2015 Winter Pantry Challenge: Day Eleven

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This month our family is participating in a Pantry Challenge. We’re focusing on using up what we have in order to save money and time as well as to reduce waste.

eggs and couscous

Gah! iPhone photos at night do NOT work. Why do I keep trying? This is breakfast, since dinner, though delicious, did not look good. Since I rely on natural light for most of my other pictures — and I’m so old I can’t hold the good camera still without a tripod — I didn’t drag out the good camera, either. So, here’s the repeat that you saw on Instagram this am.

Breakfast was eggs, veg, and couscous for me. Granola for the kids.

I had my follow-up mammogram, etc this morning. Result was benign cysts. Amen, hallelujah. I treated myself to a Costco hotdog and Pepsi, something I haven’t done in a couple years, probably. The kids had bean and rice bowls while I was gone. 

Yes, I went to Costco. And I stuck to the list except for the peanut-free almond butter that I found.

Dinner was pretty awesome: this yummy Alfredo pasta with chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, peas, and tomatoes. I will make it again and take good pics so I can share it with you.

The littles went shopping with me at the mall after dinner, so See’s candy was dessert. 🙂

Breakfast: Granola, milk, fruit; eggs, couscous, veg

Lunch: Bean and Rice bowls; Costco hot dog

Dinner: Creamy Alfredo Noodles with Chicken and Veg

How did YOUR day go?

Im-Taking-Pantry-ChallengeThis post is part of the 2015 Winter Pantry Challenge. Read through the archives to catch up.

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  1. Yay! Good news! Hope you didn’t get the Costco hot dog burps like I always do. I gave up on those things a couple of years ago because of that.

  2. Whooee! Nice to get that worry off your back.
    A good day here…
    breakfast-oatmeal with chopped apples and almonds
    lunch-pulled pork sandwich/coleslaw leftovers
    dinner-the curry chicken broccoli dish that was posted a while back with brown rice
    I even made my own cream of celery soup with your recipe-easy and tasty!

  3. We had salmon patties made from leftover cooked salmon and leftover mashed potatoes, both from earlier in the week. We also had pumpkin alfredo pasta (the can “best by” date was 2011 – still tasted good, though). Spinach and dill-yogurt sauce.

    We’ve used up quite a bit, but we still have more!

  4. Stephanie M. says:

    So happy for you, Jessica. The same thing happened to me once. You more than deserved that hot dog and soda.

    I have just a couple of freezer meals/leftovers in the freezer so today I took one of them out and it was leftover stuffed peppers from a few weeks ago. So nice not to have to cook.

    B – Hubby had the last of the frosted mini wheats; I had one poached egg on a 1/2 multi-grain English muffin and some strawberries.

    L – Hubby had the last of the leftover pasta from the other night which I just fried in butter and mixed in 3 beaten eggs. I had a salad.

    D – We both had the stuffed peppers from the freezer and rice. I used up the last of the marinara sauce from the pasta I made the other night.

  5. Wahoo! So glad to hear the good news!! Think that news deserved more than a Costco hotdog though!

    Breakfast – Cranberry bread, coffee
    Lunch – Chicken noodle soup and yogurt
    Dinner – Easy bake chicken, corn and left over cheesy bacon ranch potatoes

  6. Jessica S says:

    Congratulations on being the owner of *just lumpy boobs*.. Such a relief to get that negative result after a call back!

    Kids went BACK TO SCHOOL! So thrilling!
    B- they had waffles from the freezer and bananas ( I ate someone elses yummy casserole at a meeting)
    L- they had PBJ, leftover brownies, fruit, yogurt tubes, pretzles and water (I had cereal when I got home mid afternoon)
    D-Kids had cheeseburger/cresent roll bake and alfredo noodles, I had a dish of beef tips and noodles I saved after taking dinner to a friend!

