Monday, January 26, 2015

What we're eating during the Pantry Challenge - week #4

It's the last week of the Pantry Challenge.

January 25 -
Breakfast: ds#3 spent the night with a friend.  Hubs had eggs & bacon, and I had an apple.
Lunch: we took ds#3 & his buddy out to lunch after church.
Dinner: we had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.  Easy peasy.

January 26 -
I have a workshop today.
Breakfast: ds#3 had a super duper milkshake with ice cubes, coconut milk, cocoa powder, vitamin C powder, and a little honey.  Hubs had monkey salad, eggs, and bacon.  I had water.  I had an apple when I got to my workshop.
Lunch: Hubs had Hawaiian chicken in his lunchbox (I still can't believe how much he likes this dish!!!).  Ds#3 had turkey roll-ups, tortilla chips, homemade mini-larabars, and homemade trail mix with cashews, pecans, and chocolate chips.  I went out with my colleagues.  The leftovers from my lunch (a chicken quesadilla) will be ds#3's lunch tomorrow!!!
Dinner: I decided that nachos would be a good Monday comfort meal.  I browned our last pound of ground beef, diced some tomatoes (we're out of salsa), and melted some cheese.  They were delicious.  Hubs had a slice of apple pie for dessert (that I baked on Saturday), and ds wanted something sweet too... so I went on the hunt.  I found a recipe for chocolate pudding - coconut cream, white chocolate chips (because I didn't have any other kind), a little honey, cocoa powder, the very last of the peanut butter, and some ground chia seeds.  All blended together and chilled.  Ds#3 ate two bowls before it was even cold.

January Menu #4 and Pantry Challenge week #4


So this was the originally planned menu for the last week of January:
Jan 25 - Ham slices (frozen from Christmas), green beans, tossed salad
Jan 26 - Leftovers
Jan 27 - Chicken tenders, tossed salad, sweet potato fries
Jan 28 - bowling night for hubs  Ds#3 & I will eat leftovers at the house
Jan 29 -  Soup of some sort
Jan 30 - my sister's b-day... probably a family dinner
Jan 31 - Grad school graduation party for a friend - we will bring a finger-food/appetizer

I don't think anything will be what we planned! :)
You can check out what we're actually eating here.
Sunday~ out for lunch; tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner
Monday~ nachos.I also made homemade chocolate pudding for dessert (with coconut cream, white chocolate chips - because those were the kind I had - cocoa powder, a little honey, and some chia meal).  Ds#3 thinks it is perfect.  Score for Mom!!!!
Tuesday~ vegetable soup
Wednesday~ bowling night for hubs leftovers for ds#3 & me
Thursday~ possibly out to dinner with a friend.  If not, we'll have leftovers - we've got plenty of turkey to do something with!
Friday~ DEFINITELY OUT.
Saturday~ Grad school party for a friend - we're taking a veggie tray
Sunday~ out for my sister's birthday

The pantry challenge has gone pretty well - this will be the toughest week to finish it out.  I have learned that it is REALLY hard to buy ONLY what we absolutely need... perhaps we've conditioned ourselves too much to stock up 'just in case'.  However, we've eaten well.  No one has starved, although it has made me research and become very creative to satisfy my guys.

Monday, January 19, 2015

What we're eating during the Pantry Challenge - week #3

I'm home from my out-of-town conference, and we're back to cooking.  The guys tried for a couple of days to eat at home, but Hubs defaulted to going out toward the end of the week.  He is not a happy man when I am gone.

January 18 -
I'm home.  It's so nice to sleep in your own bed.
Breakfast: Hubs wanted pancakes.  I did not want to make pancakes, but he pleaded, so I did.  He had bacon and several pancakes.  Ds#3 had one chocolate chip pancake.  All during breakfast, Hubs raved that my pancakes were so much better than his (he tried to make them one morning while I was gone).  Sigh.
Lunch: the Veggie Beef soup that I made for Hubs to eat while I was gone... that he did not eat.  We had it for lunch and now it's all gone.
Dinner: Hubs was not hungry for much at dinner - he ate tortilla chips and salsa.  I found some breaded eggplant that was harvested from our garden, so I cooked that with some marinara sauce and it was delicious.  Ds#3 had chicken tenders.  It was a sort of 'fend-for-yourself' meal.

