Pantry Challenge Day 23

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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!


This update will be short and sweet since I’m exhausted. Didn’t get in my exercise today and that seems to make a really big difference.

I was, however, able to do not one, but TWO kitchen periscopes today! You can find them here and here, including the How to Section Grapefruit Β demo. I also fed my people.Β 

Most things were using up what we had on hand. The chicken and potatoes were “new” however, since we’ve run out of all proteins and vegetables.

Breakfast: Yogurt Pancakes from the Good Cheap Eats cookbook

Lunch: Pantry Challenge Minestrone, using up all the little bags of rice and the drippings and from Friday’s pot roast

Dinner: Roast Chicken and Vegetables, Salad with Grapefruit, Cherry Crumble

How is the Challenge going for YOU?

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  1. The routine seems to be the same without much change but I’m okay with that!

    B – crustless quiche of broccoli and ham

    L – leftover black bean burger (no bun) and a cup of ham & lentil soup

    S- small wedge of swisss cheese

    D – chicken fettucinne alfredo and choc pudding dessert

    Bedtime snack – blueberry yogurt & 1/2 of a 4-square waffle

  2. Im losing steam! I didnt have time to bake any of my gluten-free foods, so I ended up shopping for them-which I know costs more. I picked up other staples like milk, orange juice, yogurt, fruit and veggies.

    B- pancake mix muffins ( either apple pie filling or stuffed with turkey suasuage)
    L- ravioli for the kids, yogurt, granola, honey, cheese & crackers for me.
    D- Kids and I had dinner at CPK using a gift card we got for christmas, hubby didnt want to go. We havent had a dinner outing in a month, We were ready for one.

    Im determined to go on through February as we have lots more to eat down and we could use the savings to fund our kids interisland travel coming up in March for school.

    • I am also losing steam, but I think that if you let yourself buy a few things to make your life easier,, you can get back on track!
      We are also going to keep going into February, like many others. I am hoping I will get my energy back soon, so we can use even more things up πŸ™‚

      • lets keep eachother motivated to make it through to February!

        • I hear you ladies loud and clear! I’m beginning to lose steam as well for other reasons.

          Boredom with either eating the same thing or trying to repurpose/transform those leftovers. My freezer is not depleting in supply because of my “cook once, eat twice” mentality. I love being able to pull something out of the freezer either fully cooked or only needing a little work on my part. I think it’s backfired on me. But, I am saving significant amount of money. I began my PC in DEC.

          And since I’ve never seen a bone that I can’t/won’t make into stock, I have gallons of (mostly) chicken soup stock taking up space in my freezer.

          So…I’ll be joining you in FEB in eating down my creations and soon to be creations. I will increase my weekly spending allotment by $5 to add some variety but only if really great purchases come along.

          On a positive side, I’ve impressed myself some days on how I’ve repurposed some leftovers which would not have happened had I not begun this pantry challenge! πŸ™‚

      • Yep, exactly!

    • I am going to have to hold off on a big stock up as well. I’d say that an occasional splurge can help you catch your breath.

  3. Tuesday, day 23.

    Breakfast: Oats and milk for DH and DD1 before they headed out the door. Toast and milk for DD1. Toast and coffee for me.

    Lunch: Packed lunch for DH and DD1. Rye bread with lever patΓ© on some and garlic cream cheese on others. Raw vegetables on the side.

    Dinner: Home late from preschool, so oatmeal for the girls before their bath and bedtime. “Burning love” for DH and I. This dish is mashed potatoes topped with crispy bacon and onions fried in the bacon fat. I used instant potato mash, added some butter. I had bacon and onions to top the mash. DH had vegetarian sausages, cut up and fried crispy and onions.
    It is a dead simple dish, but oh so good! And it has a cool name too πŸ˜‰

    Snacks: fruit and crackes.

    Kathy in Denmark

    • Heather M says:

      Ok “burning love” sounds delicious!! I love how you adapt everything for your vegetarian. Really awesome. πŸ™‚

      • Practice makes perfect πŸ™‚ I prefer if we basically eat the same thing, only one is with meat and the other is not. It also makes it less confusing for the kids, I think.

    • Sign me up for some burning love! YUM! Do you bake it or just serve it with those things on top? Any cheese?

      • I just serve it with the toppings. I make sure to season the mash really well and add a generous amount of butter πŸ˜‰

        It is comfort food at its best!

