Hello, my name is Cathy, and my pantry is out of control. Here is how it looks today:
I'm looking forward to January, February and March when I challenge myself to shop for groceries as infrequently possible and to be creative in using up the supplies in my pantry and freezer. I won't buy rice, for instance. When I run out of rice, I'll use the rye berries instead. I won't buy oat flakes but will take the time to soak the steel-cut oats the night before so that they cook quickly in the morning. When I walk by the mountain of broccoli at the grocery store, I will think of ways to use the frozen kale from the freezer instead.
The goals are to:
- Eat more simple, whole foods.
- Challenge myself to cook with pantry staples (and make them taste good).
- Clear out the pantry and not waste food (allowing myself to finish the older beans before I buy fresher ones).
- Save money!!!
- Drastically reduce trips to the store and increase inner peace.
- Remind myself again about what is enough.
- Feel refreshed and energized by the simplified diet and the simplified pantry.
- Discover what feels essential to our health and well-being (see below about lemons and ginger) and learn to budget more efficiently to bring those necessary items into our home during winter.
This challenge is an idea I learned about on the forums at CottageSmallholder.com, a favorite blog. This will be my third winter challenging myself in this way, and I caught myself already playing along today. I wondered if I should stock up on brown rice because I saw a sale, and then I remembered that soon I will be working to empty my pantry and freezer, and it makes no sense to stock up beforehand.
Anyone want to join me? I have started a group on Facebook in case you'd like to join to share strategies, recipes, and frugal brilliance.
My strategy this year:
E drinks a lot of milk, but I may go to the grocery to pick up two gallons of milk at one time instead of going to the grocery twice. D and E eat meat, but we'll be using more of the meat that we've saved in the freezer instead. I will buy organic lemons and fresh ginger for their bright tastes and healing properties because -- during the last two years of this challenge -- I realized how essential these two ingredients are to my family's health, and they don't grow easily here in Oregon. We may eat a lot of pesto made from whatever greens -- wild, volunteer, or winter-hardy -- we can find in the garden. We'll buy apples, but I may just buy a case of a good-storing variety and keep it in the chilly garage.
I'm including my spice cabinet in the challenge this year because it's time for most everything in there to be renewed. All those beans and grains will appreciate some new spice combinations, too.