Saturday, September 28, 2019

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Preparing for the Suddenlies

A couple of things happened recently that reminded me of the need for a pantry when life brings about sudden opportunities or "adventures".  The first was a reminder from a financial newsletter that should there be a war in the Middle East, gas prices would spike and prices on most items would rise suddenly.

The second was my last minute sudden decision to make chili on our one very cool day last week.  I had everything I needed to make it in the pantry and refrigerator, all I needed to do was defrost a pound of ground beef in the microwave.  Which is not the way I normally defrost it but it is fast.

So both "suddenlies" reminded me of the various reasons it is a good idea to have a reasonable pantry.  Deepening it, of course, should we want to prepare for the long term.  Some of the various "suddenlies" are...

The Sudden Decision to Bake or Cook a Recipe
This is probably the most often reason I need my pantry.  Each season I look through my most used recipes and write down what I can easily stock up on in the pantry.  As with most pantry items, I always try to stock up during a sale when possible.

For the sake of simplicity, I write down what I need for five menus at a time.  Once I have what I need for them, I add to the pantry for additional recipes. Right now I am preparing to add to the cool weather pantry, which means I will use a lot more cans of tomatoes since they are called for in a few of my main dish recipes.  I usually buy large cans of whole tomatoes but I will also stop by the grocery store that sells my favorite stewed tomatoes that I use for vegetable soup.

I make certain there is extra of everything that I need for my most used baking recipes.  I try not to run out of my most used items but I have been out of canned pumpkin for a few months.  I waited for a good sale last Holiday season and it never arrived.  Since I had quite a few cans, I didn't add canned pumpkin to my grocery list and then I ran out.  Which is also why I keep pantry lists!  I recently purchased two cans and I will be watching for sales now that we are almost into October.

I should mention here that there are some items I always try to keep in the refrigerator.  As an example, I always kept a couple green peppers for recipes but in the past year or so, I also make certain I have one or two red peppers in the refrigerator.  I find them to add a taste to the crustless quiche I make quite often that I love (and they look pretty).

The Sudden Celebration
Although when my kids were home, there was planning that went into every birthday celebration and Holiday, I have found many times when there was cause for a last minute celebration.

I have a drawer with pretty paper plates, paper napkins, birthday candles, etc. that say "Celebration" just by using them.  I have an area of a kitchen cabinet (top shelf and contained in a box lid to pull out easily) that has all kinds of sprinkles and such to make baked goods even more celebratory.

I still keep pretty cupcake liners, candy liners, etc. because one can use a boxed cake mix and a can of frosting and still have a beautiful presentation with pretty liners and some sprinkles.  (Not to mention I have never perfected cupcake decorating like my daughter can decorate.  Those are works of art.)

I love tea parties and I obviously have china and teacups and teapots and these objects, which... just by using them... say tea party.  I also try to keep a couple boxes of favorite cookies that are perfect for tea parties, although shortbread cookies can be made as long as there is always extra butter.

Sandwiches can be made quickly and turned into pretty tea party food by cutting off the crusts and cutting them into triangles or rectangles (or both).  They don't have to be expensive or elaborate.   I have also kept a couple packages of Pepperidge Farm Cocktail Bread in the freezer for such purposes.

I have similar Christmas items for baking and serving that I keep in a box with the Christmas decorations.  Otherwise, I have been known to forget they are in a drawer...  ;)

Even if our celebrations are all well thought out before hand, it is still a good idea to prepare the pantry a little at a time.  Just recently I was buying chocolate chips on sale at the grocery store and it sparked a conversation with the young woman next in line who said she also started preparing for Holiday baking in advance so she could budget her time and money.  Can I adopt her?  ;)

The Sudden Power Outage
I can't tell you how many times we have suddenly lost power.  I expect it has something to do with living in the country.  This is an area I need to spend more of my budget on because I have found it is an area my pantry is lacking.

I need once again to write down favorite foods that 1) can be stored easily, and 2) do not require cooking.  I do have a small charcoal grill that can be used in good weather but as so often it is bad weather that takes out our electricity... that is not always an option.

I have written indepth about this before but it is a reminder (to me if for no one else).  Note to self:  make this and buying more water a priority.

The Sudden Job Loss
Been there!  We have had numerous short term layoffs over the years and no less than twice, we have had an unexpected job loss that lasted much longer than anticipated.  I can speak from experience that anything you already have in your pantry, you will be thankful that you do not have to take money from savings and/or unemployment to purchase it.

Some people have said that if there is a job loss, they can obtain food stamps and not be concerned about the work to keep up a pantry.  This may or may not be true.  We qualified for food stamps after one layoff but not any others.  Even then, the amount of food stamps given were not very much.  I know this changes from state to state and by the size of your family.

But it is always a good thing to have what you would need already in your house.  That is why I pray over my pantry even though that may seem strange.  God knows our future as well as our present.  One of the two long term periods of unemployment came after I had stocked our pantry more than I have ever stocked it.  Having done so because I felt strongly that God was encouraging us to deepen our pantry more than usual.

I think this rambling blog post can spark your imagination enough to bid you an adieu.  Don't forget... pantry lists help a lot!!!  I think I will talk more about them next time.

Image:  Brambly Hedge


Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

That Brambly Hedge kitchen is a dream kitchen!

I recently nearly ran out of butter after having kept extra stocked in my big freezer in the basement. I had no idea! I’ve started to buy an extra one just to stock up a bit! Can’t be without butter!

I find that Aldi has great prices on canned goods, and the price for pumpkin is excellent. You just have to make sure you get there before the Amish ladies! They know a good deal when the see it!

I also need to stock water.

Anonymous said...

I like to buy red peppers, clean and slice them and put them in the freezer. I use them in my crockpot recipes or cooking with ground meat. For the suddenlies of baking, I am out of brown suger!! Not sure how that happend; ) But the youngest filled the freezer with cookies, muffins and bread.....hmmmm

Vee said...

You always spark my imagination! I love Brambly Hedge...I have inspected this picture carefully. I even found three characters when I first saw only two. I like the carefully folded tablecloths among many other things.

My Arty-Farty Happy Place said...

What an interesting read Brenda. I have a pantry and it stores all sorts of things - including food! No matter what I or hubby are looking for, it is usually in the pantry. For us we are in Spring and looking forward to summer. Most food stuffs therefore will be 'housed' in the refrigerator - and yes we too have the occasional power outage (in Summer) due to very high usage with air conditioners and high temperatures, so to save the fridge stuff we have a generator that we use in emergencies. Oh I also keep a good supply of filters for my jug for water.

Carol said...

I recently decided that I need to go through our pantry and really work on it again. Things seem to be unorganized and missing now that we have remodeled and I have not been shopping as much.