Spring Pantry Challenge - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 92 Old 03-06-2009, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's the place for anyone wanting to use their pantry and stored foods.

You can organize your pantry, focus on using up what you have, avoid the grocery stores complete, or stock up your pantry.

To quote Amys1st from the January thread:
Some people do it to use things up and only shop for things like dairy etc. Others use it to supplement their normal eating habits. Do what you want and help everyone else. This works great for the no spend mamas as a supplement their challenges!

So, let's get together and share ideas and successes for the Spring.

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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#2 of 92 Old 03-06-2009, 06:28 PM
 
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Sign me up! I need to inventory and get together a meal plan. I do know I am almost out of space, and I spent $200 + on groceries last week, so I shouldn't have to buy much the rest of the month. I hate to cook though, so that will be my challenge!

Heidi , wife to my DH , mama to Hope Isobel (4/3/06), Molly Grace (7/31/09): , furbaby Callie :
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#3 of 92 Old 03-06-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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My pantry challenge is the random stuff I've acquired. I'll see something that looks interesting, or I use a little bit for one recipe, and then it goes untouched. My challenge right now is to figure out a use for those things.
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#4 of 92 Old 03-06-2009, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our main challenge is to figure out what is in the freezer and use it up. I have a hard time resisting the sales, and I haven't seen the back of the freezer in a long time. Some of the items will probably be tossed, but I suspect more than 90% is usable.

We also have a lot of dried beans that I want to make sure we are using in our regular meals.

Other target items:
- Boxed cereals
- Brown and white rice
- Canned Asian mushrooms
- Tuna
- Home-canned goods, including green beans, applesauce, mincemeat, pepper jellies

DH is a SAHD, so he does most of the cooking. He is doing well with the freezer so far. I am trying to make a crockpot dish at least once a week - last week's was kind of a bomb, but I'll keep trying.

For the last couple months we've spent too much overall, including groceries, so we are both focused on using what's on hand. Gardening season is coming up, and we want to have space for all the new produce.

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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#5 of 92 Old 03-06-2009, 07:33 PM
 
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Our main challenge is to figure out what is in the freezer and use it up. I have a hard time resisting the sales, and I haven't seen the back of the freezer in a long time. Some of the items will probably be tossed, but I suspect more than 90% is usable.
I am constantly taking my mom's freezer burned food off her hands, and I toss it into the stock pot when I make stock. :

I'm in. I have some dried black beans that I want to use, and I want to make some granola, instead of buying cereal. I have everything for it, and some bulk bran flakes, so I should be able to make some yummy breakfast cereal. (I can't afford $8 for a tiny box)

I am not crunchy enough for this forum. Everyday I get a little crunchier though! :
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#6 of 92 Old 03-06-2009, 08:04 PM
 
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We have tons of food at our house right now meat, beans, rice, cheese, tomatoes-you name it we pretty much have it. My problem is the first tri not wanting to eat issue. It has been so hard to cook, and all I want is pizza.

I made beans the other day and am making burritos with them tonight because that sounds appetizing. I may make some rice to go with.

Ugh-I so want to do this because I have so much food at my house-I really only need to shop for produce. I just haven't been that in to cooking meat-it been a toughie.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#7 of 92 Old 03-06-2009, 08:28 PM
 
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- Canned Asian mushrooms
.
I don't like canned mushrooms much but I have used them, chopped pretty finely, mixed into meatballs or meatloaf. It helps keep the meat from drying out, stretches the meat so it feeds a few more people, and tastes fine with ground beef.
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#8 of 92 Old 03-06-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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I'm in. I'd really like to eat everything we have stored in my freezer so we can defrost it this spring.

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#9 of 92 Old 03-07-2009, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Last night I started on the upstairs freezer. It's going to be slow going!

I found several things that were long gone - tofu that expired in APRIL 03, completely frostbitten veggies over two years old. I got rid of about 6 pounds of stuff. It's sad to compost it, but really, we aren't going to eat anything that is in that bad of shape.

I did find some cooked pork chops that I have defrosted and will probably eat for lunch tomorrow. There are some frozen bananas that I am going to make into muffins. And I made lemonade from some frozen concentrate. Also identified some blue cheese that DD is going to have on a tortilla for lunch tomorrow.

Maybe I will actually be able to put ice cubes in the freezer by the end of the week.

