Jan 29 10
by cara
at 8:52 PM
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Results of the Eat From the Pantry/Freezer Challenge

First a quick update:  The Littlest Apple’s gastric emptying study went better than expected yesterday.  His arms weren’t strapped down this time, and he only screamed for the last 15 minutes or so.  Hooray!  As for the results, we haven’t heard the official verdict from the doctor, but we were able to watch the screen shots as the scan was proceeding.  I’m no doctor, but it didn’t look like things were moving much at all.  That little white blob in his stomach was basically the same sized white blob at the end of the study.

Now, on to the real post of the day, the results of the Eat From the Pantry/Freezer Challenge!

It has been fun challenging myself to come up with meals from what we had on hand this month.  I only made 2 trips to the grocery store this month, but we had plenty of stuff on hand already, with a crammed pantry and a freezer full of meat.  I’ll be the first to admit that there were several flops this month, most involving leftover turkey.  The turkey soft tacos and turkey etouffee were inedible.  The turkey gumbo was only slightly more tolerable.

My favorite meal creation was the Chicken Soft Tacos with Homemade Tortillas, Mexican Rice, and refried black beans.  I also made some pretty tasty homemade pitas this week (recipe coming soon!) to eat with Greek Chicken Pitas.

If you remember, I was trying to keep our grocery bill to $500 or less, which would be an vast improvement from last year.

My total grocery store expenses for January…..

$317.59 !!!!!

Pretty amazing reduction, right?!  I almost couldn’t believe my eyes!  That even includes a purchase of some frozen convenience foods for The Littlest Apple from Schwann’s.

BUT, to be honest, that’s not the whole story.

I think it is important to note that our dining out expenses for the month of January were a little HIGHER than normal.  Too high, if you ask me.  And honestly, it was just laziness.  We certainly weren’t lacking food at home.  We got tired of eating sandwiches for lunch every day and The Picky Apple didn’t take his lunch to work like he normally does.  Also, I was counting on leftovers from all of those dinner flops, and that didn’t work out.  (I guess the lesson here is to use some tried and true recipes instead of experimenting too much when you’re trying to save money!)  I need to do a better job of planning for lunches and having them prepped and ready to go.  Same for breakfast.

Which brings me to my challenge for February: preparing a wider selection of lunches and breakfasts.  I am going to continue grocery shopping every other week, because I like the way this is working out (and because I hate grocery shopping!).  I am hoping to keep the monthly grocery bill for February under $400 and to decrease our dining out expenses as well.

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  1. courtney permalink

    alright… TEACH ME! our grocery bill is so high i dont know what to do.

  2. Good to hear about the study going much better than the time before. I do hope the test results are on the positive side as well.

    I haven’t ever done a pantry/freezer challenge for a full month – way to go on completing it! I don’t think we have ever had our freezer or pantry that full. 😀

    Finding ways to cut the food budget aren’t as tough as I thought it would be though, my biggest challenge is sticking to our weekly meal plan. This week we strayed from the meal plan when I failed to get my night-before cooking done because I was exhausted and sleepy from working 10 hours. I learned that you have to be somewhat flexible with a meal plan…

    For courtney – do a web search on “mix recipes” to find a way to cut convenience foods down – this will save a ton of money by itself. I found a recipe for white sauce which I could prepare in bulk and store in the fridge so no more packets of white gravy or canned/jarred alfredo sauce need to be bought. Also, there are some great cream soup mix recipes out there too….you can easily cut out all of the Campbell’s cream soups (if you use those) and make any variety you want from one base recipe. We also cut out soda pop and started drinking tea and kool-aid and/or water. If you have a Gerbes or Kroger store, they have manager specials on meats that you can pick up really cheaply, just be sure to freeze any packages your not cooking right away as they have a shorter shelf life as they aren’t as fresh.
    I don’t know your money situation, but if things get really tight don’t be afraid to visit your local food pantry/ USDA food bank as that food is subsidized in part by your tax dollars that you pay every payday… our pantry here does not consider income and only asks for physical address and social security numbers of all in the home. It’s there if you need it.

  3. Hi Cara,

    You had left a comment on my blog and I followed your link here. I had a gastric emptying study of my own done this week. For as bad as the situation is, I’m glad you wrote about white blob. In a weird kind of way it’s cool to see someone else writing about radioactive material and gastric emptying studies. Here’s hoping for positive results 🙂

  4. Well I’m glad to hear the LA didn’t get TOO upset. 🙁 Poor sight…. hope everything comes back ok.
    And WAY TO GO on the grocery savings! You’re a superstar! 🙂

  5. Hi Cara,
    I couldn’t reply to you comment on my blog…if you want to make it easier for people to contact you change so it doesn’t say no-reply (in blogger) and then when I popped over here, I can’t find an email address 🙂
    The jars I put the labels on are from walmart just under $7 each.

  6. wndy26-Thanks for sharing those excellent tips! I’m planning on doing a post soon about how I save money at the grocery store without using coupons. Stay tuned.

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  1. Menu Plan Monday, February 1 | The Picky Apple
  2. Saving Money at the Grocery Store Without Using Coupons | The Picky Apple

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