Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 23

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The Pantry Challenge is on! This month we’re focusing on what we have, to use it up and save money.

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two loaves of bread on the counter

Today was a day of kitchen work and experiments. I realized after having take-out both Friday and Sunday that we were probably getting low on easy meals. Time to step things up!

I told you that I started a sourdough starter on the 17th. Six days in, it’s not quite ready. Mainly because I chose to make a starter without yeast. My friend Kate is the Sourdough Diva and her starter and subsequent baked goods don’t have commercial yeast, which I guess is supposed to be better for you.

But the work, people, to build this starter. Aiyiyi!

It takes some time. Last night I made a batch of White Mountain Bread dough (from this book) and stashed it in the fridge to slow rise. I also decided, after feeding the starter, that I wasn’t going to discard the discard. I fed it and used it in a double batch of dough from a recipe in this book. Altogether I baked four loaves of bread today. Two are sliced and ready for tomorrow’s lunches.

While I had two loaves of bread baking and more dough rising, I also pulled together a breakfast casserole using the pre-prepped ingredients from the other day. The girls sliced berries and my eldest praised the blueberries I bought from Sprouts on Sunday.

I was kinda on a roll. So next I prepped Tuna Macaroni Salad. Gosh that stuff is good. FishBoy17 wouldn’t stop eating it! We had that and sandwiches on fresh bread for lunch.

I made a taco bar for dinner, including the Oven Tacos we had last week. I made Super Easy Salsa in the food processor.

In fact, the girls and I gave my food processor a work-out. It comes with three bowls, so you can make three kinds of things (at least) before having to wash everything. We made salsa in the small bowl, shredded lettuce in the medium size bowl, and shredded cheese in the big bowl. Boom. Easy prep.

Bryan was thrilled with the Oven Tacos, so much so that he balked when I suggested he make Homemade Corn Tortillas. Usually I have to discourage him from doing so because I have other stuff in mind. Today he only had eyes for Oven Tacos! Ha!

We experimented with the “instant refried beans” I got free at Ralphs last month. I thought they were totally gross. One of the boys liked them. It’s not a product I will buy again, though I normally love their products, particularly their chips and salsa verde.

You win some, you lose some. Mostly it was a winning day, though, so YAY!

The chicken and pork roast that I pulled from the freezer are taking a long time to thaw, so I’m not exactly sure what’s on the menu tomorrow. Sandwiches is as far as I’ve gotten. We’re low on lots of basics, so we’ll see how far we can squeak by. As I’m typing, I think I’ll go cook a pot of rice. Then I can make Fried Rice tomorrow and that will be pretty easy. Am I right?

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 23

Breakfast: Potato Sausage Breakfast Casserole, fresh berries

Lunch: Sandwiches and Tuna Macaroni Salad

Dinner: Taco Bar

As always, thanks for sharing the Pantry Challenge with your friends. The more the merrier!

What did YOU cook up?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Alice E says

    Sounds like a very productive day! At our house fried rice is always a good choice. The beef roast I had thawing was ready and I cooked it in the crockpot today. I’ve got a package of hamburger I found digging through the freezer thawing. If the leftover roast isn’t gone by the time it thaws I’ll cook it anyway and one or the other will go back to the freezer in cooked form, which is always handy for quick meals.

    B – Oats, fried eggs and hot tea.
    L – He took pb sandwich, I had leftover potato soup.
    D – beef roast in the crockpot, with baked sweet potatoes and coleslaw

    A mixed day, but the ice and snow from last night were gone by afternoon, and I could get in and out easily enough.

  2. Laura C says

    Been cooking all day but not for us. I’m in charge of a PTA luncheon for teachers and staff at my kids school tomorrow. We are asking parents to bring in lunch items in a crockpot or side items/dessert/drinks. I made a bunch of easy desserts- 2 batches of cupcakes, brownies, rice krispie treats. All from pantry ingredients. I have a problem with overbuying baking mixes when they are on sale/clearance. Also am taking some muffins and cookies from the freezer in and some Christmas candy that kids probably won’t eat. It will all get eaten at school, seems like no matter what, someone will always eat it in the teachers lounge 🙂

    We’ve been eating sloppy joes, buffalo chicken sliders (used up a bottle of wing sauce from pantry), meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy from thanksgiving in the freezer. So am cleaning up some stuff!

  3. Melissa in GA says

    Your bread loaves are beautiful! So jealous, I have made your hotdog/hamburger rolls but have yet to make a loaf of bread. I find it intimidating. One day I’m going to just dive in! Lol

    It was a nice quiet day but productive for me to piddle and get some stuff done personally. I also got in a couple good walks with the dogs. Hubs is traveling so no meals for him.

