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. 



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.

Pantry Challenge & Menu Plan 07/09–07/15


Baked Potato Soup

I’m sure you all are wondering how we did this past week?  Well, we actually did very well! I went through both refrigerators to see what needed to be used up &, for the most part, had very little that I just could not get incorporated into our meals before it went bad.  The few things that I found to be trying to push their usage, I fed to the chickens before it did go bad.  (No, I do not feed my chickens food that is bad, I promise.  They’re some of the post spoiled birds on the plant!)


So, what did we eat for the rest of the weeks?  Let’s see.  We had: Beef tips & rice, roasted chicken with veggies, wings in homemade BBQ sauce, fresh corn on the cob, homemade seasoned fries, baked potatoes with assorted toppings, & homemade baked potato soup using roasted potatoes!  Yum!

I’m sure you’re wondering, “why all the potatoes?”  Well, I had several potatoes that were starting to look less than stellar that I knew would not last much longer, so I made sure to incorporate them as much as possible. I only had 4 that I had to throw out, & those would’ve had to go out anyway since they were bad in the center.  But, they didn’t actually go out.  They will be going into my compost bin!  See, they still had use, just the original intended purpose.  I was also able to use up the last of our fresh mushrooms!  They meals also made enough for at least Brian to have some to take to work for his, and a couple of times a little more was left so that we, too, could enjoy them the next day.


I did, however, have to go to the store for more milk, bacon, Worcestershire sauce, mixed salad greens, dates, mushrooms & heavy whipping cream.  (I also picked up a water & can of Pringles since Melia was with me & had not eaten – cheaper than drive thru). I spent $45.56 more out of our $400 budget, which leaves me with $224.18 for the month.


Side note:  I forgot to mention that we have a birthday in the family this week, so that many constitute a meal out, which I will not count against us since will we be doing something fun with the birthday girl & will not be close to home.  I will, however, pack snack foods for us to munch on!



Now, that we’ve caught up on how we did, here’s our menu plan for this coming week.



  • smoothies
  • homemade yogurt with fruit and/or granola
  • hard boiled eggs
  • banana bread
  • homemade muffins (?)
  • pancakes/waffles



  • leftovers
  • sandwiches
  • fresh fruits/veggies



  • Homemade Cheeseburger Mac (Monday)
  • Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Tacos with homemade whole wheat tortillas
  • Leftovers
  • Crock Pot ™ Chicken & potatoes
  • Pizza – homemade (for birthday girl & guests)
  • Possible meal out – if not, I’ll figure out something


Now, that week #1 is done & we’ve done fairly well, I’m definitely ready for week #2.  This week, I’ll also have my dehydrator & canner going. I’ll be working on mushrooms, cherries, potatoes, carrots & garlic.  Check back periodically for updates, especially around Monday/Tuesday when I’ll update on how our week went!


Post Linked To: Organizing Junkie

Grocery Shopping Trip: 05/19/12

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a grocery shopping trip, so I thought I’d do so today.  Since Brian changed jobs almost 2 years ago, he gets paid on a biweekly basis, which means that I shop on a biweekly basis.  I do still pick up a few fresh ingredients in between pay periods but, for the most part, I buy everything I need in one trip out.  Since we are changing up our diets and trying to eat healthier, I’m also focusing more and more of our grocery budget towards fresh/frozen fruits/veggies (whole foods) instead of on canned items.  I’m also trying to buy fewer prepackaged items than ever before.  I really haven’t bought that many over the last several years, but I’ve found myself turning towards some “quick fixes” in the last several months due to lack of time to prepare meals.  Well, now that summer is here, I’m hoping to get back into the habit of using my Crock Pot ™ more to keep the heat down in the kitchen and to prep ahead.  These are all things that I’ve just slowly let fall to the wayside instead of just taking a few extra minutes while I’m already in the kitchen to prep ahead for the next meal(s).   I do my best to keep our grocery budget at $400 for our family of 5 (2 adults, 2 teen girls, and a 10-yo son).


I shopped at Aldi’s & Earth Fare (first time there – not too impressed) today.  So, here’s what I picked up this week:





4 gal. Whole Milk – $2.99/each

2 bags frozen peaches – $1.99/each

2 bags frozen mixed berries $2.99/each

1 bag frozen raspberries $2.99

2 pgs. pizza rolls $2.49/each

2 pkgs. chicken nuggets $3.99/each

6 lbs butter $2.29/each

2 lbs bacon $2.99/each

3 (8oz) pkgs sharp cheddar $1.79/each

3 (8oz) pkgs mozzarella $1.79/each

1 (17.6 oz) Greek Yogurt $3.29

3 green bell peppers $1.49

2 lbs carrots $0.99

2 bunches of celery $1.19/each

3 lbs Pears $1.99

3 lbs yellow onions $1.69

3 cucumbers $0.25/each

3 (5lbs) bags red potatoes $0.99/each

2 cantaloupe $1.49/each

3 (1lb bags) kiwi fruit $0.79/each

4 (1lb containers) baby bella mushrooms $1.69/each

3 pouches dried berries $2.49/each

1 pouch dried cranberries $1.39

4 bxs saltines $0.89/each

1 wedge Asiago cheese $6.00

1 wedge smoked gouda $5.69

1 wedge gouda with tomato & basil $5.33

1 wedge classic gouda free w/ coupon ($7.00  w/o coupon)

1 (14 oz) jar organic extra virgin coconut oil $10.99

2 quarts raw Tennessee honey $7.99/each


TOTAL SPENT (with tax):  $167.30


The only things left for me to pick up that were on my list are:

plain yogurt

heavy cream

lemons/lemon juice

cat food

toilet paper


Total Spending for May:  $317.70


Stay tuned for my menu plan for next week! 


This post is linked up with:

The Peaceful Mom