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Saturday, April 1, 2017

It's A Wrap!

This is the final  post of my self imposed March food challenge. My freezer and pantry were
both tremendously overstocked and I needed to use up a big hunk of food inventory so I  pulled a rabbit out of my hat and decided we would use what I had on hand buying only necessities for the month.  In my mind that meant fruit, salad fixings, milk and bread.  TheHub had other ideas so I wound up having to accommodate his recreational shopping habit in my food budget. (Chips, Fat Boys. Chocolate Milk, etc,)  Consequently I am about 15 dollars over my anticipated 100 budget for the month, but the pantry and freezer stock is substantially reduced.  I still have a fairly decent amount left in the freezer, and the pantry is nowhere near as full as it was.   I decided I will continue a modified challenge throughout April and will have at least 2 meals per week that are made entirely from items I already have on hand. That will give me a minimum of 8 meals to make another dent in the freezer, and will keep the Publix shopper I live with happy.  I will keep a list of those food storage meals and will post it at the end of the month.

Meanwhile this is my list of the final three days of March.  It has been a fun challenge with few surprises (except for the St Paddys corned beef that I was positive I had frozen but i turned out to be a boneless ham instead). So now I move on to April and TheHub is ecstatic because he gets to watch the basketball finals and have exactly what he wants for dinner instead of what is in the freezer ___hot dogs, buns, chips,root beer and ice cream. (Ha! the joke is on him__the hot dogs are from the freezer!)

March 29
bought
zero

used
coffee (pantry)
tea (pantry)
T.J.'s chicken burger (freezer)
tossed salad (fridge)
mandarin (fridge)
package of chili (freezer)
oyster crackers (pantry)
bread (pantry)
pork skins (bought)
salsa (fridge)
peanut butter (pantry)
fruit spread, that stuff that is kind of like jelly but not really (fridge)
cabbage (fridge)
carrot (fridge)
scallions (fridge)
oil (pantry)
vinegar (pantry)
salt, pepper, herbs, spices (pantry)
Chulula (fridge)

eaten
breakfast: coffee
lunch:grilled chicken patty, tossed salad, mandarin, few pork skins with salsa (and yes I know they are gross but they were here and I wanted something crunchy)
dinner: chili with Chulula and oyster crackers, slaw, tea
late night snack: peanut butter and almost jelly sandwich

March 30
bought
milk 2.00 Cavender's Greek Seasoning 1.79
used
leftover Asian rice and veggies (fridge)
mandarin (fridge)
pork tenderloin (freezer)
olive oil (pantry)
Cavender's greek seasoning (bought. Drats! I ran out of it Wednesday night)
hashbrowns (freezer)
broccoli (freezer)
tossed salad mix (fridge)
popcorn (pantry)
butter flavored salt (pantry)
cooking spray (pantry)
herbs seasonings, salt and pepper (pantry)
red wine vinegar (pantry)
tea (pantry)
coffee (pantry)
eaten
breakfast: coffee
lunch: leftover Asian rice stuff, salad, mandarin
dinner: pork tenderloin, hashbrowns, broccoli, tossed salad
snack: popcorn (two times yesterday), mandarin

March 31
bought
zero
Truthfully on the way home from eating out we bought some things for TheHub's ball game dinner tomorrow, but nothing was used today so it goes on Aprils food budget!  Yay! I can buy more than essentials, but will probably wait until next week to shop since we are leaving for NYC  Wednesday afternoon.

used
coffee (pantry)
cashews (pantry)
egg (fridge)
coffee (pantry)
tea (pantry)
mandarins (fridge)
pickles (fridge)
oyster crackers (pantry)
cheese (fridge)

eaten
breakfast: coffee, McDonald's plain biscuit (I had to take Mom to the dr. butt early so I grabbed a coffee and biscuit while waiting on her )
lunch:  I did not eat lunch but nibbled on oyster crackers, cheese, pickles, cashews and drank tea
dinner:  We went out to a little Mediterranean joint for their Camel Racer sandwich (Gussied up bologna in pita but dang is it ever tasty)


I guess the only thing left is to say this has been very good for me. It stretches my cooking imagination and makes me so grateful that we are able to have a full freezer and pantry. It also reminds me that I might need to expand my volunteer hours to include working in our local food pantry instead of just donating to it.

