Friday, October 30, 2015

Oldies But Goodies: In-A-Pinch Meals!

For the purposes of this writing, in-a-pinch meals are defined as being able to put a meal on the table for your family when (1) emergency situations arise that take you out of the home or make it difficult to prepare a meal, (2) when you’re not physically able to cook, (3) when unexpected company drops in and a meal is needed (4) for Sunday dinner in a hurry or (5) for those days when your ‘best laid plans’ just don’t happen.

How do we have in-a-pinch meals on hand for those times when we need them and don't need or want to make a trip to the nearest fast food restaurant? We’re going to talk about 3 ways …

Freezer Meals
This is where once-a-month cooking comes into play. Plan ahead and decide on the number of meals you’d like to have on hand for the upcoming month. Then, decide what those meals will be. Prepare them to the point of placing them in the oven or on the stove to cook then freeze them. (Soups/stews can be fully cooked and then frozen.) Only prepare those meals that will freeze and thaw well. It’s a waste of time and food to go to all that work only to have a non-eatable meal after cooking. Some suggestions might include lasagna, soups, casseroles etc. When ready to use the meals, if possible allow enough time to thaw and cook. If time is an issue, defrost meal in microwave then cook.

Here’s another way to utilize the freezer along with any leftovers you might have. When you cook a meal, double your portions. Before you serve the meal to your family, fill a plastic divided plate that has its own lid for each member of your family from what you’ve cooked. Put the lid on securely, add a piece of freezer tape approximately 2 inches long on top of the lid and write the contents of the meal on the freezer tape along with the date. These can be taken out and microwaved in a pinch for a nutritious meal in a hurry.

Meals in a Jar
Soups, stews, and meats can be canned in jars which, means they’re ready to heat and eat at a moments notice. This is what I call meals in a jar. Add breads or side dishes to the meals in a jar and you have a complete meal.

What about you, how do you provide meals in-a-pinch for those times when cooking from scratch is not an option?

Patsi
A Working Pantry
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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

$5 or Less Pantry Challenge: October 29th, 2015

I was in the town where our Aldi’s store is located and since I’m watching for them to put their butter on their yearly sale, I popped in.  Well, the butter was still $3.19/lb … no, that is not a sale … so I didn’t purchase any.

But, what I did find was this …..




… banana’s on sale for $.22/lb. 

I purchased these, brought them home and got to work.  I peeled, cut up and froze enough to make 51 smoothies, made 12 banana nut muffins and still have several laying on the counter to ripen a bit more.

The total cost for the banana’s was $2.61 including taxes.  Pretty good return on my money don’t you think!

One more thing … I fed the compost bin with all those banana peelings!

What did you add to your pantry for $5 or Less this week?

 patsi

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pantry Challenge #43 ... 2015

I can sum up this week in two words:  sweet potatoes!  We gleaned approximately 25 bushels this week from neighboring fields.  Some were for us and some were for friends and neighbors. It’s okay with me if I don’t glean any more this year!!!!

So, did I get anything done in my pantry?

Let’s see …

My to-do list from last week:

Can sweet potatoes … Didn’t get done!

Plant garlic … I got this half done … can you believe it????  I planted 1 huge tractor tire raised bed full of garlic … I planted 67 cloves in this one bed!  I have one more tractor tire raised bed to plant then I can officially say I’m done planting garlic for the year!!!

Start canning pinto beans … Yep, I finally got started!  I added 14 quarts of pinto beans to my pantry.

In addition:

We gleaned sweet  potatoes 2 days this week.   I will be canning some as soon as they are cured, storing some for use over the next couple of months and giving the rest away.

I harvested cilantro from my herb tower and set it to dry on a window seal.

I made a quart of garlic oil.  This is so simple … simply fill a jar 1/4 full with peeled garlic cloves then fill jar up to neck with olive oil.  Keep it in the refrigerator and begin using it after a couple of weeks.  I use this in cooking and for treating earaches.

I took some leftover soap slivers, grated them up, put them in a jar and added boiling water.  I stirred them up really well and watched as the soap melted.   I will continue to add soap slivers as they become available and add water as needed.  This will give me an ongoing supply of liquid soap without having to buy it!

I used the Amazon gift cards I earned through Swagbucks to help pay for A Cabin Full of Food by Marie Beausoleil (affiliate link)  … it made it affordable for me.

