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A cooking challenge. Impress your friends and win a prize!

Today I’m excited to introduce my first ever group challenge that will result in a prize!  To me, the prize is super awesome, but it’s not extremely fancy.  I’m paying for it myself using Amazon giftcards I’ve earned through Swagbucks (you can sign up on the swidget in the right-hand column of this blog), so don’t trip over yourself with the idea that I’m makin’ it rain with bills at da club.

The prize is one of my newest favorite kitchen tools – the Microplane grater/zester.  This joins a group of things that I list under the title “I know I can cook without this, but for the life of me I can’t imagine why I ever did”.  I enjoy complicated list titles.

We’re moving at the end of April and will be in temp housing for 2 months (another post for another day).  Given this, I’m highly motivated to clean out my freezer, pantry, and zombie/apocalypse food storage in my garage.  Plus the fact that food prices are continuing to skyrocket has me looking for new ways to stretch my food dollars even further.

So enough jibber-jabbering already!  I’m pleased to announce the “Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity Clean Out Yo’ Pantry Challenge-extravoganza”.  I also like complicated contest titles.

Contest conditions

The actual contest will start on March 15th and will end on April 12th.

1) comment to this post to indicated you’re participating.  You don’t have to follow my blog or anything like that to participate;  I’m not keen on that kind of thing.  But, if you’re a new reader, I would welcome you to follow me if you like what you see!
2) I’m providing a few days of prep time and planning.  This Thursday, participants can list what pantry items they’re working with.  (post script edit: you don’t NEED to post a list to participate.  It was more of an idea so that others could see what you’re working with and possibly suggest a meal idea.  Totally not a necessary task required to “play”!)
3) Every week on Tuesday, I’ll post a pantry challenge update.  Respond via comment what you’ve made the previous week. 
4) Each week you participate, you’ll receive 1 entry “point”.  Each week I will assign 1 bonus point to the person who made the most creative dish using pantry ingredients.  Using the awesome power of Excel’s “random” function, I will randomly select and announce a winner on April 13th. 
5) If you are so inclined, I would welcome you to blog about this on your own blog, and link it to mine.
6) Contest is open to everyone, but I’ll only ship the grater within the US.  If you’re out of the US and win, I’ll send you an Amazon giftcard for the value of the grater.
7) Postscript: you can join at any time by commenting to this post and posting updates in the weekly check in.  You don’t have to necessarily participate each time.

Contest rules
1) you need to make (at least) 3 meals a week using mostly pantry items.  I don’t care if that meal is breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  But if you’re making breakfast, “plain oatmeal with cinnamon” ain’t going to win you any creativity points!  I’m not going to be anal about what percentage “mostly” is; honor system people! 
2) participants are strongly encouraged to keep their weekly grocery budget to $50 (+/- a few bucks) including fresh fruit, veggies, dairy, etc.  Because Jack’s 2nd birthday party is coming up and I need to increase my grocery shopping that week I’m nice, special occasion foods/meals are exempt from this contest.

So, what do you say?  Are you in?  Let the games begin.

PS, thank god for spell check because I had this originally listed as the “panty challenge”.

Yo yo, head’s up, this post might contain affiliate links which help to support my site. And my canning, seed buying, and aggressive saving habits.

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7 comments on “A cooking challenge. Impress your friends and win a prize!”

  1. I’m in. Currently I am in a budget crisis and I am in need of a budget overhaul. I have allotted myself $100/week for my grocery items (this includes Cat Litter and Cat Food, TP, laundry detergent etc. so I would say I am at that $50 mark +/- already. In addition I need to scrape money off the top of that budget for Easter and for my DD’s 13th birthday. 3 meals a week from the Pantry/freezer sounds good. I won’t count weekday lunches (because they are always out of the freezer left overs) but breakfasts, weekend lunches and dinners are fair game. I will report on this this on Fridays on my BLOG and link back to the original challenge and your blog.
    GAME ON!

  2. I’m in!!!!

    Do I get extra style points for cooking all my meals on Sunday thus saving time? Time is money after all!

  3. @Tree Huggin Momma – welcome to the contest! I hear you on the budget crisis, and hope this can help you somewhat kickstart your new overhaul. Jack’s party is in less than a month and we’re doing “make your own pizzas” with homemade dough, a green salad, fruit salad, cake, and punch. The most expensive part will be the pizza toppings, but I think all of the food for about 35 people will run me ~$50.

    RE: laundry soap in your budget, have you thought about making your own? You could buy the borax this week, and then the washing soda next week. That can help you stretch your budget a bit more. The soap can be any bar soap you have on hand.

    @E – no style points for Sunday cooking. Don’t be a points whore. ;-D

  4. I’m in! This is perfect because I’ve been scouring thrift stores for a zester for a while now and we are poor. FYI: The smaller size, Ikea grater makes orange and nutmeg zest a little intense!

    Could you consider a potluck style, make your own pizza party? We’ve done that before where everyone just brings their one favorite topping. It worked well since some of my friends are dairy free, gluten free, vegan and could bring whatever suits and won’t poison them. It probably works best if you use Evite though, so everyone knows what others are bringing… or you at least get a few simple, popular toppings.

  5. I’ll give it a try!!!

  6. I am in. I have been doing this the last few weeks anyway because the place my husband works for was “in a budget crisis” and postponed a paycheck for 2 weeks. My pantry has become my best friend lol. I am glad I have over purchased a few times and had enough on hand to get us through. I have had fun finding “new” goodies in the pantry. I am excited to join your challenge 🙂