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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#10 of 92 Old 03-07-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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I'm in! I have some odds and ends I need to use up to make more room. --

what I know I need to use--
-frozen bananas- will likely make a banana bread for breakfast a few days
-amaranth and millet- I bought these(small bags thankfully) but haven't cared too much for them- so I am hoping to try some new recipes that we will like and save money to stock up on other things.
- almond butter- I have maybe 1 c or so left out of a 9lb bucket- will likely use it to make some bread as well- we kind of got burned out on it- so would just like to use it up for now-
-poppy seeds! man I have tons of these bought to make dressing- but I am still working on finding a good dressing I like- so far the ones I have tried have been duds!
Those are the main things
-sea veggie flakes- I know I should add them to things, but I am always afraid it will make things taste funny- so I chicken out- I know they are oh so good for me though!

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#11 of 92 Old 03-07-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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Oh, can I play?

I just realized today that it is March, and very soon we will be gardening- and our freezer is stuffed to the gills.

(That is, our basement chest freezer. Our fridge top freezer is basically empty, all that's in there is juice concentrate, ice cubes, and bags of bread ends, fish skin, and random meat bones that DH uses for making croutons and stock, respectively.)

Besides the basement freezer, we have a basement pantry (old house, used to be a root cellar) and an upstairs pantry... and of course, our fridge. At this point there's enough food in this house that we shouldn't have to shop at all for months. Yet we continue to shop. Sigh.

So today, I cleaned out the freezer and made an inventory list. Go me!

(Hopefully, this makes meal planning easier. Even though I've already meal planned and shopped for this month. Heh. I like to do things backward.)

Now I just need to do the pantries. Anyway, here's what's in my basement freezer:

Freezer Inventory

Miscellaneous
Coffee Beans, 10#

Prepared Food
1.5# Bags Cheese Ravioli, 2
Veggie Burgers, 10
Pckg of 2 Veggie Sausage, 8
Portioned Veggie Lasagna, 4
80 oz Bag Tater Tots, 1
Battered Fish Portions, 5
Fish Sticks, 44
3 cup wedge MacNCheese, 1
2 cup containers Cabbage Soup, 4

Vegetables
Sundried Tomatoes, 2 handfuls
Whole Roasted Bell Peppers, 6
Whole Green Anaheim Chili, 1
1# Corn, 4
1# Peas, 4
1# Broccoli, 3
1 qt. Chard, 4
1# Edamame, 1
1# Okra, 1
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms, 3
1 qt. Sliced Bell Peppers, 1
1 qt. Brussels Sprouts, 1

Fruit
1# Red Raspberries, 2
1# Whole Strawberries, 1
1 # Cranberries, 1

Dried Fruit
1# Raisins, 3
½ # Pineapple, 1
½ # Cranberries, 1

Nuts and Seeds
1# Roasted Sunflower Seeds, 1
1# Walnuts, 1
½# Cashews, 1
Pecans, a handful

Bread
Pizza Dough, 8
Whole Wheat Loaves, 4
White Loaves, 1

Dairy
Gallon Bags Shredded Pizza Cheese, 2
12 oz containers Heavy Cream, 2
1# Butter, 3

Meat
1.25# Salmon Filet, 1
1# Bologna, 2
1# Cotto Salami, 2
1# Bacon, 2
Taco Meat, 2 servings
1# Ground Beef, 12
1# Venison/Pork Cudighi, 17
Chicken Portions, 13
Turkey Balls, 4
Pheasant, 1
Smoked Turkey Breast, 1
Cubed Round Steak, 1
Venison Loin, 1

Herbs and Spices
Ancho Chili Powder
Green Basil
Purple Basil
Cajun Seasoning
Chili Powder
Chinese 5 Spice
Ground Cinnamon
Cinnamon Sticks
Cloves
Coriander
Cream of Tartar
Cumin
Dill
Granulated Garlic
Ground Ginger
Fennel Seed
Jerk Seasoning
Ground Mustard
Mustard Seeds
Ground Nutmeg
Oregano
Paprika
Parsley
Whole Black Peppercorns
Rosemary
White Sesame Seeds


This stuff is grouped by geographic location within the freezer (I use plastic baskets). The insane part is, I have a spice rack that fits 84 jars, currently holds about 60 jars, and the spices on the freezer list? That's just back up. I'm starting to think that in a previous life, I lived through times of extreme food scarcity.

You know what else is insane? All that meat- only DH and DSS (who's only here part time) eat meat. DD and I just eat fish. Now, granted, a great percentage of that meat was given to us- in fact, everything but the lunch meat, bacon, and chicken was given to us by the ILs. It's lovely of them, really, and all nice, good stuff- grass fed beef, they hunted the turkey, pheasant, and venison themselves, all natural pork, you get the idea.

