Pantry Challenge 2017-10

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This month we’re avoiding the grocery store and shopping the kitchen. Here’s how we’re eating. It’s like reality TV, for food.


Today went fairly well, though I did end up buying some groceries. We were running low on fresh produce and we were completely out of tomato sauce. So I picked up those items, my total came to $48, bringing my month total to $118, so far.

I’m not sure how long this will go, but the freezer is about at 2/3 to halfway full. Could get interesting!

Pantry Challenge Meals, Day 10

Breakfast: Waffles and fruit for the kids; roasted veggies and fried eggs for me

Lunch: I made soup out of last night’s Bolognese, adding beans we had left from lunch yesterday. Kids didn’t love it. Oh well.

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash Jambalaya, though some people had theirs on rice. There were no leftovers. That stuff is so good!

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  1. For breakfast we had scrambled eggs ans grapefruit. Lunch was cabbage meatball soup and roasted squash. Supper was pad thai with shrimp and pork using canbage instead of noodles. Some chocolate and tea after supper. Yummy day!

  2. That jambalaya looks awesome.

    I have made lunches like that, my kids look at me like really Mom!? Lol
    Today was super early start for us as the oldest had a 745 orthodontist appointment, so instead of my usual 430 I rose at 4. Had to get everyone’s lunch packed and everyone ready and also take care of barn work. My husband was on call last night and at the hospital with trauma cases so he wasn’t here to help. Still managed to pull together a healthy hot breakfast for the kids. Egg sandwiches with apple slices and bananas on the road. Lol
    Icy roads this morning made for an interesting commute. We went slow and made it safely. Needless to say I had some very tired littles this evening.
    Lunches were a throw together of leftovers, cut fruit and veggies, grass fed beef sticks, and yogurts. No one complained. The youngest and I had leftover soup which was amazing.
    Dinner was penne made on the stovetop skillet style with Trader Joe’s Italian chicken sausage, red peppers, fresh mozzarella and homemade marinara from the freezer. I threw together a salad and Called it a night. Amazing how much food my children can eat these days!
    I made a batch of apple cinnamon scones with a bruised apple I was tired of staring at in the fruit basket, and also a batch of rhubarb strusel muffins from a bag of frozen rhubarb from my garden last spring. I did a total clean out of my kitchen refrigerator today so it’s nice and bright inside and has plenty of room! I did find something that I think used to be a cucumber. Lol. Other than that I do try to keep up on it and it wasn’t bad.
    I am running very low on butter and I will have to restock that very soon

    • Heather M says:

      With such early mornings, I’m guessing you go to bed pretty early? We are all night owls, which makes our 6am wake up on school days really rough. Hubs works from home in the morning and rarely (unless he needs to cover something “early” leaves until 9:30-10am. I’m counting the years until my youngest finishes high school. I’m always impressed with early risers. Always. Your apple scones and streusel muffins sound delicious! Hoping to bake a little at some point this week and your report is inspiring! 🙂

      • Ug, I wish. Nope, with kids homework, sports, house upkeep and ANY “us” time to watch a show or talk about anything, we rarely get to bed before 1230-1am. Sometimes later as I have toddler who still gets up at least twice per night. I think my husband and I have just learned to make do on little sleep until the kids are older. I used the King Arthur flour scone recipe and the smitten kitchen muffin recipe. Both very tasty.

        • Heather M says:

          Oh geez. You’re really AMAZING!! That’s about my bedtime even if I’m tired, and 6am kills me. I”m really impressed! Thanks for the recipe locations!!

  3. I wish we were neighbors. I have ten cans of tomato sauce in my pantry that I’d be willing to share.
    I still have spent $0 on food this month, however we did buy a kitty. She is adorable.
    Breakfast-eggs and spinach
    Lunch-quinoa salad with garbanzos
    Dinner-smorgasbord-Our fancy word for leftovers served buffet style. As in pick what you want and microwave it.

  4. Heather M says:

    That Jambalaya looks delicious! I just found a cajun shrimp pasta that has similar flavors, and since I have all ingredients, we’ll be having it soon! I had hoped to inventory food today, and look for recipe ideas. I only managed the recipe ideas, since i just didn’t have a lot of energy today. Yesterday I woke up with sciatica (it’s only ever happened a few times in my life!) and besides working out, it’s been a rather uncomfortable few days. It’s a little better tonight, so here’s hoping! But this morning I woke up with my asthma acting up, which is a huge drag. Assuming it’s the cold weather causing it, since it usually happens when I’m sick, and I’m not. So I laid low as best I could. Good thing I had already planned dinner tonight!

    I have to give my hubs a bug thank you though. He kept me from going to Costco! He offered to pick up the New Years cards I ordered last week (they weren’t supposed to be ready until Thursday earliest). And since I really don’t “need” anything yet from Costco, I was thrilled. He also works practically across the street from Costco (if you count a massive parking lot, a big freeway, and a block beyond across the street). He said he was in and out in under FOUR minutes. I could NEVER have done that. Yay for him! Anyhow, on to Day 10’s meals:

    B: cereal, turkey sausage, and OJ for son (hubs finished bowl of cereal- this is the usual on school days); I had nothing, since I was slow to get going this morning.

