2015 Winter Pantry Challenge, Day Five

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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.

2015 Winter Pantry Challenge, Day Five - Eating what we had, but we did go to the store for a few things.

FishPapa and I just got back from date night. This is our weekly ritual. We didn’t always have the money or the childcare to have a weekly date. Now that we’re debt-free, we’re able to work out some dining out money. We’ve also got kids big enough to babysit — for FREE!

After dinner we stopped at Sprouts. I wanted lettuce and 20-cent grapefruit. He wanted milk and cereal. That’s what he packs to work for his lunches. It saves us a ton of money. We spent $12 at Sprouts. I’m going to have to dig up my other receipts later to see where we stand.

The day was a busy one. Two of the bigger boys had orthodontist appointments. I fed the crew eggs and toast for breakfast. My brother surprised us with a visit so I was able to leave the younger ones with him and just take the older two to their appointments. We have Invisalign in our future….

The kids at home had Turkey Sandwiches and Veggie Dippers with Uncle Jace.

After the ortho, the boys and I met FishPapa and I for lunch. It was the “one meal out as a family” that I had planned for the week.

In the afternoon, FishBoy17 helped the girls make the cupcakes kit they got for Christmas. (Thanks Jessika!). They made this Lemon Buttercream for the top which was amazingly good.

For supper, I made the kids Turkey Noodle Soup made from more of that Thanksgiving Turkey. They had cheese and crackers on the side.

Breakfast: Eggs, Toast, OJ (A bagel in the wee hours for the mama)

Lunch: Turkey Sandwiches/Veggies for some; lunch out for others

Snacks: Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

Dinner: Turkey Noodle Soup, cheese, crackers for the kids; dinner out for the parents

How’s the Challenge going for YOU today?


This post is part of the 2015 Winter Pantry Challenge. Read through the archives to catch up.

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  1. I’ve stayed out of the stores all week. Very unusual for me!
    breakfast-oatmeal with dried cherries, coconut, and almonds
    lunch-leftover pasta from last night’s dinner, oranges
    dinner-a box of Hamburger Helper found in the back of the cupboard. Pretty awful. Sorry I wasted the hamburger on it.
    snack-Jessika’s amazing chocolate chip cookies-love, love, love that recipe.
    Amount spent on groceries this month-still $0

  2. Had to make a milk run… other than that we have not bought anything. Today the kids had waffles & sausage from the freezer & some fruit for breakfast. After they left for school I made breakfast pizzas for the freezer & had that for my breakfast with some grapes. Lunch for them was a few cans of Chef Boy R Dee – alfredo for one & lasagana for the other, a rare treat. Also grapes, carrots, green fluff & pink lemonade packed from home eaten at school. I had leftovers. Snack was more fruit. Supper was homemade veggie noodle soup. I decided one night a week we would do a meatless night. Dessert was the last of the pumpkin pecan pie.
    Tomorrow they get breakfast options of waffles & sausage, breakfast pizzas, cold cereal or oatmeal. At 15 and 13 they usually like to heat/ make their own. I will probably do oatmeal. Lunch for all is leftover soup, as I purposely made plenty. They will get fruit salad & cookies with theirs. Snack we have options of fruit or cookies. Supper will be stir fry veggies, chicken & rice. Probably no dessert as we have had some the last 2 nights and we dont do every night dessert. If anyone is hungry they will grab some carrots or fruit. Sometimes the boys will warm up an apple with some cinnamon for a dessert.

  3. Stephanie M. says:

    The challenge is going well for me. Except for produce and a few small things, I have not had to spend much money at all. I’ll have to go through my receipts and come to a total but definitely not as much as I usually spend.

    B – Hubby had cereal and a banana; I had scrambled egg whites and a mini bagel with L.F. cream cheese

    L – I did not have to pack lunch for my husband today because he had a lunch meeting. I had a meatloaf sandwich with some leftover meatloaf from last night.

    D – We all had a stir fry with broccoli, red and green bell peppers, zucchini, peas, carrots, scallions, and chicken sausage over leftover rice from last night.

  4. Still going strong here – only one trip to the store so far! A lovely dinner at my parent’s house the other night supplied us with lunch leftovers, mashed potatoes which I turned into breakfast cakes, and several quarts of stock. Thanks Mom! I’ve crossed a few items off my inventory lists but still not as much as I expected… already this challenge is showing me that my previous monthly budget can be lowered because I have so much food on hand. I was aiming for $600/mo for our family of four but I’ll be reassessing after this month’s spending.

  5. Still eating good here with lots of good stuff to go and only one small grocery stop. Should not need to make another stop for at least a week.
    Breakfast – Pop tarts and fruit
    Lunch – Leftover chili and cornbread
    Dinner – Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese, cauliflower, broccoli and carrot veggie blend
    Snack – cut up apples with caramel sauce

  6. Yesterday included a lunch out which I had hoped to avoid but sometimes that’s how things go at the office…

    B: smoothie with banana, fruit from the freezer, vanilla yogurt, protein powder and water
    S: pistachios
    L: I bought chicken noodle soup, hubby took his lunch
    D: skillet scramble (onion, mushrooms, potato and egg), bacon and a side salad
    S: post dinner snack for hubby was a blueberry bagel w/cream cheese

    I did stop at the store on Tuesday evening to take advantage of coupon sales before they expired – 2.5# coffee for $4.99, 1 gal. milk, 12 pk diet coke and 2-12 ct Cottonelle toilet paper for $3.99 ea. (which they were out of so I got a rain check). My bill was $23.

    For the month I’m at $236 which doesn’t concern me. Our youngest college girl is home for another 10 days so I’m not trying to get the grocery expense down to zero…instead, I’m spoiling her by feeding her well and preparing some of her requested meals before she goes back. That’s how I love on her. Now, when she’s no longer here, I’ll try to zero out the grocery budget for the remainder of the month as it will be just hubby and I and we can “make do” with what we have.

    I’ve got rice cooking this morning to use in tonight’s dinner of stuffed peppers…a requested meal from the college girl.

    • My $23 grocery bill sounded high…because I failed to mention that I also bought 3 greeting cards and the diet coke was a 24 pack, not a 12.

    • That’s an amazing price for Cottonelle! I hope you’re able to use your rain check later.

    • Heather M says:

      I understand the spoiling of a college girl… Mine’s getting her fill of chipotle and other restaurant/takeout options whenever she wants. Where she’s in school there’s very little choice. Unless you count subway, Taco Bell, and a local place good for burgers and burgers only. She’s leaves Saturday. Sniff.

      • Heather M – A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, right? I totally understand the *sniff* – – I hate to think about sending our girl off again in 10 days.

  7. Tiffany R says:

    Well, the oven isn’t working and hubs is still out of town. That means that the menu will need to change to accommodate until he can get back to look at it. Atleast it wasn’t ‘t the heat with it being 11 degrees in Georgia this morning!! (knock on wood)

    Breakfast: Leftover pancakes for me w/coffee and bagels & juice for kids
    Lunch: Leftover grilled chicken wrapped in a Flatout bread with hummus and lettuce (me) and Turkey sandwiches for the kids. Fruit and chips for all of us.
    Dinner: Not sure, with the oven out. Maybe pancakes since I have 2 bags of blueberries in the freezer.

    Going to the grocery store today but I don’t think it will be that much cheaper than normal. Atleast I am using up leftovers and stuff in the freezer so I am okay with it.

  8. Vanessa B says:

    We finished Day 6 fairly well. I got a little creative with a box of AuGratin potatoes; I add 2 cups of fresh broccoli & cauliflower, 1cup chopped ham, 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and a little extra milk to make it a full meal. I hope this the last time I buy this boxed stuff, I don’t care for the ingredient list. Made the box of Raspberry Bars for dessert and added cream cheese. Hoping it’s the last time purchasing these as well, I’m certain I can make them from scratch. Trying to hold out until Monday to get back to a grocery store. We’ll see how long we can hold out.

