Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lessons I have learned from the Pantry Challenge

Lessons I have learned from the Pantry Challenge.

  If I tell Hubby it has to come from the pantry he doesn't walk around the store and do the "oh,look, let's try this" line with me.

 We had to make a run to the store today to get more supplies for the cookies I was doing for Operation Thank You to send to the deployed troops. I ran out of brown sugar anyways. Lesson learned, I don't stock brown sugar after Christmas baking is done. I need to put back a Cookie fund for the times I bake for OTY.

 I need to do more baking of our breads. I've gotten lazy in this area even though most of everything else is made from scratch.

I need to focus on eating more of our squash.

We saved more money than I thought we would and used it in areas that we would have struggled to get the money around.

Both of us has been sick and neither of us felt like cooking. I need to prep some meals for those times and keep that in stock.

We have decided to do the Pantry Challenge during February to use up what canned goods came from my Mother's pantry. It will be interesting because there is plenty of canned gravy and we don't really eat that much gravy. Probably will have "blue plate specials" to use it up. And that statement of "blue plate specials" just showed my age. Oh well...SMILE

Been dealing with a horrible migraine for 2 days so calling it a nite

Blessed Be

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 28 of Pantry Challenge.

Jessica over at goodcheapeats http://goodcheapeats.com/2013/01/pantry-challenge-link-up-4/ has decided to end the Pantry Challenge today.

Like me, she actually started in December. Check out her blog for how she has done.

 I saved 50% of what we normally spend. We ended up adding non-food and eating out into the total also so we really did good. We cut down eating out by 50% also and I can actually say except for the Chinese Buffet I haven't missed it until I got sick. I always crave fast food when I am sick...figures that's when I can eat it anyways.

 We spent the savings on garden seed and some other odds and ends we would have been scrimping to pay. I even bought some foaming hand soap from Back and Body that Ree over at Pioneer Woman had talked about for myself as a birthday present. Better late than never I thought.

 As for the Pantry Challenge, Hubby and I have decided to go at least until the end of February. We decided this on the following reasons: 
  #1, we will save enough money to finish paying for the garden supplies.

  #2 we will be able to clean the pantry without moving a lot of food in March/April when I do the spring cleaning.

 #3 we won't be wasting our resources buy throwing away food that went bad because it wasn't eaten.

 The last reason really hit home this weekend when my step brother and I cleaned out our parents pantry. By today we counted up the food that had went bad and realized that my kids and their families (total of 21) could have been fed for 2 weeks with what we threw out.

That makes me very sad because our parents didn't have money to waste like that. I do understand that they forgot what they had because nothing was organized and it was all shoved in different cabinets and some was even in boxes and sacks in bedrooms and the hallways. What was still good I have split between my kids and us.

So now I have more in my pantry than I did when we started the pantry challenge...Guess that is reason #4.

We are going to think about some RULES for ourselves for the Pantry Challenge in February.

 Tonight is leftovers or smoked sausage and mac and cheese if Hubby decided to cook because I have had a horrible migraine since last night and it isn't going away. Have a good day. Blessed Be

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 26 and 27 of Pantry challenge

Yesterday we spent the whole day across state to our parents. We ate bfast on the road, Subway steak,egg and cheese on flat bread , we worked through lunch at my step dad's trailer with my step brother. Since Mom died in Nov I've been doing what I can to help get the trailer around so my stepbrother can live with my step dad who has Alzheimer's. For dinner we ran through a Mc D's drive thru so we could see my brother for a few minutes before he left Dad's. Not a very healthy day for the menu.

We did clear out Mother's pantry. The shame of it is we had to throw away enough food that would have fed my daughter's family of 9 for 2 weeks. BUT that's not all. My step brother kept enough groceries to feed him and Pop for 2 months. We brought home enough canned goods to fill the bed of our full size truck. I've sorted out the canned goods and split it between us and the kids. Still our share (which was basically what the kids won't eat, can't figure out why none of them eats beets.) filled 2 shelves in the butler's pantry. We will use that up before going back to use our own.

Today was leftover steak,egg and cheese on flat bread, we just snacked for lunch and dinner was the odds and ends of leftovers in the frig.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 24 and 25 Pantry Challenge, running low of favorite tea.

