Wednesday, January 5, 2022

It's Pantry Time!

 Happy Wednesday.  Today is pantry talk.  By pantry - I mean food, freezers, health and beauty, pets, cleaning - whatever you stock and use.  
I know there are challenges all over the place this month about using what you have and spending no money.  Well, I generally do that every January and other times during the year.  January is a great time to go through and straighten and "inventory" what you have.  You can figure out what you are low on and what you need to use.  I have a lot of older stuff that I am intent on using sooner than later.  I mean, why should I go out and spend money when I have so much here?  DUH!

There are many that say this is a bad idea, as prices are going up and up and you will diminish your stock that you got cheaply.  It isn't sitting there to look pretty - it is to use.  
No need to buy stock if you don't use it!!!!!!!  I will use as much older stuff as possible (sure I got it cheap) and then when I do go shopping, I will look for deals, clearance and markdowns and replace.  Sure the price may be up a little - that is called inflation.  There is no real way to avoid that.  We can be mindful of what we buy and what we spend.  Look for every deal you can find.  Shop at outlets (if you have them), salvage stores (if you have), clearance aisles, manager specials, even different type stores.  Grow a garden if possible.  USE up leftovers!!!! DO NOT waste!!!!!!!!

Part of my main daily pantry.  Looks like chaos to many - I know what is in there and where.  Organized chaos in my world!!!!!!!
Dining table while cleaning pantry.  I found a lot of mixes and such that I got for pocket change or almost free - that need to be used.  I have those altogether and organized now.  Hmmm - I see some breadsticks in the future with pizza dough mix.

I have my daily use pantry - I have an overstock area - I have a freezer - I have home canned goods.  I can go a long time with no shopping.  That doesn't even count the big tote of dried beans/peas.  Yeah, I'm good.

Remember we have options - you can change things up when necessary.  For a good week or more in December I ran out of milk in frig.  I use some every day.  No problem - I have dry, evaporated, shelf stable and frozen cubes.  Actually, the frozen cubes came in super handy for my morning drink.
Out of bread - think biscuits, cornbread, muffins, tortillas or crackers.  Need a good filler - pasta, rice, potatoes - which ever you have.


So, Monday and Tuesday I spent my days getting the pantry (all areas) cleaned and straightened.  I know what I have.  I also worked on the freezer and got that more organized.
It is amazing what you can find when you really start digging!!!!!!!

Get those stocks straightened and somewhat inventoried.  Pantry, freezer, laundry, medicine cabinet - whatever you have.  If you know what you have you can USE it and save money.  
If you need to add items - always look for the best deals you can find.

It's winter - now is the time to do these projects.  Get creative with what you have.  Use things in different ways.  A rice mix can be made into a soup.  A gravy mix or jar to thicken soup.  A steak or pork chop can be cut up and used in stew or soup or in stir fry or fajitas.  Leftovers can be turned into soup, casseroles or stir fry.  A couple straggler potatoes can be sliced and fried/roasted or added to soup.  Chili can be a potato topper or added to a hot dog.  

USE WHAT YOU HAVE and SAVE $$!!
Most of all HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!



29 comments:

  1. Beautiful blog. Happy new year 🎉

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  2. Excellent advice, Cheryl. There are so many things you can make with what you have on hand. One thing I like to do when stocking up, if possible, is when I buy enough of something like rice mix for example, is to take the box the store has them on display with too, if I buy enough and it would just be empty anyway, and use that in my own pantry for storage.

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    1. Thanks. That is a god tip - easier storage. We all need those containers, totes, etc. I have done that at Aldi before - I get some of the smaller boxes and of course if I get something in the mail - I keep that box. FREE storage is the way to go.

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  3. I have been cleaning, purging, taking inventory, of all my stores. Trying to organize more frugally and cleaning as I go. It is exhausting but It feels so good to see clean rooms, closets, Kitchen cabinets.
    I clean or purge a room/closet and then sit for awhile and read a couple chapter of one of my new books.
    It is way too cold to be out shopping right now sowill hunker down and finish.
    Hopefully by the warm weather we will be done with the house and can do the same outside in the yard and outbuildings.

