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Pantry Challenge - Page 8

post #141 of 192

I'm kinda still doing this, but my pantry is full again.  We went shopping for food items for the Halloween donations, and loads of canned stuff were on sale so I bought a bunch. :) Oh well, I'll keep rotating out the older stuff and use them.

post #142 of 192
Originally Posted by Poddi View Post

I'm kinda still doing this, but my pantry is full again.  We went shopping for food items for the Halloween donations, and loads of canned stuff were on sale so I bought a bunch. :) Oh well, I'll keep rotating out the older stuff and use them.

I always seem to be in a perpetual state of filling the pantry and using what is in there.  This week butter is on sale at the lowest price I have seen in ages and ages  It would be crazy not to buy some and rotate it into the freezer butter stores.  But that may well be the only food purchase for this week other than veg and milk (and milk for baking will come from the stash of dry milk powder). 

post #143 of 192

I know what you mean about perpetual pantry filling.....after all, being good at knowing the best stock up price on things does save money over time.  Butter is one of those things that we use so much of, if I see it at a great price and can afford to I will always stock up a bit and freeze it.


I was sick and busy last week and did a terrible job planning.  Produce got wasted.  I hate that.  I did make a large pot of bean soup with a meaty ham bone I found in the back of the freezer and we ate that for several meals.  I still cooked mostly from the pantry and didn't shop for much, except on the busiest day (Halloween) when I gave in and bought frozen pizzas and salad mix for dinner - a very rare thing.


This week I am doing better.  I shopped for produce and just a few other things.  I bought beef to have tonight.  We have been eating nothing but pork for like a month now, and we need a break.  I usually spread it out more and supplement with a weekly roasted chicken, since we love the leftover meat and the stock I make, but I haven't done that for a while.


On Sunday I made a couple of awesome new dishes I thought I'd share.  My husband raved about them when I served them, and then gushed again when I served the leftovers.  The pork recipe was for a loin, but I am going to try the spices on my next roast.  So good.


Apple Glazed Pork Loin



Potato leek pancetta gratin




I also made this great veggie soup which is very flexible I think but a bit different from what I usually make.  I subbed a couple things for what I have (used Garbanzo beans and pork stock) and served it with homemade bread.   I threw in a parmesan rind to add flavor and used most of my last fresh zucchinis from the garden (I have some shredded in the freezer still).  Delicious!


Tuscan Vegetable soup



This week:

Sun - shredded pork tacos

Mon - Tuscan Veggie soup and bread

Tues - leftover pork loin and potatoes, salad

Wed - leftover shredded pork with  tortilla chips and salad  (*also made a big pot of pinto beans to eat and freeze)

Thurs - beef, braised leeks, roasted potatoes, greens (veg are all from our garden)

Fri - sausages, sweet potato fries, salad

Sat - ham, potatoes, cranberry sauce.....??


Not sure after that....but it will be pork  ;)  Oh - I am going to buy a turkey next week if they go on sale.  I am taking over hosting Thanksgiving this year, and I really want to practice one (I make one every year, but not usually for a big crowd!).  I also want huge amounts of easy leftovers and stock  :)  And it will hopefully satisfy our poultry cravings so we can get back to eating our pork.


Sorry for the long post.  After 2 weeks in a thick brain fog, I guess I'm feeling chatty.  Tomorrow I pick up my hams and bacon from the smokehouse, so that will be nice!

post #144 of 192

Does anyone take advantage of wild herbs/weeds growing in your yard and garden?  My salad greens patch is getting overrun with chickweed....and I know you can eat it and I nibble it here and there, but I'm not using it like I could.  Sandor Katz has a recipe for chickweed pesto in Wild Fermentation, but I am skeptical.... I nibble sheep sorrel and lamb's quarters.  I cook an occasional dandelion green and make dried nettle tea....but there are lots of other edible greens out there I would like to get to know better.  And I don't really use those familiar ones in any quantity that could replace our regular preferred greens......Does anyone know how to use them well?

post #145 of 192

I found 3 cans of expired organic pumpkin in the pantry.  Oops.  I decided I'd better just plan to use it up right away.  Yesterday I made some mini pumpkin cheesecakes with crust out of GF ginger snaps from the pantry and today I used the leftover crust mixture as a topping on some pumpkin muffins.  Yum!  Still have a can and a half.....Maybe add some to baked oatmeal for breakfast?  I bet that would be good.....


I made a ham yesterday and used some with our eggs this morning.  Tomorrow I'll make a big batch of almond flour crepes and we'll fill them with ham, cheese and kale from the garden.


