Summer 2013 Pantry Challenge: Day 3

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I’m taking the Pantry Challenge, eating what’s in the fridge, freezer, and pantry, and trying to save some cash.
oatmeal day three

Since I go to the gym almost every morning, breakfast for the kids can be tricky. It’s not tricky when I’ve bought boxed cereal or we have lots of eggs. I guess it’s tricky during a pantry challenge.

This morning I overslept, so many children were awake — like all of them — when I left. Two had slept at a friend’s house, but the other four were awake. So, I made steel-cut oats and topped them with cream, demerara sugar, cranberries, and sliced almonds.

preworkout day three

As my pre-workout breakfast, I had cottage cheese and canned pineapple. Not the most exciting. But, it worked.

You might have picked up on the fact that I’m trying to eat healthy AND do a pantry challenge. This is not a perfect combination, especially when your pantry is heavy on carbs and fats and low on protein.

post workout day 3

When I got back from the gym, I scrambled an egg and sliced a tomato. I am not real experienced in working out, but I’ve read that if you are doing a healthy workout, you need to eat before and after. I’m trying to make sure that happens. I’m hoping some day it won’t feel so forced.

Contrast that with the fact that we met my sister and my nieces at In-N-Out Burger for lunch. OK, not all of us. Two boys chose to stay home and eat turkey sandwiches. They were enjoying the calm before the storm that is four little girls running around the house.

We only spent $13 at INO for me, two boys, and two girls, so I’m not worried about that hurting our dining out budget this month. Plus, it was a fun reward after they cleaned bathrooms and bedrooms in anticipation of company.

ralphs day 3

After lunch, I stopped at Ralphs for more eggs and bananas. Within an hour, there were only three bananas left! I guess we’re in a banana phase. I spent about $7, so we’re still under our limit for the week.

taco night day three

For dinner, hubs and the kids made corn tortillas. In my freezer inventory, I found a pan of Queso Fundido. We had that as an option as well as Seasoned Taco Meat. I made Mexican Rice and a cabbage salad. The kids ate popcorn with a movie later.

I didn’t completely follow my meal plan, but the day went well and no one starved.

Breakfast: Cottage cheese, Fruit; Oatmeal; Scrambled Egg, Tomato

Lunch: Turkey Sandwiches; In-N-Out Burger

Dinner: Tacos, Homemade Corn Tortillas, Mexican RiceQueso Fundido; Popcorn

pantry challenge sum 13This post is a part of the Summertime Pantry Challenge where we’re trying to save money on food by using up what we have. You can read more about it here.

I’ll be posting daily updates on how the challenge is going. You can read through the PC archives here.

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  1. Pantry challenge day 9 still going strong. I spent 24$ of the budget today at a store sale. It was buy a package of tortillas get one dozen eggs free. So I got three tortillas and three dozen eggs. Also toilet paper (on sale with coupon) we were running REALLY low. And SHRIMP a family favorite for 3.50 a pound. That’s soooo cheap in the desert.

    Tonight the hubby cooked dinner for the 6th time in the four years we’ve been together (seriously) and it didn’t come out half bad. I made breakfast burritos with a dozen of the eggs. But now I have two more dozen to
    Use before August 10. That’s a lot of eggs for two people. So I guess I’ll start baking again 🙂

    As a workout junkie. I know it’s important to eat before and after working out, but sometimes eating before makes me NAUSEOUS!! so as long as I eat protein after, I don’t worry too much.

    All and all proud of our first pantry challenge. weve spent 145$ of our 300$ budget (Cut in 1/2 from our regular 600$) and the dog food has been bought so we wont have to worry about that until August!!! So the question of the evening is. Can you deep freeze eggs??

    • I hope you’ll be able to find more info about it, but I’ve read about a family that beats the fresh eggs really well, so yolks and whites mix as much as possible, then put them into ice cube trays to freeze. The way I figure it, anyone who has ever pulled a frozen egg from the back of a very cold fridge, knows the egg still tastes fine. I’ve pulled several frozen eggs from my fridge over time and they cook and taste fine.

    • Your eggs will last in your refrigerator much longer than the sell by/ Best bydate. that is just an arbitrary date the USDA makes a producer use to keep them safe from litigation.

      You can search all over the web and find different opinions.. The USDA will give you a shorter time frame & Egg Producers (not commercial) will give you the longest. I’ve kept eggs in my frig for easily up to 6 months & never had a problem with them. In the olden days, folks rubbed oil on eggs, and put them in water in a root cellar to keep them and they lasted close to a year.. without refrigeration.. but that is with fresh laid eggs, not store bought.
      Anyways.. You can always use the water trick if you’re not sure an egg is good.. They sink if they’re good and float if they’re old..

    • I agree, i keep my eggs a LOT longer than the sell by date and have never had any problems. I just found cage free eggs for less than $2 a dozen and bought 8 dozen. It will definitely not be eaten by the sellby date, but i’m not worried 😉

    • Gonna chime in with the others. Unless your eggs float when placed in a bowl of water, they are good to use, regardless of the sell-by date.

    • Patricia says:

      CeCee – I have to ask only because I was startled – you ate a dozen eggs between the two of you for breakfast? And I agree, eggs stay fresh longer than the sell by date. You’re doing great in the challenge.

      • Haha. We easily could because of the amount of protein we eat a day due to our weightlifting. But No. I made and froze about 6 breakfast wraps. With eggs ham and hubby will pull them out for breakfast and he loves them. Cooked eggs can be frozen with minimal texture difference. That’s why I was curious about raw eggs

  2. G’day! BIG thanks for inspiring me to day!

    Here is my series I have been inspired to do!

