Pantry Challenge 2014: Day Eleven

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This month I’m doing a Pantry Challenge. For two weeks, I’m focusing on using up what we have to save money and time and to reduce waste.

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I love Saturdays. No school. No gym. And if hubs is working, I have a chance to work, too. I really have to figure out that work schedule thing. What’s going on now is not going to get the assignments done.

Today was a lovely day foodwise. Breakfast: Pancakes from a mix I made late last month. My kids can go through a mega batch of pancakes all on their own, so I didn’t eat that many. However, about 10:30 I ate leftover pizza on the sly.

Lunch: I pulled a fast one on my kids. There were two different kinds of beans in the fridge (black and pinto) and A LOT of that vegetable sauce from the other day. I combined them in a pot with a fair amount of chili powder and some taco meat. They gobbled this impromptu chili right up, unknowingly consuming a lot of eggplant and squash. Ha!

In the afternoon, I knew my people were going to want to snack on something. So I made Magic Bars. They really can be made with all kinds of crazy substitutions. I subbed coconut oil for the butter, used Ritz and graham crackers for the crust, and then topped it with coconut chips, chocolate chips, and slivered almonds as well as an organic condensed milk from Trader Joe’s. I really like that condensed milk – only two ingredients! I hope they still have it when I go back. Last year it was a seasonal item.

Dinner was later as I was working in the office and not really sure of an idea. I ended up concocting a Lemon Marsala Chicken with Shallots and a new Rice Pilaf. They weren’t fabulous together, but they worked individually. That means a little more tweaking and I’ll have great recipes to share with you. Someday.

The milk is dwindling, so I know I need to stock up tomorrow. Only $26 left! My husband just about choked when I told him. But then I explained how we’ve saved $200 and the people in my midst started to perk up. They really haven’t suffered one single bit, but they tease me that their freedom begins Wednesday night. This is in part because I’m resistant to eating out during a challenge.

Breakfast: Pancakes and fruit

Lunch: Chili with cheese, salsa, and sour cream

Dinner: Lemon Marsala Chicken with Shallots, Rice Pilaf

Snacks: leftover pizza, carrots, oranges, and Magic Bars

Pantry ChallengeThis post is a part of the Pantry Challenge where we’re trying to save money on food by using up what we have. I’ll be posting daily updates on how the challenge is going.

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  1. I picked up my hubby from the airport this morning. It was also my first day without any back pain! YAY!! I plan on having my first day back at the gym–on light duty– tomorrow.

    Bfast- my last banana, the hubs had peets coffee in the airport apparently
    Lunch- I bought Popeye’s to eat at a playoff game party a friend was having. It was very yummy. They also had a bunch of appetizers and such and sent us home with a ton of leftovers
    Dinner- Leftover soup made salvaged from the crockpot catastrophe. I took the chicken and put it in the strainer and rinsed it for about 15 minutes. Once all of the sauce was off of it, it was very good in the soup because the slow cooking made the chicken itself fall apart tender. In the soup I used three bags of turkey broth (freezer) and the last of my celery.

    So far we have only spent ~$10 at the grocery store and ~$50 eating out this month. Our budget for groceries only in $50. We are slowly running out of things and I need trash bags. I’m going to try to hold off on the grocery shopping until I am completely out of the trash bags.

  2. Well, I’m suppose I’m in this challenge also. We purchased 80 pounds of ground beef last year from Zaycon Foods, and 40 pounds of chicken tenders. We’ve been eating down these protein sources and trying to spend our food coins in a smart way and not “over buying” as I normally would to keep things stocked up. I have to say that I agree with you, it feel better to be in my kitchen when I can see space in the fridge, freezer and cabinets. It’s much easier to locate items in the cabinet when things aren’t falling out when trying to find things. And I recently rediscovered my love for all things whole wheat. Due to some cavity issues, and upset stomach issues, I thought it’d be a good idea to switch from whole wheat to unbleached flour, and it all felt so wrong because we’d been 100% whole wheat for at least 7 years. Well I had my fill of this and we enjoyed our year of white flour tortillas,biscuit, muffins and the like. On the last trip to the store I picked up only white whole wheat flour, and some vital wheat gluten- even though the budget was tight and that gluten price of $5.98 just about bowled me over, I sucked it up and bought it. Boy am I glad I did! Next day we had 100% whole wheat biscuits, with gluten added for elasticity and according to Bob’s Red Mill statement on the package it helps with the rise as well. When I tell you all that these were the best 100% whole wheat biscuits I’ve ever churned out of this kitchen- I mean it! Anyway, I’m so excited to have discovered this old culinary friend and after a delicious batch of homemade Cheddar Bay Biscuits (100% whole wheat), I’m itching to try olive garden breadsticks (100% whole wheat) also. That’s next on my list!

