Posted by: mmstanger | January 25, 2010

Menu Mondays and Eat from the Pantry Challenge: From Celebrating Our Lady to Seeking Better Economy

Eat from The Pantry Challenge Week Three

Our Week Three Eat from the Pantry Challenge groceries...

Yikes!  I went over our self-determined $75 a week Eat from the Pantry Challenge budget by just under $10 last week, and I cannot even blame it on “big money” purchases like olive oil (from the first week)  or maple syrup (from the second week)  since there were none of these this week.  Nor, can I excuse myself with the thought that I was supporting local farmers as I did last week, since I had accounted our “buy local” egg purchase when I wrote my grocery list.  So what to blame?  Not ill-discipline, since I not only stuck to my grocery list, but crossed a few things off, putting them back at the registers when I realized my folly.  Perhaps it was simply the cost of the fresh oranges and clementines we purchased to help us celebrate Our Lady of Altagracia.  Together, even on sale, these were $10. 

Eat from the Pantry ChallengeAnd, if it was the oranges and clementines, so be it! They were worth every penny, for all the fun we had juicing, baking with and eating them all week.  Plus, Mom was delighted to see them on our Liturgical Table when she came over to babysit one day, since she eats oranges every day for her heart health, but had been all out of them that morning.  And, we all loved the orange snowballs and orange muffins we had at our Lady of Altagracia tea on Thursday.  Not to mention, I discovered I really like clementines.  (Although I loved mikan when I lived in Japan, I have not been able to find an equivalent here and I have never been a huge orange/tangerine fan.  Clementines, I discovered by eating a segment to convince the kids that they are yummy, indeed, are delicious to my taste buds.)  So, this week, I will just have to do better with my grocery planning – even if we do need olive oil again.  (We go through the stuff far too quickly since I do lots of my baking and cooking with it.  Please, then, if anyone knows a good source for cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil – in large, economical sizes, do tell!)  I must force myself to plan our meals with even more from the pantry this week.  Truly, my goal is to plan with ease, economy, yet mostly from-scratch preparations in mind.

Here goes:

Menu Plan Monday 

Monday: Wheat Berry-Avocado Salad and Tuna for Mike as he works a double shift and Oatmeal with Toppings (for the kids and I, since I know I will be exhausted when they are wired, just as it is time to make dinner)

Tuesday:  Baked Omelet, Sautéed (frozen) Greens and homemade Muffins (a dinner that the kids won’t fuss at while we have a quick family meal when Mike gets home before I go off to work, and one that Mike can easily clean up on his own)

Wednesday:  Pasta with Summer Vegetable Mix from the freezer, blended, for the kids, to resemble tomato sauce and Cheese.  (A no-fuss, easy-to-reheat dinner for all since Mike and I do a quick kid trade-off as I dash to work at 4:30.)

Thursday:  Build-A-Mini-Taco-Bite-Night – chips, avocado dip, cheese, sauce, beans, bean dip, tomato sauce, vegetables, homemade yogurt in lieu of sour cream, etc.  (This is a kid favorite, so I repeat it each week, with small variations in offerings.)

Friday:  Split Pea Soup and homemade Muffins or Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Saturday:  Cabbage Sauté, Rice, Miso Soup and Edamame

Sunday:   Mashed Potato Bar — mashed potatoes with such sides and toppings as homemade gravy, beans, nuts, cheese, yogurt in lieu of sour cream, butter, herbs, vegetable sauté, caramelized onions, etc.  (The kids don’t like potatoes much, but they should find enough in the toppings to make a meal of things if they are being finicky.)

Luke and Nina Making Orange Muffins

Luke and Nina enjoy cooking with last week's Power Food: Oranges...

Power Food of the Week:  Almonds for a healthy pregnancy   and general well-being.  (Since I never got around to making the orange-almond cake I meant to last week, I have some almonds in the fridge begging to be used!  While I enjoy them by the handful and tossed in salads in sautés, the kids don’t, so I think we will pack an extra punch into some baked goods and breakfast foods by grinding some almonds in our Magic Bullet and adding them to our mixes.  Luke and Nina just love using the Magic Bullet and I will love knowing they are getting an extra boost of protein and other healthy nutrients!

By the way, if you’re interested in details on our past power foods – yogurteggs,  or oranges,  just click on each word to find links for why each is good for you.  I have a number of “Power Food” lists and sites I draw from.  These links will bring you to just a few of them.

And for good measure, to round out our weekly menu plan:

Breakfast 1 Choices:  (We try to start our day with a drink, a vitamin and some sort of fruit or vegetable.)  apple sauce, fresh squeezed clementine/orange juice (which the kids fell in love with last week), apple slices, canned peaches, avocado salad (for Mom and Dad; the kids won’t touch it) and whatever other fruits we have left in the fridge and pantry. 

Breakfast 2 Choices:  (After our fruits and veggies digest, we like to have a heartier, starchier meal to give us energy for the day.) butternut squash waffles, leftover homemade flatbread and toppings, banana pancakes, atole, homemade muffins, oatmeal, and on-sale organic chocolate crispies (because the “splurge” is worth the weekly smiles they bring!) 

Daddy’s At-Work Lunch Choices: (We try to concentrate on proteins at lunch to rebuild muscles.)  leftover meat lasagna from the study Mike’s involved with at work, alternating with tuna and various sides of rice, grains, homemade potato salad, leftover vegetables, fruit, baked goods, etc.  (I am still not planning much for Mike’s lunches this week as he still might be deployed to Haiti.  We are just grateful his alert did not turn to a call to action before Nina’s surgery, but realize it is still a possibility that he will go…) 

At-Home Lunch Choices:  (Ditto the protein.)  rice and edamame, pb and cheese wraps, toasted cheese sandwiches, bean spread and ?? wraps, plus quick bites from the fridge and pantry will be on the menu for when we are home 

Snack, Tea Time, Treats and Dessert Choiceshomemade yogurt and toppings, coconut tapioca, homemade cookies, cheese, chips, nuts, leftovers and quick bites from the pantry and fridge, etc.

And, so the week is planned.  After our shopping trip, I will give a final update on how we did on the Eat from The Pantry Challenge.  And, for those who are interested, check out our homeschooling blog for recipes for some of the orange delights we enjoyed last week.  Also, go to Organizing Junkie of you need more inspiration for your own menu planning.  There are lots of links there to help you out.

Have a healthy, blessed week!

Please Note:  For some reason the categories below don’t link to the other posts with the same category names in this blog and I cannot figure out how to make that happen.  So, if you want to see related posts with the same theme, please click on the category links in the right column.  They work. 🙂



  1. I buy a 3 liter bottle of extra-virgin olive oil from Sam’s Club. The price is great, too! If you have a Costco by you instead, they have a similar price as well.

    • Thank you for the tip. I think we have a Sam’s Club nearby, so I will have to check it out. In the meantime, I have found some that isn’t too badly priced at Ocean State Joblot, a local overstock store. They even have oragnic…

  2. […] promised a final update on my Eat from the Pantry Challenge earlier this week, so here it […]

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