Saturday, October 09, 2010

Stocking Up for Fall


Caramel Apple Pancake Mix, new at Williams-Sonoma

Today I'm hitting a couple of my favorite grocery stores ( Trader Joe's and Whole Foods) to stock up for fall. I'm bringing my shopping list, list of pantry foods I inventoried this week, and my fall food budget notepad.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • 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; rotate them into more light today as needed.

  • 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 this week, let's make sure our hard work still shows.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Stocking Up for Fall


French Onion Soup Starter, from Williams-Sonoma

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, dark, rainy nights when I don't feel up to going out to the store.

I also love being able to throw a fun cocktail party or host a dinner party at a moment's notice because I have so many foods at my disposal. It's easy to prepare gourmet foods taken out of my pantry and accentuated with fresh fruits and veggies I keep stocked. 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.

However, none of us should become hoarders, either. Our stocked up foods shouldn't take over or clutter our homes, and they shouldn't become a huge burden or responsibility. We should only buy foods we can use up and enjoy long after the threat of a stormy winter is over.

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 or cheesecakes?

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 a dinner guest who doesn't care for a tomato based sauce?

Canned foods:

Do you have cocktail party staples such as olives, pickles, pickled mushrooms, 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, several varieties of rice, couscous, and dry lentils? 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? Do you have several canned or jarred soups you can open and heat easily? Enough for every person in your family for three days?

Liquids:

Do you have an emergency supply of bottled drinking water, as well as your day-to-day drinks? Party supplies such as cranberry juice, fruit juices, 7-Up, mineral water, beer, orange juice and other mixers? Hot cocoa and plenty of tea? Chicken, beef and/or vegetable stock for making soup?

Chocolate and Ice Cream:

The most important staple in the house. Do you have chocolate? Do you have ice cream?

LOVELY BLOGS: A Resourceful Home


This is a helpful "frugal living" blog that gives tips and advice on living within your means, without being preachy. Currently blogging about kitchen tips (an aluminum foil scrubber, for example), canning peaches in bulk, making your own Greek yogurt, and a silver polish substitute.

http://www.aresourcefulhome.com/

LOVELY FOOD: Trader Joe's New Cake Mixes


Trader Joe's Cinnamon Coffee Cake Mix

Like this blogger, I was impressed with all three of my Trader Joe's cake mixes. I baked the Trader Joe's yellow cake and chocolate cake mixes for birthdays, frosted both with the new Trader Joe's chocolate frosting, and received compliments on the cakes from all the party guests.

My favorite, however, is the Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake mix. I have naughtily eaten a big slice for "breakfast" every morning with my Earl Grey tea, and I can't wait to wake up tomorrow morning and enjoy another piece!

Plus, the vintage look to the packaging is adorable.

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