Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 25

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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.

jar of buttermilk in the fridge

Today was another productive day. I didn’t do a ton of cooking, but I feel like we made some headway with this whole challenge thing.

Jessica making buttermilk.

I am culturing my sixth batch of buttermilk tonight. This will be my 4th quart from the same packet of starter.

After doing a little reading I found out that heating the milk may not be necessary. The theory is that store-bought milk (at least in my neck of the woods) is already pasteurized.

I know that overheating will make it curdle slightly. That happened with batch #2. No likey.

The last few times I’ve heated the milk ever so slightly just to get the chill off it. Our house is incredibly cold, even with the furnace going, so I figure it needs a fighting chance. I pour it in a quart-size canning jar, add about 1/2 cup of buttermilk. (I honestly haven’t measured, but eyeballed it.) Then I screw on a plastic cap and place it on the top of the fridge, wrapped in beach towels.

The next morning, I’ve got thick and luscious buttermilk!

If you buy buttermilk on a regular basis, you need to give this a try. Here is the starter I used for fresh batches, but my research says you can use commercial buttermilk as well. I do use whole milk because I like the texture, so I can’t vouch for thinner milks.

groceries in the cart

Clearance shopping = adrenaline rush

After physical therapy today, I stopped at Ralphs. I wanted to pick up some more produce to get us through the next week and I had a coupon for $5 off. I also had a coupon for free yogurts.

Thursdays seems to be the day that Ralphs marks down items about to hit their dates. I bypassed the meats though there were lots to choose from; I’ve got meat at home! But, I did score on some baked goods. And none too soon!

I also got the veggie tray for free after the coupon I had. I ended up spending about $20 at the store.

Baking bread.

Tonight one of the boys asked when the Challenge was ending. He said he finds he’s hungry more often. When I asked for what, he said: bread. So, I’m really glad I found breads for 50 cents and a dollar per package. Obviously, baking six loaves in the last two days, I can’t keep up with the demand.

Am going to start another batch of dough tonight though, just to keep it coming.

Speaking of bread, my sourdough starter is not looking fabulous. I used some of the discard in a few loaves the other day, but it doesn’t really seem to be taking off. Not sure what I did wrong. My friend Kate is going to send me some of her starter next week.

Pantry Challenge 2018: Day 25

Breakfast: Eggs and toast, berries

Lunch: Fend-for-yourself

Dinner: Oven-fried ChickenSweet Potato Fries, Veggies and Buttermilk Dressing with Dill

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. Karen J says

    I got a lot done today PC wise. I reorganized what was left in the freezer, then planned meals for the rest of the month. I used my bread maker to make Jessica’s homemade hot dog bun recipe from 2009 (which has been my go to recipe for several years) and ended up with four hot dog buns and six hamburger buns. Then I boiled some potatoes and eggs and made potato salad. The refrigerator also was inventoried as I’m trying really hard to have less food waste.

    On another saving note, I was able to buy five car wash coupons for $5 each as it was a fund raiser for my school’s fifth grade camp. The senior discounted rate at the car wash is $7.50 so it was a good deal. Those will last for several months.

    Day 25
    Breakfast-traditional Thursday out with girlfriends

    Lunch-grilled ham and cheese

    Dinner-Andouille sausage with sautéed onions and peppers ( from the freezer) on homemade buns with potato salad

    I’ve only been in the grocery store once this month and that was for Friday freebies, wine and toilet paper (could not and did not want to think of a substitution there 🙂 so if we don’t call wine food, then I am still at zero dollars this month. I had a craving for lettuce last week, but then was not home so didn’t get any yet. We’re almost out of eggs so I’ll pick some up from my daughter’s chickens this weekend.

    • Stephanie P says

      You are doing so great! I’m still shopping more than I would like, and spending more than I would like.

      • Laura C says

        Same here!

        • Karen J says

          Have to say I really, really miss grocery shopping! And I am so looking forward to going in February. This PC has been good to teach me that for two people I don’t have to stock up THAT MUCH! I still have seven jars of Ragu in the cupboard that I bought because the price was so low. We did use all the homemade marinara from the freezer which we like better anyway.

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      Wow Karen. Zero dollars-that’s great! I’m at a little under $50 for the month. I’m actually surprised I’ve been able to remain that low. I may hit and go over $50 dollars today when I need to buy some “good bread” for my husband (the wide pan, whole wheat style) as he calls it. I’ve never tried HM buns, rolls, etc. I think I may have to venture outside my comfort zone and try some of these different breads, though we don’t eat a lot. I’ve only made a few of the artisan boules here and there, biscuits, quick breads, etc but I’ve not found a recipe that make good sandwich bread. Like you, I’ve also realized that 2 people don’t need to stock up that much. It has been a real eye opener for me to realize just how much food I had in the freezer. I haven’t bought any proteins this month, and we’ve still got food to eat now, and probably going into Feb. Some of it has been a bit repetitive (think the ham and turkey for two) but we still have many food choices. And re: the Ragu, I’ve used the cheaper pasta sauces as a base and then added my spices, peppers, onions, meat sometimes etc. That really ups the flavor and make it more like a homemade sauce.

