The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday 28 January 2018

The World within your Walls. Pantry Peace.

In 2016 and 2017 I posted weekly about building up my pantry and preparedness.  There is a whole series on this you can find in the index.   We covered a lot including  totally free ways to get better prepared   and stocking your pantry for free.   Most of all I learned that slow and steady and taking ever opportunity soon sees you with a well stocked pantry.

Just because I am not posting weekly on this now doesn't mean I am not still working on building my pantry.   Each week this is an important thing for me and I participate in weekly pantry goals which I post over with Patsy at A Working Pantry.

I am really passionate about this.  Your stores are better than money in the bank.  In a crisis, even if the power is out,  the bank will be closed and no use to you.  But your food and necessities will be.

Jane's scones... whipped up from pantry ingredients. 

Having a week stocked pantry is a really important part of having a peaceful home and a house that is really a sanctuary.    Running to the grocery store for one or two things is such a drain on time!  We are busy enough!  Having to buy things when they are not even on sale is just a drain on the budget! If you are stocked up during the sales you just use things from your pantry until the price is down again.  I menu plan from what I have and what the best deals are.

Jane's fruit cake.

If the pay doesn't come through,  the power is out, the stores are closed, the streets are not passable... whatever it is... if you have a well stocked pantry you will just keep things going at home just fine.
If dinner plans don't work out you can quickly whip something else up.  If visitors arrive you are fine.
When there is sickness in the house there are healthy meals to just heat up and everything you need for a big batch of bone broth or chicken soup.  If someone needs emergency assistance you can handle that too.
This is peace and security. It is your back up plan.   It really is a way to build up your home that makes a difference in so many areas.

Jane continually makes the most of free and bargain produce. 
Also she swaps produce with her neighbour.

 A beautiful walk in pantry would be nice but I don't have one.  I have the usual kitchen cupboards and I am lucky to have a little wine cellar.  It isn't full of wine it is full of our emergency things like back up cooking plans, lighting, batteries, duct tape, water, food...
I have an entertainment unit that is full of food rather than DVD's and several stashes around the house.   Hilde has a laundry cupboard as her pantry.  You can add book shelves to a spare room or be like Vicky and turn a whole room into a pantry.  If you have a seldom used spare room consider this!
It just isn't about a cupboard or a room, it is just about getting ahead, being prepared and making hay while the sun shines!   I love they way the US ladies say they "put something up"  I never had heard that before.  I think of it as "I put something up on the shelf for future needs" and I think it is beautiful.

Pomegranates ... I need a lesson on how to use these as a tree is dropping them on a street just around the corner! 

The wise woman is not afraid of the winter for many reasons.  Some of them are that she works hard with her hands, she is like a merchant ship gathering food from afar, she plants, she makes,   she trades, she provides food for her family.  She is prepared and laughs without fear for the future!

Maria made my use it up fruit cobbler.  It looks beautiful! 

Teri gave me a really good laugh.  She posted on her instagram this quote that is kind of the opposite story...

Don't be upset about the results you didn't get from the work you didn't do.

I am not sure of the source sorry!   I can't say anyone here has this applying to them.  But you do see it an awful lot and pretty much everyone is having a chuckle as someone comes to mind.  haha!

Often it is work to turn free food or great deals into meals for the family and things you can put away for the future.   And also it is work to use up something that might be wasted but this is another way of getting ahead.   
This leads me to today!  I have peaches to use up and more to pick.  I have herbs that need harvesting.  I am grocery shopping so I check for great deals that I can add to the pantry.  Last week our store was clearing out all the small tins of pineapple.  It was discontinued and out for an amazing price!  So I was able to add ten cans of pineapple to my stores. 

Jane's mango and chilli relish.

Another aspect of pantry peace is having it well organised and to be making the most of it, rotating your goods, being able to see what you have or to keep an inventory.   I often need to have a review of what is in my freezer and to be careful to use things and make room for more bargains!   

Over the last few years my pantry has come so far!  Many of you have helped me enormously with this!  It has added so much security and help to our home.   

What kind of pantry do you have?  How does it help your family? 
Do you need to work on replenishing or organising it? 
Do you have pantry ambitions?   I do!  I want to add more things to do with health and build an essential oils and remedy pantry.  But that is another story! 

Have a really good new week! xxx


  1. Hi Annabelle. I have been following your blog for quite some time and I am very inspired by you! I am curious about using an entertainment unit for food storage. Could you post a picture of yours? I have one in the garage that I was going to get rid of. Would love to see a way to use it for food storage. Thank you so much for all the encouraging posts you do!

