We made it to the end of January with our meal planning and although we didn’t follow the plan exactly, we did do a great job of eating through items in the pantry. Some of the highlights from this week were roasted potatoes, oatmeal and the cabbage soup I made on Sunday. I also did another pickup of school lunches and we did a decent job eating through what they gave us. They give you so much food sometimes it is hard to eat it all in a week. I probably won’t go again this week because we really don’t need it and we still have leftovers.
This week I made some cabbage patch soup. This is something my grandma used to make when I was growing up and I have been craving it for a number of years but had no idea where she got the recipe from. My grandma passed away a few years ago so I was not able to ask her but I did happen to mention it to my mom in passing and my mom somehow knew exactly what the name of it was and that it originated in a restaurant in Snohomish. Once I knew the name I was easily able to Google it and get the right one. I sort of used the recipe linked below. We were out of a few ingredients and since we were in a pantry cleanout I did not go to the store. I also used my husband’s homemade sausage in place of the ground beef. My grandma used whatever meat (if any) she had on hand so I am pretty used to having different meat in there. We ate this throughout the week and we still have one serving left that I will probably freeze since we won’t eat it today. I am so glad I mentioned this soup to my mom because it is one of my favorites!
Can you sense another theme here? I definitely did great job of eating through the oatmeal packets this week. I ended up using two at a time with some of the dried apples and a couple of fried eggs and it was an excellent breakfast full of fiber and protein. I love gluten-free oatmeal packets because they contain way less added sugar than the regular ones. I don’t like a lot of sugar first thing in the morning and honestly the peaches were not a good choice. I also snacked on an apple throughout the morning and that was delicious as well!
Another favorite breakfast of mine is peanut butter toast with apples. This time I added a little bit of honey since local raw honey really helps with my allergies. The Seattle area had poor air quality last week due to some air stagnation and the honey helped with my sore throat. I needed to use up the bagels I bought so I had the last one with breakfast one morning and the others toasted with butter with my cabbage soup. They were pretty good but for some reason these gluten-free bagels were not salty at all. I am wondering if that is why they were at the Franz Outlet. I am going to eat through some frozen gluten-free bread I found in my freezer when I cleaned it out yesterday this week but I fully anticipate needing to go back to the outlet next week for more gluten-free goodness. We are set on regular bread for a few months but I may break down and get another pack of donuts for the kids if they are under a dollar again.
So this meal was a slight cooking failure. I pulled the potatoes out of the deep freezer earlier in the week to make fried potatoes but they just didn’t work out the way I wanted them to and they ended up more like mashed potatoes instead. They were still tasty though. We still have some of these leftover that I am hoping to eat up this week. I steamed the broccoli and the Kielbasa together and totally left them on the stove too long while I was trying to fix the potatoes so the broccoli was a little bit (I mean a lot) mushy but it was still edible and we ate it no problem. The Kielbasa was one of the items from the fridge I needed to eat up this week. This was an experiment buying Kielbasa in a large pack from Costco and honestly next time I will split the package up in to a few meals and freeze all but what we will need that week. I probably could have frozen these as well but I am trying to reduce our freezer this week so I didn’t want to add more to it.
Well since we had the ingredients leftover from our sushi bowls last week we just “had” to make them again this week. This time I remembered to take a picture before I dug in and I must say they are very pretty. We seared our salmon this week and ate it with some sprouts my husband started a week or two ago and it was delicious! This is definitely a highlight of the week!
We rounded out this week with pancakes and bacon for breakfast this morning. My husband made some gluten-free ones this time not from a mix and they were very good. My daughter and I had them with maple syrup and my son had Nutella on his. I didn’t get a picture of the bacon but it was pretty good too.
Looking back I didn’t get a lot of pictures this week. We had our usual Friday night pizza and ate a lot of the same thing just different ways to eat through what we had. The week is kind of a blur for me since I worked so much all week and didn’t really have any free time. Yesterday however I did clean out our main freezer in the kitchen. This is what I would call a working freezer and we use it all the time. I try to not go into the deep freezers very often since they tends to get freezer burn the more we open them so in our main freezer I keep open packages and things we use a lot, like frozen peas and bread. I only had to throw out a couple of things from this freezer when I cleaned it out which was pretty impressive to me. I last cleaned it over the summer so I am surprised there wasn’t more. We are going to try and eat up some things in this freezer this week. I moved items we won’t be eating to our largest deep freezer so what we needed to eat up wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. If I had to choose another fridge I would definitely get one that is side by side instead of a french door fridge and a drawer at the bottom. It is too easy to just dump stuff in the bottom drawer and forget about it.
We finished out the month for Meal Planning and overall I would say we did a great job. We are not good at conforming to a meal schedule so the fact that we were able to mostly stick to the plan for the month is pretty great. We did however really only plan a few days at a time but it did help us learn how often we needed to cook and that we are cooking way too much. For February I am going to focus on our freezers. We are finishing up our storage room downstairs hopefully today and moving our smaller freezer down there. We will use it for mostly meat but it does need to be cleaned out very badly. I sort of cleaned it out last summer when we bought our big one but we never defrosted it or got to the bottom so I am a little nervous about that one. Most of the items in there are unlabeled since my husband froze them and has (or had) them memorized so I am not really sure what is in there. I am hoping that by eating through our freezers this month we will have room to hopefully buy half a cow next year and get some of our gardening goodies into there for next year.
My goal this week is to make enough room in the other freezers to completely empty our small one and defrost it. I am sure we can do it, but it may take more than one week. I am also hoping to avoid the grocery store this week. I still need to tally up our grocery spending for January and see how we did. I am not anticipating that we did a great job with spending. We spent way too much stocking up the first weekend of the month to have reduced our spending but we have not even started using some of the items we bought and should be good on those for another month or two. I am however setting a low spending goal for groceries this month and will try to get a post out later this week about it. We are only really out of a couple of things I will list below and aside from the usual fresh vegetables and eggs I might be able to stretch the groceries out a couple of more weeks, maybe even the month if we can plan it well and stick to it. I am going to take stock this afternoon and consult with the family to see if it will work. We are also going over to the mother-in-laws again today for a Lunar New Year lunch so I won’t know how many leftovers we have until later on today.
Grocery List for Feburary
- Kidney beans
- Diced tomatoes
- Dog food
- frozen peas (stock up item)
Look for another post later this week outlining our grocery budget for January and February. I am also working on some goals for 2022 and getting some content up on YouTube. Until then, happy pantry cleanout!