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Archive for December, 2023

Eat from the Pantry Challenge – Days 2, 3

December 30th, 2023 at 07:08 pm

Yesterday breakfast was cereal with milk. Lunch was green peas (freezer) and an egg with some curry spices and cayenne for heat. I brought some pasta with broccoli, green peas, and an egg mixed in from items I had with me for dinner. It was a late shift, so around 1 am I was hungry again and ate some ramen and a mini bag of ritz crackers with peanut butter from my work stash. Brought my own tea and coffee as usual.



Today I started with a small bowl of cereal and milk. Around lunch I ate leftovers from Christmas (these are almost finished). Had the disappointing coffee with the last of a vanilla creamer from the fridge and a splash of half and half left in the fridge from holiday baking. Working late tonight (past midnight) and I usually get pretty hungry running around all evening. I made a pasta and cabbage dish to bring in and found a few leftover mini cocktail samosas in the freezer to bring as a snack. Also found a bag of borderline stale tortilla chips in the kitchen, so I will top some with shredded cheese and capers (from the fridge) for a homemade nacho snack also. I can easily do 8-10,000 steps/shift, so I definitely want to eat again after work regardless of time. If I don’t plan for that, I will be tempted towards chips or candy because that’s what’s available there after hours.


I still have about a quarter of a red cabbage and a large green cabbage in the fridge, and I think I saw a few loose carrots rattling around in the back. Need to do a more thorough inventory of my fridge/freezer/cabinets  at some point, but this week is crazy at work, so it will have to wait. Focusing on stuff from the fridge early in the challenge makes sense anyway, since those things generally don’t stay good as long.

I will need to stop at the grocery store soon because the instant coffee and creamer I keep at work is almost gone. I can deal with the grosser coffee at home until it's used up, but I am getting more good store brand for work. I save a ton of money by keeping my own coffee and creamer at work instead of buying it. I don't mind instant coffee. There's also a kuerig there I could use, but I just get hot water from it because the amount of plastic waste it creates makes me crazy. 

Eat from the Pantry Challenge Day 1

December 29th, 2023 at 03:29 pm

Yesterday I started by finding two forgotten boxes of cereal on the top of the refrigerator, so I had some wheat flakes with dehydrated berry pieces from 2021 with milk for breakfast. Not bad. Clearly the top of the refrigerator should store kitchen equipment in the future.



Lunch was leftovers from family Christmas feasting.


Dinner was pasta (pantry) with green peas (from the freezer), Greek dressing (from fridge), and an egg for protein.


Drinks were tea from the tea stash at home, coffee from home (using the coffee I bought on a trip over the summer that I don’t like as much as my usual store brand).

Eat from the Pantry Challenge

December 27th, 2023 at 08:56 pm

I tend to keep a lot of food on hand from picking things up on sale and so that it’s never urgent to go to the grocery store on a particular day if life happens. Even fairly shelf stable food doesn’t last forever, so I think it’s time to use up some of the older stash to make sure nothing gets wasted. I am planning to make this a January challenge (though may start now), if anyone wants to join me. The rules will be:


I can buy coffee creamer, eggs, and vegetables and replace anything I run out of that I am going to keep using (pasta, coffee, a particular spice, etc). I can also replace snacks for my desk stash of food, because I am not trying to get hangry at work on long days. I usually bring in a tupperware mid shift meal and the challenge rules will apply to that.


I can buy grocery items to make a recipe/meal that uses up ingredients that I already have (such as if a recipe to use up a bag of beans I have calls for a certain type of cheese)


Eating out socially is okay, this challenge applies to eating at home, which is 95% of my food intake. I mostly use eating out as part of maintaining social relationships and don’t see a need to upset those kinds of plans for this challenge, especially because I have several family birthdays in January.

Today I am eating some leftovers from the holidays and will be having dinner out with some visiting relatives.

Costco trip #2 savings

December 3rd, 2023 at 03:16 pm

Costco update- trip # 2 (November)


This entry is a little delayed, but better late than never! I went to Costco once in November, mostly to get easy snacks to donate to a community event, although I did pick up a couple items for myself that were good deals. I was very pleasantly surprised by their pesto, it is EXCELLENT and comparing it to the store brand as a I do here is probably incorrect. To get a similar quality you would probably need a premium brand. Prices here are for my go-to local grocery store chain, store brand when available, unless specified. Let’s look at the savings:


Large 22 oz basil pesto: 9.49 (3.99 for 8 oz at store, so 10.97 for equivalent amount, saving of 1.48)

Cliff Bars 26 count 12.97 (16.99 for 12 count at the store, so 36.81 for equivalent amount, saving of 23.84)

Easy mac large 6 count 10.49 (17 for an 8 pack at Walmart, so 12.75, saving of 2.26)

Large black olives, 6 cans, on sale for 7.99 (1.89 each, 11.34 for same quantity so 3.35 savings)

Shin black microwave ramen, 12 count, For 12.69 (7.98 for 4 pack at Walmart, 23.94 for 11.25 savings)

30 frozen spinach frittatas for 12.99 (6 for 5.98 at Walmart, 29.90 for 30, savings of 16.91)

Basmati rice, 50 lbs for 19.69 (18.97 for 20 lbs at Walmart, or 47.42 for 50 lbs, savings of 27.73)


Total savings this trip: 86.82  Year to date: 162.96


As you can see, the largest savings are from buying premade and individually packaged processed foods, which I rarely eat myself but occasionally buy for certain family or community events. If I only compared the costs of my own personal use groceries, the cost savings would be much less dramatic. It’s also fair to question if I would have actually paid the sticker price and bought the same goodies for these events at the regular store, and the answer in some cases is probably no, or I would have bought less of them. That said, I really did get the value of being able to contribute more to these events for the same price, so I think this is a fair way to calculate the value to the Costco shopper.

I still haven’t gotten gas at Costco yet, because the first trip I didn’t need it and this time I went with a friend who also wanted to go and they drove, but I will definitely include this if I can time a future trip with a fill up! I don’t use that much gas in general as I drive a small car and live near work and the grocery store.

There has not been much food waste so far, which is one issue I am specifically trying to avoid as a single person. Will also say that one downside of Costco is that there seems to be a lot of packaging and plastic on everything compared to the regular local grocery store chain.