    Yes, the freezer has been attacked too, but am focusing on my two very overloaded pantries!
    Cheers! Joanne

  3. When I workout, I like a bit of carbs and sugar before the workout and protein afterwards. So I usually have whole wheat toast with raw honey before a run, and a glass of milk afterwards.

  4. Kirstin says:

    I noticed that you made steel-cut oats yesterday but you linked to your cooking method for old-fashioned oats. Do you cook steel-cut oats the same way?

    • I followed the directions on the package since it seems every package has different directions. Thanks for pointing that out about the link. It was so late at night, I was pretty tired.

  5. 2 old time breakfast ideas that I never see anymore are to make a batch of rice.. You can cook raisins and nuts in them if you want or wait until the rice is cooked (or use precooked), add milk, sugar, butter or syrup or any accompaniments to it.. Its super yummy and if you have left over rice, its a great way to use it up. You could do the same thing with quinoa too.. or any grain, really.

    Another yummy breakfast is to take a square of cornbread, pour milk over it & dig in… Add butter if you like, or not.

    These were very typical breakfasts back 40-50 years ago when I was a kid.

  6. We are on day 10 of the challenge we started July 1st. So far I have bought a 1kg bag of sugar for a 1.44. 8 liters of milk for 8.00 and today I spent 24 dollars on fruits and veggies. I priced matched at Walmart and was able to buy peaches, nectarines, plums both black and red, 3 pints of blue berries, 2 bags of green grapes, 2 large packs of already prepared carrots, 2 bunchs of celery, 2 cucumbers, one bag of vidilia onions, one head of romaine, and one of leaf lettuce. I am hoping that will last us for at least a week. My grocery costs for the last few months has been a 1000 dollars which included tolietries for 7 people, two adults, three teens and two small eaters. I only have a budget of 800, so the overage is becoming debt because we have no wiggle room, so I have to get it under control. I am hoping that the challenge will save us enough to get caught up, and hopefully I can get focused and stay on budget. It is great reading about everyone elses successes.

  7. Jessica, I know you said you tried ‘The tightwad gazette’ before, but if you can get it from your library or something and kinda troll thru it, there may be some things you would find useful, – Amy Dacyczyn, the author, was also raising 6 kids. She was too extreme for some, and got a lot of criticism for some of the things she did, but her whole point was that her frugality made it financially possible for both her husband and herself to spend more time with the kids – a point the critics always seemed to miss. anyway,she offers recipes like a universal muffin recipe, so u can use what u have on hand, even leftovers, even stale bread.

    That’s a good idea to eat some protein after a workout. I do cross fit, and have had all kinds of injuries lately. Protein would definitely help with the healing process.

  8. QUESTION: Does anyone know if you can use a boxed cookie mix to make pancakes? If so how? We received two boxes of gingerbread cookie mix in a Christmas gift basket. I would like to use it up, but we do not need that many cookies.

    • I use boxed cookie or cake mixes for pie crust for sweet pies. I cut it with butter and keep it really cold. Don’t over mix it though! It can get tough if you do. It makes the best pie crusts ever!!

  9. Heather M says:

    FInally getting to report on yesterday, when you’re probably ready to post about today, Jessica! Phew! Busy day! well, really, busy week! Onward to my report. When I commented yesterday, I was headed to put chicken in the slow cooker. Well, phone calls I had to take, interruptions of all kinds, then I had to leave, and the chicken never made it in. So I looked at my inventory sheets for dinner inspiration, and saw there was a box of dirty rice mix. I keep this sort of thing for just this type of situation: when I’m too busy to think or spend much time in the kitchen. Certainly isn’t my favorite to make dinner from a box, but it’ll do in a pinch. Especially since I always add piles of veggies and/or salad. And it was of the “reduced sodium” variety. I pulled out a thing of frozen ground turkey(only 1 left!), defrosted it in the microwave, and we were in business. We ate the dirty rice with a side of steamed veggies. Breakfast and lunch were the usual variations of breakfast food, leftovers, sandwiches. And the bonus was, dinner planned for today. Especially since I haven’t fully planned out meals for the week. It’s been too busy. But as long as I have a better idea by tomorrow morning when I head to pick up a few things at Costco and Trader Joe’s, we’re good.

  10. Day 3:
    Breakfast – cinnamon rolls
    Lunch – egg salad, King Hawaiian rolls, apples
    Dinner – shredded pork, southwestern rice, guacamole

    Day 4:
    Breakfast – shredded wheat cereal
    Lunch – leftover saffron rice and smoked sausages
    Dinner – chicken wings and fries

    Expenditures: have spent 35% of the monthly food budget for this month, but it was all on 7/1 and nothing since. I am still hopeful I will not exceed 50% for the month.

  11. I’m sorry. Did you say, “Since I go to the gym every morning?” Can you write a post about how you got that all worked out? =) I’m new to your blog, so perhaps you already have, but as a mom of 4, I was really intrigued by how you make that work.

    BTW, I moved to SB 2 years ago and have gotten in good with the homeschool mom crowd here and they all sing your praises. Perhaps we will meet some day? Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jessica says:

      Ha! Yes, I do. Part of this is because I have one teenager and one almost teenager, so I know everyone is safe while I’m gone, under their watch. The Y is close. That’s how it works. Would love to meet you someday!

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