Pantry Challenge - Page 9 - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-07-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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We've been eating leftovers for last few days - makes for easy meals. Our fridge is overflowing with leftovers and free stuff like yogurt, bagged salad, and milk so we've been trying to use it all up.

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Old 08-08-2010, 09:58 PM
 
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Although the goal is to empty the pantry and freezers; I added to them this week. I picked and froze fifteen quarts of blackberries and just made five quarts of dill pickles. I should make bread and butter pickles tonight but do not feel like it.

However, I can't remember the last time I went to the grocery store and I am limiting this month's co-op order. So, this thread is really helping me use food we already have.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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I actually went to the grocery today and didn't get anything - just went to run for clearance meat and didn't find any. I was already across the street at Walgreens picking up school supplies, so went to see.


Ours is starting to empty out a tiny bit - tonight we're having an easy meal of corn dogs, fries, veggies, and warm delights for dessert. Not the healthiest, but it's quick and easy.

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Old 08-08-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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Lentil Vegetable Soup with Dumplings is simmering on the stove right now - a great pantry meal! I used up my carrots and celery (celery is always reallllly hard for me to get through - none of us like it raw) and onion, and the dumplings are all pantry staples (as are the lentils). Steamed artichokes and salad on the side, both from our CSA box.

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Old 08-08-2010, 10:39 PM
 
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The Hillbilly housewife had a link to the USDA website and how much per month its costs for groceries. Mine says I should be spending about $725 per month. We are averaging for this year about $520 monthly. That includes my pork and beef purchased factored in monthly $111 additional dollars per month. I noticed some months we are as low as $450 and once or twice a year we might even go as high as $650. So that would be $8700 annual. This is what they say is the frugal way of spending. As of July 31st, we were at $3620 for the year we have spent on groceries. That about $520 a month. So I guess we are about thifty to low cost plan. I might add I buy organics etc.
I also make most of my meals from scratch.

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Old 08-08-2010, 10:45 PM
 
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The Hillbilly housewife had a link to the USDA website and how much per month its costs for groceries. Mine says I should be spending about $725 per month. We are averaging for this year about $520 monthly. That includes my pork and beef purchased factored in monthly $111 additional dollars per month. I noticed some months we are as low as $450 and once or twice a year we might even go as high as $650. So that would be $8700 annual. This is what they say is the frugal way of spending. As of July 31st, we were at $3620 for the year we have spent on groceries. That about $520 a month. So I guess we are about thifty to low cost plan. I might add I buy organics etc.
I also make most of my meals from scratch.
Wow that is fantastic! (and a great goal for me.)
I also buy organic and buy no meat but our grocery spending is much higher. It's probably because I purchase too much convenience food (like frozen bean burgers) and we waste too much. Besides cooking from scratch, do you have other ways to keep your costs so low? And by scratch, do you mean you make things like tortillas, pasta, and marinara from scratch? or do you purchase the ingredients and put them together? (I am mostly the latter which could also explain my high spending.)
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:02 PM
 
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We're still eating out of the pantry. Today was a little backwards since dh left for a business trip late this afternoon so we had dinner type food for lunch.

Breakfast: choc. chip pancakes (finished the remaining choc. chips), banana walnut pancakes, and strawberry, banana, kiwi smoothies (finished frozen strawberries and kiwis) We also finished the veg. oil making pancakes.

Lunch: grilled sesame ginger chicken (finished the last of the chicken breasts), cooked carrots (finished the 1lb bag), and herbed potatoes

Dinner: olive oil and herb pasta and strawberries (finished the pkg)

We're running low on some staples so I'm going to do my best to make it through the week or as long as I can. I'll run out of milk, cheese, butter, and other misc. stuff by the end of the week.

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Old 08-08-2010, 11:29 PM
 
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I always make my own sauce like tomato sauce, stocks, white sauces etc. I even make home made cheese sauce for Mac n cheese.

Depending on our tomatoes this year, I can make a vat of home made tomato sauce to can and it can last until Jan or May some years. Or I purchase canned tomato or puree to make sauce but always always on sale and then I buy several to have on hand, like 6.

We have made tortillas and go on a while making them or just buying them. We have several grocery stores in the area that cater to asian or latino or european residents so we are able to save several dollars shopping there in comparison to the normal mainstream big chain grocery. So fresh tortillas are so easy to buy for less than a dollar sometimes.

We buy pasta on super sale but have made it many times.

