Pork tenderloin sandwich

June 3, 2015
by jessica

Cleaning Out My Cabinets

No this is not a sequel to an Eminem song. Although, personally, I think I could do a pretty bang up job.

Because I spit hot fire.

God, I miss Chapelle Show.

This, my dear friends, is a post about saving money. It all started with our search for day care. When I first got a call back with an estimate for a week of keeping my child alive when I return to work, I almost passed out. Seriously, how do you working parents do this? Not that people who take care of other peoples children don’t deserve large sums of money, God knows I could never do it, and for that I thank them dearly. But DEAR GOD. I need another job to pay for the day care needed so I can keep my job. (End rant.)

Anywho. After catching my breath, I took a gander at our account on mint.com. Mint is a tricky little beast. She gives me information, with a large side of anxiety and regret. On a whole wheat reality bun. So when I took a look at our spending over the last few months, the number that shocked me the most was…
drum roll please….

The grocery store. I’m not going to tell you how much it was, but it was certainly a few hundred dollars more than I anticipated. AND FOR WHAT? We definitely aren’t eating filets and lobster every night, and I buy the store brand ice cream, so it’s not that. I have been buying organic meat and dairy since getting knocked up, but that can’t account for more than maybe an extra $50-$100 per month. So the conclusion I came to is that I’m doing far too much mindless shopping and showing up unprepared. I’m finding our freezer space is almost non-existent and I have so many random things I forget about and find weeks later, praying they’re still good. I try to buy things that are in season, but my schedule can be unpredictable and days can pass without me packing a lunch or cooking more than a frozen pizza. So it ends now.

For the month of June, I’m challenging me and Brandon to eat what we have, and stop spending what we don’t. We’re cleaning out the fridge and the cabinets over the next four weeks. And without giving you an actual number, the plan is to spend almost 1/3 of what we have been at the grocery store. I really have no idea what other people spend at the grocery store every month. I did ask a few close friends, and they said theirs can get a little out of hand too, but a lot of them have kids so that’s hard to compare.  But I feel like we can totally do this, at the very least for a month. Since starting this little mission, the past two nights have been major successes, starting with this pork tenderloin sandwich:

Pork tenderloin sandwich
So easy and made from all things we had in the kitchen: leftover grilled pork tenderloin + jarred roasted red peppers + smear of dijon + mozzarella on a rosemary roll, toasted at 350 for 15 minutes.

And then this creation, a cheese steak pizza with crispy kale:

cheese steak pizza

Also super easy: Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust + Trader Joe’s pizza sauce + chopped onion and bell pepper + frozen cheese steak slices, sauteed + chopped mushrooms + a chopped banana pepper + shredded kale + mozarella (cooked per dough packaging).

So I’m definitely feeling pretty inspired to keep going with this, and keep cleaning things out until we’ve got a baseline to start over and start shopping a little smarter. And while a reduced grocery list does not a monthly day care payment make, I think this will really help us out a lot in our efforts to save and budget for upcoming expenses.

So… please tell me some of the things you guys love to make when you’re cleaning out the fridge/pantry!! Seriously, I need ideas. And don’t hold back, you’d be shocked at how many random things I’ve got stocked up. And I’ll keep posting some of these meals throughout the month to share what we’re up to and keep myself honest with a full report at the end of the month and how we did. They may not constitute full recipe posts since a lot of them will be mostly leftover stuff and minimal prep, but hopefully I can really start to get creative in the next week or so.

And just know there will always be money set aside for ice cream.


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by jessica

A Few Things Friday

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