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Eating From The Pantry Challenge: Day 3

It's been 13 days since I've been to the grocery store and today is Day 3 of our official Eating From The Pantry Challenge.

We used up the last of the flour and milk (which was expiring today) in the pancakes this morning. So now it's time to really get creative!

Here's what we ate today:


(We were out late last night at a birthday party so we got around late this morning and had brunch instead of breakfast and lunch!): Whole-wheat pancakes, grapefruit, chocolate milk

By the way, here's my favorite recipe for pancakes:

Whole-Wheat Pancakes
3 cups whole-wheat flour (or a combination of whole-wheat/white)
3 Tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 beaten eggs
3 cups milk (you can use buttermilk or sour milk)
6 Tablespoons oil

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Stir together just until moistened. Add additional milk to thin batter if necessary.

Cook on a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet. Makes approximately 20 standard sized pancakes.


We were in a baking mood this afternoon so we got creative and found a few recipes to make which didn't include flour and milk. We made these no bake cookies (using powdered milk) and these peanut butter cookies. These bars also looked really good, but I ran out of time and energy before I had a chance to make them.


Snack: apple slices, cookies

Dinner: Veggie and rice soup (I remade the leftover stir fry from last night into soup adding in some broth and seasonings and extra veggies.), biscuits (made with Bisquick and powdered milk since we're out of flour and milk)

If you're eating from your pantry this week, I'd love to hear what was on your menu today!

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  • Kristine says:


    1 cup Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1 large egg 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    1. Preheat oven to 350-Degrees… In small bowl, with wooden spoon, combine all ingredients except chips until blended… Stir in chocolate just until combined… 2. On ungreased baking sheets, using slightly rounded teaspoonfuls, drop dough 2 inches apart… (Do not flatten.) 3. Bake 9 minutes or until cookies are puffed and golden… (Cookies will be very soft.) On wire rack, place baking sheets and let stand 5 minutes… Remove cookies from sheets and cool completely…

    Makes: 4-1/2 dozen cookies Preparation Time: 15 Minute(s) Cook Time: 9 Minute(s)

  • Sherry says:

    We love no bake cookies. 😀 I’m going to check out the links to the other bars, too. Breakfast for dinner is a regular on Wednesdays for us. 😀

  • Morgan says:

    What sort of “sour milk” could you put in the pancake recipe? Do you mean like out of date?


    Money Saving Mom here: I’ve used milk that is up to 2 days past its expiration date or milk which I’ve frozen on the day it expired. Either has worked without a problem for me.

  • kim says:

    Today we ran out of fresh fruit, so we ate canned fruits! Breakfast today was ham and egg sandwiches on homemade bread. Lunch for the kids was canned chicken noodle soup, fruit cocktail and mandarine oranges. Lunch for me was a bean burrito made with homemade tortillas, homemade refried beans (leftovers), a little cheese and some home canned salsa. Dinner tonight will be Flautas, spanish rice, and the rest of the leftover refried beans. I also made 2 loaves of whole wheat bread that we had as a snack with some jam. We also had more fruit cocktail and cheese sticks as snacks. Our milk is running low, so I’ve got to make more powdered milk!!

  • Tawna says:

    On your pancake recipe, can you use just regular milk, or does it have to be sour or buttermilk?

  • Hi! I’m curious what Jesse is eating for breakfast and lunch. Does he get to come home for lunch or is he brown-bagging, or business lunches, or??? It’s far easier to eat at home than to come up with brown bag foods, I’ve discovered. Thanks!!!

    Money Saving Mom here: Jesse normally eats pretty much what we eat except he often has business lunches or things which come up at the last minute (which is just the nature of being a self-employed attorney in a very busy and fast-paced field of work). It varies every day, depending upon his schedule and workload, so I’ve just learned to plan for him to eat with us or eat what we eat every day and then to be flexible based upon what his schedule ends up turning out like. 🙂

    Hope that helps!

  • nice job Crystal!! I’m thinking of doing a 30 day grocery challenge myself so we can save some $$!! or maybe just a 15 day challenge, I might have to take this slowly!! haha! I am enjoying following you on twitter! Thanks once again for all of your fantastic tips!!

