Pantry Challenge Day 2

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This month we are eating down the pantry to save money and reduce food waste. Join me every day for the Pantry Challenge!

potato soup

It was a beautiful rainy day. Like almost all day. And almost a hard rain. So exciting for these here drought-ridden parts. We were supposed to have rain all week, but I’m not sure it’s going to play out that way. Regardless, it was a great day to hunker down with a bowl of soup!

I was hoping that one of us would get to Costco before today, so I held off on stocking up on milk when I was at the store over the weekend. However, my kids are milk drinkers! So we were out of milk this morning. That made breakfast a little random.

Breakfast: cereal (without milk), toast with jam, fresh fruit. Mom had Monkey SaladΒ with dark chocolate chips. Ahem. AH-mazing. If you haven’t made that yet, you need to!

I stopped at the store while I was out in the morning and just bought two gallons. I didn’t even look anywhere else in the store. I know better than that. When the mail came, I didn’t even look at the sales ads!

two soup pots

Lunch: Rice and Bean SoupΒ andΒ Potato Soup.

For lunch I got a little creative with leftovers and made two pots of soup. Leftover chili and rice went into one pot with some chicken broth, tomato sauce, and the drippings from last night’s pot roast. I would have added the pot roast I saved but someone ate it!

Leftover mashed potatoes and a little bit of homemade potato soup went into another pot with more chicken broth for a thinner potato soup.

I made homemade Buttermilk Cornbread, too.

lawnmower taco assembly

Also on my Costco list is cheddar cheese. Oops. So, when I saw that we didn’t have much cheese for Lawnmower Taco, I improvised. I’d bought a cheese tray for New Year’s that still had quite a bit remaining. I used the slices (cheddar, colby jack, and pepper jack) for the casseroles and it worked perfectly!

Since I didn’t want to take the time to thaw the lemon juice I have in the freezer, I used lime juice in the caesar salad. That was good, but a little more tart than usual since I didn’t measure. Oops. Me and my tartness this week!

Lawnmower taco and salad

Dinner was tasty, nonetheless!

Dinner: Lawnmower Taco and Caesar Salad

How did your Pantry Challenge go today?

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  1. We had your lasagna with the white sauce for dinner. It was very well received, even by my picky nine year old. Still using what we have. Trying hard to get the kids to like oatmeal. I did let them add some chocolate chips this morning. It did work for my nine year old, but my six year old ate all the good stuff and left the oatmeal and he is my good eater. Excited to do this pantry challenge!

  2. As promised, I’m biting the bullet. I reorganized my pantry this morning and had great plans for dinner but due to a fussy three month old, resorted to boxed mac and cheese with salami and frozen mixed veggies from the freezer for dinner. Hey, still counts as clearing out the pantry/freezer so I’m calling it a win! πŸ™‚

  3. Breakfast: pumpkin bread, chai latte
    Lunch: snackies easy to eat while driving – cheese bites, rolled deli ham, crackers, carrot sticks, hummus, clementine
    Snack: Christmas cookie
    Dinner: my tummy still a little queasy so the kid ate the leftover oyster casserole by himself, we each had a leftover pork chop, and I had an Asian salad. It was an odd combo, but it was late at night and it used up food sitting in fridge.

    I have an enormous bag of baby carrots that I’ve got to get used. I’ve been eating a fair number of raw carrots, and we are not particularly fond of cooked carrots just as a side dish. I can shred some and put them in the freezer. I could make a carrot cake. I’ll be checking the internets for other ideas but if anyone here has any (good) suggestions of other things they’ve made with carrots, I’m all ears!

    • You could make carrot soup. I make a kind with carrots and ground almonds. You blitz it up and the almonds makes the soup taste as if there is cream in it.

      I also make a soup with carrots, red lentils and coconut milk.

      I think carrots are a good base in a soup, as long as you make sure to season well and add some spice/acid to it. Carrots are very sweet themselves, so you need something to balance it out.

      You could also cook up carrots, purΓ©e them and stick in the freezer. The purΓ©e can be added to different dishes and make it healthier without beeing overpowering.

      Good luck with using up alle those carrots πŸ™‚

      • I have done a stew with the carrots and lentils, and I liked it but the kid did not, and it was an awful lot to eat by myself. I could try to make a smaller batch and then freeze some, I suppose, but would rather find something different if I can. The carrot and almond soup sounds interesting. How do you make that? Is it just broth, carrots, and almonds?

        • I use a recipe from “Cranks Fast Food” by Nadine Abensur. It is really simple, just carrots, alomonds, onion, galic and vegetable broth.

