Grocery Plans for January 2019–Rotating the Stockpile Challenge

Every January, it’s the same story around here.  We have just enjoyed a wonderful holiday with lots of time with friends and family and quite a few treats and goodies and we are in the mood to pare down a little in the areas of eating and shopping.  I think it’s naturally that way for most people. This year was a little different.  We did have a few treats, but so much less than in previous years.  Rob is still slowly and steadily losing weight, and we don’t have that over-stuffed feeling we’ve had in years’ past.  Still, I want to work on my usual practice of using items from my stockpile, so they can be rotated in future months.  This is very important because if items slip to the back of the shelves they may go bad.


The garden is not producing right now, because it’s rainy, cold and of course, muddy out there.  So, it’s a perfect time to use the food I worked so hard to preserve.

My stockpile has 3 main areas:  The freezers, the home-canning cupboards and the pantry shelves.  This month, I’d like to challenge myself to use as many items from each of those areas as I can in my daily meals.  I plan to shop whenever I run out of things like dairy, eggs and produce.   Although this is primarily an “use-it-up” challenge, I plan to easily stay within my grocery budget, and will use any extra money to fill any gaps I create during this challenge.

I plan to post once a week, showing some of the meals I created with what I had on hand. It’s only January 4th, but I’ve already made several items.

I used some cottage cheese on top of a peach half and sprinkled it with sprinkles to make it seem more festive for Patsy’s lunch yesterday. I also found this summer sausage lurking in the back of the little freezer over the fridge, and pulled it out for sandwiches.

I also made this casserole with some of that same sausage. It has some black bean noodles on the bottom that were gifted to us for Christmas, the rest of some pizza sauce that was in the fridge, the last scrap of mozzarella from a bag found in the freezer, the sausage, mushrooms and olives. It was delicious!

I also made some soup from some frozen cauliflower, zucchini shreds and broccoli and a carton of home made turkey broth. I added an onion, cooked until soft, blended it with my stick blender, and added a tiny bit of 1/2 and 1/2 with a little sweet rice flour in it. It was simple and good.

I hope you come up with some good ideas to use your items up. If you do, please share with all of us. Who knows, maybe you have the perfect way to use up something someone else has an abundance of as well!

23 thoughts on “Grocery Plans for January 2019–Rotating the Stockpile Challenge”

  1. You always do so well at this! Do you follow Freedom Homestead on YouTube? She is doing low-spend (her husband is affected by the shutdown) and is posting almost daily remake leftover videos. They’ve been really good!

  2. Oh, I love this idea. My freezer is stuffed and I need to work on using the food in it. It is not keeping food well and I am concerned about it. It is old and I think the gasket (rubber seal around the door) is not sealing well. The food seems to be frosting up quickly. I don’t know if it is worth trying to see if I can get it fixed or if it is time to buy another freezer. I really do need a smaller one. Whatever I decide, I shall be focusing on using up the canned food also. Picking food fresh from the winter garden is my first priority. The radishes and carrots must all be picked this weekend – they are at the end of their survival time. I am looking forward to seeing what meals you make.


    1. It is amazing that you get so many things out of your winter garden. Mine is just old squash and other things rotting in a sea of mud right now!! There are a few greens out there, and a few herbs still surviving, but it’s so muddy I can scarcely get out there to look at it. So, I haven’t:). I was noticing that there are still a few old raspberry canes I didn’t cut off out there, too–the rest of the row that I was saving for another day after I filled the debris bin. And, then it rained. And rained. And rained. And, I never made it back out there. Yet. I actually don’t mind because it’s what keeps Oregon so green. Good luck on using up that freezer food before the freezer stops keeping it nice. That’s a great idea.

      1. Oh, the mud. We were able to rake oak leaves from the big tree in the front yard and put them on the paths. I was sinking up to my ankles because it won’t stop raining here either! At least I can walk between the rows now without fear of sinking all the way to China!

  3. Great look for the blog. I’m trying to eat out of the pantry and freezer as well. Ran out of store bought salad dressing and actually made some from scratch. So easy really but I don’t usually make the effort. Found a huge bag of spinach at the nonprofit grocery store so definitely needed the dressing. And it was yummy. Also made a casserole -my usual recipe for tuna noodle casserole only I used a can of salmon instead of the tuna. Enough for two dinners and a lunch-sized container for the freezer.
    Looking forward to seeing what you do with all your pantry items. Coming up with ideas for meals is still a challenge for me. Happy New Year!

