Category Archives: Family

What Every Pantry Needs

I love to cook.  I enjoy trying new foods and new techniques in the kitchen.  Cookbooks and recipes for me aren’t set in stone.  They are merely idea starters.  Telling me “we have no food in the house” or “there’s nothing to eat” aren’t statements… to me they’re challenges.

That’s why I was intrigued when a friend of mine and his wife started a 6 week pantry challenge on their food blog: Eating Right…. Most of the Time.  Their goal was to make it 6 weeks only using items from their pantry (plus up to $30 a week spent on perishables).  It’s been fun to see some of the creative meals they’ve come up with.

Their project has got me thinking about my families pantry.  What I like to keep in it and everything I can cook from it.  That led me to the following list.

What Every Pantry Needs:

Canned Tuna

Spaghetti Sauce

Alfredo Sauce

Boxed Pasta


Black Beans

Sloppy Joe Sauce

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Chicken Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Tomato Soup

Mushroom Pieces and Stems

Biscuit Mix

Italian Dressing

Ramen Noodles

Onion Soup Mix

Taco Seasoning

Freezer Pantry items:




Cheese (shredded & sliced)

Frozen Veggies

Stock up on these items when they’re on sale and you’ll not only save a ton of money but you’ll also be on your way to creating some healthy and nutritious meals.

So, what did I miss?  What are some must-have’s for your pantry?


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Make Someone’s Week

Remember how much you used to love getting mail when you were a kid?  Back before you started getting bills so most everything you got was cool?

This weekend I was reminded how cool and surprising it can be to get mail.  I was standing at the mailbox flipping through it’s contents and came across what looked like a letter to me.

My name and address were handwritten which upped the likelihood it was something I’d actually want to look at.  A quick glance at the return address showed it was from one of my Aunts.

During the walk back into the house I was wondering what it was and figured it must be a hard copy of all the details of our upcoming annual extended family camping trip.  Imagine my surprise to open it and find a handwritten letter with a newspaper clipping.

The clipping was from their local paper a few weekends ago in the “remember when this happened so many years ago section.”  It listed my name as attending an honor choir back when I was a sophomore.   Cool!  I had long since forgotten all about that.

I’ve thought about her handwritten note and that clipping a lot over the last couple days and each time it makes me smile.

That’s led me to this thought:  If you want to make someone smile send them a text.  If you want to make their day give them a call but if you want to make someone’s week drop a quick note in the mail.

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Food Memories

Being greeted this morning  by a counter full of dishes left over from our family Super Bowl party got me thinking about how my best memories can all be associated with food.

Whenever I have black berry jam, applesauce bars, or cream cheese frosting I think of my Grandma H.

Trips to Grandma R’s house usually meant Orange or Strawberry Crush, cookies from the freezer, and a butterscotch disk from the jar on the counter.

I can’t have a stick of Wrigley’s, Big Red or Juicy fruit chewing gum without thinking of my Grandpa V.

An apple or cheese slice always tasted better when Grandpa C cut it at Christmas time using his old pocket knife.

Our annual extended family camping trip is full of great food… especially the incredible pies my Aunts make.

Perhaps the reason the term “comfort food” exists is because food can be so closely tied to our favorite people, places, and times giving us comfort.

You’ve just read some of my favorite food memories… mind sharing a few of your own?

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