    L: son took a turkey/cheese sandwich, clif bar, and a few pistachios; hubs took the leftover fried rice (it wasn;t much) from last night, a banana, and a granola bar; I had cheese and crackers – we are finally almost done with the piles we had leftover from the big cheese tray we took for Thanksgiving appetizers. I always buy a variety and of course it never gets finished. I finished off two almost empty boxes of crackers and the rest of the boursin that was almost expired. Also had apple slices.

    D: Chicken Caesar Salad – with romaine lettuce, used a combo of the leftover lemon chicken from chinese takeout last week (they keep the souce separate, thankfully, but they have sliced lemon on the chicken, so it added a nice flavor, even after reheating it in the oven) and a few pieces of breaded chicken tenders from the freezer. Had already shaved parmesan, multiple caesar dressing choices, and croutons all leftover from the massive caesar salad I brought to xmas eve dinner (only two of us brought salads to go with the soups, for 41 people, so I brought all the fixings to add to the already large bowl I’d prepped at home – and we needed it, but not all of it!). One dressing was a lemon garlic caesar dressing, which was perfect with the leftover chicken – that’s what I chose!

  5. Today was a long day at work, I had a great workout, but then back to work to finish off a document. I got kudos today as some of my staff members were impressed that I packed my own meals :).

    B- breakfast sausage sandwiches
    L- Lunch meeting for me, snacky lunch for kids, beef/gravy leftovers for hubby
    D- Acai Bowls (after workout)

  6. Laurie in CA says:

    You know that 11 lbs. of chicken I bought yesterday? The breasts were huge (about 1 lb each), so I butterflied two of them, seasoned them and put them in the already heated oven after I took out the spaghetti squash. I thought it would be good for our lunches (burritos, salads or whatever). Right after we had finished eating my daughter called and asked us to pick up our grandson from daycare. I fed him chicken and some leftover green beans and when my daughter showed up she had some spaghetti squash and Bolognese. I also sent home a plate for her hubs with chicken, green beans and an extra potato I had baked the day before. I never know how many people I’m going to feed around here. I guess that’s why I still stockpile and cook more than we plan to eat.

    B – baked banana nut oatmeal, banana, coffee
    L – My grandson and I had l/o chicken, green beans and some clementines
    D – I put white chicken chili on low in the crockpot before leaving for the day to take care of my grandson. I used 6 cans of ingredients from the pantry and the pantry was from the freezer. When I came home I shredded the chicken, added some masa in milk (to thicken) and served over some crushed tortilla chips I wanted to use up and pepper jack cheese that needed to be used up. We have enough leftover to freeze for another dinner and a large container for some lunches and another dinner (or to have on hand when someone shows up unannounced for dinner).

  7. I was sick today so it was leftover day for dinner.

    I am sure my husband had his eggs this morning and he had leftover pork and potatoes. One boy had leftover taco bake and the other had leftover taco soup.

    I ate applesauce and toast. Here’s to a better day tomorrow!

  8. Stephanie M. says:

    Well my day started off with a bang – LITERALLY!!!!!

    I had to run an errand in the morning and I came up to an intersection where I had the right of way and the person to the left of me in the intersection had the stop sign but didn’t stop; instead he plowed right into me on the driver’s side where I was – BANG!!!! I couldn’t believe it. Right before impact I remember saying out loud in the car, “you can’t be serious!” and then it was over. He wrecked my entire door and hit me so hard that the plastic panel on the inside of the car was completely cracked too and my window clicks when I put it up or down. I was able to pull over and call the police and also texted my hubby and two daughters and of course they rang my phone over and over again but I couldn’t answer it because I was with the police and I had to fill out forms and they had to stop the traffic and give me room to turn my car around and pull it onto the shoulder. What a mess!! Fortunately, no one was hurt. I did have a bit of a sore neck and back so for the rest of the day, I sat with ice and wine. What boggles my mind – what I just can’t wrap my head around is that there were three or four cars sitting on the other side of the intersection waiting for me to make my turn. They all saw the accident happen and not a single one of them pulled over to check on me or the other driver. Honestly, I find this so disturbing. What kind of humans live on this planet anyway?

    Last week, I was craving meatball pizza all week so hubby surprised me and brought some home. Needless to say, I never got my errands done. After the accident, I came home and stayed home for the rest of the day.

    B – Hubby had cereal; I skipped breakfast

    L – We both had meatloaf sandwiches with the leftover meatloaf from last night’s dinner

    D – Pizza

    • Oh goodness! So sorry to hear about your day:( glad you didn’t suffer any major injuries!!!

    • Wow Stephanie!!! So glad you are okay! I’m sure you will be sore for a few days, that’s a lot of jarring on your body! It is so sad that people would just leave so they don’t have to be involved in a situation! Take it easy and take care of yourself. Just rest up and let your body heal.