      • Karen J says

        Thanks, Lynn. You are doing awesome too! I treat PC like a fun game (not sure exactly how much my husband thinks it’s fun, but he’s a pretty good sport) I had every intention of buying fresh veg when needed at the first of the month. but now that it’s almost the end of the month I want to keep up my record! I still have cabbage and carrots, plus some frozen and canned. The thing I love about Pantry Challenge is that you get to set your own personal goals and everyone can do what’s best for their family. We’re leaving on vacation next Tuesday so I’m almost there! I’ll shop in February, but am not going to go crazy.

        You’ve got to try homemade buns-so much more delicious than bought ones. Of course, we only ate two and the rest had to go in the freezer, but there’s lots of space there now!

        • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

          Karen J, I think of it as a game too. I haven’t exactly told my husband what I was doing. Oops! 😉 That’s why when he requested a new type of soup (corn chowder) that required a few ingredients I didn’t have on hand, I acquiesced and bought them. ( it was really tasty and I’ll make it again) I don’t want this to be that different from our usual eating habits and so far, it’s worked out pretty well. You’re right, making our own “rules” for the Challenge is what makes it “doable”. I “lurked” during the PC last year. I read all the posts but didn’t participate or post. As the group continued on into Feb, I summoned my courage and kind of tiptoed in with the challenge. It made me more mindful of my purchases and it was such a nice community! By the time this year’s PC rolled around, I was ready to be all in and I’m so glad I did. I’ve learned a lot from it and I’ve been pleased with my planning and results.

          I’m like you with the veggies. I’ve got some canned beans and one box of frozen veggies, but down to potatoes, celery, carrots, radishes (from the garden!) and a tiny bit of lettuce for fresh. I used some of the lettuce tonight but stretched it with the raw veggies I had and one slice of LO pineapple. I think I can make it, though these last meals may not have the variety to which we are accustomed, but that’s okay for a couple of days!

          I’m so glad you mentioned Jessica’s homemade buns. I went and looked at the recipe and I think I can make them! I loved her fancy ones. I still have some turkey sausage. My husband likes sausage with peppers and onions. I was going to fix it another way since I didn’t have any hot dog buns. I think I’m going to change my mind thanks to you and Jessica! I’ll let you know how they turn out.

          I’ll shop in Feb but I plan to continue to be mindful of my purchases and not overdo it either. My pantry is definitely thin, my refrigerator is pretty empty and the proteins are getting low, so it’s time!

  2. Sandi says

    Today was actually a great day for the PC. Lots of things finished off, so actually a small bit of white space in the inside freezer. Minor problem is that I’m pretty darn low on most of the veggies now. I think we have enough to make it for the next week, but I’ll definitely have to be stocking up again after that.

    B – eggs, finished off the shredded pork
    L – finished off both the package of fish sticks and the box of calamari, quinoa, baby carrots
    D – chicken teriyaki paired with a bunch of random frozen veggies stir-fried with an old package of ramen noodles that have been around forever (I ditched the seasoning packet and just used the noodles)

    • Heather M says

      Don’t you love how any asian stir fry/teriyaki/fried rice/noodle can use whatever random bits of veggies? It’s the best way to use up those last bits all together. 🙂

  3. Sarah Gallop says

    January 25

    Breakfast: hubs had another strange craving for Korean Beef, so we had that. He works nights and sleeps days so he often wants “dinner” meals for breakfast before he heads to bed. Hence why you’ll often see me listing strange breakfasts!

    Lunch: he skipped, lunch was catered at the conference I attended

    Dinner: marinated chicken, mixed grains and broccoli.

    We ended up at the store yesterday. Hubs couldn’t handle having only carrots for veggies left! We spent $74 and got broccoli, cucumber, red peppers, iceberg and romaine lettuce, sour cream, hot dog buns, bananas, margarine, tomatoes, milk and Pepsi.

    Our monthly total is up to $154, which is higher than I’d wanted, but still half (ish) of our usual monthly budget. We typically average between $200-300/month.

    • Heather M says

      Right there with your husband re veggies. That is one area I don’t compromise on during the Challenge. I do, however, make a more conscious effort to buy only what we really need and use every last bit up. It helps, and I haven’t had to toss any old produce at all this month. It really should be the norm.

