Just Another Day on the Farm came up with this challenge last year and it's pretty much like it sounds; for the month of January we'll try to spend only $10/wk on groceries. Canadian Doomer is in, as well as a few other folks. Two years ago, many of us participated in a Pantry Challenge in which we bought no groceries at all in the month of March and lived on only what we had in the house. March probably wasn't the best month to attempt that since a lot of the food I preserved from the previous summer was already long gone but it was a good test to see how long we could last with food we had on hand. By comparison, the $10/week challenge feels like it will be a breeze and it's good time for us to think lean because we've both been on extended (unpaid) holidays. I'd been putting aside a lot of staples while I had a regular paycheque and we've only just started to dip into last summer' s preserved bounty. I currently have about 50 lbs of potatoes stashed in the greenhouse at work, lots of home canned stuff, and the pantry and the freezer are still pretty full. If there's a weak spot, it's in meat/proteins and fresh veg.With that in mind I went shopping at the nearest cheap chain grocery store this week and blew pretty much the whole month's budget in one shot. The veggies were the easy part - Ontario onions, carrots and cabbage are still readily available so I grabbed a 3 lb bag of each of the former and a large cabbage. Meat is always little more challenging- buying from a chain store means not knowing where the meat comes from and without a doubt it's mainly factory farmed. But when utility turkeys are on sale for $.87/lb it's hard to say no. I picked up a just under 10 lb bird for $7.67 and that will feed us for many meals. I also picked up some pork ribs and tenderloin on sale, a 10lb of unbleached flour, a block of cheddar and some canned chickpeas. The total came to just under $35 which leaves me just $5 for the remainder of the month. Just enough to choose between free range eggs or a couple lbs of ground beef from the local halal butcher but not both. These are the times I am envious of all the bloggers on my reading list who have chickens and dairy animals, who raise goats, lambs and rabbits for meat. I would love to be making my own cheese this winter but whole organic milk is too dear to purchase in the quantity needed to make cheese and raising my own meat animals is not even a possibility even if I wanted to.
So what to do when the best resource you have is time? Make pierogies! I made up a big batch of filling using potatoes, cheddar, bacon, sauteéd onions and leeks, and roasted garlic. Then I made an even bigger batch of pierogie dough. I did up about 5 dozen pierogies and froze them, then used the rest of the dough to make squash ravioli with some leftover butternut squash. If I have any pork leftovers I may make a batch of potstickers as well. Everything tastes good in dumpling form!