Friday, January 11, 2013

Pantry challenge update

As I've mentioned, my January custom for the past 4 years has been to challenge myself to use just half our normal grocery budget and donate the other half.

The first step in this process is to inventory our kitchen/freezer/pantry for stuff that needs to be used up. This is a random assortment of things we were given, great deals, and/or items that are about to expire. Here is this year's list:

*graham crackers (Bought these as a snack, and my kids decided they no longer like them. What?! I haven't made a graham cracker crust before, but that's my plan.)
*Panko bread crumbs
*raspberry syrup
*ramen (Usually have this on hand, but I bought a large case on an amazing markdown last month.)
*teriyaki sauce (Ended up with 2 open bottles--different brands, so just want to use one up)
*pineapple sauce
*bacon bits
*cinnamon roll frosting (Mmm, the possibilities!)
*onions (3 left from our garden and they need to be used before they spoil)
*butternut squash (")
*fruit dip
*cocoa truffles
*dried plums
*potato soup mix
*beer bread mix
*cranberry juice
*bran cereal
*gravy
*cherry flavoring
*ranch dip mix
*donuts (I tried freezing some extra bakery donuts and it worked great--just heated them briefly in the microwave.)

(Italicized items have been used up by the writing of this post.) I also have a bin full of baby food purees I made for Naomi, and I'd like to use those up this month and start transitioning her from purees. That will clear up a lot of space in our deep freeze!

I'm almost halfway through January, and enjoying the added challenge. I always like coming up with a grocery plan that involves sales, matching ads, and coupons, but this month I have to be especially discerning in deciding what to purchase.

I haven't finalized yet where the extra money will be sent, but I'm considering a few options and will keep you posted.

4 comments:

Linds said...

I love pantry challenges! And an awesome idea to donate the rest of the grocery budget. We did a pantry challenge in Sept. and challenged myself to keep the grocery list to 10 items all month. It was great and really broke some unhealthy habits and I learned some great lessons in what I really need. Hope It goes well for you!

Lisa said...

Hi Carrie,
If you are looking for a way to use that butternut squash, I recently made a squash and apple soup with a squash from our CSA...it was soooo yummy although very rich!
Here's the recipe I used (found conversion for fresh sage to dried online and used the dried instead) http://www.simplebites.net/butternut-squash-and-apple-soup-recipe/

kelseylynae said...

One suggestion: take the graham crackers and the frosting and hide in a closet and just spread and eat! ;-)

Also, I need to start Blythe on more meat. What have you done for meat with Naomi [or the other two]? She still has no teeth.

Carrie said...

I always like it when you do these! It encourages me to pilfer through my pantry a bit as well. We did put ourselves on a stricter food budget about a month ago though and that has forced me to look more closely at my pantry already (a good thing!) and I've been using things up. Makes me happy. It's a satisfying feeling not to let it go to waste. It also makes me consider how much I buy, WHAT I buy, *and* what I need to can (or not can!) next year!