Use It Up Challenge–January 2019

I was able to spend quite a bit of time cooking this week, and used up several food items that had been lurking around for some time. I made this quinoa salad. I have quite a bit of quinoa in my pantry, because it’s a good gluten-free choice, but truthfully, Lovana was the one who used it the most. Now that she’s in Hawaii, there it sat. I looked up several recipes, and mixed and matched ingredients to make a salad that sounded good to both Rob and I. I plan to put the recipe in my recipe section before long, but basically, it was quinoa, black beans, home-canned corn, green onion, lime, olive oil and cumin dressing, and some home-canned salsa from the cupboard.

I made home-made tomato soup from a jar of tomatoes I canned, 3 scraggly carrots left from last summer’s garden, some garlic, a little home-canned broth, salt, pepper, and 1/3 cup 1/2 and 1/2. Rob likes it, and it’s certainly low calorie, but I, myself, would rather have a little more dairy in there, so plan to put some milk in mine when I warm up a bowlful.

I used some masa flour from the pantry (I got 2 bags when Grocery Outlet had it for super, super cheap, what was I thinking? That is a lot of masa when you don’t make tamales!). I have a recipe for a Mexican pizza with a masa flour crust, which is why I got the masa in the first place. The crust has green onion, cumin and garlic powder in it, along with the masa, eggs, salt and water. You cook that for 10 minutes, then add refried black beans and cheese, and cook for 5 more. It’s really quick and easy. I chopped up a hamburger patty leftover from the birthday party we did not have on Sunday (rescheduled due to a sick child), and added that to use that up as well. The recipe calls for tomato, lettuce and avocado on top. We were in a huge hurry to get Patsy to an event, so we just ate it plain this time.

We ate several jars of home-canned fruit this week. We are finishing up a ham, and cut off pieces frequently for lunches, scrambling with eggs, topping our salads and so forth.

I went to Winco and purchased a few more salad ingredients, and a few items that I needed to make these recipes and to round out meals. I’m delighted, because I’m doing great staying within my lowered budget, and we are eating better than ever, and better yet, several items are getting used! I have been looking through old magazines for inspiration, and will do that again this coming week.

We will all be cooking a great deal this upcoming weekend, as my sister is heading up a formal dinner for the high school group at church. I am making a couple of items ahead, and got the final ingredients I needed for those. Rob will be pulling the big barbecue over there and doing appetizers, green beans, chicken and salmon on it. She has the bulk of the food at her house and we will cook most of it on Saturday, over there, where the event is being held. They already set up tables all over her living area, and the couches are all pushed back for that purpose. It’s going to be fun!

24 thoughts on “Use It Up Challenge–January 2019”

  1. loved the post, inspiring. I’m trying to use up some pantry items as well. I seem to be challenged to actually use my pantry, crazy I know. I have no problem adding to it, but using it is challenging.
    This may be a silly./stupid question but isn’t masa just cornmeal? Could you use it for cornbread or polenta?

    1. Good job on using things up!

      Good question about the masa. I actually don’t know much about it. It is finely ground corn and says instant corn flour for tortillas and tamales on the bag. The only recipe is for tortillas, that I noticed. I may have to look again. I noticed that is is much more finely ground than the cornmeal I have, but not quite what I would consider a flour–a little more texture than that. That is a great idea, and I may just try making cornbread from it–just to see! Thanks for the suggestion.

      1. Please let me know. I’m always learning new stuff. Or did you ever use the Tightwad Gazette’s universal muffin recipe? You could use some of the masa as a ‘dry’ ingredient, might work.Cheers

  2. Becky you are an inspiration. I always enjoy your post. I’m trying to do a pantry challenge here too. With just the two of us it’s slow. My fridge is in pretty good shape now, but the rest is still stuffed

    1. I still want to finish up cleaning out the fridge and then I want to really scrub and clean it! I hope you make some progress, and feel like you made some headway, even with just 2 of you. We wouldn’t go through things as fast as we do if we didn’t have so many relatives to share with when it piles up!