    B – dad ate with the old farts club and I was so busy that I skipped
    L – ate early at 11am – grilled cheese and chips & dip, dad skipped
    D – a smoked beef dinner sausage, we split a baked potato and steamed broccoli
    Dessert – still eating on that birthday cake
    S – oranges and popcorn (early and late)

    • Julies says

      I’ve done very well with a 5 dollar thrift store bread machine . It’s so easy .

    • If you can make buns, you can make bread. But read through a good bread book first, like the one linked in the post. It helps you feel more confident.

    • Alice E says

      I’m with Jessica, if you can make buns you can make bread. But reading a book or two can help give you confidence and shaping tips.

    • Melissa in GA says

      Thanks everyone. I have the Artisan bread book you recommended a while back. Not all my cookbooks are unpacked so I need to find it. I know I just need to dive in and learn. I did get a bread machine one year for Christmas after reading your posts over the years and I make my pizza dough in it.

  4. Julies says

    B cinnamon rolls
    L leftover pizza, eggs
    D burritos , left over chicken , leftover pizza (oldest finished it for her meal), frozen baked beans.

    I think we will buy more produce Saturday . The kids ate most of the kiwis , all the grapes and blueberries already that we bought on Sunday .

  5. Marci says

    B- protein box & coffee from starbucks
    L- Poke bowl
    D- homemade yogurt and granola

    I have a slightly different diet from my family and didnt plan very well for my meals this week- so I went out to eat lunch and made a starbucks run for breakfast,

  6. Laurie in CA says

    B- we both had l/o baked blueberry oatmeal
    L- I took some Fiesta chicken soup from the freezer to my daughter’s (I babysit on Tues/Thurs), hubs had tacos from last night’s leftovers
    D – l/o broccoli beef and rice, we had 1/4 loaf of French bread leftover from a couple of nights ago so I made toasted garlic bread

    The outside fridge has very little in it and the freezer above is whittling down. Feels good to see white space.

  7. Brooke says

    Somehow I think I missed a day somewhere. That’s ok though! Things are chugging along here. My aldi was very picked over when I did pop in there on Sunday. They we’re completely out of mangoes and avocados so I am planning a trip back there this week sometime.
    Monday we had standby egg on everything bagels. I haven’t had time to make my baked eggs to slap on bagels but you know, I’m making it work. Lol. There’s been a lot of fruit And smoothies with breakfast.
    Lunch has mainly been leftovers. Pork quesadillas are long gone, as are most leftovers.
    Dinner Monday was a slow cooker whole chicken seasoned with Jamie’s spice rub, I had wanted to do mashed potatoes and gravy and veg with my chicken but that just didn’t happen. Late evening with kid activities. I was SO thankful I threw that bird in the slow cooker in the morning. I made big salads with red leaf lettuce (am I the only one still kind of avoiding Romaine?) fire roasted corn, leftover homemade pico, assorted veg, said chicken, and black beans. Mixed up a quick cilantro dressing and voila. So good. Enjoyed by all.
    Tuesday- steel cut oats with sautéed apples. Smoothies. Egg bagel for the 2 Middle kids
    Lunch- leftovers at work for me and hubs. Which honestly when it’s an amazing salad like the one from dinner it doesn’t feel like leftovers. Lol. Had some mixed berries with it, and we finished the squash muffins.
    Dinner- there was enough chicken left for bbq pulled chicken sliders. So I mixed up the bbq sauce early in the morning and let it simmer while I was getting kids and myself ready for work/ School. Put it in the fridge before I left so it was ready. Along with that we had roasted Brussels, carrots, onions, frozen peas for the Brussels hater, and some French fries from the freezer.
    i have a tiny bit of white space in one freezer, I’m keeping going past January I think.
    Have a great day everyone!

    • I had paired Sunday and Monday together. Maybe that’s what you missed? Sorry about that!

      Your meals sound great!

    • Sandi says

      Your salad sounds amazing.

    • Heather M says

      Yep that salad sounds amazing. I’ll say it again, I love seeing what you guys eat. You’re doing a great job of healthy, tasty, and creative!

      • Brooke says

        You are so kind. Thank you! I try. Although some nights I wish I did boxed Mac and cheese. Haha!! Bd

        Thanks again for the kind comments! I enjoy seeing what everyone is doing and the feeling of community here definitely keeps me going

  8. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 23
    I felt better, but still not 100%. DD1 came down with the same cold as I have had, so no school for her.

    B: Oats and milk for DH. Girls snacked on branflakes (without milk) in the couch. They had rolls with butter later en the morning. Roll and coffee for me.
    L: Packed lunch for DH. I served DD1 her packed lunch and fixed rye bread with cold cuts and garlic cream cheese for DD2. I had leftover soup and bread.
    D: Leftover rice dish for kids. Pizza from the freezer for adults.
    S: Crackers and garlic cream cheese.

