Friday Links: Provisions

Squirreling away some nuts.

I don’t know if it is the season change or the fact that our ‘fridge and cupboards look like we are two months past an apocalyptic event, but I just dropped $300 at Costco.

Yes, I now have lunchbox snacks until February.

Yes, I bought dog food, which always jacks up the total.


We are only two people in this house. How much food could we possibly need?

$300 worth, apparently, not including the other $80 that I dropped at Giant directly after, and the $40-50 I will spend at the farmer’s market on Saturday.

So this week’s post is all about provisions: what you need for a well-stocked pantry, a few tips for the bar, and how to do it all without taking on a second mortgage.

Essential Spices For Indian Food: Against all odds, I love Indian food. I have zero experience cooking it, though. My first attempt at tandoori chicken was really an overcooked piece of meat with cumin paste. My pantry is well-stocked, though, and I plan on trying again.

Bon Appetit’s Guide to What Every Kitchen Should Have: I love this list because it is simple and doesn’t focus on pre-packaged food. These staples mean dinner is always 15 minutes away. It does mean you have to cook (rather than simply heat up), which bothers The Teenager quite a bit, but that’s how things go.

Stocking The Broke Kitchen: Okay, so this one is a little controversial for me.  People have different ideas of what saving money means, and when I say “affordable,” I don’t mean $100. When I first moved to Seattle in 1996, I had $200 in my pocket. I managed to find a landlord who would take my deposit and last month’s rent on a payment plan so I could move away from a bad situation. So when I say “affordable,” I really mean like foodstamps-level broke. My budget for food was $25 a week, which I stretched by not eating breakfast and drinking lots of coffee with cream and sugar at my temp job. So I know from broke, as my Jewish grandmother would say.

Still, stocking a whole pantry with staples for $100 is pretty good.

Stocking A Bar On A Budget: Let’s face it: it gets dark early during the fall, and you are not always going to want to drag yourself out for a decent cocktail. But booze adds up fast, and if you are picky about your booze and want to drink the good stuff, your daily tipple can get spendy fast. Rein it in with this guide.

BONUS: Homemade Fireball Whiskey: Because life’s too short to drink something with anti-freeze in it

DOUBLE PLUS GOOD BONUS: Easy Dressing: Why not provision your closet with a capsule wardrobe while you’re at it?

So have fun stocking up, and tell me: what’s the one ingredient your pantry or bar can’t do without?

Friday Links: Quick Food

Like this pancake’s grin, I too, feel a little raggedy when dinnertime rolls around.

School is back in full swing, and even for those who homeschool, time is always an issue when it comes to dinner. While I love to cook, I hate making dinner. My energy naturally flags around four o’clock, right when The Teenager is getting home, dogs need to be walked, and dinner needs to begin.

This week’s quick links are all about how to make quick food that is fresh, delicious, and virtually thought-free. Always a plus at the end of the day!

Oh My Veggies Slow Cooker Lasagna: Easy, easy, easy, and perfect for this time of year as summer’s produce spills out of gardens and farmer’s markets. Personally, I am not an eggplant fan, so I would substitute something else, but I am guessing there is not much you can do to mess this up.

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls: These are absurdly and inappropriately delicious. So good, in fact, that I am going to make some tonight instead of roasting some boring old thighs. Excellent the next day wrapped in a flour or rice tortilla.

Quinoa Corn Chowder: Sensing a trend? If you have not already been using a crockpot for easy weeknight meals, then you should absolutely break it out for this delicious, vegetarian (with veggie stock) chowder that is high in protein and zippy with sweet corn and jalapenos. 

And speaking of crockpots, stay away from that cream-of-crap soup that proliferates in so many recipes for the crockpot. Make your own dry mix, then use that as directed when a recipe calls for cream-of-______ soup.

Cook Once, Eat 50 Times: Take one day and cook 50 meals, then shine your crown and brush off your cape because you are a queen/king AND a superhero. These are meat-heavy, so sprinkle in some vegetarian action, too. 

When all else fails, I am a big fan of breakfast for dinner, like the gluten-free blueberry pancakes above. The Teenager likes hers with a slice of bacon grilled right in there.

What quick foods do you reach for on busy weeknights?