I have to tell you that I am really enjoying my homemade thrift store tablecloth turned hand towels.  They are so absorbent!  The next time I make some, and I will, I’ll make some, but not all, a bit larger than I did this time to use for those larger drying jobs.

My husband wrenched his back this week so I whipped out my castor oil pack along with the heating pad and applied it to his back.  After a couple of sessions doing this, his back was better.   The next morning, we continued the treatment and by mid afternoon he was much better and the ‘wrench’ was out of his back.   He was sore from the pain he had been experiencing and everything having been out of alignment but the pain was gone!  I am a firm believer in castor oil packs!

I ran out of turmeric capsules and had to make some more this week.

Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week:

Start canning sweet potatoes
Plant garlic
Continue canning pinto beans

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

Patsi
A Working Pantry

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook



AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

$5 or Less Pantry Challenge: October 22, 2015

It's time for our $5 or Less Pantry Challenge!

What did you add to your pantry this week for $5 or Less?

Here's mine ...


3 half-gallons of 2% milk reduced to $.99 each
(regular price was $1.99 each)

They were nearing the 'best buy date' of 10/24/2015, which was why they were reduced.  I love to find milk on clearance like this.  I can't use all of it before the 'best buy date' comes and goes so I'll freeze it!

I spent $2.97 plus taxes!  This makes up for the last two weeks of going over the $5 goal!

What did you add to your pantry for $5 or Less this week?

 patsi

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Gleaning Kind of Day!

We live in an area where lots of sweet potatoes are grown and when the farmers get through harvesting their crops, most of them open their fields up to gleaners.

Today, we've been gleaning sweet potatoes!



This field was full of sweet potatoes before harvesting (this is a picture of the field after harvesting, but before gleaning) ... there is lots of gleaning to be done from this field!


Another field that was full of sweet potatoes ... we gleaned several bushels from this field!



This is a very small sampling of what we gleaned today.  We also helped 4 other families glean several bushels of sweet potatoes for their own personal use.

It was an old fashioned day of gleaning and fellowshipping and lots of exercise!!!


Patsi


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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pantry Challenge #42 ... 2015

This week has been all about ‘fall cleaning’ with just a little bit of pantry building thrown in for good measure!

My to-do list from last week:

Plant garlic … Didn’t get done!

Start canning 25 lb bag of pinto beans … Didn’t get done!

In addition:

My husband loves pumpkin pie and since I had plenty of canned pumpkin in my pantry from a clearance sale last year, I made two pumpkin pies.  Since we try to eat low carb I made them crustless and used less sugar than the recipe called for.  They are delicious and we'll eat on them all week!

I added the following to my pantry by shopping sales and using coupons:

2 boxes (36 per box) of St. Joseph’s 81 mg aspirin for $.74/box
2 boxes Colgate toothpaste, 1 can pink salmon, 1 can Star Kist tuna for $3.72

I made a quart of elderberry/ginger juice using this tutorial.  I’ll freeze what’s left of it it in ice cube trays later this week to use in water later. 

I made a gallon of kefir.  I have a kefir smoothie every day so this will last me 2 – 3 weeks.   FYI, there’s a good article on making kefir milk on pages 52 – 55 of the November/December issue of Backwoods Home magazine (affiliate link).  

Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week:

Can sweet potatoes
Plant garlic
Start canning pinto beans

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

Patsi
A Working Pantry

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook



AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

$5 or Less Pantry Challenge: October 15th, 2015

It's time for our $5 or Less Pantry Challenge!

What did you add to your pantry this week for $5 or Less?

Here's mine ...



2 boxes (36 in each) St. Joseph's 81 mg aspirin
2 boxes Colgate toothpaste
1 Can Bumble Bee Pink Salmon
1 can Chicken of the Sea chicken

How much did I spend?

 $5.22!

Again, a bit over $5 but that's okay!

What did you add to your pantry for $5 or Less this week?

 patsi

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pantry Challenge #41 ... 2015

October is such a busy and beautiful month!    In our area it’s the month when temperatures start to cool and outside activities become enjoyable.

And did I mention that it is a BUSY month!!!!

My to-do list from last week:

Make Gwen’s bread … Didn’t get done!

