Tuesday, July 31, 2012

as the month winds down...

Today is the final day of July, and thus the final day of the month-long "get rid of my stash of food" challenge!  I've used up a few things, but there are still many more things that continue to lurk.  I guess if it's taken so long to build up the stash, it might take a while to get rid of it!

Here's an overview of the final days of July:

July 28:

-blackberries +1 (#4)

-hm...not sure

Dinner & other fun stuff
-I did a lot of cooking to try to use up some stuff & to try out some recipes.  I got points for trying

*Mushroom Nut Loaf +1 (#6)
-mushrooms +1 (#1)
-bread +1 (#1)
-Brazil nuts
-carrot tops +1 (#4)
-carrots +1 (#4)
-flax seeds +1 (#3)
-soy sauce

*Chewy Muffins +1 (#6)
-pancake syrup +1 (#3)
-all other ingredients were "fresh" and not worth writing about

I did not get points for using one of my favorite versatile recipes to make stuffed peppers, but I did get lots of points for ingredients!
-lentils +1 (#3)
-BBQ sauce +3 (#1, #3, #5)
-tomato sauce
-peppers +1 (#4)
-served with scallop squash +1 (#4)
-used up some leftover roasted veggies +0.5 (#1)
-strawberries +1 (#4)
-blackberries +1 (#4)
-cherries +1 (#1)

July 29:

-I'm not really sure what I consumed on this day other than blackberries with cereal & milk at breakfast +1 (#4).  I do know that I took a 4.5 hour nap!  I ate hummus and veggies and probably something else after the nap (leftovers?) and then helped some friends move.  Then...we grabbed a burger & burrito from Sheetz for a mid-afternoon "meal" and kind of just snacked the rest of the day.

July 30:


-Chewy Muffin
-coffee with cream

-gazpacho +0.5 (#1)
-little red peppers +1 (#1)

-out to Texas Roadhouse

July 31

-Chewy Muffin
-kale +1 (#4)
-coffee with cream
-digestive biscuits (what, huh...since when are brownies & cookies part of breakfast?!?!)


-black bean & turkey soup

-hummus +1 (#1)

Dinner plan
-scallop squash
-pasta sauce

So, totals...

July 28:  18.5
July 29:  1
July 30:  1.5
July 31:  2

Overall Total:   129

My husband asked me the other day if there was a certain goal for the number of Forever Foods I used up over the course of the month.  I told him no, but...that would be a good idea.  Perhaps for August?

Friday, July 27, 2012

finally! some cooking!

I feel like I haven't cooked much in the past week, but in the past 24 hours I've whipped up several things.  My good friend is visiting, and she arrived last night...I wanted to have a home-cooked meal for her instead of take-out or leftovers!

My exploits & foods included...

Thursday, July 26:

-blackberries +1 (#4)

-steamed teriyaki eggplant +1 (#4)
-chickpea/zucchini couscous +0.5 (#1)

-flan!! +0.5 (#1)

Dinner - including a new soup recipe +1 (#6):
-deli turkey slices from waaay long ago +1 (#3)
-black beans
-swiss chard +1 (#1)
-lettuce +1 (#1)
-Chocolate Beauty pepper +1 (#4)
-cocoa powder +2 (#3, #5)
-onion soup mix +1 (#3)

so far, for
Friday, July 27:

-Monte Cristo Delights +1 (#6)
*home-made Bisquick +1 (#3)
*deli turkey slices +3 (#1, #3, #5)
*peach jam +2 (#3, #5)
*pancake syrup +2 (#3, #5)
*powdered sugar +2 (#3, #5)
-blackberries +1 (#4)

-steamed teriyaki eggplant +0.5 (#1)
-leftover Indian food +0.5 (#1)

-will be a repeat of Thursday...no points, really, since it's just leftovers that probably won't get all used up

July 26:  11
July 27:  13
Running total:  106

Thursday, July 26, 2012

more used-up stuff & some new recipes

Kind of stopped keeping track here, but...this is what I've used up (and I also did a pretty good job of getting my fridge free of last week's CSA before this week's arrived, so +1 for that).

