Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oct Pantry Challenge Update 3

Sorry this is a few days late! Life just caught up with me. Don't you hate when that happens? I had to buy milk and eggs again. I'm $20 over budget and disappointed in myself. Oh well. . .

Menu Plan for October 22nd- 28th

I don't plan for breakfast & lunch because we generally eat different things for breakfast, and Brad buys lunch at his work. 

Wednesday: Chicken Tetrazzini with Roasted Carrots and Rolls

Thursday: Homemade Pizza with Green Beans

Friday: Chili and Cornbread (at a church Halloween party)

Saturday: Leftovers/Mac-n-Cheese

Sunday: Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes with Bacon and Orange Slices

Monday: Elk Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Zucchini

Tuesday: Penne and Italian Sausage Pasta with Roasted Root Veggies

Money Spent: $129
Money Left: $-29

I actually told myself after my last challenge to allow the budget to be $150. I really debated on it and ultimately thought I could keep it at $100. We really do have a lot of food in our house by way of food storage and we were still getting a few things from the garden. What I didn't anticipate was going through our milk SO quickly. Also, that our chickens would begin molting and not provide us with a single egg for this entire challenge so far! Not to mention the convenience of store-bought bread over homemade.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oct Pantry Challenge Update 2

Oh boy. This last week we ran out of milk, bread, and eggs. We were nearly out of all-purpose flour, sugar, and butter. I guess I should have been monitoring their usage more closely. It definitely shows just how much our meals tend to rely on these staples and gives me ideas on what specifically I should be stocking up on more often.

Menu Plan for October 15th- 21st

I don't plan for breakfast & lunch because we generally eat different things for breakfast, and Brad buys lunch at his work. 

Wednesday: Cheeseburger Pasta with Roasted Veggies

Thursday: Chicken and Dumplings

Friday: Frozen Pizza with Sliced Fruit

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Beef Stew with Mashed Potatoes and Rolls

Monday: Sweet Baked Kielbasa with Rice

Tuesday: Baked Spaghetti (New recipe from Pinterest)

Money Spent: $103
Money Left: $-3

Whelp. . . The moolah is gone. I had to go to the store; I just didn't know what we would do without milk and eggs. I could only get a half gallon of milk though and will probably be buying a full gallon of the raw stuff we drink in the next week or so. I have to drive about 30 minutes away to buy it and wasn't willing to drive that far yesterday. So milk, eggs, AP flour, potatoes, apples, onions, some brown sugar, beef broth, and one pie pumpkin cleaned out my wallet and even put me over budget by $3. (The $3 was actually spent on 6 boxes of Horizon Organic Milk that were on clearance for $0.50 each). A couple of the things I could have gone without normally, but with a Halloween get-together with friends happening this weekend, I knew I couldn't skimp of some of my favorite party foods.  

Two weeks to go! I know I can do this. I've got this week all planned out, and then it's just one more. We may end up eating a lot of spaghetti and mac-n-cheese at the end, but so be it.

Maybe I'll get lucky and my friggin' chickens will stop molting and give me some eggs already!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Oct Pantry Challenge Update 1

     Well, I've reached the end of week 1 and I totally forgot how hard this was to do. Also, there were some amazing sales on bulk items I love and I just couldn't resist. While this is definitely bending the rules, I decided I couldn't pass up some of the bulk buys and am only going to count the things we use towards my total spending money. It's cheating, I know. But how do you pass up 8 pounds of organic local strawberries for $20?!

Menu Plan for October 8th- 14th

I don't plan for breakfast & lunch because we generally eat different things for breakfast, and Brad buys lunch at his work. 

Wednesday: Grilled Cheese with Peaches

Thursday: Homemade Pizza with Fruit Salad

Friday: Chicken Noodle Soup with Rolls (This didn't happen last week)

Saturday: Quesadillas with Rice and Beans (Hoping to make extra tortillas to freeze)

Sunday: Ravioli with Green Beans and Rolls

Monday: Sweet Baked Kielbasa with Rice (I also want to cook up a batch of Honey Baked Lentils to keep in the fridge for my weekday lunches)

Tuesday: Breakfast for Dinner

Money Spent: $74
Money Left: $26

     I bought strawberries, as mentioned earlier, and whipped up a few batches of freezer jam this last week. We've eaten about $6 worth of fresh strawberries and some jam. I also was able to purchase these awesome new organic lunchables made by Applegate farms in bulk. They came out to be only $2 a box! Retail for those suckers is over $5 each! We've eaten 4 so far, so I added that number into the total as well. Then, at the same store, Utah CoOp, I snatched a 5 for $20 deal on some meat and we have used two of the packages of bacon already. We love bacon around here! The last $3 I spent was on 3 boxes of Barbara's Cereal on clearance for $1 a box. :)

     Also to note, we got TONS of Italian Prune Plums from a neighbor, so I froze most of those and plan another freezer jam making sesh in the near future. Plus, pie. And maybe some Plum Applesauce.