  • Laura says:

    Breakfast was leftover oatmeal from the fridge for my daughter, and I had eggs and some whole wheat toast and spam (we actually like spam!). We have hens, so eggs are always available.

    Lunch was ‘clean out the fridge’. My daughter and next door neighbor had turkey noodle soup, I had a turkey fajita (leftovers from last night’s supper) and we had clementine oranges.

    Snack was s’mores made with graham crackers, peanut butter and mini marshmallows (microwave) and we shared an apple.

    Supper tonight will be breaded fish from the deep freeze, homemade cole slaw, baked potatoes and leftover peach cobbler.

  • Cindy says:

    this morning we had home made cinnamon rolls
    morning snack fruit
    lunch we had left over sloppy joe
    afternoon snack cheerios
    dinner chicken pot pies from the freezer!!!!

  • This morning we had leftover quiche for breakfast, leftover manicotti for lunch, and homemade ice cream and strawberries as a snack (the quiche and manicotti were double portions that I froze earlier this month). Tonight we’ll be making a homemade pizza, all from ingredients on hand, however (we did have to buy some cheese at the end of last week – does that count as eating from your pantry?) I also have some bread dough in the works right now . . .

    I should be eating more fruit, and might have some grapefruit as a snack or some sliced veggies later on today.

  • Amanda says:

    I love those peanut butter cookies!

  • amy says:


    I think this is a great idea and could probably do it – my problem is that I don’t know that I could make enough, as a pantry meal, for my husband to have leftovers to take for lunch tomorrow. Does your husband usually take leftovers from your dinners? Or, do you only make enough for one meal?


  • I made some Glazed Pumpkin Cinnamon rolls (using up some pumpkin the freezer from this past summer, recipe link is on my blog) for breakfast! PB&J for lunch and will have some chicken tenders, fries and veggies for dinner I think.

  • Alaina says:

    Nice one…you have inspired me to try at it again…next week we will eat from the pantry.

    Also, I wanted to ask you…I have never tried powdered milk…is it more cost efficient to use when baking? What all do you use with it?

  • Robyn says:

    I made a double batch of Alton Brown’s “Pantry Friendly” tomato sauce on Sunday; it is the absolute best, very bright, fresh flavors, and it uses stuff I always keep on hand. My best friend owns 5 upscale restaurants, and he tells me he thinks it’s the best he’s ever eaten, and put it on his menu! I freeze it in 2-cup containers, and it makes enough to last at least a month, even if we ate it every day (which is tempting, it’s so awesome). Yesterday we had it on pizza, today I had it on grilled polenta (my all-time fav pantry staple) and chicken breast, and tomorrow I’ll add some leftover heavy cream to it and make a pink pasta sauce. My 5-year old thinks that’s the best thing ever!

  • Denise says:

    First of all, *love* your blog Crystal! And congrats on baby #3!

    These posts are really eye opening, as I make trips to the grocery store 4-6 times a week- for a family of 4. If we run out of yogurt- I go to the store. Milk, eggs, I go. You get the picture. One of my goals is to get our grocery budget under control, and to meal plan.
    Today we munched on leftovers, for once I did not go to the grocery store. =)

    P.S. I plan to try your recipe for baked oatmeal- it sounds scrumptious!

  • Erin says:

    Breakfast was cereal & oatmeal.
    Lunch was sandwiches, wrap for me, and an english muffin pizza.
    Snacks were bananas, tangerines, kashi cereal bars and bunny grahams.
    Dinner will be honey mustard chicken fingers, piccolini mini wheels sprinkled with a bit of parmesan & fresh veggies (from the veggie tray we had at our party on Sunday).

  • Today we had the following:

    Breakfast: Walnut Muffins

    Smoothies (using canned and frozen fruits)

    My husband had his usual–fried potatoes with ketchup.

    My husband has been home for lunch the last few months.
    We had leftovers from the last couple of day–Museum Pasta Salad and Chicken Fried Steak.

    Snack: Home canned pears

    Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup

    and a green salad with lettuce from the garden.

  • Alaina,

    I like powdered milk because I never have to run to the store to buy milk. If you need 1 cup of milk for a recipe, you just mix up that one cup. There’s no waste that way, either (although I used to buy 16 gallons of milk at a time, so wasting milk was never a problem for me! I love milk!)