ForeverFoods used up:
-flan mix +1
-frozen grapes +1

Other things used up:
-Kodiak cake mix +1
-1 bag of coffee that was not my favorite +1

New recipes:
-blackberry sorbet +1

Garden stuff:
-blackberries +1 (probably +1 every day...)

Not a great list, but...hey, at least a couple things are out of the pantry!  And I learned some things about making ice cream/sorbet with my ice-cream maker.  Mostly, I learned that it's easy but with my ice-cream maker it takes FOREVER to freeze.  Says it takes 20-45 minutes.  I waited over an hour and it still wasn't done, so I tossed it in the freezer & it still came out ok although rather icy.  I am now inspired to save up for a KitchenAid mixer with the ice cream bowl attachment...

Running total:  82

Friday, July 20, 2012


Due to my husband's bum leg, my in-laws have come up for a visit to help us out around the house for a couple days.  One of the main things we wanted some help with was food!!  Last night my mother-in-law made several casseroles to freeze so we could have some go-to meals.  Yay!!!

To keep things uncomplicated, I didn't tell her about the use-my-stash challenge.  :-)  I think it's hard enough for her to figure out what ingredients I have to work with.  For example, she reported that she used up all of the zucchini I had but made sure to keep one so we'd have enough to make a dish for the two of us later.  I was shocked - I had a LOT of zucchini in the refrigerator.  I couldn't get over it, so this morning I looked through the fridge and...yeah, I still have about a dozen zucchinis...  I suppose most people don't have zucchini in 3 different locations in their refrigerator, huh?

She also used "the ground beef" from the freezer...and I had to ask about which of the 2 freezers it came from & from which shelf, because there are many "the ground beef"s in the freezers.  Kind of a good lesson for me!  At least with this purging I have made a list of everything I have; it would be wise to keep this list updated so I don't end up thinking I need to go out and buy more ground beef when I've already got 3 pounds at home!

In addition to MIL's using of various items (possibly using up all of the frozen chicken breasts & chocolate chips...but I'm not sure yet - haven't had time to check!), there were a few other point-earners yesterday:

-corn tortillas +1 (#1)
-Chinese food +0.5 (#1)
-pesto +2 (#1, #3)

Total July 18:  3.5
Running total:  76

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

monday, monday

Point-earning consumption on Monday, July 16 - Wednesday, July 18:

-dried strawberries +1 (#1)
-orange +1 (#1...the last one!)
-mushroom gravy mix +2 (#1, #3)
-beef +1 (#1)
-onion soup mix +2 (#3, #5)
-carrot-top pesto +1 (#1)
-cheese +1 (#1)
-salsa +1 (#1)
-blackberries +1 (#4)
-cream soup mix +1 (#1)

Total points earned:  12
Running total:  72.5

Monday, July 16, 2012

july 12 - 15

-corn tortillas
-peanut butter
-a fun Chinese cake

-3-seed bread (don't worry folks, only 2 slices to go!)
-carrot-top pesto
-pine nuts
-baby carrots +1 (#1...I'm giving myself a point for these even though there are other carrots at home...I need some points!)

-hm...I don't remember what we ate!

July 13, 14 & 15 (summary):

finished up:
-3-seed bread +1
-leftover chicken +0.5
-Reese's pieces +1
-Reese's mini cups +1
-pumpkin spice trail mix +1
-flour tortillas +1

from the garden:
-blackberries +1

-tomato juice (I made gazpacho) +1 +1 (I used it up, too) +1 (new recipe)
-baking mix +1 +1 (#1)
-chocolate sauce +1 (post-run chocolate milk) +1
-frozen grapes +1

That's more or less what happened.

