Sunday, February 1, 2009

2 Weeks No Grocery Shopping Challenge

I am finishing today the '2 Weeks No Grocery Shopping' challenge. My wonderful husband had been complaining about money, so I figured rather than pity ourselves I'd turn this into a fun challenge. (BTW, this is my interview stand-by line. When someone describes something difficult, I say 'That would be a fun challenge'). So The Rules were that no groceries other than milk or soy milk may be purchased for two weeks. This is hard for a food packrat like yours truly. (It deserves mentioning that this was decided without prior planning, so I didn't just go out and buy twice as much as my weekly grocery supplies.)

Anyway, pretty quickly, I realized we were running out of eggs. And I wanted pound cake. Internet to the rescue, here we go. One Egg Lemon Pound Cake. Hah! I made a double batch with only 2 eggs last weekend, and then another double batch today. I glazed it with a glaze made from powdered sugar and lime juice. Yum.

Then, I realized the only vegetable left was leeks, however, I couldn't use my normal leeks stand-by (Stuffed Leeks with Potatoes), because it can't be made without dairy. I have tried.
So instead, I decided to make Leek and Potato Soup. It was delicious, served with sliced hot dogs, just as in my childhood. Funny how food can transport you right back to a different place and time. Potato soup to me is eating in my mother's kitchen on Saturday at noon. The chores are mostly done and the whole family is together. One 'Wienerle' (German for Beef Frank) per person.

The recipe is simple and there are endless variations. Basically, cook a couple of peeled and cubed potatoes. If desired, start by frying some onion. In this case I started by frying the leeks (cut into thin slices) in a little oil, then adding potatoes and water. Cook until potatoes fall apart. My mother - the queen of pressure cooking - accomplishes this in her pressure cooker. Stick immersion blender in and blend to desired consistency. Add water or broth as needed. Add salt, pepper, dill weed, garlic powder or cumin, to taste. Warm hot dogs in soup. It's simple and satisfying, and healthy!

Among the things I figured out this week are also a delicious way to make oatmeal overnight, so it's ready for you in the morning. I made a double batch because my slowcooker is very large. It was delicious! I didn't use raisins but cut up fresh apple instead. Sadly, my daughter loved it and immediately had an allergic reaction to it. Sooo..... watch for a marathon of porridge alternatives that I am in the process of trying out.

To summarize - the two weeks went by really fast. My fridge is so empty I can see the back wall, which is an entirely new and liberating experience for me. It is fun to search the web for from-scratch alternatives for food items that I didn't have in my pantry. And I *still* have way too much food in my freezer. If there is a natural disaster happening, you'd want to be my friend (in fact, that might be the only time you'd want to be my friend).

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