I side tracked last night after dinner dishes was done to work on a puzzle we are doing as a gift for another family member.

 We had the meat loaf from the deep freezer, mashed potatoes (potatoes were bought in Nov for Tday dinner) and corn from the deep freezer.Bread, butter and jam rounded out the meal.

 I pulled a container out of the freezer in the mudroom frig. I could tell it have chicken pieces and carrots and potatoes, other then that I was clueless as to what it was. This morning I checked it, it was thawed enough to transfer to casserole dish. I think it's what was left from chicken and dumplings but I don't know what it has potatoes in it if it is.

 Oh well, right now it's in a casserole dish to warm for dinner tonight, I will add bread, butter and jam or apple butter to go with it, maybe cottage cheese,applesauce and beets. I might make a fruit crisp to go with it also. Depends on the puzzle.

 I had a friend ask me what was my point of doing the pantry challenge, I wasn't really going without anything. I am but I just don't acknowledge it because I know how to substitute pretty well in the kitchen. That was knowledge that I had before becoming a personal chef.

We ran out of chips and we are low on chocolate bars. Those are hubby's two junk foods. He eats peanut butter on his chocolate bars before going to work.I got him 2 small bags of chips at Aldi's the other day and that's all until next month.

I am running out of my favorite flavored tea. I have enough for 2 more tea pots. I've been tossing in some home made teas from my herbs.

 I have an herb and spice pantry of over 100 different kinds.My apple mint that I also use for tea is real low and my plant died so I am really having to be careful of how often I use it until I get a new plant in and producing.

 I am out of some types of pasta.I am out of some types of rice.I am out of chuck roast and don't have any roasting chickens.I am out of sub buns, hot dog buns, ciabatta bread and Texas toast garlic bread.
Because there is only the two of us I put our breads in the freezer and only pull out what we need as we need it. I do bake, I used to make all of our bread except for one loaf of sliced bread a month. We don't eat bread as much now days.

I am out of tomato sauce and fire roasted tomatoes that I make tomato bisque out of. Need to plant more tomato plants this year.

I am low on some dried fruits that Hubby favors and he has acknowledged that he is going to have to use the others up. YEP, he asked for them and then hasn't used them. He adds them to his yogurt for his lunch/snack at work.

I am out of eggrolls, I use that for lunch a lot of times or snacks. I am almost out of  pot stickers, that hubby likes for snacks when he isn't working.

I am out of Italian green beans until the season comes back in. Yes I noted to plant more of that type of bean.

There are bare spots in the pantry, in the freezers and in the frigs. That's okay. In fact I changed where I stored a couple things.

I used the last of the onions we raised last year. So I will have to buy onions until next fall...so I need to plant more than I did last year.

I don't look at the grocery ads. I don't go to the store for milk or bread, hubby does that because he drives past the local small store on his way home from work and he gets just exactly what I say we need. If he sees a good sale and thinks I might be interested he will call and ask...not just buy like I would.

I am using things that would have sat longer if not got used at all. I don't want to use up the favorites and then be stuck eating a bunch "why in the world did I buy this" type of food.

I know we have eaten out or bought take out food 4 times since Jan 1st. I know tomorrow we will eat out also. So my thoughts are on that is 5 times in 31 days (as I know we will eat home the rest of the time). That is half of what we have been eating out. So that money has been saved and we have ate healthier also which helps when we both got the flu and I got 2 different flues.

My goal for next month is to do the Pantry challenge again, to drop the eating out down to 2 or 3. I would just say 2 but Valentine's day and our anniversary is in Feb and if I say 2 then I will feel bad if it is 3. Since we didn't eat my birthday dinner and it's in the freezer maybe I will talk Hubby into just eating it instead of us going out.

I know I need to make some pizza crusts for the freezer for those times it's "I want a pizza".

Puzzle calls,

Blessed be

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 23 Pantry challenge and grocery store

Felt better today, not well but better.

 With the weather forecast saying it's going to get worse we made a small grocery list of perishables we needed. I checked the grocery budget and realized with eating from the pantry this month that not only was I able to order half of our garden seeds but I could buy ingredients to make cookies for Operation Thank You to send to the deployed soldiers.