My method is plan plan plan. We keep a larger pantry, a freezer and we always buy on sale 95% of the time. Since I buy meat once a year- a side of beef and a whole pig-both raised the way want, not certified organic but raised that way, we have our meat on hand. Chicken is bought on super sale every 6-8 weeks. We will buy whole roasters hahal or amish since organic is way out of range $$ wise. Depending what type of chicken we have on hand, whole, cut up etc we plan our chicken meals around that.

I save bones from chicken and then every 3 mos or so make a large vat of stock. Then freeze in various portions for soup, sauces etc. I do the same with beef bones.

Keeping a xeroxed calendar on the fridge and penciling in what is for dinner a few nights ahead helps the wallet immensely. In pencil, because plans can change or maybe it just makes sense to have leftovers one night instead of cooking. We keep several frozen meals in the freezer for nights we cannot cook for whatever reason.

I do think food prices have gone up over the last 5 years or so. We would have been able to do what we do 5 plus years ago for about $400 a month.

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Old 08-08-2010, 11:47 PM
 
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Thanks Amys1st. I also try to buy on sale but I still spend too much. Partly because I stockpile too much. I guess my first step is to figure exactly how much I do spend (you'd never know I used to be an accountant). I usually spend monthly approx: Costco $300, UNFI $250, Jewel $250, Dairy/Egg Farms $50 Produce Co-op in winter only $120. But this is not just food, Costco always has other items thrown in and UNFI includes personal care/cleaning products. I am going to start tracking better, planning more, and wasting less. We've already started going out less but we still go out too often; a couple of times/week adds up quickly.

I have tons of tomatoes from the garden but have been giving them away. I only open kettle can so I stick to pickles, peppers, etc. Although my parents and uncle have always done all their canning this way, reading posts on MDC made me too nervous to continue the tradition.
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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Thanks Amys1st. I also try to buy on sale but I still spend too much. Partly because I stockpile too much. I guess my first step is to figure exactly how much I do spend (you'd never know I used to be an accountant). I usually spend monthly approx: Costco $300, UNFI $250, Jewel $250, Dairy/Egg Farms $50 Produce Co-op in winter only $120. But this is not just food, Costco always has other items thrown in and UNFI includes personal care/cleaning products. I am going to start tracking better, planning more, and wasting less. We've already started going out less but we still go out too often; a couple of times/week adds up quickly.

I have tons of tomatoes from the garden but have been giving them away. I only open kettle can so I stick to pickles, peppers, etc. Although my parents and uncle have always done all their canning this way, reading posts on MDC made me too nervous to continue the tradition.
I am also in the midwest. I also do a produce delivery every week which includes eggs and dairy. About every 3rd or 4th week, I put it on hold and use up what we have.
We have a Jewel nearby, but we find their prices way too expensive so we stick to the local guys and shop sales, loss leaders.
The best way I could get a handle on grocery spending was/is literally tracking each and every dollar we spend down to the penny. After getting home, I log into a running total the receipt total. I might occasionaly have something in the total not grocery related (such as gift, a reimbursement etc, alcohal) that I deduct but otherwise I add the total in. Keep a running amount all month to see where you are at. Log it month to month. Sometimes its a bit high, so during that time, eat what you have on hand.
I also make a run to Trader Joes and Aldi at least once a month and the two stores make about a $60-$75 amount for that run.
Eat your stockpile, track what you have so you dont accidently buy too much or get sick of what you have. HTH!

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Old 08-09-2010, 01:32 PM
 
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Today's plan is leftovers for lunch, and corn dogs and fries that we didn't end up making last night for dinner.


I'm tired today, and need to clean off dead limbs from our front lawn so need something easy.

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Old 08-09-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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I am still whittling away at the pantry. We move in January, so I am looking to have things emptied out by then.

I have pintos soaking right now and am thawing a couple of chicken backs to make into soup for Wednesday. I'll finish off the curry paste tonight with a can of coconut milk.

What else.....I have lots of split peas. I see a lot of soup for Fall. Lots of black beans and pintos...many burritos coming our way.


We have been hitting the pantry hard this summer and I have been amazed at how quickly things have been eaten up. I thought we had a rather large pantry stash, but I am realizing that I do not have as much stored as I thought I did. We have a year of sabbatical travels coming up, but when we get home and settled, I am going to think long and hard about what I really want to have in the pantry. I foresee a significant increase in our stored goods!

