Pantry Challenge Day 9 (Summer 2015)

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This is the finale of our Summertime Pantry Challenge. We were trying to eat up what we have and not go over budget this month, despite all the craziness we’ve had going.

empty pantry

Sorry for no post last night. We drove to Saugus to meet grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to celebrate FishBoy18’s high school graduation. We drove back the same day which was about 5 hours round trip. I wasn’t able to think, let alone type at midnight.

Needless to say, I didn’t cook supper, but I had made the desserts which turned out great, by the way.

Concluding the challenge we end at least $20 under budget for grocery spending, so it was a success. It was a crazy month: two birthdays, Father’s Day, lots of company and activity, knee surgery, and a heavy workload for me. So, I’m sighing with relief.

My family is, too. They are ready for me to restock with our favorite basics like sandwich bread, frozen chicken tenders, honey, etc. We hit our goal, and now I’m going to go scrub those empty shelves.

They’re not all that empty, but that’s how my family feels they are. Haha! Once again, I’m reminded how much we have and how abundantly blessed we are. I hope the Pantry Challenge does that for you, too.

Here’s what we ate on our last day of the challenge:

Breakfast: Fried Eggs and Hashbrowns

Lunch: Tuna Salad on leftover hot dog and hamburger buns, veggie dippers

Dinner: Restaurant party

How did the Pantry Challenge going for you?

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  1. Breakfast – omelet
    Snack – watermelon, of course!
    Lunch – melange of items from Costco samples
    Dinner – It ended up being Chick Fil A although that hadn’t been the plan. We had a massive storm come through, and knocked out the power to about a third of the region. My power went out, then was restored, then went out again. It was out from 2PM to midnight. Not having any idea when it would be coming back on, I was very hesitant to open the fridge even to try to locate the Tuna Bean salad that I had marinating in there. The kid hadn’t used his calendar card coupon for the month and it was going to expire (gave him free fries and a drink) so off we went. He added a sandwich to his, and I just had a wrap. We came back home and read books by candlelight until deciding enough was enough and we went to bed. I did have my bean salad last night, though, and it was yummy!

    I’m not sure that I actually saved any money since it was so late in the month and I’d already bought a bunch of stuff. I did use up some things that had been languishing. And I’m intending to carry on with it for a little bit, seeing if I can keep this month’s purchases to 50% of usual budget. Especially since said massive storm caused my phone to get a couple of drops of water in an apparently strategic place and I’m not sure if it is going to recover or have to be replaced. Grrr.

  2. Crystal says:

    B- waffles from freezer
    L-leftovers, snacky lunch stuff
    D- trout a friend gave us, tater tots, vegetables

    Not a super pantry day, but I am not going to say no to free, fresh caught trout that has been gutted and cleaned for me! I still have a lot to use up and clean out, so we will continue on, kind of halfway, since we are gone every weekend in July. I will have to buy the essentials (milk, produce, maybe bread) and purchase what I need for our trips this summer, but my freezer still has a fair amount of protein, my pantry still has a good amount of food in it, and I think I have just gotten lazy in the last couple of months in planning out good meal plans- we have still had a plan, but I haven’t gotten creative or made things that require a bit more effort. This pantry challenge has been a good reset for me in that realm, and hopefully I will be able to clear out some good space in the freezer and pantry so come fall I can put up some food(we have a few fruit trees). Thanks for the idea of a challenge!

  3. Breakfast: Paleo Granola with Frozen Blueberries and the last of the almond milk
    Lunch: Sandwiches, cherries and the last of the GF crackers
    Dinner: Italian Meatballs with homemade marinara (freezer) and warm kale salad

    We are down to the last of the pantry staples (a few cans of tom sauce and diced toms, a lot of cans of green chiles and pumpkin), but we still have a good portion of frozen components. Leaving for the 4th at our inlaws, so will jump back in when we get back. Our goal is to get the freezer down to just basics by July 17th. Only fresh produce and lunch meat allowed between now and then…we will see how the family does with the last 2 weeks!! Thanks for the inspiration-it’s been so helpful!

  4. Alice E says:

    We are in leftover mode for the last few days eating up the pork roast I made Tuesday. I have used up some of the stuff that needed to be used, and plan to continue on doing so for a week or two. It has been great learning what others were doing.

