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

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