Total new points:  15.5
Running total:  60.5

Thursday, July 12, 2012

garden delights

Wednesday was a GOOD day in the garden!  An unexpected surprise and an anticipated joy both came to pass:

-Surprise!  I have adorable eggplants.
I had purchased 2 eggplant plants from a nursery in the late spring.  I know very little about eggplant varieties and just knew that my husband does not like the "typical" type but has enjoyed the long, what I often hear called "Asian," eggplants that we had at various meals in (appropriately) China.  I picked out two plants that had pictures of long, thin purple or white fruits and plunked them in the ground.  The other day I noticed that they both had the teeniest little oblong fruits forming.  Baby eggplants in full color!  How cute!!  I was excited they'd be on their way to my table in the coming weeks.

But then...yesterday through a strange series of events I realized that...they're both SUPPOSED to be only teeny tiny!  I had purchased Fairy Tale and Gretel varieties, and both of these are bred to make fruits that are best around 3" long.  I quickly ran out to the garden and picked them all off before they got too big!

The bad news that I will still not have the long eggplants I was aiming for is reconciled by the fact that I have lots of the cutest eggplants ever!!!

-Joy!  The blackberries are here!!!
Husband and I have been waiting...and waiting...and waiting for the many, many wild blackberry canes around our property to bear and ripen.  Yesterday after nabbing my babies, I ventured to take a peek at the blackberries, and...THEY WERE READY!!  A few, at least.  And thus begins the blackberry season.  I need to make sure I wear some heavy, long clothes.  Those canes really like to grab on!

Look for these ingredients coming up soon-ish.  I don't have an exact plan for either yet.

focusing again!

After a weekend of "survival mode" I've regrouped a little and have some semblance of a plan for moving ahead with the get-rid-of-food plan.  Still may end up eating out more often than originally anticipated, but that's okay.

Monday, July 9

-chia seeds
-dried strawberries

-potatoes, carrots & zucchini +1 +1 bonus (#2 - carrots)
-ham & cheese sandwich with lettuce

-we went out.  The day ended a little crazily.

Tuesday, July 10

-cottage pancakes +1 (#1) 
-yogurt +1 (#1) (this is good, because I will have to stop eating yogurt for a study I'm volunteering for next week)
-black raspberries +1 (#4)

-3-seed bread
-carrot-top pesto
-potato & black bean burritos +0.5 (#1)
-peas +1 +1 bonus (#2)
-baby carrots

-deli ham +1 (#1)

Wednesday, July 11

-peanut butter

-tuna pasta +1  (I'd made a batch of these several months ago & stored in the freezer for go-to lunches.  Today I needed a go-to lunch!)
-raspberries +1

Dinner:  it's a little lame-o, but technically this was a new recipe for me...cook chicken in the slow-cooker with broth, use the broth to make gravy!  +1
-gravy mix +1 +1 (#1 & #3)

Total July 9:  2
Total July 10:  6.5
Total July 11:  4
Running Total:  45

Monday, July 09, 2012

a turn of events!

Well...Thursday, July 5 began some added excitement at the home...

-black raspberries +1 (#4)
-3-seed bread
-peanut butter
-strawberry jam

-tuna casserole
-carrots +0.5 (#1)


**at 5p.m. my husband called to tell me he had broken his leg and was laying on the ground in our yard.  I left work as quickly as I could, checked that he was ok (the police were there when I arrived, and the ambulance was on its way), then ran inside to get some things ready and to get him some water...and Reese's peanut butter cups.

-trail mix +1 (#1)
-amaranth cookies


-chocolate peanut-butter cup ice cream (new acquisition)

Not quite what I had anticipated.

Admittedly, the rest of the week & weekend was not the best eating, and using up my food was not the first thing on my mind by a long shot.

Friday consisted of something like this...

-Cottage pancakes, a Starbucks' latte, and orange & more Reese's

-who knows.

-hm...leftovers, I'm sure.

I know that over the course of the weekend I managed to use up some leftovers, so I'm giving myself 1 point.

All in all, I'd say this weekend earned me 3.5 points.  Sounds good to me...