    While we haven’t had money to buy food most of the past two years, having powdered milk has been a real blessing to us. (Yes I had that much; I am getting low now, though).

    I also have powdered eggs. If I want to make crepes, which are basically milk, flour, and eggs, I can make them with powdered eggs and powdered milk.

    I don’t love the taste, so I don’t drink it, but for cooking it is great!

  • Honey says:

    We had evrything bagles with cream cheese, yogurt and strawberry milk for breakfast. Lunch was homemade pretzels with cheese fondue (leftover from yesterday) and tomato soup and popcorn chicken for lunch. And for dinner it was (date night for mom and dad-Ruby Tuesday) and for the kiddies it was ramen noodles, steamed brocolli & edamame, and pears. We also had a whole lot of snacks today!

  • Deanna says:

    breakfast: eggs and toast
    lunch: kids took pepperoni, shreadded cheese and crackers (make own pizza) in lunch boxes, with fruit, granola bar
    I had oatmeal
    after school snack: pretzels, oatmeal
    dinner: green beans from freezer, chicken bruschetta (easy! in greased 9 x 13 pan, lay thawed chicken breasts (I cut in strips to go farther). Mix in separate bowl: box of stuffing, can of tomatoes (I use frozen from garden) and 3/4 c. of parmesan cheese. Spread the mixture over the chicken. Cook 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Yum!

    Dessert: made banana bread (but used left over chocolate pudding in place of the milk – yum!)

  • Michelle says:

    Hi! Thanks for your blog. I love reading it and am learning a lot! Here’s what we had “from the pantry” today:
    Breakfast: your baked oatmeal. I put frozen blueberries and milk on my kids’ portions, but they preferred it dry, and so did I!
    Lunch: canned soup and left over homemade pizza from last night
    Supper: Homemade biscuits and chicken noodle soup (AKA clean out the fridge soup) using all the leftover veggies from the last few days and the chicken from a couple nights ago. I also had a half open can of chicken broth I threw in with my homemade stock. I love this soup because my fridge gets emptied and I don’t waste much food at all (just throw out some chicken bones). Plus, it’s yummy!
    Snacks: granola bars, carrot sticks, apples, crackers

  • Stephanie says:

    Oatmeal – Breakfast
    Home made bagel pizza for lunch
    Chicken breast frozen corn- dinner

  • Sheri says:

    I love this idea of eating from the pantry. We are not doing it this week, but I plan to do it in the future. For your other reader’s questions about sour milk – I often make my own “sour milk” by by putting 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of milk (you put the vinegar in first and then fill to the cup) and then letting it sit 5 minutes. This substitution was in my Betty Crocker cookbook. It has worked for me.
    On a different note . . .
    Have you heard anything about CVS only accepting one manufacturer coupon per transaction now? I was there tonight and was told by the manager that they got an e-mail today telling them this was the new policy!?! I could not believe it, and left kind of upset – especially since this doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. I am going to call the corporate office tomorrow, I was just wondering if you have heard anything about this.

  • Rachel says:

    I have decided to join the challenge!! I am guessing when we run out of milk, I will have to give in, but I am going to go as long as I can…

    We all do different stuff for breakfast. Little man had oatmeal and yogurt; I had grits.

    Lunch: PB&J for him; Turkey burger for me.

    Dinner: Had a TASTY roaster chicken, potatoes and frozen broccoli.

    Snack was my Warm Mini Delight freebie. It was ok, but I burnt the roof of my mouth. Ouch!

  • Marion says:

    I am eating out of my pantry (with the exception of 2 gallons of milk I bought on Sunday night)

    mini wheats (almost free of course) and milk
    apple juice

    Little Smokey sausage (I got on clearance a few weeks back and froze)
    strawberries and bananas

    Beef Tacos
    Homemade salsa
    Homemade Tortillas
    Corn chips

    Snacks- peanut butter crackers

    Those bars you linked too- Scotch Teas (They were great and SUPER easy to make)

    My Baby (9 mo) at today- Motts applesauce (from Target), homemade sweet potatoes, homemade frozen blueberries, frozen bananas and apples mixture (which my older kids will drink for breakfast tomorrow)

  • Heidi says:

    Hello Crystal!
    Just a quick note regarding your pancake recipe:

    I’ve made pancakes in the same proportions as yours above except have eliminated the eggs, sugar, substituted water for the milk, and halved the oil. Of course, it is not as rich or cake-like as normal pancakes but if you are missing any of those items or cannot have milk or eggs, you can still make pancakes! You can also go 1/2 and 1/2 on the milk and water. Syrup can pretty much cover up what might be lacking in richness.

