Sunday, January 10, 2016

Pantry Challenge #2 ... 2016

Look at my lemon trees; they are surviving the move from outside to inside quite well. (Remember, I started these from seeds back in the summer.)  I made up a solution of 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to 2 quarts of water and gave them a good drink.  It’s supposed to help with their magnesium needs.   I also set a couple of cups of water amongst them to help keep the humidity up in the area where they are sitting; having the heat on can make the air a bit dry for them.

Well, cold weather has finally arrived and it actually feels like winter in our area, which means I am busy working inside where it’s warm and cozy ….

My to-do list from last time:

I have a canning/preserving marathon planned for January so I’m going to get started on that.   I have the following that needs to get done in January:

Can pinto beans.  Didn't get done!

Can white beans.  Didn't get done!

Can kidney beans.  Done!   I added 14 quarts to our pantry.  This will be enough to last us for the rest of the year.

Make bread crumbs.  We don’t use a lot of bread crumbs since we are low-carb eaters, but I’m not about to let these stale pieces of bread, etc go to waste!  The bread crumbs will last us a very long time at the rate we use them!  Done! I added 2 quarts to my pantry.

Make turmeric capsules.  Done!  I made up a month’s supply.  I purchase turmeric powder from a Mennonite store and capsules like these from Amazon. (affiliate link) 

Make vitamin c capsules.  Done!  I made up a month’s supply.  I purchase vitamin C powder here. (affiliate link)

Make a batch of laundry powder (The last time I made it was in November 2013 … the last batch lasted over 2 years!!!).  Didn't get done!

In addition:

We used the cash rewards we earned from shopping at Sam’s Club last year to renew our yearly plus membership for another year.  We didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

We  used gift cards to help pay for the groceries we purchased this week, we had$35 in gift cards, so our groceries for the week cost us $27 and some change out of pocket which is just $2 plus the change over our weekly budget of $25.

We purchased 10 lbs of ground beef as part of the above mentioned grocery shopping trip.  After getting home we vacuum sealed it into 1 lb size portions and added it to the freezer part of our pantry.

As part of the same grocery shopping, we found these on clearance at Sam’s Club for $2.91 per box.  Each box contains a bag of chocolate kisses and 3 packages of individual cookie mixes.  This was a really good deal as the bag of chocolate kisses alone would have been the price we paid for the whole box!

We made sausage balls during the Christmas holidays and purchased shredded cheddar cheese to use in the recipe.  I took what was left of the bag, divided it up into ½ cup increments and put it in snack baggies.  I then put the snack baggies inside quart freezer bags.  I added 14 snack baggies to the freezer part of my pantry!

I continue to work on earning Swagbucks that will be redeemed for Amazon gift cards, am doing Pinecone surveys whenever I can and am working on earning points through Bing which I’ll also redeem for Amazon gift cards.  It all adds up over time and will be used to help keep our pantry stocked.

Book #2 in my attempt to read at least 25 books this year is Mama’s Bank Account (affiliate link).  I purchased this book used, which I often do if at all possible. 

I like books about The Great Depression and when the book, The Worst Hard Time:  The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great  American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan, which was set during The Great Depression, was recommended to me I went in search of it.  I searched Amazon and found it new for $9.41 but that was more than my budget would allow so I checked for a used copy.  I found one in good condition for $.01 plus $3.99 shipping.   This was still more than our budget would allow so I set to work on earning a $5 Amazon gift card through Swagbucks.  Within the week I had earned the $5 gift card and placed the order.  Now, I am anxiously awaiting its arrival so I can start reading.  

I am participating in this getting ready for Christmas/gift giving challenge!

I saved $108.90 this week in The Vicky Challenge!

Here is something I didn’t do:

I received an invitation in the mail to subscribe to the magazine Mary Jane’s Farm … at a reduced price.  I love Mary Jane’s Farm so I immediately, without thinking, filled out the return card, sealed it in the return envelope which by the way was included and set it with the mail to be taken to the post office.  And then … I regained my senses and ripped that envelope up and promptly put it in the burn bag (we do not put anything with personal info on it in the trash).  I didn’t spend the money to purchase the magazine subscription … it was a want, not a need … I was tempted but came to my senses before it was taken to the post office.  I think that impulse thinking can be just as dangerous as impulse buying when it comes to wrecking havoc with a budget!

Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week/month:

I’m continuing to work on this month’s marathon canning session

Can pinto beans

Can white beans

Make a batch of laundry powder (The last time I made it was in November 2013 … the last batch lasted over 2 years!!!)