  3. Everything looks yummy as always! I hope Jake is on the mend now. I am always amazed at how well we eat when we are trying to use up what is here. I think it is just that I am thinking more about meals rather than just throwing together what is repeat after repeat.

    I made muffins with a cup and a half of cranberry orange relish. They are pretty good but the orange peel is a bit much in them. Yesterday we made chicken tortilla soup and used up a carton of fresh salsa from the fridge. Three containers went in the freezer for another day.

    1. Jake is all better. Whew! I get nervous when he wants to sit on my lap. None of that today:). He did, however, help more than usual when “he” did his chore of cleaning up the kitchen. (I always pre-do quite a bit of it so it’s not overwhelming, but today–he did quite a bit of unloading the dishwasher, putting things away, etc.)

      Sounds like you put things into your freezer to me! That will be great for another day. I agree–when I’m focusing, we try new things. Who knows, I may find favorites. Probably not the tomato soup, though. We were eating it tonight and wow! that garlic is coming through strongly today. It needs tweaking.

      1. LOL! You are right. Eight of those muffins went in too. I am glad not to waste those items though.

        I like the new profile picture. That beard is epic!

        1. Yes, that beard! And, believe it or not, he has trimmed it lately:). You know, it’s hard to believe that he is so sensitive to soaps and things that his poor face is much happier with that beard protecting it. I’m glad I don’t mind it at all!

  4. Love the photo of you two in the side bar! I like quinoa, and could use some more ideas of what to do with it. Sounds like I may just need to be more adventurous. Hubby asked for vegetable soup tonight, which used jars of home canned tomatoes, vegetable broth and summer squash, and frozen okra, plus pantry items. So, a few more garden items used up!

  5. Did I miss a post or is this a new format? I like it. Suprised you could find the time as busy as you are. LOL.

    1. If you are asking if I have been messing around with my blog, the answer is YES! I have been watching numerous “how-to” videos and reading books and articles and have learned to do so much more than I could before. And, I’ve been practicing what I learn as I go. There are going to be many more changes as well, as I am at 80% of this free blog plan and I will need to change to a different plan. I’ve been studying and have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, now I just need to complete my plan! It does take a lot of time, because I understand so little about what I’m doing, but I’m learning by leaps and bounds:). I’m practicing on this blog, but will hopefully change blogs but figure out a way to transfer my content when I do that! Wish me luck!

  6. I accepted your challenge and am worse off than before!

    I have been away out of town staying at my sister’s house taking care of Mom for a while. During my stay, we put Mom’s house up on the market since she can no longer live there and it sold within hours! Nashville is a boom town. Everyone from New York, Illinois, and California are pouring in for the lower tax levels. The new owners what to take possession now! We have a few days to get the house cleaned out so I am taking lots of stuff and dumping it in my basement. We rented a storage unit for the rest so we can sort it later.

    I am drowning in JUNK but there is good news. Evidently, every time I sent food home with Mom, she put my clean plastic bowls in the back of one of her big low-level cabinets. The cheap dollar store bowls looked exactly like hers so she kept them. When I ran out, I bought more. As I got down on my knees and dug all the way to the back of her cabinet, I pulled out enough to overflow a huge black trash bag. So many bowls! She must have been doing this for years. At least I bought them on sale and with coupons.

    I don’t think I will ever accept a challenge again. It seems when I try to clean up, the world caves in.


    1. Good grief! What a blessing that it sold, but how stressful that the people want it so quickly. It’s so much work to move anyone, much less go through so many things so quickly like that!

      The good news about all those bowls is that you can fill them with food the next time any of your boys come around and tell them they can keep the bowls!

        1. Yes! And, it will give you a little more room in your cupboards for the extra stuff you brought home as well as making them super happy to have your home-cooking:)

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