Christmas Countdown Day 24: Inventory the Pantry!

Thanksgiving is coming: hold onto your wallet!

No question, holiday meals can put an unexpected burden on the budget. Solution? Get organized, and shop at home first!

This week at the Christmas Countdown, we'll inventory pantry areas, refrigerator and freezer before we begin shopping for holiday foods.

Knowing exactly what we have and what we need to buy prevents that fuzzy "Oh, just throw in another can of olives!" mentality from setting on us at the grocery story--and keeps us from tossing stale food items months down the road.

A bountiful meal with no waste makes the best use of our food dollars--and time and energy!

Similarly, we'll check the spice rack today, assessing the freshness of seasonal staples. Will we have enough sage for our dressing? Has the pumpkin pie spice lost it's savor? Time to find out, when replacements are offered at the year's lowest prices at the market this week.

To Do Today

Inventory the pantry

Will you really need to buy ten cans of chicken broth for holiday meals this year? It's time to check pantry or food storage areas and inventory holiday non-perishables before shopping for Thanksgiving.

Use a pantry inventory form to record supplies of canned goods, baking supplies and holiday staples. You'll know at a glance whether to load up on loss-leaders ... or whether your pantry is full this year.

Check spices for freshness

Fresh, savory seasonings are a must during the holiday season--but in many kitchens, jars and tins of spices languish for years, losing flavor over time.

Check your spice rack for freshness today. Newer products often include a "use by" date as a guideline. Otherwise, open each jar, and use your eyes and nose! A spice that has caked, changed color or lost it's smell should be replaced.

Add any needed replacements to the seasonal shopping list, and stock up when pre-Thanksgiving discounts hit the baking aisle!

For suggested dates and freshness tips, try this link:

How Fresh Are Your Spices?

To Read Today

A pantry's not a room, it's a state of mind. Get organized for efficient, easy meal planning and brush up your pantry power:

Organized Pantry: Beginner's Guide to Pantry Pride

Today's Recipe

M&M cookies in a jarM&M Cookie Mix in a Jar makes a colorful jar gift, and is popular with kids.

Use seasonal-colored M&Ms-brand candies for a holiday touch.

We make it easy with recipe and free printable gift tag. Attach the tag to create a sweet and welcome holiday gift.

M&M Cookie Mix in a Jar

To Print Today

Pantry Inventory

Pantry Inventory

Holiday Plans: