Thank Goodness for the Pantry! March 29, 2023

Have you ever had one of those weeks? The kind where you are hit on every side by unexpected activities and situations, and have to maintain your “regular” life at the same time? I think we all have.

We had one of those weeks! Our pantry saved the day for me!

I did have time to run into the store once, while Rob stayed with Malcolm in the car on the way back from one of our many commitments. I spent around $6. Otherwise, I have been relying on my freezer and pantry shelves because I have been too busy to worry about organizing a big shop.

Rob cooked some of that 87c/lb chicken we got last week. He barbecued it with some home-canned plum sauce. That sauce has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while, and since we liked it a lot, I know what I’m going to do with the rest of it now.

I had him pick up a Costco chicken last week when he was with our niece. She loves, loves, loves to get a hot dog there, and they occasionally do that after her other activities. We ate that a few times, then I boiled the bones and now have about 3 quarts of broth and some bits of meat.

I made some home-made gluten-free Bisquick mix and made Impossible Gluten-free Cheeseburger Pie, right off the Betty Crocker website. I made three of these this past week, as we had lots of company at various times and also needed to take food to the college group yesterday. I used the same mix to make cheesy-garlic biscuits like the ones from Red Lobster. They were great! Now, I’m out of that mix and will need to mix up more if I want any of those again. I have a huge assortment of gluten-free flours in the garage that need to be used, so I’m purposefully looking for some recipes to use them.

I practiced making gluten-free angel food cake and fed it to my mom and aunt. I want to make one for Easter and haven’t made it for so long I wanted to practice. It came out great and also used some of those random flours in the garage.

I made up another bag of gluten-free bread crumbs from a loaf that was given to me a while back. We were given a few quite dry ones, and this is the second time I’ve made crumbs.

The schools handed out free lunches for spring break. They are doing it differently–handing out a large bag every few days, rather than one small bag each day. We managed to make it one time so far, and have one more chance today to hit their one-hour window. The kids have been enjoying some different foods from that source. I made tapioca pudding from some of the milk. I also made hot chocolate by mixing some chocolate and white milk and warming it. I cooked the broccoli and cauliflower and will put the celery in something I cook. I froze a few items and will feed them out over time. There were apples and oranges. My nephew and his friends ate apples Monday afternoon while they were playing, but there are still a few left.

Yesterday was the busiest day of all. I made muffins early in the morning, using frozen peaches and Pamela’s gf pancake mix. I doubled it so I could freeze some. I didn’t freeze any. We ended up with some unexpected company that stayed all day, so I served them up, along with sending some to the college group. I grabbed 2 quarts of home-canned broth because what I was making on the stove was not finished, canned carrots, a garden onion, rice, spices and some of the Costco chicken and quickly made some soup.

The pantry and freezers really came through for me this week. We even got out a packet of instant mashed potatoes (saved for desperately busy times), pulled soup from the freezer, and used some other odds and ends. Fresh produce is what I purchased, we have carrots, potatoes and onions, the eggs are holding out from some we got reasonably a while back, the milk was stretched by the school lunches so I still have plenty, so we are good to go for several more days. What a blessing! I’ve saved quite a bit of money this month from my grocery budget, due to how busy I’ve been. Perfect! I’ll just replace some of my pantry items if I need to and be ready for the next super crazy, busy time in my life.

Although this picture of the canning shelf is from last fall, while I was grabbing jars one day, I arranged the shelves and tidied them up a bit and noticed that we still have jars and jars and jars that are still filled. Amazing! I’m glad I filled so many.

14 thoughts on “Thank Goodness for the Pantry! March 29, 2023”

  1. What a wonderful week you’ve had. I too keep a deep pantry and stocked freezers but for a different reason. I never know when my health will take a dip and leave me with no energy. This week was one of those low energy weeks which happen some times. So I pulled out some BBQ pork that had been frozen and portioned out three dinners with it. Added some rice to each and also split a can of green beans. Bingo — dinner ready for the microwave.

