Pantry Challenge Day 24: Homemade Almond Butter

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This is Day 24 of my month-long Pantry Challenge series  where we’re eating down the pantry (and freezer and fridge) to use up what we have, rotate stock, and save some cash. Today I made homemade almond butter.

Due to a family peanut allergy, we’ve not bought peanut butter in about two and a half years. Peanuts now look like poison to me. Typically I buy sunflower butter since until very recently, we thought we needed to avoid all nuts. We don’t. So, almond butter is back on the table.

Now that the cupboard grows bare — and we are out of sunbutter — I made my own almond butter. I don’t think it is cost effective on a long term basis, but grinding up a handful of almonds worked in a pinch. The kids didn’t “love” it. Sunflower butter is often sweetened, so they are used to a sweeter flavor. But, like I said… in a pinch.

Here’s how we ate on Day 24:


The kids had pancakes. I made a goat cheese and leek tart. I pulled a log of goat cheese from the freezer earlier in the week, so I’m on the clock to use it up. Not many of my people will eat quiche/tarts of this variety, so I have to take my opportunities when I can.


Lunch was a hodge podge of leftovers and almond butter crackers. I’ve got some sick kids. Three woke up under the weather today, so no one really had a hearty appetite.


For supper I made soup from all kinds of freezer randomness: ratatouille, an itty bit of taco meat, garbanzo beans, and some roasted  vegetable puree. We have leftovers, so hopefully folks will be happy with soup at lunch tomorrow.

I added two loaves of artisan bread, a green salad, goat cheese tart, cheese curds, and grilled sausages from the freezer to the mix. I don’t think anyone went hungry.

In other news, I’ve been planning my freezer cooking for next month as well as looking through the grocery ads. Ralphs (Kroger) has some AWESOME sales going until Tuesday. So,  I will most likely be stocking up on some of those items. I am still strategizing. Certainly we have the money, but I don’t want to blow the progress we’ve made with the challenge.

But, the challenge is about being a good steward. Purposely missing some killer stock up sales on things we normally use wouldn’t be all that wise. So, I’m plotting right now how to go about it.

Day 24 Menus

Breakfast: Pancakes, Goat Cheese and Leek Tart
Lunch: Leftovers, Almond Butter Crackers
Dinner: Soup, Bread, Cheese, Salad, Sausage, Tart

One week left!

Are you still with me?

This post is part of a month-long Pantry Challenge series. You can read more about my goals for the challenge here.

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  1. I was at Ralph’s today! I bought 10 cream cheese bricks (99 cents each), and many other Mega Sale items stacked with coupons. I left the store with 30 items, for under $30. FUN! BTW, I’m hoping cream cheese is freeze-able. Have you tried?

    • It is, but the texture changes a bit. I used to buy the big 3-pound block at Costco and cut it into 8-oz portions. I wrapped them in plastic and then in a big bag. Worked fine for us,, even though they say on the package not to freeze. I don’t know what their reasoning is.

    • @Pamela, I freeze cream cheese all the time. Jessica’s right, the texture gets a little hinky, but I use if for alfredo or other dishes where I cook with it and it works great.

  2. I’m still in!
    Breakfast: Special K cereal, strawberries
    Lunch: cheesy stuffed shells with marinara sauce
    Snack: cookies from frozen cookie dough
    Dinner: turkey & dumplings

    I’m totally down for making more batches of the frozen cookie dough. I had the oven on for the shells, so I sliced off just a couple of cookies from the frozen dough from Christmas and baked those. It was enough for an afternoon snack but I don’t have to worry about a whole bunch of cookies sitting around that we will feel compelled to eat, and they cooked in just a few minutes. I rarely make cookies because it is a hassle to get the ingredients together to make the dough, but slicing off a couple from a log worked great. Thanks for posting about that a couple months ago. I foresee an afternoon of assembling cookie doughs coming in the near future!

    • @Sandi, isn’t that great?! I baked and froze our cookies and they’re all gone. But, you reminded me that I think there’s a log of cookie dough around here somewhere. I know what’s on tomorrow’s menu. 😉

  3. I had to hit the store yesterday for more then the “3-4 items I had really great coupons for that were on sale.” I decided No milk, no eggs, no fruit, no lunch meat, no half and half for my coffee and hubby due home from a trip were a bad combination. I managed to snag some great manager mark downs in the meat department and stocked up. Since I did my shopping early in the day I had all afternoon before the kids got home to divide, package, prep and toss into the freezer. It felt huge spending $156.00 at this store at one time.. but when I sat down later and broke it down into what I bought, the deals I got and how many main dishes I had worth of food I felt much better!

  4. Yesterday we didn’t stick to the menu plan. Breakfast was cereal, banana and scrambled eggs. Lunch was leftovers and oranges for me and Baby Bear and sandwich carrots and dip and oranges for the 4 year old. I found mark down pork chops yesterday so I let Hubby choose prep method. I should have known he’d want fried pork chops with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. I was inspired to make the popovers. They were delicious but stuck to the pan something fierce. I also made a new recipe that claimed to be granola bars. It was more like granola cake but still tasty.

  5. Being the graceful gal that I am, I fell down on some ice in our wonderful 4 degree weather this week. My knee was killing me yesterday and I just wanted my hubby to bring home pizza. Then I found a couple of packs of long lost ramen noodles and made some awesome broccoli cheese soup. It was soo very good on a cold night.

