Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Eat From the Pantry Challenge, T minus 1 Day

So…I will admit up front that I’m getting a late start on this. I still need to menu plan, but there’s a lot to be done before I can begin.

Today, I will be making an inventory of our cupboards and all of the wildness contained therein. Rice pilaf mix that I bought years ago because it was pretty and I wanted to display it on my countertop? Check. Three boxes of canned sardines that were marked down? Check. Organic wheat kernels that I bought from Tropical Traditions over a year ago when they had a free shipping sale because I was convinced that I would be getting a grain mill soon? (Sigh.) Check.

Either today or tomorrow, I will be doing an inventory of the deep freezer. We have pounds and pounds of bananas in the deep freezer, because well…I buy them in bulk for smoothies and banana popsicles. Except that we’ve gotten out of the smoothie habit lately and they’re now taking up a ton of space in our new-to-us freezer. (Hooray for Craigslist!)

And…I must also inventory the wilderness that is our refrigerator. Radishes languishing in the produce drawer because I hate radishes, but found a thyroid-boosting recipe using radishes? Check. Unidentifiable jars of forgotten food experimentation? Check. Honey and sugar that are in there to protect them from the ants? Check. :p

After I make the inventory, I will be looking for common threads to family favorite recipes. I already know that we have four boxes of einkorn spaghetti noodles, so we’ll likely be having spaghetti weekly.

My goal for the month is to cut our grocery budget in half – and more than that if I can manage it! I know that we’ll have to buy milk, eggs, cheese, and fresh fruit/veggies weekly, but by getting a plan in place, I’m sure we can do it.

More to follow on the morrow! See you then. 😀

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Eat down the pantry? Pare the grocery bill? Sounds good to me!

I’m in! How about you?









One* of my 2013 goals is to start meal planning again. I’d been doing really well, but between pregnancy, juggling our new baby and three other kids, and moving, I totally fell off the wagon.

So…let’s eat down the pantry, save grocery money, and have fun at the same time! Who’s with me?

Tomorrow, let’s make an inventory of what’s actually in the pantry. If you need a nifty planning page, you can find one here. Just scroll to the bottom of the page to find it – but if you have time to read the article, please do. Crystal Paine is an amazing woman and a fabulous writer and frugality resource.

*There are many other goals floating around in my brain. I’m still working on verbalizing oodles of them and I fully expect to make bunches of them known here – accountability and all that, what, what?

Others, like starting the Couch to 5K program with my hubby tomorrow, have already been vocalized and committed to. Whee! Thank you, God, for our awesome $50 Craigslist treadmill!!!


Cooked Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

My. Oh. My.


This buttercream is amazing. The tutorial is outstanding with great pictures. Be sure to read it over several times before getting started.

To make it chocolate, don’t add the full Tablespoon of vanilla at the end. Just add 1 tsp. of vanilla and 1/4 c. of cocoa powder while the mixer is still running. Let it mix the cocoa powder in fully and then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Briefly mix again and then – you know you want to – break out a clean spoon and taste it.

WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO! Wasn’t that awesome? 😀

Yeah. That’s good. This is what I’m going to use to frost my son’s third birthday cake. He wanted “brown cake with brown icing and brown candles.” I don’t know about the candles, but I can hook him up with chocolate cake and this icing.

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Man may not Live by Bread Alone…

…but this recipe will surely tempt you to try!

Finished Loaves

Don’t they look YUMMY?










Let me sing it’s praise really quickly.

  • It’s no knead.
  • It’s super fast to prepare. Throw the 4-5* ingredients in a bowl and stir it up.
  • It’s very hands off after that – as in, you mix it up and go to bed.
  • It’s doesn’t require any kneading.
  • It bakes, depending on how you decide to do it, up in 20 to 45 minutes.
  • It tastes AMAZING.
  • And there’s no. Doggone. KNEADING! (I’m either very lazy or waaaaaaay into efficiency – judge me all you like, it works for me and my family.)

I use the recipe linked above. Sometimes I make it up in the covered dish** the way that Ms. Laura does. Generally, though, I’m making it for us to use for sandwiches. It has a flavor that the whole family likes – unlike most of the bread recipes I’ve tried to date. :p

If you, too, want to try it for sandwiches, double the recipe. I use 2 c. of whole wheat flour and 4 c. of unbleached all purpose flour. The next morning (or, should you want to bake it up before bed, get the dough started first thing in the morning), when you turn it out onto your floured surface, use a long serrated knife, and cut it into three equal parts, like so:

Double batch cut apart

Okay, okay…these are nowhere near equal – but they still tasted great! 🙂

Instead of preheating one covered bowl** to bake it in, you can just use three bread pans or 1 bread pan and 1 9″ x  13″ casserole dish.

When you adjust the recipe for three loaves *and* you bake them in an uncovered dish, you are not going to be baking them as long. My loaves are usually done after 20 minutes. Sometimes, if I really mess up the sizing and one is *much* bigger than the others, I’ll have to pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Make sure that each loaf measures at least 165* internally and then you’re done. Yum!!!

*If you want to add an acidic medium to the mix to break down the phytic acid in the flour, add 1/8 c. (or 2 T.) of whey to your liquid measuring cup. Fill the rest up with water to get the 3 c. needed. Everything else about the recipe is the same.

**When I bought a covered glass baking dish, it said it was only oven-safe up to 425*. So, that’s what I use. The loaves have always turned out just fine. Weeeeell, except for that one time when I forgot to preheat the baking dishes. Then, I had a dickens of a time getting the bread out of the pans. :p

What are you baking these last days before Christmas? Let me know in the comments below! And, if you give this a whirl, please let me know what you think. 😀