Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pantry Challenge #29 ... 2014

We’re under a freeze warning for tonight in our area!  That’s very unusual for us … I hope this isn’t an indicator of what this winter is going to bring our way!

I harvested a 5 gallon bucket of bell peppers in anticipation of the possible freeze as well as a gallon of cayenne peppers.  I also moved my aloe plant in from the front porch; I don’t want it to freeze.   

So, besides preparing for a possible freeze, what else have I done? 

My to-do list from last time: 

Make Miracle Healing Salve.  Done!  This is good for boo-boo’s, minor burns, etc.
Make vitamin c capsules using the vitamin c powder I purchased last month.   Hmmm … guess what, I didn’t get this done AGAIN!
Grind up pork rinds to use in low-carb cooking.  Done!  I added 2 quart bags of ground up pork rinds to the freezer part of my pantry.  I’ll use them as a low-carb substitute in recipes that call for bread crumbs.
Vacuum seal tea I purchased through Amazon's subscribe and save program last month.  Done!  I added 5 quart jars of green tea bags and 3 quart jars of oolong tea bags to my pantry.

In Addition ….
I purchased a large container of spinach, much more than we could use before it went bad so I loaded up my dehydrator, dried it and ground it up into spinach powder.  I’ll add it to omelets, meatloaf and casseroles, etc.  … it’s just another way to get some of those good veggies into our diets!
I pulled a gallon of milk from the freezer to thaw and make another gallon of kefir with.  Didn’t know you could freeze milk?  Yes, you can!  Just pour out about a cup full, put the cap back on the jug and sit it in the freezer.  When you get ready to use it, take it out and let it thaw in the refrigerator.  Give it a good shake and it’s ready to use just as you would if it had not been frozen.
I also pulled a package of bread out of the freezer for our use this week.  I let it thaw in the refrigerator as well.   It was soft and fresh just like when I brought it home from the store.  Didn’t know you could freeze bread and it be edible?  Here’s how I do it …. Wrap loaf of bread in plastic wrap (don’t take it out of the bread bag), then wrap the plastic wrapped loaf in aluminum foil.  I write what kind of bread it is and the date on the foil using a permanent marker and then into the freezer it goes, preferably on a shelf so that it doesn’t get squished!  I don’t like squished bread!  When we need bread, I transfer a loaf to my refrigerator and let it thaw.  Remove foil and plastic wrap and it’s ready to eat as usual.  When you find a sale on bread, stock up and freeze it.  Then when you need bread you can shop from your freezer instead of the store.  This works for homemade bread as well!
And yet one more thing I shopped in my pantry for this week instead of the store was orange juice.  I buy the concentrate in the cans and freeze them.  (I try to stock up when I find it on sale.)  When I need orange juice I transfer a can from the freezer to the refrigerator, let it thaw and add the correct amount of water needed to make it into orange juice.
Grocery prices seem to increase each time I go shopping which means I must continually research and learn ways to be a smarter shopper.  This week I pulled from my bookshelf the book Cut Your Grocery Bills in Half by Barbara Salsbury with Cheri Loveless, as my next tool to read and study in my war against rising prices.  The book walks it's readers through compiling/making a 'supermarket survival notebook.'  I'm hoping to learn some things that will help me stretch our food budget further.
I’m halfway to earning enough Swagbucks for another $5 Amazon gift card. 
I continue to update the excel spread sheet I created to keep up with how much we’re spending on groceries.  I can see already that this is going to be a helpful tool! 

The Specific Area of My Pantry that I focused on for October was meats.  I've been watching the sales ads and checking closely for bargains.  My goal was to add one month’s worth of additional meat for meals to my pantry above our normal usage.  So, how did I do ….

11 packages of fresh catfish nuggets ... my husband had to clean and dress the fish but other than that they were FREE!

30 lbs of bacon
4 one pound cartons of chicken livers
4 sirloin beef roasts
We got hit with a larger than expected expense this month and didn’t have the funds to add as much meat as we would have liked to our pantry, however, I’m pretty pleased with what we did do.  It wasn’t a whole month of meat meals, but it was a good effort.  Sometimes you just have to do the best you can and let that be enough!

For the months of November and December my pantry goal is to restock baking supplies in my pantry.  This time of year most stores run sales on their baking supplies, so it’s a good time to do some replenishing.   Here are the items I will be watching sales for:
Sugar-free chocolate chips
Almond flour
Coconut flour
Coconut oil
Olive oil

Here’s my to-do list for this week:
Watch grocery store ads for sales on turkey, ham and pumpkin.  I’d like to be able to add some of all three of these to my pantry.  My hoped for sale price for the turkey and ham is $.99/lb.  Last year I was able to find turkey at $.79/lb but with the way prices have increased, I’ll be surprised if I find turkey that low this year.
Preserve the peppers we harvested by making stuffed peppers for the freezer, chopping, dehydrating and grinding some into powder and chopping and freezing some for soups, omelets and casseroles.
Can sauerkraut that has been in the works for the last 6 weeks.
Make vitamin c capsules using the vitamin c powder I purchased last month.

Now it’s your turn, what pantry related things have you done since we last talked?  How do you save money at the grocery store and stretch your grocery budget?

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