  6. Yesterday dinner: I put a whole chicken in the crockpot made brown rice, corn, and stuffing to go with the chicken. lots of leftover chicken as I grew these ones myself so they are larger than the 3lb store bought chickens.
    Lunch: leftovers or cold cereal (pumpkin granola with home made yogurt)
    breakfast: waffle with blueberries and cake
    snack was pumpkin cranberry bread

    Today’s breakfast was cereal
    lunch is going to be arby’s (the boys both have a free meal coming to them)
    Dinner its boy2s day to cook so its waffles and I will probably make a gravy and have leftover chicken on top (hows that for a Southern meal in chilly WI).

    • @Heather, Ugh…. the microwave decided to make crazy garbage disposal noises instead of its usual quiet hum. They can’t come service it until next Thursday. This is bad. I defrost this way. I reheat this way. I make breakfast this way. Guess I’m going to have to adapt. Not happy about this at all. We’ll see how the last week of the challenge goes. On the flip side, all the $$ we saved on food this month will go toward fixing it. But, that means it won’t go toward spring break. Ugh. Oh well. What a way to start the weekend.

    • @Heather Oops! I meant to put this below my original comment. Ugh. I guess this microwave thing has me frazzled. Better go do something that gets me in a better frame of mind. Sorry!

    • @Heather, alright I broke down and bought some nuts, $18 worth, 2 bag pecans, 2 bags sunflower = at least 4lbs of nuts.

  7. I’m still in, although nothing too exciting to report for yesterday’s meals:
    Breakfast: whole wheat English muffin, coffee, skim milk
    Lunch: LO homemade chicken salad (made with shredded chicken from freezer) over red leaf lettuce and cherry tomatoes, and all drizzled with olive oil. Cucumber slices on the side.
    Dinner: ‘Mustgo Night” This is what I call it when I want to clean out the fridge of all leftovers – everything MUST GO!
    Snacks: String cheese, strawberries

  8. Wednesday night I made my gigantic pot of chicken & noodles with left over baked chicken (one of those–ugh, don’t have a meal plan, have no clue what I want to make and I’m out of time kind of nights). I really didn’t mean to make that much as my guys don’t really care for this 2 nights in a row. But I pulled it through Thursday though by taking that pot out of the fridge, adding broth (also made from that chicken) and some seasonings to make chicken/noodle soup for lunch. It already had plenty previously frozen peas/carrots so that area was already covered. They will have this soup for lunch again today since the noodles won’t handle a freezing at this point. 😉 I have made a meal plan to get me through next Thursday so I feel a lot better about the week to come. I think we have only eaten out 4x this month, and only 1x wasn’t planned so I feel good about our modified challenge. 🙂

  9. Heather M says:

    Jan 24th was a short day for us… a light snowfall overnight meant school opening was delayed 2 hours. The kids LOVED it when I woke them up and they had extra time, yet had slept in an extra 90 minutes. They’re at the age where sleeping is more important than playing in the snow before school. And yes, only 1.5 inches and we were delayed. We don’t do snow very well in the Washington DC area. At all.

    Breakfast: waffles, bacon, juice, and the kids weren’t eating on their way while rushing to the bus!
    Lunch: lunchboxes and leftovers
    Dinner: red turkey chili (As opposed to a super yummy white turkey chili I make… one with no tomatoes, white beans, green salsa, etc.)… a new recipe and is a keeper! Everyone loved it. Also, salad and leftover cornbread.

    Onward to the weekend. Debating whether it should be a leftovers night or make a soup and have Saturday be the leftovers night…

  10. Still hanging… We all know that stocking up on super deals is a huge way to save money for the freezer.. Im always going to jump on a great deal when I see one, but thats the way I shop every day of my life. Personally, I dont have a monthly budget so some months I might spend $50 and other months I’ll spend $600.
    I am going to try to keep track this year just how much I do spend for the year.. and on what. Once my CSA & garden starts again, I spend very little at the grocery store.. mainly buying meat & condiments when needed.

    Yesterday I broke with my norm and had 2 eggs with Oaxaca cheese & salsa in a toasted corn tortilla & coffee for breakfast.. then had a couple tamales for lunch, and made fajitas with beans & rice for supper.
    I also made a pretty easy & tasty coconut pineapple pie for dessert. Someone also posted a recipe for a Fruit Salad cake that sounds good.. I’ll have to try that one of these days too.

    I have loads of canned fruit and Im not really a fan but M’honey was making fruit smoothies for a couple years then all of the sudden stopped, so I have quite a bit in the freezer & in the pantry.

  11. I’m still with you! I haven’t figured it out exactly but I have only spent $100-$150 on groceries for the month. A little bonus last week, I came home to a chicken in my crock-pot (my mom had been babysitting my daughter) and I turned that into 3 meals. #1 The crock-pot version, #2 chicken fajitas, and #3 chicken pot pie which I put in the freezer.

  12. Your tart sounds fantastic. Have you ever posted about the tarts before?

  13. Of course the grocery store ads came out on Wed. here and they all are having “stock-up” sale’s. I have a list so that when I go tomorrow I am prepared. Canned fruit is one of those things on sale and I do plan to buy a variety. We eat a good bit of it and I pack it in containers for lunches. I like it with cottage cheese for breakfast.

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