Usually that question just makes me feel tired.  Today it was a challenge.

Today was the first day of the “Eat Your Pantry” challenge and it hits me where I live.  If I’ve ever bordered on being a horder it is my pantry.  Having it stocked makes me feel safe.  Knowing that I could survive if I had to, became more important than really using the food.

In truth I preferred to have someone else cook, and since it was just my son and me, that meant take out.  I rationalized that my lupus made me too tired to cook.  That was often true but the deeper truth was I wanted someone to look after me, make me feel good and take the load just for a little while.  Unfortunately that  someone was often some puberty challenged teenager who was either engrossed in the bad emo. poetry they were composing in their head or one who looked like her tongue ring had once again chipped another tooth. Either way I really wasn’t getting much from the expensive toxic mess I was ordering.

So why did I keep on going back like some stalker girlfriend hoping to find true love from an emotionally vacant player?  What’s that?  Was it emotional eating?  What makes you think that?  Just because I’ve phrased everything like it is a relationship is no reason to think, … “Please, please take me back.  No one carbonates their pop as well as you do.  The fries are perfectly salted even if you spilled half of them before putting them in the bag.  No, no!  That wasn’t a criticism. What’s that?  Oh, you were talking to your next order.  Of course, yes, sorry, I’ll fill out the survey.”

OK  Maybe a little mellow dramatic but not as far off as I’d like.  Often I did my eating out behaviour when my son was at school so I could make sure his meals were balanced but that resulted in wasted food or too much food on my waist.  I kept on shopping for food and stocking the cupboards but I was overbuying to feel safe.

Last week I read on Facebook that Americans throw out approx. 40% of the food they buy. It made me ill.  I didn’t want to think of the things that had gone bad because I hadn’t followed through on my meal plans.  I knew it was time to get serious.  My son deserved better, my finances couldn’t sustain it and I didn’t want to be this irresponsible anymore.

Today I started.  I looked in the fridge and saw three lone hotdog buns, four hamburger buns and half a jar of pickles.  I decided the hotdog buns would become garlic toast, with a little butter and garlic salt and the hamburger buns would be mini pizzas.  I’d found some old grated cheese in the freezer (that in a month’s time would have been freezer burnt and in the trash) and half a jar of homemade pasta sauce.  Perfect.  The pickles would help but I needed more fresh food.  I decided since this was the month of frugal living that free was the way to go.  I grabbed my bucket, braved the thorns and gathered some wild blackberries.

While in the freezer I realized I was being overrun with bananas that had been stored for future loaves of banana bread. I had three grocery bags worth of bananas. Saving them was costing me space I needed.  Thus for school tomorrow I made banana muffins. Part way through the process I found I only had one egg instead of the two in the recipe. I searched for substitutes and added more banana and one tsp. of baking powder.  Thanks mom.

Finally I made a homemade Dahl for the leftover tortilla chips in the pantry, using up a forgotten bag of red lentils.

I am done for tonight and tomorrow is another day.

expenses for Sept.3rd:  $2.15 – two red onions and one bunch cilantro

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