January 19 -
MLK Jr's birthday, and a school holiday.
I had to go to the grocery store.
Hubs requested turkey and Swiss beans for his lunches this week, and I had a little turkey (enough for one meal) in the freezer, but not enough for every day.  So I needed to get a turkey.  And we needed eggs, and butter, and toilet paper..... $79 later, I was home.  But this is only my second trip this month, so I'm not feeling too bad.  Plus, if it keeps us from eating out, I'm all for it.
Breakfast: Hubs had monkey salad (overripe bananas with cashews & coconut) and eggs & bacon.  I made a breakfast quiche for ds#3 with broccoli & bacon.  He didn't eat it today, but I did.  He just had a big glass of chocolate milk made with cocoa powder, maple syrup, and a little vitamin C thrown in for good measure.
Lunch: the last of the taco meat turned into nachos.  I added lettuce and tomato to make mine a salad.  But it was mostly nachos.
Dinner: Turkey is roasting in the oven.  Swiss beans are on the counter to be cooked.  I'll make gravy to go with it all and call it done.
Now to go make school lunches for tomorrow.

January 20 -
Back to work today.
Breakfast: Hubs requested monkey salad and a smoothie.  Ds & I both had a slice of broccoli-bacon quiche, and ds also had a big glass of chocolate milk.
Lunch: Hubs had turkey & swiss beans (leftovers from last night) in his lunchbox.  Ds#3 had a small salad, Triscuits, and trail mix with water.  I had citrus salad and vitamins. :)
Dinner: Pioneer Woman's chili, without the masa and beans.  I made a big batch with some for leftovers.
Snack: salted nuts. Yum!

January 21 -
Bowling night for Hubs.
Breakfast: monkey salad for Hubs.  Broccoli-bacon quiche for ds#3 and me.
Lunch: Chef's salad for Hubs; leftover chili in a thermos for ds#3; citrus salad for me.
Dinner: Hubs & ds#3 ate out before going to the bowling alley, so I enjoyed an evening home alone... complete with chicken tenders and Swiss beans. ;)

January 22 -
Today was a hard day at work.  Which made dinner challenging... because these are the times we fight the urge to go out.
Breakfast: Hubs requested a cheese omelet.  Quiche for ds#3, and water for me.
Lunch: turkey & Swiss beans for Hubs; leftover chili for ds#3, and the last cup of it for me.
Dinner: Ugh. Hubs had an upset stomach, then ate some Triscuits in an effort to have something salty settle it.  Then he polished off the last of the Swiss beans.  Ds#3 had some turkey & gravy, and I baked a sweet potato and topped it with a little turkey, some mushrooms, and some broccoli.  A hodge podge, but everyone was fed.
I baked chocolate chip cookies tonight because I know Hubs will be roaming for something sweet tomorrow.

January 23 -
Thank God it's Friday.
Breakfast: cheese omelet for Hubs. Chocolate milk for ds#3, and quiche for me.  I also ate the last bits of citrus salad (which wasn't much).
Lunch: Hubs stayed home today, and went to Subway for lunch.  A fairly economical choice, so I'm not bent out of shape. :) Ds#3 had a turkey sandwich on a roll, tortilla chips, homemade trail mix and chocolate chip cookie.  I did not eat, because we were taking group pictures for the yearbook during my lunch.  I do not like picture day.
Dinner: Hawaiian chicken.  This is a new recipe and I was anxious about it because Hubs does not love chicken, but we had chicken that needed to be used.  Diced chicken breast (frozen) with pineapple, green and red peppers (frozen from our garden), and BBQ sauce dumped into the crockpot... easy as that.  I served it with broccoli over rice for the guys, and over a sweet potato for me.  The verdict?  It's a keeper!!!  It's like a sweet & sour chicken with a little kick.  There is none left.  And I'm a happy mama.
Snack: the cookies I made last night are ALL GONE.  My people love their treats.

