2015 Winter Pantry Challenge, Day 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.

2015 Winter Pantry Challenge, Day Two - Our second day of the challenge included bagels for a second breakfast turned lunch.

Today was a busy day. I started out getting my yearly mammogram. Yes, on a Sunday. The machine was broken when I had my appointment last month, so they rescheduled me for a Sunday. Pretty chill actually. I didn’t realize until I woke up that it was for 9 am. Good thing I made Cinnamon Rolls yesterday. The kids had that for breakfast.

While I was out, I drove a little extra way to Bruegger’s Bagels where I had a $30 gift card to use. (The brand sent it to me to review. Be sure to enter the giveaway coming later this week.) I had originally ordered one dozen bagels with some spreads, but when the clerk told me there were freezer bags, my eyes lit up. Since the bakery is a 30-minute drive from my house it made more sense to use up the whole card. So, I bought two dozen, planning to freeze the extras for later.

I got caught up reading a book and kept glimpsing people going back for bagels. Luckily, a dozen still made it to the freezer.

I also forgot to make lunch. Well, honestly, they ate bagels and it was noon, so that was lunch.

I tore myself away from Lord Peter and got to the kitchen where I knew I would have a fair amount of work to do. My 8-year old daughter helped me to make a double batch of granola, three loaves of Vanilla Cranberry Bread (recipe from Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook) and homemade mayonnaise. We also made a quick trip to the store for some produce and dairy items to make the week easier. I spent $23 (up to $131 so far).

By the time I got home, we scrambled to get dinner started. I didn’t have time to finish before the Facebook party started, so FishPapa finished up and delivered me a delicious plate of grub. We ended the evening with coconut gelato and cranberry bread.

Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls

Second Breakfast/Lunch: bagels and cream cheese

Snacks: fruit

Dinner: Pasta with Pesto Sauce, Green Beans seasoned with Jamie’s Spice Mix, Hawaiian rolls from the freezer.

Dessert: Talenti coconut gelato (a fave) and Vanilla Cranberry Bread (recipe from Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook)

2015 Winter Pantry Challenge, Day Two - Our second day of the challenge included bagels for a second breakfast turned lunch.This post is part of the 2015 Winter Pantry Challenge. Read through the archives to catch up.

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  1. Vanessa B says:

    Today went well for us. I planned to make Brats fot dinner which require buns….. that we didn’t have. So I planned to make hot dog buns from scratch which requires milk…. that we didn’t have. Hmmmm. So with a resourceful substitution mostly driven by by a profound refusal to take the car out of the garage and venture out into 5degree weather, I used evaporated milk to make delicious buns for the brats. I’ve never been more thrilled to stay inside the entire day.
    breakfast – my husband fed the kids cereal while I slept in. It was lovely
    lunch- frozen pizza, “Shoppe Salad” a copycat of a local pizza joint favorite and the kids had orange slices
    Dinner- Brats, homemade buns, coleslaw, baked beans and green beans
    Dessert- upside down Pear Cake

  2. Heather M says:

    I guess we start tomorrow mostly. Today everyone slept all morning (not me, but I lazed in bed reading), then it was a mad scramble to get ready for 1pm church (we swap times each calendar year, so it was the first week of 1-4, after a year of 9-12). No one ate anything before church. And we had a long-planned dinner out at a favorite restaurant since our daughter is home from college but leaves on Saturday. I still have to inventory and even buy milk, etc, since we just got home from vacation. I did manage to toss some old produce (bits of lettuce, a few mushrooms, and green onions… Wasn’t too painful) and sour milk, which is a start. And organized son’s breakfast and packed lunch since school starts tomorrow. That’s all good. 🙂

  3. Wow…just did a pantry/freezer inventory and may not need to buy anything except for the fresh perishables for more than a month! Throwing out the grocery list i thought i needed and looking through cookbooks instead! Thanks for the reminder! After a $1400 december i need to give my bank account a break! (Remind me not to host two xmas dinners!!!)

  4. I am doing well at using up things from the freezer. I made some granola bars with some frozen sunflower seeds. Might make more today. I used some frozen fish for two meals. This morning I used some boxed baking mix from the freezer for breakfast. I know I should make a meal plan but my energy is soooo low today.

