The OFFICIAL January NO-SPEND & PANTRY Challenges!!! anyone can join, come on in! - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-04-2007, 10:55 AM
 
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Yogurt - when mine is questionable, I use it to make muffins. Baking it somehow reassures me that any bad stuff will be gone I have no idea if it is true, but no one has gotten sick here from it.

Next month's groceries - For me it hasn't been too bad. I've used the challenge to use up stuff that has been sitting and will not get replaced. So the stovetop stuffing or random canned soup or weird canned vegetable that has been there 6 months, will not be coming back to my house. I do use down some staples, but these are ones I usually by monthly like beans, canned tomatoes, frozen veggies, so I would be buying them anyway. It also clears out the pantry so much that I know exactly what to buy and can make a great list and then I'm not as tempted to once again buy random strange foods for my pantry.
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Old 01-04-2007, 11:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post
I don't ever buy extended warranties.
I always think of that Simpson's episode where homer has the crayon in his brain. As moe is putting it in homer says "extended warranty, how can I loose?" and moe says "that's pretty dumb".
I hope I did the right thing.
I dunno. My computer is very important to me. It's the primary way I communicate with people outside my own home, it's recipes, it's photos, all sorts of things. We had to spend quite a lot of money a couple years ago on some problems with my screen. I think the warrenty is a good investment. Either that or saving up extra set aside just for the computer repairs, kinda like saving for car repairs.



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Originally Posted by Fiestabeth View Post
1 C plain lowfat yogurt
1/4 C canned pumpkin puree

For these pancakes, I have a can of pumpkin pie pumpkin. Can I use that instead of the plain pumpkin puree? I guess I won't need to add the spices either since they're already in the can of pie pumpkin. I don't have plain yogurt, but I have vanilla. Think I could sub that in for the plain?
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:23 PM
 
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Thanks for all the yogurt replies

I am paranoid about expiration dates, etc with DD. Maybe DH will eat it Actually, I was looking through a Moosewood cookbook and saw a biscuit recipe that calls for yogurt. Hmmmmmm, I'll see what I come up with and report back later
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Old 01-04-2007, 02:20 PM
 
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For these pancakes, I have a can of pumpkin pie pumpkin. Can I use that instead of the plain pumpkin puree? I guess I won't need to add the spices either since they're already in the can of pie pumpkin. I don't have plain yogurt, but I have vanilla. Think I could sub that in for the plain?
I'm sure the pie pumpkin would be fine, and the vanilla yogurt would probably just make them a little sweeter. So maybe omit or lessen the sugar?

~Beth, mama to two amazing girls, ages 12 and 6~

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Old 01-04-2007, 04:26 PM
 
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Minor victory.
I was being lazy yesteday and didn't feel like cooking so I didn't have anything to take to work for lunch. Instead I took an extra sandwich, and half a grapefruit, and decided to eat more when I got home.
Normally, this would be my cue to go and buy lunch, and I resisted the urge. Yeah!
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Old 01-04-2007, 04:54 PM
 
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6 pounds! That's a lot. Maybe make falafel and freeze some? If they are alright. Does canned stuff keep that long?

lmonter - thanks for the recipe! I don't use margarine, so I'm assuming I can substitute butter?
My mom said the CAN would go bad before the food would....I immagine if you opened it up it would stink if it was bad.

On the pumpkin pancakes - I don't have any yogurt. DH doesn't eat it, I use buttermilk for practically all of my cooking. What could I use instead of the yogurt??
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:11 PM
 
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We're doing well on the pantry challenge here. No money spent on food yet! I'm also a little concerned about totally depleating my stores next month, but I'm hoping to use this time to sock at least 150$ into the savings acct!
No advice on the yogurt, sorry. I have a cream chz problem! I've got a lot of it in my fridge that I need to use this month. What can I do with it besides the usual bagels and crm chz? Can I freeze it? ANy recipe ideas? TIA
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:36 PM
 
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My mom said the CAN would go bad before the food would....I immagine if you opened it up it would stink if it was bad.

