August 19, 2010

Help - I need a plan!

Yall know how I like a good challenge right?  I loved doing the Monday Projects earlier in the year and feel like I had some good personal growth because of them.

The Monday Project

Well...the Monday Project has become the Monthly Project.  This month over at the Sisterhood we've been challenged to clean out our cupboards, refrigerators and freezers - purging what has gone bad or we don't need in the house tempting us, and taking an account of what we do have on hand.

I've taken the pictures, throw out the 7 month old popcorn some stuff, and am in the process of cataloging my food. 

What?  When you see how much I have you'll understand why its a process!!

*Puts on nerd glasses*  I'm then going to put it all into an excel spreadsheet that I'll update as I use/add to my inventory.

So - here's the part where you chim in.  I'm batting around different ways I can challenge myself for September.  It really is embarrassing how much food I have.  In a "I'm so incredibly blessed if I post what I've got it'll look like I'm bragging" kinda way.

Have you ever cooked from your pantry - and only from what you have on hand - for an entire month?  Is it possible?

I definitely want to try it, but I didn't know what parameters to put on it.  Is this for dinner only?  All meals for September?  Am I allowed to purchase fresh fruits and veggies?  (I wouldn't go without if I didn't - I have plenty of canned and frozen of each.)

I'm also considering making a sub category in my budget.  *Adjusts nerd glasses*  Right now we have a category for eating out and a separate for groceries.  I was thinking of subdividing the eating out.  We spend a lot on fast food, instead of going out once or twice to nice restaurants.  Anyone had luck tackling this beast?  Maybe split off half the budget for fast food?

Also, I'm going to need lunch ideas.  If I'm not going to go shopping, I'm not going to be allowed to buy Lean Cuisines.  I'd like a variety of things I can bring to work.

Breakfast ideas are welcome too, but I'm boring enough that I could eat oatmeal every day and be happy.

Please feel free to leave novels of information in my comments section.

1-2-3 go!!


  1. YOU RAWK!!!!!!!!! great post!!! I think you can do it!!! has a spot where you can type in ingredients & it will give yourecipes that work! as far as lunch, why not just take leftovers from supper?

    be sure to keep us posted on how this goes for you!!

  2. ok, here are my thoughts..since you asked. I say take it one week at a time. And make your own rules. In my house we only use canned corn and beans so I have to buy fresh veg at least once a week (usually twice so none is wasted) and I only eat fresh fruit. I hope I don't sound snobby...I just have gotten spoiled lately...we have an awesome produce junction near us - cheap veg & fruit at great quality. MAKE YOUR OWN RULES!! My freezer is loaded and I keep my pantry as loaded when possible. When certain things we use go on a great sale I stock up. I don't have a running list of how much I have but I always kind of know. I make a menu plan every Sunday and I usually go with what is in pantry, occasional cravings or requests may need a special trip to the store but I have been trying to use the grocery store to fill in. It is getting easier as I go and I actually spend less money per meal than ever before. And there is way less "junk" in the cabinets...still some because the husband and daughter would completely rebel. AND we waste less.

    My point in all this rambling is that once you find what works for you and your family you will be successful.

    Good Luck & sorry for rambling so long.

  3. I like the leftover idea!!

    We try to keep a years supply of food on hand in case of disasters, etc... It really is super hard to do. I grew up in California and in the last big earthquake in Northern California about 20 years ago - EVERYTHING was shut down for a week. No stores were open, no banks, etc...You had to use what you had on hand.
    It is a good test to see if you can go even a week or two without going to the grocery store.
    I have a friend you should visit. She and her husband are trying to pay off a debt and their family has been living out of their food storage the whole summer - the food she cooks is incredible. You would like it!
    Good luck - it is a great goal and a super thing to do!

  4. P.S. This is the post you should start with - it's an eyeopener!

  5. I often do "pantry weeks" but I've never tried a whole month. You go girl. I think it would be great although my meals would likely become quite boring. I'd say allow yourself a small budget for buying fresh fruits and veggies - you gotta stay healthy!

  6. I've got no ideas for you but am impressed you are thinking of this. I can't wait to read about the adventures of doing this!

  7. Wwwoooowww. I wouldn't be able to do it, honestly because I don't have much in my pantry. We're frozen/refrigerated foods here mainly, lol. (Plus, our pantry is so stinking tiny we don't have room!!!)

  8. Wow, a whole month? That sounds pretty ambitious to me, although we probably could do it if we made exceptions for milk and fresh produce.

    I went over and took a look at the link Cherie recommended. Did you see that woman's food storage? Holy cow, it was like a grocery store!

    One idea for lunch is to make an extra serving of whatever you're making for dinner, and then take that for lunch. Either the whole meal, or vary the sides a bit. I bring leftovers quite often for lunch. Also, if you have time on the weekend, grill up a bunch of meat, then divide into portions and freeze or refrigerate. You can add to salads, soups, spaghetti sauce, can of chili, or whatever. It seems like for main dish things, it's always the meat part that takes the longest.

  9. Hmmm. After reading the other comments (because I've genuinely been wondering if I could do something like this as well *especially* in keeping with my whole trying to be fit and organic and natural initiative)...I like the idea of a week at a time. If I were to do a month I might go crazy.
    Or you could do a 75% thing--not everything from the pantry, but a great majority.

  10. I think trying to do a whole month at a time would be overwhelming. Try a week at a time and see how that goes. I think you could could easily take leftovers for your lunch. Finally, I gave up fast food entirely to a point where it literally makes me sick if I eat it. I don't miss it and I so much more appreciate using the money to go out for a nicer dinner or two or three after a long day at work and I don't feel like cooking or we just feel like going out on the weekend. I think you are doing great.

  11. Ok you are soo cute and I always giggle when you "adjust your nerd glasses". I have these same questions and so many more and the idea of putting it all in Excel makes me all giddy. Must now read through your comments...


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