The pantry challenge has been so easy that I’ve barely noticed it, except that my trips to the grocery store are quicker and I’m spending less money. You can read about the challenge and the plan here and the first update here. The idea is to use up our holiday leftovers while avoiding waste, to get the pantry and freezer organized so we know what’s in there and use it before it goes bad, and to save money as a bonus.
Here’s a quick update on how it’s going.
First of all, we’re more than halfway through the month and I can see we won’t even get to all the meals I had planned. Our pantry is getting much more organized and I’m able to see what we have more easily, so it will be easier to avoid waste. And we’ve barely even touched the freezer stash. Somehow it comforts me to know that we could easily go two or three months without shopping if we really needed to. I wouldn’t want to have to of course, and I wouldn’t choose to eat canned and frozen food all the time, but it makes me feel more self-sufficient to know how easy it is to survive on so little. And just so you know, we’re not sacrificing our health because I’m supplementing with fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meat, and we don’t eat packaged food.
Here’s what we’ve been eating:
Savory rosemary bread pudding, crockpot chicken tacos, pizza, potstickers/greens/sweet potato fries, and lots and lots of chili (a big bowl of chili feeds two people several times). Lunches have been leftovers, salads, and fresh fruit. Breakfast is a smoothie, homemade granola and yogurt, or peanut butter toast. For snacks and dessert, we finally finished the holiday cookies and chocolate, plus I made a pumpkin pie and some banana/coconut bread. See how deprived we are?
This week’s grocery list:
Chicken breasts, almond milk, milk, yogurt, cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, molasses and maple syrup (I make a lot of homemade granola), spinach, romaine, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, and tortilla chips.
At this rate, I’m definitely going to have the lowest grocery bill ever this month. And I’m looking forward to more delicious meals this week, plus I’ll be making The Frugal Girl’s french bread and a few new dessert items.
The main thing I’ve noticed so far is how much food is always in the refrigerator when you’re making everything from scratch, even snacks. And that’s a real money saver as well. I’ve also gotten more creative and used things I probably wouldn’t have in the past. For example, I used 4-day-old French bread for the savory bread pudding, and it was delicious.
A big thanks to all of you who’ve joined the challenge for your great ideas and the recipes you’ve posted. I encourage everyone to check out the Comments section of all the pantry challenge-related posts to read them.
Are you participating in the pantry challenge? How’s it going so far? Let us know in the Comments section. And keep the tips and recipes coming, thanks!