Last Sunday I decided to challenge myself to not shop (except for necessities like milk, etc.) for one month because...well..Okay I'll admit it - I shop too much and a deal isn't a deal if you just can't use it. I have too much food in this house and it's time to clean it out and start all over. After a week of this I am beginning to think I could make it two or more months quite easily. Which really is a good thing with the threat of an inevitable zombie attack always looming on the horizon. My goal isn't to wipe out my stockpile completely, but to A. alter my shopping habits, B. get back to cooking 99% of our meals, and C. use up some of the stuff that has been sitting around a while.
Let me interject here a few of my feeling regarding breakfast, lunch and snacks. Except for my youngest, it's every man/woman for him/her self. I make dinner leftovers intentionally for lunches, and I (starting again this week)am making muffins a few times a week for breakfast and snacks. My muffins are made with oatmeal, wholewheat, wheatgerm and other healthy stuff like that. If cold cereal is eaten for breakfast during a school day it has to be high in fiber and low in sugar. Sugar cereals are for treats, and weekends. I also keep fresh fruit, veggies and garden salads on hand to round out meals and for snacks.
Although I have stopped doing my own reclaimed food pantry my friend still does hers, God bless her. Two years and a completely worn out minivan was enough for us. Because she sometimes has a surplus, and because my family will eat fruits, veggies, and whole grain breads that a lot of folks don't seem to care for, we are fortunate to be able to supplement our food budget with these items. So if you notice during the last few weeks I list salads and fresh fruits in my menu you'll know how that is possible.
I'd also like to point out a few other observations from this first week. I had two friends approach me with fundraiser stuff their kids were selling. I usually (but not always) would buy something even though I didn't want it, need it, and it's horribly overpriced. But because I have a specific goal it was easier for me to say thanks, but no thanks - I'm not buying anything this month. I have also found something else to divert my attention to - spring cleaning and organizing my house. It's a win win situation this month!
Week One Menu
Spaghetti with Italian Sausage and Meatballs
Garden Salad and Italian Bread
Beans and Rice
2 dozen Banana, Oatmeal, Pecan, Choc Chip Muffins
Baked Ziti with leftover Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce
Mixed Greens Salad
Fresh Cantaloupe and Pineapple
Crockpot Pork Tenderloin with Apples, Onion, and Cabbage
Mixed Greens Salad
2 dozen Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Instant Mashed Potatoes
For some crazy reason my kids love this TV dinner like meal.
15 Bean Cajun Soup
Cheddar Drop Biscuits
Pizza Cookie (Used a package of sugar cookie mix instead of cake mix)
Big Fat Loaded Grilled Cheeseburgers on Italian Bread
Tater Tots (I love them!)
Peanut Butter Bars
Exceptions to the plan - Monday it dawned on me that Easter was in the middle of my shop free month. Although I have already purchased the kiddie type stuff, we are having company for dinner that day. We have decided to try and stick to the plan as much as possible and forgo the traditional ham dinner for BBQ short ribs and chicken, but there are still a few things I will need to pickup. Combined with things like milk and eggs we will need, I have set a limit of $50 for the month, but will still try and keep it as low as possible. Also, my daughter's birthday is tomorrow and we will be going out for dinner - this was planned weeks ago.