I don't keep cookie making ingredients on hand, flour yes but that is about it because we don't eat many cookies...well we would but we over do it when we do. I don't buy store bought cookies very often either. We do make over 100 dozen cookies for the kids and grandkids and Operation Thank You at Christmas time.

So today while at the store I got our perishables, about $10 worth, some personal items, dogs treats and the cookie dough ingredients. AND still had money left in the food budget.

I pulled canned corned beef from the pantry, plopped it in a casserole dish, topped it with what was left of the jar of kraut in the frig to nuke in the microwave for dinner. I will top it with the shredded Swiss cheese I pulled from the freezer and serve it on the deli rye bread that was in the freezer also.  I will serve it with cottage cheese, pickled beets and applesauce. The standard 3 things that is usually on the table, some times it's pickles instead of beets.

While out in the garage I pulled a meatloaf out of the deep freezer to thaw for tomorrow.

If we hadn't been eating from the pantry this month I wouldn't have had the garden seed like I did and I definitely wouldn't have been able to  buy ingredients to make cookies for our deployed soldiers. Just a little reminder to myself of what I can do when I manage our resources better

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 22 Pantry challenge

tea and popcorn from the new air popper hubby bought me for Christmas.

Yep that's what I had for dinner. Back to being sick and that's what I was craving. At least this morning I made us cream of Wheat for bfast.

Hubby had chili that I had canned last month with Fritos and he talked of buying potato chips before the end of the month. I think I am not the only one craving them along with peach gummy rings...thanks to Ree over at Pioneer Woman.

Going to make more tea and call it a night. Tomorrow is another day.

Stay warm and stay safe

Blessed Be Juls

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 21 Pantry Challenge.

10 more days this month, plenty of food , plenty of fresh produce.

10 more days until I get grocery money. Potato chips, I am craving potato chips.

10 more MONTHS of food in the pantry/freezer...but not enough potato chips....

I vacuumed bagged shredded pork and ham slices and ham chunks. Which means there are now 8 more meals in the freezer.

 Have different broths in the frig for the fat to harden for me to de-fat tomorrow and can the broth. I will strain the fat into ice cube trays and freeze it then bag it when it's frozen (and LABEL). That shout was at myself for not labeling another batch. I had to melt a cube and taste it to figure out what it was.

Tonight I cooked green beans and diced potato and ham chunks together. As a child this would have been the meal Mother put on the table with corn bread. But hubby grew up on the farm with beef and pork always in the freezer so he isn't satisfied with that type of dish so I grilled ham and cheese sandwiches to go with it. He was happy. Tomorrow I will have the leftover green beans with leftover corn bread for lunch.

I can tell you now with the weather we are having right now that we will be having chili that I canned last month for dinner tomorrow. I just looked at our weather gauge (we live on a farm in the boonies) and the wind chill is a minus 25.

I will be doing some baking tomorrow. Good way to help keep the house warm by using the oven.

Stay safe, stay warm.

Blessed Be

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 19 and Day 20

Yesterday when Hubby got home he fixed pancakes for brunch. But come dinner time neither of us felt like eating let along cooking. So we did a run to Wendy's. He got a sandwich and I ended up sharing part of my sandwich and fries with the 2 dogs. I would say we haven't recovered from the flu yet.

 Last night I ordered the first half of my seeds and plants for my gardens. It was a great feeling because I used the money we saved from the grocery budget and we aren't robbing Peter to pay Paul or waiting for what little tax refund we get.

 The thought that crossed my mind was if we eat from the pantry the rest of the year I might actually be ahead financially...on the down side of that is I will still have to replace the pantry.

 Tonight we have left over pasta from the other night so I am adding onions,bell peppers, mushrooms, black olives and pepperoni and some pizza sauce and topping it with pizza cheese for pizza spaghetti as my youngest used to call it.

 So we are back to eating from the pantry with the goal to be able to order the rest of the garden or at least part of it with in 2 weeks. Enjoy the day. Blessed be Juls

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 18 Pantry challenge and life style choices

Today is my birthday. Happiness in that I am older,( can't wait to turn 56 so when the kids call me an old crone, I can say YES I AM)the bills are paid, there is a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in the pantry and GOD in my heart. Even though I am sick with the flu, I am happy that I am HOME and not in the hospital like so many others. I also am still, birthday and sick going to have to do the laundry, pick up the house and make dinner.