    DH and DD1 had gone to the store the day before, since I didn’t feel like baking and we were out of white bread. DH was shocked at how much they charged for bread, and frankly so was I. Good thing I usually bake our bread myself! Frozen pizzas were on a good sale, so I had DH pick some up too. Because of my efforts to use up things in the freezer, I had plenty of room for the pizzas and we had an easy meal last night. They were actually quite good, and a lot cheaper than ordering from our local pizza place!

    • Bread is really expensive here, too. I usually buy it at Costco or on clearance where I can get it cheaper. Yesterday’s bread was the first in awhile and the kids went nuts for it, even to the point of some offering to help me bake. So, we may have a new project in February.

      • Kathy in Denmark says

        Your bread looked amazing! My kids love baking and I think baking it a good way of getting started with cooking.

        I baked rolls yesterday. Nothing like sticker shock to motivate you to get going!

    • Alice E says

      Homemade bread is much better, and buying something comparable is usually pretty expensive. We do have some cheaper loaves in the store, but they are not something I want to eat. I’ve always remembered a line in Peg Bracken’s book description of the mass market sandwich bread as ‘the kind of bread you buy to keep the peanut butter off the kids hands’. I was planning to start baking ours again, and probably will once I get a new stove.

      • Kathy in Denmark says

        I agree, HM is so much better and usually better for you, too!

        In Denmark we have something they label as “Toast Bread”, basically like sandwich bread but with smaller slices. I think it is the cheapest white bread you can buy, but considering how much it resembles cardboard I actually think it is pretty expensive.

        I’m glad to be back to baking our own again. Hope you get a new stove soon!

  9. Can you post a link to the Mountain bread recipe you reference? Thanks

    • Sorry, I got distracted when I was writing the post. I’ve added links to both books I reference as well as the food processor.

  10. Julie says

    Winning days are good days! Your bread looks yummy. I’m now interested in sourdough all of a sudden.

    Breakfast: free chick fil a
    Lunch: PB&J packed lunch or bagel sandwich depending on if you were at school or at home
    Dinner: Had to make a last minute dinner switch so we had tomato soup from Good cheap eats and grilled cheeses. I used a can of tomato purée and it was a little thick but ok. I also put it in the crock pot-I was nervous about the heavy cream but it worked. (High for 2 hours, although it was closer to 1:45. We ate it after karate)

    I’d forgotten about my amazon subscribe and save order yesterday when I did a budget check, plus I used my free delivery from instacart although that was a dud. I wish I’d saved it for a mega order since publix seemed to be out of half the stuff I did order. Oh well. I still think we are ahead of the game, maybe just not as much so. We are totally out of fresh fruit and running low on canned, so I may bite the bullet at Sprouts today-it’s double ad day and I have a $5 coupon that expires today.

    • It is a little too easy to forget Amazon expenses when budgeting. I think they count on that. 😉

  11. Tasty says

    I’ve been MIA. We took a quick trip to England to visit my Mum (who now lives in a nursing home) and hubby’s brothers. They all live in the same area so not difficult to see everyone. Having lived on hotel and restaurant food for 8 days, I think we were both anxious for some home cooking. That also entailed some grocery shopping. While the freezers are still almost bulging, the fridge was bare of just about everything except condiments. I was craving salad and hubby would eat salad just about every day so i bought salad fixins, fruit and veggies and a box of frozen cheesecake. It’s a variety box and we had looked at them before Christmas but space was at a premium. Now I have some space and they were on sale – save 33%. Altho not needed, I still consider it a win/win. While there, I found apples, cranberries, mini potatoes and grapefruit on the sale rack for $1 each. As I have a turkey breast (bought on sale just days before we left) defrosting, the cranberries have already been made into cranberry sauce. The grapefruit have already been prepared, along with a pineapple for breakfasts (mainly for hubby) and I made a potato salad for supper last night and I’m thinking the apples will be great, baked for breakfast for me! A pretty good $4!!

    Tuesday January 23

    B – porridge for hubby, raspberries(freezer) for me with a yogurt. The life on yogurts is amazing so this had been left in the frudge while we were away!!

    L – pea & ham soup (freezer) for me, bagel (freezer) for hubby

    S – chicken(freezer) with a big salad, potato salad and beets ( pantry)

    All in all, a pretty good day for the PC.. I’ve been reading the posts while i was away and many have talked about carrying on, some for February and others for the year!! I will be joining the group for the year!! It is almost a way of life here now, have been doing it for several years. We have 2 freezers in the basement + the over-the-fridge one that I use for ice cream, opened packs of peas and french fries, meat for the next few days, leftovers to be used up etc. We grow some soft fruits, mainly raspberries, and some veggies,lots of tomatoes. Some of them get canned and others end up inthe freezer. I buy meat on sale, other than chicken breasts and those I buy from a local producer and they have no added salt, unlike those from the grocery store. Most other things are stocked up on when they’re on sale. Doing the pantry challenge is not a case of emptying the pantry and freezers, more like making me aware of what needs to be used a trying to use those things that might be overstocked, altho that doesn’t happen too much these days!

