first, the "eat from the pantry challenge." very simply, we are to create january's menu from food already in the pantry, freezer, fridge, etc. no buying food for a whole month. before we started, i bought a few staples, but i am not going to the grocery store for anything except milk and possible fresh fruits and vegetables before february 1. we were still holidaying with family on the 1st and 2nd so our challenge started on the 3rd.
in google calendar, i created a dinner menu for the whole month (a trick i learned from simple mom) with quick and easy-to-make meals that repeat every two weeks. breakfast for dinner on sunday nights repeats weekly (with some variation) because we love it so. snack dinner on wednesday repeats weekly because i have to be at church by 5:30 for worship practice.
this week is as follows:
sunday, jan. 3 -- breakfast for dinner
monday, jan. 4 -- bacon-wrapped chicken, broccoli & breadsticks
tuesday, jan. 5 -- pasta with meat sauce, salad & french bread
wednesday, jan. 6 -- snack dinner (sandwiches, hot dogs, quesadillas, soup, etc.)
thursday, jan. 7 -- tilapia with balsamic browned butter over brown rice with green beans
friday, jan. 8 -- tacos
saturday, jan. 9 -- beef tips over white rice and corn
breakfasts are cereal, waffles, yogurt with fruit, various sweet breads with cream cheese, peanut butter or cinnamon toast, etc. lunches are leftovers or something similar to snack dinner.
part of this challenge is that we are venturing to only eat at home. not out. at all. all.month.long.
i was pretty impressed with how easily i made a month-long menu using food i already have. it's amazing how much food sits in the pantry, listening to the "we have nothing to eat; let's go out" line over and over.
the other challenge we've taken on is a shopping fast. no, i'm not talking about speed shopping. i'm talking about abstaining. completely.
i had the idea as i was praying during the last days of 2009 and the first days of 2010. i have been in the rhythm of shopping because of the holidays, and, really, it's ridiculous how often i find myself going to target or hobby lobby or wal-mart or heb because i "need something."
people, I DON'T NEED ANYTHING.
i can eat from my pantry for a month, for heaven sake. the laundry pile in my garage would make you hide your face in shame (it does me). the kids' toys are plentiful. our decor is fine the way it is for the time being.
i will not step foot in any kind of store for the whole month with the exception of the grocery store for milk and other necessary parishables.
i bought diapers and wipes and toiletries and laundry detergent before my fast began so i would be out of reasons to "run in" somewhere "real quick."
i expect it to be a cleansing experience with positive impacts on my quiet time, productivity and checking account balance.
one challenge that i am actually looking forward to is decorating ellie's big-girl room. i am pretty pumped about what things will be repurposed or found or created for her room using what we already own as a result of this fast.
over the past year or so, i have been going through the slow process of developing new ideals and thoughts on what is important in life, what is beautiful to me. though i am far from perfectly consistent, i keep finding words like reused, repurposed, handmade, simple and minimal replayed in the things that most capture my attention and desire.
it is ongoing and sometimes the growth is slower than i'd like. i mean, i clearly do not have my housekeeping or laundry methods down to anything "simple" or "minimal." but i'm getting closer, closer to weeding out the unnecessary, streamlining the necessary and tearing away all that hinders those things i am truly called to in life.
because i would hate to miss my destiny because i wasted too much time in target aisles and drive-thru lines.
so hello, beautiful new beginning. come into my kitchen for a warm cup of coffee. it's been sitting on the shelf, waiting for you to stop by.