All the stuff we bought we bought because it was on really good, really recent sales- it's all natural, and I know that we spent $25 on all of it (chicken, bacon, lunch meat).

But now that I've gone through it all, I'm like, egad, how is all this meat ever going to get eaten? It'll take all year.

I think we should donate some of it. I'll mention that to DH.

Anyway, I'm going to do some more laundry and inventory my basement pantry. Wish me luck and continued motivation!

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#12 of 92 Old 03-07-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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I want to do it, too! I need to go through the freezer.
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#13 of 92 Old 03-07-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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OK, I'll play, hand in hand with the no-spend challenge. I don't have the pantry stockpile that I used to, but we could also stand to empty out our chest freezer. I keep seeing things in there while digging around for other stuff and thinking to myself, "Hey! I didn't know we still had a box of that!"

I'll be following along (though my mom cooked here tonight ).

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#14 of 92 Old 03-07-2009, 11:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Leta View Post
So today, I cleaned out the freezer and made an inventory list. Go me!
I've been meaning to do this for the longest time. I think I'll charge up my Sansa and get this job done tonight!

Melissa, a homeschooling, caffix.gif-guzzling, SAHM of two: reading.gif (11) and joy.gif(8)
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#15 of 92 Old 03-07-2009, 11:42 PM
 
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My pantry challenge is the random stuff I've acquired. I'll see something that looks interesting, or I use a little bit for one recipe, and then it goes untouched. My challenge right now is to figure out a use for those things.
: We ran out of cinnamon the other day, so we are finally using those cinn sticks we got ages ago!
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#16 of 92 Old 03-08-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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Okay, so last night, I inventoried the basement pantry. I've decided that it's time to install new shelves and get some more, better containers for food- I just about broke my fool neck last night.

Here's the list (things marked with an asterisk are going to the food pantry).

Basement Pantry Inventory
*Goes to food pantry

Italics= loose on shelf

Canned Goods
Qts. Chard-6
Pts. Jam-35
½ pts. Pizza Sauce-11
Pts. Peach Preserves- 8
Pts. Pickled Beets- 3.5
6 oz Black Olives- 8
Pts. Ketchup- 5
15 oz. Peaches-3
20 oz. Pineapple-3
15 oz. Sloppy Joe Sauce-3
Qts. Applesauce- 12
15 oz. Salmon-6
5 oz. Tuna- 6
4.25# Tuna-1*
Qts. Sweet Pickles- 1
11/2 pt. Marinara- 15
11.5 oz. cans V8-8
46 oz. cans V8-3
28 oz. canned tomatoes-3*
Qts. Canned tomatoes-23
7# tomato paste-1
12 oz. tomato paste-2*
14 oz. coconut milk-1
16 oz. refried beans-1
10.5 chicken noodle soup-1
27 oz. sauerkraut- 1

Other
18 oz. Peanut Butter- 7
1 gal white vinegar-3
Qt. Apple cider vinegar-1
Balsamic vinegar-6 oz.
Red wine vinegar-17 oz.
White wine vinegar-12 oz.
Bragg’s Liquid Amino’s-18 oz.
Club soda-3
4# box baking soda-6
Lemon, lime, orange, mint, vanilla extracts- sh!tloads


Stuff in the Cardboard Box
48 oz. butter flavor shortening-1
Cooking spray-3
48 oz. Mayo-1
12 oz. Dijon-1
Siracha-2


Regular Type= inside plastic bins/coolers

Misc.
Jar beef boullion-1
Jar chicken boullion-1
1.5 oz. Butter Buds-1
Baggie Kombu-1
1 oz. instant potato flakes-5
1 oz. maple extract-1

Sweets
3pack Sugarless Gum-1
Tablets Rennet-8
Envelopes Knox Gelatine-2
Boxes Pectin-4
Boxes Jello-17
Boxes Instant Puddin-10
1# Chocolate Chips-2
1# Cocoa-3
Oz. Blackstrap Molasses-8
1# White Sugar-13
1# Powdered Sugar-1/2
1# Brown Sugar-1

Grains42 oz. canisters Oats-2
24 oz. Grits-1.25
1# whole wheat flour-5
1# AP flour- 0
1# brown rice-3
1# yellow cornmeal-1/2
1# tortilla mix-2

Beverages
1 gal bag dry skim milk-1
12 oz. dry whole milk-1/2
12 oz. dry buttermilk-2
3 oz. instant tea-1
1 gal bag assorted teabags-1
1# instant mochachino-1

Beans
1# lentils-1/4
1# green split peas-2
1# soybeans-1/4
1# pinto beans-1/4
1# great northern beans-1/4
1# baby limas-1/4
1# small red beans-1
1# black beans-1

Pasta
1 bag whole wheat egg noodles-1.25
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles-1.5
1 box whole wheat penne-1
1 box whole wheat linguine-1/2

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#17 of 92 Old 03-08-2009, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Another good day from pantry. I'm making spinach artichoke lasagna for dinner; I was inspired by finding the pork sausage in the freezer, although it didn't actually make it into the dish. Used some frozen spinach, refrigerated artichokes, frozen feta and mozzarella, and most of the last of the lasagna noodles.

