This past week was slow and on the lazy side, a much needed kind of week after a season of busy-ness. It gave me time to think about ideas for helping my pantry without spending money as well as making a few inexpensive purchases.
I go through canned goods quickly enough and rotate them that I don't get concerned about the heat and humidity of summer. Which is to arrive here soon after a cooler than normal spring. However, I did want to bring the five pound bags of flour inside to where the temperature is more steady. They have already gone up a lot in price.
I washed the Rubbermaid container where I keep extra bags of flour and dried it overnight before putting the bags of flour back in it. Having a Rubbermaid container sitting in the Study looks weird but I want to protect the flour more than I want a Better Homes & Garden Study during the summer.
I knew my husband had a couple smaller Rubbermaid containers that he wasn't using anymore but I wasn't sure where the lids were. I located one of them the previous week and the other last week and washed everything very well since they had been sitting on garage shelves. I am going to use one to hold Essenhaus dried egg noodles that need to be rotated regularly since they do not last as long as other pasta.
I put the extra bags of brown sugar I had in the other small container. I like to rotate them regularly, too. I think the containers are tight enough that they will help protect their contents. We will see! But all of these were using objects we already had on hand.
I had to go to Walmart last week to purchase needles for my insulin pens. I only need one box but they let me purchase two boxes at a time. So, I am slowly building up an extra supply while they are available and at such a good price. Insulin pens cannot work without the needles.
I knew that the next time I was at Walmart, I needed to purchase a large (Family size) bag of Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix. I was at the bottom of the bag I have been using for awhile so I needed to grab the backup bag for the next time I made pancakes. The purchase was to replace the backup bag. I checked the Use By date and it was in 2024 so that date was far enough out I didn't have to be concerned.
These pancakes are one of the few convenience foods I like better than my homemade recipes... and you just add water! They are a special treat since we both watch our carbs and I always serve them with Grade B pure maple syrup. I found the cutest small vintage syrup holder at the Antique Mall maybe a year ago (?) that makes me happy when I serve with it. The red lid has a handle and the bottom is glass. Very 1950s diner-esque.
I think I mentioned before that my husband calls these "Franklin Graham pancakes" because this is what Graham uses to make pancakes for military vets and spouses at the Alaskan family camps for veterans he hosts each summer. We don't support a lot of organizations but we do give to Samaritan's Purse and direct the giving to these camps for veterans. With my husband having PTSD experiences from the Vietnam war, these camps have a special place in our heart.
While at Walmart, I also purchased two cans of mushroom gravy to add to the pantry. I usually make my own gravy but I like these because I can use them for quick meals. I have a few packages of gravy mix put back, too.
I checked to see what they had plenty of in stock and if there were shortages (cat food, again) but I had already spent money on the insulin needles so I kept the pantry purchases to around $10.00. As I have said, a little at a time adds up.
Last month, I had purchased a bag of Bob's Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix at Kroger and I finally tried it this week. It only contains dried legumes and pasta so it would make an excellent pantry item. I made it according to directions and added a can of tomatoes and a few other items.
We liked it very much and I will now purchase a couple more bags when I am at Kroger next time. I poured the remainder of that first bag into a half-gallon Ball jar, labeled it, and taped the instructions into the inside of the lid. However, it is easy to remember... four cups water (or broth) to one cup of the mix.
I added one more item for the pantry last week... kind of. I stopped by T.J.Maxx on the way to a doctor's appointment. I had not been there in years but like Tuesday Morning, it is a good place to look for kitchen items at a reasonable price. They didn't have what I was looking for but they did have a two tiered wire "basket" that is used to store fruit or vegetables. It sits on the floor or on a bench.
It as very inexpensive and perfect for storing onions and/or potatoes, keeping onions and potatoes separate enough that there should not be a problem with sprouting. This takes up less room than the three wicker baskets I have been using and should help the potatoes last longer since it has good airflow. It was a good addition to the pantry and should help my problem of having potatoes sprout too quickly in humid weather.
Next week is stock up day already and my pantry priority is to purchase some meat for the deep freeze. I have bought a few packages of chicken breasts at Aldi but I'm hoping to add more of them and some ground beef to the freezer. It depends on just how much they have gone up in price.
We continue to be shocked by food inflation so anything that can be purchased now and "put back" will be good. Who knows how much higher these prices will go, especially with gas prices continuing to break records. Of course, inflation makes "putting back" even more difficult for many people but a little at a time still helps in the long run.
If you can garden, it will be a huge benefit to your budget. We can't but I am going to support the local farmers so most of what I spend on veggies can remain local.
Mentioned in this Blog Post
Bob's Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix... info here. (Usually cheaper at the grocery store.)
Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix... info here. (Usually cheaper at the grocery store.)
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Image: Country Armoire