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Pantry Challenge - Page 7

post #121 of 192

Unfortunately I am too poor to afford a pressure canner(though I think that's going to come with tax money this year because they aren't expensive) but I water bath can everything.  I have peaches, pickles, apple sauce, apple butter, jams, jellies, salsa, tomato sauce, etc.  It's VERY simple to do and I haven't poisoned my kids yet.  :rotflmaoSo if I can handle it, so can you.  Start simple.  Make a batch of applesauce, put it in a canning jar, boil it, and let it seal.  Nothing fancy added.  You are fine.  Canning it super easy(though yes, it can be time consuming) and it really does save me a ton of money.  I just did 60lbs of apples into applesauce at just $.50 per lb for "drops" at our local orchard and come winter and spring when apples are up to $1.75 or $2 per lb, that's gonna be AWESOME to have homemade applesauce for my kids.

post #122 of 192

We had a big ham left from our pig share purchase in January--I thought it was from the spring, but it was in great shape for being in the deep freeze for 9 months--so I cooked it last night. Unfortunately, it wasn't labeled with the weight and I underestimated it, so it took way longer to cook than I anticipated, and we ended up having to get Moe's for dinner. Total DUH moment on my part :blush But DH got to eat fresh, hot ham for dinner when he got home (and we all picked at it), and today I processed the whole dang thing! I ended up with 12 cups of ham in containers in the freezer and 3 cups used in a heavenly smelling ham and bean soup for dinner tonight. I also used the ham bone to flavor the soup (along with a few cups of chicken stock, just in case), and then I transferred the bone and joint and all the scraps I cut off the ham as I cut it up into another pot with some old veggies to make a nice ham stock. I'm kinda proud of myself! And it smells SO good in here. But my right shoulder and elbow are aching from the two hours of wrestling and chopping I just finished :lol


Now I need to find some yummy recipes that use chopped ham! One of my old standards, Hopping John, didn't get eaten the last time I made it. I'm making the ham and bean soup tonight, and I'm sure I'll use some in a breakfast bake in the next day or so. Anyone have something they love and want to share? 





Originally Posted by justmama View Post

I just did 60lbs of apples into applesauce at just $.50 per lb for "drops" at our local orchard and come winter and spring when apples are up to $1.75 or $2 per lb, that's gonna be AWESOME to have homemade applesauce for my kids.


bigeyes.gif Wow!!!! Great work! I wonder if any of our orchards sell the drops so inexpensively, hmmm. Does your orchard advertise this, or is it something you have to ask about? 

post #123 of 192

They don't go out of their way to advertise but when you go to the orchard for picking, the bins are right there next to the place you get bags and pay to get in.  They let you pick your own out of the huge wooden crates and there's a big hand written sign that says "Drops $.50/lb."  So it's not like they are hiding them.  I think it's a pretty standard price though because I've heard a couple people on MDC say it.  But this orchard is low-spray and it's in my town so I was thrilled with it.

post #124 of 192

That's excellent. I've never seen anything of the sort at the orchard where we pick, but I think I'll ask the next time we go. Thanks!

post #125 of 192

Today has been a wash for pantry use - but we've eaten leftovers all day. Have just enough leftovers left to fix dinner I think, and maybe I'll have a can of soup instead with a grilled cheese.

post #126 of 192

Oooh I am so jealous of you ladies with orchards nearby.  Nothing in my area like that :(


Maybe next year I will try to can some tomatoes.  My SIL is interested in it, so I'll try to get together with her. 


Melissel: here is my all-time favorite recipe that uses chopped ham:  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/goat-cheese-artichoke-smoked-ham-strata-10000000642277/  This recipe uses some spendy ingredients (and it's very tasty as written) but you can substitute.  These are some substitutions I usually make:

- whole milk instead of 1%

- real eggs instead of the egg substitute

- feta cheese instead of goat cheese ($$$)

- whatever shredded cheese I have (colby jack, monterey jack, mozzarella, swiss) instead of fontina cheese

- usually I leave out the freshly grated Parmesan

- double the amount of ham

- use whatever bread you have on hand, I've used french bread and regular old sandwich bread instead of sourdough

I love waking up and popping this in the oven on a rainy fall day.  Of course now I don't eat bread so I can't eat this strata, but I miss it...


