A Month Without Groceries

Well, mostly. Not quite a month yet, we’re currently in week three, but it’s close.

And also, we’ve purchased milk and cream. Our pantry challenge agreement in our household is we use up and eat what we have without purchasing things from the store, with the exception of dairy products. (And coffee, if we need it.)

Other than those two small details: a month without groceries.

I sat down and created some pretty menus to hang on our fridge so I could know what I was fixing for dinner any given day, and so I could avoid being asked the question that makes my skin crawl: “What are we having for dinner?”

Our first meal of our pantry challenge was Sunday, October 6th. I’ve got the menu planned, at the time of this writing, through November 2nd. And how has it gone? So far, really well.

There have been a few thrown-together days, when we were running like mad during the week. We also had one dine-out meal, and more on that later. Overall, however, it’s gone really well.

During our harvest party, Hubs kind of sprung the idea that he’d like Sundays going forward (as in beginning the very next day) to be a family Sabbath day.

You may not recall, but I wrote about my first ever experience with Sabbath in this post several years ago. The fact that Hubs was now also wanting to incorporate this for our whole family was really moving.

That said, I was thankful for the leftovers from the harvest party, because no one had to spend time on Sunday cooking. We simply ate leftover soup and stew, and it worked pretty slick.

Going forward, I’ll be sure to cook extra on Saturdays so we can enjoy Sabbath Sundays without any additional food preparation.

Monday (10/14): This was a. DAY. We had a combined total of five extracurricular activities, and ran like mad all afternoon and evening. We had leftover harvest party cake (yes, cake) for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. For dinner, I made the kids mac and cheese and Hubs and I had eggs and bacon… again. It was the best I could do in the window of time we had.

Tuesday was another hectic day. After eggs and yogurt for breakfast and PB&J sandwiches for lunch, we left the house at 12:30 that afternoon to run errands (and attend piano lessons) prior to hosting Harlynn’s Heart’s 6th annual Wave of Light ceremony. We were gone the entire rest of the day and had dinner from Chick-Fil-A. If we’re going to bust a dine-out meal into our pantry challenge, it obviously has to be holy chicken.

Wednesday I was so exhausted from the previous two days. We had leftover donuts for breakfast (from the previous night’s event). For lunch, you will not be surprised to hear the kids had PB&J sandwiches. I think I had some water kefir and slices of cheese. I was so tired.

For dinner, I made grilled cheese sandwiches for the kids, and eggs and bacon for Brent. I took a nap on the sofa while they went to Awana.

Thursday I was ready to roll again, and there was warmth and sunshine outside. Blessed be! We had eggs and yogurt (and more leftover donuts) for breakfast.

For lunch the kids had “open face” peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and I think I snacked on some almond flour crackers (from Costco – they’re so good) while I talked on the phone with my sister. This would explain why I was pretty hungry around 3:45 and decided to start making dinner.

Dinner that evening was a new one for me: Biscuits and gravy. I make biscuits regularly, but I’ve never made sausage gravy. There are several ways to make it, so I made up the recipe as I went, and it turned out pretty good.

I used ground pork instead of actual pork sausage, though, and when I do it again, I’ll be sure to use sausage to get more flavor in the gravy. I scrambled eggs so Hubs could have eggs and sausage gravy and avoid the carbs of the biscuits. He enjoyed his dinner. He also then enjoyed the biscuits.

Friday morning we had leftover biscuits and gravy for breakfast. I had to bake bread on Friday, since we were out, so – for once! – there were no sandwiches for lunch. Instead, we shared Brent’s ground beef/egg/cheese concoction.

Dinner Friday was more or less a crustless shepherd’s pie with stew meat, garlic, carrots, celery, green beans, and onion, all topped with mashed potatoes, and we had leftover biscuits as a side. It was delicious, very filling, and as much an autumn prairie meal as I’ve ever had.

Saturday morning breakfast was zucchini muffins (they’re back!) and eggs and bacon. Lunch was sandwiches for the kids, and Hubs and I grazed our way through leftovers.

For dinner Saturday, I made a large “chili skillet”, from my favorite cookbook. With the leftovers still in our fridge from previous meals, and the leftovers from this new and tasty chili skillet, our Sabbath Sunday meals would be taken care of.

It was another good week in the pantry challenge. Another week of realizing just how much we’ve been blessed, and how the Lord provides not to just fill our stomachs, but to also fill our hearts.

I’m feeling good about these last few weeks of eating what we have on hand at home. I feel good about the food we have remaining and winter being just around the bend.

It’s amazing how much better you can eat when you make food yourself, and when you put forth the discipline to get creative with what you’ve already got available to you. This feels more like what family meal time is supposed to be.

So far, the pantry challenge is more than simply being disciplined with food purchases and use. It has also been about creating purposeful time together around the table. And I’m completely on board with that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.