Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pantry Challenge -- The Basics

PezMama had asked for more information about my Pantry Challenge not long ago. I had intended to wait to answer, as possibly an introduction to my next one. But tonight I realized that it might be best to give the basics in advance, just in case anyone wants to join me.

I can't remember exactly where or when I got the idea of the Pantry Challenge. I've been doing it off and on for quite a while. Most recently, I've been talking about it in (and being inspired by) a Flylady offshoot yahoogroup.

The Pantry Challenge is quite simple -- eat only what's in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, without making extra trips to the grocery store. All of us have things that just tend to sit in the pantry, somehow never getting used.

Those black beans that you've been meaning to use.
The six cans of diced tomatoes.
The Rice-A-Roni that's not your favorite, so you avoid it.
The canned chicken that makes you wonder why you bought it in the first place.

Or worse, the things in the refrigerator or freezer that can't stay there indefinitely.

The Pantry Challenge is meant to clean out and use up what you have to make room for the new things. I do it about once every 4 to 6 weeks, just so that I don't end up with a house full of things, still feeling like there's nothing to eat. And for me, it's fun in a strange sort of way. Once I'm a few days into the Challenge, I have to be more creative about what I make and how I make it. During the Challenge, I do get things like milk (we go through over 1/2 gallon a day), eggs, bread, and the like. But with most things, I just manage with what I have already.

Most of the time I set a certain time period, usually about a week, but the last time I just decided to keep going until I was really and truly out of options. It took 15 days, but that did include our usual eating out twice a week -- Fazoli's on Tuesday night, and pizza on Friday.

This last time ended up being more fun for me! I had to juggle and move things around a bit more than usual to see how far I could stretch it. I think I'll do my Challenges that way from now on -- use it until I can't any more!

So those are the basics. Anyone up for joining me in a couple of weeks? :)


PEZmama said...

I may join you some time, but I am finding it hard to make decent meals for myself now that I am trying to lose weight, without purchasing some very specific items. Maybe in a few months I'll join you.

And thanks for filling in the specifics. It sounds like a really good idea.

$5 Dinner Mom said...

I love this idea!!! Can I share it on $5 Dinners soon? I already made up my October Menu Plan...so perhaps the first week of November!?!

Brooke said...

i'm going to try and do it for the entire month of February! :)