Today was a loooonnnng day.  1 egg left in the house, so I fried it and ate it on top of my cabbage/beef/apple stir fry.  Kids had frozen meatloaf meatballs and poppyseed bread for breakfast.  DH had a frozen homemade beef burrito.  Lunch was everyone for themselves.  Kids and DH had sandwiches, I had a couple of chicken thighs and avocado.  Dinner for the fam was split pea soup with some ham I found buried in the freezer.  Love these "bonus" meals I keep finding!  Had totally forgotten about the ham!  Also my mother's helper started to make brownies from a box mix when I remembered there were no eggs.  I told her to try some flax meal.  Score!  Slowly using up the random ingredients around the house! 

Edited by 2babies2kidsmom - 10/22/13 at 8:20pm
post #127 of 192

I wanted to share a link with everyone, it's a 2 week menu based strictly on pantry items from The Prudent Homemaker: http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/index.php/menus/strictly-pantry-menu 

I love her introduction:"When you look into your fridge, and lament that it is empty, with no chance of filling it again soon--clean your fridge! Its empty shelves will sparkle at you and amazingly make you feel better.  Then look to your pantry for ideas, and pretty soon, there will be something in your refrigerator: leftovers!"   I'm following her advice- I cleaned the vegetable drawers and the cheese drawer.  So there's not much food, but at least it's pretty to look at!  Lol!

Yes, the fresh stuff is really running low here.  I am grateful for several bags of frozen veggies and the few meat items we do have left.  The in-laws gave us a few pieces of fresh fruit.  Also the chickens laid 6 eggs today, so I can eat eggs for breakfast tomorrow!  We have plenty of bacon between our house and the in-laws', so we can have some protein for breakfast.  DH is really busy this week, as usual, so I'm not sure when we'll get to the store.  He is scared to take care of the twins by himself, lol, and there is no way I can do it myself.  It's an hour and a half to the store.  That's the bad thing about living in the middle of nowhere! 
Food today: B: bacon, sliced cheese, poppyseed bread for the kids, breakfast burrito for hubby, chicken thigh w/ leftover cauliflower and bok choy for me.
L: leftover split pea soup, potato chips for the hubby (kids were with the in-laws), chicken thighs w/ frozen veggies for me.
D: the last turkey breast (roasted), box of mac and cheese (someone gave to us), some sort of frozen veggie, chicken thighs for me. 
Going to make so gf muffins tomorrow.  I bought a bunch of gf stuff a long time ago but now that I'm paleo I don't eat it.  Time to use it up though.
post #128 of 192

Is anyone else still participating? 

post #129 of 192

I am, just haven't been for the last few days as my dishwasher is out so we have been sticking to no-mess meals.

post #130 of 192

I am still trying to use up what I started with though I did make a run to the grocery store to buy some produce, milk, eggs, and a few ingredients to make what was left into meals (so I am a big ole cheater).


I made vegan chili from pantry ingredients Thursday which has been lunch for days and a pasta based casserole for dinner last night.


Tonight, onion quiche - two pie crusts, two onions, 8 eggs and 4 tbspns butter. Will feed us dinner and leftovers for breakfast/lunch tomorrow.

post #131 of 192

I start using stuff from home (pantry/fridge) and then end up buying one more thing, so I don't think that counts. :Sheepish

post #132 of 192
Originally Posted by 2babies2kidsmom View Post

I wanted to share a link with everyone, it's a 2 week menu based strictly on pantry items from The Prudent Homemaker: http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/index.php/menus/strictly-pantry-menu


That is great, thanks!


I am still here and doing pretty well.  My goal has not been 'no spend' at this point, but to clear my freezer of all the old stuff to make room (and save money) for our pork, which comes tomorrow!  Today I pulled everything left out of that freezer and put most of it in a med sized cooler (and our inside freezer if very full).  There is still a lot to process - I'm making lard today and also blackberry jam.  Made a large batch of stock this week.  There are still other berries from summer to use/process, plus pork bones and organs, some more ribs and a roast.   Harder stuff, but we've eaten pork almost every day for a long time now, so we've done well. 