Get a jar of cider fire started.  Done!

Make some elderberry syrup for cold and flu season … Didn’t get done!

Vacuum seal 25 lb bag of sugar in quart jars … Done!  I added 2 (1) gallon jars and 8 quarts of sugar to my pantry.

In addition:

I made some ginger ice cubes to go in tea/water by chopping it up, adding water and blending in a blender.  I strained the sludge out, poured the ginger water into ice cube trays and froze them.  When they were completely frozen I popped them out and put them in ziplock bags and then in the freezer where they’ll stay until ready for use.

I started teaching myself how to crochet this week.  I try to work on it a few minutes most every day. 

I started a soup bag for the freezer this week.  We had a small amount of leftovers left from a meal; it wasn’t enough for another meal or even enough for one person so I started a soup bag.  The next time I make a pot of soup, I’ll add the contents of this bag to the pot.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to add leftovers to it!

We found these boxes of frozen cod fillets at Sam’s Club this week for $.51/box. We purchased 3 boxes and added them to our pantry.  Before I added them to the freezer though, I took out enough for supper.  They were quite tasty and you can’t beat $.25 for meat for a meal!

We’re working on winter preps and this week we added two boxes of matches (250 each)  to our pantry.  We’ll use them for starting fire in our wood stove this winter.

We enjoyed homemade ‘TV’ dinners for supper one night that I had froze using leftovers a couple of weeks ago.

Sweet potatoes are starting to be dug in our area and we have started gleaning the fields, with the owner’s permission, after the owners are through harvesting.  I have a crate full curing now and in about a week, I’ll start canning them.

I finished shelling the dried okra pods that I harvested from our garden a couple of weeks ago.  I shelled enough for next year’s planting, packaged them up and added them to our 2016 garden seed collection.

I washed and cleaned up pumpkins and gourds we got while traveling recently and then sprayed them with a clear coating.  I’ll use them to decorate my porch.  The clear coat will help keep them from rotting.  I need some pine straw and dried corn stalks to finish out the decorating, both of which can be had for the gleaning.

I baked a 16 layer (yes, you read right … the cake as 16 (1/4 inch) layers ... see picture above) chocolate cake for my husband to take to a tool party that was being given for a young man who is about to get married.  I had everything in my pantry that I needed except the sour cream and we were able to borrow it from a neighbor.

And finally, fall cleaning has started!!!

Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week:

Plant garlic

Start canning 25 lb bag of pinto beans

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

patsi

A Working Pantry

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook

This post linked to:  Home Making Mondays

Thursday, October 8, 2015

$5 or Less Pantry Challenge: October 8th, 2015

It's time for our $5 or Less Pantry Challenge!

What did you add to your pantry this week for $5 or Less?

Here's mine ...


... from Sam's Club, 3 boxes of Zesty Grill Wild Alaska Cod Portions.  We paid $.51/box ... they were on clearance!

The Bar S bologna was $.99/package at Food Lion and I had 2 coupons for $1 off of 3 which made each package $.66 each.

The total for all of this was $5.47 plus taxes.  I went over the $5 limit a little but that's okay.  I've been under plenty of other times in previous weeks!

This picture represents several meals!  Score!

 patsi

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pantry Challenge #40 ... 2015

(Our Sam's Club find this week was this set of Despicable Me drinking cups/glasses.  They were on clearance for $1.91.  I know someone that this will make a good Christmas gift for so after we purchased it and brought it home, into my gift trunk it went!)

This week has been all about preparing for Hurricane Joaquin and the major rain event that was to hit our area before the hurricane.   Thankfully, Hurricane Joaquin was a non-event for us but I can’t say the same for the major rain event.  We are two days into it with 2 more days predicted and already we’ve had 10 inches of rain.  Other than flooding, there is also danger of trees toppling and power outages with as much rain (coupled with wind) that we’re getting.

Here are some things we did this week to prepare for the possible hit of a hurricane and for the major rain event.

Set 5 gallon buckets out to catch rain water for flushing commodes.   We are on well water so, when the power goes off, we have no water.   Having a generator helps lots, but for those times when the generator is not running, we would need water for flushing toilets.

Fill propane tanks.   This is for our gas grill … one of our methods of cooking when the power goes off.

Fill gas cans to run our generator. 

Fill auto with gas. 

