07 August 2020

Living Off the Stockpile (Again)

Today starts another round of Stage Three lockdown restrictions for us. When I heard the news on Tuesday afternoon I was concerned for a few minutes. What did we need? Was there anything we were running out of? Had I filled all the gaps in our pantry?

Oh my goodness, it was an odd feeling. Odd because quite frankly, if you know me, you know we don't need anything, especially in the way of food or toiletries or cleaning supplies. Honestly, for those few minutes I think I was shocked, not that we were back in lockdown, that was a given to happen, but that it was for six weeks this time. Six weeks!

It did occur to me that I was being silly. I shop once a year, so why would this bother me? Why should it bother me? I'm not sure why I was bothered, other than after last time, and the enormous outpouring of anger that I was talking about pantries and preparedness and making scones when people couldn't get toilet paper, I was, and am, a little nervous. Honestly, it shouldn't bother me.

I've encouraged you all to build your pantry for years, long before there was a pandemic or even a hint of a pandemic. It's not something I just started. Panic buying and hoarding are not what I teach or encourage.

When I went to get some fresh veggies on Monday morning, the produce section was almost bare. No apples. No oranges. In fact the only fruits were strawberries and bananas - nothing else. Not even a kiwi or lemon.

No lettuce. No cucumbers. No loose onions, carrots or potatoes. No cauliflowers. No sweet potatoes. Tomatoes were $8.99/kg (ouch!).

The meat cabinets were still full, but each item was limited to two per shopper. And boy was it expensive, although I'm thinking the budget friendly cuts were probably sold out.

No fresh bread. Not sure why, perhaps I was too early.

Only small bottles of milk. I was able to buy two litres.

No toilet paper, again.

As I was doing my quick walk around, trying to avoid other shoppers who seemed to have forgotten about social distancing, I was thanking God for the urge to not keep a stocked pantry, but to restock it as we have used it this year.

The pantry has the flour, sugar, yeast, tinned tomatoes, tomato soup, baked beans, oats, pasta, dried and canned beans, rice, TVP, herbs and spices, dried fruits, jams, honey, peanut butter and oil we use all the time.

The freezer has the mince, whole chickens, chicken fillets, sausages, corned beef, frozen veggies and fruits, pastry and breads that we eat the most.

The fridge has the butter, eggs and fresh veggies we use every day.

They are ingredients.

When you have ingredients you have options.

If you have flour and yeast you can make bread. You can make pizza bases. You can make scrolls.

If you have pasta, tomato soup or tinned tomatoes, herbs and cheese you can make pasta bake.

If you have beans (dried or tinned), carrot, celery, onion and tinned tomatoes you can make bean and veggie soup. Add some macaroni for minestrone.

If you have tuna, rice, frozen peas, curry, flour, milk powder you can make a curried tuna mornay.

If you have rice, peanut butter, Vegemite, onion and a little oil you can make  Quick Rice Patties

Flour, milk, grated cheese, corn kernels, eggs and you can make Savoury Impossible Pie

Stewed fruit, oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and you can make a fruit crumble.

Flour, sugar, milk, eggs, butter, vanilla and you can make a plain cake. Add cocoa for chocolate cake or instant coffee for coffee cake.

Flour, cold tea, dried fruit and you can make Fruity Tea Cake 

I've listed more recipes in the Bare Bones Groceries ebook. They all use basic pantry ingredients, take only a few minutes to put together and are cheap.

I fill our pantry with ingredients so I can make what we need, when we need it. I don't cook or bake anything complicated or fancy. I use the tools I have to keep meal prep simple and easy. I use plain, old-fashioned recipes and adapt them to suit our tastes, our budget and the ingredients in our pantry.

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