Today I pulled pasta from the pantry, a can of tomato puree from the pantry, a garlic bulb from the garlic basket and will add some basil leaves from the plant that is struggling to survive in the planter on the dining table.There are mushrooms and broccoli in the frig. I have flat bread in the frig also so I might make a bruschetta just because it is my birthday. There is prosciutto in the freezer that I can top it with along with fresh basil, olive oil, and a little bit of shredded provolone cheese. Even with thinking what to take from the pantry that I acknowledge my kids call Mom's grocery store. I am thinking of how to make what I have last the longest possible time and yet eat well.

To me my pantry is not just come canned goods in a cabinet (on in my house on shelving units in the basement or under furniture depending on the house at the time). It's a life style.

It's a life style that reflects the importance of putting food on the table for my family (whether they are living with me or not) in good times and bad when there is no money for groceries.That choice comes from growing up without enough food and going hungry after my parents were divorced and Mom didn't handle the finances very well.

It's a lifestyle of choosing to buy $20 of groceries that can make a week's worth of food(not always balanced but filled the tummies at the table) or a delivery of pizza or fast food drive thru for one meal.

It's a lifestyle of gardening and processing that food for the pantry even when I had no place to grow anything. Containers on the porch and in front of windows during the winter and farmers markets and even the grocery stores when things were in season and cheap.

It's making food last and not wasting.It's using the little tiny bits that aren't worth a meal and turning them into casseroles, soups or in pasta or rice dishes. Or as hubby does, in to beans or eggs.

My dad who grew up during the Great Depression told me I was too frugal in my kitchen. I would be a match for his grandmother. To me that was high praise as she not only fed herself but her childrens' children and neighbors in the small community they lived in the foothills of the Appalachians in southern Ohio.

It's hoarding when you don't eat it and it goes to waste, it's a pantry when you do eat it and it doesn't go to waste.

It's making plan overs for the left overs.

It takes thought and sometimes more time then you want to give.I would rather sit and figure out how to make the food last then watch a show or movie on tv. I would rather read a cookbook than watch tv also.

But think about this..

take 40% of your grocery money and throw it directly in to the trash can...think I am crazy? The average family of 4 throws away 40% of the food they buy in a month...SAME THING.

Buy 20 lbs of potatoes and toss them in the trash can....WHAT? The average person tosses 20 lbs of food in the trash each month.

On the average of a 4 person family, $2,275 a year of food goes in the trash. That is around $189.58 cents a month.

I had some families take pictures of food left on the plates after each meal and pictures of what they threw away that went bad in the frig,freezer and pantry. Only one family had less than a plastic grocery bag of waste and it was going to the compost pile. Which means there was no meat, meat by products or oil/fats in it. The others...well lets just say that they now wrap the leftovers on their children's plates for snacks that they always ask for later and soups, casseroles etc are now served a couple times a week. The best news was the one family went from $1000 a month for groceries (no non-food) to $400 a month for groceries and was able to fully stock the freezer they were able to buy with the extra money.

If you lost your job TODAY, would you have food to serve your family a month from now WITHOUT government assistance or the local food pantry?

When we moved here, my youngest was worried we would go without food because the only thing she saw in my pantry cupboard was pickles and beets. Bills were high due to medical bills and the outlay of moving expenses(moved closer to hubby's work). My son in law that moved us started laughing at her. Informed her that yes the cupboard only had pickles and beets. Under the bed was canned beans and canned meats, under the couch was canned veggies and under the chairs and love seat was canned fruit. There was canned goods in the office closet, canned goods in the tv room closet, home canned soups was in the garage and dried goods stored in the furnace closet. We weren't going to go hungry. She immediately called and asked me if I could give her some canned soup.

Dinner time...got to go

Blessed Be Juls

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 17 of the Pantry Challenge

Day 17 of the Pantry challenge. I like this challenge for several reasons, first because it holds me accountable, second because I focus on using what is in the pantry and not running to the store and last I can clean empty shelves a whole lot easier than shelves crammed full when I do the spring cleaning.