January 24 -
Ahhhhh. Saturday.
Breakfast:  Hubs & I had our date out, and we saw some dear friends who joined us... AND they paid for our breakfast!  What a treat! I made chocolate milk and the last of the broccoli-bacon quiche for ds#3.  He informed me that he really liked the crust (which I made from scratch - score one for Mom!).
Lunch: Ds went to a friend's house so he had lunch with them.  When I got home, Hubs had been working in the garden and was starving.  We had nachos to tide us over till dinner.
Dinner: Ds ended up spending the night with his buddy.  We had a pizza-ish casserole type dish with ground beef, tomato sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella.  I baked an apple pie for dessert at Hubs' request.
I made another batch of Hawaiian chicken for the week at Hubby's request (words cannot express how excited I am that he liked this dish!!!), and a batch of vegetable-beef soup.  I also went to the grocery store for (mostly) produce, and spent $33.

Pantry Challenge week #3 and our menu

We are entering week #3 of our Pantry Challenge.
So far, I have learned:
*We're pretty good at using up leftovers.
*My husband uses eating out as a way to de-stress (which I already kind of knew, but it's now confirmed).
*We eat a LOT of meat.  Which is expensive.  Which is understandable since I'm cooking mostly Paleo, but it's not easy on the budget.


This is what I *did* have planned for this week:
Jan 18 - Hawaiian BBQ chicken (crock pot) - chicken with bbq sauce, pineapple, onion and bell pepper  we also have lots of pineapple in the freezer!
Jan 19 - HOLIDAY!  Pioneer Woman's chili
Jan 20 - Leftover turkey slices in the freezer, Swiss beans, sauteed greens (growing in our garden) 
Jan 21 - bowling night for hubs  Leftovers
Jan 22 - Orange chicken, stir fry veggies (a veg medley that I've had in the freezer and haven't used yet!!)
Jan 23 - Swedish meatballs w/gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans
Jan 24 - Stuffed peppers and fried eggplant (both in the freezer)

But last week, I went out of town, and Hubs decided he wanted to eat in (which he did some) so I prepped some food that I had planned for this week, and he ate it last week.  So I'm having to revamp just a little.  You can check out what we're actually eating every day here.

Veggie Beef soup with leeks, cabbage, Swiss chard, carrots, celery, and tomatoes.  So good, and so good for us!!
Sunday~ Vegetable beef soup.  And lots of it.  Yum.
Monday~ Turkey breast with homemade gravy, swiss beans.  Hubs informed me that he'd like to take this for lunch during the week instead of his standard salad.
Tuesday~ Pioneer Woman's chili (minus the beans & masa)
Wednesday~ bowling night for Hubs.  Leftovers for ds#3 & me.
Thursday~ Hawaiian BBQ chicken (crock pot) - chicken with bbq sauce, pineapple, onion and bell pepper.  I will probably also steam some broccoli and make some rice for ds#3.  This is a new recipe - hope it's tasty!
Friday~ Meatballs with gravy, sauteed Swiss chard or broccoli
Saturday~ TBD. I've made the stuffed peppers, so hopefully all will go according to plan and we'll have them this weekend.

I made some homemade LaraBars for lunchboxes this week.  I also cut up and supremed some navel oranges we had (that no one was eating) and made a Citrus Salad with them.  That will be eaten for breakfast or lunch, or just a light sweet treat.








And hop on over to FishMama's Pantry Challenge to be inspired!

Monday, January 12, 2015

What we're eating during the Pantry Challenge - week two

January 12 -
Breakfast: we woke up late.  Hubs had eggs & bacon.  Ds#3 had a glass of milk & a brownie.  I had a bottle of water.
Lunch: Hubs had tossed salad topped with leftover steak.  Ds#3 had salad topped with leftover chicken.  I had some chicken salad (diced chicken, carrots, celery, pecans).
Dinner:  I got home late.... yeah, it's been that kind of day... I had a roast in the crock pot so we ate that and I reheated the Swiss beans.  Everyone is fed.  Whew.


Tomorrow I leave for the rest of the week - meals are prepped for the guys, and I'll be eating mostly on the road.  We'll see how it goes...


