Sunday, October 11, 2009

Stocking Up for Fall

Orange Celosia, on my front steps


- Fridge and freezer maintenance cleaning. See if you can fit in an extra shelf or drawer today, as needed.

- Plan menus for the week; create grocery shopping list

- Water houseplants if needed; move them into more light today as needed; rotate

- Look over your budget for the next three weeks. Plan for bills, Halloween candy, Halloween costume, savings, travel money, Christmas shopping, holiday parties, food, pet expenses, and other things you need to keep track of.

- Do a quick whisk around your kitchen, if needed, putting away clutter, wiping down counters, shining your sink, laundering kitchen towels, restocking paper towels. We worked so hard on our kitchens last week, let's make sure our hard work still shows.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Stocking the Pantry

Now that we have neatly organized pantries, and we've looked over the foodstuffs we have left, we can restock our food supplies for fall. I love having a well stocked pantry - not only for emergencies and power outages, but also for those cold rainy nights when I don't want to go to the store. I also love being able to throw a fun cocktail or dinner party at a moment's notice because I have so many foods at my disposal, easily taken out of my pantry. I'm lucky I live within a three minute drive of a PCC Natural Market, too.

Add things to your grocery list, but split it up amongst the next two or three trips if you can't afford to buy everything all at once. Check to see if you have enough food for your emergency supply, and if you have things you can cook or prepare if the power goes off.

Baking: Do you have a couple cake mixes, some shortening, flour, cake flour (if you bake cakes from scratch), sugar, brown sugar, salt, soda, baking powder, cocoa, pancake mix, chocolate chips, muffin mixes, corn starch, corn meal, a scone mix, and other baking staples? Do you have a cornbread mix or two? Yeast, if you bake bread? Pie crust mix in a box, in case you are in a hurry and don't have time to mix up pie crust from scratch? Graham cracker crumbs in a box, for lining tart shells?

Condiments: Besides what's currently in your refrigerator, are you well stocked on things you are likely to use up in the next two months? Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, honey, maple syrup/pancake syrup, salad dressings, balsamic vinaigrette, barbecue sauce, soy sauce, virgin olive oil, tabasco?

Pasta: Do you have spaghetti, penne, lasagna, macaroni, and other pasta basics, plus several jarred sauces? Do you have an alfredo sauce for an emergency if you get a dinner guest who doesn't want tomato based sauce?

Canned foods: Do you have cocktail party staples such as olives, pickled mushrooms and pickles, perhaps some pickled beets or baby corn? Do you have plenty of soups, stews, and chilis? Refried beans? Canned whole tomatoes? Salsa? Canned beans and corn? Jarred bruschetta topping or tapenade spread?

Staples: Do you have olive oil, cooking oil, dry beans, dry lentils, and a couple kinds of rice? Do you have a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese for an emergency in case a child comes to visit? Do you have peanut butter and jelly? Do you have cereal, oatmeal, granola, raisins, and nuts?

Liquids: Do you have an emergency supply of bottled drinking water, as well as your day-to-day drinks? Cranberry juice, fruit juices, 7-Up, mineral water, beer, orange juice and other drinks? Hot cocoa and plenty of tea? Chicken, beef and/or vegetable stock for making soup? Do you have several canned or jarred soups you can open and heat easily? Enough for every person in your family for three days?

Chocolate and ice cream: The most important staple in the house. Do you have chocolate?! Do you have ice cream?


The New York Times Magazine today is "The Food Issue," with plenty of interesting articles to read. Check out the one on the Mexican Coca-Cola Cult.

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