Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pantry Challenge Spring 2011

Spring is "Springing Out" on the Prairie Farm
Everyday more perennials are poking their first sprouts out of the ground.  We have a few more calves on the ground.  And the Farmer hooked up to the disk last evening and prepped some oats ground up behind the hill.

Today is a breezy, chilly, humid/damp, unsettled kind of day.  Storms and a change back to winter is in the forecast but I remain hopeful.  I'm getting very spoiled
by these 50-70° highs.

(Update:  It turned out to be a wild day.  Chilly and breezy in the morning.  Humid and warm in the afternoon with a hail storm and a little rain.  Warm and breezy in the evening until the cold front came through.   Farmer-dear was able to finish working up that oats field and then sowed it in the evening.  God willing, the cattle with have oats bales next winter.)

One nice thing about the return of Spring, more daylight and warmer temps, is I have much more interest in cooking again.  I had a few growly days lately (ok... alot of growly days) ... sort of like a bear coming out of hibernation, but adjusting my supplements and adding a few more veggies, fruits and glasses of water to my diet has helped pull me out of that slump.  

We've also been adjusting our budget with the anticipation of the Farming Year beginning and the expenses associated with that.
One item to be cut was our subscription to the local "big city" paper.  I didn't read it on a daily basis but I do miss the ad flyers on Wednesday and Sunday.  I have subscribed online to the weekly grocery ads and I need to get into a habit of looking for the few other stores I find bargains (Menards, Wal-greens, Shopko, etc)

And while I'm sure I've missed a few good sales, I also know I have saved by staying out of the stores.   Except when I don't plan and impulse buy.

We did just that this weekend when a Salad Supper sounded good one day.  Not remembering how much or the condition of the salad greens in the fridge had us buying a large bag of romaine.  I found the bag of romaine hearts I had were perfectly "fine" and what I should have purchased was another jar of Miracle Whip (for Famer).  There was one on the pantry shelf, thank goodness.

Adding to the frustration is that both this new bag of chopped romaine and the bag of romaine hearts are bitter tasting.  Anyone have a good solution to this?   Farmer-dear is a 1000 Island dressing or French (in a pinch) dressing fan and will not eat ranch or vinaigrette and this is just too much lettuce for one woman to eat. 

We have a bread glut also at this time.  We had some wholegrain bread, then I bought milder bread when I thought Farmer was getting the stomach flu and then there were those ciabata rolls & Tuscan Boule on the sale rack.  The rolls are almost gone and the boule I'll stash in the freezer for the next spaghetti night.  I'm planning on a French Toast (or in Farmer's case "German Bread") for a meal this week.  I'd like to make a strata but He's not the biggest fan.

As I posted before we have been stocking up the old Farmhouse pantry while we've had some extra funds.  One thing I purchased, was a large bag of Basmati Rice.  I don't have room for it in my freezer so I'm cooking it, vacuum-sealing it and freezing it.  Then I have it ready to eat more easily during the week for lunches and quick suppers.  

Another plus to a well-supplied pantry & freezer is you can entertain on a whim.  Saturday evening we invited some friends over for a "Breakfast for Supper" meal, spur of the moment.  Except for the eggs, which they provided, (we were not near the natural foods store this week), it was a pantry/freezer pulled meal.  Waffles with butter, jelly & maple syrup, sausage, grapes and juice.  Easy-peasy.  The hardest thing was keeping up with the hot waffles for all the diners.

Speaking of my freezers... I haven't shown you my organized upright freezer.  (I'm so proud of myself!)

The top shelf has all my extra, small baking supplies.  Sugars, coconut, different-flavored chips, decorations, dried fruit and the like.
The second shelf has 2 bins of cheeses.  
The third shelf has other proteins foods -- cooked pork roast, chicken stock, "fake" meat products, and some regular rice (I forgot I had this when I bought the Basmati.  oy~)
The bottom basket has the frozen fruit I put up last year.

The door is a wild and varied place.  Let's see.... I spy more frozen fruit, some purchased frozen veggies, some home-frozen tomato juice, some power bars, bananas, hash browns and apple sauce.

No photos of the chest freezer.  After all, how boring is a big dark hole full of white paper lumps?  lol  Not that I'm complaining!!

So you see, we are not in any danger of starvation.  I'm back to only shopping for produce,  dairy, loss-leaders and only produce until the garden starts growing again.  I whispered a "HURRY UP!" to my asparagus this morning on my way to the mailbox.  

Stay tuned dear Friends.  I hope to start posting my menus again.

Happy Early Spring!

** "Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing."
~Albert Laighton

1 comment:

  1. I think winter will rear its ugly head a few more times before true spring arrives .. but at least we're on the down side of it. You should make a big Caesar salad with all of that romaine lettuce .. and use up some of that bread by making homemade croutons. You have enough to make it a meal with company.