Monday, November 25, 2013


I struck Gold!
Cleaning the fridge finally pays off in the form of liquid happiness!

I struck gold or as close to it as I can get these days with the grocery game in full swing.  I found a bottle of Lambrusco in the back of the fridge when I cleaned it yesterday and I just found out it's still good!  Drinking my wine and getting ready to enjoy these awesome venison fajitas in Nunica!  I put in 3.5 miles in the blinding snow this morning so life is pretty darn good.  GO GREEN!

Vern Out


We actually have a lot of food.  The complete inventory follows.  Photos as well.

Inventory November 22, 2013




¾ box of bisquick

1 jar Nutella

1 jar Peanut Butter

¾ canister coffee

1 canister creamer

a lot of tea

the kid’s snack bin is full!

4 cans of chicken

7 cans of tuna

1 can Dora Soup

2 instant rice packets

2 instant noodle packets

1 couscous packet

4 mac n cheese

9 tomato soups

4 cans mushrooms

1 can kidney beans

1 can northern beans

3 cans black beans

2 cans beefaroni

1 garbanzo bean (hummus)

1 hearts of palm?!

1 artichoke heart

2 cream of mushroom

1 can nacho cheese soup

12 packets hot cocoa

2 # of pasta

14 packets instant oatmeal

2 bags of opened popcorn

5 bags opened chips

Chistmas Vacation Tin can popcorn

1 pack of graham crackers

1 bag marshmallows

1 hersey candy bar pack




Baking Cupboard

salt, baking soda, baking powder, seasoned salt, pepper, cornstarch, vanilla, chicken boullion, 4 packets raman noodle spice packets, 6 packs onion soup mix,


instant mashed potatoes opened 1 cup remains

3 jellos

1 gallon olive oil

5 guacamole mix

2 brownie mixes

3 devil food cake

1 white cake mix


Tastefully Simple

cherry cheeseball

dill dip mix

3 spinach artichoke dip

2 bacon cheese dips

1 absolutely almond pound cake

1 classy chocolate pound cake



3 containers parmesan cheese

4 cream cheese

16 hotdogs

cheese slices a lot

3# random cheese






garlic bread




tomatoes, potatoes, onion, carrots, lettuce 2 pears



2 large Ziplocs jalapeno

4 # butter

venison a lot

fish a lot

2 frozen pizzas

1 bag corn

1 bag mixed veggie

½ bag nuggets and fish sticks French fries

I think we will make it to Valentine's Day at least...

 As of November 22, 2013 this is the food on hand here. You may not want to come to dinner any time never know what I might be cooking up!

Day two

So we are roughly 48 hours into this little challenge and I must say it is going pretty well. Better than expected even.  So far no one has complained and I have managed to use up quite a few things.  In addition to the old mashed potatoes, I also used up a ramen noodle spice packet that I had saved some time ago. I turned it into chicken broth and the broth into soup.  I highly recommend this process as the soup was incredible and I don't think it was a coincidence I think the spice packet definitely helped.  I threw all vegetables from our crisper into a pan and cooked it up!  Delish!  Our fridge has been cleaned and the soup was the result of that cleaning project.  It is cleaner than it was the day we bought it.

The only drawback I have noticed so far is that I am not sure how healthy this little experiment is.  I am committed to shopping deliberately and in a healthy way once the cupboards and freezer are bare.  We ate the mashed potatoes mush the first night, yesterday we had an entire day of leftovers.  The crock pot is full of venison marinating in fajita sauce today.  I decided that the first step is to start using meats out of our chest freezer so I have a whole, free range, chicken from my brother's farm thawing for tomorrow night!  Bon Appetit!

Vern out

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The first dinner

Okay so our first night was a success!  Our biggest victory was when we finished off the tail end of an old box of instant mashed potatoes!  I am not sure how old they were, but suffice it to say at least six months.  I also cooked a pot of potato cheese soup from scratch so everyone poured that overtop of the old instant potatoes.  I don't think it was my best meal ever, but the kids didn't complain and Jeff had to work late so he didnt have to be pleased.  All in all it was quite a pleasant experience and I explained this new no groceries deal to the kids and they seem to think it's a great idea so I am optimistic that this will be more successful than the dishwasher or the dryer experiments.