  5. Stephanie M. says:

    Well, I think we did very well in just the nine days of this mini pantry challenge. I started out with a meal plan that would last for 21 days. I have 12 more dinner menus on my meal plan. Each day, I happily cross last night’s meal off the list and move on to the next thing. While I am keeping such good momentum, I have decided to keep going until the meal plan is all used up and it’s time to buy some more meat and things for the freezer. Right now my freezer looks especially full but that’s only because of the upcoming July 4th BBQ and a BBQ that we are having on August 1. It’s easier on the pocketbook to buy as much ahead of time as possible so I’m not shelling out tons of cash right before the event. So I have 3 large bags of hamburgers, 3 large bags of chicken wings, several racks of baby back ribs, lots of hot dogs, and frozen appetizers, and this is what’s in the freezer. The pantry is holding beans to make baked beans with, pasta for salads, extra condiments, etc. Some of these things are for the July 4th BBQ and the rest is for the BBQ is August. Those things are strictly for the BBQs. Without all of that stuff in the freezer, it looks good and I can see quite a bit of white space. Not now though. But that will all be gone soon.

    We had a good challenge day today.

    B – Hubby left very early so he just grabbed a couple of breakfast bars and a banana. I had a greek yogurt over some chopped nectarines with homemade granola and a poached egg on a half of a whole wheat bagel thin.

    L – Hubby had the last of the leftover ravioli and sausage from the other night. I had a salad.

    D – We both had a cheeseburger casserole that I made. I had some bisquick left in the pantry that I needed to use so now I did and I’ll be finishing that up by making some ham and cheese mini quiches and freezing them.

    Dessert: Hubby had a Outshine fruit bar and I had 2 oatmeal cookies.

    • Tastycook says:

      Breakfast and lunch were good for the pantry challenge – muffins and yogurt for breakfast and lunch was the end of the fruit crumble ( I was really short of time and the crumble could be reheated in the microwave). Hubby cooked at night so he shopped in the afternoon!!!

      We had stuffed mushrooms with local peas and leftover potatoes, fried! It was really good even tho it didn’t help the pantry challenge ( but then, he doesn’t know I’m doing a pantry challenge!!!)

    • Heather M says:

      Hi Stephanie! Here it is July 6 and I finally got to check out if the Pantry Challenge was happening, only to see its already over! I missed the whole thing! We’ve been so busy out of town and with visitors that I missed it! I only have 12 days to Challenge on my own now before we head out of town for most of the summer. I’m going to go back through the earlier posts/comments to see how it went for everyone.

      I just wanted to say hi though, maybe in January we’ll be able to really have fun again? Hope all is well with you in NJ! 🙂

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Heather: How great to hear from you. On the first or second day, there was another Heather and I thought it was you so I sent a “hello” e-mail reply but then I realized it was the wrong Heather!! I missed you on this challenge. Last time we spoke, we were all freezing and now we are sweating. There were often times I would have liked to e-mail you but, of course, I don’t know how. Anyway, thank you for contacting me and I hope everything is going well with you and your family in Washington!! Good of you to remember where I’m from. We’re not that far away from each other. Have a wonderful summer you and your family!!!

  6. Love the reminder of how blessed we all actually are!

    I’m just about to embark on my Pantry Challenge – Thursday is the day for me!

    Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

  7. Heather M says:

    Jessica, I can’t believe I missed the Challenge! I was out of town the last week of June and came home to visitors who leave tomorrow. I’ll be Challenging on my own for the next 11-12 days and then we head to San Diego for a 3 week vacation at my parents. We’ll be home only 10 days in between trips to the other grandparents in NY, where we’ll be for close to 2 weeks. So hardly home all summer. Needless to say I need to use what we have and not buy food. We’ve eaten out a ton with our friends, too, so the budget is completely busted! I’ll probably try to reign in food spending for quite a while and empty out the cupboards while we’re in town and in september. Sad I missed all the fun, but I wouldn’t have been able to participate when you were Challenging anyway.

    Good luck with the house-hunting/$$ saving for house! Exciting times! I’ll watch for you when I’m in north County later this month. 😉

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