Pantry Challenge Week #2 Update

Sorry to be so late updating this week.  It’s already been a busy week.  But, for us, that’s the way summer goes. 

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Last week, my order from Azure Standard came in so I spent most of Wednesday trying to deal with it.  I had ordered 18 pounds fresh cherries, 96 oz. fresh Crimini mushrooms, 8 lbs fresh garlic, & 40 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes.  The cherries were starting to go bad (7 lbs worth), which Azure was wonderful about & gave me a nice credit back to be used on my next order.  Well, the kids & I halved, pitted, & placed the other 11 lbs into my dehydrator for dried cherries.  The next day, we sliced & dried all the mushrooms.  I still have to deal with the garlic, and I plan to get it done in the next couple of days.  I was planning to can a majority of the potatoes, but I only got 1 round done before I managed to drop my canner lid & ruin my gauge.  I did order another gauge & it arrived on Saturday.  I borrowed a canner from my father-in-law that belonged to my sweet mother-in-law before she passed away a few years ago, but the seal was so old that it wouldn’t hold pressure.  The other 2 rounds of potatoes that I had cut up & blanched did not get canned, but I have 7 quarts in the refrigerator & the other 7 divided up & in the freezer.  I wasn’t about to let them go to waste.  I also fixed a pot of pinto beans in my Crock Pot ™ on Wednesday, which did not want to get done until the next day (not sure why), so we ended up grabbing some chicken tenders & fries  from our local grocery deli.  Definitely not what I had planned.  It was not a good canning/cooking week for me, but I’m not giving up!  I jumped right back into cooking. Canning has had to wait due to our crazy schedule & us not being home much. 

Last Thursday (the day of my canning disaster) was my daughter, Katie’s birthday.  We ended up having the pinto beans on her birthday along with some homemade cornbread from freshly milled corn (delicious!), and I made a batch of homemade ice cream.  On Friday, the day I was retrying to can the rest of my potatoes I had prepped & blanched, she was due to have some friends over to spend the night.  Since I ended up “trying” to can again that day, which was not originally in the plan, we ended up buying 4 pizzas to feed everyone for supper that night.  Definitely NOT planned.

The rest of the week went okay with no unplanned spending taking place.  I did some grocery shopping on Friday morning, but it was mostly for party foods, which was planned & counted separately. As far as grocery spending last week, I spent $62.32 on Milk, heavy cream, frozen peas, bacon, pepperoni, marked down zucchini, vinegar, oil, & fresh fruits.   That leaves me with $161.86 for the rest of month.

As for my menu plan this week, well, I haven’t even really given it much thought.  We were gone to Dollywood on Monday, which is what Katie wanted for her birthday & that WAS planned, even the eating out.  Tuesday, we had leftover homemade chicken noodle soup, and today we had spaghetti.  Overall, I still feel like things are going well.  Even though things did not go according to plan on Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday, we still made the best of things & kept costs down.  Did I really want to have to buy the chicken tenders & fries for my family – not really, but since Brian had to leave for work in just over an hour & I was still neck deep in dealing with the canner & potatoes, there was no way that I could things cleaned up, cleared away, thawed, & fixed in time for him to leave.  Next time I can, I’ll have something already either thawed or already prepped & ready to be cooked.  I know to do these things but, since I hadn’t canned in a while and I wasn’t planning to go as long as I did, that was the price I had to pay for my poor planning.  Lesson relearned! 

So, that’s where we’re at so far in our month-long challenge.  I don’t feel that we’re doing too badly.  Most of our foods have been fresh/frozen/whole foods.  I can tell you that I can tell a difference in the way I feel in the last few days.  I don’t have as much energy and I feel more sluggish.  I’ll be glad to get all the “junk” foods out of the house again & not eat out again for a while.

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