January 13 -
Breakfast: I hit the road today.  I made everyone's breakfast before school - eggs & bacon for Hubs, and an egg-bake with bacon & broccoli and chocolate milk.
Lunch: Hubs took leftover roast from last night and leftover Swiss beans in his lunch.  Ds#3 had a turkey sandwich on a mini-roll, tortilla chips w/salsa, and a homemade brownie.  I had dinner on the road - we stopped at a gas station that had a Subway inside, so I spent $6 on a salad for lunch.
Dinner: The guys had nachos for dinner at home (I made a bunch of taco meat for them and they had all the fixin's to go with it).  I ate dinner on the road with my co-worker; we went to Chipotle which was a treat because we don't have one at home! I spent $10 on a salad bowl with chicken and all the toppings.
Snack: I left the guys a plate of chocolate chip cookies before I left and I was told that they enjoyed them when they came in from school.  Score one for mom.

January 14 -
Day Two on the road.
Breakfast: I had a Clif Bar for breakfast (I brought a stash with me because breakfast tends to be pricey and I'm not much of an egg person). Hubs had eggs & sausage at home, and he made pancakes for ds#3.  What a guy! :)
Lunch: I had lunch on the road with my co-worker - we stopped at Greek restaurant and I spent $10 on Greek chicken and a Greek salad and it was delish!!!  Hubs had ham slices and Swiss beans in his lunchbox, and ds#3 had the same lunch as yesterday (I packed them in Ziploc bags before I left so they were already put together to make life easy).
Dinner: Out for dinner - I spent $15 on a burger including the tip.  Hubs & ds#3 went to Panera for their planned meal out before bowling.
I can't believe it's going according to the plan.... that NEVER happens!!!

January 15 -
Day Three on the road.
Breakfast: Clif Bar for me.  Hubs & ds#3 ate at home.
Lunch: Lunch on the road for me - a nuts & berries salad for $8.  Hubs had leftovers and ds#3 had lunchbox stuff I prepped for him.
Dinner: Dinner with colleagues - a bunless portobella & manchego cheeseburger for $11.76.  Hubs had a rough day at work so he & ds#3 went out to eat.




January 16 -
Day Four on the road.
This is getting old.
Breakfast: Clif Bar for me.  Hubs & ds#3 ate at home.
Lunch: for me today - a bunless burger at the Convention with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese and mushrooms for $10.  Finding good food is getting difficult and it's crazy expensive.  Hubs & ds#3 had lunchbox stuff that I prepped for them.
Dinner: I fudged and had nachos for dinner' I spent $18 including the tip.  But there was a lot of veg on them.  Hubs & ds#3 went out to eat again.

January 17 -
Heading home today.  Woo hoo!!!
Breakfast: Apple for me.  Hubs & ds#3 slept late, then headed to bowling.
Lunch: Hubs & ds#3 went out to a fave local BBQ spot.  My co-worker and I had a late lunch at Zoe's Kitchen - totally yummy!  I had Greek chicken with coleslaw - it was made with an oil & vinegar dressing, and they added feta cheese.  I am going to make it at home!  Spent $8.
Dinner: I think the guys' lunch was late, so they didn't eat dinner.  My friend & I were anxious to get home, so we didn't stop for dinner either.
I've got my work cut out for me in the coming week - stay tuned!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Pantry Challenge - week two



So far, we're doing fairly well on the Pantry Challenge.  We began on Jan. 1st, and have only been out to eat once, and had one shopping trip.  This is pretty good, considering my husband's way to deal with stress is to go out to eat.

This was the original plan for this week:
Jan 11 - Crockpot sausage & peppers (I will also make some chicken for ds#3 - not a sausage fan).  We still have oodles of frozen bell peppers from our garden and I am trying to come up with creative ways to use them.
Jan 12 - Chicken tenders, salad, fries
Jan 13 - I'm headed out of town until the weekend.  The boys are on their own!!  (I could plan food for them here, but the reality is, they will probably go out more than they stay home.)

However, it has changed!!!
Hubs has decided that he doesn't want to eat out every night while I am out of town.  So I spent the weekend prepping food for them (which I was glad to do), and that necessitated a trip to the grocery store.  Some of the items I purchased will be used later in the month, but some were specifically for this week.  I spent $128, and you can see the breakdown here.

Here's the new plan:
Jan 11 - Salads using up chicken breast and steak in the fridge.  Delicious and I love happy uses for leftovers!!!
Jan 12 - Beef roast, broccoli, Swiss beans (cooked for the guys to eat while I'm gone)
Jan 13 - day 1 of Mom's trip  Ham slices and Swiss beans for the guys
Jan 14 - day 2 of Mom's trip - Hubs bowls tonight, so the guys will go out to eat.

