2015 Winter Pantry Challenge: Day Twenty-One

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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.

pizza night with spinach

Wow! We’re three-fourths of the way done today. Yay! We are probably going to wind up our challengeย on the 29th or 30th. Since FishBoy17 and I are doing a Whole 30 in February, he wants to start two days early so that life is back to normal on March 1. Makes sense to me!

I can’t say that this pantry day was all that exciting. But, we used up more things that we had on hand.

Breakfast: Breakfast Cookies, milk, fruit

Lunch: Pesto from the freezer on pasta, grapefruit

Snacks: Grapefruit (slice them this way)

Dinner: Pizza night

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. Stephanie M. says:

    Today was good for the challenge but not for me. All day my back seemed okay from the fall I took yesterday so I was able to get things done. I baked a breakfast cake, did laundry, and cooked dinner. Then, when I went to bed, it started and now I can’t get up off the couch without help or turn over in bed. So I don’t think I’ll be cooking for the next couple of days. Hubby can.

    B – Warm applesauce cake that I made today.

    L – Grilled cheese sandwiches

    D – Pepper steaks over rice

    • Heather M says:

      Oh that’s no good! Probably muscular, since it took a day or two to hit you. Rest up and feel better!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Thanks Heather. You are right. My husband took me to the doctor and he said it was a deep bruise and to put heat on it twice a day. He also said what you did that it takes time for the pain to set in. Getting in and out of bed is nasty. Be careful where you are because judging by the news, you’re weather is about the same as ours. Watch out for that ice; sometimes you don’t see it.

        • Heather M says:

          I guess the bright side is it will heal and nothing is broken? Hope it feels better soon!! Yep the weather. Around here the forecast is changing by the hour. It’s so incredibly dependent on what the temperatures will be and exactly where the storm tracks. Either way, starts as rain. Where it ends up, who knows?

    • Oh no! Feel better. If, God forbid, later on you end up with a persistent sharp ache that feels like lowerback or like right where your spine meets your pelvis, ask to have your SI joint looked at. It’s a common injury that isn’t always diagnosed in women, I’m told. I slipped down the stairs more than a year ago, hit my back, and thought it was just back pain. The doc didn’t find it until the third trip. Hopefully, you just wrenched things a bit and didn’t do any major damage.

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Anna:

        Thank you so much for checking up on me. I went to the doctor yesterday because I could not get in and out of bed without help. Every move I made caused intense pain. I have a very high threshold to pain so if I say it hurts, you can believe me. Today, my husband gave me a hug and it sent me into a screaming frenzy. The doctor said it is just a deep bruise. I am injured on the right side of my back in the kidney area. He took a urine test to make sure I’m not bleeding internally and that was okay. But I cannot drive or pick up anything heavy because I just am unable to do that right now without crying with pain. I’m not sure where you’re from but here in New Jersey, the ice is really bad right now. In fact, we are expecting a blizzard called Juno on Tuesday and you can be sure, I will not be stepping out of my house till things are safe. In the meantime, I have to put hot compresses on for a week or so twice daily. I would like to say that my fall is due to old age and unbalance but I am only 54. Is that old?

        Thank you again for your sweet e-mail and concern. It means more to me than I’ll ever be able to say. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • I’m so sorry. I am glad there’s no internal bleeding and the doctor didn’t find anything else. I really hope you heal quickly. Normally we’d have ice here in Nebraska now but it’s been warm a lot this year. Ice is awful stuff. A couple of years ago my sis slipped and broke her ankle so badly that despite surgery she’ll always limp and have pain.

          Rest and feel better. Hugs. (54 isn’t old.) ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Thanks again Anna. I’m sorry about your sister. Falls really are a horrible thing. And thank you so much for saying that 54 isn’t old. My hair normally is dark brown but I’ve gone to blond hightlights now so hopefully, I look younger than what I am. Plus, the face creams really do work. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ha Ha. And now I’m seeing a personal trainer and hopefully he’ll be able to do something with me. 54 may not be old but we’re well on our way so I have to do everything I can to stop the aging process. Sorry about the rambling. I just find I have some time on my hands right now.

        • I’m with Anna… 54 is NOT old. I’m only 8 years behind that, so it’s looking awfully young to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • So sorry you got hurt! I’m glad you’ve got a good hubby to take care of you!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Jessica:

        Thank you so much for your well wishes. Thank God I have such a good hubby who takes very good care of me; so good that today he gave me a hug without thinking and the pain sent me into orbit. ๐Ÿ™‚ Everyone is on alert to not touch me right now. Every hug is another several hours of pain. I’m glad that he and our daughter insisted that I go to the doctor because otherwise by now, I would be surely wondering what on earth is wrong and did I do some real damage. If I had one wish right now it would be that my family and I would be in California like you rather than in New Jersey where we are bracing for winter blizzard Juno which is due here beginning Monday night. Take care and have a great night with your beautiful family!

        • It would be lovely to meet you! Hunker down and stay warm!

