On A Mission

Whew what a weekend! After that super sweaty seven miles and cleaning spree on Saturday morning, I went shopping at Goodwill with some of my best girl friends and found some amazing stuff. The best find? This designer leather bag for $12 that I am absolutely obsessed with.

It even has the original genuine leather tag!

The top of the bag folds over and snaps shut like so:

And I just LOVE it. The color, the feel, the shape, the size… I have no idea why someone gave it up! The leather is also SO soft to the touch that I had a feeling I just found a hidden gem. And it shouldn’t surprise you at all that I came home and immediately googled Minelli bags to find out how much they retail for. Most of the bags, even used ones, are selling for close to $300. Score!

On A Mission

So you probably know that besides bargain shopping, another thing I am very fond of is grocery shopping. I know many people look at it as a chore, but I seriously love it. So much so, that my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator are literally packed with food pretty much all the time. Since I generally go shopping every week, there are tons of items in my pantry and freezer that I end up hiding behind my new purchases. It has to stop!

For the next few weeks, my mission is to make a dent in the things in my pantry and freezer. I’m limiting my grocery budget down to $35 per week and using that mostly/only for fresh produce. Truth be told, I was originally thinking $25, but then when I went to the store and spent $31.44 I realized that most of what I buy anyways is produce, so $25 is probably unreasonable for me.

For protein, I have tofu, tempeh (x2), eggs, beans, greek yogurt, TONS of cheese, peanut flour, and quinoa to work with. I also have so many grains, breads, beans, cereal, pasta, sauces, and other random things taking up space in my kitchen, and it’s time to start making a dent in it before adding anything else.

To kick off this process, yesterday I made a huge batch of brown rice and quinoa (separately), using up the last of each of these grains in my pantry.

Don’t worry, I still have millet (which I’ve never tried), wheat berries, couscous, israeli couscous, whole wheat pasta, soba noodles and others I’m sure.

Then, I went grocery shopping with my budget in mind to Whole Foods and managed to get a lot of good stuff.

For $31.44, I got:

  • Organic Bananas
  • Conventional Strawberries
  • Organic Sprouts
  • Baby Arugula + Mixed Greens
  • Blueberries (on sale for $3.99!)
  • Organic Plums
  • A cucumber
  • Organic Frozen Mixed Harvest Veggies
  • Shelled Edamame
  • Organic Peaches
  • Organic Zucchini
  • Chives
  • Ginger
  • A huge unpictured organic sweet potato. I couldn’t get in the oven fast enough, apparently. 😉

Not too shabby considering how much organic stuff I walked away with! Here’s what I have in mind for dinners this week:

  • Fried Brown Rice (my new favorite)
  • Tempeh Tacos
  • BBQ Tofu
  • Quinoa Veggie Pilaf
  • Flatbread Pizza

I’m actually pretty excited about this challenge. Right now, it’s easy, but I feel like it’ll get a little harder as time goes on and force me to be more creative with my budget and my supplies!

Do you tend to accumulate tons of stuff in your pantry, or are you pretty good about using up what you buy?

PS: Make sure you check out The Great Fundraising Act online auction, going on TODAY with amazing items up for bid. All proceeds will go directly to Susan of the Great Balancing Act, who was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma and needs help covering her medical costs during chemo and other treatment. Let’s show her how amazing our community can be!

30 Comments on On A Mission

  1. Megan
    July 25, 2011 at 8:47 am (9 years ago)

    I have limited myself to shopping once every two weeks, with the exception of a mid week produce/milk run. So I try to keep my pantry from filling up with things and use them frequently. It helps keep my meals creative when you work with what you have!

  2. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    July 25, 2011 at 8:53 am (9 years ago)

    Cute purse! I love finding really good stuff at Goodwill — sometimes I do pretty well and sometimes I find nothing. But it is always fun to look.

    Lately we’ve been doing well with using what we have on hand — but for a while it seemed like we kept so much food in the pantry that we never ate! Great job with your first week so far!

  3. Cait @ Beyond Bananas
    July 25, 2011 at 9:16 am (9 years ago)

    I am opposite! We just get what we need.. and by the weeks end.. our pantry is nearly empty! We have a few things stocked.. but not many!

  4. zimzimmie1
    July 25, 2011 at 9:30 am (9 years ago)

    I am lazy so I’d rather not grocery shop if I can manage so I have to get pretty creative on a weekly/bi-weekly basis with the odds and ends in my pantry/fridge. It’s kind of fun 😛 but I’m always happier when things are loaded up.

  5. Liz
    July 25, 2011 at 9:32 am (9 years ago)

    Love the bag! What goodwill store did you go to? I’m always on the hunt for good ones in the area.

    • Beth
      July 25, 2011 at 9:33 am (9 years ago)

      Thanks! I went to the one on S. Glebe Road. It’s right off the Glebe Rd. exit on Route 50 West. As always, it is hit or miss, but its a good sized store!

  6. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    July 25, 2011 at 9:36 am (9 years ago)

    I just made pumpkin muffins a couple weeks ago because my hoarding was starting to get out of control. That pumpkin was from last October… yeah…

    Good luck with the slimming of the pantry! I probably need to do that again myself…

  7. kath
    July 25, 2011 at 9:50 am (9 years ago)

    I am terrible about buying grocery on impulse thinking I will use and it sits! I might need an intervention! 🙂

    • Jill
      August 5, 2011 at 7:28 pm (9 years ago)

      I tend to do that too with produce – whenever I have fruit that is about to go bad, I freeze it for smoothies.