On the pumpkin pancakes - I don't have any yogurt. DH doesn't eat it, I use buttermilk for practically all of my cooking. What could I use instead of the yogurt??
I use buttermilk in my regular pancakes, so I bet that would work. I would add it gradually until the batter is the right consistency. With the yogurt it is a thick, spongy like batter; it will be smoother with the buttermilk and they'll spread out more when poured onto the griddle.

~Beth, mama to two amazing girls, ages 12 and 6~

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Old 01-04-2007, 06:21 PM
 
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Cream cheese and jelly sandwiches? Cream cheese and raisins on celery? No-bake cheesecake? We have a ton here too, but my DD would eat it on ANYTHING, so it's not a problem Also I just read somewhere that cream cheese actually keeps, like, a month longer than the exp. date says, especially if you kept it cold and unopened. It does not freeze well at all. Well, it freezes just fine, actually, but it does not thaw well

I was so proud of myself at the mall yesterday. It was a bad time to go (near dinnertime), it was far from home, it's an upscale mall where I always want to buy a million things, and I had to shop with two kids in a toy store!!! And, while I admit to buying an egg shaker for the toddler and a copy of The Secret Garden for the preschooler, I successfully avoided buying a second, unneeded book, as well as any food. I was dying for Starbucks, a candy bar, pizza, something. We had to go to the awesome seafood place to see if we left sippy cups there (we didn't), and I almost gave in at that point. Then, we got all the way to the car and I could smell the teriyaki restaurant, and I almost turned and went back in Instead, I got us in the car, we all ate trail mix on the way home, I skipped stopping at the library because it was so close to McD's, and I actually cooked a full dinner (salmon cakes, OMG so good) when we got home. It made us late for bedtime, but oh well. I also managed to stay out of Pottery Barn Kids. I love that stuff, but for some reason, I feel so crummy about myself and our life after I leave there.

Honestly, it felt like I was in some video game, avoiding all the spending traps :

Bing! Exit the seafood restaurant without asking to be seated!
Bing! Cross the walkway to avoid getting sucked into Pottery Barn Kids!
Bing! Catch the toddler before she runs down to the food court!
Bing! Leave through the adult Gap instead of Baby Gap after using the restroom!
Bing! Put everything in your hands back and extricate yourself from the major clearance sale at Gymboree!
Bing Bing Bing!!!! Extra points for successfully avoiding buying more than $3 worth of toys for your own whiny, hungry kids while shopping for a gift at the upscale toy store!!!!

I WIN!

Melissa, a homeschooling, caffix.gif-guzzling, SAHM of two: reading.gif (11) and joy.gif(8)
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I dunno. My computer is very important to me. It's the primary way I communicate with people outside my own home, it's recipes, it's photos, all sorts of things. We had to spend quite a lot of money a couple years ago on some problems with my screen. I think the warrenty is a good investment. Either that or saving up extra set aside just for the computer repairs, kinda like saving for car repairs.

Thank you, I think you're right. The computer is so much of my life and sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooo many important documents are on there. I would be devistated if I lost them.

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What gets me is I made a point of re-reading your user name like three times. I saw it lmonster each time.

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:29 PM
 
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My success for the day:

I baked a couple of potatoes yesterday. They were sitting on my counter while I was trying to figure out what to eat for lunch. I cut one up and put it in a tupperware then went to the fridge to find something to eat with it. I found a jar of tomato-apple chutney that my sister made and canned for Christmas. I put it on, and then microwaved it when I got to work.

It was delicious! Just the right amount of sweet and tart, with a a little butter on the potato to make it filling. I ate that at 12:30, and now it is 3:30 and I think I'm going to have some lentil soup I brought also.

Normally I would have left the potatoes lying around until they rotted and then thrown them away. Now I know I have to find creative ways to eat the things I have! And, I'm finding delicious meals that I never would have without this thread.

melissel Congrats on winning the mall video game!
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Melissel,
good job!



Another idea I recently saw for cream cheese (and have been dying to try) is roasting veggies like red bell peppers and zuccini and putting it in a food processor with cream cheese and eating as spread.
I'll have to do it post-challenge.