  5. Yesterday went really well, I suspect today will also go very well.

    B: dressed up oatmeal for the husband, eggs and toast for me, bananas for both
    L: Burrito for the husband, soup and crackers with a roll for me.
    D: roasted chicken legs with potatoes and broccoli

    B: Eggs and toast for me, leftover calzone for the H – pears for both
    L: Burrito for the H, leftovers for me.
    D: Sausage and tomato sauce over spaghetti, side of mixed veggies

  6. I started the New Year by cleaning my refrigerator and was pleased to see how little food I had to throw away. Limiting food waste was one of my big objectives in 2014, and it will continue to be this new year.
    Last night: Pot roast from the freezer. I already had the potatoes and carrots on hand. We used up leftover peas from the night before.
    Tonight: Beef stew of leftovers with biscuits. I’ll make a salad with the cabbage and carrots I have on hand. And my husband will appreciate brownies from a mix in the pantry.
    By using a lot of vegetables, the beef will likely stretch to one more dinner.
    So far, so good, keeping to my month’s menu plan.

  7. Stephanie says:

    Ok caught up! Sundays are always a little “off” for meals at our house. My husband usually eats his pizza left over from the boys “pizza Fridays”, I eat leftovers or whatever I have that doesn’t take much work, and my son usually spends time at his grandmothers house after church. I still need to completely inventory, but I’ll hopefully be caught up after tonight.

  8. Oh how I miss Bruegger’s! My favorite is a Sundried Tomato bagel with light mayo, lettuce, tomato, green pepper, and mozzarella or provolone cheese. Lightly toast split bagel with cheese til just melted then add on the other ingredients. You can order this sandwich in the shop too. Of course a cinnamon raisin with honey walnut cream cheese is yummy too! You can’t beat those freezer bags .

  9. We’re having leftover okonomiyaki and rice tonight.

    The next two nights (and lunch for me) will be ground turkey soft tacos using one of the four frozen chubs of ground turkey and some of the many frozen tortillas we found in both freezers. I’m promising myself that the next time I buy multiple portions of protein on sale I will cook (taco meat from ground turkey, for example) or marinate (teriyaki chicken, for example) before freezing it – how much nicer it would be to thaw out a meal instead of just an ingredient…

    • What is okonomiyaki?

      • Okonomiyaki are Japanese street food. Fritters, essentially. Someone translated it for me as “whatever you have left” – I’m not sure if that’s literal, but the recipes I’ve read have all been fairly different. Cabbage and onions and a flour/egg batter seem essential, though. Bacon on one side seems common, but I have a flexitarian 12-yo daughter to deal with – she will eat poultry and seafood, but not pork/beef/lamb.

        Ours this week included thinly sliced cabbage (3/4 head) and onion (1 large), grated carrots (5 small), chopped shallots (2) and fresh spinach (half a large pkg), diced cooked shrimp (12 oz), and grated mozzarella (8 oz). Everything was tossed with 3/4 cup flour, then thoroughly combined with a beaten mixture of 9 eggs and 1T each garlic and ginger paste. The whole mess was transferred with a half-cup scoop to a preheated pan with hot oil, then flattened and pan fried until brown on both sides.

        The last version had chopped krab, bean sprouts, chopped bok choy, along with the cabbage, onion, flour, eggs, and seasonings.

        We cut sheets of nori (we make sushi frequently and nori is a staple in our pantry) into quarters and fill each quarter with a spoonful of rice (the kids like sushi seasoned rice) and a slice of okonomiyaki, perhaps with some spicy sauce (Thai red curry paste, Korean red chili paste, siricha, wasabi) . We’ve also eaten them drizzled with okonomiyaki sauce (like BBQ sauce) and Japanese mayo, which is apparently how they’re served on the streets in Japan.

        At least 2 of the 4 of us will be going to Japan in the next year or so. If we can save enough, the other 2 get to go – long story, but trip is a family gift for two. I’m looking forward to someone finding out if ours are anywhere near the traditional version. Meanwhile, they provide a veggie-full low-cost dinner, plus leftovers for everyone’s lunch the next day – maybe a little more.