I have a pork roast along with the extra bones from the roasts I ground pork from yesterday in the crock pot. I will shred some on flat bread for sandwiches and serve cottage cheese,applesauce,and pickled beets.

I need to deal with the ham we had last night. It made some good broth for soups and I can package it down for sandwiches and casseroles for later. I will keep the bone and toss it back in the freezer for bean soup later.I will strain the fat off the broth and put it in ice cube trays and then in the freezer so I can make gravy from it later or use it as "oil" when making corn bread or cooking.

 I can hear those moans people...natural fats doesn't bother hubby or my cholesterol... shelled seafood sends his up through the roof and microwave popcorn (the oil used to pop it) sends mine through the roof. As long as we eat like we did as kids our cholesterol is good.Neither one of us ate processed food much as kids,coffee, tea and water was the beverages usually served. Dad hunted and fished so our protein was wild game or fish while hubby's family farmed so they had cattle and hogs to butcher. We both grew up with gardens that supplied the pantry for the winter.

I still stock my pantry that way for the year.

Blessed Be Juls

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 15 and Day 16 of Pantry Challenge

It's official, I've caught the flu that hubby had.I wasn't completely over influenza A so this round with influenza B is just a bigger drain on my system. All I can think is thank heavens I got the flu shot or it would be a lot worse and I would most likely be in the hospital like my daughter's mother in law and niece on her hubby's side.

Last night since we were sitting in the doctor's office until 4:30 and then had to wait until 5:30 to pick up my new meds. Hubby insisted we go to the Chinese buffet and eat dinner. He used the argument that I could get soup,food that had ginger cooked in it and Chinese mustard that also includes turmeric. I have taught him well. I didn't argue back at all.Just figured that was another meal that got moved on the calendar.

Tonight we are having ham sandwiches. I got a ham from Aldi's for half price and tossed it in the oven to bake tonight for sandwiches.Neither one of us feels like eating so a sandwich with an apple or some raw veggies will be plenty.

We did go to the grocery store also to pick up fresh produce,milk and it was suppose to be ground pork...well I am not going to pay $3.89/lb for ground pork when there is a pork roast sitting right by it for $1.29. I needed 4 lbs for the next 2 months so I grabbed 12 lbs of roast. (FYI a 4 lb roast with bone gives you about 2 1/2 lb ground meat)Spent the same amount if I had bought the 4 pounds of ground pork and brought it home to grind myself. I have a food processor and an old fashion meat grinder.Two of the roasts got ground up, their bones got tossed in to the crock pot with the third roast that will cook on low over night to make shredded pork. Balance of grocery budget is 1/4th of what I normally would have spent by now and we have meals on the menu that is in the pantry until March. 

Enjoy your night.
Blessed Be Juls

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 14 Pantry challenge

Day 14, Hubby has the flu ( he had influ B and  I had influ A)for sure,Doc put him on theraflu and he is home from work. I think that maybe in the last 20 yrs he has stayed home from work maybe 3 times due to being sick. Not something that he does, let alone that he usually doesn't get sick. Just brings it home to me instead. SMILE

I had thought of the leftover salad from when we ordered pizza and some soup but realized there was some bell pepper that was going to go bad if we didn't get it used up. So instead I tossed the bell pepper, onion and leftover turkey from deep freezer together in a skillet and then tossed it in flat bread for sandwiches to go with the leftover salad. 

I also printed off a calendar for Feb. and March. As I find meals in the pantry or buried in deep freezer I am writing it on the calendar. I cross it off when we eat it. Being sick has caused a lot of issues with eating from the pantry. I made hamburger casserole the other night and normally there wouldn't have been anything left and we only ate half of it so that is going in the freezer and on the menu. 

I have started a grocery list, almost decided to go Thursday (normal grocery day) because I have a coupon for $5 if I buy $25 only to realize I didn't have $25 worth of groceries listed and caught myself thinking what I could add to it to get the $25. Kind of defeats the purpose of eating from the pantry.

By eating from the pantry I made a basic grocery list of what we eat and what I needed to make sure was stocked. Then when I sat down with the seed catalogs to start planning the garden I used that same list.That kept me focused on what we actually eat, not what looks really interesting in the catalogs. Then since we expanded the square foot gardens last year I decide to put all the gardens on spreadsheets and input where what was going. That also keeps me reined in because I have been know to have to plant pumpkins around the house because I ran out of room in the gardens. SO that also reins in the pantry next fall. 