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Old 08-09-2010, 07:26 PM
 
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I'm joining in! We've already blown through this months grocery budget and it's only the 9th. We do have a fully stocked freezer and pantry though so we have lots of food. My problem is I get bored and don't want to cook what I have and I always head to the grocery store for something new. Our freezer is full of mostly beef (mostly ground and roasts left), a bit of fish and pork and one whole chicken. We have lots of frozen corn and peas, lots of frozen berries. Our pantry has tons of pasta, pasta sauce, tomatoes (sauce, crushed, diced), canned corn, canned fruit, condiments, tuna, salmon, some crackers... Have some flour, TONS of sugar and lots of other baking supplies. This should be a piece of cake. I just need to be strict and only go out for milk and eggs and the odd bit of fruit and salad fixings.

Off to read the entire thread for inspiration!

. : Jill, mama to 5 kiddos, soon to be 6 in June 2013 : .

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Old 08-12-2010, 08:31 PM
 
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Been rocking the pantry for meals here - particularly the freezer. Last night was a (homemade) freezer lasagna. Tonight it's defrosted Indian style rice with Curried Lentils, both homemade. I love not having to cook a few nights a week! A salad will round this out (with CSA veg, of course).

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Old 08-13-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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I've been doing good with emptying the pantry. The other day I found 3 opened boxes of all sorts of penne type noodles. They each had maybe 3/4-1 cup of noodles each. I didn't have enough spaghetti noodles to feed all of us spaghetti so I cooked all the "like" noodles together and topped with spaghetti sauce and had garlic bread from the freezer. It was just me and the kids this week so they didn't care that the noodles didn't match.

Today I need to replenish the fridge a bit with some fresh fruit and veggies and a few other misc. items to round out what we have in the pantry.

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Old 08-13-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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well, had a . . . . . .creative. . . day. My freezer decided to bite it last night so everything thawed while we were out at family zoo night(a free night with picnic dinner and a dj and music and games and rock climbing and face painting! kids had a blast!!!). SOoooooooo, that meant that everything needs to be used now. Sweet. Made a double batch of blueberry muffins today. Made two big bowls of pasta primavera with all different frozen veggies and pantry pasta. Lunch was frozen pizza slices from earlier in the month with previously frozen blueberries. New fridge being delivered tomorrow but now I have 2 loaves of bread and a bag of blueberries to use in french toast casserole in the morning(ie, one for us and one for my parents probably). And snack will be zucchini/carrot muffins with cream cheese frosting since those thawed out too. And lunch is veggie lasagna from the freezer.

Also, I have two batches of veggie "meat"balls to use plus 6 veggie burgers, half a bag of morningstar farms crumbles and a full big bag of peas to figure out what to do with. Maybe a quiche with the crumbles and peas????? I don't know. Really irritated iwth my stupid ancient fridge but thrilled that landlord is buying us a brand spankin' new one. It has an ice machine and everything!!!!! WOOT!

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Old 08-14-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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we can't do oats do to allergies - think it would work on cream of wheat or maltomeal hot cereal? We put milk and sugar on ours.


I've got several flavors too - chocolate buttercream, pumpkin spice, vanilla, mocha, and Dulce de leche.
maybe use it to flavor hot cocoa? We add french vanilla to my Dh's homemade hot cocoa and it is so yummy!

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Old 08-16-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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Sorry to threadjack, but I thought you people would be the perfect ones to ask: What is the shelf life of beans? I put some white beans in the crockpot the other day, left them there for 12 hours, and they still didn't soften. Is that an indication that they'd been in my pantry for too long and I should have joined in this challenge awhile ago?

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Old 08-16-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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unless it's older than your children, I'm guessing that was not the issue. http://survivalacres.com/information/shelflife.html


it doesn't specifically have white beans but there are multiple kinds of beans on there and I'm guessing you haven't left your beans in your pantry as long as these estimates.

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Old 08-17-2010, 12:09 AM
 
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we had baked chicken with rice, cream gravy and broccoli tonight.

All from the pantry.


I need ideas though - DD has PE once a week with a bus ride of over an hour each way on city bus to get there. It falls during her lunch time - please give me ideas for things that can be carried in a lunch box that aren't sandwiches or the like. I'm still on the hunt for a thermos that will stay hot that long. It's also going to be my lunch as well so needs to be fairly substantial.

