Down To Basics Again

There have been a lot of excellent grocery deals lately, and I found myself slipping back into that old hoarding mentality.  Then I stumbled upon several recent blogs about preparations for Passover, and am again impressed that this tradition of annual purging carries on even to this generation. 

I am not Jewish, but I understand the idea here, and the process, and admire the devotion to religion that this practice takes.  And although this is not a requirement of my Faith, I am going to work toward the spirit of this practice, in remembrance of the Passover, OT and NT.  As for my own inability to pass up FREE and Cheap food, I will be setting aside as much shelf-stable goods as I can for the Feinstein Challenge at Project Hope, Scouting for Food, and the other food pantry collection drives that occur every spring.

So I was so encouraged to conduct my pantry purge/inventory, including freezers.  The frozen foods are not easily donated, so they will remain, but are more organized now, and even available to use for a new church ministry providing meals to folks!  There are so many prepared meals, prepped ingredients, raw ingredients, and leftovers, that I could easily go months without replenishing.  But then I’d have to start from scratch, probably with non-excellent-sale items, and that would not be good financial stewardship.  (See the strength that purging takes?!)  The freezer stash is organized, and I will really, really, think about each future purchase.  It is doable, but promises to be challenging, since March is National Frozen Food Month.

The pantries got a total overhaul.  It took the better part of the morning; two hours for the downstairs shelves, and one for the kitchen closet pantry and cupboards.  I removed items, cleaned shelves, restocked, tossed a few things, even.  In the end, I have six bags of groceries to donate, and a more efficient pantry system. 

The amount of food I still have is amazing!  (I have 13 spaghetti sauces!  Even after donating a bunch.)  I’ll be able to menu plan at least three months out!  I know some monkey wrenches will be thrown into the mix, and Papa Murphy’s will likely get a visit or two from us.  But planning menus will help reduce that.

So I’m down to the basics again, physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I’m praying that this will lead to “sustainable” simpler living, and trickle down to the boys in the areas where they don’t seem to be able to apply it themselves.  Having a hollow-legged teen presents a food supply challenge (which is another reason excuse my food stores were so full), but I know there are ways to prevail.  And it doesn’t have to mean hours sweating in the kitchen, either.

I’m working on my Down to Basics eating/cooking/menu plans.  While I’ve always been pretty much a Basics kind of gal, this episode brings me face to face, again, with the necessities we need to eat well.  And by “well” I mean healthfully, proportionally, purposefully.  The dinner menus I’ll plan will continue to reflect that.

DH and I talked about this over a bucket of Fabuloso.  We both think it’s a great idea, and even just to keep the inventory rotating, to cut back and eat out of our supplies a couple of times per year.  Many folks call this a “Pantry Challenge.”  He said that it’s not saving money if the food just sits there, unused.  He’s right, I know.  And yet, there’s that financial thing floating around.  We talked about how getting items for pennies and FREE would be okay to do, but just not overdo.  I guess it comes back to the providing Daily Bread issue.  Trusting that I don’t have to overcompensate, hoard, make it happen my way.

This feels good for so many reasons.  Refreshing.  Meaningful.  Clean.  The Basics are really what we need, and the rest is wants.  Just another reminder to myself.

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