        • Oh, and the shrimp were frozen ages ago and had freezer burn that I had to cut around, but I feel better that I’ve used something I purchased with the best of intentions and the worst of follow-through… Mozzarella had been hidden in a bin in freezer, and cabbage, spinach, and carrots were near their demise. I’m so happy to be using things instead of throwing them away!

        • Sounds yummy!

  10. Tiffany R says:

    Took inventory yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to see that I have a lot of meals that I can make with what I have. I added a few extra ingredients to the grocery list for this week and that should help round out everything. My goal isn’t to not grocery shop but to cut it in 1/2 and save the other half for stock up times.

    Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal with apples, blueberries & walnuts (me) & 1/2 bagel and fruit for kids
    Lunch: Turkey wrap for me & frozen pizza with apple slices & baby carrots for kids (including 5 friends)
    Dinner: Grilled chicken tenderloins, mashed potatoes and green beans (DH is making dinner since I will be at the Y)
    Dessert: Whatever we can find since they devoured the dessert that I made yesterday

  11. Our chickens are laying eggs pretty consistently even though it is winter so we’ve been eating fried eggs, oatmeal, and toast on homemade bread for our breakfasts.

    I cooked a turkey so we’ve been eating turkey on same homemade bread for lunches.

    Tonight’s dinner will be Stir-fry veggies over chow mein with a little chicken. I have a lot of whole wheat spaghetti noodles and veggies were on sale at the store – both fresh and frozen.

    Your Vanilla Cranberry bread sounds like a must!

  12. Yesterday I boiled up the ham bones we were given & now have 3kgs of ham (for soups) + 8 litres of ham stock in the freezer. Today I plan to fry down the ham fat/skins to make yummy crispy bits to add to dishes & save the fat that comes out for frying potatoes, eggs, etc. I hate to see good food go to waste & this extra for us is well worth the work to process the parts that others were going to throw out.

    Yesterday’s meals:

    Breakfast = porridge or weetbix w/ milk & frozen peaches
    Lunch = left-overs
    Dinner = dinner salad plates ( using what was in the fridge or garden)

    Today’s meals:
    Breakfast = porridge or weetbix w/milk & frozen peaches or eggs on toast
    Lunch = sandwiches
    dinner = New England Boiled dinner (using ham stock + veg that needs eating in the fridge)

  13. Ahh . . . I’m glad you mentioned green beans with Jamie’s spice mix. I’m serving yellow squash tonight along with a frozen Tater Tot casserole from my frozen dinner club. I will sprinkle the squash with said spice mix and it will be delicious and a little different from how I usually season it.

  14. Sunday was good at our home…pancakes and fried eggs for breakfast, sandwiches on your own for lunch, salami with sliced cheese and crackers for afternoon snack and pot roast, potatoes and carrots for dinner. My goal for the month is to use up the cuts of meat that are leftover (brisket, roast, beef stew, round steak and sirloin steak) in our deep freeze from the 1/4 beef we purchased last January. I’ve also got 1 bag of chicken tenderloins, 6# of ground beef, 2# of ground turkey and 1# of bacon. My goal is to not purchase any meat this month and use what we have, which is PLENTY. Our pantry is organized, not a lot of miscellaneous items or a stockpile of anything either.

  15. Sunday was an easy day at our house.
    Hubs was the only one who ate breakfast (eggs & bacon); I did not feel well and ds#3 wasn’t hungry.
    For lunch, the guys just snacked. I still didn’t feel well, so I didn’t really eat.
    Dinner was steaks on the grill (which had been planned earlier) with tossed salad and oven fries.
    I also made brownies for snacks and lunches.

  16. You have given me a good idea with your Vanilla Cranberry bread. Have cranberries to use up and I am about the only one in the family who likes them

  17. Lunch was chili with Fritos and bananas. We had breakfast for dinner using up a couple of bagels and a few slices of bread, a few slices of bacon, a few slices of Canadian bacon and a half-dozen eggs.

  18. Melinda P says:

    I loooooove Talenti. Coconut is my 2nd fav because the vanilla is pretty much the best vanilla in the world. I discovered Talenti after you reviewed it a year or two ago and I decided to give it a try. I tried the coconut one while I was pregnant this last time and it tasted like a vacation. Seriously. 🙂

  19. I like Talenti’s Pistachio – yum!

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