What's in your pantry?

I adore this post about stocking a pantry.  A friend recently introduced me to Lindsay's blog at www.theleangreenbean.com.  In her article, she lets us peak into her kitchen pantry, describes her inventory, shares her ideas, and posts pictures for those of us (like me) that think a picture is worth a thousand words.  At Everyday Providence, we talk a lot about stocking a pantry.  But the benefits of a well stocked pantry are often overlooked, and the getting started can seem overwhelming.  Check out these basic benefits and motivations for keeping a pantry in your kitchen.

A well-stocked pantry will help you:
  • Prepare meals when you don't get to the store - Keeping items on hand that you use often will help you pull a last minute meal out of your hat. (think quick cooking carbohydrates, canned or frozen veggies, and jarred sauces)
  • Never run out of certain items (maybe)- I hate it when in the middle of preparing a meal I realize I don't have any rice, or chili powder, or onions.
  • Take advantage of sales and bulk purchasing - When you know how much of an item you routinely use, picking up a few extra or a "warehouse sized" package can save you money in the long run.
  • Save money - We all know that cooking at home is less expensive than eating out or picking up dinner from the deli.  A pantry makes it so much easier to actually stick to an eating at home regimine.
  • Eat healthier - Restaurant food endure much processing, preservatives, sodium, sugar, and fats to make it easy and delicious. Pantry foods can be whole, unrefined, and healthier by choice.
  • Avoid market shortages - Ever go to the store to buy a needed item and they are out?  Yeah, me too!
  • Don't worry about recalls - Problems with recalled products are usually identified quickly.  Having a pantry won't stop you from buying an item that may be recalled, but you probably won't have used it yet.
  • Use your pantry to stretch through lean times - When an unexpected car repair, medical bill, or trip out of town comes up, a well-stocked pantry will help you make ends meet for a few weeks to get your cash flow back on track.
  • Stock your pantry with items you use - My pantry has around four types of flour in it, but no pudding cups. Yours can have a tiny bag of all purpose flour and a case of pudding cups.  The only right inventory list is the one that contains items your family eats.
  • Keep your favorite snacks and munchies on hand - I keep dark chocolate, barbecue potato chips and animal crackers on hand most of the time, just in case.
  • Stock non-kitchen items in a closet - Stocking household items like soap, razors, toilet paper, tissues, multi-surface cleaner, and ink pens can be helpful and thrifty, too.
So... what's in your pantry?  Or better yet... what's going to be in your pantry next?

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