          SautΓ© onion and garlic in a little oil. Add carrots and broth and boil until tender. Add ground up almonds (I use almond flour or whole almonds without skins, which I then grind up). Blitz it up and season with salt and pepper. A little soy sauce or lemon juice is also good. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a little parsley (if you have it).

          I did a quick search for “carrot and almond soup” and got quite a few results. I’m sure you can find a recipe you like.

          Regarding the stew. If your son likes the taste but not the consistency, then you could probable blitz it up, add broth or other liquid and serve it as soup. I think there is something so comforting about a purΓ©ed soup. Just love it!

    • Jessica S says:

      if you have not tried oven roasted carrots you must! The regular old steamed or butter glazed carrots are gross to me.. but oven roasted with olive oil salt and pepper will knock your socks off!

      • Thanks. They definitely are better that way, I just forget about something like that since I don’t use my oven all that often. I’ll give that a try. thanks!

    • You can use them to make carrot cake steel cut oats. A nice change on the ordinary oats and my family gobbled them up.

      • I don’t think I’ve ever heard of carrots in oatmeal. How do you make it, and is it still a breakfast dish? Intriguing…

        • I like having carrot puree in the freezer to add to my taco meat. I brown the meat, add a can of rinsed black beans, 1/4-1/2 cup of carrot puree, taco seasoning and water. My husband and 2.5 yr old can’t tell the difference and it adds in some veggies!

          Another favorite is a carrot smoothie. You can also freeze them for smoothie pops or popsicles. This makes a fairly thick smoothie depending on how big your carrots are so feel free to add a little more water to thin it out.
          3 large carrots, cut into chunks and steamed until soft
          1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
          1 cup frozen mango (fresh is fine too)
          Β½ cup plain yogurt
          Β½ cup water
          4 TB honey

        • I’ve seen recipes for carrot cake protein bites, so my guess it must be a similar concept. Found this recipe:

          • They sound interesting, but as I have neither dates nor apricots nor coconut at the moment, and purchasing them defeats my goals this month, I think this might be saved for a later batch of carrots. LOL. The carrot salad you suggested, however, is doable. And I’m totally going to be making a carrot soup. Many of those call for celery, which I also have in the crisper, so it will be a two-fer. This spicy one here also sounds like it would be worth a shot as well. Thanks for all the ideas, everyone!

  4. Breakfast: kids had pancakes, adults finished off steel cut oats
    Lunch: leftover pizza, carrots
    Snacks: apples and peanut butter
    Dinner: rice and bean bowls

    Still using up staples here. Pantry challenges aren’t too bad at the beginning! I’m excited to get creative.

  5. Breakfast -baked raspberry/blueberry oatmeal with a splash of half n half for me, dh had cold cereal.
    Lunch – DH suggested we have our big meal at lunchtime if it works out with our schedule. I made a quick run to Trader Joe’s as I didn’t have tortillas for the tacos and needed a few other items for the week (I spent $16.36). The tacos were delish. We had a package of grass fed beef from Costco in the freezer. I can’t believe how much better it tastes from the regular ground beef.
    Snacks – apple and raw almonds.
    Dinner – DH wasn’t ready to eat at dinnertime so I made myself a large tossed salad with bleu cheese, walnuts and avocado. I also had a toasted piece of sour dough bread. DH toasted the last piece of sourdough and had cereal.

  6. With a SAMS CLUB membership, we received a free rotissiere chicken. Half was in the freezer so we had it tonight with roasted butternut squash, rice, gravy and a package of bread mix that I converted into dinner rolls.

    Then I made vegetable stock, 4 large bowls of it and stored it in the freezer. I also took a bag of dry black beans and soaked them all day to cook tomorrow. So as fast [or as slow] as I can deplete my freezer, I seem to be filling it back up moving from one “pantry” to another!!

    • I feel the same way…converting items from the pantry into meals and then the extras end up in the freezer, which fills up any space that I have created. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s still using up items and will make for quicker meals on other days.

    • Agreed, that is a challenge for me every time as well. Like Maureen said, you are a step or two closer to actually using them up, even if they are just being a bit shuffled right now.

      • Thank you ladies. I just added 10 cups/bags of seasoned black beans to the freezer today. And that is what I keep telling myself. I’m saving money by making my own even though I’m shifting from the dry shelf to the cold tundra!

    • It does feel that way sometimes, but stick with it! You’ll knock it down.

  7. Heather M says:

    Day two, and still no time to inventory what we’ve got. Getting my act together post-holidays and weeklong vacation takes time! Especially when I went to the gym, had physical therapy, a lunch date with friends, and book club. Not to mention needing to figure out phone issues, offload 1000 photos from it, and back it up , since I’m buying a new phone tomorrow for my birthday. SO no inventory but a good day!

