Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pantry Challenge 2014!

Hi friends!  I'm finally posting about my annual Pantry Challenge.  This year it is less-than-creatively titled: Pantry Challenge 2014!  Whoo! 

In short, I generally try to spend very little on groceries in January and February in an effort use my stockpiled pantry and freezer stores. 

Here is a photo of my pantry around January 12th, when we got home from all our holiday travelling.  You can see my pantry is huge.  The very top shelf isn't pictured where I keep small appliances and odd, large Tupperware.  You can see the next shelf with linens, serving trays, sandwich bags, my griddle, etc.  The next shelf is the primary food shelf and the one I will work at emptying.  Below that is the secondary food shelf with lots of baking items, backup spices, and behind those rectangle Tupperware on the right are lots of cereal boxes.  Below that is the 'craft shelf' with lots of supplies organized in plastic shoeboxes, but hidden behind are stockpiles of coffee, soup, and canned fruit.  On the very bottom are big bins of dry goods: flour, sugar, whole wheat flour, bread flour, oatmeal, mixed grain cereal, dried cranberries, black beans, pinto beans, & millet.  You can see of the white, square lids of those buckets in the photo.  Clearly, there's a lot to use!

My freezer is also pretty packed.  We bought a 1/4 cow this summer and frankly are nowhere near having used it.  I estimate we've used only about 1/4 of our 1/4.  Those are the white paper packages and honestly, I don't even know how to prepare some of the cuts.  On the very bottom shelf are frozen blueberries.  I froze something like 40 pounds this summer and we're slowly and steadily using them.  Otherwise there are some frozen dinners, lots of broccoli, some cheese, some pork roasts, and some bread.  There are also a few containers of green beans and tomatoes still from our summer garden.

And this is the inside freezer, also packed to the gills.  There's lots of shredded zucchini in the door, lots of soup stock, a little bit of chicken, a lot of gallon bags of peaches, lots of leftovers to be incorporated into other dishes and lots of individual portions of leftovers I package up for Ed to eat when I'm out of town or to take for lunches, etc.  
Wow.  As I write this I realize I really have so, so much food to use.  I shouldn't be buying any groceries other than milk & lettuce.  Seriously I just need to use what I have and get creative otherwise I won't even make a dent.  Especially because of the new job and the leftovers I bring home.
OK - new rule.  I'm going to try and stick to $20/week at the grocery store plus our milk delivery.  If I can limit my spending that much, hopefully I will be forced to use more of our stockpile.

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