Monday, January 09, 2012

Kitchen Stashbusting Challenge revisited

Hello, my name is Cyndi, and I'm a food hoarder. 

I think.  I wonder if any of you are like me:  I have way too much food in my refrigerator, my freezer, and my cabinets. I am challenging myself to use what I have on hand for two full months

We came back from a 3-week trip in our RV to New Mexico and Arizona, and I did what I always do:  I went to the commissary and spent $200.  I went to Costco and spent $100 - mostly on meat. Then I ordered produce from Washington Produce (a local wholesaler that recently opened a retail outlet) for $30.  Then, I "took inventory."  I keep a notebook - a list of all the meats and vegetables on hand, from which I make a master list of all meals, meatless as well, that can be made from what I have.  I realized that I could probably cook wholesome meals for 3 months - 3 MONTHS - with everything I have, replenishing only a few items of produce.

Exactly a year ago I did this, but only posted 3 times about it.  I don't recall why I stopped.  I'll try to do better.  

Now that I've made that statement, I need to decide the rules for my personal challenge. Here are my rules from last year:

1. I can buy milk, eggs, and butter/margarine when I run out.
2. I can buy the significant condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.) when I run out, unless it's something I can make from scratch. And no, I'm not going to make ketchup from scratch. : )
3. I can buy lettuce, tomatoes, and other salad-related produce when needed. But I need to use up a lot of frozen and canned veggies, so no immediate purchases of other vegetables.
4. When the side dishes get very slim, I can purchase FRESH vegetables only.
5. I get to make up my own rules as I go along, since this is my challenge.
6. I will try to make healthy foods. TRY.

To those rules, I'm going to add coffee and creamer.  Gotta have coffee and creamer. 

 I have a lot of items that have been in the freezer for months that need to be used before I buy more of them:  mixed berries, cherries, peas, blueberries, spinach.  Speaking of spinach - since I'm thinking out loud here - I picked up a bag of spinach balls at a Wal-Mart in Whitehorse, Yukon, this summer. One of those balls is the perfect size for mixing in 5 scrambled eggs for Don and me.  I looked for spinach balls here in the states, but can't find them. Does anyone know where I can find them?  It's not a big deal - I can use little slices from boxed frozen spinach - but those little balls are perfect.

I have nearly 10 pounds of flour on hand, my sugar canister is full, and there's plenty of butter in the fridge. So I have basics.  I was going through my recipes the other day and realized that there are hundreds of dessert items that can be made just from basics - I call them "pantry desserts." One excellent example is Chocolate Cobbler. I always have flour, sugar, butter, and cocoa powder.  (As a matter of fact, I bought a large bag of cocoa powder at a bulk food store last month. I'm set!)  I also have a box of 10 Pilsbury pie crusts in the freezer - got them at Costco - and not only can I make pies, I can use some of them for quiche!

Breakfast:  We currently have 3 dozen Panera bagels in the freezer downstairs, two boxes of Nutrigrain Waffles (I like to make a sandwich with cream cheese and some jam), and lots of breads and rolls. I'll replenish the eggs when they run out.  As for breakfast meats - I have TONS.  Bacon, sausage links, bulk sausage, little smokies, Spam, Canadian bacon - enough for what we call "big breakfast" for several months. (I make "big breakfast" about twice a week.  The rest of the time we eat the bagels or have small breakfasts like egg sandwiches with some kind of meat.)

Lunch:  I think I need to get creative here.  I get tired of lunchmeat and cheese sandwiches, and we're not always in the mood for soup.  Yes, we eat leftovers, since many of my favorite recipes are for 4-6 people, but I bet I have quite a supply of fixings for some different lunches. I recently subscribed to Eating Well and Family Circle magazines to assist a friend's daughter in a fundraiser, and I bet I can find great ideas there.  Well, those and Google searches!

I will try to post every day or every two days with what we've been eating and how I'm doing on my personal challenge. 

1 comment:

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Good luck. I am embarrassed by how much food I have. I actually feel shame when I come home with more (I am relieved when the neighbors aren't home to see me carry in more grocery bags LOL). It always feels like I'm only buying things we need but that can't be true. It's not as bad as it was when I had an extra freezer.