Celebrating Not Shopping - Celebrating Life with Paula Blog at Allrecipes.com - 297017

Celebrating Life with Paula

Celebrating NOT Shopping 
Feb. 8, 2013 7:20 pm 
Updated: Feb. 13, 2013 5:06 pm

This is my third week of shopping out of my own house and not going to the grocery store. My pantry, refrigerator, and freezer have had an abundance of foods in them that for one reason or another didn't get eaten when they were bought. I recognize how very grateful I should be. People in other parts of the world don't have this luxury. In fact, many people in America don't have this much. It is with this awareness that I decided to use up what I had before I bought anything else. 

A few weeks ago on the Buzz, I asked for recommendations to use up two flavored coffee creamers I had. While I didn't particularly care for them in my coffee, I still didn't want to throw them out. You know, being frugal and money conscious and all that. Well, nanny129 STAR! came to my rescue by recommending Chocolate-Hazelnut Marble Cake Scones. I ended up using real butter and International Delight's Almond Joy coffee creamer in what was supposed to be a dairy-free recipe and they turned out great! And the best compliment of all was that my husband really liked them and told me I could make them again sometime soon if I liked. So I made them again a few days later (I had a LARGE container of that Almond Joy creamer).

Menu 1 - Broiled Tilapia ParmesanMaria's Rice, and Best Bean Salad (I used 6 canned items in my pantry) The parmesan topping for the fish was delicious, even if it wasn't browned enough. I'm still working on my broiling skills :)

Menu 2 - I had some refried beans to use and some corn tortillas, so I plugged those into the ingredient search and came up with Mexican Lasagna Lite. I subbed ground chuck for the turkey and had to make my own enchilada sauce and taco seasoning. I had no idea it was so easy to make Homemade Enchilada Sauce, and the plus side here is I got rid of one of those cans of tomato sauce I had! I also combined mozzarella and cheddar cheese instead of using Mexican blend. This dish turned out great (even if the picture didn't)! I served it with some frozen whole kernel corn I had in the freezer. 

Menu 3 was stretched to feed company. My granddaughter who is getting chemo treatments at St. Jude began running fever while at school this particular day, so I kept baby brother while her parents got her checked out. I knew they would be getting home late, so I fixed dinner for all of us. I had 4 good-sized pork chops. I knew the two little ones wouldn't eat that much, so 4 would be plenty. I fixed Healthier Golden Pork Chops, accompanied by mashed potatoes (the last of my potatoes I had), cream-styled corn out of the freezer (the real stuff I had cut off the cob this past summer), and Jalapeno Black-Eyed Peas (using 2 more cans in my pantry). And, yes, I know those are all starches, but remember, I'm at the end of my groceries, and starches are all I have :) I also served Amish White Bread. I'm baking all my bread now, wrapping it individually, and putting it in the freezer for my husband and me. It had just come out of the oven when my son arrived. Needless to say, he ate quite a few pieces slathered with butter while it was still hot. The rest of that loaf was eaten for dinner. (By the way, my granddaughter was fine. She wasn't even running fever when she was checked at the hospital)

I'm calling the entree for Menu 4 Sufferin' Succotash Chicken Stew. I didn't stop to measure the ingredients, and now I'm sorry because this was so good! I began by cooking some frozen baby lima beans and my frozen cream-style corn I had put up this past summer (the real deal) in a can of chicken broth. After they were done, I added the meat from 4 cooked chicken thighs I had taken from the freezer and thawed. I would have cooked potatoes with this, but since I didn't have any, I added a can of cream of potato soup. I kept wondering if I needed to add any herbs, but this tasted so good, I just didn't. If I'd had onions, I would have used them too. But since the bread had lots of dried onions in it, I felt the onion category was covered. Oh, the bread. I made Onion, Garlic, Cheese Bread. I kneaded it in my bread machine, but then I let it rise on my heating pad, put it in a loaf pan, let it rise again on my heating pad, and baked it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Delicious!