Thaw frozen turkeys and can

Make and can broth from carcasses of turkeys after canning meat

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook!

Earn cashback by shopping through EBates! (affiliate link)


  1. *made bread for lunches
    *made cookies for lunches
    *stayed in for date night
    *stocked up on chicken for .99/lb
    *finally stopped buying and drinking soda
    *made two small gifts using materials on hand

    1. Jenn, I'm working on that soda habit, it's a hard one to kick. Congratulations!

  2. Made breakfast sausage out of mark down ground pork and mark down apples and Amish Apple sausage seasoning- packaged up 6 ziplock bags and added to freezer.
    Used the rest to make (and freeze) 42 breakfast burritos, using some of the sausage, eggs I got on sale for 1.50/dozen , flour tortillas I got for .49/ten pack ! Added them to freezer pantry, while keeping 8 out for grab and go breakfasts this week.

    For our Granddaughter's wedding, I hemmed 2 pairs of suit pants, 1 suit jacket's sleeves and altered my "grandmother of bride" dress. So grateful for that skill and the sewing machine and supplies I have as part of my "pantry" storage!! I checked with local dry cleaner/ alterations place and doing those 4 things myself saved me $95!!

    I found three mark down storage canisters at SAMs club that I will be able to put more of my baking supplies in ( mixes,nuts, etc!)

    Now, with the wedding and reception over, I plan to replenish some of my home canned convenience foods by canning more sweet and sour sauce. I love having that on my shelf to use with frozen or canned meat ( chicken or pork) and some rice for a dinner that literally takes 10 minutes to put on the table!!

    I hope this week to make some more dry mixes- seasoning blends, baking mixes to replenish or add to my supplies! Thanks, Patsy, to you and your group and Annabel for her encouragement on pantries as well as her "Vicky" challenge! With DIY wedding reception things, adding to our pantry, we were able to save $1055.35!!!!!!!! By purchasing wedding reception plates,cutlery, cups, bowls and DIY-ing decorations for the reception, we saved about $600!

    1. gardenpat, what a great week you've had! I am impressed! Just look at all the ways you saved money this week! You go girl!!!!

  3. Got to go to restaurant depot last week and buy a 40 pound box of chicken for $1.13 a pound, it will all be canned this week in quart jars. Also bought 40 pounds of sweet potatoes and 10 pounds of small red kidney beans....the sweet potatoes will be canned and some of the beans. The rest of the beans will be stored in airtight containers till I need them. Have also frozen 4 dozen eggs so far. Thanks for the inspiration, donna

    1. That's a good price on chicken Donna! You'll be able to add several jars to your pantry with that amount. You did good on all your purchases. Bet I know what you'll be doing this week!!!!

  4. Ah i know what you mean about magazines. I'm trying to wean myself off them. I love Mary Jane's as well....although what I find is that I look more at the pictures and ideas in magazines than read them. Shame on me. The only subscription I have right now is Backwoods Home. But I'm a sucker for pretty magazine covers, Off Grid etc, and at nearly $10 each, its pricey.

    1. Mdoe37, it's good to know that I'm not the only one that has magazine 'issues!'

    2. I used to have magazine issue too. Then I discovered Pinterest and it seems to satisfy my need for browsing through interesting articles and looking for new ideas to try.

    3. Rhonda A, I wish Pinterest would do that for me but I prefer the hold it in your hand magazines!

  5. I received a food dehydrator for Christmas from my mom. This week I tried it out. I used some canned homemade apple sauce from 2014, which my daughter refused to eat, to make fruit leather, which my daughter absolutely LOVES! In my first batch, I used straight applesauce. Then I tried mixing the applesauce with some strawberries I had in the freezer for one batch and blended up a few clementines that were a bit soft with the applesauce for another batch. I also tried dried banana chips and dried watermelon, but my daughter is liking the fruit leather more. At least the applesauce is finally getting eaten, so I can make more again next fall.

