Friday, July 1, 2011

Summertime Pantry Challenge

I have made three different attempts to eat exclusively from the pantry in recent years, all with high hopes of saving money and creatively using up our stockpile of food. But I must confess that I didn't stick very closely to my goals, or maybe my goals were too lofty. Either way, I "failed" and this girl does not like to fail.

So, when I discovered that one of my favorite bloggers, Jessica at Good Cheap Eats, was starting a Summertime Pantry Challenge for the month of July, I had to think long and hard before agreeing to participate. That's because I'm a glutton for a good deal. When chicken breasts are $1.99 a pound, I cannot resist not stocking up. But I have decided to cut myself some slack this time, reevaluate my goals, and have fun with this challenge.

My Goals for this Challenge:

(1) Limit my food spending to fresh produce, eggs, dried beans and legumes, and dairy. Those are the foods we eat the most of and that I cannot make from scratch. However, if Kroger has an amazing sale on chicken, I will be stocking up. Yes, I warned you already!

(2) Frequent the farmer's market instead of the grocery store. Whatever isn't growing in our garden, I want to purchase directly from the farmer's market. It's a good way to support our local farmers and minimize exposure to harmful pesticides. (Plus, Kate loves to get a homemade whoopie pie.) That being said, I have found that the prices at the farmer's market are somewhat higher than at the chain grocery stores, so I will have to make sure nothing is wasted. Still, the benefits of buying local, in my opinion, outweigh the negatives.

(3) Reorganize & take a new inventory of my freezer. Back in May I reorganized and inventoried all the food in my cabinets, fridge, and freezer, and, thankfully, the cabinets still look pretty good and the inventory hasn't changed too much. However, the freezer is a different story. We only have a refrigerator-freezer, so it is pretty crammed in there most of the time, which REALLY aggravates my husband. So, I need to get that puppy straightened out and start to...

(4) Eat from the freezer. While there is a lot of food in the cabinets, the bulk of what needs to be moved out is in the nether regions of the freezer. I plan to use up all the meats and any seafood and frozen veggies to make way for the new because, honestly, most of that stuff is pretty old. It seems we've been eating foods straight from the grocery store, rather than freezing it and using what we have in the freezer.

(5) Try out new recipes! One of my favorite things to do is to experiment with new recipes. I'm not much of a risk-taker, but I like to venture out and see what I can make with the ingredients at my disposal. So, this challenge presents the perfect opportunity to find different ways to prepare meals.

I will post updates every Friday to let you know how things are going: new recipes I've tried and loved, lessons learned, as well as ways to use up the staples you have on hand.

Will you join us and take the Challenge? If so, what are your goals?

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