    Breakfast: cereal, OJ, leftover sausages from christmas for the guys; and, again, ahem, 2 chocolate covered cashew brittles pieces for me, That was it.

    Lunch: son took his usual snacky lunch; hubs took leftover pasta w/roast veg and chicken from last night, and an orange; I had lunch out with friends, on them for an early bday celebration.

    Snacks: christmas sweets still floating around; and son had his favorite post-school chicken & pepperoni quesadilla.

    Dinner: had ten minutes to make it before i had to leave for book club (I had been so wrapped up in a help-chat about my phone), so I resorted to frozen teriyaki meatballs-microwaved, phony mashed potatoes (kept for exactly these emergencies) which my son adores more than real ones (Ugh), and peas. ready in 6 minutes. yummy though it felt half-fake.

    Still no visit to the store. Milk survived another day. We’ll see what wednesday morning brings regarding that issue. hoping to hold off until thursday, since it’s my birthday wednesday. πŸ™‚ Hope you all are having a more creative food day than we did!

  8. Been looking forward to this for months! Didn’t officially inventory because I’m overwhelmed just thinking about itm, but made a rough list of meals we can eat for the next 2 weeks just from stuff I can see in my freezers. Usually we have leftovers so that covers at least 3 weeks and will plan more once I can reach more food in my freezers and pantry.

    Breakfast today was scrambled eggs and ham, as well as a breakfast bar I baked yesterday
    Lunch/dinner was baked tacos with ground turkey instead of beef. Used some beans also that i cooker a couple of days ago. Kids had leftover pizza.

    Hoping to get rid of a lot from my chest freezer so I can finally defrost it and start fresh with it. Who knows what I’ll find at the bottom!

  9. Breakfast: made coffee in an old perculator since I have not been to the store to buy filters or creamer. To sweeten our coffee we have been using a single package each of instant hot chocolate mix for a faux – mocha latte. Hubs had Instant peach oatmeal, kids eat at a school but snagged my pop tarts on the way to school so I came back home to let the dog out and made myself an egg sandwich before work.
    Lunch: I eat free at work, hubs had a salad with chicken and blue cheese, kids ate at school.
    Dinner: work late on Tuesdays so I had pre prepped the rice cooker for white rice, can of black beans and chicken breast. Ended up that my older brother stopped by with church’s chicken so we had that instead with rice and beans and saved the chicken breast I made for tomorrow’s lunch salad.

    • Great job with the mochas! I’ve used ice cream before during many a challenge. It melts into a sweetened creamer. πŸ˜‰

    • I’ve made faux mochas like that for years. Any time I mention it to others, they look surprised like it is such an odd idea that never would have occurred to them. It doesn’t seem that strange to me… Although now I find I prefer a half package with a bit of milk than a whole package as it is too sweet to me now.

  10. Breakfast was peanut butter or cinnamon toast and bananas or oranges. I skipped lunch. Boys has free lunch at school. Hubs had leftover macaroni salad and cheese and cracker. Dinner was homemade chicken and noodles with vegetables over mashed potatoes

  11. Breakfast: Breakfast burritos or egg sandwich or cereal
    Lunch: Butternut squash soup or pasta with meat sauce, fruit
    Dinner: Seasoned panko coated tilapia, baked potatoes, green beans

    I work tomorrow and my girls have a full evening of activities. Wednesday nights will be the challenge in this pantry challenge!

  12. Breakfast: Rye porridge with a little butter and apple sauce for the girls. Oats with milk for DH. Homemade rolls and coffee for me.

    The apple sauce was made on monday from some apples my parents gave us. I freeze it in icecube trays and use it to sweeten porridge for the kids.

    Lunch: Packed lunch for DH and DD1. She is in preschool 3 days a week. Rye bread with cold cuts for youngest daughter and myself.
    I had sliced the leftover meat from our New Years dinner and frozen. I am using it for lunches.

    Dinner: Vegetarian burritos with sour cream, salsa and guacamole. I also served a mixed salad with that.

    I had the filling for the burritos in the freezer. Guacamole was made from our last avocado. Salsa from the pantry. I had purchased two kinds of sour cream on clearance. One was very low fat and the other very rich. I combined the two, and it tasted exactly like the sour cream we normally use πŸ™‚ I had two tortillas left over, so I cut them up, tossed with a little oil, salt and pepper. Baked them in the oven with the burritos. My kids love these!

    Snacks: baked tortilla chips and Christmas Cookies.

    Hope everyone had a great day πŸ™‚

    • I am fascinated by the rye porridge. Is the grain whole?