    Breakfast – no one ate at home
    Lunch – lil guy had PBJ and a banana, I had a tuna sandwich
    snack- I had a PBJ and the boys had apple slices with peanut
    butter and crackers
    Dinner – Ham and AuGratin Potato Casserole with green beans and bread
    Dessert – Raspberry Cream Cheese Bars

  9. Really hard because we have different dietary issues and very picky eaters , but I’m trying!

    Breakfast – Luna bar and coffee; the other who eats breakfast – scrambled eggs, juice, leftover homemade corn muffins
    Lunch. – pb and j, on whole wheat , applesauce, snack mix, yogurt; Mom- leftover barley beef soup
    Snacks – hot chocolate, grilled cheese sandwich (teen boy)
    Dinner- chicken rice casserole with canned soup, white rice, etc. Never Again! Now that I cook mostly from scratch I won’t buy canned soup again because of the chemical taste! (will use your cookbook’s recipe for soup base)

  10. Stephanie P says:

    First – that’s a great deal on grapefruit! Jealous!

    The challenge is going well for us so far. Last night was our planned spaghetti night, and we only ran into a couple of small issues at dinner. We didn’t have frozen garlic bread left, which I’ve been trying to stop having anyway, so I made garlic biscuits from scratch instead. I tried one and it was ok. The hubster liked it and the kid didn’t, but he’ll adjust. I froze the rest for another time. And then my plan was to have spaghetti squash instead of pasta but it didn’t cook in time as I was late getting home from work so I used shiritake noodles that I had instead. I would have just eaten pasta, but Mr. P didn’t leave me any.

    B: Overnight oats for me, cereal for little P.
    L: Artichoke and provolone on rye, celery with a laughing cow, grapefruit.
    D: Shirtake spaghetti with whole wheat biscuit and sauce.
    S: A marshmallow/pretzel desert I like that is in no way healthy 🙂

    Workout – Got in my planned three miles even though I had to go out in sub zero temps to get to the gym. Not a fan of winter…

  11. Melissa F says:

    I did fail to mention on yesterday’s post that hubby bought pizza last Friday night when his daughters came to visit. It was yummy and he was happy not to have to cook. The one down side to man cooking is you are subject to manly menus (giggle) like spaghetti, brats, grilled meats and chili!

    We bought a large citrus box from a local HS band in December so I have been having grapefruit, berries and orange salad with organic shredded coconut with a drizzle of honey each morning (ran out of berries yesterday). Snacks have been the banana cranberry bread, Boursin cheese on melba toasts, sliced apples and nuts. Lunches have been leftovers or quiche.

    Last nights supper was Brats and smoked sausage with potatoes, onions and kraut – kept the leftover smoked sausage for a quiche (probably tomorrow) and the rest was leftovers for son’s lunch. Tonight is chili with tortilla chips, shredded cheese and sour cream.

    Another thing I need to mention is that we have a dozen laying hens who live in a really nice condo in our back yard – we have plenty of eggs right now. Not sure how that will continue as we dipped into the teens this morning. We keep a warming lamp in there to keep them warm and to keep their water from freezing. So I am flush with eggs to do all kinds of cooking and baking.

    Husband is making a stop for some groceries today ( I make lists for him based on sales at Publix and Food Lion) – he will pick up mostly fresh produce with a few sale items thrown in like Tortilla chips, salsa, half & half and cheese. He isn’t back yet so total on those will be tomorrow.

    Keep up the good work everyone!