  7. Yay for your good news! What a relief!

    Good day here. Used my creative juices at dinner. Went to the gym after work which means I’m not in the kitchen to start dinner til 6:30’ish. And, by that time everybody’s hungry…

    B: the last of the cranberry walnut bread, toasted w/peanut butter
    L: leftover taco soup served with sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips
    S: a Belvita breakfast cookie (free w/coupon) – less than impressed
    D: pasta skillet (sauteed onion, fire roasted garlic tomatoes, 4 oz. cream cheese, thinned with some pasta water,) served over bow tie pasta w/chicken meatballs, roasted zucchini
    post-dinner snack: cereal for the college girl, pbj & milk for hubby

  8. Yesterday was day 13 here and while I think things are going great…my natives are restless:( DH said ‘we’re not starving we just want what we like’. We were out of our regular hot sauce and tomato salsa…but we had papaya hot sauce from my sister and peach salsa my mom made so no one went without, it was just different. I admit we were getting low in the snack food dept so I whipped up chex mix, granola, oat and honey granola bars, and chocolate oatmeal drop cookies. I will need to go to the store this afternoon for fresh produce and dairy but I’m determined to make it through the month without a big spend!!

    A question: do you find that after a pantry challenge you spend more on groceries the next month to restock the basics???

    Benign is a good word! Glad all is well:)

    • Vanessa Ball says:

      Wow, you were busy! I need to get to work on snack foods myself. Thanks for the nudge.
      Great question! Last July’s pantry challenge I definitely spent more re-stocking mostly due to not having a huge excess to begin with. I will admit, I stocked up on cheese and sour cream before the challenge began here because these are the items that my people go crazy without.

      • I had stocked up on those things too when everything was on sale for the holidays. We were fortunate to get about 9 of those Sargento Tastings cheeses getting them on sale with store and manufacture’s coupons averaging about .50 each. Starting the PC I had a 24 oz. container of sour cream – I am so trying to stretch that thing for as long as possible!

    • I’m not doing a challenge this time but when I do, we don’t not spend. I just concentrate on the stock up items that are on sale and planning meals around the stuff that needs used up in our stock. We menu plan around what we have and shop the sales to stock up the things we always need that go on sale.

      • I do a combination of both. For instance, I buy only perishable items during the challenge UNLESS there is a loss leader that is way below normal sale price. Then I stock up on just that one item. It goes in the back of the pantry for post pc use.

        • I also do a combination. I am still buying weekly what we need fresh and trying to find it on sale. Then I purchase a few items that are on sale that I stock up on or buy on a regular basis when I see them on sale. I am going to cheat a little this week and use a $25 gift card for Walmart that we received for Christmas and pick up a few items I need for some recipes so I don’t impact the budget.

      • That’s how we have been which is why I think I’ve spent more money than everyone else.

    • It depends on what’s going on in that following month. Since I no longer use coupons to build a stockpile of 20 things at once, it is less of an issue. But, what I find, particularly after the summer pantry challenge is that I really want healthier foods, so I might spend more on better quality stuff.

      Next month, my bill will be higher since I’m going to do a Whole 30 (and maybe my 17yo and my husband) which involves a few pricier things, but I know that going in and the money we save this month will offset that.

      Overall, I find that our shopping habits are a bit reformed after a challenge because I don’t buy things that were hard to use up.

    • Sometimes I have higher costs after the summer one, but I don’t generally have higher bills after the Jan PC because I’m usually using up all the excess purchased in Oct/Nov/Dec. I just did a quick audit of the last few years of groceries (easy to do with Quicken) and historically, my bigger grocery months are March/April (one or the other, not both, maybe it depends on when spring weather hits) and then Oct and Nov. Dec is hit-or-miss on the total spent. Either way, by Jan, I have a lot of those fall groceries still in the freezer/pantry needing to be used up and then I can go back to normal purchase rates. I have a smaller family, though, so bigger families might have different experiences.

  9. Vanessa B says:

    Went to th grocery store for lunch fixin’s, spinach and yogurt. Spent $15 bringing my total up to $70. I used spinach and carrots to stretched 2. 25 lbs of ground beef into 2 meatloafs/meatloaves (looks funny both ways) and some meatballs to make 3 different meals. Used up the last of some cauliflower so it wouldn’t go to waste. WIN! Husband stayed home all day. No breakfast again.
    Lunch – Tuna sandwiches and gardettos rye chips, little guy had a hot dog and carrot sticks.
    Snack – yogurt, cheese stick, almond m&ms and cashews
    Dinner – Meatloaf, mashed potatoes with cauliflower (tasty but weird texture) gravy and corn
    Dessert – tootsie rolls and last of thr birthday cake

  10. So happy for your great news!

  11. Stephanie P says:

    I’m so glad you got good news at your follow up appointment! That would be so scary.

