I must warn you, in this post, I will show you a few VERY personal (and slightly embarassing) photos of my kitchen and pantry. You will be very tempted to judge me, be appalled at what you see, maybe even convicted to do a deep clean within your own kitchen because of how you feel after seeing these photos. (See how I made it seem so much more dramatic than it really is so that when you actually look at them, you won't be nearly as "impressed" with what you see)?!? It is EXTREMELY difficult for me to post these pictures, knowing that I struggle with people pleasing and would never want any of you to judge me based off of what you see below. But, I'm sure that will likely happen, and after much thought, I'm going to post them anyway. With all that said, HERE IT GOES!
Prior to the start date of our month, I spent an entire evening cleaning out our pantry. As you can see, there was A LOT in it. I still wonder how it all fit. We do live in a small apartment, with a pantry 1/2 the size of a normal house pantry, (same with the fridge), and so I feel like it looked a lot fuller because everything was so smashed in there.
As I was taking everything out, I found some interesting things, like an overload of less than half full boxes of pasta, an insane amount of melting chocolate that I had not used in well over a year, an entire shelf full of snacks, practically empty cereal boxes, bulk amounts of animal crackers, goldfish and the like. So many snacks that it consumed nearly half of our counter top space shown below. Snacks that I'm sure each and every one of you have in your pantry, but nonetheless, snacks that ultimately were not healthy for any one of us. I don't tell you this to make you feel guilty, there's not much that tastes better to me at 3:00 in the afternoon than a hand full of nilla wafers or goldfish. But with the focus of our month being on consuming only what is all natural and/or organic, I was convicted to rid our apartment of any temptation, more so for me than the boys! So, what did I do with all the extra, uneaten, but still eatable food? I gave it to a friend, who's family I know will likely finish it all off within a week! And man, did it feel WONDERFUL and FREEING to get all of that out of here!
So, now, I will walk you through our past week and a half. As you can see below, I reorganized and restocked our pantry with the items we kept after the overhaul as well as new items. We kept items that were within our guidelines for the month, and if I'm honest, I was actually shocked at how much we ended up keeping. Although I did have to restock quite a bit on snackage, but we'll get to that in a minute!
What our kitchen looked like during the clean out. (Insert embarassing, blushing, red cheeks face here)
Oh wait, there's more! And let's just add in a sink full of dirty dishes, just because!
And finally, the finished product! Oh how wonderful it feels to have everything organized and put in it's place again!
And finally, the big green box. Oh boy, my boys were fascinated on Friday (3/2) when we came home from running errands, and this lovely lime green box was on our doorstep! Back in February, Groupon had a great deal to Greenling, a company that delivers fresh, all natural and organic foods, veggies, fruits, meats and ready-to-cook meals right to your doorstep, from LOCAL farms! I purchased the Groupon before we had even talked about doing this challenge during March, so after we decided to, I was super excited that I already had a plan in place for at least some of our produce and such! And let me just tell you how excited I was to open up that box and find fresh produce, veggies, organic cheese, hummus, organic cream of chicken soup, and more! And we've already consumed almost all of it and it has been GREAT!
So here's the breakdown.
Everything I've used is all natural, organic, or whole wheat/grain with the exception of stuffing(cannot find all natural stuffing and haven't had the time yet to make my own) and ministry (Moneywise on Wednesday nights when we truly do not have time to eat at home, and they provide us dinner there)
Thursday, 3/1 - Crocokpot Roast with Red Potatoes, Carrots, Celery and Onions
Friday, 3/2 - "Guest Favorite" Chicken - Chicken, Swiss Cheese, Cream of Chicken Soup, White Wine Vinegar, Stuffing, Melted Butter, Green Beans, Carrots
Saturday, 3/3 - Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Fresh Green Beans, Whole Wheat Sister Schubert Rolls
Sunday, 3/4 - Baked Salmon, Fresh Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas, Whole Grain Brown Rice
Monday, 3/5 - Meatloaf
Tuesday, 3/6 - Pancakes, Bacon
Wednesday, 3/7 - Jason's Deli @ Watermark's Moneywise
Thursday, 3/8 - Frozen Newman's Own All Natural Pepperoni Pizza
Friday, 3/9 - Chinese (date night got cancelled last minute, so we ordered in)
Saturday - 3/10 - Crispy Chicken with Pasta and Cream Sauce - Chicken, Flour, Cream of Chicken Soup (actually homemade this batch since I didn't have any on hand - turned out great), Organic Cream Cheese, Milk, Organic Pasta
I am actually impressed at how little I feel like I spent. It was truly less than I thought it would be, and I feel like I actually got some great stuff. Although, y'all might think I'm crazy, and it's very likely that some of you spend this amount to feed your family for up to 3 weeks. So, here's an overview of the bigger ticket items I purchased, and the final cost for 10 days (mind you, since I got rid of most of our snacks, I did have to replenish, so I knew our first week would be higher than the rest).
Big Ticket Items:
All Natural Chicken (that will feed us for at least 2-3 weeks): $17.00
All Natural Ground Beef (that will feed us for at least the whole month, if not longer): $13.00
Eek (I'm a little ashamed at this one, but we LOVE Fig Newton's at our house), Newman's Own All Natural Fig Newton's: $5.29 (needless to say, this snack is now a commodity, an investment really, and will be eating sparingly so as to not have to purchase more this month!)
O Organics 2% Milk: $6.19
Hebrew National Hot Dogs: $5.99
Cranberry Trail Mix: $6.99
Archer Farms Maple Syrup: $15.19
Those were our highest priced items, but things definitely add up fast!
Total Grocery Bill for Tom Thumb: $195.50
Total Grocery Bill for Target: $50.88
FINAL BILL: $246.38 (not too bad for 30 meals, B, L, D, and snacks for a full 10 days if you ask me!)
I have yet to figure out how/where to get some good organic and all natural product coupons, and even cut the cost down outside of just buying things on sale. If anyone who reads this (assuming there are some of you out there) has any tips, thoughts, or ideas, PLEASE let me know! I'd love to hear how you feed your family healthy meals on a budget!
Be Blessed and Encouraged!