Thursday, October 06, 2011

Stocking Up for Autumn

Pink and white Gerbera daisies currently adorn the side table in my living room

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.


  • Water houseplants if needed; rotate them into more light today as needed.

  • Have you sliced and eaten fresh fruit this week?

  • Look over your budget for the next three weeks. Plan for bills, birthdays, 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.

  • Need to replace any light bulbs in your home? I'm about to go stand on a very scary tall ladder to change one in my kitchen.

  • Take just two quick minutes to clean out your purse and wallet if they need it. Receipts seem to accumulate in mine, as well as lipsticks I'm not wearing.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Stocking Up for Fall

Wolfgang Puck Hearty Vegetable Soup, on Amazon

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. It's also nice that I have easygoing friends who are happy to come over to a simple meal of soup, bread and salad sometimes when none of us feel like whipping up a gourmet meal, but all of us feel like socializing.

Almond Poppyseed Muffin Mix, at Krusteaz

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 for ourselves or others. We should only buy foods we can use up and enjoy long after the threat of a stormy winter is over. We should be able to find things we need to cook a meal in the pantry, not have boxes cluttering up the view and cans falling out on our feet every time we open the pantry door.


Cherry Chip Cake Mix, at Betty Crocker (My favorite!)

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, a tub of frosting in case of a birthday cake emergency, 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?


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?


Cellentani Pasta, by Barilla

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:

Tipsy Olives, on Amazon

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?


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?


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, 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: Modern Parents, Messy Kids

"Resources for playful families." They blog about design, fresh finds, playtime and parenting. Check out recent posts such as Montessori cooking for newbies, counting down to birthdays with kids too young for calendars, and autumn inspiration finds.


Adapting Julia Child for Ereaders (Seattle Times)

How Do You Like Them (Cooked) Apples? (NY Times)

Make To-Die-For Salads from The Mozza Cookbook (Today Show)

1 comment :

subgirl said...

I'd like to add two things to your well thought out pantry items, especially for entertaining. I usually let people know or make plans for myself before an event or dinner party as I cannot have any dairy (cow or other animal milk, including cheeses and all those lovely things like yogurt.) and so I often eat vegan (though I am not). I find there are two easily found items that I always have and would suggest to those who entertain potential vegans - non dairy creamers (powdered is usually just fine, but the shelf-stable liquid creamer cups last forEVER) for coffees and teas and the most versatile item is a shelf-stable (TetraPak) soy, rice, or almond milk. they last a long time in the pantry, can be used to make anything from gravy or cream sauce (use instead of milk and a roux if you get the unflavoured or unsweetened kind) to an after dinner cocoa.

I find hat just these two long-life pantry items can get me by if I have to, for days without a store trip for more specialised vegan or lactose free items like soy-yogurt, silken tofu, Daiya vegan shreds or margarine. I use vegetable oil in a roux in a pinch, no need for the butter.

The one other holiday specific lactose-free/vegan friendly option I migh suggest for hose bakers out there is a shelf-stable whipping cream substitute (MimicCreme), cool-whip, soy ice cream (my oreference as coconut ice creams are strongly flavoured) or a rice or soy-whip (refrigerated in a can). Especially if you're a pie-baker. Pie (and cobblers) on its own is just sooooo lonely.

I certainly don't expect any of the potlucks I go to to make special dishes for me, but I do try and tell everyone as such that I do have restrictions and that I'll bring something that I can enjoy as well as others. It's really lovely to have a group put the dairy on the side for me, but like I said, I don't expect it, as I'm sure most vegans and those with restricted diets understand. However if you're entertaining for a large variety and are looking to be inclusive in an easy way, it is appreciated when it's done. I think that with kids having more allergies/sensitivities and people choosing more animal free diets it's not too much to add to the inclusive pantry.

(BTW I do try and not alienate my more fortunate friends who can partake - at the Thanksgiving I make for my friends I do a separate gravy, mashed potatoes and whip cream for pie for myself and have eager tasters on hand to check my dairy-full traditional recipes for seasoning, etc. for me. Inclusion goes both ways.)