Saturday, April 11, 2015

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - One item at a time

These are so cute!

I was watching a program recently where the subject of stocking up for emergencies was being discussed.  Everyone on the panel believed we should be... what I call... deepening our pantries.

One of the individuals was a pastor who said he has been recommending to the people of his congregation to begin by purchasing one, two, or three items at a time when they do their grocery shopping.


This is what I started out doing long ago and have come back around to it as the budget became so tight it squeals.  While I do stock the pantry as much as possible with essentials when I have the budget, most items are purchased here and there... a little at a time... by priority.

Currently I've started purchasing one or two containers of water again since it has been awhile since I made water a priority.  I don't have a lot of room for water but I've made room here and there.

If you purchase water in plastic containers, it does disintegrate unless otherwise noted.  How do I know?  One of them in a long ago pantry disintegrated all over the place.  Fortunately that was back when my pantry was in a basement room so the only damage it did was to the shelving it was on.  (I do miss that room!)

Purchasing an Additional Item
The most common way I stock my pantry these days is by purchasing one or two extra items at a time... and more if they are on a good sale.   For instance, I wash dishes two or three times a day so when I found my favorite dish soap at a good sale, I bought four or five of them.

But usually I buy just one extra, using one and placing the other on shelves to keep until I have a good supply.  Instead of using that extra when I run out, I purchase another with one extra for the pantry.  Until I have the amount I feel comfortable with, and since I have this fear of running out of good dish washing liquid... that is at least six!  Preferably more.

If you do dishes by hand, you will know exactly what I mean.

I ran out completely late last year when the budget was very tight.  So thinking it was better to have two cheap brands than one of my favorites (either 7th Generation or Mrs. Meyers), I bought two cheap store brands.  I had to use twice as much and even then they did not hold the suds while my dishes soaked in hot sudsy water.  Lesson reinforced.

If you think you cannot afford stocking a pantry, try just purchasing one extra at a time and making the extra the start of your pantry.  First by doing this with what you consider a priority and then with other items.

Then when you can afford to do more, especially at a good sale price, purchase a number of priority items.  Currently I have four extra cartons of butter in the freezer, purchased when they were $1.99 each for Easter cooking.  Butter is near the top of my priority list to have on hand and purchase on sale.

But sometimes I can only purchase one to use now and one for the freezer.  But at least I know there is a backup.   Similar priorities are:  all baking essentials, raw honey, canola oil (regular for cooking, GMO free to use for salad dressings), and two kinds of sea salt - kosher and fine.  Those are just off the top of my head, there are many more I am certain.

Recent Purchases
I use both onion powder and garlic powder a lot.  I almost bought a large, cheap container of onion powder again but decided to see what the bulk section of the health food had first. I hadn't been at all happy with the quality of the cheap stuff. Sure enough, they had a lovely onion powder I could purchase in bulk... just enough to fill the Bonne Maman jar that I keep it in.

It cost a little more than the cheap stuff but oh, my... you could definitely see the difference. I've only recently started checking their bulk spice section as I always assumed it was expensive but it isn't bad as you rarely need a large amount.  I also shop on the day my husband qualifies for their senior citizen discount!

Sometimes my stock ups may not make sense to others (given a tight budget) but my tea time scone loving friends will understand that I purchased two jars of Dickinson's Lemon Curd at a good price.

Why two jars?  Because if I only have one I tend to hoard it and then it doesn't get used when needed.  Oh, if you keep a package of those tart size graham cracker crumbs in your pantry... lemon curd can be spooned in them with a dollop of real cream or Cool Whip on top for a delightful last minute hot weather dessert.

Sigh... you do know I planned to be a pastry chef at one time.  Then I developed Type 1 diabetes.  If I wasn't a Christian I'd say the Universe is against me.  But I digress.  ;)

When I find whipping cream or heavy cream on clearance, I buy either a large container or a couple pint size (according to what is available on clearance) for making my favorite lemon cream scones

And do you know what I found out quite by accident?  Cool Whip makes a good substitute for the real stuff on scones (with lemon curd or strawberry jam).  Yes, really.  I had leftover Cool Whip in the refrigerator after Christmas so I thought I'd give it a try. With lemon curd.  Oh, my good heavens. 

I hope this rather rambling post was understandable.  The most important Truth I hope you take away from today's post... even a little at a time pantry stocking can bring great results.  Don't do nothing because you can't do everything!


sherry said...

a different kind of buying extra tale:::::
a little while back i bought an abundance (abundant for two people anyway) of tomatoes. they became very ripe and before ripened any further i put them in the clay roaster with leftover yellow and red bell pepper, olive oil, herbs, and garlic. and i roasted them, cooled, froze, and used yesterday (a month later) to make a veggie lasagna. it's delish. :)

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I agree with you! Bit by bit you can build up quite a pantry.

I found it so helpful during the winter, too. But am now rebuilding it. Doing what we can, as we can. Everyone can do a little bit. And grow a little bit. Herbs, tomatoes, and peppers all grow well in pots and so even city dwellers could do this!


Deb J. in Utah said...

Great idea. We have done this for years. You just have to make sure that you only stock up on items you actually used and not things that are a "good deal." We have thrown away thing we bought on a "great sale" but never used. Thanks for reinforcing this important idea for having a stocked pantry!

Anonymous said...

You do have a nice way with words, my friend.. I think you did a great job of explaining. I do much the same although we do buy different stuff. 😇 Pam (SD)

Debbie said...

I could so relate to you about the lemon curd. I have done the same thing with hoarding it. ;)

mdoe37 said...

I keep a bit of water on the shelf too...and also found out that those milk jugs leak. The clear Ice Mountain bottles don't seem to leak. They look like a thicker plastic.

I've never had lemon curd, I'll put that one the list. I did purchase some Bird's custard.

The thing that is second only to being a foodie being foodie who is married to a diabetic. I miss baking.

Vee said...

You may have convinced me to try Mrs. Meyers or 7th Generation. I think I should have "an experience" doing dishes by hand.

Anonymous said...

What an enjoyable post and also the one on your booklist. Love the Laura Childs' Teabook mysteries. I finished the one you are now reading.
Keeping your pantry stocked is a good idea at all times but more so in these trying times.
Bless you,
Sylvia Faye

Lee Ann said...

What is the name of the program?

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Lee Ann, it was last week's episodes of The Jim Bakker Show. They had a variety of speakers for their Preparedness Expo.