Pantry meals, rethining the stockpile, and first garden harvestsMay 21st, 2014 at 02:32 pm
I've been feeling compelled to try to save some money and use up what we have in the pantry. That, and get rid of clutter. I feel like we have too much stuff. We probably have much less than other families (after all, we can still fit cars in our garage!), but it's just not organized very well. Hopefully, I can remedy this.
So, on my quest to use up pantry food, this week we;ve eaten
-Navy bean soup with ham (the last of the Easter ham), plus pumpkin bread made with a leftover can of pumpkin puree from Thanksgiving.
-tilapia from the freezer, fried in Zatarain's New Orleans fish fry, with leftover yellow rice.
-We made peanut butter cookies in a plan to use what we have rather than buy treats.
I'm also thinking of using up my stockpile of shampoos, and personal care products. I've been reading a lot of about how many toxic chemicals are in personal care products (because U.S. companies can put pretty much anything in them and they don't have to put it on the label) and it can cause all sorts of allergies and health issues. I'm thinking of switching over to the organic brand-ish options.
Those are more expensive, but I was thinking. Do I really need a whole bathroom closet full of shampoo, or can I just buy one or two at a time when I need them? Sure, the less-chemically brands are spendier, but how often do I really buy that stuff? It wouldn't add up to that much more cost every year.
That is what I am thinking. Any input would be appreciated.
And finally, I am getting sooooo close to the first garden harvest. I'm so excited. I have some lettuce that's almost ready to cut, and some peppermint and oregano that are ready to be snipped and dried.
I'm tracking how much money I've spent on my garden ($756 so far, most of it for one-time expenses), and how much I'm getting out of it, plus dollar value of all the fresh goodies. I'm interested to see if we can actually save money by food gardening.
Of course, this year, we had a lot of infrastructure improvements, like importing 10 cubic yards of compost, building new raised beds and trellises, etc., that will not be among our expenses next year. But if we can break even this year, we will be profitable next year!
I also had a new vision. A few weeks ago, I traded some of my seedlings for firewood. What a great deal.
My hope is that as our production grows, we can set up more of these kinds of trades for things we need and want but can't produce: I'm thinking firewood, honey, eggs, etc. I'm good at starting seeds and I have perennial flowers to share, so maybe over time, we can make something like that work.