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The OFFICIAL January NO-SPEND & PANTRY Challenges!!! anyone can join, come on in! - Page 3

post #41 of 489
Quote:
Good luck with your first challenge
Thanks!

We did some reorganizing and moved all our Costco stuff into the pantry. Now a lot of the kitchen clutter is gone and the pantry looks a lot more full! We'll be eating a lot of ramen noodles this month!

Tomorrow I'm hosting some people for dinner. So I need to pick up a salmon for dinner. I also still have a few things on my grocery list for the week. I only shop for groceries once a week. We split our shopping between Costco and a regular grocery store for things we can't get at Costco (like hormone-free meats, cereals we can't get at Costco, etc.) The holiday weekend messed up my routine this week so I'll make a Costco run tomorrow to finish up my list.

We spend a lot of money on groceries every month. Our toiletries, food, and general houshold/cleaning supplies are all included in the "grocery" line item of our budget. If I could cut our spending in half this month I'd be really, really pleased.
post #42 of 489
I came up with two no-spend solutions today! For the first one, I was cleaning DD's playroom, trying to figure out where to store some things we are saving for the next baby, when I realized that there was a lot of room under the bed. My first thought was, "Shoot, it's the first day of the No-Spend Challenge, and I need to buy under-bed storage containers." But then I started looking around the house and found some empty boxes that fit under the bed. The OCD part of me hates the fact that they're not "proper" storage containers and that they don't match, but I'm slowly getting past it.

In the second situation, we've had almost a dozen wine bottles lying on our kitchen counter, and we were planning to buy a wall-mounted wine rack. I was in the basement putting away some canning jars when I noticed some empty copy paper boxes on a shelf. I don't know what made it click in my brain, but I instantly knew that the lids were the perfect width to hold a row of wine bottles laying down. So, now my wine is laying on shelves in the basement, safely nestled in box lids. I saved money, AND I have less things to store in my kitchen!

We did make a grocery trip today. We spent $29, but when we got home, we found that the bagger hadn't put the grapes and bananas in our bags. : I guess I'll be calling the manager tomorrow because it'll be a few days before I can get back. We are also part of a buying club for a local organic farmer and are obligated to buy $25 of meat each month, so I only have $45 left for the month, if I want to meet my goal.

My meal plan for the rest of the week. Between meals, DD and I tend to graze on fruit, cheese, and other snacks.
Tuesday
Brunch--apples with almond butter, cheese, toast
Supper--pan-fried cubed steak w/ onions and mushrooms, gravy, cottage cheese, salad
Wednesday
Brunch--shredded carrots mixed with peanut butter and sunflower seeds, hard-boiled eggs, home-canned pears
Supper--turkey and stuffing casserole, corn, salad, home-canned pears
Thursday
Brunch--sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich, hard-boiled eggs, mandarin oranges
Supper--leftovers from Wednesday
Friday
Brunch--oatmeal with strawberries
Supper--sweet potato stew, salad, mandarin oranges

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246
Can you tell me about frezing pancakes and how to re-heat them? My dh loves the frozen waffles and stuff for breakfast, and I want to try to do it myself to see if it's significantly cheaper/healthier/yummier.
I place the pancakes on a cookie sheet in the freezer, and when they are frozen, I transfer them to a freezer bag and put them back in the freezer. If you find that they stick to each other, you can place pieces of wax paper between them. To eat them, I just pop a couple in the microwave, while still frozen, and heat them up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246
If you find a de-clutter thread post it here too. I'd like to dabble with it too this month, though I have a lot on my plate so I'm not up for a whole challenge.
Voila!
post #43 of 489
wow, we got an extra boost yesterday as my Mom & Dad took us out for lunch and we boxed up the leftovers and ate them for dinner. Now I feel like I'm ahead one day in my meal plan

It was super tempting to run into the thrift store yesterday, too "just to look" but I need nothing and that "just to look" habit is a big one I'm trying to break this year. Felt good to pass it by actually.

Best Wishes!
post #44 of 489
Count me in.

Well, we ended the year planning to cut back frivolous spending and eat at home more, and we started the year by going out for an $80 (for 4 of us dinner because we were out shopping for a gift (and returning clothes) and DH was craving seafood. He really is my downfall. On the upside, I have awesome leftovers for lunch today And we did return $300 worth of stuff, so really dinner was free (at least that's how DH justified it ) But ARGH! We couldn't even get the gift, the store we were going to ended up being closed.

We have tons of lunchmeat and snacks that my parents brought over for NYE--not the healthiest, but so delish :. So that will be helping us for the next day or so, anyway.
post #45 of 489
Okay this is my first pantry challenge! I have been cleaning out my kitchen, decluttering, scrubbing. etc for a week now. And although my pantry is organized and not grossly spilling over I did notice some dried mung beans that have been sitting there a long time, and when did I ever buy amaranth grain? Hmm...

I am in!
post #46 of 489
I am sooooo in. My rule is to only buy 5 items a week. Tough since I already need 2 things I can think of (diapers & toilet paper)!
post #47 of 489

I'm in!