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Old 08-17-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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Pantry meals:

lentil soup this week -- I have lentils, onions in the garden, carrots, celery that need to be eaten up. I think there is a random sausage that I could throw in too.

Lasagne from the freezer is thawing -- probably will be dinner tonight.

Soaking another pot of pintos. We have been eating a lot of burrito/tostada meals for lunches. We will be eating pinots till 2011. Who bought so many stinking beans!?! I love beans, but man oh man...we have a lot of beans.

Canned up a mess of spaghetti sauce from garden tomatoes. We'll be good for tomato products for quite a while.

Keepin on....

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Old 08-17-2010, 02:24 PM
 
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Still chugging away at this.

Saturday night we had tacos.

Sunday night was was chicken (pulled from the freezer, not sure how long we've had it), carrots, potatoes, and homemade gravy. Then we boiled the carcass down to make broth for Monday's dinner.

Tonight will be grilled pork tenderloin (picked up for $3.99 after sale and coupons!) rice, and broccoli.

Lunches have been leftovers.

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Old 08-17-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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unless it's older than your children, I'm guessing that was not the issue. http://survivalacres.com/information/shelflife.html


it doesn't specifically have white beans but there are multiple kinds of beans on there and I'm guessing you haven't left your beans in your pantry as long as these estimates.

Some of it may be, but my oldest is three. Thanks for the link!

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Old 08-17-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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fried rice tonight. red pepper that was on super sale, summer squash on super sale, half an onion I already had, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, peas that had to be used up from the great freezer defrost debacle of last week, and some grated carrot and some rice leftover from another meal. Basically all the veggies I had in the house already with some seasoning and rice. It was delicious!

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Old 08-18-2010, 01:17 AM
 
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Whew I finally read this whole thread!! I've been eating from the pantry for 4 days now with the exception of shopping for lunch stuff for the kids (school started today). Any uses for cottage cheese? We eat it in salad but my lettuce went bad. And we don't have the kind of fruit the kids like to eat with it. I have lasagna fixins and could do 1 or 2 lasagnas and freeze but thought I'd ask here for ideas. TIA! this thread is inspiring!! I'm hoping to make it till the 1st without shopping. I don't have a stocked pantry or freezer so this will be interesting. Had a few huge bills so I need to stretch!

We had a roast tonight and I divied the leftovers up into 3 containers. Leftover mashed potatoes could be potato pancakes. My kids love those.

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Old 08-19-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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Mind if I join in here? Our fridges, freezers and pantry are completely stuffed. We found a bunch of meat at mil's that we'd stored there and forgotten about and my garden (and friends' gardens) are producing like crazy right now, so I'd like to avoid the store as much as possible.

My melon patch is taking over my garden. Any ideas of what to do with watermelon? Its ripening faster than we can eat it. I've made watermelon popsicles in the past and I think I'll do that again, but I'd love other ideas.
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:31 PM
 
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Mind if I join in here? Our fridges, freezers and pantry are completely stuffed. We found a bunch of meat at mil's that we'd stored there and forgotten about and my garden (and friends' gardens) are producing like crazy right now, so I'd like to avoid the store as much as possible.

My melon patch is taking over my garden. Any ideas of what to do with watermelon? Its ripening faster than we can eat it. I've made watermelon popsicles in the past and I think I'll do that again, but I'd love other ideas.
Can you juice it? My DD loves watermelon juice to drink, and that isn't very bulky to store if you wanted to save some in the freezer.

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Old 08-19-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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i don't know if it was this thread or somewhere else I read it but someone was dehydrating watermelon and cantaloupe for their toddler for winter time snacks. That might be an option! Sounds yummy, too bad I can't eat watermelon.

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Old 08-19-2010, 05:37 PM
 
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I'll have to try juicing it. If I had a dehydrator, I'd try that too, sounds weird, but good!

Today's meals:
b-bagel and coffee
l-hot pocket (dh bought a ton)
d-breakfast; sausage patties, fried potatoes and eggs
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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Well, I totally cheated this past week. We had a wicked heat wave and basically everything we had in the pantry/freezer required some sort of cooking. I broke down and went to the grocery store for deli meats, buns, hot dogs, etc. It's cooler now though so I'm back on the wagon. LOL

B: canned fruit, yogurt
L: Chicken flings and new potatoes
S: will be steak, coleslaw, left over new potatoes from lunch and some sort of frozen vege

. : Jill, mama to 5 kiddos, soon to be 6 in June 2013 : .

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