      • tastycook says:

        Just glad YOU are OK, A couple of days of being pampered should help!

        • Stephanie M. says:

          Thank you Tastycook!! Pampering sounds really good and I know hubby will do anything I ask; he’s a good guy. Should I take advantage – just a little and milk this for an extra day or two? LOL

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Thanks Mona! That’s exactly what I’m going to do. Thank God the house is clean so I don’t have to worry about doing that! LOL

    • Everyone is “so busy” they don’t have time for human caring and interaction. Plus, they just don’t want to get involved. It is really sad. I’m happy to hear you are okay, although I’m sure you will be sore for several days. Better sore than broken, though!

    • Danielle L Zecher says:

      Glad you’re okay. I hope you’ll still go get checked out, though.

    • I’m glad you weren’t seriously hurt! I bet you will be sore for a few days though. Take it easy and definitely let hubby pamper you! It makes me so angry too that people won’t take time to help people anymore. I have witnessed it several times in the last year that people won’t take the time to step up and help someone.

    • I am so sorry to hear about the accident. I am also amazed at the people who don’t stop for accidents. There are some that still do, thank the Lord. I would and I know that anyone in my family would stop, it’s just kind of who we are but I agree that everyone is so busy they don’t feel like they it’s not their place to stop….someone else will or the first responders will take care of it. In most instances, it’s bystanders (or drivers) that offer the quickest response to emergencies.

      Take care of yourself and rest – you’ll be sore a few days I am sure.

      Melissa in GA

    • I’m so glad you are okay!!! Paul is a peach for bringing home the pizza! I hope you get some good rest today and bounce back well!

    • Please get checked out in the next day or so. I was rear-ended many years ago, and I didn’t hurt until a few days later. Ended up going to PT for a few weeks for back and neck pain.

      I do love that you thought “you can’t be serious” as he came through! Sounds like something I would do.

      Please take care of yourself, although it sounds like you are on your way (ice and wine!). Sorry about the sucky people, too. 🙁

    • Laurie in CA says:

      I’m so glad you’re ok! Drivers can be jerks! They don’t know the rules of the road and act like they own the road.

    • Yikes! Glad no one was seriously hurt.

    • Glad you weren’t seriously hurt! Take care of yourself and rest.

    • Kathy in Denmark says:

      That must have been quite a shock! I am glad no one was seriously hurt.

      I agree with Holly, please get checked out! Some injuries don’t show immediately and for insurance purposes it is always a good idea to have a doctor’s opinion (at least here in Denmark, I would imagine it is the same in the US).

      I was hit by a car once… I was riding my bike home from university and a car ran a red light and hit me. Luckily I didn’t get seriously injured, but I was extremely sore for several days from the impact. The lady who hit me was devastated and did what she could to make sure I was ok, and so many people stopped and helped (called an ambulance, helped me call my then boyfriend and now DH) and they also waited for the police so I had witnesses.
      This is just to let you know, that some people will stop and help! But I am so sorry that no one stopped and checked on you or the other driver, it really saddens me…

    • Heather M says:

      Oh my gosh, Stephanie!! So glad you’re mostly ok. Be sure to listen to your body and rest…. you so deserve to be pampered. You won’t be milking anything at all. Rest is the best prescription right now! And, It is so awful that no one stopped to check on you both and also to be witnesses to the crash. So disheartening. Also, even if the house was a mess, it could wait. You resting up is more important than a clean house. Luckily you get to rest up in a clean house though. And yay for awesome hubbies!! They really do rock! Feel better!!

    • Wow! So glad you’re ok and that no one was seriously hurt. I completely understand your feelings about no one stopping to help. It really makes you wonder. I once witnessed a pedestrian get hit, and while I stopped to help, only 1 other person stopped, and it was a very busy intersection with both pedestrian traffic and vehicles. There were actually people crossing and walking around the person who was hit. I was stunned.

      Take it easy and rest up. Sometimes it can take a few days before the pain or other injuries surface.

    • I’m so glad the accident wasn’t worse and I hope you are still doing well. I’m a bit behind in reading posts and comments, so I hope to catch an update in another post as a I read.

    • Stephanie,

      OMG!!!! I just read your post and so thankful you were not seriously injured in the accident. I’m having a hard time finding where to post these days so I’m far behind in my readings. I’m missing having just one common thread.

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Felicia: It’s so nice to hear from you. Hope you are having fun with your grand daughter Paige. I’m glad you found the challenge page. I’m sure that Jessica will put up a chatter page when the challenge is over; she always does; I miss it too. Thanks for your well wishes. Everything is fine, thank God. 🙂

  9. Di in Aus says:

    Long day at work and had to work back. Thankful that hubby had dinner sorted when i got home.

    B: weetbix milk (coconut milk and 1/2 mango added for me)
    L: potatoes, cheese and veg melt for kids on last wrap , saltanas, chocolate slice (kids) me a coffee at 5pm this arvo.

    D:spag bol with passata and last of mince in freezer.