     Three-Quarters of my moolah gone and still 3 weeks to go! Ahh! Luckily, my freezer is packed, I'm still getting a few things from the garden and grapevine, and we have quite a bit of food storage saved up from the last few months, so we should be good. I do need to pick up some cheese and peanut butter soon, but hopefully my kids will just learn to love the crunchy peanut butter and fancy cheese we already have.

Things to Make and Freeze This Week

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What's for Lunch Wednesday: Fast Food :/

What's for lunch Wednesday is less about sharing new recipes, and more about keepin' it real. This is what I REALLY had for lunch today! Sometimes I slip and eat junk. Sometimes it's gourmet. This series is to not only inspire quick lunchtime ideas, but to show that we are not all perfect in eating the right thing at every single meal.

I don't always keep up on my little lunch series here, but I wanted to keep it real with y'all today. I try really hard to "eat clean" or whatever it's called now, but I'm not perfect. And some things are just worth it. So I haven't eaten McDonald's in over a year now I think, but it was Katie's little friend's birthday so we went and it really was worth it. I love the social aspect of eating out and if we get to spend time with friends, I will eat anything in the world!

I have also always been secretly obsessed with the McDonald's Monopoly game, so it was exciting to get a least a couple of pieces today.

October Pantry Challenge

I kind of love pantry challenges and I just realized that I haven't done one in over TWO YEARS! WHAT?! So here I am, starting one now and praying I can make it the whole month. The basis of my pantry challenges are:
  • Spend no more than $100 on food for the entire month
  • Use what we have on hand in the pantry, fridge, and freezer
  • Menu plan every week
I already know this is going to be difficult for a few reasons. First, we eat much differently than when I've had past pantry challenges. Our grocery budget has expanded as a result of our mostly real food diet, and I no longer coupon all the time for processed foods. We also buy raw milk at $8/gallon. Luckily, there are three gallons already frozen in the freezer, so hopefully those will take us through the month. Second, we are hosting a Halloween Party for a few couples in the middle of the month, so I'll have to get creative with making food and treats with what I have on hand.

All in all, I am really looking forward to this. I have a big vacation to Florida coming up in December and some penny-pinching right now is desperately needed. I also think this might help me blog more recipes?

I also have not budgeted for eating out. We sometimes go out to eat with another couple for dinner, but I'm not sure if that will happen or not this month. So I decided to just let it be extra if it does happen. 

Here we go! (It's kind of perfect that this starts on a Wednesday, because that is when sales change for my local store)

Menu Plan for October 1st- 8th
I don't plan for breakfast & lunch because we generally eat different things for breakfast, and Brad buys lunch at his work. 

Wednesday: Steak with Mashed Potatoes (leftover taters from Pierogis last night)

Thursday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Roasted Veggies

Friday: Chicken Noodle Soup with Rolls

Saturday: Free Pizza from Pizza Hut

Sunday: Waffles with Bacon and Fresh Fruit

Monday: Cheese Ravioli with Carrots and Apples

Tuesday: Spaghetti with Green Beans (from the garden) and Rolls

Money Spent: $49
Money Left: $51

I did a little shopping yesterday to start off the challenge.While not the healthiest, I love cereal for quick breakfasts and we were out, so I paid full price for this box. (Agh!) I also picked up some of mine and Katie's favorite yogurt and some sour cream, both full price. The canned pears and canned beans were both on clearance for $0.49 each (I love dented cans) and the organic bananas were also on clearance for being a teeny bit brown. They taste better this way though, and there are already 3 missing from the original bunch. I also picked up a couple of oranges for smoothies and juices, and 4 packs of organic free range chicken on clearance. The tub of ice cream was totally a late night impulse because sometimes a girl just needs ice cream. Not pictured are 5 loaves of our favorite 9 grain organic bread that are in the outside freezer.

Clearance is basically my best friend when it comes to not only pantry challenges, but to eating real food as well. It can be expensive, but when you shop smart, you can get the things you need for way less than the regular prices. I feel a little guilty saying this, but I kind of like that more people don't buy organic foods in my area. They often end up in the clearance bins as a result, and then on my pantry shelves.
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