    1. Dear Ginger, Thank you! I will take and post a photo for you so watch out this week... If your unit has doors or drawers you are set. If it has shelves you could add baskets that fit nicely and then they re like drawers. This hides everything. No one would guess it is all food! Also if depends on if you have room inside or want to use as shed storage. With weather extremes I would only store non food in the shed and use it for paper products, toilet rolls etc but this then frees up space inside! I hope this helps... with love

  2. Annabel thank you for using my photos. One of the things I have found in pantry building, is you can make up small amounts of relish or jam. You dont have to have enormous amount of spare or free fruit or veg to do this. I made two lots of mango chilli relish. This gave me ten jars in total. I made two lots of mango jam, 8 jars in total. Small amounts add up and fruit gets used up. I have a glut of frozen banana cake and muffins right now. We got given a huge hand of bananas over Christmas. There was only so many we could eat. I have a banana chutney recipe but I completely forgot about it, so made cakes and muffins.
    Another thing you and others, like Patsy, have taught me is that a 'pantry' is not just a cupboard in your kitchen and limited to the size of that cupboard. I have my preserves and spare jars in a free standing cupboard in the living area. I have toilet paper and spare paper towel rolls in a drawer in a unit under the TV. Spare OTC meds and salves(Deep Heat) are in the drawers of my old singer sewing machine in the lounge. I keep a number of my cooking untensils in a cupboard on my veranda where we cook in the summer. Understanding this has really helped me look at the house and household needs holistically rather than on a room by room basis. I have to thank you ladies for this 'Aha' moment.
    It is trying so hard to rain here. We are getting the odd shower coming through which is adding to, rather than lessening the humidity levels. A decent rain would make a wonderful difference to the current climatic conditions.
    If weather is all I have to complain about then Life really is good.

    1. Dear Jane, Thank you for all the photos! They fit so well in a post like this. I love what you do and your garden, bargains and trading. These are all the ways I seem to get ahead mostly with my own pantry. It is kind of just taking every opportunity... I love how you keep medical supplies in the sewing machine drawers!
      I agree on the small batches. I can make a few jars of jam or relish in half an hour while doing something else. These few jars really add up and stop wasting stuff. I love them. My jar supply is getting low though!
      I hope you get the rain. We had just a tiny bit but it is better today than yesterday! With love

    2. Jane, I love your 'aha' moment and how your thinking changed ... which resulted in you suddenly having more room for your pantry!!! I do the very same thing ... my pantry is safely tucked away in all kinds of out of the way places all over my 925 square ft home!

    3. Jane, that mango and chili relish has me drooling!!! It looks delicious, as do all the other foods that you prepared!

  3. I am wondering about juicing the pomegranates. Here in the USA a tiny 8 ounce bottle of the juice is about $2.50 and it is a delicious treat and has huge health benefits. I have no idea how to do that at home but there has to be a way. If you have freezer space you could possibly freeze the entire fruit and thaw and juice them later. Premium not from concentrate orange juice is done that way.

    I have an entire wall of cabinets plus a closet in the kitchen. In the garage we have two shelving units full of cans and beverages and things like cartons of broth. Now that I am really getting rolling with canning we need a place to store the jars of food. We are thinking about filling a closet upstairs with shelves the right height for jars because right now they are getting crammed anywhere we can find to put them and we need to get them more organized. Toilet paper is stocked on the top of storage shelves in the garage and I can tell at a glance if I need to watch for a sale to restock. We buy few boxed convenience foods so I think we need less room for storage than some.

    We still have a large stock of first aid supplies from when the kids were at home since they were always skinning knees and falling off bikes. I am thankful for my over 200 bottles of essential oils and blends of oils that I have purchased as we have needed them and could afford them. I am even more grateful for the friend who poured hours into teaching me how to use them. We do not even have any over the counter drugs here anymore since we do not use them.

    I love having my pantry and really appreciate it all the more when we go to our lake house. Since we own it along with others we cannot stock food there and I am constantly having to make do or run to town. We are going for two weeks in February and I am trying to think of all those little things that I miss there without hauling along one of everything on my shelves.

    It has been cold and rainy all weekend with little let up so we have enjoyed an entire weekend of rest.

