2015 Winter Pantry Challenge: Day Twenty-Two

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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.

ino pantry

Oh, no food pic today. You get a Mother-Daughter selfie. My girl went with me on a photo shoot today for the cover of Book #4. She did great for the first two hours and then got bored and uncomfortable. So we redeemed the day with a M-D lunch at In-N-Out.

Breakfast was a hurried affair while I tried to get things ready. The kids ate waffles and fruit. I grabbed a banana and coffee. At the real lunch time, I got half a KIND bar, so after we were done with the shoot, FishChick8 and I were ready for burgers. 

Never fear the others had food, too. Chili from the freezer. Hubs ate cereal at work.

For dinner I made two different quiches with odds and ends and a big salad.

Breakfast: Waffles, fruit

Lunch: Chili for some, cereal for another, INO for two more

Dinner: Quiche and salad

How is week four starting out for YOU?

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. Heading into week 4 for we are doing well. I went to the store this morning and I still have $200 left in this month’s grocery budget. So it looks like we will end the month with some surplus in the grocery budget!

    B: granola, strawberries, milk
    L: lunch out with friends at Abuelo’s
    D: Hotdogs, chips, strawberries and bananas

  2. Hard to believe that we are starting Week 4 and we are still eating good and will continue to for atleast another 4 weeks with just picking up dairy and produce. Did get some muffins made early yesterday for breakfast with the last can of pumpkin and some dried cherries.
    Today I am going to enjoy a lunch and show with the “Princesses” and my 2 little Princess granddaughters so hoping the 3 – 5 inches of additional snow they are calling for waits until later this afternoon!

    Breakfast – Pumpkin cherry muffins
    Lunch – Tuna salad sandwiches w/lettuce, chips
    Dinner – Last of the pumpkin bean soup w/beer bread
    Snacks – rice krispy treats, ice cream

  3. Stephanie M. says:

    What a nice picture of the two of you! I’m sure it was nice for both of you to spend some mommy and me time together.

    Even our refrigerator is clearing out. Little by little, we are emptying out pantry/freezer/and fridge. Clearly, I had over a month’s worth of stuff here because I don’t expect to be done by end of next week but I am very happy with all of our efforts this past month and will continue till the job is done; probably a few more weeks.

    B – Hubby had cereal and a banana; I did not eat.

    L – I made hubby chicken and cheese quesadillas using up the last of the flour tortilla shells I had from the other night when I made burritos and using one of the several boneless chicken breasts I have left in the freezer. He also had the last of the leftover rice and beans from that night. I did not eat.

    D – We ordered out tonight because I did not want to cook. We ended up getting some subs which will be enough for lunch tomorrow too.

    Dessert: Hubby had some jello.

    • Are you up and about again?! Take it easy.

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Jessica:

        Yes, I am up and about but not without pain. I can’t believe one trip to the store resulted in an accident that will now rule the next couple of weeks. We are in for a huge winter storm called Juno and you can best believe, I will stay put in the house. Hope all is well with your family.

  4. B- Veggie burrito, tea

    L-peanut butter sandwiches, chips, oranges and water (on the way home from judo)

    D-leftover fried rice, pasta, and falafels with pitas

  5. Diane Tobin says:

    I have followed you for quite some time and have seen the pantry challenges, but never thought to participate. Well my goal this month was to cut my weekly shopping bill by $100. I am not doing the pantry challenge perfectly, but it has certainly made me more aware. I have been going into my pantry and finding things that I didn’t even know I had! It is amazing to see shelf space and fridge space! My biggest challenge is to make snacks for their lunch boxes. I know I have the ingredients, now its just putting it all together. Thank you for all of this! I have gone from an average weekly bill of $550 to this weeks bill of $298!

  6. Great pic of you 2 girls!

    Good day on the home front.

    B: oatmeal w/brown sugar
    L: cleaned out the leftovers – – white chili, pinto beans & rice, hominey casserole (served like a dip w/tortilla chips and it was quite good)
    D: I had to attend an annual dinner for work. Hubby went with me and dinner was part of the package – – salad, mustard glazed pork loin, bbq brisket, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn casserole, steamed squash medley, raspberry cream cheese filled cupcake, and wine. Better than we would have had at home! And didn’t cost us a dime since it was for work.

  7. We have not been doing the actual challenge, mostly because I just haven’t taken the time to clean out the pantry, but we ARE eating down things. The kids have been told to eat the cereal we have after we run out of the other things (and what we have is still what they like), eat Cheez-Its when the Goldfish runs out, etc. We ran out of chicken breasts and strips over a week ago, but the leftover Thanksgiving turkey was not gamey at all this year, so it has been an excellent chicken stand-in, especially in Chicken Tortilla Soup last week. We’ve also eaten the various one/two servings from the freezer: potato soup, kielbasa, enchiladas. We do this ever so often, but I really do find it easier to do when you do your challenge, so Thank You! And the hubby has come around to the randomness that happens a couple times a year, so that helps. One more week of miscellaneous meals and our supplies should be low enough to get a clean start. Thanks again!

