Tuesday, January 14, 2014

5th annual pantry challenge

I am so pumped to be participating in my fifth annual January pantry challenge, in which I aim to spend half of our usual monthly grocery budget and donate the other half to a charity that's fighting hunger.

To get started each year, I inventory my cupboards, fridge, and freezers for random ingredients that need to be used up. A secondary goal is to use the items to clean out my pantry and hopefully avoid buying as many new items as I might normally.

With that in mind, here is the list of ingredients I hope to use up during this month--these items were free/super-cheap, about to expire, or they are small amounts that just need to be consumed:

*package of mulling spices
*instant mashed potatoes
*banana pancake mix
*chocolate cupcake mix
*cinnamon roll frosting
*carrot puree
*homemade craisins
*ranch dressing
*black bean soup mix
*French fried onions
*vegetable soup mix
*store-bought cookies
*evaporated milk
*cinnamon muffin mix
*caramel dip
*grapefruit juice
*several 2-liters of pop
*seasoning packets for carrot salad
*vegetable bouillon
*venison sausage
*mint tea
*deli ham
*peanuts in the shell
*rye bread
*maple nut butter
*English muffins

And the following are things I have a ton of and just need to be persistent in using:
*garden carrots
*ramen noodles
*canned garden green beans
*butternut squash puree
*diced apples
*chocolate ships
*sesame seeds
*shredded zucchini

I love this month every year. Spend less, use what I already have, and challenge myself to be resourceful. I try to implement those principles all year long, but I make an extra effort in January. For example, earlier this week, I saw my favorite holiday ice cream flavor (peppermint!) on special at the store. I almost put a container in my cart, but then I challenged myself to think of an alternative. We have a big bucket of vanilla ice cream in our freezer already, and I remembered a peppermint milk shake I tried last year using leftover candy canes. I made that instead and patted myself on the back that I was using what we had on hand instead of adding something else. For me, that is one of the main goals of this pantry challenge.

I'll check back in at least once more with how it's going, and I'll be sure to let you know if I make the financial goal and where I send the remaining funds.


Mom said...

I always enjoy reading about your annual pantry challenge - good luck! :) Love you, Mom

angie said...

I'm with you, Carrie. I try to use up before adding more. However, I have to be sure to have plenty of quick access foods and snacks for my son whose appetite is insatiable this year! Can't wait to hear your results.

thehomespunheart said...

Plentiful chocolate chips - no problem! :) My first thought was that would make a good match with the zucchini for breads or a yum dessert.

Several mixes in your first list so those will make nice quick blessings when you are in a pinch.

Mmmm - sign me up for a peppermint milk shake next time I'm with you! :)

Katie said...

Cheering you on, Carrie ~ very fun & inspiring!

We also have a lot of venison. =) If you have/receive any recipes you love for that, I'd be interested!

Can't wait to hear how your challenge turns out. I remember your 1st! =)

Happy 2014!


Carrie said...

Well, I'm not doing the challenge, per se. Although we did set our grocery budget and cut it a bit so I'm being forced to use up stuff in the pantry and freezer that I might have taken my time getting to otherwise. But why do I can if we don't use the produce!? So it'sa good thing.

I'd also like one of your peppermint milkshakes, please and thank you. ;D