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#1 of 36 Old 05-01-2006, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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??

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#2 of 36 Old 05-01-2006, 09:33 PM
 
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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
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#3 of 36 Old 05-02-2006, 10:46 AM
 
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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
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#4 of 36 Old 05-02-2006, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!

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#5 of 36 Old 05-02-2006, 05:40 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 36 Old 05-02-2006, 06:44 PM
 
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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!

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#7 of 36 Old 05-02-2006, 07:26 PM
 
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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!
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#8 of 36 Old 05-03-2006, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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. . .

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#9 of 36 Old 05-03-2006, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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. . .

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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#10 of 36 Old 05-03-2006, 02:08 PM
 
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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!

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#11 of 36 Old 05-03-2006, 02:11 PM
 
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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.
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#12 of 36 Old 05-03-2006, 02:19 PM
 
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HEY MMGARDA--- how do you make breakfast bars?.
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#13 of 36 Old 05-03-2006, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#14 of 36 Old 05-03-2006, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#15 of 36 Old 05-03-2006, 03:43 PM
 
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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!

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#16 of 36 Old 05-04-2006, 04:11 PM
 
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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.
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Yum!
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#18 of 36 Old 05-05-2006, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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. . .

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#19 of 36 Old 05-05-2006, 01:10 PM
 
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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...

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#20 of 36 Old 05-08-2006, 02:11 PM
 
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Gotta do this!
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#21 of 36 Old 05-08-2006, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e
Hmmmm...I might try applesauce
That's what I was thinking, but I'm not sure of quantities. Alas, my DS1 (the SOOOOOOOOOOOOOPER picky eater who is finally getting more willing to try new things) has rejected the fruit bars completely. I loved them, but really don't need them in the house and don't want to make them if he's not going to eat them! They were supposed to be a snack for HIM! But he loves zuchinni muffins and, since we've used up the last of our zukes, we're going to make applesauce muffins w/ dried apricots and almonds. Mmmmmm.

However, I roasted a chicken yesterday and we're having chicken sandwiches for dinner tonight. I also baked 3 loaves of bread, so I'm using a bunch of baking stuff up, and I'm going to make a freeze a bunch of chicken gravy.

I did go to the store this week and buy some stuff. I went to a local market aimed at the Hispanic community. I had NO idea what an amazing meat counter they have! I got a boneless beef brisket for $3.99/lb. and fresh ground chicken for $2.39/lb. Shocking! The produce section was really good, too, though not organic as far as I could tell. We shop the local farmers' market every weekend (DH went and stocked us up while I was at the grocery store), but there are things we can't get because they're not locally grown, so I'm always looking for good sources. Money is very tight, so we don't buy organics at the store. I did buy some black beans because I'm totally out of canned beans of any sort and we planned to have burritos this week. I got some really thinly sliced beef steaks, so maybe we'll do beef and bean burritos instead of using chicken. Anyway, including a boatload of jarred baby food and some toilet paper, I spent less than $40 and what I bought, along with the Farmer's Market stuff will probably keep us going for about 2 weeks!

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#22 of 36 Old 05-08-2006, 07:10 PM
 
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Did I mention that I'm in again?

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#23 of 36 Old 05-08-2006, 07:14 PM
 
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I returned babyfood to the store!

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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I also made chilli (used 4 cans from the pantry)
And egg rolls (2 cans gone)

~laura
and planning to eat it again
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#25 of 36 Old 05-08-2006, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e
Did I mention that I'm in again?


Made gravy today from the chicken I roasted yesterday. Thought of you! WWCD all the way, baby!!

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#26 of 36 Old 05-08-2006, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246
I returned babyfood to the store!
Well, I'm jealous. DS2 (9 1/2 mos) is a weird solid food eater. On the one hand, I can't get him to eat much in the way of baby food from me. Sometimes he'll take bites of soft cooked fruits and veges (avo, banana, mango, carrots, peas, etc.), but mostly he gets grumpy if I try to feed him, especially if it means giving him what I want him to eat as opposed to letting him grab my fork, lick off the peanutbutter and gravy and then stab himself in the eye with it.

On the other hand, he often refuses his 2nd bottle of EBM on the days he's in daycare, but wants the jarred stuff and won't eat anything else. He won't eat home prepared pureed stuff, either, so I give up! At least he's transitioning out of pureed foods pretty fast, so hopefully we'll be able to stop with the jars soon. In the meantime, they make nice little storage containers! Expensive little storage containers, but nice.

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#27 of 36 Old 05-09-2006, 12:23 AM
 
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Need to do this again. thanks!
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#28 of 36 Old 05-09-2006, 08:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246
I returned babyfood to the store!
I thought I was the only one who did that??
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#29 of 36 Old 05-09-2006, 12:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mmgarda


Made gravy today from the chicken I roasted yesterday. Thought of you! WWCD all the way, baby!!
you're so cute! Could I have the recipe for the applesauce muffins? My dc would love them (I'd have to put something else in in place of the nuts, but they'd still love em! We make killer "Morning Glory" muffins that have coconut, wheat germ, carrots, rasins, and apples in them. YUM, they love those, too. I make them with white whole wheat flour and honey instead of sugar, and then they're even totally healthy (the honey is from a friend who has a local honey farm...). Wanna swap?

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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#30 of 36 Old 05-09-2006, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Went to Trader Joe's today and wound up buying pantry items. BUT, they were items that will allow me to better use up stuff in my pantry, so I'm saying it's ok. Nyeh!

Here's the recipe, Courtney

Applesauce Muffins
Jane Brody's Good Food Book

1 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 lg. egg
2 tbs. oil
1/4 c. honey
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. white flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 c. raisins

In large bowl, beat together applesauce, egg, oil and honey. Set aside

In a med bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to applesauce mixture, stirring just to moisten dry ingredients. Stir in raisins and divide among 12 greased muffin cups.

Bake at 375 for 20 min.


I don't think I have enough applesauce, but I found some more zuchinni lurking in the fridge, so I'm planning to do a combo. I also don't have enough raisins, but I do have dried apricots and dates. So I think it will be zuchinni, applesauce date and walnut muffins. Next time we may do carrott apricot almond. Mmmm. Sneaking veges and fruits into muffins is a time-honored tradition in my house!

ex-Californian, making my way on the East Coast with DS (10), DS (6) and WAHDH. Former extended BF'er, co-sleeper, and baby-wearer. Remembering how to garden.

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