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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Old 01-04-2007, 07:28 PM
 
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I am so bummed! I have enchiladas on the menu for this week. I was so proud of myself for scraping all the leftover meat off a rotisserie chicken someone brought over on Tues night for dinner so I could use the meat in my enchiladas. BUT, I screwed up and got the wrong type & amounts of tomato products for the sauce recipe I use. I have only half the amount of crushed tomatoes I need, and I got diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce in only half the amount. I guess I can just make half the recipe. It makes enough for two batches of enchiladas. It's a lot of work for just half the amount, though. I was hoping to stretch it for two meals this month.

Should I go to the store to get the right stuff or just half it? I think I'll just suck it up and half the recipe. Maybe I can find a friend who'll trade me some overripe bananas for some canned crushed tomatoes and sauce!
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Old 01-04-2007, 07:52 PM
 
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Do you have any fresh tomatoes? (And/or salsa? KETCHUP? )

I think if you used the amount of crushed tomatoes you have, combined with the diced tomatoes (you can add some chopped up fresh tomatoes if necessary to get the amount of crushed you need and crush them a little with a potato masher, maybe?), and puree some salsa in the blender (maybe with ketchup...: ) to substitute for the tomato sauce, you should be able to make a whole batch without a trip to the store.

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Old 01-04-2007, 07:58 PM
 
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I think you can still make it without going to the store. Puree the diced tomatoes in the blender and halve the recipe. If you have 2 batches worth of chicken, you can use the other half of the chicken in another recipe.

Like kathirynne said, do you have any salsa? Pasta sauce? Tomato juice? Anything hiding in your freezer?

Mama to Munchkin  and Chickadee ...and co-parent to 3 additional bundles of energy!
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:05 PM
 
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ketchup!? i have plenty of that. won't that be too sweet? i have about six grape tomatoes i can cook down and squish up. i also have some salsa. i didn't even think about that.

i haven't made the enchilada sauce more than two or three times so i'm not as confident about modifying it. i want the enchiladas to be tastey! i'm addicted to tex mex and this will be a good alternative to eating out tex mex.

great. ok. i'll do it w/o a trip to the store. i also have a friend who said she'll trade me some overripe bananas for a can of tomato paste. so, i think i'm in business.
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:18 PM
 
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Use the salsa and the tomato paste (with some water) before using the ketchup. Ketchup would a last resort because of the sweetness, but could still work!

Mama to Munchkin  and Chickadee ...and co-parent to 3 additional bundles of energy!
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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This is SUCH a fantastic idea! We've got some fresh beef coming in, so that's even more motivation to clear out the freezer.

DS born 4 May 2013.
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:51 PM
 
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Hey, guess what? My family LOVES the pantry challenge!! No kidding, my kids think this is fantastic, and dh is amazed at how much food we actually have in the house. (He did make an unauthorized grocery run, but I'll forgive him since it's our first challenge). Every time I think of some other thing we can make with what we have, we all yell "It's the GREAT PANTRY CHALLENGE!" And yes, we are a really weird family!

My first big success: I went to make stuffed peppers tonite (aka rice casserole since the kiddos won't eat cooked peppers) and realized I had whole peeled tomatoes instead of crushed. So . . . I took out the chopper thingy, added some leftover spaghetti sauce from last night, and they came out fine. I even added the scraps of zucchini from last night and it was pretty yummy.

We don't have a stocked pantry, though I'm going to work on that this year, but this challenge is really opening my eyes to all the ways in which we don't use what we have on hand. We are incredibly wasteful with leftovers and we often run out for a couple of ingredients or whatever without looking to see if we have anything that will substitute. Just changing those couple of things could save us a lot of money on food!

I don't know if anyone has posted a spaghetti squash recipe yet, but if it's still needed, I have a good one that I think is yummy!

