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Spring Pantry Challenge - Page 4

post #61 of 85
HellO! I've been lurking but need to jump on board with this challenge. It may take a month to figure out a routine, though (lol).

Regarding the coconut milk and spinach person (lol sorry I didn't check names before I posted. I'm rotten): I have a recipe at home for an easy dish with garbanzo beans, coconut milk, spinach and curry and your basic onions/garlic etc. It may also call for tomoatoes (or do I just add those?) lol. You could serve it over pasta or rice or whatever "starch" you have laying around. I'll look up the recipe later if youa re interested. It comes from "The Convenient Vegetarian" (a good "use up stuff in your pantry" kind of book, lol)

For ideas regarding pasta dishes with protein: I second the "meatball" veggie patty idea. OR you could do what I do and just make your pasta sauce with some beans in it. I've made pasta toppings with onions, garlic and tomotoes, plus crap I'm getting rid of, lmao. Sonion/garlic/tomato(can or fresh or paste) PLUS garbanzo beans, or kidney beans, or white beans, you get the jist. Don't think I've tried it with black-eyed peas or black beans, though you can make toppings with those to dump on your pantry rice or pasta. Hope this makes sense.

post #62 of 85
Well, I went to the grocery store and spent a bit of money ($137.17). I had intended to only buy produce and diary, but they had large bricks of cheese on sale really cheap so I bought 3. We go through a fair bit of cheese at our house so it is definitely worth it . They also had canned tomatoes on sale so I bought some of those for the pantry as we were running low and I use a lot of tomatoes is sauces etc. That brings my total to $143.79 so far this month.

We did go out to dinner on Saturday, but I am not counting that for June since it way my birthday dinner and my b-day was in May :LOL . Otherwise I have been doing pretty well at using up stuff in the house. We also started planting our garden this weekend so I hope to have lots of tomato this year so I can can my own.
post #63 of 85
Well, I feel like a total failure..

here I am making stuff from scratch, using up the pantry stuff, feeling good - today I totaled all my receipts and I've spent $300+ in 18 days. !!!!

I mean, for pete's sake, I was BAKING BREAD! I knew about $160 at the start, and I spent $30 on much needed fruits and veggies today - but the other $110+ was just piddly stuff here and there that was totally unnecessary.

It's more than a little shocking - I think dh said it comes to about $19 a day on food. But we are NOT eating $19/day... more like $4 one day (homemade bread, a bean dish, oatmeal, apples) and then the next day getting something really overpriced and stupid out of some perceived need. I felt like I went without SO much this month too. I wanted newman ginger o's and other assorted things and I went without, being so proud of myself for sticking to my new plan. What a joke!

I am just really mad at myself, but at least now I have a real concrete need on why I need to fix this, and I have definite room for improvement! Let's hope next month is better.

In other news>> I got rid of about 3/4 of my canned and pantry foods. I hadn't seen some of those cans towards the back in years, and they were gnarly. I mean, really gnarly. Salsa that was closed and yet had dehydrated noticeably, cans that were rusty - stuff like that. I am sure some of it was still edible, but even with getting rid of it I still have enough canned food (beans, tomatoes, pineapple, salsas, pickles etc etc) to last a looong time. I just really felt the need to prune back and organize, and I think it was a good move because I found gems I had forgotten I had. (I bought honey 2 weeks ago and I found, ahem, FOUR JARS of it unopened. I found brown rice syrup and enough good salsas and bbq sauces for many meals.)

So, give it to me straight - am I the worst 'before' this room has seen? Anyone want to be the person I call when I am lost and preparing to go spend more money? :LOL

I have a question - would you donate food that you personally wouldn't want to eat? Not just "eww, I hate canned peas" but, "I have no idea how old these canned peas are..."? I hate to waste edible food, but lord knows *I* don't want to eat it!

And one more question - anyone make their own bbq sauce? I have spices, sweeteners and tomato products out the wazoo. Stop me from running to the store and picking up a bottle of Annie's (along with 15 other things). I need an intervention, or at the very least a good recipe.

(Please don't kick me out, I will get better! I promise!) :
post #64 of 85
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Attila the Honey
Well, I feel like a total failure..

