Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pantry challenge update

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am doing a January pantry challenge for the third yearLink in a row, and I wanted to post at the midway point. My goal is to spend just half of our usual monthly grocery budget, so it's forcing me to be creative and use what we have on hand.

The first step I took earlier this month is to make an inventory of random items we've accumulated or things that need to be used up. I've shared most of that list below with you so you can see what I'm working with. I don't list things like flour and sugar that I always have on hand; rather, most of these ingredients were given to us, acquired for free/very cheap, or are expiring soon.

As I'm planning our meals this month, these are the items I'm hoping to use in the process:

*apple pie filling
*Panko bread crumbs
*powdered creamer
*homemade yogurt (This was something I'd wanted to try for a long time--my result was super runny, so I've been using it in baking.)
*frozen shredded zucchini
*frozen rhubarb #
*frozen tilapia
*frozen green/yellow/red peppers
*soy flour #
*taco sauce #
*flavored mayo #
*Rice Krispies
*wild rice
*instant potato mixes
*basmati rice

Quite the variety, huh?! If you have ideas for the items with a # next to them (other than rhubarb crisp/egg replacement/tacos/sandwiches, respectively), I'd love to hear them! (Italicized items have been used up by the writing of this post.)

I'm halfway through, and enjoying the added challenge. I'm right on track on terms of the amount I've spent, and I've tried to be especially ruthless when making my grocery list. I really enjoy coming up with a grocery plan that involves sales, matching ads, and coupons. And I was proud on Friday when the cashier told me what a great job I'd done saving money on my bill!

In addition to groceries, I'm also challenging myself to use up samples and half-full toiletry items before purchasing more. I was amazed when I went through our stash to see that some products have been in there for, um, years.

I'm still contemplating where to send the remaining grocery funds, but completing the challenge is extra rewarding knowing we can bless someone else with the surplus.

Photo credit


Mom said...

Good job (and cool pantry photo)! I recently tried a new recipe for rhubarb bread using frozen rhubarb which we liked -- I'll send the recipe. For years, I used soy flour adding a tablespoon to a measuring cup before adding regular flour. Thanks for the update! Love you, Mom

Katie said...

Excited to hear how this all turns out. Love this annual challenge in creativity and resources for a good cause!

I don't have any recipes for you, but I'm wondering if the flavored mayo would work well in a cold salad with cut up chicken, grapes, broccoli, and cashews? (or any combo of things you like)

Are you having any strange cravings or aversions this pregnancy? :) I never liked onions (my whole life) until I was pregnant with our third child. I craved them and I still like them today!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Carrie. I'm impressed. Your pantry looks SO neat...and you're doing a fantastic job of using what you have on hand. I really need to do that. You are inspiring me to try!
Love, Grandma

erin said...

I thought of your pantry challenge today as we are getting snow and wondering when I will make it back to the grocery store -- I may have to get super-creative towards the end of this week! :)

Carrie said...

YES! I saw the stacked cans and I smiled. I think stacked cans make things look so organized and neat and helps you to know what you already have on hand! =D Looks just beautiful. (I could stand and stare at a pantry with stacked cans for awhile. Ok, moving on . . . )

Love your challenge. And I'm glad you are doing it again because everytime you do it I find myself seeing how long I can actually hold out before I go to the grocery store again. I can usually hold out for awhile! =)