Friday, June 08, 2012

pantry challenge, week 1: reframing

On the first of this month I issued a challenge to my household: we would refrain from buying anything that resides in a package, to clear out pantry clutter.  On the very next day, I found myself at the farmer's market and looking at my beaming husband, who was proudly showing me the local artisan dry pasta he'd just bought.

Well, damn.  

But instead of admitting defeat, I shall simply change the rules.  My blog, my rules.  New rule: 

  • Anything purchased at the farmer's market or CSA is fair game.  Even if it's in a box. 

There.  I feel better now.  

On another note, remember how I wanted to avoid supermarkets this month?  Yup, that one fell by the wayside, too. I have a pesky orange juice addiction, so I found myself scampering into the local megamart while out running errands.  But I only bought juice, so it's not too bad.  And it's at least a pseudo-fresh food, so it's close enough to fitting in the approved list for this challenge.  Oh, what I wouldn't give to live in a place where citrus could grow again, and to be able to procure actually fresh OJ.  But such is very much not the case out here in the desert.  

It's time to adjust expectations.  But then, that's kind of the point; this is an experiment.  Sure, there are rules, but I made them, and I can change them.  As long as we come out ahead in at least some of the fundamental goals of the challenge, I count it a win.  Other than that, it's an exercise in self-observation, much like my spending tracking project (more on that later).  

This week, we've used up: 
  • freezer: lamb chops, 2 lbs. ground lamb, a lonely frozen half banana, an entire jug of homemade stock*, and some random frozen mixed veggies
  • pantry: the last of the chocolate chips**

food budget tracker: this week
farmer's market: $62.50
CSA: $52.96
grocery: $7.18

total: $122.64 

* We habitually save the end bits of veggies and meat bones in the freezer and then make stock in the crock pot.  Homemade stock is delicious, and this way it's free too.  Unfortunately we have a pesky tendency to make the stock, fill old orange juice jugs with it, toss them in the chest freezer, and forget about them forever.  There are like three jugs still in there, plus several gallon-sized plastic bags of the stuff to make even more with.  It's kind of ridiculous.  Actually using it is a major win.  

** The Guy went to Costco the other day, and came home with a replacement bag of chocolate chips, claiming that it was because he had planned on making his famous chocolate torte for his coworkers.  This highlighted the fact that we've had insufficient communication about this endeavor, as the point of the challenge is to see how creative we can get at coping with not replacing staples.  Plans will need to be modified if we're out of something.  That's what makes it a challenge!  But the chips are purchased, and the torte will be made.  Learn from it and move on.  This doesn't get a rule adjustment; it's just a learning experience.  


  1. Replies
    1. Hey, you declined to choose a moniker. I warned you that I'd have to make one up, if left to my own devices...


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