Ideas for pork organs?  ..........I've only ever made chicken hearts and livers, so I'm not very experienced.  


Once I process some more, I want to focus harder on clearing the dry pantry.  I bought a little bit of produce this week and a bag of flour so I can make tortillas and crackers - which we've been out of for a while.  Also, I get milk every week (standing order from local dairy) and we've been sick so haven't gone through it and I need to make some ricotta and pudding with the extra.  I found a jar of rice in the way back of the pantry - woot!  Thought I was out.  I bought a jar of PB for my 3 year old, since we've been out of tortillas (she has either burritos or PBH almost daily and is very picky right now!).


I saw this recipe for 'bread and onion soup' and thought of here - it is so simple.   Similar to french onion, but with chicken stock, which I am more likely to have than beef.  They do suggest topping it with gruyere, which can be pretty expensive, but I bet other cheeses would work fine (even a parm rind maybe for flavor).



Ham.....oh I miss ham!  Haven't had one in a while.  I like to make a batch of almond flour crepes and fill them with ham, cheese and chopped greens.  Fast and so good.  It also gets greens into my girls, which can be a challenge.


Meals will be very simple this weekend while I process things, I'll probably do a plan for the new week Monday.

post #133 of 192

I used two cans (well opened two cans) today.  The chili expired almost two years ago and still tasted fine.  The soup was bought just a few weeks ago and it reeked of mold so I dumped it.  Never buying that brand again.


I'm using up the canned stuff all right.  I don't know how I can possibly use up the rice and flours (all white).  DH was the one who bought and stockpiled them.  I can not eat rice so I cook them rarely.  The flours are OK but I mostly use bread flour to make bread, not all-purpose.  I need to find some ways to use up 20kg of regular all-purpose flours.

post #134 of 192

Artemis, I am so jealous of your lard!  We don't have a really clean source for pork, although we are going to butcher one ourselves soon.  I do render my own beef tallow, which makes pretty tasty roasted veggies. 


Pork organs- my MIL cooks beef heart and slices it for sandwiches.  Could you do that with pork heart?


I think it's totally okay to buy some stuff to help you along during the pantry challenge.  As long as you are spending less than normal, you are still making progress, IMO.


I am learning just how much food I have at my disposal.  I keep thinking we're totally out of everything, and then I manage to make a meal that is satisfying.  It helps to have generous in-laws!


The gluten-free muffins were a total fail.  I forgot to add the oil, but I doubled the sugar, so they should have been okay, but they were pretty flavorless, according to the fam.  I was trying to use up some Bob's Red Mill Might Tasty Hot Cereal that I bought a while ago that nobody liked.  I am debating whether to try again with a few variations or just give it to the chickens.  If I try again and they still come out badly, it will feel like I'm wasting even more stuff. 


Breakfast today was turkey, cheese, bacon wraps for the family.  I made some taco meat (got the beef out of the in-laws' freezer), and mixed it with frozen mixed veggies, green salsa, and kalamata olives.  Kinda weird, but it was satisfying.  Now I'm eating some frozen blueberries I warmed up and topped with shredded coconut and sliced almonds.  Lunch will be the rest of the taco meat with re-fried beans (using up those dried beans!) wrapped up in burritos (or served w/ frozen veggies for me).  We have sour cream and a little cheese left.  No bread, so we're using up the tortillas.  Dinner might be crab cakes (have some canned crab) and I'm thinking about making soup out of some canned pumpkin.  Then I could fry potatoes for the rest of the family and serve some kind of frozen veg and call it a meal. 

post #135 of 192

Last night I caved & cooked - hoping to have the dishwasher fixed by Sunday so figured dishes wouldn't stack up that long if I cooked. Made extra to eat as leftovers today. We had fish with alfredo & steamed veggies. Used 2 packets of noodles from the pantry & a jar of sauce - not quite my 5 a day goal but every bit helps.