(Please don't kick me out, I will get better! I promise!) :

Thats why we are here- to help and maybe do an intervention but maybe just tell how to make use of all that stuff.

I have a golden rule for everything that gets donated. I will not donate anything that I would not put in my mouth or my family's mouth. I will not donate anything that would not be useable. I put all this stuff at the trash and if someone picks thru it, thats their decision what to do with it.

I have a recipe for bbq sauce if need be.
post #65 of 85
I, personally, would not donate food that's too "ewww" to eat. In fact, there have been times when I've consumed something that had just expired, because I knew it was probably still OK but too old for a food pantry to accept.

I make pasta with beans all the time- a can of baked beans mixed into tomato sauce is quick and yummy, or throw in any canned or homecooked beans into the sauce. Or, if you have picky kids like I do, serve dinner in 3 bowls: pasta in one, sauce in another, beans in a third.

Ugh, I've already spent too much this month, but my goal right now is to clean out my pantry (so there's less food to move with) and keep the meals simple enough so I have energy for packing. I really do need to save money/not spend more than I have, but this is just NOT the month to worry excessively about it.
post #66 of 85
Attila - don't feel bad. I stuggle with the same problem. I do really well and then I hit the grocery store and even with a list I tend to buy too much. I think my biggest vice is "natural and organic" convenience foods. I want to eat natural food, but I find it tough sometimes to find the time to cook from scratch. I do find that if I plan my meals a week ahead of time I do better.

Do the rest of you buy mostly organic food? Just wondering how much of difference this makes in the amount I spend.
post #67 of 85
I hear ya on not donating things that I wouldn't want to eat but I thought canned food didn't 'expire'? I know it loses quality, but it never becomes really expired, or does it? I just have guilt about throwing out edible food, but don't have the space or desire to hold onto all that stuff. (I mean, how many cans of beets does one family need?)

I did take 6 things out of my pantry and put them on the counter, and I am determined to eat them this week. I have beets, a can of corn, 2 cans of diced tomatoes (have alot of tomatoes in the pantry), veg. baked beans and red cabbage. Wish me luck!

I am really frustrated because when I read lists on how to cut down on food bills I already do all the tips! I can't seem to figure out where exactly I am going wrong other than just buying too much. I guess that must be it.

Also, another big problem is that it's been 90 degrees for the last week and I have a toddler with an ear infection and that tends to make me want to say, "Oh forget it, let's just grab something quick!". The problem is, there will always be a reason to do that (if I try to find one hard enough :LOL ). Is anyone else having extra trouble cooking/not buying food in this horrible heat?
post #68 of 85
I hear ya on the not wanting to cook in the heat. I actually broke down and bought some canned beans this week so I don't have to deal with cooking the dry ones I already have in the pantry!!
post #69 of 85
I don't even want to eat in the heat....I think that is probably a good thing :LOL

However dd's asthma has been acting up so we had to put the air conditioner on.
post #70 of 85
Thread Starter 
I hate the heat- the positives of it- its doing wonders for my veggie garden and my clothes are drying faster out there.

We are grilling more and eating a lot of fresh veggies out of the fridge. And yes the air is running.
post #71 of 85
dh wasn't home for dinner last night so dd and I had take-out and ate in the living room $12.00 brings me to $165.......
post #72 of 85
I've just recently joined mdc and found this thread. We are feeding two adults, a 4 year old and two cats. I'm about to stop being employed and transition to SAHM, and one income instead of two so the pantry challenge appeals to me.

We've spent $135 this month, since June 1. We are trying to use things in the freezer and eat the fruit, vegatables, and dairy that we get not let it go bad. And be creative. I've been baking more, making my own pizza dough etc and I've been going through flour absurdly so I got 25lb bags of ap and bread flour this weekend and bulk yeast too. I'm aiming for spending less than $100/week, this week I've already blown it, I would have made target except for the $14 bag of cat food. But the cat food lasts nearly all month. Our local farmers market starts this weekend, so I will start alloting part of our weekly grocery money for the market, we get free range eggs, produce and locally made goat cheese there.

I also warehouse shopped with a friend and we split several items, like romaine lettuce neither she nor we could use 6 but we could split them, we also split on tomatoes, and strawberries.