I also worked to complete an inventory so I know just what I have to work with these next six weeks or so.  It was a lot better than I thought in some regards but also a little scary to think about living for the next month and a half without bacon.  We had a half a pound of it in the fridge and I used it up cooking my favorite breakfast after runclub this morning-bacon,egg and cheese sandwhiches!

For lunch we ate leftovers and for dinner it will be the same!  So far so good, but I have a feeling it will get a lot more interesting as time goes on.  My eldest posing with the potato mush!

Vern Out

Friday, November 22, 2013

The challenge

Okay so my brain's at it again...working overtime.  I am feeling worn down, burned out, frustrated and overall restless. A lot of my feelings probably stem from a recent failure at returning to work, but that is another story for another day. The important thing to understand is that as a result, my brain has been going around in circles for awhile trying to pinpoint a way to shake things up.  We tried giving up our dishwasher and washing all dishes by hand, but it was only marginally successful and only lasted a few weeks.  I do think my kids appreciate the dishwasher more now since they were my assistants in this little experiment.  We then tried the same experiement with the dryer and experienced a similar result-- complete and utter failure. so...

At the risk of sounding like a Scrooge, I will share some of my most recent concerns with you.  First of all, the holidays are coming and while I love the holidays, they are a bit overwhelming to me.  And don't get me wrong I absolutely LOVE my family as well as my husband's family. But  when I think of the crazy schedules, preparations for and drives to all kinds of gatherings and all the junk food that will be readily available, I nearly hyperventilate.  Plus I am the mom, you know the one who is never supposed to forget anything, but also the one who always forgets something and usually at a critical time with an onlooking audience.  On top of that, it will be an even greater challenge to fit in exercise during the holidays because we will be so busy and when I do not exercise regularly I don't do so well.  And so with all this going on what does my messed up brain do?  It goes and thinks up a crazy little challenge to add into the mix.  As if we are not going to be busy enough as it is, but I think it will be fun (in a kind of sadistic way) and I think my husband will like it because it will save us money during the holidays. 

Anyhow, you may remember me from a couple years back when I talked my family (the one I grew up in not the one I am busy raising today)  into a challenge to live without our televisions for a year.  This was my first claim to fame and my family (the one I am raising not the one I grew up in) for the most part did just that-we lived for 2011 without the use of our television.  Back then our kids were 5,3 and 1 and life was even crazier in some respects than it is today. Eliminating the television definitely made us focus on more important higher quality forms of entertainment.  And it forced me to focus on my kids more than I do when the television is on.  The television is just such a HUGE distraction and waste of time.

Today we live with some television, not a lot but some.  The year of no television was fun and a great pick me up back then and it landed us in a lot of comical situations which I blogged about it at  Check it out and then prepare yourself for the next best thing...

Holiday Grocery Challenge 2013!  We will be living with only the groceries in my cupboards and refrigerator for as long as possible!  I am hoping to make it through the holidays at least.  And I didnt just go shopping we are due for shopping.  I dont know about you, but I myself am notorious for buying something because it "sounds good" when I am shopping and then never actually cooking it up to eat.  So when I started thinking of ways to save money, be more creative and shake things up, I kept thinking about food; how much food we have in our cupboards and how long some of it has been there (I am just going to ignore expirations dates and hope that we don't get sick) and then it hit me. I am going to use stuff up, get more creative in the kitchen and hopefully save us some money this holiday season while I am at it! 

I am keeping the rules simple.  I am not to shop for groceries for as long as possible with two exceptions and a fresh produce allowance of $5 per week.
1.  Milk
2.  Bread

During the holidays, if I am assigned a dish for which I lack items I am to request a change. If none is possible, I can shop for the assigned item only.

Let's see how this little challenge works out!

Happy Holidays!

Vern Out