    I love the glimpse I get of how everyone else copes with the challenge as well as the support and friendship. Thank you guys!!

    • I hope you had a lovely trip! We loved our time there. Where does your family live?

      • tasty says

        Mum lives in Lincolnshre and both BILs live in Cambridge

    • Mona says

      Tasty, Welcome home! So glad you had a wonderful trip to see your Mum and brothers.

  12. Carol says

    What is the book you used for your bread?

  13. Terry calkins says

    Yesterday I mixed up some ground pork to make breakfast sausage. Cooked patties for breakfast with fresh eggs and English muffins. Lunch hubby had leftover ribs, potatoes and gravy and a yogurt. I had leftover soup. Fed the rest to the chickens. Dinner was taco salad. Our January grocery bill is at 119.22. to force myself to stay out of the store I went ahead and made an electronic payment of 80.78 to the dishwasher account. Now if something comes up I will have to go into Feb with a deficit. Sometimes I have to play a game with myself but whatever gets the job done.
    I’m taking a beef roast out of the freezer..thinking pot roast with veggies later in the week.

    • Sandi says

      I sort of did the same thing! One of the kids I sponsor thru Compassion wrote me a letter that he had finally graduated to the next grade. He’s really been struggling with school, so this was a big accomplishment. Yesterday I sent him a “congratulations” gift with the money I’d allotted for food this month that I haven’t spent (I kept $15 because I think there is something on sale at Costco that the kid wanted and that sale ends Sunday) so now I’m under pressure to not spend anything else or I’ll go over. (His family probably really will use the money for food, too, so it’s right in line.) The funny mental tricks we use…

      • That is awesome! And one of the great lessons of the PC: we have more than we need. Truly.

  14. Karen says

    I was feeling much better yesterday so we were back in the swing of things.

    B: bagel for my daughter, yogurt/granola for me, peaches/cottage cheese for hubby.
    L: hubby took his usual frozen meal, I had cheese/crackers and fruit, and my daughter had a “butter sandwich” (butter on bread), chips, and fruit (she had forgotten her lunchbox at school or she would have been taking leftovers!).
    D: steak and pepper sandwiches.

  15. Sandi says

    That bread looks just gorgeous.

    B – fried twinkie “donut”, apple slices with peanut butter
    L – we were not super hungry so just had a pulled pork slider with l/o yeast rolls, baby carrots
    Snack – we did get hungry, and knew dinner would be late due to his class schedule this semester, so we each had a small bowl of cereal
    D – l/o rotisserie chicken, broccoli and cauliflower, HM mac and cheese

    Thanks for the suggestions for using up the milk. I only have one raw potato right now which is not enough for any decent soups. I reviewed the meal options we have in the fridge and almost all of them would decently pair with mac and cheese. I had a block of Irish Cream-flavored cheese I’d pulled out of the freezer (I actually have 3 blocks, a little over a pound each that I found on clearance for $1 each 2 whole years ago) so this used up a few cups of the nearly-ready-to-turn milk plus almost one of those blocks. Bonus, of course, the kid was ecstatic that I was making mac and it wasn’t even a holiday. 🙂

    • Alice E says

      Glad it worked for you and he is happy. I do make cheesy cream soups without potatoes adding veggies like broccoli, cauliflower or spinach to what is basically a thin white sauce with cheese added. My sister does the same thing with frozen California mix veggies and adds ham, hotdogs, sausage or chicken to make a main dish soup. I cheat and make the white sauce without butter, just making a slurry with the flour and enough of the milk to mix easily, the less the better as long as it is a thin slurry. then adding the rest of the milk and cooking it up until it thickens and then adding the veggie I’ve cooked separately.

  16. Mona says

    Tuesday 1/23

    Breakfast – Nutella toast

    Lunch – Pizza and salad

    Dinner – Ham & potato bake w/garlic rolls

  17. Lesley from Alaska says

    Yesterday was another successful day at our house, and we finished some meal prep items that I had made over the weekend. Pulled out some halibut from the freezer to thaw for dinner sometime this week. We are making slow progress, but with my decision to continue through next month I’m already planning how to clear through some of the grains (we have brown rice, Arborio rice, buckwheat, quinoa AND couscous) along with the random freezer veggies.

    B-Egg scramble at home, then oatmeal at the office courtesy of a hosted coffee cart
    L-Black bean burger salad with L/O roasted veggies. We will definitely be doing a version of this for “fryday”
    D-We were busy finishing up a kitchen project (the BF installed a wall hanging area for my pans and measuring cups. SO happy with how it turned out) so I fried up 1 egg + egg white and tempeh to go over L/O polenta. The BF finished off the roasted veggies and polenta.

