Monday, May 5, 2014

Wrapping Up The No Food Shopping Challenge

Day 29

Breakfast: Clementine, Coffee, Toast
Lunch: Leftover Italian Bake
Dinner: Pork Chops in Mexicanish Seasonings, Brown Rice, Broccoli, Chocolate Chip Muffins
Used: 2 clementines, 1 slice bread, remaining Italian baked pasta, 1 small pk frozen pork chops, 1 large frozen chicken breast (Thought it was another pork chop until it thawed.  See why labeling is important!) 1 small can tomato sauce, 1 onion, I clove garlic, minced, assorted spices and herbs, 1/2 pack of instant brown rice, 1 bag of frozen broccoli, 1/2 pack chocolate chips, 2 cups flour, 1 stick butter, 2/3 cup various sugars, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup milk ( Son2 bought some while we were at the lake)

Day 30

Breakfast, Coffee, Clementine, Leftover Chocolate Chip Muffin
                  Son2 Leftover Chocolate Chip Muffin
Lunch: Me, Leftover Weird Cheesy Mac Stuff
            Son3 ,Elbow Mac With Leftover Steak And Asian Seasonings
Dinner: Swedish Meatballs, Elbow Macaroni and Rigatoni, Broccoli Salad

Used: 2 leftover chocolate chip muffins, 1 clementine, remaining weird cheesy mac stuff, elbow macaroni, 1 leftover steak, soy sauce, asian seasonings, pack of homemade frozen Swedish meatballs, remaining elbow mac and remaining rigatoni noodles, leftover broccoli, chopped fine, 1 tablespoon raisins, 3 tablespoons minced onions, 1 tablespoon (maybe) mayo

Yay! We made it through with just a couple of minor slip-ups.  Since we were running back and forth to the lake, we had to stop and buy a couple of things I forgot to pack.  Olive oil, bread (twice) and optional vanilla wafers for banana pudding for TheHub.  TheHub picked up fruit 2 times at the store.  He carries a banana to work nearly every day and it does not take long for bananas to get overripe.  After having to eat some very mushy bananas, he switched to clementines.  They last so much longer in the fridge.

I am very glad I did this, mainly to see how extravagant I can be when buying food.  I tend to overbuy vastly more than we could possibly eat in a month.  My pantry would still be thought of as full by most people.  I would not call it anywhere near empty, but it is reasonable now.  In fact I know what items I need to purchase and what items I can wait a while before buying again.  I also know the only protein I will purchase in the immediate future is ground chuck.  Sometime over  the weekend while we were away Son2 had a friend and her kids over.  My frozen hamburger patties took a big hit, which is fine since they were frozen to be cooked and eaten in the first place. But The Pig is having a ground chuck sale this week, so tomorrow I will get enough to make about 20 burgers for the freezer.  I have a feeling we will be cooking quite a few of them this summer at the lake

What I learned during this process:

1. I buy and freeze entirely too many things,   I  do not need enough frozen food to feed the marauding hordes every single day. I can go to the store if I find they are coming.
2. If I really think about it, I can be quite creative in the kitchen.
3. We eat the same meals on a regular basis because it is the easiest option, not the best or tastiest.
4. I REALLY like having salad everyday and REALLY missed not having it.
5. I don't need to freeze as much squash as I did last year, because frozen squash is not our favorite.
6. I need to freeze more tomatoes since we use a ton of them in stews, soups and sauces.
7. Ditto on freezing turnip greens and collards
8. A huge bag each of frozen diced onions, celery and peppers would be great to have on hand all the time.
9. Label EVERYTHING !  The bag of spaghetti sauce is not going to look like only  spaghetti sauce once it is frozen.  It will look just like the chili, red beans and rice, and gumbo.  I have sharpie markers. USE THEM.
10. Freeze chicken, turkey and beef broth in 1 pint freezer bags.  A quart is too much for most of the times I use broth.  If I am making soup I can easily use 2 packages.
11. Keep a bag for the leftover bit and pieces of veggies and meats.  When it is full, make soup.
12.  Freeze leftover soup in silicon large muffin cups  Once frozen pop them out put them in a large freezer bag. 2 "muffins" are enough for lunch.
13.  Ditto for cooked dried beans. 2"muffins" are approximately a can of beans
14.  Cook a whole pack of bacon in the oven until softly done.  Drain and freeze on a cookie sheet.  Once frozen place it in a freezer bag.  Microwave 2 slices on a paper plate for 1 minute
15. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of red wine into an ice cube tray.  Freeze, pop out into a plastic ziplock and use for cooking. Important aside, label the bag with the type of wine.  A dry red really helps Cuban food but a sweet wine will destroy the flavor.
16. Ditto for white wine, though we rarely drink white.
17.  Think of alternate ways to use frozen fruits.  Man can only drink so many smoothies or eat so many cobblers.
18. Believe it or not I miss the act of going to the grocery store.  I am one of those goofballs who enjoys food shopping.
19.  Don't be afraid of screwing up yeast bread.  All these years I have tried with little success and I find the answer to success is as simple as instant yeast
20. The double large bag of yeast from Sam's is a great deal.  It lives in a jar in the freezer and should last well over a year.
21.  Don't worry about serving less than spectacular food.  It is just sustenance and even if it is not great today there is always the chance it might be tomorrow or at the latest some night within the week.
22. Peanut butter and graham crackers are a perfectly good breakfast or lunch occasionally.
23. Each week at least 80 percent of my food purchase should be produce we are going to eat that week.
24. Buy bread flour in bulk.  Those quick dinner rolls are so good it should be illegal to run out of bread flour.
25. Leftovers should be consumed and not left to die in their little refrigerator coffins. ( I have eaten tons of leftovers this month instead of stopping somewhere and picking up lunch.  Has it been what I want? Mostly not, but it's just lunch.)
26. Try something new each week.  Doesn't matter what as long as it is using food in a different way.
27. Use the rest of that stuff in the freezer.  I just got an email notice that local organic strawberries are ready.  It is time to start freezing and preserving the new seasons bounty and I need space!
28.  In every recipe when I used reconstituted powdered milk it worked perfectly.  Food does not know or care if the milk came straight from the fridge or first from a  box.  If you are like us and don't drink milk, use the instant stuff and keep from throwing soured milk out.
29.  Commit substitution rules to memory and never have to run to the store for 1 of anything again.
30.  Cook as much as possible from scratch and  use organic if possible and stay away from GMO foods.


  1. I am proud of you...I certainly couldn't have done it. I'm printing out your lessons list right now!

  2. It was actually a little fun, but more work than I had planned.