Saturday, July 04, 2020
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Being diligent to keep the pantry stocked
This has been our busiest week in at least four or five months. It seems doctor's appointments, repair schedules, and the monthly stock up day all hit at once. I am so happy to be spending our nation's birthday quietly in the air conditioning and getting ready to make cheeseburgers on the grill pan indoors.
Honestly, just sitting in the recliner after a late lunch watching Independence Day (a family tradition on July 4th) is where I want to spend the Holiday with the heat and humidity so high right now.
Our ceiling fan we purchased at least two months ago was finally installed this week and the overhead light in the garage was repaired. We had set aside the amount we estimated it would cost and did not dare use it on anything else. The electrician from church we wanted to install it was booked for awhile but we told him just to squeeze in this project when he had time.
We are in the midst of a long term heat wave. I normally do not bring too many items inside from the garage pantry shelves during the summer months because the time of intense heat is very short. This summer with the heat and high humidity possibly lasting for weeks, I reorganized what was in the kitchen cabinets, the yellow pantry, and other places I could find to bring some items indoors.
Making room for them indoors made it easier to review what I have used during the pandemic, what I don't need to buy, and what I want to add to my pantry that I had not before. We are still in the midst of the pandemic where I live with new cases each week but with no major spikes. There are less deaths each week in the state, too.
We are being careful and not taking unnecessary chances. It may be awhile before we dine inside a restaurant again but we are out and about with a mask, hand sanitizer, and washing our hands when we arrive home. I do try to stay at least six feet away from other people at the grocery store, especially if they are not wearing a mask.
I've been listening to people with a good track record on hearing from God regarding preparedness and such and every single person feels we need to continue being diligent about stocking the pantry with food and necessary items. I had two different friends who were thinking of not putting out a garden this year change their mind and expand their garden instead.
Since few people have unlimited space and budget for deepening a pantry, it becomes very important to choose our priorities. I mentioned before that living from the pantry during two periods of long term unemployment helped me learn a lot. I learned from the past few months, too, especially as this was a new scenario and items were out of stock that I didn't think possible.
For instance, I have learned to stock more flour than I used to since it was impossible to find on grocery store shelves. I haven't had to buy white sugar for a few years but the large Tupperware container that holds it is showing me it is time to stock it again while it is available and cheap. I bought vanilla extract when it became available again just for the pantry.
A dear friend sent me some yeast from an Amish store (they sell it in bulk) when I ran out. A few weeks ago, I noticed jars of bread machine yeast were available at Meijers so I bought one of those for the pantry. By the way, it may say bread machine yeast on the jar but it's really just quick yeast. It doesn't have to be used in bread machines, even though I will.
I think gaining experience in using our pantry when many items are unavailable is valuable training for making substitutions when necessary. I only knew that bread machine yeast is the same as regular quick yeast because I've used it for years. It's just marketed for the bread machine user in this case.
I plan to add some items that may seem unnecessary but go a long way to making cooking and baking even better during hard times. For instance, I'm almost out of sparkling sugar and why should that be a priority? First, it is inexpensive and easy to just sprinkle over quick breads, cookies, etc. before baking.
Second, I can't tell you how many times people comment on how it makes the top of quick breads or cookies sparkle. Beauty is especially important in hard times. I would say things like cupcake liners, sprinkles, birthday candles, etc. would be good to have on hand. Anything that helps a celebration is important when times are challenging!
Let's see, what else did I purchase for the pantry on stock up day? I purchased two boxes of a favorite brownie mix. I don't use a lot of mixes but they came in handy when the separate ingredients were hard to find. I plan to buy a couple more brownies mixes and cake mixes to have in the pantry for the same reason over the next few months if they remain available.
I always have confectioners sugar put back as well as butter in the freezer (a top priority!) so I can easily make icing. Oh... I need to put another "can" of cocoa on my grocery list, too. I have some but it last almost indefinitely and chocolate makes everything better.
Speaking of which, I had extra chocolate butter cream frosting left over from baking a few weeks ago and I put it in a small container in the refrigerator. My husband enjoyed it as a fudgy treat off and on for a week. In this case, not wanting to waste anything made another person very happy.
Recently I walked into Meijers and saw that they were selling cotton masks that could be washed and reused ten times. I decided to purchase a box to keep on hand in addition to the box of disposable masks my husband purchased at Walmart a couple weeks ago.
There is still a lot of discussion if the virus will come back in the Fall as bad or worse than it was the first time. I have made the decision to prepare as if it will by adding the extra masks, hand sanitizer, soap, cough drops, etc. to my "medical pantry" and continue adding to my regular pantry a little at a time.
I have to admit that it has taken a lot of discipline to spend less on items I might want for today to be able to purchase pantry items for tomorrow. But I've learned from past experience that it is worth it. Should the unexpected happen again suddenly... the more prepared we are, the easier it will be to get through it again!
Image: Cookbook and Apples/Allposters.com