Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pantry Challenge #21 ... 2015

My to-do list from last time:   

Finish vacuum sealing Cheerios.  Didn’t get done!
Vacuum seal oats.  Didn’t get done!

In addition:

I picked the first strawberries this week from the few plants we have.   These are the best tasting strawberries and I’m hoping to be able to transplant some of the runners into a new bed.

I also picked the first raspberries this week.  They are beginning to ripen.  The bushes are full so I must be diligent to check them morning and evening in order to beat the birds to them! 

I used a bar of lye soap to treat a stain on one of my husband’s dress shirts that had been dried in … after rubbing the bar of lye soap over the stain a few times; washing the shirt and then letting it hang dry I was delighted to find that the stain was gone!!!!

While we were away on our last trip we found cake mixes on clearance (after Easter sales) and purchased several.  Doing a few at a time, I’ve been putting them in the freezer for several days (to kill off any insect eggs that might hatch out later), removing them from the freezer and after they came to room temperature, wrapping each box individually in plastic wrap.  (Wrapping them each in plastic wrap helps keep the humidity out.) Then I store them in a tub especially for cake mixes.  This week I prepared 3 more boxes to go in the tub and added the last 4 to the freezer.

I harvested nettles, lemon balm, plantain, sage and spearmint.   I washed each one separately, put each one in my vegetable spinner to get all the excess water off, and then let each air dry until they were completely dried.  Letting them dry naturally saves us money on our electricity by not running the dehydrator.

Once the plantain had semi-dried I chopped it up and added it to a jar of plantain tincture I’m making.  I’d like to do one more quart of plantain tincture then I want to make some plantain oil for salve making.

The spearmint dried quickly and I crushed it and started a jar for 2015.  Oh my, did it ever smell good!

I harvested our garlic and spread it out in the greenhouse to cure for a couple of weeks.

I ran out of turmeric capsules and had to make some more.   I can really tell a difference in my arthritis pain when I don’t take it.

I purchased a ‘mosquito plant’ to keep on my front porch.  The mosquitoes are really bad in our area in the summer months and I’m hoping this will help keep them away when we’re sitting on our porch.
(The pot in the middle is the mosquito plant.)

I hung our laundry on the clothes line this week instead of using the dryer.  That’s another way to save money on the electricity bill.

I’ve officially declared Tuesdays as my laundry/sewing day.  This past Tuesday I did some sewing in and around doing 6 loads of laundry.  I enjoyed it so much that I’ve decided to do it every Tuesday if at all possible.  Here are a couple of things I stitched this past Tuesday:

(I'm making one of my granddaughters a quiet book.   I didn't get this page finished but got a good start on it.)

I’m down to one more jar of cider fire and this just won’t do!  I take it daily, it helps with my arthritis, allergies and helps keep my blood sugar levels normal.  (I am not a doctor; I’m just sharing what works for me.  Always consult your doctor for treatment of ailments.) I can find all the ingredients needed to make it locally except for fresh horseradish root and fresh turmeric root so I used gift cards I had earned through Swagbucks  and Bing to order these two items through Amazon.  I’ve done it before and have been very pleased with the product.  (See links below.)

I’m well on my way to earning another Amazon $25 gift card doing Swagbucks.   Go here to read some ways I earn Swagbucks.
We added $2.80 to our change jar.

Here’s my pantry to-d0 list for next week:
Start a batch of ‘Gwen’s Bread’ … it’s supposed to be better for you in the carb department than regular bread.  Gwen’s Bread is THM approved so I’m going to make some and give it a try. (Trim Healthy Mama … I do not follow the THM plan but do use quite a few of their recipes.) We miss the convenience of having sandwiches eating low-carb and if this bread works that would be wonderful!   (We currently use Joseph’s Bread (we purchase it from Walmart in the deli section) for making wraps, pizza’s, chips, etc.)

Gather all my squash recipes and make sure I have everything I need to start preserving squash.  By the end of the week, it should be ready and I want to be ready!  I plan to can 50+ quarts of squash this year as we ran out last year, make squash pickles (This recipe was shared with me by a reader … thanks Cindy!), and dehydrate some to grind into squash powder to be used as a filler in various dishes.  How do you preserve squash?

