As has been the case for the past few weeks, if you’re interested in details of how the menu plan went this week, you can peruse my daily pantry challenge notes. The brief overview is that everything went surprisingly much as planned, despite the fact that we got sick over the weekend. This is perhaps not so surprising when you consider the fact that we don’t have a lot of extra ingredients for improvisation right now… 🙂 (Though the truth is, there are all kinds of baked products I could still make if I took the time. Which I really need to start doing, because the breakfast situation is about to become dire.)
I had toyed with idea of whether to stop the pantry challenge at 28 days or not. A month of pantry eating is a pretty good accomplishment, and it might be nice to have a little leeway for buying Thanksgiving food ahead of time.
Last week I thought we were scraping the bottom of the barrel for meat. I plotted it all out carefully, assigning one meat to each day, and it worked. There were a few salmon fillets leftover, and maybe a freezer meal or two, and a couple cans of sardines, and some turkey lunch meat… It wasn’t until I added up all the ‘non-meat meat’ available that I realized we could actually scrape through for one more week. (Add to that the fact that I inexplicably have a pound of ground beef left after finishing last week’s meals, and we’re rocking this!)
My husband also strong encouraged me to keep going. Far from getting tired of the pantry challenge, he said he was going to be kind of disappointed if we didn’t have any really weird meals before the pantry challenge was over.
So on that note, weird meals, here we come! We’re continuing the pantry challenge for another week, for a total of 35 days. On Thanksgiving Day we will officially come off the pantry challenge and be able to buy all the groceries we want to (though, practically speaking, I’m not going shopping on Thanksgiving).
Because of practical issues, such as needing to make food for Thanksgiving ahead of time, and signing up to make a meal for a family at church who just had a baby, I will be doing a small amount of grocery shopping this week. We’re also receiving our Azure Standard order this week.
I will not use any of that food in my normal cooking this week, unless it falls under the original exceptions of the pantry challenge.
For instance, I’m still undecided about whether it’s reasonable to go without butter for another week, so I may add one pound of the organic butter I ordered from Azure into our usable food supply for the pantry challenge. (I’d definitely like to get another vote on that one: is it reasonable or unreasonable to go without butter for two weeks and have to use olive oil almost exclusively for our fat?)
(We likely have a social event going on one night, but at this point I wanted to make sure we have food planned for every night we MIGHT need it.)
Salmon Fillets with lemon garlic sauce, zucchini fritters
Sardine Pizza (with homemade cheese)
Leftovers/Fridge Scrounging Day (we may end up pulling out one of those extra freezer meals this day)
Salmon Chowder (for church fellowship meal)
Meatloaf, Celery Fritters
Turkey Sushi (using turkey lunchmeat, candied celery and sprouts along with anything else I can scrounge up that seems sushi worthy), pickled ginger, miso soup
Sardine Fritters, freezer baked beans, zucchini chips
(Before you ask, I have no idea what my obsession was with fritters this week. I guess it was my one repetitive idea to keep weird food interesting. Or I’m subconsciously craving fried foods because I know we’re out of butter…)
Leftovers, when we have them, but some of these meals being made with limited amounts of meat to start with may not produce enough leftovers for a full lunch. To fill in the gaps we have freezer meals of grave of small birds, beef stew (shepherd’s pie filling), a pasta dish (with meat and tomato sauce) and one beef topped baked potato. Most of those are small portions to make a whole meal for two out of, but if combined or supplemented with rice, etc, should work just fine. We should also have extra turkey lunch meat that won’t be needed for the sushi, which we could use to make wraps or sandwiches, mozzerella which can be used as a protein in a pinch, and we may have extra food from one of the above dinners if we end up having that one social event this week. (Don’t mind me being exhaustive–this is one week where I really want to have all my options listed out for reference in case of feeling like I’ve run short on food.)
As I mentioned, the breakfast situation is getting pretty sparse. We did toast and smoothies this week, ham slices once, and fried potatoes (with diced ham) on Saturday, and I made rice pudding for breakfast this morning, which helped a lot. Once we get more milk I can make chia pudding, and in the meantime we have some more rice pudding and I plan to make zucchini bread and possibly some kind of muffins. I can fall back on oatmeal for breakfast if needed, but I’ll try to avoid inflicting that on my husband if possible. (I’m Scottish enough that I really don’t mind oatmeal for breakfast, and am starting to wonder why I haven’t been eating it more often already.)
Baking and Extras:
I got some of my baking projects done last week, including roasting the squash. This week the top priority is for breakfast foods. After that, keeping up with the water kefir and making bread and possibly making some sort of snack. Is it time to revisit that idea of homemade crackers already?
Aldi has sweet potatoes on sale for .49 each, onions for .79/3lb and cranberries for .99/12 oz.
I will, however, be doing my shopping at Costco:
cheddar cheese, about $15/5lb (I need cheese for the meal I’m making for a family at church, the rest will be on hand for us to go crazy with as soon as the pantry challenge is over. 🙂 )
sour cream, about $4 (Everything I said about about the cheese also applies to the sour cream.)
ice cream, not sure of price (Okay, so I actually need this for a recipe video I’m filming, which means we might end up eating some before the pantry challenge is quite over… Ah, the hard necessities of being a food blogger…)
frozen green beans, not sure of price (for Thanksgiving dinner)
apple cider, not sure of price (also for Thanksgiving dinner)
fresh garlic, about $5/lb (also for Thanksgiving dinner)
I’m going to restrain myself from buying too much, because it seems as though it would just start to get complicated keeping the pantry challenge food seperate from the after pantry challenge food. However, if Costco still has cans or organic pumpkin, I may snag some before they’re gone.