What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Last week of No-Grocery challenge

Where did last week go?  With a wedding, an out-of-town trip, sickness, etc., I guess a week can pass pretty quickly.  It's late, but here is the last week of February's no grocery challenge menu.  I am so over blogging about food for awhile....I am posting this just for some closure.  And so I can move onto more interesting things on this blog without feeling guilty.  ;-)

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
Lunch: sandwiches
Dinner: stirfry over brown rice, applesauce

breakfast: omelets
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

B: yogurt
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
L: sandwiches
D: cube steaks with brown gravy, cheesy vegetables, quinoa & rice salad (with tomatoes, corn, black beans, etc.), cinnamon pickles


tin roof sundae ice cream
hot cocoa and whipped cream
apple cider
chocolate chip cookies (made by Corynn and Andrew)
granola (made by Corynn)
communion bread
chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream

In Conclusion:

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.


lydia.purple said...

I switched to once a month grocery shopping almost 3 years ago and I love it. Well, now we moved so we are next to the health bakery that makes real sourdough bread so we go buy bread and milk more often... But still the big grocery shopping I do once a month, I am actually not meal planning at the moment but I know how much cereal, oats, tomato sauce, diapers, soap etc (and chocolate chips!) we need for a month. I can make a variety of meals from the things I buy. I like it. a lot. I also do the big grocery shopping online. (We are in Israel) They have a really neat app for the smartphone so I can safe my regular list and add stuff as the month goes by and we run out of something. They also automatically add coupons if there are. They do my shopping for me and deliver to my kitchen for a small fee. Once set up it takes me like 20 minutes to shop and I am done. This saves me so much time and hassle. And since we have one car it also frees up valuable time together! And now that we have a garden I might actually be able to grow some veggies too so I can skip the mid months vegetable shopping...

Oh and lunch... I try to cook enough dinner each night so it lasts for next day's lunch. Or I make a huge pot of soup that lasts us for 3 days lunch. Some of these homeschool days feel like feeding my tribe non stop. And the toddler practically lives in our fridge. She eats all the time...

beckyathome said...

I think you have done a wonderful job using things you have. I love to can and preserve food as well. It just is so rewarding to be able to use it and feel that I've saved a ton of money after all of the hard work that went into the processing. It sounds like you have a cow as well. We've never had one. Long ago, I milked goats, but traded them in for children:) Lots and lots of children:)

I also do what Lydia, the previous commenter, does--cook a lot of soup, etc. or other foods and eat that for lunches and often, a second dinner, or a 3rd dinner......There are days I get carried away and still cook for the 11 people I once cooked for years ago:) The kids protest if we have soup too many nights in a row, but it is handy when I'm busy.

Jenn in Indiana said...

I feel horrible if you have gotten bad comments in regards to your family size. This world we live in is so selfish. People ask me all the time how I can stand to stay at home since my children are older, but I truly love every minute of it. In regards to your food pictures, they are the best. They could be in a magazine! What is the calzone type looking thing? I am amazed how you cook all this food. I would love recipes...hint, hint, hint!!! I to often grow weary with all the kitchen duties, some days it seems I never leave my kitchen! So when my wonderful husband wants to eat out, of course I am so happy!!! But I must confess, then I wish I would have just cooked something at home!

Rhonda said...

Good job! I think you are amazing.
All the food looks delicious.
Your children are happy and healthy.
We need more families like yours :)

Anonymous said...

I have just 4 kids and get comments all the time!! The ones that amaze me are in earshot that I can hear but commenting like I can't :( anyway, you always inspire me to do better and work with less! Thank you!

theycallmemommy withapileofbooks said...

Wow. You put me to SHAME, Rebecca. Stop that. ;) Your food is just DELICIOUS. ;) My children eat books for meals. LOL ;) "Here is a book with a side of popcorn, go read, err eat." I'm just not as motivated or as creative as you. I love it! Good job!

Terri Cheney said...

I am impressed too. We shop once every two weeks...usually. I think your only real fail was on coffee, and that's just the gotta have it coffee drinker in ME, lol. I do agree with the take out a whole week of meat to thaw at once deal. I do that for us. I also 'work ahead' by cutting up twice as many vegetables as I might need for that meal so I have extra for another meal, ditto for grating cheese etc. It's just a small time investment that helps the next meal prep go quicker and those saved minutes are better than convenience foods!

Rosie said...

All that food looks so delicious! And I used to be able to do the once a month shopping thing, but these past few month I've gotten slack and went back to once a week. lol

Abigail said...

Yum, oh, yum. So ready for a few platefuls of ANY of these to eat right now. I'm waiting for breakfast to finish cooking, and it's not as appetizing as these pictures!