Running Total:  32.5 points

Friday, July 06, 2012

the top ten...er...more than ten

Here are the items that are in my ForeverFood group.  That means I've had them sitting around forever!  I especially want to make sure I get these gone forever, too!  Unfortunately, even if I used up one of these items each day, it would take nearly 2 months to get through all of them...!

tomato juice
apple butter
blueberry-lime jam
peach jam
baking mix
alphabet pasta
mung beans
weird chocolate bar
sweetened condensed milk
turkey gravy mix
mushroom gravy mix
onion soup mix
instant chocolate pudding
flan mix
strawberry jello
peppercorn steak marinade
bernaise sauce
chocolate syrup
melting chocolate
dipping chocolate
Dutch-processed cocoa
brown lentils
Devil's food cake mix
powdered sugar
sweet buttermilk cream
Karo syrup
lemonade mix
Kool-Aid mix
Thai tea base
dried chiles
zucchini (frozen)
French fries (frozen)
grapes (frozen)
cherries with pits (frozen)
pesto (frozen)
thin-sliced turkey breast
wheat germ
BBQ sauce
flax seeds
maple syrup
walnut oil
Dijon mustard
pearl barley
Key West sauce
salad dressing
butterscotch chips
blackstrap molasses
pancake syrup
mulling spices
apple cider mix

Thursday, July 05, 2012

july 3 & 4

Here's what went out of my pantry/cupboard/freezer/refrigerator July 3 & 4.  When I left you with July 2's update, my Running Total of points was 6.

July 3
-granola +1 (#1)
-fresh red raspberries
-fresh black raspberries +1 (#4) -- these were REALLY fresh; picked just 5 minutes prior.  :-D
-frozen grapes +1 (#3)

-meatballs +0.5 (#1)


Dinner was prepared for us today as we were hosting a dinner party (that someone else cooked!), so I didn't get a chance to use up anything...except a huge bag of ICE!  (+1; #1)
...unfortunately, I also ended up with a few of the party leftovers...boooo!

Total July 3:  3.5
Running Total:  9.5


July 4
-fresh black raspberries +1 (#4)
-3-seed bread
-peanut butter

-BBQ chicken
-corn...leftover from the party! +0.5 (#1)

-trail mix +1 (#1)
-peanut butter cookie

And...here's where the day gets great!!

A.  Since it was a holiday, I had the day off from work, and I took that opportunity to finally make some sauce from the tomatoes from my garden of last year.  They've been sitting in the freezer.  Why...?  Well, when the tomatoes were ripe, we happened to be in the process of moving...and I was also taking a cross-country trip...and basically I just didn't have time to deal with the tomatoes at the moment.  Plus, who wants to can tomato sauce when it's ultra-hot?  Why not just wait until the winter when you'd actually WELCOME the heat of the stove?

And...apparently I did not ever can them in the winter, either.

So - at any rate, I used up the tomatoes that were plaguing my freezer (now they'll just be sitting as sauce in jars, plaguing my pantry, but ah well!).  I tried out the recipe from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, with very slight modifications because I happened to not have exactly all the right quantities of the dried herbs & spices.  As a sort of added bonus, I used up several containers of herbs & spices that hadn't been on my get-rid-of list but likely have been sitting around for far too long.  Now I can acquire FRESH dried herbs & spices!!  +3 (#1 & #4 & #6)

B.  There was a cookout we were headed to in the evening, and that meant I could bring food that I would not need to consume - others could help me clear it out of the house!  Hooray.  In addition to some of the leftover items from Tuesday's party at our house (beverages, potato salad...+1!), I also managed the following:

*Amaranth Clusters +1 (#6)
*Cherry Limeade (a.k.a. cherry Kool-Aid + lime Kool-Aid)...got rid of 4 packs of this!  Sadly, still a bazillion to go...  I also used powdered sugar in it, since I have a LOT.  +1 (#3)
*Chocolate Cream-Cheese Strawberry Pie...a mixture of 2 different new recipes +1 (#6)
-baking cocoa +1 (#3)
-brown sugar
-strawberries +3 (#1 & #3 & #5)
-strawberry gelatin +2 (#3 & #5)...I was pretty bummed to find this did not use the ENTIRE packet, so I still have some let...grr!
-powdered sugar +2 (#3 & #5)
-Karo syrup +2 (#3 & #5)

So, all told, that "meal" got me...14 points!!