OK, so since I've admitted to not knowing what to do with my food : , can someone please tell me how to cook dried beans? I have a bag of black beans, which I could freeze for chili, nachos or lots of stuff, but everytime I try to make dried beans they end up still sort of . . . dried. Like all hard and crunchy. I want them nice and soft like the canned kind! Also, is it true that the yogurt doesn't go bad? Is this true even for the cheapy store brand, non-organic, artificial sweetener kind? (Not that I have that in my house, of course!)
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:52 PM
 
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I just spent 20 minutes searching allrecipes for an oatmeal cookie recipe that didn't use quick oats. I have 3 : containers of oats in my pantry. Don't ask me how that happened. So I want to make several batches of oatmeal cookies. Any good ones out there? I have white and wheat flour, old fashion oats, raisins and chocolate chips. Also honey and maple syrup. Along with baking soda, salt, you know.
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Old 01-04-2007, 08:57 PM
 
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OK, so since I've admitted to not knowing what to do with my food : , can someone please tell me how to cook dried beans? I have a bag of black beans, which I could freeze for chili, nachos or lots of stuff, but everytime I try to make dried beans they end up still sort of . . . dried. Like all hard and crunchy. I want them nice and soft like the canned kind!
Do you soak your beans overnight? Also, putting a tiny pinch of baking soda or a strip of kombu in the water while you're cooking them helps to soften the beans.

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Old 01-04-2007, 09:02 PM
 
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I have a cream chz problem! I've got a lot of it in my fridge that I need to use this month. What can I do with it besides the usual bagels and crm chz? Can I freeze it? ANy recipe ideas? TIA
Here is a faboo chicken recipe that uses 4 oz of cream cheese in one fell swoop:

4 chicken breasts (or a bunch of chicken tenders)
Garlic
Olive oil
Potatoes
Baby carrots
Onion
chicken stock
Flour
Salt & pepper
4 oz cream cheese

Mince 5-6 medium cloves of garlic. Heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a saute pan. Add garlic to pan and saute on med-med high heat for 1-2 minutes.

Mix about 1/2 cup of flour with pepper and salt to taste. Dredge chicken in flour and add to saute pan. Fry chicken on med high heat for 6 minutes.

While chicken is frying slice up a few potatoes and an onion. I cut the potatoes fairly thin and the onion fairly thick.

After the 6 minutes is up turn the chicken over. Add the potatoes, onion, and baby carrots, then add enough chicken stock to almost cover the veggies (some left out on top is OK). It's probably about 2 cups of stock, but I just eyeball it. Add salt and pepper to the top.

Cover pan and simmer on med-high heat for 20-22 minutes.

After chicken and veggies are cooked, remove them from the pan, leaving behind the chicken stock. Add the cream cheese and stir over med high heat until it melts. Pour sauce over chicken and veggies and serve! You can thin out the sauce with a little more chicken stock if necessary.
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:18 PM
 
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Here is a faboo chicken recipe that uses 4 oz of cream cheese in one fell swoop:

4 chicken breasts (or a bunch of chicken tenders)
Garlic
Olive oil
Potatoes
Baby carrots
Onion
chicken stock
Flour
Salt & pepper
4 oz cream cheese

Mince 5-6 medium cloves of garlic. Heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a saute pan. Add garlic to pan and saute on med-med high heat for 1-2 minutes.

Mix about 1/2 cup of flour with pepper and salt to taste. Dredge chicken in flour and add to saute pan. Fry chicken on med high heat for 6 minutes.

While chicken is frying slice up a few potatoes and an onion. I cut the potatoes fairly thin and the onion fairly thick.

After the 6 minutes is up turn the chicken over. Add the potatoes, onion, and baby carrots, then add enough chicken stock to almost cover the veggies (some left out on top is OK). It's probably about 2 cups of stock, but I just eyeball it. Add salt and pepper to the top.

Cover pan and simmer on med-high heat for 20-22 minutes.

After chicken and veggies are cooked, remove them from the pan, leaving behind the chicken stock. Add the cream cheese and stir over med high heat until it melts. Pour sauce over chicken and veggies and serve! You can thin out the sauce with a little more chicken stock if necessary.
Oooh !

