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?