I definately need a no-spend month! I have had numerous car repairs to pay for lately, and my bank account has taken a major hit. 2007 is a new year, though, so, it's no spend and eat out of the pantry for us for the next couple of months. I know that I will feel much more secure when my bills are all caught up and there is a comma in my savings account balance, so I can use all the support I can get.

MY RULES

1) Make a meal plan each Friday evening for the following week, based primarily around what is already in the cupboards.

2) Budget $50 per week for everything. (Groceries, toiletries, et cetera) Shop with a calculator and a $50 bill, and anything over $50 goes back on the shelf.* (*If I have any leftover money from one week, I can use it the next week, but I cannot "borrow" from an upcoming week.)

3) Pay tithing, bills, and savings. SPEND NOTHING ELSE.
post #48 of 489
I'm gonna try for the pantry challenge. Unfortunately, I still need the first grocery shopping this week to include some basics, but after that I'll try to shop only for essentials.
Basically, I have some things in my kitchen cupboards that I just have to use already. I have a bag of sundried tomatoes, and a package of oat bran that I need to use, and all sorts of half packages of stuff that it's time to use up.

Not making rules since this is a first for me, I just want to spend less and cook more from what I already have.
post #49 of 489

Help

Does anyone have any vegetarian/vegan recipes that call for fresh pumpkin? I have tons! (And spaghetti squash...)
post #50 of 489
OK, I have a bad report and a good report.

The good first

As I was putting away my groceries yesterday I notice the 2 containers of org. mushrooms that were on sale last week at the grocery I had planned to make stuffed mushrooms, but obviously forgot. Well I looked in my pantry but no breadcrumbs, but I found a half full container of stovetop stuffing So, I made up 30 stuffed mushrooms this afternoon and they are in the freezer freezing so I can bag them up. I cooked up 2 just to make sure they tasted ok and they are actually really good. I made the crumbs finer by putting them in a baggie and taking the rolling pin to them. So I saved two things that potentially could have gone bad and just gotten thrown out.

Now the bad

I noticed my bill was kinda high at the grocery yesterday, but since I was with the kids, I didn't take time to look at why. I followed my list and just grabbed everything it said. Well, the 2lb pack of grapes I bought..................was $11!!!!!: Apparently $4.99/lb. So my lesson is stick to the list, but don't forget to check the prices!
post #51 of 489
Still haven't been to the store. Almost went this morning, but didn't have my coupon with me so I decided to wait until tomorrow! $5 dollars of my purchase. Part of my strategy is to just stay out of the store for as long as possible.

Yesterday I made homemade mac and cheese with some cheese I needed to use. Haven't made that in a long time. YUM!
post #52 of 489
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathirynne View Post
Does anyone have any vegetarian/vegan recipes that call for fresh pumpkin? I have tons! (And spaghetti squash...)
I have a pumkin bars recipe (it's actually in the Betty Crocker cook book if you have one) that is SUPER delish.

I've always wanted to try pumkin soup. I've heard it's also good.

Here's a pumkin themed recipe thread from my DDC a while back.
post #53 of 489
Thread Starter 

One way to use up CHEESE

I am addicted to the tv show "Good Eats".
He had this semi-recipe on a while ago.

Take all of your cheeses that need using up. Any kind will do. I think he said you need a half a pound.
Put into food processor with I think a quarter cup dry white wine and allow to blend in the processor for three full minutes.
Use as a cheese spread.
It looked yummmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeee.

I plan on trying it this week, though I don't have any wine on hand. Anyone know what I could use as a substitue?
post #54 of 489
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post
I am addicted to the tv show "Good Eats".
He had this semi-recipe on a while ago.

Take all of your cheeses that need using up. Any kind will do. I think he said you need a half a pound.
Put into food processor with I think a quarter cup dry white wine and allow to blend in the processor for three full minutes.
Use as a cheese spread.
It looked yummmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeee.

I plan on trying it this week, though I don't have any wine on hand. Anyone know what I could use as a substitue?
White grape juice can be substituted for white wine in most recipes. (Purple grape juice can be substituted for red wine, apple juice can be substituted for either.)
post #55 of 489
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post
I am addicted to the tv show "Good Eats".

I'm addicted to Good Eats too! I tell DH that I have a crush on Alton Brown.


Just got home from Costco. I bypassed things I didn't need but wanted, and only picked up what we had to have this week! Yippee!!!
post #56 of 489
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennisee View Post
Oh, I do have a quick question for everyone. I need some ideas for using up five gallons of shredded zucchini and summer squash in the freezer. My garden was extra prolific this year. The thing is, I don't like the taste of squash, so it needs to be more along the lines of "filler" recipes. I'm planning to make zucchini bread and to add a little bit to meatloaf, meatballs, and spaghetti sauce, but I need more ideas. TIA!
1) Stir-fry. Once you add a teriyaki-type sauce, most of the veggies taste the same (well, at least to me).
2) Chocolate zucchini muffins. I modified a zucchini cake recipe to muffins and added way more zucchini, and my boy couldn't get enough of them.
3) Zucchini bread. I got an awesome recipe from a neighbor that has cinnamon and cloves in it, and I swear it's addicting. Doesn't taste a bunch like zucchini, either.
4) Pasta Primavera. I saute tomatoes (at the very end so they don't disintegrate), carrots, corn, zucchini and red onion, then throw in some noodles and homemade alfredo sauce (gotta have all the colors of the rainbow!). Since you've got shredded zukes, you probably wouldn't taste them that much (I do cubed with this recipe).

