Brenda just posted "The Beauty of Forced Frugality" at Coffee, Tea, Books, and Me. This is one to bookmark--however you do these things--and come back to.
Yes, that's often the way things are when you've learned a lot of small things along the way, and then one day you realize that your habits have worked themselves into a pattern that makes sense. The last few days have been a bit like that, food-wise; we bought some produce on the weekend but otherwise didn't get to the grocery store for several days, and we were Running Out of quite a few things (just at that end of the cycle). But really, most of us have so many options. We did, anyway.
We had a whole container of plain yogurt. I mixed it with a little honey, spread it in a pie plate, and drizzled two colours of homemade jam (our jam tends to be runny) in a Yellow-Brick-Road-type pattern around the top, then made "spokes" in it in several places for a fancier effect. Then I put in the freezer until it was solid. I called it Tie-Dye Pie. (It would have been more pie-like if I had used a crust, but it was all right anyway.)
Yesterday The Apprentice used what was left of the Tie-Dye Pie to make fruit-yogurt-carrot smoothies in the blender.
Dinner was a package of sausage baked in the toaster oven with brown rice (1 cup rice, 2 cups water, 6 garlic sausages, bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half depending on how frozen the sausages are); bean salad (two cans of no-salt green and yellow beans with some mixed kidney beans, chick peas and navy beans I'd cooked together and frozen (you don't even need to thaw them first for bean salad)), homemade dressing); carrot sticks; bread and crackers; cottage cheese; poppyseed muffins; choice of canned peaches or fresh nectarines.
Earlier in the week we had a stove-top lasagna made with ground chicken, ricotta cheese, Parmesan, no-bake noodles, and sliced zucchini. There was one measly bit of grated Cheddar left in the fridge, so that went on top right at the end. Who needs tons of cheese in lasagna anyway?
We had salmon patties, sweet potatoes, and frozen peas. One can of salmon turned out not to make a lot of patties, so we also microwaved four leftover hot dogs for the younger Squirrelings.
We had a soup made with the same bean mix, part of a box of reduced-sodium beef broth, and a can of beef-barley soup. (It made enough for two lunches.)
I made some granola bars--as plain as I could make them because I was expecting some young friends to come over whose mom doesn't like fancy snacks. The dry part was oatmeal, crumbled Shredded Wheat, flour, and a good handful of Cheerios (both cereals were the end of the box). I left the Cheerios intact just because I liked the shape. No coconut, seeds, chocolate chips or raisins (I might have put raisins in but didn't have any left). They're not the most exciting things in the world, but they'll keep you going.
We had upside-down biscuits baked with homemade peach jam on the bottom.
We had a whole box of Spooon-Size Shredded Wheat, for some reason. I used some of it to make a baked cinnamon-honey snack mix, along with a small package of pecans (one of two that somehow materialized in the pantry--I had intended them for something that didn't get baked, a short time back).
We had cocoa-oatmeal macaroons.
And we had food-processor fruit-nut balls made with raisins, a few chocolate chips, a few apricots, and the other package of pecans.
That was our empty-the-pantry week.