I can’t be the only one to struggle with this. I want to eat a local, organic diet as much as possible but many pantry foods are anything but. All the talk about the soda fizzer on Monday sent me to organize the cabinet I use for drinks. I have things like hot chocolate mix, Tang, concentrated juices and powders that will make water or, heaven forbid, powdered milk more palatable and also add some extra vitamins. The hot chocolate mix can be easily made at home with better ingredients although no one I know has figured out how to grow or process cacao beans in Massachusetts. The powdered juices are another matter. The calories and the vitamins would be a good addition to our diet and I know of no good alternative to the artificial ingredients that most are loaded with. Next year, I need to can a lot more cider and fruit juices. The canned cider is an especially big hit.

I went to the market yesterday and, as usual, perused a few aisles I don’t shop in just to get a look at prices. I seriously don’t know how anybody who isn’t pretty affluent eats meat very often. A small roast was $15.00 and a roasting chicken was $12.00. Both would provide 2 meals for a small family as well as stock but that’s still a big chunk of food dollars. There were deals in the produce aisle if you like root vegetables. Bread seems to have gone up in price as has peanut butter, coffee and cold cereal. Cereal has to be the worst expense for a family that eats a lot of it. I see people with six or seven boxes in their carts. That’s nearly $50.00 just for breakfast. Almost any homemade breakfast is less. I make a kind of french toast from the heals of bread. I stash the ends in the freezer and when the mood strikes I tear them into chunks and let them set in an egg/milk/nutmeg mixture until you have a kind of batter. Fry this just like French toast and you have breakfast for the cost of a couple of eggs and a cup of milk. I often add a handful of blueberries to dress it up some.

Do you all keep mouse traps in your pantries? It’s the time of year when critters like to come inside where it’s nice and warm. I found evidence of them in my tool drawer. This is one place where I use paper towels. I wet one and use that to wipe up the droppings. When the drawer is clean I wipe it down with a mild bleach/water solution and give a spray of mild bleach/water to the tools before putting them back. Mice carry all sorts of nasty things like Hanta virus, lice and tics. I wash really well when I’m finished. Fortunately, I only have two places they can get into cabinets and neither is one that holds food. The food I do have out is in vermin proof containers. Mice traps, Decon and fly strips should be in your storage. If there was a reason that garbage could not be picked up for a bit, vermin could be a big problem.

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