          • Stepyhanie M. says:

            I feel the same way, Jessica. This pantry challenge is a wonderful thing on so many levels. Not only does it get us all thinking about the obvious, using up what we have, saving money, and getting creative, but for that one month or two weeks in July, we are all able to meet new friends and get to know each other, even if just a little bit. To me, when the pantry challenge is nearing the end, it always makes me feel a little sad because as we write in every day, it is very easy to start chatting with each other about recipes and tips and also other things than the pantry challenge which kind of forms little friendships. I would love to meet you as well and compare notes on our travels. I would love to hear more about the time you lived in France. I love to travel as well. I am first generation American. My father was from Cyprus which is where I get my Mediterranean influence and my mother is from Germany so I know a lot about German cooking and baking. I, myself, have been to Germany 14 times with my last visit being the summer of 2013. I have friends there and that’s who my husband and I stay with. We were all just on a Caribbean cruise together in November. It was their first cruise and their first time in the Caribbean; it was so much fun. You may remember me writing recently about the travel journal I am making for them. And we just received the photo album that they made for us and it’s beautiful. Well, enough said; I do tend to go on; voted most talkative in H.S. and some things never change! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a wonderful warm sunny day in California while we brace for the storm; it was snowing a little today and now it’s not doing anything; but I think the real blizzard like conditions will begin this evening and into tomorrow. Thank God, there’s lots of tea in the house. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Woke up to 7 inches of snow this morning (looks beautiful and glad I don’t have to leave the house) and saying more to come today and tonight. Glad we still have lots of good stuff to use up!

    Breakfast – Oatmeal w/blueberries
    Lunch – Leftover pizza and salad
    Dinner – Pumpkin, beans and chicken soup, rolls
    Snacks – Rice krispy treats, pretzels and dip

  3. Breakfast: leftover pizza
    Lunch: sandwich, frozen juice popsicles
    Snack: crackers and spinach dip
    Dinner: nachos (nope, pot roast didn’t make it into the crockpot in the morning)

  4. We spent more money than I intended this week, but all for good stuff. We were out of paper towels, so I bought two giant packages to get the benefit of the sale, but we should be set for months. We also got some local beef for about $35. (Around 10 -12 lbs) then I gave into my husbands request and picked up a few of his favorite convenience foods. I figure this is cheaper than him choosing to eat out when he can’t find what he wants at home. ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a good day, took care of some leftovers in the fridge for both breakfast and lunch, and for the first time in a few weeks had to throw out some leftovers. Just didn’t get to all the chicken terriyaki in time.

    • That’s a great price for beef. How does your source portion it? Did you get a mix of ground and other cuts?

      Last year I made an effort to reduce our paper towel use at home — made it the whole year on a pack of 15 rolls. (Used up the last of them when we moved in December – I need to buy another pack!)

      • They set up a weekly meat market and portion it like you would see in the grocery store (most likely) and each is priced individually. Some of the meat is frozen, some is fresh. You can get any pieces you want if you get there early enough, but the good prices and pieces go quickly. You can even get pieces that might not go on sale at your grocery store, for folks that are used to eating the whole cow (for instance, the cow heart is sold there). We’ve enjoyed having it as an option for local meats. The only problem is remembering to go for the 5 or 6 hrs they are open for the week.

    • Great price on beef! I’d do it.

  5. Successful day here. The true test will be next week – – we’re having some painting done in our home and they begin on the kitchen Monday. Means I’m going to be limited to the crockpot, microwave, rice cooker and any other small appliance I can set up in the basement to get us through. Serious planning to take place tomorrow so we’re ready for this. It would be oh so easy to call for take-out.

    B: fruit smoothie, bagels w/cream cheese or toast
    L: birthday lunch at my office for co-worker so the office picked up the tab; hubby’s 1 day out
    D: burrito bowls – – pinto beans from freezer, made Cilantro Lime Rice in the rice cooker, heated up the last of the pork carnitas meat, sliced the last avocado, used the last of the grape tomatoes and the feta cheese. Good stuff and cleaned up the lasts of several food items. Score!

  6. B- the sugar cereals are almost gone! Hallelujah
    L- Turkey sandwhich for me, pb&j for the kids
    D-Corn waffles with honey butter and salad

    Planning of cooking up a turkey I have in the freezer this weekend- looks like we will be eating a lot of turkey next week!

  7. I am happily seeing more space!
    breakfast-mandarin oranges (Not that hungry)
    lunch -leftover meatloaf sandwich, carrots
    dinner-hosted book club. I provided a baked potato bar, others brought green salad, fruit salad, chips and dip, cookies and ice cream, plus several bottles of wine. Fun!
    I took a half turkey out of the freezer to thaw for use during the last week.

  8. Heather M says:

    You guys, I finally planned!! Stayed up late into the night because I was having so much fun looking for new recipe ideas. We eat lots of new recipes here. Or I mess with them, using them as a framework for something. Planned dinner through Monday, plus a list of many more but will choose what/when as the days get closer. And also made a baking/dessert plan too. Best part? We’ll only have to pick up a few fresh items next week, we’ll eat healthily (even the desserts– from cooking light), and we’re using up things that need to get used pronto.

