During these uncertain economic times, brought on by a medical arms race with a microscopic enemy, I thought I’d do my part by bringing you my list of pandemic penny-pinching pointers.

PANDEMIC PENNY-PINCHING POINTERS | How To Save Money in These Uncertain Economic Times | Coronavirus | | #MoneyTips #Pandemic

Here in Southern California we have been in mandated home isolation for over 2 weeks now. One of the ways I’ve been dealing with this crisis and the uncertainty of it, is to try and find ways to stretch what I have on hand to avoid unnecessary trips to the supermarket. I feel like the fewer times I have to be exposed to other people and foreign surfaces the better, especially as things get progressively worse. In California, where earthquakes are always in the back of people’s minds, we’ve been advised to always have shelf-stable food on hand in the event of an emergency. Now that a new kind of emergency has come to fruition, I already had a reasonable quantity of well-planned ingredients on hand.

PANDEMIC PENNY-PINCHING POINTERS | PANTRY EDITION | | #Pantry #Kitchen #HomeOrganization #Pandemic

So, stocking up (reasonably) on pantry staples is a smart idea, no matter where you live. When planning what you’ll need, look for shelf-stable ingredients, upon which you can base entire meals. Things like dried beans, rice, legumes, grains, pasta, tomato sauce, tuna, canned chicken, stocks & broth. I also added to my supply of olive oil, thinking that fewer shipments from Spain & Italy might cause olive oil to become scarce. And, I’m keeping plenty of flour, sugar, yeast and baking supplies on hand so I can make my own, homemade bread. Cornmeal for making cornbread is also a staple in my pantry. I love my yummy Sweet Cornbread Recipe with homemade soup. And of course I’ll be making my Simply Irresistible Cream Biscuits as well.

Wise spending is important for everyone in these uncertain economic times. And while I recognize the great importance of supporting our local restaurants and businesses, there are still many ways everyone can economize. So here’s a few suggestions I have for you, with links to some of my yummy recipes too!


  • Sign up for Rakuten and receive a rebate when you shop online at thousands of places. Use this link to receive a $10 sign up bonus! It really works folks. Since I signed up I’ve received $2,340 cash back.
  • Fill your dishwasher to capacity before turning it on. In doing so you’ll save dishwasher detergent, water and electricity.
  • Make your own breadcrumbs – Air dry stale bread until completely dried out. Then grind it up in your blender or food processor until smooth. Use it to make meatloaf, toss it on top of mac & cheese, or toast it and toss it on pasta dishes.
  • Use stale bread to make Croutons, Bread Pudding, French Toast or my delicious recipe for Crema Catalana French Toast Casserole.
  • Make your own pizza at a fraction of the cost of restaurant pizza using my yummy Olive Oil Pizza Dough Recipe.
  • Buy uncut fresh fruit & veggies – Don’t expose your raw fruit & veggies to unnecessary handling by others. Plus, in their natural state fresh produce lasts much longer and costs less. Cut up your own produce just before you need to use it.
  • Vacuum Seal food before freezing it – Frozen food will last SO much longer when vacuum sealed. We stocked up on fresh chicken, steaks and seafood and then sealed it using our Anova Vacuum Sealer and Food Saver Bags.
  • Cook at home rather than ordering in or going through a drive-thru. If money is tight your food budget will stretch much further when preparing your own home-cooked meals. Need some inspiration? Look no further than my “Cook It” Pinterest Page where I’ve pinned over 650 recipes for dishes that look simply delectable. And if you’re not already one of my 12K Pinterest follows, please join us by following me here.
  • Grow your own food – Now is the time to start those seedlings and in a few weeks you’ll be harvesting your own food crop. In France a bill now requires all new commercial rooftops to be covered with either solar panels or vegetation. If you live in an urban building with a rooftop why not start there?
  • Propagate your produce– Chop off what you plan to eat and then save the base of your lettuce, carrots, etc. Then place them in water until they take root. Remember doing this in grade school? Once the roots sprout just stick them in the ground (if it’s warm enough in your area) or place the root balls in a pot with good potting soil. Eventually they’ll sprout new leaves which you can harvest, new carrots, etc., and provide a second coming! How cool is that?
  • Good to the last drop – Don’t let anything liquid go to waste. Turn bottles upside down for a few minutes so that the remainder can collect at the top. You’ll be surprised how much to you can eke out of a bottle of catsup, olive oil or syrup for example.
  • Don’t let food go to waste Use overripe bananas to make delicious and nutritious Banana Walnut Bread.
  • Freeze milk before it expires – Freeze buttermilk in ice cube trays.
  • You can stock up on pasteurized milk – The expiration date on milk is often a month or more past the day of purchase so buy a few gallons at once.
  • Before squeezing lemons and limes zest the rinds – Freeze zest for flavoring dishes later on.
  • Make herb flavored oils with leftover minced herbs – then refrigerate.
  • Use vegetable scraps in soups.
  • Preserve bacon grease in the refrigerator for use later.
  • Add used coffee grinds to your garden to enrich the soil.
  • Use wilted carrots to make my delicious 14 Carat Cake.
  • Use chicken carcasses and beef bones to make homemade stock.
  • Throw your Parmesan cheese rinds into homemade soup for a big flavor boost.
  • Freeze leftovers – When a recipe calls for more than you can eat in one sitting, freeze the rest for later.