  4. Pat says

    We are plugging right along on this Pantry Challenge!
    One of the people that said they wanted 5lbs of ground beef didn’t return my call about it,so my total is $103.29 absorbing the cost of the additional 5lbs. I made 3lbs of taco meat and 2 meatloves for future meals. I processed all 10 lbs today. I made hamburger patties and bagged up 4 1lb bags.
    Jan 25
    Breakfast was the usual.
    Lunch–My husband took broccoli beef from the freezer and a cutie. I ate breakfast late so I grabbed a cheese stick.
    Dinner was hamburgers on my $.50 pretzel rolls. I had a baked potato and finished the corn from the other night. He had a small salad, sweet potato fries, and asparagus.
    Have a great night everyone!

  5. Pat says

    One of the people who sad they wanted ground beef hasn’t returned my call about it. My new total is $103.29 after absorbing the cost of the additional meat. I processed it all today. I made 3lbs of taco meat, 2 1lb meatloaves, 4 hamburger patties and bagged up 4 1lb bags raw for the future. I also did the cauliflower and got 16 2 cup bags for the freezer, I was a busy girl!!
    Jan 25
    Breakfast was the usual for us both.
    Lunch–My husband took broccoli beef from the freezer and a cutie. I ate my toast late so I grabbed a cheese stick.
    Dinner. We each had a hamburger, I had mine on a pretzel roll with a baked potato and the rest of the corn from the other day. He had a small salad, sweet potato fries and roasted asparagus.
    Have a great night everyone!

  6. Laurie in CA says

    B – I had scrambled eggs and sprouted wheat toast. I was surprised to hear hubs ate his other breakfast burrito this morning (but he went back to bed at 9:30 and slept until 2:30).
    L – I had l/o from last night’s dinner. Hubs didn’t eat.
    D – We both had l/o broccoli beef

    I don’t know what kind of virus hubs picked up but once his fever broke today he started feeling ok. I’m praying I don’t get it.

  7. Kathy in Denmark says

    Day 25

    DD1 is still home sick.

    B: Oats and milk for DH. HM rolls with milk/juice for the kids. HM roll and tea for me (I had a sore throat and didn’t feel like drinking coffee).
    L: Packed lunch for DH. Snacky lunch for the kids in front of the tv. If you are sick, you get to eat in front of the tv in our house 😉 Leftovers for me.
    D: Kids weren’t really hungry and we were home later than ususal after parent-teacher conference at DD1’s school. Kids had rolls and bananas. DH and I had “Biksemad”, which is a lot like hash, I guess. Served it with fried eggs on rye bread.
    S: Apples, bananas

  8. Tasty says

    Thursday January 25th

    B – fruit and yogurt + cranberry muffin for each of us

    L – out, before going to a movie

    S – turkey and gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and broccoli. Tapioca for hubby and rice pudding for me.

    A good day for the PC. I had seen a recipe for maple brownies that looked good and I more or less had what I needed to make them – the add-ins I had to change to suit what was in the pantry. I needed something to take to share after curling this evening so they fit the bill quite well. Haven’t tasted them yet!

    I also had a bag of potatoes that needed to be used up and as i wanted mashed potatoes to go with dinner, I decided I might as well cook them all. I had cauliflower and sprouts in the fridge so I kept enough cauliflower back to do one meal and cooked the rest. Also cooked the sprouts. Then made bubble and squeak with potatoes and sprouts, and a batch of cauliflower potato cakes! Even after last night’s supper, we have enough mashed potato for another couple of meals!! As I’m sitting here posting this, it dawned on me that I could make shepherd’s pies and freeze them until they are needed. There goes any space in the freezer but it would give me some ready made meals. Win/win I guess.

    I don’t very often made dessert for us but as I had the oven on to heat dinner up, I asked hubby if he would like tapioca pudding, knowing full well what the response would be. I on the other hand cannot abide tapioca so made a small dish of rice pudding as well. More gone from the pantry as well as having dessert for another day or two!

    • Karen J says

      Thanks for the reminder about bubble and squeak-a favorite of our kids when we lived in England 30+ years ago. I have a recipe called halusky down to try. It’s basically noodles, cabbage and butter-all which I still have. Simple comfort food!

  9. Julie says

    Keeping it real-today was a total fail! We ate out for lunch and dinner. The lunch was planned (kind of a quickie date day) but the dinner wasn’t. We had some work done on our van and of course had to pick it up right around dinner time. Oh well.

    Friday’s plan: Make a meal plan that will last us until Tuesday…we may be able to stretch things until Wednesday but that’s my usual grocery shopping day anyway.

    Home stretch!