  18. Laurie says

    B- The usual oatmeal for both of us. I threw in some frozen cherries in mine
    L- an apple for husband and his usual soup. Leftover pasta from Jessica’s peanut butter chicken for me
    D- The leftover flat iron steak from the other night with caramelized onions and mushrooms and horseradish sauce on french rolls. Green beans for a veggie and oven fries. We ate well.
    Dessert was a few cookies from the freezer.

  19. Stephanie M. says

    January 23, Day 23

    I haven’t posted in the last several days because I’ve been sick with a horrible cold. Hubby had it last week and now it’s my turn. In the last 30 minutes today (Wednesday), I am feeling better than I have. But as far as the challenge, I haven’t kept track of what has been eaten mostly because I was too busy sleeping most of the past few days with not much of an appetite. It has been up to hubby to find something to eat so we have been through all of the chicken parmesan from the freezer which is good because that’s a large Tupperware gone now. I really couldn’t eat much of anything so I didn’t help the challenge too much. Just this morning I still had 100.8 temperature. But it’s gone now since I took advil. I am trying really hard to eat something and it’s an effort. It took me 45 minutes this morning to eat an English muffin and I tried to have a tuna fish sandwich today for lunch but I couldn’t finish it. Food doesn’t taste good at all right now. Hopefully, in the next day or so, I will be back to posting our regular meals.

    • Stephanie P says

      That sounds like what my son had too – horrible! His eating still isn’t back to normal. I really hope you totally recover soon and get the germs out of the house.

      • Stephanie M. says

        Thank you Stephanie. Did your son have a cough too. Both my hubby and I had terrible coughs. My stomach muscles hurt. But my cough is starting to become looser now so that’s a good sign.

    • Mona says

      Ahhhhhhh Stephanie… got hit with the ugly bug too!!! 2 1/2 weeks later hubby still has the cough but nothing like at the beginning. Just take it easy, rest and or sleep as much as you can and don’t push yourself. go get some rest and eat when you can.

      • Stephanie M. says

        Hi Mona. Thanks for the hugs. I’m such an awful baby when I don’t feel good. In my house, it’s the opposite. Paul is not the baby that I am. Usually, it’s the men who are. He’s still coughing too. My cold was not so much in my nose. It was more of a chest cold with awful coughing. My stomach muscles hurt like hell. Paul just came home from work and asked me what he could get for me to eat and I said I wanted some Chinese. So he just left to pick up our order. I know it’s not something I should be engaging in having just had it a few weeks ago, but it’s what I really want right now and he said I should eat what I want and not to worry about anything. I haven’t gotten dressed all week. I’ve been in my pajamas and housecoat since Monday. Sometimes, I got so cold, I had a sweater underneath my housecoat and two blankets on the bed. I’m so happy to hear that your hubby is starting to feel better. This was nasty. I hope you stay well and bypass this one.

        • Golly! I hope you feel better soon. Enjoy that Chinese food!

          • Stephanie M. says

            Thank you Jessica! It’s 6:00 p.m. now and we just ate the Chinese. It was good but my energy level is not good yet and I need to get back in bed now. Thanks so much for the well wishes. 🙂

        • Alice E says

          I think the Chinese food will be good for you right now. I had awful coughing as well and wound up with a prescription for codeine cough syrup to stop it. Watch your temperature, feeling so very cold is usually a sign of a high fever.

          • Stephanie M. says

            It was good because it was something I actually wanted so at least I got something of substance in me. I can always tell if I have a fever because it hurts when I roll my eyes and that’s what I had this morning and they were burning too. I had 100.8. So I took some advil and felt better afterward. Now, I’m going to bed and I’m going to take some more. I just took cough syrup too. My kitchen table looks like a pharmacy. And as for the chicken soup, my hubby had this same cold last week and I made a big pot of chicken soup which we ate for four days so you can imagine I don’t want anymore of that. LOL. Thanks so much for your well wishes. 🙂

    • Alice E says

      Hope you are better soon. I didn’t have an appetite either and practically lived on chicken soup from a can and an occasional orange juice, and not much of that. For variety, I added a can of diced tomatoes to the canned chicken soup. It was better than it sounds, I think, and it added some vitamins, especially c, to the meal. Do try to get lots of liquids as I found it really helped me.

    • Julies says

      I hope you feel better soon . Sounds a bit like what my family and my mom have. Pretty sure we have the flu. It’s been 8 days now.

      • Stephanie M. says

        Thanks Julies!! I’m assuming it’s a cold since I had the flu shot but I guess you never know.

        • Julies says

          My family all did, too, but it was 10% effective this year.

          • Stephanie M. says

            That’s interesting to know. Actually, my husband said he heard the same thing. We both had experienced some waves of lightheadedness during this whatever it is and that’s not typical of a cold. I’m still feeling a little of that.

    • Pat says

      Stephanie– I hope you feel better soon! Eat whatever sounds good and keep yourself well hydrated.

