Saturday, August 30, 2014

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Eating out of the Pantry

From Mavis at One Hundred Dollars a Month
Today I'm pondering the subject of using my pantry.  Since my husband no longer has the seasonal work he had for around ten years (they are cutting back substantially), we have been eating out of the pantry lately instead of adding to it.

It's not a bad thing really... as long as we will be able to restock at some time in the future... to depend on the pantry.  You certainly learn what you use quicker than expected.  For instance, we ran out of a few items that I thought I had plenty of in stock.  Items like trash bags, dishwashing liquid, and even condiments like mayonnaise. 

Eating out of the pantry has again proven there are essentials to have on hand.  Those items which, when they are available, provide meals on the table more easily and at a good price.  

I so often think of the way past generations cooked when they needed to eat from what they stored from the harvest... and how they used what they had to extend meals.  For instance, potatoes and carrots were slow roasted with a very small roast last week (along with two cans of Cream of Mushroom soup to form a gravy) and provided a filling and tasty meal when Mr. & Mrs. Christopher had dinner with us.

I ran out of onions once and realized just how often they formed a basis of cooking.  I've decided they are essential to stock and as many as possible.  I use less garlic but when I need it, I am glad to have it in the bowl on the table. 

Although I have the powdered versions of both on hand for recipes, sometimes they cannot be substituted for fresh .  I'm thinking minced dried versions of each would be excellent additions to the pantry?

Anyhoo... even if you don't have to eat out of your pantry due to a loss or reduction in income, it is a good thing to do it once in awhile to see what it teaches you.  You will probably have a few surprises, too.

Remember how I said before that I listen to news reports to see how the pantry purchases may be affected?  I'd heard just recently that the severe drought in California will cause grocery prices to continue increasing.  Some items more than others should the drought not be broken soon.

Just this past week I read there is a drought in Spain that may cause much higher prices (and possible shortages) for olive oil, since that country is the primary producer.*  If you have the funds, it would be a good time to stock up now before the higher prices make it through to the grocery stores.

Since I mainly only deepen the pantry when possible, there is little I found I don't use.  I keep in the pantry what I know we eat and deepen it by purchasing extra of those items when possible... instead of just storing food to have on hand for an emergency.

There is a place for storing emergency food supplies if you have the extra income and space.  Not everyone can do that these days.  But everyone (except those of us actually eating out of our pantry!) can deepen what they do use by buying a little extra here and there!

*Drought in Spain... here.  If you do a Google search, you will see that this is big news worldwide.

Image: From this website, one of the best online for valuable information!


mdoe37 said...

I'm thinking of dehydrating some onions this fall---outside! Sometimes certain casseroles benefit from the stronger flavor. I do mushrooms as well...5# dehydrates into a half gallon jar. Watch your Goodwill, I often see dehydrators cheap. A few moments to steam some leftover wilty celery parts then dehydrate keeps them good until you need some down the road.

Thanks for the heads up on olive oil. I've switched almost entirely to olive and coconut oil...oh and butter.

I was just looking through a local grocery sale paper. $4.29 a pound for chuck roast. I remember when my buy price was $1.89. Ha. It makes the $2.99 price of ground chuck look fabulous from last week at Meijer...husband...its a new cut...roast loin of meatloaf. pfffft. lol And the husband serves himself up quite a large portion of meat...I've taken to cutting the roast or meatloaf in two BEFORE I ring the dinner bell.

Deborah Montgomery said...

thank you for the heads up re olive oil. Now that I don't have a car during the week, I have already been testing that theory of using what's at hand. Definitely less wasteful and requires more imagination. :)

suzanne said...

a timely post for me this week, as I had to pay an unexpected bill which took most of my "extra" money, till the next payday, which is Friday coming. So I looked in my pantry to see what I had on hand to use with what I planned to buy at the store. It's funny you mentioned onions and garlic, because they were on my list to buy. Your mention of cream of mushroom soup reminded me that I should keep a few cans of the "cream of" soups in my pantry. Can you print that "make your own spices" list for us to copy?

Vee said...

We enjoy olive oil around here, but I was shocked to learn that it only lasts 6–8 weeks once opened. I just opened a new bottle and I probably should date it. We have a nice clean freezer this month. I actually feel pretty good about it since I know that nothing has gone to waste. Wonder how long minced onions last...I'm sure that mine have gone by. I think, too, we need to learn how to properly store our food. I'm trying to figure out how to hang up the onions. Probably with a nail and by leaving them in that mesh bag. Tough one! LOL!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Thanks for the heads up about the olive oil. I have used up my pantry foods a few times, not wanting to go shopping before pay day. I am so thankful for God providing and giving us creativity in meals!

I'm praying for you to have a source of income for hubby, something seasonal. God always provides what we need, doesn't He?

Our budget is maxed out. We don't have any extra left at the end of the month so we are looking at ways of cutting back. I think this will become very common for everyone soon.


Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

I remember reading someone's blog where she used dehydrated onions exclusively and rehydrated them. I haven't tried it though but it's worth a shot. I also buy onions when they're on a good sale and freeze them chopped up. You should try growing onions if you haven't already. Garlic was pretty easy for me too.

Oh no! Your husband isn't going to be working at the campus bookstore anymore? So sorry to hear that!

I know I use more oil than I have stocked up. I think you use more oil and flour if you do a lot of baking from scratch.

Grocery prices are getting so ridiculous. I've cut back already like most people but as soon as we move I'm going to take a long hard look at my grocery budget again.

Quiltin' Mama said...

Excellent food for thought. We un fortunately have had to do this on occasion and or choose to - just to "clear " things out a bit. Always a good learning lesson for the kids as well, how to extend things, meal on a budget and eating what is served because you are hungry - not just eating what you want.