Thursday, September 20, 2012

How is Eat Your Pantry Month Going?


We are two-thirds of the way through the month and two-thirds of the way through our Eat Your Pantry Challenge. If you're doing the challenge at your house, I'd love to know how it's going!

Today I thought I'd share some of the best, worse and funniest ways this month's challenge has affected our dinner hour.

Most kid-pleasing pantry recipe:  Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos. I used to make these all the time but kinda forgot about them. I am so glad that this challenge reminded me of this dish, because my kids love it and I'm pretty sure it is the cheapest thing I could possibly feed them. 

Most likely to convert me into a bean-eater: We tried this recipe. Oh. My. Goodness. Maybe it's the bacon, maybe it's the quarter cup of minced garlic in it, but this recipe made me temporarily forget that I hate beans. And my bacon-and-garlic-lovin' family devoured it.


Most awkward pantry moment:  I invited guests over for Sesame Chicken so that I could use up the sesame seeds I had in the pantry.  In all the last minute busyness to get dinner served I forgot to toast the sesame seeds and add them to the sesame chicken.  So we had not-so-sesame chicken.  And the sesame seeds are still in my pantry.  I guess we'll have to try again....

Biggest Eat-Your-Pantry Month cheat:  We used red kidney beans as bingo tokens.  That might honestly be the only thing they are good for. Did I mention that I hate beans?...



 How is Eat Your Pantry Month going at your house?  Have you reached into the far corners of your dried goods and discovered some fabulous new recipes?  Please share in the comments below!

39 comments:

  1. I've spent the month restocking my pantry with produce from my garden, but I've loved all the other things you've posted about and find myself being released from the clutter. I'm curious about your bingo cards . . . they look like sight words and my 2nd grader could sure use some help in that department. Is it something you created or do you have a source for them?

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  2. What a brilliant idea!!! My son is just starting to read, and I am so totally going to use this idea with the word sheets that were sent home for him to practice. Thank-you!!
    You just have it all together, it seems. You are probably laughing at that, as I do when people say it to me. Because we really don't ever feel like we have it all together.....however, you seem to.
    Love this blog.

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  3. Well I decided to just donate my entire pantry stock (anything that was unopened) to the food pantry at church, so technically my pantry is currently empty.

    Cassie (Reno, NV)

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  4. I found this idea in a magazine but I had all of these ingredients in my pantry (or fridge) so it was perfect!

    Huevos Rancheros Spaghetti
    Spaghetti, black beans, corn, salsa, green onion, shredded cheese, and a fried egg on top.

    My husband and I almost died of happiness eating it...it has become a new staple!

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    1. Thanks for the idea. I made this last week after seeing your suggestion. It was a very filling meal.

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  5. I don't know that I have discovered anything new, but we have been working our way through our rice/pasta/canned tomato stash we had accumulated.

    I do now remember why we had two different types of brown rice. I had bought one bag, and it was terrible, so I tried a different bag hoping it would be better... before finishing the first bag of brown rice. My real problem with this brown rice is that is takes FOREVER to cook. I seriously cooked this rice for over an hour for dinner the first night, and even though it looked nice a fluffy, it was still crunchy and uncooked when we ate it. I tried again the second night with the left overs, first reheating slightly in a pan, and then adding it to my stuffed pepper casserole, which was then baked for just under an hour until the top was nice and golden brown. Took my first bite, and the rice was STILL crunchy and uncooked. I will never buy this brand of rice again... until then I think we still have almost two cups of uncooked rice.

    More successfully, I made a HUGE batch of homemade spaghetti sauce using up all 4(!) cans of diced tomatoes in the sauce, and serving it with the spaghetti noodles the first night and turning it into a homemade lasagna the second. :) I am happy to say that our dry and canned goods shelf is starting to look pretty bare.

    Brittny

    Bsnovelwritingblog.blogspot.com

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    1. Or use it for blind baking....

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    2. I may have to bring the rice to work and compost it. Thanks for the reminder! My apartment community doesn't do composting, but the one I work at does! :)

      Brittny

      Bsnovelwritingblog.blogspot.com

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  6. I have a great idea for eat-your-pantry month... I'm going to email you about it!

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  7. Even though we weren't able (needing) to take part in this challenge - I still LOVE the idea. I really should have one week each month where its pantry-only meals!


    God bless!

    Our Front Porch View: The Story of a Young Family's Pursuit to Fulfill a Simpler Life
    www.ourfrontporchview.blogspot.com

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  8. For me it's "Eat your Pantry and Freezer". It's been great! I've been supplementing our daily breakfast eggs with beans, to cut costs. And working through the strange meats in the freezer. Pork heart, deer and beef liver. Tried three liver recipes so far and kinda like the pate (with bacon). This is a great idea, thank you for the challenge.