Forget about vacuum sealing the box of oats and the box of Cheerios that I’ve had on my to-do list for weeks.  They’re both still in their sealed bags and should be fine until I have more time to deal with them than I do now!   Am I the only one that puts things like this on hold … indefinitely????

My plantain should be ready for harvesting again by the end of the week as well as the nettles.  I think I can start harvesting some of the basil I planted this year too.  I’m keeping a close eye on all my herbs (and spices) and harvesting them when they’re at their peak if at all possible. 

Start another batch of cider fire.

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

A Working Pantry

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This post linked to:  The Art of Home-Making Monday


  1. Good job, Patsi! You have my wheels turning... Thank you for the tip about the plastic wrap helping to protect against humidity. That is my worst foe in our pantry!... I have been adding pre-made make my own mixes to our pantry and it has been fun. Here is what we do with zucchini ~

    Have a lovely week!

    1. JES, I'm on my way to check out your link on what you do with squash ... thanks for including it! I'm on the journey of making my own pre-made mixes too, but just couldn't turn down those 'clearanced' cake mixes. I'll be checking your blog for some of your pre-made mixes as well. Thank you for the encouragement!

  2. Having a lot of arthritis I use turmeric in as many dishes as I can but have not tried the capsules yet. How many can you take to get some relief?
    I keep a divided file folder with each pocket of it containing recipes for different veggies and such. One for zucchini one for persimmons and one for eggplant and so on. It has sure helped.
    We have two types of mosquito plants we grow here. They smell great and work. Hope yours does too.
    Our berries should be read the end of this month. We got some new ones to add to the patch too. I am hoping to find more room to squeeze another type in later. :) Thanks for all the encouragement and ideas you pass along to all of us. Sarah

    1. Sarah, please tell me both types of mosquito plants that you have ... pretty please!!!! I like the idea of the divided folder for preserving recipes, I have mine in a notebook. As for the turmeric, I take 1 capsule in the morning and 1 capsule at bedtime. I can really tell a difference when I don't take them ... I also include fresh turmeric in the cider fire that I take daily. I was thrilled when I discovered that it worked for me!

  3. I'm looking over that bread recipe. It doesn't look like it actually changes the carb counts, but doesn't cause a spike? My husband is type 1 but also has another condition that "prefers" refined process food (yup really). That fermenting might be a win win.

    1. You said it much better than I did! Thank you ... we're going to try it and see what effect it has on my husband's blood sugar levels! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Patsy it is such a good idea to have a sewing day. I need to do this.
    I know I have said this to you before but... you give out an enormous amount of free content, encouragement and help and there is nothing wrong with a small charge for an e book. I thought it was totally worthwhile and also that with the amount you have helped me this is a small way I can show my support. I think you can post the link to it regularly on your fb page and maybe some of the ladies with post the link to their pages and we can spread it around the internet!
    I had a good and busy week. I was helping my daughter with the new baby with meals and a few things. A lot of cooking and errands. But I also got some pantry things done and feel like I am making progress!
    This week I hope to save a little more towards my trip to a wholesaler I want to go to. Add some more to my cellar and my husband is planning to add more shelves for me. I am collecting jars too to store more dried goods.I want to add some more herbs to my pots. I added baby spinach and these seem to be someones treat as they just disappear... possums I think.
    Each week I feel I am learning something new and doing something toward my pantry. I have come a long way in five months. A lovely lady responded to my request for photos of pantries and preserves etc. Teri posted me a whole series of photos of her pantry and supplies. Utterly inspirational. I am putting them on the blog on Wednesday. It is a joy to see what people do. Very inspiring. No sitting around twiddling our thumbs for any of us. No we are a productive lot! It is so nice. Have a wonderful week. I hope I have plenty to report next

    1. Annabel, you have got my curiosity up about your pantry series entry on Wednesday! I will definitely be looking for it! Yes, we are a busy lot and I so enjoy it ... the process and the end products! Thank you for your suggestions and encouragement on my e-book.


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