May challenge update, homemade soup and an apple sauce experiment


Regular readers will be aware that I set myself a challenge to spend no more than £100 on foodstuffs this month. The idea is to make a considerable dent in the contents of the overstuffed cupboards and freezer. So here we are half way through the month – how’s it going?

Firstly, when I decided that £100 would suffice to cover the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit juice, milk and bread, I forgot about cheese and yogurt. Fortunately, even with these additions, the experiment is pretty much on track. Whilst I make cheese & onion quiches and cheese & potato pie from time to time, they are not featuring in this month’s menu, so the limited amount of cheese I buy can be eaten with crackers. Total expenditure thus far is £60.38. Although that is more than half the target,  I did spend a little extra at the start of the month stocking up on juice as it was on offer. I only buy the ‘not from concentrate’ variety which is a little more expensive than the concentrated stuff.

Tomorrow I need to buy tomatoes and potatoes. Depending on what Tesco have on offer, I shall add some green veg and fruit.  There are still French beans, petit pois and red cabbage in the freezer, plus plenty of sliced peppers (I bought three large bags for 20p each a couple of months ago, chopped them up and froze them that day). Using some of these and a carton of cherry tomatoes that I found in the depths of the freezer (like peppers, I freeze them ready to pop into casseroles, make sauces etc) I made a delicious roast tomato & pepper soup for lunch. We ate it with some (also from the freezer) Mediterranean bread left over from a recipe that my husband made a few weeks ago.

cake applesauce

I also made a cake this morning using some of that excessive store of  dried fruit that I wrote about. I’ve read several times lately that apple sauce can be used in place of some of the sugar or fat in cakes. The suggestion is that you start by replacing half the fat or sugar in your recipe with the apple sauce. From there, depending on how successful it is, you can replace a little more in the next one.   I replaced half and can report that it tastes absolutely fine if a little apple –ish, but since it’s a fruitcake, that’s not a problem.  I had a jar of applesauce in the cupboard (I cannot imagine why I bought this but at least I have now made use of it).   I also want to try another cake using applesauce to replace the sugar instead. I note, however, that the jar sauce contains added sugar which rather defeats the objective, so next time I shall make my own,  and I’m planning to have a go at a savoury cous cous cake – there’s still an awful lot of cous cous waiting to be eaten as well as several packets of quinoa and buckwheat!  I’m not sure yet what I’ll serve it with but something will spring to mind, no doubt.

To be honest, apart from the fact that I like, and therefore miss, food shopping, I can’t say we’ve felt deprived in any way or noticed anything different. Despite eating almost solely from the freezer and cupboards, we’ve enjoyed much the same kind of meals as usual. The difference is that instead of buying four portions of chicken and putting two in the freezer which I then forget about when I’m out shopping and buy more fresh chicken (and inevitably put another two in the freezer), I’m using the stuff that’s in there already. You would not believe how many portions there were …nor how much fish the freezer ‘audit’ turned up!

I think (I hope) that the outcome of this experiment will be that I become more aware of what I’m buying and more disciplined about using stuff up. I like to eat fresh when possible so I have to stop overbuying.



  1. Very well done on your cost-saving experiment and it will be interesting to see how the apple-sauce-as-substitute works out!
    Of course, you won’t be spending more than £100 but you will have worked your way through your store cupboard items and your freezer so will have to spend more when you replenish stocks. I’ve worked out that there really is little saving in the end, you just buy and eat what you need – less one month, more then next. As long as none of us buy frivolously, lots of non-essentials over essentials, we will eat as frugally but as well as possible.
    Margaret P


    • You are absolutely right, Margaret – there is no saving in the end (assuming we eat it all eventually). The primary reason for doing this is to ensure that we actually eat what we have in rather than having to dispose of it because it’s out of date. I really hate wasting food – it seems so immoral. Also, I like to eat fresh, so having a great deal in store defeats the object, because then there is more to eat that is not fresh! When I do replenish, I hope that I shall be more discerning.I think the problem occurs because, years after they all left home, I still shop for five!


  2. That’s my problem, if I see a good offer I buy even if I don’t need it at the time so I end up with a very tightly packed freezer!


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