Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pantry Challenge, Week 3!

We are going to make it all the way to the CSA delivery on the 19th without a major protein re-supply run! I've picked up a few deals here and there as supplements, but the giant twice-weekly meat shopping extravaganza at Whole Foods has been avoided. I don't expect we'll do this well next month, since it only actually lasted us about 3 weeks max, but at least I have the breathing room to stockpile based on some sales -- like I did with shrimp last week, and I'm doing with chicken breast and juice this week.
The Goals:

- Only spend half our grocery budget, preferably less!
As of the end of 1/17, we've spent 38.5% of our budget, and we're 54.8% of the way through the month. We're approaching a better spend rate, but I haven't done any meal planning or really thought about what to eat past Monday....
- Eat from the pantry as much as possible -- in part so that I can get it better organized.
One fun thing this week is that my husband has been getting involved in the challenge -- suggesting meals, or asking if we should pull something or other out of the freezer. This is making our cooking a little more democratic, which is great. In the past, I was the one with the stack of cookbooks and the grocery list and the web browser full of tabs, working out a combination of tasty, interesting, savvy recipes to yield a meal plan. I always ask for ideas and such, and grocery shopping and cooking have always been a 100% team effort, but usually I end up being the "creative" force. Mostly this is because I enjoy it and I'm pretty good at it, and while he loves to eat what we make and is just as supportive and helpful as anyone could be, he generally can't remember what something tastes like, or imagine whether it will be good based on a recipe or ingredients (going to restaurants with him has always been very amusing....I've never met anyone else who had no memory or imagination for flavors). When all the meal components are whatever's in front of you with minimal supplement, it's a lot easier to participate. At any rate, it has made this week of the pantry challenge more fun to have my forever companion working at it with me.

As far as the organizing thing's getting there. The fridge in particular is starting to look quite bare. But it's amazing how much stuff we had packed into the pantry shelves....I don't think we'll need to buy brown rice for months and months....also it is taking a while to figure out what to do with all these cans of soup, since we don't actually eat soup all that much...I have some thought that cans of vegetable soup would be perfect for baby food if run through a blender, but the baby who might eat such a thing won't be born for another 2 months, and then won't be eating baby food for 6 months after it's a little early to crack open the cans.

- Stick with my kitchen resolutions and boost our preparation for my maternity leave in the spring. 

    Made/froze so far:
  • 2 dozen rolls
  • Chopped carrots
  • Eggrolls
  • Beans
  • Mac & cheese for Stella's packed lunch
  • Bread -- 1 baked, 2 frozen loaves [we've now used 2 of the 3 loaves, next week we'll probably want to make more]. I don't know why we didn't do this earlier -- it is pretty easy to get into a cycle of making up 3 loaves of bread dough every few weeks, and being able to just pop out a loaf and bake it up on demand is so nice!
  • Peanut butter kiss cookies [by request from the DH, who is not only a cookie monster, but also remembers adoring these when my niece and I made them at Christmas -- if they all stay out on the counter, they will disappear some of them are headed for the freezer!]

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