Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pantry Challenge {the month}

I posted yesterday about our goals for the Pantry Challenge we are doing.  Today we are going to look at our goals and see how we did.

1) Use the items that have not been rotated in the pantry for sometime.

We were successful in using many items from the pantry – opened things we tend to “save” like juice, it is just there – for “special” occasions!  Well we decided this month would be a special occasion.
We used some of those specialty items that I purchased for a great recipe I saw and then never got around to making – we made them this month (well a couple of them).  They were not really that good – the people who work at Trader Joe’s and create the sample recipes made them taste much better!
We started turning to canned fruits and vegetables more as the month went on (although see #3).
A few more items remain in the pantry that we want to use – we plan on using them and being more attentive to what it is we are buying.

2) Discover what exactly is in our freezer and use it.

We have cleaned out both freezers – but they are NOT even close to being empty – not that I want them to be empty. I just want to use the older items that we put off using.

Here is a picture of the freezer I took last week:


and the door


We have used a little more since these pictures but there is still TONS in there.  I have discovered I need to store more bread – or as you will read in #4 make it. Otherwise we have a pretty good supply of a variety of products in the freezer.

3) Reduce grocery budget – really I wanted to not go shopping at ALL, but wanted a little wiggle room.

We spent MAYBE $100 all month at the store. This included three trips. All three were a result of really good sale items that I wanted to get and put away for “after” the challenge.  You know the $5 off $20 coupons or the $10 off $50… yeah I am a sucker! We did buy milk, fruits and veggies around the 20th.  We were doing find drinking the THRIVE Instant Milk (it is actually REALLY good) but I had been wanting to make a permanent switch to 1/2 instant and 1/2 fresh milk for awhile anyway so the gallon of milk we got I split up and froze one gallon and then we had the other 1/2 (turned whole gallon) in the fridge. No one knew the difference so looks like that is a switch we will continue with.

I definitely learned I need more raw vegetables around. We did use the THRIVE vegetables with our meals and as side dishes but they are just not a good substitute for a salad!

We also went into Costco to get puppy food this past weekend as we were near there. We had enough to get through the month but it has made me realize we need to have a bigger supply of food for her around too.

4) Teach the kids more out eating from the pantry and making things here at home (crackers, bread, etc.)

This was the MOST fun of all. My youngest only 4 1/2 has taken a huge liking to making bread – which is dangerous! I LOVE homemade bread and just want to eat it all up. So we have to limit how often we bake.  We did use the bread for everything from snacks to breakfast and lunch sandwiches. During the winter I find it easier to bake bread – I don’t’ want the oven on in the summer time.
They both have learned more about where things are in the pantry as we went though things together. We will be spending more time incorporating them into our cooking/baking – they did a great job.


So… the challenge is “over”. Well not really. We plan to continue the challenge but more loosely. We want to use what is in our pantry. We have a year supply of many items but now that we eat a good deal of THRIVE foods we don’t need as many traditionally canned vegetables, boxes of mashed potatoes, rice mixes etc. So we plan to use those items up and replace them with THRIVE products.

Did we enjoy the challenge. I did, a lot. Really the ONLY time we went to any store was when we REALLY needed to. Not only did we save money by not buying things but also saved money on gas. I have had the same tank of gas for over a week – which is unheard of with my SUV! I went and did errands today for the first time all year.   I enjoyed taking the month of and living with what we have – which we have figured out is a lot!

Are you ready to take the challenge?  Challenge yourself for these 29 days of February and come back and let us know how you do.

If you are interested in learning more about Shelf Reliance and THRIVE foods feel free to contact us – all of our information is above in the header.

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