  4. Jessica S says:

    Losing steam is a great way to describe! Yesterday was also rather uneventful. Usually on my day off work I get things accomplished but I had to drop everything and take new van to the dealer- 40 min away to deal with an issue that they had to handle.. Husband finally got someone to listen and they said COME NOW! ugh
    Did some shopping at a few stores on the way back.. mostly couponing/deal stacking, a few staples, bread etc

    B- eggs and english muffins for kids, U snagged a banana and protein bar for my waiting room pleasure..
    L- packed the kids pepperoni rolls I made over the weekend.. random other goodness, I made a grilled turkey and cheese when I finally got home
    D- Boys fed themselves before they left for TaeKwonDo class with dad, Daughter and I breakfasted on eggs and toast. She wanted to try her new jam.*

    * Kiwi Jam- we bought her a jar when we were at Greaves in Niagara on the Lake. she LOVES kiwi. Have never seen it anywhere else and recently she has been talking of missing her jam.. I found a recipe online that is super basic, halved it and stocked up on kiwi’s when I was by ALDI the other night. I managed to finish it up RIGHT when husband said I needed to take the van in! lol

  5. Grocery run yesterday. Picked up milk, bread, tomatoes, lettuce, yogurt, apples and oranges (actually followed the list w/no extra pick ups) for a total of $15.24. For a total of $56.79 for the month of January!!! Wahoo…Will definitely be going into February with the Challenge to continue using up and see how much $$ we can save!

    Breakfast – Oatmeal w/blueberries
    Lunch – Sandwiches, yogurt
    Dinner – Chicken & black bean quesidillas

  6. B – toast with peanut butter
    L – leftover chicken “burrito” (I love making this easy recipe: leftover chicken diced, leftover rice, and jar of salsa all heated together. Serve wrapped in a warmed tortilla; can add cheese, sour cream, whatever toppings. I used cheese since that’s what I had.)
    D – Beans and rice. I love this dish too — so very easy! I usually use a can of beans (any kind) and a bag of instant brown rice, but instead, I used baked beans frozen from Thanksgiving and leftover rice (can you tell I had a lot of leftover rice?). Add a can of diced tomatoes (my favorite is the Ro-Tel spicy ones). Just mix it together and heat it up and it’s so good! I like to add crumbled tortilla chips mixed in (I save the last bits from the bag for this recipe). I really like Tex-Mex type food, so I tend to make it this way, but this recipe is so easy that you could add anything to it to change the flavor. I usually make this meatless, but I’ve added sausage or bacon before and that’s good too.
    Snack before bedtime – 1 single serve bag of popcorn (100 calories) and hot chocolate with marshmallows.

    I’m only cooking for me, so any recipe I make tends to last me a long time. I often freeze half of it, but I’ve been bad lately about labeling, thinking, “Oh, I’ll remember what that is.” So pulling meals out of the freezer has been interesting, to say the least. LOL!

  7. Tastycook says:

    Still going strong here and definitely will go on in February. As many have said, 2 people can only eat so much food. Yesterday was really a no- cook day. That will probably have to change today as the fridge is empty of leftovers.

    Breakfast: fruit bread

    Lunch: leftover beef and mushroom soup from the day before. Raspberry coffee cake.

    Supper: coq au vin, scallopped potatoes, carrots and broccoli, fruit pie and ice cream- all leftovers but it sure made for a nice meal.

    • the1chery says:

      I know what you mean Tastycook! I’m only one person and the freezer and refrigerator stock are not moving out very quickly. If one person can only eat so much food, then why do I keep buying so much? That’s the question I have been pondering during this pantry challenge. I will be going into February and maybe even March!

    • You’re doing great. Coq au vin? Well played.

  8. Stephanie M. says:

    B – Hubby had cereal; I skipped breakfast

    L – We both had ham sandwiches

    Today we were supposed to have a family dinner with my mother, our oldest daughter, her husband, our grandchild, and our youngest daughter. My son in law requested a macaroni and cheese casserole. I had a dentist appointment at 11:00 for a toothache so I got busy in the kitchen very early putting everything together including mini pudding pies. But, all was canceled because the dentist told me I have to have my final wisdom tooth pulled out tomorrow and I really didn’t feel good so my husband packed up portions of the casseroles and delivered them to everyone, came home and we ate by ourselves. I only ate because I’m not sure if I’m going to want to eat anything tomorrow. Sigh! I can’t believe at my age, 55, I have to have a wisdom tooth pulled when it’s been sitting there quiet all these years. I’m such a chicken so I’m really apprehensive about the whole thing but oh well, such is life. πŸ™ My youngest daughter is such a clown. She works as a cardiac ultra sound technician and even though she is a very sympathetic person, she has no sympathy for this. She told me to
    ” put my big girl panties on; it’s only a tooth!”

