Saturday, December 14, 2019

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Seasonal Purchases and Cookbook Suggestions

Usually when I write about the Pantry Lifestyle, it is about such things as stocking up, preparing for emergencies, or buying food and supplies on sale when possible.  However, I was thinking of another "Pantry Lifestyle" habit I have practiced for a long time... buying those items only available certain times of the year.

Now, I know with the ability to purchase online now, that isn't as important as it once was.  But I do have seasonal food purchases like cranberries.  I don't only think of food at this time, though.  In past years, I stocked up on Christmas washi tape at Michaels when it was on sale.  It is only available at Christmas (remember that Michaels, being a store for crafters, starts selling for the season very early so you have to start looking around September for Christmas items).

When I was just beginning to collect ornaments for our Christmas trees, I would purchase one for my tree and another for my daughter early in the season and then return to the store that sold my favorite ornaments to see what was available on clearance.  (My son wasn't as interested in collecting ornaments as his sister... go figure.)  ;)  Stephanie took her ornaments with her when she got married.  My true looked so sad for a couple seasons.

For the past few years, I have gone to the antique mall in search of vintage ornaments for the tree.  I especially love ornaments from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. This year, there were a lot of ornaments available at about $2.00 or $3.00 each.  I even found a box of vintage ornaments for a little over $6.00.  It was a good year for vintage ornaments!  I like to think someday my grandchildren will still use some of these old ornaments.

We think of antique and vintage as usually being very expensive but I have found so many items at an inexpensive price.  I have a beautiful vintage Christmas tablecloth that was purchased for about $6.00 a few years ago.  I have a few vintage Christmas hankies that were about a dollar each.  There were numerous vintage Christmas decorations at good prices last week but I have only budgeted for ornaments at the moment. 

I have learned restraint but it isn't easy.  I stopped at the antique mall after one of my visits to the surgeon and guess what I saw... the exact set of Pyrex bowls like I had as a newlywed.  The set I have been looking for... for YEARS! (Mine were destroyed by using an automatic dishwasher... who knew back then?)  Be still by heart, slow down... I could only guess the price.  Sure enough, they wanted over $100.00 for the set.  Lovely but no thank you.  Sigh.  

I learned that if one is looking for vintage Christmas items, one shops for them starting in late November.  Sometimes dealers will clearance those that are left by mid-December so I'm going to check again at my next post-surgery visit with the doctor next week. Just in case there are clearance bargains on any remaining ornaments.  Although I'm very pleased with what I purchased this year and the entire amount came to about $25.00 over two months.

Before I leave you to brew a cup of decaf tea, I have been asked before what cookbooks I would recommend for new cooks.  I have a few suggestions that I will list below.  Can you believe it is less than two weeks before Christmas?  This season certainly has gone by fast.

Cookbook Recommendations
I'm a big fan of The Pioneer Woman's cookbooks for new cooks because of the way she offers step-by-step photos and easy instructions.  Although all are good for various reasons, for new cooks I especially like her first book called The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  More information is available... here.

A cookbook I love for both new and experienced cooks is called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.  The Netflix show is based on the cookbook.  I have gifted this book for my (then) twelve year old grandson and my (not twelve year old) son. 

Honestly, I have taken gourmet cooking classes and watched decades of cooking shows and I still learned so much from this book that has helped me be a better cook.  I use it for reference but I also will at times keep it out on the coffee table just to read and look at the beautiful illustrations.  There is so much to learn.  More information is available... here.

A cookbook (and much more) that I love by Karey Swan is called Hearth & Home: Recipes for Life.  It is a simple book with no photos at all that I think every new cook (and experienced cook) should own.  Long time homeschoolers (see how I didn't say old?) will probably recognize this book.  There are lots of third party copies that are inexpensive.  I used to read some of the chapters on long, cold winter evenings.  I should get it out again.  More information is available... here.

I will also add a book by my friend, Sally Clarkson, called The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith through Feasting, One Meal at a Time.  It is a book full of recipes but also the stories and traditions behind many of them.  The Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe was given to them by my daughter and enjoyed by all of us the weekend we stayed at her New England home, along with the Clarksons.  More information is available... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.

Image:  If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen this photo of the dough bowl on my family room coffee table.  I tweaked it off and on since Thanksgiving but finally decided to cut a ring of faux greenery in half (the kind that you put around a large candle) and add each half to the dough bowl.  Wallah!  I quite liked the way it added both fullness and sparkle.  I do love decorating by tweaking.


Vee said...

Very much in agreement with at least two of those cookbook recommendations. Tweaking is a good thing to learn whether it is with decorating or make-up. Sometimes the simplest thing is just enough. How wonderful that you are replacing some ornaments with vintage ones. Hope that you find more next week! (I have so enjoyed listening to Sally Clarkson podcasts while wrapping gifts or doing some household chore. Makes the chore more bearable.)

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I have Sally’s book but not Karey Swan’s book.

I really enjoyed this post!

Kay said...

Karey Swan is called Hearth & Home: Recipes for Life. I love that book. I haven't looked at it in several years. I think I'll pull it and The Christmas Chronicles (title??) out next week. We have been babysitting the little grandbabies this weekend and will again the 28-29th. I begged off for next weekend or there will be no Christmas. I need to wrap gifts and bake. My cards are mostly done but my printer is out of ink so I'll have to print the last of my letter at work.
We stocked up on some grocery items last night at the store. I normally make Chex Mix for the guys at my work but the good mixed nuts in the bulk bins are almost $10 p/lb. I had $30 in nuts alone and then $25 in cereal and pretzels. Butter would yet be more expense. 2.5# at $3 p/lb, another $9. $1 for each container x 9 is another $9.00 = $73 for 10 gifts, $7.30 each. I found store-made SlimJim type meat sticks for around $5 per package. Saving $22.30. I have enough ingredients here at home to still make some mix for us and for my boss' family.
We did buy another ham, even though we have one in the freezer. It was a good brand name and the one we had for Thanksgiving was very tasty. It was only $1.98 p/lb.
I still have to get a few gift cards and stocking stuffers but I'm basically done shopping.
Thanks for the reminder of the cookbooks. I'm looking forward to some quiet winter weekends and some reading.