    1. Dear Lana,
      You have a wonderful pantry covering different areas. I am working on building up my essential oils and understanding of how to use them.
      I love your lake house! I cant even imagine that!
      Sorry my reply was so slow! With much love,

  4. Annabel, I do all the things you've talked about. I look at having a well-stocked pantry as having a very good insurance policy. If anything happens I'm covered, if not, then I have the priviledge of being able to shop and restock on my terms (waiting for the right prices) and not the grocery stores! This week I'm canning more dry beans and when I finish those its on to canning pecans and black walnuts.

  5. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds, I am posting early this time lol.
    I have had a pantry since we married in mid 1970 as we were subject to quite frequent flooding, then when 6 children came along the pantry got bigger. They are now aged 42 down to 34 this year and have long flown the nest but they do still come home and they love raiding our pantry.
    The bank took our farm (and may other farms in the 90's, but we managed to keep this block (that is another story) so we have been here since August 1997, and still between 2 creeks with another flowing into one creek on our boundary with our old farm. So it is still necessary to keep a large pantry. I have a lovely walkin pantry that we built in our home, I also have shelves in the laundry which is home to our other fridge and our freezers.
    We bottle (Fowlers Vacola) lots of our peaches, tomatoes, whole, passata, tomato sauce (ketchup), tomatos paste, relish and pickles. We buy in granny smith apples and stew them and bottle, we also dry them, We grow all our beetroot and pickle it and bottle it, this year I hope to have enough to make beetroot relish, chutney and beetroot muffins and cakes. Beetroot is also delish baked and served with sour cream.
    We grow a lot of onions, but this year the crop is not as good as in previous years, we use them fresh, we dry them, we slice and freeze them and also freeze them whole, after peeling.
    We keep a good supple of flours, and other baking supples, but very few bought tins and packets, as everything is cooked from scratch.
    We hve a large vegetable garden and a few peach tees, all peach trees are self sown, and this year they are loaded, the wind which has been quite strong over the past few weeks has caused a lot of branched to break, so they will be getting cut back a lot, so probably only a small harvest nest year, so we will put up extra this year
    OUr tomatoes are just coming in and in the next few weeks we will start processing them, same with zucchini, I grate or slice and freeze, and also make a zucchini soup base and only have to add water when I get it out of the freezer, I also do this with other soups as well.
    Our corn won't be long and we will start harvesting this. The families that sill live here also share in our produce. We will freeze most of this corn, by cutting the kernals off and freezing them, they take up a lot less room than corn on the cob, and I also think that they are not as watery as corn on the cob can be from the
    freezer. We have some rockmelons set on the vines, and also looks like a good pumpkin harvest, we also grow silverbeet for us and for the chooks, carrots and loads of other vegies.
    So our garden Is also our pantry. I think that Vicky also has a very large summer gardens and processes lots of her vegies.
    We have chooks for eggs, and also for meat, and they also eat all our scraps, there bedding goes on our compost piles.
    We have pigs in our shed and their bedding is left in a heap outside when their sheds are cleaned out and it will be garden food and mulch, the same with our Dexter cows we feed them their hay in the big shed and this is cleaned out and also gets used on the gardens;
    We have sheep, but they road in their paddock and it is very hard to collect their "pebbles", but they are also part of our pantry as are all the other animals.
    I know that our lifestyle is very different to most others, and we are very fortunate to have this life, I love reading about all the Bluebirds life styles and what they do.
    Love to all

    1. Lorraine- I do have large summer gardens and process the bulk of it. My homecanned goodies are housed in the cellar. We also grow strawberries, pineberries, goji berries, red and black raspberries, and blueberries plus we have a mulberry tree and apple and cherry trees and grapes. Some of the fruit trees aren't that great, but the local wild life eats good. LOL As long as they don't bother my garden I am ok with it.

  6. I don't have a large pantry as I live alone. I have some health issues that make it hard to get around but once a month my younger daughter and I travel an hour to the city to shop. We live in a small country town that is considered a tourist area with prices to match. Having the grocery cart to lean on helps me and my daughter does all the heavy lifting and bringing things in the house for me. Shopping in the city gives us so many stores to choose from including two Aldi's which have just opened in the past year. Our day out also gives us time to spend together and we generally include breakfast or lunch out since this usually works into a full day. Thank you for all the time you put into this blog, I enjoy it immensely.

