by Texas Homesteader ~
WHEW – things are getting interesting! RancherMan & I have embarked on a month-long grocery no-spend challenge.
Although we didn’t purposely stock up before this challenge (which to me would have defeated the purpose) we did start out with healthy & overflowing pantry & freezers.
Week One was a breeze, no real changes necessary except that I had to start making lots of homemade bread. Then Week Two was a little bit more of a challenge, but still doable.
But now the pantry is getting more & more bare & the freezers are emptying out nicely. How did we fare for week three? Read on, dear friends.
I got real close to burnout last week trying to keep RancherMan in grab-n-go foods.
Although he’s never complained, I’m struggling trying to make it easier for him and I’m really feeling stressed about it.
So we came to a compromise – I’d keep as much grab-n-eat food made for him as I could but he would more often accept what’s available.
One way I’ve adjusted is by presenting him more often with my weekly endless soups for his lunches instead of his favorite sandwiches, so bread consumption dropped. WOO-HOO, hear those choirs of angels singing!
Of course going into this challenge we knew there would be one allowance right off the bat.
RancherMan & I have a special tradition for Valentine’s Day, we make each other a special fru-fru meal using more expensive ingredients that wouldn’t normally be on our menu.
Thankfully my handsome man is already very romantic. We don’t buy each other gifts for Valentine’s Day, or flowers, or cards. The meal we prepare for each other is our gift of love.
This year he fired up the grill & we had grilled sirloin steaks, grilled whole jalapenos, green beans and baked potatoes.
We also enjoyed a salad comprised of different lettuces, baby spinach, broccoli & tomatoes. For dessert we had blueberry cheesecake.
We had the blueberries and green beans so we bought everything else (an exception that was allowed under our February grocery challenge rules).
I did buy a whole gallon of milk to make the cheesecake since there was only $0.26 difference between 1/2 gallon & full gallon. It just didn’t make financial sense to only buy half as much.
The cost for this delicious romantic dinner for two? Only $18. No lines, no waiting.
There was plenty leftover for another steak dinner the next night, a meal we relished all over again. Then I focused on using the leftover fresh ingredients quickly.
That salad mix was shredded and the leftover half tomato was chopped & used for tacos. The leftover broccoli was steamed for a healthy delicious side dish, the stems of the broccoli were peeled and chopped small and added in with my broccoli rice dish later in the week.
And since the weather turned cold this week and I still have plenty of dried beans in the pantry, I whipped up a big honkin’ batch of homemade chili to enjoy for supper one night & lunches several other days.
I also was able to use up some baked turkey from the freezer and stuffing from the pantry. .
And I finally got down to that frozen tuna steaks and baked up some fillets. Lots of food that had been waiting in our pantry/freezer is now being consumed – LOVE IT!
So far we’re still hanging fine with our no-spend challenge and as a result our pantry and freezers are down to a much more reasonable level.
As I knew it would, this challenge has made me very aware of the blessing of the food abundance in our home. And although I was already very good at keeping food waste to a minimum, this challenge has made me focus even more strongly on not wasting food, even bread crumbs & broccoli stems.
Next week our youngest daughter has said she wants to drive to the ranch and spend the day with us. She’s having to work on her birthday and this will be her celebration with us.
I’m thrilled not only to be able to visit with her but that she wants to spend this special time with US. But since this will be the last week of our challenge, putting on a special birthday celebration meal might REALLY be a challenge! Tune in next week for the finale and see how we manage it.
If you want to follow along to see how we did each week, you can see:
Grocery No-Spend Challenge: Week 1
Grocery No-Spend Challenge: Week 2
Grocery No-Spend Challenge: Week 4
No-spend challenges are, well, challenging, but so rewarding! It sounds like you’re having a great month. Happy birthday to your daughter!
We usually eat out of the pantry the month of January but I just realized we didn’t do it this year. You’re inspiring me to give this a go next month. Happy birthday to your daughter!
You’re doing great! I only do a no spend week at the end of the month to stay within our grocery budget. Good luck on your last week!
Great challenge. I normally stock about 5 months worth of food in our pantry and freezer. But two months ago we put an offer in on a new house. The challenge to eat up our stock began. I, too, felt that the first month was a breeze. The middle few weeks got more challenging but it was interesting to see how creative I could be. I even found some new recipes online that have become “keepers”. These last few weeks are getting annoying. The potatoes and “real” rice were used up and we’re down to lots and lots of pasta and Rice A Roni. We’re also down to canned veggies & fruits while we really prefer fresh. And I’m down to box mix desserts because all my scratch baking ingredients are gone. I liked this challenge though – it’s amazing how long I could go on just our stash. Were we in a real emergency situation with no access to a store, we’d be just fine as far as eating. It’s also shown what I need to quit buying (canned tuna, for one) because there are some things in abundance on the shelves yet that we’re just not gravitating towards.
Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday – Link Party!! Hope you come back tomorrow and share some more!! Pinned!!
