2012 Pantry Freezer Challenge for January

One of the ways I like to start off a New Year is bringing my budget (which is stretched out of shape in December) back into alignment in January.  And it seems to me a good old fashioned pantry/freezer challenge is a nice way to do just that.  I like to sprinkle these challenges to myself all throughout the year, but most especially in January. So for our first challenge of the year, here are my 'rules':

#1  All meal planning starts with pantry/freezer items first.  I try to plan meals that will use only what is on hand.  If a recipe calls for an ingredient I don't have I have two choices: substitute or use another recipe. 

#2  Try to limit purchases to fresh fruit/produce/dairy products (bread too if you're not a baker) but truly try to use only items you already have on hand to make meals.

The Year Winds Down...

Well here we are with the year ending in just a few days time.  I have un-decorated the house for the most part and shall finish it off entirely tomorrow.  I have always preferred to come into a New Year with the things of the year past tucked neatly away.   Not exactly a clean slate, since I'll have plenty of my old furnishings and things about, but as near as I can come.  I try to put away the old aggravations and frustrations as well, but it's a little harder to keep those packed safely away, unlike the holiday decorations!  I found this quote just now on Facebook, posted by First For Women magazine:

"The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year."
-John Foster Dulles