Throughout November and December many families and friends gather to bake and share favorite dishes. As we venture into this bustling, busy season in our lives, remember to take inventory of what you have in your pantry to help create dishes that entice the palette and the pocketbook!
Last week, a friend and her three girls joined us (Litsa & daughter) after school for an impromptu photo shoot outside. We ‘penciled’ in going out to eat afterwards but when I took inventory of what I had in my pantry and my refrigerator/freezer, we ALL opted to pick what we liked (instead of wasting money for food). Everyone ate leftovers or Grilled Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches——or frozen berries, bananas, and nuts (a special paleo diet for one child). The budget for both of our families was stretched—–and we wasted less of what we already had on hand to eat.
Taking an “Inventory of Baking Supplies” is recommended this season too. Spices, sugars, oil, flour, etc. all tend to be on SALE throughout these last two months of the year. Additionally, don’t be afraid to recreate favorite treats like pumpkin pie with something you already have on hand. This past week when I opted to make homemade pumpkin pies, I needed special nuts to create the topping for my beloved recipe. I didn’t have the energy to ground or chop nuts so I used Linwood’s Energy Rich Blend to top my pumpkin pie with and it was MARVELOUS! I pretended it was HEALTHY enough to eat the entire pie by myself—-every bite was full of energy! I (Litsa) also had a bowl full of pumpkin pie mix leftover. I shared it with How to Have it All’s food recipe guru, Ashley. She created two mini, crestless pumpkin pies (portion control for her—as she joked)!
Be mindful as you gather in the kitchen to bake this season. Using what you have, sharing with others, stockpiling items on sale that you use all year all help extend the budget as you bake.
If produce is the major grocery burden this season, shop for fall/winter produce that will save your budget too. At our household, we had to swap fresh blueberries for frozen blueberries. We’ve bought more apples than berries this season too. Bananas are a staple for the fruit stand in our kitchen. Summer vegetables are a must from our freezer but to switch up the food on our table we’re adding brussel sprouts that come in fancy stalks this season. As we buy new seasonal produce, we reinvent what we are eating daily and we’re staying within budget too.
How are you using your kitchen’s inventory to stretch your budget this season?