    1. Fancy salmon casserole! Great job on the salad dressing as well.

      I just made a huge potato salad using some potatoes that were sprouting so badly I wasn’t sure they were any good, but they were. I made tons for the family birthday party. Then, Mr. Jake popped up with a fever after 2 days of telling me his throat was scratchy, climbed on my lap and snuggled in a blanket (so rare I was worried), and started telling me he needed his MOMMY. She was with her daughter, Alissa, supporting her at her event, but soon came and got him. Long story short—I’ve got a huge bowl of potato salad for a birthday party we have to postpone. So, I think we will make little bowls of my salad and others that people made and do a swap tomorrow—holding our breath of course, and go home to eat our food! I popped all his blankets and such he was using right into the washing machine the minute he left:). Poor little guy!

  4. Oh, I love this post! That’s exactly what I need to be doing. Thanks for the inspiration. It has seemed it would never stop raining here as well, but the sun is finally out today. Yay!

    1. Yay for sun!

      I took my niece, Michaela, to the YMCA today. First, we went into the shallow pool and then hot tub (you can’t really call it swimming as you just kind of play in there) and then I felt so happy that I got her to go upstairs to the stationary bikes and we rode side by side for a few minutes. It was a great thing to do on a rainy Satuday.

  5. The frost kissed ivy is so beautiful. I have cranberry sauce and relish and a carton of fresh salsa in my fridge. that needs to become something else. I found recipes for cranberry bread and muffins to use those items but I don’t know if hubby will eat them once they are baked. The salsa needs to go into soup I guess although it seems a shame since it is so good but we won’t finish it before it is trash.

    I plan to shop Aldi for perishables and add one more store being the one with the best deals. We used the rest of our December budget this week because there were so many great deals and our Sam’s membership was expiring. Five pkg of free cheese, .50 boxes of cereal and .89 a pound pork loins could not be passed up!

    1. I, also, thought that frost was breath-taking on the morning I saw it on the ivy.

      Those sound like great ideas for the leftover cranberries and salsa.

      I actually passed up some really cheap cereal this week because I had a lot! It hurt a little, but I’ll survive:). I’m determined to encourage the troops to eat a few items that are not as preferred as others, so they just sit out there.

  6. I agree, the photo of the frosted ivy is magical. I had a “Becky Moment” today while preparing dinner for company. When I went to prepare the sweet potato mash, I realized I did not have enough sweet pototoes to make enough mash for everyone. I pondered for a moment and then said (to myself), “What would Becky do?” Rather than switching to a substitute side, I thought you would use what was on hand – – so I added two medium red potatoes to the recipe – – the result was a smoother, richer sweet potato mash. Who knew? Many thanks for your inspiration to think outside the norm and use what is on hand.

    1. I’m very glad it turned out tasting good. I’m glad I can help inspire you in any way, but double glad it came out! No pressure there:)

      Who knows, you might make it that way again, just because you like it.

  7. How do you can your peaches. Mine always looks limp and brown in my jars and yours look fresh even after being canned?

    1. When I pick my peaches, I am very careful to treat them like eggs. I gently set them in the boxes in shallow layers so they don’t bruise. I watch them like a hawk and begin canning the minute any of them are ready. I don’t let them get too ripe, which causes them to be mushy. I choose to can Improved Elbertas. The late peaches are much firmer than the earlier ones, though they are not quite as sweet. I use the earlier ones, like Red Haven, New Haven, etc. for freezing and jam.

      I make a very low-sugar syrup, usually about 5 or 6 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar and get that warm on the stove to dissolve the sugar. I boil water in a very big pot. I put the peaches in a very large bowl I have and pour the boiling water over it. After about 1-3 minutes, the skins start to easily slip off, at which time I pour the hot water back into the pot for the next batch and run cold water over the bowl of peaches. Then, working quickly, I peel, pit and cut into halves, or slice right off the pits. I hold them gently, and don’t poke my fingers into them, or push or pull hard at any time. If I find it’s hard to get the pit out for any reason, I can simply slice that peach into a jar of sliced ones to retain the shape, quality and texture. I’ve done many a load with mostly jars of halves and one jar of slices. Once a jar is full, I immediately cover it with the sugar-water. I don’t wait until all 7 are full. Those can sit on the counter then, waiting and not getting brown, until all 7 quarts (or 10-11 pints) are full. I put the lids on and I boil that load in the hot water bath canner that is on a propane burner stove outside on my covered porch. The times for each size are in the Ball Blue Book, the Extension Office pamphlets or on the website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation. (I want to be safe, but would never want to boil them longer than they needed because that might be one way to make them too soft.) After the time is reached, I remove the jars from the hot water and cool them on towels on a table, again outside in my covered porch area.

      I hope that helps. Please feel free to ask if any of it isn’t clear.

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