  10. Laura in Nh says

    I went to the grocery store yesterday with a goal of spending no more than $65 on food (needed household items and spent $30 on rhisebut separate from food). Anyways, I spent $97 ? but felt good about what I bought. All we had for produce was a sad banana, celery and raw onion. So I bought a mix of produce which will last a week. Also bought deli ham for sandwiches to bring on our museum outing, along with a bunch of cheese – some for pizza, Parmesan for pasta and salad dressing, cheddar for snacking and provolone for sandwiches. I bought yogurt as well and milk and bacon. Obviously.

    That brought my months spending to $425 which is more than I’d hoped for but half our usual. That combined with having spent about 2/3 usual amount in December and our budget is ok. Pantry and fridges are a little sparse but freezers have enough for a little while. I’ll pull a small pork loin and a whole chicken from the freezer today for Sunday cooking. Need to bake bread and want to try a recipe I have for English muffins.

    • Kathy in Denmark says

      Being that much under budget in December and January is awesome!

  11. Mona says

    Thursday 1/25

    Breakfast – Nutella toast

    Lunch – Finished off the ham and potato bake

    Dinner – Hubby and a friend went to dinner before their Sportsman Club meeting and I finished off the southwest kielbasa skillet dinner. Only leftovers left is some of the ham.

  12. Karen says

    Yesterday I moved a bag of chicken thighs in the big freezer and found…another stack of ground pork. I started laughing and my family thought I’d lost it.

    B: smoothies for my daughter and me, peaches and cottage cheese for hubby.
    L: leftovers for my daughter and me, frozen entree for hubby.
    D: ham hock and bean soup (which, apparently, everyone liked as long as they got to load it with hot sauce!).

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      LOL Karen. We’re having pork ribs for dinner so my infatuation with all things pork (ham, sausage, Italian sausage, ribs, bacon) continues too! And that’s not to mention the ham hock that may become ham bone soup this week if we get snow again as is predicted. Perish the thought! I have sprinkled in shrimp and turkey too, but back to pork! I am looking forward to buying some chicken when I finish up all the rest of this food, specifically thighs!

      • Karen says

        Oh please send some of your ice and snow up to Oregon!!! Last year we were buried in ice and snow and this year…bupkus. I miss it!

    • Kathy in Denmark says

      Sometimes you just have to laugh 😀

      I have actually been meaning to write you re the pork, since a LOT of traditional Danish dishes are made with ground pork 🙂 Some may seem a little strange to you, but I thought I would at least give you a few ideas.

      1. Frikadeller – Danish meatballs. For 500 g. (almost 1 lb) pork you mix in one small grated or finely diced onion, one egg, breadcrumbs and flour to bind it, a little water, milk or sparkling water and salt and pepper to taste. Start by stirring in the salt, then add all other ingredients and mix well. Be careful not to add too much flower and breadcrumbs and also make sure that the mixture is not too dry. My frikadeller are never round, always a little flat when cooked, that should give you an idea about the texture 🙂 Fry in butter/oil in a pan or bake in the oven, if the mince is on the fatty side. These are traditionally served with boiled potatoes and brown gravy or with potato salad (especially in the summer), but you can eat them with whatever you like really, they are very versatile. They also freeze well 🙂

      2. Boller i karry – meatballs in a curried sauce. You basically make the same mixture, but only use flour to bind and make it a little denser. You then heat up water or stock and boil the meatballs. Use the stock to make a sauce with curry and serve over rice.

      3. Forloren hare – mock hare. Same mixture, but with stock in stead of water to add ekstra flavour. Make the mixture a little denser as well. Shape into a meatloaf and cover completely with slices of bacon. Pour a little stock or water in the bottom of the dish and bake in the oven. Make gravy with the pan drippings – this makes the BEST gravy! Serve with boiled/mashed potaotes.

      You can serve these dishes with whatever veggies you want, boiled/sautéed, baked, you name it.

      Hope this gives you a little inspiration about using up all that pork 🙂

      • Kathy in Denmark says

        Just caught a typo. 500 grams is a little more than one lb, not less 🙂

      • Karen says

        Kathy – those all sound great! Thank you for the ideas!

      • My aunt who was born in Germany always told me Frikadelle was German. I wonder if it’s both or if she lied? lol She called them “German hamburgers”.

        Regardless, everything you describe sounds delicious!

        • Kathy in Denmark says

          Is your aunt from the northern part of Germany? Because the state of Schleswig has both been German and Danish, so the culinary traditions are somewhat blended.

          However, I have been to Germany a number of times, both on holiday, passing trough and shopping (we only have a 1,5 hour drive to the German border), and I have never seen frikadeller anywhere.

