Store Cupboard Challenge ~ Day 2

Supper yesterday. Very simple -baked potatoes with cheese, coleslaw, sweetcorn and salad. Very filling

At the hairdresser

This morning I paid my annual visit to the hairdresser. Once again my resolve to grow out my hair has ended in a sudden desire to have it all chopped off.

 On this visit I had a new stylist, the fabulous Raza from Lithuania. I immediately got on the right side of her by not only knowing where Lithuania was but also knowing that its capital was Vilnius. Raza had short fair hair in a tight curly perm. This with her wide cheekbones made her look absolutely stunning and I knew I was in the hands of someone with style. I explained that I was after a Judi Dench 'only not grey' I chortled. Raza snipped away for some minutes in silence 'I am a quiet hairdresser' she said 'good' I thought. At last she picked up a mirror to show me the back 'oh, did you put some product on it?' I asked noticing an unfamiliar colour on my hair 'errm no' she said 'then what's that grey stuff?'

Why has no one told me I have grey hair?

Raza made a fantastic job of my hair despite revealing its greyness. I do hope she doesn't go back to Lithuania.

My hair doesn't have much to do with my store cupboard challenge except that it cost £32 which is almost as much as I've spent on food this week. There were lots of lovely meaty comments on yesterday's post, thank you, I am glad this challenge has caused so much interest. There were some common themes in the comments yesterday which I will try to address;

How I do lunch boxes

 I don't do them any more. But when the children were younger I would pack them a sandwich or roll, a piece of fruit and one other thing like a muffin, a couple of biscuits or a flapjack. Sometimes I would add carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, raisins and other healthy extras that the kids didn't really want.

Now they prepare their own lunches. I make sure there is something to go in the sandwiches; sunflower butter, cheese, egg, ham or salami. Katie only likes meaty fillings but since I can't afford to buy enough ham or salami to last the week she has to put up with other fillings some days. I don't  pander to  fussiness (she eats cheese at other times so why not in a sandwich?). Sometimes I make pitta pizzas or a pasta salad. I usually make sure there is bread sliced, not because they can't slice their own bread but because they slice it so damn thick. For the same reason I grate the cheese in the food processor -have you seen how thick a teenage boy cuts cheese for a sandwich?

I also make sure the biscuit tin has something home baked in it. I rarely fail at this but this morning the gingernuts were all gone so they went without. I was quite surprised to discover that they weren't particularly bothered by this. Katie said she'd have one of her sandwiches at break and the other one at lunch. Although they all eat plenty of fruit they don't take it to school any more -not cool.

Not on  my shopping list

I don't buy crisps unless we are having a family picnic -at an air show, or on the way to our holiday for example. Crisps are not something I see as real food, they're nice to have for a treat but not as regular item on  my grocery list. I occasionally buy Pringles- usually at Christmas and most recently for the opening ceremony of the Olympics. My mother in law dishes out crisps every Sunday when they visit her so my children do not suffer from crisp deprivation. Besides, they are old enough to buy their own crisps and snacks if they want.

Although I buy chocolate fairly regularly it is for baking with rather than eating as a snack. Occasionally I'll buy some for a weekend dessert rather than making a dessert.

I don't buy soft drinks or fruit juice except very occasionally - for example when my children weeded the drive recently I gave them some money for a bottle of Coke.

I rarely buy ice cream, fish fingers, ice lollies or biscuits (the last time I bought biscuits was when we were all ill with a bad cold).

I never buy breakfast cereals, pasta sauces, frozen pizza, ready meals, cakes or scones, desserts, yogurts, flavoured milk, loaves of bread, bread rolls, low-fat dairy produce, fake butter or margarine of any description, anything overpackaged, or peanuts.

In charge

As Susan said yesterday I am 'in charge' in my kitchen. That's how it has always been, very traditional but unintentionally so. It's worked out that way because I enjoy cooking and I enjoy running a kitchen and Charlie has no interest in it at all.

 I remember being at a friend's house with the children when George was about 10 and being horrified that her son (also 10) would just help himself to chocolate and crisps from the cupboards without asking (even after she had told him he couldn't have them).