Menu 5 - Company Casserole and Bear's Spinach Muffins - Both of these dishes could be altered to taste better. My reviews explain how.

Random recipes I made:

I used some mango I had in my freezer for this Creamy Mango Smoothie.

Easy and Delicious Crusty Popovers with homemade strawberry butter (butter, thawed whole strawberries from my freezer, confectioner's sugar)

Simple Pumpkin Pie - I didn't make one of these for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It was time!

Signature Pumpkin Pie is the exact same recipe!

Iced Mocha Cola

I thought this third week would be really difficult, and I did have to do some thinking. But it wasn't bad. I think I might even have a couple more meals left, but my pantry is getting really slim. I think I'm going to have to break down and go to the grocery store next week sometime. 

Feb. 8, 2013 8:40 pm
I am impressed! You are The Pantry Magician! So many wonderful meals, I love the Amish White Bread. My family loves bread. I have had trouble with photographing fish and enchiladas. Beautiful pie and spinach muffins. I am so glad your granddaughter is okay. Wonderful blog, Paula!
Feb. 8, 2013 8:44 pm
You are my hero! I have been trying to use my pantry items up, but I haven't got too much in my freezer since I had to clean all that out after 3 weeks with no electricity. I recently discovered I have become a tomato hoarder since I lost all the beautiful fresh tomatoes I had frozen. Canned pumpkin also is up there. I think there maybe pumpkin soup in my future. I have been following your project with great interest.
Feb. 8, 2013 9:15 pm
I'm impressed! You've done very well here. It is amazing to see what you cad do with what you have. My own pantry ebbs & flows. Sometimes it gets to the point that it's hard to fit anymore on the shelves, partly due to when there's a sale on something I use often, I buy several. /// I think your pics all look good.
Feb. 8, 2013 9:28 pm
Impressed!! Wow, thats great!
Feb. 8, 2013 11:53 pm
Wow Paula! Beautiful job! You have become an inspiration to several of us here. I'm going through the pantry, fridge, and freezer. A lot of great things to be made from there! Thanks so much!!! :)
Feb. 9, 2013 2:39 am
Great job, Paula. And so happy to hear your granddaughter was fine. Just an FYI - I did a pasta shrimp out of the freezer/pantry last night...trying hard. Thanks for the update on GD and your food project. Going to go on another freezer hunt today!
Feb. 9, 2013 4:27 am
What a great job you've done! Delicious looking meals right from the pantry! I am sort of doing the same thing - I found I was going grocery shopping and shopping like we still had kids at home. I realized it was time to stop shopping when I found I had 6 cans of black beans in the cupboard!
Feb. 9, 2013 4:38 am
Paula, you inspire me on lots of levels. I put on my goggles and did some freezer diving yesterday, and thought I won't commit to staying out of the grocery, my bill will be a lot less this week! Thanks for the inspiration!
Deb C 
Feb. 9, 2013 4:41 am
Firstly, I want to say how relieved I am to hear your little one check out fine. I just can’t imagine the stress. Secondly, WOW. Not only did you pantry raid, you made incredible dishes. Everything looks so appetizing and delicious. To say I’m impressed is an understatement.
Feb. 9, 2013 5:05 am
Impressed and inspired. I'm checking those "best by" and "use by" dates on my cans and boxes. So, kiddo, what's the re-stocking plan? I'm sure you won't leave the cupboards bare. Will there be a method to what goes back in the shelves? And how those items will be used?
Feb. 9, 2013 8:08 am
Wow . . . Just wow! Great job! I need to shop from my freezer and pantry this week. Thanks for inspiring me to do so Paula!
Feb. 9, 2013 8:14 am
Hey Paula,doing pretty good myself,the only things i buy now are milk,eggs,and fresh fruit and veggies,i make my own bread.All else comes from my freezer or cupboards.Thanks for the idea:)
Feb. 9, 2013 8:35 am
Your efforts are very inspirational. I just keep buying and buying each work without really knowing what I have on hand. Creature of habit. Just pulled a frozen oven stuffer roast chicken out from way back in the freezer to begin my freezer cleaning. Your are an inspiration to us! Glad to hear your grand daughter has no fever. I can not even imagine your concern and stress.
Feb. 9, 2013 8:35 am
week not work...