    Sounds like that tummy bug is international. Simmilar bug has been going through the area i live also.hope all get well soon

  10. B: Bagels and cream cheese, milk, grapefruit
    L: 15-bean soup in the crock pot; corn muffins (lots of leftover soup for the rest of the week)
    D: Tacos, rice, lettuce salads

    Today was the first day I had to change my meal plan when I realized I was out of a key ingredient. I had planned to make meatballs for dinner, but I had used my last egg to make the corn muffins for lunch. My husband suggested lasagna instead, but I was also out of noodles.

    The good news: the pantry, fridge and freezer are starting to have white space. The bad news: now I will have to start getting “creative” to use up what we have and buy as little as we can this month. I am trying to wait until the weekend to go to the store for fill-ins, so nothing for the rest of the week that requires eggs.

  11. Christine says:

    Homemade muffins for the kids and smoothie for me. For lunch we all had packed lunches. I decided to make the kids half a sandwich each, and with plenty of snacks it seemed like enough. Two slices of bread is a lot of carbs. Dinner was homemade pizza (again). More carbs. Homemade pizza is my fall back dinner. Also, we have had dinner at home every single night since New Year’s. That is pretty amazing for us. We do plan to go out over the weekend, but I am going to get dinner on the table until then. Good luck everyone.

  12. Tuesday 1/10

    Breakfast – Had more of the Christmas cookies from the freezer

    Lunch – Hard salami & swiss sandwiches

    Dinner – Roast beef sandwiches, mac & cheese

    I did make it to the grocery store yesterday. Picked up lots of fruit, veggies, cheese, pancake syrup, eggs, bread and milk that should get us through the next 2 weeks. Had a gift card so my total out of pocket was $8.49, which is our total spent for the month so far.

  13. tastycook says:


    B – fruit and yogurt for hubby, cereal for me

    L – beans on toast

    S – Chicken stir fry – with lots of veggies

  14. Tues 1/10
    B – I had a piece of German stollen, he skipped
    L – I finished the L/O pasta primavera, he finished the L/O seafood soup
    S – smoked salmon
    D – chicken burritos from freezer, canned refried beans, tortilla chips – I was craving some Chipotle but refused to go buy some, so I made burritos with a can of beans at home. That also used some of the sour cream (we don’t use that all that often so it frequently molds and I don’t want to do that this time) and some of the guacamole I pulled out of the freezer without realizing I still had some in the fridge so now I have too much. I feel like it wasn’t really “cooking” since I was just heating up pre-made things, but it was in reality a win for using up what I have, so I was happy.
    Dessert – since I had the oven on to bake the burritos, we decided to make a pan of brownies and use up one of those boxes. It was a great idea except… the kid forgot to grease the pan first so we basically have to scrape it out with a spoon. It still tastes good and I bet he won’t forget that step again!

    • Heather M says:

      Lesson learned for the kid. 😉 I know what you mean about feeling like you’re not cooking, but you’re using things up so they don’t go to waste. And that’s awesome!

    • I use sour cream in baking a bit…especially muffins. I just sub out 1/4-1/3 of the milk, etc with sour cream. Then I usually add an additional splash of milk, since the sour cream is thicker.

  15. Danielle L Zecher says:

    Breakfast: Cinnamon Raisin Bagel (from the freezer) w/ cream cheese.

    Lunch: Leftover turkey and stuffing casserole, collard greens, and cranberry sauce.

    Dinner: Hubby took lasagna (home-made, from the freezer) to work. I made veggie pizza using the leftover sauce and veggies from the calzones hubby made the night before.

    I’m honestly not sure what/if hubby ate before he went into work.

    I have reached the conclusion that we will definitely be extending our PC into February, maybe even all of February. I feel like we’re only about a week in since we got off to a slow/rocky start, and honestly, there’s no difference in the cabinets or freezer. I know we’ll be buying things like milk, eggs, and fresh produce, but I think we may able to get by with just that through February.

  16. Jen in IN says:

    We love jambalaya! Have you ever tried pastalaya?

    B: mini frittata, toast with jam (my youngest chose to have yogurt oats instead of frittata)
    banana pineapple smoothie for the boys

    L: leftover pizza for me, chicken noodle soup for my husband, the boys took a mishmash of egg salad, muffin, pita, yogurt tube and orange

    D: One of my family’s favorite meals, bean bowls! I made black beans in the Instant Pot. We had it over salsa rice, with lettuce, sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, and tortilla chips. So simple, but we love meals that we can build ourselves in a bowl.