    Our day was pretty good! I had to rush home from work to get dinner ready before my 7:00 meeting (that went until 9!!), but overall it went smoothly.

    B: (You will sense a theme here) Oatmeal for me, and cereal for the boy.
    L: Salad with 1 1/2 oz baked chicken and 1/2 cup quinoa, blood orange
    D: Taco meat over salad. DH and DS had their tacos on shells and had some fries. Really DS had mostly cheese, part of a taco shell with a couple pieces of meat, and maybe three fries.
    S: Marshmallow melted over pretzels (I NEED to get this out of my house for good).

  12. Heather M says:

    Great news, Jessica! Stupid benign cysts cause so much needless worry. Those See’s chocolates were well-deserved too (aside from costco dog!).

    Day 11 was decent around here. Finally finished my inventory! Tons of good food here. Low on a few pantry staples, which I’ll buy either when on sale or when I need them (flours, sugar, water chestnuts-we always keep these for stir fry, etc). Also started culling recipes to try/make for the rest of he month. I’ll continue that today. And I keep pushing the costco run– maybe tomorrow or Friday. Once the fresh veg are wiped out. Only have a little lettuce, carrots, a little celery, cauliflower, and tomatoes left (aside from onions/garlic). Not good for us since I eat piles of fresh veggies. I know what I’ll be eating today!

    B: veg & turkey sausage and cereal for son; turkey sausage for hubs; PB & banana on whole wheat toast for me
    L: son took his usual turkey sandwich, pistachios, crackers & clif bar; hubs passed on lunch due to busy day & midday presentation; I had cottage cheese w/tuna, tomato, cucumber
    D: hubs had a work dinner (these particular ones are every few months and are good–lucky!); son and I had one of the thin crust margherita pizzas from the freezer (only 290 cals for 1/3 of 1!) plus a salad
    Snacks: son had his quesadilla, tortilla chips, two cookies (still hanging around from Xmas), and a banana; I has air popped popcorn and a pear

    A growing teenage boy is pretty much a bottomless pit. I miss half his snacks I think! Off to the gym!

  13. Melissa F says:

    I am so glad you just have lumpy boobs – welcome to the club! And I hope you enjoyed every bite of that hot dog! Woo!
    I miss Costco, we don’t have one here – we have Sam’s.

    Breakfast – Kind bar for me and scrambled eggs for hubby. I also made us a small bowl of fruit salad.
    Lunch – made a warm ham and cheese sandwich using the leftover Focaccia bread
    Snacks – Crunchmaster multi seed crackers with bruschetta jack cheese (new flavor for us from Sargento Tastings), sliced apples, pineapple bread and dry roasted sunflower kernels.
    Dinner – oven roasted marinated b/s chicken breasts, buttered corn and a large salad with homemade vinaigrette, feta, olives and avocado. I did have my son stop the other day for avocado but the ones he picked up were too hard so they got used today.
    Dessert – pineapple sherbet found in the freezer

    Made 2 loaves of pineapple bread – this is a new recipe I found in one of my older cookbooks. It’s ok but I would change a few things in the recipe if I decide to make it again – it was a bit bland. I will be making a quick drizzle of powdered sugar and maybe lemon juice to dress it up.

    We have a lot of b/s chicken breast in the freezer that we got from Zaycon – It comes in a 40lb. box delivered fresh. I need to get some good recipes together because we get chicken fatigue pretty quick.

  14. Even better than the fantastic news? That He helped you with the waiting for the news.

  15. Glad your follow up came back good! Its always scary when you have to go in for more in depth stuff!

    Breakfast- odds and ends of cereal boxes- we rarely eat cold cereal, so we have too many open boxes(My inlaws give each kid a box of their favorite cereal with their christmas present- so much sugar!)

    Lunch- I had leftovers and a green smoothie, the kids had cheese and crackers and veggies

    Dinner- Fried rice with steamed broccoli and edamame- I used up the leftover rice, added the leftover pot roast and the lone pork chop from the freezer, plus some vegetables(peas carrots, onion, green onion) No one knew it was a use it up meal and everyone enjoyed it!

