It has officially been two months since our last monthly grocery haul. When I went shopping on March 7th it was before the pandemic panic buying and any talk of quarantine at home. It was just a normal monthly grocery haul where I stocked up on the staples that we were running low on. You can see exactly what I got in that last grocery haul here.
I don’t typically shop from a menu, and I don’t buy everything every month. I just buy what we’re low on, trying to stock up on things when they’re on sale or in season. I try not to wait until we’re absolutely out of something before we restock, except for the case of fresh produce where we’re careful to not buy more than we will eat before it goes bad.
In addition to our normal pantry groceries, we’re also eating from our long-term food storage. I have videos that show what we had in our pantry, food storage, fridge, and freezer at the outset of this challenge.
In short, I’d say that our challenge to eat from our pantry and food storage instead of going to the store is going great. We have been eating from home all this time and we still have plenty of food. Of course there are things we miss for sure, but we’re making do and still going strong.
There are lots of good things coming from this challenge and I’ll go into them all in the future.
We were blessed with some fresh produce from a friend who I’m pretty sure has no idea about this challenge. She was going out of state to visit her grandkids (including an adorable new grandbaby) and she had some romaine and a bag of apples she wasn’t going to finish so she gave them to us. We were all thrilled!
What We Ate This Week
Our lunches are pretty routine around here. I have friends who say their kids complain that they are tired of PBJs or don’t like sandwiches. Thankfully all of us love peanut butter and jam. I don’t know what I would do with a kid who didn’t like sandwiches! Every day that I can remember we had sandwiches on whole wheat bread with string cheese and orange or apple slices. Actually I think one day when the bread wasn’t made yet we just sliced up some pumpkin bread to eat (plain, not as a sandwich).
Burritos– We finished off our tortillas with bean, egg, rice, and salsa burritos. We didn’t have any cheese on our burritos, but we had some sour cream, which we all love.
Sweet Potato Curry on Rice with Naan– I used our last two sweet potatoes, a couple of onions, a jar of home-canned tomato puree, a can of coconut milk, some frozen peas, and some spices to make this meatless curry. We served it over brown rice made in the rice cooker. And everyone loves homemade naan to go with it. Our 5-year-old got a kick out of telling daddy, “There’s naan left!” 😂
Spaghetti with Salad– We had regular spaghetti with regular meatless sauce, but having it with salad made it exciting. I made a salad from the romaine that we got from our friend and added pineapple, raisins, and parmesan.
Creamy Taco Casserole– This is a recipe I grew up eating and has been a favorite for generations. I used a half pound of ground beef and less cheese than normal, but it still had that comfort food feel to it. I made another small salad to go with it.
Scrambled Eggs with Refried Beans– Mike makes the best scrambled eggs. He added some cheese which made them even more delicious. We had refried beans with them. That might sound like a weird combo, but when we lived in Guatemala for a while, where it’s totally normal to have eggs with beans, we realized it’s a great combo!
Leftovers– We had leftovers for a couple of dinners (and sometimes Mike had some for lunch too). It turns out the sweet potato curry is even better the second or third time around (and that’s saying a lot because it was good the first time around too!). Creamy Tacos makes great leftovers too!
Crackers with peanut butter— The crackers are high up in the pantry where no one sees them at a glance, so I’ve been able to stretch them out a long time.
Graham crackers with frosting— I love making homemade frosting like my mom always did. Sadly I think we’re on our last sleeve of our last box of graham crackers. I guess we’ll have to just eat plain frosting!! 😂 (I’m mostly kidding!)
Oatmeal raisin cookies— My oldest made a big batch of these yummy cookies. Thankfully we froze some dough in balls for cooking later. Otherwise we would have inhaled them all!
Banana chips— Among some cans of food storage we were given, there were banana chips in a can. They were sliced thinner than the banana chips I’ve had before and everyone liked them.
Rehydrated peaches— We also had some dehydrated cubed peaches that we rehydrated for a snack. They sure did not look appetizing– they were really dark brown even after rehydrating, but they tasted fine. When I saw how unappetizing they looked, I thought I would make them into an easy cobbler with one of the random cake mixes in our pantry (how could the kids resist something like that!?) but our 8-year-old, who can sometimes be a complainer when it comes to food, loves them, so we’ve just been eating them plain.
Apple/Orange Slices— We probably have another week’s worth of fresh apples and oranges left!
Things to Try Next Week
I thought this week I would share a few things that I’m planning to try next week, both to hold myself accountable and to get your input. These are new things for me, so if you have any experience or advice to offer, I would love to hear it!
We use both corn and flour tortillas regularly at our house. With as many things as we make from scratch, it might surprise you that we don’t make our own tortillas. I know lots of people do it with great success. I’ve tried a few times, but it’s never been very time effective for me with a big family and frankly they weren’t as good or useful as the store-bought ones. The homemade version wasn’t as flexible as the store-bought type. They would always break when we tried to roll them up.
But now we are completely out of flour tortillas, and we have about one more meal’s worth of corn tortillas, so it’s time to figure out how to make them well. Do you make tortillas? I would love to hear your secrets!
Making mozzarella cheese
Back in the law school days, I went to a women’s activity at church where I learned to make homemade yogurt in the crock pot and how to make mozzarella cheese. Well, I have made yogurt many many times since then. It’s super easy and cost effective. But I never actually made any mozzarella on my own. I did buy some rennet tablets.
Since we aren’t going to the store or doing grocery pick-up, just eating from our food storage, we’ll be doing this with powdered milk. I have read that it can be done from powdered milk, so now I just need to give it a try! Wish me luck! Have you made mozzarella? Any tips?
Cracked wheat cereal
A friend shared with me a few new ways to use wheat, including cracked wheat hot cereal. You can make it on the stovetop, but she suggested using a rice cooker or instant pot for hands-off cooking. My kids like steel cut oats, oatmeal, and cream of wheat, so I’m going to give cracked wheat a try! She said she tried the same thing with whole wheat berries (not cracked) and it was also good.
I will give it a try this week and report back on how it goes!
Do you have any questions for me (or my family)?
Okay friends, if you missed last week’s FAQ go check it out and leave me any other questions you have regarding the challenge and our experience and I’ll answer them in a future post!
Stay safe out there!