It’s that time of year when I officially ponder some of the changes that need to occur in our home in order to make it run more effectively. In the area of our food purchases and meal planning,  January ushers in the annual quick, swift in the bootie, and a Pantry Challenge is exactly what will help.

My pantry and freezer suffer greatly from holiday purchasing and disorganization. They are packed with things stuffed in corners, lending itself to some recent food waste that always makes me so frustrated. Ever since my No Food Waste week, we’ve been very aware of using up what we have and not letting things go to waste, but this past week, I found quite a few things that needed to be thrown out, and I realize we have not used up what I have on hand.

This Pantry Challenge is for everyone and I’m certainly not dictating any rules, since all of our needs vary greatly. Simply put, I invite you to join me this month in being the best steward of what you have on hand in your pantry, fridge and freezer.

Attempting  to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible, eat out of the pantry, freezer and fridge, while getting creative when my children complain, “Mom, there’s nothing to eat,” allows me to take stock of what I already have,  save hundreds of dollars at the same time by not rushing unnecessarily to the store, and encouraging a heart of gratitude in our children with the bounty we do have.

In the past, I have done pantry challenges where my goal was to only spend $100 for the entire month. Yes, now that was one of the most difficult challenges I have accomplished, but it was unbelievable at how creative I got with my cooking. I used up things that I assumed could not be used.

My whole family needs to get back on a better eating schedule, so this is the perfect way to jump start those meal plans again.

I will go into more details and specifics throughout the month. I do have a long term food storage stockpile, which I won’t touch. This challenge is specifically to use up those things that need to be used up, cleared out, and dug up from the bottom of my freezer.

So who needs this as much as I do? Are you in?

Just start where you are today and see what you can make from what you already have on hand.


Welcome to the first Tasty Tuesday of 2012. I can’t even believe I get to share another year of cooking with you. I’m excited to see all the recipes that inspire me week after week.

(If reading by email, please click over to the blog for so many great recipe inspirations.)