February 10, 2011

Day 10—Challenge Update

Ten days into the February Eat from the Pantry Challenge, and I think it is getting easier instead of harder.  I’m not sure if I’m just starting to program myself into focusing on what we need to use or if it is because I’ve spent much of the last few days at home instead of out and about, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.  Of course, now that I say that I’m setting myself up to have a major slip, aren’t I?? 

Today we had planned to make up a HUGE batch of banana bread, using many of the frozen bananas that I have stored away.  I set the butter out to soften this morning, and it is still pretty solid.  I guess that tells you how cool we keep our house.  I’ll hope to be able to accomplish that goal tomorrow night instead.

Breakfast—the last of the muffins, cereal and milk

Lunch—Hubby and daughter had sandwiches, chips, and fruit.  I had a leftover baked potato that I reheated in the microwave and then added a bit of ham, cheese, butter, sour cream and salsa.  It was quite good, and I felt very satisfied that I used up a food before it went to the compost pile.

Supper—Tonight we ate dove that I cooked in a little olive oil and Nature’s Seasoning for about 10 minutes on 350 degrees in the oven.  Then I added a bit of mandarin orange juice (from the can that I had drained and readied for our daughter’s lunch tomorrow) and cooked it another 10 minutes.  Then I finished them by dressing them with BBQ sauce and baking them for another 6 or 7 minutes until done.  I wish I had remembered to marinade the meat, but they were still good.  We had a couple of whole wheat hamburger buns that were leftover from Sunday and needed using.  I toasted them with a bit of butter.  The sides were creamed corn (not my favorite!), a few green beans I found in the freezer from this summer’s garden (how I can’t wait for the garden to be producing!), instant mashed potatoes (not too bad this time—guess it helps to prepare them according to the package directions), and some cranberry sauce.

What have I learned today?

It is much, much easier for us to eat leftovers when we are eating at home.  Had I been on-the-go today, eating the baked potato would not have happened.  Making more of an effort to eat leftovers or pack them in our lunches when we know we will be able to reheat them will greatly help to reduce our waste.

Habits.  We are in the habit of eating out about one time a week.  Getting out of that habit takes practice.  As I told you, we went to a restaurant on Sunday of this week.  With some pre-planning, I am hoping we can steer clear of a restaurant this weekend and get into the habit of eating at home.  I can empathize with people who work full time jobs and are exhausted when they arrive home to only then have to worry about what to prepare for supper.  When I have a full work day, I feel the same.  I find myself getting frustrated by the chore of cooking instead of enjoying it like I usually do.  If I can get in the habit of doing as much prep work when I am spending a day at home for days when I know that I will be busy, I think it will help. 

Pre-planning for busy days is just part of the fix, though.   I think that the other part is for us to not feel deprived.  Having special foods that we look forward to eating is key.  This weekend to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’m making homemade cinnamon rolls, something I only do on special occasions.  On Valentine’s Day I have a special meal planned of lamb chops, homemade bread, salad, corn (I found some in the freezer that we froze this summer!), and homemade molten lava cake and ice cream for dessert.  Shhhh, don’t tell my husband.  Some families look forward to homemade pizza and a movie on weekend nights; others have a steak night.  I’m hoping that we can make it a more regular event to have a special meal planned for the weekends.


  1. I am also trying to learn to eat at home instead of going out every other night. We had convienced ourselves, that since it was just the 2 of us we could eat out cheaper than buying and cooking at home...wrong, mainly cause I still had to buy goceries for breakfast and lunch. I also try to eat the left overs, but DH doesn't do left overs very much..I like to make large pots of soup, chili, shagetti(MSP) and then freeze then in several contains to eat at a later date when I'm not at home all day or too busy to cook.
    You are doing a fantastic job..keep up the good work.

  2. Well Gabrielle... I have to say that I am doing pretty good.. I've not gone food shopping in two weeks now and it's going really well. Today, I realized why I've been doing this challenge.. and thank goodness I have been because the unexpected bill I had to pay today would have pushed my budget over the edge. Today, I had to take my dog to the vet and ended leaving a $300 check. That is at least two weeks worth of food shopping for me.. so I guess it all worked out in the end.. Saturday is my husbands birthday and he really wants to go out for dinner with my daughter and her husband and when he suggested it I made the 'ohhh but...' face and then he said, "Leslie.. you've been doing so well, give yourself and me a treat"... SO.. I guess we're going out..

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your doggie. I hope the vet visit resolved the issue, but I'm sorry that it cost so much. It is true that the challenge can help with the budget.
    Definitely go out with your family. Just like you told me on Sunday when I was concerned about going to the restaurant with my husband, your family comes first. It is your hubby's birthday, and I hope you'll celebrate and know what all you have and continue to accomplish in the challenge! Happy Birthday to him!