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  9. It's so funny that you hate beans! I will have to try the white bean recipe since we eat mostly black beans. My kids' favorite meal of all time is beans over rice (with a little sour cream and cheese). Seriously. Makes me feel like a bit of a slouch since I love to cook and still they ask for "beans and rice"!

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  10. I saw a cute idea for math manipulatives using large dry beans. You can spray paint them different colors. Use them for patterns, addition, whatever.

    I made your lentils and rice recipe last night. My family loved it! Thanks!

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  11. I'm getting down to odd remnants now, plus the things I don't want to eat, like the 6 boxes of mac n cheese. People keep giving them to me! Plus I've got several things of instant mashed potatoes. Caved yesterday and bought butter and milk, and I've looked up recipes to dress up mac-n-cheese. Other than a whole case of my favorite green-enchilada sauce, the pantry is looking devoid of all those remnants!

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    1. We cut up a tomato and green onion and then add cooked chicken and a bit of ranch dressing to mac-n-cheese and my kids devour it . . . probably not the healthiest thing, but the tomatoes assuage my guilt a little ;)

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    2. To dress up mac n cheese, I normally stir in some browned ground beef cooked with italian, hamburger or taco seasonings depending on the flavor I want. If your family likes squash/zuchinni, you could also saute up some you have diced for a healthier/vegetarian option. :) My hubby's favorite though is to make it with a can a tuna. I normally heat the tuna a bit in a pan before I add it.

      Brittny

      Bsnovelwritingblog.blogspot.com

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    3. You can always donate them to a local food bank.

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  12. We are getting down to the bare shelves! Yay! We have eaten lots of soups (great for quick dinners when we had back-to-school-meet-the-teacher-craziness)We put fresh sausage in pinto beans, yum. I had one jar of alfredo sauce I just couldnt bring myself to use. I once got violently sick after eating something with alfredo sauce and ...well it was enough to make me never want to eat it again. So I donated that jar to a food bank bin at the grocery. I have been baking bread with all the flour I had, and loving it. My family is spoiled on fresh homemade bread every week ...so guess I will keep on spoiling them :) Thanks for the great posts Kelly!

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  13. To keep myself accountable I started a blog specifically for the Eat Your Pantry month, pennypinched.wordpress.com. Journaling it and having to report my daily spending totals has stopped me more than once from grabbing an unnecessary item. I still buy the basics like milk but I came to realize that I'm a dynamo as an hunter and gatherer but not so swift as a processor of the spoils of the hunt. I've been doing it and didn't realize how much emotional stuff is build into fast food and over shopping. I don't spend much on clothes or entertainment and I felt justified, like I was protecting my son in case of financial ruin or some disaster if the house was fully stocked. It made me feel safe. All I can say is that it has opened up a lot of growth and an examination of my relationship with food. Who knew I was attracted to the bad boys? :) Thanks, Deb Groom

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  14. We didn't quite do the challenge, but we are certainly gearing up in the spirit of it. I completed cleaned and organized all of my dry goods this month, so I actually know what I have in the house. Then, I reviewed everything I had in the house, and then made a meal plan to include those things, before I went grocery shopping for the things I didn't have. Eventually, we will get some of those inherited-from-a-friend canned goods eaten up, too.

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  15. So far so good on our end, except we're pretty much down to the millions of boxes of cake mix my husband's grandmother sends us every year for Christmas. Is it acceptable to have two different kinds of cake for dinner? . . . . I think it is. I'm also tired of macaroni and cheese (we do the homemade stuff, but we had two HUGE boxes of elbow macaroni and two containers of Velveeta in there. What the heck?! We're prepared for the end of the world. Come on over to our house for some mac and cheese and cake!)

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  17. We are doing well! I love how when people come over I kind of preface the meal with "so we are doing this eat your pantry thing, sorry for the somewhat random meal" turns out most people don't really care as long as it is warm, healthy and they didn't have to cook it!

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  18. We're slowing eating through our pantry. I've been able to bake and donate to my church and other charitable groups. At the end of the month, I'll go through my pantry and gather a lot of what's left to donate. To keep me honest ,I posted about the start of my month here http://organized31.blogspot.com/2012/09/organize-your-pantry-by-using-up-food.html. At the end of the month, I'll post an update. Thanks for the motivation to look at my pantry with new eyes.

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  19. I had good intentions........but I think I'm going to have to change it to 'Eat your Pantry October'. In this challenge I'm really falling behind. :(
    Try try again!