Quote:
Originally Posted by aprildawn View Post
I'm addicted to Good Eats too! I tell DH that I have a crush on Alton Brown.

I tell dh that if AB shows up on my doorstep that I'm running away with him. But since AB's married, dh doesn't really have much to worry about.


Anywho...
Dh is out of town this week for work, so it's just me and the boys. I tend to slack off a bit with cooking while dh is out of town, so I'm just not gonna. Although I am going to go get a piece of yummy chocolate cake (from the homestyle deli right nextdoor) when we go to the store to get ground turkey (yes, that's my whole list! it's buy one get one free) and my inhaler refill after naps.

I've got a ton of kidney beans in the pantry that I need to use up. Anybody have any killer crockpot chili recipes? Being a slave to stirring for an afternoon just isn't in the cards this week, hence the crockpot. And if it takes ground turkey, bonus. I'll tell dh it's beef and he probably won't even be able to tell.

So then I've decided that I'm making split pea soup tonight.
To finally use up a frozen ham bone, split peas in the pantry, carrots and celery in the fridge, and I've got onions and spices on hand regardless. Then I can freeze the extras for a completely lazy, rainy day.

I'm also working on clearing out the fridge of leftovers and questionable things so I have enough room to thaw one of my two turkeys I've still got. And I need to freeze some yogurt (almost to it's expiration date) popsicles in the hopes the popscicle version will thrill my 3yo more than the regular stuff.

Just got some ice cream for me and the kiddo, and found some frozen spinach (Creamy Spinach Tortellini), home-ground wheat flour from my mom (homemade rolls to go with soup) and a frozen turkey breast I still need to use.
post #57 of 489
im working on organizing the house this month... i have a 'brag' thread going over there however the pantry i feel i need to post here...

maybe if i actually post daily and see what ive done it will inspire me to stick to this...

#1 i have to get into the pantry and take inventory... its been 4 months since ive done this and it has to be done

#2 hopefully only spending $ on gas, medical co-pays & RX, and grocery... hoping for one huge trip to costco and weekly to the grocery (perimiter shipping only) and diapers and formula-no spamming please

for the good news:
last night i used up a roll of plastic wrap - the bad news i have three more in stock lol
for dinner we had pork chops - those were fresh, with rice and veggies from inventory and dessert was homemade banana bread from the freezer..

today breakfast was flapjacks (pancakes) and fruit
lunch: pb&j , cheese slices and noodle soup (ramen)
dinner: left over pork veggies and fresh rice maybe a salad
pm snack popcorn... i must have 30 little microwave packets in the closet...

tonight im headed out for formula and diapers ( i have enfamil and similac coupons to help on the cost)
i also need bleach, and toilet cleaner.... hoping to stay under $50... it can be done if i use the coupons wisely and get 'free' formula meaning smaller cans but more of them...
post #58 of 489
We NEED to be on a no spend Jan. We are scraping up every penny we can find to have enough in our bank acct to get our construction loan.
I am such a shelf stocker, I bet I can go a whole month without having to buy anything except gas for my car. I like the feeling of security from having a full pantry, and extra this and that stored away. I dont think there is anything we would actually NEED.
post #59 of 489
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmonter View Post
I've got a ton of kidney beans in the pantry that I need to use up. Anybody have any killer crockpot chili recipes? Being a slave to stirring for an afternoon just isn't in the cards this week, hence the crockpot. And if it takes ground turkey, bonus. I'll tell dh it's beef and he probably won't even be able to tell.
I just dump a can of kidney beans, chili seasoning, beef (you could substitute turkey, deer meat, whatever), tomato juice, and salsa into my chili. I don't really have a recipe (I just eyeball it to desired thickness/thinness) and it always turns out yummy.
post #60 of 489
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post

I plan on trying it this week, though I don't have any wine on hand. Anyone know what I could use as a substitue?
A little milk might work, since it's a cheese spread.


I am totally in for this challenge. I have a lot of beans. Lots of things to make soup with. Lots of pasta and rice. some greens. lots of capers. some meat.

I think I will be ok. I might just buy milk, and fresh veggies. And use some change to buy canned tomatoes and flour because I will need to make bread and pasta/pizza sauce.

I guess this means I will also not be buying wine, which is ok.

I want to see how far I can go with eating what is in my pantry while keeping it super interesting, and yummy and not feeling like I'm depriving myself.
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