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Pantry Challenge Helper PDF Print E-mail

By Melissa Tosetti

You may love the idea of taking The Pantry Challenge, but you have no idea what to do with the...

  • 6 cans of tuna
  • 8 cans of corn
  • 3 bags of rice 

...staring at you from the cupboard.  If that's the case, SuperCook is your answer.  Supercook was  created to help consumers save money by coming up with ideas for how to use what they already have on hand.  To use the free website, simply type in an ingredient and it will list dozens of recipe ideas based on that ingredient plus staple items just about any kitchen has on hand.

 
It's Time For A Pantry Challenge PDF Print E-mail

The 4th of July is over and the next major BBQ holiday is more than six weeks away.  Now is a perfect time for a Pantry Challenge!
 
By taking on the Pantry Challenge, you see how long you can eat using only the food you already have on hand - with the exception of purchasing fresh products like milk, eggs and produce. 
 
The Pantry Challenge was started as a way to encourage you to rotate through everything in your pantry and freezer within a three month period. The food in your kitchen should be consumed. Often, we get into the mode that a well stocked pantry needs to be static. If you see something sitting there for three months, either eat it or donate it to a shelter and don’t buy it again.

In addition to saving money, an added benefit of the Pantry Challenge is that it forces you to get creative. You’ll look at canned soup and dried pasta a little differently as you figure out how to make a meal from what you have on hand. Over the years I’ve received feedback from readers who have come up with new family favorites based on the need to get imaginative durng the challenge.

The longest any Savvy Life reader has gone without having to buy groceries (outside of milk, eggs and fresh produce) was three months!
 
Let me know how your Pantry Challenge goes. Drop me an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Note: This challenge does not include the food in your emergency kit. You should always have enough non-perishable food and water set aside to sustain you and your family for 3 – 7 days. Keep your emergency food and water supply in a waterproof bin along with your other emergency items.

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Savvy Summer Produce PDF Print E-mail

By Melissa Tosetti

I just finished eating the most delicious plum.  It reminded me of how much I love summer produce like nectarines, pluots and peaches. The only thing I don't like about them is how quickly they ripen.  If you buy too much, it can be hard to consume before they go bad - wasting food and money.

I fell into the habit of only buying enough summer produce for a few days and supplementing our fruit bowl with heartier items like apples.  We eat the summer items first and when those are gone, the apples are still fresh and ready to enjoy. 

Just in case we go on a serious fruit bender, I also keep a bag of frozen mangoes from Trader Joe's in the fridge.  At less than $3 per bag, they last forever and we eat them, still frozen, with our fingers.  Frozen mangoes can also a good way to kick a bad ice cream habit.

 
Do Ahead Meals PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Growing up across the street from my grandparents had a lot of perks - my grandmother's cooking being at the top of the list. On any given day, there would be something delicious in her refrigerator, ready to be warmed up and enjoyed.
 
Making a large batch of stew, pasta or Portuguese beans and eating it throughout the week is one of the many savvy lessons I learned from my grandmother.  It's a habit I continue to this day.  In fact, there's a pot of lentils in my refrigerator right now that I've been eating in various forms all week.
 
I can easily eat the same thing for several days in a row.  My husband Paul, not-so-much.  He prefers more variety.  Because of that, we got in the habit of doubling what we cook on a regular basis so he has plenty of choices when time is tight.
 
One of my favorite blogs is Stone Soup by Jules Clancy where she focuses on how to prepare quick and easy healthy meals.  The other day she posted a great piece on The 3 Golden Rules of Do Ahead Meals.  It was her post that got me thinking about the habit of do ahead meals that my grandmother instilled in me. 
 
This weekend, take a few tips from Jules' article and make one or two extra meals.  Then, see just how much time and money you save throughout the week. 

 
Take Your Lunch Tuesdays PDF Print E-mail
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Of course you already know you can save money by taking our lunch to work.  In fact, you know you can save A LOT of money, but you still haven't done it.  

When it comes to the Take Your Lunch To Work Habit, we often think that it has to be all or nothing.  We think we have to it every day to be effective.  Any time you set yourself up for an all or nothing situation, your results are likely to be nothing.  

Instead of getting into the mindset that you have to do it every day, start by brown bagging it just once a week.  I'm a massive fan of baby steps and in my own experience and that of my clients’, baby steps are the best way to achieve your goals.

To help you jumpstart your habit, I’d like to introduce Take Your Lunch Tuesdays.  Starting tomorrow, Tuesdays are now the official days to take your lunch to work.

If you’re worried about missing out on social time with your coworkers, invite them to join you.  Tomorrow, instead of wasting 20 minutes driving to that deli and then standing in line waiting for your order, you can walk outside together, find a shady spot and immediately enjoy a lunch time picnic. 

We want to hear about your experience!  Use the hashtag #TakeYourLunchTuesdays on your favorite social media site to tell us what you brown bagged!  Pictures of your lunch are even better!
 
 
 
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