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Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Pantry Challenge

 Recently I stumbled across a blog called Money Saving Mom as she was discussing her pantry challenge for the month of January. It sounded like something I would like to give a shot, well sort of. Her challenge was for the entire month of January only use foods that she already had in her fridge, freezer and pantry. I'm just not that hard-core. What I have been doing  for February is using stuff from my pantry in every meal and I plan everything based on what I already have. In assessing my pantry, other than the staples, I noticed a few things:
  •  I have enough cookies mixes and other dessert ingredients to last me at least a year, at least. Seriously, if there is some major natural disaster leading to a lack of food in the grocery stores any readers are welcome to come to my house for cookies and hot chocolate, provided you can get on the internet at that point and ask for directions to my place.
  • I may have enough Post Raisin Bran to last me that long too. (Ok, maybe not quite that long.) I keep buying the stuff when it goes on sale for $1 a box because my husband likes it, but he doesn't eat that much of it.
  • I have lots of canned pork chunks. I only know how to do one thing with them, Chile Verde, and it's not something my kids are willing to eat.
So far so good. To turn my pantry items into meals that I and my family will eat I find myself going to the store every couple days for fresh fruit and vegetables. (Yeah, I could probably plan this a little better.) But that's ok, I'm still spending way less, I'm rotating through my stuff, I'm improvising and trying new things and my family still eats it. Here is what we've been eating lately: Cheesy Mushroom Chicken and Rice, Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins, homemade Chicken Soup, Oatmeal Cranberry Muffins, Chicken Piccata, Hamburger Helper (feeling uncreative and needed to eat something other than chicken) and Kung Pao Chicken. No one has complained. No one has even noticed that I've been doing anything different. Strangely enough, both my children have been eating better than usual. I'm afraid if I say anything it will break the magic spell. Next project: learn to make something with canned pork chunks.

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