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Old 01-04-2007, 09:22 PM
 
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Here's a cavatini recipe that uses cream cheese. (It's my grandmother's and really yummy.)

1.5 lbs. hamburger, browned and seasoned (I use maybe half of that)
1/2 small onion, chopped and browned with meat
1 8 oz. package spiral macaroni, cooked and drained
1 jar spaghetti sauce (Grandma uses Prego)
1 6 oz. sliced mushrooms (I leave out)
1 8 oz. package mozarella cheese
1 6 oz. package cream cheese, cubed

Stir together hamburger-onion mixture, cooked macaroni and spaghetti sauce. Pour half of mixture into 9 x 12 baking dish. (I usually use a deep round dish, but either way works.) Layer on mushrooms, half the mozarella, and cream cheese cubes. Add remaining spaghetti mixture and top with remaining mozarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or microwave (I've never done it that way) for 8 minutes, turning twice. Enjoy!

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Old 01-04-2007, 09:24 PM
 
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Ok, now I need your help.

I have some leftover smoked turkey meat (one thigh) and some meat from a cooked ham hock. We don't eat potatoes and not many grains. We've already eaten beans twice this week.

What can I do with this?

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Old 01-04-2007, 09:25 PM
 
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Well, I am going to try to join in. I am trying to clean out the freezer so I can start fresh. I've got stuff in there I don't remember buying.
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hlkm2e View Post
I just spent 20 minutes searching allrecipes for an oatmeal cookie recipe that didn't use quick oats. I have 3 : containers of oats in my pantry. Don't ask me how that happened. So I want to make several batches of oatmeal cookies. Any good ones out there? I have white and wheat flour, old fashion oats, raisins and chocolate chips. Also honey and maple syrup. Along with baking soda, salt, you know.
I use old fashioned oats all the time in cookies and muffins. The end result will be a bit more "oaty" than with quick oats but I kind of like them that way.
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:29 PM
 
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Things are going fairly well for us, except that yesterday was a wash because I needed emotional support and went out to lunch with my dad and my sister. Then I had to eat out for dinner, too because I forgot to bring anything with me. Then today at lunchtime we went to what I thought was a new organic food market in town but instead turned out to be a place that sells organic food, but as "to go" entrees for one. Whoops. Of course DS wanted something and I was hungry, too, so we ate out. Again.

But then I went home and cleaned and reorganized the pantry so that I can actually see what I have in there, then I made dinner from ingredients on hand.

Musings on what I found in my pantry:
  1. Wow. That is a lot of pasta.
  2. And... some more pasta
  3. Keep it coming with the pasta!
  4. Why does a family of 3 need all this mayonnaise?
  5. Hmmm. I must have been on a tuna kick a couple of months ago...
  6. Note for future: buy new cereal AFTER the old box is finished.
  7. Are these chocolate chips from Christmas 2005... yes. Yes they are.
  8. Still tastes like chocolate, though.
  9. Does chocolate go bad?
  10. Mmmmm.... chocolate.

What am I going to do with all this mayonnaise?

Does anyone have a recipe for chicken salad that does NOT involve hard boiled eggs, and is really yummy. We could do chicken salad for lunch.

I gathered up all the odds and ends of crackers and pulverized them... now I just have to figure out what to do with all those bread crumbs. My initial thought is, of course, meatloaf. What else can I do with them?

This is actually kind of fun!

I will be eating a lot of oatmeal for snacks.
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:40 PM
 
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I've started my own pantry/freezer challenge this month and would love moral support!

My goal is to spend less than $25/week on groceries and use of lots of stuff in our pantry and especially our freezers - the fridge one and a partly full chest freezer. I'm not limiting what I can buy, just how much I can spend.

So far, so good. This week I spent just under $25 on produce, butter, smoked turkey legs, eggs, and whole wheat tortillas. I used a bunch of dry and canned beans with the turkey legs for a stew, and cooked up a roast from the freezer and sliced it thin for sandwiches and fajitas. I have gobs of frozen beef and ham, and enough stuff to make chili and mac'n'cheese, so I'm feeling like we can do it.
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