    • My sympathies are with you. I would suggest that you sleep in the recliner tonight, or propped up on pillows. My sister swears it helps keep down pain and swelling, and I did notice a difference the one time I didn’t. Good luck and I hope it goes well for you. Bless your husband for his helpful nature. I would guess your daughter has all her wisdom teeth yet?

      • Stephanie M. says:

        You’re guessing right; she has all of her wisdom teeth. Her day will come. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the advice; I will take it for sure.

    • Melissa F says:

      I laughed so hard Stephanie! I’m a chicken too. I’ve had several dentists and an oral surgeon tell me I should get mine removed! No way! They’ve never given me trouble. I was only born with three so I asked the surgeon if I got a discount and he had NO humor…..none. lol

      Both of my kids have had theirs removed -hopefully it won’t be bad since it’s just the one. Have hubby pick up some ice cream for you!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Thanks Melissa: It seems all dentists get some kind of kick out of pulling all four at once. They’re all the same. I always told them I will get them pulled as they bother me and that’s what I did, one at a time. That was when I was in my twenties and early thirties. I always thought this one would go “in the box” with me but no, I guess not! πŸ™‚ Oh well. Today is actually the day it’s getting pulled. In fact, I have to go and get ready to leave now. Yikes.

    • Can the dentist actually pull it or do you have to go to a surgeon? I had to have two of mine cut out since they needed to be removed but hadn’t come thru enough to be pullable. They’d finally cut thru the gums but were crushing my other teeth. That was not fun. I just did all four of mine at once to get it over with. I was late 30s, I figured I’d gotten past the danger zone, and then poof, surprise. Wish I’d been told to sleep propped up! I can see how that would make sense. Hope you heal quickly.

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Sandi:

        The dentist already had me numbed up and she was maneuvering my tooth and I felt some discomfort so she said that she could not the see the roots on the X-ray to tell if they are straight or curved so she decided she wanted me to go to the surgeon so he could take a panoramic view. She said 90% of people have straight roots but once in a while someone has curved ones which make it a little more difficult. She’s just on the conservative side. She already put me on an antibiotic. Thanks for the well wishes. I already did laundry and did some other things because I know they’re going to tell me not to lift anything or do anything strenuous. Well, I’m leaving now. Here goes nothing. πŸ™

    • Heather M says:

      Ay Stephanie, I hope your wisdom tooth extraction has gone well! What a drag to be dealing with this at this point in life! Our family is a mishmash– I had all 4 removed in 9th grade-2 by the dentist very easily, and 2 by oral surgeon as they were impacted. I was a mess afterward, hugely swollen! My husband has all 4 wisdom teeth in his huge mouth, and they are perfectly fine, behaving as teeth ought to behave. My daughter, at 19, has yet to see one wisdom tooth even show up on an xray. My son we don’t know anything yet. Wisdom teeth are strange. Sure hope your recovery is quick and relatively painless!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Heather: I just got home and I am less one tooth. I wanted to laugh about your comment about your husband’s “huge mouth” but I can’t right now or I’ll lose the gauze. Ha Ha. Thanks for your well wishes. It was really nice to come home to. I’m going to take some advil now before the numbing wears off and just plop in front of the TV for the rest of the day. Guess I have to eat cold spaghettios for dinner tonight. YUM!!!!!

        • Tastycook says:

          Hi Stephanie, Glad to see you still have a sense of humour, even if you are missing a tooth. Hope the recovery is smooth sailing.

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Yes, it could always be worse. It could be a tooth right in the front. That would be AWFUL!!!!!! Thanks for the well wishes.

        • Don’t worry about being a baby. When I went to have mine out the dentist who knows me well came in with 2 pills. I ask what that would do for me. He said nothing. They are for me. I think I am going to need them. LOL! I am the worst!

    • Great Job Stephanie!!!! Couple days you will be good as new!! Did enjoy all the comments….good for a few laughs of the day…..sorry it was at your expense!!!! Enjoy your sit down day and take the advil as soon as you feel the pain!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Thanks so much Mona. I am always happy when I can make people laugh because I am a funny person. πŸ™‚ I already took the advil at 12:30 while I was still numb. Thought I would head off the pain. It’s now 3:00 and the numbness is just about gone but thankfully the Advil is doing its job. I’m sure I’ll have to take some more tonight. Hubby offered to bring home some ice cream. I am sitting here thinking I could really milk this thing for a few days and get hubby to do whatever I want. πŸ™‚ Hmm!!!

