minimalism · Personal Finance

Pantry Challenge Update – Week 4

If you have read prior posts, you know that this was a tough week. There were many days I didn’t feel like cooking or focusing on this challenge. I wanted comfort food which doesn’t include things like lentils and chia seeds. As a result, our grocery bill for the week was higher than I wanted it to be. We spent $123 which isn’t that bad actually (only $23 more than what I budgeted). However, we also spent $54 on eating out including both health options (Panera’s, Chipotle) as well as pure crap fast food. And I still have those frozen pancakes and chia seeds left! Darn-it!

One night, I was really craving sweets. We didn’t have any cookies or ice cream and chia seed pudding was not going to hit the spot. I found some grits in the pantry which I added some butter and maple syrup. My husband thought I was crazy, but it satisfied my sweet tooth that night! I also cooked a vegan lentils recipe called koshari. It reminded me of my travels to Egypt many, many moons ago. Not sure I’ll make it again though, but it was fun to try something new.

Now that the month is over, I have come to realize quite a few things:

  1. There is always something to eat! Even as I end the challenge, there are more than enough items to make more random meals. Chia seeds anyone?
  2. I need to hone in my meal planning skills.
  3. The busier my family is, the more fast food we eat.
  4. My family typically takes two days to finish off whatever I cook for dinner. There is only need to buy 3-4 meat items a week, not 7!
  5. I was in a cooking rut. I need to try new recipes at least every 3-4 months.
  6. To save money, I need to find a way to streamline meals so that I am not cooking 2-3 separate dinners every night. This means more members of our house need to be vegan like my son.
  7. I miss fresh ingredients. While it was fun, I feel better physically when I eat less processed foods which was much of my pantry/fridge items.
  8. I need to do this challenge every 3-4 months. I’m thinking January, May and September each year.

What tips do you have to get the most out of your grocery/food budget?

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7 thoughts on “Pantry Challenge Update – Week 4

  1. Love that thought that there is always something to eat – I find whe in tired I let laziness take over, instead of looking at what we really have in the fridge / cupboards, which is usually an amazing amount of potential meals!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had the same problem too, that I was planning and buying food for 7 dinners/week, when we only really need 3-4.
    How about incorporating your son’s vegan foods as part of the regular meals? This is what I am doing since I am trying to eat mostly vegan but my partner isn’t. Examples:
    1. Vegan meal is roast veggies tossed with spinach and quinoa as a salad, the family’s meal is the same with roast chicken/beef/lamb on top.
    2. Vegan meal is pad thai or fried rice (just remember to leave the eggs out), then in a separate pan fry up some prawns or chicken to throw on top
    3. Vegan meal is a vegetable curry on rice, while browning some meat in a second pot, and then spoon half of the curry into the second pot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The busier my family is, the more fast food we eat.
    — So true, and the less sleep we get, the fatter we get, and so on. I’m also working on meal planning and reducing grocery costs, it’s fun so far, but I barely started so it could just be a ‘beginner’s high’.

    Liked by 1 person

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