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May Pantry Challenge?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Wow! I made it through April spending less than $100 at the grocery store and that included diapers!

C'mon y'all! How far into May can you make it without buying anything for your pantry or cupboards?

My personal rules are: meat, dairy, bread and fresh fruits/veges are ok.

My personal goals: 1) bake bread, don't buy it! 2) don't buy any more meat for 2 weeks.

Anyone else??
post #2 of 36
I will give it a shot.
I saw the April pantry challenge too late (like last Friday) but I started then anyway.
I've never done it before, but here goes
post #3 of 36

I need and want to join as well

I will partly join as well!

We just moved into or own flat almost 8 weeks ago but my pantry is (taking the moving fact in consideration) quite well stocked which suprised my husband a lot on our first evening on our own I *am* the master of lists and the things I write on there are always ticked off when I got/finished them
Yet in those past weeks I found myself making way to many small trips to the grocery store and always getting more than previously having planned to which made me really mad! I made some resolutions with myself to prevent those things - there will be some out-of-plan spending like tomorrow when my bagels arrive (as a German I think that I could never make them as delicious as the bakery in Berlin who delivers them to my door!!!) but that's ok as they will surely last me for 3+ months!

Here are my resolutions:
- making some kind of meal plan on tuesday, when my box of organic fruit and veggies is deliverd. They usually last us until the next delivery though we *might* by some extras
- no more snacking on junk in the evening. I am preggers and could eat salt'n'vinegar chips as well as ice cream all night long but since I don't want to pile on as many pounds as w/my dd I am trying to break that habit
- 'Shop at home first!' Whoever linked to www.cindysporch.net gets an award from me for advicing the greatest website in the past few weeks! I am more than delighted, printed out all the lists I need, began to fill them out yesterday evening, will go today and put them on my fridge tomorrow when I hopefully got some magnets for the door!
- For me, stuffing things in the freezer when we can't finish them is a disaster as I forget about them and we never go back to eat the food. So I'd rather toss it or bring it to my ILs for their dog as having no room in my small freezer for important things like veggies, meat, fish and my bagels as guiltly throwing them away 2 months later. Or - even better- not cooking for 5 persons anymore but two and a half
- Using my pantry of course and therefore also learning new recipes! I've lots of dried beans and lentils, pasta and asian noodles, condiments, canned tomatoes, grains and such to last us all month long. So when we're out of rice, I will try to convince DH that millet, quinoa and couscous is just as delicous.

Fresh things being bought:
- dairy products like yogurt, milk, cheese and such. I want to try my hand again on homemade yogurt since I like it's tartiness but our kitchen is small and I do not want to overdo it w/appliances
- bread. We eat so little that making it myself would be a waste of time, literally. Buying it I can only get half a loaf and not worry about wasting it.
- some additional fruits&veggies that don't get delivered w/our box like fresh canatloupe melons, strawberries, kiwifruit or pear (we only get either one so I by the other one), yummy-yummy aparagus that is finally in season here in Germany, maybe bell peppers, etc.
- meat and such. mostly I only get cold ham cuts for sandwich topping, some liverwurst for dd and me, bacon for seasoning dishes or spaghetti carbonara...
- flowers. They are more than essential to me and I just *love* to have them on the dinnertable
- diapers. Hopefully dd soon accepts that going to the potty is great!

That's all I can think of at the moment but I will come back and edit my posting or make addiotional posting when I need/can give help!

Love to all Pantry Challengers,
Valerie
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 

First victory of the month

DS1 has been asking for snickerdoodles lately. In my opinion, the only way to make a truly good snickerdoodle is with shortening and I happen to know that our grease-the-pan can of Crisco is bare. Last night I thought, "Damn. I'm going to have to break the challenge already!" But guess what?? In moving some stuff around in the fridge (the bottom shelf acts as half my pantry - keeps whole grains better, etc.) I found two sticks of Crisco that my MIL bought while she was here (don't ask me why) AND I found a bag of millet I didn't know I had!

Woo hoo!

Now I can make cookies for my kid and have another grain to work with! Yay! I think one night of dinner this week is going to be Indian-spiced garbanzos and veges over millet. Yum!
post #5 of 36
I'm really enjoying this--of course it is only May 2!!
I am cheating a little though. We have an extensive food storage because we live up in the mountains and for emergencies. I still seem to buy a lot every time I go to the grocery store to keep the storage going and feed my boys.
This is a great exercise because I will see what we will actually eat regularly and what really is just for emergencies.
Everyday I am writing down what I use. I write the item down and then put a mark next to it, so that as the month progresses I can add a mark each time we use more.
I have always been curious how much we would really use in a month, and what we would really eat. For now I have added my freezer to the challenge to see how long it takes to go through whats in it.
post #6 of 36
I flunked out of last months challenge when I bought over 30 (I went back for more. . .twice) boxes of different varieties of Annies Mac and cheese from Big Lots. They were all a dollar or less (even the delux!)

