Eating out of the freezer/pantry…continued.

After a month of eating out of the pantry/freezer we have finally started to see a noticeable difference in our stores…
Our chest freezer was full a month ago and is now about half empty. I went through it fairly methodically a few days ago to see what I had left:

1) 7 of our home grown chickens, various sizes (we started with 22 last May.

2) 15 packages of whole wheat English muffins (I buy these for $1 a pack at the Superstore, which puts them on sale every month or so). They are delicious in the morning with a poached fresh egg from our chickens. Very filling and packed with protein.

3) 3-4 pounds of carmelized tomatoes. I bought $40 in local Roma tomatoes last fall after a friend (D’Arcy Feller) showed me and a few other 4-H moms this really great recipe one evening when a 4-H meeting was held at his house. I don’t think I ever posted about it…I will have to do that. These tomatoes are scrumptious on fresh bread, sandwiches, etc. However, I still have a lot left!

4) 2 lbs of sundried tomatoes from our garden.

5) 6-10 package of beef stew meat.

6) 4 pork shoulder roasts

7) 2-3 packages of beef ribs

8) 2-3 pounds of frozen beans

9) 10 pounds of frozen pumpkin (Chris has faithfully frozen all pumpkins we’ve been given, but we never seem to use it; I need to find a pumpkin soup recipe)

10) 2 cans of orange juice

11) 3 chuck roasts

12) A family size serving of prepared stew.

13) 8-10 single servings of various leftovers, including macaroni beef, 18 bean soup (overflow from the inside freezer).

14) 7-8 pounds of frozen corn, bought locally from our friends, the Kempters, last fall.  Yum.  We will definitely use this up before next harvest!

I have been going through and using up pantry items as well, including flours, pastas and beans and various spices.  In or canning shelves we are still making good use of homemade jam, applesauce, sweet pickles, salsa and apple juice.

I’m estimating that in the last month we’ve spent about $200 in groceries, mostly on fresh vegetables
and fruit.

I’m now looking for inspiration to effectively use up those items that remain in the freezer or pantry. We are not a roast family so I’ve been looking for ingenious ways to use up the meat. I’ve been cutting up the roast pork and making several meals worth of souvlaki (then making pork stock from bones; wonton soup is in my future!) We’ve been using the chuck roasts for stir fries but it’s a bit tough and Chris suggested we turn it into hamburger, which is a good idea. We eat approximately two chickens per month and each chicken gives us at least two main meals, plus several days of chicken soup.

I’m looking for a way to use the stew meat (not traditional stew, I’m getting sick of it). I’d also love a great way to use up the pumpkin, either in soup or in bread or muffins.

Why are we doing this? Well, firstly it’s incredibly satisfying to apply our frugal and environmentally aware principals to our dining table. I read a study once that showed that 20 percent of most household grocery purchases were wasted (veggies going rotten in the fridge, out of date food, etc.). I suspect it’s a rare person indeed who never throws food out, regardless of whether they have a stocked pantry or freezer…
Our second reason is financial…we are trying to live frugally and mindfully and it feels very responsible to spend time making the most of what we have.

Doing this takes time and effort, something that most people feel they don’t have. I know when we were running the business full tilt there was NO way I would have been able to think about our food and how we make the most of it…

Even if you are busy, I would encourage you to look through your food storage areas and pick two items that have been there a while. Maybe a cut of meat or a type of pasta, or even frozen vegetables or fruit, that with a small amount of effort, could save you money and help make the best use of your food resources. You’d be surprised at how satisfying it is.

In the meantime, please pass along any suggestions for meals!

One teabag left!

My title says it all…I have one teabag left (and one mint teabag for Chris).  Please see my post below about eating from pantry and freezer if you are really confused!

It took me a month and I had fun a few times trying to guess the “mystery” tea.  I still don’t know what one kind was and because it had no tags or identifying marks, I was at a loss.  There seemed to be a lot of it, which makes me think it was something I bought on a whim and ignored. 

There was nothing I drank that I had to choke down (although a few I added honey to).

Thankfully all the meat in the freezer is labelled.

Some of our space saving upgrades…

I’ve been late posting our pictures from when we implemented some space saving upgrades to our tiny house…anybody who has lived in small quarters will appreciate that function often precedes form in one’s goals!

The microwave shelf…the microwave used to sit beside the KitchenAid and under the toaster.
Wine rack and fruit basket. Below: a heavy duty wire basket that’s perfect for throwing hats, scarves and mittens. And at bottom:  Chris built a toaster stand with a shelf for tea, sugar and a few common spices.  On the counter below it, I store bread.