    1. Dear Jacki, Where I used to live I did a one a fortnight shop an hour away. It was really good and it saved me so much! Since then being in the city Chloe and I used to do a big shopping day now and then and these days were sooo much fun! Also big savings! It is wonderful you have a daughter to do this with and help you, just lovely. And I love Aldi. Aldi is saving me heaps. If we end up living in the country again I will return to this method and for sure come up and do Aldi stock ups! And I think I would really enjoy it too as many things can be done on a day like this! Thank you for your kind comments too! With love

  7. Dear Annabel,

    I am a stock piler. I buy up big when items are on special or reduced. I try not to pay full price for anything. I recently emptied the shelves of almond milk @$1.50/carton. These are usually nearly $4.00/carton, so big savings there. I keep them under our bed! Shampoo and conditioner is another item I stock up on when my brand is on special, and toilet paper too. We also do a regular trip to Adelaide to stock up from Aldi. We are going down again on Wednesday this week.

    My pantry is a small room so I have plenty of space, just need to keep it organised!

    We also forage along the roads for free fruit and preserve what we can (and share with family) to use later. And of course I have the veggies from the garden to include in my supply.

    Great post as usual,

    Love Tania xxx

  8. Annabel, great post. Wonderful way to summarize the key points and it was very easy to read. I too have a pantry, plus store items around the house :). I keep buckets of rice, flour and dog food in various clothes shelves out in our garage are used for paper products and other items not affected by heat (I live in Arizona). As you mention, a little bit of work each day or week has allowed me to have a nice pantry, it took three years and I am amazed at how small steps add up.

    1. Dear Hilogene, For us the climate is fairly similar I think... the shed can be used for non food items only really. But still this can create a lot more space inside as paper products like toilet paper are bulky and a cupboard outside is great for them. Well done on your pantry! With thanks,

  9. Hello Annabel and beautiful bluebirds :) .

    What a wonderful post Annabel and very relevant to today.

    For others who don't know we live in a small 100 sq metre workers cottage so there is not a lot of room anywhere here to store things although we are also stockpilers. We use a similar system to Tania and buy up big when we see a special on something we use and will usually will buy a carton of tinned foods, 12 months worth of shampoo and conditioner etc. The secret we use is to mark the purchase date on everything and put the newest to the back of our pantries and oldest to the front in supermarket rows.

    We have two double door pantries in the kitchen in which we stock a few weeks of everything we need. We also keep a couple of 10lt storage containers in the kitchen to top up our smaller storage containers located on top of the pantries, fridges and freezers. Under the kitchen sink is our storage of bulk dried herbs. We also have 2 400lt freezers in the kitchen one for vegetables that we blanch and freeze from our gardens and store enough food for the year, the other freezer is for meat and dairy.

    In the dressing room we have in a bookshelf with a years worth of OTC medications, prescription pain meds for DH, vitamins, minerals and a 12 month supply of medical supplies, dressings etc including a first responders medical kit with extras. Also in this room we have two 4 shelf gorilla shelves with the start of a second pantry in there for advanced food storage.

    In the bathroom there is a large deep double door linen cupboard in which we store most of our toilet paper on one shelf, on another shelf we store shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap and shaving items.

    We grow all our own vegetables, herbs and berries and haven't purchased any of these for 4 years now. It saves so much money to grow your own food and by preserving it.

    We also do a lot of trading with friends for things we don't have such as eggs, fruit etc.


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, I would like to live near you and be a friend to trade with! We would get on like a house on fire!
      You prove that a good pantry isn't about a big house or special room or anything and it can be done fitting in with the house you have. I really like your dressing room with medications etc. Now you might not use these but I am just making sure you know tomorrow is the last day to buy strong pain relief tablets and many cough medicines that contain codeine. After that its script only. It is already quite hard to get a doctor app here and I expect as of Thursday it will be much much harder...
      You have a really good set up and apart from being prepared this is saving you so much! Well done! With love

    2. Thank you Annabel for your encouragement and yes you are right you can stock a considerable pantry in a small home if you think stacking upwards and not outwards.

      Thank you for the heads up on the pain medications and codeine related products too. We did do a stock up on cold and flu tablets in bulk and the rest of the pain meds for DH are on a bulk script.

      For those on benefits or old age pensions in Australia you can get a months worth of pain medications on one script (if you request it from your doctor) and only pay the $6.30 price for one box of medication. In our case we get 12 boxes for that price saving us a considerable amount of money. Thought this may be of benefit to those on lower incomes with injuries that require pain or other medications as a daily routine.


  10. great post Annabel. I am enjoying my new pantry however it is not really up and running as i have one wall of shelves not yet installed.
    I am however, making great inroads into my fabric stash and have made 46 items this year so far, so well into my challenge I have set myself.