I won't say I will not stock up like this again, because when I can get 80 percent lean ground chuck for 2.79 a pound I will buy 40 or so pounds and freeze it.  The same goes for 49 cents per pound chicken quarters, or 1.49 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts. And of course I will process and freeze summer produce again.  I just want to be more mindful of what I have on hand and use it more freely throughout the year. By October my freezer will probably be busting at the gills again, and I might have to have a March challenge all over.

And now that this challenge is over and closed I am gong to head over to enter Sulggy's giveaway. Pop over to Don't Read This It's Boring for a chance to win chocolate some cool stuff.

18 comments:

  1. Yay! Go you! I feel the same way -- I won't stop buying to take advantage of sales and/or stock up on favorites, but these challenges do force me to think about and take advantage of what we have on hand, rather than squirreling them away and then continuing to buy groceries as though the cupboards are bare. I did go shopping yesterday and today for April and it was nice to purchase things without worrying about whether it fit the challenge or how close I was to going over my slim budget.

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    1. It is a relief isn't it! But it also gives me pause when I realize that many families live on tight budget restrictions without the food stores I always seem to have.

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    2. I think about that a lot, too. I know that I am lucky to a) have the food stores we do and b) have the outlook that food storage is important to help swing through lean times -- I think I would find it very stressful to work week to week on a budget that didn't allow for really any overage or storage to be built up.

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  2. Yay you. I am trying to eat down the pantry. Sadly, the other person in the house notices the gaps - and fills them.

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    1. PS: LOVE that wrapped parcel. Stylish and elegant. Which my parcels never achieve.

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    2. I understand totally the other person thing. TheHub is so excited he can't stand it, because he came home today and I didn't go through the bags (yes plural) fussing about his purchases.
      I would love to say my packages look like that but I grabbed a stock photo of a present. Mine look similar to that though, less the magic wand, polka dots and yarn bow.

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  3. Anne,
    You never said the point was to keep an empty freezer, so restocking at amazing prices is sort of the point along with getting food out of the freezer which might get freezer burn or just not get used. Since J helped me get the freezer emptied, I have not bought one bit of meat, just used what I had.

    Your husband's hobby probably cost more than $15 this month, so you actually were under $100 if you put his snacks in the total.

    I found a package of cooked bs chic breasts that I will now eat from. It is amazing what can hide! J is coming Tuesday to help me with canned goods confusion! Great job!

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  4. I am glad to have used a ton of food inventory. If I take out TheHubs "treats" I would be under 100. I am ok with the overage, because it really does not affect us at all. It was just an arbitrary number I threw out there. No matter what, we ate pretty well and spent very little.

    It is amazing what all can hide in a freezer. My true aim is to get the remaining proteins used before freezer burn sets in. Now I have a totally bare shelf and I can start replenishing it (if there are super sales) and still keep the older foods separate.

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  5. You did really well on this challenge, Anne! Yes, definitely a must to stock up when the prices are low!

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    1. Thanks, Bless! I will stockpile when the prices are right, but I have got to have a better handle on rotating my inventory, especially the freezer foods.

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  6. I've realized at my age, eventually the stocks have to be used. It doesn't need to be a hardship either.

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    1. I agree about its eventual use. I just had to gain some control and use things before they were no longer useful. (Like the box of popsicles that were smashed beyond eating)

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  7. You did great! I have a love/hate relationship with my food stockpile. It's amazing for quick dinners, but then . . . I always have to figure out how to use it effectively without waste. ;-) I definitely have too many toiletries (moving them all reminded me of that), so tackling my toiletry stockpile is on my agenda for the spring.

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    Replies
    1. The without waste is what caused this challenge. I realized without substantial use some of my freezer stock would ruin. I have it to manageable amounts now and at least have one shelf cleared for restocking, so I can use the longest stored items first.
      Oh don't even get me started on toiletries!

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  8. Several years ago when we made a big move from Texas to Maryland, I tried to use all of the food we had. We moved a few spices, but that's all. It's amazing what you can make to eat when you have "nothing". We got pretty close to eating everything. It was hard work, but kind of fun to figure out how to create meals from things like rice and jello.

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  9. Isn't it great when you can use stuff up!

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