Wednesday, February 3, 2010

January Pantry Challenge Results!

OK - so I got the January budget closed & am happy to report that we spent only $61.25 on groceries the whole month of January. This includes groceries while we were at Disneyland. Yahoo! While I didn't stay under the goal of $60, I feel pretty good about $61.25.

A big thanks to our friends who met up with us in Southern California and provided lots of food for the days they were with us.

One of the best things of the Pantry Challenge has been using up old stuff. I don't know if I should admit some of this . . .

- I'll start with the worst one. I found an old lasagna in the freezer dated March 2009. Mom has always told me meat is fine in the freezer for a year, but most freezer meal cookbooks say 3 months. I went with Mom on this one & it was fine.

- A friend gave me some expired things from her pantry knowing that I don't mind using things a little past date. I will take things the food bank won't. Is that a little sad? Anyway, on our Disneyland trip I was able to use a "just-add-chicken" pasta dinner mix dated August 2009. It was like, gourmet or something, and wow it was good. I don't know how those mixes even expire. It's dry pasta and an envelope of spices.

- I was very, very pleased to use up several boxes of crackers, granola bars, & nutrigrain bars. These were getting close to, at, or just past their dates and we used them all up as part of lunches and snacks at Disneyland. We weren't able to use up some Pop-Tarts with January expireation though. Oh well. Sugary snacks I guess for a couple days in the next couple of weeks. I'm sure the kids won't be disappointed that Mom is too frugal to toss out junk food, even when she gets it for free.

I am also pleased to see some room in my garage freezer! I am hoping to empty and defrost it completely by June so it's ready to stock up with garden produce this summer!

The hardest part of the Pantry Challenge is that I don't have any chicken. And I can't really buy any. If I find it on sale I'm only allowed to buy five pounds which is normally a less than two week supply. I'm making a cheesy chicken casserole this week that I will be making without chicken. I plan to add more veggies for bulk, but I am sure I'l miss the chicken. I'll post my menu plan tomorrow. I don't have it all worked out yet.

I want to say a BIG thank you to my mom who brought us a cooler full of meat when she visited a few weeks back. While it didn't include chicken we are well stocked on round steak, ground round, pork chops, and bacon. She also tossed in 4 pounds of cheese. Is that awesome of what?! We are so blessed.

I am hoping that next week will be a kitchen week for me with lots of money-saving food prep and I'm hoping to get advice from you guys. Some topics: Making your own baby food, making your own croutons, making your own pumpkin puree. I've never done any of these & I'm looking forward to all of them!



  1. That is an AMAZINGLY low grocery bill. Way to go! I love making my own croutons. Great way to use stale bread and they are so delicious.

  2. Hi Carly! Can you send me your crouton recipe? I'm looking forward to trying my hand at it.

  3. A pumpkin puree how-to would be well timed. Most of the canned Pumpkin in the United States comes from my hometown of Morton, Illinois and two wet years in a row have prevented good harvests - thus Libby's in anticipating a shortage next Thanksgiving and Christmas!

    Making you own will be not only frugal but might be the only way of ensuring a pumpkin pie at the holidays! If you have room you might want to plant cooking pumpkins in your garden this year...


So, what do you think?