  16. I’m glad everything is ok, Jessica! I agree with others that you deserved that hot dog. 😉

    Breakfast- eggs and toast

    Lunch-leftovers: vegetable soup for my husband and salad for me

    Dinner- creamy mushroom fettuccine with green beans

    We went to Aldi after dropping my car off to be fixed, spent $18 on flour, sugar, crackers, apples, eggs, carrots and potatoes. Also heard back about the car, and it’s the speed sensor, which will cost $500. Bleh.

    • Can one live without a speed sensor?! FYI: My husband was able to replace the sensors himself and AutoZone staff was super helpful in finding out which one, etc If you’re DIY-people, that is the way to go.

      • Thanks, Jessica. My husband didn’t have time to do that but it’s good to know it’s an option. We brought the car to a local mechanic we’ve gone to for years and everything seems to be good now. I didn’t even know my car had a speed sensor! 😉

  17. Great news re the boobs!

    I did the weekly meal plan on Tuesday, and have really pared down my shopping list for this week – I spent less than $150! We’re having 3 meals from the freezer, and using up a bunch of things from the fridge/pantry. Today I’m doing some back to school baking – banana muffins to use up some squashy bananas and chocolate ganache from a birthday cake, and ham, cheese & corn muffins for lunchboxes. My boys will enjoy helping bake some goodies!

  18. Phew! I had the same thing hapoen to me, but a radiologist read the follow-up while I was there. It was a lucky break, because I do not have your patience … So happy to hear the good news ..

    • The radiologist read the follow up while I was there. They just do simple stuff for the initial screening without the radiologist. I never meet him; the tech provides the diagnosis.

  19. Great news!! You definitely deserved more than just a hot dog and pepsi! Hope you breathe a little easier after getting your results back.

    Day 14 for us went pretty smoothly.

    Breakfast: (your) Baked oatmeal (omg, where has this been all our lives??), we made it with frozen peaches and subbed the brown sugar for maple syrup and omitted the milk as a result. Fabulous – we added some straggling chia seeds and served it with milk. Delicious hot and cold!! I forsee a lot of this in the future!

    Lunch: Soup for the husband, egg and cheese quesedilla for me.

    Snack: H had a tortilla wrap with cheese and turkey. I had apple slices, cheese and crackers.

    Supper: a potato, black bean and corn hash served as taco filling. We both had fruit cups on the side.

    Breakfast: Baked Oatmeal (for whoever gets it first), leftover hash and eggs (for whoever doesn’t)

    Lunch: Leftover Soup with pork patty sandwiches, and leftover Boeuf Bourguignon.

    Supper: In the works… I am getting down to nitty gritty. Probably roast veggies and pork chops.

    Snacks: olives, cheese and crackers, pretzel rods… apples.

    I will probably have to do a grocery run tomorrow (whether I like it or not) we’re almost out of fresh produce, and are already out of milk. But! The pantry and fridge/freezer are starting to look more than a little spartan.

    Since I’m wrapping up a winter class, I don’t have a lot of time to bake, though we’re completely out of bread (hence all the tortillas). I may have to break down tomorrow and make a couple of loaves. Just three more days and the class is over!! (Thank GOODNESS)

  20. Congrats on your news!!!! Whew.
    This is Day One on the road for me… so we’ll see how my guys do with their own mini-challenge of eating at home while I’m gone.
    Breakfast: I made breakfast for everyone before school – eggs & bacon for both of them, and chocolate milk for ds#3 (I add cocoa powder, maple syrup, and a little vitamin C powder then blend it till it’s frothy).
    Lunch: I packed both their lunches the night before – leftover roast from the crockpot and Swiss beans for Hubs, and turkey sandwich on a mini-roll, tortilla chips & salsa, and homemade brownie for ds#3. My co-worker & I stopped for lunch on the road…we stopped for gas and ate at a Subway. I spent $6 on a salad.
    Dinner: The guys ate in – they had ham slices (I froze them after Christmas, and pulled them out for the guys to eat while I was gone) and leftover Swiss beans. WOO HOO! I ate at Chipotle – we don’t have one at home so it was a treat. I spent $10 on a salad with chicken & all the toppings.

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