    Thanks for your great money-saving ideas! It has greatly helped our budget. At the beginning of last year, I was spending $70 weekly on groceries. Now it’s down to $37. Thank You!

  • Michelle says:

    We had pancakes for supper. I was late getting around to fixing supper and didn’t have a plan (I was doing other things and lost track of time). Anyway I thought about the yummy looking picture of pancakes on here. Quick and yummy.

  • M Lee says:

    Hooray for simple meals. Tonight, we ate cornbread and tomato soup. Perfectly simple combo. Thanks for all your fun inspirations!

  • Kristine says:

    I am sooo excited. Before my son went to bed we made up our first batch of baked oatmeal. It is covered, in the refrigerator, ready to bake in the morning. With my husband being deployed, this oatmeal is going to last a while. I hope it turns out. Thank you Crystal!

    Eating from the pantry update:
    Today we ventured out to purchase two gallons of milk. (CVS deal)
    That is all we bought! I am so proud of us!
    We are on day #10 of eating from the stock pile. ( c :

  • Lyn says:

    Crystal, if you are in need of more baked goods for the week and have more Bisquick, you can go to their site for recipe ideas.

    Enjoying your series. I’ve not been shopping much this past month and am using up what we have too. I love frugal creative challenges, they make living frugally much more fun and I like to see if I achieve my goals.

  • Michelle says:

    Thanks for the challenge! I’m trying to use stuff up too! Not really stuff from the pantry, but from the fridge & freezer and counters! I made homemade bread this week (for the first time in years), and I’ve been working at using up a bunch of ripe bananas that were on my counter. I just posted a couple new recipes using ripe bananas on my blog if anyone is looking for some.
    I pulled out a loaf of “Montana Toast” which is like Texas Toast, that’s been in my freezer for months and tomorrow will make French Toast sticks with it for lunch and to freeze for breakfasts.
    Funny how a challenge like this actually gets me motivated to do what I should have been doing all along – using up what I have!

  • Allyson H says:

    I love this blog!

  • Carol says:

    Breakfast- Scrambled Eggs, Biscuits, Jelly
    Lunch- Leftover Roast, Potatoes, and Carrots from last night
    Dinner- Crockpot Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Green Beans
    Snack- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

    I am going to carry this over to next week too! Its been really fun.

  • Becky says:

    Crystal-you are too Good! Great examples that God Provides-you had even enough to make cookies! We are enjoying watching what you come up with everyday! Great Dinner Conversations! I have three children and one of them is so picky about dinners I make especially on challenge weeks. We talk to her about this is the food God gaves us and we need to be thankful-Any suggestions? Are any of your girls picky! Congrats also on getting your check off list done for the baby-so inspiring! Definitely going to prepare better if we get another blessing! God Bless for safe and healthy labor!

  • angela says:

    I tired the Scotch Tea bars recipe last night and added a sprinkle of chocolate chips and peanut butter chips– so easy and really good!

  • Lauren says:

    This Pantry Challenge has been so encouraging to me!! I have thought about trying this over the past few weeks, but I kept going to the grocery store every Monday morning. 🙂 So the plan is to try and not grocery shop till the at least April 6th if not longer. Thank you so much for this blog!

  • WOW! I have loved reading about this challenge and I am giving in and going to try this. I have meat on hands for a few days, but after that….My husband and I grew up where you always have some sort of meat for dinner every night. And I have continued that with our children, I wonder what their responses will be after the meat runs out. But I am determined to do this….for a few days anyways. I think that I will go and whip up a batch of your oatmeal right now for our snack this afternoon. I must say that your baked oatmeal is a hit with a lot of paople on here. It is very yummy!!!!