I also found a ham bone that I am going to do in the crockpot with some dried beans, but I've got to find a recipe. Most of the ones I am fining are for soup, which I don't really want.

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#18 of 92 Old 03-08-2009, 09:22 PM
 
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Finished inventorying the fridge today and tossed out OLD condiments and a few leftovers that have been hanging out for over a week.
DH made a trip to Trader Joes today for fruit and snacks. Shouldn't need to shop otherwise this week.
Onto the freezer and pantry!

Heidi , wife to my DH , mama to Hope Isobel (4/3/06), Molly Grace (7/31/09): , furbaby Callie :
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#19 of 92 Old 03-08-2009, 10:13 PM
 
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My goal is to limit myself to 3 grocery trips a month -- one Costco, one Superstore and one to the Farmer's Market. In order to do this, I have been stocking up on staples and will have to continue being organized enough to replace what I use on the regular trips to keep up my inventory.

I resent the time I waste shopping everywhere every week or so. And impulse purchases are killing me, esp non-food at Costco.

I also need to clear out my freezer to get ready for gardening season and for milk so I can go longer between shopping trips.

I have the breadmaker out, and have been using it to make dough, which I bake in the oven. I stopped using the breadmaker because I didn't like the way it baked loaves, but I find that it kneads dough just fine. This will help me by letting me clear out my stock of baked goods from the freezer, and by saving $$, too. I organized a breadmaking station with all ingredients handy and all recipes posted.

When the motor goes on my breadmaker, I'll hopefully have proven that I can make our bread regularly, and therefore will be able to justify something like a Kitchenaid to make larger batches of dough.
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#20 of 92 Old 03-08-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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I was inspired by finding the pork sausage in the freezer, although it didn't actually make it into the dish.
This happens to me all.the.time.

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#21 of 92 Old 03-08-2009, 11:17 PM
 
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75% of my freezer has our meat stash right now. But I have two home made baked pies- organic peach and organic apple. Both are very yummy but didnt get eaten when they were made. DH wants to eat them. But I am having my brother and SIL over soon and his favorite is apple, so we can have that for dessert.

We added chicken parm tonight to the freezer. We added chicken and dumplings a few days ago.

Now, for the pantry- I think we are doing ok since I have been rotating and using up stuff since I started these plus it helped to be in the last one a few months ago...but I always sub since I get GREAT ideas from these threads!

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#22 of 92 Old 03-09-2009, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have some open almond butter that needs to be used up quickly - the expiration is approaching quickly.

Do you think I could substitute almond butter for the peanut butter in this recipe (and drop the peanuts)? I'll probably also add other dried fruit and nuts, but I've never done anything but spread almond butter on toast.

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#23 of 92 Old 03-09-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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I have some open almond butter that needs to be used up quickly - the expiration is approaching quickly.

Do you think I could substitute almond butter for the peanut butter in this recipe (and drop the peanuts)? I'll probably also add other dried fruit and nuts, but I've never done anything but spread almond butter on toast.
Probably, but what's the recipe? Or, do you have enough other ingredients to make granola bars?

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#24 of 92 Old 03-09-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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I'm serving lunch out of the freezer-- little cheese tartlets I got at the surplus outlet. The kids think it's fancy, but really, they were 2/$1.

And for dinner I'm using up some ground beef.

This weekend I used up some wings I had in there.

Of course, all this is negated by the chicken quarters I bought this weekend. At 59 cents a pound, I couldn't resist.

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#25 of 92 Old 03-09-2009, 01:06 PM
 
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We are in the midst of a season change. So I dont if others do this, but as the weather gets warmer, we tend to eat different as well. So I am trying to use up our cold months style of food- such as soups, stews etc.

So just like you change up your winter and summer clothes, we also change up our winter and summer eating food!

I made up 2 lbs of taco meat last week and then we eat it for lunch etc. I have a bit left. I am thinking of making up a funky lasagna since I also have tomato sauce DH made last night. Any ideas?

