Frugal Friday | Using What You Have

This day did not start out to be a Frugal Friday to be totally honest. In fact, I had a recipe all blogged and ready to go.

Then I opened the pantry, or pantries because we have two.. What? We have 5 teenagers and there are 7 of us in the house. We need more room – plus when mom is cooking as often as I am … well.

And it isn’t that I don’t go in the pantry often; I’m a foodie, of course I do. I do daily.

But I guess I had my eyes opened wider today, or something. Or maybe I need new contacts (wearing the glasses today)? What greeted me was a huge disaster and as I began pulling things out of the pantry, I just kept cringing. I had two and three containers, bottles, cans and boxes of so many things. Some in various stages of use.

There will be no pretty food pictures today.

Oh there’s food pictures, alright – they just aren’t pretty. Don’t judge.

I’m giving you a rough and raw look into my kitchen pantry and how I feel about what’s in them.

By the time I am done with this – I’ll clobber the teenager or husband that messes with my system. You do realize that’s the main problem? 5 teenagers who are always hungry. So they stand there with the refrigerator opened for 5 minutes looking for a snack. They open the pantry and begin sifting through things trying to find something that sounds good. They move items from shelf to shelf to look behind things because you never know when that snack or item they crave is going to be behind the organized bags and boxes of rice.  Unless I provide them with an after school snack – I’m doomed, I think.

Then we have the teenager that loves to cook – she has her own blog. She makes messes wherever she goes, whether it’s her own room, someone else’s, the living room or kitchen. Most especially the kitchen. When she wants to cook or bake for herself or her siblings or her blog – the recipe turns out great – it always turns out great. The kitchen? Not so much. She is the queen of, can’t find it – open a new one. Oh and she loves the phrase, but I did clean up. Which usually means she didn’t. Or she attempted and failed miserably. Of course with any of my teenagers, their version of cleaned up does not at all match my version.


This is what I’ve found so far:


  • I have 29 bottles of oils and vinegar. Yes, you read that right. 29. Twenty Nine! Any kind you’ll ever want. I assure you – there’s even a bottle of sesame seed oil and grapeseed oil . Only four of the bottles are vinegar. Geez.
  • 11 of those bottles are Olive oil – every single one of them open and in some state of use.
  • 2 of those bottles are Canola oil – both opened and about 1/4 full.
  • There are 2 jars of coconut oil – both opened – one barely, in that giant mess of oils.
  • The rest are duplicates of Vegetable, Sunflower, Flaxseed and Fish oils. Goodness!
  • I have three bags of sugar – all opened. Two are the normal bags of sugar you pick up anywhere, but I purchase my sugar typically in 25lb bags so of course I have that one too and it’s opened.
  • I have 8 bags of flour. One is a 25lb of all purpose – opened. 3 are bread flour (2 are unopened), 1 unopened bag of self rising, 1 unopened bag of whole wheat, and two small (opened) bags of all purpose which have been since dumped into the large bag.
  • Ooops, I found two more – two boxes of cake flour. I love cake flour. You’d think I’d have more of it and less of the others. Nope.
  • I have (okay I am embarrassed to even type these words) 17 bags of powdered confectioners sugar – every single one of them but ONE is open. (can you tell the teen loves to bake?)
  • We have 32 different boxes of crackers of any kind, shape, size or type you’d ever desire. If you’re looking for a good happy hour, come to my house. Sometimes multiple of some. (this is my husband who feels the need to buy 5 boxes of crackers each time he visits the store)
  • We have 7 boxes of granola bars, which annoys me to no end, since I typically  make them from scratch. (again, my  husband who does not comprehend cooking from scratch – “I can just grab a box and boom they are ready” *sigh*)


  • Uhm. Well. There are 87 boxes collectively of jello and/or Knox products – pudding & gelatine. Yep. 87 of them. I mean, really? (a few were expired and did get pitched) – I don’t even make JELLO – I haven’t made Jello in years. I use pudding in baked goods a lot, but definitely not jello gelatine – well, I mean I have, but not in awhile.
  • Maybe I need to? LOL Obviously.  Anybody have some good recipes to share besides making actual gelatine – not a fan of the wiggly stuff?

I have thrown away TWO huge bags of trash (so glad it’s trash day!) and I have another one almost ready. I hate throwing away good food. Of course, that wasn’t  ALL food though, it’s packaging because I am in the process of doing this:


Don’t laugh at my non-matching baskets and the fact that one is a Christmas basket. This is the only reason I actually keep them when they come with something, because I know I can organize. LOL

I will tell you a little secret. I hate breakfast cereals.

Well, I mean, I guess I don’t hate them, some are very good – but the nutritional value of most of them are null and void. This causes me to lean towards eggs, oatmeal, yogurt and other ways to feed my children breakfast.