    S: chocolate pudding and whipped cream, chocolate Chex for the boys

  17. Today was a good day! With hubby’s help along with some of the kiddos who were home for an ice day cancellation, we got our big chest freezer defrosted and cleaned. I was fairly impressed with the amount that was left. We are doing our annual beef butchering this weekend, so I had to everything sorted so the old goes on top and doesn’t get buried. I can tell that since I’ve been more vigilant with using things there wasn’t much wasted. I have 3 freezers which probably seems crazy to some of you, but we live in the country with a 25 minute drive to the nearest nice grocery. We do all of our own butchering besides chickens, I bake all of our bread and freeze it and I freeze a ton of produce from our large garden. We also hardly ever eat out, so I love having freezer meals ready for when I’m feeling lazy. I have 2 chest freezers, one big and one medium sized, we also have an upright that I keep the produce mostly in, along with my spices, flours, popcorn and granola ingredients that I like to keep frozen. It always feels good to get the largest one done, the other ones seem to go faster. I usually don’t defrost the upright until summer, right before harvest time. I will have to do our medium one in 2 weeks before we do hog butchering. So, time to focus on using that freezer up. On the bright side we went through more food today with everyone home.
    B-Everyone’s choice of leftover egg casserole, meat grits or granola along with fruit.
    L-Made egg salad and served it over homemade bread toasted. (Our chickens haven’t let up in the cold so we have plenty of eggs to use) Made homemade baked steak fries to use up some garden potatoes and had apple slices. We all had ice cream for dessert to finish off a few open boxes I found while defrosting.
    D- Beef Stroganoff, which used up some beef broth and homemade mushroom soup that needed to go, green beans from the freezer and relishes.
    S- Finished off some crackers and snacks from the holidays.

    • Laurie in CA says:

      Gosh Sandy, when do you find time to sleep?! I admire your ability to produce so much food for your family. A growing family can eat a LOT of food! When you say butcher the meat, do you prepare the cuts too or send it to a meat locker? For the first time ever last year we purchased 1/4 grass fed beef. The taste is so much better than anything we’ve ever purchased in a grocery store

      • Laurie, I’ve found it is much better for our family’s health due to adverse reactions to preservatives that are found in store bought food to prepare as much as I can at home. I work on the family farm with my husband, so I just consider it as part of my job to prepare our food everyday. I like to cook so it helps. I am very thankful to be able to stay home and work with my husband and kids, even though it is hard work. I will admit sometimes in the midst of canning season I question why I do it though!! We raise beef here on our farm and have been butchering our own meat for many years. We buy our hogs from a local farmer since we no longer raise our own. We do all the butchering of the hogs, but do have the local butcher shop slaughter the beef and then we pick them up in quarters ready to process. We do the beef butchering with my husbands family, usually 2 large beef and the hog butchering with my family, we have done up to 11 hogs with them. After so many years everyone knows what their job is and we kind of just have an assembly line to do all of the processing. I don’t always look forward to it, because it is a lot of work, but I’m glad we know where our meat comes from.

        • Heather M says:

          I am blown away. I’m such a city girl, that the farm/ranch life is such a fascination. I love love love hearing about it and what other lives are like. How amazing to know exactly where most of your food comes from, too. And that you had such a hand in it. Seriously awesome. Makes sense why you have multiple freezers. 🙂

        • Laurie in CA says:

          I wish I could sit and observe the process of butchering all of that livestock. I would find it fascinating (ya, I’m a nerd like that, lol). I understand hard work. We had a family owned and operated business for 25 years. It was years before I could convince my husband to take 4 consecutive days off from the business for a family vacation.

        • I’m with you 100%. Both my husband and I work outside the home but we raise about 90% of our meat as well. We do our own chickens, pork and lambs. Beef is raised by a very good friend who raises them on 100% grass and all organic just the way we would. Meat that is raised yourself is not only healthier, it’s also much much harder to waste. You really think about wasting when you’ve put in that much work.
          We also have 3 freezers. Lol. Congrats on teaching your kids where real food comes from. I know mine turn their noses up at fast food and much prefer moms cooking. Lol I’m sure yours do as well.

    • Not crazy at all having 3 freezers. Just the two of us and I garden 1400 sq ft and bulk buy produce at the Amish auction that is about an hr from us. I have a 27 cubic ft freezer (named Monty as it is a Montgomery and Ward) Newbie (HA HA the new one) is 22 cubic ft and then Baby is a 7 cubic ft . All chest freezers. I have refrigerators , one a standard and the other a French door with freezer on bottom.Keeps the older dog from opening the frig and serving herself. I have OVER 400 sq ft of pantry.It was more when I was putting food on the table for 7-12 depending on the amount of friends the kids had over when they would announce at school what was dinner that night. Homemade beef veggie soup with homemade bread and homemade noodles with mashed potatoes and homemade bread I could count on 15 to be at the table. Side benefit is the friends were willing to do garden work and go the do the massive shopping at Sam’s club with me without any complaining in exchange for home cooking.

  18. had the last of the enchiladas. Had oatmeal cookies with mixed fruit for lunch. Cheese, crackers and what ever I find for my lunch. Tonight is something with hamburger, sweet potatoes and acorn sq.Starting to see very small pockets of space in frigs .

