Getting ready for the April Pantry Challenge! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 70 Old 03-28-2005, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry if I'm jumping the gun a little here. It's Mon. and this week March ends, so I'm already thinking about how I"m doing and how I hope to do in April.

As of today I've spent $420 on groceries, and about $20 on some household items. Not bad considering it used to be about $550 on the months when I made forays into the health food stores and co-op for yummy but often unnecessary purchases. And that didn't always count the household items! Yikes, I shiver to think of it....

I've been trying to find more organic at my local supermarkets and buying less and less packaged food. Even though I thought I wasn't buying any packaged food, I was relying on packaged crackers and sometimes cookies a lot...now I am baking a lot more. Also making more bread which means we eat less packaged bread.

Well, this weekend we ran out of just about everything so I made a run to the store for produce and basics (bread, yogurt, etc.) I didn't get everything, still need a bunch of stuff so tomorow I am getting my Peapod order which is about $110 and includes everything from meat to laundry detergent (they have my brand for 2.99/gal.).

I am kind of thinking that this Peapod order will overlap well into April as I am stocking up on lots of things, like meats, cheese, baking supplies etc. So March looks a little more $$ but April should be cheaper.

Oh, and I am so excited! I found out that a local family-owned market is stocking a lot of organic meat, so I think I'm going to start running over there once a month to stock up. It's a gorgeous store and a lot of people become addicted shopping there, though...I"m not sure how their prices are on everything. I'll have to try to exercise restraint. Though it would be nice to shop at a family-owned business more often.

How did everyone do this month? Let us know!
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#2 of 70 Old 03-28-2005, 05:56 PM
 
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What is the April Pantry challenge???

Danielle

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SAHM to boy: 8/11/04 :

Trying to build up my house, not tear it down namaste.gif.   Got 3 wonderful kids jumpers.gif  ribboncesarean.gif autismribbon.gif, blessed with a wonderful husband luxlove.gif and have the privilege of staying home full time to enjoy it all! 

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#3 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 02:01 PM
 
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Count me in!!! We will be moving soon, and I'm trying to use everything up anyway!! :LOL

mom to G 6/19/03 and M 9/9/06
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#4 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 02:13 PM
 
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well .. so far this year's been good we've spent $570 on groceries for a family of 8 since Jan. 1st. More than we really expected to (last year it was approx $500) but now we have TWO picky toddlers to contend with
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#5 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 02:29 PM
 
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Rainbowbird- hugs to you for starting!

I'm in as usual!

Welcome Danielle! We love pantry vigins here, so get ready to have some fun and save some money and eat well!
The Pantry challenge was started way back at the beginning of the year. A few people here were trying to save money, cut expenses or broke and wanted to know how they could survive just using what was available in their cabinets or "pantry"

A few people were able to expand the time between visits to the grocery store and use what was available in the pantry, freezer, fridge- you name it.
Go look in your pantry, see what you can use over the next few days and lurk here and see what its all about!

My parents came home for the Easter break for a week and now they gave me their leftover groceries before heading back to warmer weather.
So we are having tenderlion (a bit of a stretch normally for our budget) tonight. Also we now have an extra gallon of skim, cheeses, and some extra fruit dd is eating up. Eggs too.
Yesterday I went to the grocery and stocked up on sale blocks of mozella that we shred and freeze. Also ricotta cheese- 5 lbs $6. I think I will make a ton of Mannicottis or lasagna roll ups to use up. They freeze well too.

I'm under budget for groceries but I think the stock up of cheese might have put us over the top but as dh says, it was well worth it to stock up on a huge staple. I have to run to Trader Joes but this all counts under March.
So the April challenge should be fun!

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#6 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 02:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weebitty2
well .. so far this year's been good we've spent $570 on groceries for a family of 8 since Jan. 1st. More than we really expected to (last year it was approx $500) but now we have TWO picky toddlers to contend with

how did you ever do it????????

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#7 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 03:40 PM
 
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I'm in. I have not tried this before. My pantry is stocked with all kinds of stuff and I am really bad about using it up. I spend way to much at the grocery store and need to cut way back. We are trying to save for a vacation this summer and we already live on a tight budget. I feel like I am always heading for the grocery store for a few items and then a couple days down the road I realize I forget something. I hope this will help me to get more organized and weed out the food in the pantry.
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#8 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amys1st

how did you ever do it????????
THAT's what I was wondering, too!!!! Good Lord, I can't imagine.