      • The rye porridge is actually made with the rye bread. You break it up and cover with cold water in a pot. Then leave overnight. Bring it to the boiling point and stir it as it boils. I add apple sauce or some other kind of fruit and a knob of butter before serving. Sometimes I pour a little cream over it as well, my 4 year old loves that πŸ™‚

        There are some whole grains in this, depending on which kind of rye bread we have. Ideally, the porridge should be completely smooth, but I really just use the bread we have. I haven’t have any complaints yet πŸ˜‰

        I should add that this is a very old fashioned dish, which was invented to use up stale bread and bread ends. The traditional recipe calls for the bread to be covered in a mixture of water and sweet beer, but I just use water.

        You can actually make porridge out of different kinds of flour. Just add water and boil.

  13. Stephanie M. says:

    I have to say it feels good not to be running to the grocery store for unnecessary things. I went last week and not since then. And since it’s just my hubby and me, doing this challenge is easy. He is always on board with it.

    B – Hubby had taylor ham and cheese on the last sandwich sized English muffin in the freezer. He also took a banana and a breakfast bar with him which he eats everyday mid morning. I had two multi-grain waffles and strawberries.

    L – I pack my husband’s lunch everyday so in keeping with the challenge, I gave him a can of soup from the pantry. I don’t usually keep much of those but they come in handy when I need them. I also gave him some cheese and crackers. I had a salad and a banana.

    D – I have quite a bit of chicken in the freezer and lots of veggies so I made a stir fry over penne. The stir fry had chicken, red bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, broccoli, peas, asparagus, garlic, and chicken. This is a great way to use up all of those lingering veggies.

    Later on in the evening, we had some more Christmas cookies. Giving the rest to my oldest daughter and her family tomorrow. Second time around for her. I always make about 1200 cookies each year and give trays of them away to family and friends but we still have some left in the freezer and I don’t want them anymore. Well, I DO want them but no – they gotta go!! πŸ™‚

    • Heather M says:

      Yep, all those christmas goodies lingering are trouble! We have acquired piles of chocolates/barks/random sweets. I’m trying to leave the unopened unopened so we can use them another month when we have a strong craving. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Stephanie! I completely agree about how nice it is not to be running to the store all the time! It’s just my hubby and I here as well, so we can really make our food stretch! And he’s always on board too!

    • I forgot about the cookies! Yes, you do make cookies, don’t you? I went overboard this year and we have several boxes in the freezer.

      Do you have grandbabies? I don’t know if I knew that. Two daughters, right?

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Yes, we have one grandson. I gave his mom and dad two large trays of cookies. In fact I gave out 11 twelve inch round mounded trays of cookies to friends and family. Normally, with the last of the cookies, I send them in with my hubby to work but since he changed jobs last March, he works mostly by himself so there goes that. We don’t have an uncontrollable amount left; I’ll just keep putting them in hubby’s lunch and in a couple of weeks, they’ll be gone. And yes, we have two daughters.

  14. Jessica S says:

    Breakfast for the kids was a mix of frozen homemade waffles or pancakes and a small serving of vanilla yogurt. I had cereal and a banana. coffee of course! Husband- IDK what he ate!
    Packed 2 lunches, 3rd kid bought. I ate fruit while running errands as my snack and redeemed my free starbucks drink for a Strawberry protein smoothie! Husband works from home and always has a turkey sammie with veg/hummus and pretzles

    Dinner was kids and I only- husband never eats before TKD class. I pulled out random bags of frozen items to reheat- great coupon deals for nights like this- partial bag of tator tots, frozen chicken tenders and a small package of bacon/cheese bagel bites.

    The crock pot ran all day with a chicken carcass ,container of chicken poaching liquid and a bag of soup veggies.. extra water and a 6qt vat of rich chicken stock is now portioned and frozen for my use!
    I used 5 dark bananas for a batch of banana bread while I clean around the house in the morning!
    1 loaf made it into the freezer, 1 was attacked while I was at a PTO meeting!

  15. We had oven baked blueberry pancake for breakfast and a bean nacho bake for dinner. Lunch was out as planned because of our schedule. I have so much food on hand that this isn’t even going to be difficult until the end of the month.

  16. Still have a little chili left so definitely going to try your chili rice soup, sounds really good!! It was 27 degrees here yesterday and right now its 5 degrees – looking for another high of 27 so looks like a lot of soup for us!

    Breakfast – Cereal, toast, coffee
    Lunch – PB&J sandwiches, yogurt
    Dinner – Chicken & Kluski noodle soup w/ grilled ham & cheese sandwiches
    Snacks – Christmas cookies & fruit

  17. Tastycook says:

    Another good day here.

    I did venture into the grocery store. The only food I bought was a dozen eggs but I needed to replenish hubby’s bathroom with shamppo etc and i also had to pick up some eye drops and I use the pharmacy at the grocery store!

