Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Pantry Hints & Pic(k)s
Okay... here is the first of probably multitude-ness posts. I hope this works out well for you all who enjoy the pantry posts.
Always remember, a little stocking up is better than nothing. That is where my family is right now.
A few Hints
As I've said so many times before, never purchase a lot of any item for stock up before trying it first. Individual brands can bring about completely different tastes and quality in the same food. I've had to get creative using food we didn't like because I had stocked up without trying it first.
Do know that there will be times you have grown or purchased food stuff that doesn't work for the family. Some failures for me in the past were: bulk buys of dried beans, various canned and processed foods that we don't normally eat, cheap pasta, and too much zucchini in the freezer (as I write).
We did end up eating the canned foods and we will make our way through the zucchini but the dried beans went to families who enjoyed getting them. I learned that with our family, beans in small packages worked much better.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes for it is only in attempting a new thing, or product, or food... that we also find skills and foods that work great for the family.
When there were four of us in the house, I made my own pancake mixes. Now since it is usually just my husband and I, I use my two favorite pre-made pancake mixes. They become much more economical for a smaller family.
Hubby really likes buckwheat pancakes so I purchase either the above brand or Arrowhead Mills. I keep a container of real maple syrup for his pancakes (I have long preferred Grade B since I heard Martha Stewart say she liked it best, I can usually find it at health food stores and it tends to be cheaper than Grade A).
I love the Krusteaz brand of pancake mix... you just add water. Great for the pantry and it tastes very good. I can find the Wheat & Honey Krusteaz at Meijers here in the Midwest. Otherwise, the original blend is found at Wal Mart (the Wal Mart here sells the original in a large bag in the section where they have larger containers of items). I keep a bottle of sugar free syrup in the frig for me.
I also keep a bottle of maple extract in the spice shelves to make homemade syrup if needed. There are great recipes online and in cookbooks for fruit and brown sugar syrup, too.
Rarely does a product change the way I keep house but the introduction of Charlie's Soap into my life did just that. I mentioned it in an e-mail to Stephanie a few years ago and found out it was what she was using. It is safe enough for sensitive baby items and strong enough to clean diapers and men's workout clothes.
Charlie's Soap is also so pure, it does not require the use of fabric softener! I do keep fabric softener on the shelf to use when washing sweaters, jeans, etc... those items where I want to have additional softness and an anti-static boost.
I heart Charlie's Soap... either liquid or dry (I'm using the dry right now). I use one little scoop (which comes with the dry soap) for a full load of laundry and about a half scoop for less. I like both the dry and liquid, the dry is lighter for me to handle in the garage but the liquid is nice to be able to pour on a stain.
The additional Charlie's Soap bag shown is in a plastic bag since I keep it under a sink and want to offer extra protection from getting wet. Otherwise, the soap I'm using at the moment is stored in that cute container shown on the shelf in my garage. You can get more information about Charlie's Soap... here. It can be ordered through Amazon... here.
Should you decide to try it and order through Amazon, don't forget to either click the above "here" or enter through my widget! However... full disclosure... I've always ordered through the company's website and found them to be very reliable. This stuff lasts a long time and will lessen your need for fabric softener.
It is one of the few items I use where I will highly encourage you to at least try.
Two other items I make a priority to keep one or two extra on the shelves... hand washing liquid and dish washing liquid. (We wash our hands a lot during cold and flu season.) I've mentioned before that I use 7th Generation since I do all my dishes by hand (not owning an automatic dishwasher).
I just feel more comfortable with it and it does a great job washing dishes. I try to purchase a couple extra when I go to Target (where I find it half the price of the health food store). However, I have also reverted back to Dawn when I needed to cut my costs even further.
I would have had this posted sooner but I had.... umm... help... from Miss Victoria.