MoneySavingMom amd Fishmama are doing a challenge this month - an eat from the pantry challenge. Other than perishable items like dairy and produce, they are staying away from the grocery store, or at least buying as little as they can. The point of this challenge, other than to save lots of money, is to clean out all those extra odds and ends that we all seem to accumulate in our cupboards, pantries, and freezers. So why am I posting about this challenge here? Because those two things fit perfectly in line with the main message I am trying to get out. Not buying a lot is obviously thrifty, but by using what we have that may have otherwise gone to waste is also green. Raise your hand if you have ever thrown away produce, leftovers, or that frozen food that got a little too frozen that you forgot about? I know I have both hands way in the air! When Crystal first announced this challenge I was like "oh, that's nice," and went on about my day. I was really pumped about trying out my new $200/month grocery budget (really, all things groceries gets me excited!). And I kept finding all these yummy looking recipes with ingredients I didn't have. But the more I thought about it the more I thought I should participate. I certainly have food that needs to be eaten before it goes bad or takes over my "pantry" (which is actually my spare bedroom) because I have so much of one certain thing. So I decided to jump on board. I am still taking out my grocery budget for the month (I decided cold hard cash is going to be the only way to reign in my food spending!), but the majority of it will be saved for later months. My church teaches how we should have a year supply of food, so that extra money will probably go towards building that up.
So here is how I have done so far. On New Years Eve Eve (which I am counting towards this month since the food was for this month) I bought groceries because you have to eat black eyed peas and greens on New Years...it is a rule. Since I had neither of them, I had to go to the good ol' Piggly Wiggly. But I only spend $8 buying those and a couple other things. I also bought some bananas yesterday. But that is ok. The Kid really likes his bananas and I am not going to not buy fruit. Since then we have been making meals out of what we have. Except yesterday. Yesterday I wanted to make Southwestern Split-Pea Soup (which was delicious by the way) but was out of corn and canned tomatoes. So what did I do? I traded some food I did have and no longer needed for those things at my mother's. Win-win for both of us. So I will obviously go to the store this month. But here are my rules:
- Only buy produce that we need and I know we like. I have a problem with buying interesting looking produce that I know nothing about cooking wise because I want to try it. While that is actually a great way to add variety to your diet, this month I am sticking with the basics.
- Dairy. This includes milk and cheese. We should have enough eggs to last us through the month.
- Chicken. Okay, I don't need to buy any meat. I have plenty of vegetable proteins and conventional meat (that needs to be eaten before I switch us over to the good stuff) but after months of searching I finally found local, free-range, organic poultry. Beef, pork, and lamb has been easy to find, but since we don't really eat red meat I was excited to find the poultry. I won't buy much, but I really, really want to try some out :)
As the month goes on I will post how I am doing and the occasional yummy recipe that I either tried or concocted. This should be fun, so stay tuned!