  19. Everyone seems to be cruising along. Finally warming up here so I am not in deep hibernation, lol.

    Day 10
    B – cut up banana, strawberries & mandarin oranges (last of the berries & working thru the canned mandarins from the emergency food supply). 2 graham crackers with PB
    L – grilled cheese w/ celery & carrot sticks w/homemade veggie dip
    D – taco night at a friend/neighbors house (they invite me over when hubs travels)
    S – popcorn and a sprite
    Dessert – my usual piece or two of dark chocolate

    Melissa in GA

  20. I’ve been reading here everyday, but rarely have time to post. On top of which, how do you all remember what you ate each day?!? I can’t seem to remember at all, lol! (Unless I write it down, like yesterday.) 🙂

    B – bagels, cream cheese, grapefruit, milk, and a cup of tea (only I have tea in the morning)

    L – Mac n (ham) and cheese (Jessica’s recipe), and corn for the fam, a big Green salad for me with lettuce, beans, chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, and perroncini. Yum!

    D- Homemade cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, and juice.

    S – bananas, apples, pretzels

    The freezer is looking good, not clear yet but making progress. I just need to get it empty enough to move the remaining food into our side by side. I planned out my menu for at the beginning of the month, and am right on track to empty the freezer out, yay!

    • Kathy in Denmark says:

      It seems you are doing great!

      I actually often write our meals down for the PC because I can’t remember either LOL
      My guess is that some of the other PCs do the same 😉

  21. My “leftover” soups are hit and miss too. More hits than misses recently, but sometimes we just can’t handle them 🙂 But at least you tried–counts for a lot in my opinion!

    Guess what?! We just put an offer on a house and it was accepted, so now I have extra incentive to clean out that deep freezer! Pantry challenge, here I come 🙂 I was already sort of doing it halfway, but gonna double down now.

    The menu I made this week includes Boston butt meat into some kind of soup, muffins, frozen corn on the cob from summer, purple hull peas with ham (fingers crossed I can find a ham steak at the store and not buy a whole half), and some interesting combinations like pb&j with French fries.

    Those of you who are able to clear your freezers out totally, where do you keep things like extra frozen fruit that you purposely picked enough of to last all year? I have frozen fruit, corn, green beans, nearly 50 lbs of oats (we take long enough to eat them that I don’t want to leave them at room temp), and about 7 jars of apple butter. I don’t think we can eat 7 jars of apple butter in 4 weeks, especially!

    • Congrats on the house. How exciting for you!

    • Kathy in Denmark says:

      Congratulations on the house – that is great!

      We moved into our house on september 1. I also had my own PC before we moved, so we wouldn’t have to move all our food storage with us. I actually made jam with a lot of the frozen fruit to empty out our freezer. We still had to move the jam with us, but at least it could just be packed in a box.

      I don’t know how far away you are moving or if you take your freezer with you, but if it isn’t too far, you can pack the frozen items in coolers and put them in the freezer as soon as you get there. Or maybe you can borrow freezer space at someone’s house until you get settled in…

      I hope your PC and move goes well 🙂

    • Congratulations!!

  22. Made some good progress yesterday, fridge and parts of pantry are looking pretty bare.

    B-Banana “nice cream” bowl topped with granola, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax meal, pumpkin seeds, the last of the strawberries and raspberries
    L-LO zucchini “meatballs” with chunky sauce and spaghetti, BF just ate the last of the “meatballs” and sauce COLD (I have no idea how he can do that, literally sends shivers up my spine)
    S-I did have a mishap and bought a frozen vegan mac ‘n cheese, been craving one for weeks. I had a second snack of a grilled “cheese” with vegan bacon and raspberry jam. Clearly I was really hungry. 🙂
    D-We had a LATE dinner of roasted parsnips, carrots and onion over couscous and butter beans with a white balsamic mustard dressing and LO “crab cakes” dressing.

    I was pretty proud of my progress today. Was able to finish couscous, parsnips, carrots, beans and strawberries. The fridge is pretty close to empty of food that BF won’t make while I’m gone that could go bad. I’m now trying to work on the pantry. Have lots of small amounts of grains and a few veggies (spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, onions and baby potatoes) that I’d like to get working on. May premake a few for BF to get him through the weekend. If I don’t he’ll live off PB&J sandwiches and cereal for 4 days.

  23. Yesterday was a challenge. We went to the store and spent a little bit more than I had planned. Mostly though we did ok. I needed cheddar cheese (a staple at my house),cheese slices and tortillas. The issue was do I pay $ 1.00 to $ 2.00 more per # for cheese and get a small amount or just buy 5 # each at Sams. I went the Sams route. I am a bargain shopper. This will last me a very long time. Used up the little bit of white space in the freezer that I had worked so hard for to store my cheese. Also hit Aldi for produce and eggs.
    B – oatmeal and hot chocolate
    L – hot dog and a coke at Sams Really tasted good!
    D – pizza and apple pie.
    S – L/O peanut cluster

  24. I’m trying to remember what we all ate yesterday…here goes:

    B- kids had half English muffin with pb and honey and I made a yogurt fruit smoothie which I had some of, hubs had sausage pancake muffins
    S- kid snacks were fruit, muffins and ???
    L- LO for everyone. Some had chili some had mac and cheese
    S- banana chips, fruit, cheese
    D- nachos with LO taco meat and beans from the freezer, Guac, salsa and sour cream and fruit plate

  25. Tues. 1/10/17

    B: The usual. (I won’t complain though. Hubs makes the breakfasts, which suits me just fine. I am NOT a morning person.)