          In Denmark, they are a staple. I mean, they are probably served every one or two weeks in most families, they are always on buffet tables at parties, and most people will claim that their mum makes the best frikadeller 😀

          So, I am going to maintain that frikadeller are Danish, but there may be a German version of them (like there is a Sweedish version). I don’t think they will be called frikadeller in German, though.

          • She was an aunt by marriage, so I don’t have to believe her. 😉 My money’s on its being Danish. LOL!

  13. Stephanie P says

    Yesterday went pretty well again, other than one misstep.

    B: Oats and 1/2 banana for me. Clementine for Kid2
    L: Kid 1 packed his lunch (turkey and cheese, fruit, veggie straws)
    I had l/o soup from the freezer, apple, and almonds.
    D: I had planned on salmon with fries for the family and vegetables/cauli rice for me. I realized too late that the fries had been left in the freezer at work from the day I bought them. Thankfully (?) there was a box of mac n cheese in the back of the cupboard that I had forgotten was there and they had that with their salmon.

    Snacks: Dark chocolate and cheese for me. The kids went to choir and had donuts I believe. I’m sure my husband took a donut as well.

  14. Theresa says

    Get that “bread hungry” child in the kitchen-with his hands in some dough!

  15. Alice E says

    The last couple days have been mostly leftovers here

    B – Oats, eggs and hot tea.
    L – he takes a pb sandwich, I had fish taco Wednesday and a corn dog yesterday
    D – l/o roast beef, coleslaw, and baked sweet potato Wednesday or potato yesterday.

    The coleslaw is used up, but I will be making more, since I bought three bags of the slaw mix for 88 cents when I was shopping. One of them will get used up in cabbage soup or a rice casserole depending on the mood this weekend. I’m going to freeze the last slices of beef to use in sandwiches. I like to chill the leftover roast and then slice it cold so it is easier to slice thinly. Tonight will be something with the hamburger that is thawing in the frig.

    Haven’t tracked spending that close, since my goal involved using up older items, and I have done some of that, but lots more room for improvement, so I will probably continue on through the next month or two as well. I don’t want to have empty freezers or pantry, but I do want to work on rotating out more of what is there.

  16. Sandy says

    Gosh, why am I having such a hard time posting??? My days just keep rolling along so fast. I think we are on our way to finally being on the mend from this Crud that has struck everyone but one of us. Hubs went to Doc and his turned into bronchitis and sinus infection, so that explains why he was having such a hard time getting over it. Everyone’s appetites are getting back to normal and I can tell the food is going faster!! I think I may have to do a quick stop for some dairy and produce to tide us over. I want everyone to eat super healthy right now. We have plenty of frozen fruit and veg, but we all like fresh too. I have no plans to buy anything canned or boxed though until we empty some of these shelves! Here’s the last few days. I’ve made some progress on things that needed to go.
    Tues. Jan. 23
    B-Eggs or grits, yogurt with blueberries
    L-Veggie soup and leftover pizza from yesterday’s outing
    D-Loaded tater tots using the last of the BBQ beef in the freezer (It was time to get that out!), salad and peaches from the freezer
    S-Popcorn or peanuts
    Wed. Jan. 24
    B-Meat grits with hash browns or eggs, yogurt with blueberries, grapefruit for me with a handful of peanuts
    L-Veggie soup with burgers made from some leftover summer sausage meat that didn’t fit in the casings when we were stuffing them last weekend
    D-I cooked down the carcasses of the roasting chickens from last week in the morning and made chicken and noodles with some pot pie squares from the freezer. I had gotten them a long time ago from an Amish store and I am so happy to get them used up finally! Served with corn from the freezer and orange slices. For dessert I made corn flake no bake cookies using up some corn flakes that have been in the cabinet way too long and a pack of butterscotch chops that also needed to go. Bonus is that they also had peanut butter and my husband informed me it was national peanut butter day!
    Thurs. Jan. 25
    B-Meat grits and hash brown for hubs, egg burrito for me and yogurt parfaits for the kids
    L-Small salad and leftover lo mein for me, hubs had leftover burgers and roasted potatoes, fruit and no bake cookies.
    D-Brats, peppers and onions, sauerkraut, green beans from the freezer and salad. More no bake cookies for dessert.
    Need to get some bread baking done at some point, but busy working on taxes for our appointment next week, so not sure how that will happen. Like Jessica my Natives get restless without bread!

  17. Susan says

    Heading to the store today for the Friday Freebie and the buy-one-pound-get-one-pound free on the deli meat. The minimum purchase required will get us through until the end of the month with a grand total of about $155. Higher than what I had planned but I will be continuing into February. I am seeing some shelf space in the pantry and in the freezers. Hoping by the end of February we can combine freezers and shut off the big one – at least until the beef comes in. This is the best I have ever done on a pantry challenge. Thanks everyone for your posts, meal ideas and encouragement. Have a great weekend all!!