Flu meds time. Everyone be safe and well

Blessed Be Juls

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 12 and Day 13 of Pantry Challenge

I am feeling decent but Hubby wasn't yesterday. He decided he wanted a chef salad and pizza from our local pizza shop. Definitely a splurge because I have been making our pizzas at home. I will put part of the pizza in the freezer to have for later. We will end up making about 3-4 meals total off of it. I think it was his way of compromising since he wasn't up to eating the steak and lobster tail I had planned for my bday dinner He didn't even finish his salad and only at a couple slices of pizza...definitely didn't feel like eating much at all. He works all of next weekend which is actually my bday and we don't eat that big of meal right before he goes to work.Oh well, it will stay in the freezer until another time.

 Today we are back to eating from the Pantry. I chose hamburger pie since it would free up my casserole dish and hubby was already able to eat sloppy joe which is the base of the pie.

 I plan to put together baked oatmeal tonight for tomorrow morning. Temps here are suppose to drop from the high 50s of the last couple days to the 20-30s by tomorrow morning with Friday morning to start out at 10 degrees...lovely to be here in Ohio.A hot breakfast before we run our errands will be good.

 I walked the gardens yesterday while it was still warm and the rain hadn't come in to make notes of what needed down before I started planting. Went to the pantry and looked to see what I didn't need to plant this year.Dill pickles no, bread and butter pickles yes.

Straightened up the pantry will looking it over. Now have some empty spots.I also was able to clear off the top of the cabinet in the dining room where I keep food that is in boxes( the pantry in the basement does sometimes gets damp so what I don't transfer to other containers stays in the cabinet in the dining room). So it shows that we are eating from the pantry which helps keeps me on task with it.

Pull out some cookbooks from the Great Depression and some recipes and notes off the internet about food during W.W.1, W.W. 2 and the Great Depression. My grandpa talked to me about how things were during W.W.1 before he died. My parents lived through the other two and always talked about it.Lots of wisdom for making food last during those times.

Have a great day, stay safe and warm. Eat well.

Blessed Be Juls

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 11 of Pantry Challenge and more flu

Sorry day 10 was scheduled to post last night but some how I messed that up... I woke up with a fever of 99.1... that is a lot lower than it has been but let me know I still was fighting the flu. Hubby came in from work and after one look I knew he now has it. Ten Bucks says he gives it back to me. Still we are eating from the pantry. We had fruit with our coffee this morning before he curled on couch and went to sleep and I went back to bed. When I woke for lunch I had him take the bed because the pup was dropping toys on him trying to get him to wake up and play with him. I had home made beef broth for lunch. Hubby woke up later and we ate an early dinner of home made sloppy joes and the last of the pears.I make my sloppy joes sauce from scratch, we like it better that way. I already put some of it in the casserole dish for hamburger pie (Sheppard's pie or Chinese pie depending on which of my kids you talk to).It's base is sloppy joes topped by veggie (usually corn for us) and then mashed potatoes. Some times I will top it with cheese. I wrote a menu for Jan and Feb from the pantry. Thought it would be a good guideline more than something that was "I must cook this tonight". It also lets me look at it to see if there is something I can fix fast when it's the "I don't want to cook tonight" or the "I forgot to thaw something" night. The bonus is it reminds me to soak my dry beans so I can use them. We eat a lot of different dried beans in a lot of different ways, not just bean soup. But like everything else I have gotten out of the habit with everything that went on last year between surgeries, Mother dying and my Crohn's putting me in the hospital. Not sure what we will be eating tomorrow since we are both sick...that kind of sucks since we were suppose to have porterhouse steak and lobster tails for my bday dinner since hubby works next week during my bday and we don't eat that big of a meal right before he leaves for work. Stay safe, stay well...Blessed Be Juls

