the week: a new challenge

I’m back in Boston, and I’m refreshed and ready for a new year, the theme of which is Nothing to Lose 2012.

I need to work on spending less money, going to the gym more, and eating even more healthfully. I also want to force myself to be more efficient and creative in the kitchen–practice my knife skills, learn more about flavor profiles, and really use everything I can. So every week I’m going to buy under $50 worth of groceries and see how many different combinations I can use to make really interesting, healthy food.

I got home and was essentially out of fresh food, but I have tons of dry goods and frozen foods. I suggest that, if you want to participate, you stock up and spend a lot more than $50 getting essential dry and frozen staples, like herbs and spices, various frozen veggies and fruits, frozen chicken breasts and sausages, rice, kasha, flours, oats, dried fruits and nuts. Assume that I have a lot of those, and now see what I bought this week for my groceries:

2 leeks
2 russet potatoes
2 onions
Bunch of white mushrooms
2 carrots
Organic broccoli slaw
Brussels sprouts
4 apples
3 tangerines

18 eggs
Turkey bacon

Stuffed grape leaves
Microwavable lentils and peas dish
Half a gallon of almond milk
Tias tortilla chips (after a year off gluten, I want to experiment with dairy re-introduction)

I have a dry-erase board on my refrigerator where I wrote all my meal plans for the week. We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll keep updating, but I think the way to make sure you succeed is to not plan all 14 meals (breakfast I’m not including, because that’s always almond pancakes or granola with fruit) but to plan most, and then to assume that occasionally you’ll want something quick (hence always having a microwavable curry dish or something in my freezer) or something that requires no skill or thinking (hence always having eggs for omelets, plus veggies and grape leaves for hummus dipping). With that, as well as some new recipes (going to try making a potage in my Crock Pot this week) and a project (I need a new batch of granola), I think this can be something that will work. Stay tuned.