Jan 15 - day 3 of Mom's trip Beef vegetable soup; chicken tenders for ds#3 if he doesn't want soup
Jan 16 - day 4 of Mom's trip Taco night - taco meat is made for them, cheese dip, and tortilla chips are waiting.  They can add lettuce & tomato if they want salads.
Jan 17 - Mom comes home tonight.  Leftovers.

While I'm gone, I'll be eating lunch & dinner out.  I'm bringing bottled water, fruit, protein bars and chocolate covered walnuts for breakfast/snack.  The guys will have their usual lunchbox items (I've prepped ds#3's lunches; Hubs will make a salad for his lunch each day), and for breakfast, ds#3 will eat a LaraBar & milk, and Hubs will have his usual eggs & bacon/sausage.

I will assess the damage and see how to proceed for week three when I get home!

Check out Menu Plan Monday for tons of menu inspiration.  And check out FishMama's Pantry Challenge!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What we're eating during the Pantry Challenge - week one


Every January, we participate in a Pantry Challenge, trying to get our budget back in check, and using up what we've got.  So far, we're off to a good start!

I began planning on January 1st, but the challenge officially kicked off this weekend, so that's where I'll start.

Saturday, January 3 -
Breakfast: Hubs & I had our weekly breakfast date.  Ds#3 did not wake up until it was time for him to go bowling, so he had a slice of ham & broccoli quiche & a glass of milk, and headed out the door with Hubs.
Lunch: Hubs was working outside and didn't want to eat.  Ds#3 was ravenous, so I made him some chicken tenders from the freezer.  I had a single tender, along with some broccoli, and we called it good.
Snack: When Hubs came in, he decided he was hungry.  I had been grocery shopping, and bought him a 'snack tray' as a treat (it was on sale and I had a coupon) so he munched on pepperoni, salami, and cheese, and sausage balls I made earlier in the day.  Ds#3, being always hungry, decided to join him.
Dinner: No one was particularly hungry at dinner... so we grazed on leftovers and left it at that.

I made Swiss beans, sausage balls, and Paleo-friendly sandwich rolls today.  The beans are for a meal later this month.  The sausage balls were at Hubby's request, and the Paleo bread is because I really wanted to try it (and it was GREAT!!!!).  I also prepped chicken for Hawaiian BBQ chicken, later in the month (I made a few minor changes to the recipe), and cubed some chicken breast for the freezer, also for later in the month.

Sunday, January 4 -
Breakfast: I was not feeling well, so I did not eat.  Hubs requested eggs & bacon.  Ds#3 was not hungry when he got up.
Lunch: a Fend-For-Yourself affair, because I still was not feeling great.  Also,  Hubs was planning to grill steaks purchased earlier this week, so we didn't want to eat a big meal.
Dinner:  Said steaks, with tossed salad and sweet potato fries.  Hubby & ds#3 were happy to pose for the picture!


Snack: I made Paleo-friendly brownies which were a hit with my guys.  I'll use these in lunches this week as we head back to school, as well as for treats to keep everyone from feeling deprived during this challenge!

I discovered three bags of beef 'scraps' while inventorying / cleaning out the freezer... so today, I put them in the crock pot with some beef broth, a little red wine, and a beef bone.  They simmered away all day, and I added diced tomatoes, chopped some celery, carrots, and leeks, and we'll have Beef Vegetable Soup tomorrow for free!

Monday, January 5 -
Breakfast: hubs requested eggs & bacon, and then had 'monkey salad' (diced bananas topped with coconut and cashews); I had a slice of ham & broccoli quiche with a cup of hot tea.  Then it was off to work!  (Ds#3 ate after we went to work... I think it was a brownie.)
Lunch: Hubs used a gift card to have lunch with a friend; I came home to discover that ds#3 had nachos (!!!!!) and I ate some leftover turkey and apple-cherry chutney from last week.
Dinner: My 'free' soup! I had some rolls in the freezer that I heated for ds#3, and I warmed a paleo roll for Hubs & me.  Delish and filling!  (Yes, the soup has corn in it... which is not paleo, but it was in the pantry and needed to be used.)