So now all I have comming in will be two organic : produce co-op orders.
I avow to hold myself accountable for my purchaces this month by posting them as they happen (hopefully you will only get two or three posts of this nature). Feel free to berate me if necessisary.

Woo Hoo off to use up some RICE and cans of soup!
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246
I flunked out of last months challenge when I bought over 30 (I went back for more. . .twice) boxes of different varieties of Annies Mac and cheese from Big Lots. They were all a dollar or less (even the delux!)
After reading about this I ventured to my BigLots and bought up all 14 boxes of Annies mac & cheese they had on the shelf. With DH working the 4p-12a shift this month I needed a quick out for night that I don't want to cook a full meal with all the fixings. Right?

My goal for this month is to work on cleaning out the freezer and the deep freezer too. Finish using up all the ½ used pasta, legumes and grains in the bins in the pantry. And finding a use for all those exotic pantry items that have found their way into the back of my cupboards!
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wurzelkind
- 'Shop at home first!' Whoever linked to www.cindysporch.net gets an award from me for advicing the greatest website in the past few weeks!
WOW!!! Thank you so much for posting this! I have never seen it before and it is AWESOME!! I printed out the lists and am going to do inventory today! I would love to do the fridge clean, but have a very, very scary kitchen to tackle today and don't want to add to it, especially since I have some cooking and baking to take care of.

SO, in honor of the pantry challenge, today I will:
  1. Clean the kitchen so I can work
  2. Inventory my kitchen and add to my menu plan
  3. Defrost a chicken casserole for dinner and shredded zukes for sweet bread tomorrow
  4. Make white sauce to add to the casserole (it's too dry!) and to freeze
  5. Do some baking (breakfast cereal bars or snickerdoodles - kids' choice!
  6. Finish packaging/freezing the chicken broth in the fridge

And of course this is all while creating activities for the kids and working on my business plan. Crack-smoker that I am. . .
post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wurzelkind
- 'Shop at home first!' Whoever linked to www.cindysporch.net gets an award from me for advicing the greatest website in the past few weeks!
WOW!!! Thank you so much for posting this! I have never seen it before and it is AWESOME!! I printed out the lists and am going to do inventory today! I would love to do the fridge clean, but have a very, very scary kitchen to tackle today and don't want to add to it, especially since I have some cooking and baking to take care of.

SO, in honor of the pantry challenge, today I will:
  1. Clean the kitchen so I can work
  2. Inventory my kitchen and add to my menu plan
  3. Defrost a chicken casserole for dinner and shredded zukes for sweet bread tomorrow
  4. Make white sauce to add to the casserole (it's too dry!) and to freeze
  5. Do some baking (breakfast cereal bars or snickerdoodles - kids' choice!
  6. Finish packaging/freezing the chicken broth in the fridge

And of course this is all while creating activities for the kids and working on my business plan. Crack-smoker that I am. . .
post #10 of 36
My pantry is fairly bare after April, though it doesn't look like it because I have so many containers of bulk items. Instead of having five pounds of black beans, though, I have less than two cups! I finally finished all of the white rice (it's taken me almost a year to get through a few pounds because I use brown rice 99% of the time), all the pasta except for a small bag of alphabets that I planned on making for the baby but then forgot about. I even ran out of four spices, but I am definitely replacing those ASAP; I can't cook without spices!

For May, I am going to focus on cleaning out my freezer. I have NO IDEA what kinds of things are in there! I have been lusting after a second fridge, but maybe if I can get the freezer cleaned out I will have room for what I need to put in there, without all the extra STUFF, whatever that is!
post #11 of 36
Okay, I'll join ya. I won't make it far as I don't have much in my pantry or freezer but I'd love to try to see how much I can use up and how far I can go.

used em, thanks.
post #12 of 36
HEY MMGARDA--- how do you make breakfast bars?.
post #13 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eloquence
HEY MMGARDA--- how do you make breakfast bars?.
I don't know!