    Breakfast was homemade biscuits and jam. Hubby was out at lunchtime so I finished the few remaining chicken fingers. Supper was a real smorgasbord of goodies – some Thai appys from New Year, left over mushroom quiche, a little scalloped potato and and ham – a good mix that helped empty the fridge!

  18. Breakfast: peanut butter toast (freezer/cupboard), hot chocolate (canned milk, etc from pantry)
    Lunch: apple and orange from last week (me–the kids ate at school)
    Dinner: choice of leftover chili, leftover 1/2 a tamale, leftover seasoned black beans. So nice to have NO leftovers in the fridge now.

  19. Day 2- Breakfast- daughter ate at school, son, cereal, me coffee and cream
    Lunch- do ate at school, son had some fresh cut pineapple and a few grapes, I had the cereal he didn’t eat and pineapple
    Dinner- my sister came over for a bit so too late to cook, went out to eat. Had a crockpot freezer meal ready for hubby when he got home from work, added some rice. Not very good.

  20. Vanessa B says:

    Breakfast-cereal (we have several open boxes still)
    Lunch – Mini-corndogs for the kids (I thought they were disgusting) pineapple, cottage cheese. I ate carrot sticks and dip
    Dinner- Enchiladas from the freezer. I had some leftover refried beans in the fridge, I added some Chipotles in Adobe sauce and cream cheese, topped with shredded cheddar and green onion and baked. Delicious dip!! I had one avocado I used for a topping. And Mexican Rice for a side.
    Dessert- pecan pie and the kids found some chocolates

  21. Danielle L Zecher says:

    Yesterday was another good day, though I have to admit I really wanted to get dinner out, but didn’t want to have to say that on here, so I cooked at home. πŸ™‚

    Breakfast: Bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for me. Hubby had a fasting blood draw, so stopped for fast food after that. I think he earned it!

    Lunch: Leftover turkey pot pie and cranberry sauce.

    Dinner: Enchiladas; spinach and onion for me, spinach and mushroom for hubby. Re-fried beans on the side for both of us. We were planning on leftover cherry cobbler for dessert, but were both so tried we just went to bed right after dinner.

    • Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing. πŸ™‚

    • I hear you on the peer pressure. You guys have purchased much less than we have, but I have 8 people, 5 of them men and teen boys, so I’m gonna use that as my excuse.

      That said, if eating out won’t make you fall off the wagon completely, plan for it one day next week so you have some extra incentive. πŸ˜‰

  22. Tiffany R says:

    Breakfast: Steel cut oatmeal w/blueberries from the freezer (me), kids had homemade waffles from freezer
    Lunch: Salad from home w/leftover grilled chicken and pretzels
    Dinner: Salad w/remaining grilled chicken (me), Chicken & Dumplings (chicken from freezer) for kids and hubs

    Eating at home and loving it!

  23. Melissa F says:

    The chili I made on Sunday for dinner made chili nachos on Monday night and chili dogs on Tuesday night. A little left will be Hub’s lunch today.
    We did have a lunch date yesterday together which is always fun – local burger place.
    We are still doing well with our produce this week – fruit for snacks.
    Tonight I’m going to make a veggie pasta (throw together – those are usually my best ones!) with some mushrooms that I need to use and I have a Dole Ultimate Caesar kit that were BOGOF on my Saturday visit to the store. It’s the only kit I will buy and only occasionally, it’s really good.
    I think I will start baking some things this weekend – starting with pumpkin bread, I have a half a large can leftover in my fridge and I like eating that moist bread for breakfast.

  24. Happy birthday Heather. It’s 4:20 pm Wednesday here in the UK
    Today is a diet day, (5/2) hubby and I are at the maintenance stage now and have been for 6 months after doing this diet for nearly 3 years and loosing plenty if weight.
    No breakfast but hubby had a small bowl of cereal
    Lunch was a smoothie using up a mixture of tired fresh fruit and some from the freezer. That’s the fresh all gone now
    Dinner will be beans on toast using a mixture of store cupboard and freezer food.
    Not been to the shops yet but will need to go tomorrow as we need milk, yoghurt and fresh fruit and veg.

    • Heather M says:

      Thank you, Jackie! I’m back at “diet” eating beginning tomorrow. My new year always starts with my birthday. πŸ™‚

      Good luck with the the maintenance! And congratulations to both of you!!

    • I love it that you remembered it was Heather’s birthday. That is one of the best parts of the challenge – the camaraderie!

