shopping the pantry ~ part 1

Articles and posts on saving money on food are everywhere these days.  I click on most that I come across, hoping to find a new way to cut down the grocery bill.  While most recommendations are things I’m already doing, I did come across a new concept a few months ago that I’ve been experimenting with: shopping from your own pantry/cupboards.  I began by scheduling a “pantry week” into our monthly meal plan; this worked fairly well, but I still “cheated”, buying things as needed or desired during the week.
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Last weekend, as we rolled into town after spending Easter weekend in the Big City, Cowboy innocently asked, “So, we’ll need to go to the grocery store, right?”  That simple question spurred me on to go cold turkey—a no-holds-barred, hardcore pantry week.  You see, the week before, we’d spent the last of our food budget for the month—impulse buys, sale stock-ups, and poor planning had all contributed to the empty coffers.  Yes, we did have more money to buy food if we wanted to, but what’s the point of having a budget if you don’t stick to it? 
My stubborn streak and love of a good challenge pushed me over the edge.  “No,” I replied to Cowboy, “we’re not going.  We’ll make do with what we have.”
He looked at me like I was crazy, but I was too busy starting a mental inventory of my cupboards and refrigerator to take offense.
On the menu for the rest of week were:
Monday: Pasta e Fagioli w/ Spinach, bread, salad
Tuesday: Minestrone, rolls
Wednesday: Baked potatoes, salad, chicken
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Chili & Cornbread
Saturday: Taco Salad
I knew several of the meals we had planned weren’t even possibilities—the ingredients just weren’t there.  Monday morning I dove in and started planning.  I’d heard of families planning for two months of grocery-store-free eating; could we survive for a week?!
Stop back by on Thursday for Part 2, and find out how we fared! 

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