Welcome Tasty Tuesday friends to my No Spend, Clear Out, Eat from my Pantry and Garden Challenge Update.
If you missed the introduction for it, find out about the Challenge here.
I have gone NINE days without buying anything from the grocery store, and it has been a freeing feeling. (We already had two gallons of milk on hand.) By stretching myself to cook creatively with what I have on hand, we have eaten better and more healthy this week than in a long time, as well as saved huge amounts of money. Since the first thing to go in a Challenge like this are the “junk food” and “quick type” of food items, I’ve had to retrain the kids that there IS a lot of food available, it just may take a minute or two to access the options.
From the first picture above, I can tell you that we have had TONS of fresh chicken salad variations, all with lots of cucumbers mixed in, sometimes with zucchini and squash. I had mayo stockpiled, so it’s been great to be using something else that I have an overabundance of on hand, as well as ranch dressing. The first day I made the veggie stuffed chicken salad, our youngest claimed, “I do not want to eat that.” Yesterday, I overheard her telling my nephews how her mom has been making the best sandwiches, and she ASKED for one yesterday.
As you can see, I’ve had amazing success with our garden. After five years of it dying by this time, it’s a joy to have unlimited cukes and squash at our disposal. We eat at a minimum of ten cucumbers a day, and my teen guys have completely come on board with reaching for them when they are hungry. I try to have them sliced and out all day long. When the batch has been eaten, I slice another one.
They have become quite the connoisseurs in the world of gourmet cucumber making since many mornings I come down to a plethora of dipping trays they have created with oil, seasonings, dressings and their newest adventure yesterday was cucumbers dipped in Siracha. If you follow my Facebook Fan Page, you can read about that newest addition to our home and get lots of ideas for it.
The first few days, I cooked up lots of chicken and ground beef, so that I would have “go-to” items for the kids to reach for, instead of complaining. They knew at any time they could have Chicken salad, Grilled chicken ON salad, chicken or beef in burritos, Orange Chicken on rice that I had frozen in the freezer, as well as frozen veggies (which I still have tons of from great stock piling.)
I’ve been cooking creatively and using up some of the slightly stale snack foods as breading. The first picture of the chicken, I used crushed Pepperidge Farm Goldfish as my coating.
Here I did a slight variation to this Paula Dean Squash Casserole by adding crushed Cheese-It Crackers and then pretzels as a coating. The kids declared it “interesting,” but I will not add the pretzels into the mixture. Maybe as a topping at the end to give it a crunch would be good. I mixed it in and they got soggy. It was a yucky texture thing, but it still tasted fine.
We finished up our ten pound bag of potatoes with a yummy baked potato bar one evening and then I used the left over baked potatoes for breakfast skillets the next day.
Our fruit is slim pickings now, but because we had TWO watermelons left over from our July 3rd party, I did watermelon smoothies for the first time. Yes, I know it looks black because I mixed in some of home grown blackberries, along with bananas for sweetener.
My husband is on board for one more week of absolutely no spending on groceries. The last few days have been a bit more challenging, so he agrees, why not REALLY challenge ourselves. We’ve been eating well so far, it’s just that it’s now MY responsibility to dig down and get really creative. We have a LOT more chicken, so it should not be terribly difficult. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Please share how your challenge has been going. I’m loving this challenge and hope you are too.
If you aren’t doing the challenge, are you eating differently this summer now that produce is at its peak?
And of course, I am not in this alone. Check in with my other fun foodies friends to see how their challenge is going.
Now let’s see what you all are cooking up for Tasty Tuesday.
Simple Rules for Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods – As always, please link directly to your recipe post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find the recipe months from now. The new image link that I amusing will not accept your recipe without a link back here to beautyandbedlam.com.
Also, Please do not link up a recipe meme that you have started. Thanks for your understanding.