Well....are you still with me? I am sure you are worn-out thinking about 31 days worth of food....from breakfast until bedtime we seem to be feeding our families. Now that you have it on paper, it should make it so much easier to begin Providing Meals from Your Pantry!
But wait....hmmm....is that Pumpkin Pie Spice in your cupboard? It's not on your list, but you do need it for baking during the Holiday season. How about that frozen cheesecake? What about the 48 rolls of T.P. down in the basement?
Ah Ha! Dear Reader, we are headed to the MOST important part of our journey.......your current PANTRY INVENTORY. Yikes! You run extremely fast Dear Reader! Please turn around and join me, won't you?
PANTRY INVENTORY. Two words that can send shivers down the most intrepid Homekeeper's spine. It is the time spent looking in each cupboard, sideboard, fridge and freezer that enables each of us to look well into the ways of our households.
The easiest way to go about tracking your inventory is to make yourself a copy of your current "MarketDay Masterlist" and re-label it "Pantry Masterlist" (I even go so far as to print my on blue paper, so I don't confuse the two).
You already have about 95 percent of the items you routinely stock on your list...now you will want to track how much of each you have on hand. For instance, I have Chicken___ on my list. After looking in my freezer I have 3 meal size (according to my family's needs) servings of Chicken so I am going to write 3 in the little space. You might want to keep track of things by the pound or how many of each item...you decide what works for you.
When you come to....and believe me, you will come to items that are not on your list, just put them down on a piece of paper and later, when you stop for tea, add them onto your list (don't forget to record the quantity).
This is the perfect time to check expiration dates and decide if the item should be kept on hand. I found a spice jar in the back of my cupboard that is so old that the jar has become a collectible item! I don't know about you, but the old adage of "out of sight, out of mind" is never more true than when it comes to food and household goods.
Why is it that I always have enough T.P. to last until the end of time, but run out of Peanut Butter regularly? INVENTORY! Keeping track of what we have and what we need are two of the most important things we can do to keep our budget and homes in order.
So Dear Reader, I will leave you until Monday, when once again, we will take another step in Providing Meals from your Pantry! I promise that at some point you actually will go to the Market......honestly.
P.S. Just a reminder.....if you should find that you have 12 cans of salmon on hand that no one will eat, please remember the food banks and shelters. Need knows no season.