    L: PB/Pumpkin butter sandwich, yogurt w/ compote and granola, string cheese, granola, apple slices, water for son. Hubs had PB//PB sandwich, yogurt w/ compote and granola, green salad, hot green tea. I had Wasa crackers w/ guacamole, yogurt w/ compote and granola, and hot tea.

    D: LO enchiladas, more mixed veggies, and green salad, water.

    S/D: trail mix or pistachios for Hubs and me; string cheese for son after swim. Banana bread f/ dessert. Hubs and son may have had other things as well . . . .

    I cleaned out the veggie drawer as well. Salvaged some celery and a yellow bell pepper that were getting past their prime by slicing them and tossing them in the freezer. (That doesn’t help w/ clearing out the freezers, but at least the food isn’t wasted.) I did have to toss some other celery, an eggplant, and some cilantro. At least they went into the compost pile. I still have some good Romaine, carrots, and red cabbage.

    Looks like I’ll need to get a couple of things for salads. We’ll also need to get some fresh fruit, OJ, milk, and probably butter (I’m down to 1 3/4 lbs). Vons has a good sale on BLSL chicken breasts, so I MIGHT pick up a pack of those. We’ll see . . . .

  26. Breakfast cereal juice toast coffee
    Lunch chicken broccoli Alfredo with gnocchi
    Dinner hot ham and cheese sanwich. Awfully grey here in Michigan today.
    Good day for menu planning? I will be hosting hubby,S coworkers for pizza party Saturday (we have a wood fired pizza oven ) will make a dent in some items hope the weather cooperates. Have a great day everyone.

  27. Having convinced hubby that fish really is good for him, and now having found some he likes, I stocked up today as it was on sale at half price. I wasn`t going to pass that up. I bought enough for 7 meals but they are also quick and easy meals. I was more than surprised when I went to put them in the freezers and found I had more than enough space – just. So we must have achieved something so far this month.

  28. Kathy in Denmark says:

    Day 10.

    B: Oats and milk for DH. Toast and milk for the girls. Toast and coffee for me.
    L: Packed lunch for DH and DD1. Rye with toppings for DD2 and me.
    D: Hotdogs – made me popular all around 😀
    S: grapes, bananas, Christmas cookies.

    It was a pretty good day. I finally took a closer look at our freezer and made a meal plan for two weeks of dinner with things we have on hand. We have a fairly large amount of meat, which may seem odd since DH is a vegetarian 🙂 However, I have found a place that sells organic meat at affordable prices and ships it to you for free. You can only get whole pieces of meat (no chops or ground meat), but the quality is excellent and he has really good sales! So I will be using some of this meat now, but I will definitely also save some for the rest of the year!

    I took fruit out of the freezer to make jam. I also took out a large bag of cooked red kidney beans to use in chili beans. I could fit the large pot with fruit in my fridge without a problem along with canellini beans I was soaking. This tells me that I have used up quite a few things from the fridge, which is very nice 🙂

    I made chili beans in the slow cooker. I used Danielle’s recipe as a starting point and went from there! It turned out really well and I am looking forward to using the beans in different dishes. Thank you, Danielle!

  29. Breakfast – we had a breakfast birthday party at work so I ate a smorgasbord of things, mostly fruit and cheese.

    Lunch – L/O’s for everyone.

    Supper – Poor Man’s Hot Dish, a recipe I cut out of a Southern Living Magazine back in the 80’s. It is a mixture of cooked ground beef, chopped cabbage, spices and tomato soup. Served over rice. I used some tomato sauce from the freezer, that we made this summer from the garden, instead of the soup. I did have to buy the cabbage, but everything else was from the freezer/pantry.

    • That dinner recipe sounds good. Are the spices kind of Italian based?

      I like the old Southern Living recipes. I found their 1982 cookbook in a used bookstore a few years ago. Some of the recipes are really good, and it’s kind of fun to see what the big food trends were that year (year hubby and I were both born). It cracks me up when it talks about microwaves seeming like they’re here to stay. They were right about that!

  30. Made a grocery trip today, and spent $70, but we are really doing well. We can see what’s in the freezer again!
    Breakfast – finished off our pumpkin bread (or possibly acorn squash bread….I didn’t label the frozen purée ?).
    Lunch – LO spaghetti
    Dinner – lasagna from the freezer.

  31. Is there a recipe for your yummy looking jambalaya? I’m drooling over here looking at it!

  32. Yesterday I put a 2 lb pork loin in the crock pot for carnitas. After shredding we had enough for 2 meals and shared the rest with our daughter. I went to Costco today and only bought 4 food items and was proud of my resistance! I also made a shop at sprouts and will give totals at the end of the week.

