January 12-Use-It-UP! 2024

I am still on my mission to use many things from the pantry, freezers and canning shelves. Here are a few of the sides we had in the past few days.

I cooked home-canned green beans. We grow a Blue Lake variety for the green ones. This year, it will be a favorite–“Venture. ” The yellow ones are “Carson.” I usually grow both and mix them in the jars.

The potatoes are some red ones from a bag that showed up here ??? (someone bought them in the past–not me), and they were starting to sprout when I found them. I put some olive oil on them and some herbs and roasted them in the oven.

The macaroni and cheese is a box of Kraft from the pantry. My niece loves that kind, and that kind only, so I grabbed a few boxes when it is on sale. She and my grandson ate most of it yesterday.

I used up some lemons that were in the fridge drawer in lemon bars for the church young adult group. I still cook for them on Tuesdays, but things have changed slightly and sometimes all I need to bring is dessert, sometimes more things, depending on the need that day. This time, Rob barbecued 3 huge packs of drumsticks (we kept and ate part of the 3rd pack) and sent them with the gluten-free lemon bars. It was nice to get those drumsticks out of the freezer. I got 2 packs on super super markdown ($2.35/huge pack) and have been saving them for this purpose. The 3rd pack had been on sale as well, just not that great of a sales as that! Our food was put with other food from other people, to be enough to feed the group, which often runs 25-30 right now.

The jar in the background is full of chicken broth. We had a Costco chicken and I made broth from the bones. I either need to freeze it today or make some thing from it.

I made turkey meatloaf. I buy the ground turkey on sale and still have several in the freezer. Malcolm seems to love turkey meatloaf!

I also made some spaghetti sauce, using my home-canned marinara, plus some tomato sauce I had, hamburger, extra herbs, frozen onions, and cooked noodles from the pantry. In the end, there still wasn’t enough sauce and it wasn’t how I wanted it, so I added a jar of purchased sauce and that finished it off. I’m trying to slip some of that purchased sauce in when I can because we like the home-canned better and the few jars I have from the store are just sitting there getting older and older and older……

Rob made pancakes for breakfast. These are made from Pamela’s gluten-free pancake mix. The flecks you see in there are because there’s almond flour in that particular mix. We all love them. Since I am so sensitive to even the smallest bit of wheat/gluten, much of the time we all eat gluten-free around here. I do buy bread for them, and we are really careful about the crumbs. Occasionally, Grocery Outlet has the big bags of this mix for $13-$15. I just checked at the Natural Grocers store, and the same bag was $23. Because Grocery Outlet is hit and miss, when we see it, we buy 2 or 3 bags. Right now, they don’t have it, but I still have 2 bags left, so there’s time for them to get it in before I would have to pay full price for it. If they never get it again, it is what it is. Gluten free food is not inexpensive, but worth every penny to me.

As you can see, things are going well in the food department right now, here at my house. I did buy milk, 5 dozen eggs, produce, and a few pantry items a couple of days ago. My older daughter wanted to shop, so I took her and got what I needed at the same time. It’s hard to believe that I was out of anything–I keep such a large pantry–but a few things did run out. I did not stock up, but only got what I needed this time, as my goal is to force myself to use up a few items that have been there for a long time, while still giving myself the ability to cook at a moment’s notice without running to the store for basic ingredients. My niece and nephew are very specific as to what foods they will and will not eat, and are here frequently, so I do always keep “their” foods stocked. We are all in good shape for food now.

6 thoughts on “January 12-Use-It-UP! 2024”

  1. I too am using food up as much as possible, and since I happen to have a pound of ground turkey thawed in the fridge, I think I’ll make turkey loaf as well! It was crazy cold here in Colorado, so I didn’t dare venture into the garage long enough to take stock of my freezer there, but now that it’s warmed up, I will!
    Have a wonderful rest of the week.

    1. I hear you! It’s been very cold, icy and snowy here, which is not usual. I haven’t left the house since last Friday, I think. Maybe Saturday…anyway, it’s been a while:). We have made great progress in using food, as we did not leave. That’s one way:)

  2. I did a tremendous amount of canning and food processing last summer after we lost the fall/winter garden. We almost emptied out my pantry last winter trying to get through. This year is so different. The winter garden has thrived and we are eating from it daily. My pantry is still stocked and overflowing! I really overstocked because I was concerned the garden would fail again (and it could have!) I purchased a mountain of jars at an estate auction since I was running out, filled them up and almost ran out again!
    There is a point of having too much food but I haven’t figured out where that line is. I think as long as we are using or sharing it before it spoils, it is the right amount. What do you think?

    1. That is a question I wrestle with, as well. I want to have enough in case of a crop failure, like you. I have had those as well. There have also been times, such as during Covid, where things were simply not available. Or like a week ago Sunday, where I got the last head of lettuce in the store I was in, and went without several items on my list simply because the store had been slammed and they couldn’t fill the shelves up fast enough. But…..there does come a point where I really don’t want any of my hard work to go to waste, and that’s where the balance comes in for me. I have no problem having more than one year’s worth of food on my shelves, as long as it’s being rotated and the oldest is used first. I did not can a single pear last summer, because I had done so many the year before and I simply felt we could not use all I had before they got quite old. That is what I call the “fickle family” problem…where they were gobbling pears, then didn’t eat a pear for quite some time:). I also have to decide how much stock I want to rotate, catalog, move around to get the new in the back, etc. I don’t want to be that old lady who makes here kids clean out 20 year old canned fruit when I’m gone. Just sayin’. Balance is the key. Finding it is the challenge.

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