  8. Fantastic selfie 🙂
    Breakfast: Hubs & I had our weekly date out, and we saw some dear friends who joined us… AND they paid for our breakfast! What a treat! I made chocolate milk and the last of the broccoli-bacon quiche for ds#3. He informed me that he really liked the crust (which I made from scratch – score one for Mom!).
    Lunch: Ds went to a friend’s house so he had lunch with them. When I got home, Hubs had been working in the garden and was starving. We had nachos to tide us over till dinner.
    Dinner: Ds ended up spending the night with his buddy. We had a pizza-ish casserole type dish with ground beef, tomato sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella. I baked an apple pie for dessert at Hubs’ request.

    I made another batch of Hawaiian chicken for the week at Hubby’s request (words cannot express how excited I am that he liked this dish!!!), and a batch of vegetable-beef soup. I also went to the grocery store for (mostly) produce, and spent $33.

  9. Breakfast: leftover chicken salad and crackers – unconventional, I know, but was tasty and worked for me while the kid slept in
    Lunch: last of the pizza for the kid, sandwich for me
    Snack: finished off the lobster dip with crackers
    Dinner: salmon, smoked gouda cheese grits, salad

    This was a truly busy but exciting day for me. Neither I nor the kid had to work so we *cleaned* stuff up. The entire outside trash can is now overflowing (there was only one small bag of trash in it when we started) and there are 3 more bags that need to go in it. Living room spaces cleaned up, fish tank cleaned out, I have a dining room table again, kitchen counters cleaned off, and the pantry is completely cleared out. I’ve rearranged the stuff in the cabinets so that it seems like the layout makes more sense, even though it is different than I’ve done for the past 15 years so will take getting used to. All the mason jars of grains and nuts that I put in the glass jars rather than keeping in bags – someone’s organizational idea that I tried – finally have labels on them. I felt so productive! Such a huge mental weight lifted. Never mind the other areas that need the same treatment…

  10. I feel like we are slowly using up what we have but there have been too many meals out. This is going slower than I thought it would.

    Breakfast: Date w/hubby for bagels & coffee, waffles (freezer) & juice (kids)
    Lunch: Cold leftover pizza on the way to the library
    Dinner: Grilled chicken salads (me & hubs) & chicken quesadillas (kids)
    Snacks: Coffee cake

  11. I started the month whole heartedly wanting to do the challenge, but at the same time I started a new diet, which meant 80% of the food in the house I could not eat, then my husband decided to join me on this diet, so he wasn’t eating the food either so I had to spend money on food that we could eat. I am trying to use it up for the kids but making two meals a night has been challenging at best. So here I am at the end of the month with my house still full of food and no money saved. Oh well at least I am 10 lbs lighter.


  12. Jessica S says:

    Friday was a normal school day.. Kids ate bagels and fruit for breakfast.. I packed them basic lunches of sammies, fruit/veg, some snack crackers. Dinner was a chicken I pulled out of the freezer. I cut ouf the backbone and split it to roast in the oven. Tossed the back into a huge pot and started to pull bags from the freeezer! I had a bag of chicken scraps for stock, a bag with celery and carrot ends, a bag with a partial onion and random small cloves of garlic.. Tossed them all into the pot! Added Bay leaves and peppercorns! After dinner I added the carcass and cooked it another hour!
    Before Bed I strained and put into the fridge for fat to rise.

    While we were eating that lovely chicken dinner I tossed a pan of pumpkin bars into the oven b/c I NEEDED to use up the leftover container of cream cheese frosting ( took cinnamon rolls to work the day before!)

    Saturday.. Kids fend for themselves- pop tarts, bagels, cold cereal and bananas.
    Lunch – one kid at a bday party, 1 ate pizza lunch with mom on errands, one finished random leftovers out of fridge with dad.
    Dinner… we potentially were going to have friends over and order pizza.. but that fell through.. so instead of ordering pizza ( like I wanted to I hit the kitchen).. chopped up the last 5 sticks of celery, a handful of baby carrots and tossed into a stock pot.. added the last of a bag of frozen mix veg, tossed in more frozen peas. Found a bag of cooked shredded chicken in freezer and dumped that in.. Grabbed that stock from the fridge and skimmed the fat off.. added a few cups of that. I thickened that up with a slurry of heavy cream and cornstarch. Cooked the partial bag of egg noodles for those to add if they desired.. Served with homemade baking powder biscuits!

    Dessert was pumkin bars from previous nights cooking!