  18. Stephanie M. says

    January 25, Day 25

    B – Hubby had cereal; I had a whole wheat English muffin, apple, peanuts, and V8

    L – Hubby had a business luncheon; I had oatmeal

    D – Last of the leftover Chinese from the other night

  19. Ann says

    I need educated on this buttermilk making. You can make it with regular milk? I thought buttermilk is what is leftover from cream after making butter?

    • What you buy at the store is “cultured buttermilk” which is what I made. I’m going to write a post about it soon. You can find the culture I used linked in the post.

  20. Heather M says

    Hi All! Thursday was a great Challenge day in our house. The cupboards are still so full- no emptied out space yet, so that is going to be a February focus. The freezer is emptying out, but still a bit to go, before all the proteins are gone and I stock up again. I’m trying to use all the proteins up so that they are used up before they get old/freezer burned, and I think I’ll get there within the next 2 weeks.

    I baked a batch of banana oat muffins (faves of both my guys), with the two browned bananas, and a double batch of whole wheat pear bread. A friend came over last night to watch Top Chef and I gave her one of the loaves. It used up the last pears which had gone really soft, so not too edible otherwise. I still have plenty of baking items in the cupboards and don’t need to restock that yet, nor butter or oils, etc. I also made a delicious soup, Mulligatawny, because I had all the items in the cupboards, plus one last lime in the fridge. It’s a red lentil/coconut milk soup with other ingredients(onions, spices, chicken broth, squeeze of lime, etc) which is pureed. It’s really good. I finished off one bad of red lentils, but still have another small bag we barely dug into (see my problem- still so much in the cupboards). I was pretty please with how the kitchen work went Thursday.

    Thursday, 1/25:

    B: son still home sick, but slowly perking up, and he had a huge late breakfast after sleeping in- cereal, turkey bacon, yogurt, OJ; hubs skipped; I had a piece of naan and some bacon
    L: son had a tuna sandwich, but mid-afternoon; hubs took a turkey/ham/provolone/cucumber/lettuce sandwich, clementines, pretzels/almonds/last few tortilla chips from a bag in the snack cupboard; I had the leftover pork/veggie teriyaki, which was mostly veggie, over the last bit of rice vermicelli from another dinner. Yum!
    D: chicken caesar salad(using the last of the breaded chicken tenders in the freezer, though I only had straight caesar- let the guys enjoy the chicken) and mulligatawny soup.

  21. Melissa in GA says

    I’ve been busy and I need to catch up!

    January 24th
    B – dad had 2 fried eggs and toast, I had triscuits with salmon cream cheese
    L – dad and I ate out while in town
    D – swiss steak, tomato gravy and rice
    Dessert – birthday cake

    January 25th
    B – I had triscuits and salmon cream cheese, dad ate with the old farts club
    L – we ate lunch in town again
    D – drove to meet my husband where he was working and we had dinner out, dad had a sandwich while dog sitting

    I only bought 1 food item on Wednesday and that was a bag of Lays poppables. I have a hard time finding them in our tiny town. I can’t even remember what my total was… Oh well. But I’ve been in the big city today and have bought a few things. I’ll have to figure that all up when I return home tomorrow.

  22. Roberta says

    Thurs. 1/25/18

    B: Cereal, blueberry muffins, 1/3 of a banana each, OJ, coffee.

    L: The guys had PBJs, string cheese, carrot and celery sticks (celery for Hubs only), banana bread, yogurt w/ compote (Hubs only), the last of the trail mix (Hubs only), cookies. I had PB toast, string cheese, and a mandarin.

    D: LO lentil mac, salad, orange slices, the last banana, applesauce.

    S/D: Son had a muffin and hot cocoa after school. Not sure what Hubs had. I didn’t have anything.

    I made more yogurt and our “breakfast bread.” I need to make more compote and some more whole wheat bread for sandwiches. I’m hoping to get to both tomorrow (Sat.).

    It looks like I’ll have to go to the store for some fresh fruit before the end of the month. I was hoping to avoid the store (especially since we brought home LO fruit last Saturday), but apparently we eat a lot of fruit! 😉

  23. Joa in IA says


    B- Strawberry protein shake for me, hubby had oatmeal. Not sure what the boys had.

    L- Chicken noodle soup & oyster crackers for me. Hubby protein shake. Son1 chicken tenders at home, Son2 ate at school.

    Snack- cheese and crackers.

    Supper- Breakfast burritos. Made with sausage and the last of the eggs. Served with tortillas, shredded cheddar, hot sauce, sour cream and salsa.

