National $21 Challenge - Day Three

Posted June 4th, 2008 by Penny Wise

Well if there's one thing I've learned from the $21 Challenge, it's how to diversify. Today was supposed to be 'Corned Silverside Day' and I got the meat out and defrosted it ready to put in the crock pot, feeling very proud of myself for being so organised. The only problem I find working from home is, you think you've got all day to do things like putting the washing out, emptying the dishwasher and taking out the rubbish, so you keep putting it off, thinking you've got plenty of time and then find to your horror that you haven't got around to doing it at all. Such was today's scenario with putting the corned beef in the crock pot. I didn't actually get around to doing it. By the time I had picked the kids up from school, spent an hour and a half at rugby training and popped in to see my brother in law and nieces who were visiting the in-laws, we arrived home at 6.30pm with the corned beef still in the fridge and absolutely no idea what was for dinner.

However, I refused to panic! Thanks to my pantry and freezer inventory I knew we had heaps of food, I just had to throw some of it together. My mum had made a huge batch of delicious minestrone soup a few days before and I had been craving some ever since. I found a recipe and reckoned I could do it! Potato, onion and carrot - check. Zucchini – no, but not essential I suppose. Celery from the freezer - check. Bacon also from the freezer – check. Wheat-free pasta – check. Tinned tomatoes – er, no. Oh well, I was just going to have to use the tomatoes in the fridge, although that would mean I couldn't get any more for the rest of the week. I went to the freezer to get the celery and bacon out and a container full of home made pasta sauce – complete with zucchini – jumped out at me! Perfect, just what I needed!

The only other thing I needed was cannellini beans, which I didn't have any of but I did have a can of mixed bean salad which had been sitting unused for months. The soup was ready in no time and we all sat down to steaming bowlfuls, topped with a little grated cheese. Healthy, filling and delicious. I had to chuckle to myself at the thought of all the people who harp on about how the $21 Challenge must be lacking in nutrition or not containing enough fruit and vegetables. I reckon we eat even better during Challenge weeks than at other times because we are forced to eat and buy more 'Nude Food'. Just as Fiona says, it's the cheapest, the tastiest and the best for you. So stick that in your ear Alison Mau!

Talking of the interviewer from hell, I must say an enormous thank you to everyone who has sent or posted messages of support, you have all made me feel so much better. I also received the most wonderful apology from the person who emailed me about looking like I had been dragged through a hedge backwards. We have had a good old laugh about the whole thing! Tomorrow I am being interviewed live on More FM radio. At least I won't have to worry about my hair and make-up this time as nobody will be able to see me. I just hope they are nicer to me than Alison was!

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