Friday, January 21, 2011

A Well-Stocked Pantry

It seems like most of the nation is in a deep freeze right now. As I type this I am sitting wrapped in a king size quilt with a homemade rice pack helping to keep my neck warm. Unexpected snow storms are known to dash my plans to go grocery shopping, because it is rarely worth it to me to trudge through an unploughed parking lot pushing a cart loaded with groceries and two littles. I'd rather stay home and sip my cup of tea thank you very much! A well-stocked pantry is essential though. I keep a list on the fridge of basic grocery items to keep on hand. Before I go to the store, I run through the list to make sure I am not running low on something without realizing it.

Most people keep basic things on hand:
  • Flour, sugar, rice, beans, cooking oil, corn meal, pasta, canned tomatoes, peanut butter, and oats in the pantry
  • Meats and frozen vegetables in the freezer.
  • Cheese and butter keep for months in the fridge. (I have been known to buy 16 pounds of cheese at once when it is at its rock bottom price!)
  • Produce like apples, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, oranges, lemons, and sweet potatoes keep for several weeks. (TIP - Store onions and potatoes separately and they will keep longer!)
You can make quite a few meals with these things on hand!

It seems like the items needed weekly, or at least bi-weekly are milk and fresh produce. To expand my repertoire of pantry meals, I've started keeping a few extras on hand. Maybe some of these ideas will be useful for you:
  • Powdered milk in the freezer. (We don't drink milk, but if I ever need it for cooking, powdered milk is quick to mix up in the quantity I need.)
  • I also like to keep powdered buttermilk or goat milk on hand. They keep quite a while in the fridge and are good for baking.
  • Frozen and dehydrated diced green pepper (Several recipes I make require all pantry ingredients except for this one item, and I really do like the pepper! Bell peppers are also quite expensive out of season, so these options have been helpful when the peppers are not on sale.)
  • Dehydrated onions and garlic. I begin nearly every meal sauteing onions and garlic. This way, if I run out, I have a backup! We are not big mushroom eaters, but I have heard dried mushrooms are nice also.
  • I already wrote about my mung beans for sprouting. They are nice when fresh greens are hard to come by.
  • Canned tropical fruit is quite good and refreshing. Read the label and make sure it does not include bananas. Canned bananas are nasty, trust me on that one! But the tropical fruit mix is really very nice and usually has pineapple, mango, and papaya. I often mix in mandarin oranges and extra pineapple. I always look for the kinds packed in fruit juice instead of syrup. If you have unexpected company, this makes a good quick dessert.
I still haven't found a great solution for eggs. We go through eggs at a shocking rate. Thankfully, if I run out, we have a convenience store only a few blocks away and we have utilized it in moments of desperation. I've tried egg substitutes in baking, but was disappointed in the results. Any recommendations for eggs?

I'm planning to do an upcoming post on "Desperation Dinners"... You know, when you look at the clock and it is 5:15 already and you haven't even thought about what to make for dinner. You could order pizza or Chinese take-out, but you don't have to do that, because, *insert trumpet fanfare* - You've got Church Mouse's Desperation Dinner Plan!

:) Enjoy your weekend and try to stay warm!

1 comment:

  1. We have 6 pet hens in our backyard - we never run out of eggs, and we usually have plenty for our neighbors too. They are lots of fun, and also educational. When my mom & dad were kids (they are now in their 70s), everyone had chickens in their yards, and now I have several friends who do also. And we don't live in the country either, just a neighborhood. Just a thought!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...