Aliens in the Apple

My October grocery challenge

Franci 5 Oct 2010 Blogging Food Frugal fun

Sometimes I feel like challenging myself in areas I’m not very good at. Like spending a small amount of money on groceries. Which is why it is a challenge! Here’s what I’m doing:

I’ve decided to try to reach the end of October and spend no more than $100 on groceries.

I can only do this because I have some food in the cupboards already. But it’s going to be difficult. Food here in NYC is more expensive than I’ve seen anywhere! But I think it’s do-able. If it’s not, we’ll certainly find out! :-) There are 4 weeks until the end of the month, which gives me $25 per week. Crazy, eh? Every Monday from now on, I’ll give an update of how I’m going, what I’ve spent money on and what we’ll be eating that week.

Note: We are not experiencing financial difficulty. I’m purely doing this to prove to myself that I can do this and eat well too. I’m doing this on the blog, because then I can’t cop out!

I would welcome everyone’s favourite frugal recipes. And if anyone is interested in joining me for the challenge, let me know!

Disclaimer: The challenge only includes food. If I had to include toiletries and cleaning chemicals and the like in that amount, we wouldn’t be eating for the last week of October! It also does not include meals that we eat out or get take-out, which is usually no more than once a week.

I’m only showing my dinner menu plan because breakfasts and lunches are all pretty much the same. Breakfast usually consists of cereal or porridge to which we sometimes add yoghurt and/or fruit. Lunches are usually left-overs or sandwiches that we top with things like tinned fish or meat and cheese or pb&j, or if it is fresh out of the oven just butter with honey.

So, here’s my dinner menu plan for the first week:

Monday (last night):

Potato and leek soup with Italian toasties


Chicken & dumplings with carrots and salad


Nacho sauce over corn chips with salad


Mac ‘n Cheese and salad.

Friday (we’re having guests):

Roast chicken, potatoes and other roast vegetables, salad. Dessert: Spicy apple dessert with ice cream.


Chicken-Broccoli casserole with garlic bread and salad


Sandwiches or left-overs for dinner.

Comments (7)

Ben 5 Oct 2010 at 12:38pm

Looks yummy! … you should do a grocery challenge every month! :-)

Rick 5 Oct 2010 at 9:38pm

As someone who also has to deal with NYC food prices, I think if you DO make this challenge, I’m going to have to question whether the means was shoplifting!

Susanna 6 Oct 2010 at 8:59pm

Franci, I should do this with you and we can give each other tips on how to make it work!:)

Miriam 7 Oct 2010 at 4:07pm

What was the potato and leek soup like? Can you send me the recipe? my mum is after one.

All the best with you challenge. I should do it here but maybe I’ll wait till Esther Hannah is a little older.


Franci 7 Oct 2010 at 5:17pm

Always yummy and super easy. Melt about 2 Tbsp butter in a pot. Add 1 sliced leek and fry till soft. Add about 4 - 7 cubed potatoes (depending on how many people you’re feeding and how big the potatoes are). Fry for about 10 mins then top up with chicken stock or water. When potatoes are soft you shove your stick blender in the pot and mix the whole lot up. Then add water and/or milk/cream till you have the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

You can doll this up with parsley, or garlic or whatever you feel like. But plain is yummy too. And on Monday I didn’t even use a leek — I used an onion instead. :-)

Anna Miretti 17 Oct 2010 at 11:00am

I love that you are doing this challenge! If you are able to do it, kudos to you! I hae only recently gotten to where I had a food budget more than $30 a month in NYC. I have done it, but not with tons of variety, and CERTAINLY NOT with a family to support! You are awesome possum, and I enjoy reading this blog. :)

Anna Miretti 17 Oct 2010 at 11:00am

*have not hae