  25. Yesterday was pretty cut and dry.

    Breakfast: Cereal (kids), toast with jam (me). Hubs doesn’t eat breakfast πŸ™
    Lunch: Grilled cheese (daughter), packed lunch with pasta, baby carrots, apple, pirate booty (son), sub sandwiches (hubs and I)
    Dinner: The plan was Taco Tuesday. We were out of taco shells and shredded cheese and I had “stolen” 1/2 the ground turkey for spaghetti the other day making actual tacos not really workable to fill us up. I found a can of refried beans and tostada shells in the pantry. And I had 1/2 a block of velveeta leftover from when I made chili con queso. I shredded some of the velveeta block, chopped up a tomato and some onion, and cooked up the meat and beans. Tacos became tostadas. They were delicious and because of the beans we were able to spread the meat out enough to fill up 3 of us. Son is super picky and won’t eat the above so he had peanut butter on tortilla and a banana.

    Any advice on a picky eater? Our son is getting ready to turn 5 and is so incredibly picky. The only meat he will eat is bacon. The only vegetable is baby carrots. Will eat several fruits and loves carbs (bread, pancakes, waffles, cereal, pasta with butter but no marinara etc). Sometimes will eat scrambled eggs. I know the major issue is that we’ve always caved to his pickiness. I am at the point where I am so tired of being a short order cook that I absolutely dread meal time. It also makes packing his school lunches difficult. We’ve tried serving meals buffet style to encourage him to pick new foods, bribing (sad but true), telling him he has to take a bite of each food that is served or he can’t leave the table. We eat at 6:00 p.m. and he was still sitting at the table at bath time at 7:30 without having taken a bite. We’ve also tried not offering him the option of other foods no matter what (at the advice of his pediatrician) when we got to lunch on day two and the only thing he had eaten was the bacon with breakfast the day before and the cantaloupe at dinner the previous night I got worried about him having nothing to eat and caved. I am at a loss and so frustrated with the whole thing πŸ™

    • Good job about the tostadas!

      I am sorry that your son is so picky that you dread meal times πŸ™
      I don’t know, if it is because of sensory issues or if he is just plain stubborn, but it obviously takes a toll on you!

      We follow a strict “take it or leave it” policy with our 4 year old. She always gets a banana as an evening snack (right before bed), so she isn’t REALLY hungry, if she chooses not to eat her dinner.

      Our strategy has been to serve her exactly the same as the rest og us were eating, but not force her to try it. I put a little of everything on her plate and don’t comment on whether or not she eats it. This strategy will lead to some food waste, but I believe it is for the best in the long run. I also always make sure that there is something she likes, so she doesn’t feel like there is nothing she wants to eat.
      Our daughter eats just about everything and is not afraid to try new things, and I really believe it is because we have given her all kinds of food since she started eating solids. We are doing it the same way with her little sister who is 11 months, and she is actually already a good eater πŸ™‚

      Since your son is almost 5, it will not be easy to turn this pattern around. However, now is the time to help him learn to eat what is served. It will take a lot for you and your husband, but I hope you are up for the challenge. One day, your son will thank you πŸ™‚

      By the way, I realize that if you have a child who is underweight, it is hard to enforce this and it will probably hurt mamas heart as well. However, if you only eat certain foods, you end up being malnourished and that is far worse than being a little underweight for a while.

      Good luck!

      Kathy in Denmark

    • I remember 20 years ago, in college classes, both my nutrition class and a kids psych class addressed this. Being a college kid, I didn’t have children of my own and don’t recall all the various details. What I DO recall is the observation that kids can be stubborn, and it can be hard on the parents, but when the kid gets hungry enough, they will eventually eat the food in front of them. “This is what is for dinner tonight. You don’t have to eat it, but you’re not getting anything else, either, until the next meal.” The child might get hungry, and might have some behavioral issues as a result of being hungry, but when he’s hungry enough, he’ll eat. The hard part, as you’ve learned, is not caving. If you incorporate something you know he likes into the meal plan for at least one meal each day, then he won’t be completely fasting. It will be a challenge for you for a little bit but surely it is worth enduring that for a week or two (or three) to get rid of the stress he’s causing you now!

      Thankfully my son was not very particular so he learned this lesson quickly and thus when he did bother to express he didn’t like something, I tried to respect that and limit how often I served it or just gave him a very small portion of it. Except for in pizza sauce, he doesn’t much like tomatoes, so spaghetti sauce got served on the side so he could determine if he wanted any or just plain noodles. There’s absolutely no way to hide or dress up goat cheese that he does not immediately know what it is (mom and I have both tried) and he despises that. He’s now grown and still hates the taste of it even though he loves sheep and cow cheeses. I think accommodating preferences is fine once they’ve learned to try things and broaden their horizons.

    • Well I have a 5 year old daughter who is even pickier so I have no advice for you, other than to offer support and I know what you are going thru!

    • I think your tostada idea is a total win. Yay!

