Pin It

A Pantry Eating Challenge

by Tiffany in A Green Home

pantry dried fruit and veggies

Part of being a savvy mom means shopping for deals and buying in bulk. This can be especially true of certain health foods because they cost more, and buying in bulk may be one of the few ways we can bring prices down. That five pound bag of raw organic almonds is none too cheap but perhaps it is a bit easier to digest when you buy a 25 pound bag and do the math.

The problem with bulk buying and shopping for deals and sales is that you may end up with a fridge and pantry stuffed beyond their capacity. Things get shoved in the back and they go bad, you have no idea what you have to work with, and you end up not even bothering to take inventory before your next shopping trip… which only exacerbates the problem.

This is a problem we have been having and we decided to start a pantry eating challenge… to avoid shopping for groceries as much as possible and just eat what we have. It is amazing how much money and time you can save when you do this. Plus I think I Iost 5 pounds because we ran out of stuff to “snack” on, LOL. Our fridge is almost empty now too, just some jars of bulk nuts, seeds, and Quinoa. This will be a perfect time to clean it!

After a couple weeks of meals like beans and rice and buckwheat pancakes with goji berries and nuts I think we will be sooooo ready to buy some fresh fruit and veggies. Although we did use up our frozen fruit stash making various smoothie concoctions and adding a little bit of everything and those are always good. This week I need to find some creative recipes for Quinoa.. cause we will be eating a lot of it!

This little lesson also helped me prove to my husband that we do not eat out of cans! Every time he goes to the store he buys up canned foods in bulk, despite the fact that I almost never cook out of can. The kids wouldn’t even touch the canned fruit cocktail… blah! So I may cook up some of the MSG free soups and perhaps use the beans but the rest is getting donated to someone who needs bomb shelter supplies.

What say you? What are your favorite things to eat when you have to use what is on hand in the pantry? I would love some ideas!

Top Photo credit: vigilant20

  • Melodie

    I do this every once in awhile too. It’s hard thought because we end up running out of veggies and I have a very hard time going without produce. I usually wind up making lots of soups with various beans. That or stewy concoctions. Our pantries sure do look a lot alike though!

  • andiscandis

    Ditto Melodie. Soups. I keep split peas, lentils, barley and vegan boullion (which I’d like to start making on my own) on hand and whenever we run out of fresh stuff, I make a big pot of soup that usually lasts 2-4 days. I also keep Beano on hand because of the peas and lentils…

  • I love how you organized your pantry. I purchase a lot of food in bulk. It saves a ton of money.

  • Melissa

    We’ve been doing the same thing since I got my hours reduced at work. I’ve made a ton of chili used up all the beans, canned tomatoes and corn we had.

    Quick question, Tiffany, are those dried greens or herbs in the first photo of your pantry? I would love to get more info on how to preserve greens in a healthy way.

  • We’ve been pinching pennies and eating out of the pantry this month. Lots of bean soup, frozen mixed veggie and rice soup, homemade bread and more soup. Saves money and now I can see my pantry shelves! Thanks for the ideas.

  • Hi Tiffany~
    I do lots of soup also when I am trying to use up our supplies. There’s also trail mix, Crispy peanut butter treats (made with brown rice syrup-not marshmallow- The Kind Diet…), homemade hummus (i see you have tahini in the panrty), healthy “fried” (brown) rice….
    I tried a Quinoa recipe recently that was pretty good but it did require some fresh veggies. I made it with cucumber, tomato, edamame, lime, lemon, soy sauce and fresh herbs. Kind of like a Tabbouleh salad.
    I love your pantry- it’s so organized! I’m feeling motivated now!!!!

  • kristen

    I too ahve reaching far back in my freezer/pantry lately. I felt like I was shopping all the time yet there was still quite a bit of stuff on the shelves. Time to get creative!!

  • We try to do the same once every 3 months or so – some of my best cooking always comes out of this.

  • I’ve recently started this pantry eating challenge for myself. I’m relocating soon, so I figured it’s a good time to try to clear out the pantry and not waste food. I realized I have a lot of grains, beans, and flours I rarely use.