Saturday, January 07, 2017

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - After the Holidays

As I'm writing this Saturday morning, I am nibbling a piece of dark chocolate with orange (for my health, you know) and listening to Michael Card's Starkindler CD.  One of the songs on the CD is Morning Has Broken and that is the way I felt when walking out to get the morning paper on this very very cold morning. 

I love that shade of blue the sky turns only in Winter, especially with a layer of snow on the ground... and then throw in the neighbor's red barn... well, how could one not smile?  Even if one is sitting in the Study with layers of clothing and wool socks borrowed from the husband's sock drawer.  Brrrr...  Note to self: purchase a couple pairs of wool socks for me.

We keep it cool in the house during the Winter's chill so we can run the air conditioning all we need to in the Summer's heat.  We are on the budget plan so it evens itself out in the end and we both agree that we need AC more than a warm house.  Both of us have health issues (me as a diabetic, he with environmental allergies) that make that an easy decision.

As for the pantry, I was able to stock the freezer with ground beef, whole chickens, a large pork roast sliced in half for two  meals, a turkey, a couple packages of sausage, and some frozen veggies in December.  I decided to make meat protein a priority and work out from there.  For instance, whole chickens can be baked and then soup made and enough meat left for another use unless one has a new kitty in the house and bribes her with chicken.

I don't know how it was where you live but I noticed a huge lack of after Christmas sales in the grocery stores.  Except for Aldi's, which had good clearance prices on Christmas related food, there were few clearance sales after the Holidays in the three grocery stores I frequent.  I did find some stock up prices at Thanksgiving but I didn't find baking supplies on clearance after Christmas.  That is when I usually stock up for the year.

Grocery stores here are definitely not overstocking basic foods at the Holidays as they once did.  Even such things that are usually half price after Christmas such as gift baskets, candy, etc. was only 30% off at the stores.

Instead, I bought two bags of King Arthur AP flour when it went on a good sale and I will purchase regular white sugar at Sam's Club.  I don't use nearly as much white sugar as I once did.  However, it is not only needed for baking recipes but sugar makes a good barter item should you be interested in such things. 

Meijers eventually had Pillsbury Christmas sugar cookie dough on a 75% off clearance (plain sugar cookie dough that one can decorate) so I bought a few for the deep freeze.  They will be perfect for baking and covering with homemade icing later. I did stock up on Christmas Ziploc containers, both small and medium sizes, when they went on clearance for a fraction of the original price.  I'm sure no one will be upset if cookies or leftovers are sent home in a red container at Easter. 

One of my Pantry goals this year is to purchase something for the pantry (even if it is a small purchase) each week is that there remain many reasons a pantry may be needed this year.  Everyone needs a good pantry just to keep them from making a quick run to the grocery store in the middle of a recipe! 

We've already experienced icing conditions that made it difficult to get to the store but news reports are full of stories about people in the Southern parts of the United States standing in long lines at the grocery store as heavy snowfall is predicted in areas which rarely see snow at all.

This is part of the logic of having a pantry... why not purchase items you know you will need and have them sitting on your shelf instead of Kroger's where one has to hope there is enough to go around and stand in long lines.  As an aside... I purchase bread, milk, eggs, fresh veggies, etc. if I need them at the first hint there may be bad weather on the way. If a snowstorm is expected on Friday, usually the stores are still not crowded on Wednesday morning.

I have a container of dried eggs, a few containers of dried milk, a few dehydrated fruits and veggies, canned items, etc. should they be needed but living in an area where we know a storm is on the way... it only makes sense to assume the worse and make a few minor purchases.  We live on a very tight fixed income but at the beginning of each month, I tuck back a $10.00 or $20.00 bill for such emergencies.

Always remembering that we can do something even if we can't do everything to prepare for unexpected emergencies, whether they are a loss of income or a Zombie Apocalypse.   It is not a lack of faith to prepare for "what ifs", it is wisdom.  Our great grandparents would have thought it crazy not to have a pantry, even if it was only filled with beans and rice.  And coffee.

Since I have been asked, Florentine is slowly coming out of her shell but I'm thinking it may take a awhile for her to fully learn to trust people.  She has definitely been slapped around for even when we start to pet her, she is afraid when there is a hand near her.  It is cute that she isn't afraid when we are going to sleep for then she curls up next to one of us, usually my husband, and goes to sleep.  She is slowly getting curious about other parts of the house but she spends most of her days on a fleece blanket I folded up and put at the foot of our bed.  Her safety zone.  :) 

Mentioned in this Post:
Starkindler by Michael Card... here.

Disclaimer: Most links to are Associate Links.
Image: Sharing Grandma's Cookies


Vee said...