  3. I posted my weekly update here:
    Pancakes are an awesome idea — might need to make some of them this week – yum-o!

  4. Saturday was the last day out of town for me, and as you know by now, I was MORE than ready to get home (the conference was good, but the food choices were…disappointing at best).
    B- granola bar & water; guys used a gift card to Cracker Barrel.
    I had a yogurt parfait later in the morning after my stomach settled a little.
    L- my Airman came to my rescue again! He picked me up from the hotel to take me to the airport and took me to lunch. I am blessed to have him for my son.
    D – I’M HOME! Guys had Sub sandwiches. I made homemade mac’n’cheese for myself because that’s what I wanted. And I was in my kitchen to cook it. 😉

    Our journey is here:

    • Welcome Home Angela! Although I its nice to get away sometimes Dorothy was right “there’s no place like home”

  5. Breakfast – Cinnamon oatmeal
    Lunch – High school band sub, potato chips
    Dinner – Cranberry pork chops, ranch potatoes, broccoli & cauliflower mix

    I did spend $5 for the sub, but we have been getting them for years and it will last us 2 days for lunch, Also had to ran out to pick up milk, produce and dairy total of $12.85. Feeling really good that so far this month we have only spend $47.85 and still have food but can now see what we have and know we will be eating down for the next month and will probably still have odds and ends to use up. Also, nice to know I can walk in a grocery store and only pick up what I need!

  6. Yesterday, hubs and I made 5 freezer meals for the upcoming week. Not only did that help clean out more space in the pantry, but when I went to put the meals in the freezer, there was room! And enough room to even lay them out flat. 🙂
    This morning, I put venison beef stew in the crockpot. I used up the two opened bags of corn and green beans from the freezer, making even more space in the freezer.
    Why do I not keep my pantry/freezer this organized during the other 11 months? It would sure make my life easier.
    I will be able to keep up this challenge another week to 10 days easy.

  7. Day 11

    Breakfast is usually a veggie/egg burrito on Saturdays for me and my husband because we have a long day of judo, but we got up late and didn’t have time to make it. So, we stopped at Dunkin Donuts and he got two egg and cheese English muffins and I got an egg white flatbread sandwich, about $5 spent. Not as good as homemade burritos, but they worked. I brought coffee, water, and bananas with us also.

    Lunch: We got done with judo and my husband was starving, plus we had an hour drive home, so we stopped at a sandwich place we always see and got some veggie subs. Not great, plus it was $8. Oh well. Now we know what those taste like and we don’t have to go there again. I had a handful of almonds when I got home.

    Dinner was barbeque tempeh sandwiches, which used two packages of tempeh and two packages of cut bell and sweet peppers from the freezer. I also made mac and cheese to go with it. My husband made egg drop soup, using two quarts of broth from the freezer. We were pretty hungry since breakfast and lunch were mediocre, but we did have leftovers this time.

    On the way home from judo we usually stop at a fruit market that has great produce for little money, and we did that today. We spent $15 and got bananas, green onions, eggplant, salsa, onions, clementines, sweet potatoes, and some candy for my husband.

  8. Stephanie M. says:

    My husband worked till about 1:00 yesterday and when he came home he helped me clean the kitchen refrigerator. I promised myself all week that on the weekend, I would get this done. Happy to say that I only had a couple of things that had to go; a few expired salad dressings that were almost empty anyway. We put on a marathon of Chevy Chase vacation movies and got to work. In no time, it was done and my fridge looks like brand new with not a whole lot in it.

    B – Hubby had a buttered roll and a greek yogurt. I had a low-fat English muffin with 1 wedge of lite laughing cow cheese on it and a tomato slice.

    L – Hubby had the last of the leftover casserole I made the other night and I had a low fat tuna sandwich.

    D – We both had leftover pasta with marinara and cucumber salad.

  9. Breakfast: scrambled eggs on rye, coffee. My daughter had oats and milk before we had our late breakfast, but that didn’t stop her from eating again, when my husband and I sat down. She has a healthy appetite 😉
    Lunch: sandwiches with the last of the egg salad
    Dinner: Spinach lasagna with mixed salad and homemade baguette. Spinach, fresh lasagna, creme cheese and béchamel sauce all came from the freezer!

  10. Thank you for continuing to inspire me to stretch my kitchen skills & know how! Our second week went very well, but now that the easy days are behind us I’m looking forward to the challenge of the remainder of January where I need to get a little more inventive. 🙂

  11. Day 11. Productive saturday.

    Breakfast: I was the only person awake in the morning. I had a banana and a banana mini muffin then ran to the gym for a nice long almost 2 hour workout. Got home at 11:15 and the family was all still asleep!
    Lunch: Daughter was hiding in her bedroom doing piles of HW and apparently only ate chips and salsa. Son ate baguette, salami, apple slices, and cashews. Hubs had the last of leftover pulled beef in a sandwich and broccoli. I went to lunch at a place called Protein Bar and had a Buffalo Bowl, which was quinoa, chicken, buffalo sauce, veggies. Super yum! Also, shockingly, lunch out three times this week. I hardly ever go out for lunch!
    Dinner: made the most delicious Greek Greens and Sweet Onion Pie. Spinach & Phyllo from the freezer, fresh chard, feta, eggs, etc. I had the almost dead cucumber on the side(most was good, just one end needed tossing). Son wouldn’t touch it(it’s green), so he had a frozen pizza. The rest ate more baguette.

  12. I had promised coffee cake for breakfast, so I delivered. Lunch was all leftovers – success. Dinner ended up being at my MIL’s. Working on revising my meal plan for this week a bit to use up more bits and pieces. But, I happily do not have many leftovers in the fridge to work into it.

  13. Breakfast: banana strawberry bread
    Lunch: fettuccine alfredo
    Dinner: Indian butter chicken (recipe from crockpot lady), jasmine rice, green beans
    Dessert: cranberry orange Newton thin cookies


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