Monday, September 15, 2008

A few pantry ponderings

I'd take a picture of my very organized pantries (the yellow "in the kitchen" cabinet and the shelves in the garage) but I still need to fix my Kodak software... just haven't had the time, yet. Ike went through our area yesterday bringing a lot of wind and rain so I didn't want to be online in the worst of the weather. Since there were no tornadoes in our immediate area, it was actually very interesting to watch from my front door (protected by the front porch) when the center of the storm moved over us.

Christopher came home around 11:00 last night since his study pal had a late night meeting. I waited up for him and made tea (served in the beautiful covered tea mug Stephanie bought me in the late 1990s) and grilled cheese sandwiches before I went off to bed. I wonder if years down the road he will remember tea and sandwiches... and Mom. :)

With all the bad news from Wall Street and the economy, I'm so happy to have the income from the two weeks at the bookstore to replenish my pantry. It is not nearly as deep as I'd prefer (deep being how much is in it) but a lot better than it was a few weeks ago. I'll continue to do a little each week as I am convinced anything we can purchase now for our pantries will be good to have down the road.

I went through everything in the yellow cabinet pantry and threw away a few items that were old. I've found spices, extracts, etc. last far longer than the year the manufacturers tell you they need to be replaced. However, leaf herbs such as dried oregano, basil, etc. really do have a one year shelf life for the most part. It was time to purchase another Mrs. Dash (my favorite addition to many salads, stews, and casseroles) but I have not been able to find a large container like I've bought in the past. The restaurant supply place had a huge container, one I couldn't get through in a decade! I ended up with the very small shaker and I'll make certain I purchase a back up for the pantry soon.

My mind is already going to Holiday cooking and baking. By purchasing a couple ingredients each shopping day, by Thanksgiving I should have a full Holiday pantry with no huge shopping trip... little by little. I'm thinking of making homemade cocoa for a couple gifts and to use at home, that recipe can be quite pricey if the ingredients are bought all at the same time. I'm also looking through Christmas and recipe books for other ideas.

My next "pantry project" is to sort through everything in my freezer and inventory what is there. I now keep narrow mailing labels in the same drawer as my Zip Lock bags, ready to label everything I freeze. The freezer is pretty much the same as I showed this past winter except I'm placing the small (quart size) freezer Zip Lock bags (which contain items like three chicken breasts, or two cups of blueberries, etc.) in a 2-gallon size Zip Lock bag and then putting them in the large, blue bags. I've found it makes it much easier to locate those small-ish bags when I need them. I'll take pictures when I can.

Tweaking the pantries and freezer have reminded me how I have to be organized when putting back items so I don't waste money in the long run. I'll write more about that when I can show pictures again. Since the garage pantry was already fairly well organized, as was the yellow cabinet, the job wasn't too difficult. However, pulling out all the freezer "stuff" and going through it is necessary... but not something I'm looking forward to. I may have to take my radio alarm clock out to the garage and put on a good station! Much better to do this job in September than the cold of November or December. :)

In the meantime, there is lots and lots of information in Recession Ponderings.


Susie Q said...

Oh Brenda...I just saw that cooment on your post. You know, I did not need a tribute to 9 11 to remember...and I welcomed warm, sweet posts that day. Never forgetting does NOT mean life does not go on. You are a warm, loving and dear lady and I KNOW you have the most loving heart.
And your pantry looks wonderful...I cleaned out mine last Spring but keeping it neat is hard with the 3 messy elves who live in my house with me!! *grin*

I think I will neat it up again before I begin buying for the holidays. I but a little at a time so when the they arrive it is not such a huge cost at once.

I too had to throw away some spices and things that were way past expiry. Then I cleaned out our bathroom closets and med cabinets. It always feels so nice to complete such chores!

Love and hugs to you,

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I was so struck by you staying up for Christopher and making grilled cheese sandwiches and tea. I have memories of my mom fixing me snacks when I got home from working at the library during my high school days. They were tender and sweet times and I knew, without a doubt, that she loved me. When Christopher looks back at these times it will be with lots of love.

the pleasures of homemaking said...

I'm sure Christopher will remember those special times and I'm sure he's grateful now for such a caring mom!

My pantry is looking pretty sparse too! I've been using it alot with the way prices have been lately. Gas was $4.12 today. Thankfully, we filled up last week before the whole Ike thing and haven't really gone anywhere.

I've been doing money saving strategies once a week on my blog and I'd like to link to you this Sunday so people can read your Recession Ponderings for more info, if that's o.k?