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it’s new year’s eve eve and in the spirit of discussing resolutions, i thought i’d throw out this challenge that the hubs and i are taking on for the month of january.  (actually, we already started the challenge this week, but will continue through the entire month of january.)

since thanksgiving through new year’s is usually a time of indulgence, i thought that january would be a great time to just lay low and hibernate.  with a nursery to start working on, money will end up flying out the door pretty fast if we don’t keep an eye on it, so here’s the plan:

starting now and continuing through the end of january, we don’t go grocery shopping.

now, i’m not totally naive, there are certain things that just may not be good to go without for a month:  like milk, salad, cheese, and fruit –  so staple things like that are able to be restocked – but only to the tune of $10 a week max.  for everything else, we scour the pantry, fridge, and freezer and come up with creative ways to use the things we usually pass right over when it’s so easy to make a grocery run.  in general our stash includes:

– lots of rice, pasta, lentils, and other grains

– cans of chickpeas, black beans, and white beans

– diced tomatoes and tomato paste

– an assortment of dressings, dips, mustards, and marinades

– leftover pesto from this summer

– lots of hummus – must have been on sale, we have like 4 tubs of the stuff

– pasta sauce

– boxed mac and cheese

– canned green beans

– frozen corn

– a couple pounds of yukon gold potatoes

– maple syrup

– frozen meat (ground turkey, local grass-fed beef, some soup bones, and even some venison that came from a family hunting trip) – haha, is that redneck?

– snacky things like pretzels, popcorn kernels, and a few leftover gingersnaps

– frozen blueberries picked over the summer

– lots of jam and jelly

– oats for oatmeal and flour for baking bread, rolls, biscuits, or pancakes

and some fun things that i can’t wait to be creative with:

– random chocolate bars

– a small package of lady fingers

– some leftover whipping cream

– frozen pumpkin puree

– a pie crust

– tapioca pearls

– chocolate covered espresso beans

– pecans, almonds, and walnuts

so there you have it.  i’m pretty excited about the challenge and am confident that even spending the $10/week on groceries will be vastly less than our usual (read: virtually nonexistent) monthly grocery budget.  plus it will really make me have to menu plan, as i imagine putting a spontaneous meal together will become harder and harder as time goes by.

here’s to a fun culinary start to 2011!