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#26 of 92 Old 03-09-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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I'm in!! I just cleaned out our pantry not too long ago and threw a box of cereal that was nearly 2 years old. I'm on board to start using more of what's in our pantry and freezer and become creative!!
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#27 of 92 Old 03-09-2009, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Probably, but what's the recipe? Or, do you have enough other ingredients to make granola bars?
OOPS!
http://www.grouprecipes.com/5211/pea...r-granola.html

Thanks! I was going to wonder why I was being ignored. I blame daylight savings time for my flakiness.

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#28 of 92 Old 03-10-2009, 04:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HydeParkB View Post
OOPS!
http://www.grouprecipes.com/5211/pea...r-granola.html

Thanks! I was going to wonder why I was being ignored. I blame daylight savings time for my flakiness.
I was wondering if you meant your ham and beans recipe there for a bit, then decided there was no way! Yes, I would totally use almond butter in that recipe. In fact, it sounds really yummy, and I have a load of rolled oats to use myself. Thanks for posting!

Melissa, a homeschooling, caffix.gif-guzzling, SAHM of two: reading.gif (11) and joy.gif(8)
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#29 of 92 Old 03-10-2009, 05:36 AM
 
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Hi there,

I'd love to participate.

I really need to do the following:

Organize my pantry items; so I can see what I have
at a glance. At this time, things are packed in so tightly
that I can see without moving things. On one hand, it's
great that I now have 5 months of food storage, but on
the other hand, if I can't see what I have, it will be hard
to effectively use it.

Store my 126 canning jars in an earthquake proof area.
Since I live on a fault line, no place is safe, but I have
cleared out the space below my sink, and surrounding
cabinets below, to put all my jars. They will be there
at least until they are filled up.


As for my pantry items, I have certain things that we just
couldn't have enough of. After I bought many cans of
tomatoes, I realized that I could buy 3 times that amount
and still need more. I may not have room for all that I need
without starting storage in our bedroom closets! LOL

Fortunately my children LOVE powdered milk, and so I have
30 quarts of dry milk in the pantry.

My kids are so great about this new adventure, and I have
been able to identify some of their favorite dishes which I
can make from pantry items, over and over.

Here's my crux about can goods, and I guess I need some
veggies and beans in cans, but I hate the way they taste.
I like dry beans. I like soaking them (think about the extra
nutrition) and I love fresh veggies. So how can a person
have a healthy diet on canned foods? I'm not talking about
our own canned veggies from our own garden, I'm talking
about store bought cans of food. Do I need to still include
some of those for "just in case"? I do like canned tomatoes,
so we have alot.

As for what we eat per season? We still eat soup year around.
Soup is so nutritious (lentils, beans, veggies, veggie broth, ect).
We LOVE salads and have already started eating a ton of salads
now that we noticed the warmer temps. As the summer burns
on, we will stop using the stove unless we need to (roasting
almonds for example). I don't use a microwave so this doesn't
help with the heat situation while cooking in the summer.

My sister has her stove out on her screened porch. They cook
on it year around. However, during the most bitter times, they
cook on their wood stove. She lives on 80 acres on an intentional
community. I really just can't imagine how my neighbors would
take it if I put my stove on the porch, much less my landlord!

I have a crock pot, and I use it all year, as well as my rice cooker.
Unfortunately I read a thread here on MDC about the crock pot
not being safe. I have a Rival crock pot, so I'm worried about that.

How do all of you keep the house cool in the summer while preparing
healthy foods? I live in the south, and we get temps upwards to
105 during July and August. We've even had 110 once or twice.

Obviously there is alot of raw eating during the highest growth time
in a garden, so we will be doing that alot too. What do you do in
the hot seasons?

Vegetarian Hindu, mother to L,P and R. 
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#30 of 92 Old 03-10-2009, 11:02 AM
 
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Well I'm in for and I want to brag about my DH.:

I've got quit a bit of random items to use up and would like to keep my overall food expendatures low without giving much/any on either taste or nutrition.

Yesterday he made himself and the boys some homemade pho for lunch using some random veggies and homeraised peashoots, and some Thai Kitchen noodles that had been around forever. The all liked it and DH got rid of his craving for pho without going out to eat (too bad I was at work).

Then for supper he made a dish with a cornbread topping, corn, bacon, leftover black beans, onion, jalopeno, and olives. He used some cornmeal made from corn that we had raised in our three sister garden last summer (and I had been having trouble figuring out how to use up). He had a recipe from a magazine and it looked identical (I was teasing him that he should be food stylist for his next career.)
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