    Hubby wants to smoke ribs on Sunday and wants to get them on Saturday at Sam’s Club. If only I would of know a couple of days ago I would of got them when I was there for protein shakes. Since he doesn’t know about this pantry challenge in progress I’m just going to keep telling him I have enough of everything when we are there. Total so far is $211 and some odd change. He could easily add $100-$150 on to the total if I’m not careful.

  24. Terry calkins says

    Hubby says he’s tired of eggs and hash browns for breakfast so I made scrambled eggs and banana muffins.
    Lunch was french onion soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
    Dinner time hubby was making himself hash browns and eggs. What? I had the last sausage burrito. We both snacked on chocolate pudding I made with the last of the chocolate milk.
    I cooked a roast on Thursday but we didn’t use any of it. Now I have the leftover french onion soup to use so plan to use both in beef stew today.
    Hubby has been eating a lot of burritos and commented he would like refried beans. When I went in to see Mom Thursday I bought a 2# bag of pintos even though the 1.62 I spent is a deficit for Feb. Came home and made veggie refried beans for him which he hasn’t touched. No matter. I have been enjoying them. Men!

    • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

      LOL! Ah yes, men indeed!

  25. Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

    Well, here I am playing catch up again. I’ve been busy with work and out of town for a day, but didn’t deviate from the challenge!

    So sorry to continue to read of all the illness affecting the families here on the PC. This flu is nothing to mess around with. The news on it is quite sobering so everyone be vigilant.

    B: toast, tea
    L: yogurt, clementine
    D: final turkey leftovers for now-turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes. I added some green beans from the pantry. I have a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer that I should do something with (make a relish, sauce or compote) to eat with it, but just haven’t had the time. But I put half the turkey breast in the freezer so will have another chance to use up the cranberries with the next round of turkey. I see turkey pot pie, curried turkey, turkey a la king, turkey salad in the future. (I sound like Bubba in Forrest Gump naming off kinds of shrimp) Someone here said they made a cranberry-pomegranate compote. I’ve got both of those so plan to look up a recipe for that, so thank you whoever mentioned that.

    B: toast, coffee
    L: yogurt, clementines
    D: we ate one of the two shrimp and grits containers I’d put in the freezer. I’d never tried freezing it before, but an internet search said it would work. It tasted okay, but the grits were runny compared to how it usually is. We ate them in a bowl instead. I won’t freeze it again.

    B: toast, coffee
    L: random snack items that were at a workshop where I was presenting (cheese, crackers, pepperoni, salami, cereal bars)
    D: re-purposed the small container of HM spaghetti sauce I’d put in the freezer into chili. I added chili beans, kidney beans, tomatoes seasoned with chili spices all from the panty, some more spices and additional peppers from the garden that were in the freezer. We had leftovers so I figure they can be eaten as is, or go over baked potatoes for lunch or dinner sometime in the next few days.

    We’re getting low on veggies, fresh, frozen and otherwise. I was walking in our yard and looked over at our garden. We had sub zero weather for almost 2 weeks and first 7 inches of snow followed by 10 inches of snow and more frigid weather. There, with the prettiest most perfect green tops were radishes! I’d completely forgotten about them. I dug up some and sent to my mother via my husband as she loves them, especially in the winter to add color to salads. And I added them to lettuce to brighten up our salads as well. I had NO idea they were so hardy. So now I have them to go with the last of the lettuce, carrots and celery. I do still have some fresh and canned fruit so hoping to limp along to the finish line.

    We’re in the short rows now everyone!

    • Roberta says

      Hi, Lynn,

      The cranberry-pomegranate compote recipe comes from Yogurt Culture by Cheryl Sternman Rule. It’s super easy. You might be able to find the book at your library. (I hesitate to post the recipe here due to copyright issues.)

      • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

        Sure and thanks, Roberta. I’ll check for the book. I’ve seen a couple of different recipes on the internet too. I have a little time before I’ll need it.

  26. Laurie says

    I’m playing catch up too.
    B- Cream of wheat
    S- apple for him
    L- soup for the man and a 1/2 of sandwich for me
    D- Ground beef tacos and refried beans. The beans were from the freezer but I had to buy the ground beef. Next time, I’ll just use some of the cooked chicken from the freezer. I don’t know why I didn’t this time. Brain freeze. I see another taco night in our near future with cooked chicken since I wrote a BIG note to myself and stuck in on the freezer!
    popcorn while watching TV
    B- oatmeal for the husband and an orange for me
    S- apple for him
    L- soup for both of us.His was the usual and mine was a small container of broccoli cheese from the freezer.
    D- Breakfast for dinner. I made buttermilk pancakes with bacon. It really hit the spot. I like breakfast foods but not as much in the morning as in the evening. The real maple syrup on the pancakes makes everything good!

