Giving up the Grocery Store for Lent

Our love affair with food began with our real food journey back in 2012. By December of that year, we were cleaning out our freezer and learning to be creative with the ingredients we had on hand. Since then, we’ve been trying to eat as locally as possible, becoming a member of a CSA in Atlanta, and shopping from local farms once we moved to Massachusetts.

The family that lived in our house before we did left us a working (and empty!) deep freezer, and we brought one with us from Atlanta, so we used our incredible amount of freezer space as an opportunity to stock up on local produce during harvest season last year. We’ve done a really good job this winter of eating at home and using ingredients that we have on hand, but our freezers are still pretty stocked. So we are using Lent as a time to really focus on cleaning out the freezers, and making sure we have room for what’s coming up ahead.

We have created a small list of “acceptable” items, but we are trying really hard not to go to the grocery store at all. We have a milk delivery that comes once a week, so that makes up the bulk of our necessities. Here’s our approved list:

Milk – A gallon a week, two when we need to make yogurt. We make our own yogurt in the Instant Pot, and it’s way less expensive than buying yogurt from the store. I typically make a batch of yogurt once every two-three weeks.

Eggs – Because our local farm still has them in the winter, and we eat a lot of them. Plus, the milk man can bring them with our milk.

Cheese (cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, and others as needed for specific recipes)

Ningxia Red – this is one of our favorite Young Living products and I just can’t imagine getting through these final dreary days of winter without it. We just finished up our last bottle from the last time I stocked up (in November), so we’re allowing ourselves one more stock-up purchase to get us through the next couple of months.

Fruits – We do have quite a bit of frozen fruit, but my girls love snacking on fresh fruit … so we’re allowing ourselves 2-3 fruit items each week. This week we chose bananas, oranges, and pears.

Vegetables – I’m trying really hard not to buy any produce that isn’t local, but we wouldn’t be very healthy if we only ate meat and grains, so we will allow ourselves to buy veggies as needed for specific recipes – and only if we don’t have anything in the freezer that we can substitute. We will try to be creative first.

Ketchup – I tried to make my own ketchup and it was a huge fail. So we allowed ourselves to buy it once this Lent so that we can happily eat the burgers and nuggets in our freezer, and then we have to wait until after Easter to get any more.

Oh … and on top of no grocery store … no eating out either. Because the whole point is to clean out the freezer. Which means we have to eat at home. Clean out the freezer months are some of my favorite months in the kitchen – because it reminds me just how abundantly blessed we are, and really stretches my creative brain. When you eat 3 meals a day at home, you have to really think about how you can use the ingredients that you have in a really creative way.

I don’t think it’s coincidence that Lent occurs at the end of winter, when we’re stretching our resources to get us through until the next growing season. My hope is that this Lenten journey not only grounds us during this season, but that it also helps us kick the grocery store to the curb for the long haul. We are planning a pretty big garden for this year and we are also joining a CSA for a local farm. In addition, we’re getting a small meat subscription. I would love it if we hardly ever have to step foot in a grocery store for the remainder of 2017. It would not only save us money, but also time – and probably inches on my waistline as well.

I’ll check in once a week to let you know how we’re doing and what we’re eating!

Photo Credit

Crystal Rowe

wife to D, mama to A & E, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, follower of Christ, writer, book lover, beloved child of God