I would find it impossible to run my kitchen efficiently and economically if my family helped themselves to the contents of the fridge and cupboards without asking me first. There is always something nice in the tin which can be eaten as a snack, and bread and butter with or without jam/sunflower butter/marmite is always available as is milk.

In the kitchen today

I have made flapjacks, my fall-back biscuit tin fillers. I made 48 (16 per tin). They should last the whole week and will keep for ages.

I have also made a batch of bread. I used to make four small loaves, now I have acquired bigger tins and make three large loaves. The loaves produce slices of bread which are a better shape  and size for cutting into sandwiches.

I had a little tomato sauce left over from Saturday's pizza making and a bowl of sweetcorn from yesterday's supper. I used them to make pitta pizzas for the lunch boxes tomorrow as all the chicken sandwich filling has been eaten.

For supper I used up the left over chicken from Sunday and the left over gravy to make a simple chicken stew to serve with mash and peas. Very comforting and tasty.

There was also a bowl of raspberries picked from the garden and apple fool.



  1. Great post - you've given me some ideas there - only need to do a packed lunch for my 9 year old, however, I fear he's going to turn into a ham sandwich if he doesnt have something different soon!!! lol

  2. Crisps are my downfall- so I don't buy them either except when we have visitors & then I have to control myself! We did make oven crisps using a mandolin once- it was pretty dangerous but very delicious...
    I'm with you about not buying certain things. My luxuries are real butter(especially if it's on special offer then I buy loads & freeze it in half packs, real coffee (again I buy lots if it's on special offer) & proper chocolate. I made a pact with myself last year to only buy Fairtrade chocolate and coffee. It costs more so I eat/drink less of it but I feel better about consuming it!

  3. Love all your information. I will make some flapjacks I think this weekend. I have never heard of them here in the states, however I do have some golden syrup. It is fairly available here in Seattle, but more at specialty type groceries. I don't make school lunches any longer, but I should be making them for myself and my husband. . . just have to get back in the rhythm.

  4. Embrace that grey, Sue - or the hairdressing bills will shoot up to £100. And it grows out almost as fast as a flapjack tin empties!

    1. Oh good grief -£100, really? I wouldn't mind if it was nice grey but mousey greying hair is so drab.

  5. Not letting the children help themselves --- mmmmm --- have you ever thought about running a bootcamp for the children of disorganised/chaotic mothers? I rarely buy crisps/cordial and never frozen pizzas/pasta sauces/low calorie anything but chocolate biscuits and yoghurt are pretty much our pudding most nights. I've become so fed up with the moaning about meals that this week we are having meals chosen by my boys. Clearly proving I am not in charge of my kitchen because actually I quite like not having to think what to cook!

  6. You see you have just made your point about being properly in charge. You DON'T do all the things I do. I am a complete and utter pushover when it comes to shopping. I even find myself asking my two, granted they are adults now, if there is anything they would like when I go shopping. I wish I had read your blog years ago. I have developed so many bad habits.

    1. Fatal mistake Susan. I don't think I've ever asked anyone what they'd like to eat! Mind you I do try to avoid giving them stuff they hate. I expect I am a control freak.

  7. I wish I had the time to run a kitchen the way you do. Am so enjoying these posts. Almost as much as the "sarcastic board"!

  8. Growing up in the 1960's and 70's fizzy drinks and crisps were for special occasions only - a bottle of Lucazade if we were ill.
    I hate how for so many they have become staples.
    Having your hair dyed isn't that expensive - except when you have to have it touched up every 5-6 weeks...for various reasons I am now completely au naturel and as long as I wear make up I don't look too drab...

  9. You should write a book.

  10. You know, in my head, you are Saint Sue of the Storecupboard. I do enjoy your no-nonsense approach to parenting, it makes me snigger in appreciation. Lucky you got a good hairdresser for the money - I got a short back and fruitbowl the last time I went. (I blogged this along with a later picture of my CHRONIC fringe) Life ain't fair. Will be along to check out the flapjack link - I like to affectionately call my attempts crapjacks.....