        • Agree!!!!! Think it will be about a week until you feel better! lol

          • Stephanie M. says:

            That’s so funny Mona. My husband just walked in with ice cream. That louse told me he’s looking forward to the peace and quiet since I normally talk at least as much as I write!!! LOL

          • Thinking its going to take a whole lot more than ice cream to get himself out of this one….can’t wait to here the next foot in the mouth comment….lol

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Yea he’s a bad one. I’ll just leave you with something he did to me over the summer and then I’m headed to bed. You’re talking about foot in the mouth comments: Check this out: we had a garage sale last summer and he hung up a sign saying “For Sale: Wife, Free with 6 months of support. Great cook, cleans well, doesn’t shut up.” He got a lot of mileage out of that one and a couple of offers too. Someone wanted to know if he wanted to trade. Another man asked if I wash dogs!!

        • Heather M says:

          So glad you’re hanging in there and doing well! Enjoy the pampering! I made the german lentil recipe you gave me for dinner tonight and wow, it was good. The hubs really enjoyed it! Yay! A new lentil recipe. I don’t have many, so this was perfect. especially on a winter night. πŸ™‚

          • Stephanie M. says:

            I’m so happy you enjoyed the lentils, Heather. This is a recipe I’ve been making for so many years given to me by my Oma (grandmother in German). It’s on the menu in many of the restaurants in Southern Germany. It is a Southern German dish. You wouldn’t find it in Northern Germany. My husband loves it too. And thanks again for the well wishes. It’s 5:30 on Thursday morning now and I slept well without any issues. I two took advil yesterday when I got home and two more before I went to bed and I never felt one second of pain at all. Other than my jaw being a little sore, that’s all I’m feeling. Thank God!!!

          • Was this lentil thing posted on one of the days? There are so many comments for the whole month, it’s hard to search.

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Hi Sandi: I posted this recipe for Heather on Day 7. Any questions, please let me know.

        • Stephanie…..thinking you should have had someone take the offer……then watch how fast he would pay double to get you back! LOL Hope you are feeling better today!!!

          • Stephanie M. says:

            Hi Mona: You’re are so funny! I wish I was as quick a thinker as you. I would have said that to Paul. It’s now 5:30 on Thursday morning and I’m happy to say I slept very well without any issues. I took the advil when I got home and two more before bed and I never felt any pain at all. I was lucky! Thanks so much for all of your well wishes and the amusing conversation. πŸ™‚

          • Hope that the worst is over for you and you are on the road to recovery. Enjoy your ice cream! And when it comes to our men I’m sure there will be many more amusing conversations…

          • Stephanie M. says:

            There always are! πŸ™‚

    • Hope you’re feeling better, doesn’t sound like any fun!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Good morning Sandy. Thank you for your well wishes. I am happy to say I slept all night and I’m not experiencing any pain at all. Glad it’s over. It wasn’t worth all the worry. πŸ™‚

    • I’m late to the game, but I’m so glad you did okay. My big boys had theirs out during last year’s pantry challenge.

  9. Losing steam describes it well, but I will keep plugging on through February also. I have indulged in a treat or two while fighting this cold that is almost gone, but kept mostly to the challenge.

    Yesterday was mostly leftovers, either from the frig or the freezer. I did make a sandwich to eat with my evening meds from some canned corned beef. They are part of what I am eating up from the pantry and not planning to replace . Taking a pill every twelve hours with food can mess up your meal schedule a bit but I am coping.

  10. I am still determined to plow thru what is in the fridge/freezer, so I will be carrying on like others, but there might be a couple splurges once Feb hits. I’m not sure what, but I keep feeling like I need to buy some non-essential thing. Maybe I’ll get a treat item for Super Bowl and then go back to tight purse strings. I’ll just have to make sure it is a small treat, since there’s still not a whole lot of extra space to put things even though we are trying so hard! I’ll also need more fresh produce and some canned tomatoes, but that’s not much.

    Tues 1/26
    Breakfast: yogurt and granola for me, chocolate milk for him
    Lunch: I went all fancy gourmet and had a beef hot dog. I think he got Subway on campus.
    Dinner: vegetarian rice bowls so I had a reason to eat some of the guacamole πŸ™‚

  11. I have barely made a dent in my outside freezer and the inside one is only a little better. I’m happy to say I’m seeing a little more white space in my fridge and pantry though. I’m seeing a LOT of condiments in my fridge. 20+ bottles is too many.

    B-toast with peanut butter, hot chocolate
    L-PB&J, tangerine from our tree, milk
    D-dinner out compliments of our exchange student organization πŸ™‚

  12. Finally emptied my chest freezer, defrosted and cleaned it, now it’s ready to sell. I’m now living alone and don’t need it, so if anyone is near San Jose and is interested…

  13. Melissa F says:

    Our HVAC system here at work is on the fritz and we have been hot every day – they say the part won’t be here until next week! So, Monday I did not eat my can of soup – funny 3 out of 4 of us ladies had brought soup to eat that day! I met my daughter at a sub place and used my “mad money” I get each month to have lunch with her (which is what I normally do with the said mad money).

    Monday night I had nachos mad with leftover chili. Yesterdays lunch was a pork chop and rice I had stashed in the freezer at work. Still hot in the office and wasn’t really a good thing to eat – just makes you hotter for the rest of the afternoon. For dinner I couldn’t bear to eat chili for a 4th day so I made a grilled cheese sandwich.

    Today I wised up and brought a salad for lunch! I do not know what I will do for dinner – depends on how I feel when I get home. The heat and the stuffiness of the office caused me to have a headache most of the day yesterday, I’m hoping it’s better today.

    My snacks have been cold sectioned grapefruit and some organic cheese popcorn – good thing about being hot, you don’t want to eat! At home I’ve been enjoying Weight Watchers ice cream cones in the evening that hubs got for me on sale at Publix last week.

    Need to plan out the rest of the week, not much that I want from the sale ads this week so I will need to look around at what I have on hand and plan accordingly.

  14. Breakfast & lunch kids ate at school and I had coffee with cream and a cheese stock for lunch.
    Supper we had a roast chicken, peas and a rice/grain blend from Aldi’s I just added butter and salt when it was done.
    Thinking chicken pot pie with the leftover chicken, we’ll see if I can squeeze it in tonight, it’s a busy day house hunting!

  15. Heather M says:

    Hi All! I finally took a drive today, to physical therapy close by, and wow, are roads still a mess out here. One lane for both directions, 2 on very busy streets where there are normally 4, etc. Huge mountains on corners so you can’t see cars coming until you’re in an intersection. It’s going to be rough going here until snow melts/is moved. Glad we have been well-stocked and I don’t need to go to the store until next week, aka February! Yay! Day 23:

    Breakfast: I had chocolate buttermilk bread and fruit; hubs rushed off to work (long haul to get there via walking the long way, shuttle bus to an open metro station, then long way around from destination metro station to get into his workplace) and son slept until noon, so no breakfast for them.

    Lunch: hubs ate the banana oat muffin/chocolate buttermilk bread/orange he took with him (had planned to buy a real lunch but never did); son and I had tuna sandwiches and apples

    Dinner: pantry southwestern chicken corn chowder (uses multiple cans of things plus milk/cheese/onion/garlic); garlic bread (freezer), and a tomato-cucumber-avocado salad. Challenge win!

    Starting to see room in the freezer, despite all the ice cream/desserts (two of the half gallons are gone, but still have 2 left, plus 8 pint sizes in there, plus 3 boxes of greek frozen yogurt bars!)! The pantry cupboards are still full but not feeling stuffed any more. Will definitely NOT be adding to the pantry until I’ve cleared out what we have to use up. Last pantry challenge, i vowed to buy less canned soup since we don’t eat it that often anymore because I make more soup. And guess what? We have way less that needs to be eaten than last time around (still some, but nothing like previous years). Not giving in to the sales for the sake of sales prices, only to have the can sit. Feeling good about that.

    • Hi, Heather,

      Your southwestern chicken corn chowder sounds good. Would you mind sharing the recipe?

      Glad to hear your roads are improving a little bit. Stay safe. (BTW, the coldest I’ve ever been was on a trip to DC–the wind off the Potomac was just biting. But, of course, I’m an Arizona/California girl, so I’m a total wimp when it comes to the cold. Ha!)

      • Heather M says:

        Hi Roberta! Finally getting back to you with the recipe. I’m actually a transplanted San Diego girl. I’ll never love winter. Every. But I like the forced staying in once in a while. πŸ™‚

        This recipe is truly a pantry recipe. So it’s a good one when you have nothing fresh left in the fridge and want to eat in.