      • Stephanie M. says

        Thanks so much Pat!! At first, I drank a lot of tea; by the second day, I’m sure I didn’t drink enough because I felt dehydrated and my facial skin looks a little dehydrated so today, I need to use some extra cream on my face and starting yesterday, I drank water all day long into the night.

    • Melissa in GA says

      Hope you feel better soon, that cough sounds terrible. Glad you got something to eat that at least sounded good to you.

      • Stephanie M. says

        Thank you so much Melissa!! The cough was awful. It’s calming down now and getting loose. I’m still coughing but not nearly like I was, thank God. Yea, the Chinese food was what I wanted and I remember when our girls were little and they got sick; when they felt better, I gave them whatever they wanted.

    • Heather M says

      Gosh Stephanie, So sorry you’re so sick. Sounds like it might be the flu, which has been so bad this year. Keep on resting and we’ll be so happy to have you back and better when you’re ready. sending you big hugs!!

      • Stephanie M. says

        Thank you so much Heather!! I had the flu shot but I think you can still get a mild form of the flu, I’m not sure. I’m feeling like I’m on the mend but definitely not 100% yet. Thank you for the great hugs!!!

    • Kathy in Denmark says

      So sorry you are feeling so poorly, Stephanie.
      Eat whatever you want – you’re sick, so all bets are off!
      Hope you feel better soon.

      • Stephanie M. says

        Thank you so much Kathy!! You’re right; when you’re sick is no time to worry about healthy eating. Thank you for your well wishes. 🙂

  20. Stephanie P says

    Things are hopefully calming at the house! I’m still struggling a bit from not planning this past weekend, but we are making it work.

    B: I decided to use part of a gift card for Starbucks coffee
    Kid 1 still didn’t eat and Kid 2 had dry cereal, yogurt, applesauce

    L: Kid 1 had turkey and cheese roll up and I think a few chips
    I had l/o buffalo chicken chili, apple and almonds

    D: Pork chops, mashed cauliflower and vegetables. Corn for the rest of the family and kale for me because I love it and have a huge bag. Kid 2 is going through a super picky refusing to eat dinner stage, so that’s fun.

    Snacks: I had a piece of dark chocolate, carrots and yogurt dip.

  21. Stephanie P says

    He mostly had the congestion, and not as much in his chest, which was good! We took him to the doctor and they said it might have been the flu, but if it was we were at the tail end, so they didn’t test. I just want winter to be over!

    I know around here (PA) there is a chest cold (awful one) going around as well that our doctors are saying can last up to 8 weeks. Just awful.

    • Stephanie M. says

      It is horrible. Thanks for letting me know.

  22. Janet says

    B: I made some granola bars and served them with blueberries and milk
    L: Brats and baked beans
    D: Chick-fil-a We had a doctor appointment and did not get home until nearly 7 pm. I just could not bring myself to cook anything. I did not have anything ready to go. I need to get some work done in the kitchen tonight.

  23. Laura in NH says

    Yesterday was another rainy/icy New Hampshire weather day…all of the schools delayed and then cancelled so we had super casual homeschool (logical right??) Food was prettying help yourself. We ate oatmeal or smoothies for breakfast, lunch was LO cheesy noodles, LO soup and bread or LO chicken salad, dinner was my attempt at tostadas with old frozen corn tortillas. Everyone ate them and no one complained but I can guarantee an authentic version would have been SO much better. Dessert was half a watermelon my mom bought for the kids.

    I ‘shopped’ at my mom’s house yesterday because she was mortified to have found a bag of egg noodles dated from 2014 and was worried she had other items past their prime lurking in the pantry. She did. I found several items that needed to be tossed but also a few that were just getting to their use by dates that my kids will enjoy (juice in particular). She also gave us some sliced ham, honey roasted peanuts, maple syrup, and dried apricots. I also started a quart of milk with kefir grains – we’ll see in about 24 hours how the experiment goes. I’d like to use the kefir to make honey ginger peach frozen yogurt since I still have 14 gallons of frozen peach halves from our tree. I still haven’t shopped again like I thought I’d do on Monday. We are doing fine, but I did buy some half and half at the local market. The grocery list is growing however and I’d rather not need to start February with a crazy huge haul (and bill).

    • Alice E says

      I’m jealous of the peach halves and tree. The fresh ones at the store are never as good as home grown, but there are no more peach trees in the family. 🙁 I do occasionally splurge on frozen peach slices to cook up into a compote with cherries and/or blueberries, but at the going price here it is a definite splurge. Good luck with the kefir, I’ve never had the nerve to try it.

    • Brooke says

      Peaches sound so good. I froze several home grown ones (from a Farm close by, sadly mg trees are still teeny). I squirrel them awY and try to save them but I think I shall take some out to enjoy thanks to your post 🙂

  24. Roberta says

    Ooooh. Those bread loaves look yummy.

    Tues. 1/23/18

    B: Cereal, mini bagels for the guys, blueberry muffin for me, OJ, coffee.