I posted a thread a few weeks ago "Help me make cereal bars" or something like. I got a bunch of granola bar recipes (one of which we made and really liked) and a few recipes more like what I was looking for (basically Nutrigrain bars, kwim?). I tried one, but it turned out more like cobbler than a newton. Then someone suggested searching for "Breakfast bars" on allrecipies.com. Here's what I'm trying today:

Good for You Breakfast Bars Recipe #113954
A fantastically versatile recipe, delicious and full of goodness. Make the night before to have some ready to go on a busy morning. This recipe suggests an apple-strawberry filling for the breakfast bars, but any fruit combination is possible. Some other successful fillings include: raspberry jam, marmelade and chopped cranberries, lemon curd and blueberries, strawberry banana, strawberry kiwi, strawberry and raspberry jams with blueberries, mashed banana and peanut butter, nut butter and chocolate chips, peach mango, apple sauce and raisins with cinnamon and brown sugar, raspberry fig, apple and peach, pear and raspberry. Anything you can think of really.

Filling
4 small apples, cored and thinly sliced (perfect! I have apples to get rid of!)
1/4 cup raisins (omitting)
1/3 cup strawberry jam (using blackberrY0

Base
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup soy milk (will be using cow's milk)
3 ripe bananas
2 cups rolled oats (I think I'll process this to make flour instead)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup flax seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (omitting - don't have any)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds or mixed finely chopped nuts (using almonds and upping to 4 Tbs. to cover the omitted sunflower seeds)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
Steam the apple slices until soft. Plump raisins in the apple steaming water, then drain. Remove the apple peels (if desired) and mash. Add raisins and jam to the apple mash.
For the base:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a small bowl, combine the first four ingredients and mix till smooth.
In a larger bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Add the moist ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until just blended. If too dry, add more soy milk.
Spread half of the mixture in a 9x13 cake pan or casserole. Spread the filling in the middle, then spread the remaining mixture over the top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is brown. Cool and slice into bars.
post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 

Use up your garbanzos

Here's what I like to do with extra garbanzos:

Saute onions and/or garlic in some olive oil
Add drained and rinsed garbanzos, a green veg (we like sliced zukes, chopped broccoli or frozen spinach), a can of stewed or diced tomatoes (whatever size can you like). Stir in a little salt, some cumin, some curry powder or garam masala. Cover and let cook until veges are soft. Serve over a grain (millet, rice, quinoa, etc.) You can top with raisins, shredded coconut, chopped cashews, or other stuff if you want (this is particularly good if you make it hot and spicy - cuts the flavor)

I keep the spices mild for the wimps in my house and add a dash of hot sauce to my own bowl.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by eloquence
Okay, I'll join ya. I won't make it far as I don't have much in my pantry or freezer but I'd love to try to see how much I can use up and how far I can go.

I have no bread so we are making PBJ on hamburger buns.

I have some canned chick peas and I need to think about what I can do with them today.
Hummus? Yum!
post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by eloquence
I have some canned chick peas and I need to think about what I can do with them today.
Throw a handful (or more) into a Mediterranean pasta salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
post #17 of 36
Yum!
post #18 of 36
Thread Starter 

Breakfast Bar report

Ok, I like this recipe a lot! I subbed chopped almonds for the sunflower seeds and you DO need to chop finely (which I didn't). I also had like 2-3 Tbs. hazelnut meal leftover, so I threw that in. The only thing I DIDN'T like is that it's hard to spread the top layer of batter onto the fruit filling and it wound up being a little more cobbler-like in the end. I only had 2 bananas, not 3, so maybe it wasn't wet enough. If it was more of a batter and could be poured, it might be easier. Anyway, these are really yummy, really filling and obviously a relatively healthy choice. I have 3 tiny jars of jam that my mom brought me from France (strawberry and fig) that I thought would be good used up in this recipe.

QUESTION: What can you use to replace bananas in baking recipes? Fat and liquid? Anyone know what the amounts would be? We don't buy bananas very often - no one but me will eat them!

Today my neighbor (who's from El Salvador) brought over freshly made, still hot (caliente, she said!) pupusas. OMIGOD!!!! I love pupusas. Mmmmm. Had 2 for breakfast. So now I really have to get off my @$$ and make the zuchinni muffins and return the favor. I wonder if they'll eat them. . .
post #19 of 36
Hmmmm...I might try applesauce (the no added sugar kind), although it would alter the flavor a bit...maybe the chunky kind, so it's not Soooooo liquidy? With the breakfast bars, though, I don't think the flavor would be bad, as it's a fruity thing anyway. I'll have to look in some of the resources I have, and I'll let you know if I find anything. I have, in a book or two, places that have lists of what to substitue for what. Off to peruse...
post #20 of 36

subbing

Gotta do this!
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