  33. Patricia Byron says:

    Been busy – very busy so haven’t posted these past few days. I’m really sticking to our challenge. But cooking for one is hard at times since all recipes are for 2+ eaters.

    Yesterday I had: B – coffee & cup of strawberry yogurt whip. L – cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese on 12-grain bread. S – Roast beef made with very small eye of round steak w/roasted pot & carrots.

    Today: Tea with cream of wheat with brown sugar. L left over roast beef and veggies. S – beef with broccoli and rice – not as great as I expected it to be.

    My freezer is still packed – tomorrow I have to make fried eggplant and pull two of my four Kaiser rolls out for sandwiches. This month so far – $17.34 spent on groceries – have to go shopping next Wed but hope to keep it under the $ I set aside for groceries – except for a 1/2 gal of milk tomorrow.

    I’m finding that the most fun is sitting at my dining room table with my morning coffee and figuring what I’ll be making, with what I have, for lunch and supper.

  34. Busy night (aren’t they all?), quick dinner

    B: Smoothie or egg sandwich
    L: Homemade Lunchables, fruit, nuts
    D: Sloppy Joes, Tator tots

  35. Breakfast: I fell off the wagon and skipped it. I’ve really been trying to eat breakfast consistently, but it’s a struggle for me. I leave for work early and I’m just not hungry at that time! I’ve been trying to compensate and take breakfast to work with me to eat later, but that’s not always an option, depending on my location. Hubs had oatmeal.

    Lunch: I had the last of the meatloaf/mashed potato left overs, pickled egg, dried apple rings, sunflower seeds. Hubs had left over Korean beef with rice and some crackers /cheese/pickles/olives.

    Dinner: Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes, Caesar salad

    Snacks: chocolates, other random bits and bobs

    • I also bought 4 buns, because the rolls I had planned to use for dinner had succumbed to the many, many months they had been in my freezer. Hard as hockey pucks and not edible. So that cost me a whopping $1.36. Woo!!

      • Stephanie M. says:

        I find that in the past when I bought hamburger or hot dog buns and just threw them in the freezer, they would get freezer burn. This past summer after a BBQ that we had, I had quite a few hamburger and hot dog buns left so I wrapped each bun individually in saran wrap and then put them all in freezer bags. This BBQ was last August. About a month and a half ago, we finally finished the hamburger buns and I have 8 hot dog buns left. Last week, we had hot dogs for lunch and when I defrosted the hot dog buns, they were soft and smelled fresh just like when I put them in the freezer and the same with the hamburger buns. I’m not sure how you freeze yours but if it’s not this way, you might try it and find more success. I do the same thing with bagels and English muffins – everything individually wrapped and then put into freezer bags.

        • Hi Stephanie! Thanks for the comment!

          I do typically wrap buns, bagels, etc, up “properly” for the freezer similar to how you’ve described, but this was just one of those times that I tossed the bag in because I was in a hurry. Buns and bread definitely do better when you take a little time to protect them!

  36. Sarah Zeola says:

    That Jambalaya looks awesome! Is there a link to a recipe? I know my family would love it!

    Our pantry challenge is going swimmingly so far. I have had to move some things around from our monthly meal plan that I created using your guide when I started the challenge. Mostly I moved things around to accommodate kid activities that I forgot. Having the whole month laid out and being able to shop the pantry mad et super easy to switch things up.

    My husband was really skeptical when I said I wanted to do the pantry challenge, but after leaving the grocery store with only produce, dairy and lunch meat for his lunches he is a believer! Shopping the pantry seems so easy since they are ingredients I usually use anyway. He was concerned about having something “weird”, but after breakfast was scrambled egg muffins and your recipe for Rspberry Jam Cream Scones and dinner was pasta with bolognese he is completely sold on the idea. And those scones really are amazing. I cut them smaller so iur kids wouldn’t leave half-eaten scones laying around and they are devouring them! I guess my plan to freeze some for later may not actually happen because they’ll be gone too fast!

    I don’t want to sound like a crazy church lady, but this really is your charisma and I am so thankful that you are sharing your talents with all of us. Many blessings to you and your family and I hope you feel better soon!

  37. I have been following all of the comments and ideas–what great ideas! The jambalaya will be an option for this challenge, as I have sausages from the Farmers’ Market this summer and lots of canned tomatoes from the garden. And of course, lots of rice!

    I have been focusing on the perishables in the fridge, including the Christmas ham. The ham is almost gone–finally! My next focus is the freezers. Both are stuffed and I am not even sure what is in there. I guess I will find out.

    I haven’t been keeping track of my meals, but I have been eating grain bowls for lunch with all of the interesting grains in the pantry. Dinners have been HAM with a frozen veg.

    My biggest accomplishment has been to not shop for food without a plan. I had to go today for yogurt, almond milk, and bananas. And that is what I left with. My total for the month so far is $11.52. My goal, besides a reduction in frozen food, is to spend my savings traveling. At this rate, I will be able to enjoy a great meal in Sweden!

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