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Archive for February, 2024

Pantry challenge refocus

February 21st, 2024 at 02:38 pm

The pantry clean-out challenge I started in January has slowed down recently due to having guests and other life events. While there has definitely been noticeable improvement in my freezer and cabinets being less packed, it was definitely not done, so I am recommitting now. I stopped at the grocery store yesterday and did a $35 stock up that was mostly vegetables, which I was out of, and I plan to make these into meals by using up the other things in my pantry

Shopping haul:

2 small green cabbages

1 4-lb bag frozen broccoli

1 smaller bag frozen cauliflower

1 smaller bag frozen corn

1 sleeve of 5 garlic bulbs

Tomatoes on the vine (on sale for 1.99/lb)

1 6 pack ramen noodles (keep these on hand for the occasional quick comfort food craving)

1 dozen eggs

Large coffee creamer


Last night I made shredded sauteed cabbage with noodles from the pantry for dinner. For a bedtime snack I had some chocolate covered pretzels left over from Christmas.


I don’t eat traditional breakfast foods most of the time and tend to cook regular meals for the AM, so this morning before work I made garlic noodles using the last very expired serving of udon noodles from the pantry with broccoli, tomato, and an egg.


Other possible meals from food on hand include potato/cauliflower curry over rice, broccoli sesame stir fry, okonomiyaki (Japanese style cabbage pancake, ), fried rice, eating the last chick’n patty in the freezer, potato wedges with whatever dipping sauces are open in the fridge, quesadillas with tomato/corn filling, Japanese curry with vegetables, cheesy grits, pantry tortellini with some kind of jarred sauce, cereal with milk, and toasting a couple leftover bagels with butter


Writing this all out makes me realize I should DEFINITELY be able to get through a week (or more) without grocery shopping again! The only exception will be replacing coffee creamer and eggs as needed- coffee is definitely necessary to maintain my sunny disposition…


I don’t track my grocery spending closely, but I looked back over the month so far and I have spent $230 in February, which includes getting some chocolates for the BF, some nicer snacks/items when I hosted relatives, and some treats for students I was teaching at work.  

Car replacement success, pantry challenge less successful

February 21st, 2024 at 02:13 pm

Just a quick check in – the month is flying by! I bought a car 12 years ago with 100,000 miles on it and drove it for another 100,000 miles, so really can’t complain! Because that car lasted so much longer than I expected,  I have had many years to save up for a new car to buy it in cash, so technically it’s not monthly spending since it came from the expected earmarked car savings. The old car has been needing increasingly expensive and more frequent repairs, and it finally developed an issue that would probably have required significant engine disassembly ($$$) costing way more than the total car value. There will be an increase in my car insurance, but that should go back down after a couple years as this car gets older.


The pantry clean-out challenge took a step backwards when I had some relatives visiting. I did stock up on various food options to have on hand in case of different food preferences and some dietary restrictions. Now that everyone left, I am back on the wagon and working my way through some leftovers. I also brought leftover cookies in to work, because I don’t need to be eating a whole tin of cookies solo!