Breakfast: Honey nut Cheerios (a friend gave us a box at church...you would have thought it was Christmas!)
Lunch: queso blanco cheese, apple slices, meat stick
Dinner: goulash (sauce), green beans
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, slice of ham
Dinner: stirfry over brown rice, applesauce
lunch: macaroni and cheese (milk, cheese)
dinner: Beef roast au jus, creamed corn, asparagus, pudding
B: cornmeal mush (with milk)
L: zucchini soup (zucchini, cream cheese, milk)
D: Peach pineapple picante chicken over quinoa & rice, applesauce
L: tuna salad
D: Pizza night! (mozzerella, sauce) Carrot sticks
B: loaded omelets (cheese)
L: had lunch at SIL's
D: pizza, carrot sticks
B: yogurt and granola
L: SNACK LUNCH. cheese, meatsticks, leftover communion bread, snacks
D: tortilla chips with pepperjack cheese sauce, salsa, sour cream; smoothies (blueberries, peaches, strawberries, yogurt, leftover apple cider, leftover buttermint icecream)
B: yogurt and granola
D: cube steaks with brown gravy, cheesy vegetables, quinoa & rice salad (with tomatoes, corn, black beans, etc.), cinnamon pickles
AS WELL AS:
tin roof sundae ice cream
hot cocoa and whipped cream
chocolate chip cookies (made by Corynn and Andrew)
granola (made by Corynn)
chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream
The only necessities I ran out of for the WHOLE MONTH of not grocery shopping was salt (for cheese) and coffee (for Matt). I thought I had run out of citric acid, veggie oil and olive oil but I later found brand new containers squirreled away in different areas. I think that is pretty impressive since the only thing I did in preparation for this challenge was to buy a big bag of flour and a big bag of sugar. Turns out, I must be a bit of a food hoarder. I nestle food here, there and everywhere like a squirrel preparing for winter.
I used plenty of canned goods and a good amount of frozen things but didn't empty out a freezer as I had hoped. The stand up freezer is much easier to use from than the chest freezer (particularly, if you have a stained glass project sitting on the lid of the chest freezer) so I emptied that out more than the other.
We didn't feel deprived a single time during February, despite not going to the store. One thing I did realize was that sandwiches are a convenience meal. A simple sandwich-when you don't have convenient storebought bread becomes a major affair when you have to make it from scratch. Oi. It was hard to find food to fill bellies when I didn't feel like cooking. And without sandwiches for lunch- I was cooking three times a day. Every day. (And making dairy products in between). Those pioneer women who made big breakfasts and big dinners and washed everything by hand and baked all their bread- and basically LIVED in the kitchen without going absolutely mad... boy, those ladies are my heroes.
This month I am going to continue to focus on using things up in the chest freezer. That one holds mostly meats. A lady from church suggested getting out a week's worth of meat and putting them in the fridge to dethaw in a drawer which I thought was a brilliant idea. As the meats thaw, you've got yourself supper options! De-thawing is my biggest problem when it comes to supper. I always forget to do it and then it is suppertime and too late. (We don't have a microwave to dethaw things.) So, I'm excited to see how that works out for me.
Another trick I learned about this month was to soak a whole bowlful of beans at the beginning of the week and then store them in the fridge instead of trying to soak only the beans you intend to use for a meal. Having the beans ready to cook, you can think about how to use them throughout the week instead of making a single meal a big deal. Probably common sense to most folks, but I had never thought of that.
And here is something you may not have known- when making macaroni and cheese, you can skip the whole boiling-draining-making a flour paste step and simply boil your pasta in milk. Did you know that? The starch from the pasta acts as a thickener to make a delicious cheesesauce without all the fuss. Just use milk enough to cover the pasta and when the pasta is ready- turn off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Be sure to turn off the heat. If you keep the heat on, the cheese might turn gritty and overcooked instead of smooth and creamy. Easy peasy.
Am I glad I did it? Absolutely. More money in the checking account because of less trips uptown. Less nasty looks and comments from those who think a mother with a handful of children following behind her should be stoned in the streets. More time for schooling without a day being interrupted each week for shopping. Less food waste, Less garbage. More creativity. All good things.
Once a month grocery shopping requires planning and diligence but it might be just right for us.