In My Kitchen: Pantry day

Stocking the fruit bowl

Big beans!

Cilantro and Parsley - fall bliss!

I’m playing along with Heather over at Beauty that Moves. Here’s a look at what’s going on in my kitchen!

I’ve been getting a lot of help in the kitchen this week. That little girl likes nothing better than to help, help, help!

This is the second week in my series elaborating on our meal plan. Last week I wrote about soup day and shared two recipes. This week, I want to tell you about pantry day. Pantry day was inspired by an entry on my Flow magazine 2014 daily calendar. One day back in July, I read, “Look in your pantry and make a meal tonight from products that should have found their way to your tummy months ago. Good for your wallet and your overflowing pantry.” The tip came from Els Jacobs’s book Vrolijk huishouden. It’s also good for reducing dinner time stress and saves you a trip to the grocery store.

I keep a pantry and a full freezer for basic, emergencies, and bargains. Keeping basics means when the olive oil runs out during the middle of cooking, I can walk to the pantry and get a new bottle. Crisis avoided. Emergencies arise when a trip to the grocery store doesn’t work out or you get to add a person or four to your dinner table. A well-stocked pantry and freezer means you can put together a last minute meal. Hopefully it will also be an easy, non-thinking, mid-week type meal. Finally, having extra storage space for food means I can take advantage of sales and deals at different stores. Sales here are usually buy one get one free, so you can really save money buy buying when your favorite jam is on sale. I shop at about three different grocery stores regularly, one in my neighborhood for incidentals, one larger shop that has everything we need, and one in Germany that has broader selections of organic products and some great deals. I make the Germany trip once every three weeks and a lot of what I buy there goes into the pantry.

Adding a pantry day to our meal plan was a way to make myself use the staples I’ve bought along the way that I either bough too much of (soup pasta and polenta, of all things) or bought after being inspired by a new cookbook and then put aside (spelt and gerst – what is gerst?!). The good news is that I love polenta. That, however, was one of the easier items on the shelf and I’m going to have to tackle some more intimidating purchases and a whole lot of Chinese food in the coming weeks.

The happy ending to all this is that I’ve got more space in the pantry after just a month of eating out of the pantry once a week. I’m also more careful about what I buy to put on the shelves. That means I’m also spending a bit less at the grocery store every week. With less clutter in the pantry, it’s becoming more and more clear what I need to keep in stock and what can go on a shopping list if I plan to use it. Canned tomatoes in the pantry is good. Eight cans might be a bit of overkill. As an extra bonus, I’m less inclined to let special items sit and get forgotten. We received a delicious tapenade from friends and have been enjoying it shamelessly. There’s a seductive honey and nuts concoction sitting on the edge of the shelf now waiting for it’s turn. Neither of us can wait!

By now, you’re dying to know what actually keep in the pantry, right? Here’s a list of some things I like to keep in stock.

Pantry Freezer
olive oil
sunflower oil
vanilla sugar
peanut butter
tinned tomatoes
condensed milk
baking soda
extra box of dishwasher tabs
frozen peas
fruit for smoothies
blanched, frozen beans
butter, salted and unsalted
grated cheese
homemade broth
homemade pizza sauce
homemade pizza dough
ground beef
homemade soups
homemade stews
homemade pasta sauce

Let me know how things are going in your kitchen, then click that link and go see more kitchens at Beauty that Moves.

Twitter: flowmagazine

10 responses on “In My Kitchen: Pantry day

    1. Christine Post author

      That bean is a bit out of control! It was hiding in the beans waiting to surprise us. Enjoy your help and thanks for stopping by.

  1. Joy

    Our pantry list looks very similar! Love the tips you included. We don’t so much have a pantry night as we have a refrigerator night, that the kids call “Restaurant Night”. The kids get to pick whatever they like of the leftovers to eat, and sometimes they make a game of it and one child is the waiter and another is a chef and they take orders and bring it to the table- great fun! We haven’t really been able to do leftovers lately, as it seems everything I make disappears! I always made sure to make more than enough to have stuff left over for lunches, and that just hasn’t been happening lately. I guess that means I would have to quadruple some recipes…wow. Not sure I’m ready for that.

    1. Christine Post author

      Restaurant night – genius. I’d love to see my littles deciding to play restaurant in the dining room. What fun.

    1. Christine Post author

      I’m thinking leftovers from the freezer and pantry day are the same category – eating what you have versus bringing more food into the house.

  2. Debby

    I love the idea of pantry day. I’ve been trying to buy less and just use what we have to hand. Fridge forage friday! Thankfully we always have lots of pulses and dried beans that I love so it’s not too hard to scramble something together. It’s a good feeling and I think tends to lead to more imaginative meals.
    Thanks for giving up a peep into your kitchen. Oh and garden too, that runner bean is enormous.

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