I've got a jar of wild rice that has been around for a bit so I'm going to make some Emerald City Salad with fennel, kale and chard from the garden and some peppers that have been in the produce drawer a while and really need to be used.  I'll thaw some stock overnight to use to cook the rice (made from some of my pork bones when I was clearing the freezer).


I also have some farrow.....anyone have a good recipe for this?  This is why I am focusing on my dry goods mostly right now.  I bought this sometime on impulse but it has been sitting.  I am also going to clean out my baking drawer.  I have an assortment of different flours I have purchased when experimenting with GF baking, but some have been in there for quite a while.  Now that I can smell again, I need to sniff test them to see if they are still any good.  Plan how to use what can be saved and toss any that smell rancid.


My family has been complaining about the lack of cereal and crackers.     I really want to get away from buying them regularly (or at all!). 

post #146 of 192

I'm just getting so burnt out on cooking and being frugal.  I fall into this food rut every few months and HATE all cooking and frugality and it's so hard to pull out of it.  It's not that I truly lack the time.  I've done "from scratch" cooking for years, even when I've been busier than I am now.  But man is it hard to do all the time 24/7.  


Last night waas a sort of "stir fry."  I pulled some carrots from the garden, found the last few sugar snap peas, and green beans, added a bag of edamame from the free*er and some green peppers and added brown rice and some ginger, garlic, and soy sauce.  It was good.  And even better that I pulled those veggies since we had our first snow this morning.  Breakfast was the last of the eggs and toast and clementines.  I have some chicken to cook for the kids tonight but I'm lacking in inspiration.  I think I'm making some chocolate chip cookies for snack.  I have two more pumpkins to cook down eventually but there's not a ton of room in the free*er for them once I process the puree so I'm holding off.  I just need to get back in the groove of cooking again.  I've been off for about 2 weeks.

post #147 of 192

Justmama I do the same thing. We tend to fix the exact same meals over and over because they are easy. I've been trying to change it up a little with different spices.




Not sure if this thread is still going really, but here is today's meal plan.


Breakfast: waffles {we have a lot of frozen waffles thanks to a promo}

Lunch: Cabot cheese & crackers

Dinner: Beef Pot Roast with potatoes & carrots, going to try to do something for dessert too maybe a cake or cookies.


Also going to try to bake a loaf or two of date & cranberry bread. I have a bunch of mixes to use up, and it makes for good snacking food while out.

post #148 of 192

I punched some numbers today and was pleased that in November I've spent $200 less than usual on groceries. :D This pantry challenge must be working.  I don't think I even tried that hard.  DH and the kids didn't notice anything.  I think I'll try to continue a bit longer, at least for the first half of December.  Can't deprive anyone during the holidays.

post #149 of 192

We have been just doing the minimum at the grocery store for fresh stuff for the last month and it's showed in our finances thankfully.  We got a thanksgiving basket from our landlord so we were blessed with a big turkey that is currently cooking and we'll free*e the meat and make stock to free*e plus we have tons of canned goods and boxes of jello and pudding now which is great.  

post #150 of 192

Is there going to be a winter challenge or can I sub here?

post #151 of 192

I say sub here.  





I made turkey noodle soup for the kids last night from homemade stock and they adored it!  Lentil soup for myself.  Homemade veggie stock, kale from the garden that was in the free*er, carrots, lentils, garlic, and cumin.  It was delish and so simple.  I chucked everything in a pot and let it simmer for a while.  I love using pantry supplies to make yummy food.  It feels so frugal.

post #152 of 192
I started making turkey soup lastnight too!
post #153 of 192

I shopped quite a bit over the past month while hosting multiple gatherings and house guests.  I'm eager to be back on track with very little spending on food and a focus on freezer/pantry meals.

post #154 of 192

pasta with meat sauce from the free*er for the kids tonight.  Still chugging along pulling mostly from the pantry and just buying fresh stuff.  

post #155 of 192
Thread Starter 

How is everyone doing? Sorry to be MIA, I took a bit of an online break. Hope everyone is going well with the pantry challenge. We've been plowing through. The kids have really dug into what we had left in our snack stash.  We've been making a lot of cookies. :)


Dinner tonight was the last of the pre-cooked meat balls

Pasta with red sauce, home canned green beans and  homemade garlic bread.

post #156 of 192

I've always loved pantry challenges but, man, my pantry must be sad compared to everyone else's! There is no way I could skip shopping for a week to just eat what was stockpiled - because nothing is! Well, we have 5 boxes of Jiffy cornbread and something like 20 boxes of powered sugar (don't ask - I can't do simple math apparently) but I always have to buy pasta and canned goods every week.


Still, I've managed to cut down what I'm buying by pairing it with the paltry things that are hanging out in the fridge/freezer/pantry. Here's our week so far:


b-peanut butter sandwiches and fruit

l-salad for me, school lunches for kids bag.gif

d-frozen chicken with Italian herbs over rice with a side of peas from the freezer



b-pb sandwiches, fruit

l-salad w/ chicken, almonds for me, sandwich for ds, almonds, apples and a salad w/ chicken for dd

d-pancakes from scratch with an extra egg, served with pb and maple syrup



b - pb sandwiches, fruit

l-salad w/cheddar cheese, almonds for me, sammy for ds, salad w/ cheese, apple and almonds for dd

d-frozen chicken with a creamy caesar and pesto dressing (was thinking sour cream and ranch but we didn't have ranch dressing so I mixed together some caesar dressing and pesto instead), ww pasta, frozen peas


Tonight we'll have soft tacos with some refried beans I made earlier in the week and shredded chicken.


Since we don't have a ton of stuff stored my goal is to just meal plan around the ingredients we have so we're buying less. I also want to make simple, easy meals because I work a lot and have 3 littles - cooking can't take more than an hour out of every day!


This thread is so wonderful for inspiration!!

post #157 of 192

We are looking at buying nothing but milk, other perishables, and a few "forgot 'ems" and "just needs" for the next month! My pantry stays pretty well stocked most of the time, and then, last weekend my mother emptied HER pantry and sent it home with us!


There's a lot of stuff that I would never buy myself, so we are looking at "creative uses". For example, rather then go get some crackers or grind up some dried bread for topping a casserole, I used the shake'n'bake mix that she sent with us. Since I make my own breading mix, I was kinda unsure about using the shake'n'bake in a "normal" fashion. Also, we had made a shortbread cookie for a potluck that didn't get much eaten (lots of people brought cookies), so I mixed up some cinnemon roll cheese ball mix and spread that on some of the shortbreads. The kids gobbled them up for a not-too-horrible snack or three.


I also got this bourbon marinade that I am using over a homemade mix to flavor steaks for wraps and almost-Philly's. We are looking at using another marinade (lemon-pepper, I think it is) for chicken legs'n'thighs that I got on sale a couple weeks ago. We will have that on Saturday for Yule, since our plans for the weekend were cancelled.


My mother likes to buy junk food for the kids when they visit, then she sends the leftovers with us, so we have about three bags of animal crackers and a gallon freezer bag of this chocolate, m'n'm, pretzel mix. That will cover bedtime snacks for a couple weeks, if I spread them out well.


The only thing I'm remotely concerned about is meat. We aren't getting our usual coop delivery this month, mostly cuz the selection wasn't that great this time. So we are going to really go through what we have in the freezers and get it all used up. We are also going to get back to two meatless suppers a weeks, which we've gotten away from just because we have had so much meat so cheaply recently.


We will have a chance to have an overview this weekend, and we will discuss DH getting meat from work (he works for Tyson's Beef and can get large amounts of meat at a great price). I know it isn't grassfed, organic, etc. but our grocery budget needs to be down to about $200/mo for a family of 4, so we do what we have to do.

post #158 of 192
Thread Starter 

Ladies I've edited the title of this thread. :)


My husband got 2 deer this hunting season so our freezer is stocked with venison.


Meal tonight is Venison black bean burgers. home canned green beans and  sweet potato fries. Everything from the pantry with the exception of rolls for the burgers.


Breakfast Saturday will be cinnamon butter braid bread that has been in the back of the freezer for several months.


Earlier this week I made up a whole chicken. The extra chicken went into the freezer for another meal and I canned 4 quarts of stock :0)

post #159 of 192

I need to get more diligent about this - January we may not have SNAP for part of the month, as our paperwork is still pending :( I can coast one what we have & supplement it with free finds with coupons or the store freshness policy. I've been slacking on cooking at home as we have plumbing issues & I can only run a limited amount of water - which means the fewer dishes I make the better. especially since I've been trying to catch up laundry.


Tomorrow's meal plans:


Breakfast: Waffles for me, Hot Cereal for dd

Dinner: Chicken helper using a pack of spicy marinate chicken I got marked down. I'm hoping that between rinsing it & cooking with with the milk, it should tone down the spice



Breakfast: Waffles & munchies. DD will probably eat her stocking stuffers :)

Dinner: Bison steaks with potatos & carrots. Not 100% sure how to do the steaks in our oven but we'll figure it out

post #160 of 192

Christmas breakfast: orange juice(bought new) and cinnamon rolls from scratch.  All pantry ingredients, including the frosting.  We also have clementines and apples to go with it.  I've got them ready in the fridge waiting for the morning.  

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