the austerity program, day three: taking inventory

Having found out that my husband is just one paycheck away from unemployment, I did a cursory survey of the contents of my fridge. My semi-hoarding ways will guarantee us at least a couple weeks or more of meals.

Freezer contents include: a Costco-sized bag of potstickers and another bag of Safeway brand that I hadn’t remembered I had when I bought the huge Costco bag (that goes without saying); a bag of homemade eggrolls from my dear friend Anna (the absolute best around); one pound of Italian sausage; one bag of orange chicken; a package of Nathan’s hotdogs; two top round steaks; a half-full bag of breaded shrimp; a package of four smoked sausages; 2 potpies; a bag containing a few turkey meatballs; four six-ounce size rolls; an already-opened bags of chicken nuggets; a pound of ground turkey; and a few packages of chicken breasts that I had previously washed and divided into about 1.5 to 2-pound packages. There was other miscellany, but nothing to write a blog about.

In my cupboards, which I didn’t quite get around to inventorying thoroughly, are jars of red spaghetti sauce and alfredo sauce; Korma sauce, with which to make curry; ramen noodles; several packages of pasta; a jar of pesto sauce; walnuts and cashews; plenty of rice–basmati, jasmine, and long-grain varieties; tuna; canned clams; one box of pasta mix, a few boxes of rice mix, and a package of easy-to-make stuffing; canned tomotoes; and more.

Just off the top of my head, I can come up with quite a variety of meals to make with what’s there or by adding a few fresh ingredients, including chili, beef stroganoff, spaghetti, hotdogs, chicken curry, beef and broccoli, linguini with clam sauce, spaghetti with sausage and spaghetti with meatballs, cashew chicken, walnut chicken, tuna casserole, and all the meals that the frozen foods will provide. So, we’re in pretty good shape.

This will be a good experiment to see how long we can go without stocking up. I do see a Costco run in my future, however, but that will consist of more inexpensive spaghetti, pasta sauce, and the other nonperishables that Costco is famous for and which often last months at a time.

Today is my husband’s birthday. We will make an exception from eating at home and we’ll take our youngest child with us to dinner. I have a restaurant.com certificate worth $25, which I bought for $10. We have to spend at least $35, according to the certificate’s terms and we have to leave an 18% tip and pay the tax, but I think we may be able to get away with spending another $20 or $25 in addition to the 10 I’d already spent. That should be fine for three of us. I’m glad we’re able to do something, but it’s kind of sad that we’re having to coupon and take our little boy with us, when we would ordinarily go to a nice restaurant with ambience and have a glass of wine with dinner. Ordinarily, even if it’s a prix fixe meal, it would be something special–and more than double what we’ll be paying tonight.

But that’s life. When you’re dealt a blow, you duck or swerve to the side or you’ll be knocked flat out. I’d rather swerve off course for one birthday dinner. I’m just thankful that I stockpiled enough food to make it through the next few weeks. The fancy restaurant can wait until we’re celebrating my husband’s new job offer.

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