        Southwestern Chicken Corn Chowder:

        1Tbsp olive oil
        1 med. onion, chopped
        3 garlic cloves, chopped/crushed

        Sautee above in a medium sized pot until onion begins to soften. I add the garlic a little later, not immediately with the onions. Then add:

        1 3/4 cup chicken broth
        1 can cream of chicken soup

        Mix well. while it comes to a boil add:

        1 small can chopped green chiles
        1 large can chicken (i buy these at costco), drained before adding.

        Reduce to low after it boils. then add:

        1 can creamed corn and 1 tsp cumin

        Heat through, then remove from heat and add:

        1 cup milk ( I use skim, but whatever you have on hand is fine)
        1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

        It comes together really quickly and is really satisfying! Enjoy!

    • Why is it that ice cream and ice cream bars seem fine to eat in winter, but my brain balks at the frozen fruit bars? I have a whopping case and a half of Outshine bars in the freezer from Costco and I love them but just can’t bring myself to eat them in chilly weather. I’m perplexed. Maybe I can throw them into a smoothie…

      • Stephanie M. says:

        I understand what you’re saying. We, too, usually have ice cream in the freezer but the Outshine bars we only buy in the summer. Those are my favorite cold summer treat especially when it’s so hot out. I’ve tried all of the flavors but my favorite is the lemonade.

    • That is some crazy snow!

  16. Laurie in CA says:

    The cold continues. I was up a lot Monday night/Tuesday morning with a fever but it broke and I was able to care for my grandson. However, when I came home I slept all afternoon. Not much cooking going on in our house!

    B – I pulled a muffin from the freezer, hubs had cereal
    L – hubs had to come over to our daughter’s so he brought a deli sandwich
    D – hubs made a trip to Panda. I didn’t each much as everything tastes “off” to me right now.

  17. Still slowly plugging along. (We now have a shoebox-sized empty space in the chest freezer. It’s not much, but better than nothing. We’ll definitely be going into February with the challenge.)


    B-Regular cereal, etc.

    L-Regular packed lunch for the guys; I had a salad and Greek yogurt w/ honey, homemade granola, and pomegranate from the freezer.

    S-banana bread and yogurt for son; hummus, cruditΓ©s, pita chips, and nuts for hubs and me.

    D-LO chicken pot pie, salad, homemade applesauce, brussels sprouts; banana bread for dessert for the guys.

    • How do you freeze your pomegranate? Fascinating!

      • Just flash freeze the arils (I’m “high tech” and use old pie tins lined with waxed paper–ha!) and then pop them into freezer bags. Super easy (once I’ve gotten the arils out of the peel/membrane, that is).

        I try to buy several poms when they’re in season and are a decent price, and sometimes our neighbor will give us some from her tree. Then I process them and enjoy them for months to come.

  18. I like not having to cook, but the LO are getting to me. Normally I would put them in the freezer after day 2 and wait a while to bring them back out. With the challenge I am trying to eat them and move on. Can hardly look at day 4 yet on some LO but I will.
    B – sausage patty on a 1/2 of a bolillo roll.
    L – More LO cowboy beans and the awful couscous. Couscous is now gone still have enough of the beans for 1 more time.
    D – BLT Sandwiches and chips.
    S – banana bread and grapes. Banana bread was made for a Christmas gift for our neighbor but he went out of town and then we had so much going on that I put it in the freezer and forgot it. Guess I will make him some fresh loaf later.

    • You might go ahead and freeze some of them and just not wait as long to bring them out. They might be easier to face a week or so later when you have had something else in the interim. This would provide variety even if after the first few times you were still eating leftovers for several days, but with variety from the freezer instead of just the same thing. If you are used to having LO in the freezer for quick meals when needed you would still have some. You could keep them in a separate area and go ahead and use up some of the older stuff you are trying to use up.

      Hope this makes sense, I’m not sure I’m explaining very well. Thankfully my husband likes leftovers, but I still freeze individual servings even now during the challenge. They work well for me for lunches while he is at work. I do label and date them and have been eating the older ones and adding new ones this month. But I get variety since the leftovers I’m eating aren’t the ones from the night before.

    • That is a lot of leftovers. Can you make smaller batches to start with?

  19. All continuing well here although not much left in the cupboards now either apart from some dry goods but only 4 days left after today and we are eating out twice between now and moving.
    Today’s meals
    B I had the last of the tinned grapefruit left in the fridge, hubby had cereal
    L we both had tuna mayonnaise in crusty rolls. They were the part baked sort that I just finished cooking in the oven. Do you gave these in the USA? If not they are vacuum packed rolls that just take 10 minutes in a hot oven to finish cooking so you have fresh bread. These were left over from Christmas which Is about the only time I buy them.
    D we are having macaroni cheese that I will make myself.