  • jan says:

    Had to cave in & go to the store. Needed bread. And a few other things (OJ was on sale with coupons making it dirt cheap) … ended up going again this morning and well, crumb, the money I would have saved is spent. Oh well.

    I’m in for April. All month. With the exception of dairy and produce. No pantry stuff. No stockpiling. I can do it. I know I can.

    We had leftovers for all 3 meals on Wednsday. Of course, they all came from the pantry on Tuesday.

  • We’ve been doing a version of this too, adding just a few items this week. Last night we had a prepared Indian eggplant dish from the pantry, channa masala made from canned ingredients, basmati rice, and yogurt (which needs to get used up asap!). I made custard (which I’m posting about today) for dessert. It doesn’t feel like deprivation to use up what we have, eating like this. 🙂


  • Jen C says:

    I am going to join this challenge, however I need to wait till next week before it’s considered a challenge. We had just gone to Costco when you started here on the blog. I love the website for recipes. It saves my current ingredients and I can remove them as I use them It comes up recipes I never would have thought of. Here is what we ate….

    Bfast–kids had Poptarts, I had Kashi cereal, DH had Fruit Loops.
    Lunch, kids packed lunch meat sandwiches, sun chips and I’m not sure which fruits they chose. Dh and I had leftover salmon, he made a salmon taco with flour tortilla and added cheddar cheese. I just heated mione and had some yummy left over spinach cheese rice casserole. (I’m the only one here that will eat it so it’s gonne last a long time.)
    Dinner was chicken and angel hair noodles cooked in butter and lemon sauce. Homemade bread with honey. Milk to drink.

    Hmmm, looks like I need to do better in adding veggies. I usually at least serve canned veggies. My kids are teenagers and I can’t always get them to eat fresh veggies, but they will do canned and sometimes frozen.

  • Alicia says:

    The following is yesterday’s menu from my new blog,

    Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
    Cereal (Life Maple and Brown Sugar)- approximately $0.10
    Leftover cheesy potatoes from last night- $0 (because the cost was figured into last night’s dinner)
    Buitoni refrigerated tortellini (2 packages) – $1
    Kraft Pesto Sauce- FREE
    Del Monte Spinach- $0.09
    Total for the entire day: $1.19

  • In the middle of my own “no-spend challenge.” You have been a huge motivation to keep me going! I referenced you & your challenge in my blog post this AM:

    You’re my hero! What ever will you eat today??? I can hardly wait to find out! LOL!

  • Kristin says:

    We are going to try this challenge, too. We absolutely need to buy fruit and I already made plans to purchase a bit of meat before deciding on this, so we are at a bit of an advantage. This will be fun!

  • Patti says:

    Crystal, thanks for the inspiration. I wasn’t actually going to join in the challenge but last night my teenagers decided to eat out. Instead of my DH and I going out or cooking a big meal at home just for the two of us, I searched the freezer, found homemade veggie soup, and made some cornbread. Since it was cold and rainy, it was a perfect meal! It shows you that you can challenge yourself even when it is just one time, although I hope to do this more and more.

  • Susan Wright says:

    According to my Fannie Farmer Cookbook To sour pasteurized milk add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup milk and let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. I usually start with room or slightly warm milk and it thickens pretty quickly!

  • Shelby says:

    Crystal, I think this is the greatest thing! I’m not doing the challenge myself this week, but every couple of months we skip a week of grocery shopping and use what we have. It’s a great way to save a little money and also use up food that would usually go to waste. I made a post on my blog about Meals under $5.00. This wasn’t a challenge I was trying to do – my menu just worked out that way this week. I also posted about how I shop to save money and I mentioned skipping a week of shopping to save. I’d love to have you read them.

  • Jenny Leigh says:

    Crystal, I am not participating in this particular challenge, but I wanted to thank you for posting the pancake recipe. We tried it for dinner tonight. I used 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose (dh is not “sold” on whole wheat just yet, but he’s getting there!). I also added 1 teaspoon of vanilla. They were very tasty.

  • Christina says:

    Our family loved the Easy Peanut Butter Cookies! They are especially good right out of the oven. Thanks for posting on the Pantry challenge, such a great idea.


  • Kathryn says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these pancakes! Thanks for the recipe.

    I absolutely adore your blog, too. Thank you for the DAILY information and inspiration!

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