Tonight we are having spanikopita, we had frozen spinach, eggs, and feta so we needed to get filo dough, and we made a whole tray so I think I'll be able to freeze the leftovers, or we have them for lunch tommorrow and the next day.

post #73 of 85
Thread Starter 
Welcome ruth!
I think you get the idea and it gets easier. Don't get yourself down by the cost but how much you can stretch things.
post #74 of 85
Hmmm...I haven't read the previous Jan post, but I would like to join. I have been trying to eat more from our pantry lately. I think I can do it. Do you buy when things are completely out? Do you buy when items are on sale? What is the goal (or is it individual)?

post #75 of 85
Hi Ruth!!!

Great name

Welcome ProudMom- the goals are individual. Most people are focusing on saving money and not wasting food. For some people, that means buying NOTHING except perishables and using up what they've stocked up on in the past. For others, that means keeping expenses down and "feeding the freezer" and "feeding the pantry" when something they use a lot of goes on sale. Right now, I'm trying to use up what's in my pantry and freezer because we're moving either on June 26th or July 5th, and I DON'T want to move with boxes and boxes full of food- I'd rather stock up after moving.
post #76 of 85
Getting back in the swing of things. Again. :LOL DH took DD to visit his parents this afternoon, and my little brother and I had a huge Feed The Freezer cook-a-thon. Now we have lots of cooked hamburger to throw in dishes, chili, chicken alfredo, turkey and stuffing casserole, meatballs, and breakfast burritos for tossing in the microwave. I've also been inspired to reorganize my pantry w/ more staples and less boxes/cans, but I need to use up the boxes and cans first. We'll see how this goes!
post #77 of 85
Thread Starter 
Jen- you're an awesome role model!

DH is going out of town next week, so I am going to feed the freezer then.

The calendar and weather says Summer!

Who wants to start the summer challenge? :
post #78 of 85
I'm up for a summer challenge. I just bought a bunch of groceries to make stuff to feed the freezer. I plan on doing some cooking later this week.
post #79 of 85
Anybody still trying to eat out of the pantry? I'm trying to make room so we can organize and see what's in there, plus saving some money would be helpful.

This week I found some long-forgotten slivered almonds and dried cranberries. So, they have been topping the mixed greens from Costco all week long.

Thankfully, DH is doing a lot of cooking these days, but he's not on the pantry cleanout bandwagon. Oh well, I'm making a dent in it by fixing my lunches.
post #80 of 85

I'm making a dent

Had to add: I'm making a dent in my white flour and yeast, big time; I'm using my bread machine several times a week. I've yet to do a whole grain loaf, but will soon. I got so tired of buying bread with soy flour in it - this way I can avoid that stuff. And, it's so much cheaper to buy flour, than to buy bread. . . .

Also, I'm on a budget, so I'm really trying to stay on it, not fall off like I've been. . .I think that buying meat is a good idea for us, 'cause my DD really likes it. Though I do love an awful lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes. My fav is black bean soup - I've seen beans and peas on special lately, so I'm stocking up on dried and canned. And muffins are cheap and filling, though more like a treat. I'm definitely cleaning out my freezer, made pudding pie with some pie shells, last week. And this week emptying my freezer by making smoothies with my frozen fruit.

DH is on the bandwagon too, he puts small amounts of mystery flour in our bread machine. . .Boy, I'm getting a lot of use out of the bread machine. . .I don't know how to make bread from scratch, but DH does, and I think his skills translate very well to bread machine making, thank goodness. . .until I get the hang of it.

Tommorrow for dinner I'm making chicken noodle soup with the rice noodles I have in the cupboard, and veggies and sauces. . .
And black bean soup, I think for our late lunch Another pantry emptier. . .

I probably will need to make another shopping trip midweek, I want to make homemade mac and cheese - it's cheaper, and better, I think. . .and if not cheaper, it's better. . . .

Baking, yes baking in the summertime is really good, because I've made a dent on baking supplies, as well. I like the health store brand baking powder, but I've still got quite a bit of the conventional kind, as well. . . it's good to go through it - I've actually got both open. . . .

I think the pantry challenge is really making me think about what I already have. . .

Question: Have any of you ever done an inventory list, you know, like a master pantry list? I've begun it, and stopped so many times. . . .
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