    1. I’m glad you had plenty of food prepped for this kind of week! Today was my day, after how busy we have been–I fell asleep sitting up on the couch for about an hour, and now feel much better. Good thing Rob was there to keep the troops quiet and things under control! (Of course, he had been trying to talk me into just going into the bedroom and taking a nap, but I though I was fine…..). Silly me! Sometimes just resting is what we all need. Now I can hopefully stay awake for choir practice tonight.

  2. Oh, My…your pantry jars picture..BEAUTIFUL‼️ BUT….at the risk of being a nag….have you managed to put ‘earthquake’ protection around them? All of my home canned jars are in a cabinet with doors, which are secured. We’ve put cardboard dividers between the rows of glass as well – the price of living in the mountains near Santa Cruz, Ca?.
    So glad that all your work of preserving came to the rescue while you continue to serve so many in so many ways!

    1. I don’t have earthquake protection. We have talked about my “ideal” shelves that Rob can build in his spare time some day:). I especially like the ones on the U-Tube channel “Little Mountain Ranch.” She has a little board that serves as a guard, and her shelves are a little deeper, as well. So, I showed him, but that will be a while before he gets to building me new ones. Until then, let’s just hope for the best!!!

  3. Sounds like you’ve had a super busy week! Glad you were able to use what was in your pantry and freezer. I, too, have been eating from the pantry and freezer these past couple of weeks as I used up my March grocery budget quite early in the month, stocking up on a few sale items! But, I’ve some fresh produce from the garden and haven’t really needed anything from the store.

    1. I’m glad you made out well for March. I know I didn’t need to buy much in March, either. I’ve already been to the store twice in April, though, just to stock up on a few things I was running out of, but not a huge shop.

  4. HI Becky,
    It’s wonderful to have such a deep store of canned and frozen goods. I need to take stock of mine, and put out on the kitchen counter cans I want/need to use up, like you did a few weeks back. I’m a year or two older than you and Rob, so I remember that Bisquick “impossible cheeseburger pie” thing from the 80s. I got some ground beef on sale at Wal Mart for $3.00/lb last week, and cooked/froze it. I will make that this evening! Thanks for letting us know what you’ve been cooking; I’ve frequently taken insipration from you!

    1. I’m so glad you can get some inspiration. Sometimes, for me, it’s just having an idea of something to make and I’m off and running. Thinking about what to make is what takes the longest sometimes!

  5. I saw the picture of your pantry and shelves and felt a bit green with envy. How could you have such full shelves with everything perfect? Then you confessed it was a fall picture. I didn’t feel so bad then. Mine is full of gaps and getting empty in many spots. My freezer is also getting quite low but isn’t that the plan for this time of the year?

    I have spent the morning in my pantry cleaning up a huge, disgusting mess. Three mice got in, found the bags of pistachios saved for my special treat, and dropped a horrible mess over my canning jars. I had to sanitize everything in that area and toss the nibbled bags out for the Blue Jays. We had traps set but they wouldn’t go to them like before. Then we realized we had used my sugar-free, organic peanut butter but they wanted the cheap stuff. Bill said he didn’t blame them – my peanut butter is healthy but bland.

    Years ago I would put my canning supplies away at the end of summer but now my canner stays out all the time. I am canning year-round now. It seems you might be starting to do the same thing. My spinach is beginning to bolt and I want to harvest enough to try canning it. I have never eaten home-canned spinach and have heard it is delicious. That will be another winter canning job.


    1. A mouse mess!!! Awful. I’ve dealt with quite a few of those over my lifetime. Yuck and double yuck. I’m glad it’s cleaned up and hopefully that mouse has gone away.

      I still seem to have a tremendous amount of food left in my cupboards. If I took a picture right now, which I should, it will still look super full. I think it looks that way because I kept taking empty jars upstairs to store and refilled the gaps from my boxes.

      My freezers…..just wow! Even though I tried for an entire month, I could barely get the ice cream cake I made in for Easter. Partly that is because my daughter bought a huge bag of frozen food right after I emptied a space and put it in the space:). She eats pescatarian (vegetarian, but with seafood and fish), and likes certain frozen foods….Ahhhhhh…..Now, I have the opportunity of eating 1/2 of an ice cream cake to make more space…it may take some time, but oh, what a good job that will be! I’m sure I can get some help with that.

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