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 10 Pantry Challenge

I woke up feeling okay, fever is gone, in fact my temperature is now below normal. Hubby got in early from work so since I was feeling okay he agreed we could go to the store. I have been tracking what we spend, coupons and sales etc to keep us in budget. After today's buy I am still saving around 25 % (goal is to be over 30% by April) and we are below half the budgeted amount for the month. After I get a cup of hot tea and curl back up on the couch for the day I am going to write out the menu for the rest of the month. Hubby thought that would help him help me with me still recovering from the flu. We did pick up a couple things that we didn't need...steak and wine for this weekend. My bday is next weekend but Hubby has to work all next weekend so we won't be going out or me fixing a big meal when he is working so I decided to do the big meal this weekend instead. Today's meal is chuck roast (from store today but I knew I would be exhausted by dinner and hubby needs a good meal by now and he isn't going to cook it himself, it was good because I saved $2/lb on it AND I can make at least 3 meals from it. The veggies will come from the pantry along with the fruit for dessert. Blessed Be Juls

Day 9 pantry challenge

Hubby had the last of his Hot sausage chili with Fritos. He took the last of the pork chop, beef roast and the navy bean soup to work for lunch. I had a fried egg sandwich. We are out of bread, out of dog food, and out of hamburger for meatloaf etc. Still have the flu but the fever is mostly gone Blessed Be Juls

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 8 Pantry Challenge

I have influenza A....my immunity system is way down due to a bout of Crohn's so I am glad I got the flu shot so this isn't hitting so hard that I am back in the hospital. I am glad I have a "good to sleep on" couch also. Still , with me being down and Hubby not cooking from the menu we are eating from the pantry. He had leftovers last night and I snacked on odds and ends of crackers, cheese and fruit through the day.Wished I had canned more poultry broth in pints. Tonight I hope to be able to eat a little more. Hubby said he will either eat what is left of the beef roast or the bean soup and that what he doesn't eat for his lunch tonight at work. The grocery stores inserts arrived in the mail yesterday. I tossed them directly into the bin.If I don't look at them I don't think I need to hit the sales. The garden catalogs are coming in pretty think. I made a list of what I do NOT need in the pantry before I started looking at what I did need.I have a lot of dill pickles and hot peppers of assorted kinds but I am out of bread and butter pickles.That tells me I eat pickles and Hubby doesn't. I made note of that also. Going back to the couch....doc said rest rest and sleep along with all the other drink plenty of fluids and take the meds advice. Blessed Be Juls

Monday, January 7, 2013

day 7 of Pantry challengeT

Today was easy, navy bean and ham soup from the deep freezer and white corn bread from the other deep freezer. Sliced up some potatoes to fry to go along with it and it was a done deal. Have a little bit of soup left but I have plans for that in a couple days. Had plenty of corn bread left, plans for that also in a couple days. In the past 9 days we have eaten our meals from the pantry (we started on the 30th)for 8 days. We have done fine.Went to the store and got perishables and part of what was on the list I didn't buy because I thought of other things in the pantry that could be used instead. AND for the first time ever that I can remember....there was nothing...not one thing...in either frig to throw away in the trash tonight( which goes to the road tonight). That is better yet. Check over to goodcheapeats for more information. http://goodcheapeats.com/2013/01/pantry-challenge-link-up-1/ Blessed be Juls

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 6 pantry challenge

Yesterday I planned to have pork chops...Hubby decided it was time to go out and grab a hamburger at the local restaurant. So tonight we had baked pork chops, scalloped potatoes,corn, green beans, cottage cheese,pickled beets,apple sauce,clafoutis and hot bread. Tummies are full. I checked the food supply and we don't need anything. That's really good. So here it to week 2 of the pantry challenge. Blessed Be Juls

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 5 Pantry challenge

Last night I did the sliced ham, garlicky mushrooms and kale, creamy cheese polenta and citrus fruit salad. It was an okay meal considering neither hubby or I like kale. Since the kale was slightly sauteed instead of steamed until soggy I am going to say it's the method of cooking instead of the kale. Today is going to be oven baked pork chops, scalloped potatoes, green beans, corn and something to use up the pumpkin pie filling that is sitting in the frig. I have kale to use up and creamy cheese polenta to use up also. So I went looking for ideas for those ingredients. Even though Hubby wonders where my mind some times go I wandered off on the internet (had the ickies anyways) and researched menus and recipes from W.W. 1,W.W. 2 and the Great Depression. (it's a recession when your neighbor loses their job, it's a depression when you lose your own.) ANYWAYS....Dad preaches not throwing food away. Mom didn't throw food away either until it molded and then it went to the field for the critters to eat. (Dad lives in the city, Mom and step dad lived in the country). I have always tried to not throw food away...then Dad suggested instead of tossing food here and there in the trash to put it all on the table and look to see what we are wasting including the skins and peelings of food like potatoes,carrots and such. SO I am back to focusing on not only eating from my pantry but making it last longer that I think it can and not throwing any food in the trash can or the field. I wouldn't throw money there that Hubby has worked hard for to begin with, throwing food there is the same thing. Blessed be Juls

