January 2012 Pantry Challenge

I love pantry challenges but I haven’t done one in a very long time.  When we went Paleo/Primal back in August, I cleaned out our pantry really well and my intent was to NOT to get back into the hoarding I seem to fall into.  I tend to stockpile food and then AVOID using what I’ve bought while continuing to buy more each week.  I’m not sure why I do this–maybe it comes from our days of only having enough money to buy Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese.  Or maybe it’s due to that recent Popular Science article about solar storms knocking out the grid.  Our grocery spending has been out of control this past year (in excess of $1200/mo for six people) so my goal this month is to try to cut that in half by only buying fresh produce, dairy and meat each week.  I don’t have a lot of meat in the freezer, unfortunately.  But I do have a few main-course meats I bought the last week of December and they’re on this week’s mealplan.

I shopped January 1st to stock up on organic milk, organic eggs, cheese (lots), sour cream, fresh produce for the week, a few other items for specific meals on the meal-plan (to fill in gaps), the couple prepared foods I feed my finicky 5yo, etc.  The milk and eggs were on sale and organics don’t go on sale that often.  I also bought a dozen packets of MSG-free, reduced-sodium taco seasoning for 40 cents each.  I use those regularly because the bulk containers aren’t available in low-sodium and my homemade mix never tastes as good!  My other splurge was two bottles of MIO water flavoring.  They are pricey at $3.50 each (and I missed the Target offer for a free case of Dasani!) but I have trouble choking down my water and I figured at 7 cents a cup, this would be a worthy investment for me! Especially since I’ve given up DIET COKE W/LIME and that’s NOT EASY!  Which reminds me, I’ve projected a savings of $40-50 monthly by no longer buying our beloved 12-packs of diet soda.

January Goals:

1) Use up canned/dry goods that I’ve stockpiled.  This mostly consists of canned veggies, canned beans, dried beans and the like.  Since five of us are Paleo/Primal we don’t have pasta, bread crumbs, rice*, Hamburger Helper-type meals, etc.

2) Use up stockpiled frozen veggies and fruits.  We need to start making those SMOOTHIES we planned when we got our Vitamix in August!!

3) Keep the fridge/freezer organized so that we aren’t wasting things to the extent we usually do.  It’s amazing what gets pushed to the back and hidden.  I cleaned out the freezers and inventoried them.  I used a few large Rubbermaid containers to store Mr. Picky’s waffles, corndogs and pretzels (long story) so that we don’t have bags of food getting freezer-burned and leaking crumbs all over the inside of the freezer.

4) Get through all those stockpiled protein bars, beef jerky sticks and other paleo-friendly snacks by packing snacks and a lunch daily for Mr. B.

5) Finish containerizing and organizing the pantry–I’m about 75% there. (Containers will be an expense but I already have most of what I will need, since I’ve been able to re-purpose our 12 cereal keepers. 🙂 )

6) Create a separate “emergency” stockpile in its own area.  I may purchase a few bulk items from Honeyville and keep them in a separate area, along with some jugs of water, so I’m not confusing myself and the entire pantry by my desire to have something to eat if the grid does go down for months! 😉  I’m thinking a can of powdered eggs, can of powdered milk, etc.  Just for peace of mind.

7) Mealplan weekly and only shop with a plan.  Currently, my oldest daughter and I plan to shop Sunday mornings only, while the youngest two are at Hebrew school.   We’ll be able to hit Sam’s or Costco if needed, in addition to Walmart (where we’ll ad-match) and Sprout’s (best place for produce).  And currently I’m in NO STOCKPILE mode unless something is a GREAT DEAL and I DON’T ALREADY HAVE A LOT OF IT.  Hopefully I can avoid owning 40+ cans of tomatoes when I don’t use them THAT often now that we don’t eat pasta! ;

8) Use leftovers from the fridge.  We often let these go to waste.  I need to be more pro-active about feeding these to the natives for lunch.

*I do eat a small amount of white rice a la Perfect Health Diet but I generally reserve that for eating out.

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