Feb. 9, 2013 8:47 am
I've tried to cook from my pantry, but you have really inspired me to stay out of the grocery store until I really need to buy something essential. Fantastic.
Feb. 9, 2013 8:49 am
Oh another thing, everything looks absolutely delicious!
Feb. 9, 2013 9:58 am
Wow, I posted this last night and now I come back to discover so many comments! I'm thinking I'm not the only one who buys and buys and then doesn't use :) Mike Harvey's blog is in the top position this morning, and he's declared February Clean Out the Freezer Month. Glad we can both inspire everyone to stop the waste and use what you have. Let's all jump on the bandwagon and figure out delicious, creative meals that are right in our own pantries!
Feb. 9, 2013 11:26 am
Paula, I am impressed with what you have made. BTW great photos! I hate to waste food. Most items can be frozen. Great blog!
Feb. 9, 2013 3:46 pm
Indiana Peggy - To answer your question: I decided to shop for toiletry and storage items this week. Just things like soap, toothpaste, deoderant, toilet paper, foil, plastic wrap, baggies, etc, would add a lot to the food bill. I've gotten that out of the way, so the next grocery trip for food won't be so bad. When I do buy food, I will make out menus first, so I'll be buying food for specific dishes. Now, where the problem comes is that I also tend to buy "staples" like tomato sauce and paste, kidney beans, cream of soups...things for quick cooking for those busy days. While this is convenient, my guess is that these items accumulate after a while. So I either need to not buy them or create menus using them before I go the store again.
Feb. 9, 2013 4:42 pm
On the other hand, if you get snowed in, like some of our NE friends today, it's nice to have stuff in the pantry to work with. Now you know you can do it.
Feb. 9, 2013 9:46 pm
Am joining you in using what we already have. This weeks grocery list consisted of milk, eggs and fresh fruit and veggies, mainly for my sons school lunch. My husband and I spent the afternoon baking cinnamon rolls and morning glory muffins (recipe from AR) which uses carrots and apples. We are in a blizzard warning as I type, so am looking forward to morning as I become a cooking fool on cold snow days. Thanks for the great inspiration on the pantry pillage.
Feb. 11, 2013 8:02 pm
I've been using all the protein in the freezer since the new year began. All I have left is six chicken breasts and a 2 lb. bag of shrimp. The rest is mostly bread and frozen fruit and nuts. I think my freezer must be pretty bare compared to many!
Feb. 13, 2013 5:06 pm
You are amazing kid! I need to follow your suit!!!
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About Me
I'm a wife, mother of 2, and grandmother of 6. I love to cook. I especially like to cook new and different recipes. I don't like to have the same meals week after week. My husband has decided it really doesn't matter whether he likes a new recipe or not because he won't see it again for a very long time anyway!
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook entrees and desserts. I like preparing good, down-to-earth cooking. I also decorate cakes, mostly for the grandchildren now.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Holidays bring out the traditions: chocolate chip cheese ball; crockpot chicken and dressing; and broccoli salad, sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie handed down from past generations. Another thing that must be tradition in my family: we all make new recipes when we have company! My mother, sister, daughter, and I all do this. My daddy never understood why we would risk making something we had never made before. Actually, none of us has ever served company a new recipe that didn't taste good.
My cooking triumphs
Cake decorating: wedding cakes, bridal and baby shower cakes, birthday cakes: Little Pirate, Cinderella, Elmo, Strawberry Shortcake. My friends call me Betty Crocker. When my daughter got married, she had a bridal shower where the guests were asked to write something on an apron. My best friend told her if she needed a recipe or help in the kitchen to ask her mother. If she needed a good place to eat out, ask her.
My cooking tragedies
A 4 tier huge wedding cake that fell apart at 2:00am. Thankfully, I still had time to salvage the cake.
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