using up;
Freezer items: Minced Beef, Sausages and Puff Pastry (missed fish fingers off photo – oops!)
Store Cupboard items: Tinned Chick Peas, Coconut Milk, Tuna, Evaporated Milk and Pudding Rice
Fresh items: Cooking Apples and Carrots
Taking into account some other basic store cupboard ingredients I always keep in such as flour, pasta, rice and frozen veggies I devised the following meal plan;
Saturday Lunch – Naan Bread, Cheese, Crackers, Crunchy Veg
Saturday Dinner – Fish Finger Sandwiches (Kiddy Tea) plus Popcorn
Sunday Lunch – Home-made Pizza and Garlic Bread for kiddos, Spicy Butternut Squash Soup and Garlic Bread for adults with Apple Crumble and Custard to follow (we had a few guests!)
Sunday Dinner – Toad in The Hole with Frozen Veggies with more Apple Crumble to follow!
Monday Lunch – Leftover pizza, crackers, cheese etc…
Monday Dinner – Tuna Pasta with Cucumber and Rice Pud to follow
Tuesday Lunch – My Favourite Soup with Bread Rolls
Tuesday Dinner – Minced Beef Puff Pastry Pie with Cauliflower Cheese. Pancakes for dessert
Wednesday Lunch – Cheese and Beetroot Sandwiches
Wednesday Dinner – Chick Pea, Potato and Coconut Curry with Chapatis with Cake and Ice-Cream for pudding.
Thursday Lunch – Carrot and Coriander Soup with Bread Rolls
Thursday Dinner – Slow-Cooked Spaghetti Bolognese with Garlic Bread. Fruit and Yoghurt to follow
Friday – No Waste Tastes Great
Once the meal plan was devised, I did my grocery shop and purchased;
I had a target of £25 (to compensate for the previous weeks overspend) but didn’t meet it.
I spent £20.84 at Home Bargains on staple items, £6.33 at CoolTrader on cold items (milk etc) plus £8.50 on fresh produce from the market.
Total = £35.67
I could have reduced my spend by approx £8 by not buying the Paracetamol, Wine, Naan bread, Chocolate Milkshake and Freddos! These items weren’t absolutely necessary but still a far cry from over indulgence me thinks! And I didn’t buy any meat products at all. The wine turned out to taste fantastic at £3.99, the naan bread at 49p for two is a bargain, the milkshake is for after swimming lessons. We have a little routine where the Kids have a choc milkshake and then a packet of ‘Tangy Toms’ (crisps) out of the vending machine. By buying the milkshake in advance I save 50%. The Freddos were an impulse purchase – I’m only human after all! Oh and I am desperate to try to shift the cold in advance of the half-marathon so have resorted to popping pills!
So far it’s going great, I’m doing a lot of baking and cooking from scratch (including bread, cake and biscuits), but I enjoy it. I’ve tried out a new soup recipe which was really nice and I’ll post the recipe. I don’t think we are missing out by having a ‘Use It Up Week’, to me the meal plan looks quite varied and interesting. There’s a good chance I will need to replenish milk as we have got through a lot this weekend, but that’s something I won’t scrimp on as for us it’s an essential! I’ll be taking the exact change to the shop though – no chance of any additional purchases that way 🙂
Do you ever ‘Use It Up’? How do you do it where you are?
p.s – I had promised photo’s of my cupboards (how exciting!!) but the post would have been too long and off topic somewhat. I’m planning a ‘What’s In Your Cupboard’ post for next week!
p.p.s – Couldn’t resist taking a snap of my freezer contents though and have posted it on Facebook – click here