Last day of january use-it-up project 2019

The last day of January is here and I am officially done with my January “use-it-up” project. It seems like we ate like kings and my stockpile is not used up. I think I will continue this project into February, and expand it a little to include other things around the house that I want to use up along with the food. I will have to restock a few staples–some spices, oat flour, etc., along with the considerable amount of produce Rob is eating. I will likely save money again, but that’s not my main emphasis–it’s to make sure my stockpile is rotating properly.

I won’t let the stockpile get too low. After all, I like to buy things when they are at a low price and eat the extras when the price goes up, so there’s no point in running completely out of something unless it’s not on a good sale, or is about to get too old! Rob already brought home a case of canned mushrooms he got at Bi-Mart. I had told him I was almost completely out, so he grabbed them when he saw them. And, I can and freeze enough garden produce for more than a year, on purpose, in case there is a crop failure next summer on any item. (It’s happened before.). Now is the time to really hit those home-preserved products, though, when nothing much grows around here.

I had started the week with about $20 that I wanted to use this week. I used $24, because when I sent Rob with a detailed list to the store, I realized at the last minute that he could get 2 boxes of butter for the extra $4. So, of course I had him get that, as well.

The way the numbers came out was that I had about $225 set aside to work with in January. I used about $125 for food and about $100 for non-food items, like vitamins, because I had it to spare. I’m going to give myself $300 in February, because it’s possible I need to do a stock-up run to either the Natural Grocers or Costco. I’ll see how it goes. I never have trouble getting rid of extra money, in case I’m being overly generous with the budget:)

This week, I made smoothies a few times. I used frozen strawberries and bananas and plain milk with a splash of maple syrup and vanilla in this one. It didn’t need much sweetener because bananas are so sweet.

I made some sweet and sour chicken in my Instant Pot, using some chicken that was looking old and therefore a little tough. It softened right up in there! The sauce was made using the very last few carrots from my garden, some home-canned pineapple, some frozen lime juice, some frozen peppers from 2015 (they were a little over the hill, but gave good flavor in this kind of dish), a little vinegar, salt, ginger and soy sauce, and a scrap of date sugar that was lingering in a bag in the garage. We ate it with some brown rice I had frozen previously. It was very tasty, which was a bit of a relief considering how many odd ingredients I threw in there!

I made these gluten-free buns. They are SO good. I haven’t made them for a long time. I used several odds and ends of gluten-free flour I had in my bin and cleaned out the oat flour. It was time to get fresh anyway, so now I’m on the lookout for it.

We ate quite a few leftovers this week, as well. There was pork left from last weekend. Last weekend, Rob had made teriyaki pork and salsa verde pork (we had a large package that we unthawed and he cooked half each way), and there was some chicken. We ate the pork in tacos one night, then I made a chili-like soup from the rest. There was still some of that left, as well. He ate chicken and pork on lots of salads. We also had hamburgers last night. I ate a bun with mine, he just ate the patties. Tonight, I just ate a bunch of cheese over at my sister’s and a little cold cereal. Then, at home, I just snacked to finish off my dinner. The others ate leftovers and salads.

I’m not sure all of what we ate from my home-canned and frozen food, but I know I had to take one basket of empty jars and cartons out to the shop where they live when empty, and have another basket 1/2 full to take out tomorrow, so I know I was successful in using a bunch of that this week.

Did you use all of your things that needed to “go” up, or do you need to continue your project for a while longer, as well?

19 thoughts on “Last day of january use-it-up project 2019”

  1. Great job. Love all your posts, as usual. But this month’s posts on using up your pantry really helped motivate me. I ended up $100 under budget. I was way overspent for prescriptions this month so that ‘savings’ was already spent, ha! So it goes. This month is my highest electric bill of the year so I’ll keep on saving and going to the food pantry and nonprofit grocery store. And eating from the pantry.
    Made an awesome red lentil and curry soup last night. One of my favorite pantry meals. Used up some red peppers and carrots I had frozen.
    We had a huge rainstorm come through yesterday. Did you get it? Stay safe and cozy.

    1. Red lentil and curry soup sounds really, really good right now. We had absolutely beautiful, clear, fairly warm for January weather for a few days, then it rained quite a bit yesterday. This morning, it’s very foggy and damp. So, that soup sounds good. I made 2 kinds of soup yesterday–clam chowder from a small bag of clams I found in the freezer from when we went clamming last summer, and a turkey vegetable from some bits of turkey frozen in December. The clam chowder was small, and was pretty much wiped out yesterday, but I have lots of the veggie soup for the next couple of days.