But my husband is all about convenience. He loves breakfast cereal. Therefore everyone else should love breakfast cereal. (most of us don’t). Is this evident by the colossal collection of breakfast cereal in my house (see photo below) that seems to go uneaten? Why, why, do you keep bringing more home honey? STOP THE INSANITY!

This literally made me mad as I started pulling boxes and bags off the top shelf of our pantry (where it was previously stored but will not be anymore!) He’s lucky  I love him. Before I moved in with them 7 years ago, my 2 children had breakfast cereal at most once a month. I fed them things like scrambled eggs and bacon, yogurt, homemade muffins and fresh fruit and toast, oatmeal and homemade bagels and english muffins, the occasional smoothie and on and on. Not this stuff. blech!


And here’s some pictures of my two pantries at the moment as I’m pulling everything out and putting it in the middle of the floor. See? Not even close to done.

kitchen_pantry1 kitchen_pantry2

I refuse to give you a shot of the full state of my kitchen table OR the floor at the moment because… man, oh man – that’s a lot of stuff.

I am not even done. This will probably be an all day project. I’m delving back in. If you don’t hear from me shortly, please send in the men with the white coats. I’m pretty sure I’ll need them.

Oh but wait, before I go – I have discovered that for dinner tonight we are having homemade hamburger helper, (I do not and will not buy the store bought stuff), corn because I found 11 cans of it, and I’m not a fan of canned veggies but seems like a nice easy Friday night side dish and well, I don’t want to waste them, homemade stuffing, homemade rolls (you know, because of the flour collection and all), watergate salad and a chocolate cake (the flour and sugar collection prompted this – ha!). ALL with things I uncovered in my pantry today. I’m sure my children will be pleased about dinner – I am however, not at all pleased with the fact that I didn’t realize we HAD all this stuff.

Signing off for now… please think of me as I dig back into this! LOL

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    • says

      It was a ridiculous amount of stuff. Kinda disheartening when you get right down to it, but I feel SO much better having it all organized. I even made a list of what we have, and what we need to replace. I feel so accomplished. lol I will have a Frugal Friday each Friday now. It was therapeutic! ♥

  1. says

    Looks like I’m not the only one who goes to the grocery store without checking the pantry first. I have my own overages and it is just the two of us.

    • says

      I’m really happy I’m not alone in this disaster. I actually looked around the kitchen today and thought… wow, I think I’m going to cry. There was stuff everywhere. But now that it’s all condensed, purged and organized I feel a lot better. I don’t mind overages what I hate is waste. lol
      Have a great weekend hon!

  2. pc501 says

    I’m with you on the pantry! I have no excuse: there are only two of us right now. Last fall I had the best of intentions to organize, donate oodles of stuff to the food bank, throw away those 10+ yr spices that had no fragrance even when crushed, and LIST. Everything was removed, boxes donated, and nothing was going back until it made some semblance of sense. Haha. At Christmas party time much of it was still on the kitchen table and a 6′ portable table I’d pulled in. all back in (baking stuff in a separate linen closet) but never got around to a list. Hence: 10+ cans of tomato stuff, bags/jars of pasta and rice. To think, I have not even begun to complate the pounds of beef, fish, and chicken in the freezer. My modified goal: eat our way through what we have except for veg/fruit/dairy. Time to get off my hiney and do something, lol. Love your blog and your daughter’s as well. So glad to hear there are other bloggers who are human and have a real life. Thanks, pc

    • says

      So glad I’m not alone. :) It was kind of embarrassing as I kept pulling things out, but ya know what? I’m real… I’ll share my good, my bad and my ugly. I’m pretty sure this falls under ugly. LOL

      I love your modified goal, I might need to incorporate that a little – I feel your pain. I’m afraid to even open the huge freezer chest in our basement – the kids usually grab stuff for me so I cannot IMAGINE what I’ll find. haha
      xoxo Thanks PC!

  3. says

    You have no idea how happy this post made me! lol!! I’m not alone! I struggle to keep my flours, oils, boxed items, etc in order. I try not to buy too much and just buy as needed. I have two little ones who have not yet started to eat me out of house and home. I wish I had time to go through my pantry as you have. It is a very central part of my kitchen. I’m in there every 5 minutes, it would seem. I bet I don’t have a single box of Jello in there! lol! Happy organizing!

  4. says

    This post cracked me up so hard, Nicole! Man, if I had a house with all the storage space, I’m afraid to say that my pantry would look the same. Especially since I love to buy in bulk and if something’s on sale, I’m buying it even if I already have it at home. Can you come over to my place and help me organize? Even though there’s only me and the Husband in a tiny condo, my pantry and cupboards are an absolute mess! I always have to burrow through every single thing I own until I reach the one ingredient I need, guaranteed to be shoved waaaaaay in the back. And I know that I have ten boxes of jello in there somewhere 😉

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