Tell us what was on your shopping lists! Please!
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#9 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 05:43 PM
 
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I'm in for sure. I have been buying way too much stuff, especially pantry stuff. And I have a new freezer that needs filling up.

My first question:
How do you make lasagna rollups? I think I probably have all the ingredients in my pantry.

2. Do you mamas use frozen veggies? The only way I can get them to taste right is if they are in a crockpot all day. Any other suggestions?

3. I need some good vegetarian recipes to use up a ton of canned beans in my pantry.

4. Anyone have a favorite breadmachine recipe that uses : white flour : I have a ton, our grocery had organic on sale for 99cents and I bought a lot. Now, I need to use it. I have a pizza dough recipe, but I need a yummy everyday or fruit recipe or maybe some kind of cinnamin bread?

Wow, I guess I had more questions than I thought. Well, it will give us a good place to start.
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#10 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hlkm2e
I'm in for sure. My first question:
How do you make lasagna rollups? I think I probably have all the ingredients in my pantry.
I did this when I had leftover lasagna noodles but not enough for a lasagna- I saw them in MArket Day ads and copied the idea.
Boil the noodles like you normally would and get all your ingredients that you normally would.
Take a boiled noodle and spread the cheese mixture on it and roll it up. Bake like you normally would and serve w sauce. ITs a quick made manicotti but it fits the bill especially for individual servings etc.
Questions are good, there are usually a lot of anwers here.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#11 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 07:44 PM
 
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Of course I'm in again. I'm going to keep track of how much I spend in April. I use my tips from work to buy groceries, so I'm never sure of how much I'm spending.

I made a giant batch of roasted veggies today. Having them tonight over couscous (still have some from way back to use up). Also took some, pureed it with stock and I've got soup in the freezer
I'll still have some leftover for dinner, any suggestions? I thought maybe I'd put them in some kind of homemade hot pockety type thing? How would I go about this, what kind of sauce should I use?

hlkm2e - What kind of bean recipes are you looking for? Soups, main courses?
Also, I don't have a bread machine, but you could mix the white flour with ww flour so it wouldn't be so.....white :LOL Just a thought.

Mama to 3:
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#12 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 10:16 PM
 
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Isosmom, if you have ample basic baking supplies on hand you could make a veggie pie. Smother them with a homemade gravy or cream sauce (in the March thread Amy gave directions for a cream sauce, I think) & cover the whole thing with some biscuit dough or a piecrust. It's not hot-pockety, really, but it would probably be less hassle.

Or you could make fried rice, throw in a couple scrambled eggs maybe, and use the veggies in that
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#13 of 70 Old 03-29-2005, 11:28 PM
 
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Isomom- maybe record your tips down after your shift so you know what your spending. Keep a running journal like a checkbook

Roasted veggies sounds wonderful!

We used the leftover tendorlion and made cheese steak style sandwiches. There was enough for DH to take another sandwich to work tomorrow. Then we cut up some tomatoes and poured olive oil and balsamic vingar on them. Its nice to use what we have up first.

I bought a bag of spinach for 98 cents. so tomorrow its spinach salads with a grilled chicken breast cut up, two slices of fried bacon, leftover manderion oranges, and some strawberries that need to be used. And whatever else I may find in fridge or cabinets that need to be used up! Also I just remembered some leftover soup in the freezer hmmm.

Since I start my Spring detox/cleanse next week, Im making a list of different supplies and meals to make. So far I have about 5 choices in the pantry for dinners.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#14 of 70 Old 03-30-2005, 12:21 AM
 
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Another virgin here!!! I can't wait i'll have to share my shoping list some time and month meal plan i only shop 1 x a month and only spend about $150 a month to feed our family of 5 (one still on BM only) and i also get WIC so that helps but anyways i though i would trough that in and i'll try to post my monthly menu tomorrow if the girls take a nap and if i get my work phone calls done!!!
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#15 of 70 Old 03-30-2005, 12:00 PM
 
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I have pinto, great northern and chili beans in the pantry. I would like to use them for entrees. We are vegetarian this month, so meatless recipes, please. I do make a mean white chili that is veg. but could use some other ideas. Could I use any of these beans for mexican?
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#16 of 70 Old 03-30-2005, 12:20 PM
 