    Melissa F

    • I’m just so impressed with how your family is faring after your surgery! Here it would be a stream of takeout. Hope you’re recovering as well as you’re eating. 🙂

      • Melissa F says:

        Well, it helps that all my kids are grown. We have one adult son who lives with us but he works (4) 10 hour days a week and has a GF – so, we don’t see him a lot. We have two daughters in college (within driving distance from our home) and one that lives in Atlanta with her maternal grandmother (we are a remarried couple with his and hers kids). It also helps that hubs and I are both foodies!

  12. Heather M says:

    Wednesday was decent, albeit COLD!

    B: vegetarian and leftover-from-Xmas pork sausages (we usually only eat chicken/turkey/veg sausages except Xmas), eggs, baguette
    L: friends took me to lunch at Panera for my birthday; kids I have no idea… Scrounged at home I guess; hubs took turkey & pepper jack sandwich, apple, pretzels
    D: home-from-college daughter requested my enchiladas. Luckily I had everything on hand (barely… Used the last of the tortillas & when I shopped on Monday trader joe’s was OUT of every kind of tortilla & will have to pick some up when out today since my son eats quesadillas after school almost very day as his 2nd lunch– growing teen!). My enchiladas are simple and yummy– chicken, black beans, green salsa, cumin are the filling, topped w/red enchilada sauce and cheese.

    Making dinner I had to cook some chicken, so ended up w/chicken stock which is in the fridge and I’ll probably use to make soup (trying not to keep as much canned soup because it’s so easy to make, but I have some languishing in the cupboard!). And I used the 2nd to last packet of black beans from the freezer. Discovered I don’t even have pinto beans left in the freezer AND my lone freezer is packed full. I need to eat food out of there so I can cook up batches of black and pinto beans to restock. I’ve been trying to make more of my own beans instead of relying only on canned as in the past. Those are the first two kinds I’ve been doing. Hopefully I’ll move on to include cannellini, red beans, and chick peas. Only problem is freezer space. I do have some random things in there (too many potstickers; frozen flatbread pizza which I usually don’t keep, etc.). I’ll need to plan around the freezer for the next few days!

  13. Day 5 here as well. Doing amazingly well! Baked homemade bread, oatmeal raisin cookies and am now making a carrot and coconut soup from an indian cookbook i got for Christmas…love how it smells! Total so far in spending for this challenge is 37$ i needed milk cheese and a few other basics…the plan is to buy some more milkand fruit on saturday to last the whole week ahead. I usually run for milk two to three times a week! Eek at $5 each 4L package it is pricey! But we won’t buy more cansof pop only use up what we have left from the holidays and will buy frozenjuice cans and keep refilling the water pitcher…the only bug up my sleeve is how to feed the kids next week when they are well enough togo to school and feed my middle son whom is extremely picky!! Sigh wish me luck.

  14. I did make a trip to the store today, I bought a bag of apples, clementines, salad, yogurt, and milk. It ended up being aroud $40. I didn’t want to spend that much, but it will all get eaten. :). And healthy food is a bonus.

  15. I was a little late coming into this pantry challenge so I am started my Day 1 yesterday. Luckily, I have not been to the store except for bare essentials since we have had so much leftover holiday food/snacks in the house. I am taking inventory and starting a meal plan tonight. Thanks so much for all the help & suggestions. I may have to get a little creative when we get towards the end of the month?!?

  16. I’m excited to report that today from the freezer we had raspberry freezer jam, black beans & strawberries – slowly but surely we are eating down the freezer inventory – happy dance????

  17. For Wednesday –
    Hubs bowls on Wed nights, so it’s ds#3 and me. We had chicken tenders, sweet potato fries and broccoli for dinner (keepin’ it real here). I also made a homemade pie crust for pumpkin pie (which he loves and will eat for breakfast) so all is well.

  18. I’m really starting late! Going to take inventory this weekend and start on Monday. Recovering from knee surgery so its been take out city here! Can’t wait to start and clean out the pantry and save some money. Love getting tips and ideas and recipes from all!

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