  8. Lisa @ Lisa Letting Go
    July 25, 2011 at 9:54 am (9 years ago)

    I’m like you, I end up grocery shopping all the time and accumulating wayyy too many groceries!! My freezer was so jam packed a few weeks ago that I decided enough was enough and I wasn’t allowed to buy anymore freezer items until I got at least half way through that stuff. Happily, I’ve started to make a dent in it!

  9. SlimKatie @ Runs for Cookies
    July 25, 2011 at 10:00 am (9 years ago)

    I have a HUGE pantry, so I’m always accumulating stuff–it’s quite ridiculous, really. But about a month ago, we started trying to save money (by cutting our grocery costs in half) and I’ve been using what I have. It’s made a big dent in the amount of food in the pantry! And I’m having so much fun getting creative in the kitchen.

  10. agirlandhermutt
    July 25, 2011 at 10:18 am (9 years ago)

    Ahhh…I’ve done this challenge many times! I had Project Eat What You Have going on for what felt like forever! It feels good to use up those groceries though. Then it doesn’t feel like I’ve wasted $$$.

  11. Latina Barbi
    July 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm (9 years ago)

    My husband and I shop weekly so we have no waste..muah!

  12. shawna
    July 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm (9 years ago)

    I am the queen at using stuff up in may pantry. I hate when stuff goes bad or to waste. I noticed you mentioned having some millet you have never tried. You can do a goggle search and find lots of variations of millet patties which are yummo! You may do a more specific macrobiotic search. I know there is a recipe on Alicia Silverstone’s blog for millet patties. Another good recipe is Mexi-millet which is in Veganomicon (sp?). . .this is a killer vegan cookbook. I am not vegan but wanted to add more vegan meals to our weekly menu. I just wanted to share those ideas.

  13. Roz@weightingfor50
    July 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth. Just catching up on the weekend posts. HUGE congrats on being featured in the magazines. So exciting!!! I subscribe to Fitness, and can’t wait to see your story!!!!!! And you and I are very alike in our shopping likes! Grocery shopping and thrift stores!! Great finds this weekend….I found a Ralph Lauren skirt for $7 and a floral skirt for $3 myself this weekend. (photos are on my post from yesterday if you have a chance to click over) Have a wonderful week, and congratulations again on your well deserved accolades. You are truly a role model for those of us on our weight loss journeys.

  14. goodtastehealthyme
    July 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm (9 years ago)

    I pretty much use up what I buy so it’s tough when I want to buy cheap. Like this week!

  15. Shannon
    July 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm (9 years ago)

    I love trying new things which means stuffing my pantry full of new things. And I shop in bulk and stock up when things are on sale (the tofu I buy was down about 70 cents the other week and I bought 5 blocks to freeze). It’s good because I can always throw together a meal but it’s bad because I forget what I have. I also tend to go thru stages. Like this past winter, I went on a barley kick, eating it a few times a week, than I stopped, so i still have half a package of barley in my cupboard.

  16. Julie Young
    July 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm (9 years ago)

    Every few months we have a pantry challenge where we try to just eat from what we have on hand for a week or 2. I do go buy produce and milk. Will you please post the fried rice recipe??

    • Beth
      July 25, 2011 at 1:40 pm (9 years ago)

      Yeah I’m gonna post it on Thursday actually! It’s so easy it’s barely a recipe, but the combinations are endless and its SO good!

  17. Linda
    July 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm (9 years ago)

    I love the bag! My pantry is over flowing, so I just started only buying produce, milk, and eggs – everything else has to come from my freezer or pantry. I’m looking forward to seeing what meals you come up with.

  18. Michel
    July 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm (9 years ago)

    yeah my cabinets are pretty full unfortunately. mostly canned veggies like tomatoes and whole wheat pasta.

  19. TracyP
    July 25, 2011 at 11:04 pm (9 years ago)

    Boy, can I relate to your overabundance of food. I am particularly prone to buying things on sale so I end up with more than I use. I want to cook from my pantry, fridge, and freezer, but I keep buying new things. Help!

  20. Sarah
    July 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm (9 years ago)

    I LOVE a good bargain at Goodwill! Some of my favorite dresses are from Goodwill and when people compliment my clothes I love to say they are from thrift stores 😛 I used to have all kinds of stuff in my pantry but over the last year I have been pretty good about using everything up on a weekly basis!

  21. Natasha
    July 26, 2011 at 10:17 am (9 years ago)

    I have overflowing freezers, cupboards and fridge. Did I mention I have 2 freezers? Umm…ya, I definitely need intervention. I have tried to challange myself a few times, but never seem to follow through! I look forward to seeing what you make!

  22. Katy
    July 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm (9 years ago)

    Hi Beth,

    I was having Bethsjourney withdrawls yesterday…. Your website was not working for me yesterday! LOL … It looks like you revamped it; I like it! 🙂
    I just wanted to say I love your new to you bag and I love your comforter even more! 😉
    PS. I love your Any Grain Goes recipe! I’m making it for my lunch this week but using black beans instead of kidney!

    • Beth
      July 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm (9 years ago)

      Hi Katy! Yeah it was down for a little bit yesterday because I was transferring to self hosting. I honestly had no idea it was happening yesterday or I would have warned you all! I actually am making a very similar dish this week too – its so delicious, easy, and healthy!

      • Katy
        July 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm (9 years ago)

        Can you do a post for that recipe?!?! I love all your recipes… I love your Zucchini Burgers also! Very good!! I only eat chicken and fish! I can’t eat anything with Soy as it messes with my thyroid meds, or I would go vegetarian!

  23. Heather
    July 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm (9 years ago)

    That’s a great idea. I’m the worst about having a full pantry and feeling like there’s nothing to eat. I’m going to work on using what we’ve got as well. Thanks for the idea.


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