Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Day 1-- The Pantry Challenge
Here we are - the first day of February. First off, let me say that my intention is to not buy any groceries in the month of February. And following that, I'll say that I will also not go without fresh veggies if I need to buy some. lol But I think I can plan this all out and make it work. Partly because I have dehydrated onions, celery, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, okra and tomatoes in my pantry. I also have a box of potatoes from the garden.
In the last 3 days of January, I bought some odds and ends and stocked my shelves. For instance, Aldi's had diced tomatoes for .49/can and I bought 12. I picked up some things with an eye to building a meal around them. I bought 6 half gallons of almond milk which are shelf stable. Because we use it in place of dairy, for granola, golden milk, etc. The local grocer had a meat sale and I stocked up some things in the freezer. I spent 45 dollars and repackaged it into 12 meals worth of stuff.
My food budget is approximately 200 dollars a month for 2 adults. I don't know how that stacks up to most family budgets. When I researched the USDA Center for Nutritional Policy, they say that for a family of 4 it's about $716.00 a month. And that's the middle range. A family of 2 adults is $497.00. We do eat out some (mostly me having lunch on Saturdays). So...I am already below the typical budget. And like the Irishman always says...we may not have much, but we eat well.
I buy a couple of high ticket things-- natural peanut butter. Real butter. Organic coconut oil and olive oil. Local honey. But these aren't things I have to buy every time I shop. I buy meats that are on sale. I buy everything I can when it's on sale. Helps keep costs down. I also garden and can and freeze and dehydrate. But this last year the gardens weren't so great here, so right now I have more purchased things than I usually do. And that's what I do as well...every shopping trip, I buy one or 2 extras of this and that. Mayonnaise. Ketchup. Tea bags. And when I have a nice little stash, I buy something different. One day on a shopping trip, Aldis had organic garbanzo beans for .59 a can. I bought a flat of them, because that is a ridiculous price for those. They are a super high protein bean that you use for hummus or falafel or just eat on a salad. Crazy nutritious. Or tomato paste that was .19 a can.
SOOOOO...what's for supper on Day 1 of the pantry challenge ? Variety is important to me. Last night we had a salmon type patty made with tuna. I like these. They're cheaper, milder flavored and just as nutritious as salmon at a fraction of the cost. I cooked some quinoa with dried mushrooms and onions and peppers and spinach. I got 2 jars of baby carrots that I canned out of the pantry and made honey glazed carrots. I opened a can of applesauce made from apples gifted to me by a friend. A gorgeous meal for 2 that cost about 3 dollars per plate. Or less. So tonight might be vegetarian. OR...I have a lot of onions (.59 for a 3 # bag, so I got 4). I'm thinking maybe I'll make some French Onion soup. And a burger. Hamburger in the freezer That was $2.19 per pound. (so I bought 10 pounds and pattied it and froze them.) 2 big burgers@ 1/2 pound each = less than 2 dollars apiece for the sandwich, including the bread and accoutrements. (I could make it even more interesting by making veggie burgers, as I have mix in the cabinet--we like those too.) Voila. Supper for 2 at a cost of around 6 dollars. Less, really...because like last night, there will be leftovers. Which the Irishman gladly takes in his lunch. Winner/Winner chicken dinner.
Here's to day 1. I'm off to the kitchen. BTW--I thought I would post a recipe every other day. (That's not today.) lol