Friday, June 6, 2008

My Pantry and Your Pantry, Sitting By the Fire

So, I was recently super-inspired by an old post of Vegan Ruthie's, The Pantry Principle, a.k.a. how I grocery shop. (Please say I'm not the only one who finds a cool blog and then reads the WHOLE thing when I really should be cleaning my house?)

I've mentioned before that I like to keep an empty pantry. I like to use up every single thing we have, food or shampoo or whatever, before I deem to spend money on more. But the pantry principle was kind of making sense to me. Keep all the ingredients on hand to make all of our regular meals and we don't have to plan menus. We can make any of our regular meals at any time.

So I made a meal list. It looks like this (click to view larger):



Then I made a list of all of the ingredients we would need to make any of the items on this list.



I've made a few changes here and there - but for the most part, this system HAS worked.

But... I'm thinking I still need a menu plan. At least some idea of a menu. Because it seems to always happen that I get home from work and oh... nothing is thawed. So yeah.

On the other hand, it has really regulated our shopping expenditures, because we pretty much buy the same stuff every week. This is our 4th week on the pantry system, and our groceries have varied from $77 to $85 a week. Plus we're never OUT of food. Which has been nice and has cut down on the eating out somewhat.

If I had a third hand, which would bad really, I'd say, "Uh... our meals have been kind of boring lately."

So, in conclusion, I like the pantry system, and I think we'll keep it, with a few modifications, which would be A) a general idea of a menu for the week, and B) trying at least one new recipe a week.

Anyone else do a pantry system? I'd love to hear about it!

4 comments:

LeeAnn said...

Raising my hand here, I do, I do! I have a similar list, but I got ambitious and typed it up in Excel. OOooo.

Since we usually eat meat with every dinner, to keep variety I just pull out a baggie of frozen ground beef and move it to the fridge after we've had a chicken dinner (like while I'm making the chicken or whatever) or pull out sausages after we've had beef and so on.

I don't necessarily always know what I'm going to make with it the next day but it forces me to make something with it since you don't want to (ick) re-freeze the meat or let it go bad.

There is a kitchen blog called "Kitchen Comforts" in which a mom of 8 talks about using the same weekly meal plan by seasons.

You can see all her menu plan posts here:
http://ebeth.typepad.com/kitchen_comforts/menu_plans/index.html

Seven meals for me is too small a circle, I think I would prefer ten meals, but in reality, I use much more the "pantry principle." I rarely ever go out and buy X so I can make a recipe. In fact, Like Merchant Ships is talking about this today too. :)

Or I just read other people's blogs and get my menu ideas. We had your bbq chicken last night and the breakfast casserole (with sausage, not ham) the night before. Thanks! Since we also eat gluten-free, we have similar pantries--convenient for me. ha ha

LeeAnn said...

If you like, I'd be happy to email you my pantry excel file to save you some work. Looking at your handwritten list, they are 90% identical.

Tenille said...

Awesome, Leeann! Thank you! And I'd love to see your pantry list!

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