  11. Can I ask - if you don't buy breakfast cereals - what do you eat for breakfast. I do restrict cereal for weekends only and try for eggs or porridge or home made granola instead - but I'd welcome any new ideas.

    1. Not much different from you really. It's mainly granola or toast. Sometimes I make Scotch pancakes but not as often as I used to. I don't think a bowl of cereal has any nutritional advantage over wholemeal toast.

  12. Dear Sue
    Don't worry about the grey - I am embracing it and am hoping eventually it will all go a nice silvery colour. (The reason? I can't afford to colour it and am not keen on the idea of bucketloads of chemicals on my head, although each to his/her own on that one). Love your organised approach and the yummy recipes that you post.
    Best wishes

  13. Go for grey Sue , it was a big step but I do not regret it at all.
    Another great post - am having a think about breakfast now.

  14. You are such a good mum. No-nonsense, fair, and obviously caring regarding your kids nutrition. I know you are in a privileged position in that you have the time to do all the cooking and have the wherewithal to do so. However, it takes strength to say no to kids but your consistency has paid off. It would be so nice to have more mums like you.

  15. I laughed about growing your hair out. Or not. I've done it so many times I should have learnt by now. My hairdresser is on instructions not to let me try and grow it out again.

  16. Another fab post, thanks for the insight, it's good to know I'm not alone.

  17. You are a woman from my own heart when it comes to the kitchen!
    Julie xxxxxxxxxx

  18. Ah, that inevitable moment when there is no denying that the greys are obvious to everyone else.
    As for the cheese problem, I have taken to using a vegetable peeler to slice cheddar for sandwiches. It is one of those Y-shaped swivelly ones and I first used it to make flakes of parmesan for salads. Then I realised it works just as well for blocks of other hard cheese and I just find it quicker and less messy than grated cheese for sandwiches.
    I agree that you have the makings of a book on kitchen management here.

    1. What a good idea -grated cheese does tend to fall out doesn't it. My food processor will slice it very thin too now I come to think of it.

  19. You are lucky to have found a good hairdresser, they are so hard to find sometimes. I recently had one come to my house and she gave me a razor cut, the first I ever had but certainly not the last, my hair now has far more body to it.

  20. Am so enjoying this week's posts Sue and watching avidly!
    Jo x

  21. Hi Sue, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment :) It looks like the store cupboard challenge is going well for you. I especially love the baked potato supper photo. Baked potatoes with salad are my absolute favourite meal, so delicious healthy and cheap!

    I'm going to go and have a read through the archives of your blog now :)

  22. I'm really enjoying these posts, and I'm pleased that I don't feel too bad when I read your list. Really the only main difference is yogurt - I buy loads of the stuff, the big pots of natural yogurt, which we have for dessert with a tiny dob of syrup.

    If I could work out a way to stop Littlest making secret sandwiches, I truly would. But at least I have no crisps and no biscuits, so it's not as bad as it could be.

  23. Hi Sue, thanks especially for your posts this week, they've made me think about how much our food shopping/ cooking could be simplified and improved. We spend about £85 a week on all groceries/ cleaning stuff etc for two adults and a five year old and I think there's a lot of room for economising. Apart from anything else we need to get through our storecupboards, as I seem to have always prepared for being snowed in, even through the summer. We've yet to get to a point where we all like eating the same things - husband's favourites are 70's Cranks style, daughter not keen on bits or mixed food and I'm ploughing on with Slimming World (not brilliantly), so there are days when I make three separate meals for us which isn't ideal, even though I'm happy to do the cooking. I'm really looking forward to getting back to 'normal' food for me (hopefully by Christmas), a bit of baking again which I've missed, and inspired by your posts, better, cheaper and shared meals for the family.
    Sian xx

  24. Like Lady Whats'ername , I eat porridge for breakfast . It's my only really sensible economy move , apart from lentil soup ... and only made because I like it so much .
    But you're right ; proper shopping and planning are the best ways to save money and eat well .


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