    1. Rhonda A, aren't dehydrators wonderful? Oh, the things you can preserve with them!

  6. My biggest savings is using the library. My little library has a running total of what we save by checking out books. Just in one visit I saved $84.88 by using the library. If they don't have a book I want to read, they Interlibrary Loan it for me. Pauline in Idaho

    1. Hmmm... Pauline, you have inspired me to give our little library another try! Thank you!

  7. Patsi,
    Oh I have missed you! Since it is cold here as well it is always a little slower for me and I get more busy work done than anything. BUT I was gifted bunches of linens! I have been washing them and I am up to 48 pillowcases and a nice blanket there are a bunch of sheets and new pillows and a whole garbage bag of mostly flannel pajamas. I love flannel! So for the Vicky challenge(LOL) I put $125 in my savings book, but had I bought all of this stuff at a thrift store it would be way more. My husband was asked by a business if he would fix their equipment for a new set of tires for my truck so that saved us $400 dollars for new tires that I need badly! I made bone broth from a big ham bone, made pizza when I almost caved and ordered one picked up a few coke points when babysitting the grandbabies saved with some coupons and got a great deal on cheese! I now have lots of cheese. Sold some eggs, was gifted some crochet thread we sold a load of wood and took a load of scrap in and was given a plastic barrel that will be good when we have to water the garden. I feel so blessed this week as normally winter is a very slow time for me and the bulk of my savings come spring through fall. I also use Epsom salts on my tomatoes and peppers. And a little FYI last year I had about 1/4 of a bag of dried great northern beans that I hadn't cooked so I soaked them in water overnight and planted them and most of them grew! So just growing that small amount I doubled the beans that I had planted. I may try it again this year. I just left them on the vine to dry. I hope you have a great week!

    1. Vicky, I am so glad you commented! I have noticed that you have been MIA and was getting ready to send out the posse to look for you! How does it feel having a challenge named after you ... you should be honored! So happy about the tires and all the other savings you've accumulated, you've had a good week! I ordered some great northern bean seeds today when I placed my seed order (that I paid with from money earned doing Pinecone surveys.) So glad you're back!

    2. Thank you Patsi! I have been babysitting those grandbabies of mine a lot! I love every arm full of them, but they sure make me tired! I am so honored about the Vicky Challenge! It really is amazing to see how our efforts mount up during the year and really how well we are stewarding the resources, some think of resources as only the paycheck, but I believe they come in many forms! My husband really loves that I keep track of these things and likes to know what it equals. It gave him a different perspective on the things I do. Will you be drying or canning those beans? Great job on the surveys! I used to do pinecone, but my computer had a bad virus and I couldn't do anything for awhile so I got booted! Thanks again Patsi!!!

    3. Vicky, I'll be canning the beans. I think the Vicky Challenge for me is going to be a teaching and learning tool as well as provide inspiration to see how much I can save!

  8. It sounds like you got a lot done. I've never canned beans before, even though we eat a lot of them. I've thought about it. I'm sure they must be handy to have around.

    You always seem to get great deals at Sam's Club. We don't have that store where I live, but it's fun to see what someone else can get there!

    I do can turkey broth, though. I have several bags of turkey bones in the freezer that I need to thaw, make broth and can. I want to empty the freezers a bit, and that would free up quite a bit of space. Also, it would make those bones into a usable form. I've been putting it off because I have lots canned up from last time, but I need to get it to the top of the list soon. I have quite a few beef soup bones in there as well, and need to boil and can them, too. Right now, I'm preoccupied with preserving the 40 pounds of bananas I was given. Fun!

    1. 40 lbs of banana's ... to me that means banana bread for the freezer, banana muffins for the freezer and banana's frozen for future smoothies ... Yum! Beans are easy to can and so good, not to mention convenient!

  9. Every time I come here I get more inspired! :-) We were in Sam's recently and found our first marked down items!! Decaffeinated tea bags which we use and find harder to buy now. Many stores now carry green tea and stopped carrying decaffeinated.
    I see turmeric for sale at either Sam's or Costco recently in the spice section. Organic I believe. Is this ok to put in the capsules? What else as far as equipment do you know to more easily fill the capsules and such? How do you know how full to do them? Is there an article or book you read on this? I use turmeric pills [and vitamin C too] and they are expensive and I noted you did your own capsules quite a while back but can't find that post. I was excited to see you wrote about doing it again. I am looking forward to being able to do some of my own capsules. Sarah

    1. Sarah, I've used organic turmeric to fill capsules before and haven't had any problems, I prefer organic but have used non-organic when I was out of organic. I'm including a post I did covering the questions you've asked but to be honest with you the easiest way for me to fill the capsules is to open them, scoop, tap to settle, scoop again and put the top cap on. I do not measure the amount. Hope this is helpful.

  10. I was looking at your recipe for laundry detergent and noticed that you add baking soda. I've not seen that as an ingredient from the prudent homemaker site. Can you tell me what it is for?

    1. It deodorizes your clothes, helps clean and brighten them as well.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...