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    1. Great way to do it. It does look so nice when done. I am trying to do a project a day - every step is one forward!!!
      I like the idea of pleasuring one's self with reading. I think I will start that TODAY! I have one I have been wanting to start reading.
      Stay warm and keep on cleaning!

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  4. After 3 weeks without fresh veg, I shopped and bought 2-3 weeks worth before Christmas. Once we've eaten all of that, our meals will again come from 'the larder' (didn't you once say you were going to switch to that term? ;-)

    Beans, rice, crackers, tuna, ratatouille (garden), frozen corn, salsa (garden), stewed tomatoes (garden), ground beef, ground turkey, salmon, shrimp, peppers (garden), chard/kale (garden)

    I can easily not hit the grocery store for January except for milk and yogurt (hubsters preferred breakfast at his desk). And of course, our 4d farm fresh eggs I pick up every 2 weeks!

    I think this will be our routine for 2022. I really want to get the freezer and the canned goods empty and I want to plant an intensive garden and put up a ton of food! (I may even weight it all ;-)

    Happy 2022 !!!

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    1. Good for you!!!!! I have so many frozen and canned veggies. Home canned tomato products - pasta and beans of every sort. YEP, same here. It sure makes sense.
      Love that you have your own eggs.
      Hey, I always weigh my produce I grow. Daddy did that, and so do I and my brother. It is pretty neat to see and you can even compare to see how much you actually saved.
      Best of luck staying home and eating from the larder!

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  5. Funny this post should pop up today---I spent yesterday reorganizing the guest room pantry closet and dating all cans...looks like I have a lot of green beans to eat up soon!! haha. Maybe I will make a good ole green bean casserole to use as a side...didn't do it for the last 4 big holidays.

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    1. Love green bean casserole - just fancies up those beans a bit! Add to soups as well. Beans, potatoes and ham/sausage are a favorite too. Hmmmm - bean salad is good, beans and corn - oh the list goes on!
      Sounds like you are on the ball!!

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  6. We really don't do challenges since we only shop when the prices are rock bottom. We often go weeks just buying milk and produce and then there are deals for several weeks. The discount grocery stores are as we have the time to get there and look. Yesterday we went to one and found 2 pounds of ground pork for 2.50, Jimmy Dean sausage rolls for 1.49, our favorite frozen ff for less than half price, meatballs for 1.29, etc. I debated on and did not buy 3 pounds of Wright bacon ends and pieces for 3.99. The packages looked to be 75% slices but I wasn't sure. I was kicking myself during the night that I did not buy those. Hopefully they will be there next time. But last night I made baked rigatoni and used many items that needed to be used to make a very delicious dinner and freezer meals, too. It all balances out.

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    1. You are so lucky to have a discount grocery. I would love that so much! You got some great deals and yes mam that is the way to shop. Every time I have questioned something and didn't get it - I could have kicked myself. I finally figured out not to pass it up when it is such a good deal.
      I just tend to use the pantry and freezer most in the cold months - then I can use things up, have good meals and no go out in the cold.

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    2. What makes go out is salad ingredients because we eat them every day. But, this winter we ate growing lettuce hydroponically in our kitchen. This morning I harvested a huge head of leaf lettuce.

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  7. I'm a bean counter by trade and by nature, so I've kept an inventory sheet on the pantry door for a very long time. It gets worn out eventually and has to be replaced! I've learned to use a pencil to mark the number of items as they change up.

    Like you, I have sufficient canned and other goods to keep me going for some time. It's rare for me to purchase items that aren't on sale or otherwise marked down. About the only thing I buy at the regular prices are fresh fruit and vegetables. No asparagus in January though...I'll wait until spring when it is in season.

    What I plan to work on is not wasting food. My son is not a fan of leftovers and even I get tired of eating the same thing for several days. So either it has to be re-invented or frozen, or better still I'll make smaller batches. Today I brought home lean ground beef, it's been split into four smaller packages.

    Last week I made a stir fry using leftover chicken from our Christmas dinner, a couple of stalks of limp celery from the fridge, along with the remainder of a package of baby carrots, some onion, and of course egg, rice and soya sauce. I'm getting there, baby steps.

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    1. It does take practice. I am still not good about fixing for one on some stuff - like soups and casseroles. So in the freezer it goes after a couple days of eating.
      I don't understand not liking leftovers, although many people don't. I think most items are better the next day.
      Baby steps is all we can do. You got this - you have a plan and are working on it!

