One week of no-spend challenge

7:22:00 AM

First of all - I was super excited about this challenge. Secondly - it has been a while now, but I finally have decided to put it up on the English blog as well. I have no idea if anyone is interested, but as I have used my foodformusic instagram quite a bit to ask you stuff for challenge, and that is in English, it is only fair like this.

To start off, I wanted to explain that living a week without spending any money is something I have wanted to do for a while. It is a good way to save up, use the food and other food items you have at home, just waiting and expiring. So finally the push that motivated me is going to Romania with a good friend of mine in September, as the flights were expensive and I do wanna just explore there, without worrying (too) much about spending.
In addition, I always have my pantry full of stuff. I mean stuff like rice and beans and all the other grocery staples that I have gotten, really determined to use them on the same day, and then giving up or changing my mind. So... to like clean out the pantry, try out new stuff and save, save, save, I decided to not spend a penny from Monday to Sunday. But I did have an additional rule, stating that well ok, if someone is actually bringing me stuff or buying me stuff, I am not gonna say no. 😀
I knew breakfasts were gonna be simple, as I still only eat porridge/oatmeal on those days. And I did also have tons of snacks that have just been somehow... accumulating. At one point I ordered like 2 boxes of Nakd raw vegan bars and I still had quite a bit left of those. What made me doubtful of my success was work lunches - I am not the person to meal prep or someone who makes enough dinner to take it to work the next day. (I usually like my dinners so much that I end up EATING it all.)
Picture of my absolute favourite smoothie bowl made with bananas and raspberries, topped with more stuff you can probably figure out.
Okay, so starting off:
Monday -  morning started off good, I boiled the water and started making my porridge, thinking what to have for lunch. "Oh well, I can go to store, or the cafeteria," was my first initial thought. I am telling you, it took me like TEN minutes before I facepalmed and realised I cannot do that. So salad it was. See - true meaning of laziness right here. I did have allllll the stuff to make a nice salad, but just this person that I am... too lazy.... I eventually managed to prep the simple salad (and it literally took like FIVE MINUTES). I also had a yoghurt I stock up on - I need something sweet in the end of every single meal I am having. Besides breakfast, that is sweet anyway.
I also had some snacks - Linda sent me delayed birthday present from Japan, which was filled with the goodies I got to take with me. Also, on Monday, it was a workmate's birthday. She got us homemade strawberry cake and this was literally, I swear, the best cake I have ever had in my life. AND it was for free!! 
For dinner, I made some food at home obviously. I love cooking - most difficult part is usually just PICKING OUT what I wanna make. I am so used to cooking by now as well, during the weekend I have almost always 3 meals, all homecooked.
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This salad was pretty much my average lunch, with slight additions and changes. Sometimes I used more of one ingredient, sometimes other. Sometimes I used salsa instead of balsamico, sometimes I added an egg, or whatever I had at home.
As I mentioned - my new favourite cake! My coworker also sent me a recipe and I cannot wait to have an occasion to try it. 
The first dinner that my sister keeps requesting now, daily, is breaded zucchini. It also had some cottage cheese tomato-cucumber salad and tons og ketchup. In this house, we love ketchup.
Tuesday - the morning was literally the same. Porridge (I am sorry I did not take nice pictures from the day one!) and coffee. Also, instead of fighting myself over making the salad, I had prepared it last night. So I had a lot of time to enjoy my morning. I love doing this - eat my oats, drink my life support (coffee of course) and watch something (either youtube or...) or read the news. It was super easy to go to work. At one point I did think that ugh, I am too lazy to make a coffee to take with me, and I can just buy it. AGAIN, SIGNE. The next thought was that, well, I do have some instant coffee powder so I can just go to store and get milk. YEAH SURE. However, I did catch myself and made a thermos full of my favourite drink. Threw some teabags into my bakcpack and off I was. 
The dinner was again super simple. As I got home quite late I was too tired to make anything fancy. Well, maybe it was a bit fancy after all. It was Japanese curry. Also, maybe I should by now mention that I don't eat meat. I am mostly vegetarian, maybe there have been a few slip-ups with fish, so... it was called... pescetarian?
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Breakfasts are always the same, as I used mostly same stuff. Still, I have become to change the main taste. I add either peanut butter, peanut butter with vanilla, chai spice, cocoa or just cinnamon. Depending on my mood. From Nakd, I have blueberry muffin bars and carrot cake bars. I recommend both! Also, not what I have polished these off, I have been trying rest of the flavours. My favourite right now for suuuuure is peanut delight. It literally just has dates, peanuts and salt!
For dinner I made this (I know it is not thick enough!!!), which is always a good choice. A huuuge shout out to Linda who provided me enough to MAYBE almost last me quite a bit. By the way - it has nothing to do with traditional curry. The flavour is as different as can be.
Wednesday - I was already used to the thought that I cannot go to the store, but at the same time I kep craving stuff. Constantly in my mind, there was this annoying feeling of "I want something good" and "I really want to go to stoooore". The cravings came for stuff that I used to not crave. Like - oh I really want this new yoghurt or new dessert. Typical, right?! Also, within the past few months I became accidentally obsessed with gum (it helps to focus at work), but I had finished my previous bag and I didn't have any... So I had kind of like... gum detox. I guess that was good, as my gum consuption has drastically reduced!

Porridge, salad and dinner. I kept being impressed of how many options I had with the ingredients I already had at home. And it also appeared I have quite a bit of sweets and snacks just stored away. (If anyone is visiting, I still do!)