      I know what you mean by finding places for “all” that extra money! I just kept telling myself that it was a good thing I DIDN’T need very many groceries as the “savings” kept creeping out of my wallet. The only nice thing about your highest electric bill of the year is that it can only get better from here! Have a warm, cozy day, and enjoy your soup:)

      1. I’ve shared often that my only heat source is electric baseboard heaters. And since I’m on the ground floor with a cement slab under the flooring and a corner unit, heating costs a lot. But most of the time, I’m in my ‘back’ room where I have my TV and recliner and can shut that off from the rest of the apartment. “My” TV room technically is the bedroom for the apartment but I switched things around to try and keep the heating costs down.
        And,no joke, every time I seem to save, something pops. I suppose that ‘s why I’m saving –for all those unplanned for things or planned like paying for my garden plots this month and next.

    2. SJ – I am wondering where the nonprofit grocery store is in Vancouver? I would love to be able to pass that info on to my kids that live there, they are really trying to make their money stretch any way they can.

      1. Ann. First, I’m in Vancouver BC Canada, not Vancouver Washington .
        The store is called The Quest Food Exchange. There are 4-5 locations around the metro Vancouver BC area. Their website has lots of information.
        To buy food, you have to be referred as a client. But any counselor, pastor/minister, teacher or social service agency can do the referral. The form is on the website I believe.

        There’s no cost to join. The savings are huge. It’s like an old fashioned grocery store / day old bread store combined. Savings are about 60% off retail except for bakery which can be even more. Bread is either $0.10 or $0.80 depending on the date. If you can’t get to the website, I’ll post the addresses.

        1. Thank you SJ, we also live in BC. My husband and I are in the Kootenays, but some of the young people live at the coast. I found the website and will pass it on.

          1. So glad you found the web site. The store really helps me. Tell them to go often if they can. The store closest to me in Burnaby stocks throughout the mornings so I never know what will be there. And Saturdays, usually all the bread products are $0.10 with no limits.
            Also, they do a turkey ‘basket’ for Christmas It was $39 for a turkey and two bags of groceries including fresh produce. Worth the money, especially when I got to pick the size turkey.
            Cheers, SJ

  2. Well done, Becky, with keeping to your January spending budget!

    I, too, stayed within budget in January. Your smoothie looks delicious and it is making me want to make one, too!

    1. That’s great that you were able to stay within your January budget, as well. The smoothies were so good, I have to say. I’m hoping to have another one this week!

  3. I love that you have a shopping basket with all of your empty jars for the week. You did really well on groceries this month. Glad you are using everything you canned. That is why you did it. Thanks for the GF biscuit recipe. I made YD a recipe from Pamela’s mix and she really liked them.

    1. I’m glad the gf information is helpful to you. I remember that I wasn’t as overwhelmed as I could have been when I had to go gf, because a dear friend had already taught me much about cooking that way, as her daughter was friends with mine, and the daughter had to eat that way, as did the mom. To make it more complicated, this family was allergic to many other items as well, and I found out through her that there was lots of good food out there, even with limited choices. So I got some practice when the girls got together, but really improved when I had to eat that way myself. It can be a challenge to find good recipes sometimes, and it sure takes a lot of pre-planning so there’s always safe food around, that’s for sure! I would have been lost without my friend’s guidance.

    1. I have a recipe for deep dish pizza crust that one of the girls made for the state fair a few years back–it’s really good. I’ll look it up and get it posted in the next few days. It’s another one of those recipes that need a bit of time because of all the different flours in it and because of rising time. In the past, I have made up mixes of that one, as well. In fact, there is probably still one in the camper. Hmmmm. You’ve got me in the mood for pizza;)

      There is such a variation in gf pizza crusts. I agree that some are just awful! I have not been eating many pizzas lately–too many carbs right now. I rarely get the 3-pack of frozen pizzas from Costco. It’s about $15 for the 3. They are a cheese pizza, and it’s easy to add extra toppings and then bake. They come out really good, but they are pretty expensive.

      Something else I do when I want that pizza flavor but don’t want to spend the time is to cook some brown rice macaroni (Azure Standard, Tinkyada, Jovial Foods are 3 kinds I’ve used). I put that on the bottom of a flat pan I’ve sprayed with Pam or oiled. Then, I put Italian herbs in tomato sauce and put that on the macaroni, then top with mozzarella cheese and whatever toppings I want–pepperoni, olives, mushrooms, and so on. Then bake until it’s warm and the cheese is melted. I call it macaroni pizza casserole.

  4. Even though I have worked hard on using things up this past month, I now have more things now than before. Dustin has quit his job and moved back home. He brought all the uneaten jars I had sent with him back with him (He knows to return my canning jars). I need to go through the boxes and organize them by dates in my pantry. The upside is that he will be here again to help eat the expired food!


    1. That IS good news. Now you can cook to your heart’s content! (I mean that he’s there–as for the job, only he and you know if that’s good news, but I assume since he quit, he would rather work elsewhere, and now he can!)

  5. He quit because it wasn’t the right job for him. He like his boss, his co-workers were great and it was a good company. He just didn’t like it.

    1. Sometimes that is the way it goes. I’m glad he has the self-confidence and security to know that he can and will find the right job for himself and that he’s allowing himself to do that.

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