Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What's in Your Pantry?

A couple of days ago I posted about our October Pantry Challenge to spend $500 or less on organic whole foods this month.  It only seems appropriate to give you an idea of what's in my pantry that I'm working with. (An approximate cost of these goods was subtracted from the total budget for the month.)  This also gives me an excuse to show off my newly organized pantry.  Feel free to skim through to the update below if this bores you. ;)

 Not the greatest pictures as my pantry has no light in it and a small door that gets in the way which keeps you from seeing the entire shelf, but... 
Top shelf: White flour (way in back and almost never used), Cocoa powder, chocolate chips, flax seeds, coffee grinder for the flax seeds, baking soda, powdered sugar, Sucanat, brown sugar, Cholula hot sauce (free from Rangers game), vinegar (raspberry, apple cider, rice, white wine, red wine, balsamic)  honey, brown rice syrup (which I obviously needed seeing as how I've never opened it since I bought it over three years ago), molasses, pectin (three boxes, nonetheless), Mirin, Marsala, and extracts (lemon, almond (once again 3?), vanilla, and cherry)
Bottom shelf: brown rice puffs (similar to Rice Crispies), steel cut oats, quinoa, white rice (soon to be used up and replaced), lentils, arborio rice, garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), brown rice, elbow pasta, white beans of some sort, vegetable alphabet pasta, and the odds and ends of packages to restock the containers to the side.

To the right, top shelf: almonds, instant tapioca (for a particular recipe or two), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit (whatever I buy at the time), coconut, sesame seeds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, raisins, cashews, poppy seeds, homemade lemon rind candy, peanut butter, pinto beans, more garbanzo beans, Great Northern beans, 11 packages whole wheat penne pasta, 11 packages whole wheat spaghetti pasta, 12 packages lasagna noodles.  Bottom shelf: 11 jars homemade chicken broth, two cans of tuna, Chipotle salsa, two cans sweetened condensed milk (once again, have owned these over three years), 7 jars roasted Hatch chili peppers, four jars homemade peach jam, 9 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, basket contains dried chilis, pine nuts, sundried tomatoes, and sunflower seeds, basket for onions and garlic, basket for potatoes.

Pantry floor: Unseen to the left are my reusable grocery bags and egg cartons; the large containers hold soft wheat berries (to make flour for quick breads, cookies, etc.), rolled oats, black beans, hard wheat berries (to make flour for yeast breads).  Also lurking down there is some bottled water and a fire extinguisher, in case of emergency, although not necessarily for the same emergency.  As you can see I haven't found a good place for my freezer paper, plastic freezer bags (still working on phasing those out) and two extra boxes of plastic wrap, which I almost never use.  Up top: I chose not to take a picture of my top shelf which is kind of a catch all for items too tall to fit elsewhere such as a couple of serving items, adult beverages, and my oils: olive, canola, and coconut.

Moving right along...

I realize in a perfect world, I would be starting day one with zero food items.  That's not going to happen as October 1st was a Monday and I run errands on Friday.  And I'm not going to through away all my food.  I've decided not to include that trip in my budget, either, because at the end of the month I will be buying food that will carry over into November, so I figure it all works out or at least close enough.  Just so you know, I did keep my spending last Friday within weekly average budget guidelines.

Day One
Monday is my "cooking" day, as in, baking/cooking larger batch items to carry over into the week or month.  This past Monday, I made cheese crackersmayonnaise,  and 40 Zucchini Muffins.  The quantity of muffins was somewhat of a happy accident as I had extra zucchini and decided to double the recipe before I realized that it already made 24 muffins.  No matter, as my children LOVED them and now we have extra in the freezer.  (Tip: Call them surprise muffins that have cinnamon and sugar in them until after they have devoured two.  Then they will be shocked and in awe when you tell them the surprise is zucchini.)  I also made some yogurt in the crock pot overnight.

Breakfast: Leftover blueberry muffins
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich, cucumbers
Snack: Cheese Crackers
Dinner: Crock pot Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken with Sesame seeds, brown rice, Stir-fried summer squash, zucchini, sweet peppers, and onions; milk for the kids
Note: I wanted to make a new sweet and sour chicken recipe from Pinterest, but I had a whole chicken, not chicken breasts.  Such is life.

Day Two

Breakfast: Zucchini muffins, cantaloupe
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich, cheese crackers
Snack: Zucchini muffins (I told you they were good.  And I almost forgot to grab something before picking up the kids.)
Dinner: Maple-Cardamom Glazed Salmon (minus the cardamom, ha!), chickpea and tomato basil salad (On my original menu plan, I had only listed the salad, and then realized that was completely ridiculous as two of my kids don't really eat chickpeas so I added salmon.  The salad turned out to be smaller than I expected anyway, so it all worked out.)

What's in your pantry?  Anyone care to share?


  1. Your pantry is so beautiful it made me want to cry a little bit. :) The labels were gorgeous. :) We are nine days from payday and BARELY going to make it under $500, but I think we will. Thank goodness there was some receipting error when I went through the grocery drive through for online shopping (free this month) and they gave me my groceries for FREE. Seriously. I couldn't make this stuff up.

  2. Thank you! It was a slow work in progress. :) This has been a bit of a struggle, and I'm not even including paper products, etc. I normally keep it under on my initial trip, but end up needing a couple of extra essentials (LIKE COFFEE) during the week. Free groceries. How cool is that?