  27. Alice E says


    Not much progress, what a day.

    B- Oats, basted eggs and hot tea
    L – He took a pb sandwich, I indulged in pasta at a local pizza place after a long bout of shopping for a stove.
    D – I bribed him with dinner out at the Chinese buffet he likes if he would shop for stoves with me.

    This buying a stove has been more complicated than I expected. This area has mostly electric on display and I want gas. Even consumer reports only had electric or gas dual fuel listed when I checked. So I have been checking out reviews online and considering the newer types of stoves. I think I will buy a more traditional type even if they are in the minority. I’ll be doing some more checking online today, but thought hubby had better have a look at the newer type and get his reaction to them since he has to live with it too. He had said for me to just go buy one since it was my ‘tool’, but he does some cooking and stoves have changed some in the last 20 years.

    Oh, well, I had better stop ranting and get busy. I did cook up the hamburger that was thawed. It was another of those two pound packages I thought I had got used up that I found when digging for something else. It is cooked up now, and half of it is back in the freezer as cooked meat and the other half is waiting to be cooked up in something for supper tonight. That should be all of them I hope.

    • Melissa in GA says

      Alice, I have a Premier gas stove. It is very traditional. I ordered it from Lowes.
      Newer gas stoves still have electric components. We live in a very rural area that loses power all.the.time. Seriously, the power was out Thursday from 6pm til midnight. The newer gas stove’s oven won’t work, it has a glow plug.

      Premiere stoves can be completely off grid with a battery start which is what I have. But simplicity gets you no oven light, clock or self cleaning option. The young fellas from the propane company that hooked it up had never seen one like it but marveled at it’s simplicity.

      I’ve had it just over a year and highly recommend.

      • Alice E says

        I’ll have to check it out. I’m not thrilled about the idea of battery power, but want to be sure I can at least light the burners during a power outage. My current stove I can do so using a match, but apparently some of the new ones have a safety factor that doesn’t allow that. We have had several outages in this area in the last 15 years or so. It seems odd to me because we are in the suburbs and have lost power more often than when I was a kid and lived in the country with Rural Electric. Oh, well. Thanks for the suggestion.

        • Lynn from NC Outer Banks says

          HI Alice. Where I live, we lose power often as well due to wind, storms, salt on the power lines, boat anchors dragging up the main line, 😉 etc. So we got a dual fuel Jenn Air stove with the gas burners and electric oven. We can light our cook top with a match in case of power outages which is the same with the current model. Ours is 12 years old and-except for replacing the oven element recently-I’ve really liked it. We were limited by the location in our kitchen which is why we went with this as it also has a down draft. Aesthetically, it does look a little different with the square grates-kind of industrial looking I guess. So not fully gas, but thought I’d mention my experience.

  28. Lizzy says

    Don’t worry about your starter not taking off. You probably didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes they just don’t work. Mine has been super weird for a really long time. I keep feeding it and using my discard in loaves and other things along with other leaveners. Then I refrigerate it for a week and go again, feeding it for 1-3 days, repeat. It’s like the Circle of Life. 😉 Maybe if you try again in the summer, you’ll have better success. Yeast likes warmth. Or maybe your friend’s starter will be just the thing for you! Happy baking!

  29. Terry calkins says

    Breakfast for me was oatmeal with blackberry yogurt stirred in. Hubby had eggs and hash browns. I used up the leftover gravy, cooked carrots ,french onion soup and part of the roast. Added two potatoes and made a nice big pot of stew. We had some for lunch along with bread I made with leftover cottage cheese. I also made rolls and a small cake, as long as the oven was running. I used cinnamon and sugar on top of the cake before I baked it then served it with warmed chocolate pudding over the top. Definitely a good leftover use up day.
    I gave the very happy dog two ladles of warm stew over her dry dog food. She’s been in comotose overfed slumber ever since lol

  30. Felicia says


    Breakfast – Made a loaf of homemade bread. Had a slice with fig jam on it. Decaf coffee.

    Lunch – Cup of Navy Bean Soup and slice of bread.

    Dinner – Ham with Elbow Pasta soup and slice of bread. Apple crisp for dessert with 5 shriveled up looking apples that were hanging around the kitchen counter this morning!

  31. Alice E says


    Brunch was hash browns with gravy and hot tea. (I was getting tired of oats, but can’t fix biscuits without an oven.
    Supper was mac-n-cheese with hamburger and some green peas from the freezer.

    We frequently only have two meals on weekends.

  32. Terry calkins says

    Alice. When my oven was out I used to make English muffin bread in the microwave.

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