      As for the pickiness…. I haven’t yet read the other responses…. I’m gonna say that you may need to draw some boundaries. I’d probably stop buying bacon and carrots. Also, if you’ve got the doc to back you up, I’d follow up with him and just get some boundaries in terms of when to worry over the stubbornness/not eating. We have had a “you must try this food” before you leave the table kind of thing. Will be thinking on this some more for you….

      Also, have you read Bread and Jam for Frances? I love that book. Also the French Kids Eat Everything book helped get me over a slump.

  26. You didn’t even look at the sales ads? That takes discipline. Ha!

    We’re still doing pretty well. We, too, are very grateful for the rain (our rain barrels filled to overflowing yesterday!).

    B: Oatmeal w/ maple syrup and whipped cream, toast w/ jam, OJ, coffee for the adults.

    L: Salad bar (son had a half day at school so we went and had lunch w/ dad at the university where he teaches).

    S: Chocolate muffin at Dad’s work (son); a few peanuts & cashews (me); yogurt before swim practice (son); not sure what Hubs may have nibbled on.

    D: Homemade tortellini-vegetable-turkey soup. (I was able to use up half a package of yellow crookneck squash from the garden that I’d frozen last summer and a package of frozen spinach-cheese tortellini. I also added some of the leftover roasted turkey breast, but I still had a bit of turkey left over, so that went into the freezer–sigh. Looks like we’ll be having a turkey pot pie sometime in this month. smile


    Would have blown it last night if not wanting to admit here that we didn’t eat from the pantry. SNICKER

    Blessed Be

  28. Slow progress, but still progress, so I’ll call it a success. Still working on the leftovers in the fridge for lunches and snacks. The kids are interested in finding things in the freezer to snack on, so they’ve been helping a little bit. Hit the store for milk and a little produce, but didn’t get anything else. And I’m getting my new blender out of the box and clean today so we can start making smoothies for snacks…MANY little bits of fruit in the freezer that I can’t wait to get rid of.

  29. Just got back from shopping for essentials (milk, bread and a few other small things). Came in under $15, so I’m happy. I was going to buy lettuce and then remembered we have some to use up in the crisper (I put stuff in there and forget all about it! I’m proud of myself for remembering this time.)

    Making a budget meal from Everyday Food tonight. I’ll be using things from the freezer Thursday and Friday.

  30. The kids rebelled at the idea of cold cereal all week so I relented to every other day until we use up the open boxes.

    B: Toasted English muffins with cheese, milk, hard-boiled eggs and fresh raspberries and blackberries.
    L: The kids eat at school. My husband and I had hamburgers, leftover New Year’s Day black-eyed peas, and carrot sticks
    D: Crockpot barbeque pork chops, rice, steamed broccoli, and bananas.

    • Heather M says:

      That’s funny the kids rebel at the idea of cereal every day. My son loves it every day. as long as he can have a protein with it (sausage, bacon, etc). We’re all so different.

    • My kids would LOVE cereal every day. Ha! We’re out. They won’t be thrilled with oatmeal tomorrow instead. ha!

  31. Angela B. says:

    B- cereal
    L- kids eat at school, hubs took leftover taco salad again, I had a turkey sandwich on a crossiant
    D-brats from the freezer, baked beans, cottage cheese and corn casserole

    Not too shabby since it was the first volleyball game night for our twelve year old. Planning ahead really helps on these busy nights.

  32. Better late than never…. I did the inventory, and though I thought we had lots, it turns out we didn’t have an overly amount. It was just badly organised so it seemed more. Pleasantly surprised despite finding a tin of mild chicken curry (ugh!) which I know I didn’t buy and two lost tins of spaghetti that were 4 years out of date. Love now having a concrete idea of exactly what’s available and which cupboard it’s in. Also we are free of holiday leftovers as I don’t like to bring leftovers into the new year, all the Christmas remnants get fashioned into a snacky sort of NYE midnight feast.
    Soup is the one thing we had lots of so dinners this week have been soup + something (rolls, ham and cheese croissants, salad wraps) affairs followed by sugar free jelly and fruit. Lunch for DH is always ham n cheese sarnies, fruit and homemade energy bars. I’ve been eating rice cakes or tortillas with hummus and salad at lunch time. Breakfast black coffee and a green smoothie, lots of fruit and some spinach to use before it goes south. So far so good!

    • Great job with the inventory!

      Love it that you said “tin”. πŸ˜‰ We went to London a year ago and had a great time learning the ways American and British English differ. My 7yo daughter asked today if they taught British in college. I said no, that’s English. She said, “what about the whole chips/crisps thing?” πŸ™‚

      • Two cultures divided by a single language! Lol! Officially I ‘speak’ three versions of English, American as I grew up in Iowa, Irish because that’s where DH is from (and you cannot imagine how colourful the use of the language in Dublin) and my now default British because this is where we live. Favourite hybrid of chips is a New Zealand friend who calls crisps chips as in America and calls fries hot chips, everybody seems to understand her!

  33. For today’s pantry challenge….I found hot dogs in the freezer and sliced them up. Tossed them in homefries that I made with diced potatoes, red pepper, onion and garlic. Had leftover dinner rolls from last night to accompany the meal.

    I was cleaning a closet today and found my late mom’s bread machine. No instruction manual but that’s okay, I was able to find it online! I had no idea it takes 3+ hours to bake bread in a bread machine so it looks like we may be having it tomorrow night for dinner. Then again…if it’s an epic fail…I’ll make a new batch! πŸ™‚ I want to conquer making my own bread this year!

    • Tastycook says:

      Bread making in a machine is a piece of cake. I would suggest tho that you let the machine do the hard work but once the dough is made, put the dough in a loaf pan and bake it in the oven. if you bake the dough in the breadmaker, you have holes in the bottom of your loaf of bread where the paddles are.

      • Tastycook, would that be after the bread had its 2nd rise that I put it in the oven? Yes, I did notice that unattractive hole on the bottom of the loaf so the transfer to a loaf pan would definately eliminate that eyesore for me. Thank you!

        • PS…at what temp and for how long would it need to bake?

          • Tastycook says:

            Once the bread is in the loaf pan, I let it sit for about an hour for a second rising then I bake it for 26 minutes @ 385.. Your oven may be slightly different. Godd luck with it!

      • I agree, I always just make the dough in my bread machine (takes and hour and a half) then cook in the oven. Turns out so much better. Jessica has a lot of recipes!

    • A bread machine was my way to learn to bake bread. I love that it is relatively mess free. Often I would make the dough and bake it in the oven since I preferred the shape better. Let me know if you have any questions. There are lots of recipes here designed for the bread machine.

      My last one broke and I didn’t replace it, but I’m learning how to like my KitchenAid.

  34. Day 2:
    B: The kiddo and I had blueberry bread and string cheese, husband had cereal
    L: Kiddo ate at the sitter’s and I had lunch in the car again: PB&J, apple, cheese, clementine; husband brought leftovers
    D: Still fighting off colds and we have a bunch of leftovers still in the fridge so dinner was a mix of leftover soup and bread from last night and other random things we had to use up

  35. I blew it! Today I had a ride to town and spent $111.21 in the grocery store! I did get several items I was out of or low on including personal hygiene products, and pet food.
    On the plus side, shared ride to town ( round trip in my vehicle runs about $10.) Also made menu up for the week. So far have kept to it.
    Tonight the 6th, I made a full roaster of stew with one huge dumpling on the top. This will also cover tomorrows meal. What I was going to make tomorrow will show up on the 8 th. that will be chilli in the slow cooker. I have everything here for that.
    Friday is chinese food , a honey chicken dish with carrots and onions in it, and a stir fry ( a clean out the fridge veggie one) with 1/2 pkt. of steam fried noodles in it. Also a side of plain rice ( honey chicken is nice over it). The rest of the rice will be saved for a fried rice dish later. Saturday I must use up a tiny ham I baked ( both hubby and I found it way too salty), so need to figure how to get some salt out. I would like Saturday to be our omelet night with ham and mushrooms in it topped with grated cheese and a side green salad.
    That is as far as my menu is planned. I will see what is left in the fridge and then work from that. Sometime in the next week I will be making pinto beans, pork hocks, and molasses ( also has onions and stewed tomatoes) slow cooked all day comes out like baked pork and beans. Will serve it with homemade bread or buns. That does us 2 days and sometimes still have leftovers.

    • Toiletries and pet food don’t count! Also, it’s not blowing it unless it makes you completely throw in the towel which it doesn’t sound like it did.

      • Thank You! Phew, I buy sales, and often am just about out of an item when the sale comes again. Lately with prices here rising so quickly a sale doesn’t even seem like a sale anymore.
        Do you ever find that you know you have a food item, just put it to where it is easy to locate and then can’t find it????
        I’ve done that with my pork hocks. I want to get them thawing to make our beans on Thursday, and I can’t find them! LOL, tomorrow morning my job is to resort through my big freezer, and move them out to my fridge.
        When this challenge is over ( or the big freezer is under 1/2 full) I am going to defrost the freezer…. it is on the back porch and it is still freezing out so everything can go into large garbage bags while I use the hair dryer to thaw the freezer, then wash it out and dry it and put things away!.

  36. Thanks for the recipe for Monkey Salad, I really like it. Plus I had coconut and cashews that needed to be used. Thanks again!

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