Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pantry Challenge #35 ... 2014

How are you doing on those holiday preps?  Are you finished with the shopping?  We have one more gift to purchase and one more to get in the mail.    I plan to shop and sew and stock my pantry with Christmas gifts and gift giving supplies like we did in 2014 for the 2015 holiday season.  It sure has made gift giving easier this holiday season.

If you’re not reading the comments each week, you’re missing out on a lot of encouragement and knowledge.  Thank you to all who comment … I LOVE that you take the time out of your busy days to share your thoughts and wisdom.  I learn so much from you!

My to-do list from last time:  
Continue canning pinto beans.   Done!  I got another 7 quarts canned.  This gives me a total of 25 quarts and I’m still not quite half way through the 25 lb bag!
Re-can two #10 cans of tomato sauce … Didn’t get done!

In Addition ….
We had onions left over from a meal one night and as soon as the meal was over, while I was cleaning up, I chopped them up and froze them for future use.  Waste not, want not!

I had $4 in Register Rewards from Walgreens that I needed to use or lose this week so I combined it with a rain check I had for canned corned beef and walked out of the store with 2 cans of corned beef for a total of $2.92.  Normally one can is a bit over $5!

The specific area of my pantry that I’m focusing on restocking for the months of November and December is baking supplies.  This time of year most stores run sales on their baking supplies, so it’s a good time to do some replenishing.   Here are the items I will be watching sales for:

Butter … None this week!
Sugar-free chocolate chips …  None this week!
Coconut oil …  None this week!
Olive Oil    None this week!

In other news:
I have spent most of the week sewing … what have I been sewing … a new velvet santa suit for my husband!  We purchased the velvet in the fall when we had a 60% off coupon at Joann’s.  I meant to have it already made, but life kept happening and so here we are at the busiest time of the year for ‘Santa’ and I’m making ‘him’ a new suit!  0:)  I’ve watched youtube videos and read online articles on sewing with velvet.  It’s been a long time since I’ve sewn with velvet and I needed a refresher course.  I’m so glad that I could get that through research free of charge online.  

I finished decorating for Christmas.  We have a grand total of 5 trees of various sizes strategically placed throughout our little house.  I set one tree in an old trunk, another in my HUGE crock, one in an old fashioned vegetable basket, a Charlie Brown tree in the bedroom and a small silver tree that fits nicely in one of our bathrooms.  I used what I had to decorate the trees and the rest of the house and didn’t buy anything new this year.  We are enjoying sitting in the house at night with the lights out and the trees all light up.  Beautiful!
 
We’ve watched several Christmas shows on TV this week … two episodes of  The Great Christmas Light Fight, parts of the Jackie Evancho special because my husband does not like commercials so he switches channels between programs … hence, I only saw part of the Jackie Evancho special as it was on at the same time as The Great Christmas Light Fight.  We also watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer which came on on a different night … we really do enjoy the simple and ‘free’ things in life!
 
I made up a batch of this holiday scent using ingredients I had on hand and enjoyed it for several days.   It made the house smell so nice! 

I downloaded a free pillow form pattern instructions from Craftsy.  Pillow forms are quite expensive so I’m going to try my hand at making them.  If they turn out good, then I plan to make some and then make seasonal envelope style covers for them throughout the year to give as gifts next year.  (As I finish them they’ll go in my ongoing gift trunk until gift giving season!)

I finally finished getting our winter clothes out of storage.  I started this project a few weeks ago and got almost done … this week I was able to finish it.

I chopped up some of the fresh ginger that I grew and harvested this year, put it in ice cube trays, added water and froze them.  I’ll pop the frozen ginger cubes out of the tray and put them in freezer bags.  I’ll use them by dropping a cube in a class of water along with lemon juice and a little bit of stevia. 

I emptied a Dawn dishwashing liquid bottle this week and instead of tossing it when I couldn’t squeeze any more out of it, I added a little water and shook it up well.  This gave me enough for a couple more uses before the bottle was truly empty!

We received our first seed catalog in the mail this week.  I put it on the shelf were we keep our catalogs so it would be ready to reach for once the Christmas holidays are over. 

The garlic I planted a few weeks back is about 1 inch high; looks like we will have garlic to harvest in the spring.  Now I need to cover them with leaf mulch.  I use leaves from our yard to cover our garlic every year and thus far have had great success … free mulch …  I like that!

I pulled broccoli plants from our fall garden and gave them to the chickens.  I’ll continue doing this with cabbage as well until they are all gone.  We can usually find a use for most everything, including the remains of our fall garden!

Here is something I didn’t do …
I wanted to make this body butter recipe, but when I checked out the ingredients I saw that I didn’t have everything the recipe called for … so I had to let it go. 
 
Here is a question I received this week …
Question:  I remember reading that you stopped eating potatoes. Have you substituted sweet potatoes instead? If so have you tried canning any soups with sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes? My husband is a diabetic and wants to make changes.

My Answer:  Yes, we have stopped eating white potatoes due to their high carb count however, we have discovered a way that we can eat them and it does not affect my husband’s blood sugar levels. I take a quart of my home-canned potatoes, drain and rinse them. I can then either fry them up or add them to soups, etc. When I drain the potatoes I drain a lot of the starch that has cooked out of the potatoes and is in the liquid in the jar down the drain. I then rinse the potatoes to remove any of the remaining starch. We've tried this method several times and not ever seen an increase in my husband's blood sugar levels. As for sweet potatoes, they are a bit better for you than white potatoes and aren't quite as high in carbs, therefore when we have them we watch our serving size and make sure to count their carbs in our total allowed carb count for the day. I have not tried canning soups with sweet potatoes.  Eating a low-carb diet is working for us ... my husband's A1C has gone from 9.2 to 6.5 in a year and we are now, under doctor's guidance, starting to back off of some of his medications.  Everyone’s diabetes is different and we are continually experimenting with what does and does not work for him.  Good luck with your husband's diabetes. 

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Although I still have pinto beans to can and the #10 cans of tomato sauce to re-can, I’m taking the next two weeks off from making a pantry to-do list.  I want to enjoy the holiday season to its fullest.  That doesn’t mean I won’t get anything done … it just means that it’ll be less of a priority for the next two weeks!  (I’ll continue to write each week, the writings just won’t include a pantry to-do list.)

Now it’s your turn, what pantry related and/or frugal things have you done since we last talked?

 Patsi  a.k.a. grandmommie pat
A Working Pantry

 
 

 
This post linked to Homestead Barn Hop; Homemaking Link Up; Art of Homemaking; So Much At Home Link Up; The Chicken Chick Blog Hop; Coffee and Conversation; Titus2sday; Titus 2 Tuesday; From the Farm Blog Hop; Home Sweet Home
 
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