    I love the food items everyone has made and I too will be interested in the pomegranate story.
    Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona, Your pantry sounds like a dream! I cant wait to see it!
      Wow you are off to a wonderful start with the sewing challenge! That is huge! Also I think it would be fun to get so much done! And using up what you have! Well done. I cant wait to see what February holds for you! With love,

  11. Lovely photo's! I agree that food in the pantry is better than money in the bank!

    1. Thank you! Yes good investment! And savings! xxx

  12. I recently felt like I was just making the same few dishes over and over and needed some fresh inspiration. Yesterday, I went through my recipes and selected some fresh ideas to put into rotation. I selected recipes using items I mostly already have. Honestly, before I started reading your blog, I never would have taken the time to look for fresh inspiration-I probably would have purchased pre-made stuff which isn't frugal or healthy.

  13. Thank you for these posts and for sharing Jane's pictures. :) Now that we no longer have children living at home, we turned the closet in the front bedroom into a pantry. The linen closet in the hallway is also a pantry and storage area for kitchen supplies since I have a very small kitchen with not much storage area available to me. We have 2 big freezers in the garage that hold our frozen garden produce, meat that we are given from our son who hunts and from other family that fishes, and all the sale priced things that I find along with homemade soups, stews, breads that I keep in there for quick meals.

  14. Annabel,
    For me the pantry is security for myself and others. We have stocked it, then lived out of it then restocked it. A little extra here and there can build a nice pantry. At first it seems like just a mish mash of things, but plugging along it all falls into place. I had things stashed all over and most of my buckets have been retired to the garage since the pantry is done. I would say one of the biggest pantry stashing things to remember is to just put things where they will fit into a space best. You don't want to put bigger items in a drawer when you can stash a lot more smaller items and keep them organized better and vice versa. Packaging takes up a lot of space too. I just did a quick inventory of the pantry this weekend and I also made up a very large box for a family in need. It feels good to help whether someone prefers packaged foods or homemade which is why I stock both. I hope everyone has a great week!

  15. Thank you for another helpful post. You all have given me ideas. One being that since I am single, my needs are small. I am going to though buy what I can, knowing what my children use and have it ready for them. I also enjoy the preserving process. I will ask them what are things that I can dry, freeze or can for their pantries.

    Onto the pomegranate ideas. I juice mine then freeze the juice. Some in containers to use as juice others in ice cubes to put in lemonade or iced tea. I am wondering though if a bit could be made into an extract or a cordial.

  16. We love our pantry and are creative about the places we store things.We are currently about a year ahead on shampoo, deodorants, dish soaps,laundry soap and OCM. My sewing and crafts are also extensive and a huge blessing. Many of these things are from my Mom. We also have many cake decorating supplies that were a gift. I am slowly improving on my cake decoration skill. Practice makes perfect. The post is lovely and full of wonderful ideas.
    Much love

  17. "Don't be upset about the results you didn't get from the work you didn't do. "
    What a wise and true quote.
    Hubby and I recently discussed that God gave us 6 days to work and 1 to rest, but these days most people work 5 and complain about that. I am so inspired by your personal work ethic (shared in some of your blog posts through January) and the way you keep things 'rolling' by doing small things consistently through the day to complete a larger task.
    I have really considered my own work ethic...not to do with my business so much as my work ethic around home and I can now identify where I need to pick up the slack. All good. Thanks Annabel.

  18. Anabel, My little granddaughter was sick with flu this week so I took food with me when I went up to stay with her to give us all a break at day's end. I only wish I'd been home to pack food up for my son to take home to his family as their baby boy also has the flu! All from pantry and freezer and some made into entrees from leftovers. How handy to have that on hand. It was a blessing to me to have my son in law admit it would have been delivery or take out for them the two nights I was there with both of them working and the little girl sick as well.

    I am so pleased that little quote (no idea where the credit is to be given for it either) was something that inspired you as well. If I can apply it to business or the business of home or both I always grab hold of it to use to push me to do that bit extra. I so agree that the work of a pantry isn't always easy but is always WORTH it and we have no need to complain at what we don't have if we've done the work!

  19. Like Terri (waving to her) I raided my pantry and was able to make some friends, who had sick kids, a batch of homemade chicken noodle soup. We keep a stocked walk-in pantry since we live 10-20 miles from town. My mother-in-law gifted me with the wisdom in doing this. I also have a smallish gift store, which came in handy today. It is Valentine's Day in the US. I have some young little friends and was able to find small gifts for them in my stash. I love being able to shop my "stores" rather than having to stop by the in-town stores after working all day. I only wish I could say it was all well organized. My goal for the next free Saturday I have.

  20. Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try iit out.


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