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: I was so bad last month. I really need to try to work on this for financial as well as health reasons. I have a full pantry, only lacking beans. I've signed up for our local co-op to reduce organic veggie/fruit cost and cut down on trips to the local grocery store. I've also started my cold crops (peas, spinach and lettuces) which will hopefully pay off in dividends. So I'm glad that we're starting April early...on a hopeful note for me .
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#17 of 70 Old 03-30-2005, 03:54 PM
 
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Someone asked about frozen veggies? I admit, I don't cut the corner on these, I usually buy a good name brand. I bring some water to a rolling boil, add my veggies, keep it on high heat. Once they start to boil again, they are usually done, so I drain them right away. If they cook any longer, I find they get tough or over startchy and lose their taste. Spring is here and we will do more steaming of fresh veggies-YUM!
I still need to do something with those bags of dried beans. I believe that will be a weekend thing...
I feel off the wagon with meal planning....
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#18 of 70 Old 03-30-2005, 07:27 PM
 
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Pinto beans are the usual "refried beans". I soak them overnight, cook them the next day till very very soft, drain off any extra water and mash the heck out of 'em with a potato masher (adding any water back in that's necessary to make them smooth & not pasty). I season mine with garlic & salt, sometimes I add full-fat plain yogurt. But there's lots of other things you could use, chili powder for one. And I serve them as-is, even though they're not really refried. To refry them you fry them slowly in a heavy skillet with some lard or butter. I can't tell the difference, to be honest.

Anyway, they make a great dip mixed with some cheddar cheese & heated till the cheese melts. Or then there's burritos with homemade tortillas (super cheap) or just baked like a casserole: a layer of rice, a layer of beans, a layer of cheese, top with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, whatever just before serving. Or, you can use them to thicken soups or cook them with scrambled eggs or put a salad on top of some or ...

They freeze really well too. I always cook double & try to have a batch in the freezer at all times. Usually I freeze them in small containers so they're handy for a lunch or snack when it's just Ds & me.
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#19 of 70 Old 03-30-2005, 09:57 PM
 
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Kristin-Would you happen to have a biscuit top recipe? I'm sure I've got everything I need to make one, I just don't know how. I think I'm going to use them up tommorow either in a veg pie or risotto.

I'll look into some bean recipes for you, but for now I would love that white chili recipe

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#20 of 70 Old 03-31-2005, 01:49 PM
 
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Hmmm....I really like the idea of cooking them and freezing them. They aren't pinto beans though. I have two lbs of kidney beans and one of some white bean, I don't remember kind.
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#21 of 70 Old 04-01-2005, 12:40 AM
 
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Alright, so I made risotto with the leftover roasted veggies. And in true pantry style too! I didn't have white wine, so I omitted it, I didn't have stock, so I used water and added the pureed soup I made to flavor, added the roasted veggies, didn't have parmesan so I used cheddar and feta. It was good stuff, we all ate it.

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#22 of 70 Old 04-01-2005, 01:09 AM
 
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Well, I've been doing really well with keeping my grocery list simple and only for planned meals. But, I've also started buying organic, so I'm spending more on food, I think. My goal for this month is to actually add it up. Something I've been avoiding... :
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#23 of 70 Old 04-01-2005, 11:01 AM
 
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Okay its officially now the April challenge- no fooling!

Our grocery bill was a tad bit higher than I wanted in March, but we stocked up big time on a few staple items.
but Sunday starts the Spring Cleanse and Detox so its pantry raiding time.

Does anyone have a recipe for ground turkey and beans chili? I am planning on making my ground turkey balls but chili is always an option.

Also, I looked in the pantry and we have:
canned Clams and pasta
tuna tuna tuna
canned chicken
curry sauce
chick peas
lentil soup (plus my homemade in the freezer)


Tonight its swedish meatballs w mushrooms on a bed on noodles. I made up about 2 dozen meatballs and froze them so I took out a bunch for tonight.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#24 of 70 Old 04-01-2005, 01:46 PM
 
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Amy, I have a yummy chicken chili recipe I bet you could tinker with and make it fit what you have.

1lb. poultry (whatever you have)
1.5 tsp white pepper
1 tsp garlic powder ( I like to use minced garlic)
3 tbsp. veg. oil (I use olive oil)
1 small diced onion
2 cans great northern beans, not drained (could do your own beans)
16 oz. chicken broth (I use my own, but make it strong)
2 small cans green chilies (you could chop up your own)
1 can cream of chicken soup (I've used mushroom and celery, too, Needs to be thick and I haven't mastered making it think enough homemade, but I bet you could)
1 tsp salt

garnish
6-8 flour tortillas
1 cup sour cream
1.5 cups grated mozzarella
cilantro

Cut chicken into small pieces and season with white pepper and garlic powder. Saute chicken and oil in a stockpot for 3 minutes. Add remaining soup ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

To serve, cut tortillas into 1/4 inch strips. Place tortillas in individual serving bowls with strips extended around edges. Ladle chili into bowls. Garnish with sour cream, cheese and cilantro


ETA - it freezes very well also
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#25 of 70 Old 04-01-2005, 05:25 PM
 
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The white chili recipie sounds great! My dh is allergic to tomatoes so I am always on the look out for good tomato free ideas. I think I have everything but the chilies and canned beans. All my beans are dry so I will have to soak them for tomorrow.
I like the idea of cooking extra and freezing them. I will definatly do that.
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#26 of 70 Old 04-03-2005, 08:12 PM
 
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Well I'm officaially on the pantry challenge. I am allowing myself some slack to buy fresh veggie. Here in the windy city area, the sun is shinin and its so awesome outside. Its been a long winter so its fun to walk to the grocery or markets for fresh veggies and fruits.

But this week- couscous salad, chick pea salad, and some other fun stuff to use up some nuts and the couscous and chick peas.
We had 2 1/2 dozens eggs so I boiled 6 and made egg salad- great sandwich w organic wheat bread from in the freezer!
Then DH made a frittata w leftover grilled potatoes from last night, some cheese, a bit of yellow peppers and some leftover onion as well and used about 4-5 eggs! So that was our yummy breakfast- even dd ate.

Also a few rotten bannannas will make a fine bread midweek.
Since its so wonderful outside I'm using my clothesline tomorrow- can't wait to smell that fresh smell on our sheets and to start saving on not using the dryer.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#27 of 70 Old 04-03-2005, 11:35 PM
 
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Well, I went thru the kitchen today- found quite a few "half-meals", so I have a very small list of things to get and will have meals for about 9 suppers!! I am very glad!! I will be moving at the end of the month, so I am kind of cheating!!
Anyone have a simple chicken soup recipe? I have 4 cans of chicken broth. I will use one up making chicken pot pie.
Good luck ladies!

mom to G 6/19/03 and M 9/9/06
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#28 of 70 Old 04-04-2005, 03:05 PM
 
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This sounds perfect for me.

1) because I am trying to save some money
and 2) because I was looking in my cupboards last night and thinking "why do we have so much stuff in here".

So, I guess it is time to use it all up. I just started planning menus last week so I did a big grocery shop to buy all the stuff I needed. How often do most of you shop for fruits/veggies, dairy and other perishables? My daughter is a yogurt fiend so I feel like we are buying it constantly and the worst part is the organic stuff never goes on sale here.
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#29 of 70 Old 04-04-2005, 03:16 PM
 
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I went to the grocery store yesterday for yogurt, o.j., and fruit and veg. Both my dh and ds are yogret fiends. With ds I buy the big containers of plain and mix in chocolate spiraten. He loves it. But he could eat one big container in three days or less. But I refuse to buy more than one a week.
I made fritta last night too! today I am draggin since I was up all night with a sick and teething babe Can't seem to defuzz my brain enough to wrap it around what to make for dinner
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#30 of 70 Old 04-04-2005, 07:33 PM
 
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Kristine - Glad you joined us! I shop about once a week for perishables, I stick to my list and take advantage of the farmer's market. I usually have one big shop and then the others are for replenishing. I've found it helpful to keep a list of food that we need to have in the house and buy it as we run out but not before I was planning on shopping. So if we run out of yoghurt on Thursday, we'll just have to wait until Monday for more.

So I wanted to keep track of how much I actually spent this month since I use cash from my tips to buy groceries. So far I spent $8 on deli sandwiches, dh spent $5 on cheese, and I just got back from the grocery and spent $123.63. But I bought everything so I won't be spending at the farmer's market tommorow. My total so far for the month is $137 and I'm pretty sure I won't be spending at much for subsequent trips to the market, today was kind of my big shop.

Tonight I'm planning on making use of all the fresh veggies I bought and making some greens with mushrooms and a veggie saute with asparagus, zucchini, and scallions Serving it over some couscous or polenta maybe?

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