Saturday, October 22, 2016

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Using the pantry

We have been a little tighter than usual the past few months as far as our grocery budget and it has proven a valuable lesson in eating out of the freezer and the pantry shelves.  I always learn lessons from these times the pantry is essential for most meals instead of a supplement.

I now remember that we really like Annie's Mac & Cheese in its' various boxes, that whole chickens and ground beef in the freezer are worth their weight in gold (and I can attest that frozen chickens have weight), and one needs to remember to label white pails so one knows which is old fashioned oats and which holds the emergency kitty kibble.  Just saying...

Once you are using your pantry a lot, it also offers the nudge one needs to finally do some more organizing.  The large bag of pinto beans from Sam's Club has now been poured into a gallon size glass jar and a half gallon Ball jar.  The half gallon size will be kept on the bench behind the Lazy Boy in the family room, along with popcorn, semi sweet chocolate chips, and milk chocolate chips (also from Sam's).

I've been experimenting with more meatless meals for a year or so and now that we are in cold weather cooking mode again (Hallelujah!), I'm going to be making more bean soup.  Last night I cooked one of our favorite meatless meals... albeit probably not the healthiest.

Earlier in the day I caramelized three large onions because if you have to babysit the skillet for thirty or more minutes... you may as well make extra for later.  About ten baby potatoes were boiled and set aside for later when they were cut in half and sauteed with the onions, served with a small can of Bush's baked beans warmed up.  Who missed the meat?  We didn't.

I had one can of pumpkin left and decided it would make one pie (which Hubby has been asking for) or my recipe that makes two large loaves of pumpkin bread.  The bread was made this morning with a cup of chopped pecans that needed to be used soon and a cup of chocolate chips from the Ball jar in the family room.  One of the loaves was cut into for lunch, the other double wrapped and will make its' way to the deep freeze eventually.

As I wrote recently, I've also been thinking of Christmas gift baskets that cost less.  One item I love to give (and receive) is tea.  I'm certain that shocks everyone but hey... it's true.  ;)

I especially like to use foil wrapped teabags for gift bags and gift baskets since they last a long time and the recipient doesn't feel they have to use them right away.  So I was very happy when one of my favorite teas was made available as individual bags in foil.  I love Paris tea but up until recently, it was only available in a pretty tin with sachets that made two cups of tea.  Now Amazon has it in single serve.

I wasn't sure if teabags would taste as good as the sachets, which have whole leaf tea inside.  So I ordered a box a few months ago with credit (thank you!) and I couldn't tell the difference.  I'm always telling people about Paris tea and now I can easily tuck two or three in a gift bag for those who may not want to brew more than one cup.

Yes, I'm thinking of Christmas gifts!  I actually do all year round since we have three birthdays from Thanksgiving-ish to Christmas, too.  My "little bit at a time" way of doing things is good for housework, yard work, and budgeting.

I'd love to know how others prepare for Christmas a "little bit at a time".

Items mentioned in this blog post

A box of 50 Paris tea in teabags... here.*  (Delicious)

*Most links to Amazon are Associate Links.  I thank you.


Anonymous said...

I love putting dry beans, peas, pasta, etc. in glass jars. It looks so pretty and keeps well. The pumpkin bread sound wonderful. I like to make zuchinni and even yellow squash bread with chocolate chips, walnuts, raisins, and cherries. It's the closest thing I make to Fruit Cake.
Your simple meals sounds good. I have also learned that we don't have to have several things in one meal. Sometimes a pot of beans, cornbread, and a salad or some sweet pickles are all it takes to make us happy. Blessings, Sharon D.

Vee said...

I've never seen a solid five-star rating on anything at Amazon before until now. That tea must be good stuff. Your description of potatoes and onions and baked beans made me hungry! Wish I had some of any of potatoes, no onions, no beans. I need to go grocery shopping.

mdoe37 said...

I so much enjoy and APPRECIATE your pantry posts. I'm making a "very bigly" life change and will be living your wisdom!

On sale chicken and burger, as well as dry beans, peas and lentils and assorted can goods are all patiently waiting....and a very large container of bread flour!

Thank you, my friend! This transition will go much easier with all the experience you have provided.

(and yes copious cat food and Barry's Tea! Green box and decaf blue box)

lynneinMN said...

Just so much appreciate your blog posts! Dare I say it's been a while since Her Highness has made it to the blog? :-). I am allergic to cats, so I live vicariously thru blog writers who have cats! (probably a good thing, as I know i'd be a crazy cat lady for sure!)
Christmas. Having no children, I don't have a lot to budget for. My siblings & over 18 nieces & nephews, and me and my husband, all draw names, so I have 2 people to buy for, along with 8 under 18 nieces & nephews. They get PJ's, which I get at Kohls when I get a 30% off voucher, along with Kohls cash. I will get a couple pairs here & there throughout the year to spread the cost out.
Soups are a favorite fall/winter meal here as well, and canning jars are a favorite storage device! Blessings! LynneinMN

A Woman that Fears the Lord said...

I have the bank take out a certain amount each month and it goes into a Christmas savings account. I have the money I need by December. I also use berries from our garden to make jams for gifts and sometimes I'll make scones to go with them. I make homemade bread and candy. I make red hot cinnamon popcorn for some of the nieces/nephews. Last year I made jalapeno jelly (from the garden) and used those for gifts with cream cheese (small size at the dollar store) and Ritz crackers (small individual packages). Those went over well.

Karla said...

Paris tea is one of my top favorites as well so I'm happy to see the news about individual teabags being available finally!!

This year we are only doing gifts for our two daughters - they both live on their own with roommates. The oldest loves to bake and cook so I plan to give her a second hand, but well-seasoned cast iron Dutch oven. She's been wanting one.

The other one, I'm not sure yet. She doesn't really cook or bake, so I will have to mull that one over awhile.

Rachel H said...

I started a few weeks ago by putting $20 of the weekly envelope cash into an envelope marked Christmas. This is working well. Some weeks I don't buy anything. Some weeks there is $40 or more in there. I think in the new year I will have an envelope marked gifts and use it for birthdays and Christmas.