Breakfast this morning was frozen waffles. Dinner will be leftovers. Tomorrow we'll be out all day at a local festival - either will do a pizza when we get home or hot dogs. I "think" there should be samples at the festival for lunch :)


I've been going through old magazines for recipies & found a few I think we will use. Want to try to get some new dishes in the menu.

post #136 of 192

Still doing this.  My kids had some pasta with fro*en peas and parm cheese and chicken from the free*er last night for dinner.  This morning was pumpkin muffins iwth homemade applesauce instead of oil and the last bag of homemade pumpkin puree from last year.  So of course this morning we are making more pumpkin puree finally because we just carved pumpkins.  We do have to go grocery shopping because we have food stamps that have to be used before the 31st or we lose them so I'll be doing a large shopping but still looking to eat out of the pantry and free*er.  Tonight this is what's for dinner: http://www.anotherlunch.com/2010/05/recipe-pizza-pockets.html


Never made them before.  They look fun so I'm going to get out my pi**a stone and make them.  And I have some spinach for a side salad.  I think lunch will be at my parents' house as we are helping stack a cord of wood they got delivered.

post #137 of 192

Well dinner was pretty much a fail.  An expensive fail too!  Canned crab is spendy $$$ and the kids turned up their noses at the crab cakes.  Didn't like the pumpkin soup either (I thought it was edible).  Everyone ate the fried potatoes, of course.  I roasted some frozen brussels sprouts and they turned out fine.  Dd actually wanted more.  The crab didn't go very far, even though I made little cakes, so I had to warm up some l.o. turkey for dh. 


Yesterday was the last day of my whole30.  Today I just feel like pigging out on brownies and ice cream, but I know it will make the babies' tummies hurt, plus I made alot of progress and I don't want to ruin it!  I lost 8 lbs, and I think I should keep going.  We are going to butcher that pig this week finally, but we are so low on meat and veg right now I want to pull my hair out! 


Cleaning and defrosting the deep freezer now!  Woot!  Just in time for all that fresh pork!  And I found more ham (with the bone) that I can use to make soup with.  I kind of want to make Mexican Ham and Bean Soup, but it's not paleo so I wouldn't be able to eat it.  Maybe I'll save it until I can buy some more split peas.  Also had alot of beef tallow in there to render, so I started a pot on the stove.  It's taking forever so I might make potato chips for dinner. 


Breakfast for the fam was another fail: cream of rice for the kids, but they didn't like it, so I just tossed it.  It was expired anyway.  Made a turkey, bacon, cheese wrap for hubby.  Scrambled an egg, taco meat, green pepper, and salsa for me, followed by 2 larabars (yikes!)


Lunch will be bean burritos for fam, l.o. pork & frozen veg for me.

post #138 of 192

Pumpkin pancakes for breakfast from homemade pumpkin puree.  Dinner was homemade chicken nuggets and carrot sticks and the last of the grapes.

post #139 of 192

Five cans of beans went into a bean soup with some pico de gallo and bone broth that needed to be used soon. I did have to buy a loaf of bread as we were out for a couple of days.

A bit of leftover penne in a bag in the pantry was cooked and served with a vegan pesto made with walnuts and nutritional yeast from the pantry and basil from the garden. 

There was a cup of brown rice & lentils mix left in the pantry, which I cooked in some bone broth with some leftover mushrooms from the fridge.


I really didn't want to go grocery shopping, but yesterday I did buy some grapes when I went to pick up some bread. I even rescheduled our CSA box for next week, just so I can use some more of the stuff from here.

post #140 of 192

I'm still participating, but I did end up doing a big shop, and the last week has been so crazy that I haven't had to time to be creative. Starting tomorrow I'll be working hard at reducing my pantry stock again. I have a lot of canned salmon to use up, and still that Italian sausage that I don't know what to do with! Maybe I'll make some meat sauce with it, though that will mean I'd need to buy a box of pasta for the kids. That's my main problem--for everything I have to use up, I seem to need to buy something to use with it! 


Anyway, back on track tomorrow, I think...

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