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/


Anonymous said...

Happy Independence Day!! I think that’s great that you watch the Independence Day movie as a family tradition on the 4th! 😊 We are having an unusually cool and wet summer so far in the PNW. My poor veggie garden is growing so slowly! After reading another blog, I was wondering if you were feeling any “nudges” from God about the necessity of deepening your pantry before fall arrives. I’ve really been wondering lately, what we’re in for this fall, especially with the elections in Nov! Praying for our country is really a priority now! Lord, help us!
Appreciate all your tips and advice! Take care!
Laura C.(WA)

Margie from Toronto said...

Like you I've been adding a few "extras" and "just in case" items to my pantry, along with the regular restocking.
I'm pretty much set for 6 months with hygiene & cleaning supplies so that is done. I also have a good supply of PPE, both reusable & disposable masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and Lysol/bleach. This province's infection rate is down to under 1% but we are still only in stage 2 of reopening and taking it very slowly - fine with me. Masks are mandatory most places and this will be extended as of next week and most people wear them anyway - we've seen the difference between countries that wear them and those that don't and have taken this lesson to heart.

The extras I am collecting are baking items - for some reason yeast is now available but baking powder has become scarce! I had a big tin but picked up an expensive jar of non-GMO organic BP just in case. I have also put aside a few cake mixes and will add a few more, along with cans of icing, more sprinkles etc. I have already got in a good supply of nuts and dried fruit but will add to these as well. I have All P flour and WW flour but would like to add Cake & Pastry plus a few other options just so I can try some different recipes.

I've also been adding more jars of sauces, chutneys & assorted pickles just so that I can change up the basics a bit.

We are hoping to at least have a few months with very low numbers so that we can properly prepare for a second way - I sincerely hope that the US can get some sort of grip on this first wave so that you can all have a bit of a breather before cold & flu season arrives. Happy July 4th.

Anonymous said...

Hello again! I’ve been meaning to ask you, both my hubby and I are wondering what other news sources you look at? We are fed up with the main ones!
~ Laura C. (WA)

Vee said...

No reprieve... Acckkk...yes, I have been hearing the rumblings, the prophecies...we have more work to do. Keep on going...ultimately, good things are coming our way. Until then, we need to prepare as best we can and trust God with all things.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip about the yeast. Must try it.
Antiseptic wipes, yeast and cleaning powder are high on my stock up on list when they are available again.
Isn't this hot weather awful?Stay cool.

Suzan said...

Happy fourth of July.

Here in my part of Australia things were looking good but there has been a huge spike in the number of daily cases in the state of Victoria. Toilet paper and other paper good are on limits again! Yesterday when I was shopping I found some thing beef steaks at 50% off. I went to the baking aisle to buy birthday candles and there were some pretty ones on sale. I now have about eight packets of star shaped candles bought at 35 cents each nd two packs of unicorn candles bought at 90 cents each. Six packets of icing flowers were purchased for future cakes. I have never done this before but I thought having pretties was important and my granddaughter will love them. I feel the need to have a little ahead too. Unfortunately I really need to the stock of the cupboards and make sure that the foods I do have on hand are useable. I have far more yeast and flour than I would usually keep but these are strange times.

God bless.

Kay said...

I decluttered & organized my bathroom cupboard yesterday. So many old healthcare items were tossed. Which is good because it means we've been healthy. :)
I will be making my list of supplies to purchase over the next few weeks and to look over my illness foods area in my pantry. I keep single-serve containers of mashed potatoes, soup, rice, applesauce, teas, etc. there. As we get closer to the cold months, I will make a big pot of chicken noodle soup and freeze in pint jars. I will also get more crackers and some ginger ale for tummy bugs.
We'll increase our EO regime then too.
And thank you for the reminder to buy more flour. I opened my second to the last bag today, so will purchase 2 more tomorrow. I'm ok on yeast, baking powder, soda, sugars for now. I don't buy boxed mixes anymore. We don't eat them quickly enough.
I will be making some freezer jams as soon as the Colorado peaches are here. I believe I have strawberries still in the freezer so will make some of that also.
And soon it will be tomato canning time. I see lots of green little fruit on the plants.

Rebecca said...

I'm enjoying the challenge of frugal meal prep! Ideas and tips like yours really helps. I've gotten quite creative with leftovers which helps me stay out of ruts. We're inthe middle of a heatwave also. I'm perfectly content to be still.😊

mdoe37 said...

I highly recommend leftover frosting sandwiched between graham crackers....just sayin. :)

Deanna Rabe said...

I am continuing to stock the pantry, too. Right now, my refrigerator is broken and we might be getting a new one from the scratch and dent place. Ours is old and its been repaired several times. I always keep extra butter, and next I'm going to buy more flour. I've been using sprouted, as it cuts the carbs. Oh, and when Christmas Tree Shops opened, I popped in and bought more cupcake/muffin liners. They have great prices and I agree that beauty is important.

Anonymous said...

I started buying ahead a few weeks ago, doing our fall /winter stock up two months early, just have this feeling it's better to do it now. And we replace items as they are used, no waiting for a good sale. Like you I purchased coco and more baking supplies and sparkling sugar is a must have in our house! I always have white on hand but plan to pick up some colors too, just because they are pretty. Smiled over the fudge frosting, we have some chocolate ganache in the fridge for treats! Thank you Brenda for your calm encouragement during these uncertain times and for reminding us that God is in control, all will be well. God bless you, Marsha