After the month of January, when The Great Pantry Challenge ends, we’ll be making a few shopping trips to the bigger towns to re-stock our pantry.
We buy staples like white sugar, veggie oil, white flour (yes, I know it’s icky, but I still occasionally use it), pasta and some canned goods at Aldi. Then off to Sam’s Club where we get most of our bulky items like popcorn for grinding, honey, olive oil, cocoa powder, rice, beans and miscellaneous spices.
I haven’t bought any bulk wheat in almost three years and it’s time to get more. I used to buy my grains from Walton Feed (www.waltonfeed.com) and Country Life Natural Foods (www.CLNF.org). Walton Feed generally had cheaper grains, but Country Life had a larger variety of Organic grains and the best Thick Rolled Oats I’ve ever eaten. I was very happy with both of them, but since we’ve moved farther south the shipping costs are too much to justify either of them. The last time I bought wheat it was from a bakery about an hour away. The price was double that of Walton Feed, but still cheaper when you added the shipping costs.
Corn, Rice, Beans, Pasta & Wheat.
Easy long-term storage items.
Some grocery list, hugh? Where’s the Sloppy Joe mix, the Shake ‘n Bake, the Hamburger Helper and Tombstone frozen pizza you say? If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you already know the answer. I don’t consider most of the items in your local Dominick’s or Jewel (can you tell where I was originally from???) food. Yes, I’ve eaten my share of Ritz crackers topped with Cheeze Whiz and mini-hotdogs wrapped in ready-made biscuit dough, but I try not to. And now that Rhiannon has come into our life, I try very hard not to subject her tiny intestinal tract to preservatives, artificial sweeteners and dyes.
That brings us to the reasoning for all the basic staples. I make our meals from scratch…..most of the time. I wish I could say that a box of Stovetop Stuffing has never graced our pantry, but I’d be fibbing. But I do make homemade meals the majority of the time. It also helps that I really love to cook. And eat. My scale is a liar by the way.
Even though I’d like to be able to convince all of you that cooking from scratch is the way to go, I also know that reality is in play here. Like you work 50+ hours a week away from home and take care of your children. Or you haven’t made room in your home for a large pantry. Or you just hate, hate, hate cooking (like my Sister…..I feel sorry for her husband) and can live on a boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked in the microwave on a paper plate & served with a side of mustard and a microwaved bag of steamed broccoli.*
And as long as your normal eating routine doesn’t include McDonald’s $1 menu every meal, you’ll save money on your grocery bill by cooking from scratch. Not to mention it’s healthier for you.
If there is still room in your bag of New Year’s Resolutions, please humor me and try to take one day of the week, or even one day a month, and try cooking something from scratch. And if you’re my Sister, keep your spirits up….and keep the phone number to Little Caesar’s handy.
*One of the dinners my Sister made me several years ago and I’m not in any way exaggerating. Wasn’t even butter or salt on the broccoli. I vividly recall peeling the cooked chicken breast off the paper plate.