February 2011

Pantry Challenge: Week Three Update

by Sally on February 22, 2011

Pantry Challenge Morale hit an all-time low around here this past weekend. The fridge–with little more than two apples, a  tub of plain yogurt, and margarine inside–was looking more single-gal-about-town than mother-of-two. My husband, growing increasingly hungry and crabby about my little experiment, reported one day that he’d eaten peanut butter toast for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and peanuts for a snack.

We've gone through five loaves of bread in three weeks. I blame this guy.

And frankly, I’m crabby too–because I’m gaining weight.

Apparently, gaining weight with a nearly-bare refrigerator is possible after all. When I thought it through, it made perfect sense:

  • I’m not eating enough fruits and vegetables. With my $25 weekly budget, I can’t afford a variety. We plowed through the canned applesauce, dried fruit, and frozen berries in the first two weeks. I’m discovering how much I dislike frozen vegetables. Since I’m not able to have my usual big green salad and vegetable with dinner, I’m eating larger portions of sides like brown rice. I save the fresh fruit for the kids and snack on my stockpiled stash of cashews and popcorn instead.
  • I’m making (and eating) way too many baked goods. We don’t have crackers so I make homemade bread. We’re out of good cereal, so I make muffins and waffles.
  • I’m panicking. Because there’s so little food around, I find myself scavenging for whatever I can find without thinking through the caloric implications (exhibit A: my peanut butter-powered sugar balls that, while scrumptious, are not exactly health food).

So with all of this in mind, I blew my budget–purposely this time–and spent $43 this week, mostly on more fruits and vegetables. Our budget crisis is being further deepened by the littlest member of our household, Sam, who has been demanding food in multiples–like three slices of bread with apple butter, three cheese sticks, or two bananas–and then eating all of it.

This week’s menu (the stash is thinning out, hence the double-Mexican, double-pasta nights this week):

Sunday: Whole wheat pasta with jarred sauce…also known as Pasta a la “forgot-that-we-have-to-leave-for-swim-lessons-in-30-minutes”

Monday: Beef Stroganoff with egg noodles and freezer carrots

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Light Chicken Enchiladas

Thursday: Potato & Cheese Pierogies, green salads

Friday: Slow-Cooker Sloppy Lentils with whole wheat buns and steamed broccoli

Saturday: Grass-fed beef tacos, red bell pepper slices

Sunday: Spaghetti with homemade sauce from freezer, sauteed Brussels sprouts

If anyone’s still hanging in there with their own Pantry Challenge, give us a report!


Pantry-Challenged Fridge

This is a stark depiction of the brutal living conditions that define a month-long pantry challenge.

Antarctica. February 2011.

Provisions running dangerously low. My Chunky Soup stash that would normally have lasted ’til winter’s end is exhausted. I struggle to find items for the already-meager lunches I take to work. No sweets or treats as far as the eye can see.

Yesterday, the following exchange took place:

Henry: (gazing longingly into an months-old bag of stale popcorn from the pantry) “All that’s in here is crumbs!”

Sally: (curtly) “That’s all we got.”

The cats look like large, walking sirloin steaks.

If anyone reads this message, please airdrop a bag of Goldfish crackers. Something! Anything!

At least the orange juice is happy.


Pantry Challenge: Week Two Update

February 16, 2011

My husband joked today that with the way this Pantry Challenge is going, he’ll soon be eating “pine needle stew” for lunch. And actually, that Hunger Games reference is a little fitting these days. We’re doing just fine with dinners, thanks to the chest freezer and Bomb Shelter. But otherwise, the pickings are exceedingly slim. […]

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Pantry Challenge Recipe: Banana Oatmeal Cups

February 10, 2011

The cupboards are getting bare and we’re down to our second-string cereals (Cheerios and Wheat Chex). So it’s time for something that feels like a treat. I make these Banana Oatmeal Cups from GreenLiteBites all the time because I always have the ingredients, the kids love them, and unlike most muffins, they’re not cupcakes in […]

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Pantry Challenge Update: Week One

February 8, 2011

Ten days into my Pantry Challenge, and my half-empty refrigerator is making me uneasy–especially because I know it’s only going to get emptier. This week’s revelations: Grocery shopping with $25 is depressing. Armed with a calculator, Henry went shopping with me Sunday and added up our purchases as we went along. We spent $22.25 on […]

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Hello, my name is Sally. And I hoard groceries.

February 1, 2011

Okay, so I have a little problem with buying groceries. As in, I spend way, way too much each week on food. I caught the coupon bug a while back, and while I’ve certainly mastered the art of buying items in bulk when they’re on sale, I haven’t quite figured out exactly when to stop. […]

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