I am freezing...your post reminds me to put on my wool socks! That will make the difference. Florentine has found a cozy spot. How pleasant to take a nap on a chilly Saturday afternoon. You're right. Many of my favorite items never went on sale at include butter and cream cheese.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Your pantry posts are always full of wisdom!

We had snow here this week, and while an expected thing for us in the winter, I was happy to not have to go out to get anything before it came. The joys of having a pantry. Today I am making cappuccino muffins, and I already had everything needed.

Florentine will adjust, so glad she feels safe enough to sleep with you.

terricheney said...

I've noticed the trend of few seasonal baking sales for the past couple of years here in the mid-South Georgia area. And no, no markdowns this year on Christmas items not even at Aldi...Or else they were sold quickly the day after Christmas! I'm trying to add to my pantry and freezer each pay period (every two weeks) but due to necessity I've had to trim down my grocery budget somewhat. I skim the pantry off the top of the budget, figuring that it is like savings, a necessity if we're to weather any emergency.

coleen said...

Hi and happy snow day.......I also noticed the lack of after Christmas sales in the grocery stores. Even the holiday themed baggies and containers are not on sale. I did get some candy at Walgreens for 70% off, so that made me happy. Thanks for all the pantry life style hints, I enjoy reading them.

Carol said...

We had some sales on flour and butter in November. I am not certain if they were stock up prices though. Thank you for a very helpful post. (MD)

Morning's Minion said...

We have a rescue cat who has been with us since he and his sister were about 4 months old. He is very skittish in the daytime but lands on me at night the minute the light goes out.
I hope Florentine will learn to trust and become a companion--each cat [or dog] has a slightly different personality.
Re blue shadows on snow--one of my favorite things about winter in New England. We don't often get lasting snow here in south-central KY.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I find it interesting that many US bloggers stock up on food and start to worry about being snowed in, with very little snow. Living with 3-4 feet of snow over winter, sometimes more, we are used to it and life goes on as usual. The grocery stores are open during storms and no one worries about food or getting around. Quite a difference when one lives in a snow belt. We do have the power go out at times so I'm thankful we have a gas stove and can still light the burners with a match.
We keep our house on the cool side as well so thick socks and sweaters bring warmth and coziness.
Keeping a well stocked pantry is a good idea in case of emergencies, especially if the power is out and having some cash on hand a must - not something I always have unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

My daughter works stocking items in and out of many different grocery and other types of stores stores. Many have mentioned to her that this year they purposely bought less holiday candy and supplies. The last several years they had so much left over to sell at a loss they bought way less. Even our Walmart did that. Now of course the stores are stocked with Valentine's, Saint Patrick and even Easter items and candy!! !! I used to buy the Christmas red and green bags of M & Ms and use the red ones for Valentines day and the green for St. Patricks! Not any more! It helped me to not eat the whole bag when I had to leave different colors for other times! Who doesn't love M & Ms? :-)
Things sure are changing as even the usual holiday sales on baking and such things were less. We used to depend on certain things on low prices for each season so we could stock up. Like eggs for Easter or cabbage and corn beef for Saint Patricks day. The last several years these items have been absent from the ads during their seasons. Or designated to only a tiny spot and a not too a good price. We all need to get used to new normals! :)
Here in California we are having rain rain and more rain this year. It is to rain 5 days next week...rained 3 this week. We sure need it. The pantry sure helps us not have to get out in the rain and onto the slippery highways. Sarah

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I think it may take time for Florentine to come to trust you all, but I am sure it will happen. Poor thing. But she has come to the right home now.

Anonymous said...

What brand of dried eggs and dried milk do you keep on hand? How do you store
your extra flour? I'm trying to add to the pantry a little each week starting with the basics. So glad Florentine is starting to adjust to her new home.


Penny O'Neill said...

I read your blog posts on a regular basis, but, I haven't commented, and thought it was high-time I did, if for no other reason than to let you know how much I appreciate your writing, your faith, your insight - and pantry posts. I have always stored up and lived a pantry lifestyle, but, your posts bring this to a more meaningful level (not to mention good tips and practicality).

Hereabouts, there were some great sales before Christmas, and I did stock up, but, not so much so afterwards. I find it interesting that others are mentioning the same.

At any rate, thank you.

Susan Humeston said...

I can never understand those who abuse animals. Not only are the innocent, but they are at the mercy of humans. Anyway - Florentine will find out in time that she has hit the kitty lottery with you. I talk to my cats all the time - so maybe I'm the Crazy Cat Lady, but they learn to look you in the eye and talk back, even if it is just various meows. I think that helps them trust you too.