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  8. Cheryl, I would appreciate any/all tips from you and your readers. As mentioned, we'll be moving to a back country area in another state before too long. Just this morning it occurred to me that staying well stocked will be essential, but also that for non-canned items, there may also be an issue of not tempting critters to find that storage. Airtight storage also keeps pantry food fresher, longer.

    What I've used for years is clean, repurposed containers. My freezer door always has homemade broth in plastic peanut butter jars, for example, and I also use those for storing baking items like nuts and chocolate chips. It makes for untidy cabinets, though, and most containers like that aren't big enough for cereals, pasta, rice, etc. I'd like to plan ahead a little if possible. Especially with January being sale month for home storage items. Thanks! --Elise

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    1. EM, I would go with large foodgrade containers that you can vaccum seal-depending on the item. You can open these and refill your in-pantry container and then reseal that container. If you're seriously backcountry, you'll like want at least 6 months of any given product on-hand. (Big shop spring and fall?)

      I gathered Tupperware cannisters from thrift stores at pennies on the dollar. I don't have a fashion pantry-I'll use your old colors while you upgrade ;-)

      I am not a fan of "the A store" but these are a good buy and hold a lot!

      https://www.amazon.com/Storage-Containers-4-Piece-Airtight-Measuring/dp/B08863LWCZ/ref=sr_1_21?keywords=Bulk%2BFood%2BStorage%2BContainers&qid=1641404353&sr=8-21&th=1

      Here are 5 gallon foodgrade buckets. Also a good price.

      https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leaktite-5-gal-70mil-Food-Safe-Bucket-White-005GFSWH020/300197644?MERCH=REC-_-searchViewed-_-NA-_-300197644-_-N&

      Best of luck to you as you figure out how to make food storage work for you in your new location.

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    2. Thank you, Elle! We'll be about 10 minutes from the nearest grocery store, so not too backcountry, but there's snow in the winter (icy roads); we've been advised to maintain a solid pantry + freezer throughout the winter months and during monsoon season, when roads can flood. --Elise

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    3. Elise, I agree with 2 BIG stock ups at least a year. Just remember that critters can eat through Tupperware and plastic. If there is a will, there is a way. I like glass. I keep all gallon glass jars I can get my hands on. They are great for large quantities, and they store in a closet or under a bed. Any glass jars work for the cabinets. Hopefully you will have a pantry or a storeroom for excess items - and glass would be wonderful. Food grade buckets are wonderful too - most are much heavier plastic than storage containers for cabinets.
      There are herbs and things that you can use to keep critter at bay as well.
      You will figure it out - slowly but surely. Maybe ask a couple of the locals what they do and what they suggest as well.

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    4. Another thing I thought about was tins. I use those too. I have several 'cookie' tins for small items, (and they stack) but the bigger popcorn tins are great. I keep sugar and flour in them and many dried items like extra packages of pasta or rice or beans. Check around and see if people you know have any you can have or buy for pennies at the thrift stores.

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    5. Check with bakeries and the deli at the grocery store for food grade buckets. We buy three gallon ones from Krispy Kreme for $1 each including the lid. Nothing has ever been able to get into those buckets.

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    6. I worry about tins and glass jars not being airtight and losing food stuffs. Food for thought (pun intended ;-)

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    7. Thank you so much, everyone! --Elise

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  9. Wouldn't it be great to have one of the discount grocery stores around here? I follow another blogger from Georgia and she goes to one and finds good buys.

    Will have to check out the availability of the three gallon tubs with lids.

    How are your kitties doing in this really cold weather? We were used to temperate weather and bam, it turned cold.

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    1. YES, it would be wonderful to have a discount grocery. I found one downtown at one time (just off Georgia St.) - then within 2 months it closed and the building torn down for PROGRESS!
      The kitties are staying snug and warm. There is a heater and a long heat mat and heated water bowls. Even in the cold - they LOVE the sunshine and sit out in it. They have lots of blankies and cuddle too!

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  10. So precious about your kitties and how well-cared for they are. I love all these great storage ideas, Cheryl.
    Thanks for a great post!!
    Hugs,
    Mary

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    1. Thank you. My kitties are my babies - I do whatever is needed for them!

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