Saturday, September 24, 2022

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - A change of seasons has arrived

It seems like we went from full out Summer one day to Fall the next day.  While I am very happy to have cooler temperatures after a sizzling summer, the changes are a little difficult to absorb so soon.  

We did turn on our furnace today for awhile.  I was hoping we could wait until after our annual furnace tune up happened next week. I have dust allergies and yes... we did open all the windows and... I sneezed and felt terrible for awhile.  But my annual dread of starting the furnace up is over for another year. 

I am sorry that comments did not get moderated again until yesterday.  It was also a week when the Sunday Afternoon Tea post would not "take" on Facebook.  The lateness of the moderating had to do with my busy schedule and who knows what is going on with Blogger?

Early in the week, I had to send an Amazon return at the UPS Store, which is about thirty minutes from where I live.  So, while in town I ran some errands to get them out of the way and not waste gas. The price of gas is beginning to creep up again, not that it went all that low.

The remainder of this past week has been working on a huge project that had a simple beginning.  I think I shared here that I found the exact kind of dorm refrigerator I wanted on clearance for $37.00 plus change at Kroger.  They are very good about moving seasonal items out by putting them on clearance.  I'm sure they were selling dorm refrigerators only while the students were returning.

You may remember that a dear friend bought me an amazing gift, a small solar generator and solar panels to use during times of power outages.  We do get short term outages where I live in the country but there is also a lot more talk about possible power outages on a regional and national level.

She was concerned about the safety of my insulin, which needs to be refrigerated. Purchasing a dorm size refrigerator had been on my "list of things to do" for awhile.  It is perfect to use with a small generator.  So, I was very happy to find it on clearance.  I was at Meijer later that week and the same brand was still full price there.

Well, the box with the dorm refrigerator sat in my living room for a few weeks while I decided where it could find a permanent home.  That took a lot of pondering and praying for wisdom until one day I thought of a solution.  It required changing books from one bookshelf to another, moving items from those shelves to another, and then moving a small bookshelf to the garage.

The changes all look good and even though it required getting rid of some books that I knew the kids would not be interested in eventually, I like the way it turned out.  Since I was already decluttering and changing things around, I decided to get rid of a tall, narrow shelf in the dining area that has held various Boston Ferns almost since we moved here.

Honestly, I got to a point last Spring that I didn't want to sweep up the dead ferns, anymore.  Boston Ferns do not like our house in Winter and they complain by shedding all over the wood floor.  I will still hang a Boston fern on the porch each year as long as they do not go up in price too much.

I think I have reached an age when I need easy more than ever.  Including plants that are easy to take care of rather than the flighty difficult prima donna ferns.  That may be why I have so many spider plants in the house.  They are the cats of the plant world.  Give them attention when they want it and then leave them to their own company.

As for the pantry this week, I didn't do much food shopping but Kroger had a big sale on their 4-pack cans of vegetables.  I bought three 4-packs of green beans while they were almost half price. I use the cut green beans in vegetable soup and stews.  

Last year, I thought I had put back plenty cans of green beans for the winter but I was surprised to have used them all when I needed a can for soup.  This year, I am determined to have enough. Especially when purchased on sale.

Many grocery stores used to have annual sales on their canned vegetables around September each year.  They were getting rid of last year's crop to make room for this year's crop on the shelves but you really can't tell the difference in only one year. I expect that was why Kroger was having these sales, too.

I had to purchase a bag of potatoes for the first time in awhile.  I only needed a three pound bag of Yukon gold potatoes and I should have known they were going to be expensive when I couldn't find a price displayed.  It wasn't until I arrived home and was looking at the receipt that I saw they were well over $6.00.  For three pounds.  I don't ever remember potatoes being so expensive.

With cooler weather back, I made chicken stock using a whole chicken one day.  I removed all the breast meat from the chicken before it cooked too long and then added more water and simmered it about another couple of hours.  Along with onion and celery, it made a good rich stock.

Besides using the white meat in the chicken vegetable soup, I made chicken pot pie and chicken tacos from the remaining chicken breast.  Sometimes I just freeze the extra cooked chicken if I have other meals planned that week.  However, this week it stretched into three (more since we had soup for a couple dinners) meals.

Sometimes I also make the soup and then place it in one or two quart size freezer containers and label it for the deep freeze.  I also do this when I make chili. It doesn't make sense to make soup, chili, etc. for just two people but filling the deep freeze with soups and stews (and chili) makes a lot of sense.

I am finishing today's blog post late on Saturday.  So, should there be typos and grammar errors, please be forgiving.  Colder weather also makes me very tired and sleepy at first.  I have great admiration for animals like bears who are sensible and sleep through winter.  Of course, then who would make the soup and bread?

I also didn't get an opportunity to do much research this week but things are kind of quiet on YouTube, anyway.  Especially since I now only follow those vloggers who provide good information and instruction while staying away from scare tactics.  

Should there be any good information, I will pass it on here. 

Image: Friendly Village china, Pumpkin bars


Vee said...

Wonderful photo! Makes me want to sit down and join you. That quick switch was exactly how autumn arrived here, too. One day summer warm and the very next cold (not cool) fall with lows in the 40s at night and 50s during the day. I am hoping for 60s tomorrow.

I haven't bought any potatoes so thank you for the warning. After paying $2 a can for soup, I shopped at the Dollar Tree and stocked up on tomato and cream of chicken. I'm not going to fret too much about health other than staying alive. 😏

How nice to find a mini fridge so you'll be prepared in a power outage. Winter is notorious for that. You inspire me to be better prepared.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to your Saturday entries!

This tip is working out amazingly well for me:

If I have leftover soup/stew, I vacuum seal it.
"Wait!" you say, "You can't vacuum seal soup without it making a mess!"

Here's how the internet advised freezing soup to vacuum seal:
* Buy a vacuum sealer at a thrift store. (I think mine cost around $7).
* Put leftover soup into a vacuum seal bag (I buy mine in bulk on Amazon. About $0.13 each)
* Fold the top over and fasten with a clip.
* Freeze the bag unsealed. (usually a couple of hours will do it).
* Take the frozen bag to the sealer and vacuum seal.

By partially freezing the bags, the soup solidifies, so it doesn't make a mess.

Now, I take a vacuum sealed bag of leftovers out of the freezer on Saturday. Easy to heat up and have a hot meal ready on Sunday after church.

With only two of us, a lasagna would get boring if I didn't have a way to preserve leftovers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brenda! It's been a long time since I commented but I always read your uplifting blog. It is definitely soup season. Don't you love it?
Yesterday we had chicken stock/ veggie /chickpea soup that was so delicious that I made it again today. Just used any veggies I had hanging around. Yum. We freeze all our leftovers too so things aren't wasted.
We were charged $6.00 for 5 lbs of potatoes some time ago and THAT seemed bad. I grew potatoes this year but most of them went to family and a neighbors. Gardeners share. It's part of the fun. Next year our potato patch will be bigger since they are easy to grow here. They required water just twice in our terrible drought because: deep straw mulch! More garden = less mowing and you get food! Win/win.LOL
Golden pothos is the easiest plant for the conditions in my home. Mine is almost touching the floor again so it's time for a trim. Like you, I'm cutting back on my plant collection. It is hard because I am a plant addict but I also like a clean, tidy and uncluttered home. This week I tossed an orchid in the compost; (it had s root rot) and I found a home for my parlor palm. I do not miss them. Besides, the good Lord doesn't want us to be overly attached to worldly things, and that includes houseplants. Ha. Take care.
Dee/NY PS My hubby and I are now in the grandparent club! It is wonderful!