2015 Winter Pantry Challenge: Day Twenty-Seven

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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.

celebrating 52 birthday

This is my second to last Pantry Challenge post until July. Squee! Or, well, you know what I mean.

We are thrilled to be nearing the challenge and even more thrilled to know that we saved over $600 this month. I ran to the store today for a few more “wisdom tooth foods” and cake stuff for my husband’s birthday. I spent $16 so that brings us just under $550 for the month. Whoo hoo!

As for the food, well, how about 52 cupcakes for a fun birthday? They were mini cupcakes so they took only one cake mix and I made a double batch of my Chocolate Buttercream, using Hershey’s Dark Cocoa powder. Super yum.

We had originally planned to go out to eat tonight but since the big boys still have sore mouths, we figured we’d wait until they were better. Instead I made pesto pasta and sautรฉed shrimp.

The only pasta we had left was orecchiette, “little ears”. These always stick together. The littles were cringing that we were having “the crunchy pasta”. I was able to make them not stick! I had to drop them into the pot by the handfuls, but it worked. Yay!

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Sandwiches and leftovers

Snacks: fruit

Dinner: Pesto Pasta with Shrimp, Chocolate Cupcakes

One more day, folks! If you’re interested in continuing the conversation,ย let me know and I’ll set up a new chat page.

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. We had similar dinners. i’d saved shrimp and tortellini for one of the last hurrays of PC Sauteed the shrimp in garlic, onion, and Jamie’s spice mix, which I keep in the freezer. ( we LOVE that mix, thanks!) Cooked the tortellini in a cream cheese chick broth sort of fettuccini sauce with peas and carrots. Yum. I made the rest of the day’s uneventful meals edible.

    • You are not the first person to say they were saving something good for the last week. That is brilliant! Remind me to do that next time. Your meal sounds delicious. SO glad you love Jamie’s Spice Mix!

  2. We’re off to the beach for the weekend, so I planned each meal and spent the morning baking.
    Fri D: Beef patties (made yesterday & frozen), salad & homemade bread rolls
    Sat B: homemade muesli & yoghurt with fresh fruit
    Sat L: deli meats, cheese, veg & bread rolls
    Sat D: out (night off!)
    Sun B: eggs, bacon, spinach, mushrooms
    Sun L: same as Sat
    Sun D: fish & chips on the beach before heading home
    We’ll take along extra fruit & a cranberry choc cake for snacks.

    I “think” we won’t starve… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Heather M says:

    Happy birthday to FishPapa!! Those cupcakes look amazing!! And the frosting! Beyond!

    Jessica, I tried out the garlic focaccia today and it was a huge hit! Delicious! My son immediately said, “you have to make is when A gets home from college. But also a lot before then.” We made paninis with it for dinner! Too good.

    B: cereal and turkey sausage for son; apple spice cake for son; toast w/PB and a pear for me
    L: son took biscuits, pistachios, and a clif bar; hubs took leftover beef veg stew and a biscuit; I had raw veggies w/dip, a scrambled egg, and a little tuna and crackers
    D: ham and Manchego paninis on homemade garlic focaccia (manchego still hanging around from the holidays); salad. And my son kept eating the focaccia…
    Snacks: son had chicken quesadilla and pineapple; I had string cheese and a raspberry brownie

    I also stopped in to buy garlic powder at a local international grocery next to my gym. No cash and they have a credit card minimum. So I spent $10 on garlic powder, Serrano chiles, avocados, and dried cannellini beans. They are they next kind I want to start making on my own. I already do black, pinto, and small red beans. I need to get the nerve up to try garbanzo beans. But I love cannellinis so it’s a natural next one to skip the cans. Ned to grab a little fresh produce tomorrow so we make it through early next week. We may have snow Sunday into Monday, so I want to be in the clear through at least then. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • We were each only supposed to have six cupcakes, but I think I’ve lost count — and eaten other people’s share. I do have a weakness for that buttercream.

      I’m thrilled to hear that you on loves the focaccia. Little know secret: years ago my husband started calling it Baby’s Bottom because it’s so soft. Guests always freak out when my kids say we’re having Baby’s Bottom for dinner. Oy! (He calls chimichangas “bloody arms” and summer rolls “Larvae”. Not sure if everyone appreciates his humor, but there we are. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Stephanie M. says:

    Happy Birthday to FishPapa!! I need to make cupcakes too after looking at that picture!

    I can’t wait until Saturday when I can go food shopping. Surprisingly I really don’t need a lot, no meat at all. I need some fruit, kitty litter, almond milk, almond cheese, egg whites, tomato sauce, hot sauce, coffee, English muffins, and a few other things. The other half of my list are things I need for next Saturday’s annual Valentine’s dinner party. I have this the Saturday before Valentine’s every year for 10 – 12 people. But all in all, I am very happy with the way this PC went for me. I spent at least 50% less than I normally do. One thing I’m not doing is filling up my pantry with so much stuff anymore. It’s good to get things on sale and stock up but not to the point where you have to make a concentrated effort to get rid of it all again at least not for me. I promised after the last pantry challenge that I would not overfill my freezer any more and I haven’t. Now I have to do the same thing with my pantry. I have to keep reminding myself that the store is only five minutes away if I really need something. Also better menu planning helps too and that’s what I need to work on.

    B – Hubby had a piece of the breakfast casserole that I made over the weekend. I had scrambled eggs and the last half of an English muffin.

    L – Hubby had the last of the shrimp salad. I had a veggie platter.

    D – We had pita pizzas with a bag of pitas I found in the freezer. I made plain and chicken with squash, and red onions. So more things out of the pantry, freezer, and fridge.

    I can’t stop looking at the canned goods section of my pantry. It’s almost empty. What a great time to reorganize.

    • I went shopping today since I’m doing a big freezer cooking tomorrow. (We’re still eating “old food” today to keep me honest. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was weird to go shopping!

      You’ll have to be sure to keep us posted on how the party goes down. I remember you had a great menu last year.

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Thanks for remembering Jessica! This year will be a little different. Instead of serving appetizers in the den when everyone comes in, I’m going to be serving appetizers at the D.R. table as one of the courses during dinner. First I will give everyone a glass dish with three tasting appetizers on it. The serving pieces on the plate are all of tasting size. The first is a tiny martini glass with shrimp hanging over it and cocktail sauce inside. The second is a tiny square dish with tomato/mozzarella/basil/olive oil. The third is a tasting spoon with two Swedish meatballs on it. After that, I will give everyone a tasting cup with potato soup with cheddar and bacon. After that, we will have spring mix salad with toasted pecans and balsamic vinaigrette. Then we will have pork London broil, angus beef London broil, twice baked potatoes (mashed potatoes with egg and cream cheese and paprika – baked in oven), and green beans almondine, and dinner rolls. For dessert, I will give everyone a glass dish with two desserts on it: one will be a chocolate raspberry parfait which is a layer of raspberry jello in a wine glass, then chocolate mousse, then whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Next to that will be a slice of chocolate, chocolate chip cake, and two strawberries with chocolate syrup drizzled over them.. And I had told you I always give out favors so this year, I am giving snack bags: a valentine themed gift bag with several cheeses, a salami roll, crackers, popcorn, a can of peanuts, a Lindt chocolate bar, and some German cookies.

        So have I missed anything?

  5. A Very Happy Birthday to FishPapa!! Sounds like dinner in was just as good, or better, than if you had gone out!!
    I agree with Stephanie M. regarding not feeling we have to load up on items when there is now a store 5 minutes away and there is always something we can make if there was an emergency situation. Just need to remember that the sales come along on a regular basis and need to pick up a couple not a dozen of them! Did run this week because of the $5 off coupon (and coupons) and deals on bacon and eggs where ending that day but I know that those will disappear real fast.

    Breakfast – Waffles
    Lunch – Grilled cheese sandwiches, noodle soup
    Dinner – Pepperoni, mushroom & onion pizza. salad
    Snack – made more rice krispy treats to use up cereal and marshmellows

  6. I was going to run to the store yesterday because we are out of tortillas, American cheese and a few other things we use on a regular basis, but my husband talked me out of it, saying there wasn’t anything on the list we had to have before the weekend. So I didn’t go and will wait till Saturday or Sunday. That’s kind of a big deal for him to say that, because he’s the one who usually runs to the store for one or two things. Yay! He’s getting it.

    B-quinoa and oatmeal hot cereal with peanut butter for me, plain for husband.

    L-fettuccine pomodoro and garlic bread made out of some leftover sliced French bread.

    D-tortilla espanola(my very modified version) with canned green beans on the side.

    Like some others have said, I don’t really stock up my pantry and freezer like I used to. It’s mostly because of doing pantry challenges, and partly because things in the freezer would get freezer burned from being in there so long. We don’t eat meat that often, so I don’t buy meat until we plan to eat it. We also don’t eat a lot of canned food, so I just don’t buy much of that anymore either.

    • Yay for your husband! That’s awesome that he’s on board. I love that kind of affirmation.

      And yes, the pantry challenge really does teach you to shop better. It’s long term savings, really.

  7. Breakfast: egg sandwich on bagel
    Lunch: assorted things from a work event
    Dinner: wasn’t hungry, so just had some chips and dip for a snack

  8. We have worked on leftovers, more homemade pizza (local dough had everything else), freezer foods. Un-thawed chicken for tonite, with fresh kale and leftover italian bread. Our shopping trips are much thinner, except for non-food items…

  9. January has been a month of savings for us! Thanks to the pantry challenge and our focus this month on not spending, we added $3000 to our BHAG account!

  10. We have definitely saved $$ on this challenge.
    It occurred to me that one of the reasons January is so tough for us is that we get paid the second week in December, and then at the end of January… so it’s almost 7 weeks between paychecks. And yes, I know about budgeting, but with Christmas in the middle, it’s a L-O-N-G stretch!!!
    Breakfast – Pancakes & bacon for hubs (bacon is now all gone), pumpkin roll for ds, water for me.
    Lunch – Big tossed salad for hubs with leftover turkey, cranberries, pecans & feta. Ds#3 had a bunch of odds & ends in his lunch, until I had enough food that I thought would fill him up. I had a salad.
    Dinner: We actually met a long-time friend at Chick-fil-A tonight (my mom, sister & nephews, and ds#3 & me) and Mom paid for dinner. ๐Ÿ™‚ Which was really nice, because I was totally at a loss what to cook!

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