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  20. I am LOVING your blog! I read a ton (ok all..) of your older posts this morning when I was up WAY too early :)
    We've been eating a lot from our pantry this last couple of weeks. And I must say that I'm SO grateful for it. My husband just switched jobs, and his former employer has decided not to pay him part of the money they owed him. (Don't worry, we're doing great considering, and he won't let that go down without a fight..) :)
    Anyway, I'm so very grateful that we've followed advice we've been given to store away a little extra for a rainy day. But I also love your point of view..that it's counter-productive to "hoard" stuff. Whatever that may be. Thanks for sharing your journey!

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  21. Um...I've used about two things from my pantry. Not going so well. I think the reason a lot of stuff has been in my pantry is that I really don't want to eat it. Oh well! I did make a lasagna, but I still have 1.5 boxes of those noodles left. I have a variety of legumes which require soaking most of the time, so I always forget. Let's just say I'm terrible at this.

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  22. We are down to all the bits that just don't make a meal on their own: arrowroot and tapioca starch, very small amounts of cereal grains like teff and amaranth, shredded coconut, flaked coconut, coconut flour. I think most of my coconut items have actually gone rancid, that's how long they have been sitting on the shelf. At least that means I don't have to find a way to eat them!

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  23. I thought thru your challenge. I turned some of my pasta stash into freezer meals (ready to eat), but most everything in my pantry is well thought out to last us till next summer when we do it all over again. I canned and preserved my garden produce all summer---free organic veggies!!
    So everything is very well stocked right now, down to the 55 qt of homemade applesauce I finished up today. I am down to 6 empty qt jars which will be perfect for the apple pie filling I am making tomorrow. I try not to over-can but plan out how many jars of product we will eat per week or month and go from there. I canned around 300 jars so far this year.
    I don't think its a security blanket at all (I'm not a prepper) or not trusting God, just a way to provide my family with the food they need. I rotate everything as well, buy the ingredients in bulk, and it keeps our food bill lower. We eat our pantry every day--year round.
    I did serve leftovers to company last week---he raved over the meal saying it was better than his favorite restaurant - a Chinese buffet. First time I ever served pot roast, potatoes, pizza and tomato soup at one meal, but they loved it.

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  24. I am really enjoying finding new recipes and being more creative with our meals. My family's favourite so far was the chili. Simple i know but i used 5 cans of random stuff like spaghetti-O's and i even added quinoa. It didn't look like chili when it was done but thats what i started making so i don't know what to call it. Anyway once all the spaghetti was cut up nobody could tell it was in there. The wierd thing was it was delicious! I might make it again if i can remember what i put in it.

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  25. Hmm, let's see, I've baked the expired puff pastry into a sort of applie pie (it was fine :) ), and I started (but haven't finished) making a pantry/freezer list.
    But considering that I've actually cooked a lot of stuff I had in the fridge (instead of letting it go to mush), I'd say it's been a pretty good month where I've paid attention to food.
    Ieva

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  26. Ouch you just reminded me I have a lot of seasme seeds I haven't used in a long time, I have been reorganizing my pantry for months now, buying a few pricey but oh so practical and space saving tupperware containers, now I have a lot of my food stuff visible at one glance in there, so I have pretty much finished a lot of the stuff we never use already.

    One great recipe for red kidney beans: Rajma, it's an indian dish cooked in tomato gravy. The only issue with that one is that ou need to soak the beans for 8 hours and then if you don;t have a pressure cooker they take still a lot of time to cook, if you plan on eating beans and lentils often, a pressure cooker is a must in your kitchen, that often reduce the cooking considerably, around 4 times less. Another good use for kidney beans if you don;t like them is to use them to dry bake a pie dough so that it doesn;t bubble in the middle ;-)

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    1. Just a thought... have you tried cooking your beans in a crockpot overnight? I LOVE my beans this way - they are delicious!

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  27. So far we've finished off some brown rice. And 7 boxes of cereal (how embarrassing!!), we ate a lot and made a couple batches of snack mix. :) Tonight I'm hoping to finish off the tomato paste by making mini pizzas.

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  28. I have learned to make things with quinoa and cous cous I never thought possible :) Need to find a way to use an entire jar of tahini

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  29. We've wound up making some interesting omelette concoctions with the little leftover bits that always seem to show up. Peppers, sausage, cream cheese, potato and leek soup (crazy, I know, but surprisingly good), cilantro, salsa, in varying combinations. We've found out some pretty unique, and yummy, combinations that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

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  30. I have gotten rid of a lot (a lot of canned food was even expired as I started digging into it-- gross!). I got rid of a lot when I made tuna casserole.... it was ok, but I don't know that I'll ever make it again!

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