Pantry Challenge: Day 11

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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.


More iPhone pictures. Sorry about that. I need to get a different lens for my DSLR so that I can get more in the frame without taking it from the house next door.

Pantry Challenge update! Today flew by. It was passport day, so we had to get ready and out the door by 9. For folks who homeschool and thus, rarely have to be anywhere, getting up and out by 9 is not the easiest of things. The kids did fabulous — and they had a hot breakfast before we left: fried eggs and toast.

After the passport experience (which went really well), we went to In-N-Out Burger because passports. for eight people. including photos. Nuf said.

Dinner was another Mexibar, featuring rice, beans, seasoned turkey taco meat, the rest of the cheddar, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, olives, onion, serrano chiles, sour cream, and hot sauce. I had a jar of salsa leftover from an event to use up as well. I typically make my own salsa, but we were out of cilantro. The temptations at the store could have proven too great to go just for cilantro, so we went without. We made bean and rice bowls.

FishBoy13 made rice to level 3 on our rice cooker and it wasn’t enough. He’s still hungry so he’s eating the leftovers from last night. How am I going to feed these people?!

produce box pantry

The produce box came today. I’ve mostly set it on hiatus for the last few months while I was deep in recipe development. Today’s delivery was beautiful, but rich in zucchini and peaches — too much of both. Now the clock is ticking on using up the zucchini and finding uses for peaches that I don’t like cooked. I’ve blogged on this extensively which shows me that I just don’t love summer produce baskets.

Give me fall with apples and grapes and pears and other stuff.

Breakfast: Fried Eggs and Toast

Lunch: burgers out

Dinner: Bean and Rice Bowls

Pantry-Challenge-GCE-150x150This post is a part of the Summer 2014 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 love the rice bowl idea! I have a bunch of leftover quinoa from dinner last night and might use that! I’ve been wanting to spurge on a rice cooker. Would you recommend it? And I’d so, what kind do you have? Thanks!

    • I’ve also been thinking about getting a rice cooker. Interested in any recommendations.

    • I bought a Black and Decker years ago at Walmart because I didn’t recognize the other brand. Turns out the other brand (Aroma) is actually a good maker of rice cookers. I’ve never used one before, though. The B&D seems to work fine.

    • I have an Aroma rice cooker and love it! Daughter gave it to me as a gift last Christmas (purchased on Amazon, 8-cup digital rice cooker & food steamer). Not only does it cook rice and quinoa but there are other tricks it can perform – – place uncooked eggs (in the shell) in the rice (or whatever you’re cooking in it) and you’ll have perfectly hard-boiled eggs when the cooking time is up, place fresh veggies in the steamer basket and they’re cooked perfectly when the rice is ready, you can also use the steamer basket to cook shrimp or chicken tenders so it’s possible you could have your entire meal cooked and it’s all hands-off once you hit the start button.

  2. The hubby was told today that he would have to leave tomorrow for training 8hours away for his new job. We knew that spontaneous trips were part of his new job, but we didn’t expect it to be so soon! So we ate out tonight :(. But the pantry challenge is always easy for one (at least for a few days)

    Breakfast: last of the leftover pizza
    Lunch: last of Korean fried rice for hubby. Salad for me!
    Dinner: Italian at a local spot.

    The chicken pot pie shall be baked tomorrow.

  3. Lee Privette says:

    Oh, how I wish I lived near by!i could alleviate both peach and zucchini! I don’t think I’ve ever had too much of either, and there are only 3 of us. :). I do occasionally shred zucchini, and freeze it, and use it in baked good later – but like I said, I don’t generally have any leftover.

  4. Another good eating day at our house

    Breakfast – Bagels with cream cheese and chives
    Lunch – PB&J Sandwiches, yogurt
    Dinner – Meatloaf (freezer), mashed potatoes, peas

    Snacks – Blueberries, watermelon, apples with peanut butter and chocolate chip dip

  5. Stephanie M. says:

    Today I decided to use up the 12 chicken thighs I had left in the freezer. They’ve been in there for a while and I decided to just cook them all. Since there were too many for us and I didn’t want to have too many leftovers, after I cooked them, I called my daughter over to pick half of them up for her and her fiancée.

    B – We both had cereal and a banana

    L – Hubby had yogurt and granola; I skipped lunch today

    D – We both had Dijon baked chicken, roasted potatoes, and green salad

    Dessert – Hubby had the last of the vanilla ice cream and I had a piece of home made blueberry coffee cake that I baked last week and froze individual pieces

  6. It’s exciting to see our freezer emptying out. I’m so glad I joined the challenge. We thawed some cooked BBQ chicken and had chicken salad wraps for lunch, German pancakes from the freezer for breakfast, and slow cooker quiche for dinner.

  7. Breakfast- eggs over easy and toast with tea

    Lunch- veggie burritoes

    Dinner- French onion soup

    My husband cooked lunch and dinner because I’m scraping paint chips off the front porch. He used several bags of veggie broth from the freezer for the soup. He says we’re almost out, so I’ll have to make more before long.

  8. Emily T. says:

    Idea for peaches–puree with yogurt and sweetener of choice. Freeze in muffin tins( I oil the tins with coconut oil). Pop muffins out. Store in freezer bags. Use to make smoothie. Blend with water, juice, or milk.
    I always follow along with your pantry challenges. Almost two weeks in and I am starting to see the bottom of the freezer.