    L: The guys had PBJs, bananas, carrot and celery sticks, dried cranberries, mandarins, string cheese, and cookies. I had salad and yogurt w/ granola and cranberry-pomegranate compote.

    D: Split pea soup (pulled a bag from the freezer; originally made at the first of the month), grilled cheese sandwiches, salad.

    S/D: Pistachios for me. Son had cookies after school. Not sure what, if anything, Hubs had. We all had banana bread for dessert.

  25. Lisa Moran says

    Wow that bread is beautiful! I’ve never had load bread turn out that great. Will have to try that recipe 🙂

    • Lisa Moran says

      Loaf, not load haha

  26. Joa in IA says

    B- Protein shake for me, hubby had oatmeal.

    L-Leftover Chinese for me for last Thursday husband birthday supper. Hubby had a protein shake.

    Supper- Homemade chicken noodle soup that was made the week before and froze. Oyster crackers.


    B- The usual for me-shake. Hubby the usual- oatmeal.

    L- leftover Chicago deep dish pizza from our trip over the weekend
    Hubby and boys???

    Supper- homemade pizza with Jessica’s sauce. We all love that red sauce.

    So far we have spent $211.03 for the month. Keeping hubby out of Sam’s Club this weekend will be difficult. I ran there today to get a few things so I can tell him we don’t need to go this weekend. It’s suppose to be really nice this weekend. I know he will want to get his smoker out and that means he will want to get a big hunk of some sort of meat. All I see is $$$.

  27. Pat says

    Wow only one week left in the official challenge. I will be continuing on indefinitely.
    I picked up my hamburger today. Also a local store had cauliflower for $,99 a head with no limit. I bought 4 and 4 pretzel buns for $.50 to try. My total so far is $93.64.
    Jan 23
    Breakfast was the usual for us both.
    Lunch–My husband took the rest of the spaghetti and meatballs,some cuties and some roasted almonds. I had a hard boiled egg.
    Dinner–We had the last of the pot roast, Jessica’s freezer mashed potatoes and gravy and corn.

  28. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    I’ve gotten a bit behind, so here are the past several days.

    B: toast, coffee
    L: LO bean with bacon soup, LO cornbread
    D: LO turkey, potatoes and gravy, dressing, LO broccoli salad
    S: for DH’s football watching, I made some snacks for him. When I buy whole chickens on sale, I always remove and save the chicken wings in the freezer. When I have a batch (I had 12 today) I fry them. Though southern, I rarely deep fry foods except for several times a year when I do the wings. DH was thrilled. I also had some old corn tortillas and shells that were kind of stale. I decided to see if they could be salvaged by deep frying. They turned out well and we ate them with salsa, so that was a win.

    B: oatmeal with blueberries (freezer), hot tea
    L: LO soup
    D: planned dinner out with colleagues (Asian chicken salad)

    B: toast, tea
    L: LO soup
    D: shrimp (freezer) and grits using peppers from summer (in the freezer), pantry staples and cheese (I keep finding a few more bags of cheese so I may have had more than the 18 packages!), salad

  29. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    Oh! I forgot to update my total. I needed to buy bread (I’ve made a few boules before, but no bread that would be good for sandwiches. May have to work on that!) and I bought some more celery and eggs. My monthly total is now 48.16! I’m so excited and really curious to see if I can make it to the end on less than $50. I’ve still got plenty of proteins (slowly eating down the turkey now and put half of the breast in the freezer) and other options (for example put 2 small containers of shrimp and grits in freezer and have other options including chili, turkey sausage with peppers, etc). So we’ll see! This also shows food I had stored and as Jessica said, we have so much more than we need.

  30. Brooke says

    Hi everyone.
    Today I made those bagel and English muffin sandwiches that I was talking about. I used 13 eggs and got 6 bagel sandwiches, 6 English muffin, and 3 slices of egg bake for hubs lunch. I used leftover roasted potatoes, sautéed arugula, a few chunks of leftover smoked sausage, and white cheddar. It’s really more like a frittata on a bagel but it’s so tasty. I just beat up the eggs, add some salt and pepper, then add in the potatoes and veggies. So easy. Pour into a greased (this is important!, ask me how I know;) 9×13 or slightly larger baking vessel- and bake at 350 for about 35-40 mins. Then I put on some cheese, mostly half of a slice works for each piece. Then I pull it out of the oven and slice it into pieces. Toast up the bread and you’re good to go. I like to wrap them in foil sheets and then place them all into a big container in the fridge. saves SO much time for us in the morning. I just turn on the oven and throw a couple (foil wrapped) In when I put the tea pot on. Then by the time Lunches are packed they’re hot and ready to go. Every bit as good as fresh!

    Ok sorry Jessica I am not trying to steal your site I promise!

    Today was homemade cinnamon raisin bread from the freezer for kids. I can’t remener what i had besides a swig of chocolate milk.