You are doing such an amazing job, congratulations on week three ending. I am looking forward to hearing how it ended up. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
I’ve always wanted to attempt a no grocery shopping month, but my husband is such a creature of habit with his breakfasts and lunches that it just wouldn’t work. He loves his yogurt in the mornings–and yogurt isn’t really something you can keep that long 😉 I’d still love to try none the less. Good luck next week and thank you for sharing with us at Merry Monday!
Every now and then I do a ‘cleaning out the pantry’ challenge. I only do to the store for milk and eggs, and otherwise get very creative as the pantry gets bare. It’s the opposite of always keeping everything stocked by buying on sale so you never have to pay full price. But I find that I buy stuff that sounds good in the moment and 2 years later it is still in my pantry…so this is my way of forcing me to use up the pantry stuff I never eat in lieu of buying and eating the same things over and over. I just did that before I moved, and created a yummy curry split pea and rice soup as a result, that I just posted to my blog.
Have fun with your challenge!
We didn’t mean to go three weeks without shopping, but with only one car and busy lives… let me tell you that third we I was getting SUPER creative with what was in the pantry. LOL Thank you for being part of the (mis)Adventures Monday Blog Hop!
Thanks for your input 🙂 Since we depend so much on juicing, it is important for us to have fresh produce. The hoop houses make that possible and and under normal circumstances work well for us, but the cold this year really set us on our ear… The hoop houses are really easy to set up and very inexpensive. I have some pics on my blog that you can check out if you like. I also freeze and dehydrate, so I do have other alternatives to fresh, but not any good alternatives for the juicer… I am working on that, but as of yet have not come up with anything quality/ viable. I look forward to your final challenge post!
I have quite a stock of pantry goods, enough for 3 months or more., and I “shop” from my pantry on a regular basis, and only go to the store when I find what I use on sale, then I buy big. But I have recently discovered how much we rely on our 365 day a year garden… we had uncharacteristically cold weather, (in the single digits…), we use hoop houses to protect our winter crops from cold weather but even with the extra protection, we lost several beds of produce that we rely on. We are vegan and much of our food is fresh, so losing a large portion of our garden really put a hurtin’ on my ability to prepare meals without visiting the grocery store. After this revelation I will have to think about how to carry on if I lose my garden produce. Thank you for sharing your challenge I have really enjoyed reading about it. Good luck on your last week!
I’ve considered hoop houses for our garden as well, just haven’t really gotten there yet. So far we’ve gotten the most use of things preserved from the garden by canning, freezing or dehydrating – not as good as fresh but at least still healthy produce. ~TxH~
Wow, I am super impressed at your accomplishment so far. I think I could live off my pantry and freezer for about 2 or 3 months! Thanks for linking this to the This Is How We Roll Link Party!
Only a few more days left so hang in there my friend.
Sent you a cake recipe that you might want to try for your daughter’s birthday. Nothing fancy but it takes no eggs, milk, butter or bowl. It’s quick, easy and oh so simple. With our weather yesterday, hubby called into his work places and told them that he wasn’t coming in. The roads out our way and everywhere were just too bad to be driving on. I was expecting a delivery from UPS and they didn’t even make it out here ; not even the garbage truck so there really wasn’t much traffic out here on HWY 917.
Enjoy your day; stay warm and Snuggle On. :}
Greetings from the other side of the county. As it is a snow & ice day I’m whipping up a batch of your beef & bean chili. However, in the directions you mention adding honey, but it is not in the ingredient list. How much please?
So sorry Ken, It’s only about 2 Tablespoons added to the pot. I almost ALWAYS purposely leave it out, although occasionally I’ll add it. I’ll amend the recipe on the blog to note that it’s optional. Thanks for letting me know I needed to amend! ~TxH~
Well I just had my first bowl o’red. I tell you what, it will replace my go-to recipe from the last 40 years. It’s great! And although I like heat, I omitted the cayenne as my homemade chili powder has its’ own level of heat & complexity. Thanks a lot and stay warm (I’ve got to go out and break ice in the cattle water troughs LOL).
“Honkin'”, lol. So cute. Good job on the no spend. 🙂 Let me know if you want me to send you some goooooooood strawberries, lol. A “donation”, of course, lol. Happy Birthday to your daughter…
LOL Bobbi, is the adjective “honkin'” a Texas thaaaang?? (snicker) Yep, our sweet girl is coming tomorrow to celebrate her birthday, hoping I can pull this off! ~TxH~
I was watching for this write up and overview, your special meal looks very close to our fancy hubby birthday meal 🙂 so good, I hear you in regards to trying to keep up to the grab and go items.
wonderful that your daughter is coming home..
Y’all are doing great in your challenge FarmGal, hang in there! ~TxH~
Good luck on making it this far. So nice your daughter wants to come visit with you and I hope you can rustle up a good meal or two for her. (I’m sure you will)
I think I’ve got some great ideas for a birthday meal itself Terry, making the cake might be a challenge though… (fingers crossed) ~TxH~