Total July 4:  19.5
Running Total:  29

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

cleanup challenge scoring

The first 3 days of July, and eating-from-the-stash is going well.  There's a LOT of food, though...this may be more than a 1-month deal.

I am taking great pride in using up the following types of foods:
*stuff that's been around forever (i.e. since 2010 or older)
*stuff from the freezer
*leftovers (usually just a day or 2 old, but they can really mess around with my meal planning...plus they add MORE to the inventory!)

I've been collecting recipes to help me use up the wide range of items I've got, and I get a thrill when I find a recipe that has multiple of these "special" foods.  What, you can combine my sweetened condensed milk with those ancient butterscotch chips?  SWEET!  And...as good as whatever that would make sounds like it would taste, I probably ought to not eat it all, so...I can give it away to people who want to eat sweets??  Even better!  I can use up multiple ingredients AND not need to eat it!  Score.

And with that concept - SCORE - I've been thinking of creating a scoring system for this Cleanup Challenge.  Here's what I've got:

1.  Each item that gets entirely used up earns 1 point; if it's a leftover from a previously-prepared meal, it earns just half a point.
2.  Each item from the CSA that gets entirely used or frozen before the arrival of next week's CSA earns 1 point.  If it gets entirely used, earn 1 bonus point.
3.  Use of any (reasonable) quantity of a ForeverFood (before 2011) earns 1 point (like...1 pine nut would not count, but why would I want to eat only 1 pine nut?).
4.  Use of any (reasonable) quantity of an item from my own garden earns half a point.
5.  Using multiple ForeverFoods in a recipe earns 1 bonus point for every "multiple" there is (i.e. if a recipe uses 2 FF's, I get 2 points for the FF's plus 1 bonus; if it uses 4 FF's, I get 4 points for the F's plus 3 bonus points).
6.  Implementation of a new recipe that utilizes any item earns 1 point.

So, let's see how that's working so far:

July 1:

-Wheat Montana 7-grain cereal
-fresh raspberries
-almond milk
-maple syrup
-Cafe Francais coffee drink
-kale +0.5 (#4)

Lunch: lots of leftovers from Saturday's meals
-Indian food +0.5 (#1)
-chicken & chickpeas & zucchini curry
-brown rice

-meatballs +1 (#1...technically it cleared out space in the freezer, even though there were leftovers)
-green onions
-orange juice
-mint +0.5 (#4)
-red onion

Total July 1:  2.5 points
July 2:
I had some bloodwork done in the morning, so I didn't have breakfast at home...it was a fasting blood-draw. I just found some coupons for Dunkin Donuts, too...and it was just a short walk from the clinic...so after I had my blood taken I went and bought some breakfast. But I still managed to work in several ingredients that I want to get rid of:

-frozen banana

-spanakopita that's been hanging out in the fridge for too long... +0.5 (#1)
-cucumbers & red onion +0.5 (#1)
-new potatoes & carrot-top pesto +0.5 (#1)

Snacks (um...I had a lot of these today...!):
-trail mix
-peanut butter cookies
-ice cream
-chocolate sprinkles
-chocolate-covered coffee beans +1 (#1)

-corn on the cob
-leftover garden salsa
-leftover BBQ chicken
-red onion

I prepped some muffins for the husband's breakfasts!  Unfortunately, I have made this recipe several times, so no new-recipe point!  But they're GOOD muffins!!
-fresh raspberries
-all-purpose flour
-buttermilk powder +1 (#3)
-orange juice
-baking powder
-baking soda

Total July 2:  3.5 points
Running total:  6 points