    Lunch was uncured salami and Gouda on 21 grain for kids, I had leftover roasted veggies with the baby. And a small bowl of bbq chicken.

    Dinner was in true use it up fashion. The hot Italian sausages from Sunday’s lunch found new life in stuffed zucchini. I just hollowed out the zucchini, diced up the sausage finely, (including the zucchini guts), sautéed those and stuffed it into the zucchini boats. Topped with mozzarella and some marinara and a little more from the freezer. They turned out so well you would never know they’re leftovers. Sneaky mom, sneaky. Lol.

    I also made a sour cream chocolate chip cinnamon strusel coffee cake. The kids were wanting something for dessert and it was very fast to throw together. The recipe is from “once upon a chef” site if anyone is interested.

    I ordered some stuff online from Walmart and sams club for pickup tomorrow. Shame on me. I know! But we’re nearly out of fresh food since aldi was very picked over this weekend. I got mostly produce at both places, with the exception of some nitrate free uncured bacon, applesauce pouches for preschool Snacks, and TP. Because well, no one wants to run out of TP!
    I’ll stop at aldi for $.69 avocados tomorrow to stock up too!!
    Have a great night everyone. I really enjoy reading everyone’s plans. I helps keep me focused.

    • Brooke says

      Oh I forgot my totals! Sams club $74.15. Walmart $40. Aldi TBD. Still far below whT I normally spend and my family hasn’t really noticed so long as I keep plenty of fresh food and an occasional treat around. Woohoo

    • Melissa in GA says

      We ate a ton of zucchini boats over the summer when we had a garden overload. I came up with a number of fillings, so very versatile and healthy.

  31. Heather M says

    Wow that bread is gorgeous, Jessica! I really need to try to bake more. I just don’t often, for no good reason. Tuesday was a good Challenge day, and a pretty good day overall- still had decent weather in the 60s. But it’s gone and back in the 40s again, which is the typical temperature in the winter in DC. I managed to get a big clean-out project done, and that felt great! And did some organizing for a volunteer thing I do. A winning Tuesday, except that by bedtime my 16yo son had clearly come down with a nasty cold. And it’s the last week of the semester. So he emailed several teachers with plans on how to deal with him not being at school and getting major things turned in/taking a few last exams. And, guess what? They’re awesome and he is, too, so it’s all going to work out. Luckily it seems to only be a nasty head cold, since he isn’t feverish or achy. Hoping the rest of us stay healthy!

    Tuesday 1/23:

    B: cereal, bacon, OJ for son; cereal for husband; a piece of naan and some bacon for me
    L: son took turkey/cheddar on ww, grapes, pistachios/almonds, clif bar; hubs ate snacks he bought at work(couldn’t take a lunch since he headed downtown for a meeting first thing); I finished off the boursin on crackers(finishing off bits from a few boxes!), and an apple
    D: i had defrosted a pork tenderloin and decided to just make an easy teriyaki pork and veggies- sliced it up into bite-sized pieces and stir fried it, then stir fried onion, red bell pepper, and green beans and tossed in all in a teriyaki sauce cut with beef broth and topped it with green onions. We ate it over steamed rice. Teriyaki is always delicious and a great go-to when creativity isn’t at its peak or time is tight. 🙂
    S: we ate some more christmas goodies for dessert

  32. Karen J says

    I’m back from my girlfriend trip to the ocean. Very rainy and stormy the whole time! We had dinner in the condo and I made sticky buns with the Rhodes bread dough recipe for breakfast this morning. We all took food and were able just to visit, read books in front of the fireplace, and watch the waves. It was awesome.

    Breakfast today-sticky buns and coffee
    Early Dinner-grilled cheese/tomato soup My husband had read about using mayo on the outside of the grilled cheese instead of butter. It was quite good that way.

  33. Carol says

    Can you tell me which bread recipe you used for your bread, I bought the book you suggested but want to make that bread because of the rise in the fridge. Thannks

    • So, the loaves that were pictured were made from the Sourdough Rolls recipe in my Good Cheap Eats cookbook. The bread that rose in the fridge was the White Mountain Bread from the Bread Bible. The latter book includes a section on page 25 or 26 about proofing dough in the fridge. I’m pretty sure most recipes if not all can be treated the way she instructs there.

  34. Sarah Gallop says

    January 23

    Breakfast: oatmeal for both me and hubs

    Lunch: I ate out with a colleague, he had a ham sandwich

    Dinner: I skipped, hubs had soft tacos

  35. Carol says

    Thank you so much I work half a day so if I could put in fridge at night and bake the next day that would be great! I started looking through the Bread Bible looks like a great book. I have your cookbooks as well so will look at bread in there also. I have tried baking bread a few times but can not get one that hubby likes.

    • We really like the White Mountain Bread in the Bread Bible. And I bake my Sourdough Rolls (from GCE cookbook) into a loaf and that’s really yummy, too.

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