For example, this past weekend I made my recipe for Sour Cream Pancakes. They are SOOOO delicious, but the recipe makes more than my husband and I can consume in one sitting. So, instead of throwing away the extra batter or storing it in the fridge, (it gets brown and yucky) I simply cooked up all the batter into pancakes. All bread products freeze VERY well, and these pancakes are no exception. So I cooled them off to room temperature, wrapped stacks equal to one serving in plastic wrap, placed the stacks in individual ziplock freezer bags and placed them in my freezer. Now I can simply heat them up in the microwave for a future delicious pancake breakfast without any of the fuss. This weekend I also cooked up a big batch of Steel-Cut Oatmeal and froze it in individual servings. Now I’m set for breakfast all week long while at the same time saving time, effort and food.

PANDEMIC PENNY-PINCHING POINTERS | PANTRY EDITION | Freeze Pancakes | | #Pantry #Kitchen #HomeOrganization #Pandemic PANDEMIC PENNY-PINCHING POINTERS | PANTRY EDITION | Freeze Pancakes | | #Pantry #Kitchen #HomeOrganization #Pandemic PANDEMIC PENNY-PINCHING POINTERS | PANTRY EDITION | Freeze Pancakes | | #Pantry #Kitchen #HomeOrganization #Pandemic PANDEMIC PENNY-PINCHING POINTERS | PANTRY EDITION | Freeze Pancakes | | #Pantry #Kitchen #HomeOrganization #Pandemic


My DC dwelling son reports that he just discovered that Restaurant Depot is a fantastic and inexpensive place to shop. In fact, he called it “A Disneyland For Chefs”. And since restaurants aren’t doing as much shopping at this time, he found the store nearly empty, but the shelves were overflowing with bargains: 5 lbs of buffalo mozzarella for $12,  a whole beef tenderloin for $40, and a case of portobello mushrooms for $10. Membership is free and they have locations all across the country. If it makes sense for your family, buying in bulk at club stores is always cheaper.

PANDEMIC PENNY-PINCHING POINTERS | Shop at Restaurant Depot | | #Pantry #Kitchen #HomeOrganization #Pandemic @RestaurantDepot


As I said, I’m trying to shop smart by doing advance meal planning and making a comprehensive shopping list before I venture out to the store. When I get home with my groceries I follow the GREAT advice in this video. I urge you to watch it and follow Dr. Jeff’s advice too.


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