  13. My in-laws toom me and my husband out to dinner. It was really nice to eat super yummy food that I didnt have to cook!
    B-I think they had leftover waffles or cereal, but I slept in, I dont know
    L- I had a green smoothie, and my sister in law took my kids on an adventure so I am not sure what they ate(It didt come out of my budget!)
    D- Dinner out for parents, spaghetti and vegetables for the kids

    This week will be interesting, as we try to use up some more things, but I also need to prepare for a week out of town(just for the parents) and make enough freezer meals for the kids to eat with their babysitter while we are gone. At least the freezer has enough room for said meals! We’ll see how it goes! The vacation bug is getting to me!

  14. Michelle Porter says:

    The week started off great with all meals eaten at home up until Thursday. I was at work Thursday and my husband called and said, “Bad news. Our freezer and refrigerator are both out and apparently have been going out for a while without us noticing it. By Thursday afternoon…..EVERYTHING was totally thawed and not really cold anymore. SO….I was able to salvage 2 pounds of hamburger, 2 packs of thinly sliced sirloin, and a package of sausage. We ate a lot of meat that night. I threw out frozen veggies, frozen pasta blends, a pork roast, pork chops, a bag of chicken breasts, a whole chicken, bacon, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, juice, eggs, biscuits, and I can’t even begin to think of everything else. Our pantry challenge is OVER. Seeing as we don’t have the funds saved up for another refrigerator at the moment….we will either be eating simple meals I can make of canned goods or I will have to stop and get a meat product on my way home. This really stinks!!! I will still be following everyone else’s progress though. I love all the posts.

    • Ugh that is awful!! I remember when we had a freak storm that threw out our power for 3 days when it was 100 out. Not typical (power lines underground, but it ruined substations!). We lost the entire fridge and freezer, as did so many people we knew. But not the actually fridge. I really feel for you. Good luck these next weeks/months while you pull together the $$.

      • Michelle Porter says:

        Oh, it will be okay. So, so aggravating though. Every time you think you’re finally getting ahead…..something like this happens. There is a St. Vincent dePaul thrift store in my town, so I am going to call them today and ask to be put on a waiting list for IF and when they get one in. They get appliances quite often and test them before they sell them. They usually sell them pretty cheaply also. $50-$75 or so. Got my fingers crossed. I can swing that I think. 🙂

    • So SAD! I cried when that happened to me. I called my husband at work and he thought a family member had died. Perhaps I was a little distraught. Glad to hear you have a fridge replacement plan. Sounds like a good one. Do you live someplace cold?

      • Michelle Porter says:

        I live in Kentucky. It’s been staying in the low 30s here. It looks like I am on a good little waiting list so it might be a while before I get another one. I did stop and buy a pack of beef strips on my way home, full price GASP, so we could have some stir fry for dinners. My kids are already saying we don’t have anything to eat and honestly besides fruit and canned goods, there aren’t a lot of choices right now. I did buy 3 packs of bacon half off today SO I am going to leave it in my car tonight, put it in the fridge at my work tomorrow and then we will have BLTs tonight. Unfortunately, this is going to get VERY expensive before it’s over.

  15. Heather M says:

    Love the picture, Jessica! Darling! So Day 22/Saturday went something like this:

    We all slept in until noon (!!!! But yes, went to bed at 2am, and work earlier, just went back to sleep). Then we had breakfast. Between 12:30-1:30 and had a nice slow enjoyable meal. Then we talked to family, cleaned up a little, read, etc, and I got to work in the kitchen around 3:30. I took a break to hit the gym around 6. Came home, ate dinner, and went back to work in the kitchen. Implemented my plan! Here’s the list of what was eaten:

    Breakfast: bacon, pancakes w/choice of syrup (hubs had peach, son had maple, and I had lilikoi syrup from Hawaii–delicious!)– also I have two packages of pancake mix and they need to get used up!
    Lunch(if you can call it that.. Snack really): hubs had cashews and pineapple, son had a tuna sandwich and pineapple, I had cucumber w/dip, a hard boiled egg, and string cheese
    Dinner: taco/tostada/burrito bar w/bean-beef mix (using up freezer items I needed to use!) I made and set out before taking the gym break

    Here is what was made, aside from he food of the day:

    dinner for Monday: a beef stew using stew meat from the freezer that I needed to use and lots of other pantry/fresh ingredients (slow cooker, flavors richen while it sits for a day or two!), “healthy-ish” biscuits baked to accompany
    Desserts/treats: all cooking light recipes, so not horrific fat and calorie-wise: Apple spice cake, dark chocolate raspberry brownies (recipe is for cherry– but I didn’t want to open it and used some of what was in the fridge), and since I had a little buttermilk left I decided to make a small batch of blackberry buttermilk sherbet, which is delicious (I’ve made it before, so I knew…)

    It felt good to spend so much time in the kitchen, at leisure instead of because I “had” to. I’ll have to do this more often.

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