Monday, January 29, 2007

The Pantry Challenge

All last year I spent a significant part of blogging talking about trimming my grocery budget. I never really succeeded, but there was a part of me that didn't want to. When we can afford to spend a significant amount of money on groceries, why not? Then in September, my hubby was put on alert that he may have extended time off from work. Immediately, we started saving a little more, and trying to spend less on groceries. And while I did plan budgetarily to spend less, I ended up not spending less, because I thought it was a good idea to purchase extra here and there to stock the pantry.

I am now very glad I did just that. The last day that Andy worked was December 21, and as you may be able to imagine, it starting to get a little snug in the checkbook here. Fortunately for me, I have been able to stock the pantry a bit- not as much as I would like, but enough to get by for a while. It's one thing to try and stick to a reduced budget when you don't have to. It's another thing entirely to have no choice in the matter. When you only have X amount of dollars to allocate to food for an unknown period of time, you do what you can. All that being said, Tummy Treasure is going to shift gears for a little while. While I don't think that I cook extravagantly by any means, I do realize that many recipes I do prepare are not budget friendly. So I am on a quest. Not only do I want to feed my family of four on a strict budget, but I also want to feed them well.

Can I do it? I guess we'll find out together. Rather than stick to my general plan of only posting "noteworthy" meals or recipes, I want to at least attempt to share them all, giving tips as best as I can. Hey, we all go through our lean times, maybe I can help make your next one much easier to get through. First up, later today I will be posting my recipe for sandwich bread in the Recipe Trove, as well as a revamped edition of our favorite Cheddar Chicken Chowder- with alternatives for using up leftover bits. Be sure and check back later on for those. Happy Tuesday!


Anonymous said...

Since I can tell you are a great cook, you can certainly feed your family well and watch the $. Just think of it as your own culinary challenge. And often the most budget friendly recipes are real healthy (a double bonus) -- often they rely on more veggies, beans, rice etc and less meat/chicken.

You so have the creativity so looking forward to seeing what you come up with. I can tell you like to try recipes so gravitate to the ones that meets your needs. CL's site has a recipe finder (or something) that you can plug in what you have and suggest recipes.

I think it is important to keep a watch $ spent on groceries for everyone regardless of money situtation -- I know for me I do waste some food (produce)and that bugs me.

Good luck with everything.

Erika said...

Thanks anonymous for the encouragement. I am kind of looking forward to the challenge, I just hope I cna keep it up as long as I may potentially need to.

I have found fantastic resources on Cooking Light's website and bulletin boards, as well as on Recipezaar. Those recipe finders are going to get a workout from me I think.

Mia said...

Like it has already been mentioned, there are a number of recipes out there that can easily feed a family with healthy food without costing a lot of money. These recipes tend to use meat as an accent and are heavy on beans and veggies.

Make sure that you save your veggie scraps and once a week make a pot of vegetable stock. IT is handy to have around. I live by myself and I will often buy a large pack of chicken breasts from Sam's Club and freeze them individually. Just 1 of them will provide me with enough chicken for 2 or 3 meals. You can fillet them thinner. I also like to shred cooked chicken and add it back to soups because you can make a little bit of it go furhter this way.

eliza said...

i'm with you. i don't work and i love to cook/bake and blog about it. i sometime get terrified that i spend so much money on groceries. i'm cutting back on weekly dining out, i try to use up my items in the pantry and as people mentioned, i try to cook vegetarian once-2 times a week.

Alysha said...

Hi Erika. Well, you probably already know that I am familiar with what you're going through right now! Even now with DH working, we're still on a very tight budget. It can be fun to try to rist to the challenge, but I have to admit, I get a little tired of it sometimes. ;)

Maybe I'll try to think of some tips to post to my blog. There are things I do to try to be frugal, I just have to see if I can come up with something in writing....

Best of luck with the work situation.