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Mornind oatmeal with cocoa. 🙂 And super fast (as I got home late) cheese-sundried-tomato-omelette with, yes, mayo and ketchup. 😀 
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I think I did manage to be somewhat healthy.  For snacks I had smoothie bowl and popcorn with some coke... Talk about health.
Thursday -  Typical. Instead of focusing on cravings I did, however, try to focus on other things. It was difficult when the workplace's cafeteria had a meal I would have really liked; or when coworkers tried to bully me into buying coffee from the new machine with them. :'D I did manage to keep up with my challenge, go me!

At the same time I had some social situations coming up, aka just meeting friends over the weekend. I knew it was impossible to go out, like in a cafe, and not spend. I didn't want to ask anyone to actually buy me something. And that was okay, I agreed with myself. If I get something then, that's that. No need to take things to extreme, and also most of my spending usually happens during the week. So the main goal was not to do that in my day to day life. Also I didn't want to cancel any plans, you all know that in adult-days it is almost impossible to find a time people are free and can meet up. So I set my goal to "try not to spend over the weekend, but spend if the situation calls for it".

I was really lucky with the dinner - I had some stuff, but no idea what to make. There is one Estonian facebook page, called Plant...y Tuesday (because in Estonian it makes more sense - Taimne Teisipäev)? Kind of like English speakers say Meatless Monday. Anyway, they posted a recipe for chickea-cauliflower stew over couscous. I had ALL these things! Except for couscous, which I switched to bulgur. (Could have used rice, but bulgur is one of the things I got with intention to make it and never did.)

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Another porridge and Taimse Teisipäeva food - stew. I added the link to the recipe, if anyone is interested. I could also translate it as well, again, if someone would like to. I will definitely add this to my dinner meals (I have a list with ideas for the days when I don't know what to do and man, this was deeeliiishh!). 😀 
Friday - breakfast and lunch were okay. Though my stock of yoghurts had ran our and thus I had one snack less (what a TRAGEDY!). Nothing happened, though; I didn't even feel like going to the store. Also - Friday at work is shorter for me so I left the office earlier anyway.

But at the same time the dinnertime was tricky. It is Friday, which makes it almost an obligation to make the evening good. Maybe get some random sushi for me and sister before going home.... or ice cream. This time I did not have anything like this, but as it appeared... it wasn't even necessary. It was DAY FIVE and I actually didn't NEED anything. Wow.

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Not sure, maybe I got too carried away with taking pictres, but another oatmeal and another snack.
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At work as well. This is usually my pre-lunch snack. I have always loved wasabi Kit Kat, but the peppermint one...! The best I have ever had! Sadly, it is limited edition for this summer only. 😦 Also, my go-to tea is black tea Dilan sent me from Turkey. Love it!
Sweet potato before I put it in the oven for the second time. If I had just left it like this, it would have been completely vegan! This had black beans, salsa, onion, garlic... and that was about it? Some more seasoning of vourse. Anyway, me and my sister are both huge cheese fans, so I added slices of that before putting it back to oven for another 5 minutes.
The final result! Also, I disovered I had a bottle of some vitamin drink in the fridge - during some campaigne I got it from Prisma, but never tried it. It was not expired, but close so... see! I mean it if I tell you I have EVERYTHING.
It was pretty damn good, not too sweet! I have also tried another one. This was called Zenergy, and the other one.... Immunitea, which had pomegranate and yuzu. If you think that my decision to get those was NOT made because of the puns, you are wrong.
Saturday - to start my morning - porridge!!! After this, I went to Gerda's, as we had agreed to watch some movies together and just chill (wich meant that I went out at ten in the morning and got back at 9 pm). Anyway, it was a good day! Aaaaand... usually we order some food when we hang out. This time, though, Gerda was so sweet and decided to treat me to a meal. I picked paneer wrap from Little India, which I had tried once before (highly recommend! Spicy and awesome, it has mint sauce with it that sounds maybe a bit strange, but tastes a-ma-zing). Next time it is my turn to treat Gerda! 😀
Barley flake porridge. I think this is also uploaded to Veski Mati's instagram. By the way - my favourite brands are Veski Mari and Helei Helbed for sure. (Sponsor me?) 
Gerda - let me know when you have time so I can pay you back by ordering omething! 😀 Anyway, if you happen to go to Little India and want to have something meant for one person and think wrap is too basic - nope! This is so worth it.
Fresh fruits were all gone, but for smoothie bowl, frozen ones are perfect for. This was a bit too liquidy, I used bananas and strawberries. I really recommend the one with raspberry.
Sunday - last one! Finally. The morning was usual, porridge-y (I cannot believe I have not grown tired of it). Then I went to town to meet a friend, and then there was the first spend of this challenge - I got a cafe latte from Old Town cafe, as we were chatting. But as you have seen - I did not cheat for six whole days. To sum up - this one coffee per week was still way less than what I usually spend!
My favourite mornings start like this! Chai spice was the picked "main flavour", and I think picked rye flakes for the porridge. (We have tons of different ones, you can check our this post for explanation.)
The last sprint of the last day - frozen vegetable mix with black beans; the sauce is made of soya, peanut butter, ginger and garlic. I wanted something lighter and this was perfect. I also did have quite a few handfuls of nuts and seeds + dried fruit after... 
To conclude? It was useful, nice and great challenge. I really liked that my sister also approved and I loved how creative I have become in the kitcen. I used to NEVER cook. Also I rediscovered so many foods I had forgotten about. Like, really. I have a pantry and fridge FULL of stuff, but I am too lazy and... comfortable sometimes. I go to work, get a meal or salad from the cafeteria instead of making the same thing at home for TONS cheaper. HOW? WHY?

Laziness - where and how do I unsubscribe?!

But anyway - if someone ever happens to read it... what is your go-to recipe for no spend/budgeting? OR what would you like to try?

Maybe I do some more challenges. (Yes, I will.)

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