Saturday, February 06, 2021

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Working with different dietary requirements

I think the question I've been asked the most over the years is how I stock a pantry with two different requirements for our diet and with the main cook and bottle washer having auto immune diseases which increase fatigue, especially in the evening.

It wasn't easy and it is constantly evolving even these days.  For instance, my husband decided to eat less red meat a couple months ago.  I had already stocked up on Aldi grain fed ground beef a little at a time and I had taken advantage of a sale on boneless pork loins.  I can still use some of the ground beef but now he prefers his pork "cheats" to be in the form of bacon.  Which I completely understand.

When I reorganized the deep freeze a few weeks ago, I placed a couple package of the ground beef and a pork loin in an Aldi bag so when my son and his family brought dinner over to us last week, I could pull that bag out of the deep freeze easily and send the extra frozen meat home with them.  

We still do most of our grocery shopping in the first week of each month.  We found long ago it is the easiest way to do the food budget when you are paid once a month.  I do the Meijer and the Aldi shopping, which is mostly for both of us.  He does the Kroger shopping, mostly for the food that he has to eat.  I shop Kroger a couple times a month for the few "family" items purchased there, usually Kroger brands as well as fresh fruits or vegetables.

He also shops the health food store on Senior Discount Day for food he mostly eats, although he does buy "family" food like the Mennonite free range eggs, raw honey (mainly for making bread), and real maple syrup (for making granola and sometimes a treat of pancakes).

He also usually does our Walmart shopping when it is required once or twice a month, as well as most of the Sam's shopping when he is on that side of town to get a haircut or buy water softener salt.  He was there last week and purchased their large package of TP, almonds for his diet, and a large bottle of their onion powder per my request.

Last week, I purchased a family pack of chicken thighs for 99 cents a pound at Meijers.  Sometimes I divide them for the freezer but this time, they were roasted and went into a stock pot with onions, carrots, and celery to make chicken stock.  The house smelled amazing!  As soon as the stockpot cools more, it will go into the refrigerator to cool until tomorrow to finish into soup.

Chicken thighs and legs are often on sale where I live and while my husband does not like dark meat chicken, he does think... as do I... that they make a rich chicken stock.  It has already been very cold here, with a wind chill of 1 when I woke up this morning but it is to get even more frigid so chicken soup sounds quite good right now.

(We put an extra blanket around Mouse's "house" to insulate it better. It already had a thick towel around it for additional warmth.  She has a lot of fur so she should be fine as long as she stays in her house.  She leaves it when it is stormy or very windy... silly kitty.  I am having to give her unfrozen water every four hours or so.)

Now back to stocking up...   When I did my Aldi shopping on Friday, I bought a family pack of chicken tenders and divided that package into two separate bags this morning and both bags together were dated and placed in a gallon size Ziploc bag for the deep freeze.  An Aldi package of stew beef was dated and frozen and then the package was slipped into a gallon size Ziploc bag this morning for the deep freeze, to be used for either oven stew or veggie beef soup at a later date.

I didn't need very much meat this month.  If I need more for a specific recipe, I leave enough in the budget to add a package or two of meat later when I also shop for fresh vegetables and fruit... and cream for the coffee!

My stock up for the pantry this month (in addition to the TP and onion powder) was to add one large can of whole potatoes, two cans of Manwich on sale, one container of Hellman's mayonnaise (coupon), one "bottle" Hershey's Simple chocolate syrup (because it is magic and turns white milk into chocolate milk for little people), and a couple other canned goods.  Just a little at a time adds up!

These all went into the side of the pantry where I stock extras, as opposed to the two shelves where I keep things that are being used right now. The extra condiments are kept together on the pantry shelves so I can quickly tell if I need to add one to the monthly stock up grocery list.  I tend to use each more or less seasonally.

I stored the two cans of Manwhich (for making sloppy Joes) next to the two cans of Keystone ground beef.  They may be used with ground beef from the freezer but they also give an option for the canned ground beef.

My husband purchases quite a few cans of his favorite Amy's soups to have on hand for those evenings I am too tired to cook and there is nothing in the freezer or refrigerator to warm up for dinner.  I make an effort to have other foods on hand for these evenings, as well as extra soup that I have frozen for such a purpose. 

Like I said, this evolved over time and it still is not perfect but it works the best of any "plan" we have had.  We keep the grocery store receipts and he has an Excel sheet with what items we buy where and how much they cost.  

I have absolutely no desire to do this so I just keep my stock up grocery lists each month and write a new list from those.  I also keep a grocery list on the side of the refrigerator so I can write down those items that I don't buy regularly but we have run out of during the month.

Since my deeper pantry is an extension of my regular pantry, when I have a little extra to deepen the pantry then I just go through my grocery lists.  I have a few items that I have written about that I only buy for the deep pantry but I try to limit them.

I hope you are keeping warm today and that this answers some of the questions.  I am certain each family has their own unique way of shopping and stocking the pantry.

ImageBrambly Hedge (how would you like a pantry full of Rose Petal Jam?)


Deanna Rabe said...

That sounds like a very effective plan. I have been stocking up on extras and Kyle who was shopping with me on Friday said, “ Mom. No more butter! You have enough!” Lol!

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about different requirements. Maybe you could fry a chop for yourself, with some bacon for your husband.

We find some store brands(not all) are as good as the name brand products and cheaper.

I haven't made a beef stew in awhile. Must do that. Thanks for the suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I love your pantry posts. Always something new to learn and ponder. :) I do have one question Brenda. You have mentioned that yellow potatoes are better for diabetics. But are all yellow potatoes ok or are there certain ones? I see larger ones and tiny ones that say they are yellow and medium ones at discount stores that are yellow. Do they all digest better for diabetics or are some not as good. ?? Thank you. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Fortunately my husband and I usually eat the same kinds of things, however, we do go to different stores to shop the sales. He has ones he prefers to shop at and I do a couple of others. If he had his way he would prefer to shop at just one place but I like the various sales that I can find. Is your 'mouse' your Florentine? Does she live outside? It's been so bitter outdoors, I worry about her.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a good system going?
Do you keep your Florentine cat outside?

Sherry said...

..i love brambley hedge images.
..our outside (garage kept) freezer is filled to the gills. as such we're drawing from that location for meals - be it a package of meat or a 'leftover' soup/stew/casserole. tonight is halibut and broccoli - seasoned and oven roasted - i'll make some rice for the hubs. i brought out 6 ounces of cooked chicken breast with which i'll make a to-go salad box (one for each of us) for tomorrow along with fresh veg and the remaining roasted broccoli - for our travel day a couple states away. it's nice to bring your own food..
we're eating less beef as well - finding that with age we're realizing what digests best for our bodies. i'm also making less bread though yesterday i did make a full batch of biscuits. in my defense i did share a portion with the nice man installing new counters in our bathrooms. :)