  9. I’m doing a very modified version of pantry challenge this summer as we are in and out so much that I am not really saving money, but am trying to use things up and shop less. So proud of myself yesterday for getting out of Costco for under thirty dollars-a chicken, avocados (theirs are the best!) and toilet paper. I was tempted by many other things that I didn’t need and passed them up. Another proud moment was making my own naan bread-a first for me- to go with the chickpea curry made from freezer garbanzos. I have more time for cooking in the summer, so while I am using things up I am also freezing more leftovers for future meals, so not seeing a lot of freezer diminishing space. That’s okay with me.



  11. Heather M says:

    another typically “interesting” summer day. Not so great Challenge-wise, but that’s what happens. I was still pleased enough.

    Breakfast: I had a quick protein bar before heading the the gym where I did my usual cardio session and had my weekly personal training session. I was gone all morning and assume the kids fed themselves cereal, based on the sink evidence (teenagers are good things!).

    Lunch: kids had frozen pizza and I had a beautiful Greek salad with tuna and feta. I again failed to get a lunch together for the hubs so he ate at work, late and big again, so didn’t need dinner.

    Dinner: son was at a friend’s house. Daughter enjoyed Chipotle (I’m getting it for her once a week minimum–or she gets it herself– because it’s her favorite of all and she’s off to college in Hawaii where it doesn’t exist. Trying to be a nice mama. I made myself a healthy taco salad with some of the leftover chile con carne from Sunday. A few crushed chips and piles of lettuce/tomatoes/bell peppers/green onions. Hit the spot, I also finished off the watermelon and had a little of the blueberry cake. Yum!

    Good thing I like salads and fresh veggies, since I choose to eat them often. 🙂

  12. Maureen says:

    We were out running errands and doctor appointments most of the day, so the kids and I had a planned lunch out. We stopped for a BUNCH of produce, too. I also picked up a couple of grocery items, but managed to keep it very limited. Dinner was spaghetti from the freezer. I prepped much of the produce before refrigerating it and cleaned out a few older items from the fridge at the same time (those disappeared with dinner). We have too many leftovers in the fridge, so I need to focus on those and the produce for the next few days. I have been reminded in the last couple of days, that if I put washed produce out on the counter early in the day the kids are much more likely to snack on that than on anything else.

  13. Odd day today.
    Hubs opted not to eat breakfast & ds wasn’t awake. I ate a half sandwich because I was starving.
    Then I headed to the grocery store – we needed toilet paper and eggs. I picked up a few other things, but overall, not too bad.
    When I got back home, Hubs & I ran an errand which required us to go across town to my mom’s workplace. Of course he got hungry while we were out and we ended up stopping for lunch. Which I wasn’t thrilled about, but we ran into a dear friend so it wasn’t all bad.
    THEN…we got home, returned some phone calls, and Hubs wanted to go out AGAIN for another errand and he wanted me to go with him. So I did.
    Dinner was tacos/burritos. I made taco meat, used up lettuce in the fridge, salsa, queso, sour cream and tortilla chips. Everyone was very satisfied. I also made a cherry crisp with some of the fresh cherries I got at the store earlier in the day. Yum!

  14. I’m passing on a peach tip I got last year from someone working at the berry and fruit farm. Place as many peaches as you can fit into a gallon size freezer bag. When you want a smoothie or peachy adult beverage, take out the number of peaches you need and proceed with the following directions: 1. Run the tap as hot as you can and just barely run the peach under the water…just quickly in and back out. 2. Set the peaches on a plate or something to thaw until they are just soft enough to cut. 3. Cut in half to remove pit. Make any extra cuts as needed for your machine. 4. Blend. 4.1 I was told this works just as well for making pies or cobblers, but I don’t like those, either…I do like one muffin recipe with peaches in it, and the frozen ones worked fine.

    I’ve done this, and it works! It tastes like summer in winter. Also, much better than those frozen peaches from the store. You know the ones: they’re not ripe when they get frozen. Blech.

  15. Vanessa B says:

    We’ve been chugging along. I have spent $64 on dairy, produce and fresh meat since we began which is less than half of what I typically spend. Husband requested chicken pot pie since we’re having a cold snap here in Kansas and I am happy to oblige him but….. I forgot pie crust when we last shopped. And like you said about the cilantro, it’s not worth the temptation for one item. I have a crescent roll tube languishing in the fridge and I’m hoping (fingers and toes crossed) that it is still good when I open it. Use what I have!
    I love freezing peaches for smoothies, especially when I get too many and they get too ripe.

  16. Kim in AZ says:

    I love to use extra peaches in homemade jam. Here’s the easy recipe I use (can’t remember your position on all the ingredients but thought I’d share!) 🙂

    5 c. mashed peaches
    1 c. mashed fresh or frozen raspberries
    5 c. sugar
    1 small package raspberry jello

    Combine peaches, raspberries and sugar in saucepan. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring often (until mixture has cooked down and thickened). Remove from heat and add gelatin. Mix well. Pour into clean jars, seal and water bath for 5 minutes. Makes 4 pints or 8 half-pints.

    I’ve never played around with the sugar content, but I’m sure you could tweak it. It is my hubby’s favorite homemade jam – and we all love it in our household and make at least a double batch each peach season. 🙂

  17. I haven’t posted but I’ve been lurking and participating to some degree. I did a small ($70) grocery shop 2 weeks ago and then we spent a long weekend at the lake with friends which included a $100 shopping trip to the store for that (feeding 12 people and each family was responsible for 1 full meal as well as helping with the others). Anyway, when we came home vowed to make do for the next 5 days with what we had on hand. We made it 4 and then there was literally nothing left so we ate out on Friday eve. Did menu planning and shopping yesterday. Feels good to have space in my freezer and pantry again 🙂

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