No baking or extra cooking today... but I did make everyone's lunch boxes for our back-to-school day tomorrow.




Tuesday, January 6 - 
Breakfast: Hubs had his usual of eggs & bacon, with a side of monkey salad.  I made hot chocolate for ds#3 (almond milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, a little vanilla and some vitamin C powder blended in for good measure) and he also had a slice of ham & broccoli quiche.  I had a small slice of quiche too, with a big glass of water.
Lunch: in our lunchboxes -leftover soup for me; chef's salad for Hubs (his standard school lunch); cheese & crackers and a small salad for ds#3, along with a brownie for a sweet treat.
Dinner:  Taco salads, using the last of the tortilla chips (after ds#3's nacho adventures!!!) - seasoned ground beef, lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheese dip, salsa.  The guys had a brownie after dinner.


Wednesday, January 7 -
Breakfast: Hubs decided he would go early to his fave 'diner' breakfast spot.  Ds#3 had two glasses of chocolate milk (made just like the hot chocolate above, only cold) and a slice of quiche.  I had an apple and peanut butter.
Lunch: leftover soup for me; salad for Hubs; cheese, crackers & pepperoni w/a brownie for ds#3.
Dinner: Hubs bowls on Wednesdays, so he runs off to eat with his bowling buddies.  Ds#3 & I had a fancy dinner of chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, and broccoli.  And charming conversation at the dinner table. :)

Thursday, January 8 -
Breakfast: Eggs & bacon for hubs; hot chocolate for ds#3 (who was trying to convince us to let him stay home because it was absolutely RIDICULOUSLY cold - it didn't work); ham & broccoli quiche & hot tea for me.
Lunch: leftover soup for me (it's all gone now); salad for Hubs; cheese & crackers and tossed salad along with a brownie for ds#3.
Dinner: Hubs insisted we go out for dinner after an EXTREMELY stressful morning.  At least we used a coupon.

I made a homemade pie crust for pumpkin pie last night, so the guys each had a slice this evening.  Ds#3 will also eat it for breakfast (which is good because the quiche is gone - and which I don't feel bad about because it's homemade with wholesome ingredients).

Friday, January 9 -
Breakfast: pumpkin pie for ds#3; eggs & bacon for hubs; hot tea for me.
Lunch: tomato soup w/homemade croutons & pumpkin pie for hubs; salad, cheese & crackers and pumpkin pie for ds#3; orange for me.
Dinner: chicken breasts with zucchini, broccoli, carrots roasted in the oven, and leftover scalloped potatoes.

I will have to go the grocery store tomorrow for milk, eggs, and a few other items.  Hubs & I have discussed eating for next week when I am out of town, and he wants to eat at home more than he wants to go out - which is GREAT for the budget, so I will gladly stock the necessary items!


Saturday, January 10 -
Breakfast: our weekly breakfast date.  We got a biscuit for ds#3 on the way home.
Lunch:  Hubs & ds#3 had planned to eat lunch with some friends to discuss important baseball business, as in whether to play organized ball this season or not.  The verdict was not (Algebra makes everything difficult).
Dinner: Hubs requested vegetable beef soup.  I had everything on hand, and was happy to oblige.  It makes a big batch, which he will eat while I'm gone next week.

I went to the grocery store today.  I bought many things, most of which will be used in the upcoming week while I am out of town.  Essentially, I had no meals planned for the week, because I anticipated Hubs & ds eating out most of the time, but since they aren't doing that, I had to shuffle some things around and purchase some other things.  I spent $128, and it's the first shopping trip since before the first of the year.
I bought:
Green tea 
Vinegar (to clean pots in the garden)
Lunch Meat (for ds#3's lunches)
Organic roast (a great sale, to make up for the proteins I'll be using from the freezer this week)
Strawberries
Bananas
Apples
Cheese
Bacon & Sausage (both for breakfast for Hubs while I am gone)
Blue Cheese dressing (for his salads for lunch)
Maple syrup
Coconut milk
Tomato sauce
Salsa
Various protein bars for breakfast for me on the trip, and for ds#3 while I'm gone
Eggs
Nuts 
Tortilla chips (for the requested taco night while I'm gone)
Overall, not too bad, and I don't feel awful spending the money if I know they will eat at home.  Many of these items will carry over to later in the month as well.