Here we are at the end of Week #3 of our dollar-s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, cabinet-clearing, clean-up-the-food project for July and things are still running smoothly. To be honest, by doing this and not spending a lot for groceries this month, we haven't even missed the shortfall at the beginning of the month. Praise the Lord!
THINGS ARE GETTING A LITTLE BIT WEIRD
I have noticed that things are beginning to get a little weird with the menu planning this week, but they're probably not as weird as they will be by the end of next week! LOL! 😆
We are just now starting to notice real changes in what's actually left in the freezer and cabinets and menu planning is becoming increasingly more challenging. I've definitely had to put more thought into things and go to extra trouble to prepare things made of what's left on hand, but it's been well worth it and it is freeing in so many ways!
#1 - For the first time in my life I feel like I'm actually gaining some control over food instead of allowing it to control me. I feel that I'm in charge of telling it what is going to be done with it instead of it telling me what I have to do with it. Does that make sense to anyone else out there? Does it sound crazy?
#2 - Portion control - Because food items are limited food portions have become smaller. This is good! I don't leave the table feeling stuffed and I am finding that less food per meal is just as satisfying. More so, in fact! And, ultimately, I am cutting calories without even trying to. This is wonderful!
#3 - Once this project is over, I won't have to worry about what's in the cabinets and freezer, because there won't be anything (not much anyway). I will be able to start fresh and plan menus ahead of time. I will be able to shop on-purpose, and specifically, for those pre-planned menus. I have wondered what that must be like. Now I can find out! 😊
Supper meals have been the main focus of my menu planning with this, but breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas have been interesting and fun, too, and fresh items, for which I am very thankful, have played a huge part in rounding things out.
One of the things that had been in the freezer for a while was a package of turkey bacon. It had gotten shifted around and had slipped to the bottom.
I thawed and cooked the entire package at one time. The first thing that I did with it was make blt's for lunch using the fresh lettuce that I had purchased at Walmart and the last of the fresh tomatoes that I had purchased from a friend who has a vegetable stand. They were delicious!
Next I saved back enough bacon to use for a supper of turkey bacon, eggs, and toast. That was good, too.
Last of all, I took what bacon was left and crumbled it into bacon bits to be used in salads and omelets.
One pound of turkey bacon can go a long way! 😮
PROTEIN SNACK BALLS
Another thing I did this week was to make up a double batch of protein snack balls. These make great snacks to take to work and can even be enjoyed for breakfast!
I had bought the ingredients to make them quite some time ago, but...for whatever reason (forgot about it, too busy, too tired, too lazy...WHAT EVER!!!)...for whatever reason, I didn't make them before and the ingredients were still in the cabinet...or, at least part of them were. I double checked everything to see what I had on hand and what I could use up in the process of making them. It was AWESOME!!!
I had plenty of honey...three partially used containers of different varieties of honey. Two of the jars (small ones) had been given to us; the other one I had purchased and it was the freshest. I completely used up the two jars that had been given to us and only a tiny bit of the freshest honey, so that was good. It equaled two more containers out of the cabinet!
Next, I had a package of powdered peanut butter, a partially used jar of fresh natural peanut butter, and a full, unopened jar of fresh natural peanut butter. I mixed up the powdered peanut butter and finished off the amount needed with the partial jar of fresh natural and only a small amount of the jar that, up until that point, had been unopened. Two more containers down!
I had new or freshly opened containers of coconut oil, oatmeal, and cocoa, so I used those and had some left of each.
Next, came the seeds. I used up an open package of chia seed and part of a newly-opened package. I did the same with the sunflower seeds. (Two more empty packages out of my cabinet! Yeah!)
And, last of all, normally I use mini chocolate chips in my protein snack balls, but dh (who "doesn't eat sweets") has a habit of dipping into them a few at a time until the whole package is gone. I didn't have any.
My second choice of alternate ingredients for this recipe is raisins. We had already used the last of them up in other things during this challenge, so I didn't have any of those, either. 😞
So...my third choice? (Which this is the very first time ever of having to go for a third choice.) Would it be coconut or nuts? I had both and either one would be good, but...which one? I made my choice based on the fact that the nuts were in the freezer and they would be fine in staying there; the coconut, on the other hand, had been in the kitchen cabinet for a while and there was just the amount needed to finish up this recipe, so...coconut it was! (And ANOTHER package out of the cabinet!!!)
When I got done with this recipe, my kitchen trash can was half full of empty packages and a whole bunch of space was freed up in my cabinet. It was awesome!!! 😆
Now...that was probably waaaay more details and information than you wanted to know, and a lot of you probably do this kind of stuff every day...no big deal...but, for me, it is truly exciting (and freeing) to be able to deliberately take this stuff on and make it happen.
I will end there. No use in further taxing you with all of my boring details! LOL! 😆 I'm just having a blast whittling stuff down. It's becoming a game and I'm winning!!!
Have a blessed weekend and I will see you again next time!