  20. We are still plugging along. I was able to rearrange the fridge freezer and got everything left in there on the bottom shelf. I also have 1 1/2 empty shelves in the upright freezer. Hurray for progress!
    Breakfast for hubs was eggs and cheese. I had peanut butter toast.
    I had a ham and cheese sandwich and a banana for lunch.
    Dinner was meatloaf, cheesy potatoes and corn
    Snacks were popcorn and pudding

  21. Tonight for dinner we are having Forgotten Chicken (Pinterest recipe) with peas and carrots. Hubs made brownies from a box that I found in the back of the pantry.

    I sat in the floor this evening and arranged everything in the pantry. We actually have “just enough” in the pantry now, so it can easily be organized and accessed. πŸ™‚ We still have way too much, of course, but now it looks like a sane grocery shopper lives here.

    Since we lost our refrigerator/freezer food in the ice storm, I have been bringing in a couple of meals worth of food at a time. Once we eat those, I go out (to the garage freezer) and bring in a couple more meals worth. This may sound stupid, but it is keeping me from being overwhelmed with what is in the big freezer. It is being emptied out a little at a time, and I am using what we have to meal plan for the next night. Whatever works!!!

    • Sorry to hear you lost your fridge. That’s never fun. Grabbing things from the freezer and then figuring out what to do with it makes perfect sense to me. When you have too many choices, it becomes overwhelming and difficult to deal with, so you’re just giving yourself fewer options so your brain can sort and handle it.

    • Great job organizing! I’m glad a sane shopper lives there now. πŸ˜‰

  22. Still plugging along. I feel like we still have so much.
    B-Kids had cereal or granola, hubs made himself an egg sandwich before leaving for a meeting. I almost forgot to eat. Started working on taxes after milking and wondered why I had such a bad headache by 10. Realized I didn’t eat, so I had grapefruit then.
    L-Kids at school, hubs ate at meeting and I had leftover chicken sub.
    D-New recipe using slider buns and a hamburger mixture that you bake. Used some of the slider buns in the freezer. (Had a party and had 4 doz. left awhile back. Ugh!) Salad and green beans. Peach raspberry pie for dessert. Used an older bag of peaches and some raspberries from the freezer and a pie crust that I made at Christmas time. It was delicious and no one complained that mom used up things!!

  23. I’m still slogging through too. I did have to go to the store for a couple of items that couldn’t wait until February (bread, milk, and lettuce).
    Yesterday’s meals
    breakfast-eggs and tortillas
    lunch-applesauce and a tuna kit I found in the cupboard
    dinner-frozen burritos covered with green enchilada sauce from the freezer, corn
    snack-leftover Halloween candy from the freezer-yep
    Today’s meals
    breakfast-oatmeal with almonds
    lunch-leftover burritos
    dinner-hamburger stroganoff. rice, canned green beans

  24. Breakfast: Pancakes or egg and toast
    Lunch: Leftovers
    Dinner: Potluck at ski club and DD2 went out to eat with Grandma

    I was again reminded how lucky I am that my husband and children are not picky eaters! The pancakes I pulled from the freezer looked a bit freezer burnt, but no one complained.

  25. Glad to hear everyone is plugging along!
    I’ll be continuing into February as well. I made a spreadsheet of everything contained in all three of my freezers! It feels so good to have them organized like this. It’s much much less stress. When I need to get something out or delegate a child to get something, it’s so easy to say “bottom left, red basket” or whatever. It really makes it easier. (I have color coded baskets I purchased to keep things organized, now that I am more organized I can actually utilize them fully. Ahem)
    Today was a day of running errands but I still managed to get 3 meals on the table. Not too shabby.
    Yesterday was beef mushroom barley stew for dinner. To my surprise there is only one small bowl left so my husband will take that to work tomorrow. there is definite white space in my kitchen refrigerator for sure.
    Breakfast for me, (I get up around 430 to get things done before the family gets up) I had 3 eggs with sautΓ©ed power greens and a cup of plain black tea. I was full Until 3 pm. The kids had scrambled eggs and Canadian bacon for breakfast. The older 2 packed lunches. Younger 2 had spinach salads.
    In between errands today I chopped up tons of veggies and fruit. My kids eat more if I have it ready, and I snack on it more as well. I cut pineapple, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet peppers, grapefruit, cucumbers, and strawberries. Tonight’s dinner was strawberry balsamic grilled chicken salads with goat cheese (no cheese on mine)and salty sweet maple pecans. I used the frozen chicken breast tenderloins that I purchased at coscto yesterday. They honestly aren’t too bad. Good news is there is enough chicken left for tomorrow nights fried rice ( that’s the plan at least). I’m taking a vote from the family in the morning so tomorrow will be either said fried rice or coconut curry halibut ( I buy whole fish while in season and butcher and vacuum seal myself, costs less and i get all the trimmings) what ever meal is voted down will be served the next night. Lol. There’s a method to my madness.

