National $21 Challenge - Day One

Posted June 2nd, 2008 by Penny Wise

Woohoo! National $21 Challenge month is here and today is the first day of our family's Challenge. Now don't laugh but I felt a bit different as I merrily cooked poached eggs for everyone this morning. I felt like Supermum - I am in control and feeding my family wonderful things! It's true! Today it rained for much of the day, which gave me the perfect excuse to achieve as much as I could in the kitchen. My main objective is NOT to allow my family to whinge about having no food this week; they need to have food readily available when they are hungry. I had to get baking!

So I trawled the recipe books and found a recipe for wheat-free Anzac biscuits, which mercifully used up half the oatmeal I bought last August and have never used. They were good! Better still, I have enough of everything to make another batch if we run out, which looks likely as the kids have been eyeing them ravenously. The kids, as expected, grumbled about doing a $21 Challenge week. For them it signified a week of no treats - but I soon changed that! As I went to put the coconut back in the pantry, I thought of a recipe I had seen many a time in the Vault but never tried, for 'Coconut and condensed milk snacks'. All I needed was three cups of coconut and a tin of condensed milk. I had one of those sitting in the fridge with only two tablespoons taken out of it - that would do! I whipped them up in a couple of minutes flat and the verdict was unanimous - 'THEY'RE AWESOME!' The way the kids are hanging around the kitchen I can see I'm going to have to put a padlock on the baking tin! I also made an Oaty Apple Loaf for Noel, which is very moist and yummy and uses up some of the two bags of rolled oats in the pantry, along with two sad looking apples which would otherwise have gone to the chooks. Very productive!

I wrote out my menu plan on Sunday and will copy it here but you can find mine and many more in the National $21 Challenge Month Official Thread":

Monday -

Breakfast - Poached eggs on toast. Thanks to our lovely chooks!

Lunch - Home made pumpkin soup. Tomorrow is a public holiday in NZ so we're all home for lunch.

Dinner - Honey Mustard Fish Fillets. Well, I hope we do! Noel has been out fishing all day so I hope he's caught something, that would be very helpful! Accompanied by rice, salad and broccoli.

Tuesday -

Breakfast - Banana berry smoothies, using up some of the overripe bananas. Yum!

Lunch - Sandwiches, crackers, fruit and Butter Cake for Noel's work lunch. Tuna and brown rice for me. Lunchboxes for the boys, containing ham and cheese sandwiches (on rice bread), mini potato chips, fruit and wheat-free baking (will either be chocolate muffins, chocolate cake or orange/almond cake, haven't decided yet).

Dinner - Pork chops, self crusting quiche (using silverbeet from the garden), peas and beans.

Wednesday -

Breakfast - Dovedale toast probably. We don't eat cereal any more as between us we can't eat any grains! I still have half a dozen Dovedale loaves in the freezer.

Lunch - Only the boys' lunchboxes to do today, same as Tuesday.

Dinner - Corned silverside. One of many from the freezer! Along with Scalloped Potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and cheese sauce.

Thursday -

Breakfast - Toast no doubt!

Lunch - Friary Lentil Soup (from Enjoy! cookbook) for Noel and I, lunch boxes for the boys.

Dinner - Sophie Gray's Wine Braised Beef with Herby Dumplings. Another crockpot meal as we have rugby training three afternoons a week. Whether the dumplings will turn out with GF flour remains to be seen! Accompanied by mashed potato and the mandatory broccoli for the kids.

Friday -

Breakfast - Er - toast? No idea!

Lunch - Only the boys and me today. Soup for me and usual lunchboxes for the boys.

Dinner - Smoked fish cakes. Again courtesy of my hunter-gatherer husband! Accompanied by salad, carrots and green beans.

Saturday -

Breakfast - Rugby for the boys, which means bacon and eggs all round!

Lunch - No need for lunch today, as provided at rugby.

Dinner - French Shepherds Pie a la Poppet. Liam's favourite meal in the whole world!

Sunday -

Breakfast - Omelette

Lunch - Toasted sandwiches

Dinner - Roast pork, kumara, potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli and carrots.

For dessert if the kids want it we have plenty of vanilla ice cream. We love making different sauces to go on it and have enough condensed milk in the pantry to make caramel sauce all week if we need to! We have feijoas, raspberries and grapefruit in the orchard at the moment, plus 2kg of Easiyo yoghurt for snacks and all the ingredients we need for baking to keep everyone happy snack-wise. At the moment, all I need to buy are apples, mandarins, potatoes, sour cream, carrots, broccoli and *gulp* cheese but only a small block. I have all the ingredients to make bread for the week and a whole bag of milk powder if we run out. Bring it on!

Noel ended up catching enough fresh snapper for two nights so that's very helpful, the pork chops stayed in the freezer! So far I have spent $13.94 on apples, mandarins, lettuce, rice and margarine. I felt extremely proud and smug buying so little. I wanted to announce very loudly to Mr Patel that I was spending no more than $21 in his store this week as I plonked my meagre purchases on the counter but figured he would just think I had gone bonkers again. I'm putting off buying the sour cream at the moment for the French Shepherds Pie - depending how I go it might end up being an English one!

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