Condo Blues: Eat From the Pantry Month Challenge

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eat From the Pantry Month Challenge

Husband and I stumbled into May’s One Small Green Change by accident.  I am busy crafting for and building Blitzkrieg’s Pet Promise Rescue Run booth. Add to that Husband’s weekly choir rehearsal, Blitzkrieg’s chemo day, and now my weekly marching band rehearsal it’s been difficult to squeeze time in for grocery shopping except for a quick milk run. Husband goes through almost a gallon a week.

 I relive my high school color guard glory days by twirling flag in two parades each summer. Some things never change. I'm stilled placed by the tubas and am the shortest person in the band.
Fortunately, we did a big grocery shopping trip before Crazy Time, which should keep us in fish, meat, and fresh produce for awhile. We really need to work on eating the fresh frozen veggies, 17 cups ofhomemade chicken stock that keep falling out of the freezer and onto my head, and the backup bags of frozen vegetables to make room for this summer’s garden produce. When Husband and I bought seeds last January we bought with our stomachs instead of our heads because this year’s garden will be items I cannot can. I have to freeze whatever we can’t devour in our tiny freezer. Whoops!

These are old photos from Lazy Budget Chef because I didn't take a start photo before we started eating from the pantry and freezer. However this is the same amount of food we're working with.

The same goes with eating from the pantry. This is how couponing and stockpiling ingredient type food saves money. It isn't about hoarding food. It's about planning and buying food when it is on sale (hopefully pared with coupon for extra savings) to use when you run out and the item is not on sale/coupon. 

In this case, stockpiling ingredients means I will save at least a couple hundred dollars because I won't have to grocery shop for a month (or maybe more.) I save money twice. I’m using what I have on hand (zero dollars now) and I bought it sale (at less than full price dollars when I bought it.)   

 The canned broth is to make food for Blitzkrieg. He can't eat my homemade stock because it contains onions and garlic. Husband likes to alternate hippie colon blow cereal with my homemade granola for variety.

We planned to bank whatever money we save on not buying groceries. Then my breadmaker took a dirt nap and I need to replace it. If you have a breadmaker recommendation, send it my way. Gah! One step forward, two steps back.

I'm even showing you the snack basket. We're aren't monks, ya know.

This little experiment will also encourage Husband and I to make dinner with the unusual spices and ingredients we got as Christmas gifts.  We tend to save these items for a special occasion that never comes. Well, any day can be a good reason to treat our taste buds to an amazing dinner. A kick in that direction isn’t such a bad thing either.

 How is Eating From the Pantry and Freezer Green?

  •  We aren’t buying new stuff to eat except milk, maybe bread, and the occasional weekend libation – although we have wine gifts we should consider first. Blitzkrieg has special dispensation. Anything he needs this month he gets.
  •  I hope that this will cut down on the plastic grocery bags that somehow sneak into the house because one of us isn’t as psychotic diligent as I am about remembering the reusable shopping totes. Don’t worry. I use what few plastic grocery bags we get as weekly household trash bags. Blitzkrieg takes care of the smaller frozen veggie, etc. bags.
  • I won’t have to buy more freezer bags and containers for this summer’s garden produce if we empty what we already have in use.


What Kind of Junk are You Going to Eat?

Other than the less than five ingredients I know we have on hand that fall into the Oops! I didn't check the ingredient label, nothing. We'll give ourselves an excuse eat it and try be more diligent when shopping in the future. Cream of Mushroom soup (Christmas green bean casserole craving) I'm talking to you.

I'm not going to beat myself up about it because our 80/20 Rule extends to food too. It keeps my head from exploding because I can't control Every. Single. Aspect. of my life and frankly I don't want to. I tried it and made myself miserable. I don't want to end up living in a giant protective hamster ball either, which is most likely plastic. Then My Plastic Free Life will kick my butt for encasing myself in a giant plastic sphere for the obvious plastic reasons but more importantly we won't be able to do that karaoke duet we want to do. I'm sure plastic hamster ball acoustics are terrible.

An example of what I have sorta planned, most nights, we Iron Chef it.
  • Whole wheat pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce
  • Homemade pizza - I make whole wheat pizza dough in advance and freeze it.
  • Fruit Popsicles - I have berries and puree from last summer.
  • Shwarma Black Bean Burgers We have a ton of dried beans we usually eat in winter soups. I sometimes make vegetarian Shwarma burgers and freeze them in advance for lunches and quick meals.
  • Stir frys - most of our meals are of the lots of veggies, pasta or rice, and meat as a condiment.
  • Several pesto sauce based dinner because some lactose intolerant person still buys interesting pesto sauces (ahem.)

We’ll see what the month brings. Do you have any tips for me?

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Selynn said...

Great idea, I try to eat from the pantry/freezer at least once a month. It helps me rotate everything, plus I save a shopping trip for a week. I like the websites that you can enter in an ingredient and it shows you all kinds of ways to use it in a recipe. It's my "try new recipes" week :)

Oh and I love the Spiderman Pez container on your pantry shelf!

I hope Blitzkrieg is having a good week!

Mary said...

Love the band picture - you look tiny! So cute. Would you mind sharing your whole wheat pizza dough recipe (or have you already)? I've been looking for a good one. Ear scratchies for Blitzkrieg.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

You asked. I answered. My Whole Wheat Breadmaker Pizza Dough recipe is live on Lazy Budget Chef!

Mary said...

Thanks Lisa!

Selena said...

Hi Liza-thanks for sharing your stuff here! You're such a cute little girl back then. Like your idea of getting "on sale" items that will make you save money.

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