Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pantry challenge: what I learned

Well, I am true to form and did not write down everything we ate this month like I had planned. Life gets in the way and good intentions aren't good enough. But, I did pretty well with not buying much food this month, and we also didn't go out to eat very often at all. We had one dinner out as a family at Chipotle (Matt's favorite), but that was the only meal out this month that came from our main joint account. Not too shabby! :)

As for the grocery bill, I know I spent well under $100 this month on food, and I definitely had a focus on making good meals from what we had for my family. The cupboards are a bit more bare, the freezer is a little less full, and the refrigerator is definitely on the empty side -- just in time for us to be gone for a week on vacation of Phoenix!

This challenge has turned into something else for me, too -- I have become more committed to cooking more from scratch and buying less prepared foods. I don't buy very many prepared foods in the general sense of what people would normally think -- you know the stuff: all-in-one box dinners, Lean Cuisines, etc. I do have some boxes of Mac n Cheese, frozen pizzas, stuff like that. But what I didn't think of as prepared foods previously, I now see as a culprit for added sodium, preservatives, and other stuff our bodies simply don't need. I'm taking about (some) canned veggies, condensed soups like cream of mushroom, tomato, etc, canned beans, store-bought bread -- the kind of stuff we cook "from scratch" with, without actually having to make everything from scratch. You follow me? So, I am now challenging myself to use freshly prepared foods, fresh or frozen produce, fresh bread, etc whenever I can. Fresh, fresh, fresh. That's my new mantra. That doesn't mean I'll never cook with or eat prepared foods, nor do I think it's wrong or bad if you do. I am just choosing to make a commitment to thinking about fresh foods wherever I can and incorporating them more and more into our diets. We will still eat the occasional frozen pizza and box of Mac n Cheese. I'm sure some of Matt's and my lunches we bring to work will be Marie Callender or other frozen dinner. But I have seen the value in knowing everything that is in my food. And enjoying it that much more because of it.

I have started a new blog to chronicle my adventures in cooking from scratch: I'll be using this site to archive my recipes and modifications to existing ones, give tips and ideas on how to transition to cooking more foods from scratch in your own kitchen, some basic to advanced cooking techniques, and more.

This is not a site that will emphasize low-fat or low-carb recipes, but rather will focus on non-artificial eating and savoring good, fresh and wholesome foods. I hope you'll join me on my journey to more healthful eating.


  1. All great tips/ideas!


  2. Thanks Judy! I just checked out your blog --very nice!

  3. You and me both! I've been working on doing most of the things you mentioned also!

  4. Nice blog! That is a good challenge. I know we have a lot of extra stuff in our cupboards that we bought with good intentions. Our grocery bills are SO high though we don't cook nearly enough on our own...