Cook snack foods that don’t need refrigeration … things such as granola, healthy cookies and bars, etc.

Freeze ice bottles to go in cooler.  This will help keep things that need to be cool, cool!  You could also place these in the refrigerator for those times when the generator is not running.

Do laundry.  When we lose power, it’s usually for an extended period of time so we want to make sure that all our clothes are clean.

Check generator to make sure it’s running and that it has everything needed to operate.

Check supply of paper plates, plastic ware and paper towels.  I keep a tub of these on hand to use for those times when we have a power outage. 

Charge electronics.  This is important because if we lose power this is the only way we have of communicating with family and others.

As you might guess, there are several things on my pantry to-do that didn’t get done this week …

My to-do list from last week:

Harvest herbs … Done!  I harvested comfrey, lavender, spearmint, peppermint, plantain, lemon balm and sage.

Make Gwen’s bread … didn’t get done!

Get a jar of cider fire started … didn’t get done!

Make some elderberry syrup for cold and flu season … didn’t get done!

Shop sales and loss leaders … did not do this!  We had to replace a commode in our half bath this week so all unnecessary spending has stopped for the rest of the month.

In addition:

My husband trimmed my hair for me and saved us at least $20.

I saved money by letting the herbs that I harvested dry naturally instead of using the dehydrator.

I added 2 boxes of canning salt to my pantry.  I used the last of what I had canning peanuts last week.  This is a staple in my pantry!

I divided a 25 lb bag of plain flour up into gallon size zip lock bags to go in the freezer. I got 10 (1) gallon bags from the 25 lb bag.  After they’ve been in the freezer for a couple of weeks, I’ll take them out and put them in a tote for long term storage.

I stitched up come dishtowels using a thrift store table cloth. You can read about it Here.

I added to the compost bin.

I started back earning swagbucks.   While traveling, I wasn’t able to keep it up, but now that we’re home and settled back in, I’m back at it.

I completed a Pinecone Survey.

I added change to our change jar. 

Here’s my pantry to-do list for the upcoming week:

Make Gwen’s bread

Get a jar of cider fire started

Make some elderberry syrup for cold and flu season

Vacuum seal 25 lb bag of sugar in quart jars

Now it’s your turn, what have you done to build up your pantry or live frugally?

Patsi
A Working Pantry

You can also follow A Working Pantry on Pinterest and on Facebook

AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Day Book Entry: October 2nd, 2015

Outside my window ...  it is pouring rain!  We are under a flood warning!

I am thinking ... that wrapping oneself in a comfy quilt and reclining on the couch with a good book while cool winds blow and rain descends outside is a good thing!!!!

I am thankful ... that it looks like hurricane Joaquin is going to go east, away from the United States coast line.

I am stitching ...  some dish towels!

I am going ... no where!  The roads are flooding!

I am wondering ... if I can sneak in a few minutes of sewing time tomorrow!!!  I have so many things I want to stitch up that one sewing day a week is just not enough!

I am reading ... my new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook and marking recipes to try on my next baking day.  I took it to Office Depot and had it spiral bound for $3.49.  It is so much easier to use this way.

I am seeing … my husband install a new commode in our half bath.  The tank on the old one started leaking and wouldn’t hold water so it had to be replaced.  There goes our food budget for the month, but that’s okay.  Unexpected expense is one reason I strive to keep a well-stocked pantry!

I am hearing … the air conditioning not running!  It’s been cool enough for the last two days that we haven’t needed to run it.  That should help our power bill!

I am hoping ... to finish the 2016 planner this week that I’m designing and putting together for myself.

I am learning ... to grow lemon trees.  I have 6 that I started from seed that are now anywhere from 2 to 6 inches tall.  I moved them into the greenhouse this week where it is warmer and they will be protected from the cooler weather.  I’ll move them into the house when the weather gets below 32 degrees.

In my garden ... we decided not to have a fall garden so we’re working on putting it to rest for the winter.  I plan on planting garlic and a few herbs, but that will be it.

In my kitchen … I’m planning a baking day!

One of my favorite things ... my new sewing ‘nook’ that I created in my dining room.

Around the house … it’s beginning to look like Fall!!!!

A picture to share ...  does anyone know what these are?




patsi

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To read Day Book entries of others go HERE.

AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.
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