7/27/15 Kitchen Essentials

Yesterday I did not cook much. I ended up making leftovers and fried pork chops for dinner that were very ordinary and average and I did not even have time to snap a picture of them. Since I made a commitment to blog each day for 90 days, and I did not cook much, I have been trying to figure out what to post about since yesterday. I tried to think of other recipes to share for the day, but I think that actually deviates from the point of having a blog a day challenge. My blog a day challenge was to prove to myself that I always had something to blog about each day, and of course now I have come across a day where I have to be very creative with what I choose to write about, because I did not cook much. I could skip a day, but that would also defeat the point of having and doing a blog a day challenge.

After much thinking and a few Facebook news feed inspirations I have decided to write about my kitchen inventory of food and where I am at on the 27th of the month. It may be the end of the month, but technically we have 14 more days till we get our food stamps again, so I call it the end of the second week of food. We will have our 3rd week which gets hard in the beginning of the month, then our really hard week that leads up to the 10th. Usually we cave a bit and spend our hard earned money on food by that week, and can’t bare to just not have the essentials.

I read an article yesterday on my news feed, about what essentials you worry about always having in the house, and it inspired me to make a inventory-kitchen essentials post for yesterday.

Some of our basic essentials that I worry about every month is the following:

  • Fresh Bread and or Bread Flour: I have just recently figured out how to make our own loafs of bread by scratch with some awesome bread flour. I have been trying to budget more than 5 pounds of it into the month, but this month we only had a 5 pound bag and I just ran out of it a few days ago. Don’t you know those gluten exo-toxins are addictive. I did however recently make sure with my sons doctor, to see if gluten is OK, and she said its fine.
  • Eggs: I buy a 60 count of eggs each month, a double flat, and my price is climbing at our local Safeway. If we had a house, or friends that had chickens or I could afford 6$ or more a dozen for organic at the farmers market I would certainly do it. But I do get on occasion food bank eggs that are donated locally from our local farmers, in fact right now I am going through a local multicolored dozen from the food bank. I have been debating for months on buying 120 eggs instead of 60, but I never seem to save enough food stamps or room in the fridge for 4 flats instead of 2.
  • Dairy: I do not buy a whole lot of milk, but I do buy it on occasion for my husband’s cereal bowls. I tend to purchase a ½ gallon at the beginning of the month, and unless we have an abundance of cereal I do not buy much more after that. My ex-landlord lives by a Hopper Dairy facility and also drops off milk products that they cannot deliver, and they put out for people to take for free. Yesterday I just got a drop off of half and half, for coffee, and I few weeks ago she delivered some milk, butter and homemade butter that she makes from the heavy cream that she gets for free. At the beginning of this month, we had 3 pounds of regular salted butter, and 5 pounds of homemade sweet cream butter in the fridge. Now I am down to a pound and a half of salted and 2 pounds of homemade. We also get a whole lot of dairy free milk from the food bank, last time I went I got oat milk, rice drink and even some more almond milk. I really like having dairy free stuff to cook with in the house, so I can save the milk for my husband.
  • Pantry Carbs and Pantry Protein: Another thing that I have less anxiety when I have more of it in the house is pantry essentials, mainly carbs and Protein when I need it. Essentially our family rotates carbs all the time between jasmine rice, potatoes any way, angel hair pasta, and pizza dough. I make my pizza dough from scratch now, but the rest of these carbs I need to have stocked in the pantry to feel better. I get the rice on food stamps, pasta on food stamps and potatoes from the food bank. I also like to have a supply of pantry proteins, like canned and dry beans, and lentils. I rely on these when I run out of fresh proteins from the fridge or freezer. Most of the time, I do not have to use these proteins except for foodie emergencies, like running out of my bulk freezer meat.
  • Meat: My family needs meat. I not sure if I were all alone, if I still would have meat every night like I do with my family, but I spoil them. I stock my freezer up with fresh butchered meat from our local store here called “Purity”. I buy about 75-100$ worth of bulk meat on food stamps every month. Sometimes we run out before we get our food stamps, but then I rely on my pantry proteins from the last section.
  • Fresh and Frozen Veggies and Fruit: My 5 year old son loves snacking on fresh fruit. I do not ever buy any, I get it fresh from the food bank each week. I am extremely lucky to get enough fruit and veggies fresh each week that I do not have to spend food stamps on them at all. They can get really expensive when they are not in season. Getting produce from the food bank, actually keeps us with the local seasonal fruit and its completely free. I get so much that listing the abundance would take up too many words, again I am blessed. I also try and stock up through my monthly Schwans frozen food delivery on frozen veggies and fruit. We just ran out of the veggie medley that I buy each month and we still have frozen strawberries and cherries from my last delivery.
  • COFFEE: I do not get the best sleep ever, I am trying to find a holistic remedy to treat my insomnia but I have not found one yet. All I know is no matter what kind of night I had before having my 4 pound bulk supply of “Double French Roast”, gets me through each and every morning of the month.

Having these basic essentials gets me through each month, of course I buy a few specialty items on food stamps, like raw sugar for coffee and waffle mix for our waffle maker. But the essentials of my ‘Kitchen mommy anxiety’ lies with the bulk items above. I will try and find the article I based this off of and I will share it if I can find it. * could not find it* Most of the above items are on it, I just expanded it to fit my needs in my kitchen. Again I will remind ya’ll that I survive on only 350$ of food stamps per month, and manage to shop and budget all in the same day that I receive them to eliminate monthly shopping. I do not plan meals every night, that would be a nightmare.

I may not plan meals for every night but I do plan for the month. I get meat to fit the month of the year, like seasonal things. In the winter you can find me buying more stew meats and making soups and such. In the summer like now I bought more larger cuts of meat to make, like more short rib stacks to BBQ. I essentially plan meat for the month, and just as easy as 1,2,3; I pair a carb and a veggie with the meat that I choose for the day. Sometimes I even ask the boys for help, mostly on the first week of food will I ask them what they want first.

This month we have already gone through all my Schwans supply of meat, just from making them out of convenience. And we already made one of the short ribs BBQ in the oven. We still have an alright supply of meat right now, but I wish I would have bought more chicken from Schwans. I changed up my cut this month, and it ended up being less portion size so we went through it faster. Its so easy to defrost and make their frozen breasts or fillets into anything, from baked chicken, enchiladas, and even chicken pot pie. So I am disappointed to be stuck with pork and beef for the rest of the month. We do have a variety of pork and beef, but I like to have all three meats in the freezer.

So there ya go, another food stamp post, and food bank fabulous essay. Thanks for reading and I hope this may help you budget your kitchen essentials better.