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pantry challenge day 4

I was sick last night so didn't cook. Hubby had a ham sandwich and some raw veggies and I had Ramen noodles (no broth) with butter and garlic powder and went to bed. Still the food was from the pantry and not the local fast food shop which I normally send hubby to when I am sick. So tonight, even if I am not feeling well I am fixing ham slices,garlicky mushrooms and kale, creamy cheese polenta and citrus salad with creamy Italian dressing. I don't like kale, but like my Dad I am going to start eating what is good for me not necessarily what I like.Besides I think the garlic will cover the taste. SMILE. Heading to the couch now with a pot of ginger tea and hopefully feeling better. Blessed be Juls

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 3 and the grocery store

Day 3 and I went to the grocery store. Started to get perishables and ended up talking myself out of picking up most of it with the thoughts I can use something else out of the pantry.I spent less than 50% of our normal budget and racked up over 21% in savings with mark downs,coupons and sales. Plus we are pretty sure we won't need anything except eggs,milk and bread through the rest of the month. Fingers are crossed Pulled out mystery meat last night out of frig freezer, figured out this morning it was ham. So along with ham slices I am making cheesy polenta(pantry) and garlicky mushrooms and kale and a citrus salad The kale was bought today. I don't have enough green veggies in the pantry and I do try to use a rainbow of colors on our plates for veggies and fruit. I also picked up kiwi,pineapple and pears to add to the apples,oranges,limes and lemons we have. Blessed Be Juls

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I cleaned out both frigs last night. A few things got shoved to the back when I shoved all the kids candy in the frig of the mudroom. I have a rule of NO leftovers in the mudroom frig but when all the condiments take over the kitchen frig that's where the leftovers go.Still it wasn't as bad as I feared. We don't plan bfast and lunch. Both of us just grab something leftover or what ever as hubby doesn't work days and the only meal we eat together is dinner. Tonight we will have sausage patties(leftover from the pizza nite) bakes sweet potatoes or I should say nuked sweet potatoes and sauteed broccoli as I still have plenty of fresh broccoli in the frig. Have a Blessed day juls

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Eating from the Pantry..Jan 1st

I have to confess...I started on the 30th...after looking at both frigs, their freezers, both deep freezers and my over flowing pantry that takes up  12 x 25 room in the basement. I just couldn't talk myself into ignoring what was there and going to the store to buy what I want.

On Dec 30th I made home made pizza using up a box pizza that I bought out of memories, I used up cheese from the freezer, a couple sausage patties,onion,mushrooms and banana peppers on one and pepperoni,onion, and mushrooms on the other one. The two of us ate both of them before going to bed.

On Dec 31st  I made spinach salad. Soup using the broth I made from the leftover prime rib roast of Christmas eve along with some of the meat from that roast,(rest will show up in noodles later), added some leftover pizza sauce from the night of pizzas and sauteed onions,carrots,celery,mushrooms, and garlic. Added hot bread(from deep freezer) and called it a meal.

Today , Jan 1st we have been snacking on odds and ends in the frigs, which I need to clean out tonight for the trash to go to the road for tomorrow's pick up.

Dinner will be ribs (deep freezer from July 4th) with BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes, kraut and leftover broccoli,cauliflower, carrots from a veggie tray to make California blend veggies along with what is left of the bread from last night.

It was suggested I make a menu of the meals in my freezers and pantry....that would be over 300 and I won't stay with those ideas anyways...the chef in me sees some recipe and pulls the spices and changes what was going on the table about mid morning anyways.

Have a safe and Happy New Year

Blessed Be Juls