    Day 21/Friday meals:
    B: cereal/turkey sausage for son, raspberry mini muffins for hubs, cheese and crackers and a yogurt for me
    L: son took his usual turkey sandwich, pistachios, crackers, clif bar; hubs took leftover pasta w/homemade sauce the other night; I had cucumbers w/light dip, a scrambled egg w/onion, and more cheese and crackers (had a little fontina left that was about to mold over completely and it’s so yum that I ate the rest for breakfast and lunch– just a few ounces total)
    D: salmon w/ sprouted rice/quinoa blend and a frozen veg mix w/cheese sauce (freezer and pantry items, all)
    Snacks: ice cream for hubs, son had chips and a hot dog (he really eats four full meals a day), I had jello and oatmeal.

    Yikes! We didn’t eat any fruit! Ugh….

  9. I went to the store again because we keep running out of key things. I spent about $50 between Aldi and Festival.

    B-eggs and toast, tea

    L-leftover chili for me and my husband, fried rice for older son and soup for younger

    D-baked ziti and salad

    Dessert-apple crisp

  10. Friday was a great pantry challenge day!
    Breakfast: cheese omelet for Hubs. Chocolate milk for ds#3, and quiche for me. I also ate the last bits of citrus salad (which wasn’t much).
    Lunch: Hubs stayed home today, and went to Subway for lunch. A fairly economical choice, so I’m not bent out of shape. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ds#3 had a turkey sandwich on a roll, tortilla chips, homemade trail mix and chocolate chip cookie in his lunchbox. I did not eat, because we were taking group pictures for the yearbook during my lunch. I do not like picture day.
    Dinner: Hawaiian chicken. This is a new recipe and I was anxious about it because Hubs does not love chicken, but we had chicken that needed to be used. Diced chicken breast (frozen) with pineapple, green and red peppers (frozen from our garden), and BBQ sauce dumped into the crockpot… easy as that. I served it with broccoli over rice for the guys, and over a sweet potato for me. The verdict? It’s a keeper!!! It’s like a sweet & sour chicken with a little kick. There is none left. And I’m a happy mama.
    Snack: the cookies I made last night are ALL GONE. My people love their treats.

  11. We are doing the challenge and the shelves are slowly emptying! But funny side note. My husband is a great handy man and loves to make things for the house–consequently he has a stockpile of sorts of raw materials. He now is trying to think of a way to make a box for our recycling containers. We were at Lowes today, looking at plastic containers for the recycling bin. He said that project would have to wait because he was doing his own pantry challenge and trying to use up his raw materials before buying new!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. We are officially done the pantry challenge here! Tonight we had pancakes for supper and I pulled out the last pkg of meat from the freezer (bacon) for blts tomorrow. So tomorrow we will head to the city to do a stock up between Costco and superstore and start over. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do still have odd and end baggies of fruit, etc in the freezer downstairs. In the morning I will transfer it all to the fridge freezer so it gets used up first.

  13. Is there supposed to be a link to cutting a grapefruit? I’m curious!

  14. Started inventorying the pantry today.

    Tonight is: sliders (hamburger and buns started thawing in the freezer fiasco), creamed corn, frozen potatoes, and a peach cobbler made from a dusty old can. LOL. So far, the slightly thawed freezer pizza has not made me sick. I’m unbelievably sensitive to slightly bad food so I’ll know by tonight if everyone else can eat it.

    Found a whole gallon ziploc of little packets of instant oatmeal. Looks like the kids will get those all week for breakfast. And I can definitely make rice krispie treats and chocolate chip cookies when the time comes. Anyone ever made rice krispie treats with stale or pumpkin flavor marshmallows? Is it disgusting?

    I may also try my hand a making dog biscuits since I didn’t find more of those but did find a bunch of cans of chicken broth. I still have lots of that in the freezer too.

    • I think stale would be fine. Not sure about pumpkin. Sounds kinda icky. Sorry about the freezer fiasco. Bummer.

      Stephanie M can tell you about dog biscuits. She makes those.

      • Thanks! Yeah, I’m not sure about those pumpkin ones either.

        Maybe Stephanie M will post a recipe for the dog biscuits. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve never made them.

    • Stephanie M. says:

      Hi Anna:

      I couldn’t help but see that you might be making dog biscuits. Here is the recipe I use just in case you don’t already have one:

      2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
      3/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
      1 egg, beaten
      1/2 cup oil ( I use canola)
      2 cubes beef or chicken boullion, sodium free
      3/4 cup boiling water
      2 TBS brown sugar

      Preheat oven to 300. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

      Dissolve boullion cubs in boiling water and allow to cool.

      Combine flour, dry milk, egg, oil, beef or chicken broth, and brown sugar. Mix well and knead dough for one minute or till pliable.

      On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into small rounds (I use a small juice glass and spray with baking spray so dough comes off the glass easier). Some people use dog bone cookie cutters but I don’t think mine, at least, would notice the difference. ๐Ÿ™‚ Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

      Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool.

      I freeze mine in a freezer bag and just take out two each night for my two dogs; They defrost quickly. But remember, there are no preservatives in these so if you don’t freeze them, they will get stale and moldy.

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