  26. We are so done with the challenge because we used everything. However, I am a bit addicted to it and keep finding little odds and ends to use. I crushed Hershey Kisses for my chocolate chip pancakes and found some beans to soak and cook to make hummus. Keep going to all of you who still have tons of food!!

    • Great work, Christine! πŸ™‚

      I share your “addiction” of not being able to let go of perfectly good food items. I’ve never met a bone that I can’t make a good stock from. Consequently, my freezer is now over-run with gallons of chicken stock taking up valuable freezer space. So as we eat down (which is hard with only 2 adults), my pantry isn’t reflective of it.

      I had 1.5 cups of ham bits and made ham/cheese waffles; ham and broccoli quice; ham and mash potato patties; and ham and lentil soup. So 1.5 cups has morphed into space-consumingg meals! On the flip side, I am saving $$$ even though my pantry isn’t shrinking.

      • Ha! Me too. I made some chicken stock recently and put some in bags for the kid to take out to the big freezer. “Mom, you do know you already have all those other bags out there, right? Are you sure we need more?” Clearly I need to be better about actually using the stock once I make it.

      • Funny ladies. I have had the chicken stock problem too. There is some in my fridge right now.

  27. WOW kudos to all of you that saved tons of $$ and used all of your food. This is my first challenge and really learning a lot about my buying habits. We buy tons of food, but probably use only about 1/3-1/2 of the items on a regular basis- looking forward to dropping my food purchases and redirecting that savings to other family needs.

    you are all my heros!

    • Marci, lesson learned in my home too. I need to say “no” to myself more often. The problem being that I can’t pass up a good meat sale as I’m fearfull that I won’t see that great deal again. I’m going into FEB with the challenge too.

  28. Seeing definite progress in the pantry. Yay! The freezers aren’t going as quickly as I’d like, so in addition to meal planning I am starting to periodically move a couple of things to the fridge to thaw. It’s mostly snacks and lunch items for me. I’m also trying to be really careful to minimize leftovers. If I’m eating leftovers for lunch all of the time, then I’m not getting the small stuff out of the freezer. I also went through the garage fridge today and tossed a few things. I hate throwing things out, so I had just been procrastinating. I realized that I still have quite a few condiments in there, so I’ll see what I can do to work them into this weeks meal plan. And I am planning to make peanut butter cookies with the 3 almost empty jars of peanut butter that I found. Hate putting more into the freezer, but want the jars gone. I’m still keeping a tight reign on the shopping, so I know I’m making progress even if a peek into the freezer doesn’t look like it.

  29. I’m not losing steam but I think hubby is. Came home from work to find new food. LOL.

    B: leftover homemade pizza for the kids and I, hubby ?
    L: school lunch for 3 of us, one home sick had chicken noodle soup, hubby?
    D: various shrimp from the freezer, a couple of beer battered fish, Aldi “Red Lobster” biscuits that were weirdly sweet so no one liked them, and a chocolate cake.


    B: bf bowls using leftover peppers/potatoes, eggs, cheese, and maybe a little ham.
    L: school lunch for, hopefully, 4 of us.
    D: ham, mashed or baked potatoes, corn, and leftover whatever is in the fridge.

    I do see the back of my two freezers now, and things no longer fall out of the pantry. But if my family would agree to do this hardcore (they won’t) then we could last at least another month, though we’d be down to beans and peanut butter for protein.

    I’ll still do the challenge as sides and lunches, probably.

  30. Tuesday was a fend for yourself evening for dinner. I skipped breakfast, ate hot lunch with the kids at work, and ate left overs for dinner before the general meeting in our co-op. Hubs ate left overs from the freezer for lunch, and oatmeal for dinner. This was day 2 of the terrible week at work, and one of the few days that we didn’t eat out due to my being so exhausted that the idea of cooking dinner was just too overwhelming!

    You ladies are all so inspirational! And creative!

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