Happy First week of January 2020! Are you a good steward of your money? Sadly – I suck at finances. 2020 is my year to be on a better path to fixing it. God has really laid people in my path to help. I am hoping to memorize Bible verses about self-restraint and being a good steward. I have to focus and live better within our means. Sigh.
One of the ways is with the Pantry Challenge. What is a pantry challenge? Well, Jessica over at Good Cheap Eats started doing these about 2008, or so.. You can read her explanation of the Pantry Challenge, and I’ll explain how I view it/use the challenge for our home! I have been doing it for 10+ years and it just feels comfy now.
If you’re like me, you need to purge your freezer/pantry shelves after six weeks of entertaining. First of all, January’s budget is always super tight… but more than that, since my hubs and I like to entertain, and typically cook for others from before Thanksgiving to after New Years. AND, in Italy, I’ve noticed that can mean you have way more extra than you need. Seriously! Because of where we are, we have learned to buy for “just in case”… because if ya see something and don’t buy it at the commissary, you may not get it. Bottom line, we have food for weeks… and we’re about to get creative!
For me, it represents, using what I have (aka minimal $$ spent on groceries); weeds out what I don’t normally keep as pantry basics (aka holiday entertainment items, extra flour, etc.) thus leaving room on our “pantry” (shelves we bought from IKEA) so that it’s not so unorganized looking; AND it allows me creative. Additionally, it allows me to really look at EVERY item in the pantry/fridge/freezer that may have expired, etc. (y’all do not want to know the science experiment-looking things I’ve found).
I typically start my challenge after my hub’s birthday (January 5th). This year, he turned the big 6-0! We had dinner with friends and ate leftovers. Y’all we’ve been eating so much he literally asked for no cake. HA – Serious business y’all.
So Monday, I spent the whole day in the kitchen prepping bento lunch items, and looking into creative ways to use leftovers. Here is what I did:
- Cleaned and chopped carrots, celery, cucumber, onion, bell peppers.
- Made stuffed bell peppers with beef, Italian sausage, chopped onion, and leftover rice and tomato sauce..
- Made egg cups with the meat mixture that did not fit into the bell peppers.
- Made chicken salad with leftover grilled chicken, boiled eggs and veggies.
For me, the rules are as follows:
- Take stock of what I have using the worksheets Jess provides (Free). If this is your first time, buy the eBook. It’s the best $6 you will spend – trust me.
- Use what I have.
- Only buy needed items. Here it’s water (you can’t drink the water, though we do have a Berkey – and we use that for cooking), dairy, produce, and paper items.
- No restocking till February 7th. We hit it super hard for a month.
- After Feb. 7th, plug in more meatless meals and keep folks on track with lower carbs. We have weight to lose. BLAH!
To show what I mean about creativity, I took meat out of the freezer and create dinner and a week’s worth of breakfast with it. As a side note, I’m volunteering with the USO tonight, and my guys have choices for leftovers. BONUS!
It will never be my goal to lecture you about finances or show you what an idiot I’ve been. But when I find something good to share, and a lesson learned, I will do that from time to time. I pray you learn from this old lady’s mistakes.
I hope and pray your Tuesday is blessed. Join me in the pantry challenge if you want. I’d love to hear your tips too.
Love, Hugs, & Blessings,