What We Spent, What We Ate, What Was Thrown Away



As I’ve mentioned before, January is a Pantry Challenge for us. This means that I’m focusing on eating down what we have in stock and NOT on adding more food to the cache. I aim to spend only $100 on groceries this month, the majority on fresh produce, eggs and dairy. This week I did really well on staying out of the stores and keeping my purchases to a minimum. I did end up visiting four different stores, but they are all either within my neighborhood or I batched errands. I did not make special trips. At any rate, I spent a total of $10.64 this week. Shown above are kale, collards, broccoli, and green onions. I also picked up some grapefruit at at a new natural foods store in town — on sale for 8/$1. Bananas, oranges and a doughnut rounded out my grocery shopping this week. Also, notice those plastic bags? I asked Michael for, and received, reusable mesh produce bags for my birthday present. They got here yesterday and I am super excited to cut down on the amount of plastic waste we produce.


  • Vegetable Beef Soup, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (twice)
  • Lentil patties w/fried egg, vegetable side (I don’t remember exactly…)
  • Easy spaghetti and meat sauce, greed salad
  • Pinto beans, smokey collards, cornbread
  • Hot dogs, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes (New Years Day)
  • Turkey and Dumplings/Biscuits (tonight)

We have plenty of food in the freezer and pantry, although I will need to buy more dairy, eggs and produce next week. I’m unlikely to be at $10 again, but I think I can stay around $20.


  • Michael left a plate of steak strips in the microwave overnight. 😦 😦 Very sad — I hate wasting meat and it was to make additional salads during the week.
  • There will probably be more next week — I forgot to go through my fridge before the garbage was collected this week, so will save that task until next week. I believe that there are some lurkers that have transitioned to zombies and need to be laid to rest.


  • I used a box of Knox gelatin to make Knox blocks using the juices saved from draining canned fruit and some grape juice I had in the freezer. I haven’t had these since I was a kid. They are a sweet treat.
  • I used kefir that is a bit old to make the cornbread.
  • And I made yummy French toast using the end of a loaf that was pretty stale.

8 thoughts on “What We Spent, What We Ate, What Was Thrown Away

    1. I’m trying really hard to get on top of that this year, Jen. It’s taken me a while to learn the “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” lesson but I think I’m finally getting a handle on it.

  1. So now I understand what you meant by hating to waste meat! Strips steaks, noooo… did it hurt as much as my bacon did? lol.

    I had never heard of Knox blocks before today. I have flavored gelatin in the pantry, I wonder if I could use the pineapple juice that’s been in my fridge for a few weeks to make it?

    You did unbelievably well with your Pantry Challenge, way to go!

    1. Well, to be fair to Michael, it wasn’t full strip steaks — I should have put “steak” in parentheses. I used leftover roast beef (we cooked it rare) cut into strips and seared for our salads and it was those strips (the 2nd meal’s worth) that got left out and then thrown out. So still upsetting but I would be sick if I left whole steaks out.

      Knox blocks are like jello jigglers and I think you could use the pineapple juice but maybe check — I think there is something about straight pineapple juice or fruit added to jello that can cause it to not set correctly. Also, we’re eating them and I like them, but I will probably do something different with the other box of gelatin in the pantry. Alas, my tastes seem to have changed since I was a kid. 😉

  2. You did very well with spending under $11 for the week! Sorry about the meat needing to be thrown. Those mesh produce bags sound like a good thing!

    1. Thanks Bless! I’m super excited by the mesh produce bags. I hope they work out as well as I think they are going to.

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