Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Wednesday, How to start a pantry

Hi everyone, here is just a small clip of part of my pantry.  I can't take a whole picture because it is such a mess right now, (shh don't tell my twin sister)  You will see here I have ketchup, I don't use this much but the kids and hubs do often.  Also mayonnaise, oil, tuna, home canned tomatoes,  fruit and dry goods.  All of these items were purchased at the lowest price I had seen them in a long while.  Now pineapple and cherry pie filling are not used on a daily basis, but the filling was .99 a can and the pineapple 2/1.  Very very good buys and I will use them in something nummy.

When you start to try and build a food pantry you have to determine how much you have to spend.  If you are seriously behind  on bills and have very little income for groceries, you will have to buy what you need to feed your family. I have never been to a food bank other than to donate, but there is no shame in going to one and getting a box of staples, to start.  If this helps augment your spending power and gets you ahead by all means do it.  Especially if you have children.  The WIC program is great and I was on that program with all of my children.  Your income does not have to be  rock bottom low to qualify.  I think of all the government programs it is the best as it forces people to buy quality food and provides formula, and encourages nursing and immunizations.

     Anyway I digress,  even in my roughest times I still gave myself a $25.00-40.00 every two weeks for a food budget.  I think I would start or I always started with beans, rice, pasta, oatmeal, flour, sugar,soda, baking powder, oil or cheap margarine, eggs, salt, milk, syrup, tomato paste, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, pepper.  Buy bread at a bakery outlet.  It doesn't have to be the best bread just enough to feed your family.

Here is a break down from our area:
beans, black, pinto, kidney, rice, pasta, oatmeal, can all be purchased at a dollar store.  The beans and rice are 2 lb bags.  You might be able to get oatmeal cheaper at a store that sells whole foods by the pound.  Pasta can usually be purchased for under a dollar a pound if you check your local stores flyers, someone will have it on sale.

red beans   $1
pinto beans $1
black beans $1
rice $1
Pasta .89  buy 3 boxes so 2.67
Oat meal $2.00 2 small boxes or go to a bulk foods and get it more for you money.
pepper, $1 dollar store
small bottle of oil $1
soda and baking powder $2.00  these are high but you will have  enough for a month of baking.
eggs, 3 doz .99 or 2.97
syrup or brown sugar to make syrup,1.99
tomato paste , 2/1 most grocery stores have an off brand, buy 4 cans $2
One 3 bag onions, 1.49
garlic .50
one 2 lb.bag carrots 1.19
celery one head 1.69
potatoes  10 lb bag here .99 but else where 1.99
margarine, 2 lbs $2
Bread 4 loaves all under 1.00  so 4.00
flour 10 lbs, $4.99
sugar 4 lb bag $2.49
Milk 2.19 galleon for cooking and cereal drink water right now.

 Also go to the butcher and explain your situation, don't ask for a hand out but do asked for any pork scraps or pork back scraps for flavoring.  You will probably get a large bag of scraps for free or a couple dollars, let the butcher know how much you have left to spend.

Now we are over so we have to go back and eliminate, you can get 1 lb of carrots,  and 5 lbs of flour, one package of margarine, 2 dozen eggs, for cooking.  You just have to adjust to what you have.  This is why I suggest a food bank to start as many of these staples will be provided for you.  If you have extra buy peanut butter.  Kids love it and it has protein. I can usually find the store brand here for 1.99 a small jar

Now you can make,
french toast, pancakes, waffles, tortillas (they are so easy look up a recipe ) plain muffins, sprinkle the top with brown sugar, Oatmeal, buttered toast, cinnamon and sugar toast

All kinds of bean soups, with pork fat, carrots, celery,onions, garlic
Tortillas, with flavored beans and onions, shred  a carrot  for topping
Pasta, with sauce
Fried egg sandwiches on toasted bread.
Boil spuds and chop with egg, pinion and pork fat, fry into pitta pan, Spuds are your main ingredient and it is great with toast.
Potato soup thin the milk and up the potatoes.
Potatoes, mashed, fried, baked, boiled, make pork fat gravy.
Fried rice, rice puddings, bread puddings

I know this is a rough menu but it is a start if you are on the skids and have virtually nothing.  You don't have to go hungry in America if you can get to a food pantry.  If you cannot  get to a pantry ask for help.

I remember one time when my 3rd daughter was little and was very sick, taking all my kitchen things out on the front lawn.  I needed $87.00 for a prescription, when I had sold $87.00 worth of things I took everything back inside.  This could also work for food if you are desperate.

I also took a job as a waitress once so I could work in the evenings while Hubs was home.  When the manager handed me an application I said straight to him,  "Sir I did not ask you for a ask you for an application I asked you for a job.  I was working that night and I brought home enough in tips to buy a few things we needed.

You can do this, you can start, because two weeks from now, you will have left over flour, soda, baking powder, salt, pepper, beans, maybe potatoes( but Not at my house) at least 5 dollars more for shopping. It will take a while and you will have to work hard but you can come up from the bottom.

     Mom is making cookies for church or I should say mom is making a mess.  But at least she is up and wanting to do something.  We have errands to run and by the way Hubs is at eldest daughters house to baby sit for the next two weeks.  Mom and I are having a party.  We don't have to share the TV remote.:)

     The holiday baking sales are coming out and it is time to stock up on baking things.  I really need butter and the chickens are no longer laying so we have to buy eggs.  I will stock, stock, stock up.  But after I do these things will no longer be in my grocery budget and I can buy other things that are at rock bottom prices.

Have a great and productive day staying positive in the negative.



  1. Having a stocked pantry is so important and you are right, start with the basics. I know that I can save on costs by buying in bulk at Winco, getting as large or as small an amount from the bulk food bins. This is a great way to get spices that are so expensive if you buy them in the small bottles. I just reuse my old spice jars and bottles to put the new and fresh spices in. :)

    1. I am going to check out their spices but I usually buy mine at the canned outlet.

  2. i grow many herbs and dry them and I shop winco or the canned food outlet here. There is also a restaurant supply where we buy big bottles of pure vanilla and almond extract cheaper than any where else. We are big bakers and when I bake I use the good stuff.

    1. How do you dry your herbs? I use a coupon and buy a tiny bottle of pure vanilla at a time. Maybe this is wasteful, but when I have a bit of money left, I will buy a tiny bottle of vanilla. I know it is cheaper to buy a larger bottle and sometimes I do. I need to go to Birmingham and check out restaurant supply stores.

  3. Nice post since a lot of people have no idea how to stock a pantry. When I went on the food challenge to see how best to serve people with limited food resources, I became very familiar with both SNAP, EBT and WIC. These programs are set up to help families with various difficulties and you are right about not needing to be at the rock bottom of the economic ladder to qualify, especially for WIC. What I see though it a lot of people (men and women) who have no idea how to cook from scratch which requires some sort of instruction.

    1. I know basic home making skills are not taught in school and many come from homes where they just ate convenience food. Frozen pizza, burritos, taquitos, crapitos, oops!

    2. It is our goal for each of our children to learn how to make basic from scratch things.

  4. Wow, yes that's what I recall during my childhood; a never ending stream of home baked goods. Oh wait no, I mean what I recall was either a hand full of dry cereal or cardboard bread toast for breakfast. Ah yes, the good old days. How I fondly remember telling my mother there was no food in the house only to have her answer "There is too food in this house. There's bread and frozen meat!" Frozen meat sandwiches are even better when made with mom's love. Daughter #1

    1. You are so deprived, but is made you strong and mean and smart. Frozen meat makes you smart.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I bought Pet Milk on sale last winter. It has a date on it of July. I will use it for pumpkin pies with no problem. That is another lesson for the pantry. Dates are usually meaningless when they are only a few months past. Of course, dates should be checked before buying to get the date fartherest out. And, use the can with dates coming up soon.

    I did not start my pantry the way you did, but starting is the thing to do. I have never bought to stock up and then looked for best price. I only buy at the best price. Of course, I don't have the bad weather you get, but still I would be about the best price for stocking up. It works for me, which is all that counts. We both have full pantries.

    I am glad your mother is well enough to make a mess, and I am sure you are, too.

    1. Okay you are right her making a mess is easier than her in the hospital.

  7. It's too bad that most food stamp recipients do not use their "money" to stock up instead of buying baked goods, cokes, and bagged popped popcorn.

    Of course, poor or disadvantaged people deserve good food and treats. I know some have no means to cook. I also know some have no background in frugality and frankly have no incentive to learn or change. But, it is really a shame. I don't mean they should be ashamed.

    My friend's g-daughter called excitedly telling my friend about cooking from scratch for the first time. She had bought a frozen pizza and added items to the top!

    1. It is a national crisis and only getting worse. I always buy sugar sweetened cereal for the food pantry as I know the little kids that come in are thrilled with a box of junk cereal.

    2. When my children were little, they wanted sugared junk with toys inside. I did convince them very early that the toys were junk that would break. They wanted sugared cereal and colored cereal, but I refused. They lived. I did not give in. Parents today are often afraid to say no to junk. This does apply to parents who are affluent as well as impoverished parents. Too bad.

  8. I appreciate this post. Thank you for sharing these ideas. I use to stock my pantry. While I do have basic ingredients on hand sometimes I lack the creativity to come up with meals or it feels redundant.

    1. Why can I not get my comment replys in the right place, I am such an airhead.

  9. I know all about that and when you are down